INK PRINT EDITION
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.
THE BRAILLE MONITOR
Published monthly in Braille and distributed free to the blind by the American Brotherhood for the Blind, 257 South Spring Street, Los Angeles 12, California.
Ink-print edition produced and distributed by the National Federation of the Blind, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, California. Subscription rate--$3.00 per year.
EDITOR: GEORGE CARD, 605 South Few Street, Madison, Wisconsin.
News items should be addressed to the Editor. Changes of address and subscriptions should be sent to the Berkeley headquarters of the National Federation of the Blind.
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National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
THE NEW OUTRAGE OF "THE NEW OUTLOOK"
THE BLIND AND THE 85TH CONGRESS
by John Taylor
A LETTER FROM BETHLEHEM
by Wilfred Thrower
MINUTES OF MEETING OF STATE PRESIDENTS,
National Federation of the Blind, July 3, 1958, by Alma Murphey
JOINT UNIFORM BRAILLE COMMITTEE COMPLETES CODE REVISION STUDY
by Paul J. Langan
THE TENNESSEE CONVENTION
by John Taylor
FEDERAL REHABILITATION FUNDS GO BEGGING
THE BLIND AND THE DRAMATIC EXPERIENCE
by David Swerdlow
ANNUAL CONVENTION OF GEM STATE BLIND
by Jesse Anderson
STRIKE OF DALLAS LIGHTHOUSE SALESMEN
by Audrey Bascom
THE EMOTIONAL BLIND
by Charles W. Little
JOHN MUNGOVAN REAPPOINTED IN MASSACHUSETTS
NEW MEXICO CONVENTION
by Joe Salazar
NEW SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND IN NORTH DAKOTA.
by R. J. Bjornseth
BRAILLE AND TALKING BOOKS: SOME PROS AND CONS
A GENEROUS OFFER TO MONITOR READERS
MISCONCEPTIONS XII. "Choice of Associates"
by Alma Murphey
FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN THE NFB
by Jacobus tenBroek
HERE AND THERE
PRELIMINARY NFB CONVENTION BULLETIN
For two years now the American Foundation for the Blind, largest and most powerful of the nation's caretaker agencies, has paid us the compliment (however unintended) of closely monitoring our conventions and publishing a caricature of our activities in its house organ, The New Outlook for the Blind. The practice has been to hire a local reporter at the convention site, make known to him the kind of story they want, and then turn him loose upon the corridors and keyholes of convention hotels. In this manner the New Outlook keeps a lookout on the blind.
The annual gossip columns which subsequently appear under the euphemism of "convention reports" may be counted upon to seek out and exploit any breath of controversy or difference of opinion within our ranks as proof positive that the National Federation of the Blind is falling apart and that its elective leadership is (in the famous phrases of Outlook editors) animated by personal ambition and demagoguery.
For example, at our New Orleans convention in 1957 the Outlook was represented by a local cub reporter who admittedly knew nothing of the problems of blindness or of the complex issues he was called upon to interpret in intimate detail for a national journal of professional social workers. But the boy knew what he wanted--or what was wanted of him--and he was doggedly irrepressible in his quest for scandal and dissension. Unfortunately for the New Confidential Outlook", he found nothing of significance.
At this year's Boston convention, however, the American Foundation received more substantial aid and comfort. Well before the convention came around, it was evident to the agency directors, from the unquiet rumblings emitted by a few of our own members, that this time there would be juicy opportunities for exploitation. For this occasion no apprentice newsboy would do; instead the Foundation hired a veteran reporter--one Robert A. Wilkin, staff writer for The Christian Science Monitor--who possessed the additional and inestimable advantage of experierce on the management side of a big-city sheltered workshop. Wilkins scarcely needed the guidance and counsel of Foundation experts; he already shared their views, and could be counted on to do them justice.
And that he has. His so-called "report" on our convention is a masterpiece of innuendo and invective. But it is extremely interesting to note the comment of M. Robert Barnett, Executive Director of the American Foundation and author of the column "Hindsight," which appears alongside Wilkin's "report" in the September issue of the New Outlook. "I was," he writes,"...particularly interested in parts of a news article in The Christian Science Monitor under the byline of Staff Writer Robert A. Wilkin, who is represented elsewhere in this issue by an unedited convention report written for the New Outlook. The tone of the Monitor report may or may not have been set by the editorial pencil, but in any case it seems to be one of commendation for blind people...," Mr. Barnett goes on to quote a good deal of the story on the NFB convention which appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, and which indeed not only commends blind people in general but heartily commends the convention and the Federation.
The most intriguing feature of this comment by the agency director is his clear suggestion that the Wilkin report for the Christian Science Monitor was not really representative of Wilkin's viewpoint but had its tone "set by the editorial pencil"--whereas the Wilkin report for the Outlook was "unedited. "One can readily appreciate Mr. Barnett' s desire to differentiate between the two separate Wilkin reports on our convention; for they are, in all major respects, flatly contradictory. Where Wilkin of the Outlook writes of "paternal dictatorship" and "presidential autocracy," Wilkin of the Monitor writes (in regard to the same individual) of "inspiring leadership." Where the former talks of "fireworks," of "insurrection" and "unrest" at the NFB convention, the latter declares that the same meeting "may long stand as a bright example of how a convention should be run." Where the former devotes primary attention to the internal disputes of the convention, and ventures no editorial judgment upon its major business, the latter emphasizes that "a vast amount of resolutions and orders pertaining to the more enlightened integration of this minority in society was discussed and voted upon."
A more blatantly obvious demonstration of the custom-tailored and faithfully designed whole cloth of the New Outlook's "convention report" could not be imagined. Indeed, its true character and purpose is immediately evident to the most casual reader from the fact that, while purportedly written by a professional newsman, it violates the most elementary standards of news reporting. Not a single one of the numerous eminent guest speakers who contributed so much to the convention is even mentioned; no consideration is given to the Federation's outstanding project, the Kennedy-Baring bill guaranteeing the right to organize, which occupied a major share of convention time and attention. For that matter, the coverage of all other important convention activities is shunted aside until after the juicy "exposures" are over, and then either misreported or only casually noted. More stress by far is devoted to alleged remarks of a few disgruntled delegates in corridors and coffee shops than to all the speeches delivered on the floor; and even the avid attention which is lavished upon our internal differences is avid only in its exploitation of comments critical of the Federation's democratically adopted policies and elected leadership.
No recognition at all is given to speeches and comments by those on the majority side.
The sneering tone of this report by the former sheltered shop staff-member is established in the opening paragraph: "It looked like another quiet Fourth of July in Boston. But only until the National Federation of the Blind, meeting at the Somerset Hotel in its eighteenth annual convention, began its first round of resolutions. Then the fireworks started."
Perhaps the most significant feature of this paragraph is the vulgarly jarring note it strikes when contrasted to reports of other conventions published by the Outlook. In the same issue, for instance, immediately preceding Wilkin's confidential column of "inside dope," is a report on the annual convention of the American Association of Instructors of the Blind. The difference in tone (not to mention content) is profound: the AAIB convention report is written, not by a hired news- hand, but by a department head at the Perkins School for the Blind--and its style is accordingly dignified, respectful and straightforward. In stark contrast, the Wilkin piece strikes the reader like a slap in the face which is, of course, exactly what it is.
In short, this is no "convention report" at all but only the conventional retort--the annual exercise by the self-styled "custodial-paternalists" of the American Foundation, designed to ridicule and disparage the convention decisions and accomplishments of the organized blind. The notorious hostility of the AFB's administrators and editors to the successful policies and leadership of the National Federation--a hostility repeatedly reflected in editorials and "Hindsight" columns in the recent past--has not been lost upon this reporter. Well aware of his employers' wants, he has thickly larded his confection with such now-familiar epithets as "presidential autocracy " "paternal dictatorship " "autocratic behavior of the hierarchy," "reactionary members who favored the eighteen-year status quo," and so on. But even this display of invective does not exhaust the talents and imagination of the agency reporter. As part of his effort to smear Federation leaders and policies beyond recognition, he also paints a glowing portrait of "insurrection" and "unrest" symptomatic of a great popular uprising against the brutal tyranny in which the blind are held by their own elected leaders. (If the resounding majorities of the convention appear to contradict this plot-line. Novelist Wilkin is quick to provide the explanation: the votes "did not reflect the true tenor of the assembly's will" but were somehow wrung from a reluctant and helpless membership by the sinister cunning of the "hierarchy.")
Indeed, none of the exciting ingredients of old-fashioned melodrama have been omitted from this passion play. There is even a champion of the oppressed, who has come riding out of the West, like the champions of old--somewhat on the order of Gary Cooper, or, better still, of Zorro. Listen to this vivid character sketch: "He is a westerner, a lawyer. He manifested the ability to understand how the Federation appeared to outsiders--to the public, to the government, to agencies for the blind [sic]. His logic and impersonal, forthright delivery seemed to synthesize and give voice to the hopes of all opposed to the alleged autocratic behavior of the hierarchy." Evidently this savior from the west, who so well understands the viewpoint of agencies for the blind, did in fact give voice to the earnest hopes of at least one group which has good reason to be opposed to the effective and democratic leaders--any such leaders--of the organized blind!
The stirring passage quoted above occurs in the midst of a lengthy disparagement of the democratic decision of the convention--adopted, let it be remembered, by a two-thirds majority after full discussion--confirming by constitutional amendment the established powers of the convention, of the president, and of the executive committee. It is, of course, arrogance and presumption enough for this agency representative to hand down righteous judgments on the considered decisions of our convention to volunteer and advise as to how the blind should run their organization. But how much more brazen does the deed become in light of the fact that this reporter, who has lavished such loving care upon the internal debate surrounding the constitutional amendment, was not even present in the auditorium during the afternoon when the debate occurred and the vote was taken! (Our staff members, understandably enough, were on the lookout for the confidential agent, and were more than a little surprised that he would pass up such exploitable proceedings.) One might suppose that it is the fact of his absence which accounts for the gross errors in his reportage of the constitutional debate (the vote, to mention a single example, was not 29-14 but 30-15). One might also suppose, out of charity, that it is only this absence which explains the conspicuous omission of any quotation from all of those who spoke in favor of the amendment. But how then are we to account for the numerous and all but exhaustive "quotations" which the agency reporter sets forth from one of our members, at least, who spoke against the amendment?
