MAY ISSUE 1965
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.
Published monthly in. braille and distributed free to the blind by the National Federation of the Blind, President: Russell Kletzing, 2341 Cortez Lane, Sacramento, California 95825
Inkprint edition produced and distributed by the National Federation of the Blind, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708
Acting Editor: Jacobus tenBroek
Assistant Editor: Floyd W. Matson
2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708
News items and changes of address should be sent to the Editor.
THE KIRCHNER CASE: END AND BEGINNING
MOBILITY TEACHER LOOKS AT WHITE CANE
ON DOGS: ASK THE MAN WHO OWNS ONE
1) By Abram Segal
2) By Henry T. Istas
SENATE COMMITTEE HOLDS HEARINGS ON REHABILITATION BILL
By John F. Nagle
BLIND MECHANIC - OUTBOARD MOTOR DIVISION
PUBLIC WELFARE INDIGNITIES ASSAILED
By John F. Nagle
THE BRITISH LEAGUE: A MILITANT HISTORY
MINNESOTA BLIND LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM
CONGRESSMAN KING ON DISABILITY BILL
GEM STATE BLIND PASS THREE BILLS
ANALYSIS OF BLIND WELFARE IN CALIFORNIA
STUDENTS DEVISE NEW TYPEWRITER-BRAILLER
"THE POOR LEAD THE POOR"
NFB PRESIDENT AIDS HAWAIIANS
From the Honolulu Advertiser, April 1965
PART-BLIND TEACHERS GAIN IN L.A.
From the Los Angeles Collegian
MCGINNIS LETTER ON TEACHER FIGHT
NEVADA ELIMINATES RESIDENCE LAW
TAPE RECORDERS AND THE BLIND
By Melvin Ekberg
GERMAN WAR-BLIND PUBLICATION
SOUTH CAROLINA'S FIGHT FOR COMMISSION
MONTANA'S HOME TEACHER PROGRAM
NEW HAMPSHIRE BLIND STRUGGLE WIDENS
SERIOUS SETBACK IN CHAVICH CASE
CALIFORNIA ORIENTATION CENTER DEDICATED
SEE YOU IN WASHINGTON AT THE CONVENTION
By Kenneth Jernigan
THREAT TO BLIND WELFARE IN OHIO
SENATE SUPPORT FOR NFB DISABILITY BILL
Acting on a remand from the United States Supreme Court, the California State Supreme Court has now made final its earlier decision in the Kirchner case holding responsibility of relatives unconstitutional. The state court did so by declaring its earlier decision to be based on the independent nonfederal ground of the California Constitution. The effect of the new action by the California Supreme Court is to exempt the matter from further review by the higher court. Thus the upshot of the various decisions is a final determination in California that the requirement of relatives' responsibility for the support of mental patients receiving state institutional care is unconstitutional. The significance of the action, for the blind and other recipients of public aid, lies in the fact that the decision of the California Supreme Court rested on arguments which evidently apply as well to other publicly aided groups as to the mentally ill. (For details on the case and the issue, see "Relatives' Responsibility: A Landmark Decision," THE BLIND AMERICAN, April 1964; and "NFB Acts in Vital Court Case," THE BRAILLE MONITOR, February 1965.)
The U. S. Supreme Court, after hearing arguments and briefs, including one by the NFB, on March 8 sent the case back to the California Supreme Court for clarification of the grounds on which its decision had been based. Specifically, the U. S. Supreme Court wished to know "whether [that] holding was based on the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States or the equivalent provision of the California Constitution, or both ..." The U. S. Supreme Court made clear that it would have jurisdiction to review the case only "if the federal ground had been the sole basis for the decision, or the State Constitution was interpreted under what the state court deemed the compulsion of the Federal Constitution."
The latest opinion of the California Supreme Court, issued April 2, was written by retired Justice B. Ray Schauer, author of the earlier opinion in the Kirchner case -- who was called back to the Bench specifically for this purpose. He was enabled to participate by virtue of the self-disqualification of another Justice, Stanley Mosk, who as State Attorney-General had been»involved in the Kirchner litigation.
The significant portion of the California Supreme Court's memorandum opinion follows:
"It has been and is our understanding that the Fourteenth Amendment to the federal Constitution, and sections 11 and 21 of article I of the California Constitution, provide generally equivalent but independent protections in their respective jurisdictions.
"California Constitution, article I, section 11, requires that 'All laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation' and section 21 of the same article specifies that 'No special privileges or immunities shall ever be granted which may not be altered, revoked or repealed by the Legislature; nor shall any citizen, or class of citizens, be granted privileges or immunities which, upon the same terms, shall not be granted to all citizens.' These provisions of our State Constitution have been generally thought in California to be substantially the equivalent of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. While it is our view that we should reach the same conclusion under the Fourteenth Amendment, we were (and we are) in any event independently constrained to the result we reached by sections II and 21, article I, of the California Constitution. We so conclude by our construction and application of California law, regardless of whether there is or is not compulsion to the same end by the federal Constitution.
"Inasmuch as we did not act solely by compulsion of the Fourteenth Amendment, either directly or in construing or in applying state law, we reiterate our former decision as filed January 30, 1964, reported at 60 Cal. 2d 716."
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Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, Acting Editor
THE BRAILLE MONITOR
Dear Dr. tenBroek:
I have read with interest the discussion in the March issue of THE BRAILLE MONITOR, regarding the white cane. Below are some thoughts which I wish to submit to you for publication.
In the past, even in the recent past, most blind people have used canes as a badge of blindness rather than as a mobility tool. These canes were often fairly short, made of heavy wood and were painted white with a red tip. They were carried by the person in a manner which would let people know that they were blind.
Very recently a new type of cane and philosophy has been introduced to the field. As you may know, I am speaking about what is now referred to as the "Long Cane" or the Hoover cane method. This cane is considerably longer than the short wooden canes, usually aluminum and generally much lighter. Its use is also very different in the fact that it is used as a tool to gather information from the environment so that the blind person can travel about unassisted, at will.
This movement is receiving increasing impetus and two training programs have been established to train instructors in this new technique. Perhaps you are aware of the programs at Western Michigan University and Boston College where people receive a Masters Degree as mobility instructors. Even at this time, however, there are relatively few blind people that are excellent in their use of this long cane. Therefore, a lot of blind people and most of the public still feel that a blind person cannot move about safely or intelligently just by using a cane. In the years to come it will be very dramatically proven that this is possible. However, as of yet due to the lack of instructors, there are not many competent, independently mobile, cane travelers. There are many blind people that seem to move around with the cane. However, the percentage that is truly mobile and travel with finesse, presenting a picture of grace and confidence, is very small.
I hope that agencies and organizations would begin to impress upon the public the real meaning of the cane and how it is used in helping the blind person being transported through society, to his job, his home or civic club, rather than a badge of blindness and the need for special consideration.
I teach mobility several hours a day and it is my one aim that eventually as the public sees a blind person move confidently down the street with a long cane they will think of him in terms that connote success on the job, at home and socially.
Finally, I have no desire to remove the protective status of the white cane, but let's put some emphasis on the cane in its rightful perspective: that of being an effective mobility tool, helping to create a happy, useful, and productive life, with dignity.
Rod Kossick, Supervisor
Special Services for the Blind and Partially Seeing
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To the Editor:
I have read with interest and amusement, Mr. James B. Fall's article, "Guide Dog or White Cane: Which One?" (THE BRAILLE MONITOR, March, 1965). I recalled when Victoria became Queen, her governess and prime minister instructed her to be neither reluctant nor afraid to hurt people's feelings. With painful reluctance, I am compelled to ask my friend, Mr. Fall if he ever had a guide dog or is her merely reporting from hearsay the trials and tribulations of having a guide dog.
My experience with guide dogs is limited to only one guide dog an obedient, loyal, intelligent and affectionate golden retriever whom I have had for the past three years. My experience is also limited to one month's training period at the Guide Dogs for the Blind School in San Rafael, California. There, I carefully observed and pondered over the reactions of my fellow students to their guide dogs.
My favorable experience with my guide dog, of course, may not be exactly duplicated with others who have guide dogs now, or who have had them. It is my opinion on the basis of a very limited experience that in the case of those who have had guide dogs and have been "harassed and plagued," the fault is not with the dog but with them.
Many sighted, as well as blind, people dislike and fear dogs. It is possible that some blind people unrealistically and romantically believe that a guide dog would be the infallible and all-comprehensive solution for their travelling problems. Unconsciously, they may regard any dog as a potential savage Hound of the Baskervilles.
Another reason for failure of adjustment with a guide dog might be that the blind person is not in emotional rapport with the dog. They may be incapable of being outgoing and out-giving, and resent the dependence upon and attachment to a non-human.
During the training period at a guide dog school, the student is rattled and apprehensive, and the strain of coping with new techniques and adjustments and relationships may endure for quite a long time until an antipathy develops. The student is concerned with safety and is sensitive about errors in mastering the techniques of properly handling a dog. In his confusion he might give the wrong commands which the dog according to its nature and training obeys. During my own training period and later, I made some very foolish errors -- such as commanding my dog to speed up when I knew that we were approaching a high curb which I stepped off with such a jolt that my atrophied brain rattled around in my skull like a dry pea in a pod. It would be unjust and stupid to blame the dog for one's own careless errors. I have the impression that this uncertainty, the unconscious dislike and fear of dogs, and the confusions, continue until the blind person returns his dog as unsatisfactory or disobedient or willful.
Another reason for the failure to adjust with a guide dog might be that the master of a guide dog may give the dog the impression that the master is not truly appreciative or interested in his dog. It is a well-established fact that dogs are quite sensitive and aware of human attitudes. This does not mean that the guide dog's master must be continually over-affectionate and demonstrative. In this characteristic my dog may be an exception, for she needs and gets a great deal of affection from the customers in my bookshop and from me. It is my judgment and experience that if a guide dog does not get appreciation and affection, they retaliate and their reaction is clearly observed as: "If you don't like me and appreciate me, 1 don't like you and I will not serve or obey you."
On rereading Mr. Fall's article, I asked my dog lying quietly beside my desk if she was a "problem child" and she merely wagged her tail in agreement. My lack of experience in missing "the petty and not so petty" problems listed by Mr. Fall may be quite unusual. There were no problems of housebreaking or becoming used to the new environment. As for taking her out "on a cold stormy night in the middle of the night" -- then ten P. M. is "the middle of the night."
I am also fortunate in not having the experience of nursing my dog through a prolonged illness. In three years she missed just one meal, and I was almost concerned enough to call in all the veterinaries in Tucson The following night she ate her supper with her usual relish. I have the impression that guide dogs raised and trained in a reputable school are healthy, and when given a sensible prescribed adequate diet with exercise affection and appreciation, they remain healthy.
