At the Arizona State School for the Deaf reunion, ASD alumni gave birth to the concept of the Arizona Association of the Deaf (AAD), formulated under William Wherry.


AAD joined with other organizations in a National Protest Day against a national network for refusing to closed-caption its TV programs. The results was that the network made available line 21 (the lower part of the TV screen) for closed captioning.


First State convention was held in Tucson.


The acronym, AAD, was changed to AzAD to reduce confusion with three other states whose name also start with “A”.


AAD was incorporated and officially recognized by the State of Arizona. Having been inactive during the war years and for long thereafter, it had been reorganized in 1956.


The first state convention outside of Tucson and Phoenix metropolitan areas was held at the Holiday Inn in Casa Grande March 22-24.


The first state convention held outside Tucson was held at the Westward Ho Hotel in Phoenix.


AzAD became tax-exempt 501 (c) 3 and adopted new Articles of Incorporation and enacted by-laws almost similar to those of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).

Mid 1970’s

AAD enlisted support for establishing the Arizona Council for the Hearing Impaired (ACHI). It is now called the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACDHH).


AzAD sponsored the annual Deaf Festivals in the Phoenix or Tucson areas. Festival activities included exhibitions of interest to the deaf, deaf actors and actresses, storytellers, poetry signers, and seminars/workshops, and special Saturday Night Entertainment. The evening preceding the Deaf Festival, AzAD conducted business meetings, elections, entertains proposals from members, and hosted educational programs.

Late 1970’s

The first TDD (akaTTY) Relay Service for the Deaf was developed by Rick Hall and Marion Edwards. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation provided the space for the original relay facility and the Arizona Deaf Assistance and Referral Agency provided the volunteers.


One Community Day and PAFACO awarded money for recruiting people to register or commit to vote.

Early 1980’s

Since it takes hearing-impaired TDD (TTY) users much longer to convey a message than it does hearing people to give the same message on the telephone, TDD-TTY users paid a disproportionately high long distance bill. The AAD filed a petition with the Arizona Communications Commission for a discount on long distance calls. AAD coordinated this action with the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest.


AzAD got grant funds from the Arizona Commission on the Arts “Arizona Art Tank” grant to host “THE DEAFHOOD MONOLOGUES”: an episodic play of Deaf experiences, chronicles and reflections delivered through poetry, stories and presentations in American Sign Language in the State of Arizona.


First of Two Parts - Deaf Migration to AZ

Birth and Shaping of Arizona Association of the Deaf, 1936 to 2016.

Angelia Watson Story (CC)