AAD Historical Highlights

Through the hard work and leadership of three Deaf Arkansans, Charles Helm, Robert Bevill, and Donald Brannan, the historical highlights of AAD were published, distributed to members, and made available for interested readers on the AAD website (www.ArkAD.org). The AAD Board of Directors expresses its heartfelt appreciation to these three dedicated individuals for their contributions to the organization’s history.

The historical highlights provide snapshots of the people, events, and notable accomplishments of the Arkansas Association of the Deaf (AAD). The publication begins with information on the founding of AAD in 1893 and includes photos of AAD’s original founders. The section on “AAD Interesting Facts and Fascinating Tidbits” is informative and entertaining. Among the facts published in the highlights are the following:

  • Race Drake, Sr. was the youngest person ever elected President of AAD (1938) and as of 2008, he has maintained his membership in AAD for over 70 years.
  • In its 112 year history, all elected AAD Presidents have been deaf, except for the Rev. Robert Parrish, the only hearing person elected President (1973-75)
  • Tommy Walker is the only individual to serve as an officer or Board member of AAD for over 40 straight years (as of 2008 he has served for 43 straight years)
  • Holly Ketchum is the first female ASD alumna with a graduate degree (University of Arkansas at Fayetteville) to be elected AAD President.

Putting together a historical document covering a time period of over 100 years is not an easy job. It requires a lot of persistence and “detective work” to locate information, materials, and pictures. Many hand-waves to the three editors Chuck Helm, Robert Bevill, and Donald Brannan for the fantastic job they did compiling a listing of all the past officers of the AAD beginning with the founding of AAD in 1893 and concluding 100 years later with the 2003 AAD Convention.

AAD, like many other state associations of the deaf, was established to provide leadership and advocacy on behalf of the deaf community and members of its association. Readers will feel a sense of pride to know that from the early 1970s to the present time, AAD had many accomplishments working with state legislators to support programs and services for the benefit of deaf and hard of hearing Arkansans.

Finally, readers will enjoy seeing the outstanding collection of photos that are included throughout the historical document. Be sure to check the photos closely because you will recognize many interesting people and you will find yourself smiling and saying, “wow, that’s fantastic!”

Download a PDF Version of AAD Historical Highlights