The Disability Rights Center (DRC), was founded in 1974 by Ralph Nader and Deborah Kaplan in Washington, DC. It is the oldest non-membership, cross disability organization in the nation. Evan J. Kemp, Jr. became Director in 1980 before being appointed to serve as Chairman of the US EEOC. Throughout its history, DRC has conducted educational campaigns in a variety of areas which highlight independent living for people with disabilities. Medical Equipment and Devices was a consumer oriented guide to equipment. Color Me Useful was the first challenge to the damaging effects of the pity approach caused by Jerry Lewis and the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s annual telethon. DRC’s successful campaign to save Section 504 from deregulation under the Reagan Administration was called by the National Review “The most sophisticated effort to hit Washington in a long time.”
Currently DRC projects concern preservation and dissemination of disability history. For example, we are working to archive and preserve the Olin Collection of photographs and partnering with The ADA Legacy Project(TALP). We own the Road to Freedom bus, which will join the national tour for the 25th anniversary of ADA and then continue to be used as a focal point for disability rights education.