skip to quick hits
Deaf History Month (March 13–April 15)
Back to article listing
The countdown (from three weeks, to two weeks, to one week remaining) is over, and deaf history month is finally upon us!
According to deaf culture guru and blogger Jamie Berke, deaf history month has been celebrated since the late 1990s, beginning with a campaign by the D.C. Public Library. The mid-month kickoff (March 13) is intended to reflect the success of the Deaf President Now movement at Gallaudet on March 13, 1988. The terminus of the month-plus-long celebration is April 15, the same date on which—in 1817—the first public school for the deaf (founded by Thomas Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc) opened in Connecticut.
To mark this year’s observation, the DCMP has put together a comprehensive resource at dcmp.org/deafhistory featuring its many deaf history–related resources, both those that are available to registered DCMP members via our free-loan service and those that are available to everyone from the DCMP website or YouTube channel.
DCMP deaf history flyer.
We’ve also prepared materials that you can download and print yourself: find a list of suggested deaf history titles on our new deaf history flyer [PDF] and learn more about our collection of cultural selections on our revised deaf culture flyer [PDF].
Deaf History Month 2010: Captioning History
We’ve recently added Rockets: How They Work (the first-ever captioned educational film) and The Adventures of Willie Skunk (another early captioned educational film) to our collection and made them publicly available on our YouTube channel. Rockets, in particular, provides a great opportunity to explore the differences between early captioning and modern captioning (a PDF of the original script and caption script for Rockets is available for download). Additional insight into the history of captioning development is available in the one-of-a-kind 1979 Interview With Dr. Malcolm J. Norwood, who was widely regarded as the “father of closed captioning.”
Don’t forget our stable of articles and resources in the DCMP Clearinghouse of Accessibility Information, which has been expanded for this year’s deaf history celebration. First, we’ve updated our Captioning Timeline Highlights [PDF] to reflect new information that was recently uncovered about captioning! Secondly, we’ve added an article reflecting on the contributions of Senator Edmund Muskie and others to the development of captioning in DCMP Project Director Bill Stark’s The Logic of the Motion Picture in the Classroom: Films in Schools for the Deaf (1915–1965) [PDF].
These materials—and many others—are featured on the new captioning history trivia quiz, part of our larger collection of deaf history resources. This quiz is a great way to introduce the historical significance of captioning to your students, particularly those who benefit from captioning on a daily basis!
Bob Panara: Deaf Culture Icon
Robert “Bob” Panara is a renowned professor of English, literature, and theater (he helped to found the National Theatre of the Deaf). He is also known as a poet, historian, and authority on deaf figures in literature.
The DCMP has acquired, courtesy of Bob himself, as well as noted National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) professor Dr. Harry Lang, Robert Panara: A Profile and made it available on the DCMP YouTube channel. A Profile consists of a background about Bob and his history at NTID (where he was the first deaf professor) as well as a sampling of interpretive poetry, which includes several short haikus; favorites such as John McCrae’s In Flanders Fields, and even one of Bob’s original poems; On His Deafness.
In addition to A Profile, the DCMP has opened up access to the two-part Famous Deaf Americans series to everyone (watch Part I or watch Part II)! Famous Deaf Americans is narrated (in English and ASL) by Robert Panara and will be of interest to anyone who wants to learn more about some of the most famous figures in deaf history.
Subscribe to the Newsletter
Subscribe to the DCMP newsletter.
Other March Happenings
Listening Awareness Month is in full swing, and it is a perfect opportunity to celebrate the many ways that everyone can benefit by listening to description. Please consider ordering a free Listening is Learning poster to hang in your classroom or library in celebration of Listening Awareness Month.
Don’t forget that March is also Women’s History Month [PDF flyer] (as we mentioned in last month’s newsletter), and that March 20 is the first day of spring [PDF flyer].
WGBH/NCAM Seeking Participants for Survey on Audio Description with Synthesized Speech
WGBH’s National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) is conducting a study on the applicability of speech synthesis for audio description of web-based video. Participants will be asked to share their opinions about a few short video clips that include synthesized description.
COAT Weighs In on New FCC Captioning Complaint Process
The Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) recently applauded the rollout of a new FCC captioning complaint policy and online complaint form, which streamlines and modernizes the process by which consumers report problems with TV captioning.
Maryland Captioning Legislation
The “Old-Line State” has certainly created a new precedent of late concerning captioning legislation. Efforts are underway all over the country to mandate accessibility (from local grassroots campaigns to a push for sweeping federal legislation), while the Maryland legislature is currently considering three separate bills that would extend greater access to captioning for consumers: House Bill 1501 (captioning on publicly visible TVs), House Bill 1086 (captioning on campaign ads), and House Bill 1463 (expanded captioning in movie theaters).