How The Black Panther Party Contributed To Disability Rights

celebrating civil rights victory for persons with disabilities
Via goldengatexpress
Tremain Prioleau II
September 12, 2023

Disability activists across the United States protested for the passage of Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. The act would create legal protections for disabled people often denied federal assistance. The 1977 occupation of San Francisco’s federal offices stands as the longest take-over of a federal building in U.S. history and the Black Panthers were key to its victory.

The party was undergoing a transformation in the late 1960s to 1970s. The once well-known militant liberation group was now led predominantly by women. They focused on attending to the health and well-being of children, the elderly, and the disabled.

The occupation of San Francisco federal offices lasted 26 days. The Black Panther Party provided all of the food and resources needed for more than 100 protesters to stay and continue protesting.

The May 7th, 1977 cover of “The Black Panther,” the national newsletter of the party, featured Panther members Brad Lomax in a wheelchair being pushed by fellow Panther, Chuck Jackson. This and other photos on the cover showed the world that the Panthers stood in solidarity with the disabled community.

The Panthers’ support sent a resounding message that liberation is for all Black people – that disabled Black community members matter and it was, and still is, imperative we fight for their rights, too.

We have a quick favor to ask:

PushBlack is a nonprofit dedicated to raising up Black voices. We are a small team but we have an outsized impact:

  • We reach tens of millions of people with our BLACK NEWS & HISTORY STORIES every year.
  • We fight for CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM to protect our community.
  • We run VOTING CAMPAIGNS that reach over 10 million African-Americans across the country.

And as a nonprofit, we rely on small donations from subscribers like you.

With as little as $5 a month, you can help PushBlack raise up Black voices. It only takes a minute, so will you please ?

Share This Article: