BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Southern University will recognize the Louisiana State Schools for Deaf and Blind Negroes with a historical marker dedication ceremony on Friday, Oct. 28.
This free event is open to the public and will begin at 1 p.m. at Swan Avenue between the Southern Laboratory School and the College of Nursing buildings.
In 1920, Legislative Act No. 159 established separate schools for Black children in Louisiana who were deaf or blind. The Louisiana State School for Blind Negroes began Oct. 1922 and was located on the campus of Southern University in Baton Rouge. Governor John Parker approved the act that read, “Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Louisiana…That there shall be established a state school for the benefit of deaf and blind children of the Negro race whose condition is such that they cannot profitably attend the regular public school.”
The Deaf Divison was established in 1938 and became known as the Louisiana State School for Deaf Negroes. Southern University’s president Joseph Samuel Clark served as superintendent and Edward L. Gordon, Sr. was principal.
For 40 years the Louisiana State School for Deaf Negroes was run as a predominantly segregated institution, as it was the last Black deaf school in the United States to close.
In 1978, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education merged the Louisiana State School for Blind Negroes and the Louisiana State School for the Blind to create the Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired. The Louisiana School for Deaf Negroes combined with the Louisiana State School for the Deaf to make Louisiana School for the Deaf. Both schools are now located on a 116-acre campus south of downtown Baton Rouge.