THE BRAILLE MONITOR

MAY ISSUE 1959

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.

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

Inkprint 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.

BRAILLE MONITOR
(May, 1959)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Fate of Kennedy-Baring Bill Still Undecided

The Invisible Prison
by Dr. Jacobus tenBroek

A.T.&T. Alerts Its Subsidiaries to Latest Braille Switchboard Developments

More. Switchboard Information

The Case Against Aluminum

Misconceptions--"All Blind People Receive Pensions"
by Mary Walton

Virginia Convention
by John Taylor

A Fresh Start in California

1959 Legislation at the State Level

Coming State Conventions

Blind Graduate Student Given Fulbright Grant

From Our Readers

"You've Heard This Before"

Soliloquy of a Sexagenarian--With A Pome

Deadline!

The Helpless Blind

AAIB-AAWB Braille Authority Appointed

New Electronic Device to Aid Deaf-Blind

Pennsylvania Blind Merchants Guild
by Frank Lugiano

Here and There

 

Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2010 with funding from National Federation of the Blind (NFB) http://www.archive.org/details/braillemonitormay1959nati

 

FATE OF KENNEDY-BARING BILL STILL UNDECIDED

Since the hearings before Congressman Elliott's subcommittee were completed more than a month ago, Federationists everywhere have been figuratively holding their breath and waiting with deep anxiety to learn the decision. A considerable amount of documentary testimony was admitted to the official records after the hearing closed--presumably submitted by both sides.

It is not unusual for a Senate subcommittee to delay its report on a controversial bill for four or five or six weeks. We do know with certainty that the members of this subcommittee are not in agreement on how to report out H.R. 14 and its companion measures. In the meantime our Washington staff has been far from idle. Nearly all members of the subcommittee have been interviewed. These individual members have been most courteous and cooperative in the arrangement of such interviews but in the course of the various discussions it has become evident that at least part of the long delay in reaching a subcommittee decision has been caused by the inability of its members to agree on a unanimous recommendation. At this moment the two Johns feel quite sure that at least two members of the subcommittee are against us. They are equally sure that two others are for us. The outcome hinges on how the last two members line up when the showdown vote is reached. Congressman Baring and Tim Seward predict that, once the bill clears the subcommittee, a Federation victory is almost in the bag. Several members of the full committee are co-sponsors of the measure and, if it passes the House of Representatives by a resounding majority, (as we would have every right to expect), Senator Hill has indicated that he may take it up immediately without waiting for a Senate hearing.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Back to Contents

THE INVISIBLE PRISON

by Dr. Jacobus tenBroek

All life, as Mr. Justice Holmes once said, is an experiment. It is an endless succession of changes and chances, of risks taken and hunches played, of lions bearded and gauntlets run. It is, that is to say, a creative adventure--a continuous exercise in self-expression. The scope of the adventure and the range of choice may be relatively narrow, as in primitive societies, or seemingly infinite, as in the modern world. "But between birth and death," in the words of the philosopher Irwin Edman, "this much may be averred of life, it is the stimulation and response of a living body, of 'five little senses startling with delight', of muscle twitching to answer with action, of hands eager and restless, of a tongue moved to utterance and a mind provoked to thought."

Of all the diverse and clamoring needs of men, none is more indispensable to life itself or more instrumental to its living than the need for self-expression. No doubt other urges may at any moment seem more powerful or more commanding--most notably those drives that are rooted in biology and shared with all the animals. But among these restless urges there is one at least which is unique to man and renders him ultimately worth cherishing and defending; and that is the irresistible impulse to realize all that is in him, to fulfill his creative capacities and give rein to his talents--in short, to express himself.

If ever there was a "natural right"--a right asserted by the nature of man--it is that which flows from the need of self-expression and self-realization. For to deny the right of self-expression is to still the voice of the human spirit, to stunt the growth of human personality, and to doom the victim--be it a person, a group, or an entire race--to a permanent state of arrested development.

The individual whose creative and productive needs have been thus thwarted, whether by external or internal restraints, becomes less than a man to the degree that he is less than himself. No more eloquent and tortured testimony to this truth has yet been offered than that of the artist Van Gogh, in a letter written during a period when he found himself incapable of expression and uncertain of his powers. He conceived of himself then as among those men somehow mysteriously imprisoned. He wrote of "the man who is doomed to remain idle, whose heart is eaten out by an anguish for work, but who does nothing because it is impossible for him to do anything, because he is as it were imprisoned in something. Because he hasn't got just that which he needs in order to be creative. Because the fate of circumstances has reduced him to a state of nothingness. Such a man often doesn't know himself what he might do, but he feels instinctively: yet am I good for something, yet am I aware of some reason for existing! I know that I might be a totally different man! How then can I be useful, how can I be of service! Something is alive in me; what can it be!"

We know now what it was that was "alive" in Van Gogh, for his creative genius soon escaped the cage in which it had been imprisoned--with imperishable results. But, in this case, the cage was mainly of his own devising; the restraints upon him were internal, and needed only an effort of will to be dissolved. What are we to say of the countless others, in his time and in ours, who have passed their entire lives in that wretched "state of nothingness" which the artist knew only fleetingly: the countless others doomed, as he was not, literally to remain idle, their hearts eaten out by an anguish for productive work, wishing only to be useful and of service, but prohibited from self-expression through a "fate of circumstance" more oppressive by far than that which Van Gogh experienced--because imposed not by an inner failure of nerve but by an outer failure of understanding on the part of society itself?

What are we to say of these others? We may say, first of all, that they are no longer "countless"--they have been counted, classified, tabulated, investigated, and researched. They fall into a variety of categories; but perhaps most prominent among them, in our own country, are the vast majority of the 350,000 men and women who are without sight.

For the blind of America suffer from a double handicap: their own lack of sight, and society's lack of vision. Of the two it is the social handicap which is by far the more serious barrier to self-expression and productive achievement. If, unlike Van Gogh's imprisonment, the predicament of the blind is not a mystery, it is at least a paradox. For their condition is the result not of deliberate cruelty but of an excess of charity; they are the victims not of abandonment but of overprotection.

At all times and in all places the blind have been viewed more or less as a class apart, set off from "normal" society not only by the fact of blindness but by a supposed set of abnormal characteristics--mental, moral, and psychological--which were thought to follow inevitably from the loss of sight. Many of the crudest of these superstitions and stereotypes have, with the passage of centuries, been discarded. But the underlying assumption of difference; the imputation of inferiority, and the plain fact of segregation are still substantially unaltered and largely unchallenged in modern society. To be sure, where the blind were once roughly imprisoned, along with the thief, the murderer, and the vagrant, they are today gently "protected"--along with the homeless child, the retarded adult and the senile aged.

Throughout the land they are refused the status of normal adults and denied the irreducible rights of citizenship. They may, for instance, be turned down by an airline when they seek to buy a ticket; they may be turned back by a hotel clerk when they try to rent a room; they may be turned away by a bank when they seek to rent a deposit box; they may even be turned out of their own quarters on the ground that the building is not safe for "the indigent and helpless". A blind student nominated by his classmates for the student-body presidency may find his name summarily removed from the list by the school principal. A blind man, with a decade of experience as a judge, may even campaign for and win an election to a superior court judgeship--only to have the legislature promptly consider a bill prohibiting blind persons from holding such an office. A blind man in perfect health may seek to serve his community by volunteering his blood, only to be rejected by the blood bank. A blind worker in a sheltered shop injured in the course of employment may enter the normal and routine claim for compensation--only to have the claim dismissed on the ground that he is a "ward of the community".

I wish that I could say that these are only rare and exotic outbreaks of an ancient plague of prejudice which has largely passed from the modern world. But I am afraid that they are, instead, a random and accurate sample of the ordinary experience of blind people throughout the land; and each of them has found concrete expression at least once in recent months.

I wish that I could say, in any event, that such crude displays of superstition and stupidity are, after all, only the folly of ignorance on the part of a public not yet acquainted with the facts of blindness and the capabilities of the blind. But I am afraid that they reflect all too closely a developed philosophy which is widely prevalent if not predominant among many of the very agencies, both public and private, that dispense the services and administer the programs and thereby control the welfare of the vast majority of the nation's blind.

The limits of self-expression for those without sight have been laid down with crystal clarity by the director of one of our largest agencies. Let me quote his words: "To dance and sing, to play and act, to swim, bowl and rollerskate, to work creatively in clay, wood, aluminum or tin, to make dresses, to join in group readings or discussions, to have entertainments and parties, to engage in many other activities of one's own choosing--this is to fill the life of anyone with the things that make life worth living."

Are these the vital channels of self-expression for you? Are these the indispensable ingredients that make life worth living? Or are these only the minor and peripheral touches that lend variety to a life well-filled with more substantial things--such as a job, a home, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship?

Lest you answer the last question hastily, or with too rash a confidence, let me remind you of the considered judgment pronounced quite recently by the head of another agency. "A job, a home, and the right to be a citizen," he said, "will come to the blind in that generation when each and every blind person is a living advertisement of his ability and capacity to accept the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship. Then we professionals will have no problem of interpretation because the blind will no longer need us to speak for them, and we, like primitive segregation, will die away as an instrument which society will include only in its historical records." A job, a home, the right to be a citizen--in short, the very means of self-expression and self-sufficiency--are not presently within the grasp of those who lack sight. They are rather a hope deferred to some future golden age when each and every blind person will conform to a standard never matched in previous history by any human group. Verily, is this not the hope deferred that maketh the heart sick?

This, then, is the invisible prison in which the blind are confined. How shall release be brought about? How can the hope be realized that has been so long deferred?

Through initiative from within and aid and comfort from without, a great deal can be accomplished on an individual basis. But more than individual effort is needed--and more than that, I am happy to say, is now exerted. Throughout the nation the blind themselves have combined their efforts, not merely on the basis of their common bond, but to advance their common cause of self-expression. They have joined together in a nationwide federation to secure for all the blind the rights of men and of citizens.

