The Black ASL Project

HTbigBeing that Black American Sign Language  is something that not only pertains to me as a student and member of the Deaf community, but also as someone who knows that she doesn’t know everything about the topic, I hope to find valuable information that can be added to my Writer’s Evolution Essay. While briefly conversing with my mentor and previous Sign Language professor, Paula Berwanger, the name Ceil Lucas came up. Paula inquired on if his name popped into any of my early works of research. I, excited that she even responded to my email after an extended time, answered no. Paula mentioned that Ceil Lucas was a retired professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University. She, along with Professor Carolyn McCaskill (mentioned in previous blogs of mine) spearheaded The Black ASL Project collectively. I thought it rather interesting that her name came up soon after my mentor inquired of this.

The main thing however, that will help my evolution essay will be the history and structure of Black ASL. Black ASL’s foundation was caused from the separation of Black and White deaf children due to racial segregation. This separation (the first White Deaf School in America being founded in 1817, and the first Black Deaf School being founded in the mid 1850’s)provided the development of the distinct varieties of ASL. These are things I’ll add to my evolution essay, as well as annotated bibliographies to further explain my resources. I also found this cool educational video  from Dr. Joseph Hill of The Black ASL Project; he signs about the varieties of sign language, race, and historical structure. Don’t worry, there are subtitles!

2 thoughts to “The Black ASL Project”

  1. What I’m curious about his how you’re going to incorporate the history and structure of Black ASL into your writer’s evolution essay. Have you written a lot about the topic? Is this in several of your compositions that you’ll be referring to in the essay? I actually clicked on the link from Dr. Hill! I didn’t understand most of it since it wasn’t all subtitled, but signing is so intriguing on the whole! As I watched him, I wondered what kind of cognitive effect learning sign language has. I’m curious as to whether there is a difference in that cognitive effect when learning Black ASL as opposed to white ASL, given that they show up differently in the actual physical form of signing.

  2. “Black ASL’s foundation was caused from the separation of Black and White deaf children due to racial segregation.”

    Kalynn, I believe this is the clearest articulation of your project topic I’ve seen to date. From all the different directions you could go, you’ve successfully narrowed down an extremely broad topic to something super specific. Good work!

    I’m glad to see you’re starting to get the names of people who can help you with your research. At the same time, I wonder if you consider yourself among those names. In other words, have you written anything previously about black sign language? If so, your own work could contribute greatly to your project, not to mention the writer’s evolution essay.

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