Friday, March 7, 2014

Agatha Tiegel Hanson

I was born with a cleft palate.  As a result, I was also hearing impaired, which affected my speech.  One of my favorite memories is of the day I came home from the hospital, after getting tubes put in my ears.

It was a pretty summer day.  Mom was fussing over me, while I recovered in my bedroom.  She opened a window above my head.  She made me toast and eggnog.  She even sat down on the bed next to me, a rarity for a busy mom with four kids under the age of nine.

That day was the first time I ever heard birds singing.  And learned that napkins crackled when placed under your chin.

I was amazed.  Mom cried.

Agatha Tiegel Hanson
Today, I say thank you to Agatha Tiegel Hanson (1873 – 1959)  

Educator, Author, and Advocate for Deaf Community
Agatha Tiegel Hanson was a teacher, poet, and advocate 
for the deaf community. 
Unable to hear and blind in one eye 
from a childhood illness, 
 she never allowed her disabilities to hold her back. 
She came of age at a time when most deaf people 
were denied access to education, 
and deaf women especially had few educational options.  
She was admitted to Gallaudet University, 
which is still the only college in America dedicated 
to the education of deaf and hard of hearing students.  
Graduating first in her class, 
her valedictorian speech argued for the recognition 
of the intellect of women, 
a cause she advocated throughout her life. 

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