Braille Monitor                                                                  March 1985

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How Shall the Blind Read

The National Association to Promote the Use of Braille was established in 1984. It published the first edition of its newsletter late in the year and sounded the call for action. Here is the first article from the newsletter:

A CLEAR CHALLENGE AND THE WILL TO MEET IT

In the Federation we always keep the promises we make--to our friends, to our opponents, and especially to ourselves. The National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB) is the logical embodiment of our long-standing commitment to Braille. NAPUB is the vehicle for focusing Federation energies and commitment to see that Braille is taught and used by an ever expanding number of blind people.

We all know the problems. Because there is little Braille available, many blind people do not make the effort to learn it well. Because so many blind people do not use Braille, little Braille is produced. The momentum of this downward spiral has increased to such an extent that a whole generation of blind people is in danger of becoming functionally illiterate.

We all know the solution to the problem. Through positive philosophy leading to concerted action, we can reverse the trend and retain the ability of the blind independently to use the written word. Simply put, the solution to our problem can be summed up in a name--the National Federation of the Blind. All Federationists, whether they read Braille or not, have a vital stake in the success of NAPUB. It is important that Braille be easily available to blind people at an affordable cost and that blind people have the skill necessary to use it fluently. But it goes much deeper than that. Will we as a people make basic decisions about the techniques we use, or will we by default surrender that decision to special educators and rehabilitation professionals? If we allow Braille to die, we should not engage in the hypocrisy of mourning at the funeral.

But, whatever else might be said about us, Federationists have never been accused of being passive. We are geared up for action, and we are on the move.