Category: history

Space saving: Amazing vintage photographs of vertical parking…

Space saving: Amazing vintage photographs of vertical parking lots from between the 1920s and 1950s.

Glamorous photos show the holiday party style inspiration from…

Glamorous photos show the holiday party style inspiration from Hollywood’s classic beauties.

Niki Laude was an Austrian Formula 1 driver and a 3 time F1…

Niki Laude was an Austrian Formula 1 driver and a 3 time F1 World Champion in 1975, 1977 and 1984. In 1976, he suffered a crash that left him badly burned, but returned to racing just 6 weeks later.

He died today at age 70.

35 lovely photos of Ike & Tina Turner in the early years of…

35 lovely photos of Ike & Tina Turner in the early years of their marriage.

A ceremonial axe, made by the Chokwe or Lunda …

A ceremonial axe, made by the Chokwe or Lunda people of today’s Democratic Republic of the Congo. Early 1900s

14 amazing stories of famous people who cancelled or missed the…

14 amazing stories of famous people who cancelled or missed the Titanic.

Cool pics that capture inside the ‘60s stores.

Cool pics that capture inside the ‘60s stores.

Life of African-Americans during WWII through stunning color…

Life of African-Americans during WWII through stunning color photos.

The Precursor to Modern Sign Language

The first modern sign language for the hearing impaired is credited to Pedro Ponce de Leon, a Spanish Benedictine monk who lived in the 1500s. Native Americans had long used hand gestures to communicate with other tribes and to facilitate trade with Europeans. Inspired, de Leon adapted the gestures used at his monastery to create a method to teach the deaf to communicate.

de Leon’s first success was with Gaspard Burgos, a deaf man who, because of his difficulty with oral communication, had been denied membership in the Benedictine order. Under de Leon’s tutelage, Burgos learned to speak so that he could make his confession. Burgos later wrote a number of books. de Leon went on to teach a number of other individuals how to speak and write, using his sign language, but his exact methods of teaching have been lost to history.

It took another Spanish cleric building on his work, one Juan Pablo Bonet, to write the first surviving work on educating individuals with hearing disabilities. Titled “Summary of the letters and the art of teaching speech to the mute” it was published in Madrid in 1620. However, both de Leon and Bonet focused on teaching the deaf to speak and write, and their sign languages were systems used to facilitate that. Their manual systems were not true “languages” with grammar and syntax.

On December 26, 1971, fifteen Vietnam Veterans Against the War…

On December 26, 1971, fifteen Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) activists barricaded and occupied the Statue of Liberty for two days to bring attention to their cause. Simultaneous protests took place at other sites across the country, such as the historic Betsy Ross house in Philadelphia (for 45 minutes) and Travis Air Force Base in California (for 12 hours). VVAW members in California also briefly occupied the South Vietnam Government consulate in San Francisco.