Did Alexander Graham Bell Want to Restrict the Rights of Deaf People to Marry?

No. In an 1891 speech about heredity to a group of deaf students at what is now Gallaudet University in Washington, DC titled, Marriage, An Address To The Deaf, Bell was quick to note that “You yourselves are a part of a great world of hearing and speaking people. You are not a race distinct and apart, and you must fulfill the duties of life and make your way to honorable positions among the hearing and speaking people.”

Bell goes on to say that “I know that an idea has gone forth, and is very generally believed in by the deaf in this country, that I want to prevent you from marrying as you choose, and that I have tried to pass a law to interfere with your marriages. But, my friends, it is not true. I have never done such a thing, nor do I intend to; and, before I speak upon this subject, I want you distinctly to understand that I have no intention of interfering with your liberty of marriage. You can marry whom you choose, and I hope you will be happy. It is not for me to blame you for marrying to suit yourselves, for you all know that I myself, the son of a deaf mother, have married a deaf wife.”

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