DECEMBER ISSUE 1964
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 25, California.
Inkprint edition produced and distributed by the National Federation of the Blind, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, California.
Acting Editor: Jacobus tenBroek
Assistant Editor: Floyd W. Matson
2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, California.
News items and changes of address should be sent to the Editor.
LEGAL VICTORY FOR BLIND PEDESTRIANS
THE BLIND AS TEACHERS OF MUSIC
By Cora Rusten Middaugh
BLIND LANGUAGE STUDENTS SOUGHT
PERRIN MC ELROY DIES AFTER RE-ELECTION
NEW ENLARGED BOOKS FOR PARTIALLY SEEING
TWO BRAND NEW FEDERATIONISTS
SENATOR RANDOLPH LAUDS ORGANIZED BLIND
OHIO'S SCHOOL FOR MULTIPLY HANDICAPPED
NOTES ON WORK FOR THE BLIND IN HONG KONG
By Lucy Ching
A PROTEST AGAINST FEDERATION POLICIES
By Maria K. Baumann
BLIND PEACE CORPSMAN IN NEPAL
FRIENDS OF BLIND WIN AT POLLS
By John F. Nagle
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT'S JOB RECORD HAILED
EDUCATION OF BLIND CHILDREN
By Ruth Friedman
NEW NFB WHITE CANE WEEK CHAIRMAN
STATE CONVENTION ROUNDUP
"Thou shalt not place a stumbling-block before the blind"
This Biblical command has been given a new significance as the result of a recent judicial decision handed down by England's House of Lords which in effect rules that those who dig trenches in sidewalks must not place "stumbling-blocks" in the path of the blind. Instead they must take reasonable precautions to safeguard the blind against injury.
In the case of Haley v. London Electricity Board, decided last July 28, the committee of British Law Lords sitting as the equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court, broke new judicial ground in their ruling that those who use the streets and highways for operations, such as construction work, owe a duty to blind and to sighted persons to provide reasonable safeguards to protect them against danger.
The English decision, which involved elaborate citations of American as well as British legal precedents, is binding upon British well in the following two ways:
1- Safeguards must be provided, wherever obstructions or stumbling blocks have been placed along regular routes of travel, for the protection of all persons who may reasonably be expected to use those routes, including the blind and other handicapped. This extension of the doctrine of "reasonable care and foreseeability" in effect lays down new law on the subject, overturning the traditional doctrine which has limited the obligation of contractors to that of exercising reasonable care in protection of the sighted and able-bodied alone.
2- The decision greatly reinforces the legal role of the white can (or other walking stick) by emphasizing that a blind person walking without a cane is automatically guilty of contributory negligence in case of accident or injury.
The case arose out of a 1956 accident incurred by John Haley, a blind London telephone operator, while walking on his regular morning route to a bus stop. The Electricity Board had dug a 60-foot-long trench along the pavement, and guarded it at one end by placing a punner-hammer across the pavement with its handle less than a foot above the ground. Haley, walking along the pavement unaware of the excavation, tripped over the punner-hammer and fell, striking his head on the pavement with such force that he became deaf.
At the original trial, and on appeal to the Court of Appeals, Haley's claim was rejected on the conventional grounds that adequate precautions had been taken for "normal" that is, sighted persons and that if a blind person chose to venture along the route he "took it upon himself the risk of colliding with any obstruction therein"
In contrast, all five members of the House of Lords Committee agreed in upholding Haley and finding the Electricity Board guilty of negligence. Excerpts from two of their Lordships' opinions follow:
Lord Reid....If it was the duty of the respondents to have in mind the needs of blind or infirm pedestrians I think that what they did was quite insufficient. Indeed, the evidence shows that an obstacle attached to a heavy weight and only nine inches above the ground may well escape detection by a blind man's stick and is for him a trap rather than a warning. So the question for your Lordships' decision is the nature and extent of the duty owed to pedestrians by persons who carry out operations on a city pavement. The respondents argue that they were only bound to have in mind or to safeguard ordinary able-bodied people and were under no obligation to give particular consideration to the blind or infirm. If that is right, it means that a blind or infirm person who goes out alone goes at his peril. He may meet obstacles which are a danger to him but not to those with good sight because no one is under any obligation to remove or protect them. And if such an obstacle causes him injury he must suffer the damage in silence.
I could understand the respondents' contention if it was based on an argument that it was not reasonably foreseeable that a blind person might pass along that pavement on that day; or that,although foreseeable, the chance of a blind man coming therewas so small and the difficulty of affording protection to him sogreat that it would have been in the circumstances unreasonableto afford that protection. Those are well recognized grounds ofdefence. But in my judgment neither is open to the respondentsin this case.
In deciding what is reasonably foreseeable one must have regard tocommon knowledge. We are all accustomed to meeting blindpeople walking alone with their white sticks on city pavements.No doubt there are many places open to the public where for onereason or another one would be surprised to see a blind personwalking alone, but a city pavement is not one of them. And aresidential street cannot be different from any other. The blindpeople we meet must live somewhere and most of them probably left their homes unaccompanied. It may seem surprising thatblind people can avoid ordinary obstacles so well as they do,but we must take account of the facts. There is evidence in this case about the number of blind people in London and it appearsfrom Government publications that the proportion in the whole country is near one in 500. By no means are all sufficiently skilled or confident to venture out alone but the number who habitually do so must be very large. I find it quite impossible to say that it is not reasonably foreseeable that a blind person may pass along a particular pavement on a particular day.
No question can arise in this case of any great difficulty in affording adequate protection for the blind. In considering what is adequate protection again one must have regard to common knowledge. One is entitled to expect of a blind person a high degree of skill and care because none but the most foolhardy would venture to go out alone without having that skill and exercising that care. We know that in fact blind people do safely avoid all ordinary obstacles on pavements; there can be no question of padding lamp posts as was suggested in one case. But a moments reflection shows that a low obstacle in an unusual place is a grave danger: on the other hand, it is clear from the evidence in this case and also I think from common knowledge that quite a light fence some two feet high is an adequate warning. There would have been no difficulty in providing such a fence here. . . .So if the respondents are to succeed it can only be on the groundthat there was no duty to do more than safeguard ordinary ablebodied people. . . .
I can see no justification for laying down any hard-and-fast rule limiting the classes of persons for whom those interfering with a pavement must make provision. It is said that it is impossible to tell what precautions will be adequate to protect all kinds of infirm pedestrians or that taking such precautions would be unreasonably difficult or expensive. I think that such fears are exaggerated. . . . It appears to me that the ordinary principles of the common law must apply in streets as well as elsewhere, and that fundamentally they depend on what a reasonable man, careful of his neighbour's safety, would do having the knowledge which a reasonable man in the position of the defendant must be deemed to have. . .
Lord Morton of Henryton . . . . There is no dispute as to the facts, and only two questions arise for decision--first, what is the duty owed by those who engage on operations on the pavement of a highway, and, secondly, was that duty discharged in the present case.
My Lords, I would answer the first question as follows. It is their duty to take reasonable care not to act in a way likely to endanger other persons who may reasonably be expected to walk along the pavement. That duty is owed to blind persons if the operators foresee or ought to have foreseen that blind persons may walk along the pavement and is in no way different from the duty owed to persons with sight, though the carrying out of the duty may involve extra precautions in the case of blind pedestrians. I think that everyone living in Greater London must have seen blind persons walking slowly along on the pavement and waving a white stick in front of them, so as to touch any obstruction which may be in their way, and I think that the respondents' workmen ought to have foreseen that a blind person might well come along the pavement in question. . . .1 would allow the appeal. Counsel for the respondents submitted that a decision against them would have very far-reaching consequences and would make it necessary for persons working in any public place to take elaborate and extreme precautions to prevent blind persons from suffering injury. My Lords, I do not think that the consequences would be so serious as counsel suggest, bearing in mind, first, that there are many places to which one would not reasonably expect a blind person to go unaccompanied and, secondly, that workmen are entitled to assume that such a person will take reasonable care to protect himself, by using a stick in order to ascertain if there is anything in his way and by stopping if his stick touches any object.
Copies of the full opinions may be obtained by writing to the editorial offices of the BRAILLE MONITOR, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California. 94708
Back to Contents
By Cora Rusten Middaugh
(Editor's note: The author and her husband, Earl Middaugh, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, are both totally blind Federationists, and longtime readers of THE BRAILLE MONITOR.) I write this in the hope that some blind people who read it will think seriously of engaging in the teaching of music as their profession. It may be quite a lucrative one if you have a centrally located studio; but if you are a home-maker with or without a family, one of the advantages is that it can be carried on right in your home studio. Even if you cannot obtain all the modern teaching material in braille, some of the old material can be used with excellent results. Much of our modern teaching material is very discordant and not musical anyway, and thus not at all conducive to best results for children.
If you start teaching when you are young, or decide that that is what you wish to do, you can copy much of your material yourself on a Braille writer. There are also voluntary transcribers who are fine for this work, if you submit your copies a long time in advance; or you may get a sighted person to dictate from the print score. Of course, you can secure a lot of teaching material from our Braille publishing houses. Avail yourself of all the Braille music catalogues you can get.
These are the methods I have used in my thirty years of teaching music. Before I was married, I taught piano, violin and voice in small towns, giving free public recitals in which I explained how it was possible for a blind person to teach, and demonstrating how we read and write Braille and memorize music. I also sometimes wrote little articles about the benefits of music lessons which served to advertise my teaching for the local paper. I would have as many as five towns a week as my music lesson territory. I also was a pianist in churches and directed anthems and cantatas for special occasions.
I began giving public concerts when I was 14 years old and continued until the early years of my marriage in 1937. I also played the piano for movie theaters before the days of sound transcription, and made many radio appearances as guest pianist, playing over WNAC in Boston when I attended the New England Conservatory (from which I graduated in 1930).
For purposes of advertising your work, you might put an ad in your local suburban paper, if you live in a big city, or in your local community paper. If you live in a large city, join a group of teachers on the order of The Minnesota Music Teacher's Association, or like our Music Teacher's Forum and our Music Teacher's Guild, composed of Minneapolis and suburban teachers. I have belonged to the Music Teacher's Forum since its founding in 1942, and it has been a great inspiration to me, as we can discuss mutual problems, and enjoy a lot of good fellowship at our meetings. We give certificates of merit to our students if they have no missed lessons during the school year, or have made them up.
I have gone out to the homes of students to teach; but for many years now, my pupils all come to our home, which is a much better way. If you have a teacher's certificate, you can expect to obtain two dollars a lesson. You do not have to be a genius to teach music; but you must have patience, perseverance, authority, and be able to meet the child somewhat on his own level. Never forget that you were once a child yourself. Also, if you have high school pupils, try to get the superintendent to give them credit for their lessons from you, which will make each one a much better student. This at least has been my experience. And I hope that it may be yours as well.
Back to Contents
About twelve blind students with high language aptitudes and a record of scholastic achievement in high school are being sought around the country to train as linguists in Arabic and Chinese in a new program at Occidental College, Los Angeles, California.
The program, supported in part by funds from the U.S. Vocational Rehabilitation Administration, is patterned upon a similar VRA sponsored program at Georgetown University in Washington, D. C., where blind students have been learning Russian since I960, and, since 1962, German.
Students enrolled in the language classes at Occidental will be taking a regular academic program leading to a B.A. degree. Attainment of the degree is expected to take five years because of the heavy concentration which both Arabic and Chinese will require.
"Experience has shown that, despite their severe disability, blind persons, by using special devices including recording and play-back equipment, are just as capable of learning a foreign language as sighted persons, and in some respects are even superior. One study has shown, for example, that while sighted linguists are likely to have a larger vocabulary than blind, blind persons ordinarily are superior in pronunciation to their sighted counterparts," said Miss Mary E. Switzer, Commissioner of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Tuition for the blind students will be paid for by VRA and room and board by the vocational rehabilitation agency in the State where they live, except in cases where the students can afford to pay their own expenses. It is hoped that the blind students will be enrolled for the college term starting in January, 1965.
Back to Contents
Perrin D. McElroy, prominent member of the Progressive Blind of Missouri and longtime public official in his home county, died November 4 only a few hours after gaining victory in his battle for re-election.
Federationists who attended the NFB's 1961 convention in Kansas City will remember McElroy's eloquent speech describing his years of service as public administrator of Jackson County. He would have completed his 16th year in the office this December.
The day before his death McElroy, a Democrat, had easily won re-election to a fifth term over his Republican opponent. One of his chief campaign managers was George Rittgers, president of the Progressive Blind of Missouri. Earlier McElroy had easily won the August 4 primary in the face of stiff competition for the influential administrative position.
McElroy, who became blind at the age of 43, rose from labor union ranks to a position of prominence in civic affairs. He served as chairman of the board of Kansas City's housing authority, was an honorary director of Rockhurst College, and was a member of the Jackson County Historical Society as well as other civic groups.
On his way up through union ranks, McElroy employed his musical talent, playing with a number of bands including the Ted Weems orchestra, and later with his own band. He was married in 1937 and lost his eyesight nine years later.
First elected as public administrator in 1948, McElroy was honored in 1955 for his role as labor and civil leader at a testimonial dinner attended by more than 400 persons.
Back to Contents
A new technological improvement of photocopying methods is making it possible for many "legally blind" students to read the same books as their fellow pupils, according to a United Press International report released in mid-October.
The photocopying machine, which enlarges book pages to 10-by-15 inches, is now being used by educational groups in New York, Maryland, Arizona and Massachusetts, the news agency report stated.
Until this year most legally blind children--defined as those who can see with corrected vision at 20 feet what normally sighted persons see at 200 feet--could rarely read exactly what others were reading in the same classroom. Specially designed books with large type, or tape recorders and magnifying devices, had to be introduced.
Many students in the five states who formerly required special schooling are now reading the enlarged books in such subjects as biology, history, business law, chemistry, civics, grammar and composition, it was said. As many as 80 percent of the 16,000 to 17,000 legally blind school age children in the nation are believed able to use enlarged print books. In the process of enlarging, pages of the original book are microfilmed, then enlarged and printed out on a continuous printer that turns out more than 1,000 pages an hour--at a cost of 10-to-17 cents per page. An average six-inch by nine-inch textbook is expanded to about one and one-half its normal size, the UPI reported.
Back to Contents
To: National Federation of the Blind
You can never know how refreshing it was for me to read the Braille Monitor for August, 1964, which was given to me by a friend who receives it by mail. No one likes to be alone, and for two entire years I have felt very much alone in an uphill fight against tyranny, which seemed to be fruitless at the least and the unreasonable babbling of an ungrateful rebel at the most. Since May, 1962, my husband and I have suffered much from the hands of "helpful" agencies for the blind. Sighted people everywhere have preached that we could find no better, and blind people too, have insisted that there was nothing we could do but conform. But I was sure there was someone, somewhere, who felt as I do. My husband and I met and became engaged at the Jamaica, Queens, training center of the Industrial Home for the Blind. Our engagement was immediately opposed. Perhaps this agency did not practice racial prejudice, but a non-Puerto Rican had been showing much interest in me, and this had been rather favored. They tried everything to separate Angelo and me, including telling him that I had been in a mental institution and telling me that he was incapable of working. I had never seen a mental institution, or been near one, and he had worked for 12 years in Puerto Rico. When they had failed with everything else, they sent me home stating that there was no job they could find for me in New York City, not even with four years of college, typing and dictaphone experience, switchboard experience, and all the skills necessary for caring for myself.
On July 14, 1962, no thanks to the I. H. B. , Angelo and I were married. He was then in training to work in one of the sheltered shops operated by the agency where he would receive 65£ an hour minimum. Angelo did protest about the conditions under which he worked. He even wanted to bring a union into the shop but quickly changed his tune when someone told him that he could be let go for so much as mentioning such a thing.
I had written to a blind friend of mine asking about the legality of such practices and the possibility of congressional investigation. He agreed that this did not seem right, but he added that he had had experience with congressmen in similar circumstances and that they had invariably gone to these agencies for their information and so had done little. There were also such intrusions into our privacy on the part of their workers as looking through every corner of our apartment, including the bedrooms, listening at the door of Angelo's parents' apartment, and other apartments in the building and insisting that when Angelo was sick, it was because of problems at home and when he protested about the job, he did not really wish to work. One woman came to visit us every week whether we liked it or not. Every time she came, she insisted that we had to have problems about which to talk to her. One day, I told her that a former professor of mine had mentioned the possibility of my writing for a city newspaper. There was a chance that I could do this from my own home, and I had studied journalism. With a baby on its way, I thought this a wonderful idea and asked the woman from the I. H. B. if she could look into it for me . Her answer was classic: "You still have many things to get out of the welfare, " she told me. "You shouldn't even think of such a thing until you have received all you can from them."
When they let Angelo go, we asked again if there were no vending stand that he could operate. They replied that his English was too poor. I have known of people with poorer English than his with very successful businesses of their own. Also, there are large sections of New York City where Spanish is spoken by nearly everyone. Because of conditions of the apartment in which we were living and considerable concern about the baby's health, we moved to my home town. But we did not move until the I. H. B. had assured us that Angelo could not receive employment of any kind through them and had as much as refused to send him to classes in English which were being held for blind people so that he might learn the language more quickly.
I write this not merely to air my own personal problems. I do write it, however, to point out vividly what you doubtless already know: that although the blind have come a long way on the road to acceptance by and equality with the sighted, there is still a long way to go. Many blind persons today have a choice either to be a puppet who must jump when someone else pulls the string or to sit at home with nothing to do.
Why? A sighted person in a factory does not have to accept 65£ an hour minimum or nothing. A sighted person has no one telling him whom he can and cannot marry and trying to force him to, or not to, marry his choice. A sighted adult does not have someone treating him like a child who is incapable of making decisions for himself or of managing his own affairs. We do not ask for rights over and above those given to sighted people, but they can scarcely expect us to settle for anything less. The people at the State School said that the blind are in no way different from the sighted. It took much time and many hardships and heartaches to discover that at present this is not so.
My husband and I have not lost hope. We are devoting our time now to raising Valerie the best we can, but if we search and try hard enough, someday we shall find something.
Now that we have found an organization to which we are akin in hope and feeling, we should like to work with it to better the lot of the blind people everywhere who may be in situations similar to or worse than our own. To this end, we should like to request a copy in full of the resolutions adopted by the Phoenix Convention.
One person alone can do little, but many people united can do much. If the people of the Federation are uniting to attempt to cure some of the economical and social ills which I have described in this letter, then long live the NFB, and thank God for those who are willing to stand up and fight for what they know to be right rather than to lie down and be walked on by those who would be their keepers. Do me a favor, and keep up the good work.
Very truly yours,
Mrs. Patricia Snyder Ortiz
Seneca Falls, New York
Back to Contents
Saturday, August 15, 1964, was a red-letter day for the West Virginia Federation of the Blind. Their successful convention was made especially memorable by the banquet address of Senator Jennings Randolph, father of the Randolph-Shepard Vending Stand Act and the 1956 winner of the Newel Perry Award of the National Federation of the Blind. Space limitations permit reprinting only a brief excerpt from his speech:
"To each of you at this Convention, I extend my congratulations. I share your pride in the substantial growth of the National Federation of the Blind and I recall that it is the first and foremost nation-wide organization of blind men and women in America! The West Virginia Federation is contributing to the strength and effectiveness of that respected organization. "
"By your very presence you have demonstrated your active interest in achieving for blind persons the right and responsibility to exercise to the fullest their individual talents and abilities, and to participate as citizens in a world that is today moved and motivated as never before by contradictions and challenges of peoples everywhere...."
"I speak from personal knowledge in stating with emphasis that there is no other group of our citizens who are doing more to help themselves and to acknowledge their responsibilities than are our citizens who are without their sight. Their courage, determination and industriousness have been demonstrated."
"Their goals, which have often been expressed to me, are just and reasonable: the chance to live on the basis of equality--to work on the same basis as others in employment for which they are qualified by training and ability, to compete as equals in the open labor market of our economy and earn an adequate living for themselves and their families. These goals are worthy of every assistance that Congress can provide."
"As usual, your organization has been helpful in providing informative and purposeful support in the effort to bring forth legislation which will encourage sightless Americans to take their rightful place as productive members of society. You have sought important revisions and improvements in the Social Security Act. You have supported legislation which would remove residence requirements in state programs of aid to the blind. Your positive influence has been felt in deliberations on measures dealing with education, tax revision, vocational training, the minimum wage, and other issues of national and international significance."
"Not all of these bills, or even the majority of them, will achieve Congressional approval during this session. However, you are well aware that we are moving nearer to our goals by contributing to public discussion, and the seeds which are sown today will bloom at some future time in the form of additional benefits, incentives and freedom of action for the blind."
Back to Contents
A new school for blind children suffering from additional handicaps has opened its doors in Akron, Ohio, after four years of preliminary grounds work by the Summit County Society of the Blind and the Ohio Council for the Blind.
Supported by funds distributed to the Summit County Society from the Mensch Estate, the four -month- old day school presently accommodates six students ranging from five to nine years of age, with hopes of rapid expansion toward the immediate goal of educating all of the county's 40 or more multiply handicapped children.
Eventually it is hoped that the educational project will expand to the level of a residential school capable of caring for the needs of the state's 440 blind children with added disabilities who now lack any governmental educational or training facility, according to Clyde Ross, president of the sponsoring Summit County Society.
The Akron school, operated by an experienced teacher with the help of a board of directors which includes leaders of the county society of the blind, has to date taken steps toward improving the self-confidence of its pupils as well as their familial relationships and adjustment.
Back to Contents
By Lucy Ching, Hong Kong
(Editor's note: Miss Ching, a social welfare officer in Hong Kong prepared this paper for presentation before the National Federation of the Blind Convention in Phoenix last July. Although she arrived too late to present the paper personally, it was read to the convention by Rosamond Kritchley. Miss Ching subsequently took part in numerous activities of NFB affiliates in various parts of the country.)
There are more than 5,000 blind persons in Hong Kong, a considerable number, but only a tiny fraction of the seven million blind people of Asia.
My own story is far from typical, but it may be instructive. I became blind when I was just a small girl in China. Fortunately, near my home in Canton there was a modest school for the blind, where I learned to read Braille in Cantonese. But soon, like so many others in the China of that period, my family became refugees, moving first to Macao and then to Hong Kong in 1952. There, after many difficulties, my education was resumed at both Chinese and English schools, where I worked alongside sighted students in regular classes, representing no doubt one of the first experiments in integrated education in our part of the world.
After completing high school a wonderful opportunity came my way in the form of a two-year scholarship to study at the Perkins School in America, with my round trip ticket and monthly allowance furnished by the John Milton Society. This schooling made possible the realization of a lifelong dream that of working for blind people. I was therefore very glad and proud when the Government social welfare department in Hong Kong gave me a post in the blind welfare unit of their welfare services section. I believe I am the first social welfare officer in our community who is blind.
In 1955, the Hong Kong government set up a committee to investigate the condition of the blind. It found that nearly all the blind people of the city lived in utter poverty as street beggars and hawkers, minstrels and fortune tellers. More than a hundred persons at that time were homeless and slept in the streets. The lives of blind women were particularly difficult; it is of course very hard for a blind girl to beg in the streets, and many of them consequently had a bad reputation.
As a result of this public survey the Hong Kong Society for the Blind was formed, affiliated with the Royal Commonwealth Society. At the same time, the government started its blind welfare work. Today there are three training centers for the blind, and I am in charge of one of them. They are operated like clubs, where blind people may come for rehabilitation, to have a mid-day meal, and also to gain confidence so that they may find their own way about our busy streets. Many of the blind still live in bed spaces and overcrowded tenements, but we are proud to think that there are no longer many blind beggars left, and that nobody is without hope.
It has been a rewarding experience for me to see newly blinded people, after receiving training from our centers, begin to live meaningful and useful lives again, working at the vocational centers or being placed in regular competitive industry as telephone switchboard operators or in other occupations.
We have two mission schools in the city, which for years have done good work despite a severe lack of funds, buildings and teachers. Now one of these schools has a wonderful new building, with fine classrooms and a gymnasium. The other has moved into a larger house and teachers have been trained. Today we believe that nearly all of our blind children are at school in Hong Kong, perhaps the first time anything like this has occurred in any country of Asia.
I must not forget to mention our new factory, which aims to compete in regular industry and to be an example to the whole city of what blind people can do. Today more than 200 blind persons are working in the factory--operating large machines to make plastics, to cut wood and metal. At first, some blind people were afraid of the machines; but now they have learned to master them, and can work as quickly as anyone else in Hong Kong. At present we are the largest supplier of crates and chalk and brushes in the city.
May I thank you for making it possible for me to come to your country and attend your conferences. As my blind friends in Hong Kong phrased it, my chances are their opportunities. We all feel that the National Federation of the Blind in the United States is very close to our hearts, because of our common interests and mutual understanding. We feel very much as though we too are a part of your organization.
Back to Contents
By Maria K,Baumann
(Editor's note: The following is a letter written by Mrs.Baumann of Phoenix, Arizona, to Dr. Jacobus tenBroek.) Greetings to you and your family from the Valley of the Sun where it is now very cool and pleasant. By the time Christmas is here we will have roses in bloom.
This part of the letter may be somewhat of a surprise to you, but it seems necessary that it be written, if for not other reason than that we as Americans have the right to freedom of speech and expression. The two are not always the same. First, this is a negative protest against this World Federation. There is still so much to be done with and for our own blind right here in the United States that it seems we should be about it, rather than spreading ourselves too thin over all the world, and being used as "Old Uncle Moneybags," just because that is what the nations of the world have had from our government, and therefore all the world expects.
If we want to be of the most help to the world, let us do it by example. So far we have fallen far, far short in this respect. Regarding the MONITOR, there is not nearly enough legislative news. What are we getting ready to do when Congress convenes? Nothing? It looks that way. We are so busy with the IFB that we forget about the AMERICAN FEDERATION OF THE BLIND, and my loyalty is to my country.
Another negative protest, this time regarding half fare on planes in spite of your propaganda in the MONITOR. Just because you, and a hundred like you can afford to pay full fare and travel by yourselves, that does not mean that the next thousand can either afford the cost or travel without guides. It is not good to deny another man help just because you, yourself, do not need it. The time may come when you may be much worse off. What then?
Back to Contents
I feel that some magic carpet has whisked me these 15, 000 miles to Nepal from my beloved California."
This is the way Lloyd Stevens, blind Peace Corps volunteer, reports on his recent arrival in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, where he will devote the next two years to development of a program of teacher training for instructors of blind children.
"Reality is on every side of me here in Kathmandu in the form of hundreds of Hindu temples, the throngs of people who surround me every time I enter the bazaar--curious but good-humored people are these Nepalese--the breath-taking descriptions of the mighty Himalayas by my friends, who say that they must be painted on a blue canvas for they just can't be real; the battle each day to keep up our guard over water and diet and yet not offend anyone here. . ."
"I am exceedingly fortunate to be here and even more fortunate to find that I am needed and that I seem to have a tremendous volume of support from the Nepalese both in and out of government, " writes Lloyd. He notes that he was especially encouraged by an interview which he and Dr. William Unsoeld, Peace Corps director for Nepal, obtained with Dr. Upraity, the principal of the College of Education, which conducts teacher training programs of the type to be undertaken by Lloyd.
As a result of his preliminary contacts, Lloyd has been asked to assist in the development of an integrated educational system for blind children, beginning with a pilot program at the College of Education. During the two-month school vacation which starts in December, Lloyd will conduct a seminar for the College's teaching staff, with attention to training teachers in the first three grades so that they may serve as resource teachers as well as instructors of the sighted children in the same classes.
"It is a start, and it will give us time to make Nepali braille texts, orient the children, prepare the teachers and gather materials before classes begin in February, " he points out. Stevens observes that he has gained the full support of the local Rotary Club, which two years ago first proposed a program for the education of Nepal's blind children but has lacked finances and direction to carry it through.
En route to Nepal, Lloyd stopped off at New Delhi India, andwith another PCV dashed down town in an open three wheeled scooter for an interview with Dr. Mukergee, principal of the Institute for the Blind in New Delhi. When time and work permit, Lloyd plans to return to New Delhi to study the city's programs for the blind and activities by them.
A native of Stockton, California, young Stevens attended the Oakland Orientation Center for the Blind, the University of California and the University of Oregon, where he undertook the special training for Peace Corps Volunteers.
Back to Contents
By John F. Nagle
When the 89th Congress convenes in January, the cause of the organized blind will be broadly and ably defended. With few exceptions, National Federation's most vigorous supporters have been returned to office in this fall's elections, in one prominent case at least, not the same office.
Senator Hubert Humphrey, as everyone knows, was "promoted" from his Senate seat to the Vice-Presidency of the United States which also will make him presiding officer of the Senate. The new V-P has been an articulate champion of Federation programs for many years. Those who attended the 1947 NFB convention in Minneapolis will remember his words of welcome to the delegates while he was Mayor of Minneapolis. His advocacy of our cause reached a climax in September of this year when he persuaded the Senate to adopt our bill liberalizing the provisions of the disability insurance law for blind people.
High on the "honor roll" of distinguished lawmakers who won election victories this year are the following, all well known to Federationists:
Congressman Walter S. Baring, Nevada, whose contributions to our cause are too numerous to need enumeration;
Congressman Cecil R. King of California, and Senator Vance Hartke, Indiana, who will continue to join with the Federation in our struggle to improve the lot of blind aid recipients through legislative action;
Congressman Robert J. Corbett, Pennsylvania, and Senator Mike Mansfield, the Senate Majority Leader from Montana, who successfully collaborated to secure the recent enactment of our White Cane Safety Day resolution;
Congressman John Dent, Pennsylvania, and Congressman Dominick Daniels, New Jersey, who have carried the brunt of the campaign for statutory minimum-wage protection for sheltered workshop employees;
Carlton Sickles, Congressman-at-Large from Maryland, will again be available for help in eliminating the onerous means test from the Federal Vocational Rehabilitation law, and from the lives of blind people.
Congressman Philip Burton, California, now entering his first full congressional term, will continue the work carried on for many years in the California legislature where he secured among other things the passage of laws abolishing length-of-residence requirements and responsibility of relatives for blind aid recipients.
The foregoing represents only a partial list of the Federation's friends and allies in the national legislature who survived the November elections to fight again in the common cause of improved welfare, widened opportunity and reinforced security for all blind Americans.
Missing from this roster of victorious Federation supporters is the name of Congressman Tom Gill, of Hawaii, who had been instrumental in welfare legislation as majority floor leader in Hawaii's House of Representatives and who was subsequently very active in sheltered shop minimum-wage and other proposals as a member of Congress.
Back to Contents
The Department of Justice has recently won praise for its outstanding record in employing blind and other handicapped persons totalling more than 800--in a wide variety of occupations. The department's ten blind employees include three attorneys, one court reporter, three clerk-typists and three transcribing machine operators.
The federal department was named October 1 as winner of the Blind Veterans Association's 1964 Employer of the Year award, in recognition of its overall record and its addition of 42 new handicapped workers during the last year.
David L. Norman, one of the three blind lawyers employed by the Justice Department, is a former student of Professor Jacobus tenBroek at the University of California, where he earned both a bachelor of arts and a law degree. His outstanding college record is characterized by membership in the honorary scholarly society, Phi Beta Kappa, and by associate editorship of the California Law Review .
Norman was selected for appointment by the Justice Department in 1956 under the Attorney General's Honor Recruit Program. Twice the recipient of Sustained Superior Performance Awards, he is currently a supervisory trial attorney coordinating activities of the Justice Department involved in the analysis of voting registration records obtained under the Civil Rights Act. The department reports that Norman's services have been most valuable in the planning of law suits and the development of legal theories, techniques of proof and sources from which proof can be obtained.
A second departmental attorney, John Sirignano, lost his sight in World War II while taking part in a raid on a German village. He later graduated from Dartmouth College, earned a degree from Yale University Law School, and also was an actor and director at Yale's School of Drama. Now a trial lawyer with the department's Antitrust Division, Sirignano performs a variety of duties including conducting grand jury investigations, participating in oral arguments before the courts, examining witnesses, etc. He is considered to be one of the most valuable attorneys in the New York Office.
The third Justice Department lawyer, John L. Wilson, graduated magna cum laude from Ohio's Mount Union College before earning his professional degree from the University of Michigan Law School. While a law student he was a John King-Scholar, Senior Editor of the Michigan Law Review , and author of a prizewinning monograph on copyright law. He is presently an attorney-adviser in the Antitrust Division having been selected for appointment under the Honor Recruit Program--and is assigned to the Judgment Enforcement Section which deals with compliance actions in antitrust cases. Like his fellow blind attorneys in the department, Wilson is said to have demonstrated a high degree of competence and intelligence in his handling of numerous important cases.
Newest of the Department's blind employees is Miss Fonda Ellinger, a dictating machine transcriber, who is notable among other things for her association with the Maryland Sky Divers Club. "She can't be a member, not because she is blind, but because she is a woman, "according to acting Attorney General Nicholas deB. Katzenbach. "She is working out an altimeter in braille in anticipation of the day when she will make her first parachute jump."
Back to Contents
By Ruth Friedman
(Editor's note: Mrs. Friedman, an educational advisorwith the Hadley School for the Blind, spent four monthsearlier this year investigating educational facilities for the blind in 17 foreign countries under auspices of the U.S. Cultural Exchange Program. Following, with abridgments made necessary by space limitations, is a report on her wide-ranging expedition submitted by Mrs. Friedmanfor publication in the BRAILLE MONITOR. )
All over Europe one finds residential institutions of learning for the blind, elementary plus vocational, which came into being through the energetic efforts of individuals as far back as 130 years, when custodial care plus minimal instruction began. The specific segregation varies from country to country and from institution to institution. It may cover only blind and partially sighted, it may extend to deaf and partial hearing students, and in many cases the mentally retarded are included.
The age of these schools is a distinct factor—largely deterrent in their progress, their systems being steeped in tradition which is difficult to unsettle. With some variation, training is offered in "three R's", frequently leaving much to be desired in the way of modernity of techniques of education as well as in content. Most schools offer applied music (in some instances quite extensive departments), art programs (upon occasion particularly excellent for the deaf population), and physical education (seldom specially oriented, but upon rare occasion very well planned), plus a variety of handicrafts.
In Yugoslavia, Israel. Finland, Malta, and Iceland, there is full government support with flexible budgets geared to defray the legitimate costs of education of the exceptional child (euphonic designation of the handicapped). The Ministries of Education and of Social Welfare cooperate to make this possible and these ministers lent willing ears to a presentation of integrated blind and sighted programs, Israel alone, of these most advanced and open-minded countries, has incorporated this doctrine into her school system since statehood in 1948, using itinerant resource teachers and instructed social workers. The Institute for the Blind in Jerusalem, Israel, accepts all blind 20children who for any reason cannot be assimilated into a school system near their homes--for elementary and pre- vocational training. In passing it can be noted that it is impossible for a blind child to enter Israel without immediate detection and follow-up for educational placement, as ports of entry by air or sea are so alerted. And occupational training, when the time of readiness arrives, is thoroughly organized and made accessible.
In Belgium, Holland, and Sweden, education of the blind and partially seeing child begins as early as three years, and special sensory training with a great variety of tactile materials is provided. Holland is notable for its version of the cottage plan system where elementary schools are arranged in small residential units with house-mothers and fathers giving security to the young children with whom they live in small groups, providing supervision of physical needs and reinforcement for emotional needs, and coordinating their efforts with the instructors who teach them in the classroom. The impression of warmly personal care was particularly strong there where individual children were known to the Director by name.
In Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland, the governments are vitally interested in the development of good educational programs for the handicapped. Finances are regularly budgeted and the antiquated residential institutions, while not yet considered obsolescent, are being exposed to critical scrutiny. To hasten and intensify the awareness of need for this change, a cogent case was presented delineating the virtues of an integrated system of blind and sighted education in elementary schools.
In the Near-East (Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Greecewere visited); secondary education of blind individuals is not an issue. Until very recently so few blind students have reached the secondary level schools as to make it a rarity. However, depending on the efficacy of his primary education, the background, motivation, and learning potential of each individual dictates the direction of hissecondary and professional or vocational schooling. Obsolete antagonisms still obtain, which must be broken down gradually, but they are giving way under pressure. In Jerusalem, Jordan, much if not all of the progressive endeavor toward assisting blind individuals to acquire a formal education in the past fifty years has been that of one man, Subhi Dajani; out of hundreds who have benefitted in varying amounts, ten blind men have achieved teaching status and are practicing their professions in their own or adjacent countrys. The number seems small, but it represents prodigious effort expended. These teachers are the prize fruits of the harvest of a dedicated lifetime.
This pattern of vigorous exertion and single minded determination is dup licated in the person of Dr. Emanuel Kafaki in Athens, Greece; of Mr. Rakaby in Damascus, Syria; of Mr. Virkki in Helsinki, Finland; of Achille Dychmans and Herman Van Dyck in Brussels and Antwerp, Belgium; of Charles Hedquist in Stockholm, Sweden; and of Steven Uzelac in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Each of these men, blind themselves, have felt the call and answered it. In each case, their life-work, their devotion to the cause of improved opportunity for a productive life for the educable blind stands on its merit, an inspiration for all time.
The churches still provide whatever educational service is available to blind youth in Ireland; in northern Ireland a residential school of the Protestant Church, and in Dublin two under the direction of the Roman Catholic Church--St. Joseph's School for Blind Boys, and St.Mary's for Blind Girls. There is little governmental provision for either school programming or vocational training. The National Council for the Blind is making a valiant attempt with a painfullyinadequate budget to achieve some rehabilitation with placement some training of telephonists, and some purchasing of radios for clients in outlying areas.
This lack of obligation on the part of the government also exists in Greece, Lebanon, and Jordan. The Moslem doctrine, that God has arranged the blindness and fate is not to be questioned, impedes technical progress. It also is responsible for the widespread use of the one-handed braille writing machine--since copying the Koran is the major life -goal of the instructed blind. The governmental apathy in these four countries, in varying degrees, and depending on national personality traits, accounts for much despair and lethargy in the blind population. The pattern of generally wide-spread unemployment is reflected painfully among the employable blind.
Belgium's blind and partially seeing children are living and studying in several large institutions housing between 300 and 400 children each, usually up to the age of 15 or 16 years. The administrators and teachers belong to religious orders, "sisters" in the girls schools and "brothers" in the schools for the boys. In one case, nuns at Spermalie Institute, ner Bruges, Belgium are operating a Hotel Personnel Training School, with 180 sighted students who pay for their three year course. This is an accredited and well-respected school, through whose proceeds a school for 275 deaf, blind, or ambliopic students is supported.
For the most part national welfare organizations in Europe have come into being through individual initiative, and governmental recognition and support has followed. These rehabilitation arid adult training centers are attracting the blind youth of the countries and offering some fine direction for open industry and employment. In Siuntio near Helsinki, Finland an old barn has been reconstructed into excellently equipped mechanical workshops--and the upper level is divided into housekeeping units of single and double living accomodations, with the most modern facilities.
At Huseby School, in Oslo, there is a large area where old pianos in various stages of disrepair provide the training equipment for experience in piano tuning and construction. At Bruges in Belgium, and at Dieren in Holland, at Christinehamn in Sweden, training centers are teaching switchboard operation, typing, dicta-phone, and basic English courses to visually handicapped young people who are preparing to take their place in the world; and at the Christinehamn Center, punch-card operators are being trained.
Yugoslavia proved to be the most hospitable of the visited countries, and high among those determined to do all possible toward both education and rehabilitation of its blind population. Its young adult blind are foremost in at least two areas--the first, by way of intellectual development, being chess playing, including international competitions, where their performance is quite superior; and second, in becoming trained physio-therapy technicians, or as they term it, "kinesthetic masseurs". The Federation of the Blind in Yugoslavia has its overall headquarters in Belgrade, plus complete organizations with capable blind leadership, in each of the five national regions who arrange and supervise education, training, and placement.
Nothing yet has been said about those two little islands--Malta and Iceland, which added color and variety to the already unusual itinerary of this survey. What were their unique features? Malta, like Sweden has an inordinately high incidence of diabetes, and many of these cases have found themselves on the island's blind roles. This has added deep concern to the already existing preoccupation with problems of the blind of the government's social welfare and education departments. Malta is striving to register its blind with a view to improving its welfare program- -although integrated education had apparently never been considered, once mentioned, its possibilites claimed their eager consideration.
Iceland, with a small incidence of blindness, has somehow succeeded in absorbing the majority of its blind population into the national economy; where this is not practicable, a fine self-respecting attitude has been achieved in the atmosphere at the semi-sheltered workshop where good woven reed furniture and toys (doll-buggies, cradles, 23etc. , ) have been added to the usual production lists. Fine workmanship has made it possible to sell for good prices with resultant good earnings.
In summary, it appears that in surveying the lot of blind people in seventeen highly diversified countries, one finds a wide disparity in attitudes, facilities, sources of support, and generally available assistance. Some countreis have made impressive modern strides and others are unbelievably delayed in their perception of the specialized needs of the blind segment of their population. With the improved intercommunication of countries, through shared research and the interchange of ideas accomplished by trips of this nature, there is progress today and more hope for tomorrow in the worldwide field of education and welfare of the blind.
Back to Contents
NFB President Russell Kletzing has announced the appointment of Anthony G. (Tony) Mannino as White Cane Week Chairman. The White Cane Week Office will be at 205 South Western Avenue, Room 206, Los Angeles, California. The telephone number--DU8- 5510.
Tony is a veteran Federationist. He has been President of the Active Blind Inc. , of Los Angeles, for the last six years. It is a chapter with more than 100 members and a very dynamic program. Last month he was re-elected to his second term as First Vice-President of the California Council of the Blind. He has also had substantial fund raising experience as Executive Secretary of the American Brotherhood for the Blind.
The National White Cane Week Chairman assists the state affiliates in conducting their White Cane Week mailings and other fund raising activities. He secures envelopes, materials and enclosures which state affiliates can purchase at reduced wholesale prices. He advises them on their appeal letters, enclosures, publicity, and other methods of securing maximum returns. In addition to all this, he himself directly conducts a small national mailing on behalf of the Federation.
Back to Contents
Ohio Council of the Blind.
The Ohio Council met in Akron at the Sheraton Mayflower Hotel October 9-10-11. The current slate of officers was re-elected with George G. Bonsky returning as president for a second term. Bonsky was also elected to serve as delegate to the Washington convention of the NFB. Harry Stiller, familiarly known as Mr. Blind Man of Ohio, received an award for his many years of service and leadership. Ben Pumo of Toledo and Clyde Ross of Akron each received an award for being the outstanding handicapped employee of the year in their respective communities. Pumo is presently Director of the Toledo Goodwill Industries. Clyde Ross is an employee of Goodyear Aerospace, with 21 years service.
The Colorado Federation of the Blind held its annual convention Saturday, October 31 at the American Legion Hall in Denver. The list of speakers was thinned by a flu epidemic. Cliff Jensen, president, was himself confined to bed. Ray MacGeorge did an excellent job taking over in Cliff's absence.
Harvey Cox was also unable to attend because of illness. Professor Jacobus tenBroek was on hand, speaking several times during the day and delivering the banquet address during the evening. Cliff Jensen was elected to serve as the delegate to the 1965 N.F.B. convention.
New York Convention.
The Empire State Association of the Blind held its ninth annual convention October 9-12 at the Hotel Niagara in Niagara Falls. Participation by Canadian guests lent an international flavor to the sessions, which were also marked by high spirits and sociability, according to Floyd S. Field, convention chairman and president of the Niagara Chapter.
The ESAB's award for outstanding service to the blind was presented by President Dominic Dejohn to Charles Owen, Vice president of Noel, Virginia. Some 116 members attended the banquet to hear an address given by Joseph Oirak, public relations official of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.
La Salle Hotel in South Bend was the setting for the 11th annual convention of the Indiana Council of the Blind, September 4-6. John Janssens, ICB president, was chosen as the delegate, and Ray Dinsmore as alternate delegate, to the 1965 national convention. Among the many highlights of the meeting was a banquet speech by state senatorial candidate Bill Ruckleshouse.
The Jesse Griswold Club of the Blind was host to the 15th annual state convention of the Arizona Federation of the Blind at Prescott's St. Michael's Hotel November 7 and 8. Newlyelected officers are: president, James Fall (re-elected); first vicepresident, Mrs. Ewald Smith; second vice-president, James Carlock; secretary, Joe Hurley, and treasurer, Gordon Perrine (re-elected). A banquet highlight was the presentation of the Nicholas Ziezer Award to Mrs. Jean Sandler as the most deserving volunteer worker for the blind. The Henry Rush Scholarship Award was presented to LeRoy Kerr, a blind Federation member. Keynote speaker at the dinner was Mrs. Sara Folson, newly elected Arizona State Superintendent of Schools, Missourians Meet. The Progressive Blind of Missouri held their regular annual convention at the Aladdin Hotel in Kansas City November 14-15. The growing strength of the organization is symbolized by the rise in attendance at convention banquets. In 1962 the number was in the twenties, in 1963 in the fifties, and in 1964 over a hundred. The Jacobus tenBroek Award was given to Mrs. Dolores Haken, sighted member of Beth Shalom for transcription and other services. Professor tenBroek himself conferred the award and delivered the banquet address. Officers elected were: president, "Tiny" Beadle: vice-president, Cotton Busby; recording secretary, Sonia Carr; corresponding secretary, Gwen Rittgers; treasurer, Doris Miller.
North Dakota Board Meets.
Fargo will be the site of the 1965 state convention of the Federated Blind of North Dakota, according to plans set at an October meeting of the group's board of directors. The board also passed an amendment to permit former North Dakotans to become members of the Federated Blind, with the stipulation that such non-resident members who belong to another state affiliate of the NFB will not vote on matters pertaining to the NFB (such as the choice of delegates). Another resolution was adopted setting up an activities committee to draw plans for an official publication representing the FBND.
New Jersey Council.
The State Council of New Jersey Organizations of the Blind held its seventh annual convention October 17 at the Winfield Scott Hotel in Elizabeth. Officers elected are: president Myles Crosby (re-elected for third term); first vice-president, Harold Daiker; second vice-president, Stanley Spaide; secretary, Constance Rich; treasurer, Henry Duser, Three members appointed to the executive committee are Anne Rose Johnson, Mike Sofka, and Nicholas Novak.
Back to Contents
The Elbee Audio Players, an independent New York City group of blind amateur performers, recently opened its third season of weekend dramatic reading productions for the community. With a repertoire of full-length adaptations of major stage and screen plays, the group invites blind and partially seeing persons in the New York area with braille or sight reading competence to take part. Write: David Swerdlow, director 621 West End Avenue, N. Y. C. . . .Don Walker acting superintendent of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School since the August resignation of Lee Iverson, was appointed as superintendent in late October. Walker served for several years as principal of the school, which is located in Vinton.
Arthur Linsenbigler , vice president and former president of the Associated Blind of New Jersey, has designed and developed a new system enabling sightless persons to play bingo by using braille and pegs. His braille peg bingo board is expected to be marketed soon at 50£ for each of the hand-made cards. . . . The National Church Conference of the Blind held its annual meeting in late July at Indianapolis with William Kontz of Iowa and Robert Whitehead of Kentucky among those elected to national offices.
Miss Mary E. Fitzgerald, librarian for the blind at the New York State Library since 1953, died September 18 in Schenectady after an illness which had forced her retirement a short time before. . . .Pennsylvania's Handicapped State Worker of the Year award was presented in October to Miss Mary J. Smith, of Reading, blind telephone operator and transcription typist. Miss Smith, employed by the Department of Public Welfare since 1961, has learned to operate a radically new type of switchboard, has devised her own system of taking messages and created her own street directory in braille.
Will Bowman of Los Angeles, in his efforts to establish the freedom of the blind to lodge in hotels of their own choosing, recently obtained the following opinion from the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department: "The Civil Rights Act of 1964 has no special applicability to persons who are blind. In general terms, it only prohibits certain discrimination which is based on race, color, religion or national origin."
Burt L. Risley, a member of the board of directors of the Texas Commission for the Blind for the past six years, has been appointed to fill the post of Commission director vacated by the retirement of Lon Alsup. The latter will be remembered as a longtime foe of the organized blind. . . . In another public appointment, Floyd H. McDowell, 27 principal for eight years of the Montana School for the Deaf and Blind, has succeeded Glen I Harris as its superintendent. . . . The La Luz Chapter of the New Mexico Federation of the Blind awarded an unusual prize at its Halloween fund-raising dance headed up by Rafaelita Salazar--nothing less than a well-fed yearling steer.
A Braille First Aid Manual, recommended by the American Medical Association, is available without charge from the Christian Record Braille Foundation, Inc., 4444 South 52nd Street, Lincoln, Nebraska, 68516. . . .Among recent appointments to the National Advisory Council of VocationalRehabilitation by HEW Secretary Celebrezze was that of Aaron Solomon, President of Ace Electronics of Somerville, Massachusetts. His company was named Employer of the Year in 1963 by the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, in view of its record of employing severely disabled persons to the extent of 75 percent of the labor force.
The New Mexico Federation is to be asked to submit a list of nominees to fill one of three positions on a committee to survey city buildings in Albuquerque to determine the extent of structural barriers to the handicapped. . . . The Braille Music Reference Library, established two years ago by a Federation-backed bill, is now in full operation. Catalogs of available musical scores and texts in braille may be obtained from: Music Reference Librarian, Division for the Blind, Library of Congress, Washington D.C. 20540. Information is also available concerning musical texts, music periodicals in braille, and publishers on music in braille for purchase.
Delawar Hussein, friend of Dr. Isabelle Grant and the National Federation, and himself an active member of the Pakistan Association of the Blind, writes from Lahore: "May I congratulate you on the International Federation of the Blind. This is surely the greatest achievement of the blind ever made in the twentieth century. Some blind people in America have really proved their worth. I think I must congratulate all the members of the IFB and then the blind of the world, but how? Would it be possible through certain braille magazines? Please convey my compliments to Dr. tenBroek and the president of the NFB. "
Frank Allen, former president of the Wyoming Federation of the Blind, spent three weeks in Colorado recently undergoing training preliminary to moving to a so-called "wet" vending stand from his present "dry" stand in Cheyenne. While in the state Frank and his wife attended the convention of the Colorado Federation on October 31. . . .Keith James, delegate from Colorado Springs to the state convention, suffered a heart attack while attending the meetings. Fortunately the attack proved not to be critical and he was released from the hospital to return home the same evening.
Tom Parker, veteran organizer for the British League of the Blind and local government official, ran for Parliament on the Labor Party ticket in the October elections and missed victory by an extraordinarily narrow margin in a three-cornered race. His Conservative opponent had just over 20,000 votes. Tom had just under 20, 000, and the Liberal Party candidate drew 6,600. Better luck next time, Tom.' (And no doubt "next time" will not be far in the future.)
A braille booklet on Family Planning and Birth Control is available at $1.50 per copy from Planned Parenthood/World Population, Western Region Office, 655 Sutter Street, Room 401, San Francisco, California 94102. Attention: Mrs. G.T. Morris.
Robert S. Bray of the Library of Congress reports that he recently saw a demonstration of braille sent over a teletype circuit. The keyboard of the teletypewriter is best operated by a braille transcriber, but particulars must await release by Telephone Pioneers, who devoted much time and effort to developing this unique device. . . . The Volunteers of Vacaville, a group of inmates at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, California. , devote their evening hours from dinner to midnight to a variety of services to the blind and partially sighted- -braille transcribing, reading on tapes for students, drawing relief maps, and transcribing materials into large type for partially sighted readers. The Iowa State Penitentiary also has an active group of braille transcribers.
The first blind telephone operator to be employed by the Federal Government is now operating a consolidated switchboard requiring a directory of approximately 15,000 names, addresses and telephone numbers. General Services Administration provided equipment and the Library of Congress did the original transcribing job on three-byfive file cards rotating wheel files and it will be up to the blind operator to make subsequent changes necessary to keep the directory up to date. . . . The Cleveland Society for the Blind was recently assured that it will receive $253,000 in federal funds under the Hill-Burton Act for a new rehabilitation center, plans for which have been approved by the United States Public Health Service.
Miss H. Catherine Smith, a graduate of Seeing Eye in Morris town, New Jersey, is a columnist and feature writer for the Buffalo Courier-Express. . . .After fourteen years of studying music, mathmatics, mechanics and electronics and after finally receiving a grant from the National Research Development Council, a blind housewife in London, England, finally completed work on a typewriter which types musical scores and strikes the notes on bells at the same time.Designed especially for blind musicians and composers, her unique invention won a gold medal at the Brussels Inventors Exhibition.
John Howard Griffin, author of the recent best-seller Black Like Me wrote an earlier and more controversial novel entitled The Devil Rides Outside during a period of total blindness which lasted for ten years. . . . A newly published booklet, titled "Good Help, " is now being distributed to selected employers in New York State as part of a statewide Commission for the Blind campaign aimed at increasing employment opportunities for blind persons. . . .Reports of unusual eye accidents published in the Sightsaving Review indicate that champagne corks have become one of the hazards of prosperity in Berlin. New Polyethylene substances now used in champagne stoppers have a greater ballistic potential than natural cork, which fragments as bottles are opened.
Representative Gregory B. Kachadoorian, a member of the Boston Chapter of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts, has been re-elected to his fourth term in the state legislature. . . . Carl T. Morris of Westfield, Massachusetts, was honored recently by the Air Force for his services as a civilian radio operator for an Air Reserve recovery group. Because Morris is totally blind, one copy of his citation was prepared in braille. . . . Jean Sorel of Haiti, one of the first blind persons in his country to receive an education, today is teaching French courses at the Hadley School for the Blind of Winnetka, Illinois.
John Knight, retired actor who originated the talking book project for the Library of Congress 30 years ago, died last June at the age of 64--following a career in which he recorded more than 5,000 books, including most of the Bible and the entire works of John Galsworthy. . . .Dr. Eleanor Gertrude Brown, well-known blind educator and author, died last July in Dayton, Ohio at age 76. The first blind graduate of Ohio State University, Dr. Brown taught in Dayton high schools for 40 years before retiring in 1952.
A recent Saturday Evening Post article (May 30, 1964) by Max Gunther, titled "Race Against Blindness, " describes a helpful program conducted by ham radio operators who report on the supply of eyes in the nations eye banks--thereby keeping hospitals informed of available eyes for emergency operations.. . . "Learning Without Eyes" is the title of a Parent's Magazine article (September 1964) by Bob Billingsley, which reports on an integrated elementary school program carried out by the San Antonio, Texas independent school 30district.
Three abacus experts from Japan visited the Hadley School in Illinois recently to compare notes on the adaptation of the abacus as a tool for the blind. One of the visitors, Koichiro Takeda, is credited with the original adaptation of the device subsequently developed by T. V.Cranmer and Fred Gissoni, both of Louisville. Hadley currently offers a course, "Using the Cranmer Abacus, " which is taught by Gissoni. . . . Ten students from abroad have enrolled for the 1964-1965 teacher training courses at the Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, Massachusetts. The students hail from India, Singapore, Haiti,, Malaysia, Japan and Denmark.
Eugene E. Sibley, president of the Greenfield-Athol (Massachusetts) Association of the Blind, tells us of his organization's drive to have new traffic signal lights in the town of Athol equipped with an audible device to be activated only when the red-yellow pedestrian signal operates. Already in use in Watertown, Mass., the audible signal serves to alert blind and visually handicapped persons to cross upon hearing the sound.
Dr. Charles Buell, Director of Physical Education at the California State School for the Blind, has produced a sound motion picture on physical education for blind children. The film shows blind children of all ages participating in a wide variety of activities both in residential and public schools. The picture runs for 20 minutes. It can be rented from Dr. Buell for $6. 00. Russell Hubley, a student at the California School for the Blind, walked 50 miles on Saturday, November 14th. The 17-hour hike was made on a circular road on the campus. He is 15 years old and is partially sighted.
Back to Contents