DECEMBER ISSUE - 1959
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
2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, Calif.
THE BRAILLE MONITOR
Published monthly in Braille and distributed free to the blind by the American Brotherhood for the Blind, 257 South Spring Street, Los Angeles 12, California
Inkprint 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)
"Hope Deferred" in Braille
Joe Clunk Fired
Executive Committee Meets in St. Louis
A New Profession
Expanded Committee System
Dr. Grant Visits Louis Braille Shrine
Changes in Florida Welfare
by R. L. Thompson
Triumph Over Double Handicap
Go East, Young Men
From the Antipodes
From Our Readers
Here and There
Dr. tenBroek's latest book, Hope Deferred (co-authored by Professor Floyd Matson--whom many of you have met personally at national conventions) will be on the shelves of all regional Braille libraries in a few months and you will eventually be able to borrow it. It is to be published by the Howe Press, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown 72, Massachusetts, in seven magazine-type volumes. I recently received a letter from Dr. Edward Waterhouse, director of the Perkins School, informing me that it is now possible for individuals and organizations to purchase Hope Deferred. The purchase price is $7.00 for the entire work.
I sent in my own check as soon as I received this letter and my colleague, Paul Kirton did the same. We feel that it will be an extremely valuable reference and we are very glad that it will now be possible for us to have it available on our own shelves at all times. I believe there are many others who will want to take advantage of this opportunity. The book contains a gold mine of information that will be especially valuable to those concerned with legislation for the improvement of programs of services to the blind. The section on the "means test"--which all of us are so anxious to have modified or abolished in our various states--contains a devastating analysis and indictment of this wasteful, humiliating and discredited principle, which has stood so long as a roadblock obstructing all efforts to liberalize and humanize programs of public assistance to the blind. Nearly every phase of public assistance and vocational rehabilitation is dealt with in a simple, direct, logical and thoroughly documented approach. The authors are objective but never hesitate to point out the weaknesses, as well as the strong points of current programs. As you all know, Dr. tenBroek has devoted long and arduous years to an intensive study of the problems discussed in this book and his vast knowledge of the subject has enabled him to propose solutions which are feasible and practicable--however startling and disturbing some of them may seem to certain vested interests.
By the time you read this, there will be only a few days left in which to act. The original deadline was December 31 but a telegram from Dr. Waterhouse has now set it back an additional 15 days--January 15.
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From The Courier, Philadelphia: "Joseph F. Clunk, managing director of the Philadelphia Association for the Blind, Inc. at 100 East Price Street, for the past 9 years, has been dismissed from that $12,000 a year post as of Sunday. Official confirmation of his removal was contained in a letter to Clunk October 26 from Dr. Thomas A. Benham, chairman of the board of trustees. His firing culminated a two-year period of deteriorating relationship between Clunk and his board which, Dr. Benham stated, got its start in an ill-starred chemical pump venture, on which PAB lost a total of $100,000. Clunk was offered a position as director of Development Income for PAB on a six-month basis, with $1,000 monthly advance against commissions. He would work from an outside office in the endeavor. The board is ready to sign a one-year contract with Ercole Oristaglio of the Services for the Blind of the State Department of Welfare as acting director of services, Dr. Benham said....
"Clunk told The Courier during a meeting in his office Tuesday with Dr. Benham and Ralph Packman, the PAB public relations aide, that he would seek an injunction to prove the board of trustees incompetent and keep them from exercising control over the operations of the PAB. Dr. Benham told The Courier: 'Over a period of the last two or three years, we have become dissatisfied with the way Joe has run it (PAB) and we've lost confidence in his ability to make a good business judgment. We're not impugning his motives.'
"Clunk's business management of the PAB was taken over in February, 1959 by Business Manager Raymond Swing, who reports directly to the board, bypassing Clunk.... Clunk told The Courier that as of January 31, 1959 the PAB was in the black by approximately $66,000. As of the end of September, he said, the Association was in the red about $16,000....
"If Clunk is unwilling to accept the directorship of Development Income, Dr. Benham told The Courier, the board is willing to accept his resignation and make a financial settlement on the ten-year verbal contract Clunk has with the board. The contract expires next October...
"Clunk came to PAB after 13 1/2 years with the Federal Government. He was Chief of Services for the Blind in the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Washington, D.C....
"Clunk said Tuesday that PAB has...a plant at 15th and Lehigh Streets,...employing 60 blind and 130 sighted workers, and that on a gross volume of $1,500,000 in the year ending May, 1958 the deficit had been only $16,000."
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An atmosphere that was anything but cheerful or optimistic pervaded the weekend meeting of the NFB Executive Committee at the Melbourne Hotel in St. Louis, November 13-15. The principal business was the drawing up and eventual adoption of a 1960 budget. Despite the most stringent economies during the last half of 1959, which had resulted in at least partial paralysis of program activities, the executive committee found that available money for the rest of this year was so limited that no increase in fruitful activities was possible. That was bad enough, but what caused the really thick gloom to descend was an announcement by Mr, Bernard Gerchen,our greeting card mailing contractor, that we must be prepared to face a probable drop of at least 10 to 15 percent in our 1960 income. He told us that the cumulative effect of the steel strike and the threat of a possible railway strike, together with the fact that 1960 is a national election year, made it necessary for his firm to proceed with extreme caution.
The budget subcommittee began its struggle with the inflexible figures it had before it on Thursday evening and this continued all the following day until midnight. The return to normal operations, which we had all so fondly and confidently hoped for, was out of the question now. Projected allocations of funds to all areas of NFB activity had to be ruthlessly slashed. The full executive committee went into session Saturday morning and took up the proposed budget, item by item. Most of the members were heartsick over what they were called upon to do. The hardest struggle came on the proposal to cut the professional staff and secretarial staff by 25 percent. This will mean the dismissal of at least one staff member. The Braille Monitor will have to remain at its present anemic size and it is entirely possible that it may have to be issued only every other month if funds run too short during the course of the coming year. Other publications and travel will have to be cut to the bone--and this despite the fact that prospects for truly spectacular gains during the next session of Congress have never been brighter. The King bill and various social security measures now have the support of a united front--the AFB, the AAWB, the BVA and the National Federation. It will be tragic if shortage of money cripples our organization at this crucial time.
