The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL

Its History and Structure

By Carolyn McCaskill, Ceil Lucas, Robert Bayley, Joseph Christopher Hill
Contributions by Roxanne Dummett, Pamela Baldwin, and Randall Hogue
Foreword by Glenn B. Anderson

Categories: Linguistics, African American Studies
Imprint: Gallaudet University Press
Paperback : 9781944838720, 228 pages, May 2020
Ebook : 9781944838744, 214 pages, May 2020
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This paperback edition, accompanied by the supplemental video content available on the Gallaudet University Press YouTube channel, presents the first empirical study that verifies Black ASL as a distinct variety of American Sign Language. This volume includes an updated foreword, a new preface that reflects on the impact of this research, and an extended list of references and resources on Black ASL.


Supplemental Signed Video Content



Black ASL has long been recognized as a distinct variety of American Sign Language based on abundant anecdotal evidence. The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL, originally published in 2011, presents the first sociohistorical and linguistic study of this language variety. Based on the findings of the Black ASL Project, which undertook this unprecedented research, Hidden Treasure documents the stories and language of the African American Deaf community. With links to online supplemental video content that includes interviews with Black ASL users (formerly on DVD), this volume is a groundbreaking scholarly contribution and a powerful affirmation for Black Deaf people.
This paperback edition includes an updated foreword by Glenn B. Anderson, a new preface that reflects on the impact of this research, and an expanded list of references and resources on Black ASL.
The supplemental video content is available online at the Gallaudet University Press YouTube Channel. Under Playlists, click “The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL: Companion Video to the Book.” The original Black ASL Project research videos are also available. 
Featured in the film Signing Black in America: The Story of Black ASL, produced by The Language and Life Project at North Carolina State University (Dr. Walt Wolfram, Executive Producer). Look for it on PBS.


Carolyn McCaskill is Professor of ASL and Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University.
Ceil Lucas is Professor Emerita of Linguistics at Gallaudet University.
Robert Bayley is Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Davis.
Joseph Hill is Assistant Professor of ASL and Interpreting Education at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf.


Advance Praise

"The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL offers readers unique insights regarding Black American Sign Language in vivid social, historical, and linguistic detail. Informed by universal linguistic principles, the authors offer carefully crafted observations and analyses that will be of interest to anyone who studies human language."

— John G. Baugh, Margaret Bush Wilson Professor in Arts and Sciences; Director, African and African American Studies at Washington University, St. Louis, MO