INK PRINT EDITION
VOICE OF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
The National Federation of the Blind ia not an organization speaking for the blind--it is the blind speaking for themselves
N. F. B. Headquarters
2652 Shasta Road. Berkeley 8, Calif.
THE BRAILLE MONITOR
Published monthly in Braille and distributed free to the blind by the American Brotherhood for the Blind, 257 South Spring Street, Los Angeles 12, California.
Ink-print edition produced and distributed by the National Federation of the Blind, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, California. Subscription rate--$3.00 per year.
EDITOR: GEORGE CARD, 605 South Few Street, Madison, Wisconsin.
News items should be addressed to the Editor. Changes of address and subscriptions should be sent to the Berkeley headquarters of the National Federation of the Blind.
Digitized by the Internet Archive
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National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
Kennedy-Baring Hearings Postponed
Convention Notes (Boston, 1958)
Former Article V of the NFB Constitution
The Hope School
Compliments of a Friend
Braille Monitor Disc Recording
MISCONCEPTIONS X. BLIND PEOPLE AS EMPLOYEES
AFTER THE NEW LOOK--THE FIRST THOUGHT
by Jacobus tenBroek
AS THE BLIND SEE IT
by Sara Neufeld Sells and Barney Mamet
Ignorance is Folly
The Helpless Blind
Setting the Record Straight
by Jesse Anderson
Another Nevada Leader Passes
W. Virginia Alumni Ass'n Joins W. Virginia Federation
South Dakota Convention
Low Rent Housing Units
Braille Technical Press
WYOMING SUMMER SCHOOL
by H. Smith Shumway and Ray Parsons
Possible Switchboard Openings
Welcome Changes at Idaho School
Here and There
At our NFB convention in New Orleans last year, many Federationists heard for the first time of our "right to organize" legislation, now familiar to all as the Kennedy-Baring Bill. The ripple that rolled forth from New Orleans has steadily grown into a full fledged wave of sentiment in support of this much-needed measure. As Congressional support grew, Federation hopes grew that hearings could be held and the Bill enacted into law during this session of Congress. Right until the very eve of our Boston Convention, it appeared that hearings were only days away.
Then suddendly new developments necessitated a re-evaluation of our course of action, and after careful consideration a decision to delay was made. To understand the reason for this shift in schedule, let's take a look at what has taken place since New Orleans.
For most Congressmen and Senators, their first awareness of S. 2411 (the Kennedy-Bill) and H. R. 8609 (the Baring Bill) came from being contacted in person by Federation members while they were back home last fall. Among those who were contacted in this manner were Senator Lister Hill of Alabama, chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, and Representative Carl Elliott of Alabama, chairman of the sub-committee on Special Education of the House Committee on Education and Labor. Since our bills had been referred to these two committees, the views of Senator Hill and Representative Elliott were extremely important. Both agreed to schedule hearings on our bills; but with the Russian sputniks orbiting overhead, they indicated that the first order of business would have to be consideration of measures to provide greater opportunities for scientific education.
Ever since Congress reconvened in January, both of the afore-mentioned committees have been devoting full time to preparing a defense education bill. It was evident early in the year, therefore, that hearings would be late in the Congressional session, if they were held at all.
In the meantime, when the legislators returned to Washington in January, John Taylor of the NFB's Washington staff immediately began calling on the Representatives and Senators and requesting concrete evidence of their support of our "right to organize" bill. The response was overwhelming. On the Senate side, Senator Newberger of Oregon and Senator Proxmire of Wisconsin presented brilliant statements on the floor of the Senate in support of the bill. In the House of Representatives, 60 additional members from 28 states demonstrated their support by introducing similar bills to that originally sponsored by Representative Walter S. Baring of Nevada. From House members, too, came additional expressions of support in the form of statements which were included in the Congressional Record. Among the more outstanding statements were those presented by Representatives Herlong of Florida, Cretella of Connecticut, Zablocki of Wisconsin, and Allen of California.
As support for the Kennedy-Baring Bill mounted higher and higher, Congressional as well as Federation demands for hearings in this session of Congress grew louder and louder. Then came definite assurance from Congressman Elliott that hearings would be held by his subcommittee either just before or just after our Boston convention. Our written presentation was prepared and submitted to the Committee. This included three sizable volumes of documented factual information in support of our case.
During those long months leading up to July, the opponents of our "right to organize" bill expressed their strong opposition largely by writing periodic but persistent letters to our ever-growing list of co-sponsors in the House. In general, our opponents seemed to feel that not too much opposition was necessary because hearings would never be scheduled this year. When, however, it became apparent that hearings could be held, our opponents found themselves desperate for a course of action. Therefore, in an eleventh-hour attempt to muddy the waters and create confusion, opponents of the bill flooded the Committee with more than 200 letters and telegrams requesting an opportunity to testify.
It was now clear that time was running out and that the decisions made must be reached only after careful consideration of all the facts. On July third the mammouth defense education bill was reported out by the House Committee on Education and Labor, but no final action had yet been taken by its Senate counterpart. The NFB needed a minimum of three days to present its case. A similar amount of time would have to be allocated to the opposition including the Department of Health, Education and Welfare which, in its report, strongly opposed the bill. On the eve of our Boston convention and in view of these factors, extensive conferences were held with Congressman Elliott, Congressman Baring, and other sponsors of the bill. These negotiations continued during the course of the convention and were finally concluded only after its adjournment.
The Federation was assured that limited hearings could and would be scheduled during this session of Congress if such were our desire, but that in all likehood the time available would not be adequate for a full presentation of our case. In addition, the Committee would then have to prepare a report and act on the bill. Even if this were accomplished and the bill cleared the House, it would still have to pass the Senate during this session or our efforts would have to be repeated next year.
As a result of these deliberations, the NFB elected to forego hearings during this session only after receiving a firm commitment from Congressman Elliott that our "Right to Organize" Bill will be the first order of business to come before his Committee next January. In addition, we are assured of ample time to present our witnesses and of a full session in which to secure favorable action by both the House and Senate.
None of the efforts that have been put forth during this session will have been wasted. The Committee records will show that 60 members of the House co-sponsored Representative Baring's bill. The written testimony already prepared will be just as factual and just as valuable in January as it is today. In the meantime, you will have another fall in which to contact your Congressmen and Senators personally while they are home campaigning. Make the most of this additional time. See your Congressmen and Senators as soon as possible. See to it that when they leave for Washington in January, they will be prepared to support our "Right to Organize" legislation.
The day of decision may have been delayed, but the final verdict has to be the same. Whether this year or next, the Kennedy-Baring Bill must become law, for first-class citizenship cannot and shall not be denied to the blind forever.
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In the eighteen years of its existence there have now been seventeen national conventions, although the first one, at Wilkes-Barre in 1940 was not planned as such in advance. No conventions were held in 1943 or 1945 because of wartime travel restrictions. I have participated as a delegate in the last sixteen national conventions. With the exception of the one just concluded, I have come away from all of them with a feeling of rejuvenation, with renewed faith in our cause and rekindled enthusiasm. For me, at least, Boston was not like that. There has never been a national convention of the National Federation like this one, and it is my fervent hope that there will never be another like it in the future.
Let me hasten to add that the convention arrangements had nothing whatsoever to do with this. No prior national convention was ever better planned than this one. John Nagle, James Callahan, Gregory Khachadocrian and the others who worked so hard on the preparations for this meeting deserve the highest praise for their efforts. They all worked very hard and their labors bore excellent fruit. The staff and employees of the Somerset Hotel had been beautifully and expertly coached and displayed a degree of tact and know-how in their handling of the blind guests which was a most welcome change from some of the experiences we have had in other years. Never obtrusive or offensively over-zealous, the management, staff and employees of this hotel offered just the right amount of help and no more. The same goes for the Boy Scouts. An adequate supply of Braille menus was just one of the considerate preparations which had been made for this convention.
It had been foreseen by those charged with the developing of a program for this convention that a great deal of time was going to be needed for the discussion of problems of internal structure, so relatively few program items had been scheduled. The discussions, however, proved to be even more protracted than had been expected, so that fully half of the scheduled program items had to be canceled.
Soon after the close of the New Orleans convention last year, it became apparent that certain of our members felt that there should be a basic change in the way the Federation operates. The proponents of this view maintained that too much power was vested in the president and not enough in the Executive Committee. They campaigned vigorously throughout the year and made some converts. The Executive Committee itself had met last September to consider this matter and had voted by a strong majority to keep things pretty much as they have always been. This Executive Committee decision, however, was rejected by those holding the opposite view and the controversy continued at a lively pace throughout the winter and spring. By convention time the lines were rather tightly drawn and it was obvious that the problem must be faced squarely and, if possible, resolved.
The constitution which was adopted as a result of the Wilkes-Barre meeting was little more than a skeleton. Its provisions were couched, for the most part, in very general terms. For example, it provided that "The duties of each officer shall be such as customarily appertain to his office," or words to that effect. In the course of the next eighteen years a few quite specific amendments have been added and a great many practices have become the "unwritten law" of the NFB. In other words, our constitution has evolved in a somewhat similar way to that of the English constitution. Precedents have become binding in practice, although not reduced to writing and made a part of the written constitution. For instance, the constitution has never contained any provision against the acceptance of individual memberships from states which have an NFB affiliate but the rule against such admissions has been as scrupulously adhered to as though it had been a part of the written instrument. Again, our constitution has never prohibited our officers from receiving compensation for their services, but no one of them has ever received a penny and any deviation from this established policy would be unthinkable.
During at least the first three quarters of our history, a physical meeting of the Executive Committee between conventions has been out of the question because we simply had no money for such a purpose. Policy decisions have always been made by the annual conventions but the administration and execution of these policies has, from the very beginning, been in the hands of the President. This has gone unchallenged until these past few months, mainly, I believe it is fair to say, because the man who has served as our President all these years has exercised his powers with such wisdom, moderation and good judgment. Almost no one questions this last. Of late, however, some have come to feel that, in spite of the fact that it has worked out so well, this arrangement is not entirely democratic and that, therefore, it was "time for a change."
On the other hand, those who have not agreed that a fundamental change was either desirable or necessary at this time, have maintained that we do have real democracy because all final power is in the hands of the convention itself, which has an opportunity every two years to throw out of office anyone who has not hewed to the lines of policy laid down by the convention. Those holding this view have insisted that ours is an action movement. They have insisted that, so long as the annual convention is the supreme authority of the Federation and the officers are responsible to the annual convention for all their acts, the National Federation will continue to function democratically and effectively. They have insisted that one good leader is better than thirteen good leaders, who would almost inevitably tend to work at cross purposes. They have insisted that their chosen leader must be free to exercise his best judgement, free to make decisions as the occasions arise, that his hands must not be tied or his wings clipped. They have insisted that an Executive Committee and a President with approximately equal power would tend to produce a stalemate, with no movement in any direction, and that a strong Executive Committee and a weak President would produce endless delays, indecisions, red tape and, in the end, bureaucracy.
Since the Federation's constitution did not spell out the duties and powers of either the President or the Executive Committee, it was felt that the best way of drawing the issue sharply and of settling it, one way or the other, would be to propose an amendment which would spell out these respective duties and powers. Accordingly, such an amendment was drawn and circulated to state and chapter presidents on April 7th of this year. It set forth in some detail the duties of the convention, the Executive Committee and the President. The convention was declared to be the supreme authority. The Executive Committee should act as the Credentials Committee, should consider all internal disputes submitted to it by any state affiliate, should advise the President and receive his reports and should determine policies between conventions--but only when these were not in conflict with policy decisions laid down by the convention itself and only when the adoption of new policies was absolutely necessary. The Executive Committee was not to make policy decisions if these could be held over until the next convention without serious consequences. Finally, the President was designated as the principal administrative officer of the Federation and directed to make administrative decisions and to take appropriate actions in accordance with policies adopted by the convention. He was to be given full authority to hire, supervise and, when he deemed it necessary, to dismiss all staff employees, as well as to determine their number and their compensation. He was to be held responsible, in the final analysis, to the convention assembly itself, and to no one else.
Before this amendment to Article V was turned over to the Resolutions Committee at Boston, two modifications were incorporated in the original proposal. First, it was provided that there be at least two regular meetings of the Executive Committee between conventions, the state of the treasury permitting. Additional meetings might be called upon the signed request of any five members of the Committee or upon the call of the President. Second, a Finance and Budget Sub-committee was to be set up. Before any major expenditure of Federation funds by the President, there must be a consultation with this sub-committee. It is also instructed to prepare and submit to the full Executive Committee its recommendations for setting up improved accounting methods and budget control. These modifications appeared to satisfy many but others protested that they did not go far enough.
When the modified amendment reached the floor, it bore the unanimous recommendation of the Resolutions Committee (which also acted as a Constitutional Amendment Committee), for adoption. Two thirds was required for its passage. The debate was long and, at times, bitter. When at last the final rollcall was reached, the amendment was adopted by the two-thirds required--thirty to fifteen.
For the first time in our history, there seemed to be real dissension among us. Feelings ran higher and higher as the time for the showdown approached. Both sides went all out in their efforts to corral votes.
When it was all over, there was little evidence of any real reconciliation. Some degree of tension and grimness was apparent right through to adjournment on Monday. It is to be devoutly hoped that time and a mutually conciliatory attitude on the part of the leaders of both sides will heal the wounds and remove the scars left by this conflict. Whether or not the National Federation can again become the united, consecrated organization that it has always been is now in the balance. Most of us find a joyous exhilaration in battling certain outside forces; few if any, have found any pleasure or satisfaction in slashing at those who have always been their comrades in arms.
One of the most unfortunate aspects of this internecine conflict was the fact that, among the nine hundred and more who were registered, there were perhaps more first-timers than ever before. New York and New England, in particular, came to Boston en masse for their first convention experience. To many of them what they saw and heard was disappointed and disillusioning. They had come for information and inspiration; many of them departed saddened and wondering.
