What Veditz said to NAD near the end of his life

Veditz Hope by De’VIA artist Nancy Rourke

I’ve had this entry in the queue to click publish for a long time but i delayed and delayed cuz well, i was paddling that denial river.  I just did NOT want to come to terms with the fact that the NAD was not shaping up to be the organization that it could and should be.

big OY and GRR and BOO to the NAD’s lack of activism from NAD’s education committee, lack of response to AG Bell Association’s mailing of unwanted and offensive membership cards to teachers of the Deaf at Deaf schools, having another Miss Deaf Pageant, and the latest – a Plenary Presenter who is anti-equal marriage rights (if he has changed this position GREAT – pls do share that here).  (thanks Mz for tweet of the link)

many folks have expressed concerns about the NAD’s direction, focus, activism or lack there off – too many for me to list here for fear of missing some folks.

Below we see see how true blue George W. Veditz was.

We gotta know our own history in order to not repeat it and in order to stand on the shoulders of giants.  As we rediscover our roots and our ancestors may we also see the power of taking a stand for that which is right, just, true and good.

NOTE: Veditz’ paper was written in 1933 for a 1934 NAD convention and Veditz passed away in 1937.  He must have been so sad when he wrote the last sentence here.

Thanks KC for finding the gem below.

blue emphasis added by me

NOTE: Aug 12, 2012 will mark the end of Veditz 150 year and Aug 13 will begin his 151st birthday.  See ya in Colorado Springs, folks, to ring out the 150th and ring in the 151st.  if u cant go, do something locally in honor of Veditz and US or honor a local Deaf hero/ine


Excerpts from The Genesis of the National Association

George William Veditz

Deaf-Mutes Journal

Thursday June 1, 1933

[paper prepared for NAD Convention in New York, 1934)

“The meeting was called the National Convention of the Deaf-Mutes, and that’s that. If oral magicians, who can yank educational rabbits out of silk hats and pearls of speech out of the mouths of those who have never heard, choke over it, why bless ’em.

“1880, the year that saw the birth of the infamous Milan Resolution, that paved the way for foisting upon the deaf everywhere a loathed method, hypocritical in its claims, unnatural in its application, and mind-deadening and soul-killing in its ultimate results.

“The fact should never be lost sight of that the deaf do not object to the teaching of speech and lipreading as such, but they utterly condemn making them the soles means of mental development, aside from the reading and writing that must always have their place in every educational theme.

“I would venture to suggest that the deaf stop using the designations ‘Combined System’ and ‘Pure Oral Method.’  Call the one the American Method and the other the German-Bell Method.  Smash the hoary lie that the German-Bell Method is the newest and most up-to-date and scientific method of educating deaf children.  We must smash the ridiculous, untenable claim that once a deaf child has been taught speech and lip-reading it has been restored to normalcy.

“Speech is merely the sign-language of the lips.  Every bit of knowledge that reaches the mind through the eye is conveyed through some kind of sign-language, whether it be this typed page, or a book, or a penciled pad, or a fingerspelled communication, or a moving throng in our streets, or a landscape or an approaching or passing auto.”

“What our Association [now] needs is a ‘Committee on Education’ to co-operate with similar committees of the State associations and try to bring home to the minds of parents as well as of teachers and superintendents what deafness really means….”

The Association has been drifting like a ship without a compass or rudder.

…I do not expect to figure on the program of any future National convention, and this is goodbye.


13 thoughts on “What Veditz said to NAD near the end of his life

  1. Come hell or high water! I am marching to NAD and remind them of their lack of direction in preserving the rights of deaf and ASL. This is why I wrote this message to NAD two days ago. I will proudly wear AFA with George Veditz on the back to NAD conference. Hope others will join in too!

    What is truth?

    It is real facts about something. The things are true when it comes to real Deaf education.

    Since September 11, 1880 those hearing people lied about oralism. We have
    suffered 132 years of audism and oppression.

    NAD needs to do more activism to stem the 2nd wave of oralism! NAD was
    founded same year to stop audism and lies perpetuated by Alexander Graham Bell.

    NAD can be anti-corruption crusader in proving truth!

    Please be more crusader for truth!

    Be Bold, Free and Truthful!

    It is time for ACTIVISM!

  2. (Thanks, Richard Eckert for reminding me of these goals.)

    NAD has clear goals for supporting ASL as put in writing here: http://www.nad.org/about-us/vision-2020-strategic-plan

    Not only is it unambiguously declaring ASL is a right of all Deaf citizens, it has a schedule for accomplishing these goals.

    What we need to do is ask NAD to describe the steps accomplished toward these goals and measure the progress done. We need to know who is in charge of these goals, what they are doing and how they are involving Deaf people. We want to see programs successfully operating for these goals. We want to see money coming in to finance these activities and that it is wisely spent.

    Hopefully at the convention we can see this reported and action groups happen.

  3. mark – thanks

    paul – u might be interested in this new vlog by James Smith http://youtu.be/Guoa0L7ex7Y

    Re: NAD conference – i wont be there as im in boycott of NAD. have been for a few month now as they had issued a promissory note that they have not materialized yet despite month and month of promising it would be forth coming. Also i aint gonna have my money go towards another Miss contest.

    glad u will be going there and making a peaceful stand

    Dianrez – im well familiar with NAD’s words. its one of the things that kept me holding on – to see those words and their words at various events and occasions – gave me hope but boo cuz as we all know “Actions speak louder than words… its not what you do say, its more what you say do, at the end of the day can i count on you…” ~ Signmark [strike through and correction added by me – curse my reversals ; )]

    i had alot of HOPE pinned on that there conference but when i learned one of their main presenters thinks its ok to dictate what two consenting adults who love each are allowed to do in this country and what they are not well – kinda made me think of how AG Bell tried to stop Deaf folks from marrying each other

    we aim for equality for all – not just for straight Deaf people – also for our GLBT Deaf and Hearing brothers and sisters – nobody should be saying their love is not as good as our love

    just like nobody should be saying who Deaf folks should marry and should not marry

    heterosexism is just as wrong as audism and ableism and paternalism and…

    re: all the “We need to…” well me and mine been doing that for a might long time to NO avail

    NAD – ya know u could tell the bloke “thanks but no thanks” – supporting his invitation and saying he can discuss it there is not gonna fly cuz u know most likely no one will broach the subject or if they do they will just be labeled as an angry gay person or the chap will just reply – Well i could talk at length about it but i plan to write a book (same as JKF at NTID when asked about the Unity for Gallaudet protest)

    and note your three main presenters are all chaps and all white

    remember al c. way back at DPN said at a press conference he hoped he didnt have to wait 124 years before the NAD finally had a president of color – hmmm lets do the math. founded in 1880 ( a wee bit before Milan 1880) today is 2012 = 132 years and still NO as in NADA as in 0 NAD presidents of color

    that is woefully wrong – not sure if there have been any GLBT NAD presidents but if there have been they probably werent married at that time

    this is an affront – plain and simple

    NAD come on and do the right thing

    “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” ~ MLK jr

    “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

    and yes george – u have finally got me to the point of where i need to be and yep my heart is breaking – boo im so slow some times



  4. There are times where ambiguous words helps and other times direct forceful words helps. Your post clearly shows that the latter might work better when fighting against General Volt (agbad and the likes). Excellent post, Patti. To close, your breaking heart reflects clear balanced thinking until the balance is tipped. Thank you, George.

  5. Wow. Sad to see Veditz was dissatisfied with the direction NAD was going, even way back then. Shows that this is not a new or even fairly recent (dating to 1970s or ’80s) thing as some of us had hypothesized.

    BTW, didn’t NAD announce they were ending the Miss D.A. contest?

  6. Great Post Patti.

    I am glad you decided to pull this out of your queue and share it with us. As you might recall, I encouraged others to join the National Association so that we may join together for the common cause; To promote, support, and sustain our Deaf way of life.

    I’ve since turned away from them for plenty of reasons.

    While the National Associate has been around for 132, I have not seen them deal with the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing with a firm stand. If the NAD were serious about it’s mission and purpose, they would be out there in the picket lines protesting a long lived and grave state of affairs. The Audistic Establishment of Speech and Hearing. This is not a financial or political crisis, it is a social crisis and it must be identified without further delay. If the National Association is truly dedicated it would greatly support Audism Free America and do it with a firm handshake.

    I have only seen politics and legalese from them and seldom have they taken to the grassroots approach and addressed this state of affairs. To prolong the issue only enables the oppressor to get a better handle on the deal.

