The Disability Programs and Resource Center

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A CHRONOLOGY OF THE DISABILITY RIGHTS MOVEMENTS

1911 - 1930

1911

Congress passes a joint resolution (P.R. 45) authorizing the appointment of a federal commission to investigate the subject of workers' compensation and the liability of employers for financial compensation to disabled workers.

1912

Henry H. Goddard publishes The Kadikak Family, the best seller purporting to link disability with immorality and alleging that both are tied to genetics. It advances the agenda of the eugenics movements, which in pamphlets such as The Threat of the Feeble Minded creates climate of hysteria allowing for massive human rights abuses of people with disabilities, including institutionalization and forced sterilization.

1918

The Smith-Sear Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation Act establishes a federal vocational rehabilitation for disabled soldiers.

1920

The Fess-Smith Civilian Vocational Rehabilitation Act is passed, creating a vocational rehabilitation program for disabled civilians.

1921

The American Foundation for the Blind is founded. Helen Keller becomes its principal fundraiser, (Robert Irwin becomes director of research, 1922 executive director in 1929.)

1927

Franklin Roosevelt co-founds the Warms Springs Foundation at Warms Springs, Georgia. The Warm Spring facility for polio survivors becomes a model rehabilitation and peer-counseling program.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Buck v. Bell, rules that the forced sterilization of people with disabilities is not a violation of their constitutional rights. The decision removes the last restraints for eugenists; advocating that people with disabilities be prohibited from having children. By the 1970s, some 60,000 disabled people are sterilized without consent.

1929

Seeing Eye establishes the first dog guide school for blind people in the United States.

 

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