Despite their disabilities, these notable Americans overcame adversity and went on to achieve great success in government, art, entertainment, education, civil rights and activism. The Library of Congress encourages the continued research into the history and future of persons with disabilities as great contributors to American collection of knowledge and creativity.

Find out more about these individuals (PDF, 1.3Mb)

Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell
(1847-1922)

Learning Disability
Harry Belafonte
Harry Belafonte
(b. 1927)

Dyslexia
Ray Charles
Ray Charles
(1930-2004)

Blind from Glaucoma
Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
(1847-1931)

Almost Deaf, Possibly
from Scarlet Fever
José Feliciano
José Feliciano
(b.1945)

Blind since Birth
Jerome Solon Felder “Doc Pomus”
Jerome Solon Felder
“Doc Pomus” (1925-1991)

Polio
Daniel Inouye
Daniel Inouye (1924-2012)
Lost Arm in World War II
William Ellsworth Hoy
William Ellsworth Hoy
(1862-1961)

Deaf from Meningitis
Barbara Jordan
Barbara Jordan (1936-1996)
Multiple Sclerosis
Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo
(1907-1954)

Childhood Polio,
Street Car Accident
Helen Keller
Helen Keller
(1880-1968)

Deaf and Blind
Dorothea  Lange
Dorothea Lange
(1895-1965)

Polio
Audre Lorde
Audre Lorde
(1934-1992)

Low Vision, Cancer
Anne Sullivan Macy
Anne Sullivan Macy
(1866- 1936), depicted
with Alexander Graham Bell
and Helen Keller

Low Vision
Wilma P. Mankiller
Wilma P. Mankiller
(1945-2010)

Myasthenia Gravis
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
(1882-1945)

Adult Onset Polio
Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman
(1820-1913)

Symptoms Consistent with
Epilepsy and Narcolepsy
Art Tatum
Art Tatum
(1909-1956)

Blind in one eye
and nearly blind in
the other
Lennie Tristano
Lennie Tristano
(1919-1978)

Blind
   

Get Acrobat ReaderDownload the Adobe Acrobat Reader
to view PDF documents.