Being Heumann : an unrepentant memoir of a disability rights activist

by Heumann, Judith E.,

Format: Print Book 2020
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Mt. Lebanon Public Library Non-Fiction CHECKED OUT
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
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Collection  Biography
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A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year for Nonfiction

" ... an essential and engaging look at recent disability history."-- Buzzfeed

One of the most influential disability rights activists in US history tells her personal story of fighting for the right to receive an education, have a job, and just be human.

A story of fighting to belong in a world that wasn't built for all of us and of one woman's activism--from the streets of Brooklyn and San Francisco to inside the halls of Washington-- Being Heumann recounts Judy Heumann's lifelong battle to achieve respect, acceptance, and inclusion in society.

Paralyzed from polio at eighteen months, Judy's struggle for equality began early in life. From fighting to attend grade school after being described as a "fire hazard" to later winning a lawsuit against the New York City school system for denying her a teacher's license because of her paralysis, Judy's actions set a precedent that fundamentally improved rights for disabled people.

As a young woman, Judy rolled her wheelchair through the doors of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in San Francisco as a leader of the Section 504 Sit-In, the longest takeover of a governmental building in US history. Working with a community of over 150 disabled activists and allies, Judy successfully pressured the Carter administration to implement protections for disabled peoples' rights, sparking a national movement and leading to the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Candid, intimate, and irreverent, Judy Heumann's memoir about resistance to exclusion invites readers to imagine and make real a world in which we all belong.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "The title says it all: disability-rights activist Heumann is human, though some may think her superhuman. One of the nearly 43,000 U.S. children affected by the 1949 polio epidemic, she is a paraplegic who has used a wheelchair since childhood. Fortunately, she grew up with remarkable parents, orphaned by the Holocaust, who refused to institutionalize her. Chillingly, she notes that Hitler's pilot project for what became mass genocide started with disabled children. But even in America, she faced many hurdles. In 1977, Heumann helped stage a historic sit-in over the failure to enforce section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits excluding anyone from a program that receives federal funds. The activists' pressure set the stage for the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, which is now in peril, Heumann notes, from a president who shut down the ADA pages on the White House website. Consider this book an inspiring call for inclusiveness, courage, equity, and justice as well as a reminder of people's power to change the world for the better.--Karen Springen Copyright 2020 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In this empowering debut, disability rights activist Heumann reveals her indomitable spirit as she battled prejudice and discrimination to gain equal opportunity. Recognizing that Americans with disabilities were "generally invisible in the daily life of society," Heumann, who was paralyzed by polio at 18 months in 1949, fought for inclusion in everyday activities, believing "it was the government's responsibility to ensure that everyone could participate equally in our society." Fighting to go to elementary school in Brooklyn after being called "a fire hazard," she first attended a segregated special education class before attending regular high school. Heumann attended Long Island University, where she led various student protests; after college, she won a lawsuit against the New York City Board of Education for denying her a teacher's license because of her condition. In 1977, she helped organize a 24-day sit-in at the San Francisco office of U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, which pressured the Carter administration to finally execute protections for disabled people, eventually leading to passage of the American with Disabilities Act ("since we'd been left out of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, we needed our own Civil Rights Act"). Thoughtful and illuminating, this inspiring story is a must-read for activists and civil rights supporters. (Feb.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Heumann, Judith E.
Human rights workers -- United States -- Biography.
People with disabilities -- United States -- Biography.
Teachers -- United States -- Biography.
Publisher Boston :2020
Language English
Description xiv, 218 pages ; 23 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 217-218).
ISBN 9780807019290
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