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The Source: The ADA After 25 Years

President George H.W. Bush Signs the Americans with Disabilities Act July 26, 1990

The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed 25 years ago as of last week. The bill was controversial and has its detractors, but the majority of people with disabilities believe the bill has improved their lives and access to opportunity. 

The ADA set out to achieve four major goals: Equality of Opportunity, Full Participation for the Disabled, Independent Living, and Economic Self-Sufficiency.

While significant progress has been made, their is a lot left to accomplish. 

To the critics who complain that the ADA has not achieved total justice ... I say what about the Bill of Rights and the Ten Commandments? Have they achieved total justice? The vision of justice is an eternal long march to the Promised Land of the good life for all. – Justin Dart, Jr. "The Father of the ADA"

We take a look back to see how far we have come, and what we still have left to do.


  • Brian East, attorney with Disability Rights Texas
  • Lennard Davis, professor of Disability Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago and author of the book "Enabling Acts: The Hidden Story of How the Americans with Disabilities Act Gave the Largest US Minority Group It's Rights" 

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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive