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Disability History: Senator Harkin Delivers Floor Speech in American Sign Language Upon Passage of the ADA (7/13/90)

Upon passage of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 13th, 1990, Senator Tom Harkin delivered a speech on the Senate floor in American Sign Language. Harkin, whose brother Frank was deaf, was the lead Senate author of the ADA, which was enacted later that year. His speech is the first in American Sign Language to be delivered from the Senate floor.

Screen shot of the YouTube clip of Senator Harking using American Sign language at the floor of the Senate on July 13, 1990 about the Americans with Disabilities Act:

For captions, click on the ‘CC’ button at the bottom of the YouTube screen.

For more information:

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):

Senator Tom Harkin



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