A Brief History Of Clerc Center

Instead of 10 trivial questions for reaching $1,000 for the goal to purchase the PB, here’s the story about two people who founded the Clerc Center (KDES and MSSD). The first founder deserved to be recognized. The site of Rose cottage sits in front of College Hall on the present-day Gallaudet University campus. ♥️

Donate to purchase the PB for three spaces: the future National Deaf Schools Museum, the housing for GSD Museum and ASL Rose: https://www.facebook.com/donate/436509450618919/?fundraiser_source=external_url

Thank you! ♥️


[Video Transcript]

Adonia: Hello! Where am I? I’m here at Gallaudet University, the only Deaf liberal arts college in the world! I’ll summerize about the Clerc Center, established a long time ago before Gallaudet University. Many of you haved viewed Amos Kendall as the sole founder of Clerc Center, but that is not true. It was Platt H. Skinner and his wife. I’ll summerize real quick about those people. Platt H. Skinner and his wife moved to Washington, DC to open a private Deaf school on “G” street over there. They taught for some time.

Adonia: Platt H. Skinner and his wife hired many brilliant Deaf teachers out there, and Skinner’s wife had relatives who are teaching at that school. Over the time Skinner had a good large class – over 20 students. As you know, Skinner was hearing and blind, and his wife was Deaf. They needed support from the board, asking for a donation to help keep their school going. They demonstrated their teaching methods and their students to the public, and also to lobby the legislative for finanical support for their school. Time passed, and Amos Kendall, who was later appointed to become a member of the board, supported the Skinner’s school for a time being.

Adonia: Kendall was the owner of a cottage (later known as Rose Cottage) that used to reside here on this campus, known as “Kendall Green Campus” (which was two acres of land donated that led to today’s Gallaudet). There is a plaque here, pointing to the fact that this here was the site of the Rose Cottage. However, Amos Kendall wanted money (or possibly some fame for himself) couldn’t rent out at the cottage and didn’t make money from it. (He found the opportunity in Skinner’s school where the Legislature could pay him for the cottage, and in about two years later, he got the money so basically he didn’t really donated at all). He then saw the Skinners and teachers teaching a Deaf Black student. Kendall promptly claimed that the Skinners were grossly neglecting the students, that the children were malnourished and wearing rags. There was public outrage, and the Skinners were hauled off to the court again and again, about 12 times in total. The Skinners had emphatically denied all accusations again them. Skinner’s wife was upset, and the Deaf teachers who had supported the Skinners were troubled.

Adonia: But because Kendall had the power and money, so in the final hearing the Skinner could not prevail and Kendall took control of the school. Kendall then incorporated the school in February 1857. After chaotic hearings were over, the Skinners gave up and moved away. At one time during one of the hearings their house was burned down. Who burned it down? Your guess is as good as mine! Meanwhile, the Skinners went to some other states and opened their private Deaf schools. So today, people thought Amos Kendall was the sole founder of Deaf school (today’s known as Clerc Center). But as you know, it was not true. We must tip our hats to Platt H. Skinner, the first founder (even though Kendall had donated two acres to establish the Clerc Center there.) Now you know the story!

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