FDR and the Children’s Crusade

FDR Disability History- Embedded
Walking cane gift
presented to Roosevelt's closest friends and political benefactors during the 1932 presidential campaign and promotion of a "New Deal."
The degree to which Roosevelt worked to hide his paralysis over the course of his political career continues to be hotly debated. Disability studies historian, Hugh Gallagher, refers to Roosevelt’s effort to hide his disability from the public as a “splendid deception.” Indeed, only a few photos exist of FDR in a wheelchair.

Roosevelt’s ties to Chicago, throughout his political career, were significant. When he won the nomination for Democratic presidential candidate in 1932, Roosevelt flew to Chicago in extremely bad weather to accept the nomination in person (an uncommon practice for that time). In 1937 Roosevelt announced the creation of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. On May 2, 1997, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial opened in Washington D.C. However, it wasn’t until 2001 that disability rights activists prevailed in their arguments to add a statue of FDR in his wheelchair to sculptured depictions of his life.

Walking cane gift presented to Roosevelt's closest friends and political benefactors during the 1932 presidential campaign and promotion of a "New Deal."