You might think of creativity and inventions when you hear names like Walt Disney and Thomas Edison. What you might not know about them is that they are only a few of the numerous disabled people who have changed governments, contributed significantly to the Civil Rights and women’s suffrage campaigns, produced ground-breaking inventions, and more.
People with disabilities frequently don’t recognize their accomplishments. Even if you were exposed to some of these individuals in school or elsewhere, it’s possible you were unaware that they belonged to the disability community. Every July, during Disability Pride Month, we can honor these creative and ground-breaking disabled individuals. This year, as we commemorate the 34th anniversary of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, is particularly relevant. And disability lawyers are still working to improve things for all disabled persons, whether they are celebrities or not.
Harriet Tubman was an abolitionist who worked with the Underground Railroad to provide assistance to people of African descent who were attempting to escape slavery. After being struck on the head by a slave master when she was just 14 years old, Harriet Tubman reportedly got epilepsy as a result of the condition. Tubman suffered from epileptic seizures and severe tiredness throughout the rest of her life, yet this did not stop her from saving the lives of a great number of people while putting her own in danger.
Tubman will also be included on the new twenty dollar bill, taking the place of previous President Andrew Jackson’s image. It appeared like Harriet Tubman will be included on the $20 note in the near future; however, the United States Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, stated that the new bill would not be ready until the year 2028.
Helen Keller broke several barriers, the most notable of which was that she was the first person who was both deaf and blind to achieve a bachelor of arts degree. Throughout her life, Keller had a number of different responsibilities and played a variety of roles. Keller was an advocate for individuals with disabilities, an author, and a co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920. She was born with a speech impairment herself.
Keller was a pioneer and a reminder to many children who are blind, hard of hearing, or deaf that their disabilities are not a barrier to who they are; rather, their disabilities are a part of who they are.
Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt held the record for the most number of terms served as president of the United States. He was elected to office a total of four times until a limit of two terms was imposed. The New Deal, which was the first set of public relief programs and regulations put forward to assist the economy in recovering from the Great Depression, was established under Roosevelt’s administration.
After beating polio, Roosevelt’s primary mode of transportation was a wheelchair, a fact that he kept mostly hidden from the general public in the United States. Although Roosevelt never explained publicly why he attempted to conceal his identity, the fact that he did so may provide light on the harmful and ableist views against disabled people that are still prevalent in today’s culture.
Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking is most well-known for his role in the discovery that black holes release radiation as a byproduct of their own existence. In recognition of his work in the scientific community, Stephen Hawking was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the United States as well as the Pride of Britain Lifetime Achievement Award. Hawking, who passed away in 2018, suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This condition caused him to become paralyzed, and he communicated with the help of a speech-generating device.