PART 4 – Continuation – bold & blue added by me –
1880: The National Association of the Deaf Founded
The Genesis of the National Association
By George William Veditz
From: Deaf-Mutes Journal
Genesis of the National Assoication. Deaf Mutes Journal 1933, 62 (22) June 1.
to see Part 2
to see Part 3
Other papers were read by Messrs. Rider, Hodgson, George, McGregor, Booth, Emery, and E.P. Holmes, of Nebraska. I will reproduce as significant of the times one preamble and resolution as follows:–
“WHEREAS, the deaf-mute on account of deafness and dumbness is shut out from nearly all the professional channels, and is compelled to live largely and often exclusively by manual toil; therefore, be it
Resolved, That we deaf-mutes accept the above facts as inevitable, and in duty bound to God, ourselves and our fellow man, will ever strive hereafter to labor move in the spirit of submission to Divine Will and contentment, and strive to cultivate a liking for all we have to do; that we may bring in the element of success and happiness, which is so essential to our welfare here and hereafter, and in no manner throw discredit upon labor or make fun of our laboring brother, be he or his toil ever so humble.”
(added here – to see the 1880 NAD convention proceedings go to http://archive.org/stream/gu_proceedings1880nati#page/n5/mode/2up
I do not know who was the author of this resolution. There were two deaf clergymen present, Rev. Rustin Ward Mann and Rev. Job Turner, but I have a notion the resolution was prepared by Philip A. Emery, of Chicago. That resolution would have been impossible in any present day convention of the deaf, as the conditions it presupposes do not exist. The many trades and occupations now open to the deaf place them on an even plane with the hearing so far as making an honorable, respectable living is concerned, while hardly a larger percentage are thus engaged in manual labor than are engaged among the hearing. The explanation must be found in the very great advance in our educational standards and for which the credit must be given to Gallaudet College for sixty years past has been lifting these standards to confirm with its admissions requirements.
Edmund Booth was temporary chairman of the convention and Dudley Webster George temporary secretary. The permanent officers were Robert Patterson McGregor, President; Henry C. Rider, First Vice-President; R.H. Atwood, Second Vice-President; D.W. George, Third Vice-President; S.M. Freeman Fourth Vice President; Edwin Allan Hodgson, Corresponding Secretary; and R. B. Lawrence, of Louisiana, Treasurer.
Edmund Boothwas made Chairman of the National Executive Committee, and H. C. Rider,
Secretary. This committee with a membership of twenty-three was instructed to prepare a Constitution and By-Laws to be submitted at the next convention. I met Mr. Booth thirteen years later at the 1893 World Congress of the Deaf in Chicago, and I see him in my memory’s eye, in his habit as he lived, huge, patriarchal, undiminished in either physical or mental vigor, an old man eloquent at eighty-four, when responding to an invitation to address the Congress he said among other things: ” * * You think that you are at the very pinnacle of achievement and civilized convenience and comfort, but let me tell you that your grandchildren looking back upon you will think that you were savages.” Mr. Booth had been isolated in his western home so far as meeting the deaf was concerned, but the hinges of his arms and fingers were unrusted, and the light of his eyes was clear and bright, and I have never seen a more forceful or a clearer sequence of ideas. The language of signs once learned never died. But even a person like Mr. Booth, using speech all of his life, associating with the hearing to the practically complete exclusion of fellow deaf-mutes, because there were none to meet, must have felt that he was isolated. Mrs. Veditz, during a visit to Anamosa, was probably the last deaf-mute he was destined to meet, and he did complain to her and spoke of his loneliness and of his happiness to meet once more a deaf-mute using the sign language and handicapped as he was himself, before the final summons came. That was, I think, in 1901.
Booth was the first successful deaf-mute publisher. His paper, the Anamosa Eureka, was for years the official publication of Jones County, Iowa. Occasional copies came my way during his lifetime and I admired its efficient, business-like appearance. It antedated by many years Wells Louet Hill’s Athol, Mass., Transcript, and William Woodruff Beadell’s New Jersey publication. Booth, always eight years older than the Hartford school, was beyond doubt the greatest American deaf-mute of his generation, and I am glad to render him this tribute.
There was no special program for the entertainment of the convention—excursions, picnics, receptions, banquets, and the like. They were not necessary. East met west and north met south, and after the business meetings adjourned, all intermingled and there was not a dull moment. McGregor, the ablest platform speaker of his day was a brilliant raconteur, and the youthful Fox was a close second, while Job Turner, Geo. T. Dougherty and others were never without their circles of listeners. They had their fun, too. One member, egged on by others, deferentially approached Rob Roy and asked for the name of the “crick” flowing past the city. McGregor’s whiskers bristled with indignation. “Crick, Sir; crick, did you say? I would have you known Sir that that is the Ohio River. Never again, Sir, permit yourself to refer to the mighty mother of the mighty Mississippi as a crick.” And the wrathful McGregor turned on his heel to speak to others, while he who has been slapped slunk off to his fellow conspirators to indulge in cachinnations.
It was a great convention. There was no reference at all to educational methods. But it was 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. Perhaps it is not amiss for me to state that four or five years ago, when Mussolini was planning a revamping of the entire educational system. I sent him an invitation begging to include the Italian deaf in his plans. My letter did reach the Premier, and his reply came through the Italian Ambassador, Giacomo de Martino, at Washington, to the effect that his excellency had submitted the matter to the minister of education and had been advised that the Italian method of education then pursued had been satisfactory through “several centuries” and that there was no reason to change. And that’s that. I fully believe that if we could send a deaf envoy to Mussolini direct and put the case before him as it truly is, he would give his deaf compatriots a square educational deal. If we had an endowment fund equal to that of the Volta Bureau we could do it. And we could put our case before the American public as well.
The fact should never be lost sight of that the deaf do not object to the teaching of speech and lip-reading 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.