Watch the History of Deaf People on PBS March 29th at 9:00pmLast night people all over the country watched a great film, Through Deaf Eyes, on the history of Deaf people in America. Unfortunately, in Gainesville it was pre-empted by Suze Orman's financial advice during pledge week. WUFL will broadcast it here next week, Friday, March 30 at 9pm. But you can browse through their website now and even read the transcript if you'd like.
The larger documentary includes clips of films by Deaf filmmakers, available on the website. But I wish the transcript had some videos of the interviews in sign, instead of all of them in translation.
I wish they spoke more about life outside of school and the educational institutions. Almost all of the pictures on the PBS website is of students practicing speech, getting audiograms, and hitting drums to listen to sounds. I love just seeing Deaf people together playing canasta or enjoying their bowling. A 1/2 second on the Black schools and segregation in the South.
On the other hand, there were Deaf people living everyday lives, just being. Having friends, brothers, wives, husbands, and co-workers. Lots of the stories spoke to the heart. It was so exciting just to know that Deaf kids can't imagine a Gallaudet University with a hearing president. What a change in less than 20 years. (And it's been that long since the Deaf President Now protest!)
The love of American Sign Language and the community afforded Deaf people is palpable in the film. It's clear what Veditz (the NAD President in 1910) was talking about when he told Deaf people that "Sign Language is the greatest gift that God has given to the Deaf."
(We have ordered the DVD. PBS says it will be shipping in May.)