JUNE ISSUE --1959
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
2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, Calif
THE BRAILLE MONITOR
Published monthly in Braille and distributed free to the blind by the American Brotherhood for the Blind, 257 South Spring Street, Los Angeles 12, California.
Ink-print edition produced and distributed by the National Federation of the Blind, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, California. Subscription rate--$3.00 per year.
EDITOR: GEORGE CARD, 605 South Few Street, Madison, Wisconsin.
News items should be addressed to the Editor. Changes of address and subscriptions should be sent to the Berkeley headquarters of the National Federation of the Blind.
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
Kennedy- Baring Bills Still Unreported by House Subcommittee
Senator Hennings Reintroduces Food Stamp Bill
Bill Taylor on the Kennedy Bill
How Many Tapeworms?
"A Middle Ager's Prayer"
A Call to Organized Labor
How to Conduct an Auction Sale
From the Blind Advocate
Classroom Discipline and the Blind Teacher
By Onvia Ticer
California Council Backs Administration
Handel and His Blindness
By Frances Collingwood. (From the New Beacon)
More About that A.F.B. Technical Conference
"It Tired Mother, Too"
South Carolina Convention
"Let the Poor Things Speak for Themselves"
The Helpless Blind
Letter to a New Affiliate
A Reply to Mary Walton
By Charles Little
From Our Readers
Here and There
Santa Fe Convention Program
As we go to press, a last minute check with our Washington office elicits the information that the Subcommittee on Special Education of the House Committee on Education and Labor, before which the hearings on the "Right to Organize" bills were held last March, has not yet taken a final vote. Executive sessions are scheduled for today and tomorrow. The delay can be attributed, at least in part, to the fact that Chairman Carl Elliott of Alabama was dissatisfied with the printed transcript of the hearings. The printer sought to limit this transcript so that he could encompass the material in one volume. This volume, however, did not contain Dr. tenBroek's written statement--which ran to 236 pages and was, of course, the real heart of the NFB presentation. The printed transcript also omitted the written statement of John Nagle and the roster of NFB organizations. Congressman Elliott ordered all of this material to be printed in a second volume. It is believed that certain members of the Subcommittee desired to review this omitted material before reaching a final decision.
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Because of the extraordinary drain on the NFB treasury occasioned by the West Virginia and New Hampshire surveys and by the March hearings on the "Right to Organize" bills, it is considered necessary to institute certain rather drastic economies during the next three or four months--until returns from the fall greeting card mailing begin to come in. One such economy will be a fifty percent reduction in the size of the July, August and September issues of the Braille Monitor.
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(Editor's Note: Below is the statement which accompanied the introduction of S. 618 by Senator Thomas Hennings of Missouri. The proposed distribution of food and fiber products which have been declared in surplus would be made by public assistance agencies and would benefit not only those now receiving public assistance but also those who would be receiving such grants except for technicalities, those receiving unemployment compensation, and other needy persons, The food and fiber products made available to recipients of public assistance would be in addition to present budget allowances. The food stamps would be used the same as money at stores handling products declared to be in surplus and would later be redeemed by the Secretary of Agriculture. If you favor the adoption of this measure, write to the Senate Finance Committee.)
"I introduce, for appropriate reference, a bill to benefit the needy people of this country by utilizing our vast agricultural surpluses. It is intolerable that we allow undernourishment and deprivation to exist among any of our citizens while we have surpluses of food and fibers mounting in the storehouses of the nation. My proposal embodies the issuance of certificates entitling the needy recipients to supplemental food and fiber products determined to be in surplus. The distribution of the stamps is left to the state organizations and the distribution of the food and fiber is left to private enterprise.
"The philosophy of this bill envisages not a government distribution of surpluses after they have arrived at government warehouses, but a stimulation of the consumption of abundant products to the point that the accumulation of surpluses by the government will be narrowed.
"Very briefly, this is how the plan would operate. When the Secretary of Agriculture determines that certain products are in over-supply so that our regular commercial channels can no longer absorb them, the state welfare agencies will issue certificates to those who are still in need of aid entitling them to go to their local retail stores and buy these products directly. Ultimately, these certificates will be redeemed by the Department of Agriculture. In this way, our needy will be better cared for. Local small business will be increased, expensive storage for our oversupplies will be reduced.
"The administration has voiced general disapproval of all types of so-called food stamp plans, admitting, however, that one such plan with a philosophy similar to this bill did increase consumption levels when it was operated in 1939-40. I believe that this bill overcomes and overshadows administration objections. The approach taken here would not only improve the health and welfare of the people of the nation, but would turn what has been deplored as agricultural surpluses into a national asset.
"This bill is the same plan which I introduced in Senate bill 1005, 85th Congress. However, I have noticed that support for the concept is now growing throughout the United States and among many members of the Senate. I sincerely hope we shall enact such a measure this session."
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(Editor's Note: William Taylor, Jr., who is chairman of the legislative committees of both the National Federation and the Pennsylvania Federation, filed a statement with the subcommittee which conducted the hearings on the Kennedy-Baring bill. It is so cogent and, in my opinion, so unanswerable in logic, that I am reproducing a portion of it below.)
"It is argued by some that conferring the right to be heard upon the blind constitutes a dangerous innovation and unwise precedent. However, even apart from judicial proceedings, the right of persons affected by policies and procedures to be heard is characteristic of all stages of our government. Few of us have not, in one capacity or another, participated on the local level in a public discussion of zoning ordinances; such open meetings are so much taken for granted that most Americans would be astonished to learn that anyone, at least in this country, questions either the legal propriety or practical advantages of ascertaining what those involved want and desire.
"A year ago, the Pennsylvania State Council for the Blind, our state rehabilitation agency, promulgated a body of rules and regulations governing the vending stand program. And, although the operators have formed an association to deal with the Council, these men whose daily affairs are controlled by such regulations were not given an opportunity to consider or discuss them. They were just suddenly declared to be in effect. As one would expect, much justifiable dissatisfaction has resulted, and much of it could readily have been avoided in advance if only the operators' views had been ascertained. The application of a little common sense and fair play in such matters would prevent a vast amount of discontent and, most important of all, would give to the operators the sense of security which is possible only when opportunity for a hearing is given to those involved in the decisions made by officials. Surely what the blind ask in such legislation as that pending before this committee is only what is accepted as normal practice in other activities.
"For us in Pennsylvania a still more serious problem is presented by the widespread and persistent practice of discouraging blind individuals from joining organizations of the blind. Most effective of all deterrents is the common feeling of uneasiness which prevails; the feeling that very specific and unpleasant things will befall employees and persons directly or indirectly dependent upon the agencies if they join any organization of the blind. Within the past two months, an employee of the State Council joined the Dauphin County branch of the Federation of the Blind and was promptly called to the front office and advised to resign her membership. In the spring of 1955, the wife of an employee of the Council was elected secretary of the Federation and duly informed that she would have to resign to protect her husband's job. She resigned. Official pressure is so strong that substantially all blind employees and persons in any way dependent upon the agencies are afraid to attend not only the meetings of organizations of the blind, but even picnics and social gatherings of any kind. Perhaps it will sound a bit lurid, but I know of my own experience that blind people in Pennsylvania who must rely upon the agencies find it prudent to visit in a clandestine manner the homes of their blind friends who are recognized as active in the work of the organized blind.
"All of this may at first glance seem fanciful and the product of an overly-active imagination, but one must bear in mind that jobs are extremely difficult for blind people to procure. Accordingly, the slightest threat of retaliation, intimidation or official disapprobation goes far toward discouraging blind persons from engaging in any movement or organization when their doing so might entail official displeasure.
"Perhaps the most telling argument in support of the proposition that this sort of law is sorely needed is to be found in the singular fact of the strong opposition on the part of the various agencies. It is difficult to explain or understand their opposition on any theory other than that they feel the need of being free to exert such pressure upon the blind. If they do not now exert such pressure, then they have nothing to fear from this measure....
"The scope and nature of the problems involved are such as to require federal action to correct them. The administrators of welfare programs are able to control the lives of the blind because the federal government arms them with enormous financial power to make and break individual blind people merely by disbursing or withholding...By reason of the vast sums the federal government puts into the hands of these administrators, they are in a fiscal position of incomparable superiority over the organized blind, who perforce must work on meager budgets. The administrators have unlimited use of long-distance telephone service and unrestricted travel at public expense. Since funds which the Congress appropriates for the advancement of the blind are, to a shocking extent, being employed against the interests of the blind, we submit that it is within the province of the federal government to rectify this unsatisfactory state of affairs.
"It is common knowledge among those acquainted with matters relating to the blind that these administrators have combined to resist organization of the blind and to do so on a national basis. The Congress need not rely upon our assertion of this fact, for Mr. Alsup's letter, introduced by the witnesses from Texas, furnishes clear and convincing documentary proof of the launching of this concerted attack upon the blind. When officials from many states have thus united to stop the formation of organizations of the blind, and when it is recognized that these officials possess great power over the lives of the blind not only by virtue of the offices they hold in their respective states but even more by virtue of the huge sums of federal funds at their disposal, truly it seems that this is a federal question--not only in legal contemplation, but, what is more to the point, as a practical matter.
