NOVEMBER ISSUE -- 1959
INK PRINT EDITION
VOICE OF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF IHE BLIND
The National Federation of the Blind is not an organization speaking for the blind--it is the blind speaking for themselves
2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, Calif.
THE BRAILLE MONITOR
Published monthly in Braille and distributed free to the blind by the American Brotherhood for the Blind, 257 South Spring Street, Los Angeles 12, California
Inkprint edition produced and distributed by the National Federation of the Blind, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, California. Subscription rate--$3.00 per year.
EDITOR: GEORGE CARD, 605 South Few Street, Madison, Wisconsin.
News items should be addressed to the Editor. Changes of address and subscriptions should be sent to the Berkeley headquarters of the National Federation of the Blind.
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
Nagle Drafts Some Important Amendments
Governors' Conference Urges the Liberalizing of Residence Requirements
The Roseburg Explosion
By Bob Graves
Western Home Teachers Meet
By Vera Thompson
By Clyde Ross
By William E. Wood
Another NFB President Speaks
First State Adopts "Right to Organize" Bill
By John F. Nagle
By Jane Hawkins
Wasted Human Resources
By Eva Gilbert
By John Luxon
Another Estimate of Hope Deferred
AAIB Establishes Permanent Office
By Kenneth Jernigan
Infant Visual Testing Device Invented
By Vera Thompson
Blind Teachers in District of Columbia
By Marie Walker
An Exciting Possibility
By Anita M. O'Shea
The Hidden Handicapped
New Jersey Convention
By J. Henry Kruse, Jr.
More New Members of NFB Executive Committee
By Clyde Ross
Advice to a Blind High School Student
The Helpless Blind
Preliminary NFB Convention Bulletin
The Good Old Days
From Our Readers
Here and There
One of John Nagle's recent assignments has been to draft proposals for legislation which the NFB could submit to Congress, either as amendments to existing laws or as amendments to S. 772, the so-called "Independent Living" bill, which the Santa Fe convention voted to oppose unless certain features of it are amended. John held a series of consultations with Kenneth Jernigan in Des Moines and also made an intensive study of Dr. tenBroek's 1954 testimony before a congressional committee which was then considering legislation in the area of vocational rehabilitation and blind welfare. Some of his proposals, therefore, are partly those of Mr. Jernigan and Dr. tenBroek and some of them are his own. I have tried to reduce them to the language of the layman.
We do not want rehabilitation counselors and placement specialists to be diverted from the vital service entrusted to them by being assigned "independent living" duties. Mr. Nagle would amend S. 772 by prohibiting the assignment of social service duties to rehabilitation and placement counselors and thus forestall any such evasion or "easy way out".
He would remove the "economic need" qualification for vocational rehabilitation services--counseling, guidance, placement, transportation, maintenance, training and education, all tools, equipment, books and supplies (including reader service for the blind). Such services should be made available regardless of the financial condition of the applicant or the financial condition of any other person. The last clause, of course, would eliminate relatives' responsibility in this area.
Mr. Nagle would close existing loopholes in the reporting sections of Public Law 565. When placements or closures are claimed, additional information would be required, thus making it very difficult for vocational rehabilitation agencies to get by with the faking and bogus claims with which some of them now pad their reports. In other words, it would put a crimp in the "numbers racket".
He would set up fair hearing requirements which would actually give handicapped persons the protection to which they are entitled. "All applicants for vocational rehabilitation services, or clients receiving or who have received vocational rehabilitation services from the agency, shall have a right to a fair hearing on any determination or decision of the agency with respect to their right to receive or continue to receive vocational rehabilitation services or any other matter concerning their relations with the agency." As a general rule, under present procedure, the same person or persons who made this determination, or employees of that person or persons, also conduct the hearings on appeal. Obviously they will usually find that they were right in the first place. Mr. Nagle proposes that these appeals should be heard by a three-man board, composed of a nominee of the appellant, someone designated by the agency, (but not an employee), and a third member to be agreed upon by the first two. This is the form of an appeal board which Kenneth Jernigan specified in his application for designation as the official agency to conduct the Iowa vending stand program.
As for sheltered workshops, "the Secretary shall only approve the establishment of public and other non-profit workshops for the severely handicapped when he finds: (1) that the wages paid handicapped workers are in accordance with the minimum wage in effect under Section 6 of the Fair Labor Standards Act; (2) that all Federal, state and local laws and regulations with respect to standards of health, safety and working conditions are complied with; (3) that they provide their employees the same rights and benefits with respect to pension plans, paid vacations, sick and annual leave, workmen's compensation insurance, health and accident insurance, unemployment insurance, security of employment, and collective bargaining rights which are available to state employees of the state in which such workshop is located...."
He would require a statutory definition of "remunerative employment", which would be realistic in terms of the steadily rising costs of living.
The final proposed amendment would provide federal reimbursement for state-operated home teacher programs, including the cost of administration. It is notorious that these workers are now shamefully underpaid.
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The Alabama Federation of the Blind held its fifth annual convention in Birmingham, October 3-4. One of the program features was a panel discussion on "The Placement of Blind Employees in Competitive Industry". Participating were: Carney Givens, executive secretary of the Civil Service Board and co-ordinator for the physically handicapped; Bessie G. Smith, chief of civilian personnel, Brookley Air Force Base, and Robert Conner, field placement agent, State Vocational Rehabilitation Service. Brookley Air Force Base, which employs some 1400 handicapped men and women, has only one blind employee other than Claud Haynes, who is a bearing inspector. It has promised to set up a committee to try to find out just how useful blind employees can be. The convention adopted a constitutional amendment requiring all chapters to be renamed, for example, Mobile chapter of the Alabama Federation of the Blind. Formerly it was called the Mobile Society of the Blind. It was felt that local organizations should be identifiable with their state and national organization.
Featured speakers at the banquet were: Congressman George Huddleston, Jr., Mr. Dave Campbell of radio station WAPI, and Kenneth Jernigan. The newspaper clipping received by the Monitor quotes Mr. Huddleston as follows: "The store of talent, ability and manpower available among our blind is a source of wealth which our nation has yet to tap to the fullest extent. An adequate program to utilize this segment of the population would benefit all of us and not just those subject to the disability."
Members of the Federation honored their legislators at a luncheon Sunday and heard Governor John Patterson review legislation before the current session which will directly affect Alabama's blind. He said two pending bills, one to exempt blind persons from sales tax on purchases under 15 cents and one to permit a blind voter to be accompanied by any person of his choice, had no opposition as far as he knew.
The following officers were elected for the coming year: President, Mrs. Claud Haynes, 1311 Central Drive, Mobile; first vice-president, George Shaw, Talladega; second vice-president, Rupert Morgan, Birmingham; secretary, Mrs. Davis H. Beavers, Talledega; treasurer, Mrs. Burlie K. Dutton, Birmingham.
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At its annual meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on August 5, the conference of state governors adopted the following resolution:
"WHEREAS ... a report has been presented by the Special Committee on Residence Requirements for Public Assistance; and
"WHEREAS such report has been approved by the Fifty-first Annual Meeting of the Governors' Conference:
"NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Fifty-first Annual Meeting of the Governors' Conference that:
"1. The Congress of the United States be requested to enact legislation amending the Social Security Act so that all four federally-aided categories of public assistance will be governed by a uniform one-year ceiling on residence requirements; and
"2. The legislatures of the several states be urged to ratify the interstate compact contemplated in the Committee's report, which compact provides that persons moving from one party state to another shall not be denied some form of aid if they are in need, irrespective of residence requirements otherwise existing; and
"3. The individual Governors be requested to support the findings and recommendations of the Committee's report in their messages to the legislatures."
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Knowing that we had a fine chapter in Roseburg, Oregon, many of us were badly worried when the radio began bringing us news of the holocaust which threatened that little city for a few hours last July. It was with very real relief, therefore, that I read the following letter from State President Harold J. Baxter:
"It came yesterday at 1:25 A.M., like the loudest crash of thunder I had ever heard, and our old two-story house leaned towards the south with a shudder.... 'Mid the shattering of glass, we all rushed out into the hallway, Bonnie crying, 'We are being bombed!' ...All the northern sky was lit up as though a million rockets were about to descend upon us in the next second or two.... There was broken glass everywhere. I turned off the gas line while the girls stuffed a few articles into bags, and we all rushed outside, wondering what to do next. Flames were mounting higher all the time. They seemed to be within two blocks of us. There were continuous minor explosions in the distance, as if Roseburg were being invaded. We learned later that these were caused by automobiles exploding.
"Eventually, we were told that five blocks from us a truck loaded with six and a half tons of explosives had blown up, flattening buildings around it and making a huge hole in the street.... Fortunately there was no wind. The terrifying news spread that the flames were very, very close to the giant city butane tanks. Our firemen were risking their lives to keep these tanks cool and several of them perished in the flames. If those tanks had exploded, Roseburg and all of the people in it would have been destroyed. Although everyone realized the danger, people stayed exceptionally calm.... Other fire departments began arriving, from points as far away as seventy-five miles. Doctors flew in from Medford and Eugene, I don't know how they were able to land through the thick smoke.
"After about four hours of anguish, the fire was brought under control. We went back inside to assess the damage. Our north wall was out about an inch at the bottom and we could see light through it. The floors were covered with fallen plaster and splintered glass.... Possibly twenty-five of our fellow citizens have died, and the rest of us feel that we have escaped only through a miracle."
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by Bob Graves
(Editor's note: Below are excerpts from Mr. Graves's editorial in the Florida White Cane, in which he analyzes the Federation's experience, during the last legislative session.)
...The Florida Council for the Blind has frequently charged that we of the Florida Federation of the Blind did not consult or cooperate with them in the field of legislation. Before the 1959 legislature met we made an effort to do precisely that. Our state president, Al Drake, went to the March Board meeting in Pensacola, after requesting and being granted time to discuss our legislative proposals. He was not permitted to sit in on the meeting when much of its discussion was in progress. When he was given the opportunity to talk the Board simply listened in stony silence. There were no comments or questions, no criticisms or suggestions. Mr. Simmons stated that these proposals would be referred to their Blind Advisory Board (which he himself had appointed). One can only ask--why? Had the decision already been made? Did the Board members really have nothing to say? Does the right to be heard consist of nothing but being listened to? Or should it not be listened to seriously? I have no knowledge of the meeting or discussion of the hand-picked Blind Advisory Board, but Mr. Simmons says its members were opposed to all of our legislation. At any rate, he came to Tallahassee and opposed our bills, supposedly with the backing of everyone....
Representative Howell, chairman of the House Welfare Committee, called a meeting with the express hope of bringing the FFB and the FCB into agreement through a discussion of common ground. Our Mr, Drake arrived to find that Mr. Simmons had brought a large delegation from the Council--at state expense, of course--as though this were to be a full-dress hearing.... There were two sessions with the committees in the House and a grand finale before the Senate Committee. In each instance the Council approximately doubled its delegation and at the Senate hearing we were so smothered that it was not easy for a Federationist to get the floor. In sharp contrast to this, the Welfare Department, which was concerned with more than half of our bills, had only two people present to represent it, and their voice was just as effective as that of the entire FCB delegation. In fact, if I had been one of those legislators, I would have resented most of the speeches of the FCB delegation, which wandered in almost every direction except the subject matter of the bill under discussion. As a matter of fact, I seriously doubt that ninety percent of this delegation had ever bothered to read the bills....
Many who read this report may feel that we accomplished very little, but when we consider the odds against us in this first major effort, perhaps two out of ten isn't so bad. Most assuredly we have learned a great deal through experience and will be better able to do a good job in 1961....
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by Vera Thompson
The thirteenth annual Western Conference of Teachers of the Adult Blind was held at the Roosevelt Hotel in Seattle, September 16-18. Thirty-five members attended from seven states. There were three special guests from the East. Mr. Robert Bray, chief, Division for the Blind, Library of Congress, was the luncheon speaker on the 17th. Mr. Charles Brown, field consultant, American Foundation for the Blind, gave us a short resume of the AFB services designed to be of assistance to workers and agencies in the Western Division, to which he has recently been assigned. Mr. Hulen Walker, from the AAWB, gave us a brief outline of what this organization is striving to accomplish. He spoke of the possibility of having college courses on a graduate level available to persons interested in home teaching. Some of the other speakers who are specialists in their respective fields were Dr. Joseph H. Crampton, who spoke on "Recent Developments in Diabetes", and Dr. Walter Cameron, ophthalmologist, who spoke on some of the most common progressive eye diseases and the use of visual aids. An interesting panel, "The Relationship of the Home Teacher and the Vocational Counselor", was presented at one of the sessions. The main speaker at the banquet was Dr. Victor Howery, dean of the School of Social Work of the University of Washington.
In closing, the membership gave the program chairman, Alice Ollsen, and her many helpers a rousing vote of thanks.
The 1960 Conference will be held in Ogden, Utah.
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A good many of those Monitor readers who are also tape enthusiasts need no introduction of the Director of the Blind Services Committee, Tape-Respondents, International. Victor Torrey was born in China, the son of a famous missionary. He inherited a passion for self-sacrifice and service to others. I met him first in Arizona several years ago. Soon afterward he hitchhiked to the San Francisco Bay Area so that he could devote all of his leisure time to copying and "dubbing" Federation material on tape. He never accepted a penny for this work. Recently Dr. tenBroek wrote to him, in part as follows:
"...I have been so frightfully busy during the time you have been in the Bay region that I have had little opportunity to meet with you or even talk with you. At the same time, I have known a good deal about you and your work. Whether I have had personal contact with you or not, I am aware of the prodigious amount of work you have done in handling these tape recordings. The amount of sacrifice in your time and effort has been truly remarkable. I would like to extend to you the warmest thanks of the Federation and my personal greetings and appreciation. We expect our blind people to give of their time and effort--it is seldom, indeed, when we find a sighted person who has shown the generous and intelligent effort that you have and who has been willing to give unstintingly of his time..."
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by Clyde Ross
(Mr. Ross is president of both the Ohio Council of the Blind and the Summit County Society of the Blind, the Akron chapter.)
Mrs. Jessie M. Mensch of Akron died a little over three years ago. She was not blind, nor was she known to any of our members. Four years before her death she asked her attorney to investigate our organization--without disclosing his purpose. She had her will made so that, with the exception of a few small bequests, the total estate was bequeathed to the Summit County Society of the Blind. At the time of her death the estate was estimated at $300,000. The will stipulated that the money should go into a trust fund to be managed by the officers and board of directors of our chapter. We are empowered to buy and sell securities. We can use only the income, and that only for vocational rehabilitation of the blind. That term is defined as the provision of education and training to fit blind persons for employment and the purchase for them of necessary tools and equipment. If all the money is not needed for vocational rehabilitation, we are permitted to use some of it for hardship cases among the blind--injury, illness, etc. This money is to be used for the blind of Summit and adjoining counties. We must not accumulate more than $3,000 of unspent income during any year. Last April at our anniversary dinner, the probate judge of Summit County turned over to the organization securities which were then worth $430,000.
We created an advisory finance committee, made up of local business men. Our own attorney is also a member. All members of this committee are associate members of our organization. It makes recommendations for the purchase or sale of securities but, under the terms of the will, only our officers and members of our board can make the final decisions, and all papers pertaining to transactions must be signed by our president.
How many times each one of us has wished for money to develop projects! Now that we have it, we have problems. We must report every three years to the probate judge concerning our use of the money. We must find the projects which will do the most good for the greatest number of blind people. We already have some minor projects in progress and we are looking for major ones. At present, the income is about $12,500 per year. We anticipate increasing that income considerably. We will be grateful to receive suggestions. Write to Clyde E. Ross, Summit County Association of the Blind, Inc., 24 North Prospect Street, Akron 4, Ohio.
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by William E. Wood
The Colorado Federation of the Blind held its fifth annual convention in Denver October 10th. During the morning session Mr. Kenneth Jernigan talked about the progress made in the rehabilitation services in Iowa in the last eighteen months. The afternoon speakers created a good deal of interest. Mr. Ed Ronayne, teacher of the blind at Evans School, told of the beginning of the integration of blind children in the public school system in Denver. He conceded that not all blind children are able physically or psychologically to attend integration classes and that there is still a need for residential schools. Mr. Warren Thompson, newly appointed director of State Rehabilitation, explained the reorganization of general rehabilitation and the division of rehabilitation of the blind under one director and elaborated on the new provision in the law called "Independent Living". Again many questions were asked from the floor. One of the most important was, "Would you as director of Rehabilitation be willing to meet with an authorized committee from the organized blind for the purpose of exchanging ideas and formulating a progressive program of rehabilitation for the blind?" The answer was a very definite "yes". The organized blind feel much encouraged with this public statement of intended cooperation.
Kenneth Jernigan was guest speaker at the evening banquet and gave a wonderful talk on "Colonialism and the Blind".
The following officers were elected for a two-year term: President, William E. Wood, 509 Kittredge Building, Denver 2, Colorado; first vice-president, Sam Matzner; second vice-president, Marvin Milan; treasurer, Marie Jensen; recording secretary, Georgia Cox; corresponding secretary, Imogene Wood; board members, Keith James, Clifford Jensen and Ray McGeorge. Bill Wood and Cliff Jensen were elected as delegate and alternate respectively to the Miami convention.
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(The following memorandum is signed by Dr. Roy A. Wolford, deputy chief medical officer, Veterans Administration. While this applies primarily to blinded veterans, the extension of the policy recommendation to the civilian blind should logically follow:)
"SUBJECT: Utilization of Blind Persons in Photographic Darkrooms.
"1. Many hospitals, clinics, photographic concerns and manufacturing industries have reported considerable success in employment of blind persons to perform the darkroom work formerly done by highly trained X-ray and photographic technicians.
"2. There are strong indications that work required in near total darkness and in confined space can be done more efficiently and for longer periods of time by workers with visual defects. It is also apparent that concentration of darkroom activities would permit better utilization of the more exacting skills of X-ray technicians, therapists and photographers.
"3. It is suggested that managers of hospitals and clinics having sufficient volume of film development work or other darkroom work explore the possibilities of utilizing the services of these workers. Blinded Veterans Association field representatives aud State Blind Rehabilitation representatives are valuable contacts in developing candidates for these positions....
