Newsletter: Volume 2, Issue 6

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Four Freedoms Park Conservancy Newsletter
Volume 2, Issue 6
Dear Friends of Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 

I am honored to introduce myself as the new CEO of Four Freedoms Park. I come to the Conservancy from Grameen America, a national nonprofit that provides support and small loans to women, where I served as Senior Vice President. While there, I traveled the country and spoke with women about building their own businesses in order to send their children to better schools, save for unexpected emergencies, or buy quality health insurance. Again and again, these women told me they wanted something simple, something embodied in Roosevelt’s 1941 speech: “freedom from want."
 
At the Conservancy, we believe in the power of the four essential human rights articulated by FDR seventy-five years ago. Many of you have listened to this speech. I think we can all agree: Franklin D. Roosevelt’s words matter, and today more than ever. We can see that purpose, that dream, in the promise of our nation's progressive policies, in the assumption of our unity as a country and the humanity we find in it, that the four freedoms matter.
 
Louis I. Kahn recognized the importance of these universal human rights in designing his memorial to Roosevelt. Indeed, why was this speech chosen? It is because the Four Freedoms Speech holds a value that transcends time; the challenges and opportunities the world faces today underscore this even more. Moving forward, I promise you and all our stakeholders that we will keep these ideals at the fore of everything we undertake.  
 
As the Park enters its 5th year of operations, I want to remind all of you of the Conservancy's mission: 

Four Freedoms Park Conservancy operates, maintains, and programs Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park to the highest standard. As steward of this extraordinary civic space designed by Louis I. Kahn, the Conservancy advances President Roosevelt’s legacy and inspires, educates, and engages the public in the ideals of the Four Freedoms: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. The Conservancy does this by:
  • safeguarding the memorial as a space for inspired use
  • fostering community and understanding
  • igniting conversation about human rights and freedoms today
I look forward to fulfilling this mission and to seeing you at the Park soon! 
 
Wishing you all the best,
 
Howard Axel
CEO
Four Freedoms Park Conservancy
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On our blog


This year, Four Freedoms Park has been celebrating the 75th anniversary of Franklin D. Roosevelt's pivotal Four Freedoms Speech, for which this memorial is named. We recently published four blog posts celebrating each of these four freedoms in a modern context with the aim of highlighting how these human rights have evolved over time. Click on the corresponding image above to read more, or visit our blog at www.fdrfourfreedomspark.org/blog
fdr4freedoms.org

FDR ran for president four times and won. No other president before or since has matched that record— nor ever will.


An excerpt from Running for President: Franklin D. Roosevelt as Campaigner in Chief.

Franklin D. Roosevelt ran for president four times and won. No other president before or since has matched that record— nor ever will, unless Congress repeals the constitutional amendment limiting presidents to two terms, ratified in 1951. FDR was also remarkable for winning elections by overwhelming, precedent-shattering margins in both the popular vote and the Electoral College. He so thoroughly dominated the political landscape that millions of Americans could not envision anyone else leading the nation.


As leader of the Democratic Party, FDR found common ground for a diverse assortment of constituencies, from labor groups and farmers to women and African Americans. The breadth and strength of this new political coalition were reflected not just in FDR’s electoral wins but also in an astonishing run of success for the Democratic Party in Congress. In all but four of the forty-eight years between FDR’s election in 1932 and Ronald Reagan’s in 1980, Democrats would hold majorities in both houses—a record unequaled in American politics.

Many of the nation’s leading political journalists and cultural critics initially underestimated FDR. In 1932 they thought he was a nice, albeit unqualified, man who wanted to be president. FDR won 57.4 percent of the popular vote. In 1936 the New York Times declared, “Roosevelt’s big majorities are over.” He increased his popular vote total to an unimaginable 60.8 percent. In 1940, as he campaigned for an unheard-of third term, Republicans tried to paint him as a “warmonger” and “dictator.” But 54.72 percent of the voters sided with FDR. Four years later, having drawn the country close to victory in World War II but amid public concern about his health, FDR won thirtyeight states and received 53.4 percent of the popular vote and 432 of 538 electoral votes.

FDR knew how to campaign, how to connect with voters, and how to sell his policies to the constituencies they were designed to reach. Skillfully blending radio and newsreel broadcasts with grand rallies and addresses to the crowds that flocked around the back of his railroad car as he toured the nation, FDR inspired Americans to feel more confident about the country’s future and their own.

Numerous historians have noted that FDR won so consistently and so decisively because Americans supported his policies and because they believed he cared about them—two aspects of his appeal that were mutually reinforcing. As one worker told a reporter in 1936, FDR was the only president who “would understand that my boss is a son-of-a-bitch.” Continued here.

Photo: Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inauguration at the U.S. Capitol, March 4, 1933. The American people had awaited new leadership during four long months, as nationwide unemployment reached an agonizing peak. Some in the crowd wept with relief at FDR’s confident inaugural speech. “The only thing we have to fear,” he famously said, “is fear itself.” Courtesy Library of Congress.

fdr4freedoms.org is made possible by its lead donor, Stavros Niarchos Foundation. 
About the Park

Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park is the first memorial dedicated to the former President in his home state of New York. Located on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island in New York City, it is the last work of the late Louis I. Kahn, an iconic architect of the 20th century. The Park celebrates the Four Freedoms, as pronounced in President Roosevelt's famous January 6, 1941 State of the Union speech.

Our Mission
 
Four Freedoms Park Conservancy operates, maintains, and programs Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park to the highest standard. As steward of this extraordinary civic space designed by Louis I. Kahn, the Conservancy advances President Roosevelt’s legacy and inspires, educates, and engages the public in the ideals of the Four Freedoms: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. The Conservancy does this by:

•    safeguarding the memorial as a space for inspired use
•    fostering community and understanding
•    igniting conversation about human rights and freedoms today
 
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Photo credits:
Cover Photo: Daniela Velasco
Four Freedoms, 75th Anniversary edition: Victo Ngai

Four Freedoms Park Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) organization.  Contributions help to further the mission of the Conservancy and are tax-deductible as provided by law.  Membership categories and benefits are subject to change.  A copy of our last filed financial report may be obtained by contacting us at 1110 2nd Ave, Ste 301, New York, NY 10022, 212-204-8831 or by contacting the Office of the Attorney General, Department of Law, Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271.

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