Celebrating Representation, Identity and Diversity of Black Deaf Families Part I

This blog is part 1 of 4

Each year in February, North Americans celebrate Black History Month, a period of celebration, recognition, and reflection of the many achievements of people of African descent throughout the diaspora. Black History Month was officially recognized by the United States government in 1976, but its origins go back as early as 1915.

Dr. Carter G. Woodson, known as the Father of Black History, left a legacy that would become institutionalized by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). ASALH is the premier Black Heritage resource center that aims to “promote, research, preserve, interpret and disseminate information about Black life, history and culture.” As the leading institution on Black History and Culture, ASALH presents annual themes to reflect changes in how people of African descent in the United States self-identify, their influence on radical social change, and the Black community’s aspirations.

The theme for 2021 is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.” To learn more about this year’s theme, visit Black History Themes. Too often Black families are overlooked by mainstream media or their stories are predominantly centered around pain instead of joy.  It is even more difficult to see narratives of, by and for Black Deaf families. As part of our Black History Month celebrations, we want to share a series of stories reflecting the beauty, diversity and reality of Black Deaf families and communities.

*Please note that these stories have been shared across various social platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Many of these vlogs can be found at the Black Deaf Center website. Please visit the Black Deaf Center for more resources including books, workshops and other community resources.

Additionally, please check out the National Association of Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA) for community resources and events.

**Please be respectful of Black deaf content creators and spaces.

Black Deaf Families

CODA Movie USC

CODA  is a USC graduate thesis film about Alex, a CODA. A talented modern dancer, Alex struggles to keep her place in a competitive dance school. You can watch it for free for a limited time on YouTube below. Learn more here.

Celebrating Our Legacy with Tim Foster

On February 2nd, Gallaudet University hosted a live interview with Andrew Foster’s son, Tim. Foster discussed his father’s legacy as the first African American to graduate from Gallaudet University and reminisces on what it was like growing up with his father. Catch a recap of the event on Gallaudet’s Facebook. 

Celebrating Our Legacy with Tim Foster
Giving Birth While Deaf/Romper’s Doula Diaries

Ever wonder what it is like to give birth as a Black Deaf woman? Bustle covers the story of a Black Deaf Mother whose frustrating experiences during her first birth led her to seek a more accessible and equitable solution. Watch her story below.

Monster Jam – Justin VV

Watch this sweet video of Visual Vernacular artist Justin Perez and his son.

Monster Jam - Justin VV
Black, Deaf & Female

Watch this video of a Black Deaf woman describe her family history and experiences as a Black Deaf female. She includes her opinions about ASL, being involved in Deaf rights, and education.

The Life and Legacy of Andrew Foster
ItsCharmay Black ASL

Nakia Smith made waves earlier this year with her video showcasing her Black Deaf family. Since going viral, the Houston native has posted educational content on TikTok and Facebook about Black ASL (BASL) while showcasing her family. Read this feature from the New York Times and check out some of our favorite videos:

Two Black women signing "I love you" into a camera
A Black woman and man signing into the camera
Christopher Jackson – The Motivator

Christopher Jackson is a CODA who often posts videos with his brother and Deaf father. Recently he hosted a Facebook Live reminiscing on what it was like growing up as a Black Deaf CODA. Watch the video here.

A video chat of a Black man and women smiling at two Black men, one is signing "I Love you"
Whatdaddid

WhatDadDid is an IG account by a Black Deaf father based in Australia. This account records the journey of his CODA daughter and her acquisition of AUSLAN – Australian Sign Language.

A father laying on the ground reading a book to his duaghter
On the Beat of Truth: A Hearing Daughter’s Stories of Her Black Deaf Parents

Maxine Childress Brown

Read “On the Beat of Truth” to learn about the journey of a Black CODA growing up with deaf parents in the 1940’s.  

On the Beat of Truth book cover

There are many stories within the Black Deaf community showcasing the diversity, the challenges, and the resiliency of Black Deaf families than those listed in this blog. Who are some of your favorite Black Deaf families you follow? Let us know in the comments on our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages. You can also send us an email at share@csd.org.

That’s Not All!

Be sure to check out our other blogs for more Black History Month resources:
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