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FDR and The Secret of his Paralysis

As we discussed in our bonus episode on polio, FDR suffered from paralysis in his legs due to polio. At the time of his infection, he was a rising politician and didn’t let polio or paralysis stop him. Unfortunately, he went to great pains to hide his differently-abled body instead of showing the world that you can be in a wheelchair AND be President of the United States.

FDR would not allow photographs or film be taken of him in his wheelchair, being helped in or out of a car, or struggling to walk (he had developed a method using leg braces, a cane, and holding onto another person in order to walk when he needed). But in this rare footage from the 1935 White House Easter egg roll, FDR walks out to greet the guests. It is theorized that because of the large crowd, the secret service did not spot Fred Hill who was filming that day. Otherwise, they would have seized the camera and film.

The White House footage begins around the 1 minute mark and FDR walks out soon after.

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Episode

Just Gravy 5: Polio, Pepperoni, and Pizza Rat

The United States suffered its first polio epidemic in 1894, and it wouldn’t be until the 1950s that scientists could actually see the virus with a microscope and develop a vaccine. It was originally theorized that Black and Brown people did not suffer from the virus despite statistical evidence of outbreaks in Chicago and Maryland.

Join us as we discuss the racist history of polio, eat some delicious pizza made with toppings from Red Hog, and discuss how their business is carrying on the tradition of using the “whole animal”. There is also a special guest appearance from the mouse that is stalking Darryl’s home and keeps evading capture.

Just Gravy 5 Sources:

African-Americans, Polio and Racial Segregation
By Daniel J. Wilson, PhD

Race and the Politics of Polio
Warm Springs, Tuskegee, and the March of Dimes
Naomi Rogers, PhD

How the Poor Get Blamed for Disease
In the 1960s, health authorities capitalized on middle-class fears of urban decay to promote vaccination, redefining measles and polio as illnesses linked to poverty. By: ELENA CONIS

The History of Vaccines, An Educational Resource By The College of Physicians in Philadelphia