Strategies for Access
DISABILITY HISTORY THROUGH PRIMARY SOURCES
The integration of disability history into the curriculum benefits all students. Utilizing primary sources from the Library of Congress and the Disability History Museum and other collections, educators are able to bring history to life. Video tours of the Library of Congress and the Disability History Museum are available below and provide an overview of the wealth of resources on each site. Emerging America provides educators with quality resources for the integration of disability history into lesson and unit design.
Model lessons designed by educators exemplify how to blend disability content and primary documents with engaging learning activities. Students engage when they connect with history that reflects THEIR experiences. Lesson plans and primary source sets align with topics common to teaching U.S. History in Grades 4-10.
- Emerging America – Here are a few sample source sets and lesson plans:
- Find more primary source sets on Disability History through the Teaching Resources Search Tool.
- List of lessons and primary source sets for Disability History aligned to disability history as presented in 2018 Massachusetts history standards.
Primary Sources on Disability History
- The Library of Congress offers extensive relevant collections. Start with these portals.
- Veterans History Project page on disability
- WWI: Injured Veterans and the Disability Rights Movement
- Chronicling America news articles on Eugenics
- Through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, the Library of Congress has offered services to make libraries accessible since 1931. Explore the history of the NLS.
- The Teaching with the Library of Congress blog offers a searchable resource of introductions to a wide variety of topics. See, for example, the post on the history of lobotomies, “Using Historic Newspapers to Study Accounts of a Now-Abandoned Medical Procedure.”
- The wholly online Disability History Museum offers hundreds of primary sources, background essays, and other resources. The museum examines the people, lives, and institutions of disability from the founding of the nation to today. Looking across disabilities and ages, the site aims to help all users deepen understanding of variation and difference in national and community life. http://www.disabilitymuseum.org
Crossover Themes of Disability History
State history standards and textbooks across the U.S. commonly emphasize a similar structure of topics in history. Even in states that do not yet make Disability History explicit, the following themes offer places where teachers can integrate key moments and concepts of Disability History.
- Founding of Schools and of Asylums – (1820-1860) Antebellum Reform Movements
- Civil War Veterans – (1861-1900) Impacts of Civil War / Growth of Federal Government
- WWI Veterans – (1917-1932) Progressive Era / Propaganda / Impacts of WWI
- Social Security Disability – (1933-1977) Progressive Era / New Deal / Responsibilities of Private Sector vs Government
- Disability Rights – (1962-1990) Cold War Era Social Protests
- From Homes to Poor Farms (Pre-History – 1900) – People with Disabilities in Traditional Communities
- Disability History/Archives Consortium
- The Disability History/Archives Consortium is a national collaboration that aims to promote the integration of collections, preservation, access, and the development of education resources about disability history broadly defined. Published quarterly, each edition features news from leading local, state, and national museums and archives with collections on disability history. Contributors to the newsletter include:
- Rochester Institute of Technology Deaf Studies Archives
- University of Minnesota Libraries Archives and Special Collections Department
- Perkins School for the Blind Research Library & Archives
- Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind
Other Selected Publications on Disability History
Readings to introduce key concepts of Disability History.
- Argetsinger, J., & Q. LaLonde. (2015). “Disability History: What contributed to a growing understanding and awareness of people with disabilities?” Primary Source Set from EmergingAmerica.org. Retrieved 10/10/2016. http://emergingamerica.org/resource/disability-history/
- Baynton, D. (2001). “Disability and the Justification of Inequality in American History” Disability History Museum. Retrieved 09/28/2016. http://www.disabilitymuseum.org/dhm/edu/essay.html?id=70
- Nielsen, K. E. (2012). A disability history of the United States(Vol. 2). Beacon Press
Emerging America built this digital resource to provide ongoing support for K-12 teachers of history, social studies, and humanities to challenge and nurture struggling learners. Sign up to be alerted when we offer the online version of the Accessing Inquiry for Students with Disability through Primary Sources course.
Modules of the Accessing Inquiry Digital Resource