Skip to Main Content

The True Meaning of Democracy: Eleanor Roosevelt, Marian Anderson, and Respect

45 min

Walk-In-The-Shoes Questions
As you read, imagine you are the protagonist.

  • What challenges are you facing?
  • What fears or concerns might you have?
  • What may prevent you from acting in the way you ought?

Observation Questions

  • Who was Eleanor Roosevelt and what was her relationship to Marian Anderson?
  • How did Eleanor Roosevelt show respect toward Marian Anderson?
  • How do you treat others with respect in your life?
  • What does Eleanor Roosevelt’s demonstration of respect reveal about her identity?

Discussion Questions
Discuss the following questions with your students.

  • What is the historical context of the narrative?
  • What historical circumstances presented a challenge to the protagonist?
  • How and why did the individual exhibit a moral and/or civic virtue in facing and overcoming the challenge?
  • How did the exercise of the virtue benefit civil society?
  • How might exercise of the virtue benefit the protagonist?
  • What might the exercise of the virtue cost the protagonist?
  • Would you react the same under similar circumstances? Why or why not?
  • How can you act similarly in your own life? What obstacles must you overcome in order to do so?
  • Students will analyze Eleanor Roosevelt’s show of respect toward Marian Anderson in 1939.
  • Students will understand how being respectful can help shape their identity and purpose.
  • Students will apply this knowledge to pursue more respectful actions in their own lives.

Student Handouts