collection of old black & white photos showing people of color and objects

In honor of Black History Month, we’d like to recognize some of the individuals who contributed to fields that are essential here at Mystic Valley Elder Services: health and human services and social work. In particular, we are highlighting people who advanced our understanding or advocacy of aging and disability.

Eliza Simmons Bryant, the multiracial daughter of a freed slave, was a lifelong humanitarian who established the Cleveland Home of Aged Colored People in the late 1890s after observing that people of color were excluded from nursing homes due to segregation.

Solomon Carter Fuller was a pioneering neurologist, psychiatrist, pathologist and professor who contributed important research into Alzheimer’s disease in the early 20th century, when the disease was poorly understood.

Jacquelyne Johnson Jackson, PhD, was a Civil Rights activist and pioneering researcher into aging in black Americans. She drew attention to the lack of data and study of aging people of color, and was among the first to recognize the intersection of racism, economics and isolation in the black aging experience.

Brad Lomax was a Civil Rights and disability rights activist who helped lead the “504 Sit-In,” in San Francisco in 1977, which led to the passage of Section 504 of the U.S Rehabilitation Act, creating and extending civil rights to people with disabilities.

Sylvia Walker, PhD, was a blind professor and a lifelong champion of the rights of people with disabilities. She cofounded the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) as well as what’s known today as the Howard University Center for Disability and Socioeconomic Policy Studies.

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