But the Boston convention was far from being all grimness and conflict. Those with sight declared that the banquet--the traditional high spot of all our national conventions--was a thrillingly beautiful spectacle. Dr. Munford Boyd, of the University of Virginia, and a member of the NFB Board of Directors, gave the banquet address. Dr. Boyd has a tremendous sense of humor and he strove, with considerable success, to bring his audience out of its tenseness through the medium of laughter. There were few present who could resist the infection of his keen wit.
In an impressive ceremony, Utah and Virginia were awarded charters as new NFB affiliates. The Michigan Council of the Blind and the New Jersey Council of Organizations of the Blind were also granted charters. Spokesmen for all four responded with pledges of loyalty to the NFB on behalf of their respective organizations.
Perhaps the high point of the evening was reached when Tim Seward, our beloved sighted friend, received the Newel Perry Award at the hands of Executive Committeeman Kenneth Jernigan. Mr. Jernigan recited a few of the innumerable services which Tim has performed for the National Federation and went on to pay him a glowing tribute, frequently inter- rupted by spontaneous bursts of applause from the assembly. As most of you are aware, Tim Seward, in his capacity as the Executive Assistant to Congressnnan Walter Baring, has been of enormous assistance in our legislative program at Washington. In his capacity as an active and high-ranking Lion, Tim has labored assiduously and with no small degree of success to bring to his fellow Lions a better understanding of the real problems of the blind and a more realistic attitude both toward organizations of the blind and toward the ways in which they, as Lions, can help. In the past couple of years Tim has been a much sought after speaker at various of our state conventions. Before coming to Washington he was a tower of strength for the blind people of Nevada.
In accepting the Award Tim said that this moment was the greatest in his life. He spoke briefly, simply and modestly but his words had a moving quality which left few dry eyes among his hearers.
The convention had gotten under way shortly after ten o'clock on the morning of July 4th. Like all other daily sessions it began with an invocation of divine blessing by a local clergyman. Then came the traditional rollcall of the states. As the name of each of the forty-five Federation states was pronounced, the chairman of its delegation rose and announced the names of those present from his state. All, that is, except Massachusetts, the host affiliate--whose representatives were far too numerous to be named individually. Of the visiting delegations, that from New York appeared to be the largest, with some forty-seven members on hand. When Pete Roidl of Buffalo, chairman of the Empire State delegation and president of that affiliate, rose to his feet in his first convention attendance and began to name off the members of his delegation, it was a proud moment for those of us who have had at least some small part in the development of our two and a half year-old New York affiliate. That moment must have been an especially thrilling one for Ray Dinsmore, of Brooklyn, who has labored so many years to bring about the formation of a great NFB organization in his adopted state. For the first time the rollcall contained the names of Utah and Virginia and the appearance of these two newest affiliates was greeted with tumultuous applause.
After brief addresses of welcome from the host affiliate and from city and state officials, there was time but for one program item. For years we have been looking forward to the time when Father Thomas Carroll, of Boston, could find it possible to speak to us. Many months ago he promised to make it this time if it were humanly possible. Since then he has been confined in a hospital most of the time. He is slowly convalescing now but his illness was so serious that it will require a considerable period for him to regain his old buoyant vigor. At a cost of great inconvenience and very probably some pain. Father Carroll kept his promise and had himself brought to the convention hall in a wheel-chair--from which he spoke to us. Like all his other audiences, this one listened to him with rapt attention. As he concluded his message he was given an ovation in the form of prolonged applause and it is to be hoped that this conveyed to him some notion of the heartfelt gratitude and appreciation which were in all our hearts.
I shall not in this article attempt to review or analyze the various papers and speeches which were delivered during the Boston convention. For one thing I do not wish to duplicate the regular convention bulletin which will undoubtedly come out of Dr. tenBroek's office. For another, most of these papers will be published in the Braille Monitor during the next few months and you can all judge for yourselves.
Other regularly scheduled speakers during the four days of the convention included Ihe following: Dr. Bradley Burson reported on the progress of the research project into the causes of unemployment among the blind. He has been the chairman of the project committee and has done most of the committee work during the past two years. He recommended that he now be authorized to seek financial support from various foundations so that the research can be continued. The convention accepted his report and gave the authorization he had requested.
The Rev. Dwight Smith, of the John Milton Society, told us of the work being carried on by that organization and informed us of the availability of a number of services of which we had not previous been aware.
Dr. Jacob Fried of the Jewish Braille Institute brought to the convention a view of blindness and its problems richly reflecting his background and experience both as a sympathetic agency administrator and as Associate Professor of Sociology at Rutgers. He brought to bear on the problems of blindness the knowledge and enlightment of modern sociology on prejudice, discrimination and the situation of minority groups. He publically announced his support of the Kennedy-Baring bill and strongly affirmed the social desirability and the democratic necessity of a participant role for the blind themselves.
John Mungovan, Director of the Massachusetts State Agency for the Blind, and winner of the 1957 Newel Perry Award, welcomed us to Boston and told us something of the progress made in Massachusetts during the past year and of his plans for the future. We all join with the blind citizens of Massachusetts in the hope that this great and liberal administrator will receive the recognition of his splendid work, which he so well deserves, in the form of a re-appointment by the Massachusetts Governor.
John Jarvis, International Secretary of the Royal National Institute for the Blind, came to us from England at our invitation. He delivered an intensely interesting paper dealing with the status of organizations of the blind in all parts of the world, including those behind the Iron Curtain. It was obvious that he had put a great deal of work into the preparation of this paper and his audience sat spellbound. At its close, and as evidence of the keen interest which he aroused, it seemed to me that he was asked more and better questions than any convention speaker I can remember. Only the arrival of adjournment time put a stop to these questions.
I first met John Jarvis at the World Council meeting in Paris, in 1954, and we have been firm friends since that time. Darlene and I were his house guests in London in 1956, when I attended a meeting of the World Council Executive Committee, Dr. Isabel Grant, who was present as a member of the California delegation, had met John at the Conference of Educators of Blind Youth, which was held in Oslo, Norway, last August, and she had been deeply impressed by him at that time. At the Boston convention John not only delivered this splendid paper but managed to circulate widely among the delegates and met the majority of them personally. In addition, he participated in the convention discussion of the Hope School project, which is dealt with elsewhere.
So much of the time of this convention was occupied with the discussion of resolutions that no state reports could be heard and this was unfortunate because, in all other years, many delegates have returned home filled with new ideas gleaned from these reports. This has always been the chief way in which individual states have been able to pass on to the whole organization information concerning their various experiments in legislation and organization activities.
The Resolutions Committee (which also acted as the Constitutional Amendments Committee), was under the extremely able chairmanship of John Nagle, of Springfield, Massachusetts. Its other members were Ray Dinsmore, of Brooklyn, Bill Taylor, of Pennsylvania, Dr. Kingsley Price, of the University of John Hopkins, in Maryland, and Russell Kletzing, of Sacramento, California. This committee was in continuous session for fifteen or sixteen hours the day before the convention opened and held several additional meetings after the convention started. John Taylor, Paul Kirton and Earl Scharry, of the NFB staff, were on hand much of the time. Perry Sundquist, Chief of California Division for the Blind rendered invaluable and tireless services as a consultant to the committee. It would be almost impossible to over-estimate the patience and diligence displayed by this committee. Of the many resolutions which it considered and sent to the floor, with recommendations for adoption, non-adoption, or without recommendations, all but two or three were acted upon before the agreed-upon five o'clock adjournment deadline was reached on the final day.
The majority of the resolutions adopted by the convention dealt with national legislation or national legislative policy and most of them will appear in the Monitor during the course of the next year. One, however, was in an area not heretofore entered by the national group. Many of our affiliate state organizations have taken a firm public stand against the evils of blind begging. Not until 1958, however, did the National Federation itself take an official stand. The wording of the resolution which now states our position is unequivocal. I would insert the text at this point but I have not yet received a copy. It will appear in these pages as soon as available. It was adopted by an overwhelming majority.
This was an election year, and we now have the following officers: President, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, Berkeley, California; First Vice-President, George Card, Madison, Wisconsin; Second Vice-President, Kenneth Jernigan, Des Moines, Iowa; Secretary. Mrs. Alma Murphey, St. Louis, Missouri; Treasurer, Emil Arndt, Springfield, Illinois.
The eight members of the Executive Committee are: Walter McDonald, of Atlanta, Georgia; John Nagle, of Springfield, Massachusetts; Jesse Anderson, of Ogden, Utah; Dean Sumner, of Watertown, South Dakota; Durward McDaniel, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Marie Boring, of Durham, North Carolina; Victor Buttram, of Peoria, Illinois; and Clyde Ross, of Akron, Ohio. The five constitutional officers are also, of course, members of the Executive Committee. These thirteen, together with the three non-voting members (Dr. Bradley Burson, of Lemont, Illinois, Dr. Kingsley Price, of Baltimore, Maryland, and Dr. Munford Boyd, of Charlottesville, Virginia), make up the NFB Board of Directors.
Emerging Personalities. No convention in my memory has seen the coming to the front of so many new, or relatively new delegates. This is strong evidence of the fundamentally healthy situation in which we now find ourselves. We who are the veterans of our movement, the old war horses, can find great comfort in the fact that we are to have worthy successors, some of whom are already identifiable.
Of the new members elected to the Executive Committee, two were attending their very first convention. I do not think such a thing ever happened before. These two are Jesse Anderson, of Ogden, Utah, a blind Home Teacher, editor of a Braille magazine and member of the state Legislature, as well as President of his home chapter. He is the quiet, unassuming type and may not make many fiery speeches from the floor or the platform of national conventions, but he will be an extremely effective and valuable addition to the Executive Committee. He has been ardently pro-Federation for many years. The other successful first-time candidate was Dean Sumner, of Watertown, South Dakota, a youthful blind State's Attorney and a former musician. When Dean finished law school a couple of years ago and returned to practice in his home town, he was assured that the incumbent State's Attorney was unbeatable. Dean ran, nevertheless, as the candidate of the minority party, and swamped his opponent so decisively that this coming fall he will be re-elected without opposition. Dean is President of our South Dakota affiliate. He is not the quiet, unassuming type. His voice had become very familiar to the delegates long before the close of the Boston convention and he will be heard from many times at future conventions. Dean has strong convictions and does not hesitate to express them. He has a keen, logical mind and will never accept the thinking of others without subjecting it to thorough analysis. He will always be independent and incorruptible.
This was about the third convention for John Nagle, another newly-elected member of the Executive Committee, but this was the first time John has been a real factor. He is a practicing lawyer in Springfield and newly married. No one who observed him in action at the Boston convention can doubt his ability and competence. Like the other two, he will make a most valuable addition to the Executive Committee.
Pete Roidl, the New York President, has qualities of leadership which will inevitably make themselves felt in future conventions. Wilbur Webb, Pete's Rochester neighbor, has tremendous ability, complete loyalty to the NFB and an amazingly full and accurate grasp of its philosophy. He has every quality of leadership except self-assertiveness and it is to be hoped that this potentially valuable leader can overcome his false modesty and speak out so that he can be heard by all the country.
Franklin Van Fleet, of New Hampshire, impressed me deeply in his first appearance at a national convention, as did also Travis Anderson, of Louisiana and Faye Langdon, of Arizona. One other first-timer can certainly not be overlooked. Mary Jane Hills, of Rochester, N.Y., sponsored and introduced the anti-mendicancy resolution--something which no other delegate has done in all these eighteen years. She was very nervous and frightened as she took the microphone for the first time to defend her resolution, and she began her little speech characteristically with the word "Jeepers", but she kept right on and ended by getting across a most effective and convincing presentation. The Federation has not yet felt the full impact of her vivid personality but that will come.
The convention voted to hold its 1959 meeting in the downtown area of Santa Fe, New Mexico, during the last week of June, and accepted a 1960 invitation from Miami, Florida.
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"Duties of the Officers. (Section a) The officers shall have such powers as are usual to their respective offices and they shall be governed by Roberts Rules of Order revised.
"Duties of the Executive Committee. (Section b) The Executive Committee shall be the governing body of the National Federation of the Blind between conventions."
As amended, Article V now reads:
"Powers and Duties of the Convention, the Executive Committee and the President.
"Section a. Powers and Duties of the Convention.
'The Convention is the supreme authority of the Federation. It is the legislature of the Federation. As such, it has final authority with respect to all issues of policy. Its decisions shall be made after opportunity has been afforded for full and fair discussion. Delegates, members, and all blind persons in attendance may participate in all convention discussions as a matter of right. Any member of the Federation may make or second motions, propose nominations, serve on committees and is eligible for election to office, except that only blind members may hold elective office. Voting or making motions by proxy are prohibited. The Convention shall determine the time and place of its meetings. Consistent with the democratic character of the Federation, convention meetings shall be so conducted as to prevent parliamentary maneuvers which would have the effect of interfering with the expression of the will of the majority on any question, or with the rights of the minority to a full and fair presentation of their views. The convention is not merely a gathering of representatives of separate state organizations. It is a meeting of the Federation at the national level in its character as a national organization. Committees of the Federation are committees of the national organization. The nominating committee shall consist of one member from each state affiliate represented at the Convention.
"Section b. Powers and Duties of the Executive Committee.
"The function of the Executive Connmittee as the governing body of the Federation between conventions is to make policies when necessary and not in conflict with the policies adopted by the Convention. Policy decisions which can be postponed until the next meeting of the National Convention shall not be made by the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall serve as a credentials committee. It shall deal with organizational problems presented to it by any affiliate. At each meeting, the Executive Committee shall receive a report from the President on the operations of the Federation. There shall be a standing subcommittee of the Executive Committee which shall consist of three members. The Committee shall be known as the Sub-committee on Budget and Finance. It shall, whenever it deems necessary, recommend to the Executive Committee principles of budgeting, accounting procedures and methods of financing the Federation program; and shall consult with the President on major expenditures.
"The Executive Committee shall meet at the time of each National Convention. It shall hold at least two other regular meetings each year if funds are available. Special meetings may be held either on the call of the President or on the written request of any five members.
"Section c. Powers and Duties of the President.
