Education: This Is the Selma of the Deaf

A school protest becomes a forum for a newly assertive minority

The U.S. capital takes all manner of demonstrations in its daily stride. But the young people who descended on the White House last week taught the city something new about protests. They marched in silence, communicating with one another in sign language, their faces and bodies contorted with frantic energy as they sought to convey the emotional content of their message. They were students from Washington's Gallaudet University, the nation's only liberal arts college for the deaf. Their message, in the words of Student Rebekah Hammer: "Prejudice is believing that hearing people have to take care of deaf people."

A hearing...

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