Bridges Blog Series: #DisabilityPrideMonth July

Origins of the Americans with Disabilities Act

#DisabilityPrideMonth July

July is Disability Pride Month because the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed on July 26, 1990. The ADA built upon earlier legislation to strengthen the civil rights protections of individuals with disabilities. Our Maryland Bridges Technical Assistance Center celebrates #DisabilityPrideMonth with a Transition Tip video series about the origins and impact of the ADA.

  • July 4: Origins of the ADA
  • July 11: ADA in Employment and Government
  • July 18: ADA in Employment and Independent Living
  • July 25: ADA in Education

It is an appropriate coincidence that our first #DisabilityPrideMonth Tuesday #TransitionTip is published on our nation’s Independence Day, July 4. This first video in the series explores life before the ADA and how initial drafts of proposed legislation evolved into the legislation that was signed into law almost thirty-three years ago.

Origins of the ADA Video, a #BridgesHelpDesk #TransitionTip Video Interview Celebrating #DisabilityPrideMonth

This #BridgesHelpDesk #TransitionTip video interview explores life before the ADA and how disabled individuals collaborated to create legislation that is flexible enough to protect all kinds of disabilities and strong enough to provide the legal protections needed to break down physical, technological, and attitudinal barriers to inclusion of disabled individuals of all ages.

Bridges’ Project Coordinator, Chris Nusbaum, moderates the discussion as Barbara Pierce and Daniel Frye take us back in time to life before the ADA.

Barbara Pierce has been active in blindness advocacy for many years. Her many accomplishments include service as editor of the Braille Monitor, a position she held both before and after the Americans with Disabilities Act became law.

Daniel Frye is an attorney and has also been active in blindness advocacy for many years and served as editor of the Braille Monitor. Currently, Dan serves as Director of Employment and Professional Development Programs for the National Federation of the Blind.

Video Transcript


Welcome and Introduction by Chris Nusbaum at 0:02

Speakers Describe Their Roles in Disability Advocacy at 1:18

Barbara Pierce Discussion of Her Advocacy at 1:43

Dan Frye Discussion of His Advocacy at 2:56

Brief Review of the Evolution of Disability Civil Rights Legislation in the United States at 6:13

Dan Speaks About the Push for the ADA at 7:28

Blindness Organization’s Concern About Adoption of the ADA at 11:17

Why Was a Blindness Organization Opposed to the ADA? At 12:06

Barbara Pierce Discusses Concerns with Early Versions of the ADA Legislation at 13:01

Responses to Blindness Organization’s Resistance to Early Versions of the ADA at 15:49

Impact of the ADA 33 Years Later at 19:36

Barbara Discusses Strategies When Accommodations Are Not Available at 20:14

Dan’s Suggestions For Overcoming Inaccessible Situations at 22:27

Barbara’s Assessment of the Evolution of the ADA at 26:34

Dan’s Reflections on pre-ADA Law School Accommodations at 27:11

Dan’s Reflections on pre-ADA Accommodations and Disability Discrimination at 28:45

Dan’s Assessment of the ADA’s Impact on Employers at 30:25

Conclusion at 31:22

Check Out The Bridges Helpdesk YouTube Channel

Bridges has a YouTube channel that contains all of our video offerings. Please check them out!

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Bridge’s Technical Assistance Center’s Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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