The history of deaf people and their culture make up deaf history. The deaf culture is an ethnocentric culture that is centered on sign language and relationships among one another. Unlike other cultures the Deaf culture is not associated with any native land as it is a global culture. Although by some, deafness maybe viewed as a disability, the Deaf-World sees itself as a language minority. Throughout the years many accomplishments have been achieved by deaf people. To name the most famous, Ludwig van Beethoven and Thomas Alva Edison were both deaf and contributed great works to culture.
Like most people in other language minorities, deaf people are born into it. Unlike other cultures, deaf culture is not associated with a native land. It is actually a culture based on relationships among people providing common ground. The deaf culture sees itself as a language minority instead of a disability group.
Deaf people who know Sign Language are proud of their history. In the United States, they recount the story of Laurent Clerc, a Deaf educator, coming to the United States from France in 1816 to help found the first permanent school for deaf children in the country. In the late 1850s there was a debate about whether or not to create a separate deaf state in the west. The idea was based on the event when the American Congress, at that time, gave part of Alabama to the American Asylum. This deaf state would be a place where all deaf people could migrate, if chosen to, and prosper, however, this plan failed and the whole debate died.
Another well-known event is the 1880 Second International Congress on Education of the Deaf in Milan, Italy, where hearing educators voted to embrace oral education and remove sign language from the classroom. This effort resulted in strong opposition within Deaf cultures today to the oralist method of teaching deaf children to speak and lip read with limited or no use of sign language in the classroom. The method is intended to make it easier for deaf children to integrate into hearing communities, but the benefits of learning in such an environment are disputed. The use of sign language is central to the Deaf peoples as a cultural identity and attempts to limit its use are viewed as an attack.
Bond history of the deaf culture
Sign language is the most important instrument for communication between deaf people and the deaf culture. Using sign language deaf people can join social networks, local and globally, which join the deaf culture together. Sign language is actually the American Sign Language (ASL) and is what the culture is centered on. Another powerful bonding forced in the deaf culture is Athletics. Athletics open up a path to achievement where many others are shut out by prejudice due to the level playing field of certain sports. The American Athletic Association of the Deaf (AAAD) is huge help for deaf people by representing Deaf clubs and organizations throughout the entire American states.
Political deaf history
The first ever political movement in deaf history happened in 1880 in Milan, Italy and was called the Second International Congress on Education of the Deaf. This first international conference consisted of deaf educators and is commonly known as "The Milan Conference". The conference held deliberations from September 6, 1880, to September 11, 1880, and declared that oral education was superior to manual education and decided to ban the use of sign language in school. Since the passage in 1880, schools in European countries and the United States have switched to using speech therapy without sign language as a method of education for the deaf. The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) has 22,000 direct members and is a vigorous advocate for sign language and the rights of Deaf people. The NAD helped conduct the first census of the Deaf population, it supports a legal defense fund, sponsors annual camps, and helps fight for the rights of the Deaf community.
Famous deaf people
- Matt Hamill—MMA Fighter in the UFC
- Juliette Gordon Low—The founder of the Girl Scouts.
- Dummy Hoy—The first deaf major-league baseball player.
- Ludwig van Beethoven—Was completely deaf for the last part of his life and yet managed to produce some of the greatest music of all time.
- Cal Rodgers—The very first deaf pilot in the USA in 1911.
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- 1000 B.C.: Hebrew Law denies deaf rights. Torah protects the deaf from being cursed by others, but does not allow them to participate fully in the rituals of the Temple. Special laws concerning marriage and property were established for deaf-mutes, but deaf-mutes were not allowed to be witnesses in the courts.
- c. 364 B.C.: Aristotle asserted that "Deaf are born incapable to reason" and that "the blind were more intelligent than the deaf"
- c. 360 B.C.: Socrates quoted by Plato in "Cratylus" mentions the deaf who express themselves in gestures movement, depicting that which is light or a higher sphere by raising the hands or describing a galloping horse by imitating its motion.
- 355 B.C.: Ancient Greeks deny deaf education; Aristotle believed that "Deaf people could not be educated without hearing, people could not learn," and those "born deaf become senseless and incapable of reason.". The Greeks also viewed the Greek language as perfect and anyone who could not speak to be a barbarian, thus deaf people were barbarians.
- c. 44 B.C.: Quintus Pedius is the earliest deaf person in recorded history known by name.
- 96–135 A.D.: Saint Ovidius is the patron saint of curing auditory disease.
- 131 A.D. Galen, a Greek physician from Pergamon wrote "Speech and hearing share the same source in the brain…"
- 345–550 A.D.: Early Christians see deafness as a sign of sin because St. Augustine tells Christians that deaf children are a sign of God's anger at the sins of their parents.
