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American & Deaf History Timeline

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Sarah Giorgis-Pratt

on 6 November 2015

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Transcript of American & Deaf History Timeline

"History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, and if faced with COURAGE, need not be lived again."
~Maya Angelou
Deaf history focuses, in large part, on a centuries-long struggle over ways to overcome a heritage of discrimination by the hearing world and to provide better opportunities for the Deaf Community at large.
Earliest Know History of Deaf People
Perhaps the best place to start in Deaf
history is at the beginning of mankind,
as researched by scientist.
During the Middle Ages, humans faced difficulties such as poverty, famine, and disease. As a result there were not a lot of advances in the arts and sciences.

Deaf adults were objects of ridicule and even served as court jesters.

Others were committed to asylums because of their lack of speech that was thought to be a result of demonic possession.

Physicians in those days considered deafness a malady and a physical condition that should be eliminated to allow a healthy life.

Deaf people endured numerous experiments in the search for a cure for deafness, such as:
Based on the earliest known
written records
, it appears that attitudes toward deaf people were partially
and partially
"About four million years ago, human like animals called australopithecines appeared on Earth."
During these ancient times, it was survival-of-the-fittest environment; each person had to fend for him/herself. It is likely that children born with 'differences' or deformities were killed or abandoned.
, it wouldn't be surprising if
deaf people survived
, given that hearing loss is often overlooked.
The earliest history of mankind was recorded through tools and crafts created from iron and bronze.
an anthropologist at the University of Colorado, "suggest that signs were probably the first language and that signs helped humans to start voice languages."
Greek Philosopher
in the fifth century B.C. appears to have been the first person to write about sign language:

"Suppose that we had no voice or tongue, and wanted to indicate objects to one another, should we not, like the deaf and dumb, make signs with the hands, head and rest of the body?"
Gordon Hewes, Ph.D
Laurent Clerc
(1785 – 1869)
The Renaissance was a time of great change and rebirth in religion, astronomy, literature, and art.

During this rebirth and growth, deaf people were recognized as
people of abilities
. They were taught to read and write and they were able to fully express themselves with their
natural language of signs
Abbe De L'Epee
"Finally Jack Sparrow is ashore and all he wants is a drink. Unfortunately, he has landed at Martha’s Vineyard. He must sign his order or go dry. God speed Jack Sparrow."
~That Deaf Cartoonist

Everyone would communicate in
sign language
, both deaf and hearing. Many, if not most, children would be born deaf.
1690 - 1880
Ancient Times
Biblical Times
Middle Ages
The Renaissance
1817 - 1880
1836 -
Samuel Morse & Amos Kendall invent the telegraph machine. Kendall
a Deaf Man
established the Columbia Institute for the Deaf on his Washington, D.C. estate.
1864 -
President Lincoln signs the charter changing the Columbia Institute into the National Deaf Mute College—It is the first university to grant college degrees for the deaf.

1864 -
On September 8, the
has a faculty of 5 and a student body of 13 including 8 preparatory students and 5 collegiate students. The five collegiate were:
Melville Ballard (1866),
James Cross Jr.
James H. Logan
John B. Hotchkiss
Joseph Parkinson. (1869).
The faculty were:
Edward M. Gallaudet,
Richard Storrs,
Rev. Lewellyn Pratt,
James W. Patterson,
Peter Baumgras.
1960 - 1980
1980 - 2000
1880 - 1960
(A.D. 1400 - 1700)
The Golden Ages
Martha's Vineyard
Origins of Deaf Learning in America
The "Coming Out" Ages






"As long as we have deaf people on earth, we will have signs. And as long as we have our films, we can preserve signs in their old purity. It is my hope that we will all love and guard our beautiful sign language as the noblest gift God has given to deaf people."
~ George William Veditz
National Association of the Deaf, 1913

(700 B.C - A.D. 400)
(A.D. 400 - 1400)
The Dark Ages
The "Speaking" Out Ages
2000 - Present
The Age of Technology
Deaf people often jest that the first sign or gesture was for "come here."
Another possible first gesture could have been using the index finger to point at things.

