The Newsweek Cover that Helped Change the Image of Americans with Disabilities

A Photo of a Young Man in a Wheelchair Palming a Basketball Marked the Beginning of a New Era

The color photograph that appeared on the cover of Newsweek magazine on March 22, 1948, shows a solitary wheelchair athlete, his right arm cocked as if he’s about to pass the basketball he’s palming to a distant teammate.

Today, nearly 75 years later, this unassuming tableau—which would have been a new, even puzzling image for readers at the time—resonates like a thunderous slam-dunk.

To understand the significance of this long-forgotten image, it’s important to recall that after Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president of the United States in the early 1930s, he …

The Birth of Wheelchair Basketball | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Birth of Wheelchair Basketball

World War II Veterans Popularized the Sport—And Changed the Game for the Disability Rights Movement

On an unremarkable Wednesday evening in the spring of 1948, 15,561 spectators flocked to New York’s Madison Square Garden to watch two teams of World War II veterans play an …