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Eleanor Roosevelt played an active political role. She wrote newspaper columns, made speeches and radio broadcasts, traveled widely, and listened to the concerns of women, minorities, and ordinary Americans.

Would it need to be rewritten with ; because it is a list within a list? I just recently learned this concept, and I am still kinda confused on it.

She wrote newspaper

She wrote newspaper columns, made speeches and radio broadcasts, traveled widely, and listened to the concerns of women; minorities; and ordinary Americans.

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    No, it's all commas in the second sentence. – John Lawler Mar 29 '14 at 17:49
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It reads clearly enough with commas.

If you insisted on distinguishing the two types of list then it could be better the other way round as in

She wrote newspaper columns; made speeches and radio broadcasts; traveled widely; and listened to the concerns of women, minorities, and ordinary Americans.

but I do not think that is an improvement on just commas.

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Because the list items are independent clauses, they should be preceded by a colon and separated by semicolons. In your example, this also helps distinguish the comma-separated list as a collection of related concepts.

Eleanor Roosevelt played an active political role: She wrote newspaper columns; made speeches and radio broadcasts; traveled widely; and listened to the concerns of women, minorities, and ordinary Americans.

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