By the early 18th century, it was not uncommon for people in Martha's Vineyard to be deaf from birth. This had a profound effect on the culture of Martha's Vineyard - and one that went on to influence Deaf culture in the United States as a whole.
This episode breaks our rule of thumb about covering fairly recent history. In 1988, the appointment of a hearing president at Gallaudet University sparked a protest that changed the course of both the school and deaf culture in America.
Laura Bridgman was the first deafblind person to be educated -- a feat accomplished by Samuel Gridley Howe in the 1830s. People from around the world came to see her, including Charles Dickens, who wrote about her in his "American Travels."