The authors employ the techniques of oral history to penetrate the nether world of the drug user, giving us an engrossing portrait of life in the drug subculture during the "classic" era of strict narcotic control.
Praise for the hardcover edition:
"A momentous book which I feel is destined to become a classic in the category of scholarly narcotic books."
—Claude Brown, author of the bestseller, Manchild in the Promised Land.
"The drug literature is filled with the stereotyped opinions of non-addicted, middle-class pundits who have had little direct contact with addicts. These stories are reality. Narcotic addicts of the inner cities are both tough and gentle, deceptive when necessary and yet often generous--above all, shrewd judges of character. While judging them, the clinician is also being judged."
—Vincent P. Dole, M.D., The Rockefeller Institute.
"What was it like to be a narcotic addict during the Anslinger era? No book will probably ever appear that gives a better picture than this one. . . . a singularly readable and informative work on a subject ordinarily buried in clichés and stereotypes."
—Donald W. Goodwin, Journal of the American Medical Association
" . . . an important contribution to the growing body of literature that attempts to more clearly define the nature of drug addiction. . . . [This book] will appeal to a diverse audience. Academicians, politicians, and the general reader will find this approach to drug addiction extremely beneficial, insightful, and instructive. . . . Without qualification anyone wishing to acquire a better understanding of drug addicts and addiction will benefit from reading this book."
—John C. McWilliams, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
"This study has much to say to a general audience, as well as those involved in drug control."
"The authors' comments are perceptive and the interviews make interesting reading."
—John Duffy, Journal of American History
"This book adds a vital and often compelling human dimension to the story of drug use and law enforcement. The material will be of great value to other specialists, such as those interested in the history of organized crime and of outsiders in general."
—H. Wayne Morgan, Journal of Southern History
"This book represents a significant and valuable addition to the contemporary substance abuse literature. . . . this book presents findings from a novel and remarkably imaginative research approach in a cogent and exceptionally informative manner."
—William M. Harvey, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
"This is a good and important book filled with new information containing provocative elements usually brought forth through the touching details of personal experience. . . . There isn't a recollection which isn't of intrinsic value and many point to issues hardly ever broached in more conventional studies."
—Alan Block, Journal of Social History
Barbed Voices is an engaging anthology of the most significant published articles written by the well-known and highly respected historian of Japanese American history Arthur Hansen, updated and annotated for contemporary context. Featuring selected inmates and camp groups who spearheaded resistance movements in the ten War Relocation Authority–administered compounds in the United States during World War II, Hansen’s writing provides a basis for understanding why, when, where, and how some of the 120,000 incarcerated Japanese Americans opposed the threats to themselves, their families, their reference groups, and their racial-ethnic community.
What historically was benignly termed the “Japanese American Evacuation” was in fact a social disaster, which, unlike a natural disaster, is man-made. Examining the emotional implications of targeted systemic incarceration, Hansen highlights the psychological traumas that transformed Japanese American identity and culture for generations after the war. While many accounts of Japanese American incarceration rely heavily on government documents and analytic texts, Hansen’s focus on first-person Nikkei testimonies gathered through powerful oral history interviews gives expression to the resistance to this social disaster.
Analyzing the evolving historical memory of the effects of wartime incarceration, Barbed Voices presents a new scholarly framework of enduring value. It will be of interest to students and scholars of oral history, US history, public history, and ethnic studies as well as the general public interested in the WWII experience and civil rights.
History, we are often taught, is driven by vast social, political, and economic forces. But each political event, each war, each clash in the streets or at the picket lines, is experienced by individuals. It is this profound bond between public history and personal struggle, Alessandro Portelli contends, that gives oral history its significance and its power.
In The Battle of Valle Giulia—the title comes from an Italian student protest of the 1960s—Portelli reflects on how to connect personal memories with history, how to fittingly collect and represent the complexity of memory. Crossing cultures, classes, and generations, he records the private and singular experiences of Italian steelworkers and Kentucky coal miners, veterans and refugees of World War II, soldiers who fought in Vietnam, Italian resistance fighters and Nazis, and members of student movements from Berkeley to Rome. By listening to those whom others presume are "without historical memory"—such as youthful protesters, or the rural Tuscan women who saw every father, son, and brother killed by Nazi soldiers—Portelli clarifies the process by which narratives come into being as oral history, and he illustrates the differences and distances between story-telling and history-telling.
