Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Delanna Reed

Committee Members

Marc Fagelson, Edward Dwyer


This study focuses on the life experiences of a rural, Deaf Appalachian woman, Jane Ann Shelton, a second generation Deaf child born to Deaf parents from the communities of Devil’s Fork (Flag Pond, Tennessee) and Shelton Laurel (Madison County, North Carolina). Over two hours of videotaped interviews were interpreted and transcribed, followed by various other communications to describe the life of a rural, Deaf Appalachian woman without a formal high school degree. As an advocate and a political lobbyist in Tennessee during the 1980s and 90s, she was unparalleled by her peers (deaf or hearing) in her efforts to “enhance the lives of ALL Deaf Tennesseans.” From these interactions and my firsthand knowledge, I crafted stories of her life experiences for the purpose of performing them for both Deaf and hearing audiences. Further studies should be done on rural Deaf Appalachia as precious little oral history has been collected.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.