SEPTEMBER ISSUE -- 1959
INK PRINT EDITION
VOICE OF T HE 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 2
65Z Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, Calif.
THE BRAILLE MONITOR
Published monthly in Braille and distributed free to the blind by the American Brotherhood for the Blind, 257 South Spring Street, Los Angeles 12, California.
Ink-print edition produced and distributed by the National Federation of the Blind, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, California. Subscription rate--$3.00 per year.
EDITOR: GEORGE CARD, 605 South Few Street, Madison, Wisconsin.
News items should be addressed to the Editor. Changes of address and subscriptions should be sent to the Berkeley headquarters of the National Federation of the Blind.
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
"Hope Deferred": A Book Review Kenneth Jernigan
World Council at Rome
One Man's Reaction to New Braille Book Catalog
By H. G. Burns
West Virginia Convention
By John Nagle
A Good Chapter Report
By F.W. Orrell
Call for Pioneers
By Richard Kinney
Recently Elected Members of the NFB Executive Committee
A Fine Project
Special Federation Christmas Cards
Anfuso-Bosch Bills Seek Full Disability Benefits for Blind
California Legislative Report
By Russell Kletzing
From Our Readers
Here and There
by Kenneth Jernigan, Director, Iowa State Commission for the Blind
No book of recent history, it may be safely stated, has greater importance for the blind men and women of America than the newly-published HOPE DEFERRED, by Jacobus tenBroek and Floyd W. Matson (University of California Press, $5.00).
Subtitled "Public Welfare and the Blind", this work is of no less value--and even more urgency--for all workers and administrators in welfare programs for the blind across the country. For its central achievement is an incisive and scholarly report on the major public programs established to aid and rehabilitate our sightless population. Public assistance, vocational rehabilitation, vending stands and self-employment, sheltered workshops--all are thoroughly analyzed, examined in historical perspective, subjected to searching study in the details of their legislation and operation, and finally given the benefit of constructive and practical recommendations for improvement.
Dr. tenBroek, in addition to being the long-time president of the National Federation of the Blind, has been for ten years a member of the California State Board of Social Welfare. He is also an eminent constitutional scholar, who therefore brings to the present work a combination of academic and administrative credentials unparalleled in the welfare field. Mr. Matson, a University of California social scientist who has been closely associated with organizations of the blind for many years, also collaborated with Dr. tenBroek on a significant earlier volume, PREJUDICE, WAR, AND THE CONSTITUTION, which won the Woodrow Wilson Foundation prize five years ago as the best book on government and democracy.
HOPE DEFERRED richly deserves an equivalent award--as the best book yet on the welfare functions of government and democracy. For, while it focuses upon those programs and provisions which primarily affect the blind, the book also undertakes a broad appraisal of the development of public policies in the general fields of social security and rehabilitation. Moreover, in the course of their study, the authors have provided an illuminating commentary upon certain of the most pressing problems of American government today--notably those involved in the relations between Congress and the Executive, and those which touch the balance of power between the state and national governments.
Thoroughly researched and massively documented throughout, HOPE DEFERRED somehow manages to be at the same time eminently readable and even dramatic in its narrative of the uphill struggle of the blind toward full social and economic integration. The first part of the book is an assessment both of the present condition of the blind and of their capacities for life, liberty and competitive livelihood in a democratic society. On the basis of a convincing wealth of evidence from a variety of scientific and social-scientific fields (as well as on the practical evidence of performance) the authors conclude that the blind as a group "are mentally competent, psychologically stable, and socially adaptable; and that their needs are therefore those of ordinary people, of normal men and women, caught at a physical and social disadvantage." This finding as to the potential of the blind then provides the authors with a rational standard against which to judge each of the various programs set up for their welfare: namely, "whether it meets or defers meeting these needs; whether it presupposes the normality and equality of persons who are blind or presumes their abnormality and inferiority; whether it recognizes both their right and competence to govern their own lives, or seeks to impose a protective custody and perpetuate a dependent status; whether it creates opportunity and encourages access to normal competitive pursuits, or erects artificial handicaps and arbitrary barriers; and, finally, whether it provides public services as the rights due to citizens or as the charity bounty due to wards and indigents."
In the second and third sections of the book, Professors tenBroek and Matson apply their test in thorough fashion to the programs of social security and vocational rehabilitation, respectively. Specialists in these welfare fields will discover that the authors are not only "up" on their facts but well ahead of them--that they have infused their analytical survey with a keen awareness of program gaps together with a philosophical grasp of ultimate goals. Although this book gives no quarter to those public servants who would preserve outmoded forms of custodialism and control over the lives of their blind "wards", and strikes hard at the persistent failure of welfare administrators to live up to the social purposes inherent in their programs, it is nevertheless fair in its criticism and constructive in its proposals. If the authors conclude that the hopes implicit in the philosophy of public welfare are still deferred for the nation's blind citizens, they also take note of the substantial gains which have been made and of the promises which have been kept.
Despite this scholarly restraint, however, it is predictable that HOPE DEFERRED will create controversy and arouse opposition in some professional circles where the outlook is diametrically opposed to the libertarian philosophy here set forth. But it is no less predictable that this ground-breaking book will find a warm and favorable response from the host of Americans who are genuinely devoted to the cause of opportunity and personal dignity for their fellow Americans who are blind.
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This seems an appropriate time for a brief discussion of the structure and purpose of the world organization with which the National Federation of the Blind is affiliated. It was set in motion by those present at a world conference held in Oxford, England, in 1949, attended mostly by delegates from those countries in which work for the blind was most advanced. It was planned that the General Assembly of the Council should meet every five years and accordingly the next meeting was held in Paris, in 1954.
The apportionment of delegate representation to the various member nations is based on general population. Those with less than 20 million irhabitants get two delegates; those between 20 and 40 million get four, and those with more than 40 million are entitled to send six delegates. Annual dues are $100 per delegate. At the present time, if all members paid their dues in full, and with reasonable promptness, the Council's annual income would be $14,000. Unfortunately some member countries are badly in arrears. These delinquent members are not the small, new and impoverished countries. They are the ones who depend on their governments to pay their dues, rather than making a genuine effort to raise the money independently. Membership dues are practically the only source of the Council's income and the annual total is several thousand dollars less than required by a minimum budget. In the past there have been substantial lump-sum grants from the American Foundation for the Blind and the American Foundation for Overseas Blind, in the United States; from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Canada , and from the Royal National Institute for the Blind, in the United Kingdom, as well as some financial help from the United Nations and UNESCO, but it was felt strongly at Rome that the Council should try hard to stand on its own feet from now on. A determined effort, therefore, will be made to sell associate memberships (non-voting) at $300 each--payable in five annual installments of $60. It is hoped that this will increase the annual revenue by from $3,000 to $10,000. An encouraging number has already been promised. In addition, the Council has now voted to crack down on its slow-paying or non-paying members. Those not fully paid up by December 31 of this year will be suspended. Any seats they may hold on the Executive Committee will become vacant. It was generally felt that the officers have been a bit too lenient in the past and that this reform is long overdue.
