MSS 192

Deafpride, Inc., 1972-1996

Deafpride, Inc., Records, 1969-1996

Gallaudet University Archives

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Gallaudet University Archives

Call No.: MSS 192

Creator: Deafpride, Inc.

Title: Deafpride, Inc., Records, 1969-1996

Quantity: 12 linear feet (23 document boxes, 1 artifact box, 4 display boards)

Abstract: Records from Deafpride, Inc., a nonprofit group dedicated to advocacy for the deaf in the District of Columbia, especially poor and minority deaf. Includes board minutes, workshop records, correspondence, newsletters, photographs and slides, and grant proposals.


Administrative Information

Acquisition Information: Papers donated to Gallaudet University by Deafpride, Inc., in 1997.

Processed By: Christopher Shea, October 2013.

Processing Note:

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:

Vertical Files

  • Deafpride. Gallaudet University Archives, call number: Deaf Subject

Agency History

Deafpride was founded in 1972 by three women. Barbara Kannapell was a deaf educator and linguist. Ann Wilson was the hearing mother of a deaf child and had created a group called Parents for Deafpride, for black parents of the deaf who had been discriminated against. Eileen Paul, who brought them together, was a writer and teacher who had worked with minority groups and social organizations across the country.

The discussions between the three women led to an expansion of Wilson’s original Parents for Deafpride concept, and the creation of a new group: Deafpride, Inc. Deafpride’s goal was to serve as an advocate for the deaf residents of the District of Columbia, especially black, Latino, poor, and other minority deaf who were being underserved by the support structure then available.
Among Deafpride’s initiatives were:

  • Project Access, which worked to make the health care system more accessible for the deaf, especially deaf mothers and young children.
  • Project AIDS, created during the 1980s AIDS crisis to educate the deaf about HIV prevention and treatment.
  • Project: A Second Chance, which helped deaf people access alcohol, drug, and other substance abuse programs.
  • Project Justice, which was intended to help the deaf who became involved with the legal system to understand their rights, as well as train interpreters to function in courtrooms and other legal settings.

During the 1970s, the group also helped poorer deaf families to obtain assistive technologies, such as TTYs and television caption decoders, at reduced cost. Deafpride also served as a central clearinghouse and training resource for reliable interpreters. The group also ran workshops on sign language and deaf communication and culture for schools, corporations, government agencies, and other groups that required training in interacting with the deaf.

Deafpride was also active in advocacy for the deaf, especially minority deaf, within Washington, DC. The group collaborated extensively with the mayor’s office and government, and with other institutions in the District, such as Gallaudet and Howard University.
At the end of 1994, financial difficulties led Deafpride to lay off all its staff.

Scope and Content

This collection covers a broad cross-section of Deafpride’s functions, from its founding in 1972 to its eventual termination. This includes extensive minutes from Deafpride’s board of directors and executive committee.

Much of the rest of the collection is dedicated to workshops, seminars, and other events organized by Deafpride, as well as by other groups that Deafpride collaborated with, including the District of Columbia government and local universities and hospitals. While few of these events have full minutes or session reports, most include agendas and/or programs describing the issues discussed.

Some correspondence is present in the collection, it is mostly incomplete, covering some of Deafpride’s exchanges with other nonprofit groups, as well as grant proposals, mostly to the District and federal governments. Most correspondence is from later in Deafpride’s history, from the 1980s and early 1990s.

While this collection includes a wide variety of photographs from the Deafpride offices and events, most of them are not labeled or organized. There is a smaller but better-organized collection of slides from Deafpride events in the 70s and 80s.
The collection also includes a variety of papers that originally belonged to Deafpride founding president Ann Wilson but are not specifically related to Deafpride. Most of these come from parent-teacher and policy committees at Kendall School during the early to mid 1970s, when Ms. Wilson’s child was a student there.

Series Descriptions

Series 1: Board of Directors and other committee minutes and records, 1974-1995

Boxes 1-

This series consists primarily of minutes from Deafpride’s board of directors and executive committee, as well as the advisory and program committees for the group. Memoranda and correspondence from the board and/or committees is also included, as well as member reports that were presented to the board.

Series 2: General administration, 1972-1995

Boxes 4-6

Records produced by Deafpride staff in the course of everyday business. This includes copies of the organization’s bylaws, records of staff meetings and events, transcripts of testimony given by Deafpride members at hearings, and programs and other records from fundraising events. Of special interest is a set of notes from the original meetings between Wilson, Kannapell, and Paul where Deafpride was conceived.

Series 3: Workshops, 1973-1993

Boxes 6-9

Records of workshops, presentations, seminars, and other educational events organized by Deafpride. Series 5 has workshops organized by other groups with participation from Deafpride members.

The bulk of this series consists of correspondence, notes, and agendas for the various workshops. Subjects covered include parenting, interpreter training and interpreter ethics, deaf culture and the deaf community, and American Sign Language (ASL) and communication skills.

Series 4: General correspondence, 1972-1994

Boxes 9-10

A collection of correspondence from or between Deafpride to groups and individuals. For correspondence on workshops, see series 3; for correspondence from outside groups, see series 5. Most of this correspondence is on the topic of ongoing projects under Deafpride’s banner, seeking support and/or advice.

