Deaf education in America as we know it today would be shaped differently if Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet from Hartford had not met Laurent Clerc in Brighton, England in 1815.
Clerc was a gifted deaf teacher from Institut National de Jeunes Sourds de Paris (INJS), the famous “signing” public school founded in the 1760s by Abbé Charles-Michel de l'Épée.
This is a story most Americans may not know yet but in only two years in 1817, after Clerc and Gallaudet met in Europe, the first-ever public (free) school for the deaf opened in Hartford, CT.
Horace Mann and Samuel Gridley Howe, both school educators, also had the same interest in public (free) school for the “normal” and the blind students so they later asked for tips from Clerc and Gallaudet.
If you visit the Library of Congress, Hall of Education today, you would see Thomas H. Gallaudet, Horace Mann and Samuel G. Howe were honored as the first American educators. What about Laurent Clerc? Our forgotten deaf hero!
A Reminder for librarians, educators, and library friends!
Do not forget March 13 – April 15
National Deaf History Month, the brainchild of librarian Alice L. Hagemeyer. Started in 1997, it commemorates three important deaf cultural dates in the history of America that are related to the education of deaf people (April 8, 1864, and April 15, 1817) and deaf civil rights (March 13, 1988). In 2006, the National Association of the Deaf and the American Library Association endorsed the month.
Please plan ahead
International Day of Sign Languages as proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2018. In 1958, the first International Day of the Deaf was held the last Sunday of September; it was later extended to a full week, becoming International Week of the Deaf (IWDeaf) World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) was founded on September 23, 1951
December 3 – 10
Clerc-Gallaudet Week, the brainchild of librarian Alice L. Hagemeyer. In 1974, the D.C. Public Library, in cooperation with the National Association of the Deaf and the DC deaf community, first designated Deaf Awareness Week. This was followed by name changes to Deaf Action Week and then Deaf Heritage Week. Today, this week begins with Dec. 3 as International Day of People with Disabilities (est. 1992) ending Dec. 10 as International Day of Human Rights (est. 1948) as proclaimed by the United Nations.
Alice L. Hagemeyer, President
Friends of Libraries for Deaf Action.
Authors, Deaf Culture, and Friends
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Africa Proverb
Being an author involves more than just writing a book. It also means finding a deaf-friendly publisher and then marketing your book. And now where will authors and publishers of quality deaf cultural books find the best support group? Go figure!
Such authors deserve the full attention of the media (i.e. social, TV, newspapers, ceremonial events and the related) whenever the United Nations or their home country designate specific dates for observing annual deaf events. In case of International days, please visit:
Here in the United States, there is a law that provides for the declaration of selected public observances by the President.
FOLDA suggests each state deaf organization to maintain its list of non-living and living authors of quality deaf cultural books and videos in ASL that are of special interest to people in their state.
Such an organization or its affiliate may also form partnerships with the public library of their choice for presenting deaf cultural activities whenever observing annual deaf events.
2020 Theme: Attracting the Deaf to Black Deaf Literary Culture
Here, the Deaf refers to individuals with various hearing levels, identified with the deaf culture in many aspects, such as Black Deaf. Black Deaf literary culture is something connected to books or formal writing about Black Deaf people.
If your plan is for one-year plant rice. If your plan is for ten years plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years educate children Confucius 551 BC–479 BC
Deaf Cultural Programming Goes Virtual
Please note two new titles just released by the Accessibility Assembly of American Library Association in the Library Accessibility Toolkits: What You Need to Know series.
Deaf Annual Events
September 23, Wednesday: International Day of Languages Theme: Sign Languages are for Everyone!
https://www.un.org/en/events/signlanguagesday/ United Nations
December 3, Thursday: International Day of Persons With Disabilities.
December 10, Thursday: Human Rights Day.
https://www.un.org/en/observances/human-rights-day United Nations
September 21-27, Monday to Sunday: International Week of the Deaf (IWDeaf), sponsored by the World Federation of the Deaf. Theme: Reaffirming Deaf Human Rights.
https://wfdeaf.org/iwdeaf2020/ September 23 is International Day of Sign Languages
December 3 – 10 Thursday to Thursday: Clerc-Gallaudet Week (CGW), sponsored by the Library for Deaf Action. Theme: Tribute to Gallaudet Black Deaf Orphan, Douglas Craig.
