Monday, September 30, 2013

William "Bill" Passmore: Library Trustee and Advocate for the Disabled

Today's blog post will pay tribute to William "Bill" Passmore, former library trustee, community activist, and advocate for the disabled.

William "Bill" Passmore (1929-1992), son of Ben and Laura Passmore, was born in East Chicago, Indiana in 1929. He was a member of the East Chicago (Indiana) Public Library's Board of Trustees for sixteen years. Mr. Passmore was a 1975 graduate of Saint Joseph's College in Whiting, Indiana, and in 1969 was named "Handicapped American of the Year" by United States President Richard Nixon (Passmore suffered a football injury in high school that left him confined to a wheelchair; his legs were later amputated). Mr. Passmore was also involved with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, the Easter Seals Society, the Lake County Salvation Army (Indiana), the White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals, the President's Committee on the Employment of the Handicapped, and served on Indiana Governor Otis R. Bowen's Commission on the Handicapped.

In 1976, Passmore was named to "Who's Who in Black America", and on December 10, 1979, United States President Jimmy Carter appointed Passmore to the Transportation Barriers Compliance Commission. In 1984, Mr. Passmore was named "Outstanding Citizen of the Year" by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He was instrumental in the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990), and received the Sagamore of the Wabash Award in 1987 from Indiana Governor Robert D. Orr.

On Saturday, October 27, 1990, United States Representative Peter J. Visclosky of Indiana honored Mr. Passmore for his life's work and advocacy for the disabled. In 1991, Mr. Passmore received the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) Distinguished Service Award. William Passmore passed away at the age of 63 on April 18, 1992 in East Chicago, Indiana.

In April 2013, the East Chicago Public Library held a re-dedication ceremony for the William B. Passmore Career Services Center (named for Mr. Passmore). A video of the dedication ceremony can be viewed on YouTube:

 Sources: Smith, Cheryl. "East Chicago Public Library to Honor William Passmore." Northwest Indiana Times (Online). Northwest Indiana Times, 4 Apr. 2013. Web. 30 Sept. 2013. ; Holocek, Andrea. "Activist Passmore Dies at 63." Northwest Indiana Times 22 Apr. 1992:B1-B2. Print. ; "William Passmore Dies, Fostered Rights, Work for Nation's Disabled." Jet 82.3 (1992):13. Print. ; "President's Awards to Passmore, Wonder." Baltimore Afro-American 13 May 1969: 5. Print. ; "Passmore Selected Handicapped American of '68." Jet 35.24 (1969): 49. Print. ; "A Kiss and Pearl (Photo)." Jet 44.9 (1973): 44. Print. ; Heise, Kenan. "William Passmore, Hero of Disabled." Chicago Tribune (Online). Chicago Tribune, 24 Apr. 1992. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. ; Dorson, Richard M. "Is There a Folk in the City?" Crisis in Urban Schools: A Book of Readings for the Beginning Urban Teacher. New York, NY: MSS Information Corp., 1973. 24, 27. Print. ; Visclosky, Peter J. "William Passmore, East Chicagoan of the Year." Congressional Record 136 (1990):E3603-E3604. Print. ; "Records of the White House Press Office: A Guide to Its Records at the Jimmy Carter Library." Atlanta: The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, n.d. 127. PDF file. ; "BCALA Distinguished Service Awards 1970-2010." Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Black Caucus of the American Library Association, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2013. ; "William Passmore." United States Census, 1930., n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2013.