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"It’s one of the ironies of American life that the one category into which almost all of us will fit at some time in our lives—people with disabilities—is often the last on the list of included groups in this country. . . . I met Judy Heumann almost four decades ago, and her writing, activist skills, and kindness helped me to see this simple truth. Her life story as an activist will enlighten readers everywhere.”
—Gloria Steinem

American HerStory: Conversations about Women's Autobiography

Judith Heumann, star of the Oscar-nominated 2020 documentary CRIP CAMP: A DISABILITY REVOLUTION, is widely hailed as “The Mother” of the Disability Rights Movement.


Heumann contracted polio at age 18 months and has used a wheelchair for most of her life. Over the course of half a century, she served as an organizer of various campaigns, protests, and sit-ins that culminated eventually in landmark legislation to protect the rights of the disabled. She also served as Assistant Secretary of Education in the Clinton Administration (1993-2001) and Special Advisor to President Barack Obama’s State Department (2010-17).


An internationally recognized leader in the disability rights community, Heumann published her memoir, co-authored with Kristen Joiner, of Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist (2020), and the YA autobiography, Rolling Warrior (2021).

She has been featured in numerous documentaries on the history of the disability rights movement, including Lives Worth Living, and featured in a TED talk in the fall of 2016, “Our Fight for Disability Rights- and Why We’re Not Done Yet.” 

Judith Heumann

7 p.m. Thursday, March 24, 2022

Virtual conversation with journalist James Odato.
Register for the livestreamed event.
Judith Heumann
Judith Heumann's books

About James Odato

James Odato, independent scholar and former reporter for the Times Union, is the author of the new biography, This Brain Had a Mouth: Lucy Gwin and the Voice of Disability Nation (2021). Gwin (1943-2014), a resident of Rochester, NY, suffered a traumatic brain injury at age 40 after a head-on collision with a drunk driver. In 1990, she founded Mouth magazine, one of the most radical and significant disability rights publications, producing more than 100 issues.



Books can be ordered from The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza:
Rolling Warrior by Judith Heumann (
Being Heumann by Judith Heumann (
This Brain Had a Mouth: Lucy Gwin and the Voice of Disability Nation by James Odato (

Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Disability Access and Inclusion Student Services (DAISS) and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

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