The three component parts of the right to self-expression are the right to speak, the right to organize, and the right to be heard. All three are sought to be achieved in legislation now before Congress the purpose of which is formally declared to be "to protect the right of the blind to self-expression through organizations of the blind". Some 60 Congressmen and 33 Senators of both parties and from all sections of the land have joined in sponsoring these bills, first introduced by Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Congressman Walter S. Baring of Nevada. In these measures are incorporated the safeguards which for the first time in history would gain for the blind the rights to independent organization, to freedom of speech, and to consultation in the public conduct of their affairs.

The particular purposes of the Kennedy-Baring Bill have not been more accurately described than in the words of Senator Kennedy, in his floor speech accompanying the presentation of the bill: "The bill I am introducing would do two things. First, it would direct that to the fullest extent practicable, the Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare shall consult and advise with representatives of organizations of the blind in his formulation and administration of programs for the blind and shall take such steps as may be appropriate to encourage state agencies to do likewise in their formulation and administration of the programs for the blind to which federal funds are contributed. Second, the bill would require that no federal officer or employee concerned with the administration of programs for the blind shall exert the influence of his office against the right of blind persons to join organizations of the blind; and would require that the Secretary of HEW shall adopt regulations, and condition grants to state and other programs for the blind on terms such that the officers and employees in those programs to which federal funds are contributed will refrain from exerting the influence of their office against organizations of the blind.”

These provisions are clear. They are short. They are explicit. Their meaning is definite. Their import is unmistakable.

But precisely because this is so, opposition to the measure has mounted rapidly and angrily among those welfare agencies which have hitched their wagons to the falling star of patronage and protection. Their attacks against the Kennedy-Baring Bill--which is to say against the right of the blind to organize, the right to speak, and the right to be heard--have followed four main lines of argument. Two of these I wish to emphasize at this time. The first contends that the dependency of the blind, on the one hand, and the custodial function of the agencies, on the other, are permanent and unalterable and therefore, that the goal of self-expression is beyond attainment. The second maintains that the right of consultation is not now and never has been an issue.

Let us look at each of these in turn.

The first contention, as voiced by the editor of the New Outlook for the Blind in the March, 1958 issue, is an outright defense of custodialism and paternalism as the inescapable attributes of all agency personnel. Let the editor speak for himself: "Principally, the concern about agency client relationship," he writes, "has centered on the custodial paternalistic tendency in service to blind people, which is to an extent an inherent natural concomitant of any program in which society provides service for its minority of less favored members, be the minority based on blindness or any other cause or condition. ... The problem of the custodialism and paternalism has been reduced, to the extent that its inherent nature permits, by those of society's agencies which are in the forefront of progress. ... Still, to expect society to be completely free of all suggestion of difference between the beneficiaries of service and the rest of society is probably visionary, given human nature as it is.”

Just in case this blunt declaration should leave any shred of doubt concerning the "difference" between the "blind minority" and their custodians, the Outlook editor adds a final statement which drives the point home with candor: "Let him who decries custodialism and who champions the cause of the blind...remember that the client become social worker or agency administrator and the social worker become client would, on the average, because he is human, ultimately revert to the attitude inherent in his situation. Therefore, to transpose their roles would not provide the solution.”

Shorn of its excess verbiage, this is a stern warning to all who are blind: prepare to meet your maker without illusions of a false normality! Accept your fate as a dependent minority forever set apart from sighted society! Bow down before the graven idols of custodialism and paternalism, for it is written in the March issue of the New Outlook that they shall rule over you all the days of your lives.

It is remarkable enough that this official spokesman of the agencies should confess that such pernicious attitudes exist at all within his group. It is more remarkable still that he should maintain that they are "an inherent concomitant" of the profession, for such they do say it is, a kind of occupational disease afflicting all who work for the blind. But most remarkable of all, and most appalling, is the assertion that this plague of arrogance and ignorance is wholly beyond relief or cure, and that the blind are therefore doomed to eternal imprisonment in the purgatory of custodial paternalism. For this, we are told, is simply "the nature of things". There is no escaping the minority status; no escaping the inferiority; no escaping the humiliation of the relationship of ward to guardian.

I challenge this double-barrelled indictment on both its counts. First of all, we know, and have always maintained, that there are agencies which do not display the custodial paternalistic bias; that the ranks of many of these agencies are filled with conscientious public servants; and that among their administrators are many who have demonstrated their courage and enlightenment. Secondly, we know from our own direct experience that, far from being inate and permanent, the traditional status of dependency and subjugation of the blind is the product of an historical condition which is as outmoded as the horse and buggy and as obsolete as the almshouse. This movement of the blind themselves toward self-expression and self-sufficiency, this federation to which we contribute our time and energy, is a significant factor in consigning it to oblivion.

The second line of argument followed by the self-confessed custodial paternalist is an oblique attack upon the right of consultation--that is, the right of the blind to speak with their own voice and to be heard in the councils of government. Once again the argument takes the form of a flat denial that the issue is a real one. According to Mr. M. Robert Barnett, executive director of the American Foundation for the Blind, "It is clear that even here there is no real issue, since the principle of consulting with appropriate groups of the citizen population long ago was established in the training of all good administrators of social welfare programs."

What the Director of the American Foundation means by "appropriate groups" is left in no doubt at all by his following statement: "Such administrators usually have quite a problem getting advice from competent individuals and groups, and in the field of work for the blind it has been especially confusing to the sincere administrator to determine just what individual expert or organization should attract his interest and his ear."

Could anyone speak plainer than that? What the principle of consultation means to this agency executive is nothing more than consultation with agency executives--and the representative groups which he had in mind are simply those which he represents: that is, the social worker experts and professionals who are deemed to know best what is good for the blind. Just in case there should be any lingering doubt as to the limits of self-expression for the blind themselves, or as to the proper use of consultation, the author adds this final observation: "Each of us (who are blind)," he says, "may make our opinions known through professional and political channels, and if they are sound, they will find their way into action sooner or later through the processes of our government and of our society.” In other words, the blind are to be overseen, but not heard. Far from speaking for themselves through their own organizations, far from gaining a hearing directly in the circles of government, far from consulting and being consulted by responsible public officials--they are doomed, like privates in the army or subjects of the king to go through channels, to submit their grievances to the very persons who may have caused them, and to pass their humble suggestions prayerfully upward through the chain of command comprised of professionals and social workers who will themselves decide in the wisdom of their expertness how much may be permitted to reach the ears of government.

What a powerful right of consultation is this! It is, of course, no right at all; but a wrong--or rather, the perpetuation of a wrong. In this scheme it is not the blind at all who are consulted but only their paternal custodians. We have not, it seems, yet reached the age of discretion. We are not to be allowed to vote or speak upon the issues which affect us. This specious argument is an echo of the standard line of the American Foundation for the Blind and the American Association of Workers for the Blind which last year passed a resolution declaring the Kennedy-Baring Bill to embody "a completely unsound and retrogressive concept of the rights and responsibilities of blind persons as citizens". To this our reply must be that the counsel of these experts is simply irrelevant to the right of consultation by the blind themselves--based upon the established principle of consultation between the government and the client group of specific services. It is this time-honored principle which the Kennedy-Baring Bill incorporates. That Bill says nothing either way about the desirability of additional advice drawn from the groups of social workers and benevolent societies. No doubt a government department, say that of agriculture, may wish to consult with experts who are not farmers; but it would not be worthy of its name if it did not consult, primarily and systematically, with the farmers themselves. The same is true for such departments as commerce and labor, and for the whole array of offices and divisions with a definite clientele. "Only he who wears the shoe can say where it pinches.” Indeed, it is passing strange that, at this late date in the history of representative democracy, it should still be necessary to explain and defend this fundamental right. The constitution itself protects the right of the people to petition the government for redress of grievances. To be meaningful in modern times, this includes the right to speak to administrators as well as Congressmen--the right of all to speak, both blind and sighted--and the right to speak before as well as after the grievance has been committed.

Let me say a final word about the attacks which some agency personnel are making upon the motives of those who sponsor and support the Kennedy-Baring Bill. The leaders of the organized blind are charged with being guilty of "an anti-agency animus". We are charged with "demagoguery". We are charged with conducting a "rash play for stakes". We are charged with "bitterness". We are charged with "sloganizing". We are charged with "railing against custodialism". What are we to say in answer to these charges and these revelations of hidden motives. We may say, of course, that if what the editor of the New Outlook has maintained about the agencies is anywhere near the truth--if all workers for the blind are fatally infected with the virus of custodial paternalism--then the deepest feeling and bitterest railing against the agencies is more than justified. It is an urgent duty of all of us.

The real answer to the question of our motives in this fight--the real point and purpose of our campaign--is not to be found in any easy epithets of animus and demagoguery. Let us admit that the leaders of the organized blind have much indeed to gain from their advocacy of this legislation--that their purposes are highly personal and self-interested. They stand to gain no wealth or career, since all of them serve without compensation and conduct their own careers outside the movement. But they do stand to gain immense satisfaction from the knowledge of a cause well served, and, one ventures to predict, of a legislative job well done. They stand to gain, together with their fellow blind in all walks of life throughout the land, increased respect and social acceptance, enhanced enjoyment of the fruits of liberty and the rights of citizenship which are owing to all Americans and which--God and Congress willing--will not much longer be withheld from those who are blind.

The paternalistic custodians, as their spokesmen choose to call them, have been taken in by their own deceptions and have come to believe their own propaganda. The sightless wards whom they thought to be automatons have instead become autonomous; and the meek, whom they thought to be dependent upon their custody and paternalism, shall yet inherit the earth.

Back to Contents

A.T.&T. ALERTS ITS SUBSIDIARIES TO LATEST SWITCHBOARD DEVELOPMENTS

(Editor's Note: The following letter has been widely distributed by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company and demonstrates a real interest on the part of this great corporation in cooperating with the United States Civil Service Commission and with the National Federation of the Blind in opening up job opportunities for blind switchboard operators.)

"Last October for the first time the United States Civil Service Commission admitted blind persons to the telephone switchboard classification. They will be permitted to operate both one- and two-position boards, equipped with the Braille attachment. Concurrently, the National Federation of the Blind advised all presidents of their state and local affiliates and all agencies engaged in training and placement of the blind of this change. These actions will stimulate inquiries about present equipment for use by blind attendants and possible new equipment arrangements.

