The National Association of the Deaf’s Film Selected

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) has had their film “Preservation of Sign Language” selected by the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress.

The NAD motion picture committee produced the film, which is part of a collection, to preserve early American Sign Language from 1910 through to 1920.

It was feared that ‘pure’ sign language may disappear under the pressures of oralism, a method of educating those hard of hearing using lip-reading.

So the film was made to preserve, protect, and promote their natural language and linguistic rights, ensuring future generations would see master signers of the past.

Each year the Library of Congress names 25 films to the National Film Registry that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant, to be well looked after.

These films are not picked as the best American films of all time but rather as works of lasting importance to American culture.

The film has been chosen alongside other films such as “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”, “All the President’s Men”, “Malcolm X”, and “Saturday Night Fever”.

“Preservation” is a two-minute film featuring George Veditz, the one-time president of the NAD of the United States; and the film was one of the first of its kind to be a motion picture recording of sign language.

It demonstrates in sign language the importance of defending the right of deaf people to sign as opposed to verbalising their communication.

Bobbie Beth Scoggins, NAD President, said: “This selection is a tremendous honour and indeed our film by Veditz has remained priceless nearly 100 years after the fact.

“We are thrilled with the Library of Congress’ announcement that the film will be preserved for posterity,” he said.

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