This research document can be used as a catalyst for a proposed interpreter education program housed at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). Currently, there are not any education programs for sign language interpreters at these institutions. This research is cross-disciplinary between HBCUs and the sign language profession. A review of literature addresses issues in current interpreter programs under the phenomenon of ‘White gaze’ in the profession explained through the lens of anti-racist policies. The aims of this research were to answer: 1) What are the benefits of having an interpreter education program (IEP) at an HBCU? 2) Why is there a need for our (Black/African American) own space? and 3) If given the option, would current and former Black interpreting students have chosen to go to an HBCU for their IEP? Bishop State Community College is an HBCU that once offered an interpreting program. The program was analyzed through four semi-structured interviews with administrators and alumni. A look into the inner workings of the program was coupled with survey results. A mixed-methods approach uncovered five major themes from interview and survey data. Those themes are Culture, Positive Impact on Black Deaf community, Increase Numbers/Representation, Racism/Microaggressions, and Program Structure. This study provides continuing conversations for recognizing the importance of not only diversifying the profession but educating the current/future pool of interpreters on serving, understanding, and working with the demographic of Black Deaf and hearing consumers, interpreters, students, and interpreter educators.

Exit Requirement


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies

Committee Chair

Amanda Smith

Committee Member

Elisa Maroney

Committee Member

Leandra Williams


Black, HBCU, Historically Black College and University, Black Deaf, culture, interpreter education program, IEP, anti-racist



Type (DCMI Terms)


Subject Categories

Education | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures

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