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Google Doodle Honors Pioneering Disability Activist Ed Roberts

ADA Sign Depot

January 23, 2017

ADA Sign DepotDisability Activist Ed Roberts

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Throughout his lifetime, Roberts fought for people with disabilities to have the right to fully participate in society


Ed Roberts is often called the father of the Independent Living movement. His career as an advocate began when a high school administrator threatened to deny him his diploma because he had not completed driver’s education and physical education. After attending the College of San Mateo, he was admitted to the University of California, Berkeley. He had to fight for the support he needed to attend college from the California Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, because his rehabilitation counselor thought he was too severely disabled to ever get a job. Upon learning that Roberts had a severe disability, one of the UC Berkeley deans famously commented, “We’ve tried cripples before and it didn’t work.” Other Berkeley administrators supported admitting Roberts, and expressed the opinion that the University should do more.


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