Our History

July 5, 1880 Michigan Deaf Association has its beginning

as a reunion for Michigan School for the Deaf Alumni in Detroit. 

June 1887 MDA adopts its constitution and by-laws

at the Second Alumni Reunion at the Michigan School for the Deaf,

E. Morris Bristol, the Deaf school's teacher, was elected the first president.


1898 The name of the Association, "Alumni Association"

is changed to Michigan Association of the Deaf (M.A.D.)

to include Deaf people living in Michigan, regardless of where they graduated.

1981 The name of the organization changes again

to Michigan Association of Deaf Citizens (M.A.D.C.)

1987 The MADC celebrates its 100th Anniversary in Livonia

to reflect the year when the organization's constitution and by-laws were adopted. 

1995 The organization changes its name once again to Michigan Deaf Association (MDA)

to reflect its community's identity and cultural awareness.

Our Accomplishments

  • Defeated a legislative action which would have prohibited Deaf people from driving automobiles
  • Eliminated provocative terms such as "dumb" and "mutes" when referring to Deaf people in publications
  • Rallied at the State Capitol steps to support sign language as a human right for the Deaf
  • Advocacy led to the enactment of the Deaf Person's Interpreter Act (P.A. 204 of 1982 - the right of Deaf individual to obtain certified or qualified interpreters in the courts)
  • Inclusion in the telecommunications law to authorize the telephone companies to sell or lease telecommunication devices for the Deaf at cost to Deaf and speech impaired consumers
  • Formed the first Michigan Legislative Caucus on Deaf, DeafBlind and hard of hearing
  • Aided in worthy causes including the unveiling of a handsome monument honoring W.L. M. Breg, a pioneer Deaf teacher of the Michigan School for the Deaf
  • Played a leading role in the celebration of the Michigan School for the Deaf's 50th, 100th and 125th anniversaries
  • The most significant accomplishment - - founded the Division of Deaf and Deafened in the Michigan Department of Labor in 1937
  • Sponsored Miss Deaf Michigan Pageant bi-annually
  • Supported local Deaf associations
  • Awarded employer of the year, volunteer of the year, interpreter of the year, Ben Beaver Award, annual scholarship awards to outstanding Deaf seniors
  • Made numerous charitable donations

Organized in 1887 and Incorporated in 1911

Michigan Deaf Association, Inc is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

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