1977 April 5

“504” Sit-in at HEW by Disability Rights Activists


Disability rights activists staged a sit-in at U.S. Health, Education and Welfare headquarters on this day, because HEW Secretary Joseph Califano had refused to develop meaningful regulations to implement Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act (passed on September 26, 1973). The section provided for expanded programs for disabled persons. Califano issued the regulations three weeks later.

Congress passed the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 1990. The ADA served as the model for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was signed on March 30, 2007. The U.S. Senate has still not ratified the Convention, however, because of conservative opposition. See December 5, 2012 for a Senate vote on ratification that failed.

Watch a Trailer for Lives Worth Living on the Disability Rights Movement:

Learn more: Fred Pelka, What We Have Done: An Oral History of the Disability Rights Movement (2012)

And more:  Kim Nielsen, A Disability History of the United States (2012)

Learn more at the National Disability Rights Network: http://www.ndrn.org/index.php

And more at the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund: http://dredf.org/

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