Journey to Full Citizenship: Indiana’s Disability History
This video is an overview of 200 years of change in the lives of Hoosiers with disabilities, produced by the Indiana Disability History Project. A very broad survey starting in the 19th century, the short video highlights the role of advocacy in pressing for the legislation and policy changes needed to secure the civil rights of Indiana's citizens with disabilities.
Part One: Hidden Away
By the end of the 19th century, Hoosiers with disabilities were considered to be a burden to society by the state. Indiana created institutions, placing people behind walls and locked doors.
Part Two: "Unfit" to Reproduce
In the early 20th century, experts promoted eugenics. They believed society could be improved by using biology and genetics to determine who was fit or unfit to live. In 1907, Indiana became the first state in the nation to legislate mandatory sterilization of some of its citizens.
Part Three: Living in the Community
Abuses in institutions came to light. Disability advocates pressed for closures. The establishment of group homes, community mental health centers, and sheltered workshops reflected a shift of funding into community services.
Part Four: The Struggle for Civil Rights
People with disabilities and their allies have fought for equal opportunities in employment, education, and housing, for equal access to public buildings and transportation. Because of these efforts, key U.S. civil rights legislation was enacted in the 20th century.
Part Five: Hoosiers with Disabilities
Today Hoosiers with disabilities are leading independent lives and contributing to their communities. But despite hard-won successes, inequalities persist in education, employment, economic status, and access to health care. The journey to full citizenship continues.
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