Mom is Worthy Opponent for State
Caption: The New York Daily News wrote about Willie Mae Goodman’s effort to improve conditions for her daughter Marguerite and others at the Gouverneur Hospital.
Marguerite Goodman lived at the Gouverneur Hospital in lower Manhattan. Her mother, Willie Mae Goodman, organized to improve Marguerite’s life at Gouverneur. This article by the New York Daily News identifies the many ways she and other family members of residents worked to change Gouverneur.
Goodman was one of the parents who founded the Gouverneur Parents Association. The GPA sued to make sure that Marguerite and others would not be sent back to Willowbrook State School, where they had lived previously. The parents also organized a sit-in to block traffic and call attention to their cause. Mrs. Goodman recalls members of the Black Panther Party showing up at the facility to keep residents from being put on buses for the transfer to Willowbrook.1 The Black Panthers and the Young Lords had been advocating for health care and education in their communities.
The GPA won: Marguerite and other Gouverneur residents were not sent back to Willowbrook.
Today, Willie Mae Goodman continues to advocate for Disabled people. She is concerned that some of the new smaller institutional homes that replaced Willowbrook and Gouverneur are becoming “Little Willowbrooks” that are underfunded and impersonal.1
Tags: Willowbrook, segregation, institutions, Disabled people, intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, Black people, social and economic class, women's activism, protest, exclusion from schooling,
Date: Sep 22, 1974
Creator: Lawrie Mifflin
Source: New York Daily News, with thanks to Jorge Matos Valldejuli
Copyright: Under copyright, used with permission. Courtesy of Jorge Matos Valldejuli
How to cite: “Mom is Worthy Opponent for State,” Lawrie Mifflin, in New York City Civil Rights History Project, Accessed: [Month Day, Year], https://nyccivilrightshistory.org/gallery/mom-worthy-opponent-for-state.
Questions to Consider
- One of the hospital officials described Willie Mae Goodman’s activism this way: “… her complaining is good – she keeps us on our toes and she keeps the staff and parents inspired.” How do you think Mrs. Goodman would have felt about this description? Whose job is it to ensure good and safe care and education for Marguerite Goodman?
- What are the different ways that Mrs. Goodman worked to improve the lives of her daughter Marguerite and other Disabled people?
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