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Robbie D, Cheatham, a 1956 alumna of Kendall School, passed away on December 20, 2022. She was one of five Black Deaf children who were plaintiffs in the landmark Miller v. District of Columbia Board of Education case in 1952 that gave Black Deaf children the right to be educated at Kendall School. She was the only female in this group of five Black Deaf students who benefitted from the ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Many other Black Deaf students benefited as well. 

Robbie Delores Cheatham was born on November 11, 1936 in Edgewood, South Carolina. Her family moved to Washington, D.C. when she was six years old. She lived for 80 years in the family home on Eighth Street Northwest. After graduating from Kendall School, she became a tax examiner with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. She retired after 38 years of government service.

According to her family, Ms. Cheatham  lived her life with dignity and purpose. She was a devoted mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother; a retired federal employee, and a proud member of the Black Deaf community – especially the 23 Black Deaf children who attended Kendall School and their immediate and extended families. Ms. Cheatham is memorialized on the existing Kendall School Division II memorial in front of Gallaudet’s Kellogg Conference Hotel, and will be memorialized again in the planned Louise B. Miller Memorial Pathways and Gardens: A Legacy to Black Deaf Children.

Funeral services were held on January 11 at Shiloh Baptist Church in Northwest Washington.

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