FDR Museum Welcomes 'The Firebrand' Author To Hyde Park

HYDE PARK, N.Y. -- The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum will present an author talk and book signing with Patricia Bell-Scott on Thursday, March 3, at the Henry A. Wallace Center, FDR Presidential Library and Home in Hyde Park.

Patricia Bell-Scott
Patricia Bell-Scott Photo Credit: Institute for Women's Studies, University of Georgia at

Bell-Scott is author of "The Firebrand and The First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and The Struggle for Social Justice."

The book tells the story of how a brilliant writer-turned-activist, granddaughter of a mulatto slave, and the first lady of the United States forged an enduring friendship that changed each of their lives and helped to alter the course of race and racism in America. 

Pauli Murray first saw Eleanor Roosevelt in 1933, at the height of the Depression, at a government-sponsored, 200-acre camp for unemployed women where Murray was living. 

The first lady appeared one day unannounced, behind the wheel of her car, her secretary and a Secret Service agent her passengers. To Murray, then 23, Roosevelt's self-assurance was a symbol of women's independence, a symbol that endured throughout Murray's life. 

Five years later, Murray, a 28-year-old aspiring writer, wrote a letter to Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt protesting racial segregation in the South.

It was the first lady who wrote back. And so began a friendship between Murray (poet, intellectual rebel, principal strategist in the fight to preserve Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, co-founder of the National Organization for Women, and the first African-American female Episcopal priest) and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Bell-Scott is professor emerita of women's studies and human development and family science at the University of Georgia. 

The free program is open to the public and begins at 7 p.m.

The FDR Presidential Library and Museum is at 4079 Albany Post Road, Hyde Park.

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