Thirty five years ago the Section 504 demonstration proved to be a watershed event for the civil rights of people with disabilities. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 adaptive the concept of reasonable accommodation that was originally applied to religious practices to people with disabilities. 504 established and still provides for accommodations in all programs receiving federal funds (education, transportation, arts programs, health care, and more). This landmark legislation was passed in 1973 but was not being enforced because the implementing regulations were held up in Heath, Education and Welfare. The disability community became increasingly frustrated until on April 5,1977, roughly 600 people assembled at the regional office of United Stated Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
The protest in San Francisco became the longest occupation of a Federal Building in U.S. history. After 28 days, Section 504 was signed which was a great victory.
- April 5, 1977.
- “The longest occupation of a federal building in U.S. History.”
- “Malicious unplugging of motorized wheelchairs at night…”
- Black Panthers sent in sandwiches.
- 28 days later: 504 was signed.