Graphic: The Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement

Herbert Leibowitz

Audio transcript: On receiving phone call from disabled students at UC Berkeley, 1971
Date: November 17, 1998
Interviewer: Susan O'Hara

Note: Transcripts have been lightly edited; therefore there may be slight discrepancies with audio clips.

I got a phone call; it could have been either Herb or John Hessler. It was before Ed was involved at CIL [Center for Independent Living]; I think Ed at that point was teaching or something. I got this phone call, and a group of disabled students was interested in finding out what opportunities there might be available in research and training. You have to remember that, at that point, in 1971, Rehab Services was a very traditional agency. It had been in existence for about fifty-five years. It had a very defined frame of reference. It was set up to help disabled individuals get back to work.

The process was very cut and dried. In each of the fifty states there was the same process: it went by the numbers. You went to the rehab office, you filled out an application, and the first step was being certified as being disabled. Now you could either pass that test, and if you were certified as disabled you were in. Rehab could buy you almost anything, could send you to college to get a Ph.D. if that's what you needed to get back to work. But if you didn't pass that step you were out. We can't serve you because you can't be certified as being disabled. Many of the disabled students were affected by this along the way because they wouldn't have gotten support to go to college through Rehab.

End of transcript

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