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Sometimes Hoover’s floating animosity tended to attach itself to one of his victims. Increasingly alarmed that Eleanor Roosevelt’s concern for the Negro was likely to churn up social disorder, Hoover tiptoed into the subject with FDR. “The president says the old bitch is going through the change of life and we’ll just have to put up with her,” Hoover sighed to one of his lieutenants afterward. At times, he jokingly held up Eleanor Roosevelt as the reason he never married. Dropping in on flustered comedian W.C. Fields, Hoover managed to extort from him three miniature cameos of Eleanor Roosevelt reversed, turned into anatomical caricatures of the female genitalia. Hoover liked to pull them out to break up selected visitors to his basement recreation room.
—Burton Hersh, Bobby and J. Edgar: The Historic Face-off Between The Kennedys and J. Edgar Hoover (2007)

Franklin D. Roosevelt, traveling by steamship, visited Trinidad, briefly, on November 21 1936; Eleanor wasn’t there, although rumors have long circulated that she was on board the USS Indianapolis, hiding in a barrel and singing “Sweet Adeline.” In March of 1944, Eleanor did visit Trinidad and other islands in the Lesser Antilles to see how the American troops stationed there were doing; many were restless, despite the attractive weather. Eleanor Roosevelt Houses, a large public housing project in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn opened in 1964, two years after the widely-mourned death of the former First Lady. On the morning of June 6, 1968, Caz Dolowicz woke up  in Elaeanor Roosevelt Houses; he’d spent the night in the apartment of his girlfriend, Marisol, her mother, who was away  visiting  family back in Trinidad, and, in the living room, framed photographs of Eleanor Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. As Caz stepped outside onto Pulaski Street eating a kippered herring sandwich on rye and began the long, sweaty walk downtown to work, he wondered when W.C. Fields would ever get his Brooklyn memorial?

Caz Dolowicz was born on Sands Street in 1923; his collection of essays, So I’m An Old Goat Am I?, with photography by Amber Tides, will be published in 2010.

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