• Judith E. Heumann
  • Kristen Joiner
Cover of Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist

One of the most influential disability rights activists in US history tells her personal story of fighting for the right to receive an education, have a job, and just be human. A story of fighting to belong in a world that wasnt built for all of us and of one womans activism, from the streets of Brooklyn and San Francisco to inside the halls of Washington, Being Heumann recounts Judy Heumanns lifelong battle to achieve respect, acceptance, and inclusion in society. Paralyzed from polio at eighteen months, Judys struggle for equality began early in life. From fighting to attend grade school after being described as a ‘fire hazard to later winning a lawsuit against the New York City school system for denying her a teachers license because of her paralysis, Judys actions set a precedent that fundamentally improved rights for disabled people. As a young woman, Judy rolled her wheelchair through the doors of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in San Francisco as a leader of the Section 504 Sit-In, the longest takeover of a governmental building in US history. Working with a community of over 150 disabled activists and allies, Judy successfully pressured the Carter administration to implement protections for disabled peoples rights, sparking a national movement and leading to the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Candid, intimate, and irreverent, Judy Heumanns memoir about resistance to exclusion invites readers to imagine and make real a world in which we all belong. --Provided by publisher.


Heumann, Judith, and Kristen Joiner. Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist. Beacon Press, 2020.