NM Turns 25: A Look at the Seminal Years, 1989-1992

25Years_Logo7For the next several months, NEW MOBILITY will be celebrating 25 years of journalism by and for active wheelchair users. Join us for a look back at each period of the magazine’s history, starting with our first issues circa the passage of the ADA. Each month we’ll move down the timeline, sharing key moments in disability rights and lifestyle from almost 250 issues of NM.

 

1989-1992: The Seminal Years
In the mid-1980s, Sam Maddox, a writer and journalism instructor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, met a few wheelers whose adaptive lifestyle impressed him. Maddox recognized the need for a resource guide for SCI survivors, which became SPINAL NETWORK. A quarterly spinoff — SPINAL NETWORK EXTRA — followed in 1989. Maddox hired filmmaker/author Barry Corbet to be SNE’s full-time editor in 1991, and the following year SNE renamed itself NEW MOBILITY, a nod to Corbet’s dynamic wheelchair lifestyle that exemplifed the need for change sweeping the nation. Jean Dobbs, NM’s present editorial director, joined the staff that same year. “Things were changing every day,” says Dobbs. “People were inventing products left and right, organizing new sports, then comes the ADA. There was all this righteous anger, but also this tremendous sense of optimism and possibility. I think we captured that in the magazine.”


Spinal Network Extra, Winter 1992

Through The Front Door: Romancing the ADA

by Michael Collins
Will the ADA put some sizzle back in Bob Pike’s social life? Will his date’s bowl of bisque be served by attentive staff in convivial surroundings, or will it be delivered in a paper carton at the front steps?
Read article


Covers1

BEST COVERS

Vote each month on your favorite cover from the featured time period. In October, we’ll share the seven most popular covers from 25 years — vote again, and see NM’s best cover of all time in the December issue. Click here to vote.


Spinal Network Extra, Summer 1991

Space Reserved – Manic-Depressive Only

by Carlos Amantea

There’s this guy in his late-model gray Mercedes parked in the Accessible Parking Space. He doesn’t have a sticker or anything, he’s just in a hurry. So what I do is pull in right behind him, blocking his way out.
Read article


TVnancySpinal Network Extra, Winter 1991

Negativity: How Much Can We Afford? How Much Can We Afford to Deny?

by Nancy Becker Kennedy
Living with a disability can bring rage in many forms: anger at being infantilized on telethons, at being looked upon as asexual or incompetent, at being tied to Welfare in order to receive medical care. So how do we deal with this anger?

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Spinal Network Extra, Fall 1990

Kaos2Radio Kaos

by Skip Kaltenheuser

For those safe in front of their televisions, the Ayatollah Khomeini’s June 1989 funeral was surreal theatre, the inflamed masses jumping and hitting themselves in the head, the trampling of zealots into martyrs. For most Americans, being in the midst of that funeral thicket ranked with the worst of nightmares. For reporter and wheelchair user John Hockenberry, it was a dream come true.
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Three Iconic Voices

Some of the best writers of a generation on Revenge, Identity and Putting Your Body on the Line.
Read Article


wind-up-men

CALLAHAN THEN AND NOW

John Callahan’s autobiography, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, turned heads at the time the ADA was signed and NEW MOBILITY first appeared. A New York Times article declared he had added a dimension to the new law: “… the freedom of the disabled to laugh at themselves.” But his genius was not limited by his quadriplegia. His cartoons, considered sick, twisted and worse, were a form of satiric commentary; and often very, very funny.  At one time syndicated in hundreds of publications, he turned out several books of cartoons, two memoirs, a Canadian TV series, and more, before dying too soon, in 2010. A memorial wall is planned for his hometown, Portland, Ore.  For more on this, see ffojohncallahan.tumblr.com.


SIGNS OF THE TIMES


WORTH FIGHTING FOR:
THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT; FREEDOM FROM NURSING HOMES; PARENTING RIGHTS

PROGRESSIVE AD IMAGES: ACTION
Action-ad
SPORT WITH GROWING STREET CRED: WHEELCHAIR FOOTBALL (AKA BLISTER BOWL)

ON THE EMPLOYMENT FRONTIER: CLERGY WITH DISABILITIES

MEDIA MILESTONES: THE WATERDANCE; MY LEFT FOOT

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