Deaf children are often told that it is impolite to point at people or things, however this concept of "indexing" is an intricate part of sign languages.
The Egyptians treated the deaf and blind with respect.

Many were noted to become artist.
The first mention of a deaf person is noted in the Torah. The Hebrews perceived deafness to be a fact of life, although they were considered
"legally incompetent"
since they could/would not speak.
It is also observed in the Talmud (Jewish religious writings) that deaf persons were not allowed to own property.
This painting is about Socrates vs. Aristotle, 360 B.C. Socrates quoted by Plato in “Cratylus” said "Deaf can express themselves in gestures movement." Aristotle (384-322 BC) said “Deaf born senseless and incapable to reason.” Socrates signed "
Yes, Deaf can
" and Aristotle signs "No, Deaf cannot."
Nancy Rourke
Deaf Artist
Another famous Greek philosopher,
(384 - 322 B.C.) was a pupil of Plato, who learned under Socrates. He is noted for stating
"Those who are born deaf all become senseless and incapable of reason."

Aristotle for the next two thousand years has been accused of oppressing deaf people, although some believe the quote has been taken out of context.
However, during the Middle Ages, interest in teaching deaf people grew.

The earliest medieval efforts at instructing deaf people were always sparked by religious zeal to provide salvation of the souls of deaf people.

Monks, as a source of information, preserved and shared some of their writings about deafness.

Benedictine monks invented a system of signs and fingerspelling to circumvent their
"vow of silence."

These signs may have been used later in attempts of teaching deaf children.
The blowing of a trumpet in the ears, or pouring liquids (oil, honey, vinegar, garlic juices, eel fat, blood...) into the ear.
Expansion of Deaf Education in Europe
England & Scotland
Royal Family intermarriages = large percentage of deaf children born.

Royal and wealthy families hired tutors or sent deaf children away to be educated.

Ponce de Leon
(1520 - 1584), a Spanish monk, taught deaf people at a monastery with an emphasis on

1575, a Spanish lawyer named Lasso denounced Aristotle's view of the deaf, also stated that deaf people should have the right to bear children.

Spanish educator
Juan Pablo Bonet
continues the work of Ponce de Leon after his death. Writes the book
"The Simplification of Letters and the Art of Teaching the Mute to Speak,"
published in 1620. Noted to be the most influential book of the time about teaching deaf students.
The education of deaf children was usually arranged by the family.

Teachers jealously guarded the secrets of their trade, the art of deaf education was often veiled in mystery.

Thomas Braidwood
opened a school for the deaf in Edinburgh to serve children whose parents could afford the tuition.

In 1783 the
Braidwood Academy
was moved to Hackley, near London.

The Braidwoods pledged to keep their methods within their family.

Its purpose was to teach the deaf to communicate with others
or in
, however they did use a
two-handed manual alphabet
in their instructions.
education of deaf people began in France.

For the first time,
sign language
was used consistently in a school; the school (
National Institute for Deaf Mutes
) was founded by Abbe de l'Epee, a Catholic priest.

Abbe de l'Epee
is known as the first hearing educator interested in learning from deaf people themselves.

For the first time, deaf students had a deaf teacher,
Jean Massieu

With the passing of de l'Epee, King Louis XVI appointed
Abbe Sicard
to become the director and principal of the National Institute for Deaf Mutes in 1790.
The most renowned German educator was
Samuel Heinicke

Heinicke rejected the use of signs, believing that signs and the manual alphabet prevented the students from learning.

was the ONLY method used for teaching and communicating.

In 1778, he published
"Observations on the Deaf and Dumb"
, advocating the
pure oral method

Clear thought
is possible only by
, and therefore, the deaf ought to be taught to speak.

Learning speech, which depends on hearing, is only possible by substituting another sense for hearing, and this can be no other than
, which serves chiefly to fix the vowel sounds.

