Rights for the Disabled

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by kalynmarie
Last updated 6 years ago

Social Studies
American History

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Rights for the Disabled

The image at the top shows a group of disabled protestors. The sign on the back of the wheelchair reads "I can't even get to the back of the bus" which shows how they were urging for accommodations on public transportation for the disabled.The video below is of Hillary Clinton launching the 2012 U.S. Leadership Conference for International Disability Rights. I chose this video because it demonstrates how although this movement was most prominent in the 1960-70s, the topic is still discussed today.

The rights for the disabled movement is a movement that promotes equality and awareness of both the physically and mentally disabled. This movement does not have a set start date as awareness grew gradually. However, more people began to notice the prejudice against the disabled around the 1950s when World War II veterans began to rely on help from the government for their extra needs. In the 1960s, the movement grew rapidly and Congress began to pass acts. These include the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which guaranteed equal opportunity in the work force within the government and the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) passed in 1975 which not only secured admittance into public schools for all disabled students but granted the parents of these children more of a say in the educational needs of their child. These victories for the movement gave way to a more open-minded and equal America and led to the Americans with Disabilities Act (passed in 1990) which banned discrimination against all people with disabilities. Economically: This movement helped shape America economically by helping unemployment levels. By passing acts that provided more jobs to the disabled, employment for that large group of Americans rose. It also sparked employment for construction workers. The ADA Accessibility Guidelines demanded that streets, sidewalks, curbs, buildings, doorways, and public transportation be reconstructed to fit the needs of the disabled. The disabled also receive special benefits and, if qualified, an allowance from Social Security. Socially: This movement helped shape America socially by eliminating a lot of the prejudice and discrimination against those disabled. The disabled used to be looked at as useless and inadequate individuals who could not serve society in any way and are now seen as capable people who have certain struggles in their lives. This movement also had a strong impact with the civil rights movement and vice versa. Politically: This movement affected America politically because Congress passed ten acts that directly impacted the disabled and the way they are treated.

Kalyn SmithSAHS HC: KSApril 29, 2014

Rights for the Disabled

As said above, the rights for the disabled movement was closely related to the civil rights movement. Although Martin Luther King Jr. was mainly known for his help in fighting for equality for African Americans, he worked for equality and justice for everyone. He wanted everyone to be treated the same and to have equal rights, thus his words were fitting for this movement as well. Protestors and advocates in this movement used this particular quote the most frequently.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Definition of disabled:The Social Security Administration has a specific five-question process that determines if a person qualifies as disabled. These questions are as follows: "Are you working? Is your condition 'severe'? Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions? Can you do the work you did previously? Can you do any other type of work?" If a person passes any of these questions, they are not considered disabled by the federal government.

I chose to include the picture above because it displays the flag for the movement for the rights of the disabled. It is an American flag but with the stars arranged to express a handicapped symbol. The picture above right is focused on a man holding up a sign that reads "disabled and proud." This shows how not only were the disabled going to fight for rights and equality, but they were not going to be ashamed of their condition and special needs.

Justin Whitlock Dart, Jr. is known as the "Godfather of the ADA" because of his strong influence in this movement. He strongly helped pass the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and co-founded the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).


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