Banner of disability history images.

About the project

DSHP logo: Person sitting in a wheelchair with their arms raised.

The Disability Social History Project (DSHP), managed by Patricia Chadwick, is a community history project and we welcome your participation. Please contact us about anything that you would like to see become part of DSHP, including your disabled heroes, important events in disability history, and resources.

Disability History and Culture Collective

The Disability History and Culture Collective is a new and still forming intersectional alliance of disability historians and advocates working to establish an accessible public network and database of existing and new disability history resources, to find and preserve collections, to promote research, and to ultimately establish a central bricks and mortar museum with local affiliates as part of the Smithsonian. You can join the collective’s Google group list and subscribe to the monthly Disability History & Culture Collective e-newsletter (see past issues of the newsletter).

Recent Highlights:

A Black woman stands at a microphone singing in front of a crowd. A man playing a guitar stands behind her.

How Fannie Lou Hamer’s disability informed her fight for voting rights

(From The 19th, July 19, 2023) Fannie Lou Hamer’s testimony at the 1964 DNC shook the nation and highlighted the ...
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A Black woman with a orange and brown swirly color tilts her head: April 19, 1964-January 9, 2023.

LaTonya Reeves, Advocate for Community-Based Services

From Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council On January 9, 2023, LaTonya S. Reeves died after a short illness. Governor Polis only ...
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On a BART train, a man with long hair and a helmet sits in a power wheelchair with two bags hanging on the handles.

Hale Zukas – Disabled Advocate & Leader

By Corbett O'Toole Hale Zukas, a pivotal leader on accessible public transportation, architectural barriers, data related to disability and personal ...
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A black man with a beard and a black t-shirt signs. Text below says, "That's our Black ASL."

Signing Black in America

(From Talking Black in America) SIGNING BLACK in AMERICA is the first documentary about Black ASL: the unique dialect of American ...
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An African American woman holds two paintings, one a self-portrait and the other a white man.

Lois Curtis, Disability Rights Activist Who Won a Landmark Civil Rights Case (1967 – 2022)

Fighting for the right to live in the community and establishing the right of people with disabilities to live independently ...
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A parade marching down a street in NY City includes "brownshirts" and a Nazi flag.

Disabled American Veterans Start Spy Ring in the 1930s to Thwart Nazi Groups in US

Reprint from DAV (Disabled American Veterans) posted on JANUARY 9, 2018 BY STEVEN WILSON New book details how DAV founding ...
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A woman sits at a desk reading Braille

Roberta Griffith…Empowered, not Impaired

(Reprint from the Michigan History magazine in the January/February 2016 issue) Roberta Griffith founded the Association for the Blind and ...
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Disabled protesters in the 1930s.

Join Us in a Dream: A National Museum of Disability History and Culture

Reprint from the National Council on Public History 14 JUNE 2022 – HENRY J. KENNEDY AND NATHAN R. STENBERG It ...
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A group of disabled teen girls gather on the lawn.

Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution

This 2021 Oscar-nominated film features a group of teens with disabilities at a groundbreaking summer camp in the 1970s. The ...
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(Banner image from left: Front page of the May 7, 1977 edition of The Black Panther; a postage stamp titled “For Crippled Children”; a Goodwill postcard “Good Willy”; a Nazi poster about the “burden” of disabled people; disabled women at the 1995 Beijing Conference on Women; Black Disabled Ancestors by Leroy Moore; art by disabled artist Wolfie; a photo from the 504 protest; Fading Scars: my queer disability history by Corbett O’Toole.)