Famous People Associated With American Sign Language

American Sign Language Hands Spelling the Word Love

American Sign Language has a long, vibrant history going back to France in the mid-1700s. ASL continues to evolve and change as a language today. Famous people, both in history and modern times, bring awareness and notoriety to this language. 

It’s not because they overcame obstacles to achieve what they did, but because they inspire others thanks to the ingenious human spirit that bridges communication gaps and brings people closer together. Akorbi explains some famous people associated with American Sign Language.

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet founded the first school for the deaf in the United States in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1817. His school served as a model for dozens of others across the country, helping to formalize the education of people who are deaf from that period onward.  

Hellen Keller

Perhaps the person most commonly associated with American Sign Language, Hellen Keller was the first deaf-blind person to graduate from college in 1904. Keller also published many books, was a successful lecturer, and she proved there are no limits to what you can accomplish.

William “Dummy” Hoy

William Hoy was the first deaf Major League Baseball player. He played for 15 years as an outfielder, and he racked up some amazing feats and statistics. Hoy hit the first grand slam home run in the American League in 1901 as a member of the Chicago White Sox. As a rookie, he led the National League in stolen bases. He’s credited with inventing the hand signals used in baseball today. The nickname “dummy” did not mean Hoy was stupid. Back then, people were called “deaf” or “dumb” due to their hearing disability. 

Marlee Matlin

Marlee Matlin has been an actress ever since she was 7 years old. Her lead role in the movie Children of a Lesser God in 1986 earned an Academy Award and Golden Globe, making her the first and only deaf person to win these awards to this point.

Shoshannah Stern

Shoshannah Stern’s first language is American Sign Language. She’s had prominent roles in many TV shows and movies, most recently as a doctor on Grey’s Anatomy, the first-ever deaf doctor role on primetime television. She also had a recurring role in the hit CW show Supernatural. Stern’s most notable role was Holly Brodeen in Threat Matrix.

Akorbi and American Sign Language

Akorbi can help your company or organization comply with ADA requirements and federal regulations. Our certified ASL interpreters have technical expertise in many industries to provide you with top-notch interpretation services. Contact Akorbi online or call 1-877-4-AKORBI for more information on our interpretation solutions. 

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