Crip Camp: the Obamas documentary on disability

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By Rachel Horne

I know this blog has lately been filled with updates on COVID-19 and MS – and rightly so.

However, if you are at home – and looking for something hopeful to watch during these overwhelming times – try this new award-winning documentary Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution – which was executive produced by Barack and Michelle Obama.

The documentary focuses on a ramshackle summer camp in upstate New York that was a haven for teenagers with disabilities from the 1950s through to 1977. But as the film progresses – it turns out it would act as a launchpad for one of the most important civil rights crusades in US history: the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act. 

 Judy Heumann in Crip Camp. Photograph: HolLynn D’Lil/Netflix

For Michelle Obama – the link to the film was deeply personal. Her father, Fraser Robinson, lived with multiple sclerosis for more than two decades before dying at 55 – the year before she was married. This is what she had to say – in a statement – about the members of the movement:

“Their spirit and resilience reminded me of my father, a joyful man, quick with a laugh, who struggled with M.S. for much of his life,” she said. “While his disability didn’t define who he was, it would be foolish to say it didn’t deeply impact him either. This film honours his story and so many others.”

The documentary is available on Netflix – and here’s a review in the Guardian.

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Rachel Horne

3 comments

Leave a Reply to A. Nonny Moose Cancel reply

  • ““While his disability didn’t define who he was, it would be foolish to say it didn’t deeply impact him either. ”

    Huh…???

    He died at 55 of course it deeply impacted him.

  • The world needed a champion for MS to raise its profile and apply pressure to governments and pharma – Michelle Obama would fit the bill. Now she’s not first lady and the kids are growing up, and hubby’s kicking round the house looking for things to keep him busy, she probably has loads of time

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