Some 83 years ago, a group of disgruntled Americans organized a sit-in at a broom shop here. There were 107 of them, and their spokesman said, “We are only asking for our legal rights.” Their sit-in was in the tradition begun by the radical International Workers of the World, and their action was the physical expression of what the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would say the day before he was killed: that by sitting in, protesters were standing up.
Those long-ago demonstrators were not professional activists. They were blind workers, and their act constituted one of the first sit-ins for the rights of the disabled. They were joined by Rep. Matthew A. Dunn of Pittsburgh, blind since he was 20, and their protest helped us see the future.