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Unheard In History


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  • 1. Unheard in History: A Fight for Human Rights Lauralye Alison Miko ASL 101 Research Project
  • 2. A Community that Always Existed…
    • Documentation about a deaf culture found in numerous texts and citations through out history…
      • Ancient Egyptians
      • Greeks
      • Writings of Confucius in China
      • The Bible
      • “ You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind” Leviticus 11:14
      • Question : If the Deaf have existed in virtually every documented society of our world history, why have understanding and rights for the Deaf Community come so slowly is our Western Culture?
  • 3. Problems From the Beginning
    • 1000 B.C. - Hebrew Law (the Talmud) restricted Deaf from owning property.
    • 427-347 B.C. - Plato's philosophy of “Innate intelligence”
      • “ All intelligence was present at birth. All people are born perfect abstracts, ideas and language in their minds and required only time to demonstrate their intelligence. Without speech there was no outward sign of intelligence, so Deaf people must not be capable of ideas or language”
    • Roman Law – Restricted Deaf from Marriage
    • 384-322 B.C. - Aristotle's philosophy concerning deafness: "Deaf people could not be educated without hearing, people could not learn." Greek was the perfect language; all people who did not speak Greek were considered Barbarians.
  • 4. Religious Persecution
    • 354-430 A.D. - St. Augustine's Guilt Trip - sins of parents were visited on their children; therefore "afflicted'' children was a sign of God's anger or punishment for secret sins
    • Dark Ages - the early part of the Middle Ages: Deaf adults objects of ridicule (court jesters) or committed to asylums because of speech and behavior thought to be possessed by demons
    • Middle Ages 476-1453 - "people born deaf could not have faith, could not be saved and were barred from churches" Must be able to "hear" the word of God - Punishment from God
  • 5. Misdiagnoses and Misunderstandings
    • Deaf sent to Mental institutions and Homes for the mentally ill.
    • Many cases of misdiagnoses until about 1970’s (First Deaf School 1817).
      • Unsuitable Testing for Children
      • Lack of knowledge
      • Case of Mattie Hodge & others.
    • Destruction of Development
      • Social Interactions, Education, and Loss of Language
  • 6. The Beginning of a Deaf Community
    • Deaf Schools and Residential institutions
      • 1817- Hartford Connecticut
      • Continue to expand
      • Over 50 Schools by the turn of the century
    • Pros
      • Finally had a safe place for education
      • Brought Deaf together and started the tight-knit communities still around today
    • Cons
      • Often ran by oralists, who tried to “normalize” deaf children.
  • 7. Collection from Maryland School for the Deaf
  • 8. American School for The Deaf: In one of the earliest photos of the American School for the Deaf, Girls pose for the student plcture in front of the "Old Hartford" building.
  • 9.
    • “ Many deaf adults and signing teachers referred to the ‘natural language of signs,’ but oralist believed that speech was the ‘normal’ or ‘universal’ way to communicate among civilized humans. The depth of feeling was great on both sides, and the conflict of ideas and values lead to accusations of dishonesty and hypocrisy. The Terms ‘natural’ and ‘normal’ remain tangled up in this enduring argument”
  • 10. Alexander Bell- Friend or Foe?
    • Inventor of the phone
    • Worked closely with the Deaf
    • Oralist
    • Sent out “warning” about deaf
    • “ Those who believe as I do, that the production of a defective race would be a great calamity to the world”
  • 11. Deaf in the Holocaust
    • Hitler’s Perfect Nation
    • 250,000 disabled people
    • 1500 Deaf/hearing Impared
    • 1000’s forcibly Sterilized
  • 12. The Great Depression
    • Depression hard on Deaf Community.
    • Worked Odd jobs and received help from others
    • Obtained Work in WW1 and WW2 from depleted work force
    • Integrated into the work force.
  • 13. Deaf in the Media
    • 1902-1986
      • Over 150 movies and TV shows featuring deaf characters.
        • Not played by Deaf
        • Lonely
        • Dependant
        • Uneducated
        • Tragic figure
        • Lacked independence and a close knit community
  • 14. The Right (or Not) To Drive
    • Ability to Drive revoked in 4 States
    • Separate one ability from another
    • Protests and rallies
  • 15. Roger Desmarair
    • 1 st and only Deaf tattoo artist in North America
    • Successful buisnessman
    • Integrating Mainstrea and Deaf culture
    • Nontraditional
    • Inspiration for Deaf youth.
  • 16. American Disabilities Act
    • “ discrimination based on disability being illegal in employment, public transportation, public programs, telecommunications, and pubic accommodations such as restaurants, hotels, shopping centers and offices.”
  • 17. Pearl Jam in Concert
  • 18. Works Cited
    • Bergey, Jean L. History Through Deaf Eyes . Gallaudet University. 12 Oct. 2007. <>
    • Berke, Jamie. “Deaf History-Deaf, Not Retarded”. About . 2007.The New York Times Company. 13 Oct. 2007. <>.
    • Berke, Jamie. “Deaf History- Deaf People- Great Depression”. About . 2007.The New York Times Company. 13 Oct. 2007. <>.
    • Berke, Jamie. “Deaf History-Deaf People- Holocaust”. About . 2007.The New York Times Company. 13 Oct. 2007. <>.
    • “ Deaf Time-Line” ASLinfo. 2007. 12 Oct. 2007. <>
    • “ Historical Issues in the Deaf Community”. Centre for Deaf Studies . 2007. University of Bristol Centre for Deaf Studies. 12 Oct. 2007. <>.
    • “ Holocaust” Wikipedia . 2007. 13 Oct. 2007. <>.
    • Thomas, Mia. “Only deaf tattoo artist in North America!.” AllDeaf . 29 July 2006. 13 Oct. 2007. <>.