Black History Month

Two hands touching each other on a black and white background.

Black History Month is a time to reflect and learn about the black experience around the world. At Sense, we would like to take this opportunity to celebrate people who have had a significant impact on culture and humanity all over the world.

Signkid

Kevin Walker, also known as Signkid, is a London based rapper and musician who became Deaf after contracting Meningitis at a young age. Having been influenced by the likes of Public Enemy and Chance the Rapper, Signkid used vibrations to create his own beats which he then raps over in British Sign Language. Check out his song ‘Listen with your eyes’ and see the poetry and beauty he communicates through sign language.

Hermon and Heroda

‘Being Deaf may be difficult but being scared is the real barrier’. Hermon and Heroda run their own lifestyle and fashion blog called ‘Being Her’. Hermon is a professional actress and Heroda has recently been featured in an advert. Their blog is an opportunity for them to expand theirs and others horizon. In their words, the more you see, the less you hate.

CJ Jones

CJ Jones is an American director, producer, writer, musician comedian and actor who communicates using American Sign Language. On top of all of this, he is the CEO of Sign World Media which is an initiative to bring hearing and deaf people together and develop creative ways to act and produce together in film. Performance is his passion and he has produced the International Sign Language Theatre Festival which hosted a number of theatre artists from around the world.

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman (1822-1913) was an American abolitionist and political activist who was partially blind. Born into slavery, she escaped the South and helped black slaves escape by establishing the ‘Underground Railroad’ where slaves on the run could seek protection. Tubman is estimated to have rescued more than 300 slaves.

Thomas Wiggins

Thomas Wiggins (1849-1908) was an American musical prodigy on the piano who was sold into slavery as a child. Blind at birth, Thomas wasn’t able to carry out the work that was usually demanded of slaves on the plantation he lived on, so he was left to play the piano. He is thought to have played to his first public audience at three years old and went on to be one of the best known African-American performers during the 19th century.

Marsha de Cordova

Marsha de Cordova (born 1976) is a British politician serving as a Labour MP for Battersea since 2017. She’s been Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities since April 2020. Born with nystagmus, a condition of involuntary eye movement, she’s registered blind.

Claudia Gordon

As well as being the first deaf black female attorney in the United States, Claudia Gordon was also the first deaf person to work in the White House in a detailee capacity when she worked there as Public Engagement Advisor to the Disability Community. Born in Jamaica, she faced discrimination for being deaf, and moved to the US when she was 11 and enrolled at the Lexington School for the Deaf in New York.

Curtis Pride

Curtis Pride (born 1968) is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) player who is deaf. In 1993 he became the first deaf player in the majors since 1945, and Gordon was named MLB’s Ambassador for Inclusion in 2015. Deaf at birth from rubella, he uses his 5% residual hearing to help him speak and is a fluent lip reader.

Haben Girma

Haben Girma (born 1988) is an American disability rights advocate who was the first deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School. She lost her vision and hearing due to an unknown progressive condition beginning in early childhood. Girma says that one of the reasons she became a lawyer was to give disabled people increased access to books and other digital information. She now works to change attitudes about disability around the world, including developing accessible digital services.

David Ellington

David Ellington first acted as part of the Deaf Festival at the Swan Theatre in 1997. He is profoundly deaf and uses British Sign Language to communicate. He has received many accolades over the years including the award for Best Actor at the Deaf Oscars for his role in DEF.

“I hope that young Deaf and disabled people can look up to us and follow our example in order to achieve their own goals.”

David Ellington

Don’t discriminate, celebrate

Black deaf and visually impaired people have been impacting culture and the course of history for many years. Taking this time to celebrate this short list is a good start in understanding how the black community has shaped the world we experience today however; we know there are many more people that we haven’t mentioned that we would love to hear about!

Black history is world history and taking the time to understand it gives us all a little bit of understanding about ourselves.

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