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Ken Burns Discusses The Roosevelts

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[AARP] [Real Possibilities] [Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns] [chats about the Roosevelts and fear with the AARP Bulletin] [On Eleanor Roosevelt] I think overcoming fear is the central theme. And it's obviously true with Eleanor. Orphaned very young, her father had been a hopeless alcoholic and insane. Her mother had been incredibly cruel to her. She was disappointed in Eleanor's looks and called her little girl granny. They were both dead before she was twelve. She was sent to live with maternal grandparents, very severe. She had an abusive nurse. She as always painfully aware of how unattractive she was, and people kept telling her that, but she's got a great beauty and an inner beauty that's much more important. And then she overcomes it; she wills herself out of it. She originally found out that she— that people would— if she could be useful to people, people would like her. And she dedicated her life to doing that. [On Teddy Roosevelt] Theodore Roosevelt had childhood asthma, wasn't expected to survive childhood. He overheard a doctor saying that to his parents as late as college. Physicians were saying you're not expected to live into adulthood. Please lead a sedentary life, and he said, "No. I'm going to bound up every stair I find," which he did for the rest of his life, too short life. Theodore Roosevelt had unspeakable tragedy. He lost his mother and his wife on the same day in the same house, February 14 in Manhattan. How he could even survive a double blow like that is beyond me. [On Franklin Roosevelt] Franklin Roosevelt is one of the great testaments to the human spirit. Having been struck down by infantile paralysis, he was nonetheless able to rise up symbolically, not literally, but metaphorically rise up and guide us through two of the three greatest crises in American history, the Depression and the Second World War. The greatest crisis is the Civil War, which was Abraham Lincoln, both of their heroes, great, great burden. But Franklin had two— the next two worst ones, and he did it magnificently. We wouldn't have the country, physically in many ways. You can fly into the LaGuardia Airport, Franklin Roosevelt. If you go through the Lincoln Tunnel, Franklin Roosevelt. If you go to the "L" in Chicago, Franklin Roosevelt. If you like power in Tennessee Valley or you like it in the northwest or southwest, Franklin Roosevelt. If you like to collect a Social Security check, Franklin Roosevelt. Did you go to college on the GI Bill? Franklin Roosevelt. Are you interested in human rights? Franklin Roosevelt. Do you think laborers should have the right to organize? Franklin Roosevelt. This is a huge legacy that he was able to leave for us.

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 46 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 33
Posted by: aarp on Sep 22, 2014

Director Ken Burns talks about the Roosevelts – Teddy, Franklin and Eleanor - and overcoming fear.

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