One important worker for deaf rights lived in France. He was born in the early 1800's, and he had good ideas. He wanted deaf people to learn a written language. He also wanted them to learn a sign language. He wrote many books and papers about deaf people. He received a great honor from France for his work; the award was the Legion of Honor. The Legion of Honor is the highest award in France.
Berthier knew about deaf people. He himself was born deaf. He attended a school for the deaf and learned sign language. When he was 26, he became a teacher there.
Berthier started a special holiday. He held a banquet each year on the birthday of a great worker for deaf people. In 1834 only deaf men from France attended the banquet. Later hearing people, women, reporter, and government officials began to receive invitations. Today France still hold the banquets. The banquets are fun, but the guests tend to business also.
The organization which held the banquet was the Central Society. The Central society tried to inform others about the deaf. The group helped to organize higher education for deaf people. It wanted to teach deaf people who did not know about their rights and duties.
After 1840 Berthier worked to make sure that laws did not forget deaf people. He wrote about the history of deaf people. He wrote several biographies of important people in the deaf community.
Berthier died in Paris, France, in 1886. One of the teachers of the deaf spoke about Berthier at the next year's banquet. The teacher said that Berthier had brought joy to his students. The teacher also said Berthier had helped many deaf people- an important achievement.
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