Disability History in Texas From Isolation to Participation a history of Disability in Texas, 1835 – 1999


People, Progress, and Participation through the Decades



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People, Progress, and Participation through the Decades




1950's U.S.


post war prosperity; pacemaker invented; first heart/lung machine; polio vaccine; first commercial computer used by Census; Supreme Court ended segregation of public schools; air conditioning; Peanuts comic strip; 10,000,000 TVs in American homes; Twilight Zone; Elvis; and Hula Hoops

1950's Texas


oil boom; women allowed to serve as jurors; semiconductor industry; college desegregation began; Dwight Eisenhower elected president

1950's Texas Disabilities


parent advocacy: The Association for Retarded Children of Texas, United Cerebral Palsy of Texas; Criss Cole served in Texas House of Representatives; medical research increased; Kerrville State Hospital opened; Texas State Library added talking book service for children who are blind

1950's Governor's Committee and Local Committees


veteran and awareness focus; Lawrence Melton, an amputee, continued involvement with the DAV and the President's Committee as well as the Governor's Committee Chair; Members were originally appointed by the Chairman pending approval of the Governor. The primary function of the committee was to promote the employment of handicapped persons in the state.

1960's U.S.


civil rights; Vietnam War; Peace Corps established; first moon walk; Cuban Missile Crisis; President Kennedy assassinated; Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated; first black person appointed to US Supreme Court; drug Thalidomide is found to cause birth defects; Medicaid and Medicare; Woodstock; Bob Dylan songs and Andy Warhol prints popular; mini skirts

1960's Texas


prosperity from cotton and oil; poll tax repealed; aerospace growth; LBJ became president and re-elected; Barbara Jordan was first black woman in Texas Senate; Astrodome - first covered stadium

1960's Texas Disability


service expansion; first access law; Criss Cole served in Texas Senate; Texas Dept. of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (MHMR) began, 17 MHMR centers and 5 state schools opened; Architectural Barriers Act passed; Learning Disabilities Association of Texas formed
1960's Governor's Committee and Local Committees

continued public awareness and connection with the President's Committee; staff support through Texas Employment Committee



1970's U.S.


first disability civil rights; Congress passed the Education for all Children Act; first AIDS case reported; first outbreak of Legionnaire's disease in Philadelphia; first Apple computer marketed in US; Roots published; movie Patton

1970's Texas


strong economy due to oil industry; William Clements elected first Republican Governor since Reconstruction; Dallas Cowboys won 2 Super Bowls; Earl Campbell received Heisman Trophy

1970's Texas Disability


service expansion; first independent living centers; Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center for the Blind opened; American Sign Language recognized as a language that may be taught in public schools; handicapped stickers for license plates; Lynden Olsen, an amputee, served in the Texas House of Representatives; Austin special transit begins; local advocacy groups increased; Advocacy, Inc. started; Coalition of Texans with Disabilities formed

1970's Governor's Committee and Local Committees


increased awareness through essay contests and Employment Awards

1980's U.S.


end of Communism; Fall of Berlin Wall; first woman appointed to US Supreme Court; MTV and CNN; Congress passed Air Carrier Access Act, Fair Housing Act; AIDS; Marlee Matlin won an Oscar for her performance in Children of A Lesser God; compact discs introduced; Batman; On Golden Pond; Jaws

1980's Texas


began diversifying economy; Andrew Foster, founder of the Negro Baseball League, was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame; Houstonian George Bush elected President

1980's Texas Disability


increased advocacy and independent living centers; first interpreter certification program; employment discrimination is prohibited; access to polls guaranteed by law and other access laws; Legislature established Relay Texas to provide telephone access for persons deaf, hard-of-hearing, or speech-impaired; Victor Galloway became first deaf superintendent at the Texas School for the Deaf; Legislature created Texas Planning Council for Developmental Disabilities; Todd Freeland competed in the Oita International Wheelchair marathon in Japan

1980's Governor's Committee and Local Committees

Governor's Committee:

began Barbara Jordan Media Awards; supported 15+ Local Committees; Time magazine published a letter from the Committee to Gallaudet University students; published a report of a Transportation Barriers questionnaire

Local Committees:

first volunteer parking enforcement program started by Beaumont Mayor's Committee; Dallas Mayor's Committee awarded first scholarship for students with disabilities

1990's U.S.


information technology; the Internet; ADA signed; Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty; Desert Storm; NAFTA; Magic Johnson was NBA MVP; Michael Jordan retired; Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa; Oklahoma City bombing; stock market reaches 10,000; first balanced budget since 1969; swing dance returns; Jurassic Park; Beauty and the Beast; Titanic

1990's Texas


Ann Richards first woman elected Governor in her own right; Kay Bailey Hutchison first woman US Senator from Texas; Greg Abbott appointed to the Texas Supreme Court; Governor George W. Bush elected to consecutive four year terms; floods and tornadoes; Ricky Williams broke NCAA all-time rushing record and received Heisman Trophy; Dallas Cowboys won 3 Super Bowls; Houston Rockets won back-to-back NBA championships; high tech boom; economic growth




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