Here are some of my takeaways and favorite quotes:
"Disability is not a bodily category, but instead and also a social category shaped by changing social factors - just as able-bodiedness."
"Within the early capitalist systems beginning to dominate Europe in the seventeenth century, the primary definition of disability was the inability to perform labor. European colonists paid relatively attention to physical disability, but substantial attention to cognitive or mental disabilities. This reinforces the argument that bodily norms were relatively fluid and that bodies themselves varied immensely."
"Political theorists contrasted idiots, lunatics, women of all races, people of indigenous nations, and African Americans with those considered worthy of full citizenship.... The process of differentiating between fit and unfit citizens raised many legal, ideological, and practical questions.... Racist ideologies defined male and female African Americans as fundamentally inferior specimens with deformed bodies and minds who were best confined to slavery.... Disability, as a concept, was used to justify legally established inequalities."
"The period from the Civil War until the 1890s is one in which disability became increasingly institutionalized. The solidification of the federal government that developed in this period, along with emerging technologies and urbanization, aided the creation of institutions and the development of policies pertaining to people considered disabled... Some institutions enriched lives, others caused devastation, and some did both."
"While industrialization had rapidly expanded the number of disabled US wage workers, adaptive technologies changed little until the onset of World War I." (Wars, like the Civil War and the World Wars created many disabled veterans whom the society needed to care for)
After WWII, "activists began to argue that people with disabilities shared common experiences of stigma and discrimination, across a wide spectrum of disability.... Activists also began to explore the relationship between ableism, sexism, and racism."
"The disability rights movement was energized by, overlapping with, and similar to other civil rights movements across the nation, as people with disabilities experienced the 1960s and 1970s as a time of excitement, organizational strength, and identify exploration. Like feminists, African Americans, and the gay and lesbian activists, people with disabilities insisted that their bodies did not render them defective."