American Herstory: A Conversation with Judith Heumann and James Odato
Judith Heumann, star of the Oscar-nominated 2020 documentary CRIP CAMP: A DISABILITY REVOLUTION, is widely hailed as “The Mother” of the Disability Rights Movement. Heumann contracted polio at age 18 months and has used a wheelchair for most of her life. Over the course of half a century, she served as an organizer of various campaigns, protests, and sit-ins that culminated eventually in landmark legislation to protect the rights of the disabled. Assistant Secretary of Education in the Clinton Administration (1993-2001) and Special Advisor to President Barack Obama’s State Department (2010-17), Heumann is the author of two new memoirs Being Heumann (2020), and the YA autobiography, Rolling Warrior (2021).
James Odato, independent scholar and former reporter for the Times Union, is the author of the new biography, This Brain Had a Mouth: Lucy Gwin and the Voice of Disability Nation (2021). Gwin (1943-2014), a resident of Rochester, NY, suffered a traumatic brain injury at age 40 after a head-on collision with a drunk driver. In 1990, she founded Mouth magazine, one of the most radical and significant disability rights publications, producing more than 100 issues.
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