Willie Mae Goodman decided to send her daughter Marguerite to the Willowbrook State School when Marguerite was four years old.
Marguerite Goodman lived at the Gouverneur Hospital in lower Manhattan.
As institutions became more widespread, more parents sent their children with intellectual and developmental disabilities away, hoping they would be rehabilitated and come home.
During the “Harlem Nine”’s struggle to integrate schools in New York City, multiple newspapers, including the New York Times and Amsterdam News, published photographs of Mae Mallory with her daughter Patricia.
Willowbrook opened in 1947. The number of people living at institutions in and around New York City increased in the early twentieth century as physicians frequently told parents of “mentally retarded” children to send them to institutions where they could be rehabilitated.
In the late 1800s through the early 1900s, educators and social reformers created institutions for people they called “idiots,” “feeble minded,” or later, “mentally retarded.