The Forgotten Pioneers: Disability History Month 2017

A blind veteran of World War One

The marchers were blind men from sheltered workshops and trade union councils. They wanted pensions and workers’ rights; “Justice not charity” was their motto.

Justice not charity…the words ring with significance in our troubled time.  With their characteristic pioneering energy, Disability History Scotland invite us to discover and celebrate the Scots involved in The Forgotten Peoples March, on Saturday 2 December. Over to DHS to explain the background to this timely event for Disability History Month 2017. 

Disability History Scotland has been involved in some ground-breaking research into the “Forgotten Peoples March”, organised by the National League of the Blind.

In 1920 marchers set off from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Paisley to meet up with other demonstrators from across the U.K. for a huge rally in Trafalgar Square. The marchers were blind men from sheltered workshops and trade union councils. They wanted pensions and workers’ rights; “Justice not charity” was their motto.

Until recently, little information has been known about the Scottish contingent of marchers. Who were these people? What was their story and what was it they thought walking all the way to London would achieve?

Disability History Scotland, in partnership with the University of Birmingham, has been searching for the identities of these long-lost pioneers for disability rights and the human stories of those who took part in the first long distance march. [The research continues, see below, but first a celebration.]

A day of discovery and celebration

As part of Disability History Month 2017 we invite you to come and meet some of those who made history, and those who have rediscovered it from archives and records. The event is from 10.30 am to 4pm at Norton Park Conference Centre in Edinburgh.

The day will also include workshops on research and history, refreshments and lunch, plus lots of time to network and chat with other attendees.

On display will be a large selection of art work and graphic design produced by Disability History Scotland and its partners, and to round the day off a special performance of “Unwritten” the show which received many plaudits and gold star reviews at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe.

To book a place, register with Eventbrite by clicking HERE

For more information email admin@disabilityhistoryscotland.org

Note: Disability History Scotland is leading a project to uncover more information about the Scottish participants in the 1920 march. We are looking for citizen researchers to look for information elsewhere, including reports of the march in the Scottish popular press of the time, as well as thinking about creative new ways to present this important moment in history.  If you’d like to get involved, please email justicenotcharity@disabilityhistoryscotland.co.uk.

For more information about Justice Not Charity – and other projects – see Disability History Scotland website 

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