Storysmith Susan Marie Frontczak will bring the iconic Eleanor Roosevelt to life in Dowling Park on Monday, Jan. 8, as part of the 30th anniversary Live! at Dowling Park Artist Series. You will want to join us at The Village Church at 7 p.m. for what is sure to be an unforgettable performance.
Though a daughter of privileged New York society, Eleanor Roosevelt experienced much family hardship during her childhood. She recovered a sense of self under the tutelage of a remarkable finishing school teacher, but she still bore scars of self-doubt.
Wed to the dashing and confident Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1905, she settled into the life of a dutiful society wife, bearing six children in 12 years. FDR’s political ambitions gradually pulled her into public circles, and when Franklin contracted polio in August of 1921, his advisor groomed the shy and awkward Eleanor for public speaking to maintain the public’s recognition of the Roosevelt name.
Throughout the 1920’s Eleanor’s civic awareness grew. She found herself drawn to write and speak out for numerous causes: minimum wage, maximum hours, laws against child labor, women’s rights, union rights, and world peace through a World Court. By the time FDR was elected governor of New York in 1928, she was as well-known across the country as he was.
Through the Great Depression and WWII, with FDR in the White House (1933–45), Eleanor served as her husband’s eyes and ears across the U.S. and beyond by inspecting factories, inner city tenements, military camps, and even coal mines. Her travels and opinions attracted both high praise and scathing criticism.
After the war she reluctantly accepted a post at the newly formed United Nations, chairing the committee that developed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. President Truman dubbed her First Lady of the World.
Throughout this multi-decade career, Mrs. Roosevelt is the first to admit she was no saint; she made plenty of mistakes and had much to learn along the way. At first resisting public life, she eventually became a staunch, relentless, compassionate voice for the poor, the underprivileged, the segregated, the forgotten. Eleanor Roosevelt didn’t hope to be exalted any more than she wanted to be reviled. She simply wanted everyone to be treated decently and equally. She wanted people to become involved in their own communities and active participants in our democracy. She wanted us to become as good as we could be.
Jan. 8, Frontczak will present as Eleanor Roosevelt “The Power of Words: Eleanor Roosevelt Reflects Across the Decades”. Throughout a public life that spanned many decades, Eleanor was never elected to office. She held no positions of power. But she wielded the power of words again and again to effect social change. This program draws an arc across words that influenced her, words that rallied the country in the past, and words that can inspire us all today.
The program will consist of a 40–45 minute monologue in-character, followed first by a question and answer period with “Eleanor Roosevelt”, and then by a question and answer period with Frontczak.
Please join us at The Village Church on Monday, Jan. 8, at 7:00 p.m., for “The Power of Words: Eleanor Roosevelt Reflects Across the Decades”. Visit www.acvillage.net/artist-series/ or call (386) 658-5557 for more details. Tickets are available from the Village cashier (386-658-5343) and in Live Oak at both the Suwannee County Chamber of Commerce and The Music Center. Season tickets are also available. Season ticket holders may also attend all North Florida Community College of Madison artist series and Community Concerts of Lake City performances at no extra charge.