The President is the principal administrative officer of the Federation, In this capacity his duties consist of: carrying out the policies adopted by the convention; conducting the day-to-day management of the affairs of the Federation; authorizing expenditures from the Federation treasury in accordance with and in implementation of the policies established by the Convention; appointing all committees of the Federation except the Executive Committee; co-ordinating all activities of the Federation including the work of other officers and of committees; hiring, supervising and, when necessary, dismissing staff members and other employees of the Federation and determining their numbers and compensation; taking all administrative actions necessary and proper to put into effect the programs and accomplish the purpose of the Federation.
The implementation and administration of the interim policies adopted by the Executive Committee is the responsibility of the President as principal administrative officer of the Federation.
Section d. Conflicting Provisions.
All provisions of the Constitution in conflict with this article are repealed."
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One of the most dramatic and emotionally charged periods of the Boston convention was occasioned by the appearance, on the morning of the final day, of Dr. Charles Jordan, of Springfield, IL. Dr. Jordan is a very successful and very popular dentist in Springfield, with a comfortable income, a wife and five children. One of his daughters, however, was a five-and-a-half pound premature baby, who developed retrolental fibroplasia after having been subjected to excessive oxygen in the incubator. In two or three years it became evident that she was not only blind but also seriously disturbed emotionally and with possible brain damage. She had to be physically restrained because of her destructive proclivities. At the age of six she was taken to the state school for the blind but was returned to her parents after two weeks because she had been found unmanageable.
Then it was that the Jordans discovered what I tried so hard to make clear at Omaha--that blind children who are homebound by reason of additional handicaps find themselves in a category of helpless children who are abandoned to their fate every-where in the world, with the single exception of the United Kingdom. There is no help and no hope for them in the United States. They are rejected by schools for orthopedic crippled and for mentally retarded children because they are blind. They are rejected by most residential schools for the blind because they are too badly crippled or too mentally retarded. They are allowed to grow up as human vegetables and eventually find their way into institutions for the feeble-minded.
The Jordans refused to accept this fate for their little Judy. They searched the whole country in vain for some sort of school where she could be received. They approached various agencies for the blind, including the American Foundation, and met only rebuff and the good old brush-off.
Dr. Jordan stumbled upon the paper written by Bernard Gerchen, after the latter's 1955 visit to the world-famous Condover Hall School in England. In spite of assurances from all sides that such a project could only end in failure, he determined to take the bit in his teeth and to found a school where these helpless little ones could be received, cared for, trained and, if possible, educated. He rented a house in Springfield and secured the services of a house-mother and several full-time and part-time teachers. Furnishings and equipment were contributed by his sighted friends in the Springfield area. He began to look about him for other parents with a similar problem. He found plenty of them. None could afford the tuition that would have allowed Dr. Jordan to break even but he took four multiply-handicapped blind children anyway, as a starter.
Dr. Jordan has expended approximately twenty thousand dollars of his own money to the present time. He has raised some money among his personal friends and has been lecturing before many groups in an effort to raise additional funds.
Dr. Jordan's fellow-townsman, our own Emil Arndt, reported what was going on to me, and I reported it to Mr. Gerchen. We both went to Springfield to see for ourselves. A delegation from the Illinois Federation also visited what was by now known as the Hope School. All of us came away with the conviction that Dr. Jordan, because of his indomitable courage and his utter devotion to the cause he had espoused, merited all the help that we and our organization could give him.
Dr. tenBroek invited him to come to Boston and tell his story to our national convention. He came and he told that story. He said, in conclusion: "This may sound a bit corny but perhaps God put me in this world for a purpose and this is it."
Dr. Kingsley Price moved that the convention authorize a contribution to the Hope School and that we accept a place on its Board of Governors. The motion was adopted by an almost unanimous vote. When Dr. Jordan laid his case before the only nation-wide organization of the civilian blind, he was not rebuffed and he was not given a brush-off. We accepted our responsibility as the group most vitally interested in the welfare of all blind and by that decision we once more demonstrated that we believe and practice what we preach.
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During the course of one of its meetings at Boston, the Executive Committee was informed by Dr. tenBroek that the ink-print edition of the Braille Monitor would cost the National Federation approximately $10,000 a year if it were continued. This despite the fact that we have purchased our own press and that much of the labor is performed by part-time university students. He told us that less than five percent of those receiving the ink-print edition had paid the $3 annual subscription which had been requested from all those who could afford it.
Notwithstanding the heavy cost involved, the Executive Committee voted unanimously to continue the publication of the ink-print edition because it was felt by all that this medium has already proved itself to be an extremely effective method of public education, evidenced by the receipt of hundreds of letters of appreciation from members and non-members alike.
Bernard Gerchen and his father, Joseph Gerchen, (who make up two-thirds of Federated Industries--our greeting card mailing contractors), sat in during this session as invited guests. They listened with great interest to the discussion of the ink-print edition. Finally Bernard Gerchen asked for the floor and announced that he and his business partner had just held a two-minute meeting and had voted unanimously to purchase one page of advertising in each monthly issue of the ink-print edition at $200 per page. Mr. Gerchen added that he would leave the decision to us as to what should appear on this page. His proposal was immediately and enthusiastically accepted by the Executive Committee.
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Another action taken by the Executive Committee during this session was the adoption of a motion by Kenneth Jernigan that the cost of recording each issue of the Braille Monitor on disc records, which could be played on the standard Talking Book machine, be investigated, and that each local affiliate and state organization be informed of this cost, in terms of a twelve-month subscription. If 100 subscriptions should be received, with payment in advance, the Federation would then proceed to enter into an arrangement for the regular recording of each monthly issue. Finally, if the required number of paid subscriptions should be received, the first batch of recordings should be sufficiently large so that each state and local affiliate could be sent one sample recording.
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As many of you know, I have the honor to represent the National Federation in the Assembly of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind. The Assembly itself convenes only every five years and will meet next year at Rome. At the Paris meeting, however, in 1954, I was elected to the Executive Committee, which meets every two years. We held a meeting in London in 1956 and this year the meeting is in Colombo, Ceylon.
At present the World Council pays one half of the tourist-class round trip fare to Executive Committee meetings and the affiliate the other half. Ceylon is almost half way around the world from Wisconsin. It seemed to Darlene and me that this was a chance of a lifetime to travel all the way around. There is a flat rate for the round-the-world flight. One can make as many stopovers as one wishes, without extra charge. We have, therefore, scheduled the following stopovers of from one to four days each: Honolulu, Tokyo, Hongkong, Manila, Singapore, Bang-kok, Saigon, Rangoon, Calcutta, Madras and Colombo. After the sessions end, on August 24, we shall stop off at Bombay, Delhi, (with a side trip to see the Taj Mahal), Karachi, Teheran, Bagdad, Istanbul, Athens, Belgrade, Vienna, Munich and London. Magic names, magic places! We leave Seattle on July 29th and get back to Madison on Sept. 20th, As the time draws nearer we are both breathless with excitement and anticipation.
A group of blind people in Hawaii are planning a meeting on July, 31, at which I shall speak and at which a new NFB affiliate may come into being. I have a list of agencies for the blind and organizations of the blind in almost every city we visit and I shall do my best to contact them and spread the gospel. The September and October issues of the Monitor will be prepared on the West Coast in my absence. After my return I have been invited to address the Ohio and Alabama conventions and I ought to have plenty of material.
I remember well that when I was a child, and could see, this story about the world being round never seemed really convincing to me. It certainly did not look round from where I stood. Now at last I shall have a chance to find out for sure and if I find out that Magellan pulled a fast one I shall expose the whole business as soon as I get back.
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(This is the tenth in a series of articles written for a St. Louis newspaper by Jack and Alma Murphey and David Krause. Alma Murphey is the author of this installment.)
The major objective of Real Independence Through Employment, Inc., more familiarly known as RITE, is that of improving employment conditions for the blind. Progress has been made along this line in the past twenty years, but in connparison with the existing need, this is no more than a beginning. Only a small minority of employers have become really convinced of the often-proved fact that properly trained blind persons make excellent employees, and just as few realize that there are jobs in plants and offices which do not require sight for their successful performance. In this article we shall attempt to give you an idea of the place in private industry being filled by blind persons, together with a brief explanation as to how this has come about.
First, it is necessary that we consider the blind not as a group of persons having general characteristics, but as individuals possessing widely varying interests and abilities. There are many blind people with additional handicaps which, though they may be much less obvious than blindness, make competition with sighted workers out of the question. In this article we are dealing with well-adjusted blind persons who have at least average intelligence, a certain amount of manual dexterity and a genuine interest in their jobs. They have simply lost their sight. It should be pointed out that as a rule a blind person who is successfully taking his place with sighted fellow-workers must, in practice, be prepared to put forth somewhat more effort than those around him and, in fact, be competent to do a somewhat better job than would be expected if he were not handicapped. Almost always more attention is focused upon him than upon his sighted co-workers and any mistakes he may make are invariably attributed to his blindness. For this reason, and because statistics show that among blind employees accidents are fewer, attendance records better and production rating higher, the employer gets a bargain. Hiring a blind person is not a benevolent act but just good business. It is hoped that records established by blind persons as employees and as professional people, together with the good will, co-operation and spirit of daring on the part of some of our more forward-looking sighted fellow citizens, will do much to help our organization realize its objective.
Next, we must realize that while sight is necessary for the performance of some tasks, there are innumerable operations both at home and at work for which sight is simply a convenience. Persons possessing this marvelous faculty use it not only when necessary, but whenever possible, and quite reasonably can not be expected to distinguish the real extent of its neccessity.
Prior to World War II, with the exception of sheltered work-shops, jobs for blind people were practically non-existent. Then came the war, bringing with it a labor shortage so acute that blind men and women were hired in large numbers. We filled jobs in plants and offices in a manner so creditable as to prove beyond doubt that blind persons can compete successfully with sighted workers when given tasks which do not require the use of sight. The trouble is that we are so often denied the opportunity to prove that a given job or operation does not require sight.
In spite of their proved abilities the blind were the first to be let out when the labor shortage ended after the close of World War II. There was a great turnover at that time among foremen, supervisors, superintendents, personnel managers and safety engineers and the new ones in most cases were shocked to find blind persons in what they considered dangerous situations. So, for their own good, these workers were fired. Also, of course, most blind workers had not yet attained enough seniority to protect their jobs when layoffs began after war contracts were completed. Only a very few of those hired during the wartime emergency have been able to keep their jobs.
One good and lasting result of wartime employment of the blind, with its convincing demonstration of the competence of blind workers, however, was the establishment of vocational rehabilitation programs for the blind, through the instrumentality of private and governmental agencies. These programs have, for the most part, been pitifully inadequate, but at least they have constituted a beginning and a move in the right direction. Most fair-minded critics will concede that the general trend has been toward improvement as the years have passed, an improvement which has been considerably stimulated by federal legislation. The weakest parts of the rehabilitation programs have been in the areas of advanced specialized training and job placement.
As viewed from the vantage point of the present, as contrasted with the situation a score of years ago, there has been enough progress so that we can all take heart.
Merely to list the jobs, occupations and professions in which blind people are now successful would require many pages of fine type. It would be much simpler and easier to list the jobs, occupations and professions in which no blind people have been successful. But the percentage of employment among the blind of working age is still far short of what it could be and even of what it is now in, for example, the United Kingdom. There are still some states where the teaching profession is closed to the blind, either by statute or by administrative practice. Where sheltered workshop employment is available, it is much easier for the employment counselor to shunt a blind worker off into this realm of no return, and so claim a "closure," than it is to expend the effort and energy required to find him a real job. Granting that a considerable expenditure of effort and energy is required in many cases to place severely handicapped persons in competitive jobs, the placement counselor is being paid to do exactly that and should be required to "do it the hard way" when necessary. There are countless operations in plants and offices which merely require a brief explanation or demonstration in order for the blind employee to comprehend and adequately perform them. There are other jobs which require specialized training, and opportunities for blind people to receive such training are still decidedly limited.
To conclude, let us bear in mind that blind people are alike only in their visual disability. In our abilities we differ just as sighted people differ. When the time comes that the public, and especially employers, will realize that where one blind person failed another one may succeed, then a great victory will have been won. Another dream for the future is that the interest, understanding and co-operation which prompted this beginning in vocational opportunities for the blind will grow until employment is no longer our major problem.
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by Jacobus tenBroek
(Ed. Note--In 1957 Dr. tenBroek published a monograph, the full title of which is "The 1956 Amendments to the Social Security Act; After the New Look--The First Thought." It appeared in the Public Law Journal, 6:1: 123-163, 1957. Because of the very great importance of this subject and the analysis to the blind. Dr. tenBroek's monograph will be reprinted in the Braille Monitor. It will appear in this, and the four following issues.)
... The principal public assistance changes brought about by the 1956 amendments are these:
1. The four public assistance titles are amended by making additions to the purpose clauses and by providing for federal matching of cash payments and services designed to attain the new purposes. The services are specifically required to be described in the state plan. Self-care, self-support and strengthening family life are the new purposes.
2. A new grant-in-aid program is established to provide "medical or any other type of remedial care" for public assistance recipients. The medical care matching grant is separate and apart from the matching of money payments made to individuals for maintenance.
3. A grant-in-aid program for the training of public welfare personnel is created.
4. Federal support is provided for research and demonstration projects in social security.
5. A new matching formula for public assistance is put into effect to remain so until June 30, 1959, raising the maximum on individual grants in which the federal government will participate and increasing its percentage.
6. A limited disability insurance program is created for workers in covered employment who are between the ages of fifty and sixty-five if they are permanently and totally disabled.
7. A dependent disabled child of a deceased or retired insured worker is made eligible for child's benefits under the social insurance program, regardless of his age, if he became disabled before reaching the age of eighteen and has continued to be disabled since that time.
These conclusions may be stated:
1. Whatever may be said respecting various minor amendments and whatever yet remains to be seen regarding actual administration, the 1956 Social Security Amendments are, in terms of direction and principle, the most significant to have been enacted since the adoption of the original act in 1935.
