OCTOBER ISSUE - 1959
INK PRINT EDITION
VOICE OF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
The National Federation of the Blind is not an organization speaking for- the blind--it is the blind speaking for themselves
N. F. B. Headquarters
2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, Calif.
THE BRAILLE MONITOR
Published monthly in Braille and distributed free to the blind by the American Brotherhood for the Blind, 257 South Spring Street, Los Angeles 12, California
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)
Dr. Grant Reports from the Middle East
Alfred Severson Blasts "Hope Deferred"
Empire State Convention
by Mary Jane Hills
Good News for NFB Credit Unions
Walter Baring on "Hope Deferred"
Another Affiliate Sees the Light
A Badly Needed Service
Reviewing the New Braille Code
From Our Readers
Here and There
(Editor's Note: As reported last month, Dr. Isabelle Grant, blind teacher in the Los Angeles area, is using her sabbatical year to make a trip around the world. She attended the World Council meeting at Rome as an observer and departed for Athens on the last day of the sessions.)
Jerusalem, August 10.
"My dear George and Darlene: ... I spent three happy days in Athens. I climbed the Acropolis, at times almost on my knees, and sliding over the slabs when I couldn't keep my footing--but it was worth it. All my ancient history came alive. The Parthenon became a reality. It was all so wonderful that I forgot about skinned ankles and skinned hands from caressing practically every bit of Doric and Ionic sculpture atop the hill. I am supremely happy I went there.
"Then three days in Istanbul, seeing mosques and more mosques--San Sofia with a sail around the Golden Horn and down the Bosporus, almost to the Black Sea.
"Three days in Beirut followed. I found much discouragement in work for the blind because of the political situation. I visited the American University and talked with the vice-president. He was very eloquent in praising his University but closed up when I said that I was interested in the education of young blind students, and asked him if he had any enrolled. 'We had one,' he told me, 'twenty-five years ago, and he was an excellent student. He is now a superintendent of a school for the blind, and we haven't had one since.' As quickly as he could, he switched the conversation, and when I came back to the topic of the blind he again sidestepped my question. He said something about their not having facilities for them and when I wanted to pursue the subject further he was obviously uneasy. That made me all the more desirous of seeing your Jordanian protege, Abed Budair, who was arbitrarily rejected last year by this American-supported school on the sole ground of his blindness. Later I brought this up in an interview with Dr. Leonard, the University president. He seemed both uninformed and uninterested. He said that, in the backward countries of Asia, they have not yet got around to educating their normal children yet. The old idea that the blind have to sit and wait until the sighted have their needs met!
"I saw Abed today. He came from Bethlehem where he lives in a refugee camp. George and Darlene, he is a lovely boy, so courteous, soft-spoken, such a lively sense of humor! He told me he read the Monitor from cover to cover. And he gave evidence of it, for his first question was 'What happened at the Santa Fe convention?' Then he wanted to know the state of the Kennedy bill. He had names of many Federationists on the tip of his tongue, and he said that Dr. tenBroek's speeches meant so much to him. He has finished his first year reading law and has three more to go. He had good marks and is very anxious to continue. He told me he had been bitterly disappointed at his rejection by the University of Beirut. I urged him to send you a copy of the rejection letter. He said there were six blind students at the University of Damascus, three of them in law, (I had been told by others, however, that the academic rating of the Damascus University was far below that of the one at Beirut--which is considered the best in the Middle East.)
"George, I think we should do something about Beirut! I think that, supported as it is by endowments from the U.S.A., it should not be allowed to debar blind students on the sole basis of blindness. I also think that we should publicly commend the University of Damascus for giving blind students an equal opportunity with the sighted. Sort of contrast the one university with the other.
"I cannot say too much about what a nice boy Abed really is! He was interested in knowing about our young lawyers, and named Rubs Kletzing, Paul Kirton, and John Nagle off the bat, saying he was following them closely. His reading, though, is giving him much cause for worry. For the first part of last year a Tunisian boy helped him, in exchange for lessons in English, but for the last two months he had no reader, and he was under severe hardship. Reading money would help, or a small scholarship for reading, perhaps something he could pay back. We talked about tapes, but he said he thought actual reading from his Arabic textbooks was more profitable. I sincerely hope that we can continue to help this very worthy lad. He is doing his best but he is certainly up against great odds.
"Every day seems to be more packed than the day before. I must tell you that I had four of the most interesting days in my life with Dr. Noor in Cairo. His program shows both imagination and energy. I shall write up a special report about that when this itinerary slows down a bit. My Cairo visit was by far the most exciting of my trip so far. The two universities there do not discriminate against blind students. I shall write you from Karachi. As ever," Isabelle.
back to contents
As expected, champions of the status quo and of the traditional agency point of view are taking pot shots at the new tenBroek-Matson book which was reviewed in these pages last month. Writing in the August issue of Rehabilitation Literature, Alfred Severson, who has been connected with sheltered workshops in Chicago and St. Louis for the past 13 years, has this to say:
"Dr. tenBroek, president of the National Federation of the Blind, has for some years been a major critic of agencies and programs for blind people. This book continues a controversy that has reached the name-calling stage, as indicated in the following quotations. 'In the hearings of the Senate Labor Committee's Subcommittee on Health, early in the spring of 1954, the viewpoint of caretaker agencies for the blind (notably the American Foundation for the Blind and the American Association of Workers for the Blind) was clearly articulated.' (page 244). 'The two bills sponsored by the private agencies contrasted with a measure introduced under sponsorship of the National Federation of the Blind (H.R. 6657).' (page 246).
"About half the book is a review of the development of the social security programs to demonstrate the invalidity of the means test in public assistance. The treatment of the means test makes evident that the book is a propaganda document instead of a responsible treatment of difficult subjects. To remove the means test from blind recipients of public assistance and by the same reasoning from all other recipients would create governmental, financial, and personal problems that stagger the imagination. The book is blind to these considerations. As in so much propaganda literature, the book uses the method of making flat statements and then selecting quotations and incidents as proof."
It is somewhat amusing to fine Mr. Severson accusing Dr. tenBroek of quoting out of context and of making flat, unsupported statements, and then proceeding himself to quote Dr. tenBroek out of context and to make his own flat, unsupported statements. Mr. Severson states flatly that (1) "the book is a propaganda document", and (2) "to remove the means test... would create governmental, financial, and personal problems that stagger the imagination". He does not tell us what these "problems that stagger the imagination" are. If we are to accept Mr. Severson's assertions, we must do so on faith alone. By contrast Dr. tenBroek and his collaborator have thoroughly documented every statement made in Hope Deferred and have not asked their readers to accept anything on faith.
back to contents
by Mary Jane Hills
In my opinion this was the most successful and by far the most enthusiastic ESAB convention so far. Kenneth Jernigan made many, many friends in New York State. His speech was simply terrific, and it and he were the topic of conversation and praise in the Hospitality Room after the banquet.
Promptly at 10:00 A.M. on Saturday, September 5, President Peter Roidl called the third annual convention of the ESAB to order at the Hotel Hamilton, Utica. Betore proceedings were too far underway, delegates from ten chapters and one representing members-at-large were present. The Saturday afternoon session gave to the delegates an unusually diversified program. Mr. Joseph Ryerson, from Griffith Air Force Base in Rome, who works in the field of electronics for the blind, played some tapes explaining the electronic cane now under test by the Franklin Institute, as well as illustrating tone Braille. He also discussed other unique devices. Next a representative from General Electric gave an exceedingly fine demonstration of stereophonic sound. Mr. Louis Bedica, of the Industrial Home for the Blind, contributed a very enlightening discussion on low vision optical aids and invited the delegates to examine various lenses he had brought with him.
