Rochester's Roots: Shirley Jeanne Allen

Updated: February 10, 2020 11:45 AM
Created: February 10, 2020 11:26 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — 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 taught at RIT from 1973 until 2001.

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