"Still another argument in support of action by the federal government arises from the self-evident fact that these administrators are using federal funds to hamper the blind in their exercise of the constitutional rights to freedom of assembly, of speech, and of petition. Admittedly the blind have these rights as legal abstractions, but a right which the possessor fears to exercise exists chiefly as a legalistic fiction. If armed men terrorize a community and put voters in such fear that they do not dare go to the polls, one would scarcely argue that they have the right to vote...."
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"Gentlemen: Some time ago the Library of Congress tried to make a survey of agencies to see how many blind people were interested in tape-recorded material. According to them, there are only 400 such persons. I don't believe this is an accurate answer. Science for the Blind alone has some 400 listeners and we continue to get inquiries. We are anxious to obtain a more realistic figure. I am enclosing a notice and would appreciate your publicizing it through any means at your command. We hope to receive postal cards from as many interested blind people as possible. Sincerely yours," Science for the Blind, T. A. Benham, Editor.
"ATTENTION STUDENTS, LIBRARIES, AND SCHOOLS. ATTENTION INTERESTED BLIND PERSONS AND SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS. The Philadelphia Association for the Blind wants to prove to those who are in a position to produce recorded material on magnetic tape that there is an increasing demand. We are asking each blind person in the country who has the means for listening to taped material or who would be interested in such material, if tape and machine were available, to send us a postal card. We want to prove that the blind in this country not only can use tapes, but are using them. Please help make more tape-recorded material available by sending a postal card with your name and address stating: (1) "I have a tape machine and I would like to have more tape-recorded material.', or (2) 'I would like to have books recorded on tape but I do not have a machine at present.' Send the card to: T. A. Benham, Box 224, Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Be sure to give your name and address so we can contact you when the survey is complete."
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(Editor's Note: I am afraid I know quite a few people whose signature might appropriately be placed at the end of this "prayer".)
"Lord, Thou knoweth better than I myself that I am growing older and will some day be old. Keep me from getting loquacious and from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to try to straighten out everybody's affairs. Make me thoughtful, but not moody, helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end, at least enough for pallbearers, with a mourner or two. Do not let the editor head my obituary with 'Old Crab Dies at Last, Everybody Glad'.
"Keep me from recital of endless details. Give me wings to get to the point. Seal my life on my aches and pains. They are increasing and my love for rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others' pains, but help me to endure them with patience. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.
"Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a saint, some of them are so hard to live with. Amen."
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(Editor's Note: The following resolution, slightly modified by this editor so as to make it applicable outside Kentucky, was sent by the Kentucky Federation of the Blind to all labor organizations in the state. Several unions replied that they would not only follow the suggestions contained in the resolution but would bring up the matter at their national conventions and ask for support at the national level. The example set by the KFB is one which may well be acted upon by all of our state organizations. Spokesmen for organized labor have assured us again and again that we only need to explain to them our specific objectives and to tell them when and how they can help. For the mailing of a resolution similar to that sent out by our Kentucky affiliate, the names and addresses of all local labor unions can be obtained from a Labor Directory which is available in the offices of any union, labor temple, or state employment agency.)
"WHEREAS, today, many blind persons throughout the nation are engaged in useful employment in business and industry; and
"WHEREAS, there are many other competent blind persons with similar available skill who, if employed, could assist in increasing the productive capacity of the nation, and at the same time live useful, happy, and normal lives; and
"WHEREAS, a study by Dr. Douglas Cortland MacFarland, at Columbia University, indicates that blind workers in. industry are as efficient as their sighted co-workers; and
"WHEREAS, the same study showed a statistically significant difference in favor of the blind workers in regard to tardiness, and that both their absence and safety records were also somewhat better; and
"WHEREAS, the blind seek only the opportunity to be self- specting and self-sustaining citizens and, in the matter of employment, to be considered on the basis of their abilities, rather than rejected arbitrarily on the basis of their physical disabilities; and
"WHEREAS, there are actually only a few jobs in any office, workshop or factory for the performance of which sight is indispensable; and
"WHEREAS, it is good business to employ the blind and the other physically handicapped in business and industry if the proper procedures and techniques are followed in selecting and placing them; and
"WHEREAS, all states have placement specialists who can assist in securing and training competent blind persons for industrial employment and as operators of vending stands; and
"WHEREAS, employers often refuse to employ the blind because of the absence of an agreement in their contract with organized labor; and
"WHEREAS, it is the policy of the AFL-CIQ that every practical means shall be used to insure equal opportunity in employment for all physically handicapped workers; and
"WHEREAS, this policy could most effectively be implemented through collective bargaining agreements and union-management cooperation,
"NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Kentucky Federation of the Blind strongly urges the Kentucky State AFL-CIO and various labor unions throughout the state to encourage employers to recognize and utilize the wide range of skills and capabilities of the blind for useful, industrial employment and that they include in their agreements with management adequate provisions for employment of qualified blind workers.
"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that organized labor be urged to promote the establishment of concession stands in factories and other suitable locations for the employment of competent blind persons as operators of small business enterprises."
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From the Lions' magazine: "The idea of a community auction sale is not new. It is a time-tested method of fundraising which, with scores of variations, can be adapted to any club and any community.
"The Lions Club of Fairborn, Ohio, population 8,000, recently conducted a very successful auction to finance its sight conservation project and other welfare activities. It was a well-organized operation in which practically every member of the club took part, and may well serve as a model for other groups planning a profitable, one-day sale.
"The Fairborn auction was an outdoor event, held in the city's Central Park. Merchandise was on display and ready for inspection by bidders at 9 A.M. on sale day. The auction began at 10 A.M. and continued until 9 P.M. A tent was erected on the premises to house a rummage and bake sale conducted by the Lady Lions, and rides and amusements were provided for the kiddies.
"Well in advance of the sale a four page mimeographed instruction and organization chart was given to each member of the club. It listed the day-to-day procedures, the committee and worker assignments, methods of collecting and delivering merchandise, etc.
"Since any successful auction must have a large variety of merchandise, the Fairborn Lions concentrated on this phase of the operation. It was divided into two classifications--collections from merchants and collections from home owners. Members were warned not to 'put the bite' on the merchants for new, salable merchandise, but to ask for slow-moving items that were cluttering up the stock room.
"At the same time, every member was asked to call on five friends or neighbors and solicit household items for auction. In this phase of the project, the attics of Fairborn got a thorough searching. Each member received 3x5 filing cards on which he entered the name and address of the donor and the items contributed.
"Somewhat like an army operating in the field, a message center was set up and a warehouse provided for the storage of merchandise. Trucks were available; when a member received a donation too large or heavy to transport by automobile, he called the message center and a pickup truck was dispatched. As the date of the auction neared, a typical 'deadline date' schedule was set up.
"The thorough organization which the Fairborn Lions set up for their auction is indicated by the number of committees: facilities and grounds, promotion and publicity, food, merchants' solicitation, rides and kiddies amusements, auctioneering and clerks, legal counsel and contracts, finance, assembly point (warehouse), and drop-off point.
"An intensive publicity and promotion campaign, necessary to any successful project of this sort, was conducted well in advance of the auction sale."
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The Michigan Council of the Blind is now holding both a spring and fall state convention. I was a guest speaker at the spring convention held at Muskegon on May 9th and 10th. The Saturday afternoon meeting was given over almost entirely to a discussion of social security and disability insurance, with an excellent speaker from the local office, who handled his subject most admirably. The banquet was attended by about fifty. A number of resolutions were adopted at the Sunday morning session. One of them follows:
"WHEREAS, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek has provided the National Federation of the Blind with brilliant and inspiring leadership during the past nineteen years; and
"WHEREAS, during this period, and largely due to the wise, enlightened and vigorous leadership of its president, the NFB has experienced a phenomenal growth--not only in numbers but in prestige and influence; and
"WHEREAS, because of the steadily increasing vitality of our national organization, the voice of the rank and file blind man is not only heard but heeded,
"THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Michigan Council of the Blind, in convention assembled this 10th day of May, 1959, in the city of Muskegon, that we wish to go on record as expressing our enthusiastic and unqualified support for the present NFB leadership." (Adopted unanimously.)
The following delegates to the National Convention at Santa Fe were elected: Sandford Allerton, Kalamazoo; Stanley Oliver and John Luxon, Detroit. These delegates were instructed to support any move at the national convention which will result in the restoration of the 1958 salary of the editor of the Braille Monitor.
The Sunday afternoon session was largely taken up with routine business. Pontiac was selected as the site for the fall convention.
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(Editor's Note: The Blind Advocate is the quarterly publication of the National League of the Blind, United Kingdom. The following excerpts are from the April issue.)
"The Ministry of Health, in order to assist those who have recently become blind, have produced a leaflet entitled 'A Challenge; Living a Full Life without Sight'. It gives directions as to the sort of help the newly-blind person can obtain, and how to obtain it; and especially directs attention to the four residential centres where he is taught to adapt himself to overcoming his handicap, along with those in the same situation. Copies of the leaflet have been sent to local authorities for distribution among newly-blind people, and copies have also been sent to hospitals with eye departments.
"The Eye Bank of Turkey is being established at Ankara's Faculty of Medicine. Mr. Vehbi Koc, a Turkish business man, has given about 48,000 pounds to build the bank. It is hoped that it will restore the sight of about 20,000 people.
"We regret to report the death of Harold Thilander, at his home near Stockholm, at the age of 81. Although crippled and deaf as well as blind, following an attack of infantile paralysis and scarlet fever when he was seven, his work for the blind in his own and in other European countries was outstanding. He is probably best known as a pioneer in the teaching of Esperanto among the blind; his manual on the subject being still in use. He also learned English, French and German. In 1905 he established a printing press for the production of Braille and published four periodicals. One of these, Esperanto Ligilo, is read by the blind in 30 countries. Harold Thilander's life provides an unmatched example of what can be achieved in spite of the most adverse circumstances, and his memory will be cherished by blind people in all parts of the world for many years hence.
"... It would be helpful if people could be educated into rationing the amount of television viewing each evening. In the absence of some such measure, short sight will become much more common, and there probably will be a large number of children who will pass from the less serious types of short sight into the category of high myopia.... Myopia is the fourth largest cause of blindness.
"It is announced that the Scottish Braille Press has secured the rights to produce a Braille edition of Field Marshall Montgomery's memoirs. Already orders for 100 copies have been received, including 25 from the United States.
"We are shocked to learn that the East Suffolk Education Committee has given half of a contract for school mats to the Prison Commission and only half to the Norwich workshops for the blind. "For years, ' says the Press report, 'the committee has been buying mats made by the blind, but this year a tender by the Prison Commissioners for supplying 300 mats was lower than the blind workshops' tender. 'Jubtifying the decision, a spokesman stated, 'We tried to reconcile our duty to the ratepayers to buy from the cheapest source with our anxiety to help the blind workers.' We are satisfied that the ratepayers won't be impressed by this miserable economy and will resent this work being taken from blind workers. If the committee has any prior obligation in this matter, it is to observe the County Council's own Fair Wages Clause, and safeguard blind matmakers from being deprived of their employment by the competition of prison-made goods.
"Ambylopia is a dimness of vision resulting from the non-use of an eye in which there is no discoverable disease. It is known colloquially as 'lazy eye', but it is, in fact, a serious permanent disability. People with the defect are usually unaware of it until a chance injury, foreign body, disease of the good eye, or a routine examination discloses it. Among the causes are squint, cataract and, very commonly, the need for glasses. Treatment consists of supplying suitable spectacles, covering the good eye, and prescribing exercises and training for the dimming one.... The disorder has often become permanent by the time a child starts school. No obvious symptoms are present, so it can be diagnosed only by expert examination. The younger the child, the shorter the interval required for a weak eye to become permanently blind if it is neglected. Permanent blindness from neglected amblyopia develops in six weeks in a six-month-old child; in six months in a twelve-month-old child; and twelve months in a child of three years.... Much of the wastage of good sight caused by amblyopia could be prevented if the examination and treatment of all children with suspected defects of vision were carried out under skilled medical supervision....
"Successful corneal grafting operations have risen from 10 percent 30 years ago to 60 percent today...."
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by Onvia Ticer
(Editor's Note: Miss Ticer taught for ten years in a regular public grade school, then lost her sight and received a leave of absence to undergo surgery. The surgery was not successful. At first she had no idea that it would be possible for her to return to her old job but a few months of adjustment training at the Oakland Orientation Center, under such enlightened and inspiring teachers as Allen Jenkins and Kenneth Jernigan, gave her a completely new outlook on her future. She became convinced that teaching a class of sighted children was well within her capabilities and confidently applied for reinstatement. She did such a good selling job that she was given a trial and has been an outstanding success. She receives no special concessions, teaches the same size classes as do other teachers in the same school, and carries her full load of extra-curricular duties, including cafeteria supervision and physical education. She first discusses below that area of her work which is almost always selected by sighted school authorities as a reason, or an excuse, for turning away blind teacher applicants.)
First, I feel we must have a mutual understanding of the term discipline. If you mean the police-like watchfulness--standing over a child to "see" that he is in line with accepted behavior--I cannot answer how to do that. But let us take the case of a sighted teacher who has a group of children under her supervision in her classroom. She can never, at any one time, "see" every child at the same time, and still do any teaching. Many times her back is to the children--when writing on the board or working with an individual child. Does she not, at such times, depend upon the responsibility within those children, and their respect for her and the group, to use self-control in that situation? If they were not able to acceptably cooperate in reasonable measure, we would say that she had no "discipline".
A blind teacher, like any other, must be able to establish a strong rapport with the children in her class. I spend much more time now, at the beginning of each year, in developing this rapport with the group, and working out little techniques of student responsibility. The teacher must not only instill respect for herself but must also make the children feel that they are respected by her, and that she has confidence in their ability to handle their behavior in the classroom. They must be taught, also, to respect each other. As a rule they are eager to be called upon to perform little special jobs, involving a sense of responsibility. They come to feel it a privilege and an honor to be given such assignments.
A good deal of time may be profitably spent in discussing attitudes about blindness, and how one can perform if one knows how to read, write and travel in a slightly different manner.
Of course, I have children who do unacceptable things in the classroom, but now it is the group who brings pressure on them before I do. There must, too, be an understanding by the children of the way I must be able to work with them. They must know that my hearing is my way of "seeing" and, therefore, there is a real reason for noise to be as completely eliminated as possible. Occasionally, I have some or all of them close their eyes and imagine how I can determine what is going on in another part of the room. This, and other effective methods, are used to impress upon them the necessity of a quiet place in which to work. It is not long before they realize that it is a more conducive atmosphere for them, too.
The first day in the classroom sets the tempo for the entire year. I have materials so well arranged that things go smoothly from the beginning. Every minute of the day is completely planned so that there is no opportunity for laxness, on my part or on theirs. I can truthfully say that, since I became blind, I have had classes better able to control themselves than any I had as a sighted teacher.
I use blackboard demonstration constantly. I keep my left hand in place where I started the sentence, work, or problem, and try to come back to the proper place. The blackboard monitor (weekly job responsibility) erases the unneeded things on the board to keep me from writing over them. Often some child will notice that I did not dot an "i" or cross a "t" correctly, and will go up and make the correction without saying anything. Sometimes I have a child put work on the board, but not too often in the beginning part of the fourth year. Maps are used extensively, and I do have some which have raised portions for mountainous areas. Pictures I describe, and perhaps let some child point out the specific part which I wish to show. As I have previewed nearly all of the movies which I show in the classroom, I am able to point out things for them to observe, and things to remember about it. Recently, I showed some movies of the Rose Parade which I had taken before I became blind, and I did the narration of it. With a sound signal of desk tapping by a helper, I know when the sequence of scenes changes, and I can keep up with Braille notes. I am able to operate the school movie projector--all except getting it in focus--and any child can tell me when that is right. I do not, at this particular school, have to do it, as there is a group of trained projectionists from the fifth and sixth grades who do it for all the rooms. But I handle the 8 mm films on my own projector alone.
Volunteer groups have generously done the textbooks I needed in Braille. I also was able to get volunteer reading on tapes when I furnished the tapes. Some materials are on Soundscriber records, and some are the regular Talking Books from the State Library. The latter are used in our recreational reading, when a sighted teacher usually reads aloud to the children. This is our developmental period of good listening, and is a necessary part of good classroom techniques. A good tape recorder is a fine addition to the classroom. I use mine in dramatic plays, recording class meetings, and in group-reading classes, where it can be played back to let the children hear how effective they were in getting the right emphasis across.
When standardized tests have to be given, I have the directions in Braille and am able to give them myself. To be able to place the children a good distance apart, I take them to the multi-purpose room. An assistant holds a stop watch for me so the timing can be done with precise accuracy. This can be done by a supervisor who has some available time, or by an upper grade student.
For correcting papers and getting necessary reading done, I hire a high school senior to come to school immediately after we dismiss. I make my contact with her through a local high school club of the Future Teachers of America. The faculty sponsor of that club screens the prospects for me and 1 do the interviewing. I am also getting a junior student to work one day a week to become familiar with the job, hoping that she will be able to work out as a regular employee the following school year.
At first there were a few parents who were skeptical about having their child in a class under a teacher who was blind. Other parents sat back and waited to see if it would be a successful venture. I have found that the children in my classes, and the ones with whom I come in personal contact in the cafeteria, are my best means of good public relations with the community.
I am not a recluse after school hours. I find it very important to integrate into the life of the community in which I live. I attend many social functions and have been accepted on an equal footing. On numerous occasions I have the opportunity to speak before groups, and these I welcome in order to acquaint them with the normality of full participation by a person who is blind.
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The California Council of the Blind held its spring convention at the Californian Hotel, in Fresno, May 14-16. The two-day business session was featured by three exceptionally interesting panel discussions. One was made up of four social workers, and brought out interesting techniques. Another panel discussed the problems involved in the education of partially-sighted children. The third panel was on the subject of public assistance to the totally disabled, concerning which the Council is sponsoring legislation this year. The disabled are not well organized, so the Council is seeking major improvements in their public assistance program. It was announced that six of the nearly thirty bills which the Council has sponsored this year have already passed the legislature.
The following resolution was adopted:
"WHEREAS, under the leadership of Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, the National Federation of the Blind has grown from an inauspicious beginning to a vital national organization; and
"WHEREAS, we as Californians are in a position to know of the tremendous amount of time and energy that Dr. tenBroek has devoted to the National Federation and of the democratic principles to which he has always adhered; and
"WHEREAS, a faction within the Federation has for the last year and a half been seeking to undermine the administration of Dr. tenBroek, regardless of the cost to the Federation, by the use of false-hood, innuendo and character assassination; and
"WHEREAS, it appears that this disgruntled faction will make an all-out effort at Santa Fe to unseat the present administration of the Federation, even if that should mean further irreparable damage to the Federation; "NOW,
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the California Council of the Blind in semi-annual convention assembled in Fresno this 16th day of May, 1959, that it re-affirms its unqualified support of the present leadership of the National Federation, and that it instructs its official representatives at the Federation's Santa Fe convention to do all things possible to strengthen the hand of the present administration and to vote in favor of all measures which will accomplish this objective."
The following officers were elected: Mr. James McGinnis of Van Nuys, second vice-president; Mr. James B. Garfield of Los Angeles, corresponding secretary, and Mr. George Callas of San Bruno, secretary-treasurer, each unanimously. The president, Russell Kletzing, was unanimously chosen as delegate to Santa Fe, and Dr. Isabelle Grant as alternate.
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by Frances Collingwood (From the New Beacon)
The bicentenary of Handel's death on April 14 again sets many people writing about this mighty composer's genius. He was indeed among the few whose entire life was filled with glorious sounds of his own making and who counted every hour not spent in music-making so much waste of time. Grumpy and ill-mannered he may have been to those with whom he disagreed, but what a fighter! He was always up against someone or something but battled through every difficulty to emerge victorious in the end. Handel possessed an iron will and unquenchable courage, but at no time was this courage more sorely tested than during the last six years of his life, when he went blind. Just when triumph over all his enemies seemed assured, and he might have settled down to a peaceful old age, his sight failed and he was obliged to rally all his fortitude to meet the new handicap.
Handel's eyes began to fail in January, 1751, when he started work upon his last great oratorio, Jephtha, ... It is certain that Handel suffered intense pain from his eyes while writing Jephtha, yet worked on so doggedly that he had finished the first act on February 2, and almost the whole of the second act by the 13th....
He consulted Samuel Sharp, chief oculist at Guy's Hospital. The diagnosis was swift. Handel was suffering from "gutta serena", (a shrivelling of the retina due either to a diabetic condition or to an affection of the kidneys), and nothing could save his sight.... The remainder of Jephtha was written in feverish intervals between periods of sterile blankness. By August 30, Handel had managed to complete the whole oratorio, but the amount of erasure on the original score shows how hard the struggle had been....
His reward came in February, 1752, when the success of Jephtha assured comfort for his old age. But the effort of creation in the face of such difficulties had exhausted him, and for a while he retired into his shell to muse upon his sorrows.... He made one more effort to seek advice, this time from the king's oculist, only to receive confirmation of the hopelessness of his case.
In the Theatrical Register, January 27, 1753, appeared an announcement to the effect that the famous George Frederick Handel had completely lost his sight.
Now that he knew nothing could be done, Handel mustered all his courage to face the changed conditions of his life. He decided to behave as if nothing had happened, and began by organizing the season's concerts, and giving performances for charity.... Not a Covent Garden concert did he miss, although it meant conducting from memory. And, drawn by his gallantry, the fickle London public rallied round. Handel, who in his prime had often been penniless, now found himself a financial success. He discovered to his joy that he was still able to achieve minor compositions by dictating them to a friend. The oratorios, Susanna, Samson, and Jephtha were staged again, this time with additional songs, and with the composer at the organ. Handel had not been blind for more than two years before he was able to pay off all his debts, while leaving a considerable sum in hand for immediate needs. In 1746 he had been deep in debt, yet in 1759 he died solvent, worth 20,000 pounds.
As late as 1757 Handel was able so to revise The Triumph of Time and Truth that it was virtually a new work, and was received by crowded houses with immense enthusiasm.... The final performance of the Messiah took place at Covent Garden on April 6, 1759, before a packed house. Handel was there to conduct, and showed no lessening of his powers. But, before the last of the audience could leave, he was lying in a faint in his dressing room. He expressed a wish that he might live until Good Friday, which fell on April 14. On April 14 he breathed his last.
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(Editor's Note: The following excerpt is from an article entitled "Group Work and Integration", by Sidney Saul, which appeared in the February New Outlook.)
"...We at the New York Guild for the Jewish Blind must find ways of helping our members to an understanding of the viewpoint of sighted people, how to handle and parry their remarks and their reactions. We must help them accept sighted people as human beings with faults and virtues. We must show blind people that they carry the obligation of helping sighted people to accept and understand them. In short, we must help them gain confidence, to the point where they accept their handicap as well as others' shortcomings. And we must find ways to help them outgrow their dependence upon the agencies, to the point where they will see us as only one step in their continued progress toward integration into the total community.
For the sighted people, program experiences are similarly important. Contact with blind people in a healthy setting will promote understanding, security, and ultimate acceptance.
"Also, members of the community centers, and the general sighted community, require interpretation and education. The dispelling of fears, superstitions and misconceptions about blind people in the minds of the general public is long overdue. Basic to this is the concept that each human being owes his fellow man at least as much as he asks for himself, in understanding, in acceptance, and in assistance. Integration is a two-way street, and implies an understanding and a will from both groups involved...."
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The April Bulletin of the American Foundation for the Blind contains a detailed report of the conference which was held last December, in which the participants were blind scientists and technicians. This conference, which has already been described in an earlier Monitor issue, went into many phases of current development in travel and communications techniques to aid blind persons. Most of the report is far too technical for reproduction here but its tone is, on the whole, much more optimistic than that of the report submitted by the World Council's Technical Committee at Ceylon last August. The following brief excerpts are almost the only portions of the report which are not couched in highly technical language:
"Extended discussions of inadequacies of the present placement program followed. The problem of soldering came up. The average placement officer has no concept of the correct techniques. Indeed a serious gap exists between the development of a tool or technique and the people who may require knowledge on the subject. It was revealed that not one of those present had been helped by placement officers in securing positions and some had been discouraged. Even the Foundation's catalogue of aids for the blind is not known to many training and placement people in agencies for the blind....
"The work of Mauch in Dayton [reading machine] which is V.A. subsidized, was mentioned briefly. It is Mauch' s hope that a simple system for producing speech-like sounds can be developed. The speech would resemble no existing language and would have to be learned, but might possibly be easier to learn than musical or un-musical tone patterns.
"The proceedings were summarized at a final luncheon at the close of which the following observations were made:
"... A deficiency in communication has been underlined between blind persons of skill and ability, governmental and private agencies. A glaring weakness is in failure to have such data in the hands of vocational counselors and placement officers.
"The human engineering aspects came out as a highly significant factor. Too little is known of what the individual can do with ordinary tactile, auditory and other inputs. More knowledge in this area is essential to the intelligent development of new devices.
"In closing, the speaker stated, 'This is the first conference I know of in which there was this extensive participation of people who not only are blind but hold complicated technical jobs. This is the first time I have participated in such a conference. There is something wrong when in the long history of work for the blind this has not happened before. This is appalling. If this were to be the last time, that would be even more appalling. We can hope now that in the intervening period people in private and governmental agencies can be influenced by some of the points which have come out.'"
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"My dear Mr. Card: ... The blind people of our state have never been very much pleased with the manner in which Mr. Sherberg, Executive Secretary of the Board of Education of the Blind, has been conducting our affairs. Last October, the Connecticut Federation met with Mr. John Nagle to find out how the Massachusetts Division for the Blind works. Mr. Nagle was very helpful.... In January, the Federation put a bill into our legislative hopper which would create a new Commission of Services to the Blind. Mr. Henry Istas, our blind legal advisor, helped us write the bill, and we think he did an excellent job. Simultaneously, our Governor put in a bill which would merge our Board of Education for the Blind with the Board of Education. This we did not want. We worked with our Board of Education for the Blind against this bill of the Governor's. Our Board of Education for the Blind was also becoming more and more dissatisfied with Mr. Sherberg, and were having frequent meetings to see what they should do about this conduct. Finally, on the 30th day of April, the Board asked for his resignation, which he tendered the next Monday, May 4th. There was much jubilation among the blind in Connecticut. There was more jubilation when we found out that Mr. H. Kenneth McCollam had been elevated to the position of Executive Secretary. Mr. McCollam is a blind man.