Portelli's articulate discussion of dialogue, representation, narrative and genre link historical analysis with literary and linguistic theory and with the concerns of contemporary anthropology.
Doña Ramona Benítez Franco was born in 1902 on her parents' Arizona ranch and celebrated her hundredth birthday with family and friends in 2002, still living in her family's century-old adobe house. Doña Ramona witnessed many changes in the intervening years, but her memories of the land and customs she knew as a child are indelible.
For Doña Ramona as well as for countless generations of Mexican Americans, memories of rural life recall la querida tierra, the beloved land. Through good times and bad, the land provided sustenance. Today, many of those homesteads and ranches have succumbed to bulldozers that have brought housing projects and strip malls in their wake.
Now a writer and a photographer who have long been intimately involved with Arizona's Hispanic community have preserved the voices and images of men and women who are descendants of pioneer ranching and farming families in southern Arizona. Ranging from Tucson to the San Rafael Valley and points in between, this book documents the contributions of Mexican American families whose history and culture are intertwined with the lifestyle of the contemporary Southwest. These were hardy, self-reliant pioneers who settled in what were then remote areas. Their stories tell of love affairs with the land and a way of life that is rapidly disappearing.
Through oral histories and a captivating array of historic and contemporary photos, Beloved Land records a vibrant and resourceful way of life that has contributed so much to the region. Individuals like Doña Ramona tell stories about rural life, farming, ranching, and vaquero culture that enrich our knowledge of settlement, culinary practices, religious traditions, arts, and education of Hispanic settlers of Arizona. They talk frankly about how the land changed hands—not always by legal means—and tell how they feel about modern society and the disappearance of the rural lifestyle.
"Our ranch homes and fields, our chapels and corrals may have been bulldozed by progress or renovated into spas and guest ranches that never whisper our ancestors' names," writes Patricia Preciado Martin. "The story of our beautiful and resilient heritage will never be silenced . . . as long as we always remember to run our fingers through the nourishing and nurturing soil of our history." Beloved Land works that soil as it revitalizes that history for the generations to come.
Black Theater Is Black Life fills a critical gap in the history of African American culture in Chicago. Through interviews with prominent producers, directors, choreographers, designers, dancers, and actors, Young and Zabriskie create a portrait of a diverse, dynamic artistic community between 1970 and 2010. They frame this history with helpful guides, including a chronology of key events, a glossary of names, and an appendix of leading performing arts institutions in Chicago.
Andrew J. Dunar and Dennis McBride skillfully interweave eyewitness accounts of the building of Hoover Dam. These stories create the richest existing portrait of the building of Hoover Dam and its tremendous effect on the lives of those involved in its creation: the gritty, sometimes grisly realities of living in cardboard boxes and tents during several of the hottest Southern Nevada summers on record; the fearsome carbon monoxide deaths of tunnel builders who, it was claimed, had died of "pneumonia"; the uproarious life of nearby Las Vegas versus the tightly controlled existence of the workers in the built-overnight confines of Boulder City; and of course the astounding accomplishment of building the Dam itself and completing the task not only early but under budget!
In neighborhoods, schools, community centers, and workplaces, people are using oral history to capture and collect the kinds of stories that the history books and the media tend to overlook: stories of personal struggle and hope, of war and peace, of family and friends, of beliefs, traditions, and values—the stories of our lives.
Catching Stories: A Practical Guide to Oral History is a clear and comprehensive introduction for those with little or no experience in planning or undertaking oral history projects. Opening with the key question, “Why do oral history?” the guide outlines the stages of a project from idea to final product—planning and research, the interviewing process, basic technical principles, and audio and video recording techniques. The guide covers interview transcribing, ethical and legal issues, archiving, funding sources, and sharing oral history with audiences.
Intended for teachers, students, librarians, local historians, and volunteers as well as individuals, Catching Stories is the place to start for anyone who wants to document the memories and collect the stories of community or family.
Among the many changes that have occurred in our country in the last forty years, few have been as significant as those heralded by the Supreme Court's decision in the Brown vs. Board of Education case in 1954. By declaring racially segregated public schools unconstitutional, the court set in motion forces that resulted in the dismantling of the legal structure of Jim Crowism. The impact of the Brown decision was national in scope, but in no other region was its impact more far-reaching and traumatic than in the South. In Arkansas, as in other Southern states, racial segregation was not merely a well-stablished way of life, it was firmly imbedded in law.
While school desegregation generated much noise and some violence elsewhere in the South, the city of Fayetteville, Arkansas confronted the issue and resolved it with a good deal of dignity and grace, becoming the first Southern city to accommodate the Brown decision.
Through this fascinating collection of interviews with those who were involved in the desegregation process—students, teachers, administrators, civic leaders, and members of local groups—we learn of the determination of citizens to obey the law of the land and to see that freedom and equality took priority over their commitment to a school system that patently discriminated against one group of citizens.
In our continuing efforts to create a society in which all races and cultures can coexist, Civil Obedience is a story worthy of our full attention.
"I've seen many changes during the years," says Irene Bishop, "from horse and buggy to automobiles and planes, from palm leaf fans to refrigeration. . . . They talk about the good old days but I do not want to go back. I'd like to go back about twenty years, but not beyond that. Life was too hard."
Drawing on interviews with twenty-nine individuals, Doing What the Day Brought examines the everyday lives of women from the late nineteenth century to the present day and demonstrates the role they have played in shaping the modern Arizona community.
Focusing on "ordinary" women, the book crosses race, ethnic, religious, economic, and marital lines to include Arizona women from diverse backgrounds. Rather than simply editing each woman's words, Rothschild and Hronek have analyzed these oral histories for common themes and differences and have woven portions into a narrative that gives context to the individual lives. The resulting life-course format moves naturally from childhood to home life, community service, and participation in the work force, and concludes with reflections on changes witnessed in the lifetimes of these women.
For the women whose lives are presented here, it may have been common to gather dead saguaro cactus ribs to make outdoor fires to boil laundry water, or to give birth on a dirt floor. Their stories capture not only changes in a state where history has overlooked the role of women, but the changing roles of American women over the course of this century.
“It was one of those periods that you got through, as opposed to enjoyed. It wasn’t an environment that . . . was nurturing, so you shut it out. You just got through it. You just took it a day at a time. You excelled if you could. You did your best. You felt as though the eyes of the community were on you.”—Glenda Wilson, East Side Junior High
Much has been written about the historical desegregation of Little Rock Central High School by nine African American students in 1957. History has been silent, however, about the students who desegregated Little Rock’s five public junior high schools—East Side, Forest Heights, Pulaski Heights, Southwest, and West Side—in 1961 and 1962.
The First Twenty-Five gathers the personal stories of these students some fifty years later. They recall what it was like to break down long-standing racial barriers while in their early teens—a developmental stage that often brings emotional vulnerability. In their own words, these individuals share what they saw, heard, and felt as children on the front lines of the civil rights movement, providing insight about this important time in Little Rock, and how these often painful events from their childhoods affected the rest of their lives.
The twentieth century was a truly incredible time of medical research productivity and progress in the treatment of heart disease. Methods of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention that were unknown or scarcely imagined at the start of the century have now been incorporated into daily medical practice.
In Heart to Heart, Dr. Allen B. Weisse presents the first collection of in-depth conversations with some of the world's most renowned cardiologists and surgeons. Weisse's interviews bring a special vitality to the doctors' recollections of the people and events that influenced them, their motivations, their problems, their interactions with their contemporaries, and their hopes and beliefs for the future. Since not every doctor who has made important contributions to the treatment and prevention of heart disease could be interviewed for this volume, Weisse includes a biographical section listing other prominent cardiologists and surgeons as well as a list of recommended reading. This comprehensive history will be a resource for any student of cardiology or general medicine.
The Improbable Life of the Arkansas Democrat is based on more than one hundred interviews with employees of the Democrat, including editors, reporters, feature writers, cartoonists, circulation managers, business managers, salespeople, typesetters and others, from the 1930s through the early 1990s, when the Democrat took over the more prominent Arkansas Gazette after an aggressive newspaper war.
This new addition to Arkansas journalism history provides vivid details about what it was like to work at the Democrat. August Engel, who led the paper with focused devotion for forty-two years, was famous for his thrift, creating austere conditions that included no air conditioning in the newsroom and sub-par wages. In spite of these drawbacks, the paper was still home to many dedicated journalism professionals endeavoring to do good work.