It is quite true that separation is a difficult period for a guide dog as well as for the master. During the past year, I had to enter the hospital twice for surgery. I kept my dog in the familiar environment of my home with adequate care, where she waited in patient loneliness and un-comprehension for my return.
I also doubt that Mr. Fall's objection of the difficulties of traveling with a guide dog is valid for many of the blind. And 1 was hot aware that my guide dog is a lot of "expense and trouble. " For the past year, "vet" fees, preventive shots, food and sundry supplies such as medicinal cotton and alcohol, amounted to a total cost of $71. 58. The grooming, brushing, preparing her food, washing up the feeding and water pans, takes up a total of about 35 minutes a day. These are not routine chores,
they are a labor of love.
Sometimes my dog is amusingly aggravating. I have explained to her that on weekdays, I get up at six-thirty and on holidays and Sundays, I would like to nap a little longer. She cannot yet distinguish between weekdays and Sundays and holidays. She is set in her ways and likes to go out of doors at six-thirty to see the new world. So like an indulgent parent, I get up at six-thirty on Sundays and holidays.
Mr. Fall also objects to guide dogs who do not know where their master want to go. Neither does an automobile which needs human direction. My dog can pretty well guess where I want to go, for, like every one, I have a set daily routine. 1 often marvel at my dog's memory and recognition of stores and houses where we have gone previously. When passing these places she wants to go in, reasoning that we have been there before, so undoubtedly we want to go again.
It is also an indisputable fact, as Mr. Fall phrases it, "A dog may become old and senile, lazy and slow, or dim-eyed and hard of hearing." Although I have not seen Mr. Fall for about four years, it may be that he is describing me -- for I have reached that stage.
I have had cane travel instruction, which is not the best method for me. I have impaired hearing and am absent-minded and absorbed. These defects do not affect traveling with my dog who is alert and responsive. In three years, I have had no accidents -- after a painful experience during the training period when I crashed into a bus. Now I heed the sage advice of my trainers: "when the dog stops, you stop."
My dog and I have long been a united and devoted team. I regard the small money and time expenditure as a very low price to pay for traveling in safety and comfort and for her devotion and companionship.
Abram Segal (Ph.D.)
1107 E. Sixth Street
THE BRAILLE MONITOR
2652 Shasta Road
Over the years, in the BLIND AMERICAN and the BRAILLE MONITOR, there has been a lot of tripe. But in this March issue, that one about the guide dogs is pure garbage. Personally, I think it wouldn't have been published if the author had not been president of a state federation. However, be that as it may, so much of it is ridiculous, it should be answered. I think I glean one sound idea out of it all; that is, that the guide dog is not for everyone just because he is blind. This is for sure, and
the first to recognize it are the various guide dog schools.
The actual reason people ask a person if he wouldn't profit by a dog is that they usually have seen someone else on his way, lively, faster than most sighted people, apparently sure of himself, and appearing to have no problems. One of the reasons why guide dog schools have been able to raise money to the intense jealousy of other agencies happens to be that potential donors can see results right before their very eyes. On the other hand, where the campaign is for research, that's hazy and far away, and does not open the pocketbook so easily.
Now this business about dogs being heroes is the bunk. While there may be some instances of this -- and the press will grab anything like that -- the schools themselves don't care about it. In answer to a question once by the SEEING EYE, I said that I had no spectaculars to tell about. The reply was, "That's good; we hope your dog will keep you out of spectaculars."
Mr. Fall ought not to have tried to set himself up to determine which blind profit by guide dogs. They are good for those who live alone, and think they need protection around the home. For his information, guide dogs are never given but for one purpose -- guiding. Protection is discouraged; although, in spite of anything that can be done, most dogs of any kind have some of that "built in." There are far more guide dogs in homes with families than there ever were providing protection to those
who live alone. And, usually, they are a source of pleasure and happiness to everybody concerned, as v/ell as performing a useful, economically valuable function.
Now, so far as being able to say to the dog, "Take me to the First National Bank," goes, this sounds like the helpless, second-class blind the MONITOR is always whining about. Anyone who wanted that wouldn't deserve a guide dog.
Then we get into some real extravaganzas of Mr. Fall's imagination, about nursing guide dogs through long illnesses, getting up on cold nights to take them out, and of all things, "house-breaking them." Why, any household pet dog a year old is house-broken, and millions have dogs for household pets, to say nothing of having them for an economic purpose. I have had my present guide dog nearly eight years, and I do remember one night when I had to get up, once around one o'clock, and
again at three to take her out; she didn't feel very well that night. But, not bad, what That's a better record than most people could show.
As to expense of maintaining a guide dog, the comparison with supporting another person in the family is too ridiculous to deserve more than this passing notice. This guy just doesn't like guide dogs, and that is his privilege.
Very truly yours.
Henry T. Istas
46 Starr Street
New Haven, Connecticut
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By John Nagle
On March 29-30, the Senate Sub-Committee on Health of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare held public hearings on S. 1525, a bill described as the "Vocational Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1965."
S. 1525, introduced by Senator Lister Hill, Alabama, an Administration measure, contains two major proposals with which Federationists have become all too familiar in recent years -- "independent living" rehabilitation, and the use of sheltered workshops as vocational training facilities.
Since the late '50's, efforts have been made in Congress after Congress to include "independent living" -- social adjustment services -- within the scope of the Vocational Rehabilitation program.
Although the National Federation of the Blind has recognized the need for publicly provided, non-vocational social services, we have strongly objected to their being made available, without safeguards, in the existing vocational and employment-oriented rehabilitation program.
In S. 1525, the term "independent living" does not appear, but Section 2 would have disastrous consequences upon the rehabilitation program.
At present. Vocational Rehabilitation agencies are required to provide services only when employment can reasonably be expected to result.
S. 1525 would change this. It would permit Vocational Rehabilitation agencies to accept clients for evaluation to determine if they have a rehabilitation potential. Services can be provided to such people for six months, or, if they are mentally retarded, for eighteen months.
Thus, if Section 2 of S. 1525 becomes law, "rehabilitation" and not "vocational rehabilitation" will increasingly take over the function of existing Vocational Rehabilitation programs.
The result -- to blind persons, and to other disabled persons with an obvious capacity for employment -- will be that rehabilitation agency personnel will spend their time and efforts helping the great influx of new clients to achieve self-care, when, we believe, they should be spending their time and efforts helping clients with an employment potential to achieve self-support.
Our Federation statement, submitted at the Rehabilitation hearings, called the Committee's attention to Resolution 64-12, adopted at our Phoenix convention, declaring that, though we recognize the need for publicly provided social services for impaired men and women, such services can and should be provided under the Public Welfare Amendments of 1962. These amended the Social Security Act to give effect to the self-care and self-dependency objectives of the Act.
S. 1525 also contains several proposals which would further establish the sheltered workshop as a rehabilitation training facility It would make available millions of federal dollars to "improve" existing sheltered workshops and to establish new ones.
The Federation statement directed Committee attention to Resolution 64-15, also adopted by our Phoenix convention, which carefully considered and emphatically rejected the use of the sheltered workshop as a rehabilitation training facility, recommending instead that" ... in the rehabilitation and training of disabled persons, emphasis should be placed upon methods alternative to the sheltered shop such as on-the-job training in competitive, non- sheltered employment, the use of vocational
schools, apprenticeship training programs, tutorials, and regular educational institutions."
Federation endorsement was given to two provisions contained in the Rehabilitation bill. One would remove reader service for the blind person in training, and interpreter service for the deaf person in training, from the list of Vocational Rehabilitation services for which one must pass a "means" test to qualify. Indeed, the Committee was urged to abolish financial need as an eligibility requirement to receive any Vocational Rehabilitation service.
The other Federation-endorsed provision of S. 1525 would allow federal money to be used to pay the cost of supervisory and management services in the state vending stand programs, costs which are now met in most states out of "set-aside" funds obtained from assessments levied upon the income of blind vending stand operators.
The threat to the Vocational Rehabilitation program is great, and much effort will be needed by Federationists if this threat is to be successfully opposed.
All Federationists are urged to write to their Senators and to Senator Lister Hill, Chairman, Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C., to make known the position of the organized blind on S. 1525.
Since it is expected that public hearings will soon be held in the House of Representatives on H. R. 6476, identical to S. 1525, letters should be sent, too, to Congressman Edith Green, Chairman, Special Sub-Committee on Education, House Office Building, Washington, D.C., and to your own Congressman.
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(From the Oakland, California, TRIBUNE, March 28, 1965)
A good mechanic has to have a touch for his work. This touch is a little more important to Ray Atkins, an outboard motor mechanic at Western Marine, a boat sales and service outlet at 674 Monument Blvd.
Atkins is blind.
Despite his handicap, he has worked steadily at Western Marine for the past four years, repairing an average of "two or three" motors every day.
Although competing in a world where people with 20-20 vision have trouble making the tricky two-cycle power plants go, Atkins manages to disassemble the motors and get them back together again with the knowledge in his hands.
He lost his sight in 1952 when his optical nerves deteriorated. "I made up my mind I was not going to sit down and feel sorry for myself. 1 didn't know what to do," he recalls, "but the idea of running a vending stand didn't appeal to me."
He had been a heavy equipment mechanic before, and counselors suggested he try learning to work on the smaller outboard motors.
Atkins took the advice, and began the tedious process of reeducating himself completely. "The only thing my earlier experience did for me was to teach me the value of tools," he remembers.
The education began to pay off in 1959 when he got his first job at Uncle Bobby's Fishing Resort in the Delta east of Antioch. As he gained experience and confidence, he continued school; he still attends classes every year at the Outboard Marine School in San Francisco.
He specializes on Sea King, Evinrude and Johnson motors and has to be familiar with the 16 different size motors each company puts out every year.
When he came to Western Marine four years ago, owner Charles Brodt admittedly was skeptical.
"Al first we questioned customers' reaction to having a blind mechanic working on their equipment. We found later it worked just the opposite. When people found what a fine mechanic Ray is, they kept coming back."
Brodt said Atkins has repaired hundreds of motors since he took the job "and done them well."
Atkins works in a small area where he is as much at home as a photographer in his dark room.
His biggest problems continue to be paper work and getting parts. When work is heavy he uses a tape recorder to list the parts he is using which eventually wind up on the customer's bill.
At first, getting testing equipment was a problem, "but a blind fellow in Richmond named Benny Beeff built some for me with a magnetic braille pickup." Instead of visual signals, it emits a high frequency squeal that tells Atkins the motor's symptoms.
