This is the collection of papers, transcripts, copies, and interviews that served as the basis of the "Class of '52" documentary, available now on YouTube:

These materials were gathered by Sandra White in what is now known as MSS 118: Segregation of Black Deaf Children in the United States.

Ms. White, a Gallaudet University employee at the TV/Film and Photography Department, undertook a project to gather as much information regarding the black deaf history as to produce a documentary film. She went through all the Gallaudet University Deaf Archives department sources to find any information that deals with black deaf history, especially those in deaf schools. She focuses on the history of segregation in the deaf schools between black and non-black deaf students up until the desegregation movement in America during the 1950s.

In gathering those documents, she wanted to support her research into Kendall School’s desegregation for the Deaf during the 1951 year. There was a trial that the mother of Kenneth Alan Miller, a black deaf boy in Washington, D.C., fought for Kenneth’s right to attend Kendall School instead of sending him to the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Philadelphia, where Kenneth attended for two years.

During that time, Kendall School’s policy was to send all 'colored' deaf students of the District of Columbia area to Maryland School for the Colored Blind and Deaf-mutes in Overlea, Maryland. Kenneth’s mother brought the D.C. Board of Education to trial in the Supreme Court in 1952. The plaintiffs are the Millers and William (Billy) Matthews, a black deaf boy from D.C., and his mother, Miss. Grace Jones. The trial ended with the verdict that ordered the D.C. black deaf students to attend Kendall School instead of Overlea, Md.


Browse the MSS 118 - The Segregation of Black Deaf Children in the United States Collection:

MSS 118 Box 1

MSS 118 Box 2

MSS 118 Box 3