Jan. 9, 2001 -- "President Clinton will unveil a statue of Franklin D. Roosevelt seated in his wheelchair on Wednesday at the FDR Memorial, ending an emotional six-year campaign led by disability advocacy groups to show the 32nd president as he lived, not as he portrayed himself to the public in a bygone era," begins Washington Post reporter Neely Tucker's story, "A Wheelchair Gains a Place at FDR Memorial." The story, which ran in Sunday's Post (read online at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A27602-2001Jan6.html) , was picked up by a number of newpapers nationwide.
More about tomorrow's ceremony can be found online at the National Organization on Disability website at http://www.nod.org. N.O.D. spearheaded the FDR In A Wheelchair campaign.
"FDR's Splendid Deception," the 1980s book by disability historian Hugh Gregory Gallagher, really began the campaign by disability advocates to have society wake up to the fact that a seriously disabled man had led the nation for longer than any other President. Gallagher's book, combined with the recent campaign, has really changed the way people today -- even historians -- think of Roosevelt.
FDR historian Doris Keans Goodwin, talking to NBC's Katie Couric on the Today Show last Monday (Jan. 1), said , "Think about Roosevelt... he was actually a paraplegic from his polio. The country knew he had had polio but had no idea that he could not walk on his own power because there was an unwritten code on the part of the photographers never to take a picture of him in his wheelchair, never to show his braces....."
For more information on N.O.D.'s role in making the FDR Wheelchair statue a reality and background on FDR's disability and public perception, go to http://www.nod.org/fdr.html