Theoretically, delegations from each country are to represent both the organized blind and agencies working for the blind. The implication contained in the language of the Council's constitution is that such representation is to be equal, insofar as practicable. As a matter of fact, only one out of six represents the organized blind in the U. S. delegation. Two out of six were on the United Kingdom delegation at Rome--one from the National League of the Blind and the other from the British National Federation of the Blind--but the latter is also an agency employee. This apparent inequity is at least partially offset, however, by the fact that many of the continental European countries have no "agencies for the blind," as we understand that term in the English-speaking world. Agency functions are in the hands of organizations of the blind and delegations from these countries are made up, therefore, exclusively of representatives of the organized blind. There was some talk in the Executive Committee, both at Ceylon and Rome, of adopting language which would, in effect, freeze present allocations, but it got nowhere. If it had, those of us representing the organized blind would have put up a hard floor fight. The Council's constitution provides that, if organizations within a member country are unable to agree as to the allocation of delegates, the Council's Executive Committee will make the final adjudication. We want to keep it that way. "We believe that the Executive Committee should not intervene except as a final resort, after all negotiations have failed, but we want this provision to remain in effect as an ultimate safeguard against injustice. There is at least one member country in which it would appear that there has been a flagrant violation of the constitutional principle. In Australia both seats are held by the agencies. There is an increasingly strong and effective national or- ganization of the blind but its claims have so far been ignored. If this situation continues there may have to be an appeal and it is good to know that machinery exists to handle such an appeal on its merits.
In evaluating the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, it should be kept in mind that it exists primarily as an instrumentality by means of which the blind people in the so-called "backward" and "emergent" countries, and those working in their interests, can be given help , guidance, counsel and example from those countries which have already come a long way in improving the lot of their blind citizens, Organizations in Germany, The Netherlands, Scandinavia, the English-speaking world, and some other countries are in the World Council to help others . Any benefits they may themselves derive are incidental.
There are, of course, such incidental benefits as the exchange of research information in the field of technical appliances--but they are decidedly secondary. The Council is one place where the concept of world brotherhood is taken seriously and put into practice. Two countries from behind the Iron Curtain--Poland and Czechoslavakia-- are already members and the others will be warmly welcomed. Yugoslavia has been a member for a long time. No form of racism exists within the Council. The big countries have leaned over backward in an effort not to dominate.
The World Council has been officially recognized by the United Nations and by UNESCO as a consultative body and it has attained a very considerable world prestige. Its resolutions are sent to all govern- ments and they are given the most serious consideration. A number of the Council's recommendations have been rather promptly adopted by the governments of member countries, as witness the definition of blindness and the handicap allowance, free of the means test.
The Council's Consultative Committee on World Braille, under the brilliant chairmanship of Sir Clutha Mackenzie, has made tremendous progress toward achieving a high degree of uniformity and consistency in literary and music Braille. The problem of world uniformity in mathematical and scientific-symbol Braille has presented many difficulties but systems of literary Braille have been devised and put into use in many languages where it has not hitherto been available, such as Arabic and even some of the native African tongues. The Council also sponsors and extends some financial support to the world organization of Educators of Blind Youth.
Darlene and I reached Rome several days in advance of the main sessions because of a meeting of the Executive Committee on July 18. Only the most necessary routine business was transacted at this meeting because a new Executive Committee would be taking over in less than two weeks.
Monday, July 20, was given over to meetings of standing and consultative committees. The full Assembly officially opened the following day. In the morning there was the ceremonial welcome from high officials of the Italian and Rome governments. In the afternoon came the roll call and the election of the proxies, Budgeting and Planning, Resolutions and Nominating Committees. President Baker reported on the three meetings of the Executive Committee which had taken place since Paris--those in London in 1956; in Ceylon in 1958 and in Rome the previous Saturday. Secretary General Eric Boulter reported on membership. There had been thirty members in 1954 at Paris; his report showed that there are now forty-six, with three others actively cooperating. These recruits include some of the newest members of the world family of nations, notably Tunisia, Malaya, Jordan and Israel. The treasurer's report revealed the somewhat precarious financial situation in which the Council found itself, largely because of unpaid dues.
On Wednesday morning the delegates got down to a discussion of the central theme of the Rome meeting--The Employment of the Blind. The procedure was for all the delegates to come together in plenary sessions to listen to summaries of papers which had been previously circulated and, presumably, read in advance. Following this we divided into language groups for discussions and the formulation of resolutions. Then we went back into plenary session and listened to reports from the language groups. There was a coffee break during each of the long morning sessions but not in the afternoon.
The topic that first forenoon was "Adjustment Centers for the Newly Blinded" and the speaker was Mr. Thomas Drake, head of the famous Center at Torquay, on the Devonshire coast, in England. Darlene and I had the great privilege of visiting this institution in 1956. This paper was so excellent that I hope to publish a good part of it very soon in these pages.
The subject Wednesday afternoon was "Sheltered Employment." (a) "Employment in Home Work," paper by E. W. Christiansen, New Zealand, (b) "Employment in Workshops for the Blind," paper by Professor Paolo Bentivoglio, Italy.
The entire morning on Thursday, July 23, was devoted to "Rural Employment in the Emergent Countries," paper by Sir Clutha Mackenzie of New Zealand. His treatment of the subject was so outstanding that I will also hope to publish a considerable part of the document which he submitted. In the afternoon there was an organized tour of Rome.
Friday morning the subject was "Rural Employment in the Economically Developed Countries," paper by Emmanuel Kefakis, Greece. In the afternoon the general subject was "Employment Under Unsheltered Conditions" and the feature of this session was a paper by Joseph F. Clunk--"Qualifications of a Placement Officer." Joe was at his best. I am certainly going to publish excerpts from his paper. The high point was reached when he put on a little two-character playlet, in which he took the part of the placement man and H. A. "Pete" Wood, of North Carolina, was the hard-boiled factory executive. Joe first demonstrated a number of wrong ways in which the approach is sometimes made and each of these ended with a brushoff or an escorted exit. At last he used the approach which made him the greatest placement man of our times. During the course of this final and successful assault he showed how a blind man uses a power saw, without special guards, and still keeps all his fingers. Joe is a born actor (I didn't say ham) and Mr. Wood was perfectly cast for this role. The performance got a terrific ovation and, I think, brought home a most valuable lesson to delegates from countries where industrial placement is being attempted for the first time. The little drama was also a welcome relief from the somewhat tiring routine of the agenda.
At the close of this session most of us took the elevators to an another floor and enjoyed a dazzling two-hour recital by Paul Doyon, piano, and Cesare Colamarion, violoncello. Both artists are blind.
There were no sessions over the weekend. On Saturday three big busloads thoroughly enjoyed a trip through the country south and west of Rome. Proceeding along the Appian Way, we went first to the historic Alban Hills, with lunch near the site of the ancient city of Alba Longa. Then we circled to the west and north, reaching Tivoli in late afternoon, where we alighted and toured what remains of the cluster of magnificent palaces which the Emperor Hadrian constructed at enormous cost and where he planned to spend his declining years. The day was climaxed by a sumptuous banquet in an outdoor restaurant, provided by the Italian Union of the Blind. There was an endless supply of excellent vino and a good many of the delegates were quite exhilarated and in a singing mood at the close.
Sunday morning we visited the great basilica of St. Peters and in the afternoon busses took us to the Mediterranean beach, about fifteen miles down the Tiber, where many enjoyed a salt water plunge.
Monday morning, July 27, the topic of "Placement of the Blind in Industry," was resumed. Speakers were Alberto Santander Fernandez, Bolivia and Joseph Royappa, India. The latter, who has made a rather sensational record of blind placements in Madras and Bombay, spoke on "Placement of the Blind in the Newly-Industrializing Countries of Asia." In the afternoon it was "Placement of the Blind in Commerce," paper by D. H. Koster, The Netherlands. The second speaker during this session was Professor Dr. Carl Strehl, Germany, whose theme was "Placement of the Blind in the Professions." This paper exhibited the results of a lot of research.
