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March 7, 2006

Deaf History Month

From: CMP - Mar 7, 2006

Deaf History Month
By Bill Stark
Deaf History Month is celebrated from March 13 through April 15. This is a wonderful opportunity to expand your awareness of the contributions of historical deaf leaders, such as Laurent Clerc and Thomas Gallaudet, or present-day deaf leaders, such as I. King Jordan, Robert Davila, and Nancy Bloch. Don’t forget the Captioned Media Program’s (CMP) wealth of resources regarding the history of captioning and deaf history in our Captioning and Accessibility Information (CAI). Whether you are searching for historical footage or facts, expanding your knowledge of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Individualized Education Program (IEP), or learning sign language, visit the CMP’s home page at for a listing of free-loan captioned media!



Who are these pioneers of deaf education and captioning? Beginning at top left: 1) T.H. Gallaudet, along with Laurent Clerc, founder of the school of the deaf in America in 1817 (the Hartford Asylum, later renamed the American School for the Deaf); 2) Laurent Clerc played a pivotal role in bringing deaf education to America, was the first instructor for the deaf in the U.S., and is considered the cofounder of the first school; 3) Malcolm Norwood, father of closed captioning; 4) Ernie Hairston, current project officer of the Captioned Media Program (CMP); 5) I. King Jordan made history in 1988 when he became the first deaf president of Gallaudet University, the world's only university with all programs and services designed specifically for students who are deaf and hard of hearing; 6) Arthur Rank, the first to experiment with captioning of a feature length film; 7) Edmund Boatner, superintendent of the American School for the Deaf and cofounder of the Captioned Films for the Deaf in 1949 (now named the CMP); 8) Nancy J. Bloch, chief executive officer of the National Association of the Deaf; 9) Clarence O’Conner, cofounder of the Captioned Films for the Deaf; 10) Robert Davila, assistant secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, United States Department of Education, and prime contributor to the planning and passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990; and 11) John Gough, first chief of Captioned Films for the Deaf.