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Communication Corner – Celebrating Black American Sign Language

February is recognized across the United States as Black History Month.

Did you know American Sign Language, like any language, has variations by culture?

Deaf African Americans faced not only the typical exclusion of those in Deaf culture but historical segregation as well. As a result, this group developed their own dialect of American Sign Language called Black ASL (BASL). It grew out of the segregation of African Americans in the deep South in the days of racial segregation and has become a source of pride to its members. BASL includes different hand movements and facial expressions, among other things, to establish it as a vibrant language reflective of African American culture. The rich history of Black American Sign Language can be celebrated and honored today and every day as we embrace cultural differences.