Readers who remember the ultimate acrimony between the two papers may be surprised to learn that for many years the Democrat and the Gazette owners operated under a tacit agreement of civility. The papers didn’t raid each other’s staff, for example, and when a fire broke out in the Gazette pressroom, Democrat management offered to loan the use of its press. Staffers recall that when the Gazette struggled with an advertising boycott and reduced circulation during the Little Rock Central High crisis because of its perceived progressive editorial stance, which infuriated many Arkansans, the Democrat did less than it might have to capitalize. The eventual newspaper war that combined the two rivals saw the end of any semblance of civility when the Democrat hired an aggressive and infamous managing editor named John Robert Starr.
Through these firsthand stories of those who lived it, The Improbable Life of the Arkansas Democrat tells the story of how the second-place paper overtook the oldest newspaper west of the Mississippi, forever changing not only Arkansas journalism but also Arkansas history.
With a legendary beginning as a printing press floated up the Arkansas River in 1819, the Arkansas Gazette is inextricably linked with the state’s history, reporting on every major Arkansas event until the paper’s demise in 1991 after a long, bitter, and very public newspaper war. Looking Back at the Arkansas Gazette, knowledgeably and intimately edited by longtime Gazette reporter Roy Reed, comprises interviews from over a hundred former Gazette staffers recalling the stories they reported on and the people they worked with from the late forties to the paper’s end. The result is a nostalgic and justifiably admiring look back at a publication known for its progressive stance in a conservative Southern state, a newspaper that, after winning two Pulitzers for its brave rule-of-law stance during the Little Rock Central High Crisis, was considered one of the country’s greatest. The interviews, collected from archives at the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History at the University of Arkansas, provide fascinating details on renowned editors and reporters such as Harry Ashmore, Orville Henry, and Charles Portis, journalists who wrote daily on Arkansas’s always-colorful politicians, its tragic disasters and sensational crimes, its civil rights crises, Bill Clinton, the Razorbacks sports teams, and much more. Full of humor and little-known details, Looking Back at the Arkansas Gazette is a fascinating remembrance of a great newspaper.
From Henry Mayhew's classic study of Victorian slums to Studs Terkel's presentations of ordinary people in modern America, oral history has been used to call attention to social conditions. By analyzing the nature and circumstances of the production of such histories of delinquency, James Bennett argues that oral history is a rhetorical device, consciously chosen as such, and is to be understood in terms of its persuasive powers and aims. Bennett shows how oral or life histories of juvenile delinquents have been crucial in communicating the human traits of offenders within their social context, to attract interest in resources for programs to prevent delinquency. Although life history helped to establish the discipline of sociology, Bennett suggests concepts for understanding oral histories generated in many fields.
Oral history is inherently about memory, and when oral history interviews are used "in public," they invariably both reflect and shape public memories of the past. Oral History and Public Memories is the only book that explores this relationship, in fourteen case studies of oral history's use in a variety of venues and media around the world. Readers will learn, for example, of oral history based efforts to reclaim community memory in post-apartheid Cape Town, South Africa; of the role of personal testimony in changing public understanding of Japanese American history in the American West; of oral history's value in mapping heritage sites important to Australia's Aboriginal population; and of the way an oral history project with homeless people in Cleveland, Ohio became a tool for popular education. Taken together, these original essays link the well established practice of oral history to the burgeoning field of memory studies.
Nurses, show girls, housewives, farm workers, casino managers, and government inspectors—together these hard-working members of society contributed to the development of towns across the West. The essays in this volume show how oral history increases understanding of work and community in the twentieth century American West.
In many cases occupations brought people together in myriad ways. The Latino workers who picked lemons together in Southern California report that it was baseball and Cinco de Mayo Queen contests that united them. Mormons in Fort Collins, Colorado, say that building a church together bonded them together. In separate essays, African Americans and women describe how they fostered a sense of community in Las Vegas. Native Americans detail the “Indian economy” in Northern California.
As these essays demonstrate, the history of the American West is the story of small towns and big cities, places both isolated and heavily populated. It includes groups whose history has often been neglected. Sometimes, western history has mirrored the history of the nation; at other times, it has diverged in unique ways. Oral history adds a dimension that has often been missing in writing a comprehensive history of the West. Here an array of oral historians—including folklorists, librarians, and public historians—record what they have learned from people who have, in their own ways, made history.
John C. Nicolay, who had known Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois, served as chief White House secretary from 1861 to 1865. Trained as a journalist, Nicolay had hoped to write a campaign biography of Lincoln in 1860, a desire that was thwarted when an obscure young writer named William Dean Howells got the job. Years later, however, Nicolay fulfilled his ambition; with John Hay, he spent the years from 1872 to 1890 writing a monumental ten-volume biography of Lincoln.
