Future Reflections Convention 1990, Vol. 9 No. 4

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One of the pleasant memories of my childhood was those times when I could wheedle my grandmother or mother into pulling out the old photo albums for me to flip through. I recall spending hours looking at photos of aunts, uncles, cousins, great-great grandrelatives, childhood friends of my parents, and those embarrassing (but cute) baby pictures of guess who. Photographs, I discovered, could do more than portray people or places--they could tell a story. In the following pages you can peruse our own special photograph story of the 1990 National Federation of the Blind National Convention. This photo album is particularly special because 1990 is the Federation's Golden Anniversary. The convention, therefore, was more than a convention, it was a celebration of that historic moment fifty years ago when a handful of blind people decided to take their destiny into their own hands--no longer would the blind wait for others to do for them. The National Federation of the Blind was organized so that the blind could decide for themselves what they wanted and have the strength and clout to get it. The size, vigor, enthusiasm, and productivity of the 1990 convention was clearly a testimony to the effectiveness of the Federation's founders and those who followed in their footsteps. Some of the excitement, hustle and bustle, camaraderie, and upbeat tone of the convention is captured in the following photographs, which also depict the special events and activities which took place. You will notice that there are many photographs of blind children and their parents. One of the most exciting chapters in the modern history of the Federation has been the development of our Parents of Blind Children Division, organized in 1983-- seven years ago. In the seventies few parents attended our national conventions, and those who did usually came with no background in the Federation.

[PICTURE]President Maurer demonstrates to young Mitchell Woods of Tennessee how he uses a 2-way radio to help keep the convention running smoothly. Mitchell is learning another lesson as well--a lesson about the capabilities of the blind. This is role-modeling at its best.

They considered themselves guests, not members. What a change we see today! There was no doubt that the numerous blind children and their parents who attended the convention felt like, and were, an integral part of the proceedings. The Federation belonged to them, too, and they were a part of the discussions and deliberations which would chart the course of the blind for the next fifty years. Here is: GOLDEN MEMORIES: A Photo Report of the 1990 Federation Convention.

Editor's Note: The September, 1990, Braille Monitor issue has an excellent narrative report of the convention proceedings. The issue is available free of charge. Write to: National Federation of the Blind, Materials Center, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230; (301) 659-9314.

[PICTURE] Glen Crosby, President of the NFB of Texas, welcomes the convention to the Lone Star State. The Texas affiliate sponsored two hospitality rooms, a barbecue with free beer and live music, five tours on the free afternoon of July 4, a steak dinner/rodeo package on July 6, and horseback riding on the Saturday following convention.

[PICTURE] The convention opened July 3 with a special presentation to President Ma urer (right) by Harold Snider (former Director of Outreach for Persons with Disabilities, Republican National Committee). Mr. Snider said: "This morning I have the great pleasure and privilege to present to Marc Maurer, on behalf of the President of the United States, George Bush, and the Republican National Committee, a Presidential medal in honor of the 50th anniversary of the National Federation of the Blind."

[PICTURE] One of the most exciting moments of the convention was the unveiling of the monumental work Walking Alone and Marching Together: The History of the Organized Blind Movement in the United States by Floyd Matson, professor of American Studies at the University of Hawaii. The very first copy of the book was presented by President Maurer to Hazel tenBroek, widow of the NFB's founder, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek.

[PICTURE] Representatives from all 50 states plus D.C. and many foreign nations~a total of almost 3,000 people-attended the 1990 50th anniversary convention of the NFB in Dallas, Texas. It was a grand celebration and a great convention!

[PICTURE] The Delagardelle family from Iowa stop in the Exhibit Hall to pick up a free Braille calendar from the American Brotherhood for the Blind. In addition to the technological aids on display, hundreds of pieces of literature and materials about blindness were available-much of it free.

[PICTURE] "It talks!"five-year-old Ryan Strunkand mother Carol of Nebraska are delighted with the Braille 'n Speak from Blazie Engineering. Parents and children had an opportunity to try out technological aids from some 100 exhibitors at the 1990 Federation convention.

