Nov 28

Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language: Hereditary Deafness on Martha’s Vineyard

Posted by Soliloquy in Adults with disabilities | Advocates | Hearing Impaired


From the seventeenth century to the early years of the twentieth, the population of Martha’s Vineyard manifested an extremely high rate of profound hereditary deafness. In stark contrast to the experience of most deaf people in our own society, the Vineyarders who were born deaf were so thoroughly integrated into the daily life of the community that they were not seen–and did not see themselves–as handicapped or as a group apart. Deaf people were included in all aspects of life, such as town…

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