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Dec 9, 2022
Manuscripts – Collection of Washington Metropolitan Deaf Alliance, 1974-1985
King Jordan Student Academic Center 1255
Washington Metropolitan Deaf Alliance, est. 1978
Collection of Washington Metropolitan Deaf Alliance, 1974-1985
Gallaudet University Archives
Repository: Gallaudet University Archives
Call No.: MSS 182
Title: Collection of Washington Metropolitan Deaf Alliance, 1974-1985
Quantity: 3 linear feet (6 document boxes)
Abstract: The Washington Metropolitan Deaf Alliance was an organization that promoted and maintained the welfare of deaf citizens in the Washington Metropolitan area. This collection consists of articles, correspondence, lists, manuscripts, memorandums, minutes, newsletters, proposals, and reports.
Acquisition Information: The Collection of Washington Metropolitan Deaf Alliance was donated to the Gallaudet University Archives on June 21, 1985.
Processed By: Jeffrey Peterson, 2010 December 7.
Conditions on Use and Access: This collection is open to the public with no restrictions. Photocopies may be made for scholarly research.
Related Material in the Archives
A group of 20 people met at Gallaudet College to participate in forming a new advocacy alliance for the deaf in the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan area. From this meeting the Washington Metropolitan Deaf Alliance (WMDA) was created in 1978. The goals of the organization were to bring together deaf organizations and individuals in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia to concentrate on issues and programs for the deaf. The WMDA also hoped to serve as a political base for the deaf consumer.
Some of the Alliance’s main projects were the establishment of a 24-hour Metro-wide telephone answering service, 24-hour telephone operator assistance, and immediate interpreter service for emergency situations.
Voting membership was limited to member organizations and individuals were limited to associate membership.
Beginning in 1980, interest and support for the WMDA began to falter. Similarly, as new accessibility to telecommunications, captioning, and the legislative process became available to the deaf the necessity for the WMDA dropped. The organization eventually dissolved in 1986.
Scope and Content
The Collection of Washington Metropolitan Deaf Alliance consists of 6 document boxes for a total of 3 linear feet and approximately 4,800 pages. The materials within the collection range from 1974 to 1985 with the majority of content from 1979-1982.
The bulk and strongest component of the papers are correspondence, proposals, and reports. The WMDA worked closely with organizations in the Metropolitan area such as the Maryland Association of the Deaf and the Northern Virginia Association of the Deaf as well corresponding with Maryland and Virginia County health departments, education departments, and social services. These documents make up the largest portion of the collection.
A relatively weak part of the collection is minutes. Within the collection are minutes from the WMDA Board, general organization, and one of the association’s committees. Although the records for meetings were kept well, the only minutes included are from 1978-1980, covering just a 2-year span of the WMDA’s 8-year history.
Series Description and Folder Lists
Gallaudet University, chartered in 1864, is a private university for deaf and hard of hearing students.
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