MyODP News Online

Preserving Disability History

The Western PA Disability History & Action Consortium logo featuring that text within the Pennsylvania border.On Wednesday, December 16, the Pennsylvania State Archives featured the Western PA Disability History and Action Consortium during its Community History Dialog webinar series. The series seeks to assist community leaders in efficiently documenting and archiving their community's unique history. The Western PA Disability History and Action Consortium was highlighted for its effective partnerships resulting in early growth and sustainability.

Tina Calabro, Disability History Consultant, presented on the consortium's inception, emphasizing that the disability community saw the need for thorough historical documentation of this topic as, "the struggle for disability rights has only recently been a part of American History." Calabro lends much of the consortium's success to their partnership with Heinz History Center, which happened to already be documenting the shift toward deinstitutionalization.

During the webinar, Sierra Green of Heinz History Center emphasized that the consortium's success can be attributed to the many folks with disabilities who helped establish it. Green goes on to say that during their partnership Heinz History Center is careful not to "dominate the conversation", but instead, carefully listen and preserve the stories of individuals with disabilities directly from primary sources.