On Tuesday came reports from the standing and consultative committees. Sir Clutha Mackenzie reported for the Consultative Committee on World Braille. E.H. Getliff, of the United Kingdom, spoke for the Consultative Committee on the Education of Blind Youth, with special attention to the 1958 Oslo Conference. J.C. Colligan of the Royal National Institute for the Blind, United Kingdom, told of the work of the Standing Committee on Technical Appliances. After lunch Ernst Jorgenson of Denmark was the spokesman for the Standing Committee on the Prevention of Blindness. Dr. Louis van Schalkwijk of South Africa reported for the Standing Committee on Rural Activities. Joe Clunk was next and his statement, as Chairman of the Standing Committee on Professional and Urban Employment, was unusual, to say the least. He told the delegates quite simply and honestly that his committee has fallen flat on its face and had accomplished little or nothing in the five years since Paris.
On Wednesday morning the three big busses were on hand once more and we journeyed out to Castel Gandolfo en masse for a private audience with His Holiness, Pope John XXIII.
In the afternoon came reports from the regional committees, that on Far East, South and Southeast Asia by Kingsley C. Dassanaike, Ceylon and that on Pan-American affairs by Alberto Santander Fernandez, of Bolivia. By now most of the delegates were beginring to feel the strain of the long sessions. They were jaded and listless but the next report figuratively lifted them right out of their seats. Peter J. Salmon, Chairman of the Committee on Services to the Deaf-Blind, had been unable to attend and had sent as his representative Richard Kinney, deaf-blind assistant director of the Hadley Correspondence School for the Blind. Dick electrified his audience with a stirring and deeply moving address. His clear, vibrant, youthful voice, his unbelievably perfect articulation and his mastery of that mysterious and elusive thing which we sometimes call stage presence, held his listeners spellbound. When he finished speaking he received a spontaneous ovation such as had not been vouchsafed to any of the celebrities who had mounted the podium in the course of the ten-day conference. It lasted at least three or four minutes. It was a pity that he could neither see nor hear it. I shall publish the last portion of his paper, if possible, in this issue.
All of Thursday was devoted to Council business. The Budget and Planning Committee brought in its report covering the next five years. Several constitutional amendments were considered and two were adopted. The first reduced to one the number of Executive Committee meetings between gatherings of the full Assembly. It also pro- vided that the full expenses of the Executive Committee members, and no less than fifty percent of the expenses of guides, should be borne by the World Council. The other had to do with the suspension of countries failing to pay their dues and has already been covered in this report. After the noon break the Resolutions Committee reported. In addition to many courtesy resolutions, five dealing with professional subjects were approved. For the most part this committee had tried to steer a middle course and to reflect a sort of consensus of the many proposals made to it by delegates and delegations. Since a good many of these were conflicting, however, the task was not easy. On the whole the committee did its work well. There was some mild debate but nothing approaching the controversy in Paris in 1954 over the handicap allowance. Some of the language was pretty innocuous and some of the views enunciated were traditional and uninspiring but the Assembly did go squarely on record in favor of direct governmental augmentation of wages paid workers in sheltered workshops for the blind and expressed flat opposition to any form of governmental coercion of employers, such as statutory requirements that a definite quota of handicapped workers be employed.
The last order of business was the election of officers and of the Executive Committee. We had known for some time that our peerless Secretary-General, Eric T. Boulter, had made up his mind to retire. President Baker had previously announced that he would be very reluctant to continue in office but he reconsidered and made himself available because he felt that a change in both of the principal officers at the same time might have unfortunate results. He was re-elected by acclamation. The five vice-presidents are: Eric T. Boulter, United States; Luiza Banducci, Brazil (first woman elected to office in the history of the WCWB); Kingsley C. Dassanaike, Ceylon; Dr. Carl Strehl, Germany and Paolo Bentivoglio, Italy. John Jarvis, whose name has become familiar to Monitor readers and who created such a fine impression when he attended and spoke at our Boston convention, succeeded Mr. Boulter as Secretary-General. John's command of many languages will stand him in good stead. As Foreign Secretary of the Royal National Institute for the Blind in London, he has probably come to know more blind individuals throughout the world than any other living man. Sir Clutha, of course, has met more blind people and shaken hands with more blind people but his work has compelled him to be constantly on the move and therefore unable to form more than a relatively few intimate friendships.
Thursday had been the final day of Assembly sessions but the new Executive Committee met the following day and got through a formidable agenda. I will report on this meeting when I receive the official minutes.
The six members of the U. S. delegation at the beginning of the 9 Assembly meetings were as follows: H. A. Wood, president, and Hulen Walker, secretary-general of the AAWB; M. Robert Barnett of the AFB; Peter J. Salmon of the AFOB; Don Overbeay of the AAIB and George Card of the NFB. Mr. Salmon had sent word that if and when Mr. Boulter resigned, he (Salmon) would resign in order to make room for him on the American delegation. Mr. Overbeay could not come and Mr. Edward Waterhouse, of Perkins, came in his place. Mr. Waterhouse became ill, however, and was forced to return to Boston. Since Mr. Boulter's resignation did not become effective uniil the final day, only four of us took part in the voting.
Procedure in the WCWB Assembly is not what we in the NFB would regard as democratic. Everything--or almost everything--is handed down from above. For example, the so-called "election" of the key committees consists in the submission to the delegates of a list of names and this list is automatically and invariably accepted. I do not report this critically. I am afraid that if it were done any other way things would become chaotic. In policy matters, however, the delegates do make the final decisions. The resolutions which came to the floor on July 30 were subjected to minute scrutiny and were adopted only after a good many amendments.
Plenary sessions were held in an auditorium of the UN's vast Food and Agriculture building. Rome was hot and sticky and uncomfortable during the day but cooled off nicely after sundown. The auditorium had some air conditioning but the temperature was still warm enough so that nearly all jackets came off as soon as we reached our seats. Five interpreters were on hand to translate everything that was said from the rostrum or from the floor into English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. We listened through earphones and dialed whatever language we understood.
Rome has either open-air opera or open-air symphony every night and most of the delegates availed themselves of this opportunity as often as possible. Operas are sung at the site of the ruins of the immense Baths of Caracalla and there are seats for ten thousand. Darlene and I were fortunate enough to be present at the performances of Rigoletto and Aida. The latter was especially spectacular and we attended it in the company of that indomitable little person, Dr. Isabelle Grant, ardent federationist from Los Angeles. Dr. Grant has two years more of teaching before retirement but this is her sabbatical year and she is spending it going all around the world, with Rome as one of her first stops. Having her moral support and her lively company during the Assembly meetings was an unexpected and completely delightful experience. She is no longer a teen-ager and she is totally blind but she has the courage of ten lions. She is travelling all by herself and proposes to spend considerable time in one of the most backward and frustrating countries in the world today, insofar as blind welfare and education are concerned--Pakistan. Even Sir Clutha Mackenzie made very little headway in this land, where beggary is still regarded as the only appropriate role for the blind.
Dr. Grant became extremely popular during her stay at the Assembly, both with her fellow-observers and with the delegates. She seemed to get around like a sighted person and probably met as many people and made as many friends as anyone there.