Although the deaf can think in signs and pictures, this is confusing and indefinite, so the ideas thus required are
not enduring.
Early in the 17th century, members of the deaf community in County Kent Weald, England moved to Martha’s Vineyard.

The language they brought with them has been referred to as Kent Sign Language.

For over 200 years, Deaf and Hearing worked, lived, and socialized side-by-side in the rugged isolation of Martha’s Vineyard.

The rugged, self-sufficient isolation of the island contributed to genetic pooling, which served to magnify the number of children born deaf.

Kent Sign Language continued to develop, and in time came to be known as MVSL in the 17th - 18th century.
If you could create a Deaf utopia, what would it be like?

1 in 155
on the main island but In some villages as high as
1 in 25
1 in 4
(compared to the average of
1 in 1000
Inspired by Alice Cogswell
The Antebellum Era
is a Latin term that means "before the war." The antebellum period in the United States was the time period before the American Civil War, which began in 1861. It is most often described as the period between the War of 1812 and the Civil War, and it is most often used to refer to the Southern U.S.

After its arduous war for independence from England, the U.S. worked to rebuild itself and create an identity for itself. The U.S. government was in its infancy and was more state-centralized at the time — individual state governments had more power than the federal government.
Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet a (1787-1851) Thomas Gallaudet, abounding in intellectual abilities, excelled in many educational endeavors. At the age of fourteen (14) years, Gallaudet entered Yale University. He graduated first in his class in 1805 .
April 15,1817 -
The American School for the Deaf located in Hartford, Conn opens their doors!
First American School for the Deaf in America
used a creole of French Sign Language and an indigenous signed language from Martha's Vineyard for teaching the Deaf students of all ages.
Deaf graduates became teachers and were sent out among the young United States of America to establish other schools for the Deaf.
Deaf student of Abbe De L'Eppee and Abbe Sicard. Born in Dauphine, France in 1785

Clerc graduated from and taught at the Paris School for the Deaf.
In 1816 he moved to Hartford, Conn. and co-founded the American School for the Deaf with Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet.
Clerc married Eliza Crocker- Boardman a graduate of the American School for the Deaf.
He was buried in Spring Rove Cemetery in Hartford, Conn.
Alice Cogswell (1805-1830) - first graduate of the American School for The Deaf
Many schools for the deaf open around the country. ASL and Deaf Culture begin to flourish.
1875 -
The Deaf Mutes’ Journal is established. It continues operation as a popular newspaper of the Deaf until 1951.

1880 -
The National Association of the Deaf is established in Cincinnati, OH. It is formed to fight for deaf rights and to spread awareness of deaf issues.
1818 - The New York Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb was founded.

1823 - Kentucky School for the Deaf opened in Danville. First school supported by state.

1829 - Ohio School for the Deaf opened in Columbus.

1837 - St. Joseph's School for the Deaf opened In St. Louis, Missouri. The first Catholic school for the deaf.

1839 - Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind opened in Staunton. The first school to integrate deaf and blind students.

1843 - Indiana School for the Deaf opened in Indianapolis.

1845 - North Carolina Schools (3) for the Deaf opened in Morganton (1845), Wilson (1965), and Greensboro (1975).

1845 - Tennessee School for the Deaf opened in Knoxville.

1846 - Georgia School for the Deaf opened in Cave Spring.

1846 - Illinois School for the Deaf opened in Jacksonville.

1849 - South Carolina School for the Deaf opened in Spartanburg.

1850 - Arkansas School for the Deaf opens in Little Rock.

1851 - Missouri School for the Deaf opened in Fulton.

1852 - Louisiana State School for the Deaf opened in Baton Rouge.

1852 - Wisconsin School for the Deaf opened in Delavan.

1854 - Mississippi School for the Deaf opened in Jackson.

1854 - Michigan School for the Deaf opened in Flint.

