NYT on Proposed Deaf Town
Standing in an empty field along a wind-swept highway, Marvin T. Miller, who is deaf, envisions the town he wants to create here: a place built around American Sign Language, where teachers in the new school will sign, the town council will hold its debates in sign language and restaurant workers will be required to know how to sign orders.Readers of disability studies literature of course will see the parallels to the Martha's Vineyard described by Nora Groce in Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language -- a really great, short book.
Nearly 100 families - with people who are deaf, hard of hearing or who can hear but just want to communicate in sign language - have already publicly declared their intention to live in Mr. Miller's village, to be called Laurent, after Laurent Clerc, a French educator of the deaf from the 1800's.
Planners, architects and future residents from various states and other countries are gathering at a camp center in South Dakota on Monday and through the week to draw detailed blueprints for the town, which could accommodate at least 2,500 people. Mr. Miller, who has been imagining this for years, intends to break ground by fall.