Another observer who had become thoroughly imbued with Federation philosophy during her year in the United States was Miss Leah Wilson, a blind teacher on leave from Australia. She had spent part of her time as a student at Peabody, in Nashville, and had attended meetings of the local chapter.
Although we were quartered at many different hotels, there was plenty of social life if one had enough energy left at the end of the day to get around. So far as the U.S. delegation was concerned, I am bound to report that H. A. Wood was the life of the party, as he had been at Paris. Whatever one may think of some of his acts and policies as an administrator of services to the blind in North Carolina, his personal charm in a social situation is quite irresistible. He has a fine baritone singing voice and uses it at the slightest provocation. His infectious gaiety lifts the spirits of all around him. It is a lot of fun to be with him.
The most thoroughly enjoyable of all the social events was undoubtedly the party at the Domus Pacis on one of the last nights of the conference. The Domus Pacis is an enormous hostel, on the far outer fringe of Rome, where many delegates and observers with extremely limited budgets found accommodations. It had no private baths, no hot water and at first, no restaurant, but these things were regarded as very minor hardships in view of the rates-- something like $1.50 per day as contrasted with ten times that downtown. Anyway, the forty or so of our people who were staying there issued invitations to about a hundred of us and entertained us at a regal dinner, in a dining room specially opened for this occasion. When the dishes were cleared away, it was proposed that each delegation stand up and sing a native folk song in its native language. This proved to be an inspiration. Everyone got into the spirit of the thing and nobody "welched." It was easy enough for the big American, British, German and Dutch delegations but it took real courage where there were only one or two representing a country. Yet every single one stood up bravely when his turn came and did the very best he or she could--with or without a singing voice. As soon as we could pick up the rhythm of an unfamiliar song, we helped things along by becoming an impromptu percussion section, using whatever we could lay our hands on to beat the tables. The folk song which Bob Barnett chose for the American delegation was "Show Me the Way to Go Home" and our rendition was certainly loud, if not good. At the end we all sang "Auld Lang Syne," with the traditional chain handclasp, and then departed on our two chartered busses.
This has been a very long account but not much about the World Council has ever previously appeared in the Monitor and I thought you might find it interesting. Just one thing more. I was amazed and delighted to have delegates and observers from every part of the world come up to me and tell me that they were avid readers of the Braille Monitor.
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Soon after the Assembly began I transmitted to M. Georges Raverat (who is in charge of the Louis Braille Memorial Shrine project) a New York draft in the amount of $1,667.64, with a list of 510 names. I did this without any fuss or fanfare and assumed the matter was settled. A couple of days later, however, M. Raverat returned the little slip of paper to me and told me he would like me to present it to him publicly at the time he made his report to the Assembly on the progress of the world shrine. It went off very nicely. I made a short speech, explaining how the money had been raised and where it had come from. The applause was most generous.
During my absence another $138.25 came in, the most sizeable amounts from Tennessee and Iowa. This changes the standing of Tennessee from 23rd to12th and of Iowa from 13th to 4th.
I intended to comment last month on the truly remarkable showing made by one of our newest and smallest affiliates--Virginia. This little group finally nosed out big California for second place and its members have every reason to be very proud. My innate modesty prevents me from calling special attention to the state which finished first.
I shall now hold all additional contributions until the end of this year and then send in a supplementary check and a supplementary list of names to be added to those to be inscribed on the great scroll at Coupvray. So if you never quite got around to sending yours, but you still want to be a part of this wonderful enterprise, make your checks payable to the Louis Braille Memorial Fund and send them to me.
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by H. G. Burns
Hail, all hail'. A catalog of Braille books has appeared at last. It covers only the years 1955-58 inclusive, and its content leaves something to be desired, but it is a catalog! ...We should express our appreciation to the Library of Congress, the American Foundation for the Blind (which prepared the catalog with Library of Congress funds) and to the Volunteer Service for the Blind in Philadelphia for embossing and printing. Examination of the catalog's contents reveals many good titles in nearly all fields, including fiction, but notable omissions or absences continue to make themselves felt for anyone who hopes to find a representative library of Braille books. "Sciences and Philosophy" contain some instructive and readable titles but, with the exception of The New Astronomy, there is no really authoritative work that could be used as a text or reliable reference. "Biography" gives us one book on statesman Anthony Eden and one on Arturo Toscanini. No comprehensive and enduring work is provided, however, on any major composer, painter, author, scientist, religious figure or political leader. Music gets no attention save by way of Toscanini's biography written by Samuel Chotzinoff. "Literature" does not list any additional Shaw, Galsworthy, Eliot, O'Neill or Tchekhov. Each of them wrote at least one play worth reading besides those we have in either Braille or Talking Book to date. "Adult Fiction" has a number of good and varied titles from which to choose, but still ignores many important books by historically great authors. Nothing has been added from Balzac, Stendhal, Scott, Dickens, Melville, Tolstoy or Thomas Mann....Shelf space and lack of best-seller popularity may be against these authors....
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by John Nagle
The West Virginia Federation of the Blind held its sixth and most successful annual convention July 18 and 19 in Parkersburg. Program speakers were Miles Stanley, president of the West Virginia Labor Federation, AFL-CIO; Selden Brannan, principal of the West Virginia School for the Blind; Senator Jennings Randolph, of Randolph-Sheppard fame, and Charles Baumgartner, Blind Adjustment Worker with the Ohio Valley Goodwill Rehabilitation Center. The final speaker was Earl Wolfe, a vocational rehab supervisor, substituting for F. Ray Power, division director. Mr. Wolfe announced that C.C. Cerone, president of the WVFB, had been named as one of the five members of a state advisory committee on rehab centers and sheltered workshops. The banquet, attended by one hundred, was presided over by James Omerberg, a state legislator. I was the banquet speaker, followed by Orel Skeen, State treasurer, and Congressman Cleveland Bailey, co-sponsor of the "right to organize" bill. The elections resulted as follows: C.C. Cerone, president; Kay Howard, first vice president; Clifford Bohrer, second vice president; Mabel Griffin, secretary; John Bush, financial secretary; Anna Kirkpatrick, treasurer; Martha Slater, chaplain; delegate to the 1960 NFB convention, C.C. Cerone; alternate, Joseph Smith.
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The following was gleaned from the current issue of the Florida White Cane . The first session convened on Saturday morning, May 30, in Miami. Harry Russell moderated a panel discussion, "Education and Training." Then Kenneth C. Clark of Travellers Aid spoke of his agency's work. The noon luncheon substituted for the banquet this year. The main speaker was Dr. Bradley Burson, blind nuclear physicist. The first item in the afternoon was another panel "Community Programs for the Blind." Then came a symposium, "We the Federation of the Blind," featuring members of the FFB. The sessions on Sunday dealt with organization business. Establishment of a credit union and of an annual award for outstanding achievements in the field of work for the blind were approved. Election results were as follows: president, A. H. Drake, Tallahassee (re-elected); first vice president, Claude Ray, Lakeland; second vice president, Jack Ray, Miami (re-elected); secretary, Don Cameron, Tampa; treasurer, Walter Jones, Sarasota.
