NAD History with Segregation

Last weekend, July 20-22, during the National Deaf People of Color Conference, the Louise B. Miller Pathways and Gardens: A Legacy to Black Deaf Children Steering Committee at Gallaudet University hosted the Kendall School Division II graduation ceremony, for the class of 1952 who never received their diploma 71 years ago. To share a bit of history – the Kendall School was segregated at the time, so even though Black students graduated high school, they never received their diplomas. This leads me to asking what kind of role did the NAD have in regards to Black Deaf students then? It is documented in the 1904 minutes that the Delegates stated Black Deaf students should have their own school. Fast forward to 2012, Delegates at the NAD Biennial Conference in Kentucky passed a resolution acknowledging the NAD’s discriminatory actions towards the Black Deaf communities and Deaf Women. The NAD gave a formal apology at the Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA) Conference in 2013, Deaf Women United (DWU) Conference in 2017, and the National Black Deaf Senior Citizens of America Conference in 2022. It was wrong then and it is still wrong today. It was wrong to ban Black Deaf people and Deaf women from being able to join as members and vote during the NAD’s business meetings. This is our history and we acknowledge our past racial injustices. We also recognize that the NAD’s support at that time for segregation was wrong and apologize for this harmful act. The NAD remains committed to changing racist practices, including important perspectives on the Board and Team, and working with all communities.