Iconic Photos

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George Wallace at the DNC

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(Governor George Wallace assisted by aides into wheelchair during the Democratic National Convention by Bill Eppridge.)


In the 1930s and 1940s, Americans knew Franklin Roosevelt from his warm and reassuring radio voice, and not his crippled status. A cooperative press and vigilant secret service made sure there were few pictures and almost no film of FDR in a wheelchair.

Less fortunate was former Alabama Governor, George Wallace, whose name has become almost synonymous with segregation. Wallace, who had long apologized for his racist views, was the frontrunner for the democratic presidential nomination in 1972 when an assassin’s bullet crippled him. One bullet lodged in his spinal column, paralyzing him from the waist down. (Trivia: Wallace’s assassin’s diary inspired the 1976 movie Taxi Driver which in turn inspired the assassination attempt on Reagan by John Hinckley, Jr.).

As he was wheeled into the Democratic National Convention in Miami, Wallace received a standing ovation. However, he lost the nomination to George McGovern. His run for the party nomination in ’76 was less successful–the media predominantly depicted Wallace on his wheelchair and this ‘helplessness’ came to define his campaign. He lost to another Southern democrat Jimmy Carter, who went on to win the presidency.

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

July 24, 2009 at 7:22 am

Posted in Politics

Tagged with ,

3 Responses

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  1. Wheelcahir icon? hmmmmmpph, it only proves that disability is never a hindrance to any dreams…

    medical wheelchairs

    April 11, 2011 at 3:06 am

  2. […] the assassination attempt but would be paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life, his presidential ambitions forever eclipsed by a hostile press that preyed on his crippled ‘haplessness’. Bremer was sentenced to […]

  3. This was a political assassination orchestrated by the Nixon administration.
    Wallace, with a full road crew in Laural, Maryland, came to speak at a Presidential rally. His former Pres Secretary, Bill Jones, told him it was a bad idea to step out into crowds, especially in dangerous areas like Maryland, and to not speak at this particular rally. After the speech, against advice, Wallace wandered out into the crowd to shake hands. Arthur Bremer was in the crowd with a loaded .38 caliber revolver. As Wallace walked out into the crowd, Bremer, who had followed Wallace for several months, walked up to him within 3 feet and shot him 5 times. Wallace fell to the ground and was carried to a local hospital where they were able to save him except for one bullet that lodged in his spine that he eventually took to the grave with him. It also forced Wallace to suffer in a wheel chair the rest of his life as a paraplegic.
    Widely reported discrepancies that emerged at the time during the investigation included the fact that Bremer’s finger and palm prints were not found on the gun, although he is shown on film without gloves. The bullets that entered Wallace showed trajectories from above and behind, although Bremer fired all five shots from directly in front of Wallace.

    The entire scene was captured by a CBS News camera crew, purportedly on a tip from the CIA to “be there that day.” The bullets struck at least three witnesses, two of them were removed and recovered, but all the bullets were so damaged that not one of them could be linked to Bremer’s gun.
    Maryland police originally sent out a wanted message for a second man believed to be involved in the shooting, but later retracted it and said it was a mistake.’

    Wallace’s #1 campaign adviser, Seymore Trammell, was part of Nixon’s sinister plan, Only 7 months prior to the assassination attempt of Wallace, Seymore was also a victim of Nixon’s assassination team.
    Since Nixon’s team failed to kill Trammell, they went after Wallace.


    October 14, 2012 at 1:40 am

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