As already reported, our New Jersey affiliate adopted a resolution calling upon the NFB to reduce the proportionate share of the states sufficiently to restore the Monitor to its normal size. North Dakota already returns 10 percent of its share as a fixed policy. Next February the states will each receive their share of the proceeds from the 1959 mailings and each share will be at least $200 more than in any previous year. If the states would consent to contribute just this $200 excess toward restoring their own national organization to full effectiveness, there would be $8,800 more to carry on the national program during the last half of 1960 and this would make a tremendous difference. Let's talk about something of this sort in the columns of the Monitor during the next few months.
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In an article in the September issue of the New Beacon, entitled "A Twentieth Century Profession for the Blind," Miss Annette Watley of the Paris office of the World Council, points out that those concerned with finding employment for the blind should not only be aware of present developments but also of future trends. On the one hand mechanical progress, and especially automation, will undoubtedly render certain skills obsolete. On the other, new opportunities will be opening up in industry, commerce and the professions, and training should be planned well in advance so that blind men and women will be ready to enter the posts as and when they become available.
One calling which is rapidly becoming an important and remunerative profession is that of interpreter. All over the world international organizations are springing up, making possible a fruitful exchange of ideas on every conceivable subject. Conferences, congresses and seminars are the order of the day. Each of them requires the services of one or several interpreters.... In addition, there is an increasing demand for interpreters in the world of commerce, industry, travel agencies, air terminals, hotels, law courts, and in large department stores.
"But interpreting is not a career to be chosen on the spur of the moment. It calls for early and extensive training. But it is a profession which is particularly suited to blind persons because it involves a minimum of outside distraction and a trained power of concentration. The intelligent blind boy or girl with a retentive memory, perseverance, and a good ear should be picked out by the teacher at an early age, as soon as he has learned to read and write Braille. By the age of fifteen he should have a good working knowledge of at least three additional languages and should then proceed to acquire a complete mastery of them--fine shades of meaning, technical and trade terms, and the exact counterpart of these in English and in the other two tongues."
There are now advanced professional schools where certificates equivalent to degrees can be earned. Two of them have been opened in Paris in recent years and similar professional training courses are being established in other countries.
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President Russell Kletzing writes in the October California Council Bulletin: "..Democracy in an organization like ours means more than just "the right to vote and to be represented; it means actual participation in the serious work that must be done. One of the most effective ways of carrying out work in a democratic manner is through the committee process. Nearly all of the important work of Congress and of state legislatures is carried on by committees. The Council has always utilized some committees but with the growth of our organization--both in numbers and in the scope of our work--a much greater use of the committee process seems desirable. During the summer I appointed a number of committees to carry out the work of the Council in important fields. These are listed below with a brief description of their functions:
"APPRENTICESHIP: Its function is to investigate the methods of adapting the present widely accepted apprenticeship training program so that it can be utilized by blind people to reach journeyman status in the skilled trades. This is a virtually untouched field of possible opportunities which, if opened up, could offer training and employment for a large number of blind people.
"SOCIAL WELFARE: The purpose of this committee is to continue the long standing policy of consultation with the State Department of Social Welfare. Consultation has been very fruitful both for the Council and the Department. This committee will also consider changes that are needed in the social welfare laws.
"PUBLIC RELATIONS: This committee has the job of presenting the Council's program to the general public through speakers, radio, television, newspapers and magazines. It will coordinate the public relations programs of the local clubs and stimulate the establishment of such programs where none exist. It will also handle the special publicity for fundraising drives such as White Cane Week.
"BLIND-MADE PRODUCTS: It will be the task of this committee to investigate the whole field of the manufacture and sale of blind-made products and to recommend to the Council remedial legislation.
"NEWEL PERRY SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE: This committee will investigate the means of financing scholarships for blind students and the method of award and administration that will be appropriate.
"FEDERAL LEGISLATION: It is the function of this committee to coordinate the Council's efforts in supporting National Federation legislation before the Congress. The committee will encourage local clubs to get acquainted with their Congressmen.
"RADIO: The committee will look into the possibilities for expanding our activities in the radio field, both on amateur and conventional radio.
"AFFILIATE STANDARDS: A motion was adopted at the last convention to establish a committee to consider what minimum standards the Council should require of its affiliates. The committee may also make recommendations to the affiliates concerning good practices.
"BRAILLE TRANSCRIPTION: This committee will compile a list of all possible sources of Braille transcription available to California.
"EMPLOYMENT: In addition to making policy recommendations to the Council, this committee should work with the local clubs to make the Council's job clearing house a working institution. It will encourage the establishment of an employment committee in each club to channel those needing jobs to the clearing house and to survey their communities to find opportunities.
"Some of the committees have been appointed from a particular geographical area so that they can meet without too much difficulty. Some of the others which require statewide representation may be able to meet only twice a year, at convention time. ..."
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The California Council Bulletin is carrying a series of articles entitled "Keeping up with Isabelle." In the current issue she tells of her visit to Coupvray:
"...The highlight of my four days in France was a pilgrimage to the home of Louis Braille, in a very small village which has neither bus service nor railway station. I left the Gare du Nord on a small suburban train with wooden seats, full of happy children leaving the dusty heat of the city for the summer vacation. Paris mercifully ships its children away for the summer, away from the maddening crowds of tourists which all but take over the city at this season of the year. I left the train at a village which was only two kilometres from Coupvray. I dropped into the village cafe and over a plate liberally filled with sliced tomatoes chatted with the concierge, his wife, and the village gossip--who had come by to have her usual morning aperitif. They helped me find a villager who was willing to drive me to Coupvray.
