Laurent Clerk was born in France in 1785 and had a accident with fire when he was one year old which might have been the cause for being deaf. Finally at the age of 12 he started going to the Insitut National Des Jeune Sourds- Muets (the first public deaf school in the world). The school was directed by Abbe Roch- Ambroise Sicard. His first teacher was Jean Massieu (also deaf). Clerk excelled in his studies as well as becoming a teacher later on.
Little Laurent Goes to The First Public Deaf School in The World
Signs: Move your face to tell people what you feel.
Sicard wanted to leave Francein 1815 because Napolean came back. He brought with him, now grown, Laurent and Massieu. When they arrived, they lectured and demonstrated their methods. Yankee Congregationalist Minister, Thomas Hompkins Gallaudet, attended one of their lectures on July 10th. He was introduced to Sicard, and Sicard introduced him to Laurent.
Traveling to London: Sicard, Laurent, and Massieu
Signs: I see London!
Laurent's Proffesion Expands
Gallaudet came to Paris and attended classes sice Clerk and other people invited him. Gallaudet was determined to learn sign language since his neighbor/ close friend, Mason Fitch Cogswell's, daughter, Alice, was deaf. Laurent advanced in his education opportunities and became Sicard's apprentice in 1816, and also gave private lessons to Gallaudet.
Laurent is a great apprentice to me.
Signs: This is how you greet a deaf person:
Gallaudet offered Laurent to come build the first public deaf school the USA, and with lots of dissuasion from Sicard and his Mom, he finally decided to come. From June 18, 1816 to August 22, 1816 Gallaudet taught Laurent English and, Laurent taught Gallaudet more Sign Language during the voyage. After they arrived in Hartford they traveled to many states giving lectures, interviewing parents nd their deaf kids. Raising $12,000 from the public and $5,000 from the Connecticut General Assembly they were able to build their school.
Arriving to the USA
Signs: It is a lovely place to build our school and spread deaf education and culture.
Signs: Let's get started!
Laurent and Gallaudet addresing the Connecticut Legislature.
In 1817, the school opened and Alice was the first student to apply. Clerk and Gallaudet went to Washington D.C. to inform congress and get help from them. Clerk was the first deaf person to address the Connecticut Legislature, and Galleadet translated. President Monroe and Henry Clay were their to see their speeches. The congress sponsered the school with 23,000 acres.
So for sign language to grow...
Signs: So for sign language to grow...
Laurent's Later Life
In 1819 Clerk got married and later on had a total of six kids. He taught for 50 years total and inspired many deaf and hearing students, teachers, and administrators. He died on July 18, 1869 at the age of 83.