Being 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!