Honoring John J. Flournoy

Honoring John J. Flournoy today, and gaining more recognition of him for his leadership ♥️

[Video transcript]

Adonia: Hello, I’m here at the old GSD building. The historic marker behind me honors John J. Flourney. Who is John J. Flourney? He was an important person who died exactly 141 years ago from this day (January 17, 2020). He was 71 years old when he passed away. OK, what is so important about this man? He was one who proposed to establish a Deaf school (GSD) – yes, that was him, and it was in 1833 when he suggested that to the Legisture. But they just shrugged him off, ignoring his proposal because he was Deaf. That was wrong. John J. Flourney (or JJF for short) was an intelligient man who knew several signed languages, can write well, and was very knowledgeable of Deaf culture and history. He even knew some of Deaf leaders (such as Laurent Clerc himself, whom JJF had met in person). Since his proposal had been ignored by the Legisture, which was a big mistake on their part, thirteen years passed before Georgia School for the Deaf was finally established, in 1846.

Adonia: Indeed, after thirteen years of ignoring JJF’s proposal, Georgia Legisture contacted another Legisture in Connecticut to inquire about Deaf schools. However, Connecticut Legisture did not know anything about establishing Deaf Schools, and suggested contacting American School for the Deaf instead, so Georgia Legisture did. And the rest is history. Because JJF had done so much for the Deaf community, not only for GSD but he also was one of the group who pushed for establishing Gallaudet University – that’s where I graduated from! (Otherwise I would never graduated with a BA degree! Same with GSD that I would never graduated with a high school diploma!)

Adonia: So, GSD had been established…thanks to JJF. Again, he was such an important person that he deserved to be recognized. However, this historic marker recognizing him is still not enough. That is NOT ENOUGH! JJF deserved to be recognized MORE! As GSD’s 175th anniversary is approaching next year, we need to give more attention to JJF and keep his name alive, to acknowledge that JJF was the one who made a big difference for Deaf Georgians and Gallaudet graduates! We should really thank JJF for all he had done!

Adonia: I have another story to share. See this book? It’s all about JJF, written by a man named E. Merton Coulter. He wrote pretty negatively about JJF though, and it was published in the year 1942. Note the date. Again, remember I said JJF passed away in 1879. The author was born in 1890! That means the author NEVER have met JJF! Again, Coulter was born in 1890, and JJF had already been dead since 1879! So in 1942 the author just pubished about a book that is quite negative about JJF. Coulter have no business writing about a Deaf person like JJF, PERIOD! He never even knew or met JJF in real life!

Adonia: And secondly, Coulter knew ZERO about Deaf culture! It is very important To know Deaf Culture, yes! And thirdly, he didn’t even understand ASL and how important it was for Deaf people to speak their native language! So Coulter knew ZERO about signed languages at all! With all this negativity about JJF, I’ll tell you one thing…when he was writing negatively about what JJF has done, Coulter was actually involved in something he accused JJF of doing, and Coulter was charged for his own actions! I’ve read Coulter’s background and found he had been accused of being involved in wrong doing – I can’t say what details, just that if he was negative about JJF for his actions…it was actually Coulter who had done it! So if you were researching about JJF and wanted to use Coulter’s book on JJF, please DON’T use that book – NO! We should throw that cursed book out!

Adonia: JJF was a great Deaf leader, the one who came up with a proposal for establishing Georgia School for the Deaf here, AND was one of these people who pushed for establishing Gallaudet University! Thanks, JJF!

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