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Many New York City public schools are named in honor of prominent figures in American and world history.

Eleanor Roosevelt High School, in Manhattan, inadvertently honors an LGBT individual.

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Credit: New York Daily News, 2019.

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History

Many New York City public schools are named in honor of prominent figures in American and world history. The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project compiled a list of the 25 public schools named after gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals, although only one — Harvey Milk High School — intentionally honors an LGBT individual. This list includes Eleanor Roosevelt High School, in Manhattan.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) was the longest-serving first lady, having presided in the White House between 1933 and 1945. She took an active role in politics and refused to accept the traditional role assigned to previous first ladies. She had many lesbian friends, and initially established residency in Greenwich Village after her husband was elected president in 1933. This was the same year she began a long-term lesbian relationship with journalist Lorena Hickok. In 1945, President Truman appointed Roosevelt as the first United States Delegate to the United Nations, where she helped lead the effort to draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which passed in 1948.

Sites on this website associated with Roosevelt include her residence off Washington Square Park and Lorena Hickok’s residence in midtown Manhattan.

The building that now houses the Eleanor Roosevelt High School was originally a two-story garage built in 1922, to which upper floors were added later. It housed automotive and manufacturing concerns, and lastly became Sotheby’s warehouse. It was converted to a school in 2002-03.

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