On the Beat of Truth
A Hearing Daughter's Stories of Her Black Deaf Parents
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Gallaudet University Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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Everyone has a story, and is the product of many more stories. humor, and refl ections of “Everyday People,” or rich lives outside of the perimeter of celebrity. The faces and voices of tion to a prominent place in literature and historical inquiry. than twenty-year sojourn into people’s history: critically refl ect-...
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...storyteller, telling me vivid stories as early as I can remember, her own life. As the richness of her stories began to unfold, I as or the segregated residential school; or about her married life to my father, Herbert Childress. My mother’s description of life the land; and deaf children attended segregated schools for the ...
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...proofreaders, researchers, editors, and photographers as well as religious organizations offering quiet quarters to write. Special ...
Brown and ChildressFamily Trees
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Margery Childress Young Saxton * Susie had children from her fi rst marriage: Major, Mary, Laura, Mattie, Susie, and William. ** Berry claimed all the Thurman children (children from his wife’s fi rst marriage) as his own and insisted his stepchildren and his own blood children were equal brothers and sisters.*** Odell and Arnell were identical twins; Odell died as a child....
1A Policeman ComesA-Knockin’
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...thin lips, his keen nose, and his soft straight hair. His physical and thighs. My father’s hands were massive, and his signs were the cinderblock bungalow at 5901 Clay Street was fi nally built in 1946, constructed primarily by my mother’s daddy, Clarence those days, it was in the rural part of the District of Columbia....
2Herbert Andrew Childress
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...“Just as one acquires a possession, Herbert acquired bitterness, stitch a plain piece of fabric into a garment. When I was a pre-schooler, I usually sat near her playing with rag dolls or thumb-the tension in her back, and begin to reenact for me any recent along with her hands, to tell a story. She was a marvel to watch ...
3Annie Dublin Nero andMartha Nero Brown
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...her own birth. Yes, she enjoyed dramatizing events in Daddy’s worker; her father, Clarence, a farmer who became a bricklayer; 1875 or 1880,” she said, all the while nodding her head while shaking her hand slightly so I could see the waves. “She thin the nostrils to illustrate how narrow Annie’s nose was, and then ...
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...made blouses, skirts, dresses, suits, and coats. By the time she “What dress?” signed Thomasina with a quizzical expression.“The size you wear,” replied the administrator with a smile.and signed, “You won. You won. You beat other girls who sewed exclaimed the superintendent in sign language, “and her prize is ...
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The great occasion of Mama’s fi rst pregnancy all happened on from having swollen feet, an aching back, and weary legs to hav-between her legs as she struggled to get someone’s attention, “Oh,” she thought, “Herbert wants boy, but . . . he sees beautiful self, “any baby belong to me, (this) beautiful, can never have bad ...
6Becoming Aware ofThings, Part I
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...when I fi nally realize that she has no notion of what a life with den.” There is a line in the song, “The birds sound so sweet, the birds hush their singing.” Perhaps she saw an interpreter sign the song, or maybe she read it in a hymnal; I really don’t know. Persistent, she sees that I am puzzled and unable to explain, so ...
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The year is 1949. I am still six years old. Evening comes later I am so tired, I can’t sleep and crack my eyes open to stare at not getting the rest I need. I don’t know. But I do know that as soon as I walk in the door after school, Mama is waiting for At least once a week, we have to do the wash in the old wringer ...
8Becoming Aware ofThings, Part II
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...hear, but they don’t share with me anything important to them. But I want to see them kiss, because I fi gure that since his lips are very thin and Mama’s lips are fuller, it must be diffi cult for and whispering about “tongue kissing.” What in the world is know what tongue kissing looks like. Now I’ll never fi nd out! ...
9Social Club and Church
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...“We ‘colored’ deaf people in D.C. socialize with each other mostly in three ways: our social club, home visits with each other, and our deaf I am nine years old and in two months, I will be ten. It is 1953. It’s that time of year again, when “colored” deaf folks from dance event—it isn’t annual, more like every three years or ...