2. By adding a constructive element to public assistance, together with implemental provisions, the amendments strip that program of its exclusively supplementary character and confer on it an independent reason for existence. They thus make a basic change in the nature of the public assistance program and its relation to social insurance. Not the least interesting aspect of this change is the fact that it was actively sponsored by the Social Security Administration itself, a circumstance which is traceable to the appointment of Charles I. Schottland as Social Security Coinmissioner.
3. The establishment of disability insurance, even though many amendments are still required to perfect it, opens the way to the eventual transfer of most of the permanently and totally disabled and the blind from public assistance to social insurance, at least for the meeting of most of the necessities of life.
4. As in the past. Congress, in the 1956 amendments, showed a great deal of reluctance to accept in its entirety the overall administrative conception of the social security system and a strong determination to embody its own ideas in legislative changes.
5. The major changes contained in the 1956 amendments were the upshot of a combination of forces and trends which had been increasingly active and in evidence during the life of the Social Security Act.
In submitting to Congress the Report of the Committee on Economic Security proposing a system of social security against "certain hazards and vicissitudes of life," on January 17, 1935, President Roosevelt wrote: "In the important field of security for our old people, it seems necessary to adopt three principles--first, noncontributory old-age pensions for those who are now too old to build up their own insurance; it is, of course, clear that for perhaps 30 years to come funds will have to be provided by the States and the Federal Government to meet these pensions. Second, compulsory contributory annuities which in time will establish a self-supporting system for those now young and for future generations. Third, voluntary contributory annuities by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age. It is proposed that the Federal Govermnent assume one-half the cost of the old-age pension plan, which ought ultimately to be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans."
The Social Security Act adopted by Congress contained the system of "compulsory contributory annuities," for those then young and for future generations. It constituted the foundation of the social insurance program. Voluntary contributory annuities were omitted from the act and were never put into effect. The plan for noncontributory old-age pensions, supported by the states and the federal government, became title I of the act. This, together with title IV, creating a grant-in-aid system of financial payments to dependent children, constituted the foundation of the public assistance program. Title III establishing the unemployment compensation program and title V providing for maternal and child health, services to crippled children and child welfare services, completed the original program as proposed by the administration. Congress, on its own initiative, added title X, a grant-in-aid program of financial payments to the blind.
The degree to which the depression motivated the sponsors of the social security proposals and controlled their thinking can be seen from, the closing passage in the President's message: "No one can guarantee this country against the dangers of future depressions but we can reduce these dangers. We can eliminate many of the factors that cause economic depressions, and we can provide the means of mitigating their results. This plan for economic security is at once a measure of prevention and a method of alleviation. We pay now for the dreadful consequence of economic insecurity--and dearly. This plan presents a more equitable and infinitely less expensive means of meeting these costs."
After depression came war and after war came postwar prosperity. In a short time, the depression orientation of social security gave way to emphasis on the permanent aspects of the system. In good times as in bad, it was seen, people grow too old to work, become injured or sick, or die without making provision for their families. "Of the chief causes of poverty and dependency, "wrote the Social Security Administration in its 1944 Annual Report,"-- sickness and disability, old age, death of the family breadwinner, and unemployment--only unemployment has been greatly affected by the war-time expansion of the national economy."
In President Roosevelt's view, old-age assistance would be necessary "for perhaps thrity years," only as long, that is, as those were still alive who were too old in 1935 to build up their insurance benefits. With the shift in emphasis during the following years, public assistance ceased to be regarded as temporary. It was still to be supplementary however, to social insurance. It was to fill the gaps and correct the inadequacies of social insurance. But it was to be permanent. "Social insurance is necessary designed to meet the common needs and circumstances of large groups of people. At any time, some persons are outside these groups. Within the insured groups, moreover, some persons will suffer a catastrophe or a combination of circumstances so serious that its effect exceeds their personal resources plus their insurance benefits, which must be scaled to amounts that can be financed for all insured persons. "Public assistance is intended to cover people and needs such as these. "For all groups in the population, assistance must remain a second line of defense, no matter how comprehensive the provision for social insurance." To the doctrine of the primacy of social insurance and the supplementary character of public assistance, the social security administrators have in recent years sought to add the not necessary related doctrine that as social insurance increases in coverage and improves in benefit--whether or not adequacy is attained--the federal share of public assistance should diminish.
These then are the conceptions of the relative roles of social insurance and public assistance. Both are permanent but social insurance grows while public assistance diminishes. Social insurance is primary; public assistance is secondary. Social insurance is preemptive; public assistance is dependent. Social insurance is general, designed to meet the common needs and circumstances of large groups of people; public assistance is particular, covering in the main the special and uncommon needs of members of the large groups. It also covers the common and special needs of the few persons who fall outside the large groups.
These conceptions are in themselves significant aspects of social security policy. They acquire their greatest importance, however, only when they are placed in the context of the distinguishing characteristics of the two programs. These might be summarized as follows:
In public assistance, responsibility of relatives is quite generally imposed though its legal character and administrative implementation taken various forms. In the social insurances, exactly the opposite is true. Not only is the payment to the beneficiary unrelated to the legal liability and financial capacity of his relatives to support him but certain of his relatives who are dependent on him are also given payments.
In public assistance, state or local residence is almost always required. In the social insurance, a person may move anywhere in the United States without having his rights affected. Indeed, covered workers under Old-Age and Survivors Insurance retain accumulated benefit rights even if they move to Canada, under an international agreement concluded in 1942.
In public assistance, payments are made on a basis of individual need individually determined. All means possessed by the individual to meet his need are first discounted before payment is made. In the social insurances, payments are also designed to meet need. But need is presumptive rather than demonstrated, average rather than individual. The need of the individual is presumed from his membership in a publicly-aided group and is set as the average of the need in the group. Payment is accordingly made to the individual quite regardless of his individual resources.
In public assistance, therefore, a vast, costly and inquisitorial administrative setup is necessary. In the social insurances, since eligibility turns only on proof of membership in an aided group and this is generally established by past work record, the requisite administrative machinery and outlay are small.
In public assistance, the statutes seldom spell out in detail the conditions of the grant. Because this is so and because the factors of eligibility are numerous, because the facts to be found in each individual case are various and subject to interpretation, and because the amount of the grant is the result of a judgmatic evaluation of needs and resources, the determination of eligibility and the amount of the payment are administrative and discretionary. In the social insurances the conditions of eligibility are very few. They are precisely stated in the statute, as is the amount of the benefit or the formula for calculating it. Aid is therefore certain, predictable and provided as a matter of legal right.
In public assistance, the dominant reason for dependency is believed to be personal--at least in part the result of lack of thrift, initiative, ambition or other moral virtue. In the social insurances, the principal cause of dependency is believed to be not individual but social, a need for protection arising from the complexities of modern society and the imperfections of the economy.
In public assistance, since responsibility for poverty is personal, relief is believed to be a matter of charity, proceeding from the moral, religious or humanitarian feelings of the public. In the social insurance, since responsibility for poverty is social, resulting from an imperfect economic setting which subjects the individual to hazards over which he has no control, relief is a proper individual charge against the total economy to which the individual lays claim as a matter of right.
In public assistance, it is believed that the amount of the individual payment should be sufficient to keep body and soul together but not enough to make the recipient comfortable in his "deliquency." It must be low enough to constitute a compulsion to income-producing initiative. In the social insurances, since recipients are out of work because there are no jobs or because society forces them to retire at a given age, the amount of the grant cannot be adjusted to coercion. It must be geared to a reasonable standard of living.
In public assistance, since the cause of dependency is personal, aid is granted only to "worthy" or "deserving" poor. Morally and socially acceptable behavioral standards are therefore commonly imposed as a condition of relief. In social insurances, since the cause of dependency is social and arises from factors over which the individual has no control--and to some extent since conditions of eligibility and the amount of the grant are specified with precision in the law--behavioral requirements are drastically limited or nonexistent.
In public assistance, the theory of relief is in fair measure that aid is granted to unemployable, particularly those who are physically or mentally incapacitated. In the social insurances, aid is granted to the able-bodied who cannot find work or who are retired because of the nature of our industrial economy.
The features of the public assistance program are in part the product of history. They are the modern outcropping of ideas which found their first formalization in the Elizabethan Poor Laws. They are in part the product of various present-day forces, interests and attitudes in the community. They are in part the product of deliberate policy. Many welfare groups have justified them in public assistance programs not on the ground of any merit attaching to the features themselves but because of the indirect effect their presence in public assistance has on the support for social insurance. If public assistance took the form of a fixed pension made available to certain groups regardless of individual need or disregarding specified amounts of income or resources, it has been declared, it would be virtually impossible to maintain support for a contributory insurance system. Others find merit in the features themselves. The means test, they argue, enables the state to meet the actual need and at the same time keep public expenditures and taxes at a minimum. It is the method most equitable and just to all public assistance recipients; the only differences drawn within the group relate to need. Finally, since only minimum standards are met, people still have an incentive to improve their lot by their own efforts; and if they do not do so, the means test is a device which the state can use to "pressure" recipients into removing the cause of their dependency.
These are the concepts and features of public assistance which have been the dominant ones during the twenty-year history of the Social Security Act of the United States. They have not gone unchallenged, however. There have been movements, forces and trends working in an opposite direction. In late years, these have been ever-increasing in activity and effectiveness.
One such trend has resulted from the practical demands of administration and the desire for uniform and equal treatment. If there is to be an over-all administration or supervision of administration, everything cannot be left to the individual discretion of workers down the line. Rules must be established to govern subordinate administrative bodies and personnel. The larger the unit of administrative organization, the greater the necessity for some degree of standardization. Increasingly, therefore, states specify in the form of mandatory rules the items of need to be included in the recipients' budget and the amounts to be allowed for them.
Several provisions of the Social Security Act as interpreted by the federal administrators have contributed greatly to the support and facilitation of this process. Thus the federal act requires that a state plan "must... provide that it shall be in effect in all political sub-divisions of the State, and, if administered by them, be mandatory upon them ..." This has officially been construed to mean that: "The plan must be Statewide, providing for operation of an assistance program in all parts of the State with uniform provisions relating to eligibility and amount of payment to those eligible. This applies to the eligibility factor of need, the specific eligibility factors for each assistance title, and to any additional eligibility factors adopted by the State. The State policies, standards, and methods that are in the plan must apply to like situations throughout the State...." The federal statutory requirement of state financial participation in the state plan has been similarly construed. This requirement is not only a means of establishing a sounder fiscal base for the state-wide program, but it involves "the apportionment of State and Federal funds among the localities on a basis consistent with equitable treatment of individuals in similar circumstances throughout the State." Again, the federal officials have first read the Social Security Act as establishing individual need as an eligibility factor and then provided: "The State plan must include the Statewide standard and the policies to be applied uniformly throughout the State in the determination of need and the amount of assistance. In order that the standard and the policies may be uniformly applied and thus provide a basis for objective and equitable determinations throughout the State, it is essential that the instructions be clear and definite. Such standard must be set forth: (1) The consumption items to be included as basic for all individuals. (2) The description of the specified circumstances affecting the need of individuals which the State agency will recognize by including additional consumption items for all individuals in those circumstances. Such items must be set forth in the state plan. If provision is made for modifications of the items set forth as basic, the circumstances so recognized must be such as to necessitate expenditures not necessary to all individuals. (3) The State-established money amounts or the Statewide method to be used by all local subdivisions in arriving at the money amounts to be included for an item or group of items. The money amounts may vary from region to region within the State or from locality to locality when actual price differences have been found to exist between localities. State policies which provide that the money amount to be included is that estimated by the individual as necessary, or that which rests upon the worker's judgment of a 'reasonable' amount needed by the individual, or that which establishes 'as paid' or 'as paid to a maximum of $,' do not constitute a satisfactory definition of money amounts except as regards shelter.
If such regulations are carried very far, that is, if uniform rules determine for all recipients the budgetary items and the amounts allowed for each of them, an approach is made to a system of payments based on presumptive average need of the members of a group. The excessive individualization of the means test is correspondingly sharply curtailed.
Another administrative factor contributing to the evolution in the public assistance programs of uniform rules of general applicability and correspondingly undermining the principle of individual need individually determined and a personal means test is the requirement contained in the Social Security Act that the state plan must provide to any individual whose claim for aid is denied or not acted upon with reasonable promptness and opportunity for a fair hearing. In enforcing this requirement, the social security administrator had laid down for the states a set of rules defining the basic elements and purposes of a fair hearing: "(1) The State public assistance agency is accountable to the claimant (as the applicant or recipient is significantly called) for action or lack of action (in relation to his claim). (2) The claimant may demand a hear- ing from the agency (therefore). (3) The claimant may question the agency's interpretation of the law, and the reasonableness and equitableness of the policies promulgated.... (4) The hearing is subject to the requirements of due process, but should be an informal administrative procedure in order to serve best the interest of the claimant. (5) (The claimant must be safeguarded) from mistaken, negligent, unreasonable or arbitrary action by agency staff. (6) (To this end, he must be assured) uniformity in the application of the assistance law and agency policy." It can be seen at once that any administrative procedure giving effect to these rules can do so only to the extent that discretion is eliminated from the determination of eligibility, the needs that are to be met, the amounts that are to be allocated to meet them and the extent of required utilization of private inconne and resources. That this was the official thinking and deliberate policy behind the federal rules on fair hearings was made clear in an article by one of the staff members involved, published in the semi-official Social Security Bulletin. "Due process," he wrote, "(makes it) essential that the people affected by the program be guaranteed equal protection under the law.... The claimant who meets the requirements established in State law has a right to benefits and has a right to a hearing when he is denied these benefits.... (The agency must clarify in its own mind and set down on paper the 'rules of the game'.... (Public assistance administration without mandatory standards, objective procedures, and clearly defined policies becomes of necessity subjective and therefore autocratic. In such a setting, hearings are superimposed on agency operations, with the result that two irreconcilable elements meet...."
Partly as a result of such administrative factors as these, and partly as a result of political considerations and the impact of recipient groups on legislatures, a number of states have incorporated in their public assistance programs some of the elements of a flat grant system. While these states do not provide that all members of the group receive automatically a fixed amount upon proving eligibility to membership in the group, they do fix an amount of combined aid and private income to which all eligible persons are entitled. If the individual has no private income, he receives the specified amount in public aid. To satisfy federal administrative requirements, the amount is divided up into sub-figures which are allocated to standard items. If the individual has private income, his grant is reduced by that amount or in some states he is allowed to utilize it, witliout reduction in his grant, to meet specified items above those set forth in the standard budget. Thus, for example, in California the public assistance law provides: "The amount of aid to which any applicant shall be entitled shall be, when added to the income of the applicant from all other sources, ninety-five dollars per month. If, however, in any case it is found the actual need of an applicant exceeds ninety-five dollars per month, such applicant shall be entitled to receive aid in an amount, not to exceed ninety-five dollars per month, which when added to his income from all other sources, shall equal his actual need." In California the amount specified in the statute--$95--is the amount of the public grant. In Nevada's Blind Aid Law the amount specified in the statute serves as a floor but not as a ceiling. The Nevada law provides: "The individual needs of each person claiming aid to the blind shall be presumed and deemed to be not less than $90 per month. The amount of aid to which any claimant shall be entitled shall be, when added to the income... of the claimant from all other sources, $90 per month. If however, in any case it is found the actual need of a claimant exceeds $90 per month, such claimant shall be entitled to receive aid in an amount which shall meet such actual need, unless the amount of aid he is otherwise entitled to receive when added to his income... from all other sources, shall equal his actual need."
Some state legislatures have directed their attention to other less basic and sweeping modifications of the means test. These minor changes have been in the form of provisions correcting specific abuses. Nevada's Blind Aid Law is more replete with these than the law of any other state but many of its provisions exist elsewhere as well.
It is against this background of dominant conceptions and counteractive forces and trends that the 1956 amendments to the public assistance titles of the Social Security Act must be examined. Did they fall in line with the former or strenghthen the latter? Was there as substantial modification of the traditional roles and relationships of public assistance and social insurance? "Was the character of public assistance greatly changed?
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by Sara Neufeld Selis and Barney Mamet
(Ed. Note--Mrs. Selis is the Director of Social Services for, and Barney Marmet, Secretary of the Associated Blind, Inc., of the New York City. This paper was presented at the 43rd annual conference of the New York State Federation of Workers for the Blind in Elmira, New York on September 19, 1957.)
Have the agencies for the blind developed their programs of services to the extent of promoting and utilizing most effectively the potential and proven capabilities of the blind?
In view of the time to which this paper is limited, we can only touch upon this question. When we glance at the history of work for the blind in the past and take a close look at its present picture, the answer should be self-evident.
This history clearly points up that the most significant advances for the benefit of the blind have generally resulted from the constant struggle between the blind battling against the self-imposed stewardship of agency leadership and that of agency leadership contending to retain control over the blind and refusing to recognize that they could think for themselves and possibly know what is best for their interest and welfare.
In perusing the literature concerning the blind, we find that outstanding educators and recognized authorities in the work regretfully deplore the senseless struggle between these two factions. They agree that progress would have been much further advanced had seeing authorities not arbitrarily imposed their will upon the blind even though the issues concerned the blind only and in no way interfered with the prestige or position of their shortsighted benefactors. However, it is most unfortunate that many of these opinions and observations have been recorded by these educators and authorities only after they found security following their retirement. Had they demonstrated earlier in their stewardship the courage and objectivity of many of the outstanding blind leaders, who can doubt that much more would have been accomplished through co-operative effort. When convinced that the blind would be benefited, these blind leaders persisted in their beliefs and despite vested interests asserted their leadership.
Those who are acquainted with the history of reading and writing braille are fully aware of the opposition to and suppression of this system for almost three-quarters of a century. In his recent book, The Story of Blindness, Dr. Gabriel Farrell, retired Director of The Perkins Institution for the Blind, says:
"The braille system of dots, slow in reaching America as in England, was introduced at the Missouri School for the Blind in St. Louis in the late 1850's by Dr. Salmon Pollock, a member of the board, who had observed its use in Europe. Dr. John T. Sibley, the head of the school at the time, opposed the dot system on the ground that it was arbitrary and not pleasing to the eye. In some way never divulged, the pupils secured information about new form of type; and, as Louis Braille first promoted his form of writing out of ours, so the pupils of the Missouri School surreptitiously employed the dot system to pass notes among themselves to the utter confusion of their seeing teachers. As in the Paris School, the blind pupils and teachers finally overcame the opposition of the sighted leaders for the point system soon proved its worth and in 1860 it was officially allowed." The principal factor that entered into the struggle in the realm of braille wherein the blind were restrained from exercising their intelligence and ability as well as the right of independent choice and decision still continue to plague the blind. The point of the blind, based as it is on realistic experience, is often diametrically opposed to the point of view of those who dwell on Olympian heights, prescribing for our well-being from the cradle to the grave, and this has been largely responsible for the endless friction and division and has militated against the best interests of the blind.
There is a strong feeling of resentment against those agencies who parade themselves before the public as the champions of the blind when they loudly trumpet the cry for society to give to the blind the opportunity to become contributing members of the community. In this connection we are all familiar with phrases such as "equality of opportunity," "integration into community life," "blindness is a disability and not lack of ability," "the productivity of the trained blind worker is equal to that of his seeing neighbor," "blind workers have a better attendance record," etc. While we are in hearty accord with their aims and with the use and publicity value of these and many other such phrases, we feel that they would have greater meaning, convey honest conviction and sincerity and prove of much more practical value if these agencies would practice what they preach and recognize that "charity begins at home."
Although we know that blind people are engaged in a variety of occupations and professions and that new avenues of employment are constantly being sought, we cannot help but wonder why the agencies themselves do not first set the example by employing capable blind people in positions of trust and policy-making as well as in administrative and consultative capacities. With few exceptions, the general picture in this regard is most discouraging and disappointing. Though it is true that some blind individuals are employed by agencies in a so-called executive capacity, they are usually assigned to the category of staff members and as such do not participate in or influence the agency's formulation of policy or program. Moreover, in numerous instances many of these blind people make for "good window dressing" and do not command the compensation or the deference which should rightfully be theirs. Are we then to assume that the confidence which the agency purports to instil into the mind of the public toward the blind is to be found wanting within itself?
Regarding this latter observation, it is interesting to note that in his book Dr. Farrell, referring to Howe's Report of over one hundred years ago, states:
"The Institution for the Education of the Blind in Paris, as it is the oldest and as there is about it more of a show and parade than any other in Europe, has also the reputation of being the best; but if one judges the tree by its fruits and not by its flowers and foliage, this will not be his conclusion."
If the agencies for the blind are genuinely sincere and desirous of promoting programs of rehabilitation and employment, we question why they are so reluctant and disinclined to employ more blind people as psychologists, social workers, counselors, placement officers, home teachers, dictaphone operators, etc. If this involves additional expenditures, (and admittedly it does), is this not the wiser course to pursue since agencies exist because there are blind people to serve? Who can better instil hope in the newly blind and gain the lasting confidence of society than those blind people who demonstrate their capabilities through personal example?
Of course we realize that the agencies cannot by any stretch of the imagination absorb all of the employable blind nor would the blind themselves want to be employed within agencies if they could be integrated into the social and economic structure of the community. Therefore the agencies should once and for all look the situation squarely in the eye and work shoulder to shoulder with the blind to remedy the conditions of frustration, dependency and insecurity which surround the vast majority of blind people.
Estimates concerning the employable blind range up to 33 percent or about 105,000 of our blind population of 320,000. From figures released by the Office of Health, Education and Welfare, there were 8 percent or 25,000 blind people employed as of March, 1957. Of these 3,300 were in sheltered employment. This figure also includes those blind people who did not receive any service from the Vocational Rehabilitation Service program.
During the years from 1945 through 1956 more than 35,000 blind people received service under the Vocational Rehabilitation Service program. Therefore it is obvious that there exists a great lack of employment opportunities.
Following World War 1, England passed an Act which embodied the principle of giving preferential status to the blind who could equally perform a job on a competitive basis with the seeing. From available statistics we find that today 20,000 of the 100,000 of the blind population of England, or 20 percent, are employed. Of these 12,000 are employed in private industry and 8,000 in sheltered occupations. By Comparison this high record of employment is a sad commentary upon our own.
Let us again consider a page from history as an object lesson towards our future planning.
In Japan as far back as the Ninth Century, the system for the education of the blind was entrusted through governmental decree to the control and supervision of a body of blind people. Under this system also the professions of masseuring and physiotherapy were set aside exclusively for the blind. It is noteworthy that during this period blind people as a group attained the highest level of educational and cultural achievement in Japanese history.
At the turn of the Twentieth Century the German Government instituted the enlightened policy which required that the physically handicapped be absorbed into industry in ratio to the total number of able bodied workers, and naturally the blind also benefited.
During the latter part of the Nineteenth Century and extending into the Twentieth, music became a most lucrative profession for the blind of France This was made possible as a result of the courageous and zealous efforts of a blind leader, Maurice de la Sizeranne, Director of the Valentin Hauy Association. Those who showed promise for a musical career were given every encouragement and were practically assured of a livelihood. It is interesting to note here that piano tuning as a vocation for the blind was brought about by accident. As a result of a bad tuning job by a sighted person in a church in Paris, Claude Montal, a blind man, pleaded for a chance to retune and repair the piano. The church official was so pleased with the results that he also entrusted the maintenance of the church organ to Montal's care.
These few illustrations would indicate a course of action that ought to be undertaken in our own country. Certain legislative measures must be enacted on the federal, state and local levels to create broader employment opportunities for the blind. To this end such trades and professions that have proven to be most feasible for the blind as piano tuning, masseuring, photographic development, etc., should receive preferential status. Opportunities should be made available to blind teachers in the educational system. Moreover, a study should be undertaken to ascertain the types of jobs that a blind person can perform in such private industries where government contracts are awarded with the view of making such jobs available to the blind through appropriate legislation.
If these proposals seem startling and unprecedented to some, may we point out that a beginning has already been made along these lines through the existence of the vending stand, National Industries for the Blind, and the $50.00 a month earnings exemption programs. Since it is evident that there does not exist sufficient opportunities to absorb all of the employable blind, these and similar proposals must receive our serious and immediate attention if we are to give validity to the Vocational Rehabilitation Service program....
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From We The Blind, July, 1952: "What does Glaucoma, Uveitis, Ophthalmia Neonatorum and Choroditis mean to you? Probably nothing. But to some people the meaning of these words is tragically clear and may mean blindness.
"Technical words and their meaning are uninteresting to the majority of people, unless they are interested in a particular field. It is often advisable to know a little about a subject when complete ignorance can be disastrous.
"Most people vaguely think that Oculists, Ophthalmologists, Optometrists and Opticians are 'some kind of eye doctors.' Everyone recognizes the word 'blind' but many feel that 'sighted' as an adjective is a peculiar way to designate people who are not blind. Some even resent the appellation, never realizing there are thousands of men and women who wish they could be so described, and there are many people today who wish they had learned the meaning of some of the other strange words before it was too late.
"Many of the terms pertaining to the eyes date from antiquity. An Arabian scientist named Ahazen born in the later part of the tenth century, is credited with being the first to attempt a description of the construction of the eye. He was limited in his understanding of the actual visual functions of the eye but he likened the double-convex lens to the shape of a lentil seed and coined the word 'lens' from the Latin word lentil. It was not until the sixteenth century that Johannes Kepler discovered something of the function of the lens and determined the refractive qualities of glass lenses.
"Ancient Hebrew physicians and early Egyptians have left records of treatments for the eyes. In those far away centuries they used applications of verdigris and onions for trachoma (inflamed conditions of the eye). Cauterization followed by the use of oxide of copper, a remedy recorded from olden days, was used by modern doctors until the recent development of sulfa drugs.
"Spectacles came into use in the late thirteenth century in Europe. (They were used in China long before this.) They had no known corrective value but were purchased for protective purposes. Spectacles were worn by knights to protect them in their medieval jousts, by travelers to protect them from dust storms and others wore them to ward off infection during the plagues. Spectacles were the forerunners of the goggles of today.
"Science has developed many ways to prevent blindness, to conserve vision and to restore sight. It is the responsibility of the people to know when they need these services. They should know to whom they should go and never take chances with their eyes. Eyes are definitely and irrevocably rationed.
"Ophthalmologists and Oculists are in reality eye physicians educated and licensed in the practice of medicine and surgery, specializing in treating diseases of the eye, in examining, operating, prescribing medication and glasses.
"Optometry is the art of measuring the powers of physical vision, the acuteness of the perception of form and color and the extent or range of the field of vision.
"... The Optometrist prescribes glasses and sometimes makes the glass.
"An optician is one who makes or deals in optical instruments, eye glasses, etc. He manufactures and fits glasses in accordance with prescriptions.
"Many eye conditions can be improved with care, such as Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy, Choroditis, Corneal ulcers, forms of Keratitis, etc. Common eye conditions, in many instances, can be treated by surgery, such a cataracts, retinal detachment and squint. There are, however, other conditions which are progressive regardless of care, and some where only the removal of the eye will save the patient's life, such as malignant tumor.
"Constitutional diseases and nervous strains can affect the vision. . During the war it was found that Glaucoma greatly increased among mothers whose sons were in the armed forces.
"Prevention, of course, is the best way to combat blindness. In many states preventive measures have been taken by acts of the Legislature, such as the Anti-Fireworks Law, which diminished accidents through its enactment.
"The Pre-marital blood test legislation tends to cut down syphilis which is a great destroyer of sight, and congenital syphilis can practically be eradicated if a blood test is made in early pregnancy on every expectant mother and treatment promptly given to positive reactions.
"The dread robber of infants' sight, ophthalmia neonatorum, has been cut to a minimum where application of precautionary measures is taken when the baby is born. In many states this is compulsory. Recently, nurses and midwives in this country and in South America, have been asked to take a vow that they would take these measures even where it is not decreed by law. Statistics show that in States where these measures are enforced ophthalmia neonatorum is rare and in States where it is not enforced the rate of blindness in children is still high.
"Science is steadily progressing in the study of the eye. Opticians have designed glasses that are becoming to the contours of the face. Technicians have developed realistic plastic eyes, but no one has discovered a substitute for lost sight. Take care of the sight you have."