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by F. W. Orrell
We have two organizations of the blind in Chattanooga, composed of the same people. First, a corporation, which carries on our candy sales, holds title to our property and maintains it, and controls our other capital assets. Second, the Chattanooga Chapter, Tennessee Federation of the Blind, Inc. The chapter carries out all our service projects. We like for our state and national organizations to gain publicity from our local activities. Funds for the chapter activities are obtained by transfers from the corporation. The corporation's Executive Committee is composed of president F. W. Orrell, secretary Helen Wild, treasurer Geneva Thrower and two elected members, Mark Thrower and Earl Deverson. It conducted its twelfth annual candy sale last Mothers' Day. There were 12,500 boxes sold and the corporation netted $4,500. From this amount a grant of $2,600 was made to the chapter. Up to $1,000 was set aside to finance a census of the blind in this area and to air condition and redecorate our center.
Our chapter met in June and adopted a budget of $2,600 for the next fiscal year. The following officers were elected: president, Mark Thrower; first vice president, F. W. Orrell; second vice president, Richard Wild; secretary, Mrs. Mark Thrower and treasurer, Mrs. Thomas McCallie. Chairmen for the following standing committees were elected: Ways and Means, Social Service, Publicity, Membership, Job Opportunities, Transportation and Audit. The chapter will pay for a Braille teacher in the local school system.
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by Richard Kinney
(From a paper delivered July 29 to the Assembly of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind. See article "World Council in Rome" in this issue.)
What is loneliness? Is it being snowbound alone in an icy mountain cabin on a winter night while the wind shrieks outside? Is it drifting alone in an open boat on an empty sea, with only the moon and stars for company? No, true loneliness is neither of these. True loneliness is sitting in a warm, comfortable room filled with talking, laughing people and feeling yourself cut off--absolutely cut off--from all that friendliness and companionship because you are deaf and blind and not one person in the room knows how to communicate with you. This is a loneliness that virtually every newly deaf-blind person experiences, a loneliness that may go on for weeks or months or for a lifetime. Blindness means loss of visual contact with the physical world, but blindness plus deafness can mean loss of communication with other human beings. The sense of touch remains as the sole bridge of communication, and this bridge becomes serviceable only as one learns how to use it.
How many deaf-blind men and women throughout the world await the knowledge of how to use this bridge of touch to re-establish contact with humanity? How many families are waiting to be shown how to bring a deaf-blind son or daughter, husband or wife, back into the fellowship of the family circle? We do not know, but the number must rank in the tens or hundreds of thousands. Deaf children grow up and may lose their sight; blind children grow up and may lose their hearing; perfectly normal men and women may through accident or illness become deaf and blind. The World Council for the Welfare of the Blind is to be congratulated on its vision in recognizing the special problems of this group and in setting up a committee to study the methods by which these problems can be overcome.
Can deaf-blindness be overcome? Can deaf-blind individuals become contributing members of their families or communities? You answered this question with a ringing "yes!" when you mandated that three members of your committee on services for the deaf-blind should themselves be deaf-blind, and I trust my remarks this afternoon have not given you cause to change your minds.
The fact is that scores of deaf-blind people in many lands are even now living useful lives, deaf-blind women as housewives and family helpers, deaf- blind men in occupations ranging from weaving mats to intricate mathematical programming of electronic computers. These are the fortunate ones who have learned the special methods by which touch can replace sight and hearing, the ones whose associates have stood with them in their struggle. Thousands of others with similar potentialities await their opportunity to learn to live again. After all, a blind person can do anything a sighted person can do except see, and a deaf-blind person can do anything a blind person can do except hear.
Today, above all, we need dedicated workers to spread and extend the knowledge of how deaf-blindness can be overcome. This is a field for pioneers. In many ways, work for the deaf-blind stands today where work for the blind stood a hundred years ago. Rome was not built in a day, nor will the problems of the world's deaf-blind be solved in a day or a year or a decade. But to progress we must begin, and today we need many beginnings in many places--small beginnings such as one enlightened worker may well make, with even one deaf-blind person--beginnings such as you yourselves may make or inspire when you return to your homelands.
Is it right to spend precious time and money to help deaf-blind persons when so many blind people with hearing still await help? One might as well ask if it is right to help blind persons when so many unhandicapped people need help. At this conference we represent many nations, many cultures, many faiths, but blind and sighted, handicapped or unhandicapped, we are all human beings with human lives to live. Our task today and in the years ahead is to help one another and all human beings everywhere live the fullest lives of which they are capable. Ours is a mission to show the world that to know is more important than to see; that to understand is more important than to hear; that to serve is truly to live.
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Kletzing was born in 1925 in Chicago, Illinois. He became totally blind at the age of one and one-half years due to retina blastoma, a tumor. He attended the California School for the Blind at Berkeley and the University High School in Oakland, where he won a scholarship cup on graduation. He received his B. A. from the University of California at Berkeley with honors in chemistry in 1945. While at the university he received the Scaife scholarship and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He was also president of the Honor Students' Association; president of the university YMCA and a member of the university student executive committee.
Kletzing attended law school at the University of Chicago and the University of California and received his LL.B. from the latter institution in 1949. He has published two law review articles and one law review comment. From 1950 to 1957 he was an attorney for the U. S. Department of the Interior in Sacramento. In 1957 he took a job with the State Department of Water Resources in Sacramento and is now a senior attorney for the department.
Kletzing is perhaps best known for the Kletzing civil service case in which he applied for certain jobs and after having passed the examination was removed from the eligible list. The Federation took the case up as a test and the attention that was focused on the situation ultimately brought about very important gains in civil service employment for blind people. Kletzing became president of the California Council of the Blind in March, 1959.
Born August 11, 1921 in St. Louis, Missouri. Totally blind since the age of five. Present occupation, Regulations Analyst, Department of Occupations and Professions, District of Columbia Government. After finishing high school, worked for five years, then completed a four year college course in two years and nine months, graduating in top two percent of his class. Recipient of Charles W. Brown Memorial Medal for 1948 from AFB; recipient of Northwestern University's 1948 Public Service Radio Writing Award. June, 1949 to August, 1951, staff employee at radio station KICK in Springfield, Missouri--continuity editor, disc jockey, publicity and promotion. Self-employed as owner and operator of Midwest Food Service, St. Louis, Missouri after leaving radio and until coming to Washington. Founder and first president of RITE (Real Independence Through Employment, Inc.), a St. Louis affiliate of the Missouri Federation of the Blind, 1955. Served as organizer, publicity chairman, and in other capacities with Missouri Federation of the Blind. Co-author of the Misconception series appearing in the Braille Monitor during 1957 and 1958. Has written, produced and narrated radio shows for the U. S. Employment Service, the American Red Cross, Business and Professional Women's Club and other civic and fraternal groups. Currently member of the Board of Directors, Virginia Federation of the Blind.
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Mr. I. F. Goodrich of Amarillo, Texas writes:
"Dear Mr. Card:... Mrs. S. F. Benge will be sixty-five years of age in September and she had never seen a Braille slate and stylus until March, 1958. Since January, 1959 she has been reading her copies of the Braille Monitor. I believe it was about last July that she received her first Braille letter from a blind friend, and was able to read it with very little help from her teacher.... My wife and I went over to visit the Benges one evening about six weeks ago and found her reading a volume of the Braille Bible.... This in itself was reward enough for Miss Prosser's and my year's work with her.
"We organized the Amarillo Federation of the Blind on February 23, 1958.... Soon afterward a prominent local man asked me to start some classes for our blind people. He requested that I not mention his name because he says he does not believe in people's boasting that they 'help the blind'. Miss Coyla L. Prosser, president of the local chapter, who has been totally blind since 1935, readily agreed to teach the Braille classes. On March 3, 1958 I called Miss Prosser and told her that I had four students who had never seen any Braille in their lives and who would report to class at nine o'clock the next morning. Four more students, who had been trying to learn Braille from the home teacher for this area, would also report....
