Talk at Unitarian Universalist Church will focus on the Island’s deaf community


Dr. David Martin, former dean of the School of Education at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., will speak Sunday morning, Feb. 24, at 11 am at the Unitarian Universalist Church’s Stephens Chapel in Vineyard Haven on the topic “Myths and Truths About the Deaf Community — A Human Rights Story.” According to a press release, his talk will focus on the Island’s deaf community as described in Nora Groce’s “Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language,” and also the play “Chilmark,” a 2018 M.V. Playhouse production.

Martin, a member of the Cape Cod Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, will also play the historic Hook and Hastings pipe organ at the church, sharing the musical responsibilities with pianist Molly Sturges.

In his career, the release says, Martin has served as an elementary school teacher, a school principal, a curriculum director for two different school systems, chair of a university department of teacher education, and professor and later dean of a university school of education. In mid-career he joined Gallaudet University in Washington (the world’s only university for deaf and hard-of-hearing persons) to initiate a program to prepare deaf university students to become teachers of hearing children — a unique undertaking.

Born in New Bedford, he has lived and worked in the Boston area, the San Francisco area, and Washington, D.C. He holds degrees from Yale, Harvard, and Boston College, and retired as professor and dean emeritus from Gallaudet to Marstons MIlls on Cape Cod in 2001 with his wife, Susan, who is a retired university director of libraries. Currently he is active in the Yale Club of Cape Cod, the Cape Cod Genealogical Society, and the Marstons Mills Historical Society.

He trains teachers in several states and countries in how to infuse higher-level thinking skills into their instruction. He teaches part-time at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, and is visiting professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.

By coincidence, according to the press release, Martin and pianist Molly Sturges share a Gallaudet connection; Sturges’ mother’s name is Gallaudet, and her great-great-grandfather founded the institution, which is now Gallaudet University.

Martin will return to the Vineyard on the first three Mondays in May to conduct workshops on genealogical methods at the Vineyard Haven, Edgartown, and West Tisbury libraries.