Here is a puzzling question--but on second glance not really so puzzling. If the lengthy quotation from the agency's chosen spokesman of the oppressed is at all accurate--and memory suggests it is close enough--then the reporter must surely have obtained it from the source. Moreover, it is equally plausible to suppose that he also secured the rest of his information on the debate from the same source--or reasonable facsimile thereof. (Where, for instance, did he uncover the juicy intelligence that "a formerly employed executive secretary had been ousted by the president and a segment of the membership resented this action?" There was no mention of this whatsoever on the floor; but evidently there was mention of it to the agency representative from a resentful "segment of the membership.")
It is a plain fact that the New Outlook man did not choose to talk to the Federation's officers who were on the majority side of these issues--nor was he invited to do so. It is also a plain fact that he did spend hours in the company of others who were on the minority side. Indeed, the Outlook reporter has made no secret of his one-sided, not to say lop-sided consultation; all of the numerous "quotations" and citations, with but one garbled two-line exception, are drawn from spokesmen for the defeated view.
Now recall the effort on the part of Outlook Editor-in-Chief M. Robert Barnett to differentiate between the two contradictory versions of the convention written by this imaginative reporter. Clearly, both versions cannot be believed. Is it possible then--as in most cases of split personality--that neither one can be believed? Mr. Barnett chooses to place his faith in the version which was handed to him--because, he says, it was "un-edited." But, while it may or may not have been edited after it was written, it must certainly have been edited, guided and substantially dictated before it was written, since even the cleverest reporter cannot truthfully report on what he has not observed. On the other hand, he can, of course, report untruthfully: that is, he can rely upon the account of one or two disgruntled partisans whose ambitions have been roundly defeated as well as upon his own ideas of what he would have liked to see and hear upon the stage of the convention. And what this present employee of the American Foundation, and former employee of the sheltered shop, would like to see happen to the organized blind, is not a matter of the sheerest speculation.
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By John Taylor, Washington Office, NFB
From the first day it convened, early last January, the 2nd Session of the 85th Congress saw a flurry of activity in many areas of direct and immediate concern to the blind. The very first day saw four "Right to Organize" bills hoppered in the House of Representatives and the drive for co-sponsors continued to roll until the impressive count of 60 had been attained. As the weeks passed other expressions of support piled up as statements and speeches appeared in the Congressional Record introduced by Representatives Ashley of Ohio, Herlong of Florida, Cretella of Connecticut, Allen of California. Zablocki of Wisconsin and, quite naturally, Walter S. Baring of Nevada.
After Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts introduced S. 2411 in the summer of 1957, the 2nd Session of the Senate witnessed increased activity, as well. In addition to both written and verbal expressions of support from a number of distinguished leaders, outstanding addresses were delivered on the Senate floor by Senators William Proxmire of Wisconsin and Richard Neuberger of Oregon.
As the months rolled by members of both the House and the Senate became increasingly aware of, and interested in, the situation confronting blind men and women throughout the nation. Many have gained a much fuller understanding of the abilities and achievements of individual blind persons and have, in addition, become acquainted with many blind persons on a personal basis. There is good reason to hope that members of Congress will approach solutions to our problems with a clearer understanding of what these problems and special needs actually are.
Organized labor and many enlightened agencies for the blind joined forces with us and announced their support of the Kennedy-Baring Bill, but the opposition was not silent. As support mounted diehard opponents became increasingly fearful. The New Outlook for the Blind published critical articles which misrepresented the purposes of the bill and denied any need for its passage. Reprints of some of these were circulated to key members of Congress early in the session and later entire, issues of the publication were mailed broadside to our supporters and co-sponsors, but the Kennedy-Baring Bill continued to gain momentum.
On the eve of our Boston Convention, hearings were about to be scheduled before the House Sub-Committee on Special Education when, in a last minute attempt to muddy the waters and create confusion, the opposition flooded the Sub-Committee with requests to be heard. At this time they were joined by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare which in its report to the Sub-Committee strenuously opposed passage of the bill. In the interest of saving time, the Federation's testimony and witnesses had already been cut to the bone. In view of the limited amount of time still remaining before adjournment, and faced with the prospect of sharing that time with an array of opposition witnesses eager to stall any action, the Federation elected to postpone hearings until next January at which time our bills will be the first order of business before the Sub-Committee, in a new Congress free from adjournment pressures.
From the very beginning of this session of Congress many members of both the House and the Senate were deeply concerned with the needs to Liberalize the Social Security Act, and to this end, scores of bills were introduced covering almost all phases of the system. Early in the session, H.R. 8131, the King Bill, was co-sponsored by Representative Doyle of California. H.R. 8473, another Baring Bill, abolishing length of residence requirements as a condition of eligibility for aid to the blind, was co-sponsored by a number of Congressmen and the entire campaign gained increased impetus and support from new sources, but much remains to be accomplished before its ultimate passage.
The Missouri-Pennsylvania Permanent Solution Bill, which was one product of last December's Washington Conference, was introduced early in the session and continued to gain momentum until Congress finally passed a two-year extension of the special provisions related to approval of the more liberal programs of aid to the blind in these states. Although this measure received tangible support from Representatives Perkins of Kentucky, Carrigg and Flood of Pennsylvania, and finally Moulder and Karsten of Missouri, it was Representative Tom Curtis of Missouri who shouldered the major responsibilities for securing the final action. In addition to introducing a bill and delivering a strong statement on the floor of the House, Congressman Curtis contacted other members of Congress as well as the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare and the Director of the Bureau of the Budget. The final action is both a tribute to Representative Curtis and the combined efforts of the organized blind. It represents an achievement obtained almost single-handedly in the face of strong opposition. The drive for Social Security hearings gained unexpected sup- port in the latter part of May when Senator Russell Long of Louisiana introduced an amendment to the bill providing a temporary extension of unemployment compensation benefits. The Long Amendment provided for substantial increases in Federal funds for public assistance purposes and it came so close to passage, a tie vote of 40 yeas and 40 nays, that an agreement was reached to schedule comprehensive hearings in the House of Representatives.
On June 16, the House Committee on Ways and Means began two weeks of public hearings on all titles of the Social Security Act. Secretary Marion B. Folsom of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare appeared as the first witness and vigorously opposed any and all improvements in the system. On June 17, representing the NFB, Dr. tenBroek appeared before the Committee and was introduced by Rep. Cecil R. King, who spoke briefly but forcefully of his hope that H. R. 8131 would be reported by the Committee and adopted by the Congress. He expressed his personal appreciation and that of the Committee to Dr. tenBroek for his continued willingness to appear before the Committee in support of enlightened legislation. The Federation was accorded a warm welcome by the Committee and granted an unusually generous amount of time for its testimony. Following Dr. tenBroek, Mrs. Alma Murphey, President of the Missouri Federation of the Blind, and Mr. William Taylor, representing the Pennsylvania Federation of the Blind, testified in support of our Missouri-Pennsylvania Permanent Solution Bill. Other than a briefly written statement submitted by the American Association of Workers for the Blind, Federation representatives were the only ones who appeared specifically in support of improved legislation for the blind. After its adoption by the House of Representatives H.R. 13549, the Social Security Amendments of 1958, was referred to the Senate Finance Committee and immediately Dr. T. Munford Boyd and I arranged a meeting with Senator Harry Byrd, Finance Committee Chairman, to present in person the Federation's recommendations. Even though only two days were allocated for public hearings, on August 8 the Federation presented its recommendations before the Finance Committee and again William Taylor appeared representing the Pennsylvania Federation of the Blind. On this occasion only the Federation's representatives appeared to support improved programs for the blind and once again faced stubborn opposition from spokesmen from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, who threatened a Presidential veto. On August 29, the President reluctantly signed into law the 1958 Social Security Amendments (Public Law 85-840) but in doing so he strongly criticized the improvement in public assistance.
During the past two years, considerable attention has been focused on two other measures of far-reaching concern to the blind, namely the Matthews Bill and the so-called Presidential Study Commission Bill. Although without Federation participation, preliminary hearings were held on both measures during the last year. All witnesses presented supporting statements but both proposals languished and expired during the second session as a result of our opposition and the fact that administrative support was withdrawn early in 1958. The blind can take little comfort, however, in this change in the position of the administration. The shift occurred primarily for budgetary reasons.
Another area of the Federation's legislative activities occurred in connection with H. R. 2767, introduced by Representative John E . Moss of California and the Senate companion bill, S. 921, introduced by Senator Thomas C. Hennings of Missouri. This so-called "Right to Know" bill had solid support from many members of Congress, the press, radio and TV, as well as supporting testimony from the NFB. But it too was opposed by the administration. The bill, which has now been enacted into law, represents a halting step in the direction of increased public access to governmental rules and regulations. A solution to this situation, however, must await a more comprehensive change, if government departments are to be curtailed in their attempts to withhold information from the public and limit the availability of records.
Our legislative momentum as well as our accomplishments during the past year have not been the product of any one person; they represent the product of a well coordinated campaign with broad participation. None of us can forget the colossal achievement of West Virginia in obtaining "Right to Organize" sponsorship by all of its representatives. But neither can we forget the supreme accomplishments of many others too numerous to mention here. Our tasks are not over. We have another autumn during which to contact our representatives and senators, while they are at home; and moreover, we are much more experienced on how to do it. We understand the importance of our requests and we know precisely what to ask our members of Congress to do.
When the Kennedy Bill is re-introduced next year, it should contain the names of many co-sponsors and we should ask our senators, specifically, to join in this undertaking. It is necessary that we bear in mind the fact that in the Senate names of co-sponsors can only be added to a bill prior to the time it is printed.
In contacting members of the House of Representatives, we should express our warmest thanks and appreciation to our co-sponsors and ask them to join us again during the year ahead. To those who did not join as co-sponsors, we should tell our story in a straightforward, convincing manner, explaining fully the nature of our movement and the obstacles which we encounter. The story of the attitude and misconceptions about blindness is a simple one when fully explained and we should not underestimate the desire and willingness on the part of our congressmen to join in developing a more realistic concept of the abilities and capacities of blind persons, as well as the need for special programs for their attainment.
Finally, the provisions of the King Bill, as well as our other legislative proposals, will be as necessary next year as they have been in the past. "Liberty, equality, and opportunity"--these are our objectives. All of our programs are means to these ends and deserve our most energetic and dedicated efforts. They cannot be achieved overnight nor in a decade, but one by one the ideals of tomorrow can become the realities of today.
