A Personal View
by Allan Dodds
October 14, 1998
This is indeed a great loss to all of us, especially blind and visually impaired people, of whom Dr. Jernigan was champion. Jernigan was one of the few giants in the field I ever had the privilege to speak with, although somehow we never got around to meeting as we had intended.
When I was going through a phase of despair and was about to throw in the towel in this field of human endeavor, Kenneth gave me hope. He made me realize that my efforts might not have the effect I had anticipated, that others would try to silence me, and that often history has to catch up. "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones."
I grew concerned about his health when I read his last contribution to the Braille Monitor (a publication which Dr. Jernigan saw to it that I receive for life). In that edition Dr. Jernigan wrote rapturously about his love of poetry, one which I share, and he cited some very beautiful lines, which he himself had crafted using centuriesold rhyme forms and metersa severe discipline, but one which he used without evident effort. (The art of course lies in concealing the art, and the sonnet is the most difficult form to master.)
With Dr. Jernigan's encouragement, and through his example, I was able to transcend the petty egotisms which often infect those working in this field. His loss to us all is immeasurable, but what he leaves behind is of even greater magnitude. Dr. Jernigan did no evil in his life, and he leaves us with the awesome responsibility of trying to do the same.
Dr. Allan Dodds