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Black History Month: Andrew Jackson Foster

Andrew Jackson Foster was a missionary to the deaf in Ghana, Rwanda and other countries in Africa from 1956 until his death in 1987. Foster was born in Ensley, Alabama, the son of a coal miner. Both he and his younger brother Edward became deaf through spinal meningitis in 1936. In 1954, he became the first Deaf Black American to earn a bachelor’s degree from Gallaudet University and the first to earn a master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University. He soon earned a second master’s degree from Seattle Pacific Christian College (now called Seattle Pacific University). He founded Christian Mission for the Deaf African in 1956 and eventually set out for Accra, Ghana, where he established the first school for the deaf on the entire continent of Africa.

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