"On March 11 we opened our classes in Braille at the YMCA here, with all eight students present. Another man who has requested that his name not be used publicly gave me the $24.35 that I needed to purchase the initial supplies for the Braille classes. Each student is asked to furnish his or her supplies but there is no charge for the training.... We supply their materials at cost. With one exception, the classes have been held every Tuesday.
"On September 9 our classes were carried on both television and radio. At that time Mrs. Benge was presented a Braille cookbook as an award for her perfect attendance for the first six months. She still maintains that perfect attendance record. She is continuing to come to our classes so that she can learn the new contractions coming out in Braille, Braille music notation, and the use of the Brailler....
"In December the South Amarillo Lions Club presented us with four standard typewriters with tables, thus enabling us to start teaching typing with a class of five students....
"We have had inquiries about correspondence courses in Braille from as far away as Oklahoma. Three more local blind persons have said they want to start Braille next September. At that time our twelve students will range in age from 18 to 77.
Miss Prosser and I are very happy to give our service to this cause.... I am only an associate member of the Amarillo chapter but really enjoy the work and the fellowship...."
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As in the past two years, special boxes of Federation Christmas cards will be available for resale by chapters and individuals. The terms are the same--75 cents per box, with 1/3 going to the national organization. They are to be resold at $1.25 per box. Organizations can receive shipments on consignment; individuals must include payment with orders. You may send your orders to Federated Industries, 3824 A Olive Street, St. Louis 8, Missouri. If you forget the address, just send them to me and I will forward them.
Please keep in mind that October and the first half of November are the best periods in which to dispose of Christmas cards. The NFB treasury has benefited to the extent of about $1,000 from this source in each of these last two years.
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From the Minnesota Bulletin: "Four years of successful leadership at the helm of the Minnesota Organization of the Blind is a notable achievement in itself. During this period our former president, Eleanor Harrison, always managed to be present at every regular and special board meeting, as well as many important committee meetings. Prior to her election, Eleanor learned the qualities of good leadership by applying her talents to the accomplishment of the numerous tasks which are necessary to the development of an organization such as ours. Having served on all committees, at various times, she possesses a working knowledge of the MO of B, throughout its entire structure. She has known the drudgery of soliciting funds for the building of the Home and Center before the days of the organized cane drives. Although Eleanor has always been receptive to the ideas of her fellow members, she has her own definite convictions and has never been carried away by the tide of the popular majority.
"Recognizing the fact that the National Federation of the Blind is vital to the economic and social advancement of blind people everywhere, Eleanor has taken an avid interest in the growth of the NFB. She has availed herself of every opportunity to attend national conventions, either as an elected delegate or at her own expense. Blind people in the State of Minnesota should feel genuinely elated to know that one of our fine leaders has now received national recognition by being elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the NFB. Needless to say, this position was not easily obtained. To be a member one must have clearly demonstrated the possession of intelligence, perseverance, understanding of human nature, and integrity. Those of us who have worked and associated closely with Mrs. Harrison feel assured that she can live up to the high standards required by her new honor."--Ruth Lundquist.
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(Press release from the office of Congressman Victor L. Anfuso, July 16, 1959.)
"In a bipartisan move to aid the blind, Congressman Victor L. Anfuso (D., N. Y.) and Congressman Albert H. Bosch (R., N. Y.) today introduced similar bills in Congress in which they propose to amend the Social Security Act to provide for full disability insurance benefits for persons who are blind.
"The bills contain three specific proposals:
"1. Abandonment of the age of 50 as the arbitrary date for the establishment of eligibility of blind persons for disability benefits under the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance program.
"2. Once eligibility has been established, the blind person shall be entitled to receive full benefits, which are to continue for the lifetime of the individual or for as long as the disability exists.
"3. A blind person should be entitled to disability benefits if he is employed in a covered industry and if he has at least one quarter of coverage.
"Commenting on their bills, Congressmen Anfuso and Bosch stated as follows: 'The severity of the disability of blindness in terms of rehabilitation, vocational or any other kind, is unique. Its impact is just as severe at the age of 20 as at the age of 50 or 70. In fact, the security which our bills could provide under the Social Security Act is perhaps more important to the younger blind person, if he is to have any encouragement toward his rehabilitation and employment opportunities. It is our belief that this security should be extended to the blind from the time of the onset of their disability and that it should be granted them in the fullest possible measure.'
"The two New York Congressmen...pointed out that about 10,000 to 12,000 newly-blind would stand to benefit under this legislation each year.
"The proposals contained in the Anfuso-Bosch bills have been endorsed by the American Association of Workers for the Blind, National Federation of the Blind, Blinded Veterans Association, American Foundation for the Blind, Greater New York Council of Agencies for the Blind and New York State Federation of Workers for the Blind."
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by Russell Kletzing
(Ed. Note: The drastic space restrictions which we hope will be only temporary have made it necessary to include only the high points in Mr. Kletzing's material.)
This year the California Council of the Blind supported a legislative program consisting of about 30 bills. Two or three of these were introduced by others and endorsed by the Council. Two of our most important bills were passed by the Legislature but pocket-vetoed by the Governor. One of these was a "Little Kennedy Bill" to guarantee the right of the blind people of California to organize. The other bill would have established a program in state civil service for the employment of blind workers somewhat similar to that now in operation in federal civil service. There was no open opposition to this in the Legislature but the Bureau of Rehabilitation apparently attacked it when it reached the Governor's desk on the basis that it did not apply to all handicapped groups. Apparently the philosophy is that the Bureau is willing to sacrifice the immediate possibility of jobs for blind people in order to keep a symmetrical balance in its program. Perhaps too, the Bureau was worried that the State Personnel Board would do a better job of placing blind people in state civil service than the Bureau has achieved--it could hardly do worse.
Among the more important of the bills that became law were some of the following: A $5 across-the-board increase for aid to the blind was obtained. This brings the grant to $115 per month in most cases. Another bill provided for an automatic pass-on of any federal increase in aid to the blind and for an increase from $1,000 to $1,200 in the exempt income allowed to a blind person under the "Aid to the Potentially Self-supporting Blind." This is an entirely state-financed program, some of the principles of which are contained in the King bill. It now provides for $1,200 of income that is completely exempt and a deduction of 50 cents on each dollar above that amount from the aid grant.
Two other bills that represented important steps forward provided for unemployment and disability insurance and for Social Security coverage for workers in the three state sheltered shops. Other important bills that were passed, recognized integrated classes with resource teachers as a technique in educating blind children in the public schools, and extended the protection of the White Cane law to include guide dogs.
Besides the bills that were vetoed some of the other important bills that were lost in the Legislature are as follows: A bill that would have lowered the residence requirement for aid to the blind to one year, repealed the responsibility of relatives and eliminated liens against the property of the blind aid recipients receiving county hospital treatment. An extremely important bill that was lost would have given the profits of all vending machines installed in the future to the operator of the vending stand in that location.
The results of our legislative program can be characterized only as moderately successful. If Governor Brown had not vetoed the two very important bills it could have been considred entirely satisfactory. Perhaps the most unfortunate thing about the legislative session was the effect of the opposition of some of the members of our own organization. I hope and trust that by 1961 the blind of California will again be united in working for the welfare of the blind.
