"The Hidden Story of How the ADA Gave the Largest US Minority Its Rights"

Jul 22, 2015

Our guest on ST is Lennard J. Davis, an author and scholar who is also Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts in the Departments of Disability Studies and English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Davis speaks with us about his well-regarded new book,  "Enabling Acts: The Hidden Story of How the Americans with Disabilities Act Gave the Largest US Minority Its Rights." Published for the 25th anniversary of the ADA, this book offers the first-ever "behind the scenes" narrative of how a group leftist Berkeley hippies managed to make alliances with conservative Republicans to bring about a truly bipartisan -- and landmark -- bill. Davis draws on many extensive interviews with all manner of legislators and activists in order to document this little-known but vitally important history. "Enabling Acts" also highlights key moments in the history of the ADA's development, such the iconic "Capitol Crawl." This work is, per a starred review in Booklist, a "unique and moving history...[and] a perfect celebration of the ADA's 25th anniversary." And further, as noted by Library Journal: "Rather than a standard, legalistic history of legislation and case law, this non-lawyer author provides an engaging and even chatty account covering the personalities and political machinations that resulted in bipartisan passage of the law. A lively and well-researched legal saga suited to general readers interested in current events and disability issues."