The Making of a Disability Activist

By (author) Dustin Galer
Foreword by Judy Rebick
Categories: Disability: social aspects, Social and ethical issues, Society and culture: general, Society and Social Sciences
Publisher: Between the Lines
Paperback : 9781771136372, 324 pages, November 2023


Beryl Potter was a reserved working-class mother of three living a decent life, or so it seemed, when a harmless slip and fall marked the unravelling of everything that she had known about herself and the world around her. Over the course of six years, she endured unimaginable pain. As doctors raced to save her life, her limbs and eyesight were taken from her one by one. In the span of a few years, she lost nearly half her body, her financial security, her home, her husband, and any semblance of a recognizable future.

A survivor of more than one hundred surgeries, a dangerous opioid addiction, and multiple suicide attempts, Beryl Potter devoted herself to bettering the lives of other people with disabilities and made a tremendous contribution to disability awareness from the 1970s to 1990s. In this unparalleled biography, Dustin Galer demonstrates how Beryl Potter seemed to crack the code of the social system that oppressed her. By wading into the weeds of her complicated life before and after her accident, Galer leaves readers with a complex portrait of a woman who defied and challenged gender and disability norms of her time, paving the way for disability justice.