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Justin Dart, Jr.

AKA Justin Whitlock Dart, Jr.

Born: 29-Aug-1930
Birthplace: Chicago, IL
Died: 22-Jun-2002
Location of death: Washington, DC
Cause of death: Pneumonia

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Activist
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Father of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Justin Dart, Jr. was born to privilege: the son of prominent American industrialist Justin Dart, he was educated in elite private schools and had two lion cubs as childhood pets, but was raised primarily by maids and nannies. He became a rambunctious adolescent and claimed to have broken "the all-time demerit record at Andover". Everything changed for Dart when he was stricken with polio at eighteen years of age. He was hospitalized for two years, then attended the University of Houston in a wheelchair in the early 1950s, a time when curbs and stairways were ever-present obstacles.

He attended law school, but dropped out to open a bowling alley, and later was an executive with Tupperware Brands while his father's Dart Industries owned that business, but Dart became best known as an advocate for the rights of the disabled. He was Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services under President Ronald Reagan in 1984, and under George H.W. Bush, he was named to chair the Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. He championed the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against the disabled by government agencies and companies that do business with the federal government, and requires handicapped access to buildings, transportation and other public services. At his alma mater, the University of Houston, Dart Center for Students with DisABILITIES is named in his honor.

Father: Justin Dart (industrialist, b. 1907, d. 1984)
Mother: Ruth Walgreen Dart Stephan (daughter of Charles Walgreen, m. 1929, div. 1939)
Brother: Peter Whitlock Dart (b. circa 1932, d. 1988)
Mother: Jane O'Brien Dart ("Jane Bryan", stepmother, actress, b. 11-Jun-1918, m. 1940)
Brother: Guy Michael Dart (half-brother, b. circa 1940)
Sister: Jane Dart Campbell (half-sister, b. circa 1942)
Brother: Stephen Dart (half-brother, b. circa 1950)
Wife: Fusako Tanida Dart
Wife: Yoshiko Saji Dart
Daughter: Idar Sloan Dart Cody
Daughter: Anne Dart Washington
Daughter: Elizabeth Dart Bender
Daughter: Fusako Jame Dart Krauchi
Daughter: Takako Sonia Dart Kane

    High School: Phillips Academy Andover
    University: BS Political Science, University of Houston (1953)
    University: MS History, University of Houston (1954)

    Presidential Medal of Freedom 1998
    US Official Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (Chairman, 1989-93)
    US Education Department Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services (1984-87)
    US Official National Council on Disability (1981-84)
    Texas State Official Governor's Committee for Persons with Disabilities (1980-85)
    Risk Factors: Polio


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