Frances Perkins: Dear to Her Heart

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“By UnknownThis image is available from the United States Library of Congress

Frances Perkins joined Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s cabinet in 1933 as secretary of labor when America was reeling from The Great Depression. She remained in this office as long as FDR himself did, serving her country well during its worst-ever economic crisis. Frances also worked on behalf of reform for workers and on many other issues dear to the First Lady, Eleanor’s, heart. She was responsible for the creation of many jobs and work corps, for the development of better minimum wages, and for benefits such as Social Security and unemployment insurance. Frances’ zeal as an industrial reformer came from a tragedy she witnessed in 1911 when 146 women working at the Triangle Shirtwaist company died in a fire because there were no fire escapes. This was a real turning point for Perkins, “I felt I must seal it not only on my mind but on my heart as a never-to-be-forgotten reminder of why I had to spend my life fighting conditions that could permit such a tragedy.”

This excerpt is from The Book of Awesome Women by Becca Anderson, which is available now through Amazon and Mango Media.

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