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HIDDEN HISTORY OF THE FDR MEMORIAL IS UNVEILED

  • Jan - 15 - 2021

HIDDEN HISTORY OF THE FDR MEMORIAL IS UNVEILED

FDR Memorial Legacy Committee Delivers One-of-a-Kind Archive with Support from Humanities DC

WASHINGTON, DC (January 15, 2021) – When the FDR Memorial opened in 1997, FDR’s disability was hidden. Disability leaders fought back and demanded truth and representation. Sixteen Roosevelt grandchildren agreed that FDR should be shown as the person he was – a person with a disability. And over 50 disability organizations from across the country signed on to support the FDR Wheelchair Statue Campaign. The FDR Memorial Legacy Committee (FDR Committee), as part of the DC Community Heritage Project (DCCHP), proudly unveiled the initial archives chronicling the history of the fight for disability representation at the FDR Memorial which was led by people with disabilities from 1995-2001.

During the unveiling event, disability rights advocates Judy Heumann and Dr. I King Jordan reflected on the impact of the campaign to represent FDR as a disabled president and the collective work that still needs to be accomplished to ensure equitable disability representation. Dr. I King Jordan exclaimed, “Disability is not talked about. People talk about diversity, equity, inclusion and disability needs to be included in those conversations. This archive is a visual way to do that.”

“I am proud that the FDR Committee created this archive that will help document an important story in disability history and will highlight the importance of authentic representation,” said Mary Dolan, Executive Director and co-founder, FDR Committee. The mission of the FDR Committee is to document, preserve and share the leadership and legacy of the disability community’s campaign for representation at the FDR Memorial in DC, and to promote education and awareness of other underrepresented stories and themes related to the FDR Memorial, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and their times.

The archive was made possible by a grant from HumanitiesDC and the Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation. “HumanitiesDC is proud to support local projects like the FDR Committee’s oral history project that promotes the importance of the humanities and connect the citizens of DC through scholarship and community engagement. These champions of the humanities help demonstrate the human ties that connect us all,” said Andrea Carroll McNeil, Grants Manager, HumanitiesDC.

The FDR Committee will continue to enhance the archive by adding to the collection as stories and artifacts are discovered or shared by the public. These materials will be used in educational materials, for visitors to the FDR Memorial and in curriculum being developed for use by teachers to support disability education and underrepresented stories. To access the existing archive, please visit www.FDRMemorialLegacy.com/archive/.

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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 mission of the FDR Committee is to document, preserve and share the leadership and legacy of the disability community’s campaign for representation at the FDR Memorial in DC, and to promote education and awareness of other underrepresented stories and themes related to the FDR Memorial, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and their times. The FDR Committee operates independently under the non-profit status of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), which serves as a fiscal sponsor.  www.fdrmemoriallegacy.com

Twitter: @FDRMemorialLegacy

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HumanitiesDC

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 www.humanitiesdc.org.

Twitter: @HumanitiesDC
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