Maryland Institution for the Colored Blind and Deaf-Mutes (Baltimore)
- Established 1872
- Integrated with The Maryland School for the Blind, ca. 1960
Philanthropically-minded Baltimore residents petitioned the Maryland legislature for a school for African-American children who were blind and deaf shortly after the close of the Civil War. In 1872, the legislature provided the funds for the Maryland Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb to work with the Maryland Institution for the Education of the Blind to establish the Maryland Institution for Colored Blind and Deaf-Mutes. The superintendent of the school for the blind indicated his willingness to administer the new department, and the school began its services with seventeen African-American students. By the end of the decade, thirty students were enrolled, including several from Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia, where there was no provision for African-American children who were blind. All teachers were white.
In 1907, the school moved to a large farm near Baltimore. The 1908 biennial report of the Maryland school enthusiastically praised itself as "among the first of its kind to open the door of opportunity to the colored blind and deaf" and enthusiastically listed the new opportunities:
As never before, we shall be prepared to give to the colored blind and deaf youth who come to us a though, practical and up-to-date education . . . a thorough elementary literary education is provided, but greatest stress is laid on practical training which will enable the children to become self-supporting and law-abiding citizens.
Habits of economy are established while at the school by a system of paying for overtime work, and a part of the earnings is placed in the Savings Bank to form the basis of a small capital to enable the pupils to commence work on their own account when their school days are over.
To the instruction already given along these lines will now be added truck farming, dairying, poultry raising and steam laundering. A good opportunity will also be afforded to test the practical ability of bee culture as a means of livelihood for the blind.
Immediately after Brown v Board of Education, the Maryland School for the Blind began desegregation of its classes. According to The Maryland School for the Blind Biennial Report, July 1955-July 1957, end-of-year exercises held for African-American blind students in June 1956 "marked the closing of the Colored Department as such."