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A Brief History of Civil Rights in the United States: Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

This guide focuses on the civil rights that various groups have fought for within the United States.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the broadest law regarding disabled persons to date, was enacted in 1990.  President George W. Bush signed it in a ceremony on the White House lawn, which was attended by thousands of disability rights activists. The law's comprehensive coverage specifies that all levels of government must be accessible, that programs be accessible, and that public accommodations such as restaurants and stores make "reasonable modifications." The act also mandates access in public transportation, communication, and in other areas of public life.  The major difference between the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act is that the ADA applies to every type of government, organization or establishment, where the Rehabilitation Act applied only to federal government programs.


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