Ferdinand Berthier was born on 28 September, 1803 and died on 12 July, 1886. Ferdinand was a deaf educator, intellectual and political organizer in 19th Century France, and is one of the earliest champions of Deaf identity and culture. In late 1837 Ferdinand petitioned the French government for permission to create the Société Centrale des Sourds-muets, which was officially founded the following year as the first organisation to represent the interests of the deaf community. The organisation aimed to bring together “all the deaf spread across the globe. Ferdinand played a delicate balancing act as a passionate defender of the deaf identity and sign language, while under a repressive social and political climate. Ferdinand also wrote books about deaf history and deaf culture, noting deaf artists and sign-language poets of his time.
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