Four Freedoms Forums

Winter/Spring 2012

Love Town Meeting Day? Tired of political shouting rants? Not sure what to think about the important issues of the day? Civil discourse founded on respectful listening is a cherished, democratic practice in New England. Share your thoughts on the most compelling issues of our day—this series of town hall conversations, inspired by Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms, will explore aspects of our democracy in a rapidly changing and increasingly global world. Noted commentators will offer observations and inspire moderated community discourse. The programs are free and open to the public.

About Norman Rockwell and the New England Town Hall Meeting:

In his January 1941 address to Congress, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt articulated his vision for a postwar world founded on four basic human freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. The groundbreaking speech, whose concepts would be incorporated into the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, also caught the attention of artist Norman Rockwell, who was looking for a way to contribute his own talents for the ongoing war effort, and decided he would illustrate Roosevelt’s four freedoms. Finding new ideas for paintings never came easily, but this was a greater challenge. “It was so darned high-blown,” Rockwell said, “Somehow I just couldn’t get my mind around it.” While mulling it over, Rockwell, by chance, attended a town meeting where one man rose among his neighbors and voiced an unpopular view. That night Rockwell awoke with the realization that he could paint the freedoms best from the perspective of his own hometown experiences using everyday, simple scenes such as his own town meeting.

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