Patient No More: People with Disabilities Securing Civil Rights

Section 504 protesters
Saturday, March 2nd 2024 - Saturday, May 25th 2024
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
All ages

Discover a remarkable, overlooked moment in U.S. history when people with disabilities protested discrimination by the federal government and won. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 made it illegal for any federally-funded facilities or programs to discriminate against disabled people, but four years later one missing signature stood in the way of the law taking effect.

Demonstrations took place across the country in April of 1977, but in San Francisco more than 100 people began a 26-day occupation of the Federal Building to insist on getting civil rights. On April 30, the occupiers emerged victorious from the longest unarmed take-over of a federal building in US history after the Head of Health Education and Welfare (HEW) had finally added his signature to the 504 regulations.