Johnnie Lacy

Harmar celebrates Black History.
Throughout February, we’ll be shining a spotlight on pioneers, innovators, difference makers, and history shakers that have shaped our world.
Johnnie Lacy, called by some a “Social Justice Pioneer” was a powerful ally and activist in the disabled community.
Born in Arkansas in 1937, Ms. Lacy spent her early years in the deeply segregated South. At 10 years old, she and her family moved to California. After High School, Ms. Lacy was accepted to the nursing studies program at Chico State University.
While working and studying at San Francisco General Hospital in 1956, Lacy was diagnosed with Polio. Ultimately, the Polio left Lacy paralyzed and wheelchair-bound. Undeterred, Lacy was committed to continuing her education. At that time though, there were no protections for disabled Americans at Universities and professors actively work to discourage her or even block her from studying.
Fueled by continued and now mounting discrimination, Ms. Lacy would go on to become a leading figure in the fight for equal rights for Americans with disabilities. She was a founding member of the Center for Independent Living. In her lifetime, Johnnie Lacy became a bridge of sorts, helping the disabled community and the black community better understand one another.
Harmar salutes Johnnie Lacy