INK PRINT EDITION
VOICE OF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION Of THE BLIND
The National Federation of the Blind is not an organization speaking for the blind--it is the blind speaking for themselves
N. F. B. Headquarters
2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, Calif.
NOVEMBER ISSUE 1958
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 in
2010 with funding from
National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
SOME PARTY !
ULTRASOUND PROBES OPAQUE EYES
"THE CHAIN IS NOT SEVERABLE"
THE LIBRARY CONTROVERSY
NEW HAMPSHIRE CONVENTION
by Alma Murphey
THE LOUISIANA CONVENTION
by Bonnie Byington.
AN UNUSUAL COUNSELOR REPORTS
FROM OUR READERS
WEST VIRGINIA SURVEY
AN "EXPERT" ON BLINDNESS
WASHINGTON STATE SCHOOL
FROM THE WORLD COUNCIL NEWSLETTER
MORE VENDING MACHINE COMPETITION
by Col. Harold Reagan.
NORTH CAROLINA CONVENTION
by Mrs. Ruby L. Craddock.
A STATE EDITOR'S POINT OF VIEW
EYE RESEARCH REPORT
NEWEST STATE BULLETIN
IMPORTANT NEW POSTAL REGULATION
by John Miller.
BRAMMER JOINS JERNIGAN'S STAFF
by Stanhope Pier.
by Eva Gilbert and Rosamond Critchley
BIG PLANS FOR IOWA
by Kenneth Jernigan.
PROGRAM AND NEEDS OF THE IOWA COMMISSION FOR THE BLIND
FOR THE BIENNIUM 1959-1961
PROPOSED ORIENTATION AND ADJUSTMENT CENTER FOR THE BLIND
HERE AND THERE
In reply to an inquiry from the president of a state affiliate, Professor Floyd Matson, (who for many years has handled N.F.B. publicity for our national conventions and for other N.F.B. projects) wrote, in part:
''... Perhaps the first and most obvious point to make is that 'publicity' and 'public relations' for all practical purposes, mean press relations--and this in turn has two different implications. The first is your own publication or publications; the second is the commercial press, mainly the daily and weekly newspapers in your state.
"If at all possible, you should have a monthly newsletter or bulletin which would stand as an official organ of your state organization--as the Braille Monitor is the spokesman of the N.F.B. To be sure, organizing and successfully running such a publication is more readily said than done--but it has been done by a majority of N.F.B. state affiliates, and its virtues make it worthy of considerable effort. It provides a bulletin board for announcements, a platform for explanations, and a forum for discussion of your programs and policies. It helps to weld the membership, scattered over the state, into a united group and to give them a sense of communication and community with one another; in this respect an official publication is like a continuous convention.
"For such an enterprise to be successful you must have at least one member with drive and a modicum of journalistic ability to serve as editor and general manager. It will be up to him to enlist the contributions and support of the rest of the group.
"The organization of such a publication, as a center for the receipt and distribution of news, has an added value. The staff can be made responsible for circulation to the commercial press of every item of public interest or doctrinal significance. Someone, preferably the editor, should be on the alert for feature stories of achievement or discrimination involving blind people; and he should prepare releases on every speech and news development concerning the state federation. Moreover, wherever possible such contacts with the press should be made in person and regularly renewed. There is no substitute for knowing the newspaper reporters and editors, and enlisting their sympathetic cooperation.
"Another proven idea is the establishment of a speakers' bureau, made up of a few key Federationists able and willing to present your viewpoint and philosophy to clubs and civic groups of the state. They should be chosen for their ability to convey Federation philosophy and for those personal qualities of humor and humility, experience and achievement, which get across to a general audience. Naturally, publicity use should be made of every speech delivered.
"There are two kinds of service award which are of public relations value. One is the award to an outside individual, firm or group, conferred for outstanding work or good relations with the blind of the state--such as our own Newel Perry Award. The second is an award to a blind individual for personal achievement, courage, imagination, etc. There is rarely a lack of deserving people in both areas, and their recognition is a means of calling attention to problems and capabilities faced by the blind.
"Unless there is someone officially responsible for the job, your publicity will always be sporadic and uneven. If you can't hire a full-time man, you will need to depend upon the zeal of one of your members sufficiently dedicated to give up his own time to the project. His reward will have to lie in the esteem of his fellows and the consciousness of his own contribution to the cause of the organized blind."
back to contents
In the last issue of the Eyecatcher (New York) it enumerates in chronological order the program items of the state convention of the Empire State Association of the Blind, to be held later this month, (October) at the Powers Hotel in Rochester. Following the banquet, there is to be a cocktail party at 9:30 P.M. on Saturday, and (apparently with no break), the next item is announced to be a business meeting at 9 A. M. Sunday morning.
back to contents
From the October New Outlook for the Blind: "A new technique using ultrasound for more accurate diagnoses of certain eye diseases was demonstrated before the section on ophthalmology at the American Medical Association meeting in San Francisco in June. With the ultrasonic technique, a cross sectional view of the eye and the areas behind the eye may be obtained, even when the tissues are totally opaque to light, because the viewing is accomplished by high frequency sound waves instead of by light or X-ray. When the sound waves strike an object in their path, a return echo is set up. The ultrasonic echo is converted into electrical energy, which in turn, is converted into light. In the past, physicians have had no instruments for examining the areas behind the eye and so could only surmise what disease processes might be taking place in these areas...."
back to contents
Mr. Irving MacArthur, who is himself a blind piano tuner, and an active member of our Rochester, N.Y. chapter, has an interesting account in the Eyecatcher (New York) of the national convention which was held last July:
"... On Sunday afternoon and evening, there were special sessions for the blind tuners. Mr. Edward H. Menke, of Chicago, Editor of the Braille Piano Technician, presided. He is an experienced man with considerable knowledge covering both tuning and repairing of pianos. After discussing many problems pertinent to blind tuners, the subject turned to the necessity of establishing a relationship between tuner and dealer which would be stabilized throughout the country. When a tuner comes across a piano which is impossible to repair, it should be discarded. Naturally, it is the tuner's obligation to try to make a replacement with a new piano; however, this is where the tuner encounters his problem. There is a large degree of variance throughout the country with respect to the amount of money paid the tuner by the dealer; this payment runs from a few dollars to an entire commission. One advantage of attending a national convention is to discuss such subjects with a view toward solving the common problem.
"The convention setup was quite unique. The mornings were given over to workshops, such as tuning, refinishing, restringing and tone regulating. A member could make his choice and attend at his pleasure. The afternoon and evening sessions were for general purposes...."
back to contents
At the recent convention of the Washington State Association of the Blind, an inexperienced delegate stated that "... Local members are not state members, might not want to be state members, and might find state membership undesirable..."
Arnold Sadler, state president, sent out a statement to all who had attended the convention, which he called "Convention Reflection." Part of it follows:
"Such a statement could only be made in utter and complete ignorance of our customs and traditions. Ignorance is an evil which works evil and so ought to be challenged and expunged.... We are a living, moving, growing force in which each and every one of us is a vital element. Our local, state and national aspects are mere geographic conveniences. By membership in the local we have membership in the state; by membership in the state we have membership in the national. We of the locals, all of us together, are the state; we of the locals and states, all of us together, are the national. The chain is not severable. We cannot be a member of one and not the other two, or a member of two and not the other one....
"It was stated that this singleness of membership idea is discriminatory against those blind persons who might not want to join us all the way. Imagine arguing that our citizenship laws are discriminatory against foreigners because some of them might want to be citizens of our state, but not our nation!...
"The germ of the old "divide and destroy' disease is in the suggestion that singleness of membership might have undesirable results for the individual. The principal result of any membership is the sharing of responsibility for the organization. If this is undesirable to the individual, he should not join in the first place. If he does join, however, and then seeks to break us up into isolated groups just to enable him to shirk his responsibility, he is undesirability itself.
"Lest anyone should fear for our continued good name in N.F.B. circles,... the vast majority of us are ardent Federationists, proud to be counted on the rolls of every part of our organization."
back to contents
In view of the critical tone of the letter from Mr. Holben which appears in this issue and the statements by Mr. Ved Mehta and Mr. Earl Scharry which appeared in the October issue, and other communications published earlier in this magazine, our readers should be interested in excerpts from a September 17th letter written to John Taylor by Mr. Charles Gallozzi, Assistant Chief, Division for the Blind, Library of Congress:
"Replying to your request of September 11 , the Advisory Committee on Book Selection for the Blind consists of about twenty persons The members have been selected by the Library of Congress for their knowledge of book selection techniques and of the reading needs of blind persons We are currently adding some more local persons to this group and placing a specified time limit, possibly June 30,1960, so that a periodical review of the entire committee would be feasible. Would you be willing to discuss the possibility of your serving on the Committee?
"In addition to the Advisory Committee, every regional librarian for the blind, now thirty in number, form a parallel group with similar responsibilities. Their daily exposure to the requests, suggestions and complaints of their readers makes them well qualified. We also avail ourselves of the services of the specialists in every field of knowledge on the staff of the Library of Congress...."
back to contents
The first annual convention of the New Hampshire Federation of the Blind was held at the Grace Church in Manchester, on October 4th. Approximately 86 persons were in attendance at the banquet which featured three principal addresses. David Krause, of Washington, D.C., represented the N.F.B. and discussed Federation philosophy and the fast growing Federation family. John Mungovan, Director of Services for the Blind in Massachusetts, discussed the various aspects of his state's program for the blind. In introducing Mr. Mungovan, Franklin Van Vliet, the newly elected President of the New Hampshire Federation declared, "Mr. Mungovan exemplifies to perfection everything that an enlightened Director of a state agency for the blind should be." Mr. Mungovan, who has recently been appointed to his position for a full five-year term by the Governor of Massachusetts, stated that it was primarily through the efforts of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts, our N.F.B. affiliate in that state, that his appointment was acted upon favorably after many years of delay.
Mr. Mungovan was followed on the banquet program by United States Congressman Chester E. Merrow, a co-sponsor of our Right to Organize legislation. According to all reports, this was one of the finest Federation talks ever given by a United States Congressman. Mr. Merrow paid the highest possible tribute to the Federation philosophy and program, and he spoke in glowing terms of the caliber of Federation leadership. He pledged his continued support in behalf of our Right to Organize bill. Also present at the banquet were the President of the New Hampshire State Senate and the Speaker of the State House of Representatives. All pledged their complete support to the New Hampshire Federation and promised to work actively for legislation recommended by the Federation. Representatives of the press and radio of Manchester were also on hand to cover the banquet.
Speakers at the morning session of the convention included Carl Camp, Director of Services for the Blind in New Hampshire, Mary Sullivan, the only teacher of a sight-saving class in the state, and Mr. Tombs of the local Social Security office.
At the business session on Saturday afternoon, a new constitution was adopted and the following officers were elected: Franklin Van Vliet, R.F.D. 9, Penacook, President; Joseph Lacerte, Manchester, First Vice-President; Xavier Vaillancourt, Berlin, Second Vice-President; Edward Vachon, Manchester, Secretary; Jane Bedard, Nashua, Treasurer; John Jordan, Penacook, Director; Steve Buckley, Sandown, Director; and Annette Vaillancourt, Berlin, Director. It was voted to hold next year's convention in Berlin.
back to contents
By Alma Murphey
The biggest and best yet. That in a few words describes the 1958 convention of the Missouri Federation of the Blind, held at the Melbourne Hotel in St. Louis on September 27 and 28. Close to two hundred were registered for the conclave, which was climaxed with a Saturday evening banquet at which Dr. tenBroek was the featured speaker. Congressman Thomas. B. Curtis was presented with the M.F.B.'s Ellis Forshee Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution toward the preservation of Missouri's much-cherished dual blind assistance program.
The convention adopted some fourteen resolutions, including one calling for a $15 per month increase in the state's blind pension and aid-to-the-blind payments. Other resolutions called for a percentage-free independent vending stand program, a campaign to promote the employment of blind teachers in the resource classes of public schools in the state, and legislation making it illegal to label an item as "blind-made" unless 75 percent of the man-hours of labor required to manufacture the item was actually performed by persons who are legally blind. In still another resolution, the Missouri Federation voted to invite the National Federation of the Blind to hold its 1961 convention in Kansas City.
The M.F.B. emerged from this convention a stronger and more united organization than it has ever been before. Four new affiliates were admitted, bringing the total to ten. The new affiliates are: The Ozark Association of the Blind, The Hannibal Association of the Blind, The Bootheel Association of the Blind and The Business and Social Club of the Blind of St. Louis, the state's first colored chapter. The following officers were elected to serve for the next two years: Alma Murphey, from RITE of St. Louis, President; Gayford Allen of Springfield, Vice-President; Wenona Sucher of Ste. Genevieve, Recording Secretary; Gwenne Phillips of Kansas City, Corresponding Secretary; Earley (Cotton) Busby, Kansas City, Treasurer; Mrs. Fleta Forshee of the United Workers for the Blind, St. Louis, Board Member-at- Large and Mr. Donald Clarkson of Hannibal, Board Member-at- Large. The 1959 convention will be held in Kansas City.
back to contents
The Louisiana Federation of the Blind held its annual convention on October 4th at the New Orleans Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana. Delegates who arrived early enough attended the regular Friday evening meeting of the local chapter, which was followed by a meeting of the L.F.B. Board of Directors.
The Saturday morning session transacted routine business and heard reports from the delegates of the L.F.B. to the 1958 N.F.B. convention and also discussed state and national legislative activities. John Taylor began the afternoon session with a discussion of the 1958 Social Security Amendments and answered a number of questions from the floor. This was followed by an explanation of future legislative plans, with particular emphasis on our Right to Organize bill.