Atkins lives at 2268 Bacon St., with his wife Gertrude, who also is blind. They met at a California Council for the Blind Convention in San Diego and were married nearly two years ago.
"I hope I can set an example for someone who is losing his sight," the mechanic concludes. "There is a lot of satisfaction in doing something for yourself."
"Besides, I like to eat."
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An Illinois professor of social work has strongly criticized the state's handling of welfare programs both in terms of "assaults on the human spirit" and "grossly inadequate payment levels," according to a news article in the Chicago DAILY NEWS.
Alan D. Wade, associate professor in the University of Chicago's School of Social Service, reportedly argued further that the nation's public aid programs have sunk so low "that they can't be saved -- and probably aren't worth saving."
His statement was prepared for a Department of Health, Education and Welfare hearing held by the Advisory Council on Public Welfare for the purpose of recommending policy for a report by Welfare Secretary Anthony J. Celebreeze due for release July 1, 1966.
Wade recommended that a guaranteed annual income for every family replace our complex relief system, the newspaper reported. He claimed that much of the time of state welfare employees is now spent spying on relief recipients in an attempt to catch cheaters.
Investigators burst in on women receiving Aid to Dependent Children in the middle of the night looking for men, he said, and badger relatives to help pay the relief check "when they themselves often are poor." He added:
"The current program emphasis on so-called rehabilitation, which usually means little more than policing the rolls, misuses potential skill of caseworkers by forcing them to carry out policies that are essentially inhuman." Wade said he has met with many groups of public aid recipients, and the most frequent complaint is not lack of money but, "Why can't they treat me like a human being?"
Proponents of a guaranteed annual income say it would save millions in administrative costs, particularly in eliminating investigation of eligibility, the newspaper reported. Presumably, any family that falls below a subsistence level would get a government grant. But the most frequent argument for the plan is that it would remove what Wade calls "the clear community presumption that anyone who gets public assistance is worthless, inadequate and fully responsible for his own poverty."
"National standards must be set that will maintain all families at a level of living deemed to be in the public interest," the professor concluded.
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By John F. Nagle
Recently, in my role as chief of the Washington Office of the National Federation of the Blind, I was scheduled to meet with Congressman Cecil R. King's staff in their new offices -- located in a building I had not visited before, the Rayburn House Office Building,
I was told the simplest way to reach the King office was to go to the Longworth building, take the elevator to the basement, go down one flight on the escalator -- then walk along the underground passage to the Rayburn Building elevator.
When I entered the elevator in the Longworth building, I told the operator my destination, and added: "Can I avoid the delays at the escalator?"
He said: "Sure, I'll take you to the sub-basement. Then you just walk until you bump into the elevator in the Rayburn building." This I proceeded to do, with no difficulty -- and no problem of delays at the escalator.
When I had finished my business with the Congressman's staff, I entered the Rayburn building elevator in order to retrace my steps. But since the elevator is automatic, and I hadn't learned the switchboard yet, I asked a man standing beside me to press the button for the sub-basement.
He asked me where I was going, and I told him. Then he said: "You want the basement. There is an escalator -- so I will go with you to help." I said, no, I wanted the sub-basement; there was no escalator that way. I added that I really didn't need any help, although I thanked him for his kindness.
My "friend" said I was mistaken -- the only way to the Longworth building was by the escalator. I said, "No, I have just come from there without using the escalator -- by way of the sub-basement."
My "friend" insisted I was mistaken. There was just no other way, he said, as he propelled me along the basement corridor and up the escalator.
And I am sure that when he left me, my friend was utterly convinced that blind people are an odd and obstinate lot.
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The National League of the Blind of Great Britain and Ireland, one of the world's oldest independent organizations of blind persons, last year celebrated the 65th anniversary of its founding under the Trade Union Acts. Always closely associated with the national trade union movement, the British League boasts a record of militant agitation and action on behalf of its goals of public aid and improved living and working conditions for Britain's blind population.
Among the highlights of the League's history, as set forth in an official publication reviewing the embattled early years of the all-blind organization, were two mass marches of the blind upon London -- the first in 1920 and the second in 1936. In addition the League of the Blind sponsored a number of local strikes by sheltered shop employees for better wages and working conditions.
The first attempt at self- organization among England's blind workers, according to the League publication, took place in 1891 in South London, scene of a famous dock strike two years earlier which assertedly gave birth to the modern British trade union movement. Although the first attempt at unionization by the blind was "a weak and ill-conceived effort which speedily collapsed," a second attempt succeeded in establishing branches in four English towns and laid the foundation for the formal inauguration of the National League in 1899.
At the turn of the century, the League "estimated that the blind of the country numbered 36,711. Of these 3,000 were either at school or under school age. Of the adult blind, it was estimated that approximately 5,000 were in receipt of outdoor relief of some kind, while just on 3,300 were in workhouses. Between 3,000 and 4,000 did not receive public or charitable assistance of any kind.
"Altogether, therefore, it was shown that two in every seven of the known blind population were classed as paupers. The survey does not attempt to estimate the number of blind men and women who existed by begging, but it must have been substantial. The fact that only 42 percent of those trained for employment could find regular work, gave many no alternative but to beg for a livelihood if they wished to keep outside the workhouse. The workshops for employing the blind could only provide jobs for 500, who were receiving a wage which averaged 7 shillings one- pence weekly, and whose working day was from ten to twelve hours.
"From the outset, the League was convinced that the claims of the blind for an honorable and secure place in the community could not be attained by charitable means, but only by direct provision by the State, and the circumstance that the history of blind welfare since the beginning of the century is a record of more and more public intervention provides ample justification for this view. But [at the turn of the century] this proposition was denounced by the charitable organizations with a fervor
too often intemperate and alien to the decencies of public debate.
"So much so, indeed, that one is compelled to the view that, as the League's spokesmen alleged, these outbursts were often evidence of the fear that public control would be to the detriment of established vested interests. The fact, too, that the League was continually producing evidence to support its contention that, in many charitable agencies, only a small proportion of the money subscribed by the public found its way into the pockets of the blind, while a substantial percentage went to pay inflated official salaries or was wasted due to the incompetent way their affairs were conducted, was hardly calculated to make it popular in such quarters.
Describing the 1920 "inarch to London" on the part of blind Britons from all over the country, the League publication reported: "Throughout the years 1917, 1918 and 1919, the League's demand for an Act of Parliament [setting up a public aid program] became more and more insistent, until continued official indifference impelled the organization to launch a campaign calculated to gain for its case the greatest attention from the authorities and the general public alike. Protests were voiced from the gallery of the House of Commons; and League demonstrators were dispersed by the police when, in defiance of the law, they attempted to hold a meeting in Trafalgar Square when Parliament was in session. These and similar incidents served their purpose by effectively arousing public interest."
The League's account of the episode noted that even though a favorable bill embodying the goals of the blind movement seemed on the way to passage in the House of Commons, it was felt that a dramatic show of determination was needed to win the day. "It was agreed, therefore, to arouse public support by organizing a march of League members from various parts of the provinces to London. The marchers, 250 all told, left their assembly points at Newport, Manchester and Leeds, on Easter Monday, 1920; passing through all the chief provincial towns on their way to the Capital.
"Everywhere they were warmly received, and the meetings held in each center they visited were attended by great crowds of enthusiastic sympathizers. In addition, the march received notice in every local and national newspaper on a scale which the most sanguine could not have anticipated. In short, sympathy and interest were aroused to a degree which has been seldom paralleled. [Forty-five] years ago a demonstration in this form was a novelty and had a propaganda value which it has since lost. The League can claim what credit there may be in being the first to use it successfully."
The result of the mass inarch of the British organized blind was the "Blind Persons Act" of 1920 authorizing payment of noncontributory old age pensions to blind persons at 50 years of age -- the first of a series of legislative victories won by the nation's blind in the face of persistent opposition from the "charitable agencies." But this agitation reportedly formed only part of the League's activities during the early decades of the century. On the labor and industrial front, meanwhile, the League's activities were no less militant.
"Wherever its branches had been established, and by 1914 they were to be found in every important town in the country, there an almost day to day agitation was carried on for better treatment for the unemployed blind by the public and private authorities, and better conditions for those in the special workshops. . . . Help from the charitable organizations was negligible, and it was the League's constant allegation that this was in part due to the incompetent way in which they were carried on. Not only were the wages paid in the workshops generally miserably inadequate; so much so, that many workers were forced to augment them by part-time begging,
but working conditions were often most unsatisfactory. Trade Union and Trade Board rates were little regarded, and there were cases of blind craftsmen being thrown on the streets merely for demanding that they should be paid the proper prices for their work. . . .
"It is not surprising that blind workers flocked into the League. If any class needed the benefits of a trade union organization, they were certainly that class. Their fight was not only for a living wage, although this was of overwhelming importance, it was also for the right to be treated as responsible men and women; for that human dignity which they were denied.
"While a small group of workshops lent a sympathetic ear to the League's representations, the great majority received them with both hostility and resentment, and were active in trying to counter its influence among their employees, an attitude which has not yet disappeared. . . .
"In the year 1912 the first strike organized by the League took place at Bristol, as a consequence of intolerable conditions of employment and a tyrannical management. The strike lasted for six months, and ended in- conclusively. As a result of the widespread publicity which its administration had been given, the management introduced substantial reforms in a short time of the workers returning to work."
Other strikes by blind League members, all resulting in definite reforms, occurred in 1922 in Manchester; in 1923 at Swansea, where a guaranteed minimum wage secured; and in 1925 at Newcastle, where a wage reduction was said to have been successfully resisted. The League also carried out a second mass march upon London in 1936 -- with less publicity and overall success but with definite reforms in the shape of a new and improved Blind Persons' Act.
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A state legislative program, incorporated in five pending bills and a joint resolution, is receiving the active support of the organized blind of Minnesota, according to word from the legislative committee of The Blind of Minnesota.
Among the measures inspired or endorsed by the Legislative Committee in the current legislative session are bills limiting relatives' responsibility to spouses of a blind applicant or parents of a blind child; bringing Minnesota into line with federal legislation by exempting all expenses incident to earning income and such other income and resources as are necessary to fulfill a plan for self-support; amending mandatory training provisions to allow blind individuals a choice of training consistent with aptitudes and abilities; increasing cash assets allowed to blind recipents to the extent of $1,000 for a single person and $1,500 for a married couple; and making available the files on his case upon request to a blind recipient or applicant. The state organization also is supporting a resolution of the legislature memorializing Congress to strike state residential requirements for aid to the blind throughout the nation.