"You might also like to know that at our January meeting we elected Bill Hogan as president. We elected Paul Cutler of Hartford as our vice-president. We lost our former vice-president, Mrs. Alice Lee of Norwalk, who died the 30th of December. Stan and I were re-elected treasurer and secretary, respectively. Bill Hogan and I are delegates to the Santa Fe convention. Also going from Connecticut are Mildred Fenessey, Harlan Harwood and Mr. and Mrs. George Cone.
"We regret that you resigned as our first vice-president. We understand your reasons, but we wonder if you gave more satisfaction to our disgruntled members than is good for them and also for the NFB. Valuable workers like you are hard to come by. I have read much literature, including the California News Bulletin, pertaining to the McDaniel-Boring point of view. Now I am reading the Monitor Supplement. I'm so glad we have this Supplement for many blind in our state were posing questions as to this not-so-cold war. I was afraid some were slightly confused by the opposite side's charges. Personally, I think if I was a dissatisfied member of an organization, I would withdraw from such a group without causing any disturbance... Your NFB friends," Jane and Stanley Virgulto, New Haven, Connecticut.
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From The International Journal for the Education of the Blind, May, 1959: "The Magnet-Graph is a device which enables a blind or partially blind person to read and to make many of the graphs and diagrams which appear in ordinary textbooks, newspapers, or magazines. The idea occurred to Byron B. Ballard, a teacher in the high school department of the New York State School for the Blind, at Batavia, New York, when he recognized the increasing difficulty his students encountered when trying to answer questions on the Regents Examination which contained all sorts of graphs, diagrams, and charts.
"This device is really simple. In order to get tactual representations which correspond to characters used in the inkprint which are represented by the usual key to the inkprint chart or graph, pieces of board or dowel were cut into squares, triangles, circles, half circles, etc. A little experimentation indicated that each piece should be about an inch long across its greatest side. Each piece was cemented to a small, but strong magnet. These magnets will adhere to a four foot square of sheet metal, which has been fitted into a wooden frame.
"We were amazed at the ease with which these magnets slid along the metal and yet remained in place, because of the magnetic attraction, so that the students could readily examine the diagrams made by the pieces of wood without displacing them.
"One of the more interesting projects was the construction of a Gothic style church. The key made in Braille indicated the part of the church which each specific piece represented. In this way, the flying buttresses, the columns, the arch, the frieze, and the bas relief were all readily comprehensible even to those with very little or no vision. At least, they were more comprehensible than they have been before. In the same way, oil wells, mountain areas, contour maps, outline maps, vital statistics charts, etc., took on a new meaning for these students.
"Anyone wishing further information regarding detailed con- struction of the Magnet-Graph may obtain a pamphlet containing a diagram and other facts pertinent to its use by getting in touch with the writer, Byron B. Ballard, New York State School for the Blind, Batavia, New York."
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From the Eye Opener (Michigan): "Special arrangements have just been made for blind or partially blind housewives in the Detroit area to attend a four-session course in simplified housekeeping.... These courses are primarily designed to save time and energy for cardiac patients.... Using a grant from the Heart Association, Wayne State University's Home Economics Department applied the same kind of time and motion research to housekeeping as had previously enabled workers in industry, commerce and farming to cut steps, work with less fatigue and gain more leisure.... The instructor sent out trained home economists, armed with notebooks, yardsticks, stopwatches, re-recording machines, movie cameras and weight scales, to study the homemaker in her natural habitat. Actual tests prove that the instruction derived from this study has helped homemakers avoid up to 75 percent of their bending and lifting, 60 percent of their high reaching, 75 percent of their indoor hiking and 100 percent of their housework-caused emotional upsets.
"Among the major causes of inefficiency and overwork in the home are: improper arrangement of equipment, storage space and work areas; little or no planning of the work; and an unconscious (or stubborn) insistence on doing things the way 'Mother always used to'--the hard way, that is. It tired Mother, too. When physical alterations of cupboards or other storage spaces are called for, the course takes pains to suggest economical ways of making the changes.
"Speaking of the course, the instructor says: 'The results can be astounding! One housewife in our classes was walking 672 steps, stooping 20 times, and reaching on tiptoe 44 times to get a single meal! We taught her to save, for one meal, over a year's time, a total of 67 miles walking..."
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The South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind, Inc., held its third annual convention the weekend of April 25 and 26 at Hotel Jefferson in Columbia. This was by far the largest and most successful convention the SCACB has enjoyed to date. There were more than 130 registered delegates. The Saturday morning program included addresses by a number of well known South Carolinians. Saturday afternoon all delegates enjoyed a tour of the Governor's mansion and its beautiful grounds.
The highlight of the convention was the Saturday evening banquet which was marked by special presentations and rousing speeches by Kenneth Jernigan and the Honorable John D. Long, State Senator from Union County. Certificates of life membership were presented to Mr. Hubert E. Smith of Augusta, Georgia, and to several other tried and true friends of the SCACB.
Dr. Samuel M. Lawton, founder of the Aurora Club, gave a very stirring address at the Sunday morning session. The new board members elected by the convention were Mrs. Willa Freeman, Columbia, Mrs. Elizabeth Porter and Clyde Moore of Charleston, and William Harry Patterson, of Greenville. Donald Capps, president, was elected as delegate to the Santa Fe convention and Miss Mildred Yon was chosen as the alternate.
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(Editor's Note: Here is an excerpt from the testimony of M. Robert Barnett, Executive Director of the American Foundation for the Blind, presented at the hearings on the Kennedy-Baring bill.)
"The section of the proposal which would require the administrators of Federal programs to consult with representatives of organizations of the blind would impose upon the administrative structure in government another cumbersome requirement, which would be a handicap to efficiency and a source of unsound influences of a self-serving character.
"I personally view the measure as an indication of gross mis-understanding of the lives and hopes of the great mass of individuals who become blind. It suggests--it even gives formal recognition by our great assembly of national leaders and thinkers in the Congress to the archaic, sentimental and hideous notion that blind people live in a world set apart from all others, and that the nicest and kindest thing to do is for society in general to let the poor things "speak for themselves' through some weird governmental system of their own-a strange society of darkness within our larger society, one into which the professional skills and judgment of all other competencies should not enter unless their eyes were first blinded."
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From the New York Times: "Last week Yuri Faier conducted the orchestra for the Bolshoi ballet, just as he has done since 1918. Not many in the audience realized that Faier is almost blind. He can dimly see silhouettes straight ahead; he has no peripheral vision.
"How does a man so handicapped become a conductor, much less a ballet conductor, where the orchestra must be coordinated exactly with the movements of the dancers? Faier, speaking through an interpreter, explained.
"He had started as a violinist, studying in his home town of Riga (where he was born in 1890) and in Moscow. Soon he became concertmaster of an orchestra. One day the conductor turned up without a score of the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 1. He had left it home. 'You conduct it', he said to Faier. At the conclusion of the number the orchestra applauded. The conductor smiled.
"He did not drop his violin playing immediately, however. In 1915 he joined the Bolshoi ballet as a violinist, and, while playing in the orchestra, committed score after score to memory. He could see the movements of the dancers --faintly, but enough to follow them. Soon he knew exactly where any dancer in any role would be while performing any work in the Bolshoi repertory. He found that, knowing in advance where a dancer was located, he could turn his head and pick up the silhouette.
"The Bolshoi ballet had enough confidence in him to let him make his debut as conductor in 'Copelia'. That was in 1918. In 1923 he officially became first conductor and has held that position since.
"By now Faier has memorized between 60 and 70 ballets. When confronted with a new work, he has the score played to him by a pianist; then the instrumentation is broken down. Thus develops in his mind a photograph of the score--and he conducts as if he had no handicap."
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(Editor's Note: Following is an excerpt from a letter written by Dr. tenBroek to the president of our newest affiliate, Maine. It is reproduced here because it contains a useful summary statement of the mutual obligations which exist between a state affiliate and the NFB.)
"Dear Mr. Baker: I should like to clear up any doubts that may exist on a number of points....
"The duly elected officers of the Maine Council of the Blind are, of course, the official contact between the National Federation and its affiliate in Maine. The National Federation follows a policy of backing up and giving support to its affiliates in the various states. We do not tell our affiliate how to run its affairs. We have no power or desire to control its program or activities. It is understood, of course, that the affiliate must comply fully with the Code of Affiliate Standards. It must conduct a program of legislative and administrative improvements in provisions for the blind. It must be controlled by the blind. It must meet the standards with respect to the percentage of members and executive committeemen who must be blind and with respect to the executive offices that must be filled by blind persons.... An affiliate of the Federation is expected to move as rapidly as possible to statewide membership; i.e., to chapters and/or individual members in as many parts of the state as possible.
"If there is compliance with the affiliate standards, the affiliate is free to conduct its own affairs. We are happy to cooperate with it in every way possible; indeed we even aid affiliates in expanding their organizations. We often aid them in preparing a legislative program; we often aid them in establishing and carrying out a program of administrative reform in their state. All of these matters, however, we do at the invitation of our affiliate and with its full cooperation....
"Let me add one personal word of friendly advice. You will run into many obstacles and difficulties in this work. So far as possible you should meet this with vigor but also with equanimity. Undue excitement or ill-considered action, or threats of action, seldom contribute to a sound solution to the problem. We are with you. We stand ready to back you up and to help you in every way possible. Cordially yours, Jacobus tenBroek, President."
