history of disability rights movement in film


Photo of Camp Jened staff and campers by Steve Honigsburg, published on Good Housekeeping.com.

Thanks to INCIL’s Megan Norlin for recommending “Crip Camp, a Disability Revolution” on Netflix. I asked Megan for a resource to help my language skills and provide context for my new role and got a world more in this amazing film. It was the kind of experience audiences enjoy after hearing a perfect concerto, or seeing an exquisite painting – I was speechless. And I’m still thinking about it weeks later. I watched this film first then, a couple of weeks later, watched our office copy of “Lives Worth Living,” and benefited from watching them in that order.

Here is the Netflix link to “Crip Camp, a Disability Revolution” – “A groundbreaking summer camp galvanizes a group of teens with disabilities to help build a movement, forging a new path toward greater equality.” And the independent living movement was born.


The PBS film "Lives Worth Living," documents the history of the disability rights movement in America.
Ann Ford is featured in "Lives Worth Living." This photo was taken when she was the Executive Director of INCIL.

INCIL’s Matt Williams recommended I watch “Lives Worth Living” shortly after I began working with the INCIL team. It is moving, informative, inspiring. I’d hoped to send a copy to each of the 22 Illinois CILs, but it’s actually not available in the PBS store nor online for streaming through PBS.org. So, here is a link you can share with your consumers to view it on YouTube.

The film is, according to Tim Gilmer, New Mobility Magazine, “A moving tribute to the early disability rights movement, a must-see for anyone interested in minority groups enduring segregation and persecution, uniting and finding their voice … The film is bursting with righteous indignation.”

But the film doesn’t leave viewers in indignation. The courage and strength of these civil rights pioneers as they move our country from abuse to advocacy is thrilling. The film charts the course forward for today and tomorrow. – DiAnne Crown

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