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(Editor's Note: The following letter will be of general interest to those wishing to know about the conditions of the blind in other countries of the world, particularly, Jordan. It will be of personal interest to those Federationists who have lent aid to the writer in the past. If any state or local chapter affiliate wishes to contribute to the further education of this brilliant young student or to aid him otherwise in his heroic fight, send your contributions to 605 South Few Street, Madison, Wisconsin. Mr. Card will coordinate the enterprise. The Wisconsin Council in the past has been the principal contributor.)
Bethlehem Secondary School
September the 9th, 1958
Dear Dr. tenBroek:
Your kind letter of September the 2nd reached me today; and I do not know how to thank you for the spirit of sympathy and helpfulness expressed in this letter. I was deeply moved to find you more understanding and cooperative than my relatives in citizenship, blood and nationality. They do not want me, because they feel that I am useless, although I proved on many occasions, the last of which was my outstanding success in Jordan matriculation, more able than many of their sighted sons and daughters.
The results of the aforementioned matriculation were disclosed at the beginning of last month. There were more than four thousand candidates, of whom some two thousand succeeded in Division B and 450 candidates in Division A. My grade was the 131st in Division A. My results would have been better if I had accepted the exemption from physics which the Ministry of Education offered me, because they believed that it was impossible for a blind person to succeed in physics. I refused the exemption and sat for the matriculation as any normal student, and got a credit in physics. But, although I proved to possess the talents and ability of a normal student, I was denied the opportunity and help which other normal students obtained.
In case you would like to know, here are my matriculation results: I got three distinctions: in English (in which I was the first among all the candidates), Arabic, and religion as well as three credits in history, biology, and physics.
I think it may be desirable if I can give you some idea about the condition of the blind here in Jordan. According to statistics of years ago, there were some four thousand blind people in Jordan, although the whole population is not more than one million and a half. The vast majority of blind persons here are doing nothing but begging, directly and indirectly, through religion, or living a dependent and miserable life upon their relatives. I know some who earn their living through making and selling manual work, like cane chairs and baskets. There are also very few students in elementary or secondary schools. There is only one elementary school for the blind and no secondary schools at all.
There is only one organization of the blind, formed by those who can make manual products. It has some forty members, of whom only twenty are given a chance to work and earn a living. This organization was formed more than twenty-five years ago.
Before any improvement can be achieved, we must establish real cooperation and influence with the Government, whose negligence toward the blind is so overwhelming and unbearable.
Now I will try to give you the needed answers for your questions. (1) I do not think it would be worthwhile to trouble yourself with the Ministry of Education, because they need more than letters to persuade them to change their stubborn ideas and old opinions. (2) I do not know any group or association in the United States made up of people from Jor- dan. (3) I have heard of the American Foundation for Overseas Blind, but I have never made contact with it. Also, I know of the British Council which was destroyed a short time ago; but it may have been rebuilt by now. I am not sure if they give scholarships. I wrote to them, in Amman, sometime ago, for information about universities and they were very kind in helping me. (4) I have just finished high school and am eligible for university. I think of entering the University of Syria on my initiative, because living there, as I hear, is not very expensive. With the remainder of the 150 pounds which the Wisconsin Council was so kind to send me in May of this year, I think I can live there for two or three months at most. Within this period I hope to be able to find a resource of support. I must plunge into this adventure because I cannot sit despairing while other classmates are working or studying.
I desire to study law and sociology, but because the University of Syria does not teach sociology I shall study history instead.
I close with my best wishes and highest regards.
Abed Rabboh Budair
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By Wilfred Thrower, Secretary
The 23rd annual convention of the Washington State Association of the Blind, held in Everett, Washington, September 4-7, 1958, under the sponsorship of the Snohomish County Association of the Blind, was the "greatest." It had everything. It was packed from beginning to end with drama and humor, and fulfilled every function for which conventions are held. Its educational and publicity value was tremendous; the business transacted was of an extremely high caliber, and the added element of inspiring the membership to leave the convention with renewed determination to work was present in ample quantity.
The first session on Thursday afternoon, with all of the usual formalities attendant to the opening of a convention, went off smoothly. On Thursday afternoon, at the opening session, Wes Osborne, our National Federation of the Blind delegate to the Boston convention, gave his impressions as a national delegate for the first time. He was very favorably impressed with the national convention, and also gave an extremely interesting account of his visit to New York City and Washington, D.C. Another highlight of the first session was a display of "tools and aids" put on by our Welfare Chairman, Oscar Mortenson.
Following the close of the first afternoon's session, a board meeting was convened at which a number of recommendations were passed having to do with policy and organizational structure. Most of these recommendations came to the Board from an Executive Committee Meeting, held in the latter part of July at which First Vice President George Card of the National Federation was a guest.
The most basic change recommended was that our convention be devoted to educational and broad general policies and that details be left to the Board; and that we give increased emphasis to direct service projects, with a view to making our organization the main factor in work for the blind in this state.
On Friday morning following the demonstration of a braille duplicating machine, a message from President Eisenhower was read expressing his interest in the handicapped and in the blind particularly.
During the morning the convention heard from Ed Borsden, a secretary of the International Woodworkers of America, AFL-CIO, and Lloyd Smart, Placement Specialist of State Services to the Blind. Four other members of the State Staff were present including Mrs. Val Brakel, Chief of Services to the Blind.
Chairman Jack Flory of the Ways and Means Committee gave his report. Our state president pointed out that under the capable management of Jack Flory our White Cane Week drive was the only one in the country which had made a gain this year. Jack recommended that we contribute $1,000.00 to the National Federation to assist in the improvement of the program for the blind on the national level.
A telegram from John F. Kennedy, sponsor of our "Right to Organize" legislation, was read and enthusiastically received. Wes Osborne followed with a recommendation that our Association endorse the entire legislative program of the National Federation of the Blind.
Oscar Mortenson, Chairman of the Welfare Committee next gave his report in which he set forth an ambitious program for our organization to aim at in the coming year.
During the Saturday morning session, the convention heard from Mr. Emil Fries, Chairman of the Advisory Committee for the Blind to the State Department of Public Assistance. The Advisory Committee is a legally constituted body composed of three blind persons having authority to advise on all matters pertaining to the blind within the jurisdiction of the State Department of Public Assistance. At the present time the Advisory Committee is composed of Emil Fries, Chairman; Mr. Lyle VonErichsen (Treasurer of our Association) and Mr. Arnold Sadler (President of the State Association). The committee was established during the 1955 session of the legislature, and The Washington State Association of the Blind takes full credit for its enactment into law. Mr. Fries gave an excellent report, and is to be congratulated on the fine job he is doing as Chairman of the Advisory Committee.
Another annual affair of our convention is the Vending Stand Operator's luncheon. This was the second annual luncheon and, with Dr. Jacobus tenBroek in attendance, it was an interesting and provocative session. Attending the luncheon were a number of vending stand operators, state association officers and State Department people.
At the Saturday afternoon meeting Senator Henry M. Jackson, one of Everett's most distinguished citizens, made his appearance before the convention and was greeted with a warm welcome. Senator Jackson pledged his support in improving the program for the blind in the future as he has always done in the past. Congressman Jack Westland, also of Everett, appeared before the convention and pledged his support.
The election of officers and trustees was the final order of business of major importance to come before the convention. The results were as follows: Arnold Sadler, Seattle, President; Roy Welker, Spokane Association, Vice-President; Wilfred Thrower, Seattle, Secretary; Lyle VonErichsen, Spokane Association, Treasurer; Wesley Osborne, Pierce County Association, Tacoma, Legislative Chairman; Bill Brunbaugh, Snohomish County Association, Everett, Organization Chairman; Jack Flory, Spokane Association, Ways and Means Chairman; Oscar Mortenson, Pierce County Association, Seattle, Welfare Committee Chairman; NFB delegate, Arnold Sadler and Alternate Jack Flory.
The Saturday evening banquet was an historic event. The room was packed with members, guests, and dignitaries, and the conventioneers sang songs, enjoyed a delicious meal and listened to one of the finest speeches Dr. tenBroek has ever delivered. Our convention would not have been the tremendous success it was were it not for the presence of Dr. tenBroek, and at this time we wish to thank him for taking time out from his extremely busy schedule and coming to Washington for our annual convention. Other speakers of the evening were Ken Bryan, Assistant Director of the State Department of Public Assistance, representing Governor Albert D. Roselinni at the convention; John L. O'Brien, Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Washington State Legislature, and Senator Bargreen, also of Everett.
At five-thirty A.M. on Sunday morning all those registered for the annual salt water salmon derby were on hand and eagerly anticipating the delicious breakfast awaiting them at the Everett Yacht Club. For a number of years the Everett Lions, in cooperation with the Everett Yacht Club and the Snohomish County Association of the Blind have been putting on a fishing derby for all blind throughout the state.
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NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
JULY 3, 1958
by Alma Murphey
Upon the suggestion of Mr. Robert Campbell, President of the Calitornia Council of the Blind, a meeting of the presidents of the state affiliates of the National Federation of the Blind was held on the afternoon of July 3, the day just prior to the convening of the 1958 convention of the National Federation.
First, a brief discussion took place as to the purpose of such a meeting and it was decided that the gathering would serve simply as a forum for the exchange of ideas concerning the various problems encountered in the managing of a state affiliate. Many delegates expressed the opinion that they could benefit greatly in this way and this purpose was unanimously accepted.
The chairman and secretary were then elected. They were Mr. Robert Campbell and Mrs. Alma Murphey, respectively.
The first matter to be discussed was ways of disseminating instructions and information to the local clubs throughout the state. One suggestion was that members visit meetings of neighboring clubs. Also the president of the state affiliate might visit each local club once a year and more frequently if the need arises. This is to be done at state expense. News letters and bulletins were also suggested as an excellent means of accomplishing this purpose.
The next subject was the various ways of producing state bulletins. California is on the verge of getting her bulletin into circulation and it will be produced in braille, in print, and on recording. Subscriptions will be required and the bulletin will be provided in the form desired. We learned that the Louisville Printing House will make the records at a charge of seventy-five cents each and that the Jacksonville School will handle the brailling of the bulletins. The records mentioned are the regular size talking book records. Some states circulate quarterly bulletins on tapes which are played at the various club meetings. This has proved quite successful. Others expressed the opinion that mimeographing the bulletin is the most satisfactory method.
