From the Museum of disABILITY History:
15th Century: The court fool was a part of medieval society. Some jesters were disabled either physically or mentally.
1756: Patients at the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia were chained to the walls of the basement and put on display for a fee.
1841-1845: Dorothea Dix advocates for separation of disabled incarcerated in penitentiaries. The first asylum was built in New Jersey. She is able to convince several other stages to do the same.
1883: The term “eugenics” is coined by Sir Francis Galton.
1907: Indiana passes the first eugenic sterilization law.
1915: Dr. Harry Haisalden allows a newborn with a disability to die and promotes this as a way to reduce the disabled population.
1927: Buck v. Bell is heard by the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the majority decision that Buck’s sterilization was constitutional because “three generations of imbeciles are enough.”
1941: Rosemary Kennedy is lobotomized and sent to the St. Coletta School in Jefferson, Wisconsin two years later in 1943. She spent 57 years at the school until she passed away at the age of 86.
1953: Medical experiments are conducted on 100 boys at the Fernald School in Waverly, Massachusetts. The boys were subjected to radioactive elements in their food to determine the effects.
1963-1966: Medical researcher Saul Krugman intentionally infected children placed at Willowbrook, either orally or by injection, with hepatitis in order to study what would be the most effective treatment.
1964: Civil Rights Act is passed outlawing discrimination based on race. Framework for disability rights legislation.
1965: Senator Robert F. Kennedy visits Willowbrook State School and labeled the deplorable conditions a “snake pit.”
1972: Geraldo Rivera does an expose on the Willowbrook State School that leads to a federal inquiry.
1973: Passage of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. The discrimination of those with disabilities is addressed for the first time in Section 504. Qualified persons seeking employment could not be discriminated against based on their disability.
1975: “The Education for All Handicapped Children Act,” public law 94-142, was passed in 1975.
1986: Bernard Carabello founded the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State. He was formally at Willowbrook.
1990: President George Bush signs the ADA.
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