30th Anniversary of the ADA Syllabus

30th Anniversary of the ADA Syllabus

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Ray Mizumura-Pence, associate teaching professor of American Studies and co-Director of the Disability Studies Seminar at the Hall Center for the Humanities, prepared the list of resources below for those who would like to learn more about the Americans with Disabilities Act and people with disabilities. 


Davis, Lennard J. Enabling Acts: The Hidden Story of How the Americans with Disabilities Act Gave the Largest US Minority Its Rights, Beacon Press, 2015. 

Fleischer, Doris Z, and Frieda Zames. The Disability Rights Movement: From Charity to Confrontation. Second edition. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2011. 

Heumann, Judith E. Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist, Beacon Press, 2020. 

Juette, Melvin, and Ronald J. Berger. Wheelchair Warrior: Gangs, Disability, and Basketball. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2008. 

Kafer, Alison. Feminist, Queer, Crip. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013. 

Moore, Leroy, Nicola A. McClung, and Emily A. Nusbaum. Black Disabled Art History 101, Xochitl Justice Press, 2017. 

Pelka, Fred. What We Have Done: An Oral History of the Disability Rights Movement. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2012. 

Pickens, Therí A. Black Madness: Mad Blackness, Duke University Press, 2019. 

Piepzna-Samarasinha, Leah L. Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, Arsenal Pulp Press, 2018. 

Shapiro, Joseph P. No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement. New York: Times Books, 1993. 


Television, Film and Video

Autism in America, 2015. Kanopy.

Autism in America: Putting the puzzle together, one beautiful piece at a time, is a genuine and straightforward look into the Autism Spectrum Disorder as told by the families and individuals living with Autism daily. Many parents are interviewed including Ruth Sullivan, Ph.D., the mother of a man named Joe whose life was the basis for Dustin Hoffman's autistic character in the movie Rain Man. We also hear from a young woman named Alexis, the first autistic person to run for the title of Miss America.

Autistic behaviors such as difficulty communicating, outbursts, etc. are examined in the film, as are the financial and emotional effects on parents. The film looks at young years, discipline, transition into high school and college, employment possibilities, and marriage for people with autism. Narrated by Chandra Wilson (Grey's Anatomy).

Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution. Netflix, 2020.

Just down the road from Woodstock, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a parallel revolution blossomed in a ramshackle summer camp for disabled teenagers. Steeped in the humor and music of the era, Crip Camp explores the universal experience of summer camp awakenings that would transform lives and shape the future of the disability rights movement. Told from the point of view of former camper Jim LeBrecht, the film traces the journeys of campers up to the present day, in this compelling and untold story of a powerful journey towards inclusion.

Crip Camp will take viewers deep inside a revolutionary era and on a wild trip; a ride from oppression to empowerment, from infantilization to freedom - the trip of a lifetime.

Debt of Honor: Disabled Veterans in American History. Public Broadcasting Service, 2015. DVD.

A moving tribute to the history of disabled veterans, An unflinching look at the reality of warfare and disability, featuring interviews with some of the country's most prominent disabled veterans.

Including Samuel, 2008. Kanopy.

Before his son Samuel was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, photojournalist Dan Habib rarely thought about the inclusion of people with disabilities. Now he thinks about inclusion every day. Shot and produced over four years, Habib's award-winning documentary film, Including Samuel, chronicles the Habib family's efforts to include Samuel in every facet of their lives. 

The film honestly portrays his family's hopes and struggles, as well as the experiences of four other individuals with disabilities and their families. Including Samuel is a highly personal, passionately photographed film that captures the cultural and systemic barriers to inclusion.

Lives Worth Living: The Great Fight for Disability Rights, 2011. DVD.

Presents an overview of the disability rights movement in the United States, focusing on the story of Fred Fay, a man who had survived spinal cord injury when he was 16.

Murderball, 2005. DVD.

Documents the personal stories and fierce competition of American and Canadian wheelchair rugby players as they struggle toward the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Sins Invalid: An Unshamed Claim to Beauty in the Face of Invisibility, 2015. Kanopy.

Sins Invalid witnesses a performance project that incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and queer and gender-variant artists. Since 2006, its performances have explored themes of sexuality, beauty, and the disabled body, impacting thousands through live performance. Sins Invalid is as an entryway into the absurdly taboo topic of sexuality and disability, manifesting a new paradigm of disability justice.

Titicut Follies, 1967. Kanopy.

This important film is a stark and graphic portrayal of the conditions that existed at the State Prison for the Criminally Insane at Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Titicut Follies documents the various ways the inmates are treated by the guards, social workers and psychiatrists.

