AUGUST 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
2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, Calif.
THE BRAILLE MONITOR
Published monthly in Braille and distributed free to the blind by the American Brotherhood for the Blind, 257 South Spring Street, Los Angeles 12, California.
Ink-print edition produced and distributed by the National Federation of the Blind, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, California. Subscription rate--$3.00 per year.
EDITOR: GEORGE CARD, 605 South Few Street, Madison, Wisconsin.
News items should be addressed to the Editor. Changes of address and subscriptions should be sent to the Berkeley headquarters of the National Federation of the Blind.
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National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
Another Great Honor for Our "Chick"
Federation Sends Splendid Gift to Louis Braille Memorial Museum
The Lois Boltin Story
By Donald Capps
Convention Report of the Montana Association for the Blind
By Paul Kirton
The Helpless Blind
Lou Rives Gets Important O.V.R. Post
From Our Readers
Here and There
A Year of Travail. A great many of us left Boston at the end of our national convention a year ago rather depressed and full of forebodings for the future of our beloved organization. The 1958 convention had been a disillusioning experience. From all previous annual meetings we had gone home inspired and with rekindled enthusiasm for our cause. At Boston, for the first time, we had found ourselves torn by internal dissension. Old comrades-in-arms, veterans of many battles with Our traditional foes, hurled bitter recriminations at each other.
The year that followed was surely the darkest in our history. The internecine bitterness intensified as each month passed. Our mail-boxes were clogged with voluminous documents, full of charges and countercharges, until many of our members became utterly bewildered. Those on the outside who hate and fear us looked on with deep satisfaction, confidently and joyously predicting to each other that the end of the National Federation, as a united and powerful movement, was now in sight.
But when the hour for adjournment came at five last Monday afternoon, most of us started for home with a feeling that perhaps, after all, the good ship NFB had ridden out the storm, had righted herself and was once more on course. Not that the 1959 convention was a peaceful one. Not by any means. But the decision of the delegates--when it finally came--bespoke such an overwhelming vote of confidence in the tenBroek administration that no doubt can any longer exist as to the sentiments of the democratic majority. Since both sides on innumerable occasions had sworn eternal fealty to the democratic process, there is now at least reasonable grounds for hope that the verdict, freely and democratically arrived at, will this time be accepted in good faith.
A Day of Decision. The showdown came late Saturday night, after thirteen and a half hours of debate. Everyone was given a chance to express his views. Dr. tenBroek, as always, leaned over backward in an effort to be absolutely fair. There was plenty of applause but no boos or cat-calls and all speakers were given respectful attention. I have listened to many debates in state legislatures and in the halls of Congress but I have never seen an audience display a more mature attitude throughout. In all candor, however, I doubt whether a single vote was changed by what the speakers had to say. Nearly everyone had come to Santa Fe with his mind grimly made up and if there were any switches after the convention began I suspect they were brought about in smoke-filled rooms.
The Georgia Compromise. Many of us have been racking our brains all year in a desperate effort to find a face-saving compromise formula. We had not found one. Yet the Santa Fe delegates were offered such a compromise and it came from a most unexpected quarter. The delegation from Georgia worked it out and presented it to us. It was just a bit startling at first but it was beautifully simple and entirely workable. As it was finally voted on, after the thirteen and a half hours, it contained three parts. 1. All officers and members of the executive committee were to resign immediately, the nominating committee, (one member nominated by each state), was then to bring in a complete slate and those elected by the convention delegates would serve out all unexpired terms. If one resigned, all were to be considered recalled--providing the motion to adopt the Georgia compromise, passed by a two-thirds vote. 2. All incumbent officers and members of the executive committee were to be eligible for re-election. 3. After this convention, anyone who persists in reckless and irresponsible charges against any other member, or members, without substantial evidence, may be given a fair hearing before the executive committee and, if found guilty, deprived of the rights and privileges of membership in the National Federation.
The executive committee is made up of the five constitutional officers and eight directors. All officers are elected every two years. Four of the directors are elected each two years and normally serve for four years. The numerical strength of the executive committee is, there-fore, under ordinary conditions, thirteen. This time there were only ten. During the past year I had resigned as first vice-president while John Nagle and Walter McDonald had resigned as directors. During the course of the debate all four remaining officers declared their willingness to resign and Clyde Ross and Jesse Anderson did the same with respect to their memberships on the executive committee. Three of the four officers--Dr. tenBroek, Kenneth Jernigan and Alma Murphey--spoke in favor of the Georgia compromise. When the vote came it was a resounding thirty-four to twelve in favor of adoption.
When President tenBroek arose and uttered the terrifying words, "I hereby resign as president of the National Federation of the Blind," the assembly sat stunned. I felt my body temperature drop about thirty degrees. He was immediately elected temporary chairman of the meeting by acclamation and when he took back the gavel the delegates stood up and cheered wildly. It was one of the most dramatic and emotion-fraught moments I have ever lived through. The temporary chairman ruled that the vote on the Georgia compromise had constituted a recall of all ten members of the executive committee. This ruling was challenged and appealed to the floor. It was upheld by a vote of forty to five.
Late as it was, the nominating committee went into immediate session. The Wisconsin delegation had nominated me as its representative on this committee. The nominating session lasted about three hours and, on the whole, the atmosphere was one of friendliness and cooperation. George Burke, of New Jersey, acted as chairman and did a superb job. When we finished it was well after three A.M.
The election was held immediately after the Sunday morning session began so that we would not be without officers. The nominating committee recommended the following slate: president, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek; first vice-president, Kenneth Jernigan, Iowa; second vice-president, Donald Capps, South Carolina; secretary, Alma Murphey, Missouri; treasurer, Emil Arndt, Illinois; directors, (unexpired three-year terms), Jesse Anderson, Utah; Clyde Ross, Ohio; David Krause, Virginia; Victor Buttram, Illinois. Directors, (unexpired one-year terms), Eleanor Harrison, Minnesota; Don Cameron, Florida; William Hogan, Connecticut; Dean Sumner, South Dakota. In some instances other candidates were nominated from the floor but the committee's slate was elected--with a single exception. Russell Kletzing, of California, was nominated against Dean Sumner and the vote twice resulted in a tie. Then Connecticut switched from Sumner to Kletzing--and that did it.
Endowment Fund. Another committee change involves management of the NFB endowment fund. It is now in charge of three Wisconsin men. Its new chairman is Bert Veldhuizen. Bert is also chairman of the Wisconsin Council endowment fund and under his shrewd management this fund has doubled through capital gains in the past three years. Other members of this committee are Willard Hughes, a stockbroker, and the Monitor editor. The NFB endowment fund has been lying fallow in a savings account up to now. With the addition of a $1,000 gift from our great friend, Hubert Smith, (who is claimed by both Georgia and South Carolina), it now amounts to somewhat more than $7,000. This is the fourth time Mr. Smith has made a $1,000 gift to the National Federation. When Darlene and I were organizing in South Carolina and Georgia in the late winter of 1956, Mr. Smith slipped in and paid our hotel bills in Atlanta and Columbia and also presented me with a Braille watch. In the course of his business career, this blind citizen achieved spectacular success in real estate deals but has put nearly all of his very considerable fortune into the Walter Holmes Foundation, (Ways and Means for the Blind), from which innumerable grants have been made to aid blind individuals and groups. Mr. Smith is, however, an extremely modest and retiring person and hates the limelight. He will probably not be at all pleased at having his latest beneficence publicized but I feel strongly that Monitor readers should know a little about their wonderful friend who has helped so many of his less fortunate fellow-blind but who always tries so hard to hide