1855 - Iowa School for the Deaf opened in Council Bluffs.

1857 - Texas School for the Deaf opened in Austin.

1858 - Alabama School for the Deaf opened in Talladega.
After graduated from Yale, Gallaudet was not quite sure of the direction he wanted to proceed in terms of a career. He had many interests to include working in a trade, attending a seminary or perform in the capacity of a traveling salesman. Temporarily, he worked as a legal apprentice before deciding to return to Yale University in 1808 as a graduate student whereupon he obtained a Masters of Arts degree. Feeling called to the ministry, after some hesitation, he decided to enter the Theological Seminary at Andover in 1811. He became an ordained minister at the age of twenty-seven (27) years old.

1816 -
Filled with compassion for the neglected people in society and aware of the non-availability of resources for the deaf, Gallaudet took on their cause.
Of the many neglected people or those that could use assistance in society, it is unclear why Gallaudet chose to represent the deaf or why he was so profoundly affected by the conditions surrounding available resources.
Whatever his reasoning, he was highly motivated to assist in searching for the best methods of communication that he traveled to Europe at his own expense.
He became quite familiar with methods used in France as well as London. visited Europe to study Deaf Education and resumed to co-found the American School for the Deaf with Laurent Clerc.
1846 -
American Annals of the Deaf (AAD) begins publication in Hartford at American School for the Deaf.

847 - A
merican Annals of the Deaf first proposes the idea of higher education for the Deaf.
FUN FACT: Congress authorized the institution to confer college degrees in 1864, and President Abraham Lincoln signed the bill into law. The first three graduates from the college had their diplomas signed by President Ulysses S. Grant, and to this day the diplomas of ALL Gallaudet graduates are signed by the presiding U.S. president.
1859 - St. Mary’s School for the Deaf opened in Buffalo, New York.

1860 - California School for the Deaf opened in Berkeley.

1861 - Kansas State School for the Deaf opened in Olathe.

1863 - Minnesota School for the Deaf opened in Faribault.

1867 - Lexington School opened in New York City, becoming the first pure oral school in the country. Clarke School soon followed in Northampton, Maine.

1868 - Maryland School for the Deaf opened in Frederick, Maryland.

1869 - North Carolina became the first state to provide an institution for the education of black deaf children. The school was named the Governor Morehead School.

1869 - Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf opened in Edgewood.

1870 - Ohio School became the first school for the deaf to play baseball.

1870 - Oregon School for the Deaf opened in Salem.

1870 - West Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind opened in Romney

1872 - Nebraska School for the Deaf opened in Omaha.

1874 - Lutheran School for the Deaf opened in Detroit, Michigan.

1874 - Colorado School for the Deaf opened in Colorado Springs.

1875 - Cincinnati Public School for the Deaf opened in Ohio.

1875 - New York State School for the Deaf opened in Rome, NY.

1875 - Chicago Day Schools for the Deaf opened in Chicago, Illinois.

1876 - Rochester School for the Deaf opened in Rochester, NY.

1876 - Rhode Island School for the Deaf opened in Providence.

1876 - Governor Baxter School for the Deaf opened in Portland, Maine.

1876 - Henry W. Syle & AW Mann were the first Deaf ordained clergymen in USA.

1879 - Beverly School for the Deaf opened in Beverly, Massachusetts.