In preparation for this task, Nicolay interviewed men who had known Lincoln both during his years in Springfield and later when he became the president of the United States. "When it came time to write their massive biography, however," Burlingame notes, "he and Hay made sparing use of the interviews" because they had become "skeptical about human memory." Nicolay and Hay also feared that Robert Todd Lincoln might censor material that reflected "poorly on Lincoln or his wife."
Nicolay had interviewed such Springfield friends as Lincoln’ s first two law partners, John Todd Stuart and Stephen T. Logan. At the Illinois capital in June and July 1875, he talked to a number of others including Orville H. Browning, U.S. senator and Lincoln’ s close friend and adviser for over thirty-five years, and Ozias M. Hatch, Lincoln’ s political ally and Springfield neighbor. Four years later he returned briefly and spoke with John W. Bunn, a young political "insider" from Springfield at the time Lincoln was elected president, and once again with Hatch.
Browning shed new light on Lincoln’ s courtship and marriage, telling Nicolay that Lincoln often told him "that he was constantly under great apprehension lest his wife should do something which would bring him into disgrace" while in the White House. During their research, Nicolay and Hay also learned of Lincoln’ s despondency and erratic behavior following his rejection by Matilda Edwards, and they were subsequently criticized by friends for suppressing the information. Burlingame argues that this open discussion of Lincoln’ s depression of January 1841 is "perhaps the most startling new information in the Springfield interviews."
Briefer and more narrowly focused than the Springfield interviews, the Washington interviews deal with the formation of Lincoln’ s cabinet, his relations with Congress, his behavior during the war, his humor, and his grief. In a reminiscence by Robert Todd Lincoln, for example, we learn of Lincoln’ s despair at General Lee's escape after the Battle of Gettysburg: "I went into my father’ s office ... and found him in [much] distress, his head leaning upon the desk in front of him, and when he raised his head there were evidences of tears upon his face. Upon my asking the cause of his distress he told me that he had just received the information that Gen. Lee had succeeded in escaping across the Potomac river. . ."
To supplement these interviews, Burlingame has included Nicolay’ s unpublished essays on Lincoln during the 1860 campaign and on Lincoln’ s journey from Springfield to Washington in 1861, essay’ s based on firsthand testimony.
Oral History of the Yavapai
Mike Harrison and John Williams; Edited by Sigrid Khera and Carolina C. Butler University of Arizona Press, 2015
In the 1970s, the Fort McDowell Reservation in Arizona came under threat by a dam construction project that, if approved, would potentially flood most of its 24,680 acres of land. As part of the effort to preserve the reservation, Mike Harrison and John Williams, two elders of the Yavapai tribe, sought to have their history recorded as they themselves knew it, as it had been passed down to them from generation to generation, so that the history of their people would not be lost to future generations. In March 1974, Arizona State University anthropologist Sigrid Khera first sat down with Harrison and Williams to begin recording and transcribing their oral history, a project that would continue through the summer of 1976 and beyond.
Although Harrison and Williams have since passed away, their voices shine through the pages of this book and the history of their people remains to be passed along and shared. Thanks to the efforts of Scottsdale, Arizona, resident and Orme Dam activist Carolina Butler, this important document is being made available to the public for the first time.
Oral History of the Yavapai offers a wide range of information regarding the Yavapai people, from creation beliefs to interpretations of historical events and people. Harrison and Williams not only relate their perspectives on the relationship between the “White people” and the Native American peoples of the Southwest, but they also share stories about prayers, songs, dreams, sacred places, and belief systems of the Yavapai.
Remembering Japanese Baseball: An Oral History of the Game transports us onto diamonds and into dugouts on the other side of the globe, where the vigorous sportsmanship of the game and the impassioned devotion of its fans transcend cultural and geographic borders and prove that baseball is fast becoming an international pastime.
Called Yakyu, baseball has been played in Japan since the 1890s but has only recently gained a substantial global following. Robert K. Fitts chronicles the nation’s distinctive version of the sport as recounted by twenty-five of its players. Fitts’s careful choice of subjects represents the experiences of a mix of American and Japanese players—including stars, titleholders, and members of the Japanese Hall of Fame. Informal, candid, and remarkably specific, these recollections describe teammates and opponents, corporate owners and loyal fans, triumphs and frustrations, collectively capturing all the spirit and emotion engendered by the game from decidedly personal vantage points. Throughout, readers glimpse the unique traits of baseball in Japan and discern how the game has evolved since its inception as well as how it differs from its American counterpart.
