Diversity Award: Texas Disability History Collection

The Texas Disability History Collection (TDHC) at the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries is a 2017 recipient of the Diversity Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award, established in 2011, recognizes outstanding contributions in advancing diversity within the archives profession, SAA, or the archival record.

The only collection on disability history in Texas, TDHC documents disability rights activists who fought for equal access to education, work, union membership, public transit, and sports. TDHC is notable for its collaborative development across university departments, its commitment to user interface accessibility, and its role as a learning resource for the disability community and beyond. As a result of the TDHC project, UTA Libraries has developed expertise around designing maximally accessible websites and collecting disability-related materials.

In his nomination, Ron Lucey, executive director of the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities, stated: “Ultimately this digital history collection will provide a lasting benefit to the state as an ongoing educational resource for all Texas students who seek to understand the important role Texans with disabilities made to our state’s history.”

The SAA Awards Committee commended TDHC as “a wonderful example of bringing disability history to the forefront of the historical narrative.” 

Also receiving the Diversity Award this year is the Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies at the University of Minnesota Libraries.