Deaf History and Culture Resources

The Deaf Community in America: History in the Making by Melvia and Ronald Nomeland (McFarland, 2011).

A comprehensive insider’s view of the development of the Deaf Community in America, by two Deaf authors.

Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture by Carol Padden and Tom Humphries.  (Harvard University Press, 1988).

This excellent book, written by two Deaf authors, illuminates the tension between the Deaf and hearing views of deafness.  An essential primer for any student of Deaf Culture.

Inside Deaf Culture by Carol Padden and Tom Humphries. (Harvard University Press, 2006)

The authors trace the significant moments in the history of the American Deaf community, illuminating the efforts of Deaf Americans of all backgrounds to rise above the oppression and coercion they have faced at every turn.

Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language: Hereditary Deafness on Martha’s Vineyard by Nora Ellen Groce. (Harvard University Press, 1985)

Imagine living in a place where everyone signed, whether they were hearing or deaf.  For over 200 years, that’s how it was on Martha’s Vineyard, where many of the people were deaf, and participated in every aspect of life on the island.

My Heart Glow: Alice Cogswell, Thomas Gallaudet, and the Birth of American Sign Language by Emily Arnold McCully. (Hyperion, 2008)

This excellent nonfiction picture book presents what is essentially the “creation story” of Deaf Culture in America.  McCully keeps the focus on young Alice, the girl who lost her hearing during a bout of spotted fever at the age of 2, and, by virtue of being the daughter of a wealthy doctor and philanthropist who happened to live next door to minister Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, inspired the advent of deaf education in the United States, and with it, the conditions that spawned American Sign Language.

See What I Mean: Differences Between Deaf and Hearing Cultures, 2nd edition (DVD; Eye to Eye Productions, 2009).

Presented by Thomas K. Holcomb & Anna Mindess, this funny and entertaining video clearly shows the differences between Deaf and hearing cultures, with a little help from “Miss Deaf Manners” and “Miss Hearing Manners”.

Victory Week by Walter P. Kelley.  Illustrated by Tony L. McGregor. (Deaf Life Press. 1998)

In language accessible to younger children, a child narrator tells the story of the 1988 “Deaf President Now” movement at Gallaudet University, which resulted in the appointment of Gallaudet’s first deaf president.

The Week the World Heard Gallaudet by Jack R. Gannon. (Gallaudet University Press, 1989)

An inspiring photo-history of the historic Deaf President Now movement at Gallaudet, which led to the appointment of the first deaf president in the university’s history.

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