The President of the Illinois Federation gave an interesting account of their publicity committee and speakers bureau and also told about the part-time secretary hired by the Illinois Federation and enumerated her duties.
The delegate from Maryland told of the fund-raising drives engaged in by the Maryland affiliate which include a dance and excursion and a bingo party. These are all annual affairs.
The question of how to discourage localism was asked and the answer was to encourage more members to attend conventions of the National Federation and to invite NFB speakers to attend state conventions. The way in which speakers from the National Federation are financed was discussed. How to obtain lists of names and addresses of blind people throughout the state was discussed and we learned that the California Department of Welfare will send letters to blind persons and the recipients will answer, provided they are interested.
The following questions were then discussed: how to obtain a meeting place for local clubs; how to choose delegates to attend the conventions of the National Federation; what should membership cards consist of; what amount of dues is usually paid by members of local clubs.
A motion was made by the Arkansas delegate that this meeting of state presidents be established as an annual function, to be held on the day just prior to the beginning of the NFB convention. It was unanimously carried.
The Chairman was requested to announce before the general assembly of the convention that this meeting would be held annually and was instructed to ask that a list of names and addresses of state presidents be provided to each state president without request.
The Chairman was also requested to prepare a statement of the purpose for the Presidents' Meeting which would be adopted next year. It was decided that the minutes of this meeting should be sent to each state president and to the Braille Monitor for publication if possible.
A motion was made and unanimously adopted that the chairman and secretary be elected at the beginning of each meeting.
The meeting then adjourned until 8 o'clock P. M., at which time it was reconvened in order that those who could not attend the afternoon session might be thoroughly informed on what took place at the meeting.
In addition to a summary of the afternoon session, questions were asked about the Credit Union, which were adequately answered by Mrs. Marie Boring, President of the North Carolina Federation of the Blind.
The meeting was adjourned at 9 o'clock P. M.
The Presidents' Meeting was attended by approximately thirty delegates. The Minutes are to be approved at the next meeting.
MRS. ALMA MURPHEY, President of
MISSOURI FEDERATION OF THE BLIND, INC,
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by Paul J. Langan
(Editor's Note--Mr. Langan is the Counselor for the Far East, American Foundation for Overseas Blind, and Chairman of the Joint Uniform Braille Committee.)
Braille readers throughout the country will be interested in the results of the study made during the past year on the proposed changes in the braille code. This reader-sampling was accomplished through the distribution of a ten page reading illustration prepared by the Joint Uniform Braille Committee in an attempt to determine the difficulty or acceptance of the proposals. Approximately twenty thousand copies of the pamphlet were circulated in the field, giving everyone who wished to do so an opportunity to see the proposals on embossed pages. The Committe is indebted to the hundreds of readers whose responses made this possible, and to the many groups, agencies, schools, and associations which submitted opinions and constructive suggestions. This brief summary of the results will follow the procedure used in outlining thechanges in the pamphlet, taking up, in order, the deletions, the alterations, the additions, and finally the basic rule changes.
In reply to the only objective question asked on the inquiry, it was interesting to note that more than two-thirds of those responding stated that they had no trouble in reading the illustration once they had read the introductory explanation. However, more than half of those who gave favorable answers qualified their responses by stating that they did not agree with some of the proposals and would not like to see them adopted.
Quite understandably, the readers failed to see anything to be gained by omitting something that was already an accepted and established sequence in the code. This section referred to the deletion of the word signs for altogether, the conceive and deceive family groups, and the lower signs for bb, cc, dd, ff, and gg. Though it is recognized that there is some space saving by using the low b, c, d, f, and g for these double consonants because of their frequency of occurrence, word uniformity cannot be achieved under the present rule affecting the be, con, and dis contractions. The proposed rule would have permitted correction of this irregularity in the system, but the readers did not agree and preferred to retain the present usage.
In the matter of the proposed alterations, the readers not only showed a wide and varied preference pro and con, but also made several hundred suggestions of their own which they would like to see adopted. The suggested forms for today , tonight, and tomorrow met with almost universal acceptance, but many expressed reservations over the proposals for character, less, cannot, and immediate, thus placing them in the doubtful column.
Most readers responded with firm opinions on the section of proposed additions to the code, and, in addition, expressed themselves very heartily. Their suggestions ran all the way from substituting the Morse Code to the full incorporation of all Grade III contractions and abbreviations. However, afternoon, friend, first, and question received the endorsement of the readers who replied, while don't, follow, haven't, and yesterday were about equally liked and disliked. The remaining proposals in this section were definitely rejected. This will be good news to the far majority of the correspondents who were so violently opposed to such unusual word signs as the gh for he, and the ing for is.
As was to be expected, few readers were concerned over the proposed changes in the basic rules. Most of those responding frankly stated that they never had seen the rules and had no comment. Some few braillists and teachers did express special approval on the recommendations numbered 1, 2, 3, and 5, which, briefly, alter the rulings on lower signs following one another, contractions overlapping syllables, the preference of the ar sign over the ea sign, and permitting com now to be preceded by a capital sign. The changes numbered 4 and 7 have to be rejected in view of the responses received on the be, con, and dis usage, and the contraction proposed for less.
This now brings us to the conclusion of a long eight year project. By the direction of the AAIB and the AAWB, the Committee will now proceed with the revision of the code for Standard English Braille. The new system will become effective January 1, 1959, when all the presses and transcribers will begin to use the new forms and rules. Readers need not be unduly alarmed over this announcement, however, as the new system will not disturb their present reading ability. The major changes are in the rules and will achieve greater uniformity and standardization of embossing and transcribing, thus bringing about, in fact, greater ease and facility in braille reading.
It perhaps will be appropriate to mention here that teachers, transcribers, and professional users of braille music will be pleased to know that the new Revised International Manual of Braille Music Notation, 1956, by H. V. Spanner has been officially adopted in this country and will be put into effect beginning September 1, 1958. Copies of this Manual are now available in the United States, both in braille and ink print editions, from the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, 22 West 17 Street, New York 11, New York.
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By John Taylor
The annual convention of the Tennessee Federation of the Blind was held August 30 and 31 at the Andrew Jackson Hotel in Nashville. Attendance completely surpassed all previous records with almost 100 delegates present throughout the general session. The high point of the two-day meeting came Saturday evening, at the annual banquet, where considerably more than 100 delegates and their guests heard movingly brilliant addresses by Dr. tenBroek and Kenneth Jernigan of the NFB, and Staunton Smith of the State Labor Council. Among the guests, were several members of the next State Legislature who publicly expressed a willingness to advance our legislative program. The Federation awarded John Taylor a handsome braille watch as the State's Outstanding Blind Person of the Year.
Regular sessions of the convention featured addresses by Nashville's own Mayor, Ben West; Mr. Mason Brandon, Director of Services for the Blind; Mr. E. J. Wood, Superintendent, School for the Blind; Mr. Hayes of the Social Security Administration, together with a discussion of pre-school training of blind children by our own Mrs. Helen Wild.
The Sunday morning session featured a full discussion of the new public assistance amendments, our national legislative campaign and Civil Service progress with special emphasis on opening the braille telephone switchboard classifications to the blind. The Federation unanimously instructed its treasurer to forward $200 to the Braille Monitor and $500 to the NFB Endowment Fund.
During the Sunday afternoon session, the convention adopted an aggressive legislative program for liberalization of our aid to the blind program, including a $65 per month minimum presumed need, abolition of the legal liability of relatives and establishment of minimum amount of real and personal property which must be disregarded in determining need. The other Committee recommendations which were also unanimously adopted included:
1. Establishment of a Statutory Committee, containing representatives of the organized blind.
2. Enactment of the State's law for blind-made products.
3. Increased appropriation for the purely State-financed scholarship fund for the blind students.
4. A minimum wage of $1.00 per hour for blind workers in sheltered shops.
5. A little Randolph-Sheppard Act.
Prior to the August 17 Primary Election, the Tennessee Federation submitted questionnaires to all gubernatorial candidates to solicit their views on improvement in programs for the blind. From commitments made to the Federation and the public, it now appears certain that the legal liability of relatives concept will be abolished entirely. To this end, the Governor-elect is firmly committed. The blind of the nation can also take pride in the fact that the same primary renominated Senator Albert Gore to another 6 year term. Senator Gore, a liberal member of the Senate Finance Committee, has sponsored several improvements in public assistance and vending stand legislation and, in addition, has supported many others.
The convention selected Chattanooga as its 1959 convention site, and elected the following officers: President, J.M. Warren; 1st Vice-President, Lavern Humphry; 2nd Vice-President, Johnson Bradshaw; 3rd Vice-President, Tommy Cox; Secretary, Gertie Wisdom; Treasurer, Willette Marshall. Mark Thrower was elected to a three year term on the Board of Directors.
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(The following letter was received from Paul C. Howard, Acting Assistant Director, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, in response to an inquiry from John Taylor, Chief of Staff, Washington office, NFB.)
Dear Mr. Taylor:
In response to your telephone request on August 20, 1958, we are listing below those States and Territories which, according to our present records, did not earn their full share of the Federal allotment for the basic support program under Section 2 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act for the fiscal year 1958.
As you know the allotment base principle, which has been included in appropriation language since 1955, provides a base for making allotments to the States for Section 2, which is set at a level above the amount of Federal funds actually appropriated. The objective is to provide full Federal support for those States which, in contemplation of the authority contained in the basic Act, will have appropriated or otherwise made available sufficient funds to match the total authorization. The method of funding is designed to allow those States which are able to do so to earn more Federal funds than would otherwise be possible. It does mean, however, that it is expected that most of the States will not earn the full amount of the allotment. There were 13 states which did earn their full Federal allotment in the fiscal year 1958.
States which did not earn full allotment in fiscal year 1958:
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By David Swerdlow
The late Robert E. Jones, noted stage designer, used to speak frequently of that aspect of life which he called "the dramatic experience." He was referring, of course, to the vicarious experience offered by the stage, motion picture and television.
While it is undoubtedly true that many of us without sight attend the theatre, there is little question that we miss a great deal. The theatre and other dramatic mediums are not, after all, geared to the needs of the blind.