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From Coronet, July, 1958: "The American Louis Braille of today is a trim young man with a Madison Avenue haircut who plays a cool jazz piano, teaches higher mathematics at the University of Detroit--and is also blind himself. His name is Abraham Nemeth, and his 'Nemeth Code of Braille Mathematics' has made the world's technical and scientific learning available to thousands of sightless high school and college students. This at a moment when our survival may rest on science and mathematics....
"Blind since he was six weeks old, Abe Nemeth breezed through special classes for the blind in New York City. Breezed, that is, through every subject except one: arithmetic... With an IQ of 148, 'genius' level, Abe Nemeth could learn just about anything he put his mind to. But the thing he wanted more than anything was to go to college and major in advanced mathematics. And that, well-meaning guidance counselors advised him, was, for a blind man, an 'unattainable' goal. Accepting the 'sensible' alternative, Nemeth went through college to an M.A. in psychology at Columbia University. Then he bumped into a stone wall. There were no jobs for blind psychologists. With two degrees in his pocket, he took a wartime job stiching pillowcases....
" 'I'd rather be an unemployed blind mathematician than an unemployed blind psychologist,' he told himself, and went back to Brooklyn College at night as a mathematics undergraduate. 'If you're ever going to become a college professor yourself,' his bride said logically, 'you'll have to learn how to write.' ... Florence worked with him as a first-grade teacher does with a six-year-old, helping his fingers learn to make unseen lines of ink on paper and chalk on a blackboard.
"Every college in the country automatically exempted blind students from 'required' math and laboratory science courses. Even special schools for the blind went only as far as high school algebra.
Beyond that, there were no Braille books of mathematics, no way of writing them even if anybody wanted to. In order to wrestle with college mathematics at all, Nemeth had to invent a way of expressing unbelievably complicated mathematical symbols and concepts in Braille as he went along. Advance mathematics relies not only on numbers, but on letters of the English alphabet, the Greek alphabet and others. Hundreds of symbols are needed. Nemeth first figured out ways to make the 63 available Braille symbols do triple and quadruple duty. Then he converted every problem into uniform little dots evenly spaced along a level line--everything from simple fractions and 'plus' and 'minus' signs to cube roots and logarithm tables....
"In 1950, the American Joint Uniform Braille Committee, consisting of ranking American and English educators of the blind, both sighted and sightless, listened to Nemeth explain his Code. A year later, a national conference adopted the Nemeth Code by acclamation, and since 1954, all math texbooks printed for the blind on this continent have been in Nemeth Code.
"In 1955, the University of Detroit hired Nemeth to teach theoretical mathematics to sighted college students, something no other blind person had ever done. His schedule runs the gamut from a freshman math survey to differential calculus. 'Putting problems on the blackboard isn't difficult,' says Nenneth. 'The first line of writing goes at the top of the board--level with the top of my head. The next line is at my eye level, the third at chin level, the one after that at chest level. You just work down.' Elementary....
"Nemeth will soon receive his Ph.D. in mathematics from Wayne State University, a key scientific doctorate earned by fewer than 250 Americans each year. Now completing his Ph.D thesis on the mathematics of 'electronic brains,' he operates a big I.B.M. digital computer regularly, in the course of an original investigative project which, he admits, is 'right up there on the frontier' of basic research.
"In a world that pushes most of us into compromises and second choices, Abraham Nemeth, who is doing the only work he ever wanted to, considers himself 'a fortunate man.' "
From the CNIB National News: "Although totally blind as the result of a freak accident in 1954, Bill Robson, a 34 year old farmer, is operating his 110-acre farm three miles west of Peterborough, Ontario. The young farmer has a herd of 40 Holsteins. There are 14 cows milking at the present time . Bill looks after the milking and other farm work in much the same manner as he did before his accident. Bill gets up at 5:30 A. M. He is able to prepare feed for his herd and put it in the stalls. He can put the milking machines on the cows; then he brings out the pails to be emptied by a helper, either his wife or the hired man. Machinery on the farm is still serviced by Bill. He can take apart and assemble the many parts of a milking machine. Some time ago he put a new crank shaft and bearings in the threshing machine. With some help he removed an axle on the hayrake, straightened it and replaced it."
And from the same source: "George Walters, who lost his sight when he was seven years old when a dynamite cap exploded, is maintenance man for all the motor equipment of the borough of New Brighton. It is his job to see to it that nineteen pieces of equipment, ranging from bulldozers to fire trucks and police cars, are ready to roll when needed. He rebuilds and replaces the relays on all stop and go lights in the borough, but he has never seen one work.
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Col. E. A. Baker, President of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, has called my attention to a misstatement which appeared in the article entitled "World Council Policy" in the April issue of the Braille Monitor. I stated that one item in the questionnaire requested my views as to whether the Dyckmans correspondence should be sent to all other members of the Executive Committee. I should have stated that the question was whether the Dyckmans correspondence should be sent to all the member's of the Council and its Consultative and Standing Committees who are not at present serving on the Executive Committee and not just to the American and Canadian members, as Col. Baker thinks my statement implied.
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Paul Kirton, who returned to Madison on June 18, reports that some Monitor readers have complained to him that many articles are unsigned and have no by-line. Unless otherwise specified, it may be assumed that the articles in question have been written by the Editor. This will not be the case, however, for the September and October issues--which will be prepared by others because Darlene and I will be out of the country from July 29 until Sept. 20. More about this else- where.
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by Jesse Anderson
The convention was held on May 24 in the auditorium of the Murray B. Allen Center for the Blind and was called to order by President Ralph Cracroft.... The President welcomed everyone and introduced Donald W. Perry, Executive Secretary of the Utah Commission for the Blind, who... gave a brief report of the activities of the Commission during the past year. He expressed his pleasure in having secured the services of Mr. Fred Whitney, who will supervise the new Eye Care and Prevention of Blindness program (which I sponsored and pushed through the legislature).... Mr. Perry was followed by William Shelton who presented several proposed amendments to the constitution. These were long overdue for action, and they were accepted tentatively by the assembly. Under Utah law it will be necessary to obtain the vote of at least 51 percent of our total membership to put the amendments into force...
The President then introduced Alvin Pack, who is an expert on electronics, and Mr. Pack delivered a very stirring address on some of the new possibilities which are opening in the field of electronics--many of them offering new opportunities for the blind...
I was appointed as Chairman of the Resolutions Committee, so you can imagine what happened to my noon hour.... Our Committee brought in a total of 8 resolutions, two of which I will briefly mention. The first one provides that the president shall set up a committee to make a study as to why blind persons who are otherwise qualified are denied teachers' certificates.... Another resolution instructs the president to appoint a Study Committee to recommend better voting procedures for the Association....
The election resulted as follows: President, William Nichol; Secretary, Ruth Anderson; Treasurer, Mrs. Jean Daniels. It is planned that the president or some other state Board member will be sent as chairman of the Utah delegation to the national convention in Boston and that each of the chapters will be authorized to send a delegate. These delegates have been instructed to caucus on important matters and the majority vote of this caucus will be cast as Utah's vote.
The banquet was held at 6:30 P.M. and we were all inspired with the powerful address of Dr. tenBroek....
There were at least 159 persons present at the convention, which was a wonderful representation for our state....
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We have all been shocked and grieved to learn of the death of Don Heuer, President of the Northern Nevada Chapter of the Nevada Federation of the Blind. This makes the third severe loss which our Nevada affiliate has suffered in recent years. First Marion Keele, then John Cashman, and now Don Heuer. In a letter to Catherine Callahan, Kenneth Jernigan writes:
"... He was one of the most devoted and sincere workers in our movement. There are few people who really deserve to be called dedicated, but Don was certainly one. In many ways Don Heuer represented all that is best in the Federation. He was not financially independent, but he was always willing to share what he had with other blind people and to use his time and resources to promote the interests of the organization. In the best sense of the word he was a humble man; yet, he was absolutely unconquerable in his determination to fight for the rights of the blind in their attempt to gain equality and recognition. He was not self-seeking. He was warm and impulsive and at times almost rash and impatient in his efforts to help his fellow blind, but if these are faults they are faults which I would to God more of our leaders possessed. Don Heuer was a man. I was proud to call him my friend...."
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"Dear Mr. Card: I feel sure that the following information will be of interest to you and may contain certain information you would like to use in the Monitor, as it definitely indicates that the Blind of W. Va. are actively working in their own behalf. It is well established policy that as many of our blind who are members of the W. Va. Federation of the Blind participate in carrying out the work of the Federation. This policy it is the opinion from one who is not blind, myself to be exact, has made and will continue to make a good impression with the public, because it proves that the thinking of the Blind has developed from 'Let George do it' to 'Let's do it ourselves.' As a result of this type of thinking, the following events have taken place in the short space of one month.
"First, a program has been started to provide the blind children of W. Va. with two weeks vacation at Camp Galahad. The five affiliates of our Federation each pledged $25.00, which is the cost of sponsoring one child to the camp. It seems that the interested people arrived at the approximate cost of $25.00. However, since membership fees in the newly formed association, W. Va. Camping Association for Blind Children, is $1.00 per year, in addition to the $25.00 already pledged by each affiliate, the Wheeling group secured 73 additional members totaling $114.00; Pakersburg 2 members. $2.00; Charleston one member, $30.00; Huntington 9 members, $9.00. In addition, the Alumni Association for the Blind donated $100.00. This, you see, Mr. Card, is adequate proof that the blind of W. Va. are willing to participate in programs to benefit each other, The amount donated by these various groups has made it possible for at least 15 blind children to enjoy the privileges of Camp Galahad during the weeks between June 7th and June 21.
"The Federation, from what I can learn, is always willing to prove its usefulness in programs that will directly benefit the blind.
"You may be interested in knowing that the W. Va. Camping Association for Blind Children has elected several of our Federationists to key offices in the Association. Chris Cerone is Vice-President and one of the Directors; Victor Gonzales is also a Director; and the Secretary of the Federation is a member of the only permanent committee.
"During the morning session of May 28th of the Alumni Association, Chris Cerone was asked to Speak concerning the National Federation and its affiliate, the W. Va. Federation of the Blind. During the afternoon of the same day, a resolution was adopted by the Alumni Association to affiliate itself with the W. Va. Federation of the Blind, with the understanding that it will adjust its constitution to meet the specific requirements of the Federation.... The following resolution was adopted:
"Whereas, rapid changes are constantly taking place in our present economic and social life; and Whereas, due to these rapid changes an organization, such as our Alumni Association, can not make satisfactory progress without the need of other organizations; and Whereas, there has been a great effort exerted by some of the Blind to obtain a mutual understanding among the Blind so that a single program could be formulated and presented to our legislature for their approval and enactment; and Whereas, in the past this same inability to get together has prevented the enactment of a beneficial program.
"Therefore be it resolved that the West Virginia Alumni Association of the Blind become affiliated with the West Virginia Federation of the Blind, Inc.,... "Mabel Griffith, Wheeling, W. Va.
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(Ed. Note--In June an urgent Legislative Bulletin was prepared by John Taylor, Chief of Staff of the NFB Washington office, and circulated to all Presidents of state and local affiliates. The first part of his Bulletin, in somewhat abbreviated form, is presented below. The last part, calling for wires and letters to Congressmen, is omitted because, by the time you receive this issue, Congress will already have acted, or failed to act on the social security measures it has been considering.)
As a result of long and persistent efforts to secure action during this session of Congress, on June I6th the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives began holding public hearings on amendments to the Social Security Act. After conclusion of these hearings on June 27th, the committee will commence executive consideration of several proposals now before it. On June 17th, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, President of the National Federation of the Blind, appeared before the committee and delivered a very strong statement of the Federation's views. His testimony was very well received by the committee. Dr. tenBroek's testimony related primarily to H. R. 8131 (the King Bill), H. R. 12269 (the Curtis Bill) and H. R. 8473 (the Baring Bill) which abolishes residence requirements as a condition of eligibility for aid to the blind. Mrs. Alma Murphey, President of the Missouri Federation of the Blind, and William Taylor, representing the Pennsylvania Federation of the Blind, also presented statements in support of H. R. 12269, our Missouri-Pennsylvania permanent solution bill. The January and June issues, respectively, of the Braille Monitor contain rather detailed explanations of the King and Curtis Bills; therefore, only a brief summary of the major provisions will be included in this bulletin.
The King Bill (H. R. 8131) does the following seven things:
1. It permits casual earnings up to $1,000 per year without diminution of aid payments. This principle has already been recognized in the law the $50 per month (or $600 per year) earned income exemption. The King Bill extends it to $1,000 per year.
2. It further extends this principle by exempting one-half of the earnings in excess of $1,000.
3. It requires the states to disregard not less than $3,000 of real and personal property, assessed valuation less incumbrances. This is not as large an amount as some states now exempt but it must be remembered that it is a minimum which the states must exempt.
4. It extends the principle to its logically ultimate conclusion by requiring the states to disregard all income and resources whatsoever necessary for the fulfillment of an approved plan for achieving self-support.
5. It requires equal minimum payments to all recipients of aid to the blind in a state. This tends to place a floor under aid payments, below which they can not fall.
6. It abolishes the obnoxious legal responsibility of relatives concept and forbids any state to take it into consideration. It also forbids the imposition of a lien or any requirement of reimbursement for aid received.
7. It changes the matching formula so as to require the federal government to pay $30 of the first $35 paid to an individual and one-half of the amount from $35 to $75. This means that the federal government would match aid payments up to $75 per recipient rather than the present $60. This is really a long overdue recognition of the rising cost of living.
The Curtis Bill (H. R. 12269). Both Missouri and Pennsylvania have additional programs for aid to the blind which are financed entirely from state funds and are primarily more liberal than the federally approved plans. The Social Security Administration seeks to force Pennsylvania and Missouri to abolish their more liberal state financed programs in order to receive federal funds for their federally approved plans. H. R. 12269 requires the Social Security Administration to provide federal funds for federally eligible programs even though the state has another program for aid to the blind financed entirely from state funds. Its enactment can not possibly cost the federal government a single dollar. It merely protects the right of any state to establish a more liberal plan for aid to the blind.
