As La Guardia looks on, President Roosevelt
signs proclamation naming December 15 as
‘Bill of Rights Day’ at the White House, 1941
At rally to fight for enactment of Fair Employment Practices Act, La Guardia speaks with FEP committee co-chairman A. Philip Randolph and Eleanor Roosevelt, 1946
Steven A. Levine
Coordinator for Educational Programs
This past Sunday, PBS began airing “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” Ken Burns’s documentary about the lives of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1934 FDR gained a great ally when Fiorello La Guardia became mayor of New York City. La Guardia defeated Tammany Hall and brought clean and efficient government to NYC, while successfully creating a direct relationship to the White House to fund New Deal projects. La Guardia, the son of immigrants, came from a humble background, while Eleanor and Franklin descended from one of America’s oldest families. They nevertheless developed close political friendships, based on shared goals. Under La Guardia’s leadership, New York City used New Deal funds to employ hundreds of thousands to build highways, subways, schools, hospitals, parks, housing and other infrastructure.
The importance of the relationship between La Guardia and Franklin and Eleanor can be found in the La Guardia and Wagner Archives’ collection, containing 16 photos of Eleanor and 20 photos of Franklin. If you would like to learn more about La Guardia, the Roosevelts and the New Deal, please feel free to contact me
President Roosevelt, Governor Lehman, and Mayor La Guardia campaign together in the 1940 election campaign.
La Guardia,head of joint U.S.-Canada Defense Board, meets with President Roosevelt and military brass at the White House, 1940
La Guardia, union leader Sidney Hillman,and Eleanor Roosevelt talking at a dinner honoring Eleanor at the Hotel Commodore, 1941
La Guardia and FDR at the annual Roosevelt Picnic at Hyde Park, NY, 1938