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Deaf History That: Who Was Melville Ballard

3 minutes

There are many interesting deaf people, and among them, I'd like to tell you about one person in particular-- Melville Ballard. He was born in Maine, and since he was deaf, there were no known educational institutions for deaf children nearby. When he was eleven years old, he was informed that there was a deaf school in Hartford. He enrolled, and after nine years, Ballard completed his education. The school asked him to become a teacher there. The Columbia Institute for the Deaf and Dumb in Washington, D.C. asked him to teach there. Ballard accepted the offer, and soon afterwards, the college for the deaf was established. He decided to enroll there, and after two years, he graduated. Afterwards he went back to teaching and did so for over fifty years! While he was teaching, Ballard, along with a few others, founded a newspaper for deaf people. The paper was called "The Silent World." Ballard was actually one of the participants at that conference in Milan, Italy in 1880. Oh, here's another interesting fact about Ballard-- Congressman James Garfield, who later became the President of the U.S., corresponded with the French Emperor, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte III, who communicated in French. The Congressman needed somebody to help him with translation, so he used Ballard, who was fluent in English, French, and Latin, to help with the translations. With Ballard's help, Garfield was able maintain his communications with the French Emperor. So that is what I wanted to share with you today. Accessibility provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

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Melville Ballard became the first undergraduate student to receive a degree from Gallaudet College. He was born in Maine and attended the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut. Ballard completed his education and became a teacher. He also founded a newspaper called “The Silent World” with a group of his friends. Another interesting fact about Ballard is his role as a translator for Congressman James Garfield, who later became the President of the United States. Garfield corresponded with the French Emperor Louis Napoleon Bonaparte III, who communicated in French. Ballard, who was fluent in English, French, and Latin, helped with the translations. Part of the “Deaf History That” series.

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Runtime: 3 minutes

Deaf History That
Episode
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Deaf History That
Episode 1
2 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Deaf History That
Episode 2
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Grade Level: 7 - 12
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