This is to report that at Vacation Camp for the Blind, Spring Valley, N. Y., a unique theatrical project has taken shape. It is called "Vacation Camp Summer Theatre." Productions are planned especially for a blind audience; and the entire project is the work of the blind themselves. The only sighted assistance comes from camp counselors, who provide needed direction.
From its inception five years ago Irving Miller, Director of the Camp, and his Assistant Director, Sherman Barr, have given Vacation Camp Summer Theatre their heartiest support.
A few of the plays produced so far have been: "Marty", the prize- winning motion picture, "Holiday Song", a poignant television drama, both by Paddy Chayefsky, and "Bus Stop", the dramatic hit by William Inge.
With the permission of the authors, adaptations of these plays were made, utilizing a radio format. The cast, which consisted entirely of blind vacationers, worked exclusively from braille scripts. These scripts were prepared by sighted volunteers, many months before.
The players were selected with a view to the proper synchronization of voices. Since the audience was blind, these voices had to be clear and easily identifiable as belonging to a given character.
It must be pointed out that our productions were not mere readings, but rich, dramatic performances of current, significant plays. The emphasis was on voice projection and characterization. We faced and solved all the problems encountered in a broadcasting studio.
Our interpretations of "Marty," "Bus Stop," and "Holiday Song" were effective technically and dramatically, as well as in terms of audience reaction. Performances were stopped frequently by spontaneous bursts of applause, and audience identification with the story was obviously at a high level.
Appropriate music and sound effects were dubbed in by blind technicians. This department was often confronted by unusual and difficult sound effect requirements. They had to work out the intricate music break and audio, which for a blind audience bridged the action of the play.
Vacation Camp Summer Theatre, utilizing as it does the radio format, is not intended to replace for the blind the standard theatrical medium--the theatre, motion picture and television. It is hoped that our type of production will show how other mediums can be augmented, and how "the dramatic experience" can more fully become part of the lives of the blind.
We feel that the vast repertory of the theatre can be brought within our reach more effectively. All that is necessary is appropriate adaptation, plus the desire of the blind to organize their own productions. We at Vacation Camp in Spring Valley have shown that it can be done.
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By Jesse Anderson
The annual convention of the Gem State Blind was held this year at Twin Falls, Idaho. Informal activities began Friday evening, following a supper at the American Legion Hall, with a meeting of the Executive Committee which lasted until well after midnight.
The convention was called to order by President Collins the following morning, and opened with a roll call and certification of delegates. As chaplain of the Gem State Blind, I was asked to give the invocation. President Collins then introduced Kenneth Jernigan and myself as representatives of the NFB Executive Committee, and Ken gave the keynote speech of the convention on the subject, "Colonialism in Work for the Blind." It was a very stirring address, setting forth in colorful detail the history of organizations for the blind and pointing out how they set the stage for organizations of the blind themselves. He praised the excellent work and many contributions of the agencies, but emphasized the need for a strong organization of, by and for the blind enabling them to speak for themselves. Ken's excellent speech was enthusiastically received by the delegates.
I followed Ken on the platform with a few brief remarks reminding the members that Idaho came into the National Federation back in 1942.
Frank and Mary Collins delivered a most interesting report of their trip to Boston for the recent NFB convention. Next the members voted to publish a second edition of the Gem State Blind newsletter of which the first edition had just been issued on long-playing records. Mrs. Alice Marie Walker was commended for a splendid piece of work in editing this bulletin. The organization also decided to subscribe to the recorded edition of the Braille Monitor for one year.
In the afternoon, President Collins introduced an ambitious and far-reaching project which the Board of Directors were thereupon instructed by the convention to carry out. Owing to the difficulty confronting our state officers (who, of course, have their own careers) in carrying out the day-to-day activities of the organization--such activities as correlating the work of chapters, strengthening the membership, conducting fund-raising, and carrying on a program of public relations throughout the state--it was decided that a field representative should be employed by the executive board, as finances permit, to carry out the various programs. The field representative will be accountable to the board and will work under their direction.
On the evening of the final day's session, a sumptuous banquet was held, at which Mary Collins was toastmistress and presided with her usual poise and aplomb. An interesting talk was given by a member of the Twin Falls Toastmasters' Club.
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A two-month-long strike for better working conditions was carried out this summer by seven blind salesmen of the Dallas, Texas Lighthouse. The walkout, which began June 23, ended in late August after blunt rejection of the salesmen's demands by the workshop management, despite the intervention of an impartial community committee of mediators.
During the period of the strike the salesmen courageously with-stood a variety of threats and pressures from officials of the Lighthouse, as well as general lack of support from employees within the workshop who feared for their jobs. The incident, which served to expose and dramatize the substandard conditions prevailing in the workshop, demonstrated also that door-to-door salesmen employed by such agencies are better able to afford the risks of striking than most of those working inside the shops. While on strike the salesmen continued to earn a living through sales of other products, and are now independently employed in that capacity. Such alternatives are obviously not open to most sheltered shop workers, whose limited training has not equipped them for competitive employment in normal commercial and industrial vocations.
Officials of the Dallas Lighthouse, in keeping with the traditional arrogance of sheltered workshop overseers, refused for many weeks to recognize the major grievances of the salesmen. Shortly after the walk-out the agency issued a blunt order to the strikers to return to work by a set deadline--without arbitration of grievances--or lose their jobs. James N. Landrum, Lighthouse board chairman, went so far as to charge that the action of the strikers had been instigated "from outside by the National Federation for [sic] the Blind, which has previously caused trouble in San Antonio and Denver...." That the NFB has indeed "caused trouble" in these cities and elsewhere, for the believers in submarginal employment and economic exploitation of the blind is undeniable; but that the Federation and its affiliates instigated in any way the courageous action of the blind salesmen is utterly false. To set the record straight, here are the facts:
For some time prior to the strike, the salesmen had discussed among themselves the need for concerted action to improve their conditions of work. On June 23, on their own initiative and without outside advice, they began their strike action. Shortly thereafter, a committee of the Dallas Chapter of the Lone Star State Federation of the Blind (the state affiliate of the National Federation) gave a hearing to the salesmen and subsequently passed resolutions supporting the strikers and condemning the Lighthouse for its failure to correct the conditions which had led to the walkout. The resolutions of the Dallas chapter were forwarded to the Board of Directors of the Lone Star State Federation, who decided to lend the support of the state organization to the efforts of the striking salesmen. The National Federation of the Blind sent a representative to Dallas to make a first-hand investigation of the issue; moreover, the president of the NFB maintained regular contact with officials of the state affiliate and local chapter. It was quickly apparent that the struggle of the Dallas salesmen represented virtually a classic case of resistance by blind persons to autocratic custodial authority, and accordingly the National Federation stood ready to assist the efforts of the salesmen, and of the special mediating committee of community leaders, to reach a reasonable and democratic solution to the issues involved.
Basic to an understanding of the Dallas Lighthouse issue, as of the vexed question of sheltered employment generally, is the fact that the Lighthouse had secured a special certificate of exemption for its employees from the requirements of the minimum wage-and-hour law, and authorizing "submarginal wages for handicapped clients." This "Sheltered Workshop Certificate," as it is called, permits the remuneration of blind employees--regardless of productivity--at from 40 to 70 percent below the dollar-per-hour minimum allowed by present federal law. The exact renumeration paid by the Dallas workshop has been revealed in a letter from an official of the United States Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division:
"The shop holds a certificate which permits a training rate of 30 cents per hour for 160 hours of training, after which there is a shop rate of 60 cents per hour, unless special individual rates have been granted for certain clients who are not able to earn the shop rate. The certificate permits a rate of 30 cents per hour for homebound clients...."
Although it was the workers inside the sheltered shop who were subject to these substandard conditions, they were prevented from joining the strike for fear of losing the only form of employment available to them. But the uphill struggle of the seven blind salesmen of Dallas has not been without great and growing support. In addition to the assistance of the organized blind of the city, state and nation, the strikers received positive encouragement from representatives of organized labor in the Dallas area, who recognized the crucial issue of freedom of expression and consultation at stake in the effort of blind Texans to have a say in their vital interests. These salesmen, indeed, are not alone in the Lone Star State--or among the blind of the nation.
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By Audrey Bascom
The biggest and best Nevada Federation convention yet was held at the El Well Hotel in Las Vegas, September 18-20. Governor Charles Russell flew down from Reno to open the convention. United States Senator Molly Malone and Grant Sawyer, the Democratic candidate for governor, made appearances. Tim Seward, Congressman Baring's administrative assistant, was on hand throughout the convention, spoke at the banquet and was made an Honorary Life Member of the organization. The banquet was held on Friday night. The attendance was so much greater than expected that over 70 persons had to be turned away. Dr. tenBroek made a quick evening trip from Berkeley and from registration duties at the University to deliver an inspiring address to the overflow audience.
The business sessions of the convention included a talk by Dr. George Matson, prominent Las Vegas ophthamologist; an education panel by the four top school officials in the city; progress reports by Mrs. Barbara Coughlan, Director of the State Welfare Department, George Magers, Director of the Vocational Rehabilitation Bureau, and Russell Maki, Rehabilitation counselor; and discussions of state and national legislation for the blind.
Resolutions were passed: to raise presumed minimum need from $90 to $100 in the aid program--the present average grant being $99.15; to liberalize items in aid budget to cover guide dog food and medicine chest supplies; to change "total blindness" to 20/200 in the state property exemption tax provision; to increase personnel so that services to the blind may be enlarged; to add 17 and 18 year olds to the Aid to Dependent Children program; to change the name of the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation to the Bureau of Services to the Blind; to secure a state vending stand law giving preference to blind persons in stands and vending machines on state, county and municipal property. The convention instructed Nevada's delegates to the Santa Fe convention of the NFB to seek to secure the national convention for Las Vegas in 1961.
The following persons were elected: President, Audrey Bascom; First Vice President, K. O. Knudson; Second Vice President, Catherine Callahan; Secretary, Charles Lair; Treasurer, Nina Orcutt; Chaplain, Julia Davies; Board Members, George Magers, Bettye Powell, Louise Long, James Ellis.
