Disability Rights Interviews
Scope and Contents
Interviews with Mainers with disabilities and their advocates about disability rights in Maine and the nation.
- Creation: July 2014-March 2015
Conditions Governing Access
For digitized items free from access restrictions, we are working to upload this material (pdfs, mp3s, jpgs) for public access, but it is an ongoing project. If you don’t find what you are looking for here, contact Special Collections (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Conditions Governing Use
Rights assessment remains the responsibility of the researcher. No known restrictions on material.
Language of Materials
NA4219 Tom Andrews, interviewed by Molly Graham, November 21, 2014, in Portland, Maine. Andrews, age 60, talks about growing up in Brockton, Massachusetts; developing a tumor and eventually losing his right leg; the beginnings of his work for the rights of disabled people; working with the Southern Maine Association of Handicapped persons for public transportation access; protecting disability support programs from federal budget cuts during the Reagan years; the lead-up to the Americans with Disabilities Act; the persistent influence of social Darwinism; and the historic mistreatment of people with disabilities. Text: 10 pp. transcript. Recording: mfc_na4219_cd2603_01 44 minutes.
NA4220 Eric Dibner, interviewed by Keith Ludden, March 24, 2015, at the Department of Labor in Augusta, Maine. Dibner, age 67-68, talks about the beginnings of his work for the rights of disabled people; the independent living movement; his early work as a personal attendant; his background in architecture; the disability rights movement in relation to other movements of the 1960s; his work with the Center for Independent Living; the changes brought about by the Americans with Disabilities Act; whether the ADA reflected a change in societal values or vice versa; and his current work on Maine workplace accessibility. Text: 11 pp. transcript. Recording: mfc_na4220_cd2604_01 50 minutes.
NA4221 Ross Doerr, interviewed by Keith Ludden, August 19, 2014, in Augusta, Maine. Doerr, age 61-62, talks about losing his eyesight at an early age; being placed in a disabled students’ school; whether he was involved with the disability rights movement; the changes brought about by the Americans with Disabilities Act; working in construction; finishing his college degree; working as an electrician; being excluded from unions; whether he followed the disability rights movement and the ADA; becoming a disability rights attorney and his work in that field; and what remains to be done for disability rights. Text: 20 pp. transcript. Recording: mfc_na4221_cd2605_01, mfc_na4221_cd2605_02 107 minutes.
NA4222 Dennis Fitzgibbons, interviewed by Molly Graham, August 25, 2014, in South Portland, Maine. Fitzgibbons, age 63, talks about growing up in Brockton, Massachusetts; dropping out of college multiple times; being in a car accident and going into a coma; his recovery and rehabilitation; the relationships he formed in the hospital and rehab clinic; changes brought about by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the social effects of his disability; the prevalence of suicide among the disabled; cinematic portrayals of disabilities; finding an accessible home and making it more so; working in a center for independent living; raising a family as a disabled person; the disability rights movement in Maine; his vision for the future; the weaknesses of the ADA; the opposition he has encountered in his disability rights work; the importance of homecare; and being invited to the Clinton White House in 1993 and having input on George W. Bush’s New Freedom Initiative. Text: 32 pp. transcript. Recording: mfc_na4222_cd2606_01 123 minutes.
NA4223 Jeremy Libby, interviewed by Molly Graham, August 22, 2014, in Bangor, Maine. Libby, age 35, talks about growing up in Pittsfield, Maine; suffering a spinal cord injury at 15 and how that impacted his life; the psychological effects of such injuries; returning to drawing and painting; his support network; his relationship with others with similar injuries; his slow recovery process; the social effects of his disability; his work at Alpha One independent living center; his definition of the Americans with Disabilities Act; his personal experiences of discrimination; persistent access issues, particularly in Maine; what remains to be done for disability rights; his greatest personal achievements; building an accessible home; future changes in accessibility and disability rights; and the general lack of awareness of the ADA and the disability rights movement. Text: 14 pp. transcript. Recording: mfc_na4223_cd2607_01 61 minutes.
NA4224 Kathy McInnis-Misenor, interviewed by Keith Ludden, July 14, 2014, in Saco, Maine. McInnis-Misenor, age 55, talks about growing up in Saco; encountering discrimination as a disabled person while running for local office; working for disability rights, particularly to transportation, in southern Maine and nationally; combatting societal attitudes about disabilities; being present at the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act; various disability rights publications; the drafting of the ADA; her own disability; organizing the nation’s first cross-disability civil rights conference in 1981; lobbying for the ADA’s passage; opposition to the ADA; and what remains to be done for disability rights. Text: 42 pp. transcript. Recording: mfc_na4224_cd2608_01, mfc_na4224_cd2608_02, mfc_na4224_cd2609_01, mfc_na4224_cd2609_02 213 minutes.
NA4225 Kim Moody, interviewed by Keith Ludden, July 22, 2014, in Augusta, Maine. Moody, age 51-52, talks about growing up with a prosthetic arm; the transition from a school for the disabled to a mainstream college; pursuing tennis and other sports; changes brought about by the Americans with Disabilities Act, particularly in the realm of education; the difficulty of bringing various disabled interest groups together; what remains to be done for disability rights; what employers fear about hiring disabled people; Maine’s biggest advance in the area of disability rights since the ADA; and whether she encountered resistance to her disability rights activism. Text: 12 pp. transcript. Recording: mfc_na4225_cd2610_01 46 minutes.