[PICTURE] "This is how you do it." Lori Duffy of Ohio demonstrates a craft project during the children's activities on Saturday, June 30. Other activities included a trip to the mall, a visit from a clown, and, for older youth, a trip to Six Flags. "Far from the madding crowd." That's where 3-year-old Cody wants to be in this mob! Perched on Dad's shoulders, he listens attentively as father Martin Greiser of Montana discusses canes and other aids that are for sale in the Exhibit Hall.

[PICTURE] Kathleen Spear, with the assistance of her Deaf-Blind interpreter, listens intently to the convention proceedings. The Federation has 25 committees, 16 divisions, and numerous informal groups-such as the amateur radio group-many of which conduct meetings and seminars at the annual NFB convention. In Dallas, for example, the Committee on Concerns of the Deaf-Blind sponsored an interpreter's training session, the Writers Division put on a workshop, The Music Division organized a talent show, and the Parents of Blind Children Uivision conducted its annual seminar. Other seminars included a Personal Appearance and Grooming Seminar by Mary Kay Cosmetics and a Social Security workshop.

[PICTURE] " When it comes to civil rights for the blind, we are the only game in town. Nobody has the tenacity and the willingness to meet conflict halfway or the ability to settle arguments with finality. We have a reputation--and we deserve it." So said President Marc Maurerin his annual Presidential Report on Tuesday afternoon, July 3. His report (which is printed in full in the September, 1990, Braille Monitor) revie wed not only the accomplishments of the last year, but also examined the progress made in the last fifty years. The final words of the report were a summation of the Federation's record, the work still at hand, and our dreams for tomorrow: " I have met the great body of the Federation, and I am absolutely certain that the first fifty years are only the beginning. With the Federation as our vehicle, and a spirit of determination as our driving force, we will create a climate of equality for all of the blind. The stakes are too high and the costs of failure too great to do anything less. With all of the problems we face, our future has never looked better. Therefore, with joy, with enthusiasm, with purpose, let us go to meet our second half century. This is my hope, this is my certainty, and this is my report to you on this golden anniversary."

[PICTURE] Peter White, a reporter with the British Broadcasting Corporation (England), has just interviewed Chris Sebastin and Angela Howard, two blind teens from Louisiana. Some of the other foreign countries represented at the 1990convention were: Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, Canada, Nigeria, and Korea.

[PICTURE] Federationists may work hard, but they also know how to have a good time. Ron Schippert and Angie Page (a 1990 Scholarship winner) dance to the beat of the live band at the outdoor barbecue sponsored by the Texas affiliate.

[PICTURE] Theresa VanEttingerof California checks out the pool. The pleasant outdoor pool at the hotel became a fa vorite spot for children of all ages to relax and socialize between convention events.

[PICTURE] Some people used their spare time to learn new skills.. Melody Lindsey of Florida gives a cane travel lesson to Darin, David, and Derek Behmke of Wisconsin while mom and dad (Judith and Dana) watch from the door of their hotel room.

[PICTURE] Leave it to college students to find a way to combine fun and fund raising! Everyone had a great time at the NFB Student Division-sponsored Monte Carlo night on the evening of July 4.

[PICTURE] President Marc Maurer (right) accepts a special plaque from Dr. Euclid Herie, Managing Director of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. Dr. Herie said: "I have given your president a 3-dimensional plaque of a beaver gnawing on a tree. The beaver, as you know, is industrious; and it is also the symbol of Canada. He is a most persistent, determined animal-something like the history of the Federation."

[PICTURE] One of the highpoints of the convention was the appearance on July 5 of Justin Dart, Jr., Chairman of the President's Committee on Employment of People With Disabilities. Mr. Dart, one of the most prominent national leaders in the disability field, came to make a presentation from the President of the United States. He said in part:" I am very proud to be here today with so many great soldiers in the struggle for justice It is my great honor now to recognize the accomplishments of one of the great American pioneers of the twentieth centrury....His leadership ofNFB has given impetus and direction to the movement to emancipate people with all disabilites who form the world's most oppressed, isolated, unemployed, impoverished, and dependent minority. ...He has taught us that equality and productivity cannot be handed down by paternalistic authority but can only be gained as we who have disabilities speak for ourselves and empower ourselves to participate fully in the decisions that control our destinies....On behalf of President George Bush it is my great honor to present to Dr. Kenneth Jernigan the Distinguished Service A ward of the President of the United States.

