Disability History Scholar to Spotlight Critical Contributions of Deaf Ohioans

January 26, 2021 | Events, News, UToday, Arts and Letters
By Christine Billau

Ohioans who are deaf actively participated in, and sometimes led, national deaf activism and deaf culture throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, said Dr. Kim Nielsen, Helen Keller expert and UToledo professor of disability studies, history and women’s and gender studies.

Nielsen will highlight the rich history of these Ohio advocates during a virtual event hosted by the Ohio History Connection, formerly the Ohio Historical Society, from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27.

Dr. Kim Nielsen, UToledo professor of disability studies, history and women’s and gender studies, will highlight the history of prominent deaf Ohioans in an upcoming virtual event hosted by the Ohio History Connection.

“In sports, employment and education, Ohio’s deaf citizens shaped their world and that of the U.S.,” Nielsen said. “This talk will include information about Akron’s ‘Silent Colony’ and its important role in providing wartime supplies during World War I and World War II, baseball legend William ‘Dummy’ Hoy, educator and civic volunteer Ella Showalter and racial activist and deaf leader Charles V. Williams.”

Registration for “Deaf Ohioans – 20th Century Work, Sports and Politics” is free for Ohio History Connection members and $5 for the public. Registration information is available on the nonprofit organization’s website.

This event will utilize auto-generated captions and faculty-supervised student ASL interpreters provided by Columbus State Community College’s Interpretive Language Program.

Nielsen is an editor and contributor to “The Oxford Handbook of Disability History,” published by Oxford University Press in 2018. Nielsen’s book “A Disability History of the United States” was published by Beacon Press in 2012.

She has written several books about Helen Keller, including “Beyond the Miracle Worker: The Remarkable Life of Anne Sullivan Macy and Her Extraordinary Friendship with Helen Keller,” published by Beacon Press in 2009; “Helen Keller: Selected Writings,” published by New York University Press in 2005; and “The Radical Lives of Helen Keller,” published by New York University Press in 2004. Her latest book, “Money Marriage and Madness: The Life of Anna Ott,” was released by the University of Illinois Press in 2020.

The Ohio History Connection carries out history services for Ohio and its residents focused on preserving and sharing the state’s history. This includes housing the state historic preservation office, the official state archives, local history office and managing more than 50 sites and museums across Ohio.

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