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Oct 6, 2022
Manuscripts – District of Columbia Area Black Deaf Advocates Records, 1982-2011
King Jordan Student Academic Center 1255
District of Columbia Area Black Deaf Advocates, 1981-
District of Columbia Area Black Deaf Advocates Records, 1982-2011
Gallaudet University Archives
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.
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.
Conditions on Use and Access: This collection is open to the public with no restrictions.
Related Material in the Archives
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 1. Meeting records and bylaws, 1997-2009
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
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
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
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
Series 6. NBDA records, 1982-2009
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
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
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
Painted fabric banners saved from events hosted by the DCABDA.
Gallaudet University, chartered in 1864, is a private university for deaf and hard of hearing students.
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