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Campaign T-Shirts from the Collection of Lorraine Gradwell
Campaign T-Shirts from the Collection of Lorraine Gradwell
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Campaign T-Shirts from the Collection of Lorraine Gradwell
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Lorraine Gradwell (1953-2017) was a leading disability rights campaigner with a national profile in Britain. She helped found two organisations in Manchester, both controlled by disabled people, GMCDP in 1985 and Breakthrough UK in 1997, and was involved in BCODP meetings and in DAN demonstrations. GMCDP - the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People BCODP - the British Council of Organisations of Disabled People DAN - the disabled peoples Direct Action Network Lorraine also supported and followed closely the campaigns in the USA for disabled people's rights led by the American group ADAPT, and the work of the DPI - the Disabled People's International. She collected a large number of documents from her various campaigns and roles - she also collected 17 t-shirt designs (one a sweatshirt) from these times. Block telethon was an annual fundraising TV programme in the late 1980s and 1990s to raise money for charities, using offensive portrayals of 'sad and pathetic' disabled people. A large demonstration by disabled people outside the TV studios in London in 1992 forced its ending. Comic Relief is one legacy. Work is underway to organise and catalogue her full collection of records for formal archiving in Manchester, to provide access to her writings and involvements for future campaigners, community workers and scholars.' - Tony Baldwinson. Intensive lobbying by Gradwell and fellow activists led to Manchester introducing the first accessible black cabs, and pioneering direct payments to disabled people to support independent living in the 1980s.
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