FDR's Secret Caught on Video
Professor says he has found footage of president being pushed in wheelchair
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 10, 2013 9:52 AM CDT
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(Newser) – A secret that was hidden from the public until after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's death was actually captured on video during his lifetime, says a professor at an Indiana college. Ray Begovich, a journalism professor at Franklin College south of Indianapolis, said yesterday that he found an 8-second clip of FDR being pushed in his wheelchair while Begovich was conducting unrelated research in the National Archives in College Park, Md. The National Archives and the FDR Presidential Museum and Library couldn't say for certain if other such footage exists, but both said it is at least rare.

Roosevelt contracted polio in 1921 at age 39 and was unable to walk without leg braces or assistance. During his four terms as president, Roosevelt often used a wheelchair in private, but not for public appearances. News photographers cooperated in concealing Roosevelt's disability, and those who did not found their camera views blocked by Secret Service agents. This film was shot as Roosevelt visited the USS Baltimore at Pearl Harbor in July 1944, and shows him exiting a doorway on the ship and being escorted down what is apparently a ramp; the wheelchair is not clearly visible because the view of the president is screened by a line of sailors, but Roosevelt's distinctive white hat can be seen gliding past the men at a lower level. Roosevelt, at 6-foot-2, was likely taller than most of the soldiers.

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Jul 11, 2013 8:27 AM CDT
First was Washington, then Lincoln and then FDR. I do not think most U.S. citizens fully understand just how crucial he was to the survival of the nation in the midst of the Great Depression. After nearly a full term of incompetence and inaction by the conservative administration of Herbert Hoover, the nation needed strong leadership and a new way... a New Deal, if you will. Many stubbornly hold on to the myth that the alphabet soup of governmental organizations (WPA, CCC, etc.) did not help lift us out of economic calamity, but that just isn't true. Republicans want us all to believe that it was the war and only the war that saved us (don't they believe in anything except war?). There IS some validity to that position... but only some The WPA built many structures in the public realm that still stand today. The CCC put millions to work in public projects. The TVA still provides electric power. Most of all, FDR gave the little guy a chance at survival without turning to communism - which was brewing and looming large in the background as a solution to the massive market failure of the era. There are very few things that live up to legend. FDR does.
Jul 10, 2013 10:36 PM CDT
One of the greatest if not the greatest US president of 20th century. If only he could stay for another term cold war could have been avoided.
Jul 10, 2013 8:40 PM CDT
FDR is a multi-generational hero in my family and our favorite U.S. president by far.