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By Charles W. Little
Many regard the blind as being characteristically emotional. Perhaps one reason for this erroneous opinion is that many believe that a person upon losing his sight suffers such a psychological blow that it permanently damages his personality. Most persons, however, recover from this nerve-shattering experience in an astonishingly short space of time. The lamentation of the blind is not because of the loss of sight, but because following it, most doors leading to full productive employment are closed to them. The newly blinded person feels completely frustrated and may, temporarily, sink into hopeless resignation. This is the time that he needs rehabilitation, which means ultimately a job. Everyone who is capable has a right to work and earn a living. This right is one of the basic principles of our democratic system.
If a blind person exhibits a spirit of discontent, it is usually because he feels that life is passing him by, that he is being left out, that he is not permitted to earn for himself those things that are dear to every human heart--home, family, a respected place in the community. A blind person, in feeling this way, is no different emotionally from the sighted person. This kind of emotional, stress is not characteristic solely of the blind. It is as true of sighted persons under the same circumstances. If a sighted person is without employment for a prolonged period he will experience the same feeling. The average intelligent person to be happy must live a useful life.
The self-respect of many a basically strong character has been lost when, for circumstances beyond his control, he has found it impossible to earn a living. It may sound like an over-simplification to say that most of the emotional distress experienced by blind persons can be eliminated by the solution of their number one problem--full, satisfactory employment. Of course, it does not mean that once a blind person gets a job, he will never have another sad moment. He will have those troubles which are common to all, and at times will disturb him emotionally. However, if he is not a neurotic, these troubles should not cause a chronic emotional disturbance.
What has been said up to this point is relative to the adult blind. Any abnormal emotional behavior of blind children is usually due to the emotional attitude of their parents. Under proper schooling and guidance the blind child should grow up to be a well-adjusted adult.
Robert Louis Stevenson was once asked what he would consider the greatest loss that could come into his life. He replied, "The loss of my work." Even if he lost his beloved wife, he said he believed he could somehow go on with life if he had his work.
While the blind want work primarily to support themselves and families they also need it for psychological reasons. Psychologists say the desire for recognition, appreciation and esteem is the strongest desire of the human heart. Once a blind person takes his rightful place in society as a worker with sighted fellow-workers, he becomes conscious of a feeling of acceptance, of dignity.
Whether we show or hide our emotions, as members of the human race, blind or sighted, we are all emotional beings. Perhaps too much emphasis has been laid on emotions that are negative. Emotion is a thing of the heart. It is the victorious glow that follows a difficult deed well done. At its best, it is the warm feeling of love and friendship. For all the emotions that enrich our lives with vibrant goodness, let us be thankful.
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Good news for the blind of Massachusetts--and indeed throughout the nation--is contained in the recent announcement that John F. Mungovan, Director of Services for the Blind in Massachusetts, has been reappointed to his position.
The reappointment is largely the result of active efforts by the Associated Blind of Massachusetts under the leadership of State President John F. Nagle, who were successful in thwarting political pressures against the retention of Mr. Mungovan in office.
Winner of the 1957 Newel Perry Award of the National Federation for his outstanding work in services to the blind, Mr. Mungovan will be remembered by all who attended our Boston convention for his informative address on the progress of welfare services in Massachusetts.
The announcement of his reappointment will give pause to those who charge that the NFB is opposed on principle to administrators of agencies for the blind. As in numerous other states, the relationships existing between the Massachusetts Director and the organized blind of the state have been warmly cooperative and mutually rewarding. Our congratulations go out to Mr. Mungovan, as well as to our state affiliate in Massachusetts, for the success of their campaign to preserve enlightened and forward-looking leadership in the administration of welfare services for the blind.
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Joe A. Salazar, Publicity Chairman
Although regrettably late, the following news item may be of interest to Monitor readers.
The state NMFB convention was held on the 30th and 3lst of May. The final registration figure was 65. Kenneth Jernigan and our national president were guests and speakers. We cannot over-emphasize our high esteem for Dr. tenBroek and our heartfelt gratitude for his presence at our past two state conventions. The power of thought, the grace and skill with which he assists our efforts to function as a purposeful convention, serve as a revitalizing force to our organization; his presence adds dignity and seriousness to matters that concern us. We trust that he will not soon tire of witnessing our floundering and blundering, as we strive to grow into an effective organization.
Not too unlike the national convention, ours had problems to wrestle with, and it did. We are optimistic enough, however, to believe that the bruises will heal, and that the scars will be healthful signs, and momentos of manly growth. Attesting to this optimism is our new administration. With Pat Salazar as the new president, it has dedicated itself to the progress and worthwhileness of the New Mexico Federation of the Blind.
Resuming where the past administration left off regarding national convention affairs, a plan of procedure has been formulated, committee chairmen have been appointed, duties of which have been clearly designated. Early September will see all of this machinery in motion.
In the spirit of growth and progress, inherent in the National Federation of the Blind, we are pledged to make the Santa Fe convention the most dynamic and productive assemblage in the history of this movement.
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By R. J. Bjornseth, President
North Dakota Association for the Blind
A new residential school for the blind is assured to North Dakota.
The project of relocating the School for the Blind was probably one of the largest ever undertaken by an affiliate; however, it was crowned with success on June 24th, when the citizens of North Dakota voted, two to one, in its favor.
The NDAB convention in 1957 voted to draw up and circulate initiative petitions to obtain the necessary signatures to place an initiative measure on the June primary ballot in 1958. The measure as drawn, was complete in all details even to the date when construction bids must be let.
In March we were assured a place on the ballot. The association, by stubborn perseverance obtained several thousand signatures above that are required by North Dakota law.
The second phase of our campaign--that of convincing the voters--was the most critical period. Because of our limited funds the planning of the publicity campaign was very difficult; however, a complete coverage of the state by radio, TV and daily newspapers was accomplished. That our publicity strategy worked was self-evident on election eve.
The success of this project should insure a bright future for the blind and visually handicapped persons in North Dakota. A new structure built from the ground up, new equipment, and a beautiful location adjacent to the state university campus in Grand Forks, the school should stand to become one of the leading residential schools for the blind in our nation.
We are very proud of our state organization, and of the cooperation and team-work displayed during this campaign. It should prove to all of us what close cooperation can do in either the state or national levels.
The following telegram was received on July 7th from Mr. Amos Martin, Manager of the Grand Forks, N. D., Chamber of Commerce:
"Dear Dr. Bjornseth:
Congratulations to you and the members of your organization for the terrific job you did in promoting the recent initiated measure regarding the Blind School. I don't see how anyone can now ignore the wishes of the people as they have spoken twice; It has been a long and tedious task for you and your group and you certainly deserve every praise for keeping the project in mind and working toward your ultimate goal.
Congratulations again and best wishes for continuing success.
Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce"
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(The following discussion presents two informed points of view concerning the respective merits of Talking Books and Braille books, and of the current state of affairs in the production of both. The first contribution is by Ved Mehta, author of a best-selling autobiography, Face to Face. His comments are excerpted from an article on "Reading from Records," recently published in The Saturday Review.)
With the advent of dramatic reading on discs, the demand for Braille books has suffered. While it is impossible to be a good Braille reader without enormous patience and years of practice, "Talking Book" demands no training--a major consideration, as the sightless population includes many veterans from the War, or those who lost their sight late in life. Although some old-fashioned educators for the blind still insist that listening is no substitute for "seeing" the page under the fingers, there is such a large shift in the reading habits of the blind that I predict in years to come Braille books will become more and more useless, except for pure academic work. In fact, most librarians of Braille and "Talking Books" already shyly admit that the days of long Braille books have passed.
If one disregards, therefore, the quantity of Braille books, and simply considers "Talking Books" alone as constituting the library for the blind, the choice seems vastly limited and limiting. For all the accumulated books of ages, which every sighted man has to hand, a sightless reader can rely on only 200 titles a year being recorded (and the "Talking Book" library has been in existence less than a quarter of a century), and even out of this limited number each year many books have to be retired from circulation because of scratchy, unreadable records....
With this limitation in mind and the desire to provide sightless readers the personalized service, after the war a volunteer service, Soundscriber Agency was established. It offered to record any work suggested by a client free of charge, mainly by use of cheap discs, portable machines, and volunteer readers.
Taken alone, the titles the Soundscriber service has recorded are extremely impressive:... They have won praise from everyone, except from most of those who read the books, and the explanation is that the readings on most records (and I have examined many of their books) almost without exception are incredibly bad and mangled; the use of housewives as readers is no substitute for Broadway actors. The volunteer readers have immense goodwill, but either no voice at all or no acquaintance with the subject they are reading, so that they are apt to read the words more as separate units--rather than as continuous wholes--with out moving easily from sentence to paragraph, paragraph to meaning. All the elaborate system devised for testing volunteer readers breaks down because of goodwill--goodwill of the volunteers and goodwill of those who choose them. Besides, the discs are so fragile and cheap that they cannot stand use....
If neither Braille books nor the Soundscribers can be effectively substituted for "Talking Books," the need for improving (and I think there is much room for improvement) the "Talking Book" service to the blind becomes all the greater and more urgent....
A quick glance at the list of "Talking Books" in circulation reveals that only a handful of plays has been recorded; there are hardly more than a dozen records of poetry reading and almost no short stories; the names of the great contemporary authors are absent from the list (Ernest Hemingway is an exception to this), and even when their works are recorded the inferior book, "Flush," by Virginia Woolf is chosen over all her other works, and "Washington Square" by Henry James is preferred to "The Ambassadors," etc. (the Library of Congress has, however, been intimidated into recording "Portrait of a Lady"). With the exception of the Reader's Digest, no magazine has made the grade of "Talking Books," and except for a book or two of critical essays, critical works too have been carefully avoided by the selectors.
The truth must be faced: the proportion of bad to good books is amazingly high and embarrassing, and if the members of the California Council are an index of the general feeling of the sightless across the country (and I think they are), the reading public of "Talking Books" is enormously dissatisfied with the selection of books. What is the explanation? ... it lies in the method of selection which permits the tastes of two people to be responsible for all the 200 titles recorded (a committee for selection does exist on paper, but what little advisory capacity it had has long been laid to rest); the determining taste is middle-aged and morally squeamish: it balks at recording books not tested by time (I was told at the Library of Congress that "a hundred years is a safe guide" for assuring the immortality and thus the recording of a book); the hooks which even vaguely smell of "open sex" are not considered, and are as it were put on an index, the size and quality of which can be imagined by simply considering how many modern novels escape having a "sex scene" at one time or another....
