A Long Struggle For Equality Essay

1270 Words Jun 11th, 2015 null Page
In America, individuals who cope with a disability have had a long struggle for equality. In the 1800s many did not believe persons with disability were capable of living independently. According to the ASHE Higher Education Report (2013), society viewed persons with disability as incapable of thinking, learning, or achieving goals. Persons with disability were considered a disgrace and spent their entire lives in institutions or asylums for “purification”, because they were seen as unclean (Fleischer & Zames, 2000). They were viewed as being abnormal and were forced to undergo sterilization. Furthermore, persons with disability were hidden from society, unless being used for entertainment, such as circus acts. It was in the 1860s that change began to emerge as Abraham Lincoln established funding for Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. for students who are deaf (ASHE Higher Education Report, 2013).
Americans soon become aware of the ability of many persons with disability (Fleischer & Zames, 2000). After World War I, due to the vast number of veterans who returned home disabled, persons with disability began to be viewed differently. The Soldier’s Rehabilitation Act of 1918 created a vocational rehabilitation program for disabled veterans due to the need for support that span beyond financial assistance. Under the act, disabled veterans received training to learn new skills in jobs that match their current barriers and ability. In 1920, the Smith-Fess Act…

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