On this bike ride I was able to see a public sculpture that most people are no longer able to see. The sculpture is entitled “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity” and was created by Frederick Charles Shrady, an American painter and sculptor who is best known for his religious sculptures. Most people can no longer see it because it is located in the courtyard of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Headquarters building, which was once accessible to the public but was closed off years ago due to security concerns.
In January 1975, the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI passed a resolution to create a memorial to J. Edgar Hoover. The memorial, which cost $125,000, was funded through private contributions. The artist was selected through a design contest, and the sculpture was dedicated on October 13, 1979.
The statue, made of bronze, is 15 feet 7 inches wide and 5 feet 7 inches deep. The sculpture rests on a rectangular base 2 feet 6 inches by 10 feet 3 inches by 7 feet 4 inches made of slabs of black marble and mortar. The front of the base is carved and painted with the words “Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity”.
The piece depicts three figures which represent Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity. These are intended to not only represent the acronym of the FBI, but the core values of the Bureau. The figures are placed against a backdrop of a large United States flag, which appears to be waving in the breeze. Fidelity, a female, is on the right, seated on the ground and looking up at a male figure of Bravery. To the left of Bravery is Integrity, a male figure who kneels on one knee, with his left hand on his heart. He looks towards Bravery, who stands flanked by the two other figures. The figures are simple with little detail, but none the less evocative based on their pose and appearance.
In 1993, the piece was surveyed as part of the Smithsonian Institution’s Save Outdoor Sculpture! program and was described as needing conservation treatment.
It’s unfortunate that the public no longer has access to view the sculpture and other displays in the courtyard of the FBI Headquarters building. Much like the old FBI tour, which was one of the most unique and popular tours in the city prior to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, it has succumbed to the need for greater security to protect FBI personnel. But I’m glad I was allowed the opportunity to see the sculpture, and to share what I learned about it with you here on this blog.