Again, they say, the reading tastes of the blind are deplorably low: most of them want nothing else but Mysteries and Westerns, and for those who do have serious tastes, isn't there enough Balzac, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Melville, and Conrad?...
The enormous growth in education of the blind in the last few years--I mean in schools and universities--the addition of many war-blinded veterans already with higher education, and the successful welfare work which has trained the apathetic and placed them at comparatively high-powered jobs--all, I should have thought, argued against the selectors' views of the non-discriminating tastes of the blind. More empirically, there hardly exists today a "good" book recorded three or four years ago which has not become unreadable by repeated use--just recently, most of Conrad had to be re-recorded.
Personally, I feel that as "Talking Books" replace the Braille books, the Congressional Statute provision for "inspirational and recreational" reading will also have to include the word "instructive," but until then the need is clearly for recording more books, extending the services of the "Talking Book" to more than 43,000 blind people (one-fifth of the sightless population), and lobbying for money from both the Federal and state Governments.
(The following comments are submitted by Earl Scharry, staff member of the National Federation, in response to the preceding article by Ved Mehta.)
The following facts are clearly established by Mr. Mehta's article and by the comments of numerous other thoughtful blind people:
1. There is a uniform reaction of dissatisfaction among blind readers with the methods for selecting Braille and Talking Books, with the titles actually selected, with the categories of literature represented in the selections and with the apportionment to various categories, with the quality of the recordings and recording equipment, and with the services dispensed by the various distributing agencies.
2. No procedures exist for ascertaining the actual desires and needs of blind readers.
3. In practice, selections are made by one or two persons on the staff of the Library of Congress.
4. Such selections are made on the basis of entertainment value rather than on constructive use, and an effort is made to placate the most vociferous and least discriminating readers.
5. There is and can be no uniformity of subjective preferences on the part of readers, as each will be governed by his own unique interests and needs.
6. The funds available are woefully inadequate for meeting the needs and desires of the blind reading public....
It is important that a policy be established which will recognize the superior claim to priority of literary material which will promote the competency of blind people in various fields of study over material which will merely serve as an opiate to render futility more endurable and to confirm and reinforce habits of idleness. The present policy is obviously just the reverse of this, being heavily weighted, as it is, on the side of light entertainment, and avoiding, as it does, anything of a serious, controversial or disquieting nature. Making a determination in favor of broadly useful, constructive and instructive material would not constitute censorship in any sense. It would merely be recognition on the part of the Federal Government that the overwhelming need of the blind is not for literary drugs to anesthetize them from the hardship of their lot (which are supplied anyhow in more than adequate abundance by television and radio), but to stimulate and assist them to useful and valuable activity. It would be analogous to the Government giving priority to science and language students in the awarding of scholarships because it is in these areas that the greatest need exists and because money spent in developing them is most likely to promote the public welfare.
While it is virtually impossible to make a thoroughly objective qualitative evaluation of the comparative worth of various books within a category, the relative quantitative need for books in various categories could be objectively determined. It could be ascertained in what categories there is the greatest need for 'literary material (such as history, poetry, drama, novels, philosophy and religion, science, mathematics, law and political science, sociology, psychology, economics, electronics, insurance, etc. etc.) and to what extent that need is being met. The funds available could then be apportioned among these various categories according to the need which is found to exist....
A policy would also have to be established with respect to the relative use to be made of Braille and "Talking Books." It is doubtful whether many blind people would contemplate with equanimity equal to that of Mr. Mehta the almost complete supplanting of Braille by "Talking Books." It can be conceded that "Talking Books" have advantages in the dramatic rendition of literary masterpieces, but wherever intensive study is desired, "Talking Books" are inferior to Braille, because they are not suitable for repeated readings of short passages. Consultation with blind individuals who are working or studying in the particular field could readily resolve this issue in a specific case.
What is needed, then, is for the Library of Congress to take the following steps:
1. Frankly recognize that preference should be given to books which will be of help to blind people in constructive or creative work or study.
2. Through broad consultation with active blind people, ascertain the areas in which the need for such books is greatest and apportion available funds in accordance with the need so found.
3. Through similar consultation within the area, ascertain whether Braille or "Talking Books" would best meet such needs.
4. Through consultation with technical experts (both blind and sighted) in the area, ascertain the particular books which will be most useful.
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(The following letter has been received from Mrs. Fritz Burnham, of 66 Lucky Drive, Grmond Beach, Florida. Readers are invited to submit ideas and recommendations along the lines suggested.)
"Would it be possible in the Monitor to poll your readers for the TEN MOST WANTED TITLES from the Modern Library classics. If this could be done, I would certainly like to undertake one of the books. There are other braillists, I'm sure, who would take one to do. Light in August, by William Faulkner, is one I had thought of starting with."
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(This is the twelth and final installment in a series of articles written for a St. Louis newspaper by Jack and Alma Murphey and David Krause. Alma Murphey is the author of this last installment.)
In previous articles we have attempted to show how the handicap of blindness is almost always intensified by the misconceptions of sighted people. As the final consideration for this series let us deal with the all too prevalent assumption that blind people prefer blind associates. To make sweeping generalizations in this area is most unwise for, as has been pointed out, blind people are simply individuals from every walk of life who have lost the ability to see. Just as blindness gives us no special talent, character trait or mood, neither does it cause us to have a general preference in choosing our associates.
There are extremes at both ends of the spectrum. There are those who, for one reason or another, either do not know any other blind people or, when they do know others, avoid associating with them whenever possible. And there are those who have practically no acquaintances other than among the blind. Most of us, however, feel that sight is no basis on which to cultivate or discourage a friendship. We associate with blind people, sighted people or a happy combination of the two, as circumstances warrant.
Although I have frequently been the only blind person in a group of people and have found it to be an enjoyable experience, I somewhat reluctantly admit that it is in a group of blind people that I feel most wholeheartedly accepted, most genuinely at ease. I believe it is only natural that one should feel most comfortable and at ease in a group where he is on an equal footing with those around him. In such a group one does not feel that his particular physical disability is the focus of attention or the occasion for cautiously whispered comment. He has the deep gratification of feeling that this company of his peers needs and wants him; that he is giving as well as receiving. I feel most at home, therefore, in a group of blind people, made up of those who share my own disability.
This feeling is definitely not a preference, but rather a reluctant choice made because of the existence of that intangible barrier which almost inevitably arises between blind and sighted persons, especially in a group predominantly composed of those who can see. I, as well as many of my friends, would enjoy taking an active part in PTA associations, church groups, service clubs and various other organizations, were it possible for me to do so on an entirely equal basis.
Rev. Thomas Carroll, well known in work for the blind--a man with normal vision and a deep understanding of human nature--has said that one of the many "losses" accompanying the loss of sight by an adult is that of social acceptance. This man recognized that social rejection (based on historic misconceptions) is the basic and compelling reason why a blind person is so often forced to seek his companions among the blind.
We hope and believe that a properly conducted and unremitting campaign of public education, by the blind themselves, will eventually arouse the intelligent interest of those who are blessed with sight and that a mutual understanding will bring about a situation which is no longer affected by discrimination, superstitious awe or distrust on either side, and where association between the blind and the sighted, on the basis of complete equality, will be regarded by both as the norm.
There has already been considerable progress toward that much-to-be-desired goal. There are unquestionably more sighted people in the world today who have come to have a real insight into the problems of blindness than there have ever been before. We are profoundly grateful that this is so, for it has made it possible for at least some of us to achieve a social and economic status which approaches genuine equality with our sighted fellows. The willingness to accept some of us for what we are and for what we have to offer, carries with it the promise that some day this may be true with respect to all blind people. In the final analysis, what we are asking is the opportunity to prove our worth, or lack of worth, as individuals.
We have received a number of requests for reprints of the entire series of articles which we have called ''Misconceptions". Some readers have felt that they could induce their local newspapers to carry the series and others have wished to use it in their state publications.
If you now wish to receive the entire series in mimeographed form, please send in your request with 50c in coin or stamps to the Braille Monitor. 605 S. Few St. , Madison 3, Wisconsin, to cover the cost. If we receive a sufficient number of orders, we will go ahead, otherwise we shall return your money.
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By Dr. Jacobus tenBroek
No characteristic of a democratic society--or of a voluntary organization--is more essential to its vitality and preservation than the guarantee of freedom of speech for all its members in the policy-making functions of the group. As all of us know from hard experience, this civil and constitutional right has reverberations of special significance for the blind, who have been persistently refused full freedom of self-expression through denial of their right to organize independently and to act as their own spokesmen in the conduct of policies affecting them.
Freedom of speech, of course, has never been and cannot be absolute and unqualified. Over the nearly 200 years since the guarantee was written into the First Amendment of our Constitution, the Supreme Court has recognized a number of exceptions and qualifications upon the unrestricted right of free speech. These include laws covering libelous writings and slanderous utterances, laws regarding obscenity, and laws imposing limitations upon speech that involve the advocacy of violent or unlawful overthrow of the government.
Within boundaries such as these all of us, whether blind or sighted, may give tongue to our thoughts and give rein to our tongues without legal inhibition. It goes without saying that this principle is no less operative inside the Federation than it is in our external political and social relationships. We are free as Americans, and we are free as Federationists, not only to discuss but to dissent, not only to criticize but to condemn, not only to appeal to reason but to arouse to passion. The freedom to speak, in short, applies to foolish chatter as well as to reasoned discourse; it is an effective safeguard not only for the wise and responsible, but also for the unwise and irresponsible. The guarantee of free speech by the United States Constitution is a calculated risk; we are betting as a free society that in the rough-and-tumble competition of ideas in the market-place--contrary to the economic theory known as Gresham's Law--the better ideas and the better spokesmen will in the long run drive out the worse.
But for this democratic faith to prevail, or even to receive a fair test, the right of free speech must be supplemented in the minds of all of us by an equal assumption of responsibility: the responsibility of deliberation and of judgment. While every member has the right to say what he pleases, on every issue before the house, his fellow members also have the duty to weigh his statements--and, if they are found wanting, to reject them. Still more, if any individual or faction indulges in irresponsible accusations or charges which are not merely false but harmful to the common cause, it is the democratic responsibility of the membership to repudiate and refute them. In other words, the right of the minority to have its say does not negate the right of the majority to have its say also; in its own turn and on the point at issue, on the contrary, it makes such action indispensable, since in the democratic process it is the judgment of the majority which is decisive.
