Radical Woman of the Day: Celestine Tate Harrington

On this day in 1998 Celestine Tate Harrington, quadriplegic street performer, died as a result of head injuries she received from two colliding cars that struck her motorized gurney. Born in 1956 with Arthrogryposis multiplex, which caused all four of her limbs to be underdeveloped, she had taken music classes for the disabled at Philadelphia’s Settlement Music School and learned to play a portable keyboard with her tongue so she could earn her living through audience donations.

In 1975 Harrington (then Celestine Tate) gave birth to a daughter, Niya, whose father was not present for her birth and died before he could marry her mother. When a social worker recommended Niya’s removal from Harrington’s care, Harrington demonstrated in a custody hearing how she could dress and undress Niya using only her lips, teeth, and tongue. She received joint custody with her grandparents, who had raised Harrington herself. Two years later, she was able to obtain sole custody, and she moved out of her grandparents’ home. She later gave birth to another daughter, Coronda.

Although she received frequent fines for performing and panhandling without a permit, Harrington’s street performances enabled her to earn a living without public assistance and even send her two daughters to college. In 1991 she married Roy Harrington, a casino employee, and in 1996 she published her autobiography, Some Crawl and Never Walk.

California Police Ignored, Mishandled Sex Assaults Reported By Disabled

Trigger Warning for Rape, Sexual Abuse

Patients at California’s board-and-care centers for the developmentally disabled have accused caretakers of molestation and rape 36 times during the past four years, but police assigned to protect them did not complete even the simplest tasks associated with investigating the alleged crimes, records and interviews show.

Horrifying. In one case, a severely disabled woman became pregnant and gave birth to a child she was incapable of caring for.

Intellectually-Disabled Woman Charged With Prostitution

Laura Berte said her daughter has a mental capacity of a 9 year old. She said Allie, though now 20, was in special classes at Ashley High school, but was still on the honor roll for her level. This would be Allie’s senior year of high school.

“My daughter’s not a criminal,” said Laura Berte. “She doesn’t have the mental capacity to come up with this idea on her own. This is bigger than her and bigger than most people in this community know, and it’s happening right underneath our noses.”

Even if we continue to outlaw prostitution, we have got to decriminalize prostitutes.

Flight Attendant Forces Nonverbal Autistic Teen to Turn Off iPad She Uses to Communicate

In accordance with airline and FAA policy, although it seems airlines are able to offer “reasonable accomodation” to people with disabilities.

I’m not aware of any actual research suggesting that non-cell-phone electronic devices pose any threat to airline safety. It’s time for the FAA to end this policy.