*** g98 11/22 p. 3 A “Long Job Finished” ***
Eleanor Roosevelt, the tall widow of former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, told those assembled: “We stand today at the threshold of a great event both in the life of the United Nations and in the life of mankind, that is the approval by the General Assembly of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
After she read the ringing phrases of the Declaration’s preamble and its 30 articles, the General Assembly adopted the document. Then, to honor Mrs. Roosevelt’s exceptional leadership, the UN members gave “the First Lady of the World,” as she was affectionately known, a standing ovation. At the end of that day, she jotted down: “Long job finished.”
Even so, her experience as a mother evidently proved useful. At the time, one reporter wrote that Mrs. Roosevelt’s handling of the commission members reminded him of a mother “presiding over a large family of often noisy, sometimes unruly but basically good-hearted boys, who now and then need firmly to be put in their places.” (Eleanor Roosevelt—A Personal and Public Life) By adding graciousness to firmness, though, she was able to win points without making enemies of her opponents.