After considering a number of resolutions and constitutional amendments, the following officers were elected: President, Dr. G. W. Slemmons, Shreveport; Vice-President, Mrs. Adele Williams, Baton Rouge; Secretary, Robert Roy, Baton Rouge; Treasurer, Bill Wise, Shreveport; Sergeant-at-Arms, Mrs. Annie Taylor, Shreveport. The Federation then voted to send two delegates from different chapters to the Santa Fe convention and chose Shreveport as the site of its 1959 convention.
At the Saturday evening banquet, the high point of the convention, City Councilman Clayson presented Ufemon Segura, retiring President of the local chapter, with a certificate of merit from the Mayor of New Orleans. As a complete surprise, Dr. W. G. Bickford, renowned blind chemist, received an honorary Colonel's commission on the Governor's staff from former state Senator Boucher, representing Governor Long. Mr. William V. Bridges, Director, Bureau for the Blind and Sight Conservation, discussed briefly Louisiana's outstanding vending stand program, while Congressman F. Edward Habert, a co-sponsor of our Right to Organize bill, delivered a very cordial and delightful address. John Taylor, representing the N.F.B., was the principal speaker of the evening and delivered a very timely and informative address dealing with misconceptions about blindness and the efforts of the organized blind to overcome them.
back to contents
By Bonnie Byington
More than 150 persons attended the 1958 convention of the Kansas Association of the Blind at the Broadview Hotel in Wichita on September 26, 27 and 28. Wayne L. Applegate, Topeka, Association President, opened the main sessions Saturday, September 27 by pointing out that the organized blind of the state and the nation must not fail to take advantage of the opportunities at hand in order to attain the new objectives ahead.
There was considerable discussion of educational problems. D.W. Olson, Superintendent, State School for the Blind, Kansas City, reviewed the role of the residential school. His talk was followed by a report of public school programs, for the blind by representatives from the Wichita and Prairie Village public school systems, where programs were started this fall. Representatives of parents of blind children and the Wichita Nursery School for the Blind also participated, and there were questions from the floor.
The policies and effectiveness of the Braille Monitor were also discussed at some length.
Harry E. Hayes, Director, Division of State Services for the Blind, and some of his staff members, reported on the achievements and problems of the state agency. L.Q. Lewis, of the Orientation Center for the Blind, Oakland, California, the former head of the Kansas agency for the blind, reviewed the history of the state program and discussed rehabilitation legislation. Wesley Rich, head of the Kansas Foundation for the Blind, Wichita, reported on the employment record of the local workshop.
Following these discussions, fourteen major resolutions dealing with education and existing programs and problems, state and national legislation, and proposed action by the National Federation of the Blind, were adopted. One requested that the National Federation reconsider support of the Institute of Logopedics at Wichita as a training center for the blind with multiple handicaps. Other resolutions dealt with training of teachers for blind children, the need for more Home Teachers, the need for salary increases for state workers, making eye tests mandatory throughout the state, and support of national legislation.
The group voted to contribute $500 to SITE, Inc. and to commend its president, M.A. McCollum, for his work in the field of electronics.
Dr. Mack Carter, Wichita ophthalmologist, discussed "Optical Aids for the Visually Handicapped" and suggested the establishment of a Visual Aids Center in Kansas.
Although the refreshment stand operators are active members of the Association, that group held a dinner meeting and business sessions Friday, prior to the meetings of the general convention. The Executive Board and committee chairman of the Association also met prior to the general meetings of the convention.
Kenneth Jernigan, 2nd Vice-President of the N.F.B., who addressed the group at the banquet Saturday night, traced work for the blind in the United States, drawing a parallel with world colonialism. He said it was necessary for others to speak and act for the blind until the blind could speak and act for themselves. With the inception of the National Federation of the Blind, the blind have come of age and must be recognized, Jernigan concluded.
back to contents
"... Because of all the unfavorable publicity, the department has not yet fired me in spite of all my recalcitrance on various points. In addition, I have been able to spend a good deal of money on several clients, actually rehabilitating a few, something so unusual that the department is all in a dither. Because they never expected me to do anything, the supervisor failed to read my dictation on the plans I had made for these clients and so was unaware of the enormity of my transgressions. Consequently, when he tried to weasel out of it by supplying some additions which were not in my original dictation, I firmly insisted that the time for him to have registered his objections was in August, when the plans were made, not in the middle of September, when the department began to get the bills.
"... What I did was set up a thoroughly qualified man in a mop manufacturing shop. The machinery and supplies did cost quite a lot, but he will be able to train and employ numbers of other blind people eventually. This project has attracted a great deal of favorable attention.... The same goes for the case of a former teacher, who has been established in a second hand bookshop, and a partially blind fellow, whose limping furniture refinishing business has been put on a basis which will enable him to earn a living...."
back to contents
"Dear Mr. Card: ... I don't have any ideas of what the blind are being denied when it comes to literature because I have been blind almost since birth. Those who have lost their sight in adulthood are in the know on this matter. However, I have some observations to make. I sent for a catalog from the Cleveland library a number of years ago. An envelope arrived with about four lists in it. Of course, the lists were so the sighted could read them and since I didn't get my sight back, I just threw them aside. If I had got my sight back, I would not have needed the books in the first place. The same goes for the catalogs from the American Foundation for the Blind about appliances for the blind. The Royal National Institute for the Blind, of England, puts out a fine descriptive catalog and a pricelist of the appliances they have to sell, in Braille. They also have Braille catalogs of their music and literature, so that the blind of England can select their own reading matter and appliances when they want to without bothering other people....
"I would like very much to secure Braille information on carpentry, electricity, plumbing, window puttying, etc. That part of the desert has not yet been irrigated at all. Many of the blind have been able to earn money in war plants and have bought houses. Some have lost their jobs since, but still have their houses. They are forced to pay to have jobs done that, with a little encouragement, information and direction, they could do for themselves.
"I also feel that the libraries should get out of the Zane Grey rut and tell their readers through better books actually just how the West really is.
"Have you become acquainted with the Betty Crocker Recipes which came out on records? Well, they have been ruined because the records are full of road blocks. You have to touch the arm and shove the needle out of a gutter after each recipe. If you want to re-hear a recipe, you set the needle back and then you have to move it forward over a gutter or two because you can't tell how far back to move it in the first place. How much easier for the recorders and the ones who use the records if they would play straight through..." George Holben, Canton, Ohio.
"Dear George: ... I am writing to give you my reactions to the Monitor and my only excuse is the same 'good intention' that everyone pleads when he sticks his unsolicited opinion into someone else's affairs. I believe, however, that you will be interested in my thoughts because you know of my interest in the program of the N.F.B.
"Since the Monitor has been expanded into an ink-print edition, it has a tremendous potential for creating that same interest in many others and furthering the views of the Federation. However, I question whether it has adjusted its editorial approach to reach this new public. The most basic question that must be asked is: What is the Monitor designed to do to whom? The answer is, that it is aimed at the dedicated N.F.B. member and does an admirable job of supplying him with invaluable information. If the influence of the organization is to grow, the Monitor must also aim to arrest the attention of the member and non-member, both blind and sighted, whose interests are centered elsewhere. There are many factors which must go into this, but I am only going to suggest two.
"The first is to examine the writing style used in the Monitor. While the dedicated member may eagerly and faithfully read everything that is written, if you are to win the competition for the attention of the unconfirmed reader, your writing must grab him by the ear and drag him paragraph by paragraph from page to page with as little pain as possible. On the whole, the Monitor is well written, but it is not easily read. I suggest that there is certainly a place for the careful scholarly article, but it must be balanced by exciting, more easily absorbed material. Each issue is going to be the first one for some reader and it may be the last. If the first story on the first page doesn't have a hook which will hold him, it will be just another case of the boys in the back room lamenting the big one that got away....
"The second suggestion also has to do with balance--this time the balancing of contents. I finished reading the April issue which heavily accented the rebuttal to Barnett's 'Hindsight', with the feeling that first they told me what they were going to tell me, then they told me. Then they told me they had told me. I am not condemning this time-proven method of getting your point over, but if you have more than one article expressing very similar viewpoints, it would be better to print them in different issues. Each would then be more likely to get a careful reading and, the retentive factor in the learning process being what it is, the accumulative effect should be greater...." F. H. Russell, Miami, Florida.
"Dear George: It has been predicted by some that the NFB national Convention in Miami in I960 will be attended by the smallest number in recent years, due to the long distance to be traveled and the fear of high prices... Actually, as you may know, summer rates in Florida are among the lowest in the nation. I believe that, with the many attractions which draw millions to Florida each year, we can and do have the facilities for the greatest Convention in the history of the Federation.
"I believe Dr. tenBroek is the same man who inspired me many years ago and you, George Card, are the same man who was honored at that unforgettable breakfast in New Orleans....
"In closing, personally, I would like to say something like this--I pledge allegiance to the NFB and to the democratic policies for which it stands; the one organization of blind people, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." Claude H. Ray, Lakeland, Florida.
"Dear George:... We believe the Toledo Council of the Blind has set a new record in Ohio for growth and progress for a one-year period. In fact it will only be ten months at the time of the dedication of our new building on October 10... The membership of our organization has nearly doubled... There has been more accomplished this year than in its entire sixteen years' existence. On a national level the Toledo Council has been active in getting the Congressmen from both the 8th and 9th Congressional Districts to introduce the NFB legislation on a non-partisan basis. Congressman Ashley is a Democrat and Congressman Betts is a Republican. You may be interested to know that both have accepted our invitation to be at our dedication....
"Due to the radio, television and newspaper publicity, we are now receiving opposition from the Red Feather Agencies. I have had talks with the president of the Toledo Society for the Blind and with the president of the Lions Club. They take the position that if we operate only a social club they will have no objections. They feel that they have sole right to control the program concerning blind people in this city. They feel that fund drives belong to them and any funds that we might receive through our campaigns would be funds that should have been rightfully theirs. We have been asked to drop the name 'of the blind' from our name. We, of course, have refused to comply, and we have been told that we are trying to capitalize on their program, as the public feels that anything given for the blind in Toledo is for the Society for the Blind. The president of the Lions Club said he was getting so hot under the collar that we had better stop discussing the matter. I told him that I was not angry and did not know why he should be. The president of the Lions Club is an attorney and he told me that under certain conditions we could be hauled into court and made to drop the name 'of the blind'. I explained to him that their organization was 'for the blind' and ours was 'of the blind'. He told me that did not amount to anything as the public did not know what it was all about anyway. However, we have been fortunate in getting some of the foremost leaders in Toledo with us and I think that the Lions and the Society will soon cool off. I have told our members to act with dignity and not force the issue but if they start the fight they will have the best fight they have ever been in...." Douglas Valentine, Toledo, Ohio.
"Dear Mr. Card: ... I have been interested in the articles concerning our library system. I felt as if the article by Mr. Yturbide and the letter by Mr. Thompson were somewhat overwrought with emotion. I realize it is exasperating not to be able to select one's reading material according to one's mood, but this, of course, is one of the penalties to be paid for having to read on the mail order system. I believe, though, that the privileges we gain by having our regional libraries far outweighs those penalties. I think that part of the poor service received is due somewhat to our own lack of cooperation with the libraries. We frequently fail to supply the library with a long enough list of books to meet our needs or varied tastes, and therefore place the librarian in the position of having to select books for us, or discontinue service until our prescribed book is back on the shelves again. I realize, of course, that there are many blind people in our country who have reading tastes far superior to my own, but I think if they would sit down and write letters to the librarians asking for specific books, these books would be published if the demand were great enough. After all, it would be quite expensive to print one book in Braille for one or two potential readers...
"I wish to express my own personal appreciation to you for our Braille Monitor. Some of my sighted friends who read it regularly say it is far superior to many of the current magazines in the taste of writing and in the wide variety of subjects. I am glad that we have such a magazine." Buelah Holly Flynn, Daytona Beach, Florida.
"Mr. Editor.... During the past forty-four years I have borrowed books from several libraries at one time and another. I can truthfully say that I have always been treated with consideration and courtesy. For the past eleven years I have been served by the Atlanta library, and I don't see how anyone could have fared better....Some critics are resentful because the libraries are managed by agencies for the blind. Well, I have borrowed from agency-managed libraries, and found them no better and no worse than other libraries....As for the kind of books we are getting, I am simply a general reader with a preference for historical novels. I am glad to say that there is gradually being built up a reasonably good collection of books to my liking. I have been surprised and grieved at the tone of some of the criticisms levelled at the choice of books being provided. We should all try to keep in mind that reading tastes are an individual matter. Let's not be so hasty to condemn as junk all books in which we have no personal interest....As much as we may wish it were otherwise, the time will never come when the individual can expect the libraries to carry everything he thinks they should.
"... With all this talk about educating the public as to the capabilities of the blind, don't you think it would be a good idea for us to exert ourselves toward understanding and adapting ourselves into the world in which we find ourselves?..." L. Leslie Shaw, Gracewood, Georgia.
back to contents
The 12th annual convention of the Ohio Council of the Blind got under way October 16 at the St. Francis Hotel in Canton, with a meeting of the Executive Board--which was continued during all of the forenoon of the following day. Among other things, the Board decided to recommend to all of its 23 local affiliates that a statewide box candy sale be planned for Mother's Day, 1959.
