On the Beat of Truth

On the Beat of Truth

A Hearing Daughter's Stories of Her Black Deaf Parents

Book - 2013
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Chicago Distribution Center

As an African American woman born in 1943, Maxine Childress Brown possessed a unique vantage point to witness the transformative events in her parents’ lives. Both came from the South -- her father, Herbert Childress, from Nashville, TN, and her mother, Thomasina Brown, from Concord, NC. The oldest of three daughters, Maxine was fascinated by her parents’ stories. She marveled at how they raised a well-respected, middle-class family in the midst of segregation with the added challenge of being deaf.

       Her parents met in Washington, DC, where they married and settled down. Her father worked as a shoe repairman for $65 per week for more than 15 years. A gifted seamstress, her mother gave up sewing to clean houses. Because of their modest means, Maxine and her sisters lived more than modest lives. When Maxine’s tonsils became infected, her parents could not afford the operation to have them removed. For her high school prom, her mother bought her a dress on credit because she had no time to sew. Herbert Childress showed great love for his young daughters, but events turned him to bitterness and to drink. Throughout all, Thomasina encouraged her girls, always urging them to excel. She demanded their honest best with her signature phrase, her flat hand raised from her mouth straight up in the air, “on the beat of truth.”

Brown is the oldest of three hearing daughters born to deaf, working-class African American parents. Both parents were born in the South and attended segregated schools for “colored” deaf and blind children; later they settled in Washington, DC. Brown tells stories of her parents’ youth, their tenacious work ethic, their incredible pride of family, their interactions with the deaf African American and white communities, and the suffering they endured living in a hearing world. Brown also relates her own experiences as her parents’ interpreter, and how she learned to live in both the deaf and hearing worlds.

Baker & Taylor
The author describes life growing up during the 1940s and 1950s in Washington D.C., as the oldest daughter of two African American deaf parents.

Book News
The author of this memoir grew up in the '40s and '50s in Washington D.C., the oldest daughter of two African American deaf parents. Here, she relates her parents' stories growing up in the South and celebrates her parents' triumphs raising their three daughters during the era of segregation, with the added hardship of discrimination against deaf people. The author is a former assistant professor at Rochester Institute of Technology. The book contains b&w family photos. There is no subject index. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Publisher: Washington, DC : Gallaudet University Press, [2013]
ISBN: 9781563685521
Branch Call Number: 362.423 B814o
Characteristics: xxvi, 286 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm


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