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Disability & Accessibility: History

This guide provides gathers resources for researching disability and accessibility across disciplines.

Are you interested in historical views on disability or accessibility? Are you curious about the Disability Rights Movement? Explore the resources below to start your research on disability or accessibility history.

Be aware that historical resources may contain outdated or offensive terms related to disability. If you are struggling to find resources on your topic, it is possible an alternate term was more prevalent during the period you're researching. Consult a librarian to brainstorm alternate terms.

Article Databases

Primary Source Databases

Books

The Disability Rights Movement

The disability rights movement is a global social movement fighting for equal rights and opportunities for all people with disabilities. In the United States, disability activists were responsible for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as other protections.

Disability Justice

Disability justice is a social movement that focuses on how disability intersects with race, class and gender in society. Disability justice prioritizes intersectionality, solidarity, sustainability, collective access and collective liberation.

"A disability justice framework understands that:

  • All bodies are unique and essential.
  • All bodies have strengths and needs that must be met.
  • We are powerful, not despite the complexities of our bodies, but because of them.
  • All bodies are confined by ability, race, gender, sexuality, class, nation state, religion, and more, and we cannot separate them."
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