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Helen Keller, a deaf and blind civil rights activist, was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama on June 27th, 1880.
Sarah Doherty, an amputee who was also a member of the inaugural U.S. National Disabled Ski Team, was the first person with a disability to summit Denali.
Visiting the Grand Canyon in Arizona? It has multiple views of the Canyon that are wheelchair accessible, including one of the most accessible overlooks, Grandview Point.
The Arkansas Coalition for the Handicapped that was incorporated in 1976 changed its legal name to the Arkansas Disability Coalition in response to people’s advocacy to use “people first language”.
Actor Zack Gottsagen was the first actor with Down Syndrome to present an Oscar Award at the 2020 Academy Awards in Hollywood, CA.
Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person to climb to the top of Mount Everest, founded No Barriers USA in Fort Collins, Colorado in 2005.
The American School for the Deaf was launched in Hartford, CT in 1817, and is still educating students today.
In 2017 ADA compliant pathways were installed at Rehoboth Beach to make the beach accessible for wheelchair users.
Florida’s first special education class commenced in 1926 in Jacksonville.
In 1927, future U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who became disabled because of polio, founded the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation to treat people with physical disabilities.
Native Hawaiian and professional surfer Bethany Hamilton, who survived a shark attack that resulted in an amputation, was the inspiration for the hit movie “Soul Surfer”.
Idaho was ahead of the times! Disability Rights Idaho was founded in 1977, 13 years before the ADA was passed into law.
Actress Marlee Matlin, who is the only deaf performer to have won an Academy Award, is from Morton Grove, IL.
Janet Jackson, who was born in Indiana, has experienced mental health challenges, including intense depression.
President Ronald Reagan, who had a hearing impairment and was the first president to wear hearing aids in office, was once a radio announcer in 1932 for an Iowan radio station.
The Ms. Wheelchair Kansas (MWKS) program started in 2004, 32 years after the first program took place in 1972.
The famous Kentucky Derby bourbon provider, Woodford Reserve Distillery, offers a wheelchair/disability accessible tour path and tour bus.
Did you know? Every streetcar line in New Orleans except for one is accessible.
Echo Lake Beach at Acadia National Park is fully accessible by wheelchair including a paved path leading to the water.
The National Federation of the Blind was founded in November 1940 in Baltimore, Maryland
The first Disability Pride Parade was held in Boston, Massachusetts in 1990.
Stevie Wonder, a prominent blind American musician, singer-songwriter, and record producer, was born in Saginaw, Michigan.
Metro Deaf School (MDS), a free public charter school, is the second charter school for the deaf to officially open in the United States.
Did you know…Mississippi’s Museum of Natural Science is fully wheelchair accessible, and includes an accessible outdoor trail too!
Since 2011, Missouri had designated the month of October to be “Disability History and Awareness Month”
The Alliance for Disability and Students (ADSUM) was founded in 1988 at the University of Montana to combat discrimination faced by students with disabilities at the university.
Did you know that in 1975 President Gerald R. Ford, a native Nebraskan, signed into law what is now known as Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)?
Las Vegas has more accessible guest rooms than any other city in the United States.
In 1991, New Hampshire became the first state to no longer operate state institutions where people with disabilities would live.
Bruce Springsteen, who is originally from NJ, has had mental health challenges since the age of 32.
New Mexico’s famous Carlsbad Caverns is one of few cave systems to have an elevator into the caverns, which leads to a 1-mile trail that is mostly wheelchair accessible.
The famous ‘Protection & Advocacy’ system in the US came about from a television series done by Geraldo Rivera, who reported on the abuse and neglect at a state institute for people with intellectual disabilities on Staten Island.
Did you know that Blackbeard the Pirate, whose last stand was in North Carolina, offered his men contracts that included disability insurance?
According to a 2019 study, North Dakota has the highest employment rate in the US for people with disabilities at 56.3% employment rate.
Mandy Harvey, a notable jazz and pop singer, who is deaf, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. She appeared on the 12th season of America’s Got Talent (AGT).
The University of Central Oklahoma became a Paralympic Training Site in 2005. As a training site, the university is home to the U.S. men’s and women’s sitting volleyball teams.
The US Forest Service in Oregon created a series of 33 videos on YouTube called The Accessible Adventures in the Pacific Northwest. The videos show how accessible these places are.
Fifteen years before the ADA was signed into law, Pennsylvania outlawed “peonage” – forcing a person who is institutionalized to work without pay.
Rhode Island opened the first public special education class in 1896.
Did you know? The South Carolina Aquarium, which extends from the first to the third floor of the Aquarium and is the deepest tank in North America (42 feet!), is accessible.
Laura Ingalls Wilder penned an autobiography about her first four years of marriage to Almonzo Wilder and living in South Dakota, which includes their bout with diphtheria and Almonzo’s consequential disability from a complication.
The longest recorded around the clock sit-in occurred in 2005 in TN, where people with disabilities sat for 77 days in response to the Governor making cuts to the Medicaid program.
The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law by long time Texas resident, President George H.W. Bush.
Six Utahns were among the 74 athletes who represented the US team in the Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in South Korea.
The Center on Community and Disability Inclusion at the University of Vermont has promoted inclusion for people with disabilities since 1974.
In 2008 Virginia’s Senate signed the Disability History and Awareness Month into law.
In 2008, Washington State legislature passed a law which declared October as Disability History Month.
The famous Princeton mathematician and Nobel Prize winner John Nash, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was born in Bluefield, West Virginia.
Guess what? The famous Dell Army Duck rides at Wisconsin Dells are accessible for all!
The first ever Paralympian to appear in the 2018 Swimsuit Edition of Sports Illustrated, Brenna Huckaby, is from Wyoming.
In honor of 30 years to the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), LINK20 members are bringing you an interactive and accessible map of the United States! Click on each state to read an interesting and surprising fact related to disability, inclusion, and accessibility in that state. You can also watch a short video from our advocates in each of the 50 states, discussing how the ADA has influenced their lives.
Click on your favorite state below to start exploring!
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