The Civil Rights of Americans with Disabilities: Judicial & Legislative Victories

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Equal Protection Under The Fourteenth Amendment: Definition & Summary

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:06 The Civil Rights of…
  • 0:28 History
  • 3:06 Americans with…
  • 4:59 Modern Times
  • 6:08 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up


Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Williams

Jennifer has taught various courses in U.S. Government, Criminal Law, Business, Public Administration and Ethics and has an MPA and a JD.

In this lesson, we will review the timeline of the civil rights of Americans with disabilities. We will take a closer look at the background of the rights, what they include and what they mean to society today.

The Civil Rights of Americans with Disabilities

Civil rights are considered the basic rights that all citizens of a society have. Not all individuals in the United States have always had their basic civil rights protected, such as individuals with disabilities who didn't always have the same rights and opportunities as those without disabilities.


The movement for Americans with disabilities began in the mid-1900s, inspired by the success of the women and African-American civil rights movements. The movement gained speed when different sections of individuals with disabilities all united for the common cause. A big spur for the movement was because of physical barriers. During this era, the buildings that we would enter into only had stairs, walkways weren't always cleared and there were not always large hallways. This created a significant number of physical barriers for people with visual, physical or hearing disabilities.

Researchers and doctors began a study at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus in 1946. This study was called ANSI A117.1 and provided the proof that barriers existed for the physically handicapped and contained a standard plan for modifying programs and the physical site to provide independence for people with disabilities. This standard has since been utilized all over the world. It resulted in the creation of The Architectural Barriers Act, which was passed in 1968, which mandated federally constructed buildings and facilities to be accessible to people with physical disabilities.

Soon after, there was a flurry of legislation that protected Americans with disabilities and their rights. The Rehabilitation Act was passed in 1973 and had the effect of prohibiting discrimination in federal services and programs and any programming that receives federal funds.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account