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CBDS embraces the Black ASL, Black Deaf Studies, and the Black Deaf experience and space.

CBDS in the News

USA Today | February 3, 2022

Black, Deaf and proud​ | March 1, 2021

Preserving Black American Sign Language

Good Morning America | February 18, 2021

Preserving Black American Sign Language

Global News | February 1, 2021

Black American Sign Language

The New York Times | January 23, 2021

Black, Deaf and Extremely Online

The Washington Post | February 21, 2020

How America developed two sign languages

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About the Center

The Center for Black Deaf Studies (CBDS) was established in 2020. The Center will operate as an outreach center for teaching and learning about the Black Deaf experience and provide easy access to a range of useful content resources.

CBDS will consist of offices for its professional staff, a computer lab, digital library, and a smart classroom. It operates under the leadership of Dr. Carolyn McCaskill, professor in the Deaf Studies program.
The CBDS aligns with the University’s Mission of providing 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.


  1. Offer a minor focusing on the histories and cultures of African Americans with an appreciation for the historical, social and political influences of Africa and the African diaspora.

  2. Sponsor cultural events including dialogues, and celebrations.

  3. Connect students to and/or create research opportunities in collaboration with affiliated faculty and campus partners.

  4. Provide an environment of care and support for GU students, faculty and staff and community members

  5. Employ staff members committed to student advocacy, advising and mentorship centered on positively impacting student retention and graduation

  6. Monitor, coordinate, support, and encourage research in the community.

  7. Raise funds to support programs for the center

Events hosted by the Center for Black Deaf Studies, including interviews with the Miller family.

Virtual Conversation and Q&A with Glenn Anderson

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Webinar #1 - Awareness

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Webinar #2 - Freedom

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Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" ASL rendition

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Minor in Black Deaf Studies

Starting this fall 2022, our undergraduate students may consider the minor in Black Deaf Studies. The courses includes:

  • Black ASL
  • Black Deaf People Studies
  • Black Deaf History: 1818 – 1890
  • Black Deaf Seminar
  • Orature & Literature in the Black Deaf Community

Resources Available to our Black/BIPOC students


The mission of the ALLSTAR program is to strengthen comprehensive learning, to cultivate academic skills, to foster independence, confidence and to inspire lifelong learning of deaf, hard of hearing, culturally and linguistically diverse, students of color and other marginalized students.

ALLSTAR aims to achieve this mission by offering mentoring and tutoring services in a collaborative, student-driven, learning environment that promotes student success, college/career readiness, enriching the student experience, providing tools to achieve students’ academic and life goals.

Resources includes:

Reach out to Dr. Martreece Watson, Ph.D., our ALLSTAR program director for more information.

Black Student Union


Peer Mentor Program


Computer Lab


Andrew Foster Scholarship

Provides financial assistance to Black deaf or hard of hearing students, undergraduate or graduate, with demonstrated financial need and a GPA of 3.0 or better. Preference is given to those who demonstrate a desire to advance the lives of Black deaf and hard of hearing people.

Linwood Smith Scholarship

The Linwood Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund was established by the initial donor, Elwood L. Miles, brother of Linwood Smith. The fund provides scholarship assistance to deaf and hard of hearing, AfricanAmerican, juniors, seniors, and graduate students with a GPA of 2.5 or better.

Glenn Anderson Scholarship

This is an educational financial assistance for BDA members and non-members. The Dr. Glenn B. Anderson Scholarship is funded through the generosity of individual donors, corporate donors and fundraising. The scholarship program aims to provide financial support for Black deaf students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs with 2.75 or better.

Charles Williams Scholarship

This is a Scholarship Fund, which provides financial support for tuition scholarships for Black deaf or hard of hearing students seeking a degree from Gallaudet University. The first preference for awarding of the scholarship shall be given to Black deaf students from Ohio, in honor of Chuck’s 90th Birthday!

CBDS Faculty and Staff

Dr. Carolyn McCaskill, Ph.D.

Director Professor, Deaf Studies Department

Evon Black

Associate Director

Deleresa Mornes

Graduate Student Assistant

JC Smith

Undergraduate Student Assistant

Advisory Board

Dr. Rezenet Moges-Riedel

Christopher Johnson

Lindsay Dunn

Tim Albert

Dr. Ceil Lucas

Dr. Sandra Jowers-Barber

Daisy Wooten

Center for Black Deaf Studies Support Fund

Admissions Requirements

Hearing Undergraduate