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Frances Perkins


Remembering Frances Perkins, born on this day – April 10 – in 1880. As secretary of labor, the first woman in a presidential cabinet, Frances Perkins, a woman who got things done,was the architect of some of the most far-reaching and important reforms and social legislation for working people ever enacted in America, including the establishment of Social Security. Perkins lived during tumultuous and contentious times; always, she said, sustained by words from the Bible – “Be ye steadfast.” The photo is of a large, evocative poster that has hung on my office wall ever since I wrote “A Woman Unafraid: The Achievements of Frances Perkins.” Several years before her death in 1965, Perkins said: “I hear people say that the world is in a crisis . . . I think crisis has occurred in the world’s history many times . . . . You just can’t be afraid . . . if you’re going to accomplish anything,”

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