"The drowsy hamlet was asleep that hot July day as the noonday sun beat down on the quiet countryside, silencing everything but the chirp of the cicada under the trees and the soft lowing of a cow in the distance. A little old lady, Mile. Detour, had the key to the Louis Braille home and accompanied me there. The little house nestled on the side of a hill, the road going by the door of the workshop where Louis's father had carried on his business as a saddler. Inside, the old workbench still showed traces of the making of the saddles. There were still unfinished bits of harness and saddles, and there also were Pere Braille's tools--one of which had blinded the three-year-old Louis. The saddler had been standing on his bench, hanging some completed work on the wall, when a heavy awl had slipped from his hand and struck the youngster.
"We climbed the narrow winding stair where perhaps the distraught young father had carried his agonized child up to the living quarters on the main floor, which is immediately above the workshop. This is now the modest museum, housing the family documents and the house-hold properties. Here tables lie covered with the fruits of Louis Braille's imagination and industry. I was especially interested in the letters of encouragement from Charles Barbier, with whom Louis Braille had shared his idea for a system of touch reading when he first saw its possibilities. And so on from one display to another, and at last out into the garden on the upper level of the house, which overlooked the wide and fertile valley below. Louis Braille could not enjoy this panorama but he opened up a wider one to the blind of the world by adhering stubbornly to his idea of touch reading, even though the university in which he was working frowned upon his efforts.
"I visited the village church which the Brailles had attended, as well as the Dukes of Rouen before them. I traced the outline of the bronze monument showing Louis Braille teaching the boy to read with his fingers. I visited the cemetery close by the church where the remains of Louis Braille had been exhumed and re-buried with the great men in the Pantheon in Paris. These only added to the conviction that Coupvray will surely become a world shrine. We, who owe so much to Louis Braille, are helping to make this a reality."
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by R.L. Thompson
...Anyone receiving $1.00 of public assistance or more is now entitled to receive at welfare expense all prescribed medicines, in addition to the usual welfare grant, with no limit on the cost of the prescribed medicine, except that tranquilizers and vitamins cannot be paid for. Also, everyone receiving $1.00 or more of public assistance is now eligible for thirty days of free hospitalization at any licensed hospital of his choice. The recipient must, however, accept the services of the staff and service doctors of the hospital.... The spouse of the recipient of welfare is also entitled to prescribed medicines and hospitalization to the same extent.....An applicant or recipient of welfare is now able to receive welfare assistance no matter how high the assessed value of his homestead....He must, however, live in the homestead.... It used to be that the State Welfare Board sent a deputy into the district to hear and report on individual complaints and appeals. Now the District Welfare Board will itself hear the complaints or appeals. Of course, all decisions on each case will still be reviewed by the State Welfare Board but it is thought that the district board's decisions will not be cast aside lightly, as sometimes happened with the recommendations of a deputy.
It can be noted that each change is a liberalization of the rules and laws governing welfare to the advantage of the individual who finds it necessary to accept public assistance.
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by Bonnie Byington
Education, low vision aids, and reviewing and studying work for the blind in the state and nation highlighted the 39th annual convention of the Kansas Association for the Blind, Inc., October 23-25 at the Baker Hotel in Hutchinson. There was a meeting of stand operators Friday afternoon. The board met that evening....Next morning President Wayne Applegate keynoted the convention with the theme: "No Insurmountable Obstacles--Blindness Can Be a Challenge"....Miss Georgie Lee Able of the AFB discussed problems and trends in education....Reports by staff members of the State Division of Services for the Blind and the Kansas Foundation for the Blind were presented during the afternoon. At the end of Saturday's sessions came the elections.
Those chosen were: president, Miss Jearldine Noeller, 2009 College View Road, Manhattan; vice-president, John Thomas, Wichita; recording secretary, Mrs. Sonia Carr, Kansas City; corresponding secretary, Misa Ruth Rigg, Wichita; revolving fund secretary, Ray McGuire, Wichita; finance secretary, Mrs. Shirley Applegate, Topeka; treasurer, Miss Helen Smith, Kansas City; board members, L.A. Dubbs, Ransom, and Wayne L. Applegate and Reese Robrahn, both of Topeka. Miss Noeller, John Thomas, Reese Robrahn and Donald Rixon were named as delegates to the Miami convention. Kansas City was selected for the 1960 Association convention.
George H. ("Tim") Seward, assistant to Congressman Baring, delivered the banquet address. He said that blind people are now full-fledged citizens and social, economic and legal discriminations must be dispelled. He emphasized that the blind can and should speak in their own behalf. A major highlight of the Saturday night banquet was a tribute to Mrs. Eleanor A. Wilson, 87, Kansas City, former superintendent of the Kansas School for the Blind, and one of the founders of the Association. Mrs. Wilson, whose husband was blind, was praised for a lifetime of wisdom and service.
Sunday's business included the adoption of a motion for the Association to appoint a committee to work toward the establishment of a low vision aids center in Kansas. In addition to several major resolutions, a highly favorable report on the coordinating council was presented by L. A. Dubbs.
by Audrey Bascom
The annual convention of the Nevada Federation of the Blind was held in Reno at the El Cortez Hotel, September 12-13. Welcoming addresses were delivered by Lieutenent Governor Rex Bell and by Reno's Mayor, "Bud" Baker. The District Governor of the 4-N Lions Clubs of Nevada gave an address on the interest of the Lions in the programs and the welfare of the blind. Another speaker was Attorney General Roger Foley. Barbara Coughlan, Director of the Welfare Department, gave a splendid address, her subject being progress in work for the blind in Nevada. Mr. James N. Grear described developments in the treatment of detached retina and sight restoration in general. Dr. Byron Stetler, Superintendent of Public Instruction, told us that the program of integrating blind children into the public school system was working out extremely well. George Magers, Chief of the Bureau of Services for the Blind, explained Nevada's new vending stand program and reported on recent placements. Our national president, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, spoke Sunday morning on vending stands and other projects at the federal level and also answered questions about aid to the blind in other states. A committee was appointed to study a proposal for group hospitalization insurance. George Magers was general chairman of the convention and K.O. Knudson was master of ceremonies at the banquet. The evening's climax came with the wonderful speech of Dr. tenBroek, to which everyone present listened with rapt attention. He brought us a resounding message which will live long in the memories of those who heard it.
The following officers and directors were elected for the coming year: president, Audrey Bascom, P.O. Box 564, 110 South 28th Street, Las Vegas; first vice-president, K.O. Knudson; second vice-president, Larry Luke; secretary, August Raepsaet; treasurer, Nina Orcutt; chaplain, Julia Davis; directors: Catherine Callahan, Dorothy Bowring, James Ellis, I.G. Orcutt. Our 1960 convention will be held in Ely.
The Manchester Union Leader quotes from an address by Governor Wesley Powell, delivered at the second annual convention of the New Hampshire Federation of the Blind on October 3: "...I am very hopeful as time goes on that perhaps we--the Federation and I--have begun to set the tone for a growing realization of vocational training. In the not too distant future, whether I happen to be governor or someone else is, we--or you and he--will find together the common ground to work to the realization of your hopes." The article continues: "...Powell's talk climaxed an all-day session of the Federation, attended by more than 250 people from throughout the state. The program had opened with a morning business session and a talk by John Millon, vocational rehabilitation counselor....Among others taking part in the program were Federation President Franklin Van Vliet; John Taylor of Washington, D.C., representing the National Federation of the Blind; Carl Camp of the State Division of the Blind; Joseph Lacerte, president of the Merrimac Chapter of the Federation; Xavier Vaillancourt, president of the Berlin Chapter, and Mayor Laurier Lamontagne. Powell and Lamontagne were presented life memberships in the Federation in recognition of their 'hopes, desires and willingness to work for the assistance of the blind.'..."
by Frank Baker
The Maine Council of the Blind held its first annual convention at the Augusta House, Augusta, on Saturday, October 17. The Council, which was organized February 9 of this year and affiliated with the National Federation of the Blind February 24 is, numerically, still in its infancy but is growing steadily in spite of the vast area, sparse population and almost entire lack of public transportation in Maine. At the afternoon meeting, in addition to the reading of reports of officers and committees, there were discussions relative to the creation of more job opportunities for the blind of Maine; the matter of wage discrimination when blind workers are employed; the advisability of asking the cooperation of labor unions in securing job opportunities, and the establishment of a cooperative to handle articles made by the blind for sale. Committees were appointed to study the above subjects and make recommendations as to what action should be taken. A banquet was served in the evening at the Augusta House and was well attended by members and guests from many sections of the state. The address of welcome was made by the Honorable Sylvio J. Gilbert, Mayor of Augusta. The principal speaker of the evening was Professor Donald F. Carlo of Coburn Classical Institute, Waterville. Professor Carlo is a blinded veteran of World War II. Other speakers were Franklin Van Vliet and Edward E Vachon, president and secretary, respectively, of the New Hampshire Federation of the Blind.
by Jack Murphey
The Missouri Federation of the Blind held its annual convention October 9-11, at the Aladdin Hotel in Kansas City. It was one of our best and largest conventions thus far, with 140 cheerfully paying the $1 registration fee... One hundred and sixty two banquet tickets were sold. NFB staff members John Taylor and Paul Kirton, and Mrs. Eleanor Harrison, member of the NFB Executive Committee and ex-president of the Minnesota Organization of Blind, were honored, indefatigable and delightful guests throughout the convention.
Friday, October 8, was devoted to publicity, board and committee meetings, and the annual meeting of the MFB Credit Union. From 9 A.M. to 11 P.M. we worked. After that our Kansas City hosts threw a party that was a triumph of fun and hospitality.
The convention really began Saturday morning. One of its first official acts was to admit the Randolph County Association of the Blind and the Guild of Fulton as the 10th and 11th local chapters of the MFB. The remainder of the day was largely given over to speeches, followed by question and answer periods. Mr. Ed Jones told of the work of a private organization interested in placing all types of handicapped persons in Kansas City. Mr. William Crow, executive director of the Kansas City Association for the Blind, described the programs of his organization. MR. V.S. Harshbarger, Chief of the Missouri Bureau for the Blind, delivered a long, amusing and intensely interesting address. The convention was profoundly impressed by his realistic attitudes. The Federation feels that Mr. Harshbarger is the right man for the important office he fills. Paul Kirton's eloquent review of Hope Deferred resulted in the unanimous adoption of a resolution calling upon the Library of Congress to have that great book printed in Braille. John Taylor's lucid and fascinating report on national legislation and the Frampton investigation committee concluded the afternoon session.
The Saturday evening banquet was M.C.'d by Mrs. Gwenne Phillips of Kansas City. President Alma Murphey and Congressman Boiling delivered short addresses. Mr. Earley ("Cotton") Busby presented the Jenkins Music Company with a beautiful plaque in honor of its long time employment of blind piano tuners. John Taylor's splendid banquet address was the highlight of the program.
The third and final session was held Sunday morning. The convention authorized the appropriation of $100 to the Braille Monitor and $50 annually to Good Cheer. It authorized the president of the MFB to appoint a large standing committee to plan arrangements for the National Federation convention in Kansas City in 1961. It also adopted a resolution calling for a minimum wage of 62 1/2 cents per hour for all workers in sheltered shops in Missouri, and requested the administrator of the Fair Labor Standards Act to see that certificates of exemption from the minimum wage and hour provisions of that act shall recognize the blind worker's right to know what basic wage has been decided upon. The constitution was amended to provide for members-at-large where no chapters exist. The 1960 convention will be in Joplin. This was not an election year. Our frenzied efforts to deal with resolutions, appropriations and other convention business during those last brief hours pinpointed the fact that too much of our precious time had been allotted to speakers on the preceding day.
by Gertie Wisdom
The annual convention of the Tennessee Federation of the Blind was held on September 5 and 6 at the Hotel Patton, Chattanooga. The assembly enjoyed a number of interesting addresses. Mr. Vernon Metcalf, agricultural specialist, spoke on the rehabilitation of blind farm operators. Mr. Pave L. Day, Supervisor of Home Teaching Services, told of the work being done by his staff and of the need for more workers in this field. Mrs. Alberta Boyd of the Department of Public Welfare, indicated her eagerness to help in solving our problems.