[PICTURE] Congressman Martin Frost (Texas) was one of the many governmental or agency figures who addressed the convention. After speaking, the congressman pledged the NFB his support for legislation prohibiting discrimination against the blind in air travel.

[PICTURE] A number of successful blind persons gave presentations about the challenges and obstacles he or she had to overcome in his or her chosen career. Diane Starin tells how her love of horses evolved into her life's work in a presentation entitled: "The Philosophy of Blindness at work in Equestrian Training and Shearing Sheep."

[PICTURE] "Testing 1 -2-3..." Dr. Jernigan gives 10-year-old Cherrane Verduin of Illinois a shot at the microphone. Cherrane represents a generation of blind children who, for the first time in history, are being consciously raised with the Federation philosophy.

[PICTURE] Carol Coulter gives the Federation credit for helping her overcome discrimination in her day-care business. She spoke to the convention on Thursday morning. One of the most fascinating events of the convention was a fifty-year historical review moderated by Dr. Kenneth Jernigan. Ten Federationists, two for each decade, spoke of their memories of the organization at the time that they became active. (A partial report is in this issue and a complete report is in the Oct./Nov. Braille Monitor.,) Participants in this panel were: standing (left to right): Michael Baillif, Barbara Walker, RubyRyles, Marc Maurer, Ramona Walhof, and Barbara Pierce; seated (left to right): Tim Cranmer, Donald Capps, Joe DeBeer, Hazel tenBroek, and Kenneth Jernigan.

[PICTURE] "So far as I can tell, there are only three possible reasons for studying history-to get inspiration, to gain perspective, or to acquire a basis for predicting the future." So said Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, long-time leader of the Federation, in his banquet address entitled "The Federation at Fifty." Dr. Jernigan's riveting speech delivered all three-inspiration, perspective, and prediction. The speech is reprinted in full in this issue. Dr. Abraham Nemeth (right) receives the NFB Blind Educator of the Year Award from Fred Schroeder. In addition to a long and distinguished teaching career, Dr. Nemeth was the creator of the Nemeth code for Braille Mathematics. Doris Willoughby, (not pictured) received the Distinguished Educator of Blind Children Award.

[PICTURE] The 1990 banquet was characterized by laughter, singing, good food, and fun. The door prizes were plentiful, the a wards exciting, and the banquet address interesting and enlightening. In short, it was a typical NFB banquet. History doesn't have to be stuffy or dull! Nine-year-old Mitchell Woods of Tennessee is clearly delighted by (and thoroughly absorbed in) Dr. Jernigan's stirring banquet address.

[PICTURE] The National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Award Program is impressive by any standard. In 1990 the NFB awarded twenty-six scholarships with a total cash value of $67,500. In addition to the cash award, which ranged from $2,000 to $10,000, each winner received an expense-paid trip to the Federation convention. These twenty-six students are among the top students--blind or sighted--in the country. Here is the list of the 1990 winners, their home states, and a brief description of their career interests. FRONT ROW (left to right): Berenice Ong, California, tax lawyer; Holly Pilcher, Florida, lawyer; Amy Zellner, Wisconsin,biological and environmental engineering; Royce Oliver, Georgia, labor lawyer; Robin Zook, Colorado, genetics and molecular biology; Judith Rasmussen, Wisconsin, French professor; Kathy Kannenberg, North Carolina, math teacher; Cheryl Meadors, Arizona, human services; Danny Wells, Georgia, professor political science. MIDDLE ROW (left to right): Laura White-Cornea, Alaska, English teacher; Elizabeth Butler, Mississippi, special education; Kyle McHugh, Massachusetts, public health administration; Sarah Cripps, Tennessee, lawyer; Angie Page, Colorado, lawyer/politics; Janice Karin, New York, research/applied astronomy (space program); Lisa Heins, Illinois, dietician; Jeanine Lineback, Texas, history professor; Misty Collins, Arkansas, writer; Ross Kaplan, Pennsylvania, teacher/human services. BACK ROW (left to right): Carrie Amestoy, Georgia, writer/journalist; Michael Ferrence, Pennsylvania, labor lawyer; Daniel Frye, South Carolina, lawyer; Bradley Kadel, Illinois, history professor; Frank Wozniak, Missouri, computer programmer; Adam Linn, Massachusetts, business /lawyer; Geoffrey Courtney, Texas, lawyer.

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