Saturday, June 9, 2012

Deaf and Zombies

We, Deaf America seems reading more and more about so-called zombie attacks upon Americans. The mainstream media coined "zombie attacks" in form of cannabilistic-like behavior within the latest newsreportings from the infamous Miami facial chew-up to the recent confession by the college student with top G.P.A, ate the brain of his own victim.

The prominent Gallaudet alumni, Cadwallader Washburn once dealt with cannibals somewhere on the remote island while he traveled overseas. He regularly etched stuff during his globe-trotting travels. Washburn ended up on the unknown island and got the royal treatment from native islanders. At first, Washburn was not realized that he was being fattened up by the cannibals. He taught the cannibals handful of sign language, too.

Washburn finally remembered that he read books about some cannibals living somewhere on the island. He had to sneak off at night and escaped from the island. Washburn wrote in his journal about such adventure. Washburn also purposely starved himself from being eaten by cannibals until he found the right moment to escape from the island with cannibals.

Here are the finest artworks of Cadwallader Washburn which currently displayed at the Washburn Arts Center on Gallaudet University campus -

Great biographical stuff on Washburn by the Minnesota Association of the Deaf newsletter -

Cadwallader Lincoln Washburn– Painter, United States

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and died in South Livermore, California (October 31, 1866 – December 21, 1965). Washburn became deaf at age 5 in 1871 from scarlet fever and spinal meningitis. His father, William Drew Washburn, was a U.S. Senator, and his family was wealthy with interests in timber, railways and mills(including the Gold Medal flour mills). He attended theMinnesota State Academy for the Deaf and then enteredGallaudet College in 1884. He also enjoyed studying insects, and in drawing illustrations he discovered an interest in art. After graduation he studied architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology but then moved to New York to study art. One of his teachers,William Chase, brought him to Europe to study with the artist Joaquin Sorolla in Spain. He met Pablo Picasso in Paris. In Venice he experimented with and eventually became a master of drypoint etching, producing almost 1,000 etchings during his career. He also had exciting adventures. While in Mexico for his health, he was asked by the Chicago Daily News to interview Francisco Madero, the Mexican president, and was the only reporter to get in to interview him (using written Spanish) before he was assassinated.

During the 1920s, he traveled with a professor from the University of Minnesota to the Marquesas Islands where he studied and drew sketches of birds and rare insects and successfully avoided being eaten by cannibals (he purposely stayed too thin for their taste). Just before he turned 77 in 1943, Washburn married Margaret Cowles Ohrt, who became his travel companion and interpreter.He received numerous honors for his works of art and his studies of insects, and Gallaudet University’s Washburn Arts Building was dedicated in his honor in 1969. Washburn’s works can be seen in many museums around the world, and also at the Charles Thompson Memorial Hall, a historic deaf club in St. Paul, Minnesota, that was designed by his friend Olof Hanson (a renowned deaf architect who also attended the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf and Gallaudet College around the same time as Washburn)

BIG thanks go to the following individuals and organizations for their contributions to the September 28-29, 2010 tours of the deaf and hard of hearing artists at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts:

Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens – Doug Bahl, Teika Pakalns and Cynthia Weitzel

Minneapolis Institute of Arts – Debra “Debbi” Hegstrom, Kristin Lenaburg, Thomas Rassieur and the

MIA Docent Program Sign Language Interpreters – Mary Baremore, Patty Gordon, Je rey Kirkwood, Lauri Krouse, Richard Laurion, Patty McCutcheon, the University of Minnesota

Interpreting/Captioning Unit and Jules Peterson Eugène Laermans

ASLize yours,
Robert L. Mason (RLM & RLMDEAF)

Washingtin Post article did not tell much about Deaf History ...

On the B2 page of Washington Post newspaper, Saturday, June 9, 2012 on the "Metro" Section. The Washington Post newspaper did not mention anything much about the history of Deaf people being the part of Calvary Baptist church's 150th Anniversary.

Many of you, Deaf/deaf/HOH and Deaf-ally people would see very familiar landmark in the present DC's Chinatown/Gallery Place neighborhood - the reddish church building overseen the main intersection of
Chinatown/Gallery Place - 7th and H Street, Northwest. Although, the Calvary Baptist church is located on
the 8th and H Street half the block from the "Fuddrucker" burger place and across from the "Subway" eatery.

Not many Deaf people within the modern generation past the 1970s, realized that the Calvary Baptist church had the everlasting history of Deaf people being much part of this historic church.

According to the Washington Post and Calvary Baptist church website, Amos Kendall bought the land plot for the new church - the Sixth Street Baptist church to be renamed later as "Calvary Baptist church". Kendall was the former postmaster under Andrew Jackson's presidential administration and bought the large tract of undeveloped land well known as "Kendall Green" for the future site of Kendall School for the Deaf and Gallaudet University (formerly named as "National Deaf-Mutes College" and "Gallaudet College").

The first President of the National Deaf-Mutes College/Gallaudet University, Edward Miner Gallaudet, frequently volunteered to sign-interpret the church services for Deaf church parishioners most of his time resided in Washington, DC. Nobody offered the sign-language interpretation after 1888 as what Francis Higgins wrote in the history of Deaf Calvary Baptist paper. The sign-language interpretation was brought back in 1908 for deaf congregations.

The Calvary Baptist church was most progressive Baptist church from the admittance of African Americans as church members back in 1955 and opposed slavery and embraced concept of multi-ethnic/racial diversity for the church membership throughout decades. Very beautiful historical illustration of Calvary Baptist church lined with street-lined trees on H Street shown with this link unlike the present Chinatown/Gallery Place scenario.

Francis Higgins, the former physics professor at Gallaudet College/University, used to be the layman for the deaf church service from the 1940s to 1970s. Higgns played the prominent role within the Calvary Baptist church. He also wrote the history of Calvary Baptist Church for Deaf which the manuscript preserved at the Library of Congress and Gallaudet University Archives -

The 100th Anniversary of Calvary Baptist Church had  also been featured in "Deaf Mosiac" tv programming under Gallaudet University's TV/Film Department - Deaf Mosaic: No. 9 [Videocassette]. (1986). Washington, DC: Gallaudet College.4th FLOOR HV2545 .D44 no.9 (30 min.) Signed and captioned

The presence of Calvary Baptist church is much a reminder of how Deaf/deaf people is part of the downtown DC/Chinatown/Gallery Place/Penn Quarters neighborhood history, ex. the former clubhouse of the deaf on the grounds of the current Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) headquarter building.

The present Chinatown/Gallery Place neighborhood still draw Deaf people for the entertainment and dining activities nowaday. Numerous federal agencies within this neighborhood have handful of Deaf federal employees visibly seen around the Chinatown/Gallery Place.

ASLize yours,
Robert L. Mason aka RLM (RLMDEAF)