General sessions began at 1:30 P.M. on October 17. Following the invocation and a flag-raising ceremony by the D.A.V., Harry Stiller, President of the host affiliate, welcomed delegates and guests. There were also welcoming addresses by Mayor Charles L. Babcock and Mr. A. C. Hutchinson, of the Chamber of Commerce, to which John Chambers of Lorain, O.C.B. 2nd Vice-President, responded. President Clyde Ross then took the chair and introduced me [George Card] to deliver the keynote address. The next item was a report by Everett R. Steese, Chairman, Lions State Eye Research Committee. Mr. Steese was followed by Mr. Carl D. McGuire, Jr., of the Timken Roller Bearing Company, who spoke on the topic "The Visually Handicapped in Industry." Mr. McGuire's organization, as is well known, has employed all the way from 14 to 42 blind workers in its Canton plant. Mr. McGuire also installed a display in the hotel lobby, where the wonderful sound gauges developed by Timken for its blind workers were demonstrated. The Timken Company is ready and anxious to make available its patent rights on this equipment to any other industrial firm which may be interested.
The Friday afternoon session was concluded with reports from the Treasurer, the Executive Secretary and various standing committees.
A number of special interest workshops were conducted during the evening--for broom shop workers, vending stand operators, vending machine operators and home industries. At the end of these evening sessions, open house was held at the Philomatheon Home for the Blind, (owned and operated by the local chapter) and busses were provided to transport conventioneers to and from this Home. The last bus left the Home at 11:30 P.M.
First speaker at the Saturday morning meeting was Clifton H. Little, who explained the latest changes in Federal Social Security laws. He was followed by Mr. Stanley Dorn, of the Pilot Dog Foundation, whose subject was "Up-to-Date Training of Pilot Dogs for Our Blind." The last item on the Saturday morning program was the first reading of the 23 resolutions submitted by the Resolutions Committee.
The first item on the afternoon agenda had been announced as an address by Dr. W. G. Scarberry, Superintendent of the Ohio School for the Blind. The serious illness of Mrs. Scarberry prevented his appearance in person but a member of his faculty appeared in his place. Next came an address by Juanita Galbraith, Assistant Coordinator, Department of Pre-School Blind Children. Perhaps the program item which evoked the greatest interest was a talk by Miss Katherine R. Robinson, resource teacher from the public schools of Charleston, West Virginia, who gave a stirring account of the development of her program. She was followed by Mr. Milton H. Klein, Supervisor of Rehabilitation, Department of Social Welfare. His subject was "Changing Concepts in Rehabilitation Services to the Blind." In the course of his remarks, Mr. Kline, who is blind himself, stated that he reads the Braille Monitor religiously because he finds much of value contained therein! He also praised the Federation for its effective work in removing legal barriers to the employment of the blind in government service and in the teaching profession.
Approximately 275 delegates, guests and friends attended the banquet Saturday evening. The Toastmaster, Mr. Sherlock Evans, gave the best performance I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. His jokes (amazingly enough) were uproariously funny and he also knew when to strike a serious note. Congressman Frank T. Bow, a co-sponsor of the Kennedy-Baring Bill, gave the principal address and pledged his continued efforts in behalf of our legislation. The biggest thrill for me was the appearance of the fabulous Richard Kinney, deaf-blind teacher at the Hadley Correspondence School for the Blind. This was the first opportunity I had had to meet Dick and, like everyone else, I fell completely under the spell of his charm. His voice control and clarity of enunciation must be heard in order to be believed. In enumerating the great blind pioneers of history, he paid a glowing tribute to our own Dr. Newel Perry whom he placed second only to Louis Braille. A strike of Capital Airlines' employees prevented John Wilson, brilliant blind lawyer in the Anti-Trust Division of the Attorney-General's Office from reaching Canton and Walter McDonald of Georgia, also found it impossible to fulfill his banquet speaking engagement. But the wizardry of Mr. Evans and the caliber of the two banquet speakers mentioned above made the occasion a tremendous success.
Religious and memorial services were conducted Sunday morning, in accordance with custom. Then came the second reading and the adoption or rejection of the resolutions. Most of them had to do with plans for legislation at the state level. The convention continued through the noon hour and was concluded with the election of officers and national convention delegates. The following officers were chosen for the coming year: President, Clyde E. Ross of Akron (tenth consecutive term); 1st Vice-President, Glen Hoffman of Cleveland; 2nd Vice-President, John Chambers of Lorain; Recording Secretary, Mrs. Carl Eiche of Lima; Treasurer, Mrs. Ruth Brust of Mansfield. It was voted to send three delegates to Santa Fe rather than two, as in the past. Those elected were: Clyde Ross, Glen Hoffman and William L. Dressell of Cincinnati. First alternate, John Chambers; second alternate. Rev. W. S. Smith of Springfield. George Card installed the new officers. The 1959 convention will be held in Cincinnati with the Queen City League of the Blind as the host affiliate.
back to contents
As our deadline is almost upon us, word comes that Governor Cecil H. Underwood of West Virginia has invited the National Federation of the Blind to send a survey team into his state, to make a report and recommendations dealing with all phases of services to the blind. It appears probable that John Taylor and Paul Kirton will have the principal responsibility for this survey, with as much help as possible from Federation officers and other Federation personnel. It is estimated that the survey will probably require at least a month for its completion. It is considered highly important to be able to place the report in the hands of the State Governor well before the beginning of the next legislative session.
back to contents
I suspect that many of us who read an article in the September New Outlook for the Blind by Dr. Wilfred C. Hulse, (page 22, Braille edition), did so with mingled amusement and irritation. Dr. Hulse is the consulting psychiatrist to one of the large New York City agencies for the blind. His theme is Denial, the unwillingness to face the reality of blindness. This is a real problem, of course, especially when it comes to the newly blinded. Little progress toward a satisfactory adjustment can be made until the client stops pretending that he is not really blind or, if he is, that it is only a temporary condition.
But Dr. Hulse reaches some odd conclusions. The statement that blindness can be reduced to the status of a physical nuisance seems to him a form of denial. Blindness is an affliction, he tells us, and the subject should always be treated with seriousness and dignity. Apparently without a sense of humor of his own, he is deeply shocked that blind people commonly make jokes about their "affliction" and, even worse, encourage blind children to do the same.
He strongly disapproves of the modern tendency to consider blind children as, first of all children, and to treat their blindness as incidental. He dislikes the use of such words as "see" and "look" by teachers or others in conversing with blind children. He makes the familiar oblique comparison of the "tragedy" of blindness with castration.
back to contents
The holding of the biennial convention of the American Association of Instructors of the Blind at the Washington State School for the Blind, in Vancouver, this year has focused the national spotlight on this institution. In its September 7th edition, The Seattle Times carried a feature article on the history of this School and our Washington affiliate has requested that The Braille Monitor include at least a brief summary in the present number.
The article begins: "Washington State has 19 separate public institutions; smallest and usually least remembered of the lot is the State School for the Blind at Vancouver, which this summer is completing its 45th year as a separate institution and its 72nd year of continuous service to blind youngsters." Its beginnings were far from auspicious. "In 1886 the Territorial Legislature established at Vancouver the 'Washington School for Defective Youth.' It was to accommodate all 'resident youth who are deaf, blind or feebleminded...." The Legislature made no provision for a building or furnishings and the "school for defective youth" began its operation in a small frame building, with a one-man faculty who was paid $900 a year"... The school started off 'almost as handicapped as its young pupils."
At the beginning of the second year the first blind child, Harry E. Applegate, arrived. No special equipment was available but the Perkins Institution donated books in embossed type.
In 1890, a year after Washington achieved statehood, a law was enacted calling for compulsory education of all "defective youths" between the ages of 7 and 20 years, and the population of the School began to grow. Four of the 45 pupils in 1891 were blind; the next year six more were enrolled. With the increasing number of students, the difficulties presented by the School's all-purpose function became more and more apparent. Finally, in 1905, the State Institution for the Feeble-Minded was established at Medical Lake, and the "State School for the Deaf and Blind" began to function under its new name. In 1906, when Thomas P. Clarke was placed in charge, he found "the incredible situation of 130 deaf and blind children of all ages crowded into a building which was planned to accommodate less than 75. Thirty-one of these children were blind." Through Superintendent Clarke's tireless activity the Legislature became more and more aware of the School and its problems. But it was not until 1913 that the next great forward step was taken--the complete separation of the blind and the deaf into schools of their own. Superintendent Clarke's successor, W. B. Hall, died after only two years but in that brief time he made many improvements, adding physical education and piano tuning and encouraging chicken raising and gardening. He also established a summer school for the state's adult blind--the second such school in the nation.
During the 1920 's "a high school course of study was introduced, modeled after those in public schools, but with a much greater emphasis on music and industrial training. New crafts were soon added, such as furniture-manufacturing and tennis-racket restringing, to the traditional courses (piano-tuning, broom-making and hammock-weaving). The School authorities were becoming aware of the social needs of the visually handicapped. For the first time students were encouraged to participate in the Junior Red Cross, the Y.M.C.A. and in local clubs and churches. Students of both sexes were allowed to be together on the playground and in the dining hall. The Washington School was becoming recognized as one of the least "institutionalized" blind schools in the country.
In 1946 facilities were provided so that deaf-blind youngsters also might be accepted. "Now one of the eight such special departments in North America, this unit of the Vancouver school today has eight students with both severe auditory and visual handicaps."
"The present Superintendent, Byron Berhow, like his immediate predecessors, is trained for his job, and even more important, is dedicated to improving the conditions and expanding the opportunities for those children who must face life without sight.
"An important step was taken in improving the social and home-life training of the young folk in the school when three modern one-story residence halls were provided in 1955. The 1957 Legislature authorized a new school unit which will contain classrooms, an auditorium, a library and an administrative area. It should be ready for use about a year from now." Plans for the future include a gymnasium with swimming pool, a modern residence hall and a superintendent's home.
"The State's tremendous growth always has seen the institutions lagging behind, not necessarily because anyone wanted it that way, but because the vitality of the area's growth rate has been such as to make 'catching up' a difficult if not serious problem."
back to contents
"It is with deep regret that we have to report the death of Senor Pardo Ospina, the distinguished leader of work for the blind in Colombia.... He created and was elected to the Presidency of the Colombian Federation of the Blind, which with government assistance has instituted a number of vital services for the rehabilitation, economic, and social betterment of the blind... He represented the Spanish-Portugese linguistic area on the World Braille Council and was also a member of the Executive Committee of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind...
"We learned with considerable pleasure that Sir Clutha MacKenzie, the distinguished Chairman of our Consultative Committee on Braille, has been nominated to receive the 1957 Rehabilitation Award of the World Veterans Federation at that organization's General Assembly to be held in Munich from October 28 to November 1. This highly merited award is granted in recognition of Sir Clutha's unrivaled service as a pioneer in the development of programs for the blind in underdeveloped areas of the world, particularly in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, where he is now serving under a U. N. grant as Executive Officer of the Uganda Foundation for the Blind....
"At the June International Convention of Lions International, Mr. Finis E. Davis, a member of our Consultative Committee on Education, was elected to the office of Third Vice-President. This virtually assures that he will become President of Lions International in 1960-61....
"The Council wishes to express its deep gratitude for the generous action of the government of the German Federal Republic in allocating, at Professor Carl Strehl's suggestion, the sum of $3,800 to the WCWB's Louis Braille Memorial Fund which is being used to maintain the Coupvray birthplace as a permanent shrine and museum. Our grateful thanks are also extended to Sir Clutha MacKenzie and Mr. Hideyuki Iwahashi for their personal contributions to the fund. It is our hope that all national delegations will endeavor to contribute to the fund so that the income from the invested amount may soon be adequate to cover the total expenses of maintenance....
"The Secretary-General, Mr. Eric T. Boulter, left New York on April 28 for a two-month tour which included visits to eleven countries and covered a distance of over 30,000 miles.... In the course of his travels, Mr. Boulter visited Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Burma, Ceylon, India, Pakistan, Iraq, and Greece.... In a number of countries matters of particular concern to WCWB were discussed and plans laid for the submission of applications for membership from nations not already in affiliation.... In Japan and India constructive talks were held with a view to the expansion of Asian facilities for the manufacture of technical and Braille appliances for blind people throughout the continent of Asia....
Denmark. "... The government of Denmark has been persuaded to supply free tape recorders to blind persons who have legitimate need of such machines in their work.... It is hoped that this program will later be expanded to include all blind persons in the country. One whose application for public assistance has been rejected may now appeal, and machinery is provided for such appeals...."
France. "... An international sports meeting of the disabled was held in Paris under the auspices of the World Veterans Federation. Six countries participated and competitors included amputees paraplegics, and blind persons...."
Kenya. "A new automatic plant for manufacturing metal cans which recently opened in Kenya, employs a number of totally blind Africans to operate hand presses. The blind workers, whose output is reported to be excellent, are trained at a Salvation Army School for the Blind...."
back to contents
(Excerpt from a letter written by John Taylor to Tony Parise, New York)
"For some time now I have been digging out bits of information regarding the installation of vending machines in the New York City Post Office, in competition with the blind-operated vending stand or stands. As I understand the situation, some 24 coin-operated machines dispensing a wide range of articles of food and drink are now in operation and the proceeds from this operation inure to some employees' welfare committee or fund. In effect, a coin-operated food service center has been established, but no part of the profits from this operation revert to the vending stand operators....
"In Kansas City, Missouri, where our case has not been nearly so clear-cut, we have been successful in blocking Senate confirmation of the Acting Postmaster's nomination. Representatives of the National Association of Postmasters and Kansas City's Acting Postmaster himself have come to us with offers of concessions and a desire to negotiate a settlement...."
back to contents
by Col. Harold Reagan
The Kentucky Federation of the Blind held its 1958 state convention at the Kentucky Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky on Friday and Saturday, September 19 and 20. There was a reception in the beautiful Terrace Room on Friday evening.