Series 5: Other Organization Records, 1969-1996

Boxes 10-15

This series also includes records from workshops that were organized by other groups, but which featured presentations or participation by a Deafpride member. For Deafpride workshops, see series 3. Groups represented include the Women’s Technical Assistance Project, the National Association of the Deaf, the National Center for Law and the Deaf, and Gallaudet College (later Gallaudet University). The series also includes records of a number of programs and workshops organized by Howard University, particularly Howard’s Council of International Programs.

Of special interest in this series is a 1970 set of minutes from the People’s Organization Working for Economic Reform (POWER), a DC-based economic justice organization whose board included future mayor and councilman Marion Barry, Jr., and United Black Fund founder Calvin Rolark, as well as Ann Wilson.

Series 6: District of Columbia government correspondence and other records, 1976-1994

Boxes 15-17

Correspondence and other records of interaction and cooperation between Deafpride and various departments of the District of Columbia government. About half this series is given over to records of the government Department of Human Services’ Advisory Task Force on Deafness, which was set up in 1988 to study the services offered by the District to its deaf citizens. Margaret Bibum and Ann Wilson of Deafpride were members of this task force. This includes a transcript of a September 1988 hearing in which the task force solicited public statements on deaf services in the District.

Also included are correspondence, meeting minutes, and agendas from various initiatives of the DC mayor’s office, the public schools, and other parts of the city government. Work adjustment and job training forms for deaf people placed in jobs or training programs by a collaboration between Deafpride and the city Rehabilitation Services Administration are also present in this series.

Series 7: Proposals, 1972-1995

Boxes 18-19

A series of grant and program proposals written by Deafpride staff, as well as some related budgeting and correspondence. Proposal subjects cover Deafpride’s areas of concern, including ASL and deaf culture classes, drug and alcohol abuse programs, AIDS education, interpreter training, advocacy, and other issues.

Series 8: Project Access, 1978-1992

Box 19

Project Access was one of Deafpride’s major initiatives. Its goal was to improve deaf people’s access to health care by educating them on options and programs available for them. The program also educated health care professionals on how to communicate with deaf patients, as well as teaching interpreters how to function in health care and counseling settings. Project Access had a particular emphasis on maternal and child care, and had regular “rap sessions” and workshops for deaf pregnant women and new mothers. Project Access frequently worked in collaboration with Howard University and local hospitals, such as Providence Hospital, to bring its message to as wide an audience as possible.

This series includes correspondence and records from several Project Access workshops and rap sessions, including agendas, programs and fliers, and proposals describing the project’s goals and methods.

Series 9: Project Communicate, 1979-1980

Box 19

Project Communicate was part of Deafpride’s effort to build bridges between the District’s deaf population and its police force, both by enabling deaf people to access public crime prevention programs offered by the police and by providing a forum for the deaf community and the police to discuss each other’s needs and experiences. Project Communicate was unfortunately short-lived due to limited funding from the District government. For more on the police and collaboration between Deafpride and the District government, see series 6.

Series 10: The Advocate, 1980-1991

Box 19

The Advocate was Deafpride’s newsletter, including articles about the group’s activities as well as general interest articles for the deaf and their parents and friends. This series includes complete issues of the Advocate as well as pasted-up and marked-up preliminary copies.

Series 11: Parents for Deafpride records, 1972-1986

Box 20

Parents for Deafpride was Ann Wilson’s original group, and continued life as a Deafpride affiliate after the founding of Deafpride. Its focus was on support for hearing parents of deaf children. This series includes correspondence, reports, and news articles on Parents for Deafpride’s activities, as well as records of their fundraising activities. Particularly well represented are records of wheelchair basketball tournaments organized by Parents for Deafpride to raise funds. These records include tournament programs, correspondence, fliers, pledge records, and similar material. For more on Ann Wilson and her work in education, see series 12.

Series 12: Ann Wilson records, 1970-1987

Boxes 20-22

This series consists of material mostly unrelated to Deafpride. It was created and/or collected by Ann Wilson, who served on many committees and parents’ groups while her child attended KDES and MSSD. Most of the material – correspondence, meeting minutes, and reports — comes from KDES. This includes records from faculty/parent meetings, the school policy advisory committee, and the communications committee, which helped revise KDES’s communications policy. Also included in this series is a speech by Ms. Wilson titled “Education for Life” and associated transparencies for display during the speech.

Series 13: Career book, 1977-1978

Box 23

Material for a publication by Deafpride intended to showcase successful deaf workers, with the intent of providing role models to deaf youths seeking a career of their own. Includes an album of photographs of deaf workers with associated interviews, correspondence and budget for the book, and contact sheets of the photographs taken.

Series 14: Photographs, 1973-1989

Box 23

A collection of photographs and negatives, mostly black-and-white and unlabeled. These photographs seem to have been taken at Deafpride-run workshops and other events, and include a set of photos from Deafpride’s 1992 celebration of its 20th anniversary. Also included are some office photographs of Deafpride staff.

Series 15: Slides, 1983-1990

Box 24

A collection of slide images taken at Deafpride events. Includes office Christmas parties, fundraising river boat cruises, and Deafpride youth events including a picnic and a trip to the circus. Also included is a MSSD-created slide presentation titled “How to Get a Job,” which is intended to teach job interview skills to the deaf.

Series 16: Boards and oversized items, undated


A collection of large items related to Deafpride. This includes a mounted resolution from the District of Columbia Council recognizing Deafpride’s contributions, and three heavy card signboards decorated with photographs from Deafpride events.

Folder Listing

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