Capitol Crawl

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The Capitol Crawl is the name assigned by inclusion activists and other disability rights activists in the United States to a direct action in 1990 that was intended to accelerate the passage into law of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Shortly before the Act was passed, militant disability rights activists with physical disabilities coalesced in front of the Capitol Building, shed their crutches, wheelchairs, powerchairs and any other assistive devices, and immediately proceeded to crawl and pull their bodies up all 100 of the Capitol's front steps, without warning. As the activists did so, many of them chanted "ADA Now!!" and "Vote! Now!!". Some activists who remained at the bottom of the steps held signs and yelled words of encouragement at the 'Capitol Crawlers'. One young child with cerebral palsy is videotaped as she pulls herself up the steps, using mostly her hands and arms, saying "I'll take all night if I have to!". This direct action is reported to have "inconvenienced" several Senators and to have pushed them to approve the Act.

While there are those who do not attribute much overall importance to this action, the Capitol Crawl is seen by many present-day disability activists in the United States as being the single action most responsible for 'forcing' the ADA in to law.[1] Today, the Capitol Crawl action is not very well-known amongst the US public when compared to other United States civil rights movement actions, partly owing to the US mainstream media of 1990 failing to highlight the story.


  1. ^ "YouTube". Retrieved 2014-04-24.