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Rochester roots: Beating racism and ableism

Rochester roots: Beating racism and ableism

Shirley Jeanne Allen wanted to be a musician, until she went deaf at age 20. 

Refusing to give up, she performed her recital anyway, and then embraced the deaf African-American community. 

She attended the University of Rochester, becoming the first deaf black woman in the world to earn a doctoral degree.  She would later return to Rochester to teach at R.I.T. from 1973 until 2001.