An unparalleled introduction for an American audience, Remembering Japanese Baseball is augmented by photos of its twenty-five interviewees and a timeline demarking milestone moments in the game’s Japanese history. Robert Whiting, author of You Gotta Have Wa! and The Meaning of Ichiro, provides the foreword.
Li Longyun's five-act play, Small Well Lane (Xiaojing hutong), is a spoken drama published in Beijing in 1981. With a cast of nearly thirty characters of different social roles and individual persona, the play provides a vivid sense of how a group of working class Beijing residents living in a courtyard compound in a back alley, or hutong, named "Small Well Lane" experienced China's revolution from 1949 to 1980. It beautifully records the art of talking and living among Beijing back alley folk and provides a vivid contrast to the concerns and lives of China's elites.
This authoritative translation by Hong Jiang and Timothy Cheek is accompanied by notes and annotations to help readers not familiar with China's modern history. A special appendix and ten photographs bring to life the culture of Beijing's famous back alleys.
This edition of Small Well Lane provides readers, and especially students of modern Chinese history, politics, and literature, with a compelling story of the human experience of Mao's revolution in China. It will be of interest to students of modern China and specialists in Chinese history and literature as well as to the general reader.
Li Longyun is a professional playwright working at the Beijing People's Art Theater. Hong Jiang is Assistant Professor of Chinese Language and Literature, Colorado College. Timothy Cheek is Associate Professor of History, Colorado College.
In Solidarity and Survival, three generations of Iowa workers tell of their unrelenting efforts to create a labor movement in the coal mines and on the rails, in packinghouses and farm equipment plants, on construction sites and in hospital wards. Drawing on nearly one thousand interviews collected over more than a decade by oral historians working for the Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, Shelton Stromquist presents the resonant voices of the men and women who defined a new, prominent place for themselves in the lives of their communities and in the politics of their state.
Motivated by a love of her Mexican American heritage, Patricia Preciado Martin set out to document the lives and memories of the women of her mother's and grandmother's eras; for while the role of women in Southwest has begun to be chronicled, that of Hispanic women largely remains obscure. In Songs My Mother Sang to Me, she has preserved the oral histories of many of these women before they have been lost or forgotten.
Martin's quest took her to ranches, mining towns, and cities throughout southern Arizona, for she sought to document as varied an experience of the contributions of Mexican American women as possible. The interviews covered family history and genealogy, childhood memories, secular and religious traditions, education, work and leisure, environment and living conditions, rites of passage, and personal values. Each of the ten oral histories reflects not only the spontaneity of the interview and personality of each individual, but also the friendship that grew between Martin and her subjects.
Songs My Mother Sang to Me collects voices not often heard and brings to print accounts of social change never previously recorded. These women document more than the details of their own lives; in relating the histories of their ancestors and communities, they add to our knowledge of the culture and contributions of Mexican American people in the Southwest.
Three Nigerian Emirates: A Study in Oral History is a widely held study on a scarcely examined region of Nigeria. Victor N. Low presents a detailed account of the leaders, people, and culture of the Hadejia, Katagum, and Gombe regions documented in a transcribed oral history. This work presents a valuable portrait of societies where the tradition of memory and oral history are the only means of remembering the past.
"Nothing about us without us" has been a core principle of American disability rights activists for more than half a century. It represents a response by people with disabilities to being treated with scorn and abuse or as objects of pity, and to having the most fundamental decisions relating to their lives -- where they would live; if and how they would be educated; if they would be allowed to marry or have families; indeed, if they would be permitted to live at all -- made by those who were, in the parlance of the movement, "temporarily able-bodied."
In What We Have Done: An Oral History of the Disability Rights Movement, Fred Pelka takes that slogan at face value. He presents the voices of disability rights activists who, in the period from 1950 to 1990, transformed how society views people with disabilities, and recounts how the various streams of the movement came together to push through the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the most sweeping civil rights legislation since passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Beginning with the stories of those who grew up with disabilities in the 1940s and '50s, the book traces how disability came to be seen as a political issue, and how people with disabilities -- often isolated, institutionalized, and marginalized -- forged a movement analogous to the civil rights, women's rights, and gay rights movements, and fought for full and equal participation in American society.