1880 - South Dakota School for the Deaf opened in Sioux Falls.
1855 - John J. Flournoy first floated the idea of an independent "Deaf State" sparking a debate in the Deaf Community.
American History:
The Gilded Age 1878 - 1901
Period after the civil war & reconstruction
Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner - "The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today", satirizing what they believed to be an era of serious social problems hidden by a thin layer of gold.[1]
Enormous growth = millions immigrate from Europe.
Railroads, Factories, Mining, Labor Unions, all major importance to growth.
The political landscape = rights for Black Americans, tariff policy and monetary policy.
Reformers worked for civil service reform, prohibition and women's suffrage.
Philanthropists built colleges and hospitals
Religious denominations exerted a major sway in everyday life.
Utah becomes a state in 1896
"The story of the suppression of sign language is well known in the folklore of the American Deaf Community, but few hearing people are aware of it."
In the decades following the Civil War, educational reformers waged a campaign to eliminate
manualism - the use of sign language in the classroom -
and to replace it with
oralism, the exclusive use of lipreading and speech.
Foreigners Among Their Own Countrymen.... Why did hearing Americans turn against sign language?
After the Civil War, many people began to fear that cultural differences within the nation were dangerous and ought to be suppressed.
Like "nativist" who believed that the many immigrants were not assimilating as quickly as those who came to America before them, hearing educators decried that the Deaf Community was "clannish."
The Deaf Community had their own
, and
and now a
Hearing educators charged that a deaf signer was "intellectually, a man without a country, no gesturer can become an American. The gesturer is, and always will remain, a foreigner."
Speech = Humanity

Organized and promoted by French and Italian oralist in hopes to advance their cause.
Alexander Graham Bell represented the American delegation.
James Denison, the principal of the Kendall School for the Deaf in Washington DC, was the only Deaf person present.
Oral method for education for the deaf passed (with only 6 dissenting votes).
At the close of the congress, a French representive shouted from the podium "Viva la Parole!" (Long live speech!)
Sign Language is forbidden in the classroom and Deaf teachers are dismissed in large numbers.
Congress of Milan
(International Conference on Education of the Deaf)
"Those who believe as I do, that the production of a defective race of human beings would be a great calamity to the world, will examine carefully the causes that lead to the intermarriage of the deaf with the object of applying a remedy ."
(Washington, DC 1981)
Defending Sign Language
1887 - Deaf women are finally admitted to the National Deaf Mute College.

1894 - The National Deaf Mute College changes its name to Gallaudet University in honor of the Gallaudet family.

1895 - Debate between the two American educators: Alexander Graham Bell, and Edward Miner Gallaudet.
1884 - The Utah School for the Deaf and Blind is established in Ogden, UT. It was founded by a Deaf man, Henry C. White.
1901 - baseball's American League gets its first grand slam thanks to William "Dummy" Hoy, a Deaf player. Umpire hand signals are developed by Hoy so that he can see a strike call from the outfield.
Alexander Graham Bell:
"Marriage, An Address to the Deaf"
Oralism swept the nation and was the predominate means to educate the deaf in America for 90 years... BUT Deaf people persevered, kept signing and fighting for their language rights!
So, how does the current mentally and state of our country affect the Deaf World?
1901 – The National Fraternal Society of the Deaf (NFSD) is formed to provide deaf people insurance.
1913 – George Veditz preserves sign language on film. “Sign Language is God’s Noblest Gift to the Deaf.”
1920’s – The football huddle is created at Gallaudet College to prevent other deaf teams from seeing the signs used to set-up plays.

1927 – Oralism in America is at an all time high! Only 15% of teachers for the Deaf or Deaf themselves.

1941- 1945 – WWII creates a need for labor. Deaf men and women are hired in record numbers to work in defense industries. Many relocate to work in factories in California, Ohio, New York, and Washington D.C. Many employers note the abilities of deaf workers for the first time.
1964 - TTY invented & the National Registry of Interpreters Founded

1965 - ASL studied by William Stokoe and recognized as an official language (because of Stokoe’s research)

1967 - National Theater for Deaf first toured

1973- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is passed into law. It states that equal access must be given to deaf individuals in all federally funded facilities.

1974 - Relay Service began

Total Communication gains some momentum
1984 - Cochlear implants are approved for human use.

1987 - Marlee Matlin wins an Oscar for her role in “Children of a Lesser God”

1988 - Deaf President Now (DPN) protest at Gallaudet University. After eight days of protest, I King Jordan is named the first Deaf President of the school.

1995 - Heather Whitestone is crowned Miss America.
Full transcript