"The present Braille attachment was developed some time ago for use with the 551-type switchboard. With the discontinuance of the 551 board there has gradually developed a need for a device to aid blind attendants which is not only less cumbersome and less expensive but also applicable to all types of switchboards.

"In an effort to find a replacement for the Braille attachment, a product trial of two types of 'aids' is now under way in Pennsylvania and New York. One, the 'Seeing Aid', was designed by the Laboratories; the other, the 'Touch-Lite', is the result of development work by the New York and New England Companies. Both are applicable to standard P.B.X. systems without any major modifications of the switchboard. The purpose of these aids is to enable the blind operator to locate the source of a call or disconnected cord pair signal by locating the associated P.B.X. lamp. The completion of calls is accomplished by the operator's memory of jack locations aided, when necessary, by Braille designation strips.

"Since there is considerable interest in this project, every effort will be made to expedite the product tests so that by mid-year we will know what type of equipment to furnish in the future. In the meantime, the Western Electric Company will maintain a small number of the Braille units pending outcome of the trial.

"The National Federation of the Blind, Washington, D.C., also plans to distribute copies of this letter to its affiliated organizations which will undoubtedly stimulate some inquiries. If your people receive requests that are of an urgent nature or have any questions concerning this subject, please call Mr. R.L. Hess, EXeter 3-2690.

"At the request of Mr. Collins copies of this letter are being included for your General Traffic Managers. Yours very truly,

S.F Damkroger, Assistant Vice-President, American Telephone and Telegraph Co., 195 Broadway, New York, 7, N.Y."

Back to Contents

MORE SWITCHBOARD INFORMATION

John Taylor writes: "... Although A.T.&T. labs are experimenting with other devices, they have had Western Electric produce several of the Braille attachments--which are available now for immediate use. ... Civil Service announcements which admit blind persons are currently open in three Civil Service Regions, namely; the Central Region serving the Washington metropolitan area; the Seventh Region serving Chicago and the Ninth Region, St. Louis-Kansas City. Four such announcements are currently open in the Ninth Region alone and copies of these may be secured directly from the Ninth Civil Service regional office, Federal Building, St. Louis 1, Missouri. ... Civil Service Announcement No. 55 Local has been issued by the Central Regional Office here in Washington. Positions in the Washington metropolitan area will be filled from the register established as a result of this examination; but, eligible persons throughout the country may apply for examination through the Central Office and take the examination at any Civil Service Examining Office throughout the country. ... We are very anxious, now that the examinations have been opened, to see the first blind person actually placed on the payroll. ..."

And again: "... The touch-lite system for use by blind persons in operating telephone switchboards is still the subject of testing and experimentation in the laboratories of the American Telephone &: Telegraph Company. The system has one decided advantage, namely; its simplicity and economy, but it also has some disadvantages which center around its overall efficiency, since it is necessary that the operator manipulate the device in and out among the various cords in use on a busy telephone switchboard. The Braille attachment, which has been in existence for a number of years, is still available and being used. The telephone company is also developing a third device which is composed of a panel on which low voltage current responds to the touch of the finger by activating a tone in the operator's headset. This third device has considerable promise for the future and is, I believe, superior to the present Braille attachment, in both simplicity and economy, as well as efficiency. Additional information on all three systems may be obtained by writing directly to the American Telephone & Telegraph Co., Room 1727, 195 Broadway, New York City, N.Y.

Back to Contents

THE CASE AGAINST ALUMINUM

Unlike magazines which are concerned about offending commercial advertisers, the Braille Monitor publishes anything it deems to be of vital importance to its readers. The following was sent us by an alert correspondent in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a report by Dr. H.A. McGuigan on findings for the Federal Trade Commission in the Docket Case No. 540, Washington, D.C:

"Boiling water in aluminum produces hydro-oxide poison. Boiling an egg in aluminum produces phosphate poison. Boiling meat in aluminum produces chloride poison. Frying bacon in aluminum produces a powerful narcotic acid, which in large doses causes coma, or in excessive doses causes death. All vegetables cooked in aluminum produce hydro-oxide poison, which neutralizes the digestive juices, robbing them of their value to digest food, producing stomach and gastro-intestinal trouble, such as stomach ulcers and colitis. Aluminum poison will produce acidosis, which destroys the red blood cells, producing a condition similar to anemia,

"The sale of aluminum cooking utensils is prohibited in Germany, France, Belgium, Great Britain, Switzerland, Hungary and Brazil." (Editor's Note: My very first job, at. the age of 19, was selling aluminum cooking utensils door to door.)

Back to Contents

MISCONCEPTIONS
XIII. ALL BLIND PEOPLE RECEIVE PENSIONS

by Mary Walton

(Editor's Note: When the author of this article sent it to me, she suggested that it might possibly be used in the "From Our Readers” column. Its length makes it more suitable as a Monitor feature. I am sure the authors of the original twelve-installment series will be only too happy to welcome this suggested addition. I can agree with much of Miss Walton's argument but I am a firm believer in the principle adopted by the Oxford Conference in 1949, and reaffirmed by the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind in 1954, to wit: that a universal handicap allowance, free of the means test, should be granted by all financially sound governments to compensate for the additional and unavoidable expenses--guide service, reader service, more expensive transportation costs, heavier dry cleaning costs, etc.--which blind people must meet. A number of governments, notably those of Australia, New Zealand and several Scandinavian countries, have acted pursuant to the recommendation of the World Council policy in this area.

In his article, "A Preference for Equality", which Dr. tenBroek wrote for the Braille Monitor some months ago, he distinguished between special privileges and equalizing factors. The universal handicap allowance is certainly an equalizing factor.

Finally, when Miss Walton asserts that adequate financial provision for blind people would "preclude all possibility of employment", she is ignoring the incontrovertible evidence to the contrary presented by the amazingly high percentage of employment among blinded veterans--who receive pensions several times greater than even the most generous public assistance grants to the civilian blind.)

I greatly appreciated the series of articles printed in the Monitor last year under the title "Misconceptions". I consider it a fine piece of public education and, if circulated widely in its printed booklet form, it ought to do much to help our cause. However, I am becoming more and more convinced that, should a new edition of that booklet be printed, there ought to be a thirteenth article added, with the caption "All Blind People Receive Pensions".

There was a time, not too long ago, when the thinking of many sighted would-be benefactors of the blind could be summed up by the statement made by a certain legislator that the perfect solution to the problem would be to "build a great big building in the center of the state and put 'em all in it". Now the trend of thought seems to have shifted largely to "give 'em all a pension". This thinking is shared by a number of blind people, some of them quite vocal about it. All this pension talk has resulted in a peculiar and, I fear, growing misconception on the part of the sighted that every blind person in the land draws a pension. This notion has created some real problems.

One member of our state affiliate, working in a Kansas City factory, told me that over the years he has encountered real hostility on the part of some of his fellow workers, all sighted, who felt that he had no right to be holding down a job since he is blind and therefore draws a pension. A young friend of mine in Indiana, desperately seeking work, was approached by a relative who informed him that he had a job all lined up for him if he would move to Indianapolis and take it. Closer investigation revealed, however, that the job, one of envelope-stuffing for a large cooperative, was strictly non-paying, volunteer work. When my friend gave this as his reason for refusing job, the relative was baffled, and exclaimed, "I can't see why wages would be so important to you when you're already drawing a pension.”

I, too, find myself encountering this same sort of thing with increasing frequency. Few people have the courage to talk to me directly on this subject, but often the topic of my "pension" comes up in conversations between my parents and well meaning friends. Such friends, when they hear that I receive no "pension", are quite nonplused. "Well, why doesn't she?" they demand. "It's up there in Topeka waiting for her and she might as well have it.”

Generally both they and the family come to the conclusion that I am a fool for not having taken the pension years ago. They are convinced that the money is lying in some state coffer, waiting for me, or being utilized by some government agency which doesn't need it nearly as much as I do. And try as I will, I have been completely unable to convince even my own family of the actual facts of the case--that what I would receive from the state would not be a "pension" at all, but public assistance, administered on exactly the same basis as is any other public welfare relief grants, such as those for the aged, dependent children, etc. The same holds true for aid to the blind in every state of the Union.

Now I have no quarrel with pensions as such. Our service men, who have risked their lives defending our liberty and have come out with visual or other physical or mental impairments, deserve every cent they receive from the government. Railroad employees and others who have spent their lives in service at thankless jobs, deserve in many cases even more than their companies give them in their declining years. And some kind of living pension or subsidy for the completely unemployable, not only among the blind but the mentally retarded, the hopelessly paralyzed, etc., might be the ideal solution. But a pension system which would take in all the blind simply because they are blind would, in my opinion, preclude all possibility of employment for this whole segment of the population. The intelligent, right-thinking blind person feels that the world owes him--not a living--but the opportunity to make a normal, happy life for himself, and a constructive contribution to his community. He further feels that he can attain this objective best--not by means of a pension which he may receive while sitting in idleness--but through honest employment.

And so I would say in conclusion that the next time you see a blind person standing in line just ahead of you at the teller's window in the bank, cashing his monthly check from the State Department of Social Welfare, remember that the money he is receiving is not a pension but public assistance, and that the chances are ten to one that, as he cashes that check, he is wishing with all his heart that it were a pay check.

Back to Contents

VIRGINIA CONVENTION

by John Taylor

The first annual convention of the Virginia Federation of the Blind, Inc., was held on April 18th and 19th at the George Mason Hotel in Alexandria, Virginia. In addition to a Board of Directors meeting and other committee meetings, delegates who arrived Friday evening attended dances and other social activities.

When the Saturday morning session convened, delegates were welcomed to Alexandria by Mayor Leroy S. Bendheim, who was followed by John Taylor with a report on national legislation. Mr. Carl Murr, Rehabilitation Officer, Medical Division, United States Civil Service Commission, then spoke on "Advancements in Hiring the Physically Handicapped in the Federal Merit System", and strongly urged that handicapped persons make much greater use of the coordinators on Employment of the Physically Handicapped who have been appointed within the various departments and agencies of the Federal Government. The morning session concluded with an hour long panel discussion on "Aid to the Blind--Three Varieties--Virginia, Missouri, Pennsylvania and California" led by John Taylor, David Krause, John Nagle, and Dr. Jacobus tenBroek.