"4. Request for modification of physical requirement paragraphs in Civil Service Announcements as well as requests for waiver of these requirements in individual cases should be submitted to the appropriate CSC regional director. Requests for waiver of qualification standards will be approved by this office. We would appreciate information regarding utilization or recruitment of blind workers in this and other fields. "
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From the report by John Wilson, president of the British NFB, at that organization's annual conference:)
"I am sorry to have to start this report by recording that we have again failed to convince the Treasury that blind taxpayers should have a special tax allowance to compensate for their extra living costs. Britain is probably now the only country where a substantial number of blind workers have to pay the extra costs of blindness from taxable income. Any political party which feels inclined to promise this reform in its electoral manifesto will certainly not do itself any harm with blind voters..., The most recent figures show that there are 10, 400 employed blind people in England and Wales; that is a third of all the blind of working age, and more than 6,000 are in unsheltered unsubsidized jobs. Since 1949, 856 engineers (machine shop) have been trained at Letchworth, of whom 713, or 83 pecent, were successfully placed in employment. During the same period, 99 blind people completed a course of professional training and 38 of them are now qualified members of their chosen profession... Perhaps one of the Federation's most valuable functions is to provide well-informed representatives to serve on national, regional and local committees. There are still a few organizations which find all sorts of excuses for not appointing blind persons to their committees of management. The Federation has never supported a representative simply because be is blind, but surely we have every right to protest if an organization regards blindness as a reason for refusing representation to someone who is in every other way qualified. ... An interesting and imaginative proposal, put forward by John Jarvis after his study of the organization of the National Federation of the Blind in the United States, will be discussed later in this conference. ... A block and gavel will be presented annually to the branch (chapter) with the best recruitment record. ..."
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by John F. Nagle
The "Right to Organize" bill is now law in Pennsylvania!
This information was imparted to the members of the Pennsylvania Federation of the Blind as they met for their 23rd annual convention. Harrisburg, the state capitol, was the convention site; September 19th, the date. Blind men and women from every section of this big state gathered to participate in the deliberations of their organization. A spirit of exaltation, reigned throughout this one-day meeting, for the state legislature and Governor had given formal recognition to the rights of Pennsylvania's blind citizens. The statute books of Pennsylvania now establish beyond doubt or question the right of blind people to join organizations of the blind without interference from agency officials or employees; also, the state agency for the blind is required now by law to consult with representatives of organizations of the blind on the formulation and administration of programs for the blind. Frank Lugiano, president of the PFB, said: "The state agency opposed us on this bill every step of the way, but we were ultimately successful because thousands of blind people let their lawmakers know how badly this legislation was needed in the state."
Many organizational matters were discussed and acted upon during the day-long meeting. During the course of the day, other legislative actions were discussed. President Lugiano told the delegates that there had been no action as yet on the "Blind Pension Increase" bill. He added, "This bill will only be adopted this year if all of you people here--and all Federationists in the state--let legislators know how vitally important it is."
Elections were the final item. The following were named to office for two-year terms: President, Frank Lugiano; first vice-president, Henry Porter; second vice-president, Jack Schumacher; third vice-president, Robert Hoke; recording secretary, Susan Kramer; corresponding secretary, Rita Drill; treasurer, Evelyn Burlingame; legislative chairman, William Taylor, Jr; grand chaplain and chairman of the executive board, Rev. Fred Spruill.
After the conclusion of the business meeting, the annual banquet was held. Every seat in the very large dining room was filled. I delivered the banquet address.
Here is the text of Pennsylvania's "Little Kennedy Bill", which is now law: "Section 2320. The State Council...shall ...(g) encourage the cooperation of all agencies public and private doing work for the blind in this Commonwealth and of the agencies whose work is related to the prevention of blindness and shall consult and advise with authorized representatives of organizations of the blind to the fullest extent practicable in the formulation, administration and execution of programs for the aid and rehabilitation of the blind. No officer or employee of the State Council for the blind shall exert the influence of his office or position, either directly or indirectly, to prevent the free exercise of the right of the blind to join organizations of the blind, nor shall any such officer or employee either directly or indirectly interfere with the exercise by the blind of their rights to freedom of assembly of speech and of petition."
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The Indiana Council of the Blind held its sixth annual convention at the Hotel Hoffman in South Bend, October 2-4. Except for a short board meeting, the entire evening of the 2nd was given over to social activities. Mayor Edward F. Vororde gave the welcoming address Saturday morning and paid high tribute to John Janssens, who has done much to make our wonderful organization what it is today. Retiring President John Miller also welcomed the delegates and visitors, after which came the roll call and introductions.
Senator Jesse Dickinson, who had been very helpful during the past session, urged us to contact legislators between sessions and explain our bills, instead of waiting until the busy sessions begin. The head of the St. Joseph County Department of Public Welfare followed with a general talk on welfare laws. He admitted that they were basically the same as the Elizabethan Poor Laws but declined to state his personal views on whether they should be liberalized. Mr. Ray Hoyer then spoke on the subject, "The Blind and New Developments in Social Security". This talk was followed by a lively question and answer session. Miss Alice Weiczsacker spoke next, her subject, "Blind Children in Public Schools".
The Saturday afternoon session opened with an address by Howard Carroll, director of the Indiana state rehabilitation agency. Then came the business meeting and the biennial election of officers. Those elected were: President, Russell Getz, Goshen; first vice-president, Robert Lancaster, Indianapolis; second vice-president, Mrs. Margret Ramsey, Marysville; secretary-treasurer, Mrs. Everett Hawkins, Indianopolis; associate secretary, Mrs. Mary Watts, Indianapolis. Mr. Getz and Mr. Lancaster will be delegate and alternate respectively to the 1960 NFB convention.
Paul Kirton of the NFB staff, who had been on hand during the whole convention and had participated actively in discussions, delivered the banquet address Saturday evening.
Sunday morning at the routine business session there wan a discussion of the Indiana white cane traffic law, at the end of which it was agreed on all sides that the present statute is inadequate and should be corrected by legislation. The grant of an annual scholarship to a worthy blind student in advanced education was made permanent, the amount to be determined from year to year. This year it will be $300. The recipient will be chosen by our public relation's committee.
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In the October New Outlook for the Blind, Dr. Herbert Rusalem reviews a recent study of persons who became blind after age 50 in a Tennessee county. The study showed that most of these older blind persons were coping with the problems of blindness and advancing age with little or no help in the form of services. They were receiving meager pensions but otherwise left to their own resources. He writes:
"One major implication that can be drawn from this study is that it focuses on a preventable waste of human resources. The potentialities of these people for independent living, greater life satisfaction and a sense of personal worth are largely untapped. It appears that this condition is not limited to a single county in Tennessee. Throughout the United States there is need for acceptance of the basic concept of geriatric rehabilitation.
"The current emphasis in human service is on rehabilitation. Is rehabilitation feasible for the older blind person? The answer may lie in the meaning assigned to rehabilitation as a process of helping people. In its broadest sense, rehabilitation encompasses more than employment or total self-care. It provides the individual with incentives for the maximum independence and participation of which he is capable and assists him to develop tools to achieve limited goals. In this respect, rehabilitation for the older person is not only feasible but can be dramatic, as well as socially utilitarian."'
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by Eva Gilbert
The sixth annual convention of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts was held at the Roger Smith Hotel in Holyoke, September 26-27. Close to 250 attended, including visitors from NFB affiliates in Rhode Island and Vermont. This convention was sponsored by the Holyoke Association of the Blind in conjunction with the observance of its ninth anniversary year. The executive committee met the night before the convention began, with Kenneth Jernigan present. After welcoming addresses by Arthur Corbeil, president of the host chapter, and others, Anita O'Shea, state president, introduced State Senator Maurice Donahue as the first speaker on Saturday morning. Norman Hamer, president of the Lawrence chapter, followed with a report on group insurance for ABM members. Speakers during the afternoon session were: William F. Gallagher of the Catholic Guild of Boston; Mosby R. Turner, of St. Paul Rehabilitation Center, and Anita O'Shea--the latter reporting on the Santa Fe convention. As always, the high-light of the convention was our banquet Saturday evening. Our guest speaker, Kenneth Jernigan, chose as his subject "Colonialism and the Blind". Mr. Jernigan also opened the Sunday morning session with an account of his experiences as director in Iowa and of his plans for the future of the Iowa program. This was followed by a panel discussion of the New England Conference of NFB Affiliates, held last January 24th. Those participating were Alaric Nichols, Elena Landi and Anita O'Shea--presidents respectively of Vermont, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Each ABM chapter then reported its progress during the past year. During the business session Sunday afternoon we were pleasantly surprised by a brief visit from our state governor, the Honorable Foster Furcolo. The following officers were elected: President, Anita M. O'Shea, 719 Carew Street, Springfield 4, Massachusetts; first vice-president, Norman Hamer, Lawrence; second vice-president, Manuel Rubin, Brockton; recording secretary, Eva Gilbert, Worcester; corresponding secretary, Nathan Nadelman, Boston; treasurer, John J. McMorrow, Brockton; members-at-large--Edythe Lasseter, Springfield; Charles W. Little, Boston; Arthur J. Corbeil, Holyoke; William W. Leahy, Westfield.
