Evelyn Daniel Anderson (1926-1998)

Evelyn Daniel Anderson

Evelyn Daniel Anderson became a paraplegic at age four when she was injured by a stray .22 caliber bullet.  She was never able to sit, stand or walk again.  After her spine was severed she never developed below the waist.  She was thereafter confined to a gurney (“a rolling table”). She would lie prone, her lower body covered, propped up with an arm bent at the elbow.  

Never considering herself disabled, she graduated with honors from
and with a double major (art and history) from Judson College.  Miss Anderson viewed her paraplegia only as a “physical inconvenience.”  In the decades before rehabilitation programs and legal initiatives to support the disabled, she met each challenge with both determination and equanimity. 

She began teaching in 1948 as an “unofficial art teacher in a vacant classroom” at Greensboro High school because an Alabama law prohibited hiring seriously handicapped teachers.  Miss Anderson inspired a State Senator and the Alabama State School Superintendent to work for the passage of a new law (enacted in 1953) to repeal the prohibition.  She then became the first seriously handicapped professional hired by the Alabama public schools (1954).  Wanting to guide and advise students as well as teach them, she received a master’s degree in education in counseling in 1964 from the University of Alabama.  Miss Anderson taught English and Spanish and served as guidance counselor at Greensboro High School.

Pioneering the rights of those with physical handicaps, she inspired the city of Greensboro to provide accommodations for the mobility disabled before being required by law to do so.

 She won numerous awards and honors, including Outstanding Educator (1974), Outstanding Counselor of the Year (1975-76) and the Alabama Handicapped Professional Woman of the Year (1977). She served on Alabama Governor’s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped (1977).  In 1976, Alabama Educational (now Public) Television aired a short documentary film about her life as an educator and inspiration for children.

 An active member of many professional organizations, Miss Anderson provided inspirational leadership to the educational community at the local and state levels and spoke at numerous club and school functions around the state.

 She was a master teacher for over 30 years, retiring in 1982 after teaching, officially and unofficially, in the Greensboro public schools for 34 years.  In August, 1993, the National Spinal Cord Injury Association recognized Evelyn Anderson as the then oldest survivor of a spinal cord injury.  In retirement she continued to be as active as ever.  Evelyn Anderson died after an illness of five weeks on October 7, 1998.



Past Inductees
Alabama Women's Hall of Fame
Judson College

© 2005 Alabama Women's Hall of Fame