The business sessions on Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon were well attended in spite of a constant rain throughout the day. During the morning session, Kenneth Jernigan, Director of the Iowa State Commission for the Blind, led a discussion on various topics relating to work for the blind. Clyde E. Ross, President of the Ohio Council of the Blind, spoke on the activities of his organization in Ohio. Jack C. Barnett, member of the Governor's Committee on the Employment of the Physically Handicapped in Kentucky, delivered a short address stressing the importance of organization to achieve economic independence and normal living for the physically handicapped.
During the afternoon business meeting, Mrs. Helen Wild, a member of the Chattanooga Association of the Blind, presented a very interesting report concerning her wonderful work with preschool blind children in the Chattanooga area. Mrs. Fred Gissoni, a private Home Teacher for the Blind in the Lexington area of Kentucky, gave an inter- esting report on her work with the blind, pointing out the urgent need for a home instruction program for the blind in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
The following officers were elected: Harold Reagan, President, Louisville; Robert E. Whitehead, Ist V.P., Louisville; Ernest Bourne, 2nd V. P., Louisville; Harry Hahnel, 3rd V.P., Newport; Ernest Hooker, Recording Secretary, Louisville; Eloise Becker, Corresponding Secretary, Louisville; Ann Cain, Treasurer, Louisville; Glen Shoulders, Louisville, Chairman of the Finance Committee. Mrs. Pat Vice, Frankfort, will continue to head the Legislation Committee. Mrs. Vice and Mr. Shoulders and the seven officers of the Federation constitute the Executive Board. The assembly selected the following persons to be delegates to the 1959 convention of the N.F.B.: Robert E. Whitehead, Harold Reagan, Elma R. Robert and Eloise Becker.
There were many distinguished guests at the banquet. In addition to Mr. Jernigan and Mr. Ross, they included Mrs. Thelma Stovall, Kentucky Secretary of State, Mr. Sam Ezell, Executive Secretary of the Kentucky Federation of Labor, and James Valiant, of the Iowa State Commission for the Blind. Trophies were presented to the following persons for their outstanding work for the blind while serving as members of the Kentucky General Assembly: Honorable Charles L. Spilman of Louisville; W. R. Stringer of Central City; and Honorable James Hahn of Greenville. Mrs. Pat Vice also received a trophy for the tremendous job she did during the last session of the legislature in securing passage of bills sponsored by the K.F.B.
Kenneth Jernigan delivered the main address of the evening.
In recognition of his outstanding service to the blind people of Kentucky, Governor Chandler has made President Harold Reagan a Kentucky Colonel. The Kentucky Secretary of State made the presentation as a feature of the banquet.
back to contents
by Mrs. Ruby L. Craddock
The fourth annual convention of the North Carolina Federation of the Blind, Inc., was held at the George Vanderbilt Hotel in Asheville on September 27-28. Because of the length of the state, and because Asheville is located in the mountainous Western section, this was not the largest convention. However, approximately 80 members attended, including four from the fifth and newest affiliate, the Guilford Federation of the Blind.
Important N.F.B. guests included Mr. Earl Scharry, N.F.B. staff member from the Washington, D. C., office and Mrs. Helen Wild, Corresponding Secretary for the Chattanooga chapter of the Tennessee Federation of the Blind.
At the afternoon meeting on September 27 Mr. Ralph Caskey of Greensboro, President of the N.C.F.B. Credit Union, presented a very interesting report. Miss Christine Anderson, head of the Social Services program in North Carolina, spoke on N.C. Aid to the Blind and answered innumerable questions from the floor. Mr. Clarence Collins of Charlotte, Editor of the Independent Forum, gave his report, emphasizing his desire to get more advertising, pictures, more news items from N.C.F.B. members and his plans for getting the Independent Forum printed in Braille. Mr. Earl Scharry discussed national legislation affecting the blind. He urged the convention to form a committee to secure co-sponsors for the Kennedy-Baring Bill.
Highlights of the banquet on Saturday evening included the delivery of an extremely interesting and scholarly address by Earl Scharry, entitled "The Blind Come of Age," and musical entertainment sponsored by the Asheville Federation of the Blind.
Throughout the long and hectic business meeting on Sunday morning, Mrs. Marie M. Boring, N.C. F. B. President, proved herself to be an able Chairman. The by-laws were amended to provide for a Second Vice-President, beginning with the regular 1959 election. The by-laws were further amended to provide that a Credentials Committee of not less than three members be added to the mandatory list of standing committees. This Committee will supervise voting and will see that only N.C.F.B. members and duly authorized guests be allowed to attend convention business meetings. A motion to consider any member of the National Federation of the Blind as a "duly authorized guest" of the N.C.F.B. was unanimously adopted. It was agreed that this last motion be sent to N.F.B. headquarters, with the request that it be circulated nationally. As its first assignment, the Credentials Committee will consider the advisability of permitting proxy voting for state officers.
Four resolutions were presented by the Legislative Committee; all were unanimously adopted:
(1) The N.C.F.B. went on record against the discrimination in the 1957 law which exempted stand operators in the state program from paying sales taxes but which did not apply to independent stand operators or other blind persons in independent small business enterprises. The resolution instructs the Legislative Committee and the N.C.F.B. Executive Council to "rectify this inequity, either through negotiation, legislation or other legal action."
(2) That the N.C.F.B. endorse a request by the North Carolina State Commission for the Blind for fifty thousand dollars for the next biennium for hospitalization for aid to the blind recipients.
(3) That the Executive Council and the Legislative Committee work for the enactment of a law establishing an Advisory Committee for the Blind "to work with and advise the state agencies charged with the administration of programs for the blind on policies and practices." The resolution further provides that this committee shall consist of five blind persons appointed by the Governor, three of whom shall be drawn from a slate of ten to be submitted by the North Carolina Federation of the Blind.
(4) That the Executive Council and the Legislative Committee work for the enactment of a law to prevent discrimination in state employment because of total or partial blindness "unless normal eyesight is absolutely indispensable to the performance of the prescribed duties.."
Durham was selected as the site of the 1959 N.C.F.B. convention.
back to contents
Bellows Falls, Vermont, October 6, 1958
"Dear George: ...Although we had a small attendance at our convention last Saturday, it was larger than last year and more enthusiastic.
"...After routine reports had been read, the revised constitution was read and officially accepted without change.... Mr. George Trelease, Rehabilitation Counselor of Springfield, Massachusetts, spoke on 'What Rehabilitation Can Mean to a Blind Person'. George has had twelve years of experience in this field and was extremely interesting. He has never been indoctrinated into the old school of agency philosophy. He has been doing a good job in an area which had been long neglected. Following George, there was a panel discussion: 'Employing the Blind Person in Competitive Industry'. Those taking part in this discussion were: W. E. Dernan, Manufacturing Manager of Bijur Lubricating Co., of Bennington, Vermont; Rochelle Fair, (New Jersey); George Trelease and Clyde Ross, (President, Ohio Council of the Blind). They discussed the subject from several points of view--management, placement and the blind employee himself. I think much valuable information was brought out. As a result of this, we are going to try to arrange a conference with industrialists, rehabilitation counselors, labor, the Division of Services for the Blind and members of the Vermont Council of the Blind.
"Two resolutions were adopted putting the Vermont Council on record as favoring a change in the voting laws as they affect the blind of Vermont and to liberalize or abolish altogether the 'lien' law. The latest amendments to the Social Security Act were discussed at some length. The Legislative Committee was instructed to make a further study of these amendments, as they affect the blind of Vermont, and to see that the provisions therein are carried out--through legislation, if need be.
"Officers elected are: President, Alaric G. Nichols of Bellows Falls; Vice-President, Edward Burgoyne of Burlington; Secretary, Theresa Donovan of Burlington; Treasurer, Eva Burgoyne of Burlington; Sergeant-at-Arms, Malcolm Close of Burlington; Trustees, Margaret Lyon of Williston; Raymond Koier of Manchester Center, and Barbara Nichols of Shelburne. I am particularly pleased with the choice of our new Secretary. She is a sighted girl who has had much professional experience. Our Treasurer has also had some experience in book-keeping and business. I appointed the following Legislative Committee: Clarence Briggs, Edward Burgoyne, Lester Howe, Raymond Koier and Raymond Kilbourne.
"The banquet was well attended and Clyde was outstanding."
"I will need help and counseling throughout my administration so you will be hearing from me from time to time. I feel that everyone in the National Federation is available to me so, with this in mind, I will do everything in my power to promote our movement in a constructive way. Any advice you or others may have to offer will be welcome." Alaric Nichols.
back to contents
Kalamazoo, Michigan, October 13, 1958
"Dear George: What a wonderful convention we had! I believe that we had the largest banquet attendance on record anywhere at the state level. There were over three hundred, at the most conservative estimate, and many more were turned away.
"Our big new chapter in Detroit did a bang-up job. Kenneth Jernigan's address was something we will all remember for a long time to come. It was a classic and we regret that it was not put on tape.... One gentleman remarked to me afterwards, 'It cost me fifty dollars to be here, and I would not have missed it for twice as much'. Mr. Paul Conlan of the Division of Services also gave a brief talk which was very friendly and welcome. Mr. Mahoney brought several of his colleagues from the legislature, all of whom expressed hope of being able to assist our legislative program. A Senate leader promised to be to us what Mr. Mahoney is in the House.
"Our business meeting was taken up most with the adoption of a new constitution. The election of officers is not quite complete since we are submitting a ballot in the old way, but for the last time, after which all candidates will be elected at the convention. I am assured of another term, however, and John Luxon, of Detroit, will be our Secretary, since no opposing candidates were nominated for these two offices.... So many nice things were said about me that I felt more than a little embarrassed.
"You might be interested to know that the banquet consisted of a steak dinner, which turned into roast beef for the many who came in late, and at one fifty per plate. The affair was in the hall of the League for the Handicapped, and they did everything possible to assure its success.
"A novelty to most of us was a special table for the deaf-blind, eleven of them. They seemed to be having a wonderful time.
"John Luxon, Stanley Oliver and I occupied the headquarters suite and between sessions the phone was constantly buzzing. You would have thought it was an N.F.B. national convention....
"All our enemies in Detroit were present at the banquet, whether for good or evil. I shook hands with a lot of them.... Another item of interest was the colored people. They were out in force and it was their first appearance at the League Hall. They can either join the Detroit chapter or form their own group, as they prefer....
"Two things more. Your model constitution was closely followed with only a few minor changes--and many thanks. Will send you a copy just as soon as I type it up. Also, we were officially assured that the Michigan Council will be given representation on the Advisory Committee." Sandford Allerton.
back to contents
The Braille Monitor has been supplied with an advance copy of the October issue of the California News Bulletin through the kindness of its Editor, Mrs. Catherine Skivers. From the lead editorial:
"... It has occurred to your editor that, in both the National Federation of the Blind and the California Council of the Blind, we have reached a plateau--solid ground where we ought to be digging in, preparing for the battles to come. There will be battles. Already we have grown large enough to alarm certain individuals and agencies who are extremely powerful and who have tremendous financial backing. It seems to me that, instead of using this plateau for a solid footing, we have begun to confuse issues and to put personal or other factors ahead of the all-important objectives for which our organizations exist.... To your editor it seems that recently some of our members have begun to lose sight of our ultimate goal and much to much energy is being spent on internal political issues and in attempting to change various patterns which have heretofore been followed. Changing a pattern involves weaving easily and carefully into the pattern and great caution must be exercised so the thread is not broken. Some of our people have thrown caution to the winds and they make statements and write material which show a definite lack of foresight and knowledge of the possible damage that can be done to our movement. I do not for a minute mean to imply that we should not all express ourselves but freedom of expression carries with it certain responsibilities.... Resolution 58-16 was deleted from the Convention Roundup and Illinois took exception. Dr. tenBroek sent a copy of this resolution to each delegate, feeling that internal problems should not be aired in a publication like the Monitor, which goes everywhere. Trouble hits the best regulated families but nobody posts an article on the front door to give the news to the neighbors...."
back to contents
From time to time the Braille Monitor has carried brief reports of the Committee on Neurological Diseases and Blindness, on which the National Federation has always been represented. John Taylor has been our representative at recent committee meetings. An interesting report has just been received, telling of important research developments during the past year.
Uveitis: "During 1954, continued progress was made in developing diagnostic and treatment techniques for uveitis, a blinding disease brought on by tuberculosis, syphilis, or brucellosis. The Institute has developed a promising new test for diagnosis of toxoplasmosis infection, a form of uveitis caused by a parasite. This new development, which is still being tested, is expected to surpass any known diagnostic method insofar as toxoplasmosis of the eye is concerned. A sound diagnostic technique such as this makes early treatment possible and thus tends to avert blindness.
"Last year, the Institute reported that pyrimethamine and sulfadiazine were drugs which provided a cure for uveitis in some cases and tended to keep the disease from proceeding further in others. Today, Institute scientists are in process of evaluating a new drug which shows promise of giving even better results with less toxic effect upon the patient. The new drug is a steroid compound."
Glaucoma: "This disease...represented an area of intense concentration during the past year. The testing of various drugs directed toward reducing intraocular pressure was continued, as were studies of the relationship between intraocular pressure and blood pressure. The increase of intraocular pressure in the eye is the main cause of blindness in glaucoma. One of the major findings of the past year...was the discovery of a rich nerve supply in an area of the eye directly involved in the regulation of intraocular pressure. Institute scientists are now in the process of defining the specific role of this nerve supply in the regulation process. In any event, the finding provides a promising new lead for exploration in the overall effort to develop more effective treatment and preventive techniques for glaucoma."
