Before the Civil War, most southern states provided no formal education for African American deaf students. After the war, during the period known as Reconstruction, the federal government began to force social changes in the South. In 1868, North Carolina created a "Colored Department" alongside the main state school for deaf students. Other southern states soon followed, creating separate schools or departments.

African American male students standing in front of the Kentucky School for the Deaf.

Kentucky School for the Deaf c. 1884

African American female Deaf students standing in front of the Kentucky School for the Deaf.

Kentucky School for the Deaf c. 1889 - 1890

African American male and female Deaf students standing in front of the Kentucky School for the Deaf.

Black and white students were taught on the same campus at the Kentucky School for the Deaf, but they had separate classrooms and dormitories.

Kentucky School for the Deaf c. May 1920