People - Laurent Clerc

A Father of Deaf Education in U.S.

Deaf School children sign to each other in school class room
Deaf school children signing. Brian Mitchell/Getty Images

Few deaf men in history have been as honored as Laurent Clerc, who played a pivotal role in bringing deaf education to America. Together with Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, he was a founder of the American School for the Deaf, the first school for the deaf in the United States.

Books and Articles on Laurent Clerc

At least one book been written about Laurent Clerc:

  • Clerc: The Story of His Early Years - a novel by Cathryn Carroll that captures the boyhood of Laurent Clerc.

    Videos with Laurent Clerc

    DeBee Communications produced the educational video "Laurent Clerc, 1785-1869."

    More Laurent Clerc Recognition

    On the campus of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. there is a dormitory named Clerc Hall. I remember that when I was a student, everyone wanted to live in Clerc Hall because it had suites.

    The Laurent Clerc Cultural Fund is a permanent endowment at Gallaudet University. The Fund makes awards for a variety of purposes, including "outstanding social contributions by a deaf person."

    Gallaudet University renamed its Pre-College National Mission Programs, the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center.

    Effort to Create a Deaf-Friendly Town

    An attempt to create a deaf-friendly town in South Dakota named after Clerc failed in 2007. The town was to be called “Laurent” and designed for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. It didn’t come to fruition for many reasons, financial and otherwise, and there was actually much controversy surrounding its creation.

    Some believed rather than benefit those who rely on American Sign Language for communication, it would actually serve to isolate this population further. While many families were signed up to move into the town in 2008, others felt that it may be best if they integrated into their own communities. Many cities are considered deaf-friendly depending on their culture, access to medical care, and community programs.

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