The afternoon session began with a stirring address, "The Role of Public Relations in Developing Opportunities for the Blind" by James A. Garnett, Public Relations Representative, AFL-CIO, who recently joined the Virginia Federation of the Blind after losing his sight. Following a discussion of present and future plans of the State School for the Blind by Mr. Joe R. Shinpaugh, Superintendent, Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, Mr. Brewster Snow, Secretary-Treasurer of the Virginia State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, spoke on "The Social Welfare Aims of Organized Labor", and the session closed with a discussion of state laws affecting the blind.

"With more than 120 delegates and friends in attendance, the Saturday evening banquet was the high point of the convention. Special guests included: Dr. Charles P. Waite, Assistant Director, Medical Division, United States Civil Service Commission; Dr. Kingsley Price, member of the NFB Board of Directors and Professor at Johns Hopkins University; Mr. Douglas Richardson, President, D.C. Vending Stand Operators' Association, and Mrs. Grace Cleaves, President, Nation's Capitol Chapter of the National Association of the Physically Handicapped. With President Robert MacDonald serving as toastmaster, the assembled audience was delighted by an address by Mr. Tim Seward who spoke on "Lionism As It Is, and Lionism As It Should Be”. As the principal speaker of the evening, Dr. tenBroek delivered an eloquent and penetrating analysis of the recent Congressional hearings on the Kennedy-Baring Bill.

During the Sunday morning session, delegates considered a number of business items and resolutions and selected Roanoke, Virginia as the 1960 convention site. As officers for the coming year, the delegates elected the following: President, Robert MacDonald, Alexandria; Vice-President, James A. Garnett, Richmond; Second Vice-President, William Wirtz, Richmond; Recording Secretary, Marion MacDonald, Alexandria; Corresponding Secretary, Lydia Stuples, Richmond; Treasurer, Bernard Cadd, Roanoke, while David Krause was elected to a two year term on the Board of Directors. Robert MacDonald, the President, was selected as the VFB's delegate to the Santa Fe Convention.

During the course of the convention, resolutions were adopted in support of the Kennedy-Baring Bill, the King Bill and legislation to abolish length of residence requirements as conditions of eligibility for Aid to the Blind. In addition, the convention adopted resolutions calling for the abolition of liens, relative's responsibility, the establishment of more liberal resource exemption policies and a minimum presumed need of $65 per month in the state's aid to the blind program. Other resolutions approved by the convention related to expansion of employment opportunities as well as other matters of concern to the delegates. Dr. T. Munford Boyd was scheduled to speak during the Sunday morning session but poor weather conditions and cancellation of plane reservations prevented his appearing. Dr. Kingsley Price rose to the occasion, however, and presented an excellent discussion of aims and objectives of the blind, together with the means of achieving them.

After adjournment of the convention, one delegate remarked that this convention was the finest thing which had ever happened in this part of the country.

Back to Contents

A FRESH START IN CALIFORNIA

The April issue of the Council Bulletin, (California), has just been received here. It presents a striking contrast to the February issue, which was so recklessly sprayed over the entire United States and which has caused so much confusion in the minds of those Braille readers who lack the background information to evaluate the irresponsible slanders and calumnies with which its pages were filled. The new editor of this publication is Mrs. Beverly Gladden of San Bernardino, and the new assistant editor is Mr. Lon Sumner of San Francisco. The new state president, Mr. Russell Kletzing, refutes some of the most outrageous misstatements contained in the February issue but he does so in temperate and restrained language.

"Since February 23rd, the Council has had its first full time, permanent staff member, Mr. Jack Fletcher, Field Director. Jack's immediate job is to function as the Council's representative to the legislature. After the legislature is over, he will be able to devote time to the problems of the Council and to problems of the clubs. Among his responsibilities are the organization of new affiliates and coordination in the setting up of money raising activities.”

Here's an extract from the minutes of the February 22nd meeting of the Council's Executive Committee: "Mr. Archibald reported on the legislation that has been introduced. Mr. Kletzing asked if Mr. Archibald, during the remaining time he would be on the Council's payroll, would be kind enough to introduce the new field director to the legislators and generally show him the ropes. Mr. Archibald refused. He said he had refused to train anybody when he was discharged by the National Federation, and that he would not do so for the Council." [Editor's Note: Mr. Archibald was never asked by the NFB to "train" anybody.) "Mr. Kletzing then asked Mr. Campbell whether Mr. Archibald would meet with Mr. Kletzing and Mr. Fletcher one evening during the next week. Mr. Campbell indicated that Mr. Archibald would, but Mr. Archibald refused to do so, and the matter was left at that.”

The Executive Committee voted to allow Mr. Campbell up to $400 for bus fare which he claimed he had incurred during his presidency, in trips from his home to the Council office and back.

In her lead editorial, Mrs. Gladden, the new Bulletin editor, has this to say: "I am optimistic about the future of the Council. Factional storms are inherent in the nature of any healthy political organization. The Council has weathered its first real storm and internal strife has given way to resolution. The calm that now prevails should provide the finest possible atmosphere for the resumption of activity in the direction of solving internal problems vital to the well-being of the blind of California. Under the new administration I anticipate some exhilarating changes."

This Bulletin announces the formation and admission of a new chapter in Orange County. A second new chapter admitted at the February 22nd meeting is the Los Angeles Business and Professional Association of the Blind.

The White Cane Week mail campaign is now under the co-chairmanship of Mrs. Evonne Eick, of San Diego, and Mr. Jim McGinnis, of Van Nuys. The White Cane Week raffle is being handled by Ida Mae Ambler, of Vallejo and Jack Polston, of Costa Mesa. The raffle drawing will be conducted at the convention banquet in mid-May.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of the California Council of the Blind by Dr. Newell Perry in 1934. At the convention banquet Dr. Perry will be honored by the Council for his many years devoted to working for the organized blind movement.

It is planned, as soon as possible, to begin to issue the Bulletin on Talking-Book records, or at least as much of it as will go on both sides of one record. The subscription price will be $3 a year, and, if 50 subscribers can be secured at this price, the project will go forward.

Early in 1958 the task was undertaken of developing a tape-transcribing project in a California state prison which would mainly benefit blind college students. The San Quentin; State Prison reading project for the blind is now a definitely established project, financed by the Associated Lions of Marin County. Tape-recorded copies of selected textbooks are supplied to blind students at no cost to them other than that involved in the purchasing of the ink-print texts and the tapes. In the next two months the inmate staff will be increased to allow full-time utilization of the recording equipment.

The April Bulletin publishes the following letter:

Oakland, California, February, 1959.

"A House Divided Against Itself Must Surely Fall."

"This is a plea for unity; for the concerted effort of the blind, working together for the good of all. A single blind person standing alone is a gossamer film from a spider's web; united with his Club he helps to form a thread. The threads of member Clubs entwine to form the strand of the State Council. The state organizations form the cable which is the National Federation, giving strength and security to each blind individual.

"Our public assistance grants are obtained from Congress by the Federation; matching funds from the State by the Council; and the rights of the individual are protected by the member Clubs--supported, when that support is needed, by the united strength of the organized blind movement of the whole country. From top to bottom the components of our organization are interdependent.

"The voice of the individual is heard in the member Club and carried to the floor of the Council by its delegate; who must represent the will of his Club--not his personal whim. The State organization must represent the will of the member Clubs that compose it. It is their servant, not their master, as it goes uninstructed to the floor of the Federation's national convention.

"For the past six or eight months a breach has appeared in the unity of the organized blind. This must not be allowed to continue. There is no room for personal glory nor personal animosity.” (signed) Committee for Unity of the Blind.

Back to Contents

1959 LEGISLATION AT THE STATE LEVEL

At this writing several state legislatures have already adjourned. Reports are beginning to come in of successes and failures, triumphs and disappointments. For some of our affiliates this was the first attempt to secure new legislation. There are almost always formidable obstacles to be overcome. We are not large enough anywhere to be a formidable pressure group and we seldom get effective help from other organized groups--with the notable exception of organized labor. We must rely almost exclusively on an appeal to the fair-mindedness of legislators and it is invariably necessary to do a lot of educating in order to make them aware of what is involved.

As a general thing the greatest obstacle to be overcome is the opposition (often expressed in behind-the-scenes maneuvering) which comes from certain public and private agencies who feel that their little empires and the lucrative jobs of their administrators may be threatened. Nearly all legislators say that they are willing and anxious to "help the blind"--and they mean it. The trouble comes from the fact that they are apt to be overly impressed by the pontifications of those who insist that they are the spokesmen for the blind and that only they are in a position to know what is really best for the blind.

Those of us who have been active in legislative efforts at the state level for a long time have learned to expect this sort of thing and have developed, at least to some extent, a technique for dealing with it.

In spite of everything, we continue to gain ground, some years in only a few states, some years in many states. We must learn to accept reverses in stride and to charge right back at the beginning of the next session with renewed vigor and enthusiasm--plus the additional know-how which past experience has given us. Your national organization stands ready at all times to extend help and counsel--the only requirement is that you make a sincere effort. There may be a few states where it is not fully realized that one of the requirements for continued membership in the NFB, laid down in the Code of Affiliate Standards which was adopted in Omaha in 1955, is that there must be a functioning legislative committee and that no session of a state legislature may pass without some effort on the part of that legislative committee to draft bills to improve the situation of the blind citizens of their state, to have them introduced and to work hard for their enactment into law.

VERMONT

"The new voting law which we managed to get through the legislature this year has been signed into law by the Governor. It permits the blind voter to select any other voter of the same town, who may enter the voting booth with him and mark his ballot. Our first attempt to get rid of our lien law was a dismal failure but we shall try again'." Alaric Nichols.