The Baring Bill (H. R. 8473) abolishes residence requirements as a condition of eligibility for aid to the blind and permits blind persons to follow the course of economic opportunity.
Conclusion . May I conclude by emphasizing that the adoption of H. R. 12269, 8131 and H. R. 8473 will mean that the self-support and self-care provisions written into the law through the 1956 Amendments have at last found definite implementation. It will mean that public assistance for the blind has finally emerged fronn the medieval heritage of the poor laws--with their niggardly philosophy of the means test, the enforcement of relatives' responsibility, and individual need individually determined--into the modern atmosphere appropriate to a free and prosperous society: a climate in which the needs of dignity and decency, of economic independence and social inter-independence, are recognized alongside the primeval need of shelter and subsistence. The outmoded philosophy of aid was the product of an economy of scarcity, and reflected a pessimistic and despairing view of the capacities of the handicapped and needy; the new philosophy, affirmatively embodied in H. R. 8131, is the product of our economy of abundance and reflects the confident view of the world's most powerful and productive nation that all of its citizens should be guaranteed a fair opportunity to prove their worth and make their way--in short, to attain the goals of self-care and self-support.
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From the Visually Handicapped Views:"... The afternoon meeting (June 14) opened with a speech by Charles G. Ritter, Consultant, American Foundation for the Blind. Mr. Ritter had his display of tools and aids for the blind in the back of the meeting hall. He spoke on the need to develop tools and aids to help the majority of people. He also presented the thought that perhaps the foremost needs of the blind were for canes, color identification, and reading.
"Dr. C. M. Kerschner, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Service to the Brookings, was the next speaker. Dr. Kershner spoke on the progress of the Optical Aids Clinic which was initiated in March, 1957. He had brought with him some of the special charts which are used for examination of those with low vision. He also had with him a megascope. Dr. Kershner presented the thought that those who have never been able to see or those who have not been able to see for some time must be re-educated to recognize an object or a letter when they see it. He left with the group the thought that any vision no matter how small is worth preserving....
"The speech by Howard H. Hanson, Director of the Service to the Blind, brought the meeting to a close.... Mr. Hanson said that a fish creel project is still under way and an outlet is just beginning to develop. A training center is being started on the Rosebud Reservation. When speaking of plans for the future, Mr. Hanson said he hoped it would be possible to add a home industry supervisor to the staff. This year for the first time the Service was able to place blind dictaphone-typists.... The Service has purchased a Soundscriber which will be in the Sioux Falls office. "With this it will be possible to transcribe textbooks for students attending colleges. Mr. Hanson closed his speech with the information that the Service to the Blind of South Dakota was I6th in the nation in placements and 3rd in the region.
"The banquet speaker was the Hon. Gov. Joe Foss, who told the group that he was sympathetic to their problems particularly the one in regard to the School for the Blind and that he would do every thing he could to facilitate the move.
"The representative of the NFB, Kenneth Jernigan, spoke Saturday morning. Mr. Jernigan has recently been appointed Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind. He outlined the history of organizations which worked with blind people and the history of the National Federation of the Blind, an organization of blind people.
"Dean Sumner was re-elected President and also chosen delegate to the NFB convention. Appointments to the Interim Committee (Board of Directors) were as follows: Dean Sumner, Rueben Poppen, Howard H. Hanson, Agnes Zachte and Vernon Williams in addition to Lester Marshall, Walter A. Hack, Raymond Melhoff, Arnold Auch and Kelton Benton."
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From the National News of the Blind (Canadian National Institute for the Blind): "Tom Smith tells how he recently outwitted a thief--and saved himself twenty-seven dollars. Tom met a stranger downtown who took a liking to him. The stranger offered to take him home, and even wanted to help him up his own steps. Somehow Tom tripped over an outstretched foot, and when he got up and straightened around, he found his wallet was gone and so was the helpful stranger.
"But Tom knew where to find his 'pal', and later that day they met again at the local police station. The policeman held twenty-seven dollars in his hand, but there was no wallet, no other evidence, only five crumpled bills.
"'How can I tell if this money was stolen from you or not?' asked the policeman. 'It's easy,' said Tom, 'If those bills are folded in half that way, and then in half this way, and if the "ones" are on the outside and the "tens" inside, then that's my money.' "They were folded that way. Tom got his money and the stranger got locked up."
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Said Captain M. C. Robinson, National Director for Western Canada, CNIB: "I am very happy to announce that we have completed arrangements for the first low rental housing project for the blind in Canada and he told of the plans for the CNIB Villas.
"Designed by West Coast architect Charles E. Craig, this history-making project will be located in Victoria. The site will be fully landscaped. Lawns, paved walks and rampways will surround the five ranch-style stucco and cedar-panelled units, built on a gentle terraced slope overlooking Beacon Hill Park and the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Under low-pitched roofs, the five duplex and semi-detached buildings will contain fourteen apartments for blind married couples and single persons. Each apartment will feature cork tile flooring throughout and maximum insulation. Apartments will be heated individually, with thermostatically controlled electric units. Wide picture windows will mean brighter, sunlit rooms, where elderly blind pensioners and others of modest income can live brighter, independent Lives.
"Rents for these attractive, fully contemporary units will be set well within the means of blind pensioners, and will include stove, refrigerator, heat, water and light. To keep rents as low as possible, it is hoped to amortize the project over a period of from 40 to 50 years."
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The Braille Monitor extends congratulations and best wishes to the Braille Technical Press, 984 Waring Avenue, New York 69, N. Y. and its Editor, Mr. Robert Gunderson, on the completion of its eighth year as the leading Braille publication in its field. Mr. Donald J. S. Merten, President of the BTP., stated recently:
"... Through its pages our magazine has opened to blind people in all parts of the world radio and electronics.... We know that a number of our readers have been able to find employment in the radio and electronics industry--thanks to BTP. However, there is much yet to be done.... More blind technicians must be placed and additional literature must be published if the job of training blind persons in radio and electronics is to go forward."
My good friend Bob Dupont, of Rochester, N. Y. who sent me the above statement, comments as follows: "As the name implies the magazine is solely devoted to the technical side of radio, recording and electronics, which includes a comprehensive study of basic theory in electronics and is really a textbook in itself. Each month Mr. Gunderson devotes a section of the magazine to theory, typing it into the actual construction of equipment, chiefly for the use of the amateur radio enthusiast, but also for the benefit of radio servicemen and even television repairmen.... Mr. Gunderson has designed equipment to enable blind people to read voltage, current, resistances, in fact most all electrical measurements which can read. Moreover, this equipment far surpasses anything of comparable cost now on the market and compares most favorably with the best laboratory equipment available.... I feel that Mr. Gunderson deserves commendation and is a shining example of many brilliant lights among the blind. He has done much to help the blind enter an area where it was thought only the sighted could function successfully...."
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by H. Smith Shumway and Ray Parsons
(condensed by Paul Kirton)
One of the most unique projects which occurs throughout the country and in which the blind are given the opportunity to participate is the Wyoming Lions Summer School for the Blind. It has been held annually for the past twelve years at the Casper Lions Club Camp, located on Casper Mountain at an elevation of 8,400 ft. It is unique because of its location, its organization, its objectives and its activities.
Financial support for the school is obtained from the Wyoming State Lions Clubs, the State Department of Public Health and Welfare and the State Department of Education. The first two pay for the transportation of the students to and from the school, for the food, materials used in instruction of arts and crafts and for the salaries of the cooks, nurse and handyman. The salaries of the instructors are paid for by the State Department of Public Education.
As for the organization of the school's activities, scheduled classes are organized by Mr. H. Smith Shumway, Director of the Wyoming State Division of the Deaf and Blind, who is also Director of the Wyoming Lions School. Classes in various arts and crafts are held for four periods each day and organized entertainment and recreation are planned for each evening. In order to develop initiative, to delegate more responsibility and to promote more interest in the functions of the school program, such committees as the penalty committee, the safety committee and the recreation committee were organized.
At the last session of the school the personnel was comprised of Mr. Shumway, Director, eight teachers, a general staff, and 40 students ranging in age from 16 to 88 years.
The major objectives of the school are to improve the status of the blind physically, educationally, psychologically, philosophically, socially and economically. In coming to the school for the first time, some of the students are unable to travel about alone, but after being at the school for a short time many of them are able to get around with a considerable degree of independence and self-confidence. Some of the students use white canes for assistance even in cross-country traveling. Hiking, walking and various other exercises help the students a great deal in the area of physical restoration. The experiences gained through the school develop initiative, restore self-confidence and give the student an entirely new outlook on life.
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Our Montana affiliate held its annual convention in Bozeman on July 11, 12 and 13. A last-minute report from Paul Kirton, who represented the NFB, contains the names of the new officers and trustees elected. In Montana only part of the officers are elected at each convention. This year the following were chosen: 2nd Vice-President, Luella McVeda, Lewistown; 3rd Vice-President, Delos Kelley, Billings; Secretary, Laura Lindenfield (home town not listed); trustee for southern district, Mrs. Jessie Marsh, Bozeman; trustee for northern district, Agnes Francis, Great Falls. The addition of a low vision clinic to the annual summer school was discussed. Paul reports that he found the Montana people to be just about the most friendly and warmhearted group he has encountered anywhere and that he made many new friends.
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The following is an excerpt from a letter written on July 7 to John Taylor by Mr. H. Richard McCamant of Government Services Administration:
"... GSA currently is operating 11 one position and 33 two position switchboards throughout the country. Current data are not available concerning switchboards operated by other Federal activities. However, in a nationwide survey of independently operated switchboards which was conducted by GSA in June, 1955, 572 switchboards reported were of one and two positions. This figure was exclusive of military installations, veterans hospitals and certain other excepted categories. The metropolitan area of Washington, D. C. also was included.
"We believe it safe to conclude that, even if the figure of 572 switch-boards reported in 1955 has been reduced considerably in the intervening years, the field of opportunity for the employment of blind telephone operators on government switchboards is fairly large, provided arrangements can be made for obtaining the proper equipment from the telephone company and for providing Braille reference material without excessive cost....
"We agree that GSA should co-operate in facilitating the employment of blind telephone operators throughout the Government....
"We have been told by the American Telephone & Telegraph Company that the normal lapse of time between receipt of an individual order for touch-pilot equipment and delivery of the equipment is approximately twenty weeks. If a quantity order were placed, a somewhat better delivery time might be possible...."
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Several years ago, at the urgent request of our Idaho affiliate, the National Federation sent a survey team to investigate the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind. Conditions were found to be deplorable and the exposure which followed the survey report was largely instrumental in the departure of the aging superintendent. The Idaho Newsletter (whose editor is Mrs. Alice Marie Walker of Boise), reports that the Executive Board of the Gem State Blind recently accepted an invitation from the present superintendent to visit the school and observe the progress made since he took over. The account reads, in part:
"Heretofore, deaf and blind students had classes and living quarters together. Today, blind students have separate classes and dormitories. Older blind girls have private rooms. All rooms are equipped with roomy wardrobes. Guest room and recreational parlor creates homey atmosphere with installation of wool carpets for floors, appropriate furniture for comfort, and radio-television for entertainment. House parents, as well as faculty, meet regularly with Mr. Parmer to discuss problems of the blind students. All teachers of the blind students are required to know Braille. Blind students are taught to travel about the campus and community with ease and safety. When Gooding High School offers courses not available at the State School for the Blind, students are permitted to enroll. Blind girls are required to participate in Home Economics classes, instead of listening to a description of procedure, as was the former method. Only books written in Braille Grade Two will be retained in the library. Former students commented that good Braille maps were scarce during their student days, but were delighted that students this year were learning geography from Brailled maps they could study by touch. The writing of correct Braille is stressed and ample practice is provided, using both pocket slate and Braillewriter. Exceptional students are allowed to progress according to their natural abilities. The visitors suggested that more manual arts courses be provided with the idea of preparing more blind students for a larger variety of trades requiring manual and finger dexterity. Principal Parmer, who is himself visually handicapped, has gained the fond admiration of his students."
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A Japanese newspaper (The Mainechi) is the only one in the world that publishes a regular weekly edition in Braille.
On June 16, Mr. Albert Wylaz, who operates a stand at the Rochester General Hospital, was re-elected to a second term as president of the Rochester Chapter of the Empire State Association of the Blind.
The Braille Mirror reports that there was quite a furor in Holland last year when Queen Juliana called in a faith healer to treat her 11 year-old daughter. Princess Maria Katrina, who is blind in one eye and has only partial vision in the other. Eventually the faith healer was replaced by skilled medical men. The little princess had also been a victim of overprotection but this policy was reversed and she was allowed to tumble, to absorb the normal number of bumps and bruises, and to associate freely with sighted children. She now rides a bicycle to school and this has caused many to believe her sight has been restored, but her physicians admit there has been no improvement.
From the CNIB National News:"... Esther Williams, who has been a star in films and a former swimming champion, is now giving part of her time to teaching swimming to young pupils in the Los Angeles School for the Blind."
A study carried on by the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness, and reported in the June New Outlook, shows that the incidence of blindness in school children caused by infectious diseases has decreased 75 percent since 1933; the incidence from accidents has decreased 47 percent in the same period. This last is attributed in part to legislation against fire works and B-B guns. The study shows that in 1907, 28 percent of all cases of blindness in children resulted from infection at birth, (ophthalmia neonatorum), but by 1955 this had decreased to one-tenth of one percent. The only cause of blindness which happens to be on the increase is that resulting from tumors of the eye or the brain. The study also shows that at the present time 131 blind boys enter school for every 100 girls.
From the CNIB National News: "A new opportunity for the blind girls of the CNIB has been provided by the Venture Club of Ottawa in a six-weeks' charm course including exercise, makeup and hair styling...."
