George Veditz (1861-1937), a renowned teacher and the 7th president of the USA's National Association of the Deaf (NAD), is Deaf community's one of the most honored figures in history.
The Deaf community across the U.S. celebrated Veditz's 150th birthday on August 13, 2011 in honor of his contributions, advocacy and bravery.
Veditz launched the project Preservation of Sign Language in 1913 at the National Association of the Deaf (U.S.) in response to the tragic aftermath of Milan 1880. In 1880, oralist proponents at the conference (International Congress on Education of the Deaf) in Milan voted to ban sign language, which quickly spreaded the ban of sign language in education worldwide.
"For the last 33 years, with eyes filled with tears and hearts broken, the French deaf people have watched this beautiful language of signs snatched away from their schools." -- Veditz, filmed ASL to English translation by Carol A. Padden.
In fear for the decline of sign language, Veditz and the NAD produced a series of films Preservation of Sign Language from 1913 to 1920 which are the oldest filmed records of sign language. George W.Veditz presented a lecture in old ASL on film. The partial excerption below is a well known quote from his presentation:
"As long as we have deaf people on earth, we will have signs. And as long as we have our films, we can preserve signs in their old purity. It is my hope that we will all love and guard our beautiful sign language as the noblest gift God has given to deaf people." -- George Veditz, 1913.