Author Talk: ACCESSIBLE AMERICA: A HISTORY OF DISABILITY & DESIGN
Have you ever hit the big blue button to activate automatic doors? Have you ever used curb cuts to roll a stroller across an intersection? If so, then you have benefited from accessible design—design for people with physical, sensory, and cognitive disabilities. Disability advocates fought tirelessly to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities became a standard part of public thinking. That fight took many forms worldwide, but in the United States, activists used design to make an argument about the place of people with disabilities in public life.
Accessible America: A History of Disability and Design traces the history of design responses to disability rights from 1945 to recent times. This project shows how the concept of “access” emerged as a value in design in this period. Chapters highlight the ways that prosthetics research led to expanded accessibility in the American home; how medical experts pushed for access while also putting much of the pressure on individual patients to navigate their home and work lives; and how civil rights language reshaped arguments around technology and infrastructure.
Hagley is delighted to offer exclusive yoga classes with teacher Mary Currie for our members at the Household and above levels. Classes are held Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
Danya Pilgrim is a PhD in African American Studies and American Studies, completed at Yale University in 2019. Pilgrim is a social and cultural historian with research interests in domestic arts and foodways, and the African American experience.