At the breakfast meeting on Sunday a collection was taken to increase the ESAB endowment fund. Next came the election. Officers were chosen for a two-year term, beginning January 1, 1960. They are: President, Mary Jane Hills, Rochester; first vice-president, Tony Polera, Utica; second vice-president, Jerry Marafito, Croton-on-Hudson; recording secretary, Sylvia Burton, Elmira; corresponding secretary, Marion Burke, Syracuse, and treasurer, Albert Wylaz, Rochester. Delegate and alternate to the Miami convention, Mary Jane Hills and Anthony Parise, respectively.
Sunday afternoon there were three workshops: (1) Vending Stand Problems, conducted by Mr. Kenneth Jernigan; (2) Leadership Training, led by Peter Roidl; and (3) Higher Education as Related to the Adult Blind, with Byron Ballard at the helm. These panels were very well attended.
Of course, the climax of the convention was the banquet on Sunday evening, and it was the finest we've ever had. Hank Varley, who had been with us throughout the entire convention, did a splendid job as toastmaster. An award was presented to Mr. Ernest Tiffany, of Jamestown, for outstanding service and dedication to the blind people of New York State. For many years he has been Blind Activities Chairman of Lions Clubs in his area, and he was very instrumental in the eventual passage of the white cane law in this state. The main address, "Colonialism and the Blind", was delivered by Mr. Jernigan, and no ESAB audience has ever been more attentive and receptive.
Monday morning's program featured a comparison of the stand programs in Massachusetts, Iowa, and New York. The respective spokesmen were John Mungovan, Kenneth Jernigan, and Anne McGuire. A lively question period followed. Monday afternoon was devoted to organization business--committee reports, resolutions, etc. Buffalo was chosen as the 1960 convention site.
back to contents
As a result of negotiations carried on by Paul Kirton with the Credit Union National Association, whose headquarters are here in Madison, Wisconsin, the following letter has just been received:
"Dear Paul: ...The CUNA Mutual Board of Directors at its recently convened quarterly meeting passed the following motion:
"'That handicapped or disabled credit union groups, including the blind, who are otherwise eligible for CUNA Mutual services, be offered our AA Loan Protection contract, with or without the Temporary Disability Benefits Endorsement, at our regular premium rate.'
"You will be pleased to know the information you gave us during our conference with several department heads at our office preceding the board meeting was most helpful to me in my research studies that resulted in the above action. All credit unions of the blind have been notified of this action, which now enables them to provide their members with our full three-way plan of Loan Protection--temporary disability, permanent disability, and death benefits--at the same low premium rate offered sighted groups. Very cordially yours," O. H. Edgerton, Assistant Managing Director, Research and Development, CUNA Mutual Insurance Society, Madison, Wisconsin.
back to contents
On August 27 Congressman Walter Baring, of Nevada, inserted into the Congressional Record a strong recommendation that his fellow Congressmen make the reading of Hope Deferred a must. Here is a quotation:
"Perhaps the most signal service provided by this book lies in its demonstration that our entire system of social security, ever since its adoption in 1935, has been the storm center of a continuous struggle between Congress and the Executive Branch of the Federal Government, in which two theories of the nature of social security have been in direct conflict. On the one hand officials of the Social Security Administration have adhered to a policy of subordinating public assistance to the preferred concept of social insurance, on the assumption that those receiving public aid are a residual element, to be minimized and disparaged; a policy utterly barren of any constructive element. This policy is the direct descendant of the medieval poor laws and workhouse, and has preserved that outmoded spirit through the imposition of a rigorous means test--a virtual pauper's oath--which effectually discourages the blind and the disabled from rising above the poverty and dependency that have been the requirements of eligibility for the program. More-over, the executive theory has sought to enforce absolute Federal control over the assistance programs of the States and to disallow any departures, however legitimate and progressive, from its own administrative precepts--while at the same time permitting the Federal administrator the broadest latitude of discretion in ruling upon the programs. By contrast, Congress has consistently expressed a very different and opposed theory of public assistance, and moreover has held to it despite repeated reversals and opposition by the executive agencies; a theory which has sought to introduce constructive elements into the program, while placing a floor under relief and permitting the individual States complete freedom in devising liberal provisions of their own.
"In specific terms, Hope Deferred is a study of the most significant social provisions established for the blind over the past generation, most notably the programs of public assistance and vocational rehabilitation. The significance of the title is that, despite a number of genuine advances, the hope of the blind men and women of America for a recognition of their real capacities and needs is still deferred in both of these crucial areas. And I may add that there is another deferred hope which emerges from this book--the hope of Congress to have its will and intent, as expressed in some of the most important legislation of our time, carried out in the face of persistent hostility by appointive administrative officials."
back to contents
Since this was a very short convention (one day) the report is also brief. It was held at the Kentucky Hotel, the scene of the 1954 NFB national convention. The morning was largely given over to routine business. A resolution requesting the services of Paul Kirton for a two-week period to organize new chapters was adopted unanimously. The Kentucky Federation has long felt an urgent need for expansion outside Louisville and has at last determined to do something about it. It was suggested that the Henderson-Owensboro and the Lexington-Covington areas would be promising fields for Paul's talents. Several Santa Fe delegates collaborated in an excellent report of the 1959 NFB convention. Another resolution adopted unanimously called upon the State of Kentucky to give its blind citizens the benefit of home teacher service. Kentucky is one of the very few states which is without this all important program.
The first item in the afternoon was a talk by Mrs. Hannell, a home teacher from the Newport, Ohio, area. She answered many questions and her contribution to the convention was greatly appreciated by those present. I followed her with a talk on the World Council--the topic which had been assigned to me.
This was an election year and Harold Reagan was given his twelfth consecutive term by acclamation.
The evening banquet, which closed the convention, was attended by many local celebrities and was a gala affair. Clyde Ross, president of the Ohio Council, delivered the address of the evening and held the rapt attention of his audience.
back to contents
The Braille Monitor cordially welcomes the News Bulletin of the Tennessee Federation of the Blind! This brings the number of state affiliates issuing regular publications to thirty-seven. Here are some excerpts from the first issue:
"For some time the Board of Directors of the TFB and many of its members have felt the need for the issuance of a news bulletin to the membership and to others who are interested. At a meeting on August 1 the board unanimously adopted a motion to issue such a bulletin. F. W. Orrell, of Chattanooga, was placed in charge of the first production. The whole matter will be discussed at the forthcoming state convention.
F. W. Orrell and Johnson Bradshaw, of Nashville, have been appointed to the Governor's Committee for the Employment of the Physically Handicapped....During the last session of the legislature the TFB presented a ten-point program. Our legislative committee had several conferences with Administration leaders, among them Mr. Ross Dyer, executive secretary to Governor Ellington. These leaders, and Mr. Ross Dyer in particular, expressed the opinion that most of the program could be carried out administratively, and thus did not need legislative action, in a conference with Governor Ellington just prior to his election, he had stated that he thought that the changes we were proposing would be advantageous to the blind. After the failure of the program through the active opposition of the administration, our legislative committee called on Mr. Dyer again and reminded him of the administration's promise to carry out the program administratively. Mr. Dyer requested the committee to give him another copy of the program for study, and said he would give an answer in a short time. This conference took place on May 29 and as yet he has made no statement. ... A number of changes have been made in the Department of Public Welfare. Mr. Mason Bronon has been made chief of Services to the Blind and Mr. W. J. Ferrell has become supervisor of Rehabilitation. Mr. Dave Day has been transferred from Rehabilitation to Sight Conservation and Home Teaching, and made supervisor. A psychologist, an agriculture placement specialist and an industrial placement specialist have been added to the Department. On July 1 the salaries of the eight counselors were raised $50 per month. This has long been overdue. It is the opinion of social workers that the blind are the hardest to place, yet the counselors in work for the blind in Tennessee have been paid less than those in General Rehab, It is hoped that the calibre of the counseling personnel can now be upgraded, and the blind throughout the state receive better service from the Department.... The Nashville chapter is petitioning for a corporate charter so that it can own and operate a Center.... Due to ill health, Mr. Floyd E. Farrar has been forced to retire as principal of the Tennessee School for the Blind "
back to contents
During the regular session of our legislature, just ended, we concentrated on a bill to eliminate the present arbitrary ceiling of $75 a month on public assistance payments to the blind. Prior to the state-wide election last fall, we sent out questionnaires to all candidates and eighty percent of the successful ones expressed an intention to support such a measure. Our bill would have had clear sailing except that a Democratic House and a Republican Senate bickered for six months over revenue legislation and ended in a stalemate. The Governor called a special session for next November. Our bill was one of those carried over. We are now negotiating with the Division of Public Assistance in an effort to persuade them to include the abolition of the ceiling as a budgetary provision. Only a handful of states still retain an arbitrary statutory ceiling on such payments.
