Rev. Wilke accepting pen from President Busch after ADA signing using his toes. Handwritten note reads: To. Rev. Harold Wilke Thank you for blessing this special, historic event. Sincerely, George Bush

ADA Celebration Day 2024

Rev. Harold Wilke: Disability Rights and the “Breaking of Chains”

Rev. Harold H. Wilke (1914 – 2003) was the minister who gave an invocation at the White House signing of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) with President George H.W. Bush. Wilke was born without arms on a farm in Washington, Missouri, and had to fight discrimination in school, in religious institutions, and in society throughout his life. Without his efforts and that of our disability rights ancestors, there would be no ADA. Read the event flyer for more details.

Featured Panelists:

  • Philip Dietch, formerly on the Advisory Board for Rev. Wilke’s 1978 “Independence Festival” in Washington, D.C.
  • Lori Becker, CEO at Starkloff Disability Institute
  • DeMarco Davidson, Executive Director, Metropolitan Congregations Unites

Date: Friday, June 26, 2024

Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm CT

In-person: Chapel at Eden Theological Seminary, 475 E. Lockwood Ave., St. Louis, MO 6311
Pre-event refreshments will begin at 9:15 am. Please register for this free event to help our hosts plan for hospitality.

Zoom: Register for link.

Registration requested for this free event at

ADA Signing Ceremony photo from Washington Missouri Historical Society.