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My Top Anniversary Features

30th Anniversary / July 17, 2020

As we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, here are my top anniversary features in ADAchronicles.org – the ones that I particularly recommend to commemorate this auspicious occasion.

The first two stories on the STORIES & ESSAYS main menu tab, “There Oughta’ Be A Law: Discriminatory Short-Circuit of Summer Job” and “There Oughta’ Be A Law: The Bob Brunner Story” provide two concrete personal examples of why an ADA-type law was sorely needed.

In the same section, two essays provide “big picture” ADA background information: “A Dozen Things to Know About the ADA” and “Who Really Wrote the ADA?” The first provides just what it says, filling in some significant lesser-known things about the background of the ADA. The second answers the question “Who Really Wrote the ADA?” with three decades’ worth of perspective, describing the many, many people who made the ADA a reality, and spelling out my particular role.

If you are interested in my experiences with polio as a child growing up in Indiana, you’ll find a series of pieces about that under MY ROOTS & DISABILITY. Also, in this section, I share how my family dynamics contributed to my life experiences.

By far, the largest main menu item is, not surprisingly, THE MAKING OF THE ADA. To commemorate the 30th Anniversary, you might find of interest the untold nitty-gritties about the drafting and introduction of the ADA through the 100th Congress, found in the section Drafting and Introduction of the Original ADA Bill. The National Council on Disability’s seminal report, Toward Independence, in which the recommendation of the ADA was first made, is discussed in the section Toward Independence and the Vision of an ADA. And Part 15 of the “Drafting and Introduction” section examines On the Threshold of Independence, the report in which the National Council first published its draft of the ADA. “Dancing to Our Music: Impact and Legacy of the 1988 ADA Bill,” Part 19 of the “Drafting and Introduction” section, provides the inside scoop about the significance of the bill I wrote for the Council that was introduced in Congress in 1988.

A future posting under the heading “The ADA in the 101st Congress” will tell the detailed story of the ADA’s consideration and passage in 1989 and 1990.

And finally, under the Key Documents tab, you’ll discover some foundational documents relating to the development of the ADA, including: the original partial draft (First Partial Draft January 8, 1987); my first full draft on January 31, 1987 (Historic First Draft of ADA Bill); the Council’s final draft introduced in Congress (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1988—Draft Bill March 18, 1988); Kent Waldrep’s memo naming the ADA; and the Statutory Blueprint article.

-Robert Burgdorf