Vital Signs: Crip Culture Talks Back, 1995. YouTube.

Explores the politics of disability through the performances, debates and late-night conversations of activists at This/Ability : An Interdisciplinary Conference on Disability and the Arts, held at The University of Michigan on May 19, 1995. Features interviews with well-known disability rights advocates and artists, along with professors, students, and others with disabilities.

Where Is Hope: The Art of Murder, 2015. Kanopy.

Where Is Hope: The Art of Murder, chronicles disabled victims murdered by police as well as the activists/artists who are fighting to end police brutality against people with disabilities. The work of many disabled activists and artists/activists are explored around this issue, especially involving disabled people of color. Notably, Director Emmitt H Thrower, is a retired NY City cop turned artist/filmmaker.


Black, Disabled, and Proud: College Students with Disabilities. We are a group of colleagues working in disability services at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Colleges and Universities (PBCUs).  The project was set up as a partnership between the University of the District of Columbia, Howard University, and Syracuse University, and the Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD).  

Krip-Hop Nation’s Mission is to educate the music, media industries and general public about the talents, history, rights and marketability of Hip-Hop artists and other musicians with disabilities. Krip-Hop Nation’s main objective is to get the musical talents of hip-hop artists with disabilities into the hands of media outlets, educators, and hip-hop, disabled and race scholars, youth, journalists and hip-hop conference coordinators.

Sins Invalid is a disability justice based performance project that incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and LGBTQ / gender-variant artists as communities who have been historically marginalized. Led by disabled people of color, Sins Invalid’s performance work explores the themes of sexuality, embodiment and the disabled body, developing provocative work where paradigms of “normal” and “sexy” are challenged, offering instead a vision of beauty and sexuality inclusive of all bodies and communities. We define disability broadly to include people with physical impairments, people who belong to a sensory minority, people with emotional disabilities, people with cognitive challenges, and those with chronic/severe illness. We understand the experience of disability to occur within any and all walks of life, with deeply felt connections to all communities impacted by the medicalization of their bodies, including trans, gender variant and intersex people, and others whose bodies do not conform to our culture(s)' notions of "normal" or "functional."

Dole Collection. Created for the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, this overview of Senator Bob Dole’s involvement in disability rights also provides extensive information on the disability rights movement locally, nationally, and internationally. A project of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics on the University of Kansas campus.

This disability history timeline is designed to help you learn about the rich history of people with disabilities. If you have a disability, this is about your history, but it may not be the history you know. Increasing your knowledge of disability history will help you motivate and lead others by telling the diverse stories of the many who have gone before. Starting shortly after the United States was founded, the disabilities timeline features examples of the remarkable diversity, creativity, and leadership that has shaped the disability community up through today.

Haben Girma. The first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, Haben Girma advocates for equal opportunities for people with disabilities. President Obama named her a White House Champion of Change. She received the Helen Keller Achievement Award, and a spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Chancellor Angela Merkel have all honored Haben. Haben believes disability is an opportunity for innovation. She travels the world teaching the benefits of choosing inclusion. Haben was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she currently lives. Her memoir takes readers on adventures around the world, including her parents’ homes in Eritrea and Ethiopia, building a school under the scorching Saharan sun, training with a guide dog in New Jersey, climbing an iceberg in Alaska, fighting for blind readers at a courthouse in Vermont, and talking with President Obama at The White House. Warm, funny, thoughtful, and uplifting, this captivating book is a testament to Haben’s determination to resist isolation and find the keys to connection.

Independence, Inc. Since 1978, Independence, Inc. has served as a resource in Lawrence and Northeast Kansas through our mission to maximize the independence of people with disabilities through advocacy, peer support, training, transportation and community education. As an Independent Living Center, we work with people with various disabilities to live in the environments of their choice.  We offer options, resources and advocacy to help people live fulfilling lives. Our vision is to work together in transforming our communities to be the best places in which people with disabilities can live, learn, and work. 

The Museum of disABILITY History is dedicated to advancing the understanding, acceptance and independence of people with disabilities. The Museum's exhibits, collections, archives and educational programs create awareness and a platform for dialogue and discovery.

The Disability History Museum hosts a Library of virtual artifacts, Education curricula, and Museum exhibits. These programs are designed to foster research and study about the historical experiences of people with disabilities and their communities.

The World Institute on Disability (WID) was established in 1983 as one of the first global disability rights organizations founded and continually led by people with disabilities. WID works to advance the rights and opportunities of over 1 billion people with disabilities worldwide, bringing research and policy into action and operationalizing inclusion.