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Duckworth, Norton call for improved accessibility for the blind at FDR memorial

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Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) on Tuesday called for improvements to accessibility for disabled visitors at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.

The resolution commends the disability activists who ensured the memorial’s statue depicts Roosevelt in a wheelchair, but also calls for improved accessibility features such as installing Braille on the memorial’s signs and placards.

The “primarily artistic” Braille at the Memorial is currently “inaccessible to blind and low-vision visitors, the very individuals that Braille is intended to serve,” the resolution states.

Disabled visitors to the memorial have complained that the Braille is unreadable due to improper spacing and the height at which it is installed. Sculptor Robert Graham told The Los Angeles Times in 1997 that his intent “was to have Braille as a kind of invitation to touch, more than anything.”

“Our national parks should be accessible to everyone, whether they read Braille or printed text, whether they get around by walking or in a wheelchair, like the American President whom this site honors,” Duckworth, a combat veteran who lost both legs in Iraq, said in a statement.

“That’s why I’m proud to introduce this important resolution with Congresswoman Holmes Norton that honors the work of disability advocates in securing this statue and makes clear that there is much more work to be done to make this historic site accessible to all Americans,” she added.

“The FDR memorial, by honoring a great President, reminds us that there are no heights Americans with disabilities cannot reach,” Norton added. “Our parks and memorials should be accessible to all Americans, and I’m proud to introduce this resolution with Senator Duckworth to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the statue of FDR in a wheelchair and to call for accessibility improvements.”

The Hill has reached out to the National Park Service for comment.

Tags Disability rights Eleanor Holmes Norton Tammy Duckworth

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