Today, March 13, is the beginning of Deaf History Month, commemorating the achievements of people who are deaf and hard of hearing. Running through April 15, the dates were chosen to commemorate three important moments in deaf education history spanning a century and a half:
- March 13, 1988 – Deaf President Now! protest (above) at Gallaudet University, a college for the deaf and hard of hearing, which culminated in the naming of the institution’s first deaf president.
- April 8, 1864 – President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of Gallaudet’s charter.
- April 15, 1817 – Opening of the American School for the Deaf, the first permanent public school for the deaf, in Hartford, Connecticut.
First introduced in 1997 by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), no aspect of National Deaf History Month has yet been federally recognized, despite advocacy efforts.
To dive deeper into deaf history and culture, check out The Fascinating Origins of Deaf History Month; Los Angeles Public Library’s Celebrating an American Community; five role models whose stories illustrate the power of activism, education, and perseverance; or deaf culture with Library of Congress primary sources.