The Necessity of Now logo is shown. The text for “Necessity” is white, bold, and capitalized, the text for “of” is purple, bold, and capitalized, and “NOW” is in all capitals. The “N” is white, the “O” is represented by four purple lines with a dot situated at the top right, and the “W” is white.

Necessity of Now

The Necessity of Now spotlights the rich history, culture, and achievements of Black Deaf people who continue to face barriers with educational success and employment opportunities.

The Necessity of Now is foregrounded by the knowledge that the world is a better place when all people can reach their full potential and share their unique talents and gifts.

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The Necessity of Now supports future economic equity and inclusion by funding an equitable outdoor learning space on Gallaudet’s campus called the Louise B. Miller Pathways and Gardens: A Legacy to Black Deaf Children and scholarships, research, and programming at our new Center for Black Deaf Studies.
NOW campaign goal is
$ 0 million
Planning, design, and construction of the Louise B. Miller Pathways and Gardens:
$ 0 million
Programs, research for the Center for Black Deaf Studies and scholarships for students
$ 0 million
Donate to the NOW campaign for equitable education.

$9,579,584.45 of $23,000,000 Goal


Campaign Progress as of 06.03.24

Necessity of Now Campaign Webinar

Evon J. Black, ’87 & G-’96, co-chair of the Necessity of Now (NOW) fundraising campaign and co-director of the Center for Black Deaf Studies presented a webinar on February 15 about Mrs. Louise B. Miller’s historic fight for educational justice for Black Deaf children, Kendall School Division II, and the NOW campaign.

View Webinar

Acknowledging Our Past, Investing in the Future

Gallaudet University is on a mission to confront its prejudicial past and to dismantle persistent obstacles that have perpetuated an unequal system for Black Deaf people.

The University owes this restorative justice movement to student activists who called on Gallaudet to take a deep look at how it has historically hindered the ability for everyone in the community to thrive.

Part of College Hall and Chapel Hall are shown and so is the parking lot, road, and sidewalk in between the buildings. A Black man stands signing on the road with a white woman. He is wearing gray shorts and a gray shirt with white shoes and she is wearing green shorts and a shirt with white shoes.
An old historic photo of a Black woman (left) wearing a light-colored shirt and a dark jacket and skirt standing next to a young Black boy wearing a suit and tie. He is wearing hearing aids. Next to the boy is a Black man wearing a formal hat and a suit and tie. The man has a mustache. The woman and man are smiling. They are looking to the right and the boy is looking toward the left. They are shown in front of a large bush outside.

The Power of a Mother’s Love

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However, Black Deaf students were placed in a segregated school in an inferior building with fewer resources, known as Kendall School Division II for Negroes. It operated for two years until 1954 when Brown v. Board of Education ruled that school segregation was illegal. Their case was an important precursor for that landmark Supreme Court decision and it also marked a watershed moment in Black Deaf history and in the American Civil Rights movement. In addition to operating the segregated Kendall School Division II, Gallaudet did not graduate Black Deaf students from the University from its founding in 1864 to 1950. Gallaudet deeply regrets its role in this dark part of history and how its actions affected the lives of Black Deaf children and adults at the Kendall School Division II and the University.

Learn more about Louise B. Miller, Kendall School Division II, and Gallaudet’s acknowledgement of past injustices

Louise B. Miller Pathways and Gardens: A Legacy to Black Deaf Children

The equitable outdoor learning space funded by the Necessity of Now campaign will be called the Louise B. Miller Pathways and Gardens: A Legacy to Black Deaf Children. It will form a serene, reflective, and sensory-rich environment to honor the enduring impact of Miller, Kendall School Division II, and the challenges and triumphs experienced by Black Deaf people with three reflective rooms, a small gathering space, and a large outdoor classroom.

The Pathways and Gardens will incorporate four key themes:

The Pathways and Gardens complements African American historical sites in D.C., such as the African American Heritage Trail and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The Necessity of Now campaign will lay the foundation as the first anchor of a broader economic development effort. The site will be the “front porch” of Gallaudet’s Creativity Way project that will directly link the campus to the dynamic Sixth Street corridor adjacent to campus. Our community will have a deeper connection to the bustling economy that exists there today and into the future. As development continues on land owned by Gallaudet, we are imagining a space where Deaf-owned businesses and arts and culture abound and our students, alumni, faculty, and staff will have new opportunities to thrive economically.

Center for Black Deaf Studies

Three people of color presenting on a stage
Necessity of Now supports scholarships, research, and programming, including support for our new Center for Black Deaf Studies.

The campaign will elevate CBDS and further its influence on the world.

Since its establishment in 2020, CBDS has:

Necessity of Now in the News

The Washington Post | December 9, 2023

The enduring legacy of a D.C. mother who fought for Black deaf children


WTOP News | December 11, 2023

Gallaudet University fundraising campaign honors unsung hero, highlights history of Black deaf students


Essence | December 14, 2023

One Of The Largest Fundraisers Has Been Launched To Further Deaf Studies

Inside Higher Ed | December 20, 2023

Building Up the Black Deaf Student Community

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