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Polio

Polio is caused by a virus; it affects the body by attacking the central nervous system, specifically those neurons essential for muscle activity. The first U.S. polio epidemic swept across the country in 1916, and then again in the late 1940s and 1950s. Continue Reading »

Americanization

Until the start of the 20th century, Americans typically believed in the power of the “melting pot” to create a common culture out of the various groups coming to America. However, this surge in immigration led to the creation of Americanization programs. Continue Reading »

Disability Rights & Universal Design

Disability rights originated in Boston, Massachusetts in 1846 with Samuel Gridley Howe. Howe was an advocate for education of the blind, and a supporter of the “feeble-minded.” Continue Reading »

Rankin, Jeannette (1880–1973)

Jeannette Rankin’s life was filled with extraordinary achievements: she was the first woman elected to Congress, one of the few suffragists elected to Congress, and the only Member of Congress to vote against U.S. participation in both World War I and World War II. “I may be the first woman member of Congress,” she observed upon her election in 1916. “But I won’t be the last.”1Continue Reading »

Caraway, Hattie Wyatt (1878 – 1950)

Hattie Wyatt Caraway served for 14 years in the U.S. Senate and established a number of “firsts,” including her 1932 feat of winning election to the upper chamber of Congress in her own right. Drawing principally from the power of the widow’s mandate and the personal relationships she cultivated with a wide cross–section of her constituency, “Silent Hattie” was a faithful, if staid, supporter of New Deal reforms, which aided her largely agricultural state.Continue Reading »

Principles of The Universal Negro Improvement Association (Marcus Garvey, 1922)

We of the Universal Negro Improvement Association are determined to unite the 400,000,000 Negroes of the world to give expression to their own feeling; we are determined to unite the 400,000,000 Negroes of the world for the purpose of building a civilization of their own. And in that effort we desire to bring together the 15,000,000 of the United States, the 180,000,000 in Asia, the West Indies and Central and South America, and the 200,000,000 in Africa. We are looking toward political freedom on the continent of Africa, the land of our fathers.Continue Reading »

Care And Training Of Feeble-Minded Children (1887)

The superintendents of American institutions for feeble-minded persons, in their session of I878, submitted the following: “Idiocy and imbecility are conditions in which there is a want of natural or harmonious development of the mental, active, and moral powers of the individual affected, usually associated with some visible defect or infirmity of the physical organization or with functional anomalies, expressed in various forms and degrees of disordered vital action. There is frequently defect or absence of one or more of the special senses, always irregular or uncertain volition, and dulness or absence of sensibility and perception.”Continue Reading »

Public Aid For The Feeble-Minded (1889)

This entry was a presentation by Mrs. George Brown at the Sixteenth Annual Session of The National Conference Of Charities And Correction, 1889. “In an assemblage like this Conference, it must be an axiomatic proposition that the State should educate all its dependent children. It is not charity: it is simply providing for those of its own household…The question, then, is, in what respects must this provision for the feeble-minded differ from that given to others?”Continue Reading »

Organization of Municipal Charities and Corrections (1916)

Paper presented by L. A. Halbert, General Superintendent, Board of Public Welfare of Kansas City, Missouri
at the National Conference Of Charities And Correction Held In Indianapolis, 1916. “If we were able to ascertain the activities of all incorporated towns and cities, it would show a tremendous volume of activity and an expenditure of many millions of dollars.”Continue Reading »

Poverty: An Anthropologist’s View – 1961

This means that we must give money in amounts generous enough to be really constructive, to people who have done nothing to earn or deserve it. This brings us back to the barrier of the relative values prevailing in our society. The necessary generosity will be forthcoming only when our society really accepts the premise that people are deserving simply because they are people; that is, because they are fellow human beings.

To be realistic, this acceptance will not develop magically or through appeals to conscience. Power rests in the middle class. And we in the middle class are notoriously anxious and defensive in the presence of people whose way of life is more primitive and violent than our own. We are threatened, and hence our response is rejection, not acceptance. Continue Reading »

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