National Convention Banquet Speeches and other Important Addresses

Background

Each year the NFB national convention brings together 3,000 blind people and their allies.  These conventions provide the opportunity to discuss important blindness-related issues, share information, celebrate progress, and set policy for the coming years.  Without a doubt, every year the highlight of this largest gathering of blind people is the banquet address. 

Our three most significant leaders--Jacobus tenBroek, Kenneth Jernigan, and Marc Maurer--have been responisble for the majority of our banquet speeches, and all of the ones presented here.  Most often the current president delivers this major address, although there have been a few exceptions.  

Occasionally, one of our leaders offers an address during the convention or elsewhere that is not the banquet speech.  We have included some of the most memorable of these.  All of the most important speeches are available as text or audio files, or both.  In addition, some of the more recent speeches may be viewed in video format.

Marc Maurer

Delegates to the 1986 NFB convention elected Marc Maurer to succeed Kenneth Jernigan as NFB President.  Dr. Maurer's work as leader of the organized blind has reflected his own confidence, independence, maturity, joy, and love.  In short, he has displayed great leadership.  To better understand the core themes of his administration, read or listen to any one of his thoughtful speeches.President Marc Maurer (1986-Present) delivering the banquet speech.

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Kenneth Jernigan

As Marc Maurer stated in 1986, Kenneth Jernigan "combined hard decision-making with great compassion.  Dr. Jernigan's Presidency [was] characterized by imagination, enthusiasm, love for others, and the drive for success.  And there [were] other things: We never lose because we never quit."  Dr. Jernigan's speeches exude these powerful sentiments.  Read or listen to just one speech and you will understand why the organized blind movement continues to be inspired by Jernigan's words.  Past President Kenneth Jernigan (1968-1986) delivering the banquet speech.

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Jacobus tenBroek

Let me offer an ancient and wise proverb: "If you give a person a fish, you can feed him or her for a day.  If you teach that same person how to fish, you can feed him or her for a lifetime."

No individual in the history of the National Federation of the Blind has taught more blind people how to fish, worked harder, loved more, or given more generously of time, talent, energy, or resources than Dr. Jacobus tenBroek.

         --Marc Maurer, July 3, 1986, at the banquet of the national convention
           (Kansas City, Missouri)

Jacobus tenBroek--black and white portrait.Jacobus tenBroek, our founding President, began the time-honored tradition of great orators in the Federation.  His speeches paved the way for so many who have followed--not only in time, but in spirit, in heart, and in strength.

Additional Information

If you would like to order any of these items, please contact the Independence Market for availability. You may contact us by e-mail at IndependenceMarket@nfb.org or by phone at 410-659-9314, extension 2216. For additional information, please refer to our Independence Market Literature Order Procedure.