Andrew Foster – Father of Deaf Education in Africa

May 11, 2011 at 12:00 am 4 comments

After Vicki Hurwitz’s lecture on Deaf Women in History last month, I became fascinated and wanted to learn more about our Deaf and Hard of Hearing Legends. Today, I am going to share the story of one of many Deaf men in history: Andrew Foster.

Andrew FosterAndrew Foster was born in Ensley, Alabama on 1925. He was the first Black Deaf person to earn his bachelor’s degree from Gallaudet and the first to earn his master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University; he also earned another master’s from Seattle Pacific Christian College. He went to Africa to in 1957. He had been told by missionaries that deaf children did not exist in Africa. Actually, the parents either abandoned or hid their children at home. Many of the cultures he found in Africa were very discriminating, isolating and oppressive to deaf people.

He first taught in Ghana and then established 31 schools in other countries including Benin, Congo, Chad, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Cameroon. He also trained teachers, leaders, evangelists, and trained at Bible meetings, camps and youth centers to reach the deaf.

After 30 years service in Africa, he was killed in a plane crash on December 3, 1987. Gallaudet University dedicated an auditorium in his name, “Father of Deaf Education in Africa” on October 22, 2004. I was on Gallaudet campus for the Homecoming Event at that time and saw a large group of Black Deaf people walking down to the auditorium. Out of curiosity, I approached my Professor in the group and asked her what the special occasion was. She explained briefly that Gallaudet honors Andrew Foster’s work in Africa. I did not understand at that time, because I did not pay any attention to Famous Deaf People.

Also, Gallaudet University has the National Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA) Andrew Foster Endowment Fund that supports Andrew Foster scholarships for African American deaf students at Gallaudet.

Please leave your comments. If you know any other famous Deaf People, please do not hesitate to share with the readers.

By Doreen Solar, ECNV Deaf & HoH Peer Mentor


Entry filed under: Deaf/HoH -- Vlog, Disability History. Tags: , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Assistech - Assistive Technologies for Special Needs  |  December 27, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Great post. I enjoyed reading about Andrew Foster.

    • 2. ecnvecnv  |  December 29, 2011 at 1:49 pm

      Thank you for your compliment. It makes my day.

      Happy Holidays!

  • 4. ubababs  |  April 15, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Great share indeed this will go a long way in bringing great individual who are physically challenged to be known and recognized globally even when they are dead.


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