Wheels of Justice campaign

Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 9.42.20 PMOlin, T. (2015, July 23). ADAPT activists protesting for accessible transportation in Philadelphia in 1990. Retrieved June 26, 2017, from https://www.arts.gov/art-works/2015/ada25-disability-rights-through-tom-olins-lens (Originally photographed 1990)


This photo, taken by Tom Olin, caught my eye immediately as I was looking for artifacts related to self-advocacy. In black and white, the photo depicts a group of men and women of varying ages, most in wheelchairs. Many of them are holding signs and one of them reads “I CAN’T EVEN GET TO THE BACK OF THE BUS.” These protesters are gathered around in the street next to a bus. The caption reads “ADAPT activists protesting for accessible transportation in Philadelphia in 1990.”

I learned a lot more from this resource than I initially thought I could from a photograph. I first realized that I did not know what “ADAPT” was and decided to look it up. I discovered that it stood for “Americans Disabled for Accessible Public Transit” and was later changed to “Americans Disabled for Attendant Programs Today.” I learned that ADAPT organized the Wheels of Justice campaign in Washington, D.C., in order to ensure the follow-through of transportation provisions in the Americans with Disabilities Act. On July 26, 1990, the ADA was passed by Congress and signed by the President. It ordered all public buses to be wheelchair accessible. This resource is relevant to my research because it provided me with a visual of what self-advocacy can potentially look like. I recognize that it does not always come in the form of protest, but it is not unrealistic.