• Aug - 03 - 2020

Oral Histories Will Highlight DC Residents Who Played Leading Role in Fight to Add Depiction of FDR in a Wheelchair to the FDR Memorial in DC

WASHINGTON, DC (August 3, 2020) – The FDR Memorial Legacy Committee (the FDR Committee) has received a $5,000 DC Community Heritage Project (DCCHP) grant to preserve the history of the disability community, the history of a presidential memorial and the history of Washingtonian activist citizens.

This project will secure oral histories of Washingtonians who were involved in the epic campaign to add a statue of FDR in a wheelchair to the FDR Memorial. When the Memorial was dedicated in 1997, there was no depiction of FDR. The campaign to add the statue started in 1995 and culminated in the 2001 dedication of a statue of FDR now on display at the Memorial. These archives will be used for educational purposes and future research.

The DC Community Heritage Project (DCCHP) was founded as a partnership between HumanitiesDC and the DC Historic Preservation Office (DCHPO) to support the documentation and preservation of Washington's local history and culture since 2005. Since 2005, DCCHP has funded more than 200 diverse, local heritage projects, preserving the memories of long-time Washingtonians, and capturing the unfolding stories of new residents for future generations.

“We are honored to be a part of this year’s grant awardees,” commented Mary E. Dolan, Executive Director, FDR Committee. “The DC Community Heritage Project recognizes that the FDR wheelchair statue story significantly contributes to the accurate narrative of Washington’s local history. The disability community has woven many stories into the fabric of Washington and our nation, and we are eager to share the story of the fight for the FDR wheelchair statue.”

Every year nearly 2.5 million people visit the FDR Memorial in Washington, DC, dedicated in 1997 to pay tribute to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Visitors now experience a seamlessly constructed memorial; however, representation of FDR’s disability was not included in the initial design. After a hard-fought campaign led by the people with disabilities, the first room – Prologue – was eventually added four years after the initial opening of the Memorial. The FDR Committee’s priority is to ensure this story is accurately told and preserved for history.

The DCCHP grant receives administrative funding from the DCHPO, and funding for the grants is derived from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) through the Humanities Grant Program.


FDR Memorial Legacy Committee
The FDR Committee brings together historians, disability and civil rights advocates, artists, academics, leaders in government, business, and non-profits, and interested people across the country. The FDR Committee operates independently under the non-profit status of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), which serves as a fiscal sponsor. Please visit for more information.

Founded in 1980, the Humanities Council of Washington, DC (HumanitiesDC) aims to enrich the quality of life, foster intellectual stimulation, and promote cross-cultural understanding and appreciation of local history in all neighborhoods of the District through humanities programs and grants. For information on HumanitiesDC and grant opportunities visit