Though the movement for disabled rights began in earnest in the early 1900s, it wasn’t until the mid-century civil rights movement that this group made great gains. Prior to this, the Anti-Defamation League explains that during the 1800s, people with intellectual and physical disabilities were greatly stigmatized and marginalized, pitied, and considered “unfit and unable to contribute to society, except to serve as ridiculed objects of entertainment in circuses and exhibitions.
Many disabled people were forced into institutions and asylums, and the “segregation of persons with disability were considered merciful actions, but ultimately served to keep people with disabilities invisible and hidden from a fearful and biased society.

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