Date of Original Version




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Abstract or Description

This study looks to obtain a better understanding of the issues surrounding the Black Deaf community by examining the cultural and sociolinguistic features that differentiate it from the larger Deaf community. In the present study, three deaf black participants were asked a series of questions about their experiences within the Black Deaf community as well as their observations concerning Black Deaf signing. It was hypothesized that black signers would utilize more traditional signs. On the contrary, results suggested that Black Deaf signing is becoming more similar to Black English. Culturally, participants identified a divide between the black and mainstream Deaf communities. While the prominence of signing styles characteristic of the segregated schools for the Deaf may be waning, the racial attitudes that prompted this divide seem to be ever-present. This paper complements previous work on Black signing because it reveals its evolution and broadening applicability, providing further support for the establishment and promotion of Black Deaf organizations


Advisor: Barbara Johnstone

Department of English