Friday, February 26, 2010

Disability Blog Carnival #63 is up NOW!

[Visual description: Carnival logo featuring a black-and-white photograph of an old hospital, turrets and such, with the words "Disability Blog Carnival" and "Can't shut us up now" in yellow scrawly print across it.]

And it's a WOW of a carnival, at the disability community on, on the theme "relationships." There are lots of links, lots of different blogs, and even if you only read the choice quotes avendya selected to represent each submission, you'll leave the table with plenty to think on. But don't do that, go read the full posts too, and comment to thank the submitters for their strong work.

According to my schedule, the next carnival should be hosted by Athena, Ivan, and the Integral at their blog. The stated theme I was given is "If you had a chance to strike down a single stereotype, which one would it be and why?" Stay tuned at their blog for more on this. Meanwhile you can send submissions to me or put them in comments here, I'll be sure they get to the hosts for consideration before the March carnival posts.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Paging Sarah Palin

There really are still people out there who believe this hateful nonsense.

And they get elected. In the US. In 2010.

No amount of photo ops with cute children can change the ugly of this.

ETA: Not surprised at all to discover that FWD blog had a post about this, and Liz has a whole bunch of links to reactions on the topic. Joel at NTs are Weird also has a comment.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

16 February: Theresa Goh (b. 1987)

[Visual description: A photograph of swimmer Theresa Goh, wearing a black competition suit and swimcap, sitting in a wheelchair, smiling]

"I'm fine with it. I [wouldn't] be swimming or where I am today if I weren't disabled."
--Theresa Goh

A sports birthday today--and a summer sport, in case you've had quite enough snow and ice by now, on TV or out the window (or both).

Singapore's Theresa Goh Rui Si was born on this date in 1987. She was premature, and had spina bifida that required surgery in her first months. Goh has always used a wheelchair. At age 5, she started swimming, and by age 12 she was swimming in meets. Since her teens, she's been a world-class swimmer in Paralympic events. She won in four different events at the Danish Open in 2007; at the Paralympics in Beijing the next year, she competed in four events and was her team's flagbearer. This past December, she earned a gold medal at the IWAS World Wheelchair & Amputee Games in India. She's planning to train for the 2012 Paralympics in London.

Goh turns 23 today.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

13 February: The Beating of Isaac Woodard (1946)

[Image description: black-and-white photo of Isaac Woodard, seated, wearing a uniform and large round sunglasses. A woman is standing next to the chair, with her arm behind Woodard.]

What does it cost to be a Negro? In Aiken, South Carolina it cost a man his eyes.

--Orson Welles, in a September 1946 radio broadast

On this date in 1946, Isaac Woodard (1919-1992) was on a long bus ride from Georgia, returning to his family in North Carolina. Woodard was African-American, and grew up in the South, but he was also in uniform, freshly discharged from the US Army with medals earned for his wartime service. Surely, he could use the next rest stop without any fuss?

The driver allowed him to do that; but the driver also contacted police, who took Woodard off the bus at the next stop in Batesburg, South Carolina. After being removed from the bus, Sgt. Woodard was beaten with nightsticks and taken to the town jail. The next morning, Woodard woke up blind. Both of his eyes had been irreparably damaged in a beating that he didn't remember clearly. He was released from jail, brain-injured and blind, and received no medical care for at least two days after the event. His family reported him missing after three weeks; only then was he identified and moved to an Army hospital for care.

Woodard's story was publicized by the NAACP; Orson Welles called for the punishment of the policemen involved; a federal case was brought, but the chief of police was cleared of all charges. Although he was not blinded during his war service, the Blinded Veterans Association made an exception in his case, and welcomed him as a member. Woodard moved to New York after he recovered, and died in a military hospital there in 1992.

The abuse faced by Woodard and other returning soldiers was part of President Truman's reason for issuing Executive Order 9981, desegregating the armed forces. Woody Guthrie wrote the song "The Blinding of Isaac Woodard" to retell the story in ballad form at a concert in support of Woodard held in New York City in 1946 (also featuring Cab Calloway, Billie Holliday, Milton Berle, and Orson Welles).

Want to teach about the Woodard case? Documents related to his story are collected online here, courtesy of Andrew H. Myers, for classroom use.

Further reading:

Robert F. Jefferson, "'Enabled Courage': Race, Disability, and Black World War II Veterans in Postwar America," The Historian 65(5)(2003): 1102-1124.

Kari Frederickson, "'The Slowest State' and 'Most Backward Community': Racial Violence in South Carolina and Federal Civil-Rights Legislation, 1946-1948," South Carolina Historical Magazine 98(2)(1997): 177-202.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

"Blind Singer," William H. Johnson

Blind Singer
Originally uploaded by Smithsonian Institution

[Visual description: An art print depicting two stylized figures, male and female, with dark skin; the man's eyes are closed, the woman's are open; the man holds a tambourine and the woman a guitar; both are dressed in the style of the 1930s, but the colors of their clothing are unusually bright]

The Smithsonian's latest batch of uploads to the Flickr Commons project is a collection of prints by William H. Johnson (1901-1970), an African-American artist who experienced mental illness and was institutionalized for the last twenty-three years of his life. The image above, "Blind Singer," is typical of his work c.1940--two-dimensional figures, bright colors, and depictions of everyday scenes. The National Museum of American Art holds over a thousand works by Johnson.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Still More Disability Studies at Temple

The hits keep on coming:

Disabling Issues in the Study of the Hebrew Bible
Jeremy Schipper, Assistant Professor, Department of Religion

Thursday, February 4
12:30-1:50 p.m.
Center for the Humanities (CHAT) Lounge, 10th Floor, Gladfelter Hall

Informed by Disability Studies, this talk examines a variety of methodological issues that should influence the study of disability in the Hebrew Bible and other ancient Near Eastern literature.