In I Can’t Swim, But I Haven’t Drowned Yet, Melissa Marshall chronicles the history of the disability rights movement though her lifetime of disability rights activism. Follow her through high school, where she is denied an education at the same time that equal education for disabled people became federal law; on to college, where she been among the first people, if not the first person to major in disability studies; then to law school where she, again, struggled for equal access. In Melissa’s career, she has fought to close state institutions for people with intellectual disabilities and mental health conditions; advocated for people found not guilty by reason of insanity; and managed hot lines for people with disabilities affected by disasters. She has promoted social justice for disabled people using everything from community organizing, to direct acts of civil disobedience, to offering legal and disability bias training.
I Can’t Swim, But I Haven’t Drowned Yet is packed with stories from the trenches of the disability rights movement and tips that Melissa has learned from her experience embracing disability rights activism as a lifestyle. Part light-hearted memoir and part analysis of the disability rights movement and ableism, this book should be read by students of disability rights history; people involved in the disability rights movement; activists of all types; and anyone who is interested in how far disabled people have come in securing their rights and how far they still have to go.