Exploring the Fight for Disability Rights

Patient No More Exhibition at John F. Kennedy University

A new traveling exhibit, “Patient No More,” 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.

The exhibit is currently on display at JFKU Berkeley Campus, 2956 San Pablo Avenue, 2nd Floor Gallery. Hours are by arrangement, and the gallery opens to the public for three special public events.

The opening reception will take place on January 26, 2017 from 4-6 pm. The Gallery opens at 12 noon. The afternoon reception is open to the public, all University students, staff, faculty and the Museum Community.

Additional related programming includes a presentation and talk with Mrs. Wheelchair America, Dr. Alette Coble-Temple and Positive Exposure Founder Rick Guidotti March 1, 2017 from 7-8:30 pm. This third and final evening event promises to be enlightening and educational. Please join JFKU Museum Studies and the Office of Student Affairs for these next two exciting events.

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.