We have been requested to insert the following notice: "The annual convention of the Missouri Federation of the Blind will be held on Sept. 27 and 28 at the Melbourne Hotel in St. Louis, Mo. Dr. Jacobus tenBroek will be the banquet speaker and Kenneth Jernigan will appear on Sunday--his subject, 'NFB Philosophy.' The Missouri Federation is looking forward to seeing its many friends from near and far and everyone is welcome. Send reservations to the Melbourne Hotel, with carbons to Norma Paplanus, 4567A Athlone Ave., St. Louis, Mo. The banquet ($3.00) will be held on the evening of Sept. 27."
Mr. C. C. White, who was the first president of the W. Va. Federation of the Blind, and who has operated the stand at the Huntington Post Office for 23 years, is retiring July 1. The stand will be taken over by Kay Howard of Borderland who has been operating a similar stand in the Court House at Beckley for five years.
From the Illinois Newsletter; "A new local affiliate is being formed in the Galesburg area. President O'Shaughnesay and Victor Buttram have attended two meetings and feel that the group is well on its way. The organization is the Galesburg District Association of the Visually Handicapped. David Rutledge and his wife Mary have worked hard to get the group together. The local Lions Club have been most helpful. Mr. David Rutledge has been elected president.... Net returns from the annual dance sponsored by the Illinois Federation, and which took place on May 3rd are expected to be between $1700 and, $1800....Plans are being made to put the News-letter in Braille for Braille readers. We hope to do this for the September or October issue. This will be made possible through the interest and co-operation of Mr. Leo J. Flood, Supt., Illinois Braille and Sight Saving School, and Mr. L. W. Rodenberg of the Printing Department...."
Dr. Samuel P. Hayes, renowned for his achievements in the field of psychological research on blindness, died on May 8. Dr. Hayes was particularly concerned with the administration and interpretation of intelligence tests for blind children and wrote many articles on the subject. The adaptation of the Stanford-Binet test as an intelligence test for the blind was a result of the labors of Dr. Hayes and is now used in many schools for the blind in this country and abroad.
A new and very enthusiastic chapter of the New Hampshire Federation of the Blind was organized in Berlin in May, with Xavier Vaillan-court as its first president.
From the Employment Counselor's Newsletter (Octave J. Bourgeois, New Orleans, La., Editor): "Mr. Louis H. Rives, Jr. is now Acting Chief of the Division of Services to the Blind in O. V. R. Mr. H. Burton Aycock has been transferred to his present position as Associate Regional Representative of Region III, Charlottesville, Va."
... From Nevada, "George Magers is having to start his entire program from 'scratch' .... Russell Maki, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, has transferred from Wisconsin to work with him.... They report 'We are working on the designing of a vending stand location at Boxilder Dana, which we believe will prove one of the most lucrative in the country. This location will be the only snack bar in the area. We are also establishing a business enterprise for a former police chief who is now blind. His work will consist in reloading both shotgun and police pistol shells. We have placed an individual in the American Linen Company Laundry in Las Vegas, and another is to start work the first of June in a small laundry in Tonopah, Nevada. We have another partially sighted young man who started the 15th of May as a trailer court manager. We have a totally blind man developing a small business enterprise--he will manufacture surveying stakes for the county and state highway departments.'"
Our Oregon people are extremely anxious to welcome out-of-state visitors to their annual convention at the Washington Hotel in Portland on Sept.13 and 14.
From the California Alumni Bulletin: "Beginning with this issue, (April, 1958, the Alumni Bulletin will appear as a Talking Book as well as in Braille and print editions. It will occupy both sides of a 12-inch record. The subscription price will be $3 per year for individuals and $5 a year for clubs and groups.... One of the important items to be handled at last fall's Council convention was the establishment of a loan fund. The fund was established after careful preliminary work and on the recommendation of a committee under the chairmanship of Miss Dorothy Glass of San Francisco. The primary purpose of the loan fund was to make credit available to blind people and to assist them in rehabilitating themselves. Miss Glass reports that the loan fund has grown to the sum of $2,174.87. A request for one loan was for part of the purchase price of a small business and was approved. The remainder of the price was to be put up by Rehab but with its usual ineptness and red tape, Rehab dilly-dallied until the business had been sold to another buyer."
Excerpt from the annual report of the Hadley Correspondence School for the Blind: "In the United States our blind population of 330,000 is increasing with a net gain of 5,000 a year. The number of those blind who use Braille remains about the same from year to year--approximately 12,000 according to the Library of Congress. However, some 50,000 do use recorded books. With our recording facilities in operation, we are beginning to put our course on tape so as to reach more and more of the adult blind...."
The Nebraska Observer reports that Mr. and Mrs. John Sneddon have purchased a dairy farm near Jenkins, Mo, and have removed to their new home. Mr. Sneddon has been president of the Nebraska Council of the Blind since its very beginning. Jack Swager, of Omaha, first vice-President. becomes the new Council president. The Observer announces that it plans to issue a Braille edition and those desiring to receive it may write to 2709 Leavenworth St., Omaha.
Jimmy Sletten (whom some of you will remember as the final speaker at the Testimonial Breakfast in New Orleans), has a tiny granddaughter, on whom he dotes. "Grandfather," she asked, looking up at him wide-eyed, "Were you in the Ark with Noah?" "No, my dear, I am afraid not," he answered, "Then why," she demanded, "weren't you drownded?"
The Iowa Association of the Blind realized the net profit on its 1958 White Cane Week drive of $582.10 It divided this sum into two equal parts and allocated one to the National White Cane Week Connmittee. It then voted to contribute the other half, which would have been the state's share., to the NFB Endowment Fund.
Allan W. Sherman, Director of the Cleveland Society for the Blind since 1949, has resigned to become Director of the New York Association for the Blind, popularly known as "The Lighthouse," in New York City. Sherman's appointment to succeed Dr. Philip S. Piatt, retiring Oct. 15, is being announced in New York following the acceptance "with regret" of Sherman's resignation by trustees of the Cleveland Society. Mr. Sherman's successor has not been named. Those who attended the San Francisco convention in 1956 will recall that Allan Sherman was a featured speaker at that gathering.
When Paul Kirton and I visited Rochester last fall we were asked for suggestions as to what activities would help this group achieve community status. We offered a few suggestions. Since then the Rochester chapter has done the letter stuffing for the eye bank, marched as a chapter in the name of the NFB during the eye bank solicitation campaign, made unlimited use donations to the blood bank and is doing the proof reading for a Braille transcription project carried on by the Temple B'rith Kodesh of Rochester.
Mrs. Evonne Eick, formerly of Illinois, is the president of the San Diego Braille Club, an affiliate of the California Council of the Blind, and represents her organization in the San Diego County Federated Women's Clubs. At the last annual report meeting, Evonne reported on the Kennedy Bill and explained how important its enactment is to all of the blind. Her presentation was greated with applause and aroused real interest. The Federated Women's Clubs adopted a resolution supporting the Kennedy Bill and urging its seventy member-clubs to write letters to California's Senators in support of it. It is believed that most or all of the clubs have done so. This is typical of Evonne's many accomplishments as a dedicated member of the organized blind movement.
From a Texas correspondent: "The Lone Star State Federation of the Blind, in organizing a Federal Credit Union, has placed Texas on the map as the fourth state that has a credit union owned and operated by the blind themselves. Having secured its federal charter on March 20, 1958, this new credit union operates in accordance with the same laws as other credit unions and its advantages are available to all the members of the Lone Star State Federation of the Blind and their immediate families, through its seven affiliated local chapters. 45 members throughout the state purchased shares during the first month, with the Dallas Chapter leading. This credit union has already issued small loans to some of its members and as funds increase money in larger amounts will be available to the membership as prescribed by law and approved by the Executive Board."
The Gem State Blind, Inc. will hold its annual state convention in Twin Falls, Idaho, at the Hotel Rogerson, August 22-24, 1958. Included in the plans are a business meeting both for the assembly and executive, banquets, dancing, bowling, swimming and picnics. The Twin Falls American Legion is acting as host.
From the Florida White Cane: "May 31st was a big day for the Sarasota Chapter of the Florida Federation of the Blind. It received its charter. The membership is growing and Walt Jones, its president expects the chapter to do big things this year for the advancement of the blind. He is ably assisted by Jim Huff, Sec'y-Treas.; James Everard, Vice-President and Larry Barton, membership chairman. This organization was formed in April and is the baby of the Federation ... Under the inspired leadership of Henry Salisman, the Marvin Roth Lodge took as its project for last year the establishing of an Art Museum for the blind. Since the blind must see with their fingers this museum consists of famous copies of statues and sculptures. Sculpture is an art the blind can readily understand, and it was with the thought that art knows no separate sighted and unsighted worlds that this museum of art for the blind is dedicated. The museum is located on the Florida Council for the Blind grounds in the Welch area of Daytona..... In Hialeah the Flamingo Lodge has recognized that the need of employment is the greatest problem of the blind today. This lodge has begun to tackle the problem in its area in a very practical way. A Committee was appointed to find employment for the blind in open industry. This committee under the active leadership of Mr. William G. Thompson and Mr. Leo Alrod has been successful in placing twenty blind persons in Miami.... White Cane Acres (summer camp sponsored by the Florida Federation) was incorporated on April 22 and its Board of Directors include a number of prominent Tampans who are sighted as well as the required majority of blind Federation members.. White Cane Week in Miami was opened with a big parade sponsored by the Junior Chamber of Commerce and possessing all the ingredients to make it a big success. On April 27 a 1/4 Midget Racers program was dedicated to the drive. On the 28th there was the same dedication at the Miami Sea-aquarium. On Friday the 29th, fight promoter Chris Dundee devoted his program to the Federation. The 30th was set aside for educational exhibits with displays in many of Miami's leading business houses. May 1st was radio and T. V. day and the week was closed out with a big celebration on May 3. The friendship of many organizations has been gained and the outlook for the future year made brighter in many ways...."
A letter from Mr. Harold Baxter, of Roseburg, Ore., reads in part: "Until two years ago the blind of Douglas County struggled along individually to fit into society and to make themselves useful. In many instances they met with discouragement and almost total failure. In November, 1955, a piano tuner, a doctor, a retired merchant, and three housewives, all of them blind, organized our chapter here in Roseburg. We became the sixth county chapter affiliated with the state organized blind. We now have eleven blind members and six associate members.... The enthusiasm of the members of this little blind group runs high as also does their impatience, but it is surprising to many how much can be accomplished collectively by even a few. At times progress seems unduly slow and discouraging but small results gained add up and are worth the effort.... Even though we are just a dot on the map and our talents are very limited, the organized blind of Douglas County feel important and proud to be a part of a great national federation of the blind.
Mr. Baxter also sent me a copy of a resolution adopted at the state convention of the Oregon Lions Clubs. The concluding portion is as follows: "... Now, therefore, be it resolved: That the Oregon State Lions assembled in annual convention this 20th day of June, 1958, re-affirm a basic policy in Lionism, to extend a friendly hand of encouragement to the blind, and Further be it resolved: That to the President of the Oregon Council of the Blind, Mr. R. Gerke of Coos Bay, Oregon and to the President of the National Federation of the Blind, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, Berkeley, California, letters of congratulation be sent by this convention for the gains that the organized blind have already made for themselves toward being independent, useful and happy citizens in society with a word to be given and a voice to be heard."
The Montana Observer contains an account of a blind man, Mr. Neil Thompson, of Billings, who has been confined to bed for the past nine years because of an incurable type of rheumatoid arthritis. It was suggested to him that, through the amputation of both legs at the hip, he could escape his long confinement in bed and operate a specially equipped wheelchair--and eventually secure employment. He eagerly grasped at this hope and was flown to Denver, where the operations were performed. In addition, reading vision was restored through an eye operation. He is strengthening his arms by means of an overhead trapeze and now confidently expects to become an independent wage earner. Such an indomitable spirit may well put to shame some of our contented rocking chair brethren who feel that their lack of vision is a sufficient excuse for lifelong inactivity.
From the Washington State White Cane: "A new aid for blind workers who ride public transit in Dallas, Texas, has been developed by the Director of the Dallas County Association for the Blind in co-operation with the public transit system of that city. This aid is a specially designed plastic card which is used to signal approaching city transit busses. The local Lions Club purchased the cards which are two sided and have large raised letters and figures showing bus numbers."
No one has sent the Braille Monitor a report on the June convention of the North Dakota Association of the Blind and the only information we have at this time is that Mr. Darrell Kline, of Mandan, was elected President, to succeed Dr. Rudolph Bjornseth.
From the Free Press (Wis.): "Henry A. Colgate, philanthropist who served the Seeing Eye, Inc. for 40 years, died recently in Morristown, New Jersey. He was President and Board Chairman of the organization for the past 17 years.... King Saud of Saudi Arabia is blind in one eye and has only limited vision in the other.... Calypso singer Henry Bellafonte recently spent a month with his eyes bandaged after surgery for a detached retina.... A type-writer that types Braille and the English alphabet simultaneously has been perfected by a Japanese inventor. Through use of the combination typewriter, sighted persons with no knowledge of Braille may correspond with blind persons. Helen Keller will receive the first English-Braille typewriter, according to the inventor. Manufacture of the dual machine will get under way as soon as financial backing for the project is obtained...."
From the Toledo Blade: "After three years of campaigning the Toledo Council of the Blind, Inc., which until now has met in the halls of other organizations, saved enough from cookie sales and contributions to buy a 10-room house at 524 Broadway." The chapter president, Douglas Valentine, writes that there will be a formal dedication the evening of August 29, at which Dr. Tennyson Guyer will be the principal speaker.
As the Monitor goes to press the Blinded Veterans Association is holding its four-day annual convention in Seattle, Wash., July 16-19. At the convention banquet on the evening of July 19 the B. V. A. Achievement Award will be presented to a blinded veteran who has been especially outstanding in his chosen field of employment and in his adjustment to daily living as a blind person. This year's award will go to Vincente Lopez, San Jose, California, who is a social worker in the employ of the Bureau for the Blind, Santa Clara County Welfare Department.
Braille writers are needed for Kansas public school students. Anyone having a Braille-writer for sale, rent or loan, send information to Mrs. Esther V. Taylor, Chairman, Education Committee, Kansas Association for the Blind, 216 N. 16th St., Kansas City, Kansas.
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