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by John Luxon
(From the current Michigan Eye Opener.) Air travel is a natural for blind people, for many reasons. All the factors that have caused the general public to take to this mode of transportation apply to the blind, plus others which make flying especially attractive to those without sight. Boredom, because one cannot see the scenery, difficulties in getting around in strange stations, etc., make surface travel tedious, to say the least, to those who do not have their vision. Even though the airlines have not gone along with the railroads and busses in offering free transportation to a blind person's guide, a working blind person often finds it just as economical to go by air, because of the savings on meals en route and lost time of employment.
Here are some tips if you are planning to take a journey by plane. If you would like a guide to help you around the airport and on and off the plane, the airlines are more than glad to provide this service. If you inform the ticket agent of your interest in receiving help, they not only notify the local airport staff, but the crew of the plane and the airports where you transfer and terminate your flight are also alerted. In preparing this article, I talked with airline officials and learned that assistance to blind people is usually furnished by supervisory personnel, as opposed to porters. Some very capable blind people, who feel they can manage better by themselves, will be interested to know that, if they prefer, the airlines will leave them to their own devices. In other words, although they are more than glad to offer assistance, it is not forced on anybody.
Airlines regularly stipulate that only guide dogs with standard working harness will be allowed in the passenger cabin. The American Airlines, in addition, insist on a muzzle. I am not in a position to know how rigidly this is enforced.
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Werner H. Marti, a member of the faculty at California State Polytechnic College, writing in the periodical, Frontier, says, in part:
"A must for every social worker and socially conscious citizen is Jacobus tenBroek's and Floyd W. Matson's Hope Deferred. While dealing primarily with the blind, the book gives a keen, penetrating and perceptive insight into the total field of social welfare, and clarifies the startling cultural lag between new social welfare concepts and their application to the blind. The account is another disillusioning narrative of a minority struggling to achieve full status in a democratic society. Discrimination, out-moded attitudes, and legal and administrative restrictions have worked against attainment of this goal. Interestingly enough, much of the fault lies with the misdirected effort of those who really want to help....
"The authors believe that the most discouraging feature in the vocational rehabilitation of the blind is the sheltered workshop, where-in the blind are often exploited, live on substandard wages, and work under poor conditions, because the shops are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act. Further, they tend to become terminal and permanent rather than rehabilitative.
"tenBroek and Matson have made a devastating indictment of social attitudes toward the blind, of some agencies whose express purpose is to help, and of many welfare workers on government payrolls. They have done so in a fine, scholarly and objective manner, with ample documentation from primary and secondary sources. By their restraint they have strengthened their presentation, while making the message clear. So long as there are tenBroeks and Matsons to tilt the lance, hope may not be deferred indefinitely."
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by Kenneth Jernigan
On August 3 of this year the American Association of Instructors of the Blind established for the first time in its history a permanent office and employed a full-time executive secretary. The new executive secretary is Maurice (Maurie) Olson. Maurie is 31. He received his B.A. degree from the University of Iowa in 1952 and then was employed as the director of instrumental music at the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School at Vinton until 1956. During the school years 1957-58 Maurie was a superintendent of schools in southern Iowa. In the meantime he did graduate work at State Teachers College, Cedar Falls, Iowa, and received his Master's Degree in school administration. He comes to his new post with an excellent background and with every indication of making his new job meaningful and worthwhile.
He says that he will welcome correspondence from blind people and others interested in work for the blind throughout the nation. He would like suggestions as to the sort of projects which the AAIB might undertake. For the present letters may be addressed to him at the Missouri School for the Blind, St. Louis.
In announcing the creation of the new position, Superintendent D.W. Overbeay of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, who is also president of the AAIB, states that, among other things, the office of the new executive secretary may serve as a clearing house for information which would be helpful in the vocational guidance programs of schools for the blind. He says that the reason such guidance programs have been inadequate in the past is that it has been virtually impossible for any one school to gather complete information about the different jobs being held by the blind throughout the country and the specific techniques being used to do those jobs. The new executive secretary of the AAIB can gather such information and make it available to all. This is only one of many ideas which President Overbeay and Executive Secretary Olson have in mind.
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From the International Journal for the Education of the Blind:
"A device for testing the vision of infants and young children, which may lead to the early detection of abnormalities of their vision and thus prevent blindness in a considerable number of cases, has been invented... by Dr. Sydney Gellis...and Dr. John Gorman of Boston.... It has been found that most newborn babies, hitherto thought to be almost blind at birth, have essentially 20/400 vision.... The apparatus works on a principle known as 'railway nystagmus'. This refers to the eye movements of people watching telephone poles through the window of a moving train. As the poles go by the window, the passenger's eyes follow each pole as it moves by and then flash back to pick up the next pole as it comes into view. The testing device consists of a roll of paper, with alternating black and white lines, which passes over two rollers. The infant is placed beneath the roll of paper so that he faces the passing lines. The device is arc-shaped so that it covers the infant's entire field of vision.
"By gradually reducing the width of the lines and by watching the infant's eye movements, the doctor can determine which size lines the infant sees and which he does not. The acuity of the infant's vision can then be calculated.... Allowances are made for crying, sleepiness or marked restlessness.... Since previous testing devices required the subject's cooperation, they could not be used until the child was three or four years old. ..."
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by Vera Thompson
The fifth annual convention of the Oregon Council of the Blind was held September 26-27 at the Washington Hotel in Portland. One hundred and sixty members attended, representing 10 chapters. President Harold Baxter called an executive board meeting Friday evening, followed by a coffee hour given for the local Lions. The featured speaker was Mr. Tim Seward, executive secretary to Representative Walter Baring of Nevada. The theme of his talk was the determination of Lions to work with the blind, not for the blind. It is to be hoped that he jarred the Lions out of their apathy and that it will last. Mr. Seward also spoke on national legislation, displaying a hopeful outlook on progressive measures for the blind. It was so kind of him to make the long journey to Portland.
A display of low vision optical aids was explained and persons interested had a chance to try them. A number of reports featuring progress of the organized blind of Oregon were given. The NFB resolutions of the July convention were approved. All state officers were re-elected. Mrs. Dorothy Skenzick was elected to a three-year term on the executive board. Winding up the event-packed two days, a rousing vote of thanks was given Evelyn Mathewson, program chairman. She was assisted by an able committee and Boy Scout volunteers.
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The District of Columbia Association of Workers for the Blind, an organization of the blind which now contains many NFB members, has become aroused over the archaic regulations which now bar blind teachers. It unanimously adopted a strong resolution calling for an end to this discrimination. Copies have been sent to the Board of Commissioners, the Board of Education, the Superintendent of Schools, and many others. President Robert McDonald's covering letter reads in part:
"...This resolution was inspired by the fact that a teacher, already certified to teach in two states and with more than six years of successful teaching experience, was recently told by officials of the District of Columbia public school system that she cannot receive a license to teach in the District because she is legally blind, having only 20/200 vision after correction.... With National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week just around the corner, this is certainly a most appropriate time to initiate such a long overdue reform."
Here is the heart of the resolution:
"WHEREAS, the Department of Education in the District of Columbia operates under such rules and regulations that a partially sighted or blind teacher, although qualified and experienced, cannot be certified for such positions because of the rigid visual requirements; and
"WHEREAS, there are more than one hundred partially blind and totally blind teachers employed in many public school systems in every part of the United States who are assigned to classes of sighted children and who, in such instances, have been an outstanding credit to the teaching profession;
"THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the DCAWB... goes on record as advocating the adoption of new rules and regulations by the Board of Education of the District of Columbia so as to permit the certification and employment of capable partially blind and totally blind teachers for both Braille and regular classes in our public schools, and
"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that no applicant for a teaching credential, who is otherwise qualified by training and experience, shall be denied certification by the Department of Education of the District of Columbia on the ground that such applicant is partially or totally blind."
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A member of the Harrisburg chapter of our Pennsylvania affiliate has come up with what he hopes will be a solution for at least one facet of the parking problem. Here is an excerpt from the Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, News Chronicle:
"Vincent Reed, who lives at 119 South Prince Street, Shippensburg, has proposed a totally new idea to take care of the baffling chewing gum problem--what to do with the gum when you're done with it. Vince has the answer, a small 1 3/4 inch square white cardboard box with a 3 1/2 inch base and a round hole on top. It is called, appropriately enough, a 'Chewing Gum Park'. Vince, who has been totally blind for 10 years, has put plenty of thought into this problem.... The first few designs were made from heavy Braille paper. After many changes a pattern was set in June and one finished copy was sent to Vince's father, a die-maker for the Gordon Carton Company, Baltimore.... The product, when it is ready to go on the market, will be a four-color design, depicting a park with trees, sky, grass and park benches. It is expected to go on sale in Pennsylvania next month and nationwide soon after. ..."
Mr. Reed believes restaurants will provide a ready market for his invention. The "Chewing Gum Parks" are collapsible and will be packed about 500 to a carton. It is his wish that profits should go to the organized blind.
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by Marie Walker
The 1959 convention of the Gem State Blind was held at the Roger son Hotel in Twin Falls, central city of the Magic Valley, August 21-23. We had excellent newspaper and radio coverage. The active cooperation of the American Legion, the local Lions Clubs and the Chamber of Commerce was deeply appreciated. Arrangements and planning of the program were in the capable hands of Bill and Vonda Winsky. Incidentally, this couple had welcomed a baby boy, August William, a few days earlier.
The executive committee met on Friday evening, following a picnic at the municipal park. Eight amendments to the by-laws were considered, as well as resolutions, concrete plans for the progress of the work for the blind in Idaho, and the continued issuing of the bulletin, Gem State News Record. At the first membership meeting, Saturday morning, Jesse Anderson discussed the program of the NFB in the past and outlined plans for the future. We in Idaho are proud to have such a man as Jesse on the NFB board and on our own executive committee. Much of the afternoon session was taken up with debate over proposed amendments to the by-laws, at the conclusion of which came the election of officers. The following were chosen: President, Frank Collins, Idaho Falls; vice-president, Uldine Gartin, Boise; recording secretary, Willis Walker, Boise; corresponding secretary, Ellen Mae Shannon, Nampa; treasurer, Bonnie Huston, Caldwell; chaplain, Jesse Anderson, Ogden, Utah.
There were two principal speakers at the evening banquet. Mrs. John Hays, historian, world traveller, national PTA president, and ex-president of the Idaho State Conference of Social Workers, told of twelve outstanding personalities she had met. Ernest Parmer, principal of the Department for the Blind, State School for the Deaf and Blind, Gooding, described recent progress. Seven full-time teachers, each with an A.B. degree or higher, are now employed in his department.
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Sally Jones, a member of the faculty of the Oakland California Orientation Center, recently visited a big display of electronic equipment at the famous Cow Palace in San Francisco. She writes:
"...By far the most revolutionary exhibit was conceived and built by a sixteen-year-old boy from San Diego, California. This lad was demonstrating a machine that makes it possible for a sighted person who has no knowledge of Braille to transcribe materials from the printed page to Braille. A competent typist will, in the future, be able to copy print materials on a typewriter and the end result will be pages of the same thing in Braille!
"It works like this: A standard typewriter was set up on the left hand side of a table in the booth. The keys were connected to a panel, complete with tiny light bulbs, similar to the panel boards on computer or electronic brain units. Wires from the panel were connected to a Perkins Braille Writer, placed to the right of the panel board. As a key on the typewriter was depressed, the impulse was fed into the panel board where it connected with the Braille symbol and an impulse came out the right side, causing the proper keys on the Perkins Writer to be depressed. Lights on the panel board flashed on and off as the impulse traveled from the typewriter to the Braille Writer. There were not nearly enough connections built into this model to cover all of the Braille contractions but it proves that the idea is sound and the enlarging of the unit is merely a problem for the engineer. The whole display covered a space approximately 3x4 feet which leaves plenty of margin.
"The exhibit won the grand prize of $1,000 for its class and more than likely the attention of some; of the leaders in the electronic field. This may provide the inventor an opportunity to perfect the machine and have it manufactured on a commercial basis. I certainly hope so. All proofreading could be done from the typewritten copy and corrections made by re-doing the page on which the error occurred. I can see endless possibilities! I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see this machine in its early stages. We talked to the boy's father, who was manning the booth when we were there. Dave was motivated by a younger brother who is now in the 4th grade and partially blind. The family is aware of the handicap blind people have in being unable to have text-books and reference material available and for the past two years Dave has been doing something about it. Much, of his material (besides the typewriter and the Perkins Writer) were picked up here and there, some parts from the junk yard, others from electronic components. Some firms donated surplus materials, etc.
"Ray was asking the father about some of the inner workings of the macnine and the father said, 'I can't answer that; you'll have to ask Dave. That kid is away ahead of me on this stuff.' I asked him where Dave picked up his know-how and the father said that the boy got books from the library and many other sources and went to work experimenting. The boy's father is in the Navy, stationed in San Diego. ..."
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The Blinded Veterans Association held its annual convention at the Carillon Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, August 4-8. About 250 persons attended. A highlight of the convention was a panel discussion on "The Future Role of the BVA". Reverend Thomas J. Carroll, director of the Catholic Guild for the Blind in Boston, was the chairman of this panel. Other members were: Kenneth C. Clark, Miami, Florida; Neftali Sanchez, Los Angeles, California; and Russell C. Williams, Bethesda, Maryland--all of whom are BVA members--and Louis H. Rives, Jr., chief, Division of Services to the Blind, OVR, and John N. Taylor, Washington representative of the NFB. The panel advocated that the BVA continue to maintain its hard core of war-blinded ex-servicemen but that it should not insulate itself from the rest of the blind population. Dr. Milton D. Graham and Mr. John K. Dupress, of the AFB, conducted a review of recent activity and progress in the fields of social and technological research. The floor discussion which followed indicated that there was a good deal of interest in the subject and a considerable amount of misinformation among laymen, occasioned by sensational and inaccurate reporting by the various news media. One of the resolutions adopted calls upon the Veterans Administration to broaden its services at the Veterans Administration Hospital, Hines, Illinois, so as to take care of a mounting waiting list of veterans with non-service-connected blindness. Another resolution noted the development in some areas of the vending stand program on air force and naval installations and expressed the hope that this expansion would continue. All of BVA's officers were returned to office in an unprecedented clean sweep by the incumbents. They are: President, Robert A Bottenberg, San Antonio, Texas; vice-president, Michael I. Bernay, El Monte, California; secretary, Durham D. Hail, Reedsport, Oregon; treasurer, Irvin P. Schloss, Washington, D.C. The 1960 BVA convention will be held in Boston.
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by Anita M. OShea
(Editor's Note: The following are excerpts from President O'Shea's editorial in the current issue of The Paul Revere.)
It has come to my attention that we are again faced with the perennial problem of blind beggars from out of state invading Massachusetts....
Many police officers are reluctant to crack down on blind beggars, because of the supposed attitude of the public towards these "poor unfortunates" The toleration of begging (by the public and the police) seriously impedes the efforts of the vast majority of the blind who are striving to rise above this degrading level. More and more visually handicapped men and women are experiencing the satisfaction of doing honest work to support themselves and their families.... How are we ever going to get it across to our sighted neighbors that we can be and want to be productive, contributing members of our communities, as long as this parasitic minority continues to beg? It is hard enough, at best, to make the average employer recognize the capabilities of properly trained workers and the existence of this anachronism makes it many times harder. Any time even one blind beggar appears on the scene, he retards the work of educating the public regarding the earnest desires of most sightless persons--namely, to earn the respect of their neighbors by being valuable tax-paying members of their communities....
In my capacity as president of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts, I urge all members of our seven chapters to apprise the police in their communities regarding the attitude of the majority of the blind on the subject of begging. Also, I strongly recommend that they avail themselves of every opportunity to educate the public concerning the harm which is done by promulgating the false concept that a blind person falls into one of three classifications--a burden to his family, a ward of his community or state, or a beggar. This can be done by newspaper articles, as well as speeches before women's clubs, service clubs, church organizations, and any other groups before which one can get a hearing. It will require the united effort of all who wish to put an end to this degrading business if we are to accomplish our objective--the right to be judged individually, on the basis of our integrity and achievements, not on misconceptions and ancient stereo-types.
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In an interview which appeared in a national magazine, the chairman of the President's Committee on the Employment of the Physically Handicapped said, in part:
"Approximately 7,500,000 handicapped persons are now employed in this country, and we know of another 2,000,000 who are employable if the right jobs are found. The appalling additional fact is that, on the basis of door-to-door surveys, we estimate there are another 2,000,000 'hidden handicapped' who are unreached by doctors and government agencies. These are unfortunates, suffering blindness, epilepsy, palsy, and the like, who have been hidden away in back rooms or attics because their relatives imagine that some social stigma is attached to such conditions. So we apparently have a long way yet to go in convincing Americans that the handicapped are human beings like everyone else and have the same hopes, dreams and need for dignity, asking only a positive role to play in society.
"When a person objects to working alongside a handicapped worker, he usually explains that he is afraid an accident will happen. But this is only an excuse and has no foundation in fact. After searching workmen's compensation law statistics all over the United States, we have yet to find a case where a handicapped worker caused an accident to a normal worker. Indeed, in the Hughes electronics plant in Los Angeles, 27 percent of the work force is physically handicapped in some way, yet that plant's insurance rates have been reduced several times because there hasn't been an accident among these workers in ten years.
"No, I think the reason why a normal person is uncomfortable in the presence of the disabled goes deeper than the purported fear of accidents. There is a feeling that these people are basically different. It may well be a psychological factor that can be traced to an early exposure to the grimmer kind of fairy tales, in which deformity invariably is associated with ugliness and evil.
"...Not only do they have a better accident record than their co-workers, but the handicapped outproduce them, and demonstrate more ingenuity in doing a job better or faster. Actually, of course, every handicapped person is-- of necessity--an inventor."
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by J. Henry Kruse, Jr.
The second annual convention of the State Council of New Jersey Organizations of the Blind was held over the weekend of September 19-20, at the Hotel Douglas, the largest and newest hotel in Newark. An exhibit of accurate but tangible scale models of modern transportation equipment, rockets and missiles, and some public buildings, supplied by the Lionel Corporation of Irvington, New Jersey evoked great interest among the delegates. The convention theme--like that of the World Council Rome sessions--was "Employment of the Blind". Staff members of the State Commission for the Blind and the State Civil Service Department participated in a panel which discussed employment of the blind in New Jersey. Mr. Thomas Mahony of the State Civil Service Department opened his remarks with the refreshingly frank admission that the New Jersey Civil Service does not employ nearly so many blind persons as it could and should. John N. Taylor then described the procedure which a blind person seeking employment in the Federal Civil Service should follow. He also described recent improvements in opportunities for the blind in that service. An exciting and provocative question and answer period followed this panel.
