My grandmother was born in Birmingham, AL and she along with her parents moved to Detroit, MI in the early 1910s She was 2 almost 3 years old when she became ill, and lost her hearing. I don’t know the illness that did it. I know that my great-grandmother called to my grandmother and my grandmother never answered or indicated that she heard her mom calling her. That’s when great-grandmother took her to the doctor and discovered she was deaf.
In the picture above she is attending Michigan School of the Deaf in Flint, MI. She is about 9 or 10 years old (about 1920 or 21) in this picture.
This is a picture of the Michigan School of the Deaf about the turn of the 20th century.
Here is something quaint: When my mother was a little girl and attended school, the teachers thought that she was a deaf-mute because she never spoke. They finally realized that she could speak. It was the fact that her parents were deaf mutes and used sign language to communicate that she didn’t speak.
During that time, my mom said she was embarrassed that her parents couldn’t talk and she hid the fact that she knew sign language until my grandmother came up to her school and began talking on her hands to mom. After she left, the teacher, bless her heart, raved about the fact that my mom could communicate like that. From that time on my mother was never ashamed of sign language again. More tomorrow.