NEVADA

"The legislature was unusually kind to the overall program for the blind in Nevada. We believe that Nevada is probably the first state to appropriate state funds for the provision of case services without regard to employment objective. The legislature increased by more than 400 percent state funds for vocational rehabilitation services over that of the present fiscal year. The department's original request for eye treatment funds was in the amount of $6,000, which was cut to $5,000 in the executive budget; however, the legislature ended by appropriating $10,000, which again is 400 percent more eye treatment money for this coming fiscal year. The original departmental request for money grant payments in the medical care program for the aid to the blind was restored to the executive budget by the legislature, which places that phase of the program for the blind in excellent financial shape for the next fiscal year. The legislature appropriated $6,500 to be used for foster home care for handicapped children when attending special education classes. This is used primarily for sending blind children to Reno and Las Vegas to attend public schools. The presumed minimum need in the aid to the blind program was raised from $90 per month to $100 per month. A bill giving blind vending stand operators a preference in state, county and municipal buildings has been signed by the Governor and is now law. Another successful bill provides that an individual's home will play no part in his eligibility for aid to the blind, irrespective of value, so long as it is used as such. One other very important bill, now enacted into law, will make it possible to transfer money to blind assistance from other funds whenever that becomes necessary.

"We failed in our effort to restore 16 and 17 year old youths to the aid to dependent children program. Our bill providing aid for totally and permanently disabled persons was never introduced because of the evident strong hostility of the committee. A considerable amount of educational work will have to be carried on before this program has any chance of being established in Nevada.

"Cooperation of the state agency and the invaluable assistance given by the National Federation of the Blind and the working relationship among the members of the Nevada Federation of the Blind certainly demonstrates the value of teamwork. The officers and members of the Nevada Federation of the Blind can well be proud of the reputation they have built with the legislators and the present state administration.” George Magers.

INDIANA

"After sixty-one days of oratory and law making the State House is again silent. During all of this hubbub, however, the Indiana Council did manage to have one of its bills passed and signed by the Governor. This bill sets up an advisory committee to the State Welfare Department consisting of five members--two blind and three sighted. As originally introduced, the committee would have been made up of four blind citizens. Whether or not this change will largely impair the effectiveness of the committee will, of course, depend on the intelligence and flexibility of the sighted appointees. Pressure from ophthalmologists and optometrists was largely responsible for what may turn out to be a most unfortunate amendment. We are somewhat disappointed because the rest of our proposed legislation was not acted upon.

"Other bills of interest to the blind were: S. 157 which changes the name from the Board of Industrial Aid and Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind to the Indiana Agency for the Blind--adopted. S. 402 would have substituted a “commission for the blind” for the present agency setup. It was sponsored by the Indiana Association of Workers for the Blind and died in committee. S. 30, in its original form, would have forced state agencies, including programs for the blind, to publish intimate details of case records and would have violated federal confidentiality requirements. It was supported by chambers of commerce and taxpayers groups and by the powerful Indianapolis Star. As signed by the Governor, however, the bill had been amended to exempt programs receiving Federal matching funds. H. 33 would have liberalized aid to dependent children and to the blind but was vetoed by the republican governor. S. 184 raised the burial allotment for blind assistance recipients from $250 to $350--adopted." John Miller.

(Editor's Note: As your state legislatures adjourn, I hope the chairman of your legislative committee, or some other well informed member of your organization, will supply the Monitor with a report of your 1959 legislative effort. Many valuable ideas are gleaned from such reports and the things you have done, or tried to do, may be the inspiration for others of our state organizations.)

Back to Contents

COMING STATE CONVENTIONS

Insofar as they have been reported, the following conventions are scheduled for 1959:

South Carolina, Jefferson Hotel, Columbia, April 25 and 26; Michigan, Occidental Hotel, Muskegon, May 9 and 10; California, Californian Hotel, Fresno, May 14, 15 and 16; Florida, Memorial Day week end, Miami; Minnesota, (M.O.B.), 1605 Eustis Street, St. Paul, June 4, 5 and 6; Iowa, Braille and Sight-Saving School, Vinton, June 5, 6 and 7; South Dakota, School for the Blind, Gary, June 5 and 6; North Dakota, Patterson Hotel, Bismarck, June 6 and 7; Montana, Bozeman, about mid-July, exact date not known here; West Virginia, July 23, 24 and 25--hotel and city not known here; Idaho, an August convention but no details have reached us; New York, Utica, September 5 and 6; Tennessee (probably same date as New York); Ohio, Sheraton-Gibson Hotel, Cincinnati, September 18, 19 and 20; New Jersey, Hotel Douglas , Newark, September 19; Oregon, hotel and city not known here, September 19 and 20; Massachusetts, Holyoke, September 26 and 27; Indiana, Hoffman Hotel, South Bend, October 2, 3 and 4; Missouri, Alladin Hotel, Kansas City, October 9, 10 and 11; Illinois, Alton, October 16, 17 and 13; Wyoming, Laramie, October 23; Arkansas, October 23, 24 and 25, hotel and city not known here.

(Editor's Note: Other state convention dates will be passed on to Monitor readers as reported to us.)

Back to Contents

BLIND GRADUATE STUDENT GIVEN FULBRIGHT GRANT

From the Wisconsin State Journal: "Norman Coombs, a blind graduate student in history at the University of Wisconsin, has been awarded a Fulbright grant to do research in Europe. Coombs, who is working for the Ph.D. degree and teaching history at the University, stated that he would do research at Kings College, London, England.

"The Fulbright award is one of the top scholastic honors given to students in the United States, and only a few are awarded annually. Coombs said that he expected to leave about September 10 for England and would concentrate on research in modern European intellectual history, probably in theological history.”

(Editor's Note: In 1957 Norman Coombs was awarded an $800 scholarship by the Wisconsin Council of the Blind, enabling him to purchase a Perkins Braillewriter, a tape recorder and a number of other items which contributed materially to the remarkable scholastic record he has been able to make at the University of Wisconsin. The money came partly from the Wisconsin share of White Cane Week receipts, with a hefty assist from Mr. Bernard Gerchen, who added $1,000 to the amount we had been able to set aside that year for scholarships to blind college students. We are all very proud in this state of Norman's achievements.)

Back to Contents

FROM OUR READERS

"Dear Mr. Card: It's high time that I am writing you this little note to tell you that I am reading and enjoying every issue of the Braille Monitor. I'm a very slow reader but I manage to read it from cover to cover before each meeting of the Richmond Chapter.

"I enjoyed so very much the article entitled 'Blind Welfare in Australia' by D.B. Hunter in the March issue. It's nice to learn of the progress of the blind on every continent. I read that article twice I'm so happy to see Virginia is 'on the map' in Federation activities. Sincerely," Dorothea Foulkrod, Richmond, Virginia.

---------------

"Dear Sir: As one who has been helped immeasurably by Braille, please accept this small token of my appreciation. I am interested not only in this project, but also in what the National Federation is endeavoring to do; and I hope some day to give a few years of my life to the advancement of causes related to the welfare and fuller opportunity of the visually handicapped. Respectfully yours," Kenneth A. Johnson, Wolf Point, Montana.

---------------

"Dear George: It is Easter Sunday afternoon and it seems quite proper to be sending you a check for the Louis Braille Memorial Fund on such a day--for this man represents to the blind of the world a chance for a new life. The enclosed check is for Virginia and me. We intended sending it upon reading your article in the January Monitor--but of course didn't get around to it. However, the sharp reminder in the March Monitor could not be ignored. Of course we who are active in the movement to give a better life to those who are blind should be quickest to respond to a proper recognition, of the debt we owe to Louis Braille. And there are no two people who owe more to him than do my Ginny and me. Without Braille there could have been no education, no college and university training, no legal practice, no opportunity for us to marry and live our own lives. We are truly grateful to Louis Braille. We hope that many more of our Federationists will respond to your March report on the Fund. We hope that the contribution that will come from the blind people of America will be tremendous--not in total dollars, though this will be nice--but in the numbers of persons who do respond. Without education we who are blind would still be slaves in the kitchen corner--if we were lucky enough to have one to be enslaved in. Without education the rising up of the blind of America would be a futile thing, the result of mounting resentments that, once exploded into open protest could have no meaning or purpose--only a return to the same condition as before, perhaps with softer crusts of bread and a warmer place in the corner. With education we can conquer the whole world. If I seem overly eloquent in this I express deep feelings; I feel a keen obligation and gratitude to Braille for the joy I have in my life. ... Sincerely yours," Virginia and John Nagle, Washington, D.C.

---------------

"To the Editor of the Monitor: We submit the following item of information for the May issue of the Monitor:

"Because of the constant flood of reservation requests, the managers of the convention hotels have asked that all those wishing to attend the coming NFB convention be alerted to the need for promptness in the matter of reservations. They further add that, because of the large tourist business, it will be practically impossible to guarantee any requests for accommodations made after June 1. After this date, the reservations chairman will have to deal with requests for accomodations as best she can.

"Delegates are again urged to fill out their registration cards and return them at the earliest possible opportunity. Thanks. Sincerely yours," Joe A. Salazar, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

---------------

"Dear Mr. Card: The other morning I spied John Taylor attempting to sneak into the office with a very interesting package under his arm. When questioned, he explained that it was a gift from Mrs. Card and that it contained some very delicious cookies. He struggled for awhile, but finally John Nagle, Pike Seward and I succeeded in muscling in on the goodies.

"This letter is in appreciation of Mrs. Card's culinary achievements. We are requesting that you run the recipes in the Monitor, or perhaps Mrs. Card would be kind enough to send us copies of them.

"We all feel that it would have been extremely beneficial for our 'Right to Organize' bills, if samples of Mrs. Card's cookies could have been passed around to the members of Congress.

"Thank you and please thank Mrs. Card for her contribution to the morale of the Washington office. It certainly was a delicious boost! Cordially," Kay Shannon, (Secretary), Washington, D.C.

---------------

"Hi Card: By George, this new Fed magazine sure holds the prowess of the organization high. I'm sure it informs us readers about things and situations we wouldn't imagine otherwise. Congratulations for this tremendous and, now, quite indispensable medium.

