Elizabeth “Eliza” Suggs was an early 20th Century author who was born with Brittle Bones Disorder. She was the youngest of her siblings, and born to former slaves who lived in Bureau County, Illinois. It was discovered that she had brittle bones four months after her birth, when she experienced her first series of fractures. Eliza seemed to have had a more severe form of OI, and her bones would break from the slightest movements.
2. Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman was thirteen years old when she threw herself between a fellow slave and the plantation overseer who threaten to whip him. The overseer struck Tubman on the head causing her to suffer from a form of epilepsy for the rest of her life. She escaped to freedom and spent the rest of her life rescuing other slaves.
3. “Blind Tom” Wiggins
Thomas Wiggins was a slave from Georgia who may have been autistic. From an early age he had the ability to compose and play music and he toured concert halls in Europe and America as a musical oddity.
4. Ever Lee Hairston
Ever Lee Hairston describes herself as Black, Blind, Successful, and Blessed as she travels throughout the U.S. and abroad lobbying for the blind. As a child, Hairston worked picking cotton and attended segregated schools. As an activist in the blind community, she is the Vice President
of the National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey and founder of the Garden State Chapter, Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
5. Curtis John Pride
Curtis John Pride is a former Major League Baseball outfielder and now serves as head baseball coach at Gallaudet University. Pride was deaf at birth due to rubella. Pride developed oral skills early in his life and graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. He excelled in baseball, basketball, and soccer in high school. Pride was originally signed by the New York Mets, but reached the major leagues with the Montreal Expos in 1993.
6. David Patterson
David Patterson is the second blind U.S. governor and first New York governor of African-American descent.
7. Wilma Rudolph
Wilma Rudolph was an American track and field sprinter, who competed in the 100 and 200 meters dash. Rudolph was considered the fastest woman in the world in the 1960s and competed in two Olympic Games, in 1956 and in 1960. At the age of four, Rudolph was severely weakened by polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system. She survived the illness but lost the use of her left leg. Despite doctors telling her she would never walk without braces she rose from the disability to Olympic glory.
8. Harry Belafonte
Harry Belafonte is an American singer, songwriter, actor, and social activist. Most people do not know that while in school Belafonte dealt with a learning disability.
9. Barbara Jordan
Barbara Jordan was an U.S. Representative. She was the first African-American woman to deliver a keynote address at the convention of a major political party. Most people did not know that Jordan was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Tatum was blind in one eye and nearly blind in the other. However, he did not allow that to stop him from making a name as a big time musician.