Monday, November 02, 2009

disability history

History enriches people and nations. Disability also has history! Considering the obstacles, it is an extraordinary history!

It is no metaphor to say that today we are standing on the shoulders of giants.

181 years ago Rev. Gallaudet demonstrated education for all when the US House of Representatives adjourned for an “exhibition of deaf and dumb teachers and pupils”. Reading President John Quincy Adams' memoirs of that day, including questioning of students by Vice President John C. Calhoun on the “differences between power and right” is frankly captivating.

119 years ago consider assistive technology:

101 years ago the sound of a different drummer:

Disability history is told through personal letters, and articles as well as visual history such as photographs and lithographs. Two on-line friendly resources I have found are:

70 years ago was the darkest chapter of disability history. NEVER FORGET Aktion T4: the Nazi extermination of 275,000 disabled adults and children deemed “unfit to live”. Additionally the “Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring” forced the sterilization of 360,000 people.

12 years ago the President Franklin Roosevelt Memorial was dedicated in Washington DC amid disability controversy. FDR’s reliance on a wheelchair was not publicized during his life, as there was a stigma of weakness and instability associated with any disability.

8 years ago, an additional statue funded by the National Organization on Disability was placed near the memorial entrance showing FDR seated in a wheelchair much like the one he actually used. … “It has awakened visitor's curiosity to learn more about President Franklin Roosevelt's disability and his great contributions to the country. A great majority of the visitors that come to the Memorial spend considerable time where the statue resides,” writes National Park Service Superintendent Arnold Goldstein.

"If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development." Aristotle

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer
web site:

musings: Patrick Ponders ... 


  1. fascinating about that museum, Patrick; I think the concepts would help to make more people aware of disabilities; I never thought of diabilty as having a history, but indeed it would.....


  2. Yes, indeed we have come far!! I might try the goat though. I feel so lucky to be living NOW.


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