We enjoyed an excellent banquet on Saturday evening, followed by a delightful two-hour boat ride up the Tennessee River.
On Sunday morning Mr. Tom Minton, Superintendent of Voluntary Industries for the Blind at Morristown, favored the assembly with a most interesting and informative address. John Taylor, who surprised a number of his friends by arriving Sunday morning with his bride of a little more than a week, reported on national legislation. Mr. Carl Wiley's discussion of the program for training blind switchboard operators at Sarasota, Florida, evoked much discussion and many questions.
The election resulted as follows: president, J. M. Warren, 100 South 16th Street, Nashville; first vice-president, Miss Laverne Humphrey, Knoxville; second vice-president, F.W. Orrell, Chattanooga; third vice-president, Hollis Liggett, Memphis; secretary, Miss Gertie Wisdom, Nashville; treasurer, Miss Willette Marshall, Nashville; directors, Mrs . Bertha Wells, Nashville, and Mrs. Geneva Thrower, Chattanooga. Miss Laverne Humphrey was elected delegate to the Miami convention and F.W Orrell, alternate. The 1960 convention will be, held in Knoxville.
(That part of Miss Wisdom's account dealing with the new advisory committee has been omitted because it had been reported previously.)
by Robert O'Shaughnessy
The annual convention of the Illinois Federation of the Blind was held at the Stratford Hotel in Alton, October 16-18. We had 21 organizations show up, including 2 new ones. One of these is the Blackhawk Braille Club, Rock Island, the other is the Association for the Advancement of the Colored Blind, Chicago. There were 46 voting delegates present--the largest number in our history. There were 140 at the banquet. Homer Nowatski was selected for the 1959 Mary McCann Award--this was kept a secret from Homer and did we ever catch him off guard. Vic Buttram was hired by the IFB as organizer and fundraiser on a half-time basis. He will also work half-time for the Peoria organization. We both wanted Vic full-time but neither organization could afford to pay a full-time salary, so this plan was worked out for one year. Vic had to give up his post on the board of directors to take this job. He had been a board member for 19 years. It was voted to give $25 to Good Cheer publication.
The following officers were elected for two-year terms: president, Robert O'Shaughnessy, 130 West Richmond Street, Peoria; first vice-president, Fred Lilley, Oak Lawn; second vice-president, Jack Reed, Alton; secretary, Robert Mullen, Chicago; treasurer, Robert Gleason, Springfield; board members, Dr. S. Bradley Burson, Downer Grove, Elmer Heldt, Oak Park, and Ralph Stick, Freeport. Delegates to the Miami convention: Robert O'Shaughnessy, Fred Lilley and Jack Reed. The 1960 convention will be in Peoria, October 14-15.
The semi-annual convention of the California Council of the Blind was held at the Leamington Hotel in Oakland, Friday and Saturday, October 9 and 10--one of the most productive sessions of the past several years.
At the White Cane Committee meeting which took place Thursday evening, plans were finalized for the Council's two-pronged fundraising effort next May. The older of the two, the letter campaign, will be directed by the enthusiastic and very capable Jim McGinnis of Van Nuys, The ticket selling campaign will be managed by Ida Ambler of Vallejo. An additional fundraising effort by the Council, not connected with White Cane Week, will be a candy sale the first three weeks in November. Also a contract has been negotiated with a circus whereby the Council will sponsor a specific number of performances.
At the Friday morning session the Council voted to establish a credit union. President Russell Kletzing gave an accounting of all actions that had been taken to implement the several resolutions adopted at the spring convention. Conferences have been held with the management of California Industries for the Blind in order to iron out several pressing problems confronting the blind employees of this state-operated workshop system. Current Council expenditures are running slightly over $1,000 a month. A considerable time was devoted to a discussion of the acute shortage in the readers funds for college students. President Kletzing stated he had been assured that additional funds would be found to ease the shortage. The tumultuous and sustained applause which rang through the convention hall at the conclusion of the president's report was convincing evidence that the rank and file members were confident that the Council's work in behalf of the blind citizens of California was being carried forward with sincerity, vigor, determination and outstanding ability. Two distinguished speakers at the Friday night banquet were Lieutenent Governor Glenn Anderson and Welfare Director Jack Wedemeyer.
by Alaric Nichols
The following is a brief account of the third annual convention of the Vermont Council of the Blind. The first item on the agenda was the showing of the film, "The Perkins Story," depicting in both sound and color, life at the Perkins School for the Blind, Water town, Massachusetts, from kindergarten through high school. It was very entertaining as well as most enlightening. Next was a most informative talk by William Gallagher, of the Catholic Guild for the Blind, Boston, Massachusetts. The afternoon session opened with a talk by Ettore Rosati, Supervisor of Education for the Blind, Providence, Rhode Island.
The following officers were elected to serve for a two-year term: president, Alaric G. Nichols, 30 Henry Street, Bellows Falls; first vice-president, Edward Burgoyne, Burlington; second vice-president, Malcolm Close, Burlington; secretary, Kayden Nichols, Brandon; treasurer, Mrs. Helen Palluotto, Brandon; sergeant-at-arms, Mrs. Margaret Lyons, Williston; executive committee: Sam Parker, Proctor; Albert Rowell and Carl Raymond, Burlington; trustees: Mrs. Louise Koier, Bennington; Mrs. Barbara Moquin and Eva Burgoyne, Burlington.