- c. 370 A.D.: St. Augustine was exposed to Manichaeism and Neoplatonism in his early life, which may have influenced his belief that when St. Peter said "faith cometh by hearing", the Deaf were incapable of being taught the Christian faith and therefore incapable of achieving redemption.
- 700 A.D.: St. John of Beverley in England purported to restored speech in a deaf boy by making signs of a cross across the tongue and taught him to speak the alphabet.
- 738 A.D.: In Justinian Code, Emperor Justinian deduced that deaf and mute are two different traits and are not always together. This insight is spelled out for Byzantine citizens with deafness, with limited rights. (in Latin).
- Dark and Middle Ages: Deaf adults are objects of ridicule and are committed to asylums because their speech and behaviors were viewed as people being possessed by demons.
- c. 1400: Teresa de Cartagena, 15th Century Spanish nun who had become late-deafened, was exceptional in her time in confronting her disability and gaining fame as a religious writer (and is nowadays reckoned as one of the earliest feminist writers).
- 1500s: Geronimo Cardano was the first physician to recognize the ability of the deaf to reason and tries to teach his son using a set of symbols.
- 1550: Pedro Ponce de León is credited as the first teacher of the deaf history as he developed a form a sign language and successfully teaches speech to deaf people from birth. Pedro Ponce successfully taught some deaf pupils in Spain to speak, read, and write; and it is assumed that his methods were followed by Juan Pablo Bonet, who, in 1620, published the first book on the subject of manual alphabetic signs for the deaf. It wasn’t until 1885 that it was published in England as Simplification of the letters of the alphabet and method of teaching deaf-mutes to speak. This gave rise to a wider interest in the education of the deaf in Europe.
- 1640 until around 1653: John Bulwer proposed in several books educating deaf people using "Chirologia: or the naturall language of the hand".
- 1640s: George Dalgarno proposed a totally new linguistic system for use by deaf mutes, which is still used today in the United States.
- 1664: Thomas Willis discovered the role of the cochlea in relation to hearing
- 1664: Johannes Bohn (1640–1718) refuted the theory that deaf and dumbness was caused by a connection of facial and aural nerves.
- 1668: Both William Holder and John Wallis, an English mathematician, taught a deaf man to speak "plainly and distinctly, and with a good and graceful tone".
- 1690–1880: 200 immigrants from Kent county that carried either dominant or recessive genes of deafness settled at Martha's Vineyard. All inhabitants whether deaf or not were equal and established the American School for the Deaf in 1817.
- 1755: Samuel Heinicke was a German oral teacher of the deaf who started the first oral school for the deaf in the world.
- 1760: Abbe Charles-Michel de l'Épée of Paris founded the first free school for the deaf with sign language as a method of communication. This model of deaf school concept spread all over the European countries for the next hundred years. (33 schools established with this model)
- 1760: French Sign Language established.
- 1778: Samuel Heinicke of Leipzig Germany, promoted Oralism, a method of teaching deaf children spoken and written language through speech and lip-reading exclusively without use of sign language.
- 1817: American School for the Deaf, the oldest school for the deaf in America, opened in Hartford, Connecticut.
- 1850s: A Deaf State is proposed.
- 1857: The Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind (known today as Gallaudet University) opened.
- 1864: In Washington D.C., the National Deaf-Mute College (known today as Gallaudet University) was chartered by Abraham Lincoln to became the first deaf college to offer higher education.
- 1872: Alexander Graham Bell promotes deaf education and opens a school in 1872 for deaf people.
- 1880: The World Congress of the Educators of the Deaf met in Milan, Italy and passed a resolution to promote Oralism in deaf education all over the world and dismiss all deaf teachers out of deaf schools.
- 1880: National Association of the Deaf (United States) established.
- 1892: Electrical hearing aid invented.
- 1960: William Stokoe wrote the first linguistic book and defense of American Sign Language as a language.
- 1964: Phone for deaf invented by Robert Weitbrecht, who is also deaf.
- 1960s: TDD was made possibly by Paul Taylor, which brings the communication distance closer between deaf people.
- 1972: Program Captioning introduced by The Caption Center at WGBH in Boston; the country's first nationally broadcast captioned program is the open captioned The French Chef. It airs on PBS. By 1980 closed captioning is developed and the first show broadcast. Closed captioning hides the text from view unless the user has a decoding device. By 1993, the FCC requires that all newly manufactured televisions have the decoding chip.
- 1973: The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 includes a section requiring that the disabled be given access and equal opportunity to use the resources of organizations that receive federal funds or that are under federal contracts.
- 1975 94-142 Education of All Handicapped Children Act passed.
- 1988: Deaf President Now protest at Gallaudet University.
- 1990: Americans with Disabilities Act passed.
- 2006: Unity for Gallaudet Movement at Gallaudet University.
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