Frances Perkins: “What You Really Want Is an Autopsy”


About the Author

As secretary of labor during Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration, Frances Perkins was a tireless advocate for New Deal social reforms. The first woman to hold a cabinet position, she restructured and refocused the Department of Labor and was instrumental in crafting the Social Security Act of 1935 and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. A passionate speaker, Perkins developed her oratory skills as a spokesperson for women's suffrage and social reforms in the early 1900s. Early in her career, she persuaded politicians to pass legislation to improve conditions for women and children before women had the right to vote. As a voice for working Americans, she negotiated with unions during a period of labor unrest and spoke eloquently about the plight of the average American during the Great Depression. Always concerned with social justice, Perkins was a leader not only as a woman cabinet member but also as a champion of reform.

Fanny Perkins was born on...

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Frances Perkins (Library of Congress)

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