Who We Are
News & Stories
Sep 23, 2022
Sep 15, 2022
August 20, 2023
June 29, 2023
June 24, 2023
University Wide Events
No Communication Compromises
Areas of Study
Changing the world
Community & Innovation
Research Experiences & Services
Your Journey Starts Here
Tools & Resources
Explore Our Campus
Sep 28, 2022
We Are Equal Exhibit
Then & Now Exhibit
The Life of Robert Panara Exhibit
Olof Hanson Exhibit
Deaf Peace Corps Exhibit
Language, Culture, Communities
Deaf HERstory Exhibit
History Through Deaf Eyes
Deaf Difference + Space Survival
Gallaudet at 150 and Beyond Exhibit
National Deaf Life Museum
Andrew J. Foster Exhibit
Andrew Jackson Foster was the first Black Deaf student to graduate from Gallaudet University after the Jim Crow era. Although he was allowed to enroll, the campus atmosphere was no less racist than the world outside it, and Foster’s experiences with bullying spurred him to graduate in only three years. Undeterred, he pursued his life’s mission, opening schools for Deaf children in countries throughout Africa. Gallaudet University is proud of Foster’s legacy. Still, we must honor the hardships he faced on campus to truly understand and appreciate his great success.
Andrew J. Foster: Missionary, Educator, and Advocate exhibition was unveiled on April 8, 2014, along with Gallaudet at 150 and Beyond and Then and Now exhibitions as part of Gallaudet University’s sesquicentennial celebration.
Andrew J. Foster: Missionary, Educator, and Advocate exhibition was a rotating exhibit that was on display until October 19, 2017.
The front side of the original rotating exhibit that was unveiled on April 8, 2014.
Photo courtesy of Dick Moore.
The backside of the original rotating exhibit with three Gallaudet students looking at the display.
Photo courtesy of Shane Dundas and the National Deaf Life Museum.
The National Deaf Life Museum thanks the exhibition team members for contributing and making 'Andrew J. Foster: Missionary, Educator, and Advocate' rotating exhibition a reality.
The links to the life and legacy relating to foster are posted here. They show him sharing his experiences and dedicated service to the African Deaf Community.
As a young boy, Andrew Foster wanted to go to Africa to preach the gospel. This dream became a reality, and over 50 years later, his legacy continues, putting thousands of deaf Africans on the path to equality.
Andrew Foster met his wife, Berta, in Germany, and they married in Nigeria in 1961. His family did not hinder his passion. His wife joined him to develop schools in Africa. Their children also frequently companied the wife on her visits to Africa.
Andrew Foster felt countries were responsible for the education of their deaf citizens. He took steps to persuade authorities to take on responsibility and encourage networking and collaboration among educators. The authorities did this while he left to establish schools in other parts of Africa.
Deaf Americans see Laurent Clerc and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet as the founders of deaf education in the U.S., and many deaf Africans look to Andrew Foster in the same way. Having raised funds in Europe, Foster established his first school in Ghana, primarily teaching deaf children.
Andrew Foster founded schools and carried missions in Ghana in 1957, Nigeria between 1960 -1973, and several parts of Africa between 1973 to 1987.
Andrew and Berta’s son Tim Foster carried the torch lit by his parents throughout Africa. Working with the Christian Mission for the Deaf, he ensures deaf children receive education and uses Sign Language to preach the gospel in Africa.
Andrew Foster's life timeline. Born in 1925, completed a degree in 1954, and died in a plane crash in Rwanda in 1987
Andrew Foster’s work was cut short by A 12-passenger plane crash traveling from Kenya crashed in Rwanda in 1987. His students from the schools he founded earn doctorates at Gallaudet and elsewhere, serve in various capacities in higher education, follow in his footsteps as missionaries, and can be found working around the world.
Gallaudet University, chartered in 1864, is a private university for deaf and hard of hearing students.
Copyright © 2022 Gallaudet University. All rights reserved.
800 Florida Avenue NE, Washington, D.C. 20002