Taken from text written by Bradbury Kuett:
The Centerpiece of the Louis I. Kahn designed FDR Four Freedoms State Park on Roosevelt Island in New York is a triumphant bronze head of FDR, sculpted by the renowned artist Jo Davidson, a fervent supporter and friend of the president.
At the park's entrance there are engraved the names of the architect, the founder of the Park Conservancy, and the donors, but Jo Davidson's name is nowhere to be found.
Appeals to the board to engrave Jo Davidson's name have been met with silence. This unfortunate oversight, inconsequential in the view of the board, is a slight that, in effect, denies Jo Davdison his rightful recognition in American art History. Whereas Jo Davidson should be heralded as an American success story of consummate artistry, the board's silence is an outrage thrown onto the great heap of innuendos and falsities hurled upon Jo, a native son of the lower east side.
Jo Davidson should be celebrated beyond prominence as an artist. Chairman of Independent Voters' Committee of the Arts and Sciences for Roosevelt, and vice chairman of Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe, Jo chose with a colleague the site of the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Piaza in Riverside Park.
While Jo was under constant surveillance during the Cold War, the government targeted his two sons. Jacques (Tilly's note: my stepgrandfather) a Voice of Freedom (VOA) to the French under German occupation, was blacklisted, fired from CBS radio without cause. U.S. agents urged without success, Agence France Presse in D.C. to fire Jean.
Of note, Danielle Benedite, brother of Jacques wife, worked with Varian Fry in Marseille France, and saved some 1500 people from Nazi capture.
We ask that the Park's Board Chair Barbara Shattuck Kohn, Vice Chair Katrina vanden Heuvel and President Sally Minard redress this unjust situation by engraving the name of Jo Davidson on a plaque at the Park's entrance, similar to the one honoring Loius. I. Kahn. And we ask your support in this effort