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From the San Francisco Chronicle, via the California Council of the Blind Bulletin: "At 8 o'clock tonight, a tall, fairhaired young woman will participate in commencement exercises at College of the Pacific. Before an audience she cannot see, and to applause she cannot hear, Jackie Gennoi Coker, 31, of Napa, will be graduated with high honors in sociology. Miss Coker has been blind since her seventh year... She is the fourth person here to have earned a college degree despite a double handicap that might well have isolated her from the world.... Her triumph over two devastating handicaps is a victory she shares with 30-year-old Dorothy Klaus.... The State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation employed Miss Klaus to be Jackie's reader and companion in college. Jackie, a graduate of the California School for the Blind in Berkeley, had been out of school for five years. She had been taking correspondence courses in Braille and was hungry for more knowledge. Jackie took a regular course that she 'heard' through Dorothy's fast-moving fingers, or felt by placing her thumb on her lips and her four fingers on her vibrating vocal cords....Miss Klaus said that Jackie's parents deserve enormous credit for never having pampered or over-protected her.... Today, as the result of enlightened and loving guidance, Jackie Coker is a serene and integrated woman. Within a year she expects to become a home teaching counselor for the adult deaf-blind, working under the supervision of the State Department of Education."
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Just received from Russell Kletzing: "Two of the best known Council members and leaders are leaving California soon to accept positions in Iowa. Lawrence (Muz) Marcelino will become assistant director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind under Director Ken Jernigan. Manuel Urena will take a position in the rehabilitation program of the Iowa Commission. Muz is leaving on November 15 and Manuel will follow in about two weeks. So that all of us can express somewhat officially our sorrow at losing Muz and Manuel and our good wishes for their futures, a dinner has been scheduled for the evening of November 7 at the Leamington Hotel in Oakland. This will be a chance for all of Manuel's and Muz's friends to get together and give them a real send-off.
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Darlene and I have just been honored by a five-day visit from Mr. Cyril White, president of the organized blind in New Zealand, and his charming wife. Mr. White is the ideal type of leader--level-headed, resourceful, dynamic and imaginative. He knows how to use tact and diplomacy when it is indicated, but he is also an aggressive fighter. He spoke to a small group of Milwaukee Federationists and thrilled them to the core with a dramatic account of the long battle for the complete elimination of the means test, as it applies to earned income by blind recipients or applicants for public assistance in New Zealand. Final success was achieved in 1957. He discussed the rapid increase which took place immediately after the removal of the means test in employment of blind persons in open industry. With a floor of security, many who had formerly hesitated to risk the loss of pensions were emboldened to strike out for themselves. It is often urged by supporters of the means test that its removal would destroy incentive to work. The exact opposite happened in New Zealand, just as it did in the case of the blinded veterans of our two world wars. Mr. White also told his listeners of the long struggle with the private agency for the blind in his country and of its outcome. This last is such an inspiring story that I am going to ask him to write it up for a future issue of the Braille Monitor.
I had corresponded with Cyril for some years but met him face to face for the first time at the Rome sessions of the World Council. Between then and now he has been studying organizations of the blind and welfare programs for the blind in the United Kingdom and Canada, and in New York, Boston and Philadelphia. This morning (November 5) he and Mrs. White flew to San Francisco and will see Dr. tenBroek next Sunday. They will then complete their round-the-world trip with a brief stopover at Honolulu and the final jump to Auckland, New Zealand, which is their home.
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"Dear George: I want to offer my sincere congratulations on the very lucid and informative article on the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind which you wrote for the September Monitor. I found it most interesting and realize from it what an intensely interesting experience one of these conferences must be.... I am fortunate in that I have had an opportunity of having read to me the various discussion articles presented at the conference. I have been receiving the Monitor now since the May issue and find a great deal of interesting matter in your paper.. The article in the July issue on the new facilities for blind people who are taking the competitive examination for public service is most interesting. It isquite likely that we will cry to promote something of a similar nature down here.... Yours sincerely," Tim Fuery, Brisbain, Australia.
"Attention Mr. Editor: Next to attending a convention, reading the Braille Monitor is most enjoyable and stimulating. You are certainly doing a great job helping readers understand NFB philosophy. It is all in such good taste and not without an occasional gem of wit and humor.
"You would have been deeply impressed with our California Council convention in Oakland, October 9-10. It was a thrilling experience for me to find there an unusually large number of free-thinking, highly intelligent people, absolutely determined not only to preserve, but to advance the California Council and the National Federation of the Blind.
"President Russ Kletzing conducted sessions very efficiently, with a friendly voice, and with fairness to all. Like Dr. tenBroek, Kletzing is a born crusader, endowed with that rare and wonderful something which excites loyalty and cooperation in others.
"At the Friday evening banquet, a membership certificate was presented to our new chapter here in the Sacramento area--the Capitol Association of the Progressive Blind--affiliating us with the California Council. Our president is Miss Sibyl Westbrook, 2618 J Street, Sacramento 16, California. With best wishes for many good years ahead for you, I am sincerely," Vern Nelson, Secretary, CAPB, North Sacramento, California.
"Dear Mr. Card: I wish to thank you and the Braille Monitor for introducing me to the National Federation of the Blind. I joined the Phoenix Chapter of the Arizona State Association of the Blind in order to affiliate with the NFB. I would like to recommend membership in "The Zenith Club of the Blind," 811 North 19th Street, Phoenix, Arizona, to any person in the general Phoenix area who would like to participate in the nationwide movement sponsored by the NFB. Our club is quite young, not two years old yet, but our membership has tripled in the last year. I was very much impressed by the "Good Chapter Report" by F.W. Orrell, in the September issue.... Fraternally yours," Gene Motz, Phoenix, Arizona.
"Dear Mr. Card: ...As you know, our organization is among the older organized groups in the Federation. We have won respect for our suggestions and solutions to a wide variety of problems, and none is too large or too small for us to deal with, if to do so is in the best interest of the blind. We attempt to progress with, or a little ahead of the times, and yet be mindful of, and grateful for past experience. Independent and responsible thinking is at the foundation of our organization.
