Our History

On August 16, 1911, a group of eighty-two Deaf citizens, mostly alumni of the South Carolina School for the Deaf, gathered on the school campus in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Their main topic of discussion was the isolation of Deaf people and how to minimize it. In order to begin working on a solution to the problem and other problems Deaf citizens in South Carolina faced, this group created the South Carolina Association of the Deaf.

Better known as SCAD, South Carolina Association of the Deaf became incorporated in 1973. On August 1, 1983, thanks to the State's appropriations, SCAD returned to the SCSDB campus and established an office with a full time staff. During the time since 1983, SCAD has occupied four offices in different locations and currently operates out of its home office located on Center Street in West Columbia.

Early History of SCAD Home Office

  • 1979 Convention: The motion was made, seconded and passed to consider setting up a SCAD Home Office.
  • November 11, 1979: President Harry Culpepper was appointed to chair the SCAD Home Office Committee.
  • October 18, 1980: The SCAD Board voted on the SCAD Home Office as the top priority.
  • August 16, 1981: Immediately after the end of 1981 SCAD Convention in Clemson, the SCAD Home Office Planning Committee was formed. President Helen Maddox chaired this Committee with Cheryl Alessi (Treasurer), Harry Culpepper, Glenda McCary and Rodney Saunders serving on it. Later Robbie Cooper replaced Saunders.
  • September 20, 1981: The SCAD Board gave the green light to President Helen Maddox and SCSDB Interim President Dr. Baron Holmes to find space for the Home Office at the School.
  • February 5-7, 1982: SCAD sponsored a mini-leadership and home office planning workshop in Columbia. Gary Olsen from NAD conducted the workshop. Dr. Holmes, Phyllis Petty of SCSDB Community Education and other notable figures from the State Government spoke to the group.
  • Spring of 1982: President Helen Maddox testified before several groups in the State Government, with assistance from Dr. Holmes, Phyllis Petty and Alton Brant.
  • June 1982: The South Carolina General Assembly voted to award SCAD with $19,021 in its effort to set up the home office.
  • July 9, 1982: At the NAD Convention in St. Louis, SCAD won the bid to host the 1988 NAD Convention in Charleston.
  • June 1983: The SC General Assembly appropriated $35,000 to SCAD.
  • August 1, 1983: SCAD hired J. Charlie McKinney of New York City to open the SCAD Home Office as Executive Director. He was formally introduced at the 1983 SCAD Convention in Rock Hill.
  • September 11, 1983: Past President Helen Maddox and newly-elected President Cheryl Alessi led the ribbon cutting ceremony at the SCAD Home Office Open House, located on the first floor of Walker Hall on the SC School for the Deaf and the Blind campus.
  • January 1985: The SCAD Home Office moved to Columbia, to be more centrally located and more accessible to State Government and State Agencies.
  • June 1986: The Deaf Community purchased and renovated a house at 1735 Augusta Road in West Columbia for the Home Office’s use.