The focus of this article is the experiences of Deaf Philadelphians vis-à-vis language policy and practice at PSD. We delineate the official and unofficial communication philosophies and pedagogies from the school's inception to present day, providing a framework for understanding the trajectory of linguistic freedom and restriction of its students. We couple these administrative perspectives with crucial input from older Philadelphia Deaf community members who acceded to and resisted the oralist policies against sign language use before, during, and after their time at PSD.
We have undertaken the current article at this early stage in our analysis of conversational interviews of Deaf Philadelphians so that we can better understand the external forces that facilitated and militated against sign language use in Philadelphia. By doing so we will be better positioned to understand how social and linguistic contexts have shaped Philadelphia ASL.