MSS 221

District of Columbia Area Black Deaf Advocates, 1981-

District of Columbia Area Black Deaf Advocates Records, 1982-2011

Gallaudet University Archives

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Gallaudet University Archives

Call No.: MSS 221

Creators: District of Columbia Area Black Deaf Advocates, 1981-

Title: District of Columbia Area Black Deaf Advocates Records, 1982-2011

Quantity: 8 boxes (4.5 lf).

Abstract: Meeting minutes, correspondence, event programs, financial reports, and more from the District of Columbia

chapter of the National Black Deaf Advocates.

Note: This document last updated March 2018.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information: Assembled from several donations given to the Archives by Dorian Fletcher.

Processed By: Begun by Corinne Palaia and Michael J. Olson, 2017, and completed by Christopher Shea, March 2018.

Processing Note:

Conditions on Use and Access: This collection is open to the public with no restrictions.

Related Material in the Archives


  • DCABDA News. Gallaudet University Archives, call number: Periodicals
  • NBDA Network. Gallaudet University Archives, call number: Periodicals
  • NBDA News. Gallaudet University Archives, call number: Periodicals
  • NBDA Newsletter. Gallaudet University Archives, call number: Periodicals

Vertical Files

  • National Black Deaf Advocates. Gallaudet University Archives, call number: Deaf African-Americans

Administrative History

The National Black Deaf Advocates grew out of a 1980 meeting at the offices of Deafpride, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based group dedicated to assisting the minority deaf (see MSS 192). Deafpride’s Board of Directors, including black deaf leaders such as Linwood Smith, Ann Wilson, and Lottie Crook, proposed the idea of a national conference of black deaf. This eventually developed into a caucus at the 1980 National Association of the Deaf conference chaired by Charles Williams of Cleveland. At this caucus, black deaf attendees expressed frustration at their lack of representation in the NAD and other national groups. The possibility of creating a national organization for black deaf was discussed.

Over the next year, the DC and Cleveland black deaf communities organized a conference on black deafness, including coming up with the name Black Deaf Advocates and establishing the DCABDA as the first chapter of the new organization. Their efforts led to a mini-conference held at Howard University in June 1981. The first full BDA conference was held a year later, in August 1982 in Cleveland, which became the second BDA chapter. The third and fourth BDA chapters were set up in Pennsylvania and New York, which also hosted BDA conferences in 1983 and 1984. At the 1984 convention, Sheryl Guest-Emery was made executive secretary and later executive director of the organization and was instrumental in creating national bylaws for the organization and renaming it the National Black Deaf Advocates.

Since then, the NBDA has grown to over 25 chapters. DCABDA has remained the first chapter. NBDA provides services, advocacy, and activities for the black deaf community, including workshops, education, interpreter training, conferences and events, networking, publishing, and more.

Scope and Content

The bulk of these records are from the late 1990s to the late 2000s. Administrative records consist mostly of minutes from board and general meetings; there is not much material from committees, aside from a few budget and treasurer’s reports. It also includes some correspondence mostly from and to Dorian Fletcher and Kristi Merriweather, who were DCABDA presidents during the time covered by these records. Of particular interest is a program from the first full BDA conference in 1982 (see series 6). The collection also includes some programs and other materials from 20th and 25th-anniversary celebrations for the DCABDA and NBDA, as well as other material from DCABDA/NBDA-organized events, mostly program books, brochures, and flyers.

Series Descriptions

Series 1. Meeting records and bylaws, 1997-2009

Boxes 1-2

Bulk is minutes and agendas from general meetings and board and committee meetings from the DCABDA. It also includes some minutes from board retreats, as well as copies of the DCABDA bylaws and some correspondence and notes on revising them. Correspondence on meetings and some printed photographs are also present.

Series 2. Correspondence and administrative records, 1994-2011

Boxes 2-3

A collection of DCABDA correspondence and everyday administrative materials, including blank forms and letterhead and member and contact lists. Of particular interest is an incomplete set of the DCABDA News chapter newsletter, with information on events, leadership changes, and more.

Series 3. Event records, 1991-2011

Boxes 3-4

Correspondence, flyers, programs, and other material from events hosted by DCABDA, such as awards shows, parties, classes, and African-American cultural events.

Series 4. Youth Empowerment Summit (YES) records, 1997-2009

Boxes 4-5

First held in 1997, the Youth Empowerment Summit is an annual event for DCABDA where teenage deaf people are taken on a one-week summer retreat for workshops, education, leadership training, and mentoring. Includes brochures, correspondence, financial reports, and other materials, although the material on individual YES events is fragmentary.

Series 5. Financial and treasurer’s reports, 1995-2009

Box 5

A small collection of irregularly organized budget reports, ledger pages and spreadsheets, and annual treasurer’s reports for DCABDA.

Series 6. NBDA records, 1982-2009

Box 6

A collection of material from DCABDA’s parent organization, including a brief organization history, programs from conferences and banquets, minutes and other records from board meetings, and more. It also includes a small amount of material from other chapters of the NBDA.

Series 7. Other organization records, 1998-2008

Boxes 6-7

Material from other deaf-related organizations, such as the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), Maryland Association of the Deaf (MDAD), the Consumer Action Network, and the National Alliance of Black Interpreters. It includes event brochures and flyers, conference kits, correspondence, and more.

Series 8. Clippings, 2002-2009

Box 7

A collection of newspaper and magazine clippings, mostly from deaf media, with articles on the DCABDA, NBDA, or prominent black deaf people.