"Can we put rather personal notices in the magazine? I note the usual scope doesn't seem to cover that and it might mar the dignity of it, but I want correspondence with a pretty good and versatile guitarist, not for business reasons, but because I need a bit of information on certain fundamentals. Sincerely," Newton Rounds, R.F.D . No. 2, Box 7, Orleans, Vermont.

---------------

“Dear Mr. George Card: Kindly give this matter your Christian consideration. ... Miss ... taught school for twenty-one years. A few years ago her sight waned and she was let out of her position as teacher. As you write in your article in the March issue of the Braille Monitor, the authorities are reluctant to accept a blind teacher. Miss ... feels that if she had moral and influential support she might secure a teaching job. She has written many letters of application but no favorable replies.

"I know how it is in the ministry. A number of churches will not consider a blind minister. ... I think that your office should take vigorous steps to encourage the small town and rural churches to accept blind clergymen upon their merit. The people in this area still are skeptical about the ability of blind individuals.

"Kindly do not put this matter aside but write to her immediately. A word from you will give her courage--do not give her the run-around. ... May the Lord bless you in your efforts to help the blind to help themselves. ... Yours in Christ," Rev. Morris W. Shofield, Mitchell, Indiana.

---------------

"Dear George: I have been reading the All-Story and Monitor for many years, yet I have never read anything about free transportation for the blind. The National League of the Blind of Great Britain has for many years worked diligently for free bus and streetcar rides. A sighted person can walk a few blocks while a blind person must ride. Blind salesmen and tuners must use transportation facilities several times a day. Then too, it is sometimes necessary for a blind person to travel in order to visit and to have personal mail read. With increased traffic and ever mounting fares I believe something should be done to secure free transportation or at least reduced fares. In the Twin Cities children ride for half fare, yet some of them are better off financially than most blind people. If a person could purchase a pass and have unlimited use of the transportation system it would be one way of solving the problem.

"I enjoy reading the section 'From Our Readers'; it is interesting to know what other blind people think of current problems affecting the blind. Very cordially yours," Warren Weir, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

---------------

"Dear George: The Lehigh Valley Federation of the Blind, George, is my pride and joy. I sincerely hope that some day you or Dr. tenBroek will have the opportunity to visit with them. It's a group you dream about but seldom get. In less than ten months they have a membership of sixty-five, better than average intelligence. I am proud of them.

"I have called a meeting of chapter presidents this coming Saturday at the William Penn Hotel, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My purpose is to weld them into a more united group. Our Tri-County Federation of the Blind is, like the others, running into terrific fire from the local P.A.D. Always false accusations that Federation officers are highly paid--the blind threatened with loss of their jobs, and every other method to discourage them. It never ends. My only regret is that I do not have full time to devote to this project.” Frank Lugiano, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

---------------

"Dear George: Concerning the recent letter from F.H. Russell, of Miami, Florida, in 'Letters to the Editor', I agree that perhaps the Monitor should be angled slightly more to the non-dedicated reader. I do not say this on the same grounds as he does, but from the point that not only for the sighted, but for many of our members who are new in the Federation, or whose locals do not sufficiently spread Federationism, a little more background of explanation would be very helpful to the understanding, especially of those items which deal with policy or philosophy. In our own local, for example, there are only a few who are really fully cognizant of Federation aims and philosophy, while the remainder are very weak in this respect and are not now getting anything through local meetings. The Federation is only as strong as the individual member, and the more fully an understanding can be instilled, the stronger we become.

"And a brief comment on Mary Walton's remarks on loneliness and isolation. It is not only blindness that causes these conditions, although it is, as in other ways, an additional handicap. I have heard the same complaint from many sighted persons I know, primarily among the elderly, but also from the young, one a boy in his twenties. However, I wholeheartedly agree with her cure. That is, activity in church and civic organizations, and--in one she did not mention--politics. Here the blind are welcomed with open arms as telephone workers and letter writers and their attendance at meetings and their vocal support is warmly appreciated.

"In the country, I am a little limited in some of these activities, but have received a great deal of pleasure from membership in the local volunteer fire department. In connection with this, I received the highest grade of the group when we took our first aid class last year, and have my authorized first aider card to prove it. My Federation activities have enabled me to be of some assistance to them in the organizational work and governmental liaison necessary to coordinate our district with the county and state agencies. In almost any community there are numerous charitable and improvement groups crying for volunteer workers. ...” Catherine G. Callahan, Reno, Nevada.

---------------

"Dear George: In considering the article 'Blind Welfare in Australia' from the December 1958 New Beacon I consider that Mr. Hunter has succeeded in presenting a vivid picture of the real improvement that has been brought about in the situation of blind people in this country in relation to employment in unsheltered industry, and in relation to their position in society generally. However the fact that the Sydney University, as Mr. Hunter records, sees the necessity of undertaking a widely based survey of all the aspects of the relations of blind people to society and to industrial integration is a clear indication that, improved as the position undoubtedly is, there is still much spadework to be done before the foundations of assured careers for all employable blind people are made stable.

"Before the war the Australian cities had very few blind people who had secured work in unshletered industry, apart from some who operated newspaper stands and others who worked as professional musicians and piano tuners and, of course, a few others. A large proportion of the able bodied blind people were absorbed in wartime industry and acquitted themselves very well in these new callings particularly in the three capital cities on the Eastern Seaboard--Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

"With the end of the war, of course, many blind workers here--as in your country and everywhere else--were discharged, but the number who succeeded in adjusting themselves to the new circumstances of industry was considerable and was a far larger number than were in outside industry before the war. The position since then has been more favorable and many additional blind people have been absorbed through the years. Provision for specialized training for blind people as switchboard operators, shorthand typists, packers, etc., and various categories of process workers, has led to a steady absorption of blind into industry. There is still need, however, for constant pressure to find work for the blind who desire unsheltered employment. Government labor officers as well as the organizations of, and for the blind, are constantly seeking new avenues of employment. The blind worker who will succeed has to be a little bit above the usual standard required of sighted workers for the job he undertakes.

"A valuable contribution is being made by the management of sheltered workshops towards the better employment of blind people in unsheltered industry and commerce, in that they are willing to allow their employees to go out to work in industry and, if such work should cease, to come back at short notice, and to go again if opportunity offers. This is a real service to the blind man who wants to improve his position and is of particular value at the present time when many blind people find that the doors of industry are not easy to open. When a man finds that his outside work has ceased he can return to the institution and is therefore not haunted by the dreadful specter of continued unemployment.

"Mr. Hunter's survey is a good one as long as one accepts it as an interim report, and realizes that there are many rows to be hoed and much work to be done before the harvest of complete equality of opportunity is reaped. Sincerely yours," T.M. Fuery, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

---------------

"Dear George: Well first let me say that I have read the Braille edition of the Monitor for the past two years. I think you are doing a great job with the magazine. My wife is a graduate of the Washington School for the Blind and I of the Oklahoma School for the Blind.

"Now for my reason for this letter. I have just finished training as an automotive electrical specialist but have not found work yet. I have seen your figures on the number of blind people working in industry and, although I cannot recall them at the moment, I remember thinking that, if the whole economy were that low, we would be in a very bad depression indeed. I believe my suggestion would increase employment of the blind greatly as it would hit the employer where it would do the most good.

"Why not give the employer of severely physically handicapped persons a tax exemption where the person is paid the regular wages for his classification of work? I realize this would almost of necessity involve a complicated formula but I am sure that there are people in the NFB who are capable of working out a practical formula. It may be assumed that if a blind person is not employed he is probably on the welfare rolls and is therefore a tax burden. Therefore let the business man be given some incentive to employ him and thus remove him from the welfare rolls. As most of the business tax burden is at the national level it would do the most good if the bill were enacted by the Congress.

"Remaining your friend and reader always I am," Coy Leon Stamps, San Francisco, California.

"Dear Coy: I am going to publish your letter in the May Monitor. Something of this sort has been advocated by many NFB leaders" but there has always been some question as to whether or not this would be a public admission that severely handicapped workers are less efficient and less productive and therefore need something like a subsidy. I am not convinced in my own mind that this last is entirely valid. I hope other readers will comment. Cordially yours," G.C.

---------------

"Dear Mr. Card: ... I am very thrilled that our Florida Federation should have been asked to participate in the White House Conference for Children and Youth. I feel that this is a great honor. ...

"I am enclosing a contribution to go into the Louis Braille Memorial Fund. I am sorry the contributions are coming in so slowly. It is a wonderful project and I feel that the blind are greatly indebted to Louis Braille.

"I was very sorry that the program for getting the Braille Monitor on record was not successful. I believe that the Monitor is a great boon to the Federation and if we could get it in recorded form that every blind person could listen to, it would be of great benefit to our organization.

"I still have not been successful in getting a chapter started here but feel that as the Monitor is more widely read our chances for a successful chapter will become brighter. Sincerely yours," Buelah Holly Flynn, Daytona Beach, Florida.

Back to Contents

"YOU'VE HEARD THIS BEFORE"

The Nebraska Observer publishes this all too familiar dialogue:

"(First Member) I'm thinking about dropping out of the club. I don't like the way they voted the other night at the meeting.

"(Second Member) Were you there?

"(First Member) No--I always watch TV on Friday nights, but I heard all about it. The same old clique railroaded the whole thing through.

"(Second Member) Who is the clique?

"(First Member) Oh, you know who I mean.--The same people who are at all the meetings and on all the committees."

Back to Contents

SOLILOQUY OF A SEXAGENARIAN--WITH A POME

When I was twenty years old I spent a long stretch of time in a hospital--with numerous eye operations. When the doctor would say "take this man to surgery" or "take this man back to the ward", it was a source of considerable satisfaction to me because he had used the noun man without the then obnoxious adjective young.

When I was thirty and some girl would look at me wide-eyed and say that she really preferred a "mature man", that was very much all right too.

When I was forty--but that was the year I met and wooed and won my Darlene--so I was scarcely conscious of rounding that particular corner.

On my fiftieth birthday there were a few jibes, but mostly gentle and kindly ones. Those around me became unusually tactful and no attempt was made to crowd half a hundred candles on my cake.

