Main Conent


Each advance in public conveyance has had the potential for exclusion.

man cart sepia photograph disability history america

For example, wheelchairs, an old mobility technology, were not compatible with either city streets or public transportation. Paved streets and sidewalks in the 20th century helped. Curb cuts and ramps began appearing in the 1950s. They gained legal backing under the 1968 Architectural Barriers Act and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as did the inclusion of lifts on buses and the removal of architectural barriers in public buildings.

To circumvent barriers, people frequently made their own devices or adapted existing ones to their liking. This man with a bushy beard and bowler hat sits in a cart with four buggy wheels large enough to raise it a few feet off the ground. He has poles for pushing himself along.