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Raymond Roberson, who was re-elected to another two year term as president of the Jackson, Michigan, chapter on January 25, writes me, in part, as follows:
"Dear George: One of the greatest difficulties we encounter in building the membership of our chapter is the increased apathy and dependence which has been engendered in many of the blind citizens of this city by the character of the Jackson Social Club for the Blind. Because the Lions wait on the blind hand and foot, its members take no initiative to do anything for themselves. The Lions provide transportation to and from the social club, refreshments at each monthly meeting without charge, and plan all the social club programs, which consist of an annual Christmas dinner in December, (where a pound box of candy is distributed to all members and their friends who are present at the dinner), an annual picnic in the summer, and lectures at each monthly meeting by some Lion. The Lions do permit the social club blind to sing patriotic or sacred songs at the meetings, with a blind member providing the piano accompaniment.
"Mrs. Daisy Kallinger is supervisor of the Jackson Blind Club Workshop, which is subsidized by the Lions. Only three blind work in the shop. It is regarded as a 'hobby shop'. The three blind employees, (but sometimes only one or two of them), can earn a maximum weekly salary of $17.00, working from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Monday through Friday, if the work is done at top speed. The blind employees cane chairs, weave rugs and assemble purses.
"Mrs. Kallinger stated to me that she tells the Lions that the blind don't want to work. The blind are lazy, she claims, so she has to stand over them in the workshop to see that they get the work done. The Lions believe anything that she tells them, because they recognize her as an authority on blind matters. I tried to tell her that a workshop program should prepare a blind person for placement on the outside in competitive work but I could not change her opinion."
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by Charles Little
In the January issue of the Braille Monitor there appeared an article by Mary Walton, entitled, "That Lonesome Road". Miss Walton was prompted to write this article after reading one I wrote, entitled, "The Emotional Blind",
(Braille Monitor, October, 1958).
From Miss Walton's comments on my article, it seems to me that she missed the most important point; that point was that blind people are no more emotional than sighted people. Miss Walton un-intentionally misquoted me when she said, "Charles Little asserts that all emotional problems which the blind have, over and above those which beset other members of the human family, stem from the need of productivity through full-time employment". I did not say "all" in speaking of the emotional problems of the blind, but used the word "most".... The sentence in my article reads: "It may sound like an over-simplification to say that "most" of the emotional distress experienced by blind persons can be eliminated by the solution of their number one problem--full, satisfactory employment." I think the next two sentences I wrote clearly indicate that I did not mean "all" emotional problems. They read: "Of course, it does not mean that once a blind person gets a job he will never have another sad moment. He will have those troubles which are common to all, and, at times, will distress him emotionally."
Miss Walton goes on to say, "Loneliness! Isolation.' Terrible words, yet everyday realities for all too many of us who are blind. And I am inclined to think that these two awful words, even more than unemployment, are the greater emotional problem of the blind." I find that I am unable to agree with Miss Walton that loneliness is a greater emotional problem than unemployment; and when I say unemployment, I mean all that it entails--idleness, (which some say is the curse of the blind), the denial of a fruitful life, and the denial of the right to support one's self and family. When one finds he cannot take his place in the workaday world as a participating member of society, he may feel that life for him has been an utter failure, that he does not belong. He may become acutely frustrated, and sink into an emotional abyss. To say the least, one will certainly be less lonely when occupied with productive work....
I agree with Miss Walton in much that she says about loneliness. No doubt there are many blind persons who feel they are travelling "That Lonesome Road". But is this not true, at least at times, of all of us, blind and sighted? ...
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"Dear George: ... Congratulations on your last edition! I was particularly interested in the reports about the Louis Braille Memorial. The thought struck me, George, that we are doing an injustice to all of our blind children throughout the nation when we don't invite them to participate in such a historical event. I am quite aware of local rules against asking school children to subscribe to anything but Red Cross and the March of Dimes, but the Louis Braille Memorial is something in which blind children would want to have a part. Their donations, even on the penny basis, should go to the fund as the contribution of the young blind of the United States. I don't think there is anything of greater import to them in their education than what Louis Braille did for them. It would take little more than an invitation and a recommendation from the president of each state affiliate to secure the approval of the State Board of Education. No group would be better qualified to issue this invitation than the National Federation of the Blind!..." Isabelle Grant, Los Angeles, California.
"Gentlemen: I should like to receive 'The Braille Monitor' (Braille copy) beginning with the April, 1959 issue--that is, if it is not too late to receive the April issue. I borrowed the February and March, 1959 issues from the Chicago Public Library and am enjoying reading them. Your magazine is truly unique--it gives us information which is not available to us from any other source. Thank you sincerely for all that you do for the blind. Sincerely yours," Henry Driskell, Chicago 34, Illinois.
"Dear George: Some time ago I proposed a statement of NFB policy which could be used as a part of the Monitor masthead. There is always merit in a simple, concise statement of your position. However, were this statement not supported by a complete public relations program, I got to wondering whether its sharply drawn, blunt declarations might not have an antagonistic and divisive effect. I decided to test reaction. The statement was presented to members of a work-shop. The statement was presented without comment for written reaction and signatures were not required. Seventy percent got a good understanding of the situation from the statement. An additional 25 percent understood and approved but raised the question as to whether this stand did not unnecessarily isolate the blind. The remaining 5 percent were antagonized.
"In response to these reactions, I have revised the statement so that it may stand alone: 'The National Federation of the Blind is the only nationwide organization in the U.S.A. which represents the views of the civilian blind themselves. It was organized because so many important decisions were being made for the blind without benefit of their opinions. Its work is directed by the blind because few people who have not themselves been without sight can truly understand the problems of blindness. The NFB goals of "self-determination" and "equal opportunities" cannot be easily gained, however, by the blind working alone. Your help is needed, too. The NFB wants you who can see to join with it in meeting the challenge of blindness.'...Sincerely yours," Harry Russel, Miami, Florida.
"Hi, George: I'm getting a kick out of our Braille Monitor. Tell you the truth I think it is a real breezy sheet. I like most all you get into it and it does have inspiration. I want to salute you and the top-ranking chaps of our NFB for you have done a jam-up good job in the past and I think there is a good chance you'll keep the good work going.... I've gotta hand it to Chick. When he is out of the present picture I believe you can truthfully say he did more for the blind than any other man in this country.... Sincerely yours," B.O. Smallwood, Chattanooga, Tennessee.
"Dear Mr. Card: ... This is an opportunity to tell you how much I enjoyed your account of the Colombo meeting which appeared in the December Monitor. You have a simple, clear style of writing which to me makes for very easy reading. Best wishes to you. Sincerely," Anne Hamilton, Medford, Massachusetts.
"Dear Mr. Card: Thank you very profoundly for your kindness sending me the Braille Monitor so regularly without any missing. It not only gives me the abundant knowledge of different happenings in U.S.A. but also very interesting informations for the blind to be shown into the dark circle by this beacon light of the Monitor. I am much pleased to receive it incessantly each month. And I introduce to you our Blind Club organized by the blind college students. This college student club of the blind in Korea was established to have a good friendship mutually and to transcribe all materials into Braille blind students want to obtain. I have much interest in the psychology and philosophy. With kind regards for your happiness, I am, Sincerely yours," Seong Dae, Seoul, Korea.
"Dear George: It seems that each issue of the Monitor is the best. If it continues that way, you need never have any worries about the quality of the magazine. Since my wife and I are both blind, the Monitor is the only window we have on the activities of organizations of the blind.
"I am enclosing ... for the Louis Braille Memorial Fund. The Braille system is actually more important to us than Gutenberg is to the sighted because they already had a system of writing before he devised printing methods. An overpowering fact is that he invented the system while he was a so-called 'teenager'. It goes to show that the creative mind and age are two different things.
"Some time ago, there was much in some of the magazines about the fact that Moon type was going out of use in this country. The argument for perpetuating it was that people who couldn't learn Braille could learn Moon. I have no acquaintances who use it. I knew an old lady who tried to learn it but got nowhere. I understand that the even lines are written from right to left. 'Ball' on the first line would become 'llab' if read from the left on the second line. In all the write-ups about Moon type, I have never found any facts as to the ease of reading it. I read Braille by the shape of the words. In Moon, each word would have two shapes.... Perhaps some of the Monitor readers who have taught it or read it could give us some information.... Maybe we should all learn the Moon type so we can read the newspapers when we all go to the Moon!
"I was interested in the article about the Irwins and little Ruthie. It brought back to my mind some of our experiences. Bonnie's mother died when she was 17 months old. We got her at 19 months and kept her until she was past 6 years old. When she passed two, I began taking her along when I went up town on the bus. I never had any trouble with her. She always stayed by me. I made up my mind that I would not depend on her. It is cruel and unjust to depend upon children so young. I didn't ask her if it was safe to cross the street. I used my own judgment. But when her father took her, I found out how I had gotten to depend on her to dodge through crowds....