10Summer with Grandma
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...carefully reads the letter, and then gives it to me to read, too. It begins with a thank-you for the fi ve dollars my mother sent like me to come down there for a visit. After all, she hasn’t seen me since I was a baby. The year is 1954. I am ten years old and will be eleven, and I excitedly anticipate my visit to Grandma, ...
11From Chocolates to FreshGoat and Pig Meat
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I love chocolates: chocolate cookies, chocolate candy, chocolate candy factory. And not just any candy store, it is Fanny Farmer Fine Chocolates, if you please. They sell only the fi nest—the cious nuts, or jellies with creamy fi lling inside each delectable other, not just for their exquisite taste, but also because each ...
12Crossword Pruzzles andPearl Bailey
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...still other dictionaries: a three-inch-thick Webster’s Diction-which she avidly pores through every day: fi rst, to read the news for me, and third, to play the weekly “Pruzzle” game, which of her bed, in a hunched-over position, with a yellow pencil in her hand. Her lips are taut; her just-washed face has a soft glow ...
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...each step I take feels like a heavy weight on my legs; I imagine someone else nearby to start a conversation. Why? It is as if I have a chronic infectious disease, leprosy maybe. Clearly, I still am not fi tting in with the youngsters in my fi rst year of junior class is comprised of all girls, young ladies who are considered ...
14Becoming Aware of Things,Part III
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...doing my homework and getting A’s in my classes; I am anxious later, right now I’ve got to do this English assignment to write intention of writing it over in ink. (Mama says always write in back to me. “Maxine, I want you to read this story to the class.” No one says a word. There is a noticeable silence after I read my ...
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...“But I don’t give up trying . . . trying to fit in, somehow.”to suffer through Miss Meyers’s prattling voice as she teaches signs of an old- fashioned halter reining it all in. She has buck-creaky voice, like a grasshopper’s legs creaking to make broken and occasionally cautioning us to cease talking and fi nish our ...
16From Happiness to Misery
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...the eighth grade, “classifi cation 8-6,” a class for all girls who are deemed to be academically gifted, by virtue of their test scores because in my mind, getting A’s in all my classes is the only way recognition in the school. Since I don’t have money to buy my lunch every day, wear fancy clothes, or even have many friends, ...
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...“Southern schools plan massive resistance to court-ordered integration.”I am fourteen years old, and the prospect of going to a strange faraway place to earn money seems like a fairy tale to me. I am anxious to leave Washington, D.C., with its dark cloud of hurts trials and tribulations at school. I ignore the headlines in the ...
18When Tempers Flare
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...“Daddy’s praying. Is this the same man who almost killed me yesterday?”him gives off the smell of beer, I know to say hello to him, turn “Daddy, I need fi ve dollars to go on a trip for school.” He “I broke, broke, broke.” So I just stand there, refusing to a pair of shoes only a few feet away. “Sam, give me fi ve dollars,” ...
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The year is 1959, and I am sixteen years old. I am volunteering to help Mrs. Hughes in the library to check books in and out. It is learned my way around Spingarn High School (It is named for Joel Elias Spingarn, founder and president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.) The school is a maze with ...
20Let It Go
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It is the late winter of 1960, and I am seventeen years old. I am at home, preparing for another school day. I sigh, telling myself more day. I am suffering from the winter blues, as I feel listless, neglected my homework, but this time I can appreciate Rhett’s in Gone with the Wind: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” ...
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...visits from deaf out-of-towners, local residents, and even deaf students. In fact, the fi rst African American student to gradu-the deaf; her most recently sewn outfi ts; her travels here and there; her religion as a Jehovah’s Witness and so on and so on. incredible pride: her children and grandchildren’s accomplish-...
Page Count: 184
Illustrations: 25 photos
Publication Year: 2013