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(Ed. Note: The following picturesquely worded letter was scheduled for publication in this column several months ago but was mislaid for a time. Mr. Avedik is a stalwart Federationist of Armenian descent.)
"Dear Mr. Card: Reading in January issue 1959 of the Braille Monitor whom you have wrote about memorial funds to Louis Braille, and also you have mentioned about your check sum of $25.00. Yes it is one of fine and best things we blind could do and we must do to anything to memory of that great man the Louis Braille. I could not match your check, but will go half way as your sum of $12.50.
"You see Mr. Card, that is all I could do at this time because I am unemployed and have no real business and once in every week I give my time to East Bay Center for the Blind as a craft instructor or teacher, although I have no college degrees but still they like my able hands well and I do not get any pay or wage for the help that I am giving to those who are very much in need and appreciate that is what does count to my philosophy, and I do pay my own bus fare to go there some times even taxi because it does not pay to wait for bus on the rainy day. Please Mr. Card do not think or feel that I am crying, no, no, I am not that type blind. The only reason I am mentioning all these because you are an editor and you may or might be to hear or to know almost all our blind society their work and habits so on. Yes it is true what I do think that I say, and I say what I do think. I also do know the folks do not like very much these type persons, but it is an habit with me and will stay until end of the rope. You will find my personal check with this which it is as good as gold which I keep few dollars in the bank always for such occasions it does come in handy. It is small token but old saying goes, every little does help. I hope that I have not bored you with my poor English which I have no basic English grammar but am trying best I could as this letter and good many others with my poor English.
"With regards and best wishes I remain fraternally yours," G. G. Avedik, Oakland, Calif.
"Dear Mr. Card: ...The end of May of this year Sam and I moved from New York to Florida. We attended the Florida State Convention, joined the Dade County Chapter and plan to be quite active in the work.
"...We have now been in Miami for 7 weeks. Since my husband and I both travel with the aid of a cane, and since we live in a suburban area where there are very few pedestrians, we have to depend on the operation of the White Cane Law to get across traffic arteries. But alas and alack! The motorists in Miami seem to be completely ignorant of the existence of the White Cane Law. Without one single exception they totally ignore the extended white cane. This holds true in the city as well as in the suburb where we are living.
"We would like to know the experiences of Monitor readers on this matter. Is the White Cane Law a farce, or can it really be enforced? We would like to hear if any local chapters or state affiliates have carried on a publicity campaign to educate motorists? What success, if any, have they had?
"Now that we are in Miami, we have much more time on our hands than we had when we were in New York, so we are catching up on back issues of the Monitor and we find every one of them most interesting. We like the way you're doing things. Fraternally yours," Sam and Gertrude Sitt, North Miami Beach, Florida.
(Ed. Note: The writer was formerly Miss Gertrude Finch, of Syracuse, New York, and was active in the early stages of the formation of the Empire State Association of the Blind.)
"Dear Mr. Card: At last we have something definite to report about switchboard training at the May K. Houck Foundation. Three trainees from three different states have already started the course. Students are being accepted from anywhere in the nation and are required only to pay transportation and meals while in training. All rooms at the court are provided to the blind free of charge. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Duffy are running the motel now. He is blind, she is sighted. They are from Philadelphia. Sincerely yours," Walter P. Jones, president, Sarasota Chapter, Florida Federation of the Blind.
"Sir: I want to thank you for your continued service in sending me regularly each issue of the Braille Monitor. I find it most invigorating. It gives me the impression of travelling around the U.S. and visiting my blind comrades.
"You will note the absence of the capital signs. Many English Braille writers think it is a waste of space because it is obvious where capitals should be used.
"It is good to know that a knowledge of Braille can keep us in contact with our unknown friends across the seas. Yours," George Bywater, Northrepps, Cromer, England.
"Dear Mr. Card: The East Bay Center for the Blind of Oakland, California, has moved into its new quarters at 5433 Shattuck Avenue, Oakland. As you probably have heard, we had trouble with the Lions' Central Committee at the Center on Opal Street, so decided to move out and really be on our own.
"Of course things are a little hard, as there is a great deal of repair work to be done to this building, but at least we are on our own; no organization of sighted people is telling us what to do. Sincerely," Marie Ward, corresponding secretary, East Bay Center for the Blind, Oakland, Calif.
"Hi, George! ... I pass my copy of the Monitor to a second reader and he in turn sends it to a third. Several of us were discussing its present pint size and regretting the fact that budget problems necessitate cutting down the size of the Monitor. We realize that every activity of the NFB is extremely important so we cannot suggest where to cut and thus be able to publish a full-size Monitor. However, it must also be realized that now, for the first time, the thinking blind people of this country have a medium bringing up-to-date news of activities of particular interest to them. Therefore greater effort must be made to try to make certain that the Monitor shall not again shrink in size. .." Michael Sofka, Newark, N. J.
"Dear Mr. Card: We of the Virginia Federation of the Blind want to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to you for the Braille Monitor. Most of us read it from cover to cover and depend on it for our greatest source of information. We cannot stand the thought of your lacking in funds for its publication and we want to contribute to it. Enclosed you will find our check for $25, which we hope will help a little. Sincerely," Lydia Stuples, Richmond, Va.
"Dear Sir: ...You are certainly to be congratulated on raising that money toward the Louis Braille Memorial Fund. You are the only editor of any magazine for the blind who has taken on such a worthy enterprise....
"You often mention blind people trained as teachers in public schools.... There exists today a great shortage of teachers in our Catholic schools. I know of many instances where they have employed lay teachers instead of sisters because of this shortage. Then too this shortage must also be in existence in Lutheran and other church schools. I think this would be a field worth investigating.
"In you column 'Here and There' I read with particular interest about the number of blind persons who are music teachers to the sighted in Canada. That sure is a wonderful thing but I am afraid there are not too many blind music teachers in the U. S. who teach the sighted.... Very cordially yours," Ed. A. Braxmeier, Manitowoc, Wis.
"Dear George: ...I wish to add my comments to those of others that you are doing a wonderful job in editing the Braille Monitor, and it is truly becoming ever better. In addition to strictly Federation news and discussions, the inclusion of articles of general interest to blind people and others interested in the work for the blind is constantly enhancing the quality and value of the Braille Monitor.
"A Theory of Initial Reactions to Blindness' in the July issue expresses two principles which I support most highly... Sincerely and fraternally," James W. Templeton, Los Angeles, Calif.
"Dear friend George: I wish to add my word of thanks and praise for the wonderful work you are doing with the Monitor. You are cramming our magazine full of much-needed information and news.
"I found 'Another Prison Project' extremely interesting, and I enjoy the letters written to you. I wish that more of our members would express themselves with regard to the unity of purpose and loyalty which we must always have toward the NFB.
"I should like to go a step further than Mrs. Beaumont and you went with regard to helping the newly-blinded folks. How about the NFB adding this type of endeavor to our list of objectives? Perhaps this could be done through a constitutional amendment in all the chapters or states. I believe that, without interfering with any regular work done in this field, we could, as blind men and women, give them a moral lift. I believe we have here a truly great opportunity of doing still more good. I know you and the president will give this suggestion careful consideration.
"With every good wish to you and your ever-helpful wife, I remain, fraternally yours," Barnard Levin, Roxbury, Mass.