"... One day we were walking along the street when she said, 'Hello', to a passing pedestrian. He said, 'Hello', with a smile in his voice. She said, 'Mister, you better go home and wash your face. It is dirty.' He didn't say anything. I knew by his voice that he was colored. We told her when we got her home that although they were of a different color, they were members of the human race and created by the same God. I think it advisable for any parents of children to tell them about the color situation before it comes up in this manner. I have an idea that colored parents who are blind have some such experience in reverse when their child first sees and meets a white person....
"If the blind parents fasten little sleigh-bells onto each shoe when the baby begins to wear shoes and walks, it enables them to know where the baby is. When Bonnie got older, one came off one day and she was very angry about it. A child will jump and dance around vigorously in order to hear the bells. One must never tell the child, of course, why the bells are on the shoes. Cordially yours," George A. Holben, Canton, Ohio.
"Dear George: I receive the Braille Monitor and read it regularly. It is full of information of interest to the blind. Nevertheless, there are two features of the magazine which detract from my enjoyment of it.
"First, some articles are entirely too long. I hesitate to read them at all. Yet, occasionally, I weaken to an interesting title and tackle one of the ove-sized masterpieces. Usually I find that their length is not justified by their content. There is a great deal of repetition of the obvious and entirely too much detail. Repetition and detail muffle the message of an otherwise fine idea.
"Second, I find that some of the writers for the Monitor use words completely outside my vocabulary. I want to learn everything I can from the Monitor, but I refuse to read it if it is necessary to constantly seek out a dictionary. Of course, I am proud of the many well-educated members of the National Federation who occasionally contribute to the Monitor, but I have only a high school education and I am sure there are far more like me that read the Monitor than there are who have graduated from college. It seems to me that a good writer could use language which would have meaning to all the readers of the Monitor, regardless of their educational background. Sincerely yours," Dona Jean Neerland, Madison, Wisconsin.
"Dear George: On April 23, 1959, about fifty members of the Minnesota Council of the Blind met and organized the Blind of Minnesota Credit Union. To date, this Credit Union has something over $1,000 on deposit.... The directors and committee members of the Credit Union are: President, Francis G. Brennan; vice-president, James Schleppegrell; secretary, Edwin Varey; treasurer, Elverna Kezar; director, Archie B. Erickson; credit committee, Ruth Lundquist, chairman, Sherman Goplin and Clarence Johnson and supervisor committee, Vernon Dery, chairman, Faith Eachus and Ingwald Gunderson.... Cordially yours," Francis G. Brennan, St. Paul, Minnesota.
"Dear Mr. Card: Congratulations on your splendid magazine, the Braille Monitor. Enclosed is our contribution of two dollars for the Louis Braille Memorial Fund. I shudder to think what life would be like without Braille. Cordially yours," Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Cowan, Denver, Colorado.
"Dear George: ... This letter deals with something I feel has been a significant development in our state. At present, our members all live in Baltimore. We are revising our constitution to provide for local chapters, and if all goes well, it is my hope to hold our first statewide convention some time next year.
"We have taken another step forward toward coordinating the work of our group and the agencies in legislative matters. May 6, at the invitation of Senator See, our blind senator from Alleghany County, representatives of the following groups met to form a coordinating committee: the Maryland School for the Blind, the workshop, a member from the Vending Stand Department, and a representative from the school alumnae and the Associated Blind Women. These two latter groups have not heretofore been at all active in the legislative field. We talked over the idea of a joint committee and, after a thorough exchange of ideas, all of us agreed that it would be a wise thing to pool our resources. This committee will be known as the Maryland Council of the Blind, and our mailing address will be that of the workshop, 2901 Strickland Street, Baltimore 23. The Council will concentrate on legislative work, and each group represented will keep its own identity. Mr. Freberger was elected secretary-treasurer and I was chosen chairman. We will hold our first formal meeting on June 13, and map out our plans for the next session of the legislature. I feel this co-operation will benefit all the blind of our state and will give me a stronger hand when I appear before the legislature on our various bills. Fraternally yours," Rosario Epsora, Baltimore, Maryland.
"Dear George: ... From latest information I learn that the Australian National Council for the Blind has again declined to allot one of the World Council seats to the Australian Federation of Organizations of the Blind. At the forthcoming Conference I shall try to get the AFOB to protest to the World Council about this, and I shall let you know how I get on in this matter.... Yours sincerely," Tim Fuery, Brisbane, Australia. (Representation on National Delegations to the World Council is, in theory at least, supposed to be divided equally between agencies for the blind and organizations of the blind. This principle--while it is scrupulously observed in some delegations--has been thus far ignored in the makeup of the delegations from the United States and the United Kingdom.)
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Here are the standings of the states in the Louis Braille Memorial Museum drive, as of the deadline date for the June Monitor. It is hoped that a number of delegates at Santa Fe will avail themselves of the opportunity to transmit belated contributions to the Braille Monitor editor. It looked for a time as though California might head the final listing but the proceeds from candy raffles, conducted by two Wisconsin affiliates, make it appear very probable that my own state will have this honor.
Wisconsin, $165.50; California, $112.13; New Jersey, $78; Texas, $70.58; Minnesota, $51; Virginia, $50; Iowa, $40.11; South Carolina, $30.20; Georgia, $25; Ohio, $21; Rhode Island, $15; Colorado, $13; Missouri, $13; North Carolina, $13; Pennsylvania, $11.25; Vermont, $11; District of Columbia, $10; New York, $8; Arkansas, $7; Florida, $6; Kansas, $6; Connecticut, $6; Nebraska, $6; Alabama, $5; Illinois, $5; Oregon, $5; Michigan, $4; Montana, $4; West Virginia, $2; Arizona, $1.50; Indiana, $1; Nevada, $1; New Mexico, $1; Oklahoma, $1; Washington, $1; Tennessee, $1; and Massachusetts, $1. Total--$802. 27.
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Last January the North Carolina Federation's Board of Directors voted to give its delegate, Mrs. Marie Boring, the exclusive right to cast the North Carolina vote at the convention. It is now reported that on April 11 the Board rescinded this action and voted to have the North Carolina vote cast by a majority of its three official delegates.
Legally blind persons who have partial sight and who take civil service examinations for government positions as Braille switch-board operators are blindfolded during the examination.
Beulah Holly Flynn, writing in the April Florida White Cane, reports that the Lions Foundation is sponsoring a glaucoma clinic throughout rural areas of the state, where the services of ophthalmologists are not readily available. It is hoped that in many cases the early symptoms of this insidious disease will be detected, so that effective treatment can be instituted before irreparable damage has been done.
From the Iowa Bulletin: "The National Church Conference for the Blind will hold its annual meeting in Memphis, Tennessee, at the Chisca Hotel, July 27 through 30. Reservations should be sent to Mr. Edwin Wilson, Box 6999, Fort Worth, 15, Texas."... "Two new advances were announced recently by the Iowa Commission for the Blind that will materially benefit many blind throughout the state. The first, which has already gone into effect, is a raise in the amount paid to blind workers for hemming towels from the former ten cents to twenty cents each. The other, which will start July 1, is the discontinuing of the three percent paid to the Commission by stand operators. It is a pleasure to report these forward steps."... "Reports reaching us state that Charles Wood has received a renewal of his teaching contract for another year and has moved his family to Coralville, Iowa. It is hoped that his success may open up other teaching positions for blind people in the Iowa public school system." (Editor's Note: Kenneth Jernigan, blind Director of the Iowa Commission, personally secured this position for Mr. Wood, who becomes the first blind teacher to be employed in the public school system of the state. He did this, partly because he believed Mr. Wood would make a competent teacher and deserved a chance to prove it, and partly to demonstrate to his employment counselors that such a placement could be made.) ... "The legislature has appropriated $173,000 for a new gymnasium at the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School at Vinton. It will be erected adjoining the swimming pool and will be a much needed improvement to the school...."
Two brief excerpts from a paper by E.W. Christiansen, of New Zealand, which will be delivered at the World Council meeting in Rome next July: "... I wonder how many of us give any consideration to the greatest of all of our home workers, 'The Blind Housewife'. She is more often than not expected to cope with all the problems of house management, the bringing up of a family, and the other hundred and one things that go to make up her daily lot in life. For her there is no rest at the end of a 40 hour five-day week. The family requires just as much looking after on the sixth and seventh days as on the other five.... We in New Zealand have been fortunate in that our government recognizes a blind person's right to have a pension over and above any personal earnings he may have. This has been a marvelous help to our blind people and, by incentive, has opened the door in many instances to gainful employment."
At its April 26th meeting at Camden, the New Jersey Council of Organizations of the Blind welcomed a new affiliate, the South Jersey Association of the Blind, Inc. This association was organized in 1946 and incorporated in 1950. Its base of operation is in Camden and it serves the seven counties of the southern portion of the state. Officers elected at its April 10th meeting are: President, Frank Lattiere, of Burlington; vice president, Stanley G. Spaide, of Audubon; secretary, Mrs. Elizabeth Sites, of West Collingswood and treasurer, Conrad Balkie, of Merchantville.
From the Weekly News: "An electronic computer program for translating printed English into Braille has been demonstrated by International Business Machines, Inc. Using the program, an IBM 704 data-processing system can translate a 300 page book in an hour, according to spokesmen for the firm. By conventional methods the same job would take a skilled Braille transcriber at least six days."
Dr. Kingsley Price, Professor of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University and a member of the NFB Board of Directors, has accepted an appointment to the Advisory Committee which is consulted with respect to the selection of book titles to be published in Braille by the Library of Congress and of works to be recorded for the Talking Book.
"On the morning of April 14th I spent a few hours in New York City meeting with officials of the New York Telephone Company, the American Telephone & Telegraph Company and Bell Laboratories Research Specialists. In the course of the meeting I had a full opportunity to examine the two new devices which have been developed and are being tested; namely, the Touch-Lite device and the Seeing Aid. In all likelihood, company officials will make time studies to determine the efficiency as well as studies of the versatility of the new devices, since both are less expensive than the Braille attachment and since both have either a minimum of moving parts or no moving parts whatsoever. But the efficiency of the new devices is also an important factor which must not be forgotten. In examining the Touch-Lite and the Seeing Aid, I felt that the Touch-Lite has a number of advantages, both in terms of efficiency and maintenance simplicity. But I, of course, am not an expert on the operation of a switchboard, nor have I made the time studies necessary to determine the efficiency. On a busy board the Seeing Aid seems to require too much manipulation in order to get the photoelectric cell in and out among the several cords which, would be in use. It also seems that the sectionalizer reduces the efficiency in boards but it adds the element which is important in terms of the amount of time required to complete a call."--John Taylor.
Mr. Paul Kirton, rotund jack-of-all-trades on the NFB staff, picked up his first bowling ball last November and hurled it down the left-hand gutter. On Saturday, May 2nd, he participated in the annual tournament of the Wisconsin Blind Bowling Association held at Milwaukee and was crowned state champion in the all-events division. He finished second in the singles and he and his doubles partner also finished second in the doubles division.
The Minnesota Organization of Blind conducts a sales service department, primarily for the distribution at a nominal price of white canes, Braille paper and piano tuning supplies and tools.
In its issue of January 10, Phillipines Free Press contains an account of an organization called the Self-Supporting Blind, Inc., founded by Rogerio Lagman, himself blind. In the course of his long career, Senor Lagman, (who was born in Mexico and became a naturalized citizen of the Phillipines Republic), attended the California School for the Blind, taught in a Phillipines School for the Blind and founded several businesses after his retirement from teaching. The members of Self-Supporting Blind, Inc., all make their living by the sale of lottery tickets. As in Spain, the Phillipines government conducts a number of sweepstakes each year and a substantial share of the tickets are sold by the blind. One of the great advantages of this occupation, Senor Lagman points out, is that the sale is not seasonal but is continuous the year round.
From the Denver Post, March 17: "A bill to create a new State Department of Rehabilitation, performing functions of two present agencies was introduced Tuesday. It would take in the present Division of Rehabilitation for the Blind and the vocational rehabilitation functions of the State Board for Vocational Education. The latter would continue as an independent agency, concerned only with education and not with rehabilitation....point heads of the two major divisions--rehabilitation of the blind and general rehabilitation. The division for the blind would include home teaching, a function now performed by the State Welfare Department. A spokesman said the proposed new setup would entitle the state to 'much more financial assistance than it is now receiving from federal rehabilitation programs'....Original plans called for inclusion of rehabilitation services in a revamped State Institutions Department. That idea was abandoned when federal authorities informed the state that rehabilitation must be handled by an agency 'primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation', in order to be eligible for full federal aid "
Through negotiation with Michigan's Services for the Blind, the Michigan Council has been able to secure a remission of the two percent withholding from blind vending stand operators whose gross sales are less than $500 a month.
The Vermont Council Newsletter reports that all members are being sent cards on which the new voting law has been printed. This will help avoid arguments with election officials. It is also reported that a telephone answering service, operated by a blind man, Mr. J. Ronald Belanger, has begun operation in Montpelier.
From AAWB News and Views:"...Mrs. Lee Johnston, of Missouri, has been selected by the Committee to receive the Shotwell Memorial Award to be presented at the banquet on the evening of July 9... The Alfred Allen Award will go this year to Miss Sadie Jacobs, of New Orleans, Louisiana. Miss Jacobs recently retired from active service after serving the blind of her state as a Home Teacher for more than forty years....Another service brought to our attention is a bulletin mailed by the Ohio Services for the Blind to employers, giving qualifications of blind persons trained for specific jobs. It will be interesting to learn the results of this type of bulletin...."
When a person with a taxable income of over $400,000 a year gives a dollar to philanthropy, nine cents comes from his pocket and 91 cents from the tax that he would otherwise have had to pay. When a person with a taxable income of $5,000 gives away a dollar, 80 cents comes from his pocket and 20 cents from his tax payment.
L. Ernest Parmer, Superintendent of the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind, will be the director of the annual Summer School for the Adult Blind which is conducted, and largely financed, by our Montana affiliate. The association will hold its annual convention July 10, 11 and 12, at Bozeman, where the Summer School is conducted. Paul Kirton will be guest speaker at this convention. The MAB announces that it will send four delegates to this year's national convention of the NFB at Santa Fe.
Senator Langer, of North Dakota, has introduced S-1505, one of the provisions of which is as follows: "In the design and construction of each public building hereafter constructed for use by any department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States as a post office, courthouse, or office building, there shall be included a public lobby in which there shall be situated an appropriate vending stand suitable for operation by a blind person." If you favor enactment of this bill write to the Senate Committee on Public Works.
Writing to the editor of the New Beacon, Anthony De Silva, first vice-president of the British National Federation of the Blind, says, in part: "I read with interest and no little satisfaction the report on reaction in Sydney to the proposed expenditure of 5,000 pounds to provide a scented garden for the blind.... Two years ago, at the Annual Delegate Conference of the National Federation of the Blind, a resolution condemning the practice of setting up such gardens was passed by a substantial majority.... Since then, however, reports of the opening of scented gardens for the blind have continued to appear with monotonous regularity. It is refreshing, therefore, to learn that our fellows in Australia, and, as the report indicates, also those in the United States, are at one with many of us in this country. I think there can be little doubt that among the younger active blind today the majority opinion is against perpetuation of measures that can only make for separatism. Integration, rather than segregation, must be our watchword." [I especially like this next sentence--in fact, I wish I had written it myself] "Of course the blind like to take the air in park or public garden, but their wish is to do so unobtrusively, as ordinary individuals, and not to be led off to some hallowed spot, conscious that they may fumble around, with dilated nostrils, under the gaze of a beneficent public, looking on with misty eye, a lump in the throat, and little real understanding in the mind."
An employee of the New York Guild for the Jewish Blind, who asks that his name be withheld because of his fear of retaliation, writes, in part: "There are more chiefs than Indians. First, we have our director; she in turn has a secretary and a staff of assistants. Then we have our bookkeeping department, which is so overloaded that the girls fall over each other. Now we get down to the contract shop. Here there is a large staff of supervisors, with numerous assistants. You can readily see that, by the time the blind worker is to be paid, very little remains, for most of the money goes to the staff for their salaries." If anyone from the Guild wishes to comment on the above, space in the Braille Monitor will be made available.
We have received no details of the May 9th New Mexico Convention except a list of those elected to office: President, Albert Gonzales; first vice-president, Tony Garcia; second vice-president, Sam Chavez; third vice-president, Joseph Ihnat; corresponding secretary, Serafin Griego and recording secretary, Esther Peterson.
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FRIDAY 10-12 AM Greetings, Roll Call, Organization of the Convention, Appointment of Nominating Committee at Time of Roll Call.
2 PM Report of the President, Report of the Sub-committee on Budget and Finance, and Civil Service Developments.
5-6 PM Ramon and his Guitar and Jenny Vincent with her Spanish Folk Songs.
8 PM Social Mixer and Dance with Billy Palou and his Orchestra.
SATURDAY 9 AM To Preserve the Federation--A day of Decision.
-- PM The Rehabilitation Bill of 1959, S. 772, and Legislative Report on Social Security Amendments.
5-6 PM Fiesta Preview with the Santa Fe Fiesta Queen, Accompanied by her Court and Entertainers.
SUNDAY 9 AM Developments in Nevada.
9:30 AM Kennedy-Baring Bill Campaign.
11:00 AM West Virginia and New Hampshire Surveys.
12:00 PM Barbecue at Hyde Park and Indian Dance.
2:30 PM City Tour.
7:00 PM Banquet.
MONDAY 9:00 AM Executive Committee Report.
9:30 AM NFB Representatives at State Conventions.
9:45 AM Unordered Merchandise Mailings by Affiliates.
10:15 AM Fundraising for the Federation.
2:00 PM White Cane Week Report, Endowment Fund Report, Elections, and Selection of 1961 Convention City.
NOTE: Resolutions will be reported by the Resolutions Committee and considered throughout the convention.
Dr. Charles Ritter will have on display the American Foundation exhibit of aids and devices.
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