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Gini Laurie, Founder, Remembered in Missouri History Museum

Gini Laurie holding her St. Louis AwardGini Laurie, founder of Post-Polio Health International (formerly Gazette International Networking Institute), is remembered with a permanent exhibit in the new Emerson Electric Center of the Missouri History Museum (MHS).

Gini, a native of Saint Louis, is honored for her life-long work on behalf of people with disabilities in a section that asks the question, "What does it mean to be a citizen?" The colorful display on disability rights is located in the McDonnell Douglas Gallery "Seeking St. Louis – Reflections," on the upper level.

A large plaque features the following tribute to Gini:

Independent Living: Gini Laurie

Saint Louis' Gini Laurie worked to end institutionalization of people with disabilities. Born Virginia Grace Wilson in 1913, Gini was named after 2 older sisters who died of polio. As a hospital volunteer, she founded Rehabilitation Gazette, which became an internationally known advocacy journal. Known as the "grandmother" of the independent living movement, Laurie urged people with all kinds of disabilities to work together to end institutionalization and to support independence. In 1974, she helped found the American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities. She died in 1989, not long before the Americans with Disabilities Act at last realized her goal of equal rights for people with disabilities.

Also featured are her volunteer badges, copies of Rehabilitation Gazette, and the photograph of her holding the prestigious Saint Louis Award (above) that she received in 1986.

The Missouri History Museum (Jefferson Memorial Building and Emerson Electric Center), located at the junction of Lindell and DeBaliviere Boulevards in Forest Park in Saint Louis, Missouri, is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm and Tuesday from 10 am to 8 pm. The museum, which is free, is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

For more information call 314-746-4599 or log on to www.mohistory.org.

Independent Living: The Role of Gini Laurie

Virginia Grace Wilson "Gini" Laurie

 

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