Frances Perkins

This morning we wished a Happy Birthday to Frances Perkins who was born on April 10th in 1880. Appointed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Frances Perkins was the first woman cabinet member and architect of some of the most far reaching and important reforms and social legislation ever enacted in America.  With her familiar tricorn hat (her mother had told her to always wear a hat that is wider than her cheekbones, to avoid looking “ridiculous”) planted firmly on her head, Frances Perkins prodded, pressured, and persuaded recalcitrant businessmen, labor leaders, and politicians to respond to the needs of the American people and end child labor, establish working conditions, fairer wages, reasonable working hours, unemployment insurance, and Social Security.  FPcover The image is the cover of my biography of Frances Perkins, “A Woman Unafraid: The Achievements of Frances Perkins.” I often think of her wise words: “You just can’t be afraid . . . if you’re going to accomplish anything.”  The plaque is in the Frances Perkins Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. It reads: THIS BUILDING IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF/FRANCES PERKINS, SECRETARY OF LABOR, 1933-1945,/WHOSE LEGACY OF SOCIAL ACTION ENHANCES THE/LIVES OF ALL AMERICAN WORKERS. IN WARTIME/AND PEACE, IN DEPRESSION AND RECOVERY/SHE ARTICULATED THE HOPES AND DREAMS OF/WORKING PEOPLE AND WORKED UNTIRINGLY TO/ MAKE THOSE HOPES AND DREAMS A REALITY/THROUGH THE FORCE OF HER MORAL COURAGE,/INTELLECT, AND WILL, SHE BROUGHT SWEEPING/CHANGES TO OUR NATIONAL LAWS AND PRACTICES/AND FOREVER IMPROVED OUR SOCIETY.FPplaque

This entry was posted in women's stories and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *