In December , Dian was again on her way to Africa. She arrived in Nairobi, and with the help of Joan Root, she acquired the necessary provisions. Leakey had purchased for her. On the way, Dian made a stop to visit the Gombe Stream Research Centre to meet Jane Goodall and observe her research methods with chimpanzees. Alan Root accompanied Dian Fossey from Kenya to the Congo and was instrumental in helping her obtain the permits she needed to work in the Virungas. He helped her recruit two African men who would stay and work with her at camp, as well as porters to carry her belongings and gear to the Kabara meadow.
Root also helped her set up camp and gave her a brief introduction to gorilla tracking. It was only when he left, and after two days at Kabara that Dian realized just how alone she was. Soon, however, tracking the mountain gorillas would become her single focus, to the exclusion even of simple camp chores. On her first day of trekking, after only a minute walk, Dian was rewarded with the sight of a lone male gorilla sunning himself.
The startled gorilla retreated into the vegetation as she approached, but Dian was encouraged by the encounter. Shortly thereafter, Senwekwe, an experienced gorilla tracker, who had worked with Joan and Alan Root in , joined Dian, and the prospects for more sightings improved. Slowly, Dian settled into life at Kabara. Space was limited; her 7-byfoot tent served as bedroom, bath, office and clothes-drying area an effort that often seemed futile in the wet climate of the rainforest.
Meals were prepared in a run-down wooden building and rarely included local fruits and vegetables, other than potatoes. Senwekwe proved invaluable as a tracker and taught Dian much of what she came to know about tracking. With his help and considerable patience, she eventually identified three gorilla groups in her area of study along the slopes of Mt. From them I learned to accept the animals on their own terms and never to push them beyond the varying levels of tolerance they were willing to give.
Any observer is an intruder in the domain of a wild animal and must remember that the rights of that animal supersede human interests. Initially, the gorillas would flee into the vegetation as soon as Dian approached. Observing them openly and from a distance, over time, she gained their acceptance. She put the gorillas at ease by imitating regular activities like scratching and feeding, and copying their contentment vocalizations. Through her observations, she began to identify the individuals that made up each group.
She sketched the gorillas and their noseprints from a distance and slowly came to recognize individuals within the three distinct groups in her study area. She learned much from their behavior and kept detailed records of their daily encounters. Dian Fossey worked tirelessly, every day carrying a pack weighing nearly 20 pounds some days nearly double that until the day she was driven from camp by the worsening political situation in Congo.
On July 9, , she and Senwekwe returned to camp to find armed soldiers waiting for them. She spent two weeks in Rumangabo under military guard until, on July 26, she was able to orchestrate her escape. The guards could not resist and agreed to provide an escort. The soldiers from Zaire were arrested, and Dian was safe. In Kisoro, Dian was interrogated and warned not to return to Zaire. After more questioning in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, she finally flew back to Nairobi where she met with Dr. Leakey for the first time in seven months. There they decided, against the advice of the U.
Embassy, that Dian would continue her work on the Rwandan side of the Virungas. The sense of exhilaration I felt when viewing the heartland of the Virungas for the first time from those distant heights is as vivid now as though it had occurred only a short time ago. I have made my home among the mountain gorillas.
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This would prove true once again as she moved her focus to Volcanoes National Park on the Rwandan side of the Virungas. In Rwanda, Dian met a woman named Rosamond Carr, who had lived in Rwanda for some years and was familiar with the country. Carr introduced Dian to a Belgian woman, Alyette DeMunck, who was born in the Kivu Province of Zaire and lived in the Congo from an early age, remaining there with her husband until the political situation forced them to move to Rwanda.
Alyette DeMunck knew a great deal about Rwanda, its people, and their ways. She offered to help Dian find an appropriate site for her new camp and renewed study of the mountain gorillas of the Virungas. At first, Dian was disappointed to find the slopes of Mt. Karisimbi crowded with herds of cattle and frequent signs of poachers. She was rewarded, however, after nearly two weeks, when Dian reached the alpine meadow of Karisimbi, where she had a view of the entire Virunga chain of extinct volcanoes.
