Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Claudia Gordon

Claudia Gordon, Esq., is believed to be the first deaf lawyer who is African American and female, and also the first deaf student to graduate from the American University (AU) Washington College of Law, in Washington, DC, in 2000.

Claudia Gordon, lost her hearing at the age of eight. She was born in Jamaica. At first she refused to believe that she was deaf because she was able to read lips and thought that meant she was able to hear voices. At the time, her mother was living in New York and when she found out about Gordon’s deafness, she brought her there. In New York, she attended Lexington School for the Deaf.  She was active in sports (volleyball, basketball, and track).

Her decision to become a lawyer resulted in others being patronizing toward her; thinking that she was not capable succeeding. Gordon attended Howard University graduating in 1995.   She began law school in 1997 at American University. In 2000, she became the law school’s first deaf graduate. and one on only 50 deaf individuals qualified to practice law at that time in the United States and Canada. She currently works as Policy Advisor for the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, focusing on the area of emergency preparedness for individuals who have special needs and individuals with disabilities.

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