“A School and Not an Asylum”: Recovering and Re-Imagining Histories of Segregated Schools for the Deaf and Blind in the South


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowships


African American Studies and History of Science and Medicine


In 1887, William H. Holland, founder of the Institute for the Deaf, Dumb, Blind, and Colored Youth of Texas, declared that the Institute was “A School and Not an ASYLUM.” Working against expectations of racially segregated institutions for the disabled in this period, this dissertation argues that many of Holland’s students experienced the institute as a space of protection from the violence and exclusion of the Jim Crow South. In addition to this educational space of protection, students attending this Institution were taught vital trades and trained in music. This work explores to what extent this pedagogical approach affected the local African American communities. This project is committed to centering the voices of People with Disabilities and disseminating their histories in a format that is accessible to their descendants. To that end, it remains steadfast in prioritizing accessibility to the research data and multiformat production of the final product.