Last year, when I became sixty, those who love me entered into a conspiracy to ignore the subject of numbers.

How do I know that my youth has been spent?
Because my "get up and go" has got up and went.
But I really don't mind, when I think with a grin
Of all the places my "get up" has been.

Old age is golden, I've heard it said,
But sometimes I wonder as I go to bed--
My ears in a drawer, my teeth in a cup,
My eyes on a table, until I wake up.

Ere sleep dims my eyes, I say to myself,
"Is there anything else I should lay on the shelf?"
But I am happy to think as I close the door,
My friends are the same as always of yore.

I get up each morning and dust off my wits,
Pick up the paper and read the obits,
If my name is not there, I know I'm not dead,
So I eat a good breakfast and go back to bed.

(From the Canadian Council of the Blind Outlook)

Back to Contents

DEADLINE!

A number of people have written to inquire as to how long contributions to the Louis Braille Memorial Museum Fund can be accepted from NFB members. The answer is until July 1. This, therefore, is practically the Monitor's last chance to remind you--if you need reminding.

I am happy to report that one hundred per cent of the NFB staff and fifty per cent of the remaining four NFB officers have made sure that their names will appear on the great scroll which will be a part of the exhibit at Coupvray, France, the birthplace of our great benefactor. None of the other members of the Executive Committee have been heard from and only half a dozen state presidents will be, as of now, inscribed on the Honor Roll.

Here is the standing of the states as of April 21, 1959: Wisconsin, $103.00; California, $87.13; New Jersey, $53.00; Virginia, $50.00; Texas, $35.58; Iowa, $32.61; South Carolina, $30.20; Minnesota, $26.00; Georgia, $25.00; Rhode Island, $15.00; Missouri, $13.00; Colorado, $13.00; Pennsylvania, $11.25; Vermont, $11.00; Ohio, $11.00; District of Columbia, $10.00; New York, $8.00; Arkansas, $7.00; Florida, $6.00; Kansas, $6.00; Connecticut, $6.00; Alabama, $5.00; Illinois, $5.00; Oregon, $5.00; Michigan, $4.00; Montana, $4.00; West Virginia, $2.00; Arizona, $1.50; Indiana, $1.00; Nevada, $1.00; New Mexico, $1.00; Oklahoma, $1.00; Washington, $1.00, and Tennessee, $1.00. Total $592.27.

Back to Contents

THE HELPLESS BLIND

From the Free Press (Wisconsin School for the Visually Handicapped): "Mr. Charles Medick is one of the nation's top table tennis referees. He has been blind since infancy. He does it all by sound. He can even distinguish whether the ball hits the top or the bottom of the net. He has worked in every national table-tennis championship tournament from 1947 to 1954. He plans to officiate this year when the 1959 national championships are held Inglewood, California. Medick, who now lives in Los Angeles, moved there last year from Cleveland, Ohio. He makes his living as an X-ray darkroom technician. The toughest decision he has to make is to rule in doubles whether a serve hits on the proper side of the narrow white line dividing the court. So far he has never called a wrong one. ..."

Back to Contents

AAIB-AAWB BRAILLE AUTHORITY APPOINTED

(Editor's Note: The following release is published at the request of Mr. Paul Langan, former Superintendent of the Kentucky School for the Blind and now a member of the staff of the American Foundation for Overseas Blind.)

"Mr. D. W. Overbeay, President of the AAIB, and Mr. H.A. Wood, President of the AAWB, have announced the creation of a new three-member committee designated as the AAIB-AAWB Braille Authority. Miss Marjorie S. Hooper, Braille Editor of the American Printing House for the Blind; Mr. Bernard M. Krebs, Librarian of the New York Guild for the Jewish Blind; and Mr. Paul J. Langan, Far East Counselor of the American Foundation for Overseas Blind, have accepted appointments to serve the field as an interpreting authority for all matters pertaining to Braille in this country. The following directive issued jointly by the presidents of the two Associations, sets forth the responsibilities of the new group:

‘"It shall be the duty of the AAIB-AAWB Braille Authority to make decisions, issue interpretations, render opinions and to present recommendations pertaining to all provisions of English Braille--American Revision, 1959; the American usage of the Revised International Manual of Braille Music Notation, 1956; and the Nemeth Code of Braille Mathematics. The Braille Authority shall make annual reports to the Board of Directors of the AAIB and the AAWB, and any recommendations for additions, alterations, or changes in the codes shall be submitted at that time.'

"The group was delegated to elect its own chairman and at its first meeting on January 13, 1959, Mr. Paul J. Langan was chosen to act in this capacity. The experience of the members of the Braille Authority extends over the fields of embossing, publication, libraries, transcribing, education and international cooperation, which provides them with a broad understanding of the problems relating to Braille. All decisions, interpretations and opinions issued by the Braille Authority will be the result of the combined thinking of the group. Technical assistance and advice will be obtained by the Braille Authority on the special codes for Braille music notation and mathematics from subcommittees of experts in these fields.

"The presidents of the Associations also wish to announce that they have received notification from the AAIB-AA.WB Braille Authority that the editing of the final draft of English Braille--American Revision, 1959, has been completed and turned over to the American Printing House for the Blind, the official publisher of the manual in this country. Braille and ink print editions of the new revised code will be available for sale on or about June 15, 1959, and orders for copies should be placed directly with the APH in Louisville. As English Braille--American Revision, 1959 was officially adopted by joint resolutions of the AAIB and the AAWB, in convention last summer, presses and transcribers are authorized to begin using the new code as soon as it is released for publication.

"All communications to the AAIB-AAWB Braille Authority should be directed to the Chairman, Mr. Paul J. Langan, American Foundation for Overseas Blind, 22 West 17th Street, New York 11, New York.”

Back to Contents

NEW ELECTRONIC DEVICE TO AID DEAF-BLIND

From Tape Topics: "An electronic device to aid deaf-blind people to communicate for the first time has been perfected by William H. Martin, 1532 West Dakota Avenue, Fresno 5, California, according to a recent report from him.

"Through use of his device, Martin says, deaf-blind mutes now can receive communications by electronic means by plugging the gadget into a tape recorder. It changes International Morse Code signals, previously recorded, into mechanical movement. A push-button or standard telegraph key is used to put the signal onto magnetic tape and this same key reacts on the playback, duplicating the signal originally put onto the tape. It duplicates the movement exactly as the movement of the key on playback is identical to movement of the key when the recording was made.

"Martin says his device also will react to a signal played over the telephone and to stronger signals of short wave radio.

"Martin describes how a radio amateur sent a message in code to a local young lady, a deaf-blind mute. She placed her fingers on the key and received the same movement the operator made on his key in sending the radio signal. She was able to recognize her name in International Morse Code count. Both she and her parents were very excited. It was her first personal contact with the outside world via radio and, Martin says, she is the first deaf-blind person to his knowledge ever to receive a radio message. Martin says he'll be happy to answer any questions in regard to the device.”

Back to Contents

PENNSYLVANIA BLIND MERCHANTS GUILD

by Frank Lugiano

The Pennsylvania Blind Merchants Guild was started in 1941 with the encouragement of the Director of the Pennsylvania State Council for the Blind, Gayle Burlingame. As Director of the State Council, which in some other states is called a "Commission", he felt that only by getting stand operators together, discussing with them their problems, and suggesting solutions, could the State Council help them intelligently.

During the war years the members of the Guild found it very profitable to institute central buying. Also the exchange of methods of merchandising and preparing foods, types of equipment and many, many other benefits resulted because of being organized.

However, all this cooperation fell by the wayside with the death of Mr. Burlingame. Subsequent directors discouraged operators from joining the organized merchants until George Dauth actively formed a concessionaires group in the state building in Harrisburg, sort of a company union idea, and we have been having trouble ever since. Of course threats of losing their stands or promises of better ones if they steered clear of the Pennsylvania Blind Merchants Guild has been a subject of controversy and concern to us. George Dauth was fired last year but there is no indication as yet that things are going to be any better. The Guild has become stronger and has a good solid organization and we are having regional meetings and setting up regional chapters. One meeting with the department produced the usual opposition. The policy of the Guild is to obtain better supervision, better service, less monthly percentage and a voice by the stand operators in matters affecting their business. They also want a better promotion system and experienced counselors. The Guild, like the Federation, is constantly subjected to vicious propaganda, discrediting the officers. Of course the more of that we get the more determined it makes us, although, as you know, it gets very discouraging at times when you don't know when one of your stalwarts will be the victim of agency retaliation. But the fight goes on and on.

As long as the good Lord gives us strength we will continue.

Back to Contents

HERE AND THERE

John Luxon has become president of the big new Detroit chapter of the Michigan Council of the Blind.

_______________

The annual convention of the North Dakota Association of the Blind will be held at the Patterson Hotel at Bismarck, on the weekend of June 6 and 7.

_______________

The Minnesota Organization of Blind convention will, as usual, take place at the home for the blind which this affiliate maintains at 1605 Eustis Street, St. Paul, and will run through June 4, 5 and 6.

From the Minnesota Bulletin: "Application has been made to the State Commissioner of Banking for a charter for the Blind of Minnesota Credit Union. We expect favorable action by the latter part of March. The first meeting of the credit union members will be held some time in April.”

_______________

Charles Little of Boston, former NFB secretary, writes that a meeting of representatives from all Massachusetts chapters was held in Worcester a few days ago to consider a report brought in by a Recess Commission to which the state legislature had assigned the task of recommending possible changes and improvements in the Massachusetts program for the blind. This report recommended the establishment of a permanent commission, at an annual cost to the taxpayers of $50,000, which would have jurisdiction throughout the state on all matters relative to the welfare of the blind. While a few of those present felt that certain other parts of the report should be approved by the Associated Blind of Massachusetts, the concensus was that to try to save any part of it would be dangerous, as it might confuse the members of the Public Welfare Committee at the hearing which will be held later on legislation to implement the report. The final vote to oppose any such legislation was unanimous. The blind people of Massachusetts are very happy with the present administration of services to the blind under the able and enlightened leadership of John F. Mungovan and it was felt that the establishment of this permanent commission would constitute a very definite threat to the future of the Mungovan program.