Each Dec 3 & Dec 10 is International Day
Let’s Tell Stories: the Black Deaf Way!
“Black Deaf Culture Through the Lens of Black Deaf History” by Benro Ogunyip, National Black Deaf Advocates, President 2011-2013, an article written for the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP). Funded by the US Department of Education. Administrated by the National Association of the Deaf.
If Interested in observing deaf annual events, deaf organizations or library friends groups should contact the public library of their choice about forming partnerships to present a deaf cultural program. And which annual event.
When done, please discuss your plan for the agenda and others' needs with your librarian. You may contact Alice L. Hagemeyer about additional deaf cultural resources.
Submitted by Alice L. Hagemeyer
People in every community come from all walks of life, as the saying goes. It is true but when the public library tries to reach out to unserved and underserved populations of the diversity, like the Deaf, the administration and the library trustees know about the values of library friends and local membership "advocacy" organizations.
Long history short, if it were not for the support of D.C. library friends; the D.C. Association of Deaf Citizens (DCAD), and FOLDA in the 1980s, I would not have succeeded with my job as the first-ever Librarian for the Deaf at D.C. Public Library for 15 years (1976-1991).
And I also wanted to give back, so I retired early to become a full-time library advocate in 1992 for supporting the FOLDA mission to promote library access and quality deaf cultural resources for all and internationally.
The result. Members of organizations serving the deaf community (OSD) in most states have seen library values for the Deaf in their needs of communication access to the world of knowledge and quality deaf cultural resources. More public libraries offer free ASL classes for the staff and the public, hire interpreting services and welcome OSD to use the room for their meeting and program.
Ultimately, today I want to relive the memories of the many for giving back in the late 20th century and early 21st and to share them with the new generation the history of the National Deaf History Month since 1974 and the Red Notebook Concept a.k.a Deaf Culture Digital Library (DCDL) since 1976.
Thus, I have begun recording what you could find in the FOLDA collection, from the reports of the White House Conference on Library and Information Services of 1979 and 1991 to the countless activities that help bridge deaf culture at the library. And when ready to update the FOLDA website, I would like to invite volunteers from the deaf community to help post them on the FOLDA website from their homes.
If interested to help FOLDA, please inform the NAD Deaf Culture and History Section https://www.nad.org/members/sections/deaf-culture-history-section/ or your state deaf association https://www.nad.org/members/state-association-affiliates/. Thank you!
Alice L. Hagemeyer, founding president of the FOLDA
Older Americans Month (OAM) is proclaimed annually in May by the U.S. President.
A meeting in April 1963 between US President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens led to designating May as “Senior Citizens Month,” the prelude to “Older Americans Month.”
Over the years, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) leads the observance of Older Americans Month.
ACL has resources to help lead our nation’s observance of OAM.
The first OAM theme was “Older Americans and the Family” in 1978. This year 2020 theme is “Make Your Mark” in which the goal is to encourage and celebrate countless contributions that older adults make to our communities. It would highlight the difference everyone can make in the lives of older adults, in support of caregivers, and to strengthen communities. https://acl.gov/oam/history
Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs, and other such activities.
Membership Organizations Serving the Deaf Community (OSD)
When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million Americans had reached their 65th birthday; a third of them lived in poverty. There were a few national programs to meet their needs https://cdelaw.wordpress.com
In 1979, Hearing Loss Association of America (HLLA) with the leadership of the late Howard E. “Rocky” Stone was founded. https://www.hearingloss.org/about-hlaa
In 1992, Deaf Seniors of America, Inc. (DSA) with the leadership of the late Ralph White was founded. https://deafseniors.us/about-dsa
HLAA has developed the programs and events for older Americans with hearing loss, in which tools they strive to work with HLAA Chapters and State Organization for observing the month. https://www.hearingloss.org/chapters-state-orgs/find-a-chapter
DSA is an affiliate of the NAD. One of its seven sections is Senior Citizens. In 2007, they developed the first-ever joint project called “Senior Resources” in which it lists social gathering sites, senior housing, hospice, and other deaf-friendly facilities. https://www.nad.org/seniors/senior-resources
The three following older Americans – Amanda Boxer, Mary Sue Boxer, both of Maryland and Joanne Williams of Nevada – indeed “made the mark” for the difference they made in the lives of older adults and to strengthen both deaf communities and library communities today.