One of the resolutions adopted near the end of the afternoon session called for legislation to give statutory membership to the organized blind on the board of managers--which formulates the policies of the New Jersey Commission for the Blind.
During John Taylor's banquet address the microphone developed a bit of temperament but, with his usual aplomb, John simply dispensed with its dubious assistance and finished without losing a single listener.
In his annual report to the convention, President George E. Burck pointed out how the Council has become stronger, more active and better known since it became the New Jersey affiliate of the NFB. The president denied emphatically the false rumor that either the State Council or the NFB is opposed to our New Jersey Agency for the Blind or any other agency which is serving the needs of the blind. He then described with justifiable pride the increased recognition which New Jersey has been receiving in its national organization.
On Sunday afternoon the convention delegates were invited to attend and observe the regular quarterly meeting and annual election of the Council. One of the resolutions adopted at this session reads as follows: "...that the State Council deplores the financial stress which has required the NFB to decrease the size of the Braille Monitor, and that the Council recommends to the NFB that it refrain from being so generous to its state affiliates with the proceeds of its sale of greeting cards, and that it use some of those proceeds to increase the Braille Monitor to at least its former size."
At this Sunday session the following were elected: President, George E. Burck, 27 Burlington Avenue, Leonardo; first vice-president, John Braddock; second vice-president, Robert Owens; secretary-treasurer, J. Henry Kruse, Jr.
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Below are more condensed versions of the autobiographies which will appear in the new edition of "Who Are the Blind Who Lead the Blind".
III. ELEANOR HARRISON
Born on a farm in northern Wisconsin, Mrs. Harrison graduated from what was then called the Wisconsin School for the Blind. She took a job in a factory and saved a little money so she could take a short course at a business college. She obtained a position as dictaphone typist. While visiting in Minneapolis, she met her future husband and has been living in that city ever since. She has always been interested in music and dramatics and at one time took some courses at the MacPhail School of Music and Dramatic Art. Mrs. Harrison is a member of of International Toastmistress and a member of Beta Sigma Phi, an international sorority, and has been an officer and member of key committees in both organizations. For many years she has been an active member of the Minnesota Organization of the Blind and has been its president for the last four years.
IV. DONALD CAPPS
Those who have attended the last four NFB conventions need no introduction to this dynamic young man, for he has made his presence felt ever since South Carolina became an affiliate. Donald Capps's vision remained above legal blindness until about 1954. He attended the state school for the blind but graduated from public school and from a Columbia business college. At the age of 18 he was employed as a trainee for a claims examiner with Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company in Columbia and has been with the firm since that time. During 1958 he personally examined and approved claims totalling nearly one million dollars. He served as president of the Columbia chapter of the South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind during 1954 and 1955, and since 1956 has been state president.
V. DON CAMERON
Don Cameron became totally blind after a series of cataract and retinal detachment operations, 1931-39. He attended public schools and in his graduate year was elected to Who's Who in American High Schools . He attended the University of Tampa for a year and a half with high marks. He was an officer in the Quill Club, member of the university newspaper staff, member of the university chorus and was active in Theta Chi Fraternity. Beginning in 1942, he has managed vending stands in the post offices in Tallahassee and Lakeland, Florida, and is now concession manager in the Tampa General Hospital. He is a charter member of the FFB and has greatly contributed to its growth since 1952. He is currently secretary of the Florida Federation and has continually held office in the Tampa chapter. For the seventh consecutive year he is chairman of White Cane Week in Florida (and, I may add, one of the most energetic WCW chairmen I have ever had the pleasure of working with).
VI. WILLIAM J. HOGAN
Bill Hogan lost his sight as a result of an automobile accident in 1929. He graduated from St. Augustine's School in Bridgeport, Connecticutt. After high school he worked at odd jobs for a time. For a seven-year period he was employed by the Singer Manufacturing Co., successively as bench-work inspector, office clerk and production expediter. Since 1932 he has been vending stand operator and information clerk at the Fairfield County Court House. He has been politically active for many years. Bill was instrumental in organizing the Bridgeport Association of the Blind, of which he is president and executive director. He was the moving spirit in the organization of the Connecticut Federation of the Blind and has been its president ever since, except that, from 1957 to 1959, he was furloughed at his own request.
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The Ohio Council of the Blind held its thirteenth annual convention in Cincinnati, September 18-20, under the able chairmanship of George A. Martin. One of the highlights of the convention was the appearance of Nyal and Cosa McConoughey. As Monitor readers may remember, Nyal lost his sight in 1956, while holding a United States Civil Service job in Japan. The National Federation and the Ohio Council were instrumental in enabling him to retain his Civil Service rating and be re-assigned to another responsible position in Japan. We were happy to have with us, for the first time, a Kentucky delegation. It included Mr. and Mrs. Bert Becker, Mr. and Mrs. Bob Whitehead, and Harold Reagan, president of the KFB.
A feature of the Saturday morning session was the appearance of John Henle, chief of Services to the Blind in Ohio, Charles Zack, Ohio rehabilitation counselor, and Kenneth Jernigan, of the Iowa Commission for the Blind. These speakers brought out quite forcibly the defects in present rehabilitation programs and described their plans for improving them. One of the encouraging things was the sincere request for our cooperation by Mr. Henle. He invited suggestions, questions and constructive criticisms.
Mr. Jernigan was our banquet speaker, his topic being Colonialism and the Blind. I heard many compliments which perhaps did not reach Ken's ears.
During the business sessions all officers were re-elected and four important resolutions adopted: (1) Proposed a study of the feasibility of a credit union to be sponsored by the OCB; (2) Pointed out the need for, and called for the establishment of, an orientation or adjustment center for the blind in Ohio; (3) Asked for a study of the sightsaving classes throughout Ohio; (4) Demanded that the present ceiling be removed from the number of days indigent blind may receive hospitalization. The convention approved gifts to the six home teachers in Ohio, the Braille Monitor, the Good Cheer magazine, and the Hadley Correspondence School for the Blind.
This had been the first year that the affiliates of the OCB had attempted a coordinated Mother's Day sale of box candy. The division of the net proceeds brought the OCB $1,206. It was voted to repeat this sale in 1960.
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"Dear Alfred: Two or three things are quite clear. One is that if you are vitally interested in pursuing a professional career in science, then you should stick to that idea, no matter what people tell you to the contrary. This is not to say that you won't have difficulty. Everybody who enters a professional field has difficulty. A blind person has more difficulties than other people. However, there are few difficulties that cannot be overcome if you have the stamina and the ability.
"George Card has given you the names of two or three blind scientists who are succeeding in fields in which practically everybody thought it would be impossible. These people, I am sure, will write to you and will be of help to you.
"The second point that I wish to make is this. There is no reason at all why you should not take chemistry, physics, algebra, geometry and trigonometry in any high school you care to attend. The fact that there is only one high school in Hawaii where there is a person who is assigned to help blind students is of little significance. There are many blind students throughout the country right now taking these very courses in high schools, entirely without assistance from persons with specialized training in the problems of the blind. So long as you can type you can write your papers, including your examinations. So long as you can devote your attention to learning and display some ability in it, you can teach your teachers how to teach you. In mathematics, for example, all that you need to do is ask the teacher to say orally what he is portraying on the board. This, as a matter of fact, is what he ought to do for his sighted students as well. For example, if he draws a triangle on the board, he should indicate simply that that is what he is drawing, that the left hand of your base is lettered 'A', the right hand 'B', and the apex 'C'. By this process he will inform you what he is doing and he will aid the other students in fixing it in their minds.
"The difficult problem is to get the reading done. In this, however, the Bureau of Sight Conservation can supply you assistance under the rehabilitation program. I gather you will have difficulties converting them. Do not regard this as an insurmountable obstacle, however. If your parents cannot read to you and if you have no brothers and sisters who can do so, you might then appeal to the Lions Club or some other civic organization to raise the money with which you can hire readers.
"I myself went to a public high school and through a number of universities, and I know that you can achieve success by these methods.
"It is, of course, perfectly correct that you may change your mind several times about what you may want to do. As a university professor I know that a substantial percentage of college students change their minds during the first, second, third and even fourth year of their college careers. This is normal and not in any sense to be regarded as undesirable.... Cordially," Jacobus tenBroek.
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Mrs. Leolia Stewart of Shreveport, Louisiana became blind at the age of 75. Her children told her that she had lived a full and busy life and it was time for her to retire anyway. She flatly refused to retire. She had known too many oldsters who, after retirement, quickly deteriorated into senility. She learned Braille by correspondence. She enrolled with the Shreveport Association for the Blind and learned many handicrafts. She met other blind people there and was appalled by their helplessness, loneliness and utter boredom with life. She had been a teacher and she soon found herself calling on the homebound blind and teaching them the things that would arouse renewed interest in living. She shopped for them and ran their errands. She organized a club for the mothers of blind children. With the financial help of the Pilot Club and the Shreveport Association for the Blind, she organized a nursery school for blind children and secured a teacher. In 1953, at the age of 76, she became a full-time home teacher in the employ of the Association. At 82, still a full-time worker, she has this to say: "I am probably the youngest and happiest person in Shreveport because I learned to forget myself in service to others."
