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Third Annual NYC Disability Pride Parade. Photo credit: New York City Department of Transportation
Third Annual NYC Disability Pride Parade, 2017. Photo credit: New York City Department of Transportation

A little over half a century ago, zero federal laws made it illegal to discriminate against disabled people. Today’s accessibility accommodations in buildings and services were nonexistent. We have disability rights activist and supreme badass Judy Heumann to thank for sparking a national movement for the protection of disabled peoples’ rights that led to the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. And it benefits everyone. Take it from Heumann on her Daily Show interview: nondisabled people enjoy many accommodations originally made for disabled people without realizing those luxuries are there.

It would be complacent to assume that everyone has access to what they need. Because the pandemic swooped in and reminded us with a quickness that quality of life for all disabled Americans is not a given. Just last month, a quadriplegic father in Houston, TX, was left to die of illnesses related to coronavirus because the hospital decided he would not benefit from further treatment. The 2020 elections are coming up, and many voters with disabilities still face barriers with accessibility to the voting system. Reading the below selected titles on disability stories and disability resistance from our catalog, you will see that the fight for disability rights is far from over.


Being Heumann

Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist
Judith Heumann with Kristen Joiner

“Judy’s story has shaken me to the core. For the first time, I see myself in someone else. Her fierce advocacy and work changing the laws around disability rights have undeniably paved the way for me to achieve what I have today. . . . A must-read.”
—Ali Stroker, Tony Award–winning actress


A Disability History of the United States

A Disability History of the United States
Kim E. Nielsen

“A wonderful, beautifully written, remarkable achievement that will certainly become a classic within the field and should become standard reading.”
—Michael A. Rembis, Director, Center for Disability Studies, University at Buffalo


Enabling Acts

Enabling Acts: The Hidden Story of How the Americans with Disabilities Act Gave the Largest US Minority Its Rights
Lennard J. Davis

“Davis’ page-turning account puts the reader on the ground along chanting disability rights advocates and behind closed doors within the walls of Washington. An important and outstanding contribution.”
—I. King Jordan, first deaf president of Gallaudet University



Entwined: Sisters and Secrets in the Silent World of Artist Judith Scott
Joyce Wallace Scott

“Joining the worlds of outsider art and disability with startling emotional depth, Joyce Scott takes the reader on a powerful journey of loss, longing, family, false starts, resilience—and ultimately—love.”
—James W. Trent Jr., author of Inventing the Feeble Mind


In Sickness and In Health

In Sickness and In Health: Love, Disability, and a Quest to Understand the Perils and Pleasures of Interabled Romance
Ben Mattlin

“An urgent, deeply felt, and sometimes hilarious account of marriages that feel as obvious to those within them as they are bewildering to many people outside them. Mattlin gives us a testament to the deep humanity that can manifest in any kind of body, and to the passionate love such humanity can provoke in others.”
—Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree


Life As Jamie Knows It

Life As Jamie Knows It: An Exceptional Child Grows Up
Michael Bérubé

“In this poignant and genuine collaboration between father and son, Michael Bérubé draws from Jamie’s lived experiences in school, at work, and on the playing field to reflect on the profound philosophical dilemmas surrounding how we measure human worth.”
—Rachel Adams, author of Raising Henry: A Memoir of Motherhood, Disability, and Discovery


A Life Beyond Reason

A Life Beyond Reason: A Disabled Boy and His Father’s Enlightenment
Chris Gabbard

“A story of enduring love, and the way that loving someone with a disability can change your world . . . . This bracingly unsentimental book is moving, illuminating, and deeply rewarding.”
—Michael Bérubé, author of Life As Jaime Knows It


Mean Little deaf Queer

Mean Little deaf Queer: A Memoir
Terry Galloway

“This is not your mother’s triumph-of-the-human-spirit memoir. Yes, Terry Galloway is resilient. But she’s also caustic, depraved, utterly disinhibited, and somehow sweetly bubbly, a beguiling raconteuse who periodically leaps onto the dinner table and stabs you with her fork. Her story will fascinate, it will hurt, and you will like it.”
—Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home


Waist-High in the World

Waist-High in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled
Nancy Mairs

“As helpful as Mairs’s book will be to disabled people, what’s most important about it is its lessons for able-bodied readers.”
—Kathi Wolfe, The Progressive


Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie: An Intimate Life
Gustavus Stadler

“Gustavus Stadler helps Woody Guthrie down from his pedestal as dust bowl icon and helps us to see him as the three-dimensional character he really was.”
—Billy Bragg, musician and activist

Third Annual NYC Disability Pride Parade