So it was, on Sept. Visoke, the slopes of which rose to the north, directly behind camp. Dian faced a number of challenges while setting up camp at Karisoke.
Upon the departure of her friend Alyette, she was left with no interpreter. Dian spoke Swahili and the Rwandan men she had hired spoke only Kinyarwanda. Slowly, and with the aid of hand gestures and facial expressions, they learned to communicate. This would require that the gorillas overcome their shy nature and natural fear of humans. Schaller laid out suggestions in his book, The Mountain Gorilla, which Fossey used to guide herself through the process of successfully habituating six groups of gorillas in the Kabara region.
Surf's Up took one week.. The Crossover took me five years. Swing took two years I wrote all the good parts. Don't tell Mary I said that. I simply wanted to write a good story about sports, family, friendship, and that first crush, all things that were important to me when I was I felt that poetry would mirror the energy, the movement, the pulse of a basketball game the best.
Read them Nikki Giovanni, teach them haiku, plan an open mic, let them be firsthand witnesses to the power of accessible, relatable poetry. It was like good poetry, and it told a story. The best thing ever. I will tell you this, when I am in my writing zone, after hours, or sometimes days of writing, sometimes my muse will give me a brilliant idea. This is the question I get asked the most. It really is flattering for a reader to ask this question. It means that the book was meaningful and perhaps it impacted readers enough that they want to know more.
Also, I wanted to write about very cool words. It's a good idea, if I had an idea what it would be about. Tennis and Basketball. Well, as it happens, I am a writer AND a human. Mature writers steal. My advice to young writers is to read. Learn what other writers have done right and wrong. This will help you find your own voice. My favorite thing is coming up with the ideas. I spend months, even years, having conversations with myself, playing out scenarios in my head, getting to know the characters before I write one thing down.
I really enjoy that process. So strong an impression did her organizational and administrative campaign skills make on the state's professional politicians that Belle Moskowitz and Al Smith both recruited her energies for Smith's presidential campaign. The New York Times Magazine recognized ER's increasing political clout and featured a lead article on her influence in its April 8 issue. Ironically, as a result of this continuous activity, by the time her husband received the party's nomination for governor, Eleanor Roosevelt was better known among the faithful party activists than was FDR.
The election presented a new challenge to both Roosevelts. Smith, whose chief political advisor was a woman, appreciated the scope of ER's expertise and the influence she held in her husband's innermost political circle. Consequently, Smith turned to ER, who had enthusiastically endorsed his candidacy and who was the only individual who might counteract Howe's opposition, to intercede with FDR.
ER agreed, phoned her husband, told him that "she knew he had to do what he felt was expected of him," handed the phone to Smith, and left to address a Smith campaign rally. Her action does not mean that Eleanor Roosevelt unequivocally endorsed her husband's electoral aspirations, however. She feared that FDR's victory would undermine all her hard-won independence. By the early s, the Franklin Roosevelt-Eleanor Roosevelt relationship had begun to move away from an alliance defined by marital responsibilities and more toward a professional collaboration between peers.
ER's discovery in of FDR's affair with Lucy Mercer, her social secretary, destroyed martial intimacy and encouraged ER to look elsewhere for closeness. While both treasured their friendship with Louis Howe and FDR enjoyed most of ER's associates, the separate strong attachments ER and FDR formed with different co-workers and companions were the rule rather than the exception in the Roosevelt households.
Indeed, the few old friends and Democratic party commitments the Roosevelts shared were enough to sustain a friendship, but not an intimate one. Competing pursuits and divergent communities encouraged the Roosevelts to follow different paths and to develop separate lifestyles. With her ties to reform movements and women's political associations expanding, ER carefully and deliberately developed her own network. Caroline O'Day and Elinor Morgenthau became her life-long intimate friends. While ER and FDR both expanded their levels of commitment to the state Democratic Party and promoted the same candidates, they began to form different views of the political process.
Although both Roosevelts realized that politics was part ego, part drive, and part conviction, they differed as to which component they valued the most. If politics was part game and part crusade, ER tolerated the game for the sake of the crusade. To her dismay, FDR enjoyed all its aspects.
To the extent that FDR failed to reverse this trend, he could no longer depend upon ER's unqualified support. Consequently, by , as ER responded to a friend who confessed to voting for Norman Thomas, that "if I had not been married to Franklin," she too would have voted for the Socialist candidate. The dilemma the return to Albany presented ER was one of continuing independence: one of time management, rather than political fidelity. ER's bid for personal freedom was a more strenuous and longlasting campaign than her husband's run for office.
Thus, Eleanor Roosevelt was not thrilled with the prospect of returning to Albany, a goldfish bowl in which all her movements would be both confined by and interpreted through her husband's political prestige. She told her son James that "she knew that [FDR] had wanted her to become active in politics primarily to keep his case in the public eye" and that he "would expect her to move into the shadows if he moved into the limelight.
Davis, ER's "dread" was so strong that it fostered a rebellion which "strained at the leash of her self-control. Yet ER also realized that her political expertise and her new support system was an outgrowth of, and therefore a by-product of, her relationship with FDR.
Never did she fully expect FDR to withdraw from public life or expect that she would be immune from its scrutiny. Instead, Eleanor Roosevelt concentrated on how to find the most appropriate manner to promote two careers at once, how best to pursue her separate interests in ways that did not undermine her husband's public standing.
Dian Fossey’s Early Days
Therefore, the extent to which ER could maximize her independence was directly parallel to the extent to which she could efficiently divide her life between the Governor's mansion and the family's East 65th Street residence in New York City. She knew how threatening this would be to some pundits. So, immediately after the election, ER launched her own media campaign to make the press treat her various activities in the most positive light possible.
When a New York Times reporter asked her the day she became New York's First Lady what her new schedule would be, Eleanor Roosevelt responded that although she would resign her DWC positions, she would still support the furniture factory at Val-Kill and commute to New York City three days a week to continue her government and English literature classes and to fulfill her administrative responsibilities at Todhunter.
Furthermore, in Albany and in other locales throughout the state which she visited, ER began to apply the political finesse she demonstrated earlier in arbitrating League of Women Voters disputes to resolve disagreements within FDR's inner circle. ER's contributions were not limited to crisis management.
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Aware of how difficult it was for a politician and his staff to face unpopular decisions, Eleanor Roosevelt championed the appointment of individuals who had the nerve to disagree with FDR upfront. She lobbied successfully for Frances Perkins' appointment as state Secretary of Labor and for Nell Schwartz to fill the vacancy Perkins' appointment left on the State Industrial Commission.
In particular, she opposed Belle Moskowitz's appointment as FDR's personal secretary and Robert Moses' reappointment as secretary of state, writing her husband in Warm Springs that "by all signs Belle and Bob Moses mean to cling to you. Secretary of State and B. The presidential campaign assaulted Eleanor Roosevelt's adaptability with increasing frequency. Although she supported FDR's political ambitions out of loyalty both to him and the Democratic party, ER astutely recognized the attacks she would encounter if she continued to pursue her individual projects with the same vigor she applied in the past.
Nevertheless, ER knew that this was a political screen designed to enhance her symbolic value to the campaign. What her future role would be was uncertain. Therefore, once the election was decided, ER inadvertently turned to the media to test her public standing. Whereas during the race she often told interviewers she "would be very much at home in Washington" if FDR was elected, after FDR won, she confided her dread to reporters she trusted.
Riding in a day coach to Albany with Lorena Hickok on November 9, , Eleanor Roosevelt unburdened her thoughts for the record. I never wanted to be a President's wife. For him, of course, I'm glad - sincerely. I could not have wanted it any other way. After all I'm a Democrat, too. Now I shall have to work out my own salvation. I'm afraid it may be a little difficult. I know what Washington is like.
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I've lived there. The American press, like the American public, was divided over how professionally active a First Lady should be. Although Eleanor Roosevelt's preinaugural commitments were in the same fields as the positions she held while First Lady of New York, criticism of her commercial radio and journalism contracts increased. By February, the press increasingly interpreted ER's professionalism as commercialism. The papers continued to carry stories about her. And some people continued to criticize her. Although Eleanor Roosevelt admitted to her friend that she would "curtail somewhat her activities" because she "suppose[d] [she] had made some mistakes," ER refused to abandon the expertise she had worked so diligently to achieve.
Aware of the criticism her position would provoke, she argued that she had no choice but to continue. I'm just not the sort of person who would be any good at [any] job. I dare say I shall be criticized, whatever I do. Eleanor Roosevelt's aversion to any other role was so strong that in the week before the inaugural, she impetuously wrote Dickerman and Cook that she contemplated divorcing FDR. She told Hickok, in a quote for the record, that she "hated" having to resign her teaching position at Todhunter, saying "I wonder if you have any idea how I hate to do it.
Although she supported FDR's aims and believed in his leadership abilities, ER feared that her husband's political agenda, in addition to restricting her movements and curtailing her personal independence, would force her to minimize the political issues nearest and dearest to her heart. She then announced that she would no longer take part in commercial radio events and that she would refrain from discussing politics in her magazine articles.
Though she tried to avoid it, public expectation was redefining her career and it hurt. Questions "seethed" in ER's mind about what she should do after March 4, Afraid of being confined to a schedule of teas and receptions, ER volunteered to do a "real job" for FDR. She knew that Ettie Rheiner Mrs. The President rebuffed the First Lady's offer. Trapped by convention, she begrudgingly recognized that "the work [was FDR's] work and the pattern his pattern.
Nevertheless, ER refused to accept a superficial and sedentary role.
She wanted "to do things on my own, to use my own mind and abilities for my own aims. Eleanor Roosevelt entered the First Hundred Days of her husband's administration with no clearly defined role. Her offers to sort FDR's mail and to act as his "listening post" had been rejected summarily. Moreover, the press continued to pounce on each display of ER's individualism. When she announced in an inauguration day interview that she planned to cut White House expenses by twenty-five per cent, "simplify" the White House social calendar, and serve as FDR's "eyes and ears," reporters discovered ER was just as newsworthy after the inaugural as she was before.
ER's relations with the press during the spring and summer of did nothing to curtail their interest. On March 6, two days after her husband became president, Eleanor Roosevelt held her own press conference at which she announced that she would "get together" with women reporters once a week. She asked for their cooperation.
She wanted to make the general public more aware of White House activities and to encourage their understanding of the political process. She hoped that the women reporters who covered her would interpret, especially to American women, the basic mechanics of national politics. Despite her initial intent to focus on her social activities as First Lady, political issues soon became a central part of the weekly briefings.
When some women reporters assigned to ER tried to caution her to speak off the record, she responded that she knew some of her statements would "cause unfavorable comment in some quarters". ER then made the same argument to the public when she accepted an offer for a monthly column from Woman's Home Companion. Announcing that she would donate her monthly thousand dollar fee to charity, ER then proceed to ask her readers to help her establish "a clearinghouse, a discussion room" for "the particular problems which puzzle you or sadden you" and to share "how you are adjusting yourself to new conditions in this amazing changing world.
She, more often than not, greeted guests at the door of the White House herself; learned to operate the White House elevator; and adamantly refused Secret Service protection. Yet there also were signs that she intended to be a serious contributor to the Roosevelt administration. She converted the Lincoln bedroom into a study and had a telephone installed.
And when the Washington Press Corps refused to admit its women members to its annual Gridiron dinner, ER gleefully threw herself into planning a "Gridiron Widows" banquet and skit for women officials and reporters. When ER read Hickok's accounts of the squalid conditions in the West Virginia coal town of Scott's Run, she was appalled and moved immediately to address the problems. She succeeded and became a frequent visitor to the new community, Arthurdale. There she was photographed square dancing with miners in worn clothes and holding sick children in her lap.
This image, when linked with her strong commitment to building the best living quarters the funds could provide, served as a lightning rod for critics of the New Deal and they delighted in exposing each cost overrun and each program defect. While most historians view ER's commitment to Arthurdale as the best example of her influence within the New Deal, ER did more than champion a single anti-poverty program.
Dian Fossey Biography
Continuously she urged that relief should be as diverse as the constituency which needed it. They are like we would be if we had not had a fortunate chance at life," she wrote in The distress they encountered, not their socio-economic status, should be the focus of relief. Consequently, she introduced programs for groups not originally included in New Deal plans; supported others which were in danger of elimination or having their funds cut; pushed the hiring of women, blacks, and liberals within federal agencies; and acted as the administration's most outspoken champion of liberal reform.
Eleanor Roosevelt did not immediately begin to push programs. ER addressed the problems of unemployed youth with the same fervor she applied to women's economic hardships. This also was not a politically popular position for her to take. The unemployed youth of the s underscored several fears adults had for society.
Conservatives saw disgruntled young people as a fertile ground for revolutionary politics while progressives mourned the disillusionment and apathy spreading among American youth. ER thought that camps in the Civilian Conservation Corps, while providing temporary relief for some youth, did not meet this need.
Furthermore, because the camps were supervised by military personnel and only provided instruction in forestry, ER believed that an additional program tailored to the special needs of youth was urgently needed. In mid, she pressured Harry Hopkins to develop a program for youth which would provide a social, rather than a militaristic, focus. ER argued that the specific problems facing youth needed to be recognized, but only in a way which fostered a sense of self-worth. By providing job skills and education, she hoped that the program would foster a sense of civic awareness which in turn would promote a commitment to social justice.
Then youth would be empowered to articulate their own needs and aspirations and to express these insights clearly. Although historians disagree over how major a role ER played in establishing the National Youth Administration NYA , her imprint upon the agency's development is indelible.
Established by an executive order signed by FDR on June 26, , the NYA was authorized to administer programs in five areas: work projects, vocational guidance, apprenticeship training, educational and nutritional guidance camps for unemployed women, and student financial aid. Moreover, ER was both the agency's and youth's natural choice for confessor, planner, lobbyist, and promoter. She reviewed NYA policy with agency directors, arranged for NYA officials and youth leaders to meet with FDR in and out of the White House, served as NYA's intermediary with the president, critiqued and suggested projects, and attended as many NYA state administrators conferences as her schedule allowed.
Last but not least, she visited at least NYA sites and reported her observations in her speeches, articles and "My Day," the daily column she began in ER took such satisfaction in the NYA that when she briefly acknowledged her role in forming the agency, she did so with an uncharacteristic candor. It was one of the occasions on which I was very proud that the right thing was done regardless of political consequences.
Just as she listened to the concerns of youth, ER also met with unemployed artists and writers to discuss their concerns. When they asked for her support for a Public Works Arts Project, she agreed immediately and attended the preliminary planning meeting. Seated at the head table next to Edward Bruce, the meeting's organizer, ER knitted while she listened to Bruce propose a program to pay artists for creating public art. Advocating a program in which artists could control both form and content, Bruce recruited supporters for federally financed work appropriate for public buildings.
Sitting quietly through most of the discussion, ER interrupted only to question procedure and to emphasize her support of the project. When PWAP artworks were displayed at Washington's Corcoran Gallery, she dedicated the exhibit and declared that in addition to its artistic merit, the works liberated society greatly by expressing what many people could find no words to describe. Immediately he solicited ER's support. She agreed that artists were in need of government aid and supported the WPA venture, in the process entering the internal dispute over whether FERA should fund white collar programs.
Eleanor Roosevelt continued to run administrative interference after the programs were in operation. ER also continued to promote the project despite its increasingly controversial image. When Hallie Flanagan asked for assistance in convincing Congress that the Federal Theater Project was not an heretical attack on American culture, ER agreed on the spot. The First Lady told Flanagan that she would gladly go to the Hill because the time had come when America must recognize that art is controversial and the controversy is an important part of education.