Nakia Smith, a.k.a. Charmay, explains BASL. Posted by Netflix.
ABC News’ Kyra Phillips reports on the movement of BASL. Posted by ABC News.
BASL is Black American Sign Language. It is a distinct variety of ASL. It developed out of segregation because schools for the Deaf created in the late 1800s did not accept Black students. BASL has long been recognized as separate from ASL, but little research had been conducted to study and preserve the language.
Now Carolyn McCaskill, Professor at Gallaudet University, along with co-authors Ceil Lucas, Robert Bayley and Joseph Hill, have released an updated and expanded paperback edition of their 2011 book The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL: Its History and Structure. The book was based on the findings of The Black ASL Project and its authors are featured in the documentary Signing Black In America: The Story of Black ASL. The stories of the Black ASL users who were interviewed are available in supplemental video content on Gallaudet University Press’ YouTube channel.