The Center for Black Deaf Studies (CBDS) is pleased to announce the selection of Lindsay M. Dunn, ’85, manager of education programs in the Deaf Studies program within the School of Arts and Humanities, as the center’s first ever scholar/researcher. In this role, Dunn will fulfill CBDS’ goal of engaging scholars from around the world interested in furthering research on the lives and experiences of Black Deaf individuals. Dunn will remain in this role for one full year, until August 2023.

CBDS opened to great fanfare in July 2020. A major impetus to its fruition came in response to a heightened interest in Black Deaf studies as an academic discipline, and marks a giant step forward in creating multicultural Deaf Studies centers in the coming years. The program is under the auspices of the Division of Academic Affairs, and is led by Dr. Carolyn D. McCaskill, ’77, G-’79, & G-’05, a professor in the Deaf Studies program. Over the past two years, CBDS has pursued its mission of preserving and promoting the history, language, and culture of the Black Deaf community, including the experiences of Black Deaf students on Kendall Green as they relate to the watershed lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., in 1952. This case resulted in Black Deaf children, who previously had been educated in Maryland, becoming students at Kendall School. The center also assesses the state of Black Deaf education in general, and aspires to serve as a resource center for information about the Black Deaf experience locally, nationally, and globally.

A native of the Republic of South Africa and an alumnus of Gallaudet, Dunn is a fitting choice as CBDS’ first scholar/researcher. As a student, he was the first and only Black editor of the Buff and Blue student newspaper. He also served as a Student Congress representative for the African Student Union. After furthering his education by earning an M.A. in 1987 from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education, with concentrations in deaf education and deafness rehabilitation, Dunn became an educator in New York and Mississippi before returning to Washington, D.C. as the first Outreach Manager for the AT&T Relay Center. He returned to his alma mater as Assistant to the President for Diversity and Community Relations in 1994, and later became Special Assistant to the President for Advocacy. Since 2006 he has served in a variety of roles in Gallaudet’s Deaf Studies program. In addition to his current job, he has been manager of education support programs, lecturer, and adjunct professor. 

A highly civic-minded individual, Dunn’s community work has included Youth Program Assistant Director for New York City’s Deaf community, president of the New York City Black Deaf Advocates, and membership in the New York City Civic Association of the Deaf. 

Dr. McCaskill writes: “It is a dream come true to welcome my esteemed colleague, Mr. Lindsay Dunn, as the first Black Deaf scholar/researcher for the Center of Black Deaf Studies.  He is like a walking encyclopedia. His love for history is phenomenal. Lindsay brings a plethora of experience and knowledge to the position. I am very excited for CBDS and Gallaudet.”  

Dunn’s research interests include social justice and diversity within the deaf and disabled world, with a special interest in the dynamics of oppression and the Black Deaf experience within Africa and its diasporas. He created and still teaches the first course ever on Black Deaf History (DST 403: Black Deaf History, 1818-1890). 

Dunn writes: “It is an honor to assume this position within the Center for Black Deaf Studies.  Jack Gannon’s Deaf Heritage: A Narrative History of Deaf America; Otto Berg’s Missionary Chronicles; and my freshman year history professor, Ausma Smits’ skill in making history into an intricate story of humanity were the foundation of my work.  These three extraordinary Deaf historians challenged me to raise questions on the presence of Black Deaf people within human history: the same questions that Dr. Ernest Hairston and Linwood Smith raised in Black and Deaf in America:  Are We Really Different, and those raised by the authors of  The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL.  The Center for Black Deaf Studies, under the leadership of Dr. Carolyn McCaskill, has the potential to raise the decibel levels to these questions.  I absolutely  look forward to being part of the CBDS team.”

Please join us in extending our heartfelt congratulations to Mr. Dunn for his selection as the first ever CBDS scholar/researcher.

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