Skinner, Platt Henry

School founder
Hearing. In 1856, brought five deaf, blind or mute children to Washington, DC and solicited funds to establish a school for them in DC, which expanded beyond the original 5 pupils. After unproven child-abuse allegations against Skinner, Amos Kendall (q.v.) became guardian of the children and established a new school for them, which opened April 16, 1857 on his estate. This was the beginning of the Kendall School and eventually of Gallaudet University. After legal battles, Skinner took his original 5 pupils to Baltimore. It is unclear what happened next, but by 1858 Skinner was in Suspension Bridge, NY (also known as Niagara City, and which today is part of Niagara Falls, NY). There he established The School for Colored Deaf and Dumb and Blind Children. This grew to have as many as 15 pupils, but always suffered from severe funding shortages, and Skinner was constantly begging for donations from the community. Skinner also had to fight continuing allegations of wrongdoing that followed him from Washington to New York. It is possible that some of the charges against Skinner arose because he was an ardent abolitionist and advocate for the rights of Afro-American people and believed in racial equality. He launched a newspaper called The Mute and the Blind, produced by both blind and deaf workers. However, by 1861, Skinner and his newspaper slowly faded from public attention in Suspension Bridge. He reappeared in 1862 in Trenton, NJ and continued to publish his newspaper from there and founded yet another school. Neither survived his death.
Michael Boston, "Dr. P. H. Skinner: Controversial Educator of the Deaf, Blind and Mute...", in Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, vol. 29, July 2005, p.45-72.
?-__ February 1866