FDR wheelchair footage: Fighting The Stigma Against Disability


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FDR wheelchair footage: Historian discovers lost video of disabled president.

It’s very exciting that someone finally found and revealed some video footage of President Franklin D Roosevelt in a wheelchair. Even though you can’t actually see the wheelchair in this old film clip, it is very obvious that the president is being wheeled across the deck of a ship.

It’s too bad that one of the greatest presidents in US history was forced to bow down to the stigma that is so unfairly attached to having a disability. I also think it’s very sad that a man who was probably the most powerful person in the world at that time, could not feel free to be open about who and what he was; a proud person with a disability.

It really says a lot of negative things about a society that cannot, and will not, recognize a person’s goodness and strength, just because they use a wheelchair.  Considering that President Roosevelt was able to extricate this country from the worst depression in its history, and courageously lead it through the bloodiest war in the history of the world, he proved his great strength and intelligence in a multitude of ways.  Did his disability affect any of that?  Did it make any difference about how great of a man he was?  Certainly not!

Just think about how much better we all might be if President Roosevelt would have been more open to the public about his disability.  Think about how our society would truly be a “Great Society“, as President Roosevelt referred to it, if the marginalization of this country’s largest minority didn’t exist.

Maybe those of us who are involved in the disability rights movement wouldn’t have to work so hard to be recognized as equal people deserving of the same equal rights as able-bodied people. Maybe some of us would have had more time for

real living than for doing battle with an ablest society that seemingly refuses to recognize us.

Perhaps, if President Roosevelt could have been more open about who he was, maybe there wouldn’t even be a need for a disability rights movement.  Of course, for those of us who truly love the battle, gain great strength and empowerment from it, and love winning it, might be left with nothing to do other than to enjoy the day.

 FDR wheelchair footage: Fighting The Stigma Against Disability

download icon FDR wheelchair footage: Fighting The Stigma Against Disability
 FDR wheelchair footage: Fighting The Stigma Against Disability


I was born in Bear Lake, Pennsylvania on December 22, 1955. I am fifty-eight years old, and I have been disabled my entire life. My disability is Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), which is a genetic condition that causes muscles to deteriorate. As a result, I have never been able to walk or stand.

I attended my first four years of school at Bear Lake school. It was a one-room schoolhouse with four grades, and one teacher. After finishing school in Bear Lake, I went to school in Columbus, PA for fifth and sixth grade. I then went on to high school in Corry, PA, at Corry Area High School, where I graduated from as an honors student, in 1973.

I attended college at Edinboro State College from 1977 until 1979. After two years of college, I moved to Berkeley, California in 1980. I have lived there for over thirty-two years, and I really like it here. Berkeley is a great place to live.

In 2006, I received an Associate Degree in English, from Berkeley City College. I also received an Associate's Degree in Liberal Arts.

Currently, I am an activist in the disability rights movement, and a member of ADAPT. I describe myself as a socialist/anarchist and have been involved in radical/progressive politics for many years. I am a member of the Green party.

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