Barbara Kannapell, activist who empowered deaf people, dies at 83

Both of her parents dated Gallaudet, and Barbara, known as Kanny, followed in their footsteps, earning her bachelor’s degree in deaf educ...

Both of her parents dated Gallaudet, and Barbara, known as Kanny, followed in their footsteps, earning her bachelor’s degree in deaf education in 1961. She received a master’s degree in educational technology from the Catholic University of America in Washington. in 1970. For her thesis at Georgetown, where she obtained her doctorate in 1985, she studied the attitudes of 200 Gallaudet students and found that 62% of them considered themselves bilingual in ASL and English.

After graduating from Gallaudet, she began a four-decade affiliation with the university, starting as a research assistant in 1962. Her last post there was as an assistant professor, from 1987 to 2003. She also taught at Community College of Baltimore County, where she started as an adjunct in 1997 and retired as an associate professor in 2014.

She met Ms Paul, who was a writer and editor and consultant on women’s leadership (now retired), at a gay bar in Washington in 1971, Ms Paul said in an interview. The bar had phones at the tables so people could call other tables. Ms Paul, who hears, was with a friend who called Dr Kannapell’s table, but everyone present was deaf and could not hear the phone. So Mrs. Paul and her friend went to introduce themselves in person.

“I ran to the library the next day and looked for everything I could find on deaf people,” Ms. Paul said. She then met with Dr. Kannapell for lunch, where they communicated in writing.

Their relationship blossomed. When same-sex marriage was still illegal, they held an engagement ceremony; they were married in the District of Columbia in 2013. Ms. Paul is the only immediate survivor of Dr. Kannapell.

Among Dr. Kannapell’s many interests, she was fascinated by the experiences of deaf Americans during World War II. Over the decades, she has amassed a rich store of data, including interviews with Deaf people who had worked in wartime factories and materials she received from Deaf people and their descendants. She published an early summary of her research, “Forgotten Americans: Deaf War Plant Workers in World War II”, in the National Association of the Deaf magazine in 2002.

Ms. Paul and various colleagues plan to complete her project and publish it in the near future.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Barbara Kannapell, activist who empowered deaf people, dies at 83
Barbara Kannapell, activist who empowered deaf people, dies at 83
Newsrust - US Top News
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