Discover an overlooked moment in U.S. history when people with disabilities occupied a government building to win their rights. The exhibit Patient No More: People with Disabilities Securing Civil Rights will be on display at the Park City Museum from February 12, 2023 to April 16, 2023. The exhibition uncovers the stories behind a turbulent April in 1977, when people with disabilities successfully launched protests across the nation to get Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 signed into law.
Section 504 made it illegal for any federally funded facilities or programs to discriminate against people with disabilities, but as of 1977, one missing signature stood in the way of the law taking effect. After a 26-day occupation of the Federal Building in San Francisco, the occupiers emerged victorious from the longest unarmed take-over of a federal building in U.S. history when the Head of Health Education and Welfare finally added his signature to the 504 regulations.
In this exhibition, visitors will get a chance to appreciate how the occupiers built networks of support, from unions to the Black Panthers; how protesters influenced the media and changed the language used to cover the protest; and the controversies of 504, especially in regards to race and deafness. Above all, this exhibition reminds all of us that disabilities are a source of creativity and innovation, not pity or tragedy.
Large print, braille copies of exhibition text, audio descriptions, and audio-described and captioned videos combine to make this show as accessible as possible.
Patient No More is presented by the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University, made possible with support from California Humanities, and traveled by Exhibit Envoy.
About the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability
The Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University (SF State) promotes people with disabilities’ strength, ingenuity, and originality to transform assumptions about disability. The Longmore Institute brings together university faculty and students with the Bay Area’s vibrant disability community to create projects and events based in disability arts, scholarship, and public education that have a national impact. The Longmore Institute carries on the legacy of its namesake and founder, disabled scholar and activist Paul Longmore, to build a culture of pride, freedom, and self-determination for people with disabilities.
About Exhibit Envoy
Exhibit Envoy provides traveling exhibitions and professional services to museums throughout California. Exhibit Envoy’s mission is to build new perspectives among Californians, create innovative exhibitions and solutions, and advance institutions in service to their communities. For more information, please visit www.exhibitenvoy.org.
Headline photo caption and credit: Section 504 protesters demonstrate with signs and placards outside San Francisco’s City Hall, April 5, 1977. Photograph by Anthony Tusler.