The Alumni Association of the; Oakland (California) Orientation Center publishes a newsletter. The current issue contains a report of the activities of some of the very recent graduates of the Center: "Charlie Martin, Yuba City, is working with pheasants. He will have 1,500 birds this year and next year hopes to have 3,000.... Jim Duncan, Desert Hot Springs, is now a practising massage and 'zone therapy'. He states that he doesn't see why more blind people do not train in this field. There are more and more health studios throughout the country, with a fine job potential for good blind masseurs and masseuses.... After leaving the Center, Tom Bickford now of DesMoines, Iowa, worked with underprivileged boys in the Los Angeles area. He is now a counselor under Ken Jernigan.... Ray Kitts is working as a student counselor in the East Bakersfield High School...."
This issue also contains a breakdown of the jobs held by other graduates of the Center: teachers, 7; stand operators, 12 (3 others who have completed stand training); darkroom technicians and other types of hospital work, 10; social workers and home teachers, 5; turret lathe operator, 1; journeyman electrician, 1; professional musician, 1; outboard motor overhauled, 1; employee of chemical company, 1; legislative representative, l; owner and operator of logging camp, 1; vacuum cleaner salesman and part-time upholstery worker, 1; warehouse clerk, 1; masseuse, 1; parakeet raiser, 1; woodworking shop, 1; insurance salesman, 1; PBX operator, l; former students attending universities, colleges and trade schools, 33. The editor points out that, in addition to the above, many women graduates are now successful home makers.
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The official hotel for the1960 NFB convention will be the New Everglades Hotel, Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, Florida. Dates, July 1-4. Special convention rates at this hotel will be lower than those we have had to pay in many years: singles, $5.50; doubles, $7.00; triples, $9.50. Those who send in the first 400 reservations will be accomodated at the New Everglades; those who put off writing too long will be assigned to the Biscayne Terrace and the Miami Colonial. In order to get the special rates, be sure to state in your request for reservations that you are attending the NFB convention. Delegates will be eligible for the same rates two days before and after the convention. Send a carbon of your application to President Al Drake, Hotel Duval, Tallahassee, Florida. The convention hall, in the New Everglades, will hold 2,000 people. A day of recreation and entertainment is being planned the day before the convention opens for all those who do come early.
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From The Independent, a newspaper published in Greenwich Village:
"An office manager in Boston was cleaning out some old files this month and came upon some office rules that had been posted in 1872: (1) Office employees each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys and trim wicks. Wash windows once a week. (2) Each clerk will bring in a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day's business. (3) Men employees will be given an evening off each week for courting purposes. (4) After 13 hours of labor in the office, the employee should spend the remaining time reading the Bible. (5) Every employee should lay aside from each pay day a goodly sum of his earnings so that he will not become a burden on society. (6) Any employee who has performed his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of five cents per day, providing profits from business permit it. (7) Any employee who smokes Spanish cigars, uses liquor in any form, or frequents pool and public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop, will give good reason to suspect his worth, intentions, integrity and honesty."
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"Dear George: ...Our little chapter in Grand Haven is unique in that all of the present twelve members are employed. The last Monitor was fine and I especially enjoyed your trip to Rome. The story was well put together and interesting in a personal way which I am sure will appeal to all. Also there were some clever twists which I appreciated.... With very best wishes," Sandford Allerton, Kalamazoo, Michigan.
"Dear George: ...I attended a meeting of the Billings chapter, a few weeks ago. At that time I presented them with their charter. They are the first chapter to affiliate with our state organization. I am in hopes more will be joining soon. We hold our quarterly board meeting October 17. Between now and the next meeting of the legislature we will be planning quite a legislative program.... Yours sincerely," Harold Campbell, Hobson, Montana.
"Dear Mr. Card: ...I enjoyed your article on the meeting in Rome of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind. I was both amused and interested in some of your comments.... Mr. Kinney's paper on the deaf-blind was interesting to me because, knowing my own loneliness at times as a man born blind, I have often thought of the more serious, desperate and frustrating loneliness which the deaf-blind surely experience until, as Mr. Kinney says, others have learned to use in communicating with them the one physical sense they still possess in common-the sense of touch....
"I had outlined to Dr. Jacob Freid, of the Jewish Braille Institute of America, a scheme I have long had in mind for a series of stones based on episodes in Jewish-Christian relations throughout history, and he not only approved of it but said he would be glad to look over the stories as I wrote them and, perhaps, see to their publication. This and your own invitation to write the article on over-protection for the Braille Monitor mean a good deal to me. I shall also continue to send articles to the two Gaelic-language magazines in Dublin, Ireland Yours sincerely," Patrick Morrissey, Coggon, Iowa.
"Dear Mr. Card: ...I am "beginning to find the column 'From Our Readers' more interesting every month. It is an excellent clearing house for ideas and the like. When my typewriter is in better working order I'll try to write a letter for the column, too Very sincerely," Lelia Proctor, Kalispell, Montana.
"Dear Friend Card: In the September Monitor I noticed a letter from Mrs. Gertrude Sitt, North Miami Beach, Florida. In view of her question whether the white cane law is a farce or can be enforced, I have written her as follows: '...The white cane law is not a farce. It can be enforced and is being enforced in many localities. The entire trouble is that many motorists and many traffic officers do not know that the law exists. The Lions clubs throughout the United States are spending vast sums of money for educational purposes.... They have induced many state governors to publicize this law in their White Cane Week proclamations, and even our president referred to it on a nationwide television hookup recently. If you will contact the nearest Lions club and secure the name of the chairman of its Blind and Sight Conservation Committee, and tell him your story, I am quite sure he will confer with the police department of Miami and help you with your difficulties.' Very truly yours," W.E. Tiffany, Jamestown, New York.
"Dear Sir: Last week I read the Braille Monitor for the first time, and did so enjoy it. I am so glad there is a magazine in Braille that gives a cross-section of what blind people are doing. It gives us many ideas for the improvement of our own associations and personal lives. I would like to have my name added to your subscription list if at all possible. Yours sincerely," Mrs. Frances Overton, Lafayette, Indiana.
"Dear George: ...When perusing the index of the Monitor and noting how many pages you had given to the account of the World Council, to be frank, I felt you were making poor use of the curtailed number of pages now available. However, after reading and thoroughly enjoying your article, I was pleased that you had decided to bring us up to date, as it is a fact that we have heretofore had rather vague notions of the activities. Sincerely," Bill Taylor, Media, Pennsylvania.
"Dear Sir: I am an undertaker and recently was called to care for a blind lady. She had a Braille Bible, quite old, but all there, size, 11 x 12 inches. We have it, but it is no use to us. We will be pleased to send it to anyone who desires it. Write to A.C. Hill, Slater, Missouri."
"Dear George: ...I am looking forward to the day when the Monitor can be restored to full size. I regard the Monitor as the most valuable publication available to the blind. I would like to make a suggestion: Why not change the title of the Braille Monitor to The Voice of the Blind. We are the organized blind of the United States. Our national paper is our collective voice. The title, The Voice of the Blind, would set this fact forth with proper authority, and would be self-explanatory. ... I sincerely hope that your health is holding up. You are one of the most valuable men our movement has ever had--or ever will have." T. F. Moody, Houston, Texas.
"Dear Mr. Card: In answer to your questionnaire on blind teachers of sighted students, I am teaching math and science in a small-town high school. The school, Mendocino High School, is a six-year high school; that is, we run from the seventh grade through the twelfth. ... I also assume the other responsibilities, such as after school duty, hall duty and class and club advising. I am now in my fourth year here. ... I would be interested in the results of your survey if you should publish them.... Sincerely," Robert Slauson, Mendocino, California.
"Dear George: I read with some interest the comments on the lack of white cane law enforcement in Miami. About six weeks ago a blind man was struck while crossing the intersection at 16th and Cass Streets in Omaha. He was carrying a white cane at the time and was severely injured.
"This accident gave rise to some publicity in a column which appears in the Omaha World-Herald, entitled 'The Public Pulse'. This publicity brought out the fact that Omaha motorists largely ignored the white cane law. The penalty for a violation in Nebraska is a $100 fine or 30 days in jail or both but I cannot find out what charge was brought against the motorist in this instance. I do not believe, however, that drivers willfully violate the white cane laws but it is mainly a matter of lack of education. Yours truly,'" Ralph Ferguson, Council Bluffs, Iowa.
I wrote to Jack Swager, president of our Nebraska affiliate, and received the following information: "I have checked the police records and found that the motorist was arrested and charged with failing to yield the right of way to a pedestrian. Even though after the accident I called the authorities and told them that the white cane law would carry a much higher fine, he was not prosecuted under that law, but was merely charged with a minor traffic violation. He was fined $20 and costs."
"Dear Mr. Card: After reading the minutes of our last board meeting, I found that $25 had been voted for the Louis Braille Memorial Museum Fund, and in making out the check I sent, I guess I must have made a mistake and sent only $10. So please accept the balance of $15. Sorry it happened (getting old, can't rely on my memory). Sincerely," Eva Burgoyne, Treasurer, Vermont Council of the Blind.
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From The Asian Blind: "Only since World War II has there been any organized effort to do anything for the blind people of Thailand (Siam) and much of the credit for what progress there has been since then goes to Miss Geneveive Caulfield, a blind American. ... At present there are 150 children in the School for the Blind. There are more who want to enroll in the school, but owing to the lack of space for accommodation, they have to be turned away.... There are still some people in this country who think that the school for the blind is a kind of refuge where the blind are fed, clothed, and given a little education, in order that they can pass the time pleasantly.... The school has sent some blind boys to study with the sighted in the secondary classes of the regular college as an experiment. Princess V. Rangsit of the Royal House of Siam is a voluntary teacher in the School for the Blind, which is sponsored by a private agency--a most remarkable achievement for this part of the world The Braille Printing and Publishing Section of the Malayan Association for the Blind houses an office for the transcription staff, a printing and binding section and a free library for the blind. ... It is reported that the recent visit of Dr. Edward J. Waterhouse. director of the Perkins School for the Blind, gave a great deal of encouragement to the work in Burma. ... A Braille press is to be installed at the Adult Blind Centre in Karachi. ..."
The current issue of the Paul Revere (Massachusetts) reports that the Westfield chapter, which had been planning to build a chapter house, has come upon a beautiful residence ideally suited to its needs. They have purchased it for 1/3 of what it would have cost to build.
From Listen (Boston): "Plans to re-introduce in the next session of Congress his controversial bill, H. R. 4700, ...have been announced by Congressman Aime J. Forand, of Rhode Island. The bill, which was hailed by Washington papers as of great benefit to aged persons, has met with strong opposition and equally strong support. ...Chief opposition has come from the American Medical Association, which has raised the cry of 'socialized medicine'.... Supporters include former President Truman...and the AFL-CIO. The bill would 'amend the Social Security Act and the Internal Revenue Code so as to provide insurance against the costs of hospital, nursing home and surgical services for persons eligible for old-age and survivors insurance benefits. ... A blinded veteran, William Tisen, who is employed as a mechanic in an Akron, Ohio, garage, ...specializes in repairing intricate automatic transmissions and can 'put together all 758 parts' with little difficulty.... Lions clubs in 12 neighboring communities have followed the example of the Brookline Lions and are now in various stages of planning glaucoma screening programs for their respective areas. ..."
The July issue of Visually Handicapped Views (South Dakota) was the last under the editorship of Agnes Zachte, who had accepted a position as social caseworker with the Ward County Department of Public Welfare, in Minot, North Dakota. For a number of years this well-written and newsy little publication was jointly edited by Agnes and her late husband, the well-beloved Gus. They attended many NFB national conventions together. Dean Sumner, of Watertown, South Dakota, became editor with the August issue.
Among celebrities of stage and screen who have recently aided work for the blind by recording their voices are Claudette Colbert, Arlene Francis, Robert Young and Edward R. Murrow.
The only information the Monitor has received concerning the recent convention of the Washington State Association of the Blind is the list of new officers. They are: President, Roy E. Welker, 112 West Mansfield, Spokane; vice-president, William Smith, Battle Ground; secretary, Ruth Thrower, Seattle; treasurer, Lyle Von Erichsen, Spokane; ways and means committee chairman, O. E. Flory, Spokane; legislative chairman, Wesley Osborne, Tacoma; welfare chairman, Oscar Mortenson, Seattle; delegate to next NFB convention, Roy E. Welker; alternate, Reverend Fritz Dreyer, Walla Walla.
Harold Carter of Springfield, Illinois, who has been reading the Braille Monitor onto tape for the benefit of many midwestern Federationists, has moved to Des Moines Iowa, to join the staff of the Iowa Commission for the Blind. His new duties will give him little leisure time but he will continue to tape record the Monitor. His fluent reading of Braille and his unusual rhetorical ability have made those who have the privilege of listening to him each month deeply grateful.
On September 19th the Rhode Island Federation of the Blind held its annual election meeting, and chose the following: President, Elena Landi, 25 Kentland Avenue, Providence; vice-president, Antone Santos, Providence; recording secretary, Martha Goff, Kingston; corresponding secretary, Josephine Santos, Providence; treasurer, Rita Callaghan, Providence; advisors, Frank De Rosa, Warwick; Carl King, Providence; Albert Piccolo, Newport.
Riddle: What has feathers, 20 legs and says "Baa, baa, baa"? Answer: Ten Indians singing the "Whiffenpoof Song".
The Braille Monitor's informal "Blind Teacher's Employment Bureau" can now claim that it had at least some part in securing a job for one of the many eager and competent young blind graduates who are now trying desperately to gain the opportunity to demonstrate their teaching ability. As soon as we were notified of the vacancy at Reno, Nevada, caused by the departure of Bettye Powell, (now Mrs. David Krause), all unemployed blind teachers on our list were alerted. Miss Constance McFarland of McFarland, Wisconsin was the successful applicant.
From the Oakland Orientation Center Alumni Newsletter: "After four delightful daughters, Dr. Lee and Allen are now the proud parents of little Allen Jenkins, III."
From the Michigan Eye Opener: "Merle Ford, 1300 Grand Street, N.E., Minneapolis, Minnesota., a highly qualified blind broom maker, writes in search of sales outlets. His income was substantially cut when Skilcraft set up shop in the Minneapolis Agency for the Blind. Their telephone solicitation sales program, along with sighted salesmen, has hurt the blind door-to-door salesmen, as well as blind broom makers. His price in dozen lots for fine quality house brooms is $12.75. ... A new model Braillewriter, distributed by the Beutler Company, 110 West 30th Street, New York City, is available for immediate delivery. It is known as Model 3, A. and S. Braillewriter. Among its features are easier paper insertion with fingertip opener, a shifting lever to move the carriage from line to line, easier margin settings, sharp, clear Braille, tough construction. Price, $89.50, with carrying case."
Quite a number of contributions to the Louis Braille Memorial Museum Fund have come in since I left for Rome last July. These will all be forwarded at the end of the current year, so you can still get your name on the great scroll at Coupvray if you have not previously done your part.
Senator Humphrey of Minnesota is planning to work hard during the next session of Congress for a bill which would give a tax credit to those who employ older workers.
The new president of the Pennsylvania Blind Merchants Guild is B.F. Dilbeck, Jr., 5424 Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia 43, Pennsylvania.
At its fall convention the California Council of the Blind will consider the adoption of a set of affiliate standards, somewhat similar to those adopted by the NFB at its Omaha convention in 1955.
From the Nebraska Observer: "Mr. Joe Balderston, counselor for the Nebraska Services for the Blind, has resigned to take a similar position in Iowa. Mr. Bob Kimball of Lincoln has taken over Mr. Balderston's duties and is now in charge of the Omaha office. Mr. John Smith will become supervisor of Home Services for the Blind. He will correlate home services and assign counselors and home teachers to their clients. Mrs. William (Eileen) Gerdes and Miss Winifred Bartels have been added to the children's program in the Department of Services for the Blind."
The NFB has contributed $200 toward the expenses of the coming White House Conference on Children and Youth.
The current Lone Star Leader records the election of two new chapter presidents, Mr. John Sledd, Houston, and Mr. Jack Burford, Abilene. The Amarillo chapter is working hard to obtain the adoption of a city white cane traffic ordinance.
The Braille Technical Press announces that it is now available on monthly Talking Book records, 16 2/3 rpm, at a subscription rate of $10 per year. The records are unbreakable vinylite and may be retained by subscribers.
From the Vermont Informer: "...The next meeting of the New England Conference of Affiliates of the National Federation of the Blind will be held in Manchester, New Hampshire, November 7 at the Carpenter Hotel. It will be an all-day, seminar-type meeting and it is hoped that each of the six New England states will send at least four representatives. The first such conference, held in Springfield, Massachusetts, last January, proved to be most helpful. Mrs. Maria Briggs and daughter, Luana May, spent several weeks with Maria's mother in New Mexico, returning with Clarence after the Santa Fe convention. There will soon be a meeting of the blind people in the Bennington area to form another chapter of the Vermont Council. ..."
Burr P. Harrison, chairman of the Subcommittee on the Administration of the Social Security Laws, House Committee on Ways and Means, announced that hearings on the operation of the Disability Insurance Program will begin on November 4. He declared that the Subcommittee intends to inquire whether the law is being administered in an efficient and fair manner. He stated that the interpretation of the definition of "disability" by the Social Security Administration will be closely scrutinized and that the Subcommittee will carefully study the allegations which have been made that disability determinations have been slow and that appeals have been unduly delayed.
In her "Convention Notes", Audrey Bascom, president of the Nevada Federation, writes: "As I left the meeting of the NFB state presidents, held during the Santa Fe convention, I felt encouraged and my spirit was lifted in the realization of the unselfish devotion of these state leaders in their dedication to the blind and the programs of the blind."
From the October New Outlook: "Dr. John W. Ferree has been appointed executive director of the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness, succeeding Dr. Franklin M. Foote, ...Reverend Thomas J. Carroll has been appointed to the National Advisory Council on Vocational Rehabilitation, United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The twelve-member Council reviews and makes recommendations concerning applications to the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for federal grants for research and demonstration projects in the field of rehabilitation of disabled persons.... Among the retiring members is Dr. Peter J, Salmon, executive director of the Industrial Home for the Blind, Brooklyn, New York.
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