Deaf Culture Awareness

gallaudet sculpture

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, American pioneer in the education of the Deaf, and his first Deaf pupil. Source: Library of Congress.

The library is honoring National Deaf History Month with displays and events. Deaf History Month celebrates Deaf culture and strives to build greater understanding of Deaf culture, history, civil rights, contributions, and achievements.

It’s interesting to consider that education for Deaf Americans was hard to find for many years, and hard fought for, as well.

    On April 15, 1817, the first permanent school for Deaf students, now known as the American School for the Deaf, was founded.

    On April 8, 1864, a charter was signed by President Abraham Lincoln authorizing the Board of Directors of the Columbia Institution (later named Gallaudet University) to grant college degrees to students who were deaf.

    On March 13, 1988, the first Deaf president of Gallaudet University, a school for people who are Deaf, was selected. This was considered to be a victory for the students and Deaf community because in its 124 year history, the institution had never selected a Deaf president until Dr. Irving King Jordan was named that year.

See the American Deaf Culture Historical Timeline to learn more important dates in Deaf history.


    Our ASL Club on campus has put some fascinating devices on display with captions to show some of the technology that Deaf people have used or use in their everyday lives.

    deaf- alarm clock

    Deaf people use alarm clocks that vibrate or flash lights in order to wake up in time.

    deaf- pagers

    The Deaf community had “pagers” for texting and email messages amongst themselves long before these modes of communication became more widely popular.

    deaf- smoke alarm

    This specially designed smoke alarm flashes strobe lights so that Deaf people will be alerted to smoke from a fire.


The School of Modern Languages at SBCC offers an American Sign Language program with a wide variety of courses that students at all levels can take. With library resources close at hand, it’s easy to learn more about Deaf culture and American Sign Language, whether in a class or at your computer.

CJ Jones will be our special guest performer/lecturer during the 2013 Summer Immersion Weekend.

Watch this video of 2012 Summer Immersion Weekend to see what’s in store for 2013!

Check out some interesting links related to sign language and Deaf culture

Books in the Luria Library

The library catalog also has books related to the Deaf or American Sign Language, a few of which are featured below: