Deaf History Month
March 13th, 2021 - April 15th, 2021
National Deaf History Month is recognized and celebrated every year from March 13th to April 15th to recognize the accomplishments of people who are deaf and hard of hearing. Three key events impacted the deaf community that occurred in American history: On April 15th, 1817 the first public school, American School for the Deaf was opened. On April 8th, 1864 Gallaudet University – the world’s first institution devoted to advanced education for the deaf and hard of hearing – was officially founded, and more than 100 years later on March 13th, 1988 Gallaudet University nominated I. King Jordan as their first deaf President. Deaf History Month appears to have started on March 13th, 1996 when two deaf employees working at Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C. started teaching their colleagues sign language. This occurrence progressed into a week of deaf awareness created by the library. Quickly after that, deaf awareness week evolved into a month-long period devoted to promoting a greater understanding of the deaf community. In 1996, the National Association of the Deaf proposed the week become a full month, and officially in 1997, the first annual, nation-wide National Deaf History Month was in effect. In 2006, the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Associate of the Deaf officially announced that March 13th to April 15th is National Deaf History Month.
Ways in which we can spread awareness and celebrate Deaf History Month is by reaching out to companies and governments to encourage them to fulfill their legal obligations to the deaf population, support deaf businesses, donate to deaf-based charities, volunteer with deaf organizations, and encourage, advocate, and promote deaf people as one-of-a-kind.