Progress in the field of retinal disease: "The past year has seen the development of several important electronic devices and techniques directed to early diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the retina. Among these advances is one involving the use of the electroretinograph in a manner which makes it easier for physicians to distinguish relatively early between congenital or hereditary degenerations of the retina on one hand and clinical diseases which are very similar in form and development on the other.
"An Institute grantee has developed some significant statistical findings bearing on diseases of the retina and other diseases of the eye as well. In a survey of 1,000 older persons, the grantee found that the macula, which is the center of the retina, is directly involved in blinding diseases affecting many of our senior citizens. The statistical evidence de- veloped by the grantee also showed that more than 60 percent of the survey group had cataract formation in some degree and, further, indicated that there is no significant increase or decrease in glaucoma expectancy in persons over 70.... "
back to contents
We have received several communications from persons now receiving the ink-print edition of the Braille Monitor, stating that they are unable to read ink-print. When the mailing list for the ink-print edition was prepared, the old NFB bulletin list was used. Most of the material which formerly appeared in these bulletins is now published in the Monitor. It will save the publishers a very substantial amount of money if all those now receiving the ink-print edition, but who are unable to read it for themselves or have it read to them, will immediately notify Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, California. If there are some among these who are not receiving the Braille edition, but who would like to receive it, they are asked to state this when writing to Dr. tenBroek.
back to contents
South Carolina has joined the ranks of state affiliates which issue regular news letters or reports to their members and others. It will be a quarterly, at least for the present. From the July issue: 'After almost two years of persistence and hard work, we are glad to report to you that there is now a chapter of the S.C.A.C.B. in Greenville, the state's third largest city. The Greenville Aurora Club held its first meeting May 18 and heard an inspiring address by Mr. Max Lawton, brother of our own Dr. Samuel Lawton. The president of the Greenville chapter is Mr. William Harry Patterson, 503 Darlington Avenue, Greenville, South Carolina, who operates a vending stand in Greenville. Other officers are Mr. George Shelton, Vice President; Miss Evelyn McCarter, Secretary; Mr. Olen Pruitt, Treasurer; Miss Margaret South, Social Director; and Mr. J. C. Posey, Music Director. Many thought that we would never be able to organize a chapter in Greenville, and while it was necessary to fight a long and hard battle, victory has been achieved.
"Many of us erroneously evaluate the success of White Cane Week by the amount of financial profit. We should not, however, forget that White Cane Week is a period of public education. During our 1958 White Cane Week we were able to reach 15,000 South Carolinians, telling them of the problems precipated by blindness. Many of these 15,000 are employers, and surely some of them now feel more sympathetic toward the handicapped generally, and the blind specifically...."
Editor Capps pays a glowing tribute to that great friend of the blind, Hubert E. Smith, of Augusta, who considers himself a citizen of both Georgia and South Carolina. (One of my most pleasant and inspiring memories is that of my meeting with Mr. Smith at the time of my first visit to that area in the spring of 1956.) Mr. Capps concludes his encomium with these words:
"A man of unusual modesty, Mr. Smith's virtues are so many that it would require page after page to enumerate them. Even so, many of his deeds are unknown except by him and the recipients of his kindness. A motto of Mr. Smith goes like this: 'You can't take it with you, but you can send it ahead.' A man of courage, a man of wisdom, a man who believes in helping his fellow blind, a man who obtained prominence in many ways, and yet a man of complete modesty and humility--that's Hubert E. Smith, a great humanitarian and South Carolinian, to whom the S.C.A.C.B. is proud to pay tribute."
The following 30 state affiliates are now known to have regular news letters or other publications: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
There may be one or two others of which I do not know, but if your state organization is not listed above, it is high time that you were giving the matter serious thought. No other single factor is more effective in welding a state organization together into a real unit. Since the greeting card dividends have been available to every state organization, none can plead financial inability to prepare at least a mimeographed news letter.
back to contents
As we all know, Braille or recorded material sent out by a library or by a public institution for the blind, or when returned by an individual to such a public library or institution for the blind, can be sent through the mail without charge, if properly marked. A new postal regulation, Section 138.321 (b), now greatly liberalizes this arrangement. It will be extremely good news for tape enthusiasts and for any others who have occasion to send either Braille or recorded materials to other individuals. The new regulation provides that books in raised characters, or pages of such books, or sound recordings, can be mailed from one individual to another provided that no advertising matter is included and the package is unsealed. On the address side the name and address of the sender must appear in the upper left hand corner. In the upper right hand corner the word "Free" followed either by "Reading Matter for the Blind" or "Sound Reproduction Records for the Blind" must appear. Tapes, as well as discs, are considered to be records. The weight must not exceed 15 pounds.
This office has a few extra Braille and print copies of some of the recent issues of the Monitor, which will be sent on request. For address see front cover.
back to contents
By John Miller
On the eve of the convention, Friday evening, October 3, the Board of Directors of the Indiana Council of the Blind met in the Terre Haute House, in the city of Terre Haute, and made several important decisions. Among these were first, the decision to publish the I.C.B. Newsletter in Braille, using the multigraph which now belongs to the Indiana Council, and second, a state-wide organizing committee was appointed to bring in new chapters.
After the board meeting a reception was held so that the delegates and members might meet all out-of-state visitors and speakers.
The convention officially was opened at 9:30 A.M., Saturday, October 4, with the invocation by Rev. Ferguson of the Evangelical United Brethren Church. Then Mayor Ralph Tucker of Terre Haute welcomed the delegates and guests to the convention city. All chapters were represented by official delegates. As a matter of fact almost one-third of the entire state membership was on hand.
Jack Reed, from Alton, Illinois, delivered an address on the operation of a telephone answering service and related business enterprises presently being operated by him. He pointed out that he now hires thirteen physically handicapped persons, three of whom are blind. Furthermore he is accepting trained blind persons from all over the United States who want to obtain one year's experience so that they may qualify for Civil Service. Jack himself is blind and a member of the Illinois Federation of the Blind.
Fred Lilley, of Chicago, discussed the stand program in Illinois. Stand locations are carefully selected to yield the maximum return to the individual operator. Additional operators are not added to the stand as it begins to prosper. Thus the individual operator has the incentive to build up his business.
The afternoon session opened with a discussion of the fund-raising drive of the Indiana Association of Workers for the Blind, the purpose of which is the building of a Home for the Blind. Mrs. Patricia Wilkinson of Fort Wayne, president of the I.A.W.B., gave a complete account of the efforts to obtain property and build such a home. She then engaged in a friendly discussion with the delegates on the pros and cons of homes for the blind and the purposes to be served.
Mrs. Florence Verken of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, then spoke to the group. She primarily outlined the history and operation of the Badger Home for the Blind in Milwaukee. She stressed the need for a home for the aged and infirm blind.
Following these addresses the convention took up its treasurer's report and interim committee reports. In particular, the legislative committee reported on proposed legislation to repeal residence laws, lien and recovery procedures, relative's responsibility and arbitrary guardianship appointments. An advisory committee to the Department of Public Welfare was proposed, along with legislation establishing a special division for aid to the blind, within the Department of Public Welfare.
Saturday evening a banquet was held with a deliberately planned departure from traditional banquet fare--hot home-made roast beef hash! Following the banquet Paul Kirton of the NFB staff delivered an after-dinner speech entitled "NFB Spells Civil Defense." The speech was designed to explain the program of the NFB and its effect on the lives of individual blind people. Following the banquet there was a dance and refreshments.
The Sunday morning session was opened with an appropriate invocation by Rev. Ferguson. The convention then pitched into the solving of its local problems. The first problem tackled was the plight of graduate students in Indiana's universities and colleges. The rehabilitation program cuts off all assistance after the first degree. The Indiana Council decided to establish a $200 scholarship which would be awarded annually.
The convention voted to seek greater publicity for the White Cane Law. They proposed obtaining the cooperation of the Motor Vehicle Bureau to make certain that licensed drivers know and understand this law. The convention also decided to promote more publicity for the Indiana Guide Dog law, which is one of the oldest and most comprehensive of these statutes.
A constitutional amendment was adopted providing that individual members, not belonging to chapters, may caucus at the opening of the convention and select a delegate. Under this arrangement individual members will now be able to vote on any issue before the convention.
The next order of business was a detailed report of each chapter's fund-raising efforts. South Bend was selected as the site of the 1959 convention. John Miller was chosen as delegate to the National Convention at Santa Fe, with Lawrence Vest as his alternate. This was not an election year.
back to contents
From the News Bulletin of the Colorado Federation: "It became official recently that Charles Brammer will go to Iowa October 1 to assume the position of Chief of Rehabilitation for the Blind in that state. The newly appointed young director of the Iowa program, Kenneth Jernigan, is determined to set up a truly progressive and worthwhile rehabilitation program for the blind of that state. Because of Brammer's past record of achievement and wide experience, Jernigan called upon him as the best qualified man available to come to Iowa as Chief.
"The people of this area will remember Brammer's achievements as placement man during the two and one-half years that he worked for the Colorado Rehabilitation program for the blind. His placement record during that period has never been equalled or even closely approached by any other placement man in this program, either before or since that time.
"Following this period, Chuck went to work for a private employment agency where his placement work continued to be outstanding. When the opportunity presented itself he bought the agency outright and since then has operated it successfully as his own business.
"Upon deciding to accept the offer of Chief of Rehabilitation in Iowa, Brammer expressed the hope that he could find another blind person who would like the opportunity of taking over his business here. He found a willing taker for this challenge in Marvin Milan.... Chuck and Chris will be greatly missed by their many Colorado friends, and their loyalty and hard work in support of the Federation will long be remembered Our best wishes go with them as they leave to take up the important work ahead of them in Iowa."
back to contents
By Stanhope Pier
The Oregon Council of the Blind held its convention at the Washington Hotel in Portland, Sept.13 and 14. Attendance, program and arrangements were unusually good. Flowers to the Schauers for the exceptional arrangements. The blind people of Oregon turned out in force from all communities of the state. Three new affiliates were awarded certificates of membership--The Yamhill County Chapter, the Columbia Council and the Dalles Sightsavers--making a total of 11 chapters.
The Chairman of the Oregon Commission for the Blind and the three other lay members of the Commission were present during the Saturday session. Mrs. Grace Peck, Chairman of the Assembly Welfare Committee, and two other members of that Committee also turned out for the Saturday morning session and the banquet Saturday night. Mrs. Peck announced her wholehearted support of the comprehensive aid bill being sponsored by the Oregon Council of the Blind. This bill was introduced at the last session of the legislature but was defeated by administrative and federal objections. Since then the bill has been systematically reviewed and redrafted by the Legislative Committee of the Oregon Council with the help of Perry Sundquist and Dr. tenBroek.
The business sessions of the convention were devoted to: a reading of a portion of John Jarvis' Boston convention address on "Organizations of and for the Blind"; a discussion of recent developments in the Talking Book Library by Mrs. Edna Williams, librarian for the blind; a panel on community services for the blind by representative from the Community Council, Lions, Red Cross staff aides to the blind, Elk's Children's Eye Clinic, Delta Gammas and Braille transcribers from Temple Beth Israel and a panel on public assistance legislation for the blind in which the panel members were the Legislative Committee of the Oregon Council, Mrs. Grace Peck, Perry Sundquist and Dr. tenBroek.
The following persons were elected: President, Harold Baxter of Roseburg; First Vice-President, John Ragsdale of Eagle Point; Second Vice-President, Claude Garvin of Salem; Recording Secretary, Ronald Warner of Medford; Corresponding Secretary, Lydia Harris of Medford; Treasurer, Graydon Wright of Portland; Members-at- Large, Fred Krepela of Salem; Iris Malcolm of McKinnville and Evelyn Matthewson.
The highlight of the banquet held Saturday night was Dr. tenBroek's brilliant speech. A distinguished sighted judge who heard it and watched the spellbound audience declared it to be the finest speech he had heard in his whole life.
At the banquet a special award for distinguished service was conferred on the Elk's Club for its Children's Eye Clinic.
The Executive Committee voted a $50 contribution to the NFB Endowment Fund.
Four major resolutions were adopted. The first two instructed the Legislative Committee to introduce bills to eliminate discrimination against the blind in the state civil service and in the state agency for the blind, respectively. The third resolution points out that most cities of Oregon have good ordinances against vagrancy and begging by the blind but due to easy-going, sentimental officials they are not enforced. Mayors, councilmen and enforcement officers are urged to heed the wishes of the respectable blind citizens and enforce these ordinances. The final resolution instructed Oregon delegates to the Santa Fe convention in 1959 to make every effort to secure the 1961 convention for Oregon.
back to contents
By Eva Gilbert and Rosamond Critchley
The fifth annual convention of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts was held in Northampton on Saturday and Sunday, September 27-28, Over 150 were present, including visitors from the NFB affiliates in Rhode Island and Vermont.
For the first time in our history the convention took place in a city where there is no local chapter, although we earnestly hope to see one started there in the near future. For this reason the warm hospitality given us in Northampton was especially gratifying.
On Saturday morning, after addresses of welcome by the Mayor of Northampton, the hotel manager, and our President, John F. Nagle, an interesting talk was given by John F. Mungovan, Director of the Massachusetts Division of the Blind. He described the status of blind vending stand operators in other states and explained our own new program, under which operators are completely on their own after having been equipped and stocked by the Division.
On Saturday afternoon there were three speakers. Our state program for sheltered workshops and home industries was described by John J. Buckley, who heads that department. He recognized the fact that there is need for improvement which, he hopes, may be achieved in the near future. George Trelease, rehabilitation counselor, reported on what is being done toward the employment of blind persons in private industry. The educational program for mentally retarded blind children at the Greene Unit of the Fernald State School was outlined by Morris Tretakoff, head teacher.
John Nagle acted as chairman of the evening banquet. Our guest speaker was John N. Taylor, Chief of Staff of the NFB Washington office, whose subject was "A New Look at Blindness." He stressed the point that it is not the physical disability, but social attitudes which create our primary problem. In passing, he commented on the unusually friendly relationship between the organized blind and our state agency. A dance followed the banquet.
Our speaker for Sunday morning was something of an innovation. In past conventions some of our members have taken part in panel discussions, but, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first time a member has appeared as a featured speaker. Norman Hamer, member of the A.B.M. Board of Directors, told of his experience as the owner and operator of a telephone answering service in Lawrence. This successful venture now provides employment for two workers in addition to Norman and Mrs. Hamer, who is also blind. He expressed the conviction that this is a field which offers unlimited opportunities for enterprising blind persons.
At A.B.M. conventions it has long been a custom for each chapter to present a brief report of its activities during the past year. This time each of these reports had its set place on the program, interspersed among the scheduled program items.
The business meeting was held Sunday afternoon. It began with a report on Federal legislation by John Taylor, which was followed by the usual annual reports. The convention went on record as expressing complete confidence in the present NFB administration and a committee was appointed to draw up resolutions to this effect. As this was not an election year, our officers remain the same.
(Ed. Note: - John Nagle writes: "... I think the convention was very successful... in spite of our not having a chapter in the convention city. Maybe this is the way to have successful conventions--to go to strange cities--then return, [as I intend doing], to organize a chapter there.")
back to contents
On August 9th and 10th, the Ohio Council of the blind held a two-day seminar in Akron. Approximately 30 persons took part, including at least one representative from each of the Council's 23 local affiliates.
The three discussion sessions on Saturday afternoon, Saturday evening and Sunday morning were led by John Taylor of the NFB's Washington staff, Dave Krause, active Federationist, who is employed in Washington as Regulations Analyst, Department of Occupations and Professions, District of Columbia government, and Clyde Ross, President of the Ohio Council. Among the many topics discussed were: how to build a strong local affiliate, what the relationship should be between a state affiliate and the NFB and between a local affiliate and the NFB, employment opportunities for the blind and what state and local affiliates can do in this regard, methods of fund raising, and various aspects of NFB philosophy relative to blindness and the problems created by blindness.
It seemed to be generally agreed by those present that the seminar proved to be extremely successful as a training program for state and local leaders.
back to contents
By Kenneth Jernigan
(Ed. Note: Way back during the Arkansas Survey, to which Kenneth Jernigan and I were assigned, Roy Kumpe, vociferous spokesman of the ultra-reactionary school of agency philosophy, wrote to Governor Faubus and urged him to repudiate the NFB Survey Team--which he had invited to come into the state. Mr. Kumpe stated that neither member of the team had either the training, the experience, the knowledge or the understanding necessary to analyze and appreciate the work being done in Arkansas by the state and private agencies for the blind. In other words, we were not "professionals."
I make no claims as to my own competence, although for 15 years I have been the responsible head of a state organization which has carried on a number of the sort of activities which some agency heads regard as their exclusive province. Last winter, when various applicants for the position of Director of the Iowa state agency were being considered, those making the selection neglected to consult Mr. Kumpe and Kenneth Jernigan received the appointment. He found a state program for the blind that ranked absolutely last in the matter of job placements--which, after all, is the final test of worthwhile rehabilitation. Even with a pitifully inadequate budget at his disposal, the new Director plunged into his task with a verve and vigor which electrified the blind people of Iowa and perhaps brought consternation and dismay to some members of the former staff, who had been coasting contentedly under the old regime. With the active cooperation of Gov. Loveless and others, Mr. Jernigan was able to put a good many reforms and improvements into effect within a few weeks after his accession. A really thorough-going change, however, had to await the meeting of the next legislature--from which adequate funds must be obtained. Mr. Jernigan has worked out a comprehensive re-organization, involving every aspect of service to the blind, which he will present to the legislature in January. Because so many Monitor readers are vitally concerned with improving programs in their own states, it seems very much worthwhile to publish these proposed Iowa plans.)
Des Moines, Iowa
Sept. 24, 1958
"Our program in Iowa is beginning to take definite shape. I am herewith sending you two brief statements which summarize our legislative requests for the coming biennium. You will observe that we are planning a complete overhaul of Commission activities and services to the blind of this state.
"Our requests represent a tremendous increase over what we have received from past legislatures. Therefore, the Commission members and I have felt that a vigorous campaign will be necessary if we are to get our proposals exacted into law. We are proceeding accordingly.
"On Sunday, Sept. 21, I met with the District Governors of the Lions Clubs of this state, and they voted to adopt our entire program as their own and to make a determined effort to have it enacted into law. The Governors passed a resolution to this effect, which was released to the press and radio. I am to appear at all Lions District rallies during the next two months, and I am also speaking before many individual local clubs. The summary statements concerning our program which I am sending you have been prepared so that every one who wishes to help us in our campaigning can have the facts at hand and can proceed along the same line of argument. Several thousand copies of these statements have been mimeographed and are being distributed to the Lions and other groups for study. The Governors of the Lions have pledged that they will personally see every legislator in their districts and that they will also inform all of their local clubs so that concerted action can be taken.
'The organized blind of the state are also, of course, playing a very vital part in this campaign. In fact, the activities of the Iowa Association of the Blind will probably be the key factor in the whole campaign. Copies of our summary statements are being put into the hands of blind persons throughout the state, and it is hoped that every legislator and every candidate will be contacted by at least one blind person.
"I have set myself the task of seeing at least 100 legislators and candidates during the month of October. This is going to be a busy schedule, but I believe that it will pay off. The reaction from the candidates I have already interviewed has been most favorable and encouraging. We are requesting more than three and one-half times as much money as we got from the last legislature, and we are also asking for a capital appropriation of almost a million dollars to build a new orientation and adjustment center. It is going to be quite a job to sell our program to the legislature, but with all of us working together, I believe it can and will be done.
back to contents
The Iowa Commission for the Blind has been in existence since 1926. During the first few years of its operation it was apparently pretty much in step with the times and making progress. Its appropriations were always quite small and the Commission seemed to pride itself on being able to turn back as large a sum as possible to the State Treasury each biennium.
By the time of the 1950's the Iowa program for the blind was lagging far behind the rest of the nation. During the early 1950's the program of services to the blind remained relatively static while most other programs throughout the nation were expanding rapidly with the new concept that the blind, with adequate training and opportunity, could lead fully normal lives, living as productive, taxpaying citizens in the community.
By 1955 the Commission was terribly understaffed and paying such low salaries to its few staff members that it was not able to compete in getting top personnel--or sometimes even passably adequate personnel. There were counties in the state that were not visited by Commission personnel even once during a year.
It must be said here that the state legislature had always responded generously to the Commission's request for funds. The problem was not with the legislature nor was the problem with the governor's office. The simple truth is that the Commission was not sufficiently concerned about the situation to push with vigor for a new and expanded program.
The first real awakening to the total inadequacy of the Iowa program for the blind came during 1955 and 1956 when the blind of the state became so restless and so unhappy about the program that rumblings began to be heard all over the state. In 1956 the Federal Office of Vocational Rehabilitation made a survey of Iowa programs for the blind and pointed out the glaring shortcomings. By this time the blind of the state and the Commission felt that action must be taken.
1. There are more than 4, 000 blind people in Iowa at the present time. This is not mere speculation. We actually have the names, addresses, and other data on file in our office to substantiate the figure.
2. During the fiscal year 1957-58 more than 10 people a week became blind in this state. The Commission learned of 528.
3. Of the 10 people who became blind in Iowa each week last year, at least 4 should be in the employable years. Even if one of these 4 should have other handicaps which would prevent him from being competitively employed in regular industry or agriculture, that would still mean that 3 a week (or more than 150 a year) should be returning to competitive employment and should be earning their own living.
4. Mr. Howard Benshoof, Federal Regional Representative for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for this region, estimates that there is now a backlog of more than 800 blind persons in this state who are in need of rehabilitation services but are not receiving such services.
5. The latest statistics indicate that Iowa ranks 48th among the 48 states in the number of blind persons rehabilitated per 100,000 of total population. Percentage-wise, there are as many blind persons in Iowa as in other states.
6. During fiscal 1956-57 the Iowa Commission for the Blind was operating on a total state appropriation of $28,720. With this appropriation it was expected to carry on a program of rehabilitation for the more than 4,000 blind in the state and to operate a program of home teaching--a program which would offer help to newly blinded adults in learning to travel independently, do regular household tasks such as cooking and sewing, read and write Braille, and acquire information about techniques which would help them carry on as independent persons in their communities. It was also charged with the responsibility for conducting a program of home industries whereby blind persons who were not employable in regular industry could manufacture articles in their homes to be sold by the Commission through a sales outlet. In addition, the Commission was expected to keep a register of all known blind persons in the state and to serve as the distributing agency for Talking Book machines for this state. It is not difficult to see how far a state appropriation of $28,720 would go toward doing all these things.
7. With this $28,720 annual appropriation the Iowa Commission for the Blind was able to employ only two Rehabilitation Counselors for the entire state and only one Home Teacher. It rehabilitated only 12 blind persons during the year. Its program of Home Industries was limited. It learned of 9 new blind persons per week in the state. Salaries were so low for all personnel that it was hard to secure people with proper training and ability. The Commission had only 12 vending stand locations for the blind throughout the state and it established no new ones during the year, nor was it even able to employ a Vending Stand Supervisor. Average earnings of our blind vending stand operators were less than $100 per month per person--by far the lowest average earnings for any state in this region.
8. The 1957 legislature raised the state appropriation for the Iowa Commission for the Blind to $60,440 for each year of the biennium. With this appropriation a great deal of progress has already been made. During fiscal 1957-58, 25 blind persons were rehabilitated in the state. An extra Home Teacher was hired so that we now have two Home Teachers for the blind working throughout the state, and two more Rehabilitation Counselors were also secured. Seventeen blind students are now enrolled in colleges and universities as compared with 8 for 1956-57. The Commission learned of 528 new blind persons in Iowa, or more than 10 a week, as compared with only 450 (or 9 a week) during the previous year, indicating an improvement in case finding. During fiscal 1958-59 the Commission will be able to employ a Supervisor of Rehabilitation and a Vending Stand Supervisor. The program is beginning to get under way but is still woefully inadequate. Two Home Teachers simply cannot serve a blind population of more than 4,000 and 4 Rehabilitation Counselors cannot do an adequate job for the hundreds of blind persons in Iowa who need their services.
9. The Commission is asking the 1959 legislature to give it an appropriation which will enable it to do an adequate job. From the standpoint of dollars and cents and also of what it will mean in the lives of the blind of Iowa it is good business for the state to adopt this program.
10. The average blind person in this state who receives a public welfare grant draws more than a thousand dollars a year, not to mention the cost to the state of helping to support any dependent children he may have or possibly his spouse. These public assistance funds are well spent and are a necessity for those who are unemployed, but every blind person who can be rehabilitated saves the state money by not drawing a welfare grant and he also puts money into the state treasury by being able to pay taxes. Also, Iowa is failing to earn all the federal rehabilitation money to which it is entitled. The citizens of this state are paying tax dollars to the federal government and then not putting up enough state money to get those dollars back in matching federal funds. During fiscal 1958-59 we are losing approximately $170,000 of federal rehabilitation money which we could be earning--money which was collected from Iowa taxpayers and is now being divided out among other states on a. matching basis. Besides this economic aspect to the situation, there is the indisputable fact that literally hundreds of blind persons are now simply sitting at home, rotting their lives away because they are not receiving any help at all in learning how to deal with the problems of their blindness or in getting jobs or job training. At our present level of operations this is inevitable, but it is not good business for the state.
11. The Commission for the Blind is asking the legislature for $204,939 for each year of the biennium 1959-61, or a total of $409,878 for the biennium. With this money we can earn $118,539 of federal funds for each year of the biennium, or $237,078 for the biennium. If this request seems high it is a commentary not on the request but on our past level of service.
12. If our requests are granted we should be able to do the following things:
a. We will be able to have two Rehabilitation Counselors and two Home Teachers working out of an office in Cedar Rapids. These four workers will serve the blind of eastern Iowa. We will be able to have one Rehabilitation Counselor and two Home Teachers working out of the Des Moines office and one Rehabilitation Counselor and one Home Teacher working out of an office in Sioux City and also one Counselor and one Home Teacher working out of an office in Council Bluffs. In addition, we will be able to employ an Agricultural Placement Specialist to work out of the Des Moines office and to help blind people all over the state. These three specialists will help the other counselors and will work with individual blind clients to get them jobs in agriculture, in industry, and in the professions or in clerical positions. We will also be able to have a Vending Stand Supervisor and a Vending Stand Manager to help our present vending stand operators improve their merchandising techniques, and to find new vending stand locations throughout the state. We should have at least three times as many vending stands as we now have (and this is a minimum). We will also have a Supervisor of Rehabilitation and a Supervisor of Home Teachers. We will have a Supervisor of our Home Industries program who can go into the homes of blind people and help them develop projects.
