Hugh Gallagher, a member of PHI’s Honorary Board, died July 13 at the age of 71. Gallagher contracted polio in 1952 while attending college. He received rehabilitation services at the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation where he met former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
A disability rights activist and historian, Gallagher was acclaimed for his 1985 biography, FDR: The Splendid Deception, about the effects of polio on Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s life and presidencies. Gallagher was instrumental in the addition of the statue of Roosevelt in a wheelchair to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington DC.
Gallagher wrote the first disability civil rights law – the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 and was often considered the “grandfather of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”