Google honors Berkeley’s own Ed Roberts, disability rights pioneer

In honor of Berkeley alum Ed Roberts’s birthday — the founder and leader of the global disability rights movement would have been 78 today — California is celebrating Ed Roberts Day. And Google, the search giant viewed by millions around the world hourly, devoted its daily Doodle search-page feature to him today.

Google Doodle of Ed Roberts

The Google Doodle today

Roberts, who suffered polio when he was 14, was the first UC Berkeley student to rely on a wheelchair when he arrived in 1962. He started the Physically Disabled Students Program, the first in the country and in the world. After graduating and earning a master’s in political science at Berkeley, he went on to found the Center for Independent Living, based in the modern campus that bears his name at the Ashby BART Station.

Long recognized as the father of the independent living movement for people with disabilities and special needs, he died in 1995.

Google posted this Doodle page honoring Roberts. recently interviewed Roberts’ mother, Zona, who fought for her son’s education and  healthcare.

Read a 2010 Berkeley News account of how Ed Roberts Day came to be in California.