Our vending stand law, permitting operators to purchase their stands and operate independently--of which we have been so proud--was threatened by a bill which would have made such a purchase conditioned upon the approval of our state agency. Its proponents tried to persuade our legislature that it would be preferable to provide a marginal living wage for more operators rather than to permit those who build up their own businesses to retain all the profits. The organized blind rose as one man to battle this regressive measure and its sponsor finally yielded to the clamor and withdrew it. The law was amended, with our support, to insure that future state office buildings will be available exclusively to blind-operated stands and to blind-operated vending machines.
Our most outstanding triumph came in the field of civil service. The bill which we got through (skillfully drafted by Paul Kirton) provides that no blind applicant may be denied either the opportunity to take an examination or certification until the state agency has been consulted and has surveyed the requirements of the prospective job. The agency's verdict will be binding. The Civil Service Boards of both Milwaukee and of Milwaukee County opposed this bill strenuously but it passed both Houses unanimously.
We also obtained a further improvement in our voting law but our efforts at chipping away some of the worst phases of our relatives responsibility law once more proved futile.
back to contents
From the office of Dr. tenBroek to all State and Chapter Presidents:
"Dear Colleague: May I call your attention to an interesting and worthwhile project of the Illinois Federation of the Blind and ask your cooperation in carrying it out. The project is described in the enclosed letter from Fred C. Lilley, first vice-president of the Illinois Federation. Basically the Illinois Federation is seeking to compile a booklet containing the 'names, addresses and types of merchandise made by the blind all over the United States', and of all salesmen of blind-made products.
"After reading Mr. Lilley's letter, will you supply him with the names and addresses he requests? Cordially yours," Jacobus tenBroek, President.
Mr. Lilley's letter follows:
"The Illinois Federation of the Blind has become more and more aware of the problem of unscrupulous persons selling merchandise reputedly made by the blind. To protect the legitimate blind and also the sighted public, we have developed a Seal of Approval which must appear on all merchandise legitimately made by the blind. However, there is another and even more important facet to this business of blind-made merchandise. There is an organization which, because of its size and national scope, is slowly squeezing the small jobber and salesman out of business. It is for this reason that we have decided to compile a booklet which will list the names, addresses and types of merchandise available from all of the independent manufacturers and jobbers of merchandise made by the blind all over the United States. Also we would like to list the names and addresses of all salesmen of blind-made merchandise. In this way we can advise manufacturers where salesmen are available to handle their merchandise. We feel in this way we can help all of those blind people who are trying to do a good job.
"Will you cooperate by either sending me all such names and addresses or, if you prefer, giving my name and address to all such persons and companies, so they can write to me? Only with such a unified effort can we make, this project work." Fred C. Lilley, 5313 Kimball Place, Oak Lawn, Illinois.
back to contents
(Editor's Note: The adoption of the following resolution was one of the most important actions taken at the Santa Fe convention. The NFB expresses certain serious reservations with respect to S. 772 in its present form. The appended letter, from John Taylor to Victor Gonzalez, of West Virginia, will clarify our position still further.)
Resolution 59-02: "WHEREAS, S. 772, introduced by Senator Hill, reaffirms and expands the outmoded and retrograde policy of using sheltered workshops as instruments of rehabilitation; and
"WHEREAS, S. 772 would continue in effect and stimulate further development of so-called 'rehabilitation facilities' which are largely medical and restorative in character, placing such facilities under the administration of rehabilitation agencies rather than under the supervision of appropriate health agencies, and thus submerging the primary function of the rehabilitation program--that of training and securing competitive employment for the disabled; and
"WHEREAS, a number of services designated as 'independent living rehabilitation services', designed to eliminate or reduce the need for institutional or home attendant care, would be added to the responsibility of rehabilitation agencies, thus further diverting attention from the proper function of these agencies by requiring them to administer services of an almost entirely social assistance or palliative character; and
"WHEREAS, 'independent living services' duplicate services already authorized under the self-care and self-support provisions of the 1956 amendments to Titles I, IV, X and XIV of the Social Security Act, which amendments quite properly place these services under the administration of public welfare agencies; and
"WHEREAS, when taken in its entirety, S. 772 implies that restoration is the only hope and tends to perpetuate the stereotype of disability; and
"WHEREAS, by the emphasis placed upon both restoration of function and sheltered employment, S. 772 goes far toward establishing the traditional stereotype approach to disability as the public policy of the United States;
"NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind, in Convention assembled at Santa Fe, New Mexico, this 29th day of June, 1959,
"THAT, this Convention strongly opposes the philosophy embodied in S. 772 which would create sheltered workshops and improperly place medical care and self-help functions within the scope of vocational rehabilitation programs; and
"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind would favor the expansion of rehabilitation facilities and the providing of 'independent living rehabilitation' if these services were to be placed under the jurisdiction of the appropriate medical and welfare agencies."
Dear Vic: .... At the Santa Fe convention, the NFB adopted a resolution on S. 772 which, in effect, opposes the inclusion of independent living rehabilitation services as a part of vocational rehabilitation programs. The resolution also opposes medically-oriented rehabilitation facilities as well as sheltered shops as parts of vocational rehabilitation tie. In general, the convention took the position that independent living services are in the nature of social services and should not be reguarded as vocational rehabilitation services--that social service agencies should provide such services and that rehabilitation agencies should not be permitted to escape ultimate responsibility for the placement of persons in remunerative, competitive employment. Non-medically-oriented rehabilitation centers can play a vital role in teaching newly-blinded individuals the essential techniques and methods which will enable them to function successfully and independently as blind persons. The resolution thus distinguishes between medically-oriented rehabilitation facilities and rehabilitation facilities designed to deal with the broad attitudinal and specialized skills needed by blind persons. Sheltered workshops are often in the nature of 'sweatshops' which under-pay their employees and provide a dumping ground for easy, but unsatisfactory and unjustified, rehabilitation placements. ..." John N. Taylor.
back to contents
There were so many objections to the proposed changes in Grade Two Braille that most of them have now been discarded. The remaining ones will constitute no problem whatsoever:
1. The abbreviated forms for "today", "tomorrow" and "tonight" have been altered fro to-d, to-m and to-n to td, tm and tn.
2. Four new contracted forms have been added: afn for "afternoon", fst for "first", fr for "friend" and dot 5 q for "question".
3. The contraction for "ar" is to be given preference over the contraction for "ea". By doing so the letter combination will remain the same in such words as: earn, learn; ear, dear, bear; earth, unearth; etc. Also, there will now be no confusion between the almost similar Braille combinations for "fear" and "fright" or "bear" and "bright".
4. Two unnecessary restrictions in the use of contractions have been removed thus preventing a confusing variation in the appearance of a word.
(A) The contraction for "com" may be used following the capital sign.
(B) Any number of lower signs can follow one another provided that one of them is in contact with a character which contains one of the higher dots--dot one or dot four.
5. The overuse of italics has proven a stumbling block to many readers. The italic sign is now to be used to point out a word or phrase or where it will be helpful in showing emphasis.
6. The use of unfamiliar symbols to designate foreign accented letters has obscured the recognition of foreign words even where a reader is familiar with the language. To avoid such confusion, these special signs will be used primarily in foreign language books, but in general literature, the accent sign, dot 4, will be placed before all accented letters to show that the letter bears an accent and thus the spelling of the word will always be clear.