It is an elementary obligation of citizenship in a free society--and of membership in the NFB--that each of us refrain from reckless and self-serving agitation against the will and interests of the group. But with this obligation goes the corollary responsibility, no less crucial in importance, that whenever such charges have been made, they not be permitted to go unchallenged and uncorrected. Thus, for a notorious example, the false and sinister allegations of the late Senator Joseph McCarthy--while they were undoubtedly within his legal and constitutional rights--grossly transcended the bounds of responsible speech and democratic debate. Eventually they earned for him the scorn and repudiation of the vast majority of his fellow citizens. This healthy revulsion against McCarthyism found expression in a variety of resolutions, memorials, and pronouncements strongly deploring his tactics and refuting his utterances. The right of the demagogue to broadcast his falsehoods freely was not challenged--but the character and content of those falsehoods were weighed, evaluated and deplored by the American people, acting for the most part through their independent voluntary organizations.
Under the American system of freedom of speech, by the same token, it is open to any man or any interest to stake out a claim to principle--even where the claim is spurious and hypocritical. The plaintive invocations of "democracy" on the part of American Communists over the years, as they have proceeded cynically to violate and undermine the rights and responsibilities of democracy are only the most familiar illustration of this flagrant abuse of democratic principles by the unprincipled in the name of freedom of speech. The danger is, not that such claims may be made, but that they may be left unanalyzed and unrefuted.
The organized blind are not without educational experience of their own in these matters. Among other things we have, for instance, long suffered the abusive assaults of certain agency spokesmen who have sought to deride our policies and leadership as "authoritarian" and "dictatorial," or (in the words of a famous resolution on the Kennedy bill) "embodying a completely unsound and retrogressive concept of the rights and responsibilities of blind persons as citizens." These arrant falsehoods come down from the glass lighthouses cloaked in solemn and sanctimonious phrases, and to those for whom words alone are sufficient kindling they can be highly inflammatory. It is only when they are subjected to the searchlight of close and rigorous scrutiny that they disclose their true colors and real character. This scrutiny itself, the refutation and exposure of false and reckless accusations, is no less an exercise in free speech than the fulminations of our critics; but it is also something more and better--it is responsible speech.
In the National Federation of the Blind, more numerous and affirmative opportunities for free speech exist than in almost any other large-scale organizations in the land. Not only do all the members have an unrestricted right of expression and participation in matters of policy--and not only is the convention of the membership our legislative assembly and final arbiter of policy decisions--but the constitution of our organization even provides that blind persons who are not members shall enjoy the right to speak and take part in all the important affairs of the convention. Full scope and protection is afforded to all minority opinions and criticisms, however small the minority or bitter its expressions; and I venture to say that no one who attended our recent Boston convention would maintain that the extensive debates on matters of internal organization were not wholly free, open, and democratic.
These provisions for the exercise and preservation of free speech within the NFB are, as all our members know, a matter of deliberate policy and systematic practice. We are, of course, fully aware of the various risks involved in such untrammeled liberty of expression; they are the risks necessarily ventured by a democratic community faithful to its commitment: risks of division and disunity, of filibuster and parliamentary slight-of-hand, of abuse and exploitation of the right of free speech without the balancing degree of responsibility which gives substance to the right. We take these risks gladly, not as an impetuous gamble but as a matter of conscious faith. For our entire movement is, in fact, a continuous act of faith--an expression of our abiding belief in the normality and responsibility, the maturity and simple good sense, of the blind men and women of America.
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Walter P. Jones, president of the Sarasota Chapter of the Florida Federation of the Blind, has handed on to us information from the May K. Houck Foundation of Sarasota concerning free vacation motels for blind and handicapped persons. It is emphasized that sighted companions and guide dogs accompanying blind persons are also accommodated free of charge in the various motels in the Sarasota area operated by the Foundation. Those interested in further information regarding these free vacation facilities are requested to address: May K. Houck Foundation; Frank W. Moffett, Trustee; 896 Bahia Vista Street, Sarasota, Florida.
Louis Braille's birthplace, bought by a Society called "The Friends of Louis Braille," has been made over to the village of Coupvray, France, where it is situated. An international subscription has been opened so that the home might become a memorial to Louis Braille. During 1957, the Society reports, contributions were received from Yugoslavia, Ceylon, Norway, Demnark, Canada, and Germany.
Clarence C. White, operator of the newsstand in the Post Office in Huntington, West Virginia, for 23 years, retired on July L. Mr. White without sight for nearly 30 years, took over the newsstand in 1935 after President Roosevelt signed an executive order authorizing the blind to operate such stands in Post Offices. Before he was blinded, Mr. White was a certified public accountant. Mr. White is a former president of the West Virginia Federation of the Blind, a regular attendant and active participant at NFB conventions and a long time federationist of the first water.
Stella Babigan writes from Massachusetts: "Gregory B. Khachadoorian, of Arlington, whom delegates to the Boston convention will remember as an active 'floor manager' won the Republican Party nomination for state representative in the September 8 Massachusetts primary. His total vote was even better than two years ago, when Gregory won the primary but lost out in the November general election.
"Mr. Khachadoorian was also selected by the Boston Chapter of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts, meeting on September 3, to be a delegate to the fifth annual state convention scheduled for September 27 and 28. Charles W. Little was named as alternate. Nathan Nadelman is a delegate also and his alternative is Miss Julie Guiney. Nathan and Julie were selected by Mrs. Charles Black, president of the Boston chapter, who is chairman of the city's delegation.... In August an outing was held in honor of Gregory Khachadoorian--complete with buses and cookout--attended by over 125 members of the Boston chapter. The outing was given by a close friend of Gregory's, Mrs. Metros of Boston."
The Hadley School for the Blind, Winnetka, Illinois, announces that it has been accredited by the National Home-Study Council, Washington, D.C., which has set quality standards for home-study schools since 1926. Accreditation was granted after an intensive examination by the Council's Accrediting Commission, composed of home-study and subject specialists.
Only schools which offer an educationally sound and up-to-date curriculum, possess a competent faculty, maintain constructive, helpful relationships with their students, and are financially responsible, are accredited by the National Home-Study Council. The Hadley School has offered a curriculum of home-study courses for the blind since 1922. All textbooks and instructions are in braille, or recorded, and all courses are offered without charge. The present student enrollment is over 1300--in every state of the United States and in over 40 other countries. The curriculum span is from fifth grade to college. By a special arrangement with the University of Chicago, selected college courses from the curriculum of the University's Home-Study Department are offered in braille through the Hadley School.
The following was written by a resident of Delhi, India, and is taken from his letter to the American Brotherhood for the Blind:
"May I take this opportunity to congratulate you on the good work you are doing in bringing together the unsighted into a fraternal association to put forward their claims as citizens, and also strengthening their self-respect and keeping up their morale. My country is also slowly moving forward to give the blind their rightful place in society. Among the concessions given the blind in India are (1) embossed literature for the blind, requiring no postage; (2) on the railway an unescorted blind person pays only one-quarter the fare, and only one-half if with escort. The white cane, however, has not been introduced yet.... If ever you need any information about the unsighted in India, kindly let me know and I'll try my best to supply it. "Signed C. P. F. Kumar, M.A., c/o The Cambridge Brotherhood, 7 Court Lane, Delhi, India.
Following is a description of the Japanese Braille Writer, provided by Dr. Charles Ritter, Consultant on Special Devices, AFB:
"It weighs 3 pounds 11 ounces including the cover and measures 11 3/4 inches long by 2 5/8 inches high by 4 1/8 inches wide. It has a small carriage which moves from right to left. Dot 1 is under the ring finger of the right hand, dot 2 under the middle finger and dot 3 under the index finger. Dots 4, 5, and 6 are similarly located for the left hand. It takes paper 7 3/4 inches wide and of any length. To gain access to the braille a catch is pulled out on the right hand side of the carriage and transport mechanism is lifted. A bell rings at 3 spaces before the end of the line. There is a back space lever. The paper is advanced two clicks and is designed for interline writing. The advance is accomplished by turning a knob at the right.
The following item of interest was received from Octave J. Bourgeois of New Orleans:
"The Monitor recently listed Eye Banks throughout the nation but failed to list the Southern Eye Bank, 145 Elk Place, New Orleans, Louisiana. This agency has been operating at least ten years in cooperation with the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital, New Orleans Charity Hospital, Tulane University and Louisiana State Medical Schools all located in New Orleans, Louisiana."
The Oklahoma Federation of the Blind will have its annual convention, October 18th and 19th, 1958, at the Alvin Plaza Hotel, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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Mr. Pat Salazar, 117 West Coronado Road, Sante Fe, New Mexico, is the general chairman of the convention on behalf of the host affiliate, the New Mexico Federation of the Blind.
The National Federation of the Blind will hold its 1959 convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico, at the La Fonda Hotel. The convention will last four days--June 26, 27, 28 and 29, opening at 10 A.M. on the 26th and closing at 9 P.M. on the 29th. The rates for this hotel and five others located close to it are listed below.
In making your reservations with the hotel, please send a carbon copy to Miss Rosalia Chavez, 212 De Foure St., Santa Fe, New Mexico, who is in charge of reservations:
Hotel La Fonda
Single room - $ 8.00
Double bed - $11.00
Hotel De Vargas
Single room with bath - $ 4.00 - 5.00
Single room without bath -$ 2.50 - 3.50
Double bed with bath - $5.00 - 6.00
Double bed without bath - $ 4.00 - 5.00
Twins with bath - $ 7.00
Cot in dormitory of 10 - $1.50
Hotel El Fidel
Single room with bath - $ 3.50
Single room without bath - $ 2.50
Double bed with bath - $ 5.00
Double bed without bath - $ 3.50
Twins with bath - $ 6.00
Twins without bath - $ 5.00
Large room, 2 double beds - $ 9.00
La Posada Inn
Single room - $ 7. 00
2 persons to one room - $ 10. 00
Suites for 3 and 4 persons - $ 5. 00 each
Single room - $ 9.00
2 persons to a room - $ 12. 00
4 persons to a room - $ 18. 00
Suites to accommodate 6 - $ 25. 00
(All rooms are air-conditioned, have baths, showers and television sets.)
Stage Coach Motel
Single room - $ 3. 50
Double bed - $ 5. 00
Twins - $ 6. 00
(All rooms with showers.)
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