_______________

The Board of Directors of the Vermont Council of the Blind has elected President Alaric G. Nichols and Theresa Donovan as delegates to the Santa Fe convention, with Edward Burgoyne and Clarence Briggs as alternates.

_______________

"It now appears that there will be from twelve to fifteen of our state members [New York] in attendance at the Santa Fe convention. I think this is wonderful." Peter Roidl (President).

_______________

The following release has just been received from the National Braille Press: "The National Braille Press, Inc. has just completed the construction of four soundproof recording booths, designed for recording on magnetic tape and vinylite discs. We are urging the blind of the country to send material for recording which is not otherwise available to them. There is no limit to the type of book to be recorded. Along with recording textbook material for students we are anxious to record contemporary fiction, novels, professional journals, etc. The request should be addressed to Mrs. Madeliene Jacobs, National Braille Press, Inc., 88 St. Stephen Street, Boston, 15, Massachusetts.

_______________

From the Japan Times via the New Beacon: "There are about 170,000 sightless in Japan. The supply of Braille books, which are virtually the only source of their self-enlightenment, has been very limited. The demand has far exceeded the supply. One reason for this is that there has been very few volunteers to do Braille transcribing. Recently, however, 40 inmates of Japan's largest prison, the Osaka Penitentiary, have completed a total of 2,800 volumes of Japanese Braille books."

_______________

The Braille Courier (Italy) reports that a new section has been added to the official highway traffic code which provides that motorists must come to a full stop when a person carrying a white cane, or one who can be identified as blind in other ways, is attempting to cross the highway.

_______________

Associated Press, April 7, Louisville, Kentucky: "The American Printing House for the Blind announced Monday it will publish the first Braille encyclopedia in history. Publication of 250 sets of 156 volumes each will be made with a $115,500 gift from the Field Foundation of New York and Field Enterprise Educational Corporation, Chicago. The encyclopedias will be used by schools and libraries serving the blind in this country and Canada.”

_______________

The American Blind Bowling Association takes pleasure in announcing plans for its Twelfth Annual National Championship Tournament and invites you all to participate in an event which has become an annual high spot for blind bowlers. This affair last year attracted more than five-hundred participants. The dates are June 4, 5, 6 and 7, 1959. Tournament headquarters will be the Bismarck Hotel near the Loop in downtown Chicago. The Tournament alleys will be the Marigold Lanes at 828 West Grace Street in Chicago--32 air-conditioned and well equipped alleys.

_______________

The Georgia Academy for the Blind Alumni Association will hold its annual meeting at the School, 1030 Shurling Drive Macon, Georgia, May 22-23, 1959. Registration beginning Friday, 6 P.M. All those planning to attend please contact Miss Alma M. Hamilton, 1222 East 7th Street, Columbus, Georgia.

_______________

From the Washington State White Cane: "A fifteen per cent increase in enrollment at the State School for the Blind means a waiting list if additional students wish to enroll, Byron Berhow, Superintendent, said recently. He stated that enrollment for this year is one hundred and twenty students, double that of a few years ago. ..."

And again: "For the first time the Speech Department at the University of Washington is recording books for the blind. About one hundred students will be recording material for any blind student who desires the service. The blind student will be required to provide a reel of tape and the material that he wishes read.”

_______________

Excerpt from a letter to John Taylor by a blind person who had just passed a civil service examination: "You asked for my comments on the special adaptations made in the examination for the blind. To begin with, there were no graphs or chart study questions, and that is fine, insofar as this blind man is concerned. They had a series of problems dealing with what they termed 'abstract reasoning', in which the blind applicant is given cardboards with raised geometrical figures and lines. No doubt you are familiar with the system of relating one of the figures from the third group on the line to the second group of figures on that same line. Although I became concerned over the time factor before I completed them, I thought they were easy. I don't know what the normal number of questions would be, but I was only given 100 questions. I have a feeling that that is fewer than a sighted applicant would be given. All things considered, I felt that it was a fair test; and with the adaptations, it contained nothing that a blind man shouldn't be expected to be able to solve. ..."

_______________

From the American Public Welfare Association Newsletter: It is with sincere regret that the Association notes the recent death of Frank Long, Director of the Kansas State Department of Social Welfare. ... George K. Wyman has resigned as Director of the California State Department of Social Welfare and has accepted appointment as Deputy Commissioner of the Social Security Commission, Department of Health, Education and Welfare. He has been succeeded by J.M. Wedemeyer. ... Frank M. Craft has been appointed Director of the Florida State Department of Public Welfare. ..."

_______________

Hollis Liggett, former president of the Memphis Chapter, and a Tennessee delegate to several national conventions, is recovering from serious major surgery.

_______________

The Indiana Council of the Blind proudly announces the addition of a new affiliate--the Elkhart County Federation of the Blind. Its officers are as follows: President, Robert Peterson, Goshen Hotel, Goshen, Indiana; Vice-President, Harold Buzzard, Elkhart; Secretary-Treasurer, Mrs. Russell Gets, Goshen; Associate Secretary, Mrs. Evelyn Weaver, Goshen, and Director, Austin Berkay, Shipshewana.

_______________

Congresswoman Leonor K. Sullivan (Democrat-Missouri) has introduced a bill to provide for the establishment of a food stamp plan for the distribution of $1,000,000,000 worth of surplus food commodities in the United States to needy persons. It is H.R. 1359.

_______________

E.H. Schuneman resigned early in January alter twenty years of service in the Wyoming Department of Public Welfare, the last twelve of these as the State Director, and has moved to California. No word has been received concerning the appointment of a successor.

_______________

W. Arthur Simpson will retire June 30 after twenty-four years as Commissioner of Social Welfare in Vermont. He will be succeeded by John J. Wackerman.

_______________

The total amount accruing to the NFB treasury thus far from the sale of special Federation Christmas cards by our members during 1958 is $734.

_______________

Although the editor of the New York Eyecatcher, Mrs. Mary Jane Hills, of Rochester, apologizes for the quality of the March issue, I think it is an unusually fine one. She publishes several of the bills being currently sponsored by the ESAB. One of these, affecting the present rigid relatives responsibility statute, is so simple and clear that I am reproducing the important part of it:

"Only such income as is actually regularly paid to an applicant or recipient by a relative may be deemed to be available to the applicant or recipient of aid to the blind for his support; no relative of an applicant or recipient of aid to the blind may be held liable for contribution to the support of such applicant or recipient. All provisions of this chapter or elsewhere in conflict with the section shall have no application to aid granted under this title. ..."

Other items of unusual interest from the March issue: "At the February meeting of the Rochester Chapter it was decided to pay $50 toward the expenses of any member attending the NFB national convention at Santa Fe. ..." "... At the January meeting of the Jamestown Chapter the following new officers were installed: Mrs. Grace Farnsworth, President; Mr. Russell Gundlock, Vice-President; Mr. Jack Reed, Recording Secretary; Miss Marie Chitwood, Corresponding Secretary; Mr. Robert Learmont, Treasurer; Mr. Charles Steele, Director for three years; Mrs. Bertha Jacobson, Director for two years; and Mr. Ernest Tiffany, Director for one year. The Jamestown Chapter has generously donated $25 to the E.S.A.B. Endowment Fund, which shows the usual spirit and interest that has always been demonstrated in the Jamestown area ..." "At its February meeting, the Buffalo Chapter decided to place NFB literature in the offices of ophthalmologists, optometrists, etc. both as a means of educating the public and in the hope that people who have recently become visually handicapped will become interested in the organization. For this purpose it is ordering a substantial number of copies of 'Misconceptions' from the Madison, Wis. office of the NFB. ..."

_______________

The Nebraska Observer will henceforth be available in Braille as well as in ink-print. Write to: Nebraska Council of the Blind, 2709 Leavenworth St., Omaha, Nebraska. From the current issue: "A total of 53 blind Nebraskans were put back on the tax rolls as self-sustaining citizens last year, Don Bumgarner, Supervisor of Rehabilitation Services for the Blind, said Saturday.”

_______________

From the Nevada Newsletter: "The impact of electronics on modern medicine is far greater than most people realize. ... Detachment of the retina, long regarded as leading inevitably to blindness, can now be cured in seventy percent of all cases, if caught in time. Small bolts of electricity are shot into the eye, which virtually 'spot weld’ the retina back in its proper place. ... The mating of electrical science with medicine may well be one of the great achievements of our day and may become the key that unlocks the door of light for the sightless.”

_______________

According to a report from the Massachusetts Division of the Blind, diabetes was responsible for blindness in 17.2 per cent of the new cases reported during the fiscal year.

_______________

Mrs. Buelah Flynn, Daytona Beach, affiliated with the Florida Federation of the Blind, has been appointed to a committee which will represent Florida when the White House Conference on Children and Youth meets early next year in Washington.

_______________

I have been requested to repeat the correction on the adjournment deadline set for the last session of the Santa Fe convention--Monday afternoon, June 29. The deadline is 5 P.M.--not 9 P.M., as previously announced.

_______________

Wyoming News: The Wyoming Association of the Blind begins its third annual sale of Mother's Day candy on April 25. The other two years have been very successful. This annual sale is the Wyoming affiliate's White Cane Week effort. The following members will attend the Santa Fe convention: Darleen McGraw, President, official delegate; Sylvester Shimitz, alternate. Other members of the delegation will be Mrs. Marie Maris, Chairman of the Board; Mrs. Arlene Murphy, Mr. Bob Fallin and Mr. Gerald McGraw. Mrs. Marie Maris has begun operating a little shop for the sale of articles made by blind persons. Mr. Sylvester Shimitz has gone to Utah to learn to make brooms and brushes, which will be a new business in this state.

_______________

From the Missouri Monthly Report: "Mrs. Reval Lee, totally blind member of our Kansas City chapter, was chosen beauty queen by the convention of the National Association of Beauty Operators, We are very proud of her for being honored in this way.”

_______________

At a meeting in Milwaukee on April 18, the Wisconsin Council of the Blind re-elected its president to his fifteenth consecutive one year term.

Back to Contents