A world-class institute of changemakers in the deaf and signing community.
Since 1864, we have been investing in and creating resources for deaf and hard of hearing children, their families, and the professionals who work with them.
Over 50 degree programs, with online and continuing education for personal and professional development.
Innovating solutions to break down barriers, and using science to prove what does and doesn’t work.
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Make lasting memories and grow in ways you never thought possible.
The project is sponsored by Gallaudet University’s Department of Linguistics and Department of ASL and Deaf Studies and is supported in part by the Spencer Foundation and the National Science Foundation Project # BCS-0813736.
To view the project’s description as it appears in the NSF proposal, click here.
We are especially interested in recollections of your experience in schools for Black Deaf children or those of your relatives. Feel free also to send us photos to add to the website as well as links to web videos such as those on YouTube.
The objectives of this four-year project are:
Virginia State School for the Deaf, Hampton, VA
Project Co-Director Gallaudet University, Department of ASL and Deaf Studies
Project Co-Director Gallaudet University, Department of Linguistics (Emerita)
Project Co-Director University of California -Davis, Department of Linguistics
Project Archivist and Community Representative
Research Assistant Gallaudet University, Department of ASL and Deaf Studies and George Mason University, ASL Instructor
Research Assistant Gallaudet University, Department of Linguistics and Associate Professor at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf/RIT
Kent State University, Coordinator of the ASL Program
Research Assistant Gallaudet University, Department of ASL and Deaf Studies
Research Assistant Web Administrator Gallaudet University, Department of Linguistics
Research Assistant Web Administrator Gallaudet University, Department of Interpreting
In order of the year in which the schools for Black Deaf children were founded:
North Carolina State School for the Colored Deaf and Blind (NCSSCDB) was established in Raleigh in 1869.
Archival photos and photos from our data collection in North Carolina.
The Institute for Deaf, Dumb and Blind Colored Youth was founded in 1887 in Austin.
Archival photos and photos from our data collection in Texas.
Archival photos used with permission of Betty Henderson unless otherwise stated.
Used with permission from Gallaudet University Archives
The Arkansas School for the Deaf, “Colored Department”, Little Rock, AR was founded in 1887.
Archival photos and photos from our data collection in Arkansas.
Archival photos used with permission from Glenn Anderson and Barbara Mangum Harrison unless otherwise stated.
The Alabama School for Negro Deaf and Blind was founded in 1892 in Talladega.
Archival photos and photos from our data collection in Alabama.
The Virginia State School for Colored Deaf and Blind in Hampton, VA was founded in 1909.
Archival photos and photos from our data collection in Virginia.
Archival photos used with permission from The Gallaudet University Archives unless otherwise stated.
The Southern School for the Colored Deaf and Blind in Scotlandville was established in 1938.
Archival photos and photos from our data collection in Louisiana.
Archival photos used with permission from The Archives Department/John B. Cade Library/ Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, LA unless otherwise stated.
Back row l-to-r: Joseph Hill, Bob Bayley and Randall HogueFront row l-to-r: Pam Baldwin, Carolyn McCaskill and Ceil Lucas
Back row l-to-r: Jeff Davis, Bob Bayley and Joseph HillFront row l-to-r: Ceil Lucas, Carolyn McCaskill and Jean Bergey
Carolyn McCaskill, Ceil Lucas, Robert Bayley, and Joseph Hill
Signing Black in America is a documentary related to the Black ASL Project. It was produced by the Language & Life Project at NC State University. For more information, to purchase a DVD, and to watch the film, visit talkingblackinamerica.org/signing-black-in-america.
Gallaudet University is a federally chartered private and premier university for the deaf and hard of hearing since 1864.
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Ceil Lucas. Ph.D. was raised in Guatemala City and Rome, Italy. She is Professor of Linguistics at Gallaudet University, where she has taught since 1982. She is a sociolinguist with broad interests in the structure and use of sign languages. She has co-authored and edited many articles and books, including The Linguistics of American Sign Language, 4th ed. (with Clayton Valli and Kristin Mulrooney, 2005)
Robert Bayley is a Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Davis. He has conducted research on variation in English, Spanish, ASL, and Chinese, as well as ethnographic research in Latino communities in California and Texas. His books include Language as cultural practice: Mexicanos en el norte (2002, with Sandra Schecter) and Sociolinguistic variation: Theories, methods, and applications (2007, ed. with Ceil Lucas).
Pamela Baldwin enrolled in the Madison Street School for Black Deaf students in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1964 and transferred to Arkansas School for the Deaf in 1966, graduating in 1978.
She holds an AAS in Office Technology from Gallaudet University and has worked at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and currently works at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, DC.
Roxanne Dummett-King was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York City and is the daughter of a Guyanese immigrant mother. She attended both Day school for the Deaf and mainstream school in NYC. Roxanne received BA degree in Social Work in 1998 from Gallaudet University. She received an MA in ASL and Deaf Studies in May of 2008.
Joseph Hill is a doctoral student in the Department of Linguistics at Gallaudet University. He was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH with the family of deaf and hard-of-hearing siblings and a hard-of-hearing mother. On December 2001, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Systems Analysis from Miami University in Oxford. He began graduate studies in Linguistics at Gallaudet University in 2002. He graduated with a master’s degree in 2004 and is currently completing his doctoral dissertation entitled “Language Attitudes in the American Deaf Community.”
Randall Hogue comes from a long line of Pennsylvanians but now calls Maryland home. He graduated from Youngstown State University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Linguistics and Psychology. He is currently a doctoral candidate in the Linguistics Department at Gallaudet University. Randall teaches linguistics part time at several area universities. He is a freelance interpreter and serves as webmaster and technical aid for the project.
Spring 2021 – Dec 12Fall 2021 – May 15