Hugh Gallagher (advocate)

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Hugh Gallagher (October 17, 1932 – July 13, 2004) was an author and international disability advocate. Born in Palo Alto, California, he grew up in Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C.

He contracted polio in 1952 at age 19 while studying at Haverford College. He drafted the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, which required that buildings built with federal funds be made accessible to all; it eventually was enacted into law. In 1956, he graduated from what is now Claremont McKenna College in California and then went on a Marshall scholarship to Oxford University, where he received the equivalent [clarification needed] of a master's degree in political science, philosophy and economics. Bob Dole wrote, "Hugh's most outstanding contribution to the quality of life of people with disabilities was to successfully place disability on the agenda of the Congress for the first time."[citation needed]

The Hugh Gallagher Award was created by Peter Kovler to commemorate Gallagher, who used his writing to educate the public about injustices, to promote understanding among diverse populations and to draw people into the choice-in-dying movement. The Award is given annually by Compassion & Choices.[citation needed]


Gallagher, who wrote from his home in Cabin John, Maryland, died of cancer in Washington, D.C. on July 13, 2004, aged 71.


  • Henry B. Betts Award for work on behalf of the disabled.[citation needed]


  • Advise and Obstruct: The Role of the United States Senate in Foreign Policy Decisions (1969)
  • Etok: A Story of Eskimo Power,1974
  • FDR's Splendid Deception, 1985
  • By Trust Betrayed: Patients, Physicians and the License to Kill in the Third Reich, 1990
  • Errant Thoughts, Curious Names, Hackneyed Rhymes: A Commonplace Book, 1994
  • Black Bird Fly Away: Disabled in an Able-Bodied World, 1998

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