Launching Paul Longmore's "Telethons"

By The Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability

"Editing a book that the author called his 'magnum opus' explains my short fingernails"  - Catherine Kudlick, Longmore Institute Director and Editor, Telethons

Last week, the Longmore Institute teamed up with the J. Paul Leonard Library and Friends of the Library to celebrate the long-awaited launch of Telethons: Spectacle, Disability, and the Business of Charity.A visually impaired woman wearing glasses reads notes from an electronic tablet as she speaks from a podium Telethons editor (and Longmore Institute Director) Catherine Kudlick addresses the crowd. 

Telethons was the culmination of many years of research throughout Paul's career. After his death, colleagues felt a 'call to arms' to get the work published. As editor Catherine Kudlick explains, "Paul's book was a big dare.... He dared me and others to open the door for lasting change." Paul dared people throughout his entire career as a scholar, colleague, and friend. As fellow history teacher and friend Trevor Getz recalled, "Paul was an amazing mentor, especially if he knew you had an ego to match his...[he] was about scholarship that made a difference to people and the societies they lived in." (Read the complete transcript of Trevor's thoughts here) A light-skinned woman with glasses and shoulder-length brown hair purses her lips as she speaks from a podium in the university archives. Archivist Meredith Eliassen shares some insight on Paul as a scholar with selections from the Paul K. Longmore Papers, housed in the Library Special Collections and Archives.

As both an academic and activist, his work in Telethons continues to break new ground in Disability Studies, boldly proclaiming that "Telethons needed disabled people more than disabled people needed telethons." But the launch of Telethons has also given us the opportunity to bring together Paul's colleagues, students, and friends for some perspective on the man behind the book. Missed the event? Watch it here: [youtube] Join us for our next launch event on Wed. February 24th at 5pm at the Ed Roberts Campus for a book reading and reflections from some of Paul's Bay Area activist friends. Gene Chelberg, a blind man, introduces the event with his guide dog at his feet. Gene Chelberg offers opening remarks and introduces Provost Sue Rosser.

*Thank you to Ned Fielden for the photographs! Watch the event here: [youtube]