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American Sign Language & Deaf Studies

Books on Black Deaf Topics

Black American Sign Language Resources

Signing Black in America: The Story of Black American Sign Language (Full Video)

This is the first documentary about Black ASL: the unique dialect of American Sign Language (ASL) that developed within historically segregated African American Deaf communities. Black ASL today conveys an identity and sense of belonging that mirrors spoken language varieties of the African American hearing community. The program highlights the different uses of space, hand use, directional movement, and facial expression, which are ways that Black ASL distinguishes itself as a vibrant dialect of American Sign Language. The African American Deaf community is now embracing their unique variety as a symbol of solidarity and a vital part of their identity. 

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Primary Resources

During segregation, schools for the Deaf were segregated along with other schools. For over 100 years, Black Deaf children attended separate educational programs, housed either on separate campuses or in separate buildings on the same campus as the school for white children. Many of these residential schools published their own newspapers, which are available in online collections through Gallaudet University.

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Last Updated: Jul 29, 2021 5:00 PM