Florida- Blind, Deaf, and Dumb

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Florida: Blind, Deaf and Dumb

The school for the Blind, Deaf and Dumb. That was the original name for the first deaf school in Florida. Now the school is called the school for the Deaf and Blind. The school is a state-supported school for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine FL. The school has been running since 1885.

The year is 1882, and Florida is one of the few states without provisions for the education of Deaf/ hard of hearing, or had visual impairments. That same year a young deaf man named Thomas Hines Coleman was in line to graduate from Gallaudet. Coleman already knew one thing for sure about his future, and that was that he wanted to make educating children his life’s work. Coleman knowing about the lack of educational decrees in Florida decided to take the opportunity to advantage, by writing to Governor William D. Bloxham asking for a sum of $20,000 minimum appropriation to start a school for the deaf and blind. Coleman’s hopes came true when in 1883 Florida’s legislature establishes an institution for blind and deaf children for two years at $20,000.

The location of the school was put to a biding between the towns in Florida. Captain Edward E. Vaill offered St. Augustine the biggest bid of $1,000 and 5 acres. The original three wood buildings were erected by contractor William A. MacDuff at $12,749. The school was completed in December 1884.

The first class entered in 1892 with 62 students. The two first graduates were both deaf, their names were Artemas W. Pope of St. Augustine and Cora Carlton of Island Grove. The two later married and became parents of Florida Senator Verle A. Pope. The first blind student graduated in 1908. The first African American graduates were Louise Jones a blind student in 1914, and Cary White a deaf student in 1925. The school originally only had 5 trustees in 1905, until 1963 were there were 7.

Taylor Hardwick began construction on new dormitories in late 1958 and opened in 1959. The school is now the...
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