When I saw that our library was having a book discussion for The First Ladies, written by Marie Benedict and Victoria C. Murray, I signed up. The historical fiction novel is a story of the friendship between Eleanor Roosevelt and Mary Bethune. The book describes the work they accomplished together for racial equality.
Our discussion was lively. There were many comments about the honest confrontations that Eleanor and Mary had. We talked about the assumptions we make about other people.
Many years ago, I worked in a Detroit Hospital. The staff on my unit were a mix of black nurses and white nurses. I found myself stumbling in my relationship with some of the black nurses. We came from different cultures and made assumptions. It takes time and patience to understand cultural differences.
Eleanor and Mary came from very different backgrounds. Mary was the first freeborn child in her family. You can read about Mary here.
To their credit, they found common ground, and developed a deep friendship. One lady commented that their friendship grew because they shared personal and painful experiences with each other. They were honest with each other
Eleanor and Mary both worked for integration of the army during WWII. Eleanor’s visit to the Tuskegee Army Air Field is included in the book.
In the historical note at the back of the book, the authors inform the reader about the research that was necessary in writing the book. I learned things about FDR”s administration.