The United States Civil Rights Movement began in the 1960s, which subsequently inspired the Disability Rights Movement which continues to influence legislation throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. These new laws prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities and provided access to education, places of public accommodation, telecommunications, and transportation.
Similarly, the barrier-free movement started in the United States in the 1950s and commenced a process of change in public policies and design practices in response to demands by veterans with disability and advocates for people with disabilities. At this time, physical barriers in the environment were recognized as a significant hindrance to people with mobility impairments.
 Universal Design History, http://www.ncsu.edu/ncsu/design/cud/about_ud/udhistory.htm, viewed 8 September 2015