by Bailey Ryan
(Palm Beach, Florida)
My favorite person in deaf history by far is William Stokoe. Before I had read this article, Hellen Keller was my favorite, because she was the only deaf person I knew about. But when I heard about William Stokoe, I quickly changed my mind.
His proof that American Sign Language was a significant language for the deaf made it possible for the deaf to communicate in their own way, and brought the weight off the deaf’s shoulders to talk orally.
Because of William Stokoe, the deaf has developed its own fascinating culture and language. Because of his findings, doors have been opened to make the deaf culture special. Like the Babbidge report. If Stokoe hadn’t proved American sign language was sufficient, who would have? Would the deaf speak orally and feel out of place? We will never know, but still this has made a way for the deaf to feel like they are special and unique.
And now because of him, the hearing are becoming interested in the deaf way of life, and want to be a part of it. Like me; I am so fascinated by the deaf culture, and can’t wait to learn more sign language, and teach sign language to my friends. I already have a friend who has become interested in learning sign language when I had told him I am learning.
Thanks William Stokoe, and thank you to the people of Start ASL for making it possible for me to slowly be a part of the deaf culture.