Happy 220th Birthday to Ferdinand Berthier – Advocate for Deaf Culture

Happy 220th Birthday to Ferdinand Berthier! He was a frenchman, educator, and intellectual. He was one of the first advocates for Deaf culture in a time when those who had hearing differences were excluded by society.

According to another source “

Berthier was a deaf Frenchman born at the start of the 19th century. At the age of 8, he was enrolled at the National Institute for the Deaf in Paris – a school already internationally famed at the time. In a complete turn of events, the boy who came to learn basic vocational skills and literacy in order to be a tradesman would in actuality become a senior professor at that very school within two decades of arriving. Berthier’s intellectual leanings, natural skill as a political organizer, and the influence of men like Laurent Clerc and his teacher Roch-Ambroise Auguste Bébian would combine to shape Berthier into one of the earliest major advocates for deaf identity and culture.

When referring to him in the context of Deaf History, Berthier is often represented by any one of three particular name signs. One name refers to his baldness. The 2nd is flat handed O-circles near the ear to indicate he wore a hat or in his particular case – a French beret. His 3rd name sign symbolizes the fact that he was awarded the Legion of Honor, France’s highest award, for his activism against the government for Deaf people’s linguistic rights as well as their rights as equal citizens in general.

The activism through which he earned his place in history took several forms. In 1834, Berthier held the first silent banquet. During that first year, only deaf Frenchmen attended the banquet but in the years to follow hearing people, women, reporters, and government officials would begin to receive invitations to the annual event. They were officially hosted by the Central Society of the Deaf-Mute starting in 1837, which was founded by Berthier as the first organization to represent the deaf community’s interests – globally as well as nationally, a year after petitioning the government for permission to create such an organization. Silent banquets are routinely held all over the world to this day and in doing so keep Berthier and the Society’s tradition alive.”

learn more here: https://www.google.com/doodles/ferdinand-berthiers-220th-birthday