Series 9. Banners, undated

Box 8

Painted fabric banners saved from events hosted by the DCABDA.

Box Folder Title Year(s)
1 1 Agenda and minutes for general meeting 1999-2009
1 2 Agenda and minutes for general meeting 2001-2003
1 3 Board agenda and minutes 1999-2009
1 4 Bylaws 1998-2002
1 5 Bylaws and motion forms 2003-2005
1 6 Committee lists and guidelines ca. 2002
1 7 Correspondence and photos from general meetings and other events 2001-2003
1 8 Correspondence on bylaw revisions 1997-2003
1 9 Flyers for general meetings 2001-2002
1 10 Guides to meeting and parliamentary procedure Undated
2 1 Meeting minutes 1997-2000
2 2 Minutes from retreats 2001-2002
2 3 Address and contact lists Undated
2 4 Blank certificates of appreciation 2002-2003
2 5 Blank forms and factsheets for awards Undated
2 6 Blank forms and letterhead Undated
2 7 Business cards Undated
2 8 Calendars 2009-2010
2 9 Certificates of recognition 2003-2005
2 10 Correspondence 2001-2009
2 11 Correspondence 2002-2011
2 12 Correspondence 2004-2005
2 13 Correspondence and forms on tax exemptions 2001-2006
2 14 Correspondence with sponsors 1995
2 15 DCABDA News 1994-2009
3 1 Forms and guides for scholarships 2002-2003
3 2 Guides and correspondence on disability rights 2002-2008
3 3 Member form and letters Undated
3 4 Member lists for awards and elections ca. 2007
3 5 Membership card for Dorian Fletcher ca. 2009
3 6 Membership lists 1997-2009
3 7 Note to members 2003
3 8 Survey forms 2002
3 9 Awards and participant lists for Collegiate Black Deaf Student Leadership Institute 2007-2009
3 10 Brochures and flyers for Black Deaf Experience Day 1998
3 11 Class reports for Beginning Sign Language 2008
3 12 Correspondence and fliers on events 2007-2008
3 13 Correspondence and planning for Collegiate Black Deaf Student Leadership Institute 2005-2007
3 14 Correspondence and reports for It Takes a Village to Raise a Black Deaf Child 2007
3 15 Daycare forms and curriculum 2005-2007
3 16 Event photos Undated
3 17 Flyers and guidelines for awards shows ca. 2002
4 1 Flyers and presentation from Holiday Festival 2008
4 2 Flyers for events 1999-2011
4 3 Funeral programs 2000-2008
4 4 Guidelines and programs for Miss Black Deaf America 1995-2002
4 5 Plans and correspondence for Black History Month 2002-2006
4 6 Program books from events 1991-2009
4 7 Program from Kwanzaa event Undated
4 8 Programs and records for awards banquets 2005-2008
4 9 Report on events and achievements 2000
4 10 Retreat workshop minutes and agendas 2001-2007
4 11 Rosa Lee Gallimore performance agreement 2006
4 12 YES 1997 attendee list 1997
4 13 YES 1998 correspondence and brochures 1998
5 1 YES 1999 correspondence and reports 1999
5 2 YES 2000 reports 2000
5 3 YES 2002 contract 2002
5 4 YES 2005 financial reports 2005
5 5 YES 2007 brochures and flyers 2007
5 6 YES 2008 schedule 2008
5 7 YES 2009 correspondence and schedule 2009
5 8 YES scholarship applications 2003-2004
5 9 Financial reports 1998-2004
5 10 Financial reports 2002-2008
5 11 Treasurer’s reports 1995-2000
6 1 Conference reports and programs 1998-2009
6 2 Kristi Merriweather essay on international BDA Undated
6 3 NBDA award descriptions and nominations 1993-2009
6 4 NBDA board and scholarship documents 2001-2004
6 5 NBDA history Undated
6 6 NBDA new chapter development guidelines Undated
6 7 NBDA programs from conferences 1982-2005
6 8 NBDA programs from 25th anniversary conference 2007
6 9 NBDA strategic and scholarship plans 2001-2004
6 10 NYCBDA brochure for eastern regional conference 2006
6 11 PCBDA (Philadelphia) history Undated
6 12 Program book for eastern regional conference banquet 2008
6 13 Attendee packet and speech text for DPN20 2008
6 14 Brochures for various deaf groups and events Undated
7 1 Consumer Action Network minutes and reports 2001-2002
7 2 “47” alumni association 100th anniversary programs 2008
7 3 MDAD meeting records and newsletter 1999-2005
7 4 Metropolitan Police Department open house program book and flyer 2002
7 5 NAD handbook and program from 46th convention 2002
7 6 NAD kit on Captioned Media Program Undated
7 7 National Alliance of Black Interpreters member forms Undated
7 8 Prince George’s County Association of the Deaf task force meeting minutes 2004
7 9 Prince George’s County Executive letter and photo 2008
7 10 St. Paul Community Baptist Church news article on deaf ministry 2004
7 11 St. Paul’s Baptist Church programs from Black Deaf Men’s Symposium 2008
7 12 Buff and Blue 2008-2009
7 13 Clippings 2000-2007
7 14 Magazines with articles on DCABDA 2003-2009
7 15 NADMag articles on black deaf 2002-2003
7 16 SIGNews 2005-2009
8 Banners Undated

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