"We have had no experience sponsoring a speakers' bureau. I would appreciate hearing from those with valid experience in this field. We are also investigating methods of Braille duplication for textbooks and other materials needed locally, and successful methods used by other states would be helpful. Sincerely yours," Mrs. Bonnie Byington, 1114 North Westview Drive, Derby, Kansas, Chairman of Public Relations.
"Dear Editor: I was shocked to learn that there are still some blind Braille readers who are not already surfeited with 'Short Fiction Stories.' The Braille libraries are crammed with tons and tons of fictional books and magazines, free for the asking. Several years ago I stopped reading Braille magazines because I was hunting for truth and facts, and all I could find was either fictional or ridiculous. I was happy when I learned that our Pennsylvania magazine, We the Blind, and our national publication, the Braille Monitor, have finally cleared out all fiction and trash...." Vince Reed, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.
"Dear Mr. Card: ...I look forward to your magazine each month and read it from cover to cover and find it enjoyable as well as enlightening. Sincerely yours," John W. Ward, McAllen, Texas.
"Dear George: I have just read an announcement in the Bulletin of the California Council of the Blind that they plan soon to publish a recorded edition of the Bulletin. There have been about 20 subscriptions received to date and, as soon as the number reaches 50 publication will begin. The subscription price will be $3 per year, which is half the cost of publication--the Council paying the other half. This recalled to me a similar effort made about a year and a half ago to publish a reorded edition of the Braille Monitor--which failed at that time because of lack of enough subscriptions....I have learned that this 50 subscription mark is the minimum for efficiency, and the cost would be less from there on. I think the California Council Bulletin and the Braille Monitor are about the same size on the average. It seems to me that if a state affiliate can publish a recorded edition, surely the National organization is able to do so. Perhaps if the subscription price of the recorded edition of the Monitor were placed at half the cost of publication the Federation could subsidize the remaining 50 percent of the cost from the amount it would save by embossing fewer magazines in Braille. Many of those now receiving the Braille edition would switch to the recorded edition and gladly pay the $3 a year....Sincerely and fraternally," James W. Templeton, Los Angeles, California.
"Hi George: The hard working blind and sighted volunteers have not been getting a fair shake or quite enough recognition nationally. The Newell Perry Award is a good start in that direction, a second such award would do the job nicely and, since the NFB always fights for the underdog, here is another opportunity for us to add to that cause. I believe that a Dr. Jacobus tenBroek Award should be created and given annually to a blind person who has given many hours of free time and effort towards the betterment of conditions for blind people or outstanding achievement, the results of which have spilled borders of his or her respective states. The Perry Award should be given to a sighted person for similar achievements.
"The two-awards idea would not only furnish proof of integrated thinking but would also serve to point up the fact that we want and appreciate efforts of both groups. Whoever thought up the Perry Award idea while he was still alive, surely used his head. We should do the same while Dr. tenBroek is still with us, and the sooner the better....
'My choice for the first tenBroek Award would be Mr. Hubert smith of Augusta, Georgia, for his many kindnesses through the Walter G. Holmes Foundation, Ways and Means for the Blind, and his generosity toward the NFB Endowment Fund. The next one should go to Bill Taylor for his active interest in white cane laws and for his many other legislative activities.
"While it is nice to read about new project undertakings by our organizations, it would also be nice to know who originally came up with the ideas. Due credit serves not only to thank such individuals but it also encourages them and others to come up with more. Business and industry pay for usable ideas, so why not give due credit to those who develop good ideas for us, for free." Mike Sofka , Newark, New Jersey.
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A recent survey in the United Kingdom indicated that women drivers have better distance judgment and better depth vision than men but are more easily dazzled by oncoming headlights at night.
The statewide raffle carried on by the California Council as part of its 1959 White Cane Week Campaign netted $3,196.33.
At least two state affiliates, the California and Wisconsin councils, send representatives to assist blind applicants or recipients of public assistance at hearings on their appeals.
From a BVA brochure: "According to the Veterans Administration, there are at least 3,527 ex-servicemen whose blindness resulted from military service. These consist of the following: Spanish-American War, 6; World War I, 784; World War II, 2,083; Korean War, 379, peacetime service, 275."
Up until the first of this year, insurance companies refused to cover blind workers in Brazil. This discrimination was ended a few months ago through negotiation.
Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Nadelman, Dorchester, Massachusetts, were called to California by the death of their son, which took place on September 24. Mr. Nadelman is president of the Greater Boston Chapter of the ABM.
On September 21, John C. Ruiz, 123 Manganese Street, Henderson, Nevada, joined the staff of the Nevada Services to the Blind. He also joined the local NFB chapter.
Organized labor in West Virginia recently adopted a strong resolution in support of the organized blind of that state. Here is a part of it: "...WHEREAS, The West Virginia Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, and the West Virginia Federation of the Blind, Inc., have many mutual interests and problems; and, WHEREAS, it is to be desired that these blind persons be relieved of the distress of poverty and encouraged and assisted in their efforts to render themselves more self-supporting; THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the West Virginia Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, does hereby endorse the aims and goals of the West Virginia Federation of the Blind, Inc., and requests all local affiliates to give assistance...."
George Howeiler, former president of the Oregon Council of the Blind, sends me the following clipping: "An important step in the progress of work for the blind in this state was taken this year when articles of incorporation were filed establishing a new agency known as the Washington Blind Youth Trust Fund, Inc. The governing body of the corporation consists of eleven trustees.... These eleven trustees have the power, under the articles, 'To receive gifts and grants of money and property of every kind, and to administer the same for the benefit of blind and severely visually handicapped students in and of the State of Washington and...to grant aid to them in the form of scholarships, gifts, loans, or other aid...Our difficulty will be primarily in the task of procuring funds with which to meet these needs, and to this task we, the trustees, have become dedicated."
