The D.C. Area Black Deaf Advocates proudly launch the very first article and we chose Linwood D. Smith Jr. Why Linwood? He has been a great leader among others in the D.C. Metro area. Maybe you recognize him as an author of the book, Silence, Love, and Kids I know (1973). He also co-authored with Ernest Hairston on a priceless book, Black and Deaf in America: Are We That Different (1983). Let's walk through his brief personal and academia background.
Linwood entered and graduated from Gallaudet University in 1965. He was involved with the Buff n’ Blue doing poetry and other writings, while he was a student there. After his graduation, he studied at Howard University, a Historically Black College and University located in Washington, D.C., and, eventually, received a Master’s in educational administration at California State University at Northridge, California in 1971. While working and coaching at North Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind in Morganton, North Carolina, he attended a teaching training program. Smith returned to Maryland after 1971 and worked as an educational therapist in the mental health for the deaf at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Washington D.C.
Smith became a community activist and published his poetry book, Silence, Love, and Kids I know. That particular 1973 book had a huge purpose to raise funds for the Black Deaf Caucus with a small number Black Deaf activists. You can see in figure 001 and figure 002 comparing the printed text from his book and the original newsletter dated 1974, that was in Dr. Ernest Hairston’s possession. The Black Deaf Caucus began in 1973 intentionally to fight for justice and equality for Black Deaf.
Figure 001; Image shows text “International Books, P. O. Box 6970, Washington, D. C. 20032” shown inside the original jacket of the 1973 book, “Silence, Love, and Kids I know.”
Figure 002; This image is an excerpt of the original newsletter, with a section titled, “Black Deaf Caucus Newsletter Starts” See the yellow highlighted on the written text shows, “P. O. Box 6970, Washington, D. C. 20032” is the similar address printed in Smith’s book. The full text writes, “A newsletter concentrating on issues concerning Black deaf people is being started. The Black Deaf Caucus plans to include book reviews and information on the accessibility of facilities for disabled people. Their address is P. O. Box 6970, Washington, D. C. 20032.”
Soon after the success of reprinting the 1973 book, the Black Deaf Caucus formed into a celebrated new organization called National Black Deaf Advocates in 1980. Smith never got to see his new printed book, Black and Deaf in America: Are We That Different, because he succumbed to his injuries by a hit and run traffic accident on November 17, 1982.
If you want to pay respects to Linwood D. Smith, please go into the Student Academic Center (SAC) on the Gallaudet University Campus and see a big and lovely painting of Smith hanging on the brick wall near the G area. Also you may support students financially by donating to Linwood Scholarship which the program is currently under Center for Black Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C.
2022-2024 DCABDA Administration
*Approved by Dr. Carolyn McCaskill, Linwood Smith Scholarship Memorial committee chair and Woody Miles, Linwood Smith’s half-brother