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Fred Pelka Fred Pelka An Oral History of the Disability Rights Movement Have Done Have Done WE WE What What Have Done Have Done What What WE WE Pelka Pelka Massachusetts Massachusetts Compelling first-person accounts of the struggle to secure equal rights for Americans with disabilities In this book, Fred Pelka presents the voices of disability rights activists who, in the period from 1950 to 1990, transformed how society views people with disabilities, and recounts how the various streams of the movement came together to push through the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the most sweeping civil rights legislation since passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Beginning with the stories of those who grew up with disabilities in the 1940s and ’50s, the book traces how disability came to be seen as a political issue, and how people with disabilities—often isolated, institutionalized, and marginalized—forged a movement analogous to the civil rights, women’s rights, and gay rights movements, and fought for full and equal participation in American society. “Oral history is our most ancient way to talk about the events of the past. No one has worked longer or harder to make the oral history of the disability rights movement come to life than Fred Pelka. With the skill of an excellent interviewer and storyteller Pelka brings the interweaving stories of disability rights activists into the spotlight and elevates their almost overlooked struggle to its just place as a great civil rights movement.” —Eric Neudel, founder of Storyline Motion Pictures and director of Lives Worth Living “This book makes a unique and important contribution to the field of disability movement history. Featuring the words of both activist foot soldiers and movement leaders, What We Have Done documents how people with diverse disabilities fought against prejudice and discrimination and won landmark political and legal victories equivalent to those of the African American and other civil rights movements of twentieth-century America.” —Mary Lou Breslin, cofounder of the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) Fred Pelka is author of The ABC-CLIO Guide to the Disability Rights Movement (1997) and The Civil War Letters of Charles F. Johnson, Invalid Corps (University of Massachusetts Press, 2004). He was a 2004 Guggenheim fellow. Cover design by Sally Nichols Cover photo: Wheels of Justice march on the US Capitol, March 12, 1990. Courtesy of Tom Olin. University of Massachusetts Press Amherst & Boston www.umass.edu/umpress PELKA_cover_mech.indd 1 1/27/12 10:34 AM What We Have Done - ...



Subject Headings

  • United States. Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
  • People with disabilities -- Civil rights -- United States -- History.
  • People with disabilities -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- United States -- History.
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