Reverend Wade Blank Memorial - Denver, CO
Posted by: Outspoken1
N 39° 44.405 W 104° 59.219
13S E 501115 N 4398909
Quick Description: Bus stop dedicated to Reverend Wade Blank and 19 protesters who created the spectacle that embarrassed Denver into getting buses that would handle wheelchairs
Location: Colorado, United States
Date Posted: 8/9/2011 7:44:10 PM
Waymark Code: WMC8X0
Those of us who ride public buses are either unaware or forget the fight that people with different abilities (more common term is disabilities) had to pursue to get public transportation to accommodate their needs.
The plaque reads:
"This bus stop is dedicated by the
Regional Transportation District (RTD)
in the memory of
Reverend Wade Blank.
Reverend Blank and 19 other members
of a disability advocacy group blocked
a RTD East Colfax Local bus on
July 5 and 6, 1978.
The RTD Board of Directors
subsequently voted to begin purchasing
wheelchair-accessible buses, and by
1985 Denver had become the first major
metropolitan area in the United States
to provide wheelchair-accessible service
on all Local buses.
This site was re-dedicated in
2005 to commemorate the
15th anniversary of the
Americans with Disabilities Act."
This is a sanitized version of the actual events. I vividly remember the actual events. Protests by disabled activists and supporters had occurred throughout Denver. As tension escalated, Police were called to break up the protest. Imagine the television visual of Police bouncing a wheelchair with an activist down the step of the Colorado Capitol and Denver City & County Building (this is before ramps). The protest at these locations necessitated the police taking the protesters to the Police Station. Hmmmm... the police had no vehicles to carry a person in a wheelchair. The wheelchairs could not fit through the doors of the Police Station. There were no ramps to allow the wheelchair protesters into the court room for their hearing.
Denver's Regional Transportation District (RTD) ordered 89 buses with wheelchair lifts in 1982, 4 years after this initial protest. The following year, all RTD buses were retrofitted with wheelchair lifts, making Denver one of the first large metropolitan areas to have all buses wheelchair accessible. (excerpted from (visit link
When I remember all of the tension that occurred over this issue, I am very grateful for these differently-abled and abled people who brought the issue of access to public transportation to the forefront. The development of accessibility standards (codified in the Americans with Disabilities Act) has aided not only the differently-abled, but also people who are recovering from surgery or accidents, people with balance issues, people with less strength or size and our veterans who may have temporary or permanent ability issues.
More information may be found at (visit link