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(Editor's note: Following is a statement by California Congress- man Cecil R. King which accompanied his introduction on March 17 of H. R. 6426, a bill to liberalize the federal disability insurance program for the blind. The statement is reprinted from the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD -- APPENDIX, March 17, 1965.)
Mr. Speaker, for all the years I have been a Member of this Chamber, I have worked with blind people to improve the lot and life of the blind.
Learning of the normality of men and women without sight by my association with them, learning of the ability of men and women without sight to function successfully in competition with their sighted fellows from My acquaintance with blind men and women who are engaged in every imaginable economic activity and endeavor, I have worked with them to improve Federal laws in order to assist the blind in their determination to help themselves.
Nor, Mr. Speaker, have the blind of the Nation lacked champions in the other Chamber, and HUBERT HUMPHREY, of Minnesota, has long been foremost among them.
Recognizing in 1959 that the Federal disability insurance law failed to alleviate the disastrous economic consequences of blindness, the then senior Senator from Minnesota introduced a measure to liberalize the Federal disability insurance law for blind people.
In Congress after Congress the Honorable HUBERT HUMPHREY reintroduced his proposal to provide a floor of financial security against the disadvantages of functioning without sight in a sight-dominated society.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, on September 3, 1964, Senator HUMPHREY offered his disability insurance for the blind bill as an amendment to the pending-social security bill (H.R. 11865) and the Senate adopted the Humphrey amendment.
You will recall, however, that H.R. 11865 failed to gain approval in the Senate-House conference and was not adopted by the 88th Congress.
Mr. Speaker, the Vice President has honored me by asking me to carry on his effort to better the disability insurance law for blind people, which I am pleased indeed to do, therefore I am today introducing H. R. 6426.
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The Gem State Blind of Idaho introduced six bills in the recent Legislature and three were enacted.
A bill which provides that sighted persons must take extra pre-caution to avoid accidents with the Mind and provides that guide dogs may enter all public places was passed.
The second bill which was successfully enacted allows the blind to take all merit system examinations where visual accuity is not essential to the job and provides for a Reader during such examination.
The third bill enacted provides for reimbursement to school districts for itinerate teachers who instruct the blind. It is believed that this will greatly expand the teaching program for blind children in public schools in Idaho.
The three measures which were not adopted are known as the Game Bill, The Blind Aid Bill and the Loan Fund Bill. The Game Bill would allow the blind to take game in Idaho by proxy where a sighted hunter would do the actual shooting. The Blind Aid Bill would set a minimum in aid to the blind and would bar liens and relatives responsibility. The Loan Fund Bill would set up a fund for the blind from which to borrow in order to set up business.
The six bills introduced were screened from a list of proposals which were adopted at the August Convention. Preliminary drafts of these proposals were furnished by the National Federation of the Blind. These Measures were transmitted to the Legislative Council for streamlining and adaptation to the Idaho Code. They were then introduced by various committees of the State Legislature, It has been recommended by the Gem State Legislative Committee that the three bills which did not pass be re-introduced in the next session.
Mrs. Uldine Thelander, President of the Gem State Blind, has this to say about the Legislative Program: "We are encouraged by the results of our 1965 Legislative endeavors and feel we have established a foundation for even greater accomplishments in future Legislative sessions. Much credit is due Rulon Jensen, chairman of our Legislative Committee, who by well-directed efforts and with the efficient aid and advice of the NFB and particularly through the help of its president, Russell Kletzing, framed our legislative program. Mr. Jensen made many valuable friends for the Gem State Blind and for the cause of the blind of Idaho among our State Legislators and other influential citizens."
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An official analysis of California's social welfare programs for the blind, detailing the remarkable strides made in that state over the past quarter-century, was issued in March by the Division for the Blind of the State Department of Social Welfare.
The 27-page report graphically demonstrates the creative leadership of California's programs for the blind under the administration of Perry Sundquist, director of the Division for the Blind since 1941.
The three major programs described in the publication are: Aid to the Blind, first enacted three and a half decades ago; Aid to Potentially Self-Supporting Blind Residents, a ground-breaking program inaugurated 24 years ago "to provide a plan for public assistance which, through the provision of income and property exemptions, would encourage those recipients with a plan for self-support to become independent of public assistance"; and the 20-year-old Prevention of Blindness program.
In all three areas California's provisions for blind welfare have set precedents and created more liberal standards for other welfare programs in the state, such as old age assistance, as well as for aid to the blind measures in other states across the country. Among the now-famous welfare principles established in California during the past 25 years are: exempt earnings as an incentive to self-support; a "floor" to aid grants on the basis of presumed need; the concept of rehabilitation as a goal of public assistance, notably in Aid to the Potentially Self-Supporting Blind but also under the regular Aid to the Blind program.
In addition California's Division for the Blind has shown the way for other states through the total abolition of responsible relatives' provisions (passed in 1961) and of length-of-residence requirements (1963) in aid to the blind.
These and other striking gains in California's public provisions for the blind are a tribute to the dynamic administration of Perry Sundquist, as well as to the independent status of the Division for the Blind within the State Department of Social Welfare, and to unusually close cooperation over the years between the division and the organized blind of the California Council of the Blind.
Among other honors, Division Director Sundquist was the recipient in 1959 of the National Federation of the Blind's Newell Perry-Award, presented for outstanding leadership in the development of welfare programs and concepts geared to opportunity, equality and security for the blind.
An impressive statistic in the official publication is reflected in the growth of the aid grant from a maximum of $150 per year in 1919 (an amount permissive upon the counties without any state financial participation) to the present minimum grant of $127.00 per month with a maximum of $177.00. In addition, an escalator clause in the statutes now insures increases in the minimum and maximum grants in accord with increases in the cost of living.
"For the month of November, 1964, the average amount of the grant for the 12,394 recipients of Aid to the Blind was $117.51, the second highest in the country," the report pointed out. "The United States average for November, 1963, was $72.81. Since there is an average estimated non-exempt income per recipient of $26.95, this means that an average level of need of $144.46 is being met through aid plus non-exempt income -- in addition to an average medical care payment of $15.28, or a total net need of $160.74. "
The state welfare publication gave major stress to the rehabilitative goals of public programming for the blind, defined as "the restoration of the blind person to the fullest potential for physical, social and economic usefulness of which he is capable. " But it was cautioned that "even though tremendous advances have been achieved in the past quarter of a century ... a great deal more remains to be done to realize the objectives. A modern program of public assistance for the blind not only includes an amount of assistance which is sufficiently adequate to enable the recipient to maintain a standard of living which conserves self-respect, but a grant reinforced with those incentives of exempt income and property which actually encourage the individual to seek to achieve self-maintenance whenever possible.
"It also constitutes a plan of aid through which blind persons are helped in meeting their major needs -- physical, social, economic. Only when these major needs are met is a blind man free to experience that thrill of adventure without which life itself is apt to become a mere passive existence. Given that freedom for adventure, be he young or old, the blind person can become a dynamic human being and life is full and abundant for him. Much of the tragedy of blindness is thus removed. This kind of public assistance for the blind not only gives help, but hope - and must be the overriding objective of the program."
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A group of a dozen engineering students at Dartmouth College have produced a promising new device that will simultaneously type Grade Two braille and printed words -- without requiring the user to know braille. The machine is reportedly constructed so that the typist need be acquainted only with the 189 English words that are contracted in Grade Two braille. Thus a sighted person could type material which could be read by a blind individual.
The Dartmouth students, members of the college's Thayer School of Engineering working under Professor Paul T. Shannon, have already won a design prize for their development in a competition sponsored by DESIGN NEWS Magazine. Mostly sophomores, the engineering students regularly divide into competing "companies" at the beginning of each school term and spend the semester designing devices to fulfill an assigned need. Their success with the typewriter-brailler has emboldened
the winning team to press the device beyond its immediate assigned objective toward eventual full-scale production for general use by and for the blind, according to information received from Professor Shannon.
The typewriter-brailler designed by the student group is not yet in a marketable stage, but they did produce a working prototype. They also found in a market survey that there is considerable demand for such a device provided the cost can be reduced. The students estimated the production cost of their final design at $625.
The machine they designed employs a standard typewriter keyboard. When the typewriter keys are depressed by the typist, a switch converts the depressions into electrical impulses. These impulses in turn activate a system which closes a combination of relays which correspond to the dots in a braille cell, and an embossing mechanism then punches the appropriate braille symbols as the typewriter key types the English letter.
The real difficulty faced by the engineering students, however, reportedly was in allowing for the contractions in Grade Two braille. Other attempts to translate English into this form of braille have been made by people working with high-cost computers, but these students were said to be intent upon developing a device which could be priced within the range of private individuals and small institutions. Their solution was to use two separate electrical circuits. In typing words which do not have a braille contraction, the typist merely use? the keyboard, activating the impulses which in turn emboss the braille symbol for each letter.
However, there are 189 English words or parts of words which have a contraction in braille. The typist would have to know what these words are (training is estimated to take two weeks), and before typing one of these would tap a foot pedal, thereby activating a separate circuit which contains various memory units in which the braille contractions are stored. After pressing the foot pedal, the typist proceeds to type the English word, and the Grade Two system converts this into the appropriate braille contraction.
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Taking a pace from the long-time participation of the organized blind in welfare programs and policies affecting their interests, a recent article by psychiatrist Frank Riessman describes a nationwide movement toward making greater use of members of recipient groups in the administration of welfare programs. Author Riessman concludes that such nonprofessionals, drawn from the needy and disadvantaged sections of the community, are often better-equipped than professional workers to
interpret and cope with the problems faced by their own groups.
His article appeared in TRANS-ACTION, a publication of the Community Leadership Project of Washington University, St. Louis, November-December issue, 1964.
"Homemakers with little education and less professional training have been hired to help welfare recipients at home, " he writes. "Mobilization for Youth in New York used many 'indigenous leaders,' case aides, parent education aides, home-makers, adventure corps youth leaders, and tutors. These are only a smattering of the new kinds of nonprofessional jobs proliferating daily in numbers and variety."
The author, himself a well-known psychiatric social worker and author of two books on poverty, pointed out that he was "especially interested in the 'indigenous' nonprofessionals -- those who come originally from the disadvantaged communities they serve, and who have special personal knowledge and understanding of the kinds of people and problems with which they deal."
He expressed belief that "the achievements of these indigenous nonprofessionals are impressive, their talents unique, and their future in social service and education very bright. . . If we can successfully capitalize on their special skills -- combining them with those of well-trained and dedicated professionals -- I believe we may be on our way toward producing a revolution in social work."
Riessman explained the rapid rise of the "indigenous nonprofessional" in social work on the basis of factors reflecting the nations's growing concern with problems of poverty and social handicap. While many "middle class professionals" were said to be reluctant to work with the poor, the new demand for welfare services provides opportunities for members of the various client groups themselves -- thus serving "to reduce poverty by transforming dependent welfare cases into homemakers, delinquents into researchers, students into tutors."
"Probably their most important function is to serve as a bridge between the poor and larger community, especially the school and the agencies," he wrote. "Most professionals have emphasized one-way communication -- they wanted to get the possible recipients of services (the parents of the children they worked with, for instance) into places and frames of mind in which they were receptive to doing what was considered good for them."
"But a real bridge means two-way traffic. Increasingly, if at first only in a minor key, messages have been coming back, explaining the poor to the school and the city -- and bringing such results as a change in the character of PTA meetings to make them more attractive and meaningful to poor parents," according to Riessman.
"Traffic is picking up -- and not just communication but influence and action. Across that bridge the social service network is learning who the disadvantaged are and what they need; and the poor are learning that help is available, and by what means and efforts that help can be made most effective."
It might well be added that among welfare recipients no group has played a more direct and influential role than the organized blind in building the bridge for two-way communication between client and agency. Organizations of blind persons within the states and on the national level have long pioneered in the drive to gain acceptance of the unique talents of trained blind persons in the conduct of welfare programs for the blind.
Moreover, in their persistent campaign to establish the right of the blind to speak for themselves and to be consulted in the formulation and administration of programs for their welfare, the organized blind have established a precedent for the wider use of client groups and individuals in social work and related welfare fields.
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(From the Honolulu ADVERTISER, April 1965)
Russell Kletzing, a blind attorney who is president of the National Federation of the Blind, said here that passage of bills for the blind "would be a giant step in bringing Hawaii a decent, modern, up-to-date aid to blind program."
Kletzing is here to lobby for legislation to aid the blind. Legislators are now considering HE 687 and SB 404, identical measures that would create a Division for the Blind in the Department of Social Services,
"We are not looking for a handout," he said. "We're not asking for an increase in money."
Kletzing spoke Saturday before a group attending the Hawaii Association for the Blind meeting at the Richards St. YWCA.
Said Kletzing: "We have come a long way from superstition of the Middle Ages, when blind people were feared, hated or shunned. But change is a slow process, and we still have a long way to go.
"Many blind people are in their productive years, and what they need is help to find a job and self-support," he said.
Kletzing wants changes in the national legislation permitting a state to choose the type of program for the blind that it prefers. Also, he accused vocational rehabilitation agencies of paying "only lip service to the capabilities of the blind.
"We need boldness and imagination to overcome prejudice of employers and to create jobs, " he said.
Kletzing said there are 6,000 job categories in which blind people can compete on even turns with people who have 20-20 vision. Proper legislation, he said, would make many of the sightless in Hawaii self-sufficient.
According to Kletzing, blind people can fill jobs as medical transcribers, switchboard operators, darkroom technicians, teachers and sales clerks, in addition to the usual jobs, such as operation of news-stands.
Miss Eva Smythe, president of the local association, said an accurate survey of the number of blind people in the Islands is needed to plan an adequate program for the sightless.
"We're against the sheltered workshop concept," she said. "We want to compete with people who can see."
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(From the Los Angeles COLLEGIAN)
Henderson G. Burns, associate professor of psychology, voiced his reaction to a proposed experimental program to evaluate the effectiveness of visually handicapped teachers in the Los Angeles City School System.
The only blind teacher presently serving in the Los Angeles school system, Burns has been on the City College faculty since 1949.
Beginning immediately upon approval of the Los Angeles Board of Education, the program would permit the hiring of teachers who are handicapped by various degrees of blindness, according to an announcement by Jack P. Crowther, superintendent of schools.
Positions to which qualified persons might be assigned include team-teaching, teaching English to non-English speaking students, instructing in remedial reading, teaching in schools for the blind, or tele-teaching using a special telephone system to teach home-bound 'students.
"Great imagination has been shown by the superintendents office in its willingness to open up certain fields of teaching to the blind, especially the relatively new ream-teaching and tele-teaching techniques.
"However, I wish there had been more reference in the announcement to the use of qualified blind teachers in the standard classroom situation," said Burns.
Blind Teachers Conference figures show as many as 50 teachers of various degrees of blindness operating effectively throughout the state from the kindergarten to junior college level, according to Burns.
The decision to inaugurate the program probably stems from conferences held between Crowther and members of groups promoting employment of the blind, said Burns.
"James McGinnis, president of the California Council of the Blind, and Mrs. Nancy Smalley, member of Active Blind Incorporated, have been especially helpful in their efforts to gain these advancements in employment of the visually handicapped.
"This is not as 'unqualified' a program as I would like to see but at least it's a program. Perhaps the barriers are coming down," he said.
After approval by the board the program will run through June 1966.
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(Editor's note: Following is a letter sent in April to blind teachers in California by James McGinnis, president of the California Council of the Blind.)
During the past 16 months I have been involved in extensive discussions with the Los Angeles City Board of Education and its Personnel Division staff with the intent of securing equal job opportunities for blind teachers in the Los Angeles school system. This action was taken in accordance with a resolution unanimously adopted at the 1963 Fall convention of the California Council of the Blind.
The Board directed its staff to make a comprehensive survey of the 41 blind teachers then active in their profession throughout the state, to assemble information on their overall ability and competence to fully carry out their duties. The results of that survey clearly established the fact that blind teachers were prerforming most satisfactorily. However, the staff refused to accept the survey results and, with a superficial display of sincerity of purpose, carried on lengthy conferences and wrote technical dissertations to assert their contention that a blind teacher could not adequately perform in the classroom. The final decision of the Board, reached in March, 1965, directed that partially- seeing teachers could be hired on an experimental basis to teach a limited number of subjects in certain special classroom situations and with sighted assistants and supervision.
Los Angeles is, of course, only one of many school districts throughout the state which practice discrimination against blind teachers, and to negotiate with each of them would be an everlasting task. Action by the California state legislature could bring to a halt such discrimination by all school districts. A.B. 982, introduced by Assemblyman Stanton, and its companion bill to be introduced in the Senate by Senator Grunsky, bans any discrimination, due to blindness, in the training of
teachers -- including their assignment for practice teaching -- and prohibits discrimination on this ground in the employment of teachers.
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Both objectives of the 1965 legislative program of the Nevada Federation of the Blind -- creation of a separate division of services for the blind and total elimination of residence requirements in aid to the blind -- have been achieved in the current session of the state legislature.
In repealing the length-of-residence requirement for blind recipients of public aid, Nevada joins eight other states and territories which already have reached this goal -- and thereby reinforces the case for the ouster of this onerous legacy of the poor laws from the statute books of all the states.
Nevada's other legislative victory involves the reestablishment of a separate division administering all programs for the blind except public assistance. As reported in our April 1965 issue, (see "Twin-Pronged Nevada Program),this achievement is of particular significance to Nevadans, whose programs for the blind began to move forward only after such a separation was achieved from the general rehabilitation agency in the mid-fifties. That progressive step was later nullified by legislation returning blind services to the rehab agency.
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By Melvin Ekberg
Most of us are quite aware of the importance of the tape recorder to a visually handicapped individual. And most would agree that, to a college student at least, it is a necessity -- not a luxury. But, at the same time, we must concede that the recorder presents some problems, too.
Perhaps the foremost of these problems is the difficulty of locating things recorded on a tape. Of course, we all know about the so-called counters, or indexes, which are fairly satisfactory for those who can read them -- provided the original material was also recorded on the same kind of machine. Most of these are utterly worthless, as far as a sightless individual is concerned. The best solution we have come across so far is the use of low-frequency tone signals, frequency of something
like 15 cycles per second, for instance.
This idea was used some ten or more years ago by Prof. T. A. Benham of Haverford College in Pennsylvania. If the amplifier-speaker system in the reproducing machine can be kept working during "fast forward" and "rewind" operations, these signals stand out very clearly, and it is very easy to locate important places, such as chapters and the beginnings of musical numbers. Still better, however, would be Some sort of push-button, or spring-loaded lever, which could be operated
whenever the listener wished to hear what was flying by on the tape.
Here let me say that this idea has also appealed to many people who have good eye-sight -- for example, in public school systems and church work -- and also to people who use these machines in their homes to record musical selections.
These low-frequency tone signals stand out very clearly when compared to other material recorded on the tape. It is also possible to use signals, like the radio code, which make it possible to locate each point along the tape no matter whether it is traveling forward or backward.
The main problem involved right now, however, is that most machines presently used in the home are completely muted, or silenced, during "fast forward" and "rewind" operations. Speaking as one who serviced radios some years ago (before they became too compact for me), I would say that it should not be too difficult for local radio technicians to install the necessary extra equipment. Most of them, however, simply do not wish to undertake the job.
I would urge every affiliate to set up a committee to see what can be done by way of modifying existing machines. In the meantime, I am trying to interest the factories in incorporating two extra features one would be a push-button which would enable us to hear the signals; the other would enable persons doing the recording to insert the signals.
There is also another difficulty with these machines: I refer to the fact that most of our correspondence is presently carried on using two-track machines, while the new ones are four-track. Sometimes two-track is not reproducible on four-track. Some machines are quipped with a "half" track head which represents another headache for the manufacturers. I should note also that all of the Library of Congress recordings received so far have been two-track, at 3-3/4 inches per second.
In closing, may I make it perfectly clear to all readers that I am not seeking a patent on anything. It may be too simple an idea to be worthy of a patent anyway. All I wish is to be able to locate what I want on a tape, without losing so much time doing it.
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(Editor's note: The Federation of Blinded Veterans of West Germany, a member organization of the International Federation of the Blind, recently inaugurated an English-language feature article as a regular part of its monthly publication, DER KRIEGS BLINDE, beginning with the January 1965 issue. Following is the first such article to appear in the journal.)
The Federation of the war-blinded ex-servicemen of Germany has made up its mind on November 8th, 1964 to join the International Federation of the Self-help Associations of the blind people. This Federation has been founded by Asian, American, and German delegates of the WORLD COUNCIL FOR THE WELFARE OF THE BLIND, on the occasion of the conference on July 31st until August 12th, 1964 in New York.
The German war-blinded people are glad that by this way it will be possible for them to communicate their rich experiences on this domain of the common work of associations to their friends all over the world. In the future there shall be printed monthly in our newspaper "Der Kriegsblinde" a column in English language. By this very publication we want to support our friends at the building up and formation of self-help associations for the blinded people.
The Federation of the war-blinded ex-servicemen of Germany was founded in 1916. The number of its members is actually nearly 6100 war-blinded people who are united in it. The Association of the war-blinded people of Germany is divided in IE provincial groups which again are subdivided in different smaller regional groups. The head of the Federation of the blinded veterans of (Western) Germany is the president, Mr. Dr. Hans Ludwig. The address of the office is:
Bund der Kriegsblinden Deutshlands E. V. 5300 Bonn Schumannstrasse 35.
The different provincial groups are directed by the corresponding (provincial group) presidents. The heads of the regions are the relative regional presidents.
In the following we are indicating you the tasks of the League of Blinded Veterans of Germany:
Participation and collaboration at the social-political law-making, conferences and negociations with the corresponding governmental offices, representation of the blinded veterans towards authorities and tribunals, welfare of cures and recovery, welfare for double-injured people (as for example war-blinded double-arm amputees), and sport for disabled, injured people.
In the course of the next few months we shall inform you on the same place about the institutions of the Federation of war-blinded people in Germany and about its different tasks in detail.
Labour and professional welfare for the war-blinded people. Our federation and its different subdivisions are careful to mediate and arrange working places and jobs for all war-blinded people. The 6,100 war-blinded people of the German Federal Republic may be subdivided in the following professions: 600 teachers, judges, parsons (priests), administrative officials and authoritative employees in superior positions, 500 telephone-operators, 200 typists, 400 masseurs, 200 other employees and officials at state's authorities, 400 merchantmen and tradesmen, 100 peasants, 1,200 artisans.
(Nearly 2,500 war-blinded people can no more work on account of the severity of their injuries and the corresponding consequences resulting of this, and on account of their advanced age.)
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(Editor's note: The following article is condensed from a detailed report in THE PALMETTO AURORAN, published by the South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind under the editorship of club president Donald C. Capps.)
A spectacular history-making hearing on the bill to establish a Commission for the Blind was held jointly by the State Senate's Medical Affairs Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee on March 9 in the Senate chamber. The three-hour marathon was reported to have been one of the largest hearings held at the capitol in recent years, being attended by an estimated 200 persons from throughout the state. All of the news media services were on hand, which resulted in widespread coverage across the state.
Aurora attorney Eugene F. Rogers, one of Columbias's most capable lawyers, took the floor. For the next one and one-half hours Mr. Rogers skillfully presented testimony on behalf of the bill. He pointed out that the proposed Commission for the Blind would have five commissioners who would effectively oversee the operation of the new agency, whereas the present Advisory Council of the Division for the Blind had been inactive or virtually nonexistent -- meeting only in 1956,
1960 and in January 1965.
Rogers introduced Mrs. Reba Hancock, who told of her husband MacDonald Hancock being denied a change in lenses by the Welfare Department for the reason that she would not sew for the Department at a time when she was declared physically unable to do so by her physician.
Turning his attention to job placement of the blind, Rogers read from the annual report of the Welfare Department, lising the breakdown of placements during 1964. The Department's report showed that most placements were of a menial and nonprofessional type, including peanut vendors and baby sitters as well as 11 housewives. It was further revealed that of the 118 placements claimed by the Welfare Department, only 177 are legally blind with the remaining 41 having only visual impairments.
With graphic charts containing figures obtained from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Dr. Fred L. Crawford (a native South Carolinian now associated with the New York Lighthouse for the Blind) showed that S.C. was far behind other southern states in placing blind persons. He gave figures from H.E. W. which showed that S.C.'s vocational rehabilitation agency, charged with the placement of other handicapped groups, was doing a superb job as a separate agency and had earned high national ranking -- but that the welfare department did not enjoy such national ranking on its own.
Attorney Rogers introduced Professor George Hallman, who told of his personal experience with the welfare department. Professor Hallman, who holds a master's degree from N.C. State College, told the committees that after applying for employment with the Division for the Blind, he was told that they had a policy against hiring blind persons. The records show that the division has not employed a blind person in more than a decade. Professor Hallman said that he was somewhat
chagrined to be offered only the possibility of a concession stand by the welfare department. Fortunately, through his own initiative. Professor Hallman subsequently secured a position on the faculty of Columbia College.
Continuing his discussion of the poor caliber of vocational rehabilitation for the blind in S.C., attorney Rogers introduced Judge Marion Erwin of Abbeville, the only blind judge of probate in the state. Judge Erwin explained that after graduating from college he was placed by the welfare department in a concession stand, which closed within a few weeks from lack of business. The judge also told the legislators that a young blind high-school graduate in his area, with an IQ of 125, was
recently offered no more than a chair-caning or handicraft job by the welfare department. Speaking of the concepts of the department, Judge Erwin stated that there obviously was a breakdown in communication as their predominantly sighted staff, with respect to the abilities and aspirations of the blind, interpret them in an altogether different light than do the blind themselves.
Lois Boltin testified that she was denied assistance by the division in furthering her education at Perkins following graduation from the State School for the Blind. She told how she had been placed in two submarginal concession stands, each earning less than an average of $50 per month. She related that, when later she sought to improve her economic status by taking training as a switchboard operator, she was denied any assistance by the welfare department and was forced to borrow money
for the training.
With respect to the blind aid program in South Carolina, attorney Rogers hit hard at the mishandling of funds for this purpose by the welfare department during the past several years. He told the legislators that for years the department had not used thousands of dollars of earmarked funds appropriated for aid to the needy blind, either turning the money back to the state or making transfers of the funds for other purposes. He also pointed out that on at least two occasions the welfare department had spent nearly one million dollars more for administrative expenses than was appropriated by the state.
Turning to the large crowd of blind persons who were present for the hearing, Rogers asked those who supported the blind commission bill to stand. Some 80 blind persons dramatically and courageously took to their feet, leaving only a handful of blind persons who remained in their seats. This made it crystal clear that the rank and file blind were united solidly behind the commission bill. A large number of those who stood in support of the bill are members of both the Aurora Club and the Association of the Blind. However, some persons who stood were members of neither organization, but had come from all over the state to attend the hearing.
Concluding the testimony for the proponents of the bill, Rogers introduced the distinguished founder of the S. C. Aurora Club, Dr. Samuel N. Lawton of Spartanburg, who many felt made one of the most stirring addresses of his career.
The eloquent testimony of these outstanding blind South Carolinians is certain to have made an indelible impression upon members of the two legislative committees.
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A report on the successful effort of the Montana Association for the Blind to obtain a home teacher is contained in a letter to NFB President Kletzing from the chief of the state bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation Division for the Blind. He writes:
"The recent legislature appropriated sufficient funds for the Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind to hire a home teacher. As you know, this will be a special project set up on a two-year basis to determine the need for continuing such a program in the state. This one person that will be hired will be working in a limited area and will start July 1, 1965, if a qualified person can be located by that time."
The MONTANA OBSERVER adds: "Mr. Carver also mentioned that Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind is now attempting to locate qualified applicants for this position. The establishment of a home teacher program in our state is a service which the Montana Association has promoted, believed in and worked for over many years."
There is every reason to expect that, if capable personnel and objective standards are used, the evaluation of the pilot programs's trial period will be positive and the basis will be established for statewide coverage by home teachers in Montana.
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The critical attack launched by the New Hampshire Federation of the Blind against James J. Barry, State Commissioner of Health and Welfare, has taken on wider proportions with the announcement of independent federal and state probes into the commissioner's activities along with formal charges filed by ten members of his departmental staff.
These were among the startling developments in the case against New Hampshire's welfare chief which have followed on the heels of widely publicized charges by Franklin VanVliet, president of the state Federation of the Blind, detailing widespread derelictions in the administration of blind welfare programs (see "New Hampshire Blind Hit Official," THE BRAILLE MONITOR, April 1965). Highlights of the recent developments follow:
1. Governor King on March 12 announced that serious charges of mismanagement had been filed against Commissioner Barry by ten supervisory officials of the Department of Health and Welfare.
2. An open letter NHFB president VanVliet, replying at length to attacks by Barry upon the state's organized blind, was published in full by the Manchester UNION LEADER.
3. State Welfare Director George E. Murphy on March 19 released a memorandum to Barry refusing the latter's "verbal directive" to prepare a news release designed to refute the published charges leveled by VanVliet.
4. Federal Vocational Rehabilitation Commissioner Mary E. Switzer, replying on March 29 to an inquiry by New Hampshire Senator Norris Cotton, expressed "grave concern" over the conduct of the state's services to the blind and revealed that a "detailed inquiry" by the Department of HEW was underway.
'5. Joseph Hunt, Assistant Vocational Rehabilitation Commissioner, in a letter to Barry on April 1, reiterated the concern of the federal agency over the administration of the state's vending stand program and emphasized the "distress" of his department concerning Barry's failure to activate a sheltered workshop program for which substantial federal funds had been received more than six months before. He warned further: "If the project is not in operation within thirty days from the date of this
letter, we shall consider the project cancelled and request return of the funds."
6. Governor King on April 16 announced that he had ordered four more investigations of Barry's department, one of them involving the commissioner's handling of vocational rehabilitation services to the blind.
7. Franklin VanVliet on April 18 gave notice that he had begun an investigation into alleged breach of confidentiality by Commissioner Barry arising from illegal use of welfare department records on VanVliet for the purpose of discrediting the critical blind leader before the state legislature. "It is a very common practice of the commissioner," VanVliet said, "to use any and all information available to achieve his own objective, whatever it may be."
VanVliet added, in connection with the multiplying charges brought against the state welfare commissioner: "A public official has a sacred trust; and when he takes it upon himself to violate that trust in any way, the official has got to go."
Welfare Director Murphy, in his memorandum to Commissioner Barry referred to above, noted that the commissioner had directed Mr. Camp, supervisor of services to the blind, to "prepare a news release over your signature to refute Mr. Franklin VanVliet's article." He continued:
"Mr. Camp subsequently called Deputy Attorney General George Pappagianis to determine his rights in this matter as he could not in good conscience write a refutation to Mr. VanVliet's article. Pappagianis told Mr. Camp that a department head should not make such a request of a subordinate and if he did the employee was not bound to comply. Attorney General Pappagiannis told Mr. Camp that he should obtain the request in writing and then write only the truth as he knows it. If Mr. Camp or any subordinate wrote Such a document, that did not contain truths or was an attack upon an individual, then the subordinate would be as guilty as the department head.
"Pappagianis then called me and reviewed the foregoing stating that it was not morally or ethically right for a department head to make such a request and that nothing of this nature should be done unless the request is received in writing and the writer is free to report the facts as he sees them."
"In light of the foregoing it would appear that the staff of the Division of Welfare is not in a position to provide the type of release you have requested."
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Alexander Chavich, blind New York City teacher whose fight for accreditation was upheld last year by a state court (see THE BRAILLE MONITOR, February 1965), has been rebuffed in a baldly stereotyped decision on the part of the State Supreme Court's Appellate Division.
The majority opinion, held by three judges with two judges dissenting, was handed down April 12 following appeal by the New, York City Board of Education of the pro-Chavich decision of the lower court.
The case arose two years ago when the city board of education turned down Chavich's application on the ground that he could not carryout the various tasks of a teacher by virtue of "defective vision." Chavich was subsequently upheld by Judge Frank J. Pino of the New York Supreme Court, Kings County, on the basis of a state law barring discrimination against teachers on grounds of blindness.
The state statute was passed in 1960 after intensive campaigning by the National Federations's New York affiliate, the Empire State Association of the Blind. The organized blind groups have also played an active role in the Chavich litigation by compiling affidavits from successful blind teachers throughout the country, including members of the NFB. The case is also being carried on with the sponsorship and collaboration of the New York Commission for the Blind and the New York Lighthouse.
The basis of the April court decision against Chavich was twofold. The majority held, first, that the state law barring discrimination against blind teachers was not applicable to New York City, and therefore that the city's own ordinance disqualifying blind teachers must stand.
Second, the court agreed with the starkly prejudicial view of the city board of education that "an applicant who does not possess at least 20-30 vision in one eye, with or without glasses, cannot satisfactorily perform the duties of a teacher in the New York City schools." The specific duties which the three judges regarded as beyond the capacity of blind teachers were:
"That the determination by the Board of Education with respect to vision requirements is reasonable is clear when the multitude of duties of a New York City junior high school teacher is considered, e.g., maintaining discipline in a class of approximately 3U children, aged 12 to 15; preventing them from fighting or from throwing pencils or erasers at each other (of which there have been many instances resulting in tort actions against the Board of Education, involving serious injury to pupils);
marking roll books, examinations, or other written work; preventing cheating on examinations; writing on the blackboard; fire drills; going up and down stairs quickly in emergencies; use of textbooks; keeping the room clean; performing other administrative duties during non-teaching periods, etc."
What is most remarkable about this argument is that, since there are presently no blind teachers at all in the New York City school system, the numerous disciplinary problems referred to cannot be attributed to blindness -- nor, just as obviously, can the possession of sight by the teacher be regarded as the answer to them. Surely the matter of adequate discipline, or lack of it, depends upon other factors and qualities than that of vision -- as, indeed, the affidavits collected from blind teachers
elsewhere who have successfully handled classroom discipline, as well as all the other administrative details indicated, should have made abundantly clear to the judges.
In their dissent favoring Chavich's petition, the other two judges in the case struck hard at the majority opinion that the state's antidiscrimination law is inapplicable to New York City. "At the core of this controversy stands the statute," the minority declared. "It is inconceivable that v/hen the legislature directed the [state] commissioner of education not to disqualify blind persons, it meant to exempt from that mandate the local school authorities under his jurisdiction and supervision.
"On a matter affecting so vitally and equally all of the people of the state, it would indeed be an anomaly to hold that the legislature intended to set up different standards for different portions of the state. For such dual standards would exclude New York City -- the most populous area of the state -- and would thus devitalize the new policy and render the amendment self-defeating."
The two dissenting judges went on to argue forcefully that blindness has never been a valid bar to successful teaching: "The efficacy of the blind teacher at all levels of instruction in the public schools is attested by the undisputed facts in this record. Equally important, it is further attested by the facts of history: Since the sixteenth century the utilization of blind teachers has gained acceptance throughout the civilized world and has produced teachers of renown in every field of endeavor. . ."
Even in dissent, unfortunately, the judges were led to maintain that the disciplinary functions of which the majority opinion made so much were not properly to be regarded as tests of a teacher's competence. By inference they were prepared to concede the inability of blind teachers to carry out these functions and disciplines adequately. This concession to the prejudicial views of the majority is, of course, unnecessary and erroneous. Whether or not such matters are relevant to the determination of teaching competence, the plain fact is that blind teachers throughout the country can and do perform them without difficulty.
In conclusion, the dissenting judges asserted that "by its action the Board has subverted the fundamental educational policy of the state. Obviously, no political subdivision of the state and no board of education of any such subdivision should be empowered to undermine or thwart the educational policy established by the state itself."
The next move in the Chavich case, already initiated, is an appeal of the negative decision to the highest state court, the Court of Appeals, The barely disguised prejudice of this court's decision against blind teachers -- stubbornly adhered to in the face of compelling testimony not only from blind teachers across the land but from school superintendents and others with firsthand knowledge of their performance -- is a vestige of outdated stereotypes which ill befits a court of justice. Americans both blind and sighted will be interested to learn whether the spirit of equality, and the facts of experience, will prevail in the higher court over the forces of ignorance and superstition reflected in the majority opinion of the New York Supreme Court's Appellate Division.
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The new Albany location for California's Orientation Center for the Blind, which opened its doors late last year, was formally dedicated in ceremonies held April 9. The installation, one of the leading orientation centers in the country, had been situated in Oakland since its founding in 1951 but was forced to move in order to make room for a freeway.
The April dedication ceremonies were accompanied by speeches and an open house to which the public was invited for day-long tours and demonstrations.
Under the management of its veteran director, Allen Jenkins, the new and enlarged facilities will enable the orientation center to provide training and other services for 60 newly blinded adults annually. The trainees, who come from all parts of the state to reside at the center for the duration of training, are given instruction aimed at rebuilding personal resources in the direction of self-confidence and self-support.
In addition to the basic objectives of psychological and social orientation for the newly blinded, the California center teaches a variety of specialized skills including independent travel; communications, such as braille and typing; daily living routines such as grooming, dialing telephones and identification of money; industrial arts, home economics, business methods and physical conditioning.
One of the biggest problems confronting newly blinded persons, with which the orientation center seeks to deal, is that of overcoming the false image that blindness means despair and frustration of one's life goals, according to Jenkins. At a press conference preceding the dedication ceremonies, the center's chief administrator outlined the programs and objectives of his orientation facility.
"We have come a very, very long way in dispelling the old theory that the blind should be segregated from society and stay in a home for the rest of their lives," he said. "But it still doesn't mean that we haven't a long, long way yet to go in convincing people that the blind can be independent and productive memers of society."
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By Kenneth Jernigan
First Vice President
National Federation of the Blind
How many times have you thought of going to Washington? How many times have you said to yourself, "What a thrill it would be to visit the Capitol and see Congress in action; visit the White House and meet the President; visit the imposing marble structure where the Supreme Court meets and makes historic decisions, some of which have shaken our society to its very foundation! And then, there is Mount Vernon, birth- place of the father of our country; Ford Theatre, where the Great Emancipator was shot; and Arlington National Cemetery, place of the Kennedy gravesite and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Add to these the great
Smithsonian, the Pentagon Building, the National Cathedral, B'nai B'rith, Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial."
Well, make this dream a reality. Attend the Silver Anniversary Convention of the National Federation of the Blind to be held in the "Hotel of Presidents," Washington's aristocratic Mayflower, July 6-9, 1965.
There is so much to see in Washington, D.C. Every American, from childhood on, is imaginatively and emotionally attracted to see his nation's capitol. He knows he will feel at home, even before he gets there -- for this wondrous, shining city belongs to all Americans.
Here, in Washington, are the national shrines, the stately public buildings, the foreign embassies and the historic tree-lined avenues where history is made; the city is alive with a cultural spirit all its own.
The late John F. Kennedy spoke of Washington as the Federal City, the hub of political activity. It houses, in addition to the imposing array of tourist attractions already mentioned, numerous other Federal Buildings such as: Veteran's Administration -- servant to American inactive military men; Justice Department -- home of the Attorney General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation; State Department -- factory of our foreign policy; Department of Interior -- guardian of our national
resources; Treasury Department -- holder of the nation's purse strings; Commerce Department -- overseer of America's numerous business enterprises; Department of Defense -- watchdog of the nation's military might; Labor Department -- coordinator of employer-employee relation- ships; Post Office Department -- distributor of America's mountains of mail; Department of Health, Education, and Welfare -- headquarters for those who minister to the nation's needs.
In terms of history, the nation's capital pays homage to most of America's great, from quaint old Georgetown with its 18th century homes (now the residence of the city's elite society) to the C&O Canal that was once Washington's "seaport on the Potomac."
View the Iwo Jima Statue, the Jefferson Memorial, the Francis Scott Key Bridge, the statue in Lafayette Square, memorial to the men of the Titanic, Sheridan Circle, or the Nathan Hale Statue and the Ben Franklin memorial. Or, tour the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Custis-Lee Mansion, the Executive Office Building next door to the White House, the National Geographic Society, the Naval Gun Factory, and National Archives and the Dumbarton Oaks estates.
Visit the Library of Congress, the Wax Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the Constitution Hall, the beautiful Botanical Gardens, the Freer Gallery of Arts, the Franciscan Monastery, the Islamic Center and Mosque, the famed Cosmos Club, the Lisner Auditorium for the Performing Arts, or see the changing of the guards at the National Memorial Amphitheatre.
Be a part of a new artistic sensation, attend Washington's famous Watergate Stage. Listen to a symphony under star-studded skies and hear the rippling waters of the Potomac murmur a soft and restful background. Or, if you prefer the modern, there is the Carter Baron Amphitheatre where most of our modern artists appear; but if your taste tends toward the local, then go to the Sylvan Amphitheatre where local artists display their many talents.
To round things out, add to these the gourmet restaurants offering a variety of cuisine to tempt the most fastidious palates. There are the French and the German restaurants, the Italian and the Chinese, the small and intimate, the large and palatial, the downbeat and the offbeat, you name it, Washington has it.
So, we will see you in Washington at the Convention!
The convention will open at 10:00 Tuesday morning, July 6, and will adjourn at 5 p.m. Friday, July 9. Single rooms at the Mayflower Hotel are $7.00; twins, $11.00. The banquet will be held on Thursday, July 8, priced at $4.95 (including tip and tax). If you have not yet requested reservations, write immediately to: Reservations Manager, Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C.
For further details on Washington convention plans and program, see "NFB Pre-Convention Bulletin," THE BRAILLE MONITOR, January 1965.
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Ohio's needy blind face a serious threat to their welfare this year in the form of a bill recently introduced in the state legislature which would strip Aid to the Blind of its progressive features and impose upon blind recipients the harshest provisions of other public assistance programs.
The bill, H.B. 376, seeks to merge the blind aid program with those for the aged (AFA) and the disabled (AD) to conform with federal requirements under Title XVI -- the catch-all title which lures the states into compliance by the promise of added federal funds and of administrative economies through uniform standards.
The Ohio bill extends to blind and disabled clients the lien law on recipients' property now in effect only for the aged -- instead of abolishing the harsh lien provisions in order to make the three programs uniform.
Again, rather than reduce the existing three-year residence requirement for the blind and aged to the more liberal one-year law of the disabled program, the bill proposes to fasten the three-year residence term upon the disabled as well.
In short, the Ohio measure is a long step backward from the standpoint of all three recipient groups whose differing needs and characteristics are disregarded in the interest of administrative convenience and false economy. The bill is presently undergoing legislative hearings at which opposing testimony will be presented by the Ohio Council of the Blind along with other like-minded groups.
In a release distributed to state legislators by Clyde E. Ross, chairman of the Ohio Council's public relations committee, the lawmakers have been urged to reject the bill or amend it to preserve the distinctive features of the three aid programs involved.
The Ohio Council asked the legislature to make the following amendment:
1. To base grants on something higher than minimum subsistance standards.
2. To set up definite formulas for grant, for medical care and for administration.
3. To reduce the residential requirements to one year.
4. To increase the burial fee to $480.00.
5. To make the hospital stay of indigent people, unlimited, subject to the doctor's decision.
6. To require the issuance of warrants by the County Treasurers.
7. To eliminate liens on all categories.
8. To limit the powers of the State Welfare Director.
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Joined by 41 members of the Senate -- 27 Democrats and 14 Republicans -- Indiana Senator Vance Hartke, on April 13, introduced S. 1787, the Federation's bill to liberalize the provisions of the Disability Insurance Law for blind persons.
The Senate bill, identical to H. R. 6426 which was previously introduced in the House by Congressman Cecil R. King of California, is similar to the "Humphrey Amendment" offered last September by then Senator Hubert H. Humphrey. The "Humphrey Amendment" was adopted by the Senate by voice vote -- without a single voice raised in opposition -- but was lost when Congress adjourned without reaching agreement on a Social Security bill last year.
In his introductory speech accompanying the Disability Insurance bill, Senator Hartke said in part:
"Mr. President, it has been my privilege to introduce and work, for many measures for the benefit of the blind during the years since I first came to this body in 1958. Such legislation has been one of my special interests, and I would be pleased in any case to offer this legislation today. But it is a special pleasure to do so at the express request of the Vice President, whose election removed from him the opportunity to present the bill again as he would otherwise have done. Indeed, he addressed me in a letter dated November 29, 1964, asking that I carry on the promotion of this legislation in the 89th Congress. I am glad to be able to do so not only on my own behalf and his, but also on behalf of the other Senators whose names appear as co-sponsors of the bill,"
S. 1787 would do the following:
First, It would incorporate the generally recognized and widely used definition of blindness into the provisions of the disability insurance law: that is, blindness is central visional acuity greater than 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting lenses, or visual acuity greater than 20/200 if accompanied by a limitation in the field of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees.
Second, It would allow any person who meets this definition in visual loss, and who has worked in social security covered employment for a year and a half -- six quarters--to qualify for disability cash benefits.
Third, It would allow persons who meet the above requirements in measurable sightlessness and length of time in covered employment to draw disability benefits, and to continue to draw them, so long as they remain blind -- and irrespective of their income or earnings, if they are fortunate enough to be employed.
Senator Hartke plans to offer S. 1787 as an amendment when the Finance Committee, of which he is a member, considers H. R. 6675, the House-passed Social Security amending bill.
Federationists and friends are urged to send telegrams and letters to their Senators, telling them of the need for the Hartke-King legislation and asking them to support S. 1787, by advising Chairman Harry F. Byrd and the other members of the Finance Committee of their approval of this bill.
If your Senator's name appears on the list of cosponsors printed below, thank him for joining Senator Hartke in sponsoring this progressive measure, and emphasize how important it is for every blind American that S. 1787 be enacted into law.
List of Cosponsors of S. 1787
Caleb Boggs, Delaware Daniel Brewster, Maryland John Sherman Cooper, Ky. Everett Dirksen, 111, Paul J. Fannin, Arizona Hiram Fong, Hawaii Ernest Gruening, Alaska Philip Hart, Mich. Daniel Inouye, Hawaii Thomas Kuchel, Calif. Edward V. Long, Mo. Warren G. Magnuson, Wash. Eugene McCarthy, Minn.,Gale McGee, Wyo., George McGovern, S.D., Joseph M. Montoya, New Mexico, Wayne Morse, Oregon, Thruston Morton, Ky., Frank Moss, Utah, Maurine Newberger, Oregon, Claiborne Pell, R. I., Winston Prouty, Vt., Jennings Randolph, West Va., Hugh Scott, Pa., Milward Simpson, Wyo., Joseph Tydings, Maryland, Ralph Yarborough, Texas, Milton Young, North Dakota, Abraham Ribicoff, Ct., Edward Kennedy, Mass., John Pastore, R.I., Howard Cannon, Nevada, Carl T. Curtis, Nebraska, Birch Bayh, Indiana, Gaylord Nelson, Wisconsin, Joseph Clark, Pa., Harrison Williams, N. J., Henry Jackson, Washington, Thomas Mclntyre, N.H., Karl Mundt, S.D., John Williams, Delaware,
The Members of the Senate Finance Committee are:
Harry F. Byrd, Ch., Va., Russell Long, La., Clinton Anderson, New Mexico, Albert Gore, Tenn., Eugene McCarthy, Minn., J. W. Fullbright, Ark., John J. Williams, Delaware, Wallace Bennett, Utah, Thruston, Morton, Ky., George Smathers, Florida, Paul Douglas, 111, Herman Talmadge, Ga, Vance Hartke, Indiana, Abraham Ribicoff, Ct., Frank Carlson, Kansas, Carl T. Curtis, Nebraska, Everett Dirksen, 111.
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Broadening the coverage of Florida's welfare programs to persons needing help in paying hospital bills is being sought by the state welfare board. In addition, more than 15 million dollars is sought over the next biennium to provide coverage for visiting nurse service for the aged, blind and disabled, provide medicines for aid to dependent children recipients and provide direct payments for dental devices for all recipients, along with other new services.
The Washington State Association of the Blind, Inc., will hold its annual convention August 5 through 7 at Seattle's Doric Mayflower Hotel. Reservations and information are available from the convention chairman, N. E. Ridge, 3017 South Walden, Seattle. ... A new list of the correspondence courses taught by the Hadley School for the Blind, 700 Elm Street, Winnetka, Illinois, is available in both print and braille editions.
The annual convention of the Iowa Association of the Blind is scheduled for June 4, 5 and 6 at the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School in Vinton, Iowa. Perry Sundquist, NFB executive committee member, has accepted an invitation to address the convention. . . . John C. Lysen has resigned after 31 years as superintendent of the Braille and Sight Saving School in Faribault, Minnesota.
The age-old abacus appears to be an unusually hot item this month. The American Printing House for the Blind announces that Using the Kranmer Abacus for the Blind is available in a large-type edition. The Hadley School for the Blind reports that it is offering a correspondence course on the use of the abacus. And still another abacus course will be given at the University of Kentucky this summer, duplicating one offered last year. Information on the latter course may be obtained from Dr. Albert S. Levy, Coordinator of Special Education, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.
The Cleveland chapter of the American Red Cross is working on a project to reproduce a manual for amateur radio operators in braille with raised diagrams on brailon plastic. Completion date is not yet known. . . . The Blind Veterans Association will hold its 20th annual convention at New York City's Statler-Hilton Hotel July 12 to 17.
Encouraging note from Kentucky: In a letter to Bob Whitehead, president of the Kentucky Federation, Governor Breathitt has gone on record as follows: "I have inquired as to the status of stands for the blind in the colleges and parks and I find that, indeed, no stands are as yet operating in these locations. While I can understand that the stands could cause some difficulties, particularly if improperly located within the colleges or parks, I cannot imagine that these difficulties are insurmountable." The governor has accordingly directed appropriate officials to take steps to establish such stands. Now how about the other states?
From PROGRESS REPORT, published semi-annually by the Progressive Blind of Missouri: "Let's take a good look at our charming president, Mrs. W. W. Beedle, who is known to all her friends as 'Tiny.' Tiny was born Ethel G. Newman, a few years ago now, at Reading, Kansas. Tiny has only partial vision, so she received her education at the Kansas School for the Blind. In 1932 she married a classmate, Wilbur W. Beedle of Parsons, Kansas, and there she helped her husband operate a grocery store. 1942 brought Tiny and her family to Missouri, where she first worked as a supervisor for the Kansas City Association for the Blind. . . . Tiny is active in club work, is adept at handwork, and is a successful businesswoman, successfully operating a vending stand in the U.S. Department of Agriculture building in Kansas City. She has three children and six grandchildren, and this is amazing, because she is a very young lady."
The MONTANA OBSERVER notes that, while there is yet no adequate substitute for the old braille Baby Ben alarm clock, the Gilbert Company's Century alarm clock -- sold at Montgomery Ward stores for $2.75 -- has raised numerals which can be read by touch, and the glass is easily removed. . . . Twenty regional librarians of the Library of Congress's Division for the Blind participated with numerous other representatives m a recent workshop sponsored by the Division. Special
guests of the three-day workshop were John Nagle. National Federation of the Blind, Ed Brown, Canada's National Librarian for the Blind, and Irv Schloss, of the American Foundation.
James R. Titterington, president of the North Jersey Association of the Blind for six terms, died unexpectedly in his Patterson (N. J.) home on March 15, 1965. He was head of the association until last year when he retired from office. A president for seven terms of the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club of South Patterson, Titterington lost his sight about 30 years ago. Last year he was awarded an athletic club award for unselfish service to the blind and for his many community activities.
The Federated Blind of North Dakota will hold its 1965 convention in Fargo June 12 and 13. Headquartered at the Gardner Hotel, the convention will feature an address at the Saturday night banquet by John F. Nagle, chief of the Washington office of the National Federation. . . . "Firemen credited a blind man with saving the lives of two of his children when fire trapped them in a third-floor bedroom in East Boston," according to an Associated Press dispatch. "Firemen said Anthony Monteiro, 52, got Rosalie, four and Anthony, Jr., two, and carried them to safety as fire swept their home."
The Vocational Rehabilitation Administration has made a grant to the National Institutes on Rehabilitation and Health Services to conduct a National Conference on Organized Labor and Sheltered Workshops, according to an announcement by the National Institutes. The conference has been tentatively scheduled for late August this year, with further details to be revealed as plans are completed.
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