Dr. Carolyn McCaskill honored for contributions to the black deaf community

February 15, 2013
Carolyn McCaskill, Ph.D., professor in the Department of American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University, was recently recognized by several organizations and elected officials for her research on ASL in the black deaf community.

Dr. McCaskill received the Deaf Humanitarian Award from the National Action Network (NAN), one of the nation’s leading civil rights organizations, at the House of Justice Deaf Humanitarian Awards Banquet on February 2 in New York City. At the awards banquet, Dr. McCaskill also became the first deaf recipient of the Key to Harlem.

NAN was founded by civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton, who serves as the organization’s president.

In addition, Dr. McCaskill was given citations for excellence and achievement from New York State Senator Bill Perkins, New York State Assemblyman Keith L. T. Wright, and New York City Council Member Inez E. Dickens.

In honor of Black History Month, Dr. McCaskill is included in theGrio’s 100, an annual list of the top 100 influential people in the African American community, compiled by TheGrio.com, a division of NBC News that focuses on stories and perspectives of interest to African Americans. She was named in the Education category for 2013 for a book she co-authored, The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL, which explores the evolution of ASL within the black community.

 “I am deeply interested in black deaf history, community, and culture as well as multicultural issues within the deaf community,” said Dr. McCaskill. “My ultimate goal is to share the knowledge I gather with the deaf community and the world at large. To be recognized for my work is wonderful, I am truly honored and humbled.”

Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English. Gallaudet maintains a proud tradition of research and scholarly activity and prepares its graduates for career opportunities in a highly competitive, technological, and rapidly changing world.                             

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kaitlin.luna@gallaudet.edu