“Nathie was truly one of a kind human being who truly brought out the best in each of us, whether it be at a board meeting or a family dinner together.”
- Dr. Bobbie Scoggins
During the Women History (March) and Deaf History (April) Months, we, District of Columbia Area Black Deaf Advocates, recognize a talented woman named Dr. Nathie Lee Marbury. She was born January 20, 1944 in Grenada, Mississippi. She moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended West Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (WPSD). She achieved her studies at WPSD in 1962 and enrolled at Gallaudet University (then called College). A cool tidbit while Nathie was at Gallaudet, she tried out for a football team!
In 1975, she completed her studies earning a Bachelor's degree in Home Economics from Gallaudet. She then went across to the west coast and attended California State University Northridge (CSUN). At CSUN in 1976, she completed two Master’s degrees, one in Administration and Supervision and another one in Special Education. At CSUN, she was also the first Black deaf woman to enter the National Leadership Training Program for the Deaf. She earned her Doctorate degree from Lamar University in 2007 in focus of Deaf Studies/Deaf Education (Legacy, 2013).
Nathie became the first Black Deaf teacher at Kendall Demonstration Elementary School (Kendall) on the Gallaudet Campus. She has taught at several other deaf schools. In the last 14 years, she taught at Austin Community College (ACC) in Austin, Texas in focus of American Sign Language (ASL). During her time of activism, she had served on the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) as an appointed board member under two female presidents, Dr. Roz Rosen (1990-1992) and Dr. Bobbie Beth Scoggins (2006-2008).
One of the biggest accomplishments Nathie did was producing several signing videos including a national favorite DVD, No Hand Me Downs in 2005. Please also note that she shared some of her ASL folklore through the ASL Folklore Festival taking place in the District of Columbia area hosted by the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage through the Smithsonian Institution. There is a scholarship named after her through American Sign Language Teachers Association (ASLTA).
We all can remember Nathie’s vibrating leadership and her 1,000 wattage smile as remembered by Dr. Bobbie Scoggins (NAD, 2013). Nathie succumbed to a battle of cancer on April 15, 2013. She is also remembered as a masterful storyteller, artistic performer, and a teacher including her recognition for her participation in the Black Deaf community. She received a National Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA) Lifetime Achievement Award, awarded posthumously in August 2013 (ACC, 2013).
Legacy. 2013, retrieved from the website: https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/statesman/name/nathie-marbury-obituary?id=7998383.
NAD. 2013, retrieved from the website: https://www.nad.org/2013/04/18/in-memoriam-dr-nathie-marbury/.
ACC Library Services. 2013, retrieved from the website: https://researchguides.austincc.edu/marbury .
Written by Historical Archives Committee