In Search of Better Angels: Stories of Disability in the Human Family

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This resource is a testament to the value of people with disabilities and the enrichment that we can find with them.

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Editorial Reviews

Leonard O. Pellicer

"We must first understand others before we can care about them and we must care about them before we can love them. In this book, J. David Smith takes us on a fascinating journey from understanding to caring to love. "

Long version:

"This is not just a book about special education or people with disabilities, this is a book about humanity and what it means to be human!

J. David Smith carries on in the best tradition of the great Southern storytellers. He will make you laugh, he will make you cry, but most importantly, he will make you think!

There are insights in this wonderful book that, if taken to heart, can make us all "better angels!"

We must first understand others before we can care about them and we must care about them before we can love them. In this book, J. David Smith takes us on a fascinating journey from understanding to caring to love. "

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761938408
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 5/8/2003
  • Series: One-Off Series
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

J. David Smith is Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor at the University of Virginia's College at Wise. He earned both baccalaureate and graduate degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University. He was awarded a second master's degree and his doctorate from Columbia University. His professional experience includes a work as a public school teacher and as a counselor. He and his wife, Joyce, served two years in Jamaica working as Peace Corps volunteers. Before coming to The University of Virginia's College at Wise as Provost, he served as Dean of the School of Education and Human Services at Longwood University. He also served as Chair of the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of South Carolina. He began his higher education career at Lynchburg College. Smith has made numerous invited presentations to national and international audiences and regularly contributes to the professional literature on education, human services, and public policy through journal articles. He is the author of ten books. One of the integrating themes of his research and writing has been a concern for the rights and dignity of people with disabilities. Smith has devoted much of his scholarship to the study of the history of eugenics and its impact on social and educational policy, and he has also been active in addressing contemporary problems and issues in education.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Power and Epiphany - Reflections on the Personal and Cultural Value of Disabilities
Part I: My Own Journey
1. Disability and Revelation: Lessons Learned and Flying Squirrels
2. Learning to Love, Loving to Learn: Mike and the Clown Faces
3. Inclusion, Exclusion, and Other Matters of the Heart: The Story of Nan
4. Disabling Prejudice: Aunt Celie and the Marble Cake
5. Lessons in Patois: Learning to Be a Jamaican
6. A Father's Proud Moment: The Day My Daughter Became a Gifted Samaritan
7. Recapturing the Spirit of Caring: Uncle, Brownie, and Sausage Biscuits
Part I: Questions to Ponder
Part II: Disability, Science, and Pseudoscience
8. Eugenics, Old and New: Mensa and the Human Genome Project
The Tragedy of Involuntary Sterilization Eugenics
Eugenics: A Continuing Legacy
The Human Genome Project and Mental Retardation
Mental Retardation, "Felt Necessities," and Ethics
9. Euguenics Revisited: Buck Versus Bell and The Bell Curve
10. Old Texts, Disabilities, and the Persistent Argument: For Whom the Bell Curves
11. Different Voices of Advocacy: Helen Keller and Burton Blatt
Helen Keller: A Magnificent Exception
Helen Keller and the Parameters of Advocacy
Burton Blatt's Advocacy: The Golden Rule and Beyond
Legacies and Challenges
12. A Place or No Place for Disabilities: Disney's Tarzan, Edgar Rice Burroughs' Eugenics, and Visions of Utopian Perfection
Tarzan and the Triumph of Heredity
Burroughs on Genetic Predetermination
Burroughs on Breeding for Utopia
Utopia and Disabilities
13. The Polio Vaccine Research and Children With Disabilities: Sacrifices for the Miracle
Personal Reflections on Polio
The Salk Vaccine and "Institutionalized" Research
Feeding Live Polio Virus to Children With Disabilites
Research and Disabilities: Other Cases
Claiming a Place of Value for People With Disabilities: The Continuing Struggle
Part II: Questions to Ponder
Part III: Disability in Historical and Literary Perspectives
14. Disability and the Need for Romantic Science: Darwin's Last Child
15. Words of Understanding, Concepts of Inclusiveness: The Wisdom of Margaret Mead
16. The Question of Differential Advocacy: Laura Bridgman
Constructing the Disability of Mental Retardation
Disability and Invisibility
Laura Bridgman: The First Miracle
17. Disabilities and the Challenges of Equality: Looking Backward, Looking Forward
Looking Backward
Looking Forward
18. Diversity and Disability: Individuality and Mental Retardation
A Memory From Ignacy Goldberg
Jack London's "Told in the Drooling Ward "
The Typology of Mental Retardation
Mental Retardation: Redefining or Disaggregating?
Part III: Questions to Ponder
Epilogue: Finding a Voice - The Story of Bill

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