17 February 1940: Eleanor Roosevelt visits FSCW

From the 23 February 1940 Florida Flambeau:

Know Government Says First Lady

Women Urged to Take Interest in Democracy

“Girls, take a vital interest in government in all its details,” Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt advised Florida State college students when she spoke on “Citizenship in a Democracy” here last Saturday.

She cautioned, “You won’t like it very much. You may think it isn’t a clean game, but we women, if we keep to our ideals, can do much to improve politics.”

Mrs. Roosevelt pointed out the great responsibility of the United States in a world at war to find the answers to some of the many problems of the day which, she said, we can only do with full realization of what the problems are. She urged her audience, especially the students, to “know the whole situation of the whole community.” She said these problems are just now being thrust on us as in the past we had a great deal of new country to settle. Now we are building a civilization. To do that we must know our community and from there go out with our minds to the state and to the nation.”

She touched on one of her favorite topics, the position of women in local and national affairs, urging them to participate in finding a solution for such national problems as health and education. To help in these problems Mrs. Roosevelt said women must study the tax problems of their local, state, and national governments as each thing we do depends on tax money.

She closed her 45-minute address by advising students “to work hard, keep an open mind, understand the problems of the whole people, and be willing to pay the price of real democracy which means being willing to see all people share in the good life which will security for all.

“If we can keep our ideals alive in the youth of this generation, I think we can safely leave the future in their hands.”

After the speech, Mrs. Roosevelt was escorted to the home of Mrs. Frank D. Moor, president of the Alumnae association, for a dinner party. Guests at the dinner party included President Edward Conradi, Mrs. Ernest Ekermeyer, Mrs. Charles O. Andrews and Mrs. Fred P. Cone. After dinner Mrs. Roosevelt left by car for Jacksonville.

Mrs. Moor, Marjorie Jessup, and Katherine Graham escorted Mrs. Roosevelt to the stage. Mortar Board members and the 1939 and 1940 usher committee members served in the auditorium.

The college auditorium was filled to capacity for the occasion and hundreds of other students and townspeople packed the gymnasium and the Augusta Conradi theater, where public address systems were installed to carry the address.

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