NA4226 Avery Olmstead, interviewed by Keith Ludden, July 7, 2014, in Old Town, Maine. Olmstead, age 42-43, talks about growing up with cerebral palsy; the resistance to his mainstreaming in his school days; coming to terms with his disability as he grew older; going to college just after the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed; his summary of CP; whether he noticed a difference in college after the ADA went into effect in 1992; changes brought about by the ADA; his participation in the disability rights movement; his work with the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies at UMaine; the biggest victory for disability rights he can remember; what remains to be done for disability rights; his work with the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois; his days as a literal poster child for CP; and ongoing problems with accessibility. Text: 15 pp. transcript. Recording: mfc_na4226_cd2611_01, mfc_na4226_cd2611_02 122 minutes.
N4227 Penny Plourde, interviewed by Keith Ludden, September 8, 2014, in Vassalboro, Maine. Plourde, age 59, talks about growing up with spina bifida; participating in the Civil Rights Movement; the resistance to her mainstreaming in her school days; the ties between the Civil Rights and disability rights movements; her participation in the latter and the independent living movement; her work with the Maine Department of Transportation; changes brought about by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; support for and against the passage of the ADA; her own run for the Maine legislature; her continuing experiences of discrimination, and resistance to her disability rights advocacy. Text: 13 pp. transcript. Recording: mfc_na4227_cd2612_01, mfc_na4227_cd2612_02 85 minutes.
NA4228 Ralph Poland, interviewed by Molly Graham, September 16, 2014, in his camper in New Gloucester, Maine. Poland, age 60, talks about growing up in California, Virginia, and Maine; his domestic violence experiences; his Christian conversion; going to bible school; his work in repair; suffering a a heart attack in 2006; having two strokes and going into a coma during heart surgery; his recovery and rehabilitation; working at Wal-Mart and the lack of accommodations for his condition there; his relationships with his therapists; how his disability changed his other relationships; his dietary changes; the financial difficulties his convalescence brought about; his volunteer work, particularly with those with similar experiences; what he would change about rehabilitation practices; changes brought about by the Americans with Disabilities Act; and what he would change about the ADA. Text: 27 pp. transcript. Recording: mfc_na4228_cd2613_01, mfc_na4228_cd2613_02, mfc_na4228_cd2613_03, mfc_na4228_cd2613_04, mfc_na4228_cd2613_05, mfc_na4228_cd2613_06, mfc_na4228_cd2613_07 104 minutes.
NA4229 Christian Powers, interviewed by Molly Graham, August 7, 2014, in Westbrook, Maine. Powers, age 39, talks about his challenges with dressing and other daily tasks due to his Asperger syndrome; his brother’s ADHD; being misdiagnosed as learning disabled and not being diagnosed for AS until 2006; his work with the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council; the particular issues of developmental and mental disability rights; the difficulty of Maine’s current political climate; his work with Autistic Self-Advocacy Network; general misconceptions of AS and other autism spectrum disorders; his anxiety problems; AS and relationships; his work at as a legal assistant; the diagnostic future of AS; his predictions of the future of disability rights; media depiction of AS; the changes brought about by the Americans with Disabilities Act; and his current work in a hotel. Text: 18 pp. transcript. Recording: mfc_na4229_cd2614_01 81 minutes.
NA4230 Mike Rogers, interviewed by Keith Ludden, August 6, 2014, in Berwick, Maine. Rogers, age 63-64, talks about his retinitis pigmentosa forcing his retirement from teaching; becoming a full-time musician; changes brought about by the Americans with Disabilities Act; his accessibility issues with music venues; his involvement with the disability rights movement; the change in Maine voting law allowing the visually impaired to choose their assistant in the both; what remains to be done for disability rights; how his disability requires day-to-day resourcefulness; whether there has been a general change of attitude about the disabled; his struggles with depression after retiring from teaching; and how his disability has changed his relationships with others. Text: 9 pp. transcript. Recording: mfc_na4230_cd2615_01 38 minutes.
NA4231 Patty Sarchi, interviewed by Keith Ludden, September 4, 2014, in Augusta, Maine. Sarchi, age 66-67, talks about growing up in Aroostook County; losing her hearing and getting a hearing aid; her partial sight loss later in life; her work as a homemaker; her disability rights activism, particularly with the American Council of the Blind of Maine and the Sight and Sound Impaired Committee; increasing public awareness of and efforts to integrate into society people with disabilities and increase; her difficulty relating to non-disabled people; what remains to be done for disability rights; changes brought about by the Americans with Disabilities Act; and the importance of support service providers. Text: 13 pp. transcript. Recording: mfc_na4231_cd2616_01 66 minutes.
Existence and Location of Originals
Located at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress: AFC 2012/047 https://lccn.loc.gov/2013655211.
Materials Specific Details
Audio files are the primary source material. Transcriptions are the transcriber's best effort to convert audio to text, but should be considered secondary to the audio.
- Guide to Disability Rights Interviews
- In Progress
- Thomas Libby
- May 2018
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- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Part of the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History Repository
5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States