Melissa Marshall - Publish Your Purpose
Melissa Marshall

About Melissa Marshall

Melissa Marshall, J.D. is a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law and is admitted to the Bar in Connecticut. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College, where she was one of the first people in the country to major in disability studies. In addition to being a disability policy consultant for over a decade, she has been Executive Director of several disability-related organizations. She conducts access audits at facilities of all sizes. She has worked extensively with people who have physical, sensory, intellectual, learning and psychiatric disabilities, as well as with people on the autism spectrum.

I Can't Swim, But I Haven't Drowned Yet

I Can’t Swim, But I Haven’t Drowned Yet: Notes From a Disability Rights Activist

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; onto college where she been among the first, 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; managed hot lines for people with disabilities impacted by disasters. She has promoted social justice for disabled people using everything from community organizing to doing civil disobedience to 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 curious about how far disabled people have come in securing their rights and how far they still have to go.

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Interviews & Articles

Interviews & Articles

I Can’t Swim, But I Haven’t Drowned Yet: Notes From a Disability Rights Activist by Melissa Marshall

What People Are Saying

What People Are Saying

Melissa Marshall has written an engaging history of the disability rights movement seen through the lens of an activist and person with a disability. She guides us through her life from not being able to attend her high school and the laws that made going to one in a neighboring town possible, through her career as a disability rights attorney and activist. At the same time, she shows us how the successes and disappointments of the movement have changed life for disabled people over the past fifty years. Her book is fascinating and funny. I highly recommend it for anyone with a disability, or who cares about people with disabilities, or anyone who is interested in the history of a civil rights movement.

—Amazon Reviewer

As a person living with a disability (I'm an amputee), a self-advocate, and an advocate for others, I learned so much about activism, how to live with setbacks and accept that this effort isn't a sprint. It's a marathon.

—Amazon Reviewer

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