Saturday, December 4, 2010

Laurent Clerc

Here's a biography I did for one of my classes. I thought I should post it! :D
[I received an A 99% for this!]

10, October, 2010
Period. (1)
Biography for American Sign Language

"Laurent Clerc"

Laurent Clerc was born on December 26, 1785 in La Balme, France. His parents were Joseph-Francois Clerc and Marie-Elizabeth Candy. When Clerc was a young child, he fell from a chair onto the hearth in his house. He suffered a injury to his head and sustaining a permanent scar on the right side of his face just below his ear. Clercs family believe that his deafness was caused by that incident by according to Laurent, he believes that he may have been born deaf and without the ability to smell or taste.

Clerc was taken to the National Institution for the Deaf, the world's first public school for the deaf which was located in Paris, France, at the age of twelve. Under direction of the school's founder, Abbe Sicard, Clerc gained success and in 1805, he was appointed tutor and then in 1806, he became a teacher at the school.

In 1815, he traveled to England and there was where he met Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. Gallaudet later visitied Paris to study the French methods of deaf education. Gallaudet persuaded Clerc that he should come with him back to his country to help lay the foundation of deaf-mute instruction and education and also help teach Alice Cogswell. They arrived in August of 1816 in New York and opened an asylum in Hartford, Connecticut on April 15, 1817. Clerc then devoted all his life to the school but later in 1858, when he became very sick, he retired with a pension. He had met and married a deaf-mute at the age of thirty-four. Her name was Miss Eliza Boardman, who bore Clerc several children all of which possessed speach and hearing abilities. Clerc's eldest son became an Episocopal clergyman in St. Louis.

Laurent Clerc was the first deaf teacher in America and was among the first in the whole. A proficient writer, Clerc had been called "the Apostle of the Deaf in America" before. He was the co-founder of the first school for the deaf, Gallaudet University. He also was an advocant for deaf people's rights such as the right to marry. Throughout the United States, he was also an inspiration for the spread of deaf education. Clerc had the view that sign language of the deaf was as an natural language to English and all other languages. As the first deaf teacher in America, Laurent Clerc taught 31 students in the first year of the schools opening. During all of his forty-one years of teacher, Clerc traveled all across the United States, helping to establish several residential schools for the deaf in places such as Michigan, Kentucky, Alabama, and Wisconsin.

In 1858, Clerc retired and eleven years later, he passed away at the age of eighty-four.


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