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DISABILITY HISTORY TIMELINE in the US




US Colonies – denied entry to people with disabilities Moral Model/Religious Model – God’s will

1770 - Revolutionary War – Soldier Pensions

1790 – Maryland Hospital for the Handicapped

1780 – “Poor Houses” lumped poor, old and disabled together or prisoners and people with disabilities – custodial care only

1817 – School for the Deaf

– Charity Model – Social Welfare Model – segregated by disability, rural settings away from others.

1841 – Dorothea Dix traveled country (60,000 miles) studied and reported on the condition of people with disabilities in the US

1842 – Missouri School for the Blind – did not allow Braille for 30 years

1 - PT Barnum started Freak Shows in New York
2 - US Sanitary Commission supported integrated community settings. Set model for national charities
3 - Decisions made by doctors or showmen

1860 – 1st Disability Publication by Gini Laurie – Tooney Gazette

1864 – 6 – Civil War
1 - 1st Wheelchair

1873 – Missouri School for the Blind finally allowed people who were blind to use Braille!

1880 – 1st College (President Lincoln) School for Deaf suppressed sign language for 90 years! Later became Gaulladet University. Got rid of all deaf teachers who signed, taught lip reading and “oralism” speech. National Association for the deaf formed to fight this.

1907 – Eugenics movement. Indiana sterilization law 32 states pass sterilization laws up to 1947 estimated forced 60,000 people!

1914 – WWI – support for jobs for veterans

1918 – Medical/Rehabilitation Model. – Non-profits started by disability usually by parents and friends. Paternalistic. No people with disabilities on Boards or in leadership.
1 - Smith Hughes Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation Act

1920 – Smith-Fess Civilian Vocational Rehabilitation Act - Notice people with disabilities can learn Il, vocational and social skills!

1920 – 1950 –
1 - 1st Folding wheelchair by Everest and Jennings – still largest manufacturer
2 - Workers com benefits
3 - Guide dog School
4 - Institutions still being build and growing in size
5 - More education and training happening
1927 – US Supreme Court uphold sterilization laws.

1935 - Social Security Act – covers seniors over 65, dependents and people who are Blind.
1 - Establishment of the Presidents Committee for the Handicapped – eventually became... for People with Disabilities.
2 - Congress grants funds for veteran benefits including home modifications.
3 - 1st demonstrations by The League of the Physically Handicapped - 1st run by people with disabilities themselves who wanted WPA jobs – won! Changed perceptions of people with disabilities and changed their perceptions of themselves.

1940 – Nazi “T-4 Experiment” – experimented on, tortured and exterminated people with disabilities that were in institutions.

1947 – Court outlawed sterilization of people with disabilities

1950’s – Times changing – more people with disabilities: medical improvements meant more men survived war, people lived longer, more babies with birth disabilities survived.

1954 – Brown vs. Board of Education Topeka – illegal to segregate students – set precedent for students with disabilities too.

1956 – SSA act amended to include Social Security Disability Insurance – for involuntary retirement due to disability.

1960-70s Philosophy changed as a result of civil rights movement, consumer movement, de-institutionalization to Independent Living Model/ Self-Determination Model – Civil Rights, Barrier removal.

1962 – Ed Roberts “Father of IL Movement” goes to University of California Berkley.
1 - VR turns Ed down as “not feasible for employment”
2 - Rolling Quads = campus accessibility (ramps, accessible housing, etc.)
3 - ADAPT started by Wade Blank – American Disabled for Accessible Public Transportation…later…American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today!

1970 – American Sign Language allowed for first time in 90 years!
1 - Judy Heumann unable to teach in New York “fire hazard” sues and wins suite against school district.
2 - Judy Heumann starts Disabled in Action who demonstrate in New York

1972 – First Center for Independent Living in Berkeley, CA
1 - Nixon vetoes the Rehabilitation Act as too expensive 1973 – Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act passed

1975 - Ed Roberts becomes Director of California Vocational Rehabilitation.

1976 – Demonstrations at HEW offices across country to get rules for Section 504. Carter President. In San Francisco 150 people demonstration 28 days.
1 - 504 Rules are finally enacted!

1978 - Re-Authorization of the Rehabilitation Act – Created Centers for Independent Living – 10 to start.
1 - Cross disability
2 - Consumer controlled - Majority of staff and board have disabilities
3 - 4 Core Services: Advocacy (systems and individual), peer support, independent living skills instruction and information and referral.

1980 – World Institute on Disability started by Ed Roberts and Judy Heumman

1982 – National Council on Independent Living started.

1988 – Gaulladet University Protest - Deaf students shut down campus when they hired a person who was not deaf and did not use sign language – 1st Deaf President - Got lots of publicity, in DC and Congress got involved to “urge” Trustees to choose deaf president - I .King Jordan.
1 - Justin and Yoshiko Dart travel the country documenting stories of discrimination to support the passage of the ADA 2 - National Organization on Disabilities publish two documents articulating discrimination in the US and calling for a civil rights law. 3 - ADAPT has “crawl-in” at the US Capitol. 1990 – Americans with Disabilities Act *ADA) passes!

1994 – Justice for All creates 1st advocacy list serve to link advocates nationally.

1995 – Start of the American Association for Persons with Disabilities – modeled after AARP – American Association for Retired Citizens. Goal is to increase public awareness and political power for citizens with disabilities and increase leadership within the disability community.

1996 – Not Dead Yet formed by Diane Colemen, IL – to raise awareness of the danger of physician assisted “compassionate” suicide to people with disabilities – motto “Save us at any cost!”

1999 – US Supreme Court Olmstead decision based on the ADA – people with disabilities have the right to be in the “least restrictive” setting available.

2002- Help America Vote Act – included mandate for all voting precincts to have accessible voting equipment for persons with disabilities so that they could vote independently and privately.

2003 – Free Our People March – More than 200 people with more than 60 power wheelchairs marched from Philadelphia to Washington DC to raise awareness of the institutional (nursing home) bias and MiCASSA legislation that would increase home and community base services.