the book Being Heumann is on a wooden table

Being Heumann

Can you imagine being denied the chance to even apply for a job? A job that you’re qualified for and that you’ve studied for and that you’re ready for, but being denied the chance to even apply because you have a disability? I just read Judith Heumann’s memoir, Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist, and her story of being denied the opportunity to teach is only one among many appalling and illuminating stories she tells.

I loved this memoir because it gave me a history of the disability rights movement. But I loved it even more because it gave me that history through the lens and the voice and the stories of one particular, remarkable woman. Heumann had polio when she was a young child. She used a wheelchair for most of her life, and she paved the way for families like ours to have access to education and to employment and to so many other rights.

For anyone who likes memoirs and who might be interested in learning—without feeling like you’re really learning too much—I recommend Being Heumann as an entry point into disability history disguised as a memoir.


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