The salaries we are recommending are the very lowest we can possibly pay and still secure adequate personnel. During the past year we have lost two Rehabilitation Counselors and have had great trouble in filling most positions we have had open. If a person with professional training can do better somewhere else, why should he work for the Commission? Work with the blind requires specialized training and "know how." We can only get what we pay for.
b. Our requested appropriation will also permit us to provide a real program of services to the blind. It will help us secure college training for blind persons, training in orientation and adjustment centers, and on-the-job training. It will make it possible for us to provide Braille writers, tape recorders where they are needed, reader service for blind college students, initial equipment and supplies for blind persons going into vending stands, and white canes and other needed appliances and aids.
c. Our requested appropriation will also enable us to secure the necessary secretarial and clerical help we need to carry out our program and to buy necessary office supplies and equipment.
back to contents
When an adult becomes blind he is usually completely lost. He has always thought of blindness as being helpless and probably the only blind people he has seen have been beggars on the streets or occasional homebound individuals who have been unable to do much at all except sit in their chairs. He may have known some successful blind person but has probably considered such a person to be unusual and possessed of some special gifts and powers.
If the newly blinded adult does not get help in several areas (and get it quickly) he will likely spend the rest of his life simply sitting around and doing nothing--a burden to himself and to his family. His family may have the best intentions in the world but they will not know how to help him and they will tend to over-protect and shelter him. They will be afraid for him to move about by himself and certainly will discourage him from attempting to walk down town alone or trying to work with power tools or otherwise exert himself.
The newly blinded person needs help in several ways. First and foremost, he needs to meet other blind people who are actually traveling by themselves and doing things for themselves--blind people who are able to run a drill press or a power saw, who are able to cook a meal or sew on a sewing machine, who are able to go to and from a job, and who are able to carry on regular and normal lives. He needs to have instruction in travel techniques so that he can learn to use the new long cane method of travel. He needs to have information about what blind persons all over the country are doing and the new jobs being filled by the blind. If the blind person is a man he needs to learn to saw a board straight and to drive a nail, to learn to fix a leaky sink faucet, and do simple electric wiring. If the blind person is a woman she needs to learn techniques for cooking as a blind person--how to read recipes in Braille, how to measure ingredients, and how to tell when food is done when it is in the oven. She needs to learn to cut out a pattern and to make a blouse or a skirt. The newly blinded person needs intensive instruction in Braille and typing and in all sorts of techniques of daily living--everything from how to part his hair straight to how to match colors.
Some of this help can be brought to blind persons in their homes, but obviously such help would be limited. Also, the newly blinded person is very often not able to learn new techniques as rapidly in his own home and with his own family as in a special training center.
Ever since the Second World War, special training centers (or orientation and rehabilitation centers) for the blind have been springing up all over the country. At the present time there is no such center in Iowa, and the blind of our state suffer accordingly.
There is an orientation center for the blind in Minneapolis and also one in Kansas. The Iowa Commission for the Blind has sent blind persons from this state to both centers but the problems in using these out of state centers are very severe. To begin with, these centers serve the blind of their own states first and when and as space is available they take care of the blind of Iowa. Also, there is the matter of cost. A blind person really should have six months training at an orientation center. It costs us well over $300 a month to send a trainee to the Minneapolis Center or to any other center. This means that if we kept the trainee at the center for a full six months period that it would cost well over $2,000 per person. When it is remembered that our total state appropriation for the last biennium was $60,440 per year it is not difficult to see that we cannot send many people to out-of-state orientation centers and that we cannot keep those that we do send for a full six months. Finally, we are unable to integrate the training programs at the out-of-state centers into our over-all program of services to the blind person because, of course, we cannot regulate or control the courses taught or the curriculum at these centers.
Accordingly, the Iowa Commission for the Blind is asking the 1959 legislature to give us an appropriation to build an orientation and adjustment center for the blind of this state. The center would be able to accommodate thirty students at a time. The average length of training per student would be six months; thus, we would be able to accommodate sixty students per year. The building would also contain Commission office space and would house our entire operation. Besides Commission office space the building would contain all the facilities necessary for giving adjustment training to blind persons.
There would be a wood and metal working shop where students would learn to use hand and power tools--drill press, hand saw, joiner, power sander, wood lathe, metal lathe, and the like. There would also be a complete setup for home economics training--a kitchen, a sewing room, a laundry area, a completely furnished living room and bed- room. There would be an office and classroom for the travel training instructor. A course in the long cane technique of travel would be offered and the students would learn to go anywhere in the city traffic by themselves--and to do so safely. There would be a physical therapy and activities section and a bowling alley. The purpose of the physical therapy and activities program would be to help get the student into good physical condition so that he could do a full day's work again after what would usually be a period of idleness before he came to the center. Most people simply sit in a chair and do nothing for months after they become blind and they need proper exercise and physical conditioning to get them back into a fully active condition. The purpose of the bowling alley is to offer an opportunity for the student to participate in a competitive sport and to see that he can still perform as a blind person. A swimming pool would perhaps serve the same purpose but it would cost more money. An indoor skating rink would also cost more money; therefore, a bowling alley has been chosen as providing the needed facility at the lowest cost. There would be library space and classroom space for teaching courses in personal adjustment and attitudes about blindness. In addition, space would be provided for teaching personal grooming and related courses.
The needed Commission office space, classroom space, dormitory space for students and living accommodations for staff have been planned for very carefully. The Commission secured the services of a well-known firm of architects and they have made detailed estimates of cost of construction. According to the architects' specifications, we will need a total appropriation of $980,800. This will be sufficient to allow us to purchase the land, construct the building, buy all needed equipment, and pay architects' fees. In order that the students may travel under conditions of city traffic it will be necessary for us to construct the facility in an urban setting. If the state should be able to provide land for us, our proposed cost would be reduced accordingly. We have thoroughly investigated the possibility of securing Federal matching money for this facility and this will not be possible because of the nature of the building and because of the fact that during the coming biennium Iowa will be earning all of the money which it can get under Public Law 565, the Federal Rehabilitation Act.
The need for an orientation and adjustment center for the blind of Iowa is very urgent. Over the long haul, the center should more than pay for itself because of the number of blind people who will be enabled to become self-supporting by receiving its services. Not only should the people who become rehabilitated as a result of attending the center be able to stop receiving welfare grants from the state, but they should also contribute a great many tax dollars to the state through their earnings. It is certainly good business to have as many of the citizens of this state earning their own way and living an independent, self-respecting members of their communities as possible. It is good business from an economic standpoint and it is good business from the standpoint of human dignity and self-respect.
back to contents
From the California Council News Bulletin: Robert W. Campbell, president of the California Council of the Blind, (who was the voting delegate at Boston), concludes his editorial comment, in the August issue, thus: "After five hours of debate the matter came to a vote and the proposed amendment was adopted by the required two-thirds majority. It is your delegate's sincere hope that all of those states who were opposed will now accept the verdict of the majority and will continue their unreserved support of the program of the Federation to the end that the lot of all the blind of these United States will be improved."
There is an account of the honoring of Mr. James B. Garfield, prominent blind author and radio commentator, and president of the Los Angeles County Club of Adult Blind. The club created a new office, President Emeritus, which Mr. Garfield will hold permanently after his retirement.
"The Braille Club of San Diego reports the loss of one of its most energetic and remarkable members. Mrs. Hawks died on July 1st, barely missing her 101st birthday on July 27th. Until a few months before her death she attended all Braille Club activities--and there were a lot of them. We believe she may have been one of the oldest members of the Council and even of the entire NFB.
"The Pasadena Braille Club which owns its own club house, will soon break ground for a six-unit apartment building to be used by blind tenants."
From Horizon, (monthly magazine of the National League of the Blind, United Kingdom):
"A project designed to give blind persons handier Talking Books, and up to ten times as many as they now have, by reducing production costs per book, is being investigated by the U.S. Library of Congress, which is studying the production of 8 1/2 R.P.M. recordings and record players. It is hoped that as a result record players will be smaller, lighter and more durable than present machines and smaller records mailed in less bulky containers.
"Miss Polly Thompson, the Glasgow woman who has been secretary and companion to Helen Keller for over 40 years, was honored at a ceremony held at Glasgow in August."
"The Erie, (Irish Republic), Minister of Education has made it clear that the government has no intention of introducing legislation making the education of blind children compulsory. He considered that compulsion involving the bringing of children and young people from their homes to the schools was something which would be regarded as anathema by parents. This is an amazing attitude, in view of what compulsory legislation has achieved in Great Britain the past half century, and what the voluntary system has failed to achieve in Erie.
"Tribute is paid to one of our greatest road making pioneers--'blind Jack of Knaresvorough'--in the July issue of the Highway Times. His proper name was John Metcalf, and modern engineers are still baffled that a blind man could do the things he did in surveying and carrying out his road-building projects with such skill and accuracy. There can be seen at Knaresvorough Castle a large wheel which he pushed along to calculate road distances--a crude form of the modern millimeter." (A recent issue of the New Beacon contained an extensive account of the life of Jack Metcalf--who was active for many years in the first half of the 19th century, and who was the first to construct a modern hard surface highway in Great Britain. He established such a reputation as a road builder that he was able to obtain many profitable contracts and amassed a considerable personal fortune.)
"A blind man, Mr. Joseph Leighton, has been engaged to test for faulty ball bearings used in electric motors, because his hearing sense is more accurate than the testing equipment which was used formerly. Says the chief inspector of the firm employing him: 'We found that the tests carried out by him were far more accurate than the meter readings'.
"A special news service for blind people has started in Copenhagen which consists of a regular 'newspaper' recorded on tape, which the blind subscriber can play on a tape recorder. The 'newspaper', called the Sound Journal, is published by the Danish Association of the Blind, three times a week.... The state institution dealing with invalid insurance in Denmark has placed 600 tape recorders at the disposal of the Association of the Blind. The Sound Journal lasts for one hour, the first half being devoted to general news not included in the radio news bulletins and the second half to editorial comment and features in the Danish press."
The New Beacon records a 25th anniversary celebration by the Birmingham Rambling Club of the Blind. This organization has had a blind membership of from 50 to 100 and holds its "rambles" (hikes), every Saturday afternoon.
It is reported that Mr. Fred Hill, who has been a teacher in the Tennessee, New York and Florida schools for the blind, has just accepted a similar appointment in the Louisiana School for the Blind.
Miss Edna Schmidt, of Milwaukee, who was the Federation's principal fund raiser during the 1940's, has been teaching a class of blind children in the Milwaukee public schools for the past five years. She has also continued her postgraduate studies and in June received her Master's degree.
One of my secretaries tells me that the August issue of the Montana Observer is the neatest and generally best set up of any of the state publications she has seen--and she has seen all of them. The Editor is Mrs. Geneva Brown, of Bozeman, who deserves much credit. This issue carries a full account of the annual convention of our Montana affiliate, July 11, 12 and 13, at which Mr. Paul Kirton represented the NFB. The Observer says of him: "We found Paul Kirton to be just what President Jacobus tenBroek said of him, 'A most cordial, energetic and knowledgeable person, one who will be an excellent representative of the National Federation of the Blind'. We feel he is going to be a big help not only to our Association, but to the cause of all the blind." The M. A.B.'s annual convention has been held in recent years on the campus of the Montana State College which is made available each year for an adult summer school. This school is largely financed by our affiliate, with limited help from the Montana Department of Public Welfare, and is largely staffed by members of the M.A.B. That organization also employs its own Home Teacher, Dorothy Bridgman. The state itself does not supply any Home Teacher service.
At one of the sessions of the M.A.B. convention various students and former students testified to the value of this summer session. Stanley Proctor said: "When I came to the school I found there were others more severely handicapped than I. That was when I learned my most important lesson--that it wasn't my handicap that was holding me back but it was my failure to make full use of what capabilities I did possess."
The Association has joined a dozen or so other N.F.B. affiliates in establishing a business loan fund. It is considering the setting up of a low vision optical aids clinic in connection with its summer school. Emil and Phyllis Honka, two of the strongest pillars of the Association, had to miss this convention because Emil was taking special courses in Denver at the time.
The Ohio Bulletin announces that two of its affiliate chapters, Cincinnati and Toledo, are dedicating their own buildings this fall. This makes six Ohio chapters which own their own buildings. Cleo B. Dolan who has been Assistant Chief Administrator of the Ohio Division of Social Administration, will become Director of the Cleveland Society for the Blind on October 15, succeeding Alan W. Sherman. Mr. Dolan's successor has not yet been announced.
On August 8 Clyde and Lucille Ross joyfully welcomed their first grandchild.
From the News Bulletin of the Colorado Federation of the Blind: "Benefits available for members of the Colorado Federation of the Blind: (1) Blue Cross Hospital and Blue Shield Medical Service group. This is a valuable service as most of our members could not participate in this coverage were it not for our organization's group policy. (2) A Blood Bank was established in 1956 for members and their families. (3) Plastic eyes and corrective lenses are supplied to members free of charge. (4) We operate a limited loan service for the members at a nominal interest rate. (5) Our headquarters acts as a clearing house for information. We receive a great many calls for salesmen, what the procedure is for applying for Blind Aid, how to obtain Talking Book machines, and requests for rug weavers, chair caners, etc., as well as for general information about services available to the blind."
The North Carolina Independent Forum announces that, since the first of the year, 29 members have joined its Credit Union, bringing the total active membership to 150.
From the Nebraska Observer : "The Nebraska Council of the Blind held its regular quarterly meeting at the Cornhusker Hotel September 15, 1958. Legislation affecting the welfare of the blind was the main topic. The elected officers are as follows: Jack Swager, President; Melvin McArtor, Vice-President; John Smith, Secretary and Treasurer. Mr. Leo Hawley and Mrs. Bender were both elected for a two-year term on the Board of Directors."