From the Iowa Bulletin: "A branch office of the Iowa Commission for the Blind was opened in Waterloo, in charge of Mr. Robert Moore. The branch will serve 25 counties in northeast Iowa. It is planned to add a home teacher to the staff at a late-date. This is another step in the expansion of the Commission program to give more efficient service to the blind people of Iowa.... Mrs. Betty Winter has been elected president of the Des Moines group.... Mr. Don Walker, for the past 6 years music director at the Ohio School for the Blind, is the new principal at the Vinton School...."
From the Blind Advocate (United Kingdom): "The Association of Optical Practitioners, in a recent public statement, makes the disturbing assertion that hundreds of drivers are almost blind because they refuse to wear their glasses. The Association urges that opticians should be allowed to disclose confidential information on patients who are a public danger....The 29th conference of Blind Esperantists was held in Warsaw last July.... A tape-recorded magazine for the blind is being published monthly and distributed by the Japan Braille Library.... A Harley Street surgeon has saved the life and restored the sight of a 51-year-old woman by planting five radioactive seeds in her brain. The woman had been suffering from a brain tumour and had been given only a few months to live. It is thought that this is the first operation of its kind.... The Northern Ireland prison authorities give details of a scheme under which twenty volunteers, selected according to their educational background and aptitudes, were taught to read and transcribe Braille. The group then set to work each evening during their spare time to transcribe books of all kinds.... In their annual report the National League of the Blind of Ireland again deplores the fact that it is left to the discretion of parents in Eire to decide whether their blind children should receive any form of education, with the result that some parent --due to misplaced affection or over-indulgence--do not send them to school. It is more than time that the Eire government made the education of the blind compulsory, as it has been in Great Britain for over 60 years. Quite apart from the benefits which would be reaped by the children themselves, Eire would derive much from an educated blind population equipped to play its part in the life of the nation.... A team of 6 blind physiotherapists from Britain attended an international conference of blind physiotherapists which was held in Paris last month to demonstrate the use of advanced technical equipment....Arthur Richard, the 18-year-old blind Frenchman who last spring made a ski descent of the Aiguille du Midi by the Valee Blanche, recently climbed Mont Blanc with two friends. His time was about the same as that taken by seeing climbers....Another piece of curious news comes from Cairo, where a blind man has been charged with ignoring a traffic light when driving a car. The police say he was guided by a small boy sitting beside him. The culprit claims that, in spite of his blindness, he has been driving for several years without breaking traffic regulations....Latest Ministry figures show that there are 655 blind telephonists and 475 blind clerks and typists now employed in Britain. There are now 82 blind home teachers. Six thousand nine hundred are living in residential homes for the blind.... One of the outstanding events of the World Council meeting in Rome was the speech made by Richard Kinney--probably the most eloquent of all the speakers.... More than 2/3 of world blindness is preventable but medical resources are at present so inadequate that, if all the world's ophthalmologists were sent to India, it would take them three years to operate on cataract cases alone. ..."
From the Wyoming newsletter: "The Wyoming Lions Summer School for the Adult Blind was very well attended this year. The WAB held its August meeting there and 9 new members joined.... Because our mimeographing is increasing, we have purchased a machine. The American Legion Auxiliary is doing the mimeographing for us."
From an editorial in the Washington State White Cane: "It's easier, we'll admit, to place responsibility for all of those things with which we are dissatisfied as far away from ourselves as possible--say, at the doorstep of some indefinable other persons like 'they'....As blind people we would surely progress more rapidly toward that position of equality and independence which so many of us talk about if we as individuals would show the kind of intelligent interest in the work of our organizations--and we mean both those of professionally staffed agency origin and those constituted of blind people themselves."
From Visually Handicapped Views (South Dakota): "Our state school has added a new teacher to its staff, Miss Mary Margaret Barlow, of Dunmore, West Virginia. She has had 5 years' experience in the Alabama School for the Blind....All obstacles that have been holding up our new school seem to have been removed and with good luck it should be in operation about January 1, 1961... While I [Dean Sumner] is in Minneapolis I had a long talk with Philo Fryckman, who told me that the blind salesmen of blind-made products in Minnesota are having difficulty at the present time because of competition from an organization known as 'Skilcraft.' This organization employs sighted salesmen and many of the blind salesmen are having trouble in obtaining merchandise.
Elena Landi (Rhode Island) writes: "The New England conference in Manchester, New Hampshire, November 7, was quite a success. Over 60 were present, representing all 6 states. The main topic was 'Organization Techniques.' There was good group participation and Paul Kirton was of immense help."
Alaric Nichols writes: "We have a new chapter in Bennington, organized on October 3. Clarence Briggs, Searsburg, is the president and Louise Koier, Bennington, is the secretary. I think this may become one of our most active chapters in a very short time."
A recent issue of a Springfield, Massachusetts, newspaper contained an excellent picture of Anita O'Shea, president of the ABM, and an account of her work. "She is employed in the medical records department of a local hospital, where she accomplishes medical transcriptions, utilizing a stock typewriter, a dictaphone and other more complicated machines. She uses a long cane in getting about, which she learned during a special mobility course last spring."
The Frampton Committee, which is surveying services to the blind and to other handicapped groups, held its first open hearing in New York City on October 28-30. Mary Jane Hills, president of our New York affiliate, was the only Federation witness invited. John Taylor, who sat in as an observer, reports that a number of private agencies each had several witnesses. The next public hearing will be in New England in December.
Both Braille and inkprint copies of the paper which Kenneth Jernigan presented at the 1957 convention at New Orleans, entitled "Local Organizations of the Blind--How to Build and Strengthen Them", are still available and will be sent upon request.
The Los Angeles Times, November 1, features a picture of Joe Abel, (former president of our Arizona affiliate), who now lives at 13827 Elmcroft Avenue, Norwalk, California. The caption under the photograph reads: "Joseph Abel, blind switchboard operator at Douglas Aircraft Co., Long Beach, identifies keys from raised symbols and handles a load of calls equal to that of a sighted operator." Joe writes me that he may try to organize a new chapter for the California Council in Norwalk.
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