Interviews with the Leaders of Pennsylvania's Intellectual Disability Rights Movement.
A collection of stories from advocates, self-advocates and family members who took great risks to ensure the safety and freedom of people with disabilities in Pennsylvania. From the Right to Education, to the closing of institutions and the move toward self-determination, Pennsylvania has paved the way for national policies that have led to widespread reform.
Preservation of personal papers collections significant to Pennsylvania's Intellectual Disability Rights Movement.
In collaboration with Temple University's Urban Archives, the Institute is engaged in the collection and preservation of personal papers collections that enhance our understanding of Pennsylvania's Intellectual Disability Rights Movement. The Urban Archives is currently home to the personal papers collections of parent-advocates Dennis Haggerty, Leona Fialkowski, Eleanor Elkin, and Audrey Coccia.
Short Documentary on Visionary Voices
More About the Project
Pennsylvania has played an important and historically significant role in the creation of public policy (both through legislation and litigation) that has changed the way people with intellectual disabilities live in our community. From the right to education, to the closing of institutions and the movement toward self-determination, Pennsylvanians with disabilities, family members, and advocates have paved the way for national policies that have led to widespread reform.
There is much to be learned from a generation of advocates and self-advocates who risked much to ensure the safety and freedom of people with disabilities. If their memories and stories are not preserved, they will disappear forever. To that end, the Visionary Voices | Leaders Lessons Legacy project of the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University strives to collect the stories of those who played a part, or were first hand witness, to the events that changed the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in Pennsylvania. These first-person accounts of our history are a vital resource for students, teachers, scholars, people with disabilities, families, policymakers and members of the media. The project is in two parts: video interviews and collected papers of attorney and advocate Dennis Haggerty.
Interviews with People with Intellectual Disabilities, Family Members and Advocates
The Visionary Voices | Leaders Lessons Legacy website features approximately 30 videotaped interviews recorded over a 12-month period. These earliest interviews focus on leaders in Pennsylvania's Intellectual Disability Movement; as this group ages, we run the risk of forever losing the stories that shaped the way supports and services are provided to people with disabilities in Pennsylvania and around the country.
Interviews focus on four areas:
- the right to education
- community supports
Visionary Voices has also been commissioned by the Philadelphia Office of DisAbility Services to collect a series of interviews with leaders in Philadelphia's Intellectual Disability Community. Learn more about the interview process.
The Visionary Voices | Leaders Lessons Legacy project collected and made available the papers of individuals significant to the Intellectual Disability Movement in Pennsylvania.
The Haggerty Papers
In 2008, Dennis Haggerty, a Philadelphia-based attorney, respected disability rights advocate, and parent of a child with an intellectual disability donated his personal papers to the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University. Mr. Haggerty's personal and professional correspondence, newspaper clippings, photos, and manuscripts document a change in the political and social trends that affected the quality of life for Pennsylvanians with disabilities (and for the disability community nationally). Dating back to 1970, The Haggerty Papers tell the story of a movement that freed people with disabilities from institutions, fought for equal access to education (first in special education classes, then in regular classrooms), and ultimately allowed people with disabilities to take their rightful place in the community.
The Visionary Voices project has collaborated with archivists, librarians, historians, and technicians to preserve the Haggerty Papers and to create its finding aid. The project's long-term goal is to digitize the Haggerty Papers, making selections accessible to users worldwide.
Sharing Our Collective History
A primary goal of the Visionary Voices | Leaders Lessons Legacy project is to preserve the stories of Pennsylvanians with intellectual disabilities, allowing universal access to this important part of our collective history. Interviews and selected documents from The Haggerty Papers will be available on DVD.