The only information we have concerning the annual election meeting of the Rhode Island Federation of the Blind, September 20, is the list of the new officers. They are: President, William Lyons; Vice-President, Carl King; Recording Secretary, Robert McNally; Corresponding Secretary, Elena Landi; Treasurer, Rita LaValle, and Advisors, Raymond Grover, Anthony Salvati and Franklin DeRosa.
The current Eyecatcher, (New York), contains an account of the conferring of an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Grinnell College, upon Eber L. Palmer, Superintendent of the New York School for the Blind, Batavia, New York. "..It was the fortieth anniversary of Mr. Palmer's graduation from that college, and the degree was granted in recognition of his outstanding work in the field of education of the blind.... Those of us who attended Batavia and know Mr. Palmer are well aware of the advancements made there in the past 21 years... He has gradually changed this campus from the stereotyped concept of a residential school into a place where any teeager is delighted to spend his time. When a student graduates from Batavia today, he is both scholastically and socially ready to take his place in the seeing world. Mr. Palmer has worked tirelessly as an educator, but he has always found the time to know each of his students. We feel respect, admiration and friendship for this man...."
The Eyecatcher also announces plans for a second E.S.A.B. publication--this one to be issued twice a year in the form of a small magazine and to be called News and Views. "...It will contain material selected from the Braille Monitor, the Eyecatcher and the Congressional Record as well as from other sources which reflect the philosophy and policy of our Association. News and Views should attain a circulation of about 2,000 copies. It will be received by legislators, Congressmen, judges, public agency officials, officers of private agencies and many other citizens who may have an interest in the activities of our Association...."
The Empire State Association of the Blind proudly announces the addition of a new chapter--the Hudson Valley Association of the Blind. A letter to the Monitor Editor from James Templeton, originally a charter member of the Buffalo chapter, now in Gardena, California, says in part: "... The organizational meeting was held in the Newburgh Health Center, Tuesday evening, September 2, 1958....Eighteen signed up as charter members... Regular meetings were set for every third Tuesday evening of the month....Mr. Robert Prause, of Cornwall, was elected president. Those on hand at the first meeting represented Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, Kingston, Middletown and Peekskill. Tony Parise and Ray Dinsmore, from Staten Island and Brooklyn respectively, also attended and both spoke." The Eyecatcher expresses the hope that delegates from this newest chapter will be present at the state convention and assures them a warm and enthusiastic welcome.
Jim Templeton is deserving of the highest commendation for the energy and resourcefulness he displayed in bringing this organization into existence. He did all the preliminary spade work and obtained splendid advance publicity. This is the second N.F.B. chapter which has resulted from his devoted work. A few months ago he supplied the initiative and drive which resulted in the formation of a chapter in Sarasota, Florida.
Last May the Alumni Association of the California State School for the Blind and the California Council of the Blind reached an agreement which transferred the publication of the bi-monthly Bulletin from the first organization to the second. Subscription price for either the Braille or ink-print edition is $2 a year. Address Mrs. Catherine Skivers, Editor, 4568 Merrill Avenue, Oakland, California.
In commenting on the reappointment of John F. Mungovan, as head of the Massachusetts agency for the blind, John Nagle writes: "We of the A.B.M. have been exerting every effort to obtain this reappointment for five years and were very happy that it was finally made, ... All the blind wanted this but the organized blind worked for it...."
From a letter written by Kenneth Jernigan: ".... The federal government does permit set-aside funds to be used to pay salaries of supervisors but this is a pernicious practice, which should not be tolerated by any state. Why should a special tax be levied upon the operators of vending stands to pay the salaries of the agency officials? Would the rehabilitation counselors or vending stand supervisors in a program for the blind be willing that a part of their salaries be withheld each month in order to pay the salary of the state Director? I dare say they would not. There is no more reason why the vending stand operators should pay the salaries of supervisory officials than there is a reason why other groups of rehabilitation clients or rehabilitated people should pay the salaries of officials in any other phase of the program....
"The federal government also permits the use of set-aside funds 'to insure a fair minimum return to operators' but this is likewise a bad practice. Submarginal locations should be closed and better locations or other employment found for the operators in question. We do not put a special tax on successful lawyers to insure 'a fair minimum return' to poor lawyers and, for that matter, we do not put a special tax on officials in programs for the blind to pay the salaries of other officials...."
From an address by Donald Capps to the Sumter, South Carolina Lions Club at the beginning of their 1958 broom sale: "We believe that the broom sale can serve many worthwhile purposes. Not only can you assist in maintaining employment for the broom shop workers but, in calling on residents, you can do much public education concerning blindness which even today is still very much misunderstood by the average citizen. You should explain that, in purchasing the broom which has been made by a blind person, the purchaser is assisting several individuals who happen to be blind to earn their own livelihood. As you can appreciate, real independence and self-respect come through gainful employment. In your selling efforts you should not influence the sale by associating pity or sympathy with blindness, for if the prospect purchases the broom only through pity or sympathy, you will have defeated the real purpose in attempting to gain the desired understanding...
Gwenne Phillips, of Kansas City, writes "...At the sheltered workshop of the Association for the Blind here, they hired a model to come in and pose for pictures to be placed in the Community Chest brohures. She wore dark glasses and carried a cane but she could see perfectly well. I just happened in at the office and I protested so vigorously that they are not going to use the pictures!... "
From the Iowa Bulletin; "We were all shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Miss Anna Mae Sansom at her home in Austin, Minnesota, on the afternoon of June 23rd. Miss Sansom had been vocal music director and organ teacher at the school for the blind at Vinton, Iowa, for thirty years." ..."In his address to our state convention Kenneth Jernigan outlined future plans and made two very striking statements--'It is impossible to have a good rehabilitation program in a state without a good public assistance program. The Kennedy Bill is now in effect in this state.'" ..."Last Fall the Waterloo City Council installed what is known as a scramble system on two corners in that city. With this system the traffic can move on its regular lights and then there is a period for pedestrians when no traffic is permitted. When the Waterloo folks arrived home from convention they found that the city had installed bells on these corners which ring each time for the pedestrians to go and ring again when the period closes. That has been a real help to us, and we hope that other cities may adopt the same system some time on busy intersections" ..."We are sorry to report that for the first time in many years Tom Jantzen was unable to attend the N.F.B. Convention. Tom had his reservations and fully intended to be there, but became ill and could not go. We are glad to report that he is again feeling better and we want him to know that he was greatly missed by his many friends at Boston...."
It has not been previously reported in the Braille Monitor that Superintendent D.W. Overbeay, of the Iowa Braille and Sight-Saving School, was elected president of the American Association of Instructors of the Blind at the national convention of that organization last June.
In discussing the recent controversy at the Boston convention, the Editor of the South Dakota Visually Handicapped Views concludes: "...I wonder if perhaps some other groups should not take a page from the South Dakota affiliate. We battle, we tussle, we argue, but we resolve a question and having done so, we accept the decision of the majority and, abiding by it, work side by side and go on with what we've started. So far it has worked for us and we have indeed had some royal battles...."
From a report of the meeting of the Board of Directors of the Capitol Hill Lions Club (Washington, D.C.): "An announcement was read of the appointment of our own Tim Seward as a five-year Director of the Eye Bank of Twenty-two C. Tim is peculiarly well adopted to perform a whale of a job in this capacity, since much of his time has been devoted to works designed to improve the lot of blind people in general, and it is not necessary to dwell at length upon the broadness of experience and understanding that he brings to this most important post."
The West Virginia Federation will introduce a "little Kennedy Bill" during the coming session. The Florida Federation plans a similar move.
"I am so sorry", wrote Jim Sletten's tiny grand-daughter in July-"I am so sorry I forgot to thank you for my Christmas present. It would serve me right if you didn't get me any present for my birthday-- which is next Tuesday."
Delegates planning to attend the 1959 convention in Santa Fe were requested to register directly with the hotels, in the preliminary bulletin which appeared in the October issue, which listed the hotels by name. Those in charge of the convention now request that, if anyone experiences difficulty in registering, or does not receive a confirmation, the registration chairman should be contacted. She is Rosalea Chaves, 212 Deffouri St., Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The Indiana Council Newsletter announces that, beginning with its next issue, it will be available in Braille. A Braille multigraph machine has been presented to the organization by the Hammond Central Lions Club. The Editor is Mrs. Frances Miller, 617 W. Porter St., Crown Point, Indiana.
The latest addition to the Federation family:--It's heartiest congratulations to Alma and Jack Murphey of St. Louis on the arrival of their sixth, a boy on October 7. Alma, Secretary of the National Federation, has proven again her uncanny ability to schedule her activities. As President of the Missouri Federation of the Blind, she conducted her state convention September 27 and 28, gave birth to the newest Murphey on October 7, and will be ready to resume her Federation labors when the N.F.B. Executive Committee meets in St. Louis in November.
Between two meetings of the Committee on Neurological Research and Blindness, held in Chicago on October 12 and 14, John Taylor was able to spend a day in Madison, Wisconsin, during which he inspected the Monitor, National White Can Week and Greeting Card offices of the Federation and also made a tour of the seven prosperous blind-operated vending stands in that city.
From the Washington State White Cane: "... The production of literature in recorded form for use by people who cannot see to read ink-print books is unquestionably a wonderful service and we feel sure that the vast majority of sightless readers are genuinely grateful for its existence. But we are equally certain that most sightless people object sincerely to the idea of having the literature made available to them chosen on the exclusive basis of its inspirational and recreational quality....Here, once again, we see just another of the traditionally held conceptions concerning blindness in the minds of sighted people...Whenever a service is provided for the blind, since sightlessness is known by the sighted to be a burden of such depressing and gloomy proportions, it must always be characterized by inspiration and recreation...."
"Mrs. Iva 'Val' Brakel, of Seattle and Olympia, was recently appointed Supervisor of the unit of Services for the Blind in the State Department of Public Assistance. Mrs. Brakel succeeds Kenneth W. Bryan who was appointed Deputy Director of the entire Department of Public Assistance a few weeks ago...."
"This year's Achievement Award was presented at the national Eagles convention in Chicago, to Francis Pearson, Chairman of the Public Service Commission in the State of Washington.... Francis Pearson is blind. He is a former Washington State senator...."
The Braille Monitor extends greetings and congratulations to Russell Williams, famous Director of the Rehabilitation Center at Hines Hospital, in Chicago, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of that institution.
From We The Blind, (Pennsylvania): "Our newest chapter, the Lehigh Valley Federation of the Blind, has now reached a membership of 37 enthusiastic, paid-up members....From Scranton, Pennsylvania, comes the glad tidings that their membership has increased and that they are enthusiastically conducting their first concert campaign, which they hope to make an annual affair. A nationally-known blind artist will be seen and heard on the night of October 9... The encouraging news from Delaware County is the distinct possibility that two chapters will be organized. Where there are sufficient blind persons, more than one chapter is not only desirable, but extremely beneficial.... The State President is anxious to form new chapters and will visit and give every assistance to existing chapters. We are greatly encouraged by the request for assistance in forming new chapters. The requests from Oil City, Erie, New Castle, Dauphin, Lycoming, Philadelphia and Allentown will be taken care of as soon as we make sure that there are key members who will accept responsibility.... We regret to announce the passing away of our former president, Robert Dewey, on Friday, September 12.... Larry Shaffner, founder of the Pennsylvania Blind Merchants Guild in 1941, and until recently Editor of We the Blind, passed away suddenly July 31....Another grave loss suffered by the blind of Pennsylvania has been the death of Congressman Eberharter, Pittsburgh....Let us, if we may, PIN down the rolling response to the STRIKING success of the bowling alleys. Bowling has not merely proved a most satisfying means of recreation for a constantly increasing number of sightless persons, but it has come into its own as a very gratifying source of competition between them. Contests and tournaments are becoming common gossip, and the fervor and enthusiasm with which each new league is formed would BOWL you over!...
As a result of a heart attack, Mr. Donald H. Dabelstein, Assistant Director of the Federal Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, died suddenly on October 8. Funeral services were held October 11 at the Werness Funeral Home in Minneapolis and interment was at his native home, Winona, Minnesota. Mr. Dabelstein, who is survived by his wife and daughter, joined the office of Vocational Rehabilitation in 1944 and became its Assistant Director in 1947. In the field of vocational rehabilitation he is widely known both as an author and administrator.
Miss Lois Boltin, President of the Columbia Chapter of our South Carolina affiliate, has enrolled in the Adjustment Center operated by the Minneapolis Society for the Blind, to begin training in the operation of the Braille switchboard. Her training is being sponsored by her own organization and, indirectly, by all those who contributed to the 1958 White Cane Week drive in South Carolina.
The Wisconsin organization of blind stand operators has voted to affiliate with the National Blind Merchants' Guild, which was formed at Boston last July. On the same week-end the blind merchants of Ohio organized statewide and also voted to join the national organization.
A correspondent writes: "...When a nation is endangered by attacks from another country, politics and personal differences are forgotten. It seems to me that since our organization is constantly being buffeted by outside forces which would destroy it, we, like the nations under attack, should present a united front...."
Miss Blanche Cornell, former music teacher at the Wisconsin School for the Visually Handicapped, has supplied the Braille Monitor with a short list of addresses where Braille music can be purchased or borrowed. By purchase--The American Printing House for the Blind, 1839 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, 6, Kentucky, from the Illinois Braille and Sight-Saving School, Jacksonville, Illinois, and from the Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, Massachusetts. Braille music may be borrowed from the Cincinnati Library for the Blind, 6990 Hamilton Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio and from the New York Library for the Blind, 166 Avenue of the Americas, New York City. If readers know of other sources, we will be glad to publish such information.
back to top