"Dear Mr. Card: I thought that the people in California would be interested in knowing that they now have another Federationist in the person of Mr. Joseph Abel, former president of the Arizona State Association of the Blind. Mr. Abel was transferred to Long Beach by Douglas Aircraft where he is employed as a switchboard operator. We of Arizona truly know that California's gain is our loss because Mr. Abel has been the driving force in our state for three years and will be a great asset to the State of California. May I also tell you how much I enjoy the Braille Monitor? It lets me in on what is happening to the blind in this country and around the world. Sincerely," Jerry Fields, president, The Pima County Club of the Blind, Tucson, Ariz.
"Dear George: ...You are doing a terrific job in printing material which is available nowhere else. I want to comment on your out-spoken fortitude in printing the truth about the guide dog situation and money impounded in guide dog foundations.... I had two guide dogs, over a period of seventeen years, but now am on cane travel.... I have no quarrel with guide dogs, or guide dog schools, but it is obvious that there is an overbalance somewhere, and it should be called to the public's attention. You are the only Braille publication that had the courage to print the facts. More power to you.
"I was more than distressed to note the item from New York concerning Governor Rockefeller's veto of the bill permitting blind teachers to be certified.... I think it would be wonderful for the Braille Monitor to print facts, good, bad and indifferent, about all potential presidential candidates which indicate their attitudes toward the employment and welfare of blind people. I do not contend that we should vote on that basis only, but if a man has shown prejudices we ought to be made aware of it. I recall the shock I felt when I learned that Governor Tom Dewey had vetoed the White Cane bill--the only governor to do so anywhere.. . Let's get more facts on potential candidates and their voting records. Cordially yours," C. LaVerne Roberts, Lansing, Mich.
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The strange and anomalous Florida statute which imposed tuition and maintenance charges upon the parents of blind children attending the state residential school was repealed during the last session--except for students over 21. Apparently the repeal came about--not because the law was unjust and discriminatory--but because it was found that the administrative cost of enforcement exceeded receipts.
Because of the increasing difficulties of securing adequate hotel accommodations, the American Association of Workers for the Blind has adopted a policy of scheduling its national conventions three years ahead. In 1960 it will meet in Miami Beach, in September; in 1961 in Memphis and in 1962 in Seattle.
From Washington, D.C. comes news of the engagement of David Krause, member of the NFB Executive Committee, to Mrs. Betty Powell, president of the Reno, Nevada chapter, now teaching in that city. No date has been set but the wedding will not take place for several months, according to present plans.
Glenn Hoffman, perennial president of our Cleveland chapter, will retire from active employment at the end of this year. He has been a militant fighter for the rights of blind people during a career stretching over a period of 40 years. He supplied much of the drive that culminated in the passage of the Randolph-Sheppard Act in 1936 and he was at Wilkes Barre in 1940, as one of the founders of the National Federation. During recent years he has been an employee of the very agencies which had criticized him most harshly as a "radical" but he has never compromised his principles and has always remained a staunch Federationist.
Patient: "Doctor, I say something and then immediately forget what I have said." Psychiatrist: "How long has this been going on?" Patient: "How long has what been going on?"
The new editorial staff of the Lone Star Leader is as follows: Editor, T. F. Moody, Houston; associate editors, Berthina Brooks, Dallas; Vera Moody, Houston; Marcus Roberson, San Antonio; Martha Creed, Ft. Worth; Coyla Prosser, Amarillo; Dr. Leonard Burford, Abilene; Floyd Barney, Corpus Christi. From the current issue: "At the outset of the recent credit union membership drive in Houston there were 24 members and a total of $865 invested in Lone Star's Credit Union. At the close of the drive, Houston had 60 members and a total investment of $3,320."
"The Oregon Council of the Blind is holding its annual convention September 26 and 27 at the Hotel Washington, Portland." Evelyn Mathewson, Convention Chairman, Portland, Ore.
The following subjects were taught this year at the special summer school for the adult blind, which is conducted annually by our Montana affiliate: typing, weaving, leather work, basketry, home economics, Braille, public speaking, daily living, orientation and home nursing.
Both John Taylor and Paul Kirton have been invited by the Missouri Federation of the Blind as guest speakers during its annual convention to be held at the Alladin Hotel, Kansas City, October 9-11. A one dollar registration fee will be charged this year to help defray convention expenses.
Longmans Green and Co., New York, has just published a new book, "The Voice of the Lute," by Miss Skulda Baner, now residing in Los Angeles. Miss Baner is blind.
Last month's issue carried a feature on the employment of Lois Boltin, of Columbia, S.C., as the first blind switchboard operator in the history of her state. Now comes a report by her employer. He writes: "...We employed Lois with a great deal of hesitancy as the job of switchboard operator is an important one in our retail organization. The operator is our voice and often our only contact with our customers. It is important that she be able to handle the position without delay, without confusion, and with more than the average diplomacy and tact. We did not know if her handicap would prevent her from handling our reasonably busy board. We are very happy to tell you that from the very first day, we have been pleased beyond normal expectation with her capabilities....Her patience and her tact and graciousness prove to be most pleasant to whomever is calling.... It is our pleasure to tell you that she is handling her job in a most excellent manner...."
Ruth Hardy, of Houston, Texas, writes to Dr. tenBroek: "...I was trained as a nurse before being blind and practiced as both a special and industrial nurse for some years. Ten years ago when I was blinded in both eyes, I received special training and additional college work under the sponsorship of the Houston Lighthouse for the Blind, and upon completion of training was employed as the industrial nurse health instructor by this association. My duties consist of regular industrial nursing chores and instructions in home economics, nutrition, personal hygiene and home nursing."
The Illinois Federation of the Blind has issued a blanket invitation to attend its annual convention, Hotel Stratford, Alton, October 9-11.
From Time: "...After 50 years of frustrating efforts to find incontrovertible proof that trachoma (cause of one-seventh of the world's blindness) is caused by a virus, Britain's Medical Research Council reports that researchers have closed the circle of evidence....Surprisingly, it was in the Chinese Medical Journal--which prints a lot of unscientific Communistic quackery--that major progress was reported....Also surprisingly, it was the conservative British who then took the radical step of giving the disease to a human volunteer.... Drugs are useless against most true viruses but the cause of trachoma is a large virus, like that of psittacosis--ten times bigger than the virus of polio. The large viruses can be knocked out by some sulfa drugs and antibiotics--already widely used in pilot campaigns against trachoma. And the British researchers hope to make a preventive vaccine."
In view of the fact that it now has a fast-growing credit union, the Minnesota Organization of Blind has abolished its loan fund.
From Capital Times (Madison, Wis.): "Desmond Armstrong rode his motorcycle around the busy streets of Scarborough, England, for six months before he hit a tree. It was only then that police discovered he was registered officially as a blind man. After the accident, the police as a test asked Armstrong to read an automobile license plate at 25 yards, the standard eyesight test for a driving license. Armstrong not only could not read the plate--he could hardly see the car. Armstrong got three months in jail.
The Michigan Eye Opener reports that Dr. Bob Thompson, dynamic and resourceful superintendent of the Michigan School for the Blind at Lansing, is doing much to increase the happiness and self-confidence of his students. The school now has a smartly-stepping marching band which participates in local parades and other functions. It has only eight members who can see at all. A fully-equipped beauty salon is now a part of the school's facilities, with sixty girl students eagerly availing themselves of the opportunity to learn effective self-grooming. Thirty members of the Lansing Association of Cosmetologists have volunteered to serve a half day each month as instructors and counselors.
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