Franklin D. Roosevelt
Thirty-Second President of the United States
Location: Corner of 5th St. & Main St.
When Franklin Roosevelt contracted polio in 1921, at age thirty-nine, it inspired his interest in medical philanthropy. When he heard about the therapeutic value of the thermal mineral baths at Warm Springs, Georgia, Roosevelt went there and ended up buying the site and creating a foundation in 1927. He persuaded his friend and New York City law partner Basil O’Connor to run it. After Roosevelt became president in 1933, O’Connor co-coordinated Birthday Balls that took place on Roosevelt’s birthday each January and raised money for the care of polio patients. These were so successful that in 1938 they were merged into a nationwide organization, the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, later renamed the March of Dimes.
Roosevelt's terms as president were marked by bold moves to fight two of the largest threats to America and the world: the Great Depression and World War II. Also during Roosevelt’s term, the Social Security Act was created and prohibition was repealed. Roosevelt is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms of presidency. The artist chose to depict President Franklin Roosevelt as he stood and presented himself to the nation during a time when he was suffering from the effects of polio. The artist wanted to show Roosevelt's determination to project the image of the strength and the will of the man despite his physical restraints. Here he is shown delivering his famous "day which will live in infamy" speech.
Sculptor: Edward E Hlavka