    Stand up or be a minion.

    Just like same sex marriage needs to be respected and recognized because its all in the name of love and equality. The same applies to the right to be Deaf. The right to access without any run-around ramifications to get it. The right to be a citizen. Not a nickle or a dime but a full dollar citizen just like everybody else.

    It is too bad that some take to money and power before they truly understand the purpose of life and that is a life of purpose. Deaf people have the right to live without being told how to live.

    Ya reckon? Ah reckon.

  7. coyern – your comment was stuck in pending. sorry for the delay in getting it approved. its there at the top now. Thank u for ur comment and yep Veditz was sad

    cnkatz – yep seems there is a time for everything and as James Baldwin said:
    “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
    Here’s to hoping that NAD faces “-isms” so that it may be/come a conduit of positive change

    re: my breaking heart – thank u kindly for caring. it is a comfort to me. i am mighty sad. Re-read George’s full passage re: NAD’s origins and wow – i just wept. and weep. will try to put up more of it soon. The man tried mighty hard. mighty.

    don – i was trying to approve comments while on the fly (literally) so 2 of urs came in some how. maybe u were having trouble getting them through. if u want one deleted – just holler.

    Re: SAD = TRUE. re: “Miss” contest – they are having one more big one in Kentucky then after that Miss’ reign it is to change to an Ambassador program – not sure what that will entail

    boo – so wish they would invest in a film contest or even a PSA contest with monetary awards. AG Bell for such and i have been clamoring for one for a mightly long time – in the spirit of George – who understood the power and importance of media and a visual literature

    jeffrey – i done championed for the NAD too – encouraging folks to become members and/or stay members and even when i finally could not bare them not doing what they said they would any longer – i opted for a silent boycott as not to disturb things. I soooooo want to be a source of support but the straw got broken when they picked someone who was anti-equal marriage rights to be a Plenary presenters – that is just so WRONG.

    i love the NAD

    seriously this is hurting me


    re: grassroots – well veditz has many pow pow quotes re: our role and duty to love and protect and get organized and get busy so that our cause which is palably just is felt by all

    we trying eh? surely we r trying with or without the folks in beltway or the folks that say nay and bray alot

    and yep i reckon

    peace to u all – most especially my beloved NAD


  8. Recently NAD asked me if I am willing to donate one of my artworks to NAD silent auction. I told them that I refused to grant their request due to their lack of action on audism and Save the Deaf school issues. I will donate only to Deafhood Foundation and AFA because they truly carry Veditz’s legacy. What a pity to see NAD has forgetten what Veditz had done and lost their sight of mission: to preserve and defend ASL and Deaf communtiy.

    By the way, I am so surprised that Agatha Hanson and I think alike about Veditz. He is a real HERO in my eyes. Patti, thanks for sharing Agatha’s poem.

  9. AS usual, Patti, your entries are enlightening. Especially with this one. It irks me to no end that NAD is stagnating over the years and has resisted the calls to come forward & change. As usual, George Veditz was (and still is) brilliant. One could argue that he was such a true Deaf Prophet – he was able to predict the very things ahead of time and of course, he was correct … the whole time.


  10. Heye Ridor –

    yep brilliant is the word that often comes to me mind when i reflect on George’s words and deeds. The man had courage, convictions, compassion, connectivity and persistence. Right to the end. just wow

    re: prophet – i have thought of that often too. that his words ring as prophecies often. I think this may be more a testament of the fact that what Veditz was challenging and combatting in the early to mid 1900s (1st wave of Oralism) we are confronting again today in the early 2000s

    Dang cycle

    im glad u value history, facts, and George’s words so much ridor. they are pow pow

    ya know in his famous 1913 ASL presentation “preservation of sign language” – he signed about how 50 years from now these films will be PRICELESS. when in fact they were buried and hidden and forgotten by the early 1960s. Thankfully Lou Fant and Larry Fleischer rescued a print of the film and eventually they got circulated a wee bit on VHS etc but now 100 years later (next year will be 100 years for the “Preservation of Sign Language”) those films are 2X 50 years old and 2X more PRICELESS.

    George KNEW stuff

    would that we listen

    will try to get more of his final write up on the NAD out soon – its makes me weep but we cant change our future if we dont know our past



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