Harlan Lane, ally of Deaf community, Dies

Harlan Lane was a well respected professor of psychology at the Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. For many years in the major of psychology, it was considered that Deaf people are the abnormal group from the others. We did not accept that. Neither did Harlan Lane, too. Instead, he became our ally by researching and denouncing hearing oppression against Deaf community. Later he founded the ASL program at Northeastern University. He was also well known for a number of his books that revolutionized the world such as The Wild Boy of Aveyron (1976/1999), When the Mind Hears: a history of the Deaf (1984), The Mask of Benevolence (1992) and The Deaf Experience: Classics in Language and Education (2007).

I had an honor and privilege to talk with Harlan Lane several times in the past. The last time we spoke to each other was January 2018. After he explored inside ASL Rose’s old website, he stated:

“Adonia, this terrific. I agree that it is crucial for Deaf studies to get the dates right and to find connections to hearing history, but your history goes well beyond that. The novel format, the visual appeal, and the graceful writing, combined with a real engagement with Deaf history make of your website a new form of Deaf history and a major resource. Congrats and keep at it!”

Thank you, Lane, for your huge support and for believing in us Deaf people, our signed languages and our Deaf culture in different countries. You stood up for us…You were our true ally! May your legacy continue down the generations in our Deaf history forever!

Rest in Peace, Harlan Lane
August 19, 1936 – July 13, 2019

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