Senior Resources is one of the most important deaf cultural resources for the library of the future! Deaf Culture Digital Library (DCDL)
The American Library Association.
One of its divisions, Reference and User Services Association has resources on the aging population and older adults. E.g. Guidelines for Library Services with 60+ Audience: Best Practices, created by its Reference Services Section. http://www.ala.org/tools/atoz/older-adults
Celebrating Deaf History Month
March 13 - April 15, 2020
As many people know, March 13th to April 15th marks Deaf History Month. These dates represent some key moments in Deaf history. These dates also continue to inspire and impact the Deaf community today.
First, March 13th was the date of the first-ever Deaf civil rights victory that drew global attention. This happened in 1988 and it was called Deaf President Now (DPN). In many ways, DPN led to the eventual passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act two years later on July 26th, 1990. DPN showcased the activism of the Deaf community as we fought for recognition.
A second date that falls into Deaf History Month is April 8th. On April 8th, 1864, the charter for the first-ever higher education institution for the deaf in the world, Gallaudet University, was signed by President Abraham Lincoln. As a result of this, many Gallaudet alumni and supporters made a difference in the United States and globally.
The third date for the month, and the conclusion date of Deaf History Month, April 15th brought about the opening of the first-ever state school for the Deaf in the United States. On April 15th, 1817, the American School for the Deaf opened in Hartford, CT. It introduced American Sign Language (ASL) in the classroom and made Deaf pupils bilingual in ASL and written English.
We hope you enjoy Deaf History Month, and we hope you enjoyed learning these bits of information! If you would like to know more about Deaf History Month and other deaf cultural annual events, please contact us!
This week is extremely important to the deaf community.
Preservation is how we can continue to access our history even decades later.
Preservation is how we have access to the past years after an event has happened.
This year, the 2020 theme for Preservation Week is "Preserving Oral History." During this week many libraries will be participating in the national campaign to help raise awareness to the public about the importance of preservation and strive to enhance knowledge of preservation issues.
The week, which began ten years ago, is an initiative of Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS), a division of the American Library Association (ALA); Library of Congress (LOC) and Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
In the years since its inception, the week has garnered the support of twelve corporate sponsors and partners to help bring about recognition and progress. The week will continue to bring awareness and action towards preserving deaf history as we move forward to the future.
Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future – Ray Bradbury, award-winning author of more than three dozen books (1920-2012).
In terms of preservation, here in Maryland we already have the FOLDA collection.
It provides a rich history of the deaf community in addition to library resources.
The world could learn a lot about deaf people from browsing it today. One interesting fact that could be learned from FOLDA is that the DC public library was the first public library in the world to purchase the TTY. The TTY was basically the phone of deaf people before text messaging and instant messaging was used in computers.
Before the purchase of the TTY, the deaf had no access to the library in the same way that hearing people did. Hearing people could use the library to make phone calls, well now deaf people could too.
In 1974, some staff at DC public library learned sign language, and that was followed by a full week of deaf cultural activities which included a song in sign language, "I Hear Your Hands," presented by Rita Corey. The late Mary Jane Rhodes, a hearing mother of a deaf adult, a volunteer at the NAD, and Dr. Robert Davila from Gallaudet campus made a speech during this program. During the program, the late Frederick C. Schreiber was the first deaf person to call the library from his office at the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) in Silver Spring, MD.
Preserving deaf cultural history is as important now as it has ever been. Events like the one with DC public library would be lost without proper preservation of history. Even major events like the founding of the deaf university, Gallaudet University, must be preserved alongside the smaller events to provide a comprehensive picture of deaf history.
Deaf Culture Preservation Week provides us with an opportunity to look back on the past and work together to preserve it for the future. Without dedication to preserving the past, there will be no future for the deaf community.