As a result of the great care with which the changes were considered, the new "English Braille" code has accomplished three essential functions. First, the thousands upon thousands of Braille volumes which are now on library shelves have not been made obsolete and thus will continue to afford a valuable resource for recreation and education. Second, after making the acquaintance of less than a handful of new and useful contractions, the Braille reader may not even be aware of the variations from one code to the other, yet, with the removal of confusing combinations and word variations, Braille reading will be found simpler, speedier and more pleasurable. And third, embossers and transcribers will find welcome relief from certain "nuisance" rules which have proven most difficult to follow, and they will also discover the answers to many perplexing questions in transposing inkprint into Braille.
(Editor's Note: The above is an excerpt from an article prepared by Bernard M. Krebs, Librarian for the New York Guild for the Jewish Blind.)
back to contents
"Dear George: I was extremely pleased that we made such definite progress at Santa Fe in the organizing of the Blind Merchant's Division of the NFB. We adopted a set of by-laws which were drawn up by Paul Kirton. We elected Glenn Hoffman, 4154 East 104th Street, Cleveland 5, Ohio, as chairman, and Mrs. Marie Nading, 1538 2lst Street, 13 Des Moines. Iowa, as secretary. ... I pledged my Luzerne County Federation to finance the first year's activities by furnishing the letter-heads, envelopes and postage. We have not yet made any provision for dues or for other methods of financing. We also spoke about meeting a day early next year and inviting all blind merchants to be present.... We cordially invite every blind merchant, whether he is a stand operator or not, to send his name to our secretary." Frank Lugiano, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
"Dear Mr. Card: ...We enjoyed the write-up of the Convention in the Monitor. Our delegates came home happy and pleased. ... A lot of credit must go to the way Dr. tenBroek has handled things from the very beginning of the unrest, through to the final climax. You also, in editing the Monitor, handled things very skillfully. ... It will be so much easier without the bickering and heartaches... during this last year.... Best wishes for a happy and successful year and we enjoy the Monitor. We look forward to it with eager anticipation. Cordially yours," Vera and Berge Thompson, Portland, Oregon.
"My dear Mr. Card: My! What an interesting lot of letters were contained in the reader's department of the August Braille Monitor! I agree with Mr. Noble that the Monitor is a far cry from the original All Story. However, I feel that there is still a place for the former. It seems to me we have access to all too few of the current short stories in Braille.... Wouldn't it be possible to go to an occasional edition of current fiction? Say one every three months? Let's hear what others think about it.... Very cordially yours," Dorothy Hanna, South Gate, California.
"Dear George: ...I want to tell you how very much I have enjoyed your 'Convention Notes' in the August Braille Monitor. Having attended the convention myself, I know how perfectly you summarized the proceedings, and all those who could not be at that historic convention will be able to get a true understanding of what took place by reading the August Braille Monitor; it is wonderful. I look forward each month to getting my next copy. Very sincerely," Viola W. Schroeer, St. Louis, Missouri.
"Dear George and Darlene: ...Enclosed you will find a check In the amount of $50 as the Arizona State Association's contribution to the Braille Monitor. That is one check I have made out and signed that I honestly feel is most worthwhile. When I receive the Monitor each month I cannot leave it alone until I have read it fully from cover to cover... Jerry Field is the new president of the Tucson club; his address is 6210 South Euclid Avenue, Tucson.... Of course, as you know, we have lost Joe Abel as state president. I feel this loss very deeply, as Joe and I had worked so closely for the past five years. Les Webb, of Yuma, has stepped into his place, and I feel that he will do equally as well as Joe did.... Our White Cane Journal may come to an end, temporarily at least, at our next convention... Since members of the organization do not cooperate by sending in material, ...it is not worth the money spent.... Our Zenith Club is growing in membership beautifully. We are real proud of it.... Sincerely," Faye Langdon, State Treasurer, Phoenix, Arizona.
"Dear Mr. Card: ...The Braille Piano Technician is published by the Piano Technicians of Illinois, Inc. This is a very small, non-profit organization; its exclusive purpose is to publish a technical, scientific and busines -promotional, bi-monthly magazine to promote proficiency and salesmanship. It is read by blind piano technicians and instructors in every state of the Union, Canada and four other countries. Many of our readers are members of the Piano Technicians Guild, an international organization, and many of them are affiliated with the NFB, AAWB, and the AAIB. On August 3-6 we held our annual conference at Minneapolis, concurrently with the Piano Technicians Guild convention. There were 44 delegates from 13 states, Canada and Washington, DC. We had regulating classes for grand and spinet pianos. We also displayed and demonstrated many special appliances used by blind piano technicians to help improve their efficiency and to increase their earning powers.... We estimate that there are about 2,000 blind piano technicians in this country and we know many who are earning a fine living. Next January the Braille Piano Technician is going to start making a survey to ascertain the actual number of blind tuners in this country and Canada and, if possible, the average annual gross earnings.... We would like to hear from all piano servicemen who read the Braille Monitor and who do not know about the Braille Piano Technician. Sincerely yours," Edward H. Menke, Editor, 5657 West Washington Boulevard, Chicago 44, Illinois.
"Dear George: ...I want to say how superlative I thought your 'Convention Notes' were last month. You distilled the essence of the spirit and action of an unusual convention--one extremely hard to capture in words--and even by comparison with your excellent writeups of past years this report was simply superb. You know, I sometimes think of myself as something of a 'pro' at this sort of thing--but I can't begin to touch your talent for bringing these complicated events to life and giving them the warmth of your own generous spirit. It proves to me again how much the Federation needs, and will continue to need, the rare gift you have to give it. Love to Darlene. Cordially," Floyd Matson, Berkeley, California.
"Dear George: ...This past year we sponsored a bill establishing minimum need at $90 a month, modelled on the California and Nevada laws.... We were unable to get anywhere with our bill, but perhaps our lobbying had something to do with another bill being enacted into law which raised grants in all categories. It raised maximum grants of Aid to the Blind to $90 a month. We are considering what sort of legislation to seek next January.... Our state convention will be held in Miami, Arizona, October 23-25.... Yours sincerely," Henry Rush, Prescott, Arizona.
"Dear Sir: A recent production of the William Saroyan play, Beautiful People, in Portland this last summer, with an all blind cast, received widespread acclaim as an artistic as well as a financial success. It was sponsored by the Civic Theatre, which trained the entire cast just like they do a sighted cast. This play took six months of hard work on the part of the Civic Theatre people and the blind cast. It was the biggest thing we have ever attempted in Oregon and the only place it has ever been done in the United States in exactly this way. We understand there have been plays given by the blind in New York and California, but nothing of this nature. It took hours and hours of work to transcribe the script to Braille and tapes, from which the blind cast learned their parts. This project was not only profitable but had definite educational value for the sighted public.... The play was put on four nights and drew very well; the last night was a sellout. The cast included Claude Garvin, Marguerite Leahey, Corine Watts, Ray Leahey, Leon Duff, Leon Jones, Berge Thompson, Don Sherman and Bob Crawford.
"We of Oregon would be pleased if this could set a precedent for other states, and we also have ideas of making it an annual project.... Very truly yours," Stella Wright, Publicity Chairman, Oregon Council of the Blind, Portland, Oregon.
"Dear Mr. Card: ...I am glad that I now am on the mailing list of the Braille Monitor. It has given me a better idea of what the organized blind are actually doing. One of the things I especially like about it is its impartiality. The reader is given a clear picture of all issues which arise. Most sincerely yours," Constance McFarland, McFarland, Wisconsin.
"Dear Readers: ...I do not minimize the importance of our Right to Organize bill, for if we have this right firmly established we can go ahead with other important things. But we should never lose sight of the need for a flat pension. Such a pension would actually save the government much expense, but it would also make a very large number of social workers unemployed and the poor dears would have to wear out shoe leather looking for new jobs. The public assistance law under which we live is positively diabolical. Why should a blind person have to sell his soul and the souls of relatives, who are not even responsible relatives, in order to obtain a mere pittance? As an illustration, a social worker asked a client where she went Christmas and what were the names of the people she visited. She replied, 'Do I have to answer that?' 'We just wanted to know,' was the female snooper's reply. Yours truly," C. William Peterson, St. Paul, Minnesota.
"Dear Mr. Card: Thanks for your recent letter informing me of the NFB's interest in my problem of taking my guide dog on a cruise aboard one of the luxury liners. Four years ago we were accepted with the guide dog and took a trip to the Bahamas on the S.S. Nassau. We enjoyed it so much we thought we would take the trip again until we were told that we could not take the dog. The local ticket agent called the steamship company personally thinking it might be possible to talk them into letting us take the dog but only received a flat refusal. We also tried to book passage on the Furness Lines but to no avail. The ticket agent informs me that this ruling became quite general among the steam-ship companies during the past couple of years. Below are the names of the companies who refused us passage: Incress Lines, 42 Broadway, New York City, New York; Furness Withy and Co. Ltd., 34 Whitehall Street, New York City 4, New York. Cordially yours," Everett A. Erickson, Bethel, Connecticut.
"Dear Braille Monitor: To follow up the convention of the National Federation of the Blind in June in Santa Fe by attendance at the quinquennial conference of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind in Rome in July was not only a rare privilege in anyone's life, but an education, an inspiration, and an achievement. To listen to our delegate George Card addressing the three hundred participants from forty-nine nations was heartwarming and exciting. These two experiences can only be felt they cannot be described.... Friendliness was everywhere the keynote. In the meeting rooms, corridors, and cafeteria, if one language didn't work, another did; but a special accolade is due those participants from the Middle East and Far East whose mastery of the English language must have involved sheer hard work and determination. We English-people would do well in the interests of friendship and understanding to attempt to learn at least one or two additional languages. Our self-complacency in that respect is really not indicative of the spirit of kindliness and altruism that is character stic of us Americans, by and large; but we are woefully lazy, or is it just indifference? ...One half of the world's blind population is represented in the WCWB.... To Colonel Baker of Canada go the orchids as president of the WCWB; his faith in his mission as leader of the organization has earned for the WCWB full recognition from the UN and from UNESCO to the point of being consulted in and making important decisions in the field of rehabilitation and employment of the blind on a world-wide basis. The success of the Rome conference was due in large part to the untiring work of Eric Boulter.... Eric was the genial, friendly, gracious source of all information.... His successor is our old friend, John Jarvis, who spoke so effectively at the Boston convention.... To George I willingly leave the formal, reports; as an observer without any responsibility, I had endless fun, meeting new friends from all parts of the world, having tea, lunch, dinner and capuchinos (white coffee) with a different person every break. Darlene Card should have been named DARLING, for she lived up to all that the name involves.... My experiences at Rome made me realize more keenly than before that our responsibilities as blind persons are not only local, state, and national, but world-wide.... Cordially yours," Isabelle Grant, Karachi, Pakistan.
Dear George: Your letter has reminded me of how neglectful I am of obligations to friends.... Even though I am out of touch with any local organization at the present, I fully intend making myself known out here. ...I have already placed the name of NFB in a few right spots.... When the Braille Institute told me that I would have to suffer a delay of some months before receiving a Talking Book machine, I asked that they give me a statement to that effect in writing. I got a Talking Book machine two days later. If, as they claim, there is a long waiting list in California, I think something needs to be done. The man I talked to blamed it on the state agency for not distributing them promptly.... There will soon be publicity on my work here. I will send it as soon as it is released. Cordially yours," Joseph Abel, 13827 Elmcroft Avenue, Norwalk, California, (former President, Arizona Association of the Blind).
"Dear George: ...A bill to raise the maximum withholding from the income of blind stand operators from four to ten percent was sponsored by our state agency. We were able to defeat it. Our main effort, of course, was our bill to increase the blind pension. Its fate is still in the balance.
"I have brought to the Capitol members from each local chapter, to give them an idea as to what it means to lobby, sitting hour after hour, and how not to be obnoxious in doing so. It has been very interesting. It is the best way I know to discover new timber. The results here have been encouraging; they find out that it isn't a ball. It gives them a better understanding and you seem to get more cooperation after they get home when you ask them to send mail.
"It is amazing the many obstacles that were put in our way when trying to push through our 'Little Right to Organize bill'. The more I work on legislation, the more I am convinced that we haven't even begun to scratch the surface on public education.... Cordially yours, M Frank Lugiano, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
"Dear George: Thank you for your more than generous comments on my work at the WCWB meeting in Rome. Let me put on record, however, a clear conviction that the applause was not for any personal effort of mine on the platform but for the unremitting efforts of deaf-blind people all over the world to live more fruitful lives. In this connection, you yourself deserve high praise for sparking the gay return of the Skylark. I earnestly hope that many state affiliates of the NFB will find it possible to join the current movement to support Good Cheer with modest contributions. The two magazines form a nice balance of the sunny and the serious, I think. Wishing you the best of all good things. Sincerely yours," Dick Kinney, Winnetka, Illinois.
"Dear Mr. Card: Very many thanks for your interesting letter I received with much courtesy. I am very pleased to inform you that I have two credits in my Jordanian Certificate, both in English language, and in Arabic language, and three projections in other three subjects. If you compare the little possibilities of the blind students in our country with the great possibilities of the sighted pupils, you will realize the value of our success among them, for instance, we copy the school books with our hands as if we were in Middle Ages or before history. I think this picture will help you to know something more about the state of the blind candidates. I asked our Minister of Education to take me for a scholarship, but he refused and said to me, 'We have no scholarships for the blind.' All these examples show you the state of the blind students in our country. Yours sincerely," Ishmael Anati, Bethlehem, Jordan.
back to contents
From the Free Press (Wisconsin): "For refusing to sell food to a blind man who was accompanied by his guide dog, a Boston restaurant owner was fined $25 recently by a municipal court judge. The complaint filed against the owner was obtained under a seldom-used statute which prohibits discrimination in any public place against a blind person with a guide dog. Although the defendant protested that he was not even present at the time, the judge accepted the blind man's identification of the owner by his voice.
In a letter to John Taylor written by Frank W. Moffett, of the May K. Houck Foundation, Sarasota, Florida, it is suggested that, in addition to the Braille switchboard training now being offered there, couples consisting of one sighted and one blind could be trained in motel management. Mr. Moffett believes that this field is a very promising one for such couples.
From the Washington Post and Times Herald: "Joe Long--32 years old and 90 percent blind--lightly touched the revolving abrasive belt, then took a carving knife and deftly ran its sharp blade along the rough, spinning surface. Long is one of three men who work in near-darkness as they sharpen knives, saws, shears, sickles and lawn mower blades.... The knife-sharpening project was begun in February with an outlay of $3000 for equipment.... Long makes $75 a week working on knives which are collected from hardward stores and through door-to-door home solicitation.... Seven workers make up to $82.50 weekly assembling 3,000 aluminum milk boxes each month for Washington area dairies. ..."
The Kansas Association for the Blind will hold its convention October 24 and 25 at the Baker Hotel in Hutchinson. Tim Seward, of Nevada and Washington, D.C., will be the featured banquet speaker. This is an election year. Send reservations direct to the convention hotel.
In order to bring its address files up to date, the Alumni Association of the Kansas School for the Blind urgently requests all graduates to get in touch with the secretary, Mary Walton, 209 West Locust Street, El Dorado, Kansas. Communications in Braille, New York Point or tape recording are welcomed.
At the Santa Fe convention a plea was made on behalf of Good Cheer, a struggling national magazine for the deaf-blind. Each state organization was requested to contribute $25--if possible, annually. The Wisconsin Council of the Blind, at its meeting on August 15, allocated $50 to this worthy cause. Contributions are to be sent to Mrs. Breta Cornelius, Editor, 712 Madison Street, Topeka, Kansas.
The Tennessee Department of Public Welfare has agreed to confer quarterly, and more often if necessary, with an advisory committee from the Tennessee Federation of the Blind. The first conference was held on August 14, with F. W. Orrell, of Chattanooga, J. M. Warren, of Nashville, and Laverne Humphrey, of Knoxville, representing the TFB, It is to be hoped that this advisory committee will eventually become statutory.
In the state of Washington our affiliate did not achieve as much as it had hoped in the way of positive gains in legislation in the 1959 session. It did secure passage of a law forbidding discrimination against blind persons accompanied by guide dogs and also a measure specifying that merchandise offered for sale as "blind-made products" must have been produced by at least 75 percent blind labor. State departments are to use blind-made products whenever possible. But the WSAB scored a major triumph when it was able to prevent the re-enactment of the Relatives' Responsibility and Lien Laws which had been eliminated four years ago.
A recent issue of the Richmond Times Dispatch carried an account of an August 8 cloudburst which brought disaster to a member of our Richmond Chapter, Reverend Lester T. Dix. The water reached a depth of six feet in his home. Among many other losses which he sustained, his entire Braille and inkprint library was destroyed. Many Richmond organizations and individuals contributed services and replacement articles and the Richmond Chapter, after a special meeting of the board, sent him a check for $100 from its slender treasury. Reverend Dix will leave in a few days for a new pastorate near Leesburg, Virginia.
A newly enacted Massachusetts law increased the tax exemption enjoyed by a blind home owner from $2,000 to $3,000.
From the South Carolina News Bulletin: "Returns from our 1959 WCW mail appeal now make it certain that we will, for the first time, realize our goal of a $1,000 net profit. Our business loan fund has now grown to sufficient size to be of real help to blind persons desiring financial aid in entering any field or training which will result in the betterment of their livelihood. Aided by one of these loans, a Columbia blind man is now operating a prosperous, independent vending stand in the city-owned park and swimming pool. In 1957 Archie Nunnery, another Columbian, was set up in an independent stand in the Richland County Courthouse by means of a loan from the local chapter, (made possible by a covering loan from Hubert E. Smith). It was hoped that Archie could repay this loan in three years. This year, 12 months ahead of time, he completed repayment.... Mr. M. J. Erwin, probate judge of Abbeville County, who is one of our members-at-large, has not missed a meeting of his Lions Club in ten years and has now become its president.... We have now established a Speakers Bureau.... Here is an excerpt from a letter written us by Kenneth Jernigan, who spoke at our 1959 convention. 'The convention was simply splendid.... Your chairing was nothing short of superb. There was no bickering, no factionalism, no dissension. I am firmly convinced that South Carolina has one of the strongest affiliates anywhere in the country...."
One of the greatest authorities on bees was Francois Huber, a Swiss naturalist, born in 1750. He was totally blind.
The first issue of Tattler, a newsletter issued by our Greater Springfield, Massachusetts, organization, reports that the chapter has been assigned the royalties on the sale of a new fertilizer compound by its inventor, and that this money is to go toward the cost of the new chapter house it hopes to begin building soon. Also, the chapter has been presented with a Webcor tape recorder and 10 reels of 7-inch tape by the Soroptomist Club.
From the Blind Advocate (United Kingdom): "Dr. Franz Ollen-dorff, professor of electrical engineering at Israel's Institute of Technology, believes blind people may one day be able to receive sight patterns by means of an electronic seeing cap fitted over their heads. He has concluded that the 'seeing centre' of the brain can be stimulated electrically to produce sight patterns even in the minds of those who have never had any sight. The professor is also planning an electronic cap for the deaf."
From The Observer (Montana): "...There has been a growing sense of direction and accomplishment at our annual conventions recently. Having Kenneth Jernigan and now Paul Kirton from the NFB meeting with us has been of tremendous help. Words cannot express how much we have come to rely on Paul. His understanding and insight into all questions connected with the blind, to say nothing of his legal knowledge, played a very important part in making our last convention one of the best. In 1956 we were a small, isolated group--some 100 members working alone. Now, as an affiliate of the NFB, we are many thousands strong. We have the heartening knowledge that the NFB is working night and day to make the public understand that what the self-respecting blind person wants is not charity but rehabilitation, so that he may 'fulfill his creative capacities and give rein to his talents--express himself ' ....The efforts of one of our newest members helped in our fight to change an antiquated and obsolete state law. One of Bozeman's prominent business men, Kenny Richardson, awakened from an operation about a year and a half ago to find himself a member of that minority group--the blind. The fall elections came along, shortly after and, when the question came up as to how Kenny was going to vote now that he couldn't see to mark the ballot, he discovered he would be required, by law to take two members of the election board in with him to do this. Kenny was shocked and outraged. He had always taken for granted that it was the privilege of an American to vote in privacy, that how he voted should be known only to himself and to God. He found that many blind persons, rather than have outsiders vote for them, have simply quit voting. He did something about it. It is good to be able to report that how, as the result of legislative action this past session, a blind person can vote by taking one person of his own choosing into the booth to mark his ballot.... Sharon Cromeenes, our long-time member and a counselor in the Division of the Blind, attended the Santa Fe convention of the NFB and had this to say: "I have for many years been reading about the NFB. At Santa Fe I found assembled about 500 people who were genuinely interested in advancing the cause of the blind. All life were represented; state directors, lawyers, vending stand operators, teachers--just name them, there were some there. I sincerely think I could not have picked a more exuberating convention. I saw the democratic process in operation. Dr. tenBroek was simply marvelous. I don't believe I have ever seen a convention handled so smoothly under such adverse circumstances. Each of the forty-six state affiliates is on an equal footing. Montana had an equal voice there on every issue and that was a real thrill to me.'...Victor Ereaux, a former student, teacher and president of our Association, and now a government scientist at the U.S. Naval Ordinance Test Station, China Lake, California, told our state convention that his work is going quite well and that he occasionally makes business trips around the country. He was recently sent to Syracuse University for a conference on standardization of testing procedure and the terminology for infra-red radiation detectors. ..."
Thomas J. Kennedy, Jr., blinded during service as a marine in the South Pacific, has received this year's achievement award from the BVA. Mr. Kennedy has built up a successful office supply business in Baltimore.
The August issue of the Illinois Newsletter reports little success during the legislative session just ended. A bill to increase budgetary items in Aid to the Blind by 10 percent was passed by both houses but vetoed by the Governor, who commented that "the blind of Illinois are already taken care of". The present average grant to blind recipients in Illinois is $64.46. Some may wonder if the Illinois Governor would consider himself "taken care of" if he were obliged to live on this amount.
One day last week Darlene and I were surprised and delighted to receive visitors from St. Louis--Victor and Xena Johnson. Victor is former president of the UWB and a former member of the NFB executive committee. Xena was the first greeting card secretary back in 1953. They were fleeing from the heat wave and headed for Sault Sainte Marie, in Upper Michigan.
From the Indiana Newsletter: "McCalls' Manual of First Aid, 74 pages in Grade II Braille, covering medical emergencies that arise most often in the average family, will be mailed to anyone in the United States or Canada upon receipt of 65 cents, postpaid. Send orders to Braille Transcribing Service, New York Association for the Blind, 111 East 59th Street, New York 22, New York.
And again: "...Boat-building is a project that few sighted men will attempt, but a member of Mr. Maichle's woodwork shop (Perkins School for the Blind) is doing it. Roddy MacDonald, a sophomore, hopes to use the 12-foot boat he is constructing when he joins his parents at their summer home on the ocean. Mr. Maichle encourages the boys to embark upon their own projects under his supervision. All told, there are nine industrial art teachers at Perkins. ..."
In this same issue I was grieved to note the passing of Mrs. Hazel Walter, first secretary of the South Bend Chapter. She had been an ardent worker for her organization but her death came as a release after a three-year period of illness.
A Monitor reader in Maryland writes to John Taylor, in part: "I have read much in the Monitor about efforts to better the lot of those who are on public assistance--about exempt earnings, rehabilitation measures, and other provisions keyed into the general idea of making taxpayers instead of tax consumers.... But is there any hope at all of your being able to do anything for those of us who are too old and are in such circumstances that we cannot benefit from the aforementioned programs? I refer to those of us who have managed to qualify under the disability freeze provisions of Social Security, and find ourselves with a grant based upon the cost of living which prevailed twenty years ago; and which we will have to make do for the rest of our lives.... Qualifying at age fifty, we must look forward to living the next 25 years or so while paying ever mounting costs out of an income originally based on living costs of fifteen or more years ago.... I am personally of the opinion that there should be a certain decent standard-of-living minimum disability pension, below which none of us would be allowed to go, and that it should be granted as a right, without means test or relatives' responsibility. ..."
Some months ago the Braille Monitor reported that our Massachusetts affiliate had taken a strong stand against a bill which would have created a permanent three-man Commission with supervisory powers over the state agency for the blind. It was clear that this measure could have very serious and sinister consequences because a hostile or uninformed Commission could have hamstrung the efforts of John Mungovan, the agency's enlightened administrator, upon whom the NFB had conferred its 1957 Newell Perry Award. Charles Little now reports that, for all practical purposes, the bill died in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
Miss Katharine JL. Burlingham, of Forest Grove, Oregon, a member of the Oregon Council of the Blind, has secured a position as an instructor in history and religion at the Pacific University in her home town. The Braille Monitor hopes there will be many more announcements of this sort in future issues.
From a bulletin issued by the American Public Health Association: "Jacobus tenBroek, chairman of the Speech Department, University of California, is known as the senior author of Prejudice, War, and the Constitution, a blistering account of the wartime evacuation of Japanese-Americans.... With Professor Floyd W. Matson he has now written a comprehensive and incisive study of attitudes toward the blind, and how defeatist or custodial attitudes sometimes influence even the work of administrators who are supposedly helping the blind. The book- Hope Deferred--calls for more realistic programs that would take into account the true capabilities of America's blind."
From the New York Eyecatcher: "...At its May 27th meeting, the Tri-City Council of the Blind (Albany-Schenectady-Troy), elected the following officers: President, William Dwyer; vice-president, Carl Zutty; secretary-treasurer, Jim Stephens, and recording secretary, Helen Stephens.... Congratulations to Tony Parise and Joe Parinello, of Staten Island! Tony's hard work in the vending stand program has finally paid off. He will become manager of a large VA building stand in Manhattan. Joe Parinello will become the manager of a new stand to be opened in the Internal Revenue Building, also in Manhattan.... The Buffalo Chapter is formulating plans to encourage the Erie County Board of Supervisors to pass a resolution allowing sightless candidates to take county civil service examinations.... The Buffalo Chapter has been having the Eye catcher transcribed onto Soundscriber discs and have found it quite successful and very well received by the membership.... The Syracuse Chapter elected the following officers for the coming year: President, Wilbur Webb; vice-president, Keith Campbell; recording secretary, Marion Burke; treasurer, Vincent Burke, and corresponding secretary, Robert Frye.... The Rochester Chapter elected the following officers to serve for one year: President, Mary Jane Hills; first vice-president, Robert Dupont; second vice-president, Irving MacArthur; recording secretary, Albert Wylaz; corresponding secretary, Norma Wagner, and treasurer, Fred Hancharik.... Plans are being formulated for the first Christmas candy sale by the Rochester Chapter, in charge of Albert Wylaz.'
From the Missouri Newsletter: "Our new Fulton Chapter is developing into one of our most promising groups. When Paul Kirton organized it in June it had eight members; it now has seventeen--due largely to the work of Andy Duggar. Its officers are: President, Willis Hill; vice-president, Llewellyn Johnson; secretary, Mrs. Eleanor Duggar, and treasurer, Mrs. Llewellyn Johnson.... The Credit Union Board is pleased to announce that the Tower Club has invested $200 in shares, and several of its members have ailso joined the organization. This small, new club is to be congratulated for such a magnificent performance.... After a whirlwind courtship begun at the Santa Fe convention, Bettye Powell (Midland, Texas) and David Krause (St. Louis, Missouri) were married on August 22 in Washington, D.C. ...Attractive young Bettye has defective vision and is a teacher of the blind with four years' experience at the Arkansas School and one year at the School for the Blind in Texas. At the time of her engagement to Dave she was serving as resource teacher in the Reno public school system, as president of the Reno Chapter and on the Board of Directors of the Nevada Federation.... Reports from the Pony Express in St. Joseph reveal that Olen and Eleanor Shain were re-elected as president and secretary-treasurer, respectively. The Club's affection for the Shains was underscored by a surprise party and a gift of a lovely set of Melmac dinnerware (service for eight). The celebration marked the end of a two-year period during which the Club had held all of its meetings at the Shain home. Their new and very comfortable meeting place is being provided and furnished by the Lions Club of the city.
From We the Blind (Pennsylvania): "June 24th witnessed the Governor's signature on H.R. 236, the bill providing blind teachers with the certification needed to teach in secondary schools of sighted pupils. This historic event was the culmination of many long and laborious years spent by the Pennsylvania Federation of the Blind in obtaining the passage of this legislation." The current issue announces the election of the following chapter presidents this year: Tri-County Federation, Dwight Swauger, 1417 Berry Hill Street, Harrisburg; Washington County Federation, Dorothea Bedillion, 510 East Maiden Street, Washington; Tri-City Federation, Wilbur Steck, Oil City; Luzerne County Federation, Don Hulsizer, 273 1/2 Wright Street, Kingston; Alleghany County Federation, Susan Kramer, 119 Kearsarge Street, Pittsburgh; Good Neighbor Club of Berks County, Mrs. Ethel Beltz, 1719 Centre Avenue, Reading; Lehigh Valley Federation, Jack Schumacher, 1539 Rudolph Drive, Bethlehem; Hazleton Federation, George Paulshock, 1015 North Church Street, Hazleton; York County Federation, Bill Murray, 475 West Market Street, York; Philadelphia County Federation, Mae Davidow, Overbrook School, Philadelphia, and Lackawanna Chapter, Miss Josephine Cordaro, 335 North Hyde Park Avenue, Scranton.
The California Council Bulletin contains an account of an invention which would involve a strip of magnetic paint down the middle of sidewalks. Blind people would be equipped with a magnetic appliance on the heel of the left shoe and would thus be able to guide themselves. Most Californians consider such a device unfeasible, and even ridiculous, but the inventor claims he has received much encouragement from the American Foundation. The editor suggests that "perhaps the AFB thinks this would be one way of keeping the blind on the straight and narrow, or holding them to the middle of the road". Another Bulletin article begins: "Poise, coolness, understanding, and above all, fairness--these were the dominating tones throughout an NFB convention pregnant with serious issues, almost all of them controversial. This tone was set by the president and maintained by the delegates of the majority and minority alike. Every speaker was accorded his right to speak, and spoke. Any voice vote that was not unanimous brought on a complete roll call. What might have been occasion for turmoil, bitterness, and resentment, became occasion for hard thinking, definite purpose, sincerity and fair play. The Santa Fe convention may be remembered as the most controversial in the twenty years of the Federation's history, but it will also be remembered as one adhering to the rules of fair play; one of the most thought-provoking, with a 'stand-up-and-becounted' fearlessness." ...Lily Craft, of San Bernardino, tells of a highly successful radio series carried on by her Club, designed to eradicate persistent misconceptions about blindness and the blind. The station carrying this program has told the sponsors they may keep the time indefinitely--providing it continues to arouse public interest.
The New Outlook for the Blind is now available in a recorded edition, on 16 2/3 rpm records. This edition also carries an annotated lifting of new Talking Books, as a supplement, replacing the former quarterly Talking Book Topics. Issued ten months a year, the new edition will appear each publication month concurrently with the inkprint and Braille editions. The subscription price is $5, payable to the publisher, American Foundation for the Blind, 15 West 16th Street, New York 11, New York.
From the Ohio Bulletin: "July 18th and 19th, Kenneth Jernigan and Paul Kirton led the discussions at our seminar. Mrs. Margaret Allen, chairman, and the entire education committee, which included Mary Jones, Grace Mitchem, Catherine Solida, Charles Bruce and Warren Allen, did a lot of work preparing for the seminar. All reports indicate that the seminar fulfilled its purpose." Another significant item in this issue describes a piece of inter-affiliate cooperation which seems to me most admirable. Originally the Ohio and Kentucky conventions were scheduled for the same weekend. In order to make it possible for members in each state to attend the convention of the other, Kentucky rescheduled its convention to an earlier date.
From the Iowa Newsletter: "Iowa's orientation center is now a reality. The legislature appropriated $300,000 to purchase the YMCA building at 4th Street and Keo in Des Moines and $50,000 to be used for remodeling and equipment. This, along with the appropriation for commission activities and the welfare appropriations, including the now medical program marks a notable advance in work for the blind this year. ... A letter from Earl Scharry states that he is now employed in the transcribing and proof reading department of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C." ... After quoting from the Braille Monitor the statement of Ozark Airlines that the standard provision authorizing the rejection of passengers physically unable to care for themselves does not apply to blind persons not otherwise incapacitated, Editor Bill Klontz adds: "A similar regulation is published in the traffic rules of the railroads, and some agents are refusing tickets to blind people. I have contacted both the Great Western and Illinois Central and they definitely state that what appears in this item from the Monitor about the airlines also applies in their case, but some agents persist in considering all blind people 'physically or mentally unable to care for themselves'. "(If any Monitor readers meet with the situation which Bill refers to, please report it to the NFB.)" D. A. Hutchinson, principal of the school at Vinton for several years, has resigned his position to become superintendent of the School for the Blind in Indiana.... Our treasurer reports that we have 188 paid-up members, 175 of whom were at our last state convention.... We have received word of the resignation of Harlan Ross from the staff of the Commission...."
The current issue of the Virginia Newsletter contains a short reprint of that state's white cane traffic law. Other state publications would do well to follow this example. We cannot expect the sighted public to be familiar with the provisions of these laws if our own people are not thoroughly posted.
The July issue of the Credit Union Bridge devotes more than five of its twenty-six pages of text to an account of NFB credit unions, with special emphasis on North Carolina. The Credit Union National Association is arranging to have four standard works in this field published in Braille. They are: What Is a Credit Union?, It's Your Share Account, and two publications from CUNA Mutual promoting life savings and loan protection insurance.
From the Washington State White Cane: "... Never a month goes by without our receiving from the clipping service several items about some blind person or other who is cheerful, and always these stories make a point of showing that their subject is cheerful despite his blindness--which, one is led to assume, is a fate--if not worse than, at least as bad as death itself. ... A group known as the Center Players, from the Social Center for the Blind in Seattle, presented last month the musical comedy 'The Bell of Ballard'." The editor quotes a statement made by an airplane manufacturer and contained in a recent bulletin issued by OVR: "Blind workers are able to make highly complicated electrical, hydraulic and mechanical assemblies with a lower rate of rejection and a higher rate of production than the average employee. They have often completed thousands of production hours without the loss of a single minute due to an industrial mishap." The White Cane records that, for the first time, the average aid to the blind payment in Washington is above $100 a month.
The dates of the Arkansas convention have just been received here. They are October 23, 24 and 25.
At its election meeting the Greater Little Rock Chapter elected the following officers: President, R. (Dick) Nelsen, 500 East 9th Street; vice-president, Dale Townsend; secretary, Julia Meade, and treasurer, A. M. Gleason. Board members: Colonel J. B. Willis and Benny Musgrove.
From The New Outlook for the Blind: "Dr. Franklin M. Foote, who has served as executive director of the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness since 1947, has resigned.... Louis W. Rodenberg, Blind Services superintendent at the Illinois Braille and Sight-Saving School, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from MacMurray College in May. Author of the comprehensive Key to Braille Music Notation, Mr. Rodenberg was active in the development and standardization of a Braille music system for worldwide use, as well as in the unification of English Braille. ... A substance which makes cataract removal simpler and safer has been isolated from the pancreas of cattle by the Armour Pharmaceutical Company of Chicago. The substance is a protein-digesting enzyme called Alpha Chymotrypsin. When dropped into the eye after incision of the cornea, it softens and weakens tissue that holds the lens in place, enabling the surgeon to lift out the lens without danger of tearing or damaging the eye. Use of the new drug is said to make surgery possible in the earlier stages of cataract, to widen the range of operable patients and to cut confinement time in about half. It has been successfully used in this country in about 3,500 cataract operations since last November. ... A recent release of its new catalogue shows that 'Best Selling Books for the Blind', of Phoenix, Maryland, has made available to its members more than 80 tape-recorded books in its two years of operation.... New books are currently being added at the rate of one a week."
If your state convention has already been held and there has been no report of it in the Braille Monitor, the reason is that the editor has not received any report.
The Michigan Council Bulletin announces that a new chapter has just been welcomed into the organization. It is in Petoskey, in the northern part of the state--an area which has been totally unrepresented heretofore. The Bulletin also reviews the Council's legislative efforts during the recent session of the Michigan legislature. Most of its energies were concentrated on a bill to revamp the public assistance setup, including the establishment of a presumed minimum need, the abolition of relatives responsibility and a liberalizing of the present antiquated provision setting up maximum property holdings of applicants for and recipients of aid to the blind. The bill passed the House by an enormous majority. A hearing before the Senate Health and Welfare Committee was finally obtained after considerable difficulty, and the objections of its chairman, Senator Stevens, were apparently over-come by a rather innocuous amendment. It was a bitter disappointment, therefore, when this chairman refused to call his Committee together so that its members could have an opportunity to vote on the measure. All indications were that the bill would have been reported out favorably and passed by the Senate but one man was able to bottle it up. The bill had received support from the Michigan Association of Workers for the Blind but, according to the Bulletin, the Michigan Federation had sat on its hands. This badly needed piece of legislation will be re-introduced at the next session and its sponsors are confident that, with the experience gained this time, it will eventually become law.
According to the Sunday Independent, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Frank Lugiano, tireless president of our Pennsylvania affiliate, in addition to operating a busy vending stand, travels some 60,000 miles a year in the course of his lobbying and organizing activities.
Writing in the current issue of the Independent Forum (North Carolina) Editor Clarence Collins gives his impressions of the Santa Fe convention. "Never have I attended a series of meetings of any kind which were handled with more efficiency and fairness to everyone than were those meetings of the National Federation of the Blind convention. Even when there were differences of opinion between Dr. tenBroek and any delegate, he always permitted the opposite side to complete its statements without interruption." The NCFB will hold its 1959 convention at the Washington Duke Hotel, in Durham, on November 15 and 16.
From HEW: "Due to great demand, the publication Small Business Enterprises for the Severely Handicapped- Rehabilitation Service Series Number 320, has been reprinted. Copies are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D.C., for 45 cents a copy."
"We have employed sightless people to operate our switchboards since 1951 and find that they are as competent as sighted people in doing this work. The record of absenteeism and getting to work on time is better than our other people. Their stability of employment has been excellent. We believe that this kind of position is ideally suited for blind persons and that, as proven by our past experience, they do a job at least as well as sighted persons." James G. Deckert, Secretary-Treasurer, Pivot Punch and Die Corporation, North Tonawanda., New York.
John Taylor writes: "Near the close of August I discussed a number of library problems with Charles Gallozzi, of the Division for the Blind, Library of Congress. He stated categorically that there is no longer a shortage of Talking Book-reproducers.
MAY I AGAIN URGE EVERY MONITOR READER TO SEND ME THE NAMES AND ADDRESSES OF LEGALLY BLIND PERSONS TEACHING SIGHTED STUDENTS.
back to top