Black Deaf Students

A Model for Educational Success

First Edition

By Carolyn E. Williamson

Categories: African American Studies
Imprint: Gallaudet University Press
Paperback : 9781563685941, 224 pages, June 2013
Ebook : 9781563683831, 224 pages, September 2009
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Williamson interviews nine successful deaf and hard of hearing African Americans to create a formula for success for other black, deaf students.



Contemporary research has identified resilience — the ability to rebound and learn despite obstacles and adversities — as a key element to success in school. Black Deaf Students: A Model for Educational Success searches out ways to develop, reinforce, and alter the factors that encourage resilience in African American deaf and hard of hearing students. To find the individual characteristics and outside influences that foster educational achievement, author Carolyn E. Williamson conducted extensive interviews with nine African American deaf and hard of hearing adults who succeeded in high school and postsecondary programs.
       Until now, the majority of studies of African American deaf and hard of hearing students concentrated upon their underachievement. The only success stories available involved high-achieving African American hearing students. To create an effective model in Black Deaf Students, Williamson focuses on the factors that contributed to her subjects’ successes in postsecondary programs, what they viewed as obstacles and how they overcame them, and their recommendations for facilitating graduation from postsecondary programs. Her work gives “voice” to a group rarely heard in research, which enables readers to view them as a heterogeneous rather than homogeneous group. Their stories provide vital information for parents, school personnel, community stakeholders, and those enrolled in education and mental health preparation programs. In addition, the insights about how these adults succeeded can be useful in facilitating positive outcomes for students who are going into two-year colleges, vocational training, and work settings.


Carolyn E. Williamson is the Director of the Center for Resilience and Transition LLC in Grand Prairie, TX.



"For the past 30 years, research has often focused on the characteristics of deaf students and the obstacles they face but less on success factors. Carolyn Williamson advocates for research based on a success model. Specifically, she discusses the protective factors (caring and supportive relationships, acceptance of African-American and Deaf culture, open ongoing communication, parent involvement, high expectations and positive reinforcement, challenging educational experiences, meaningful participation, spirituality, and disciplined structure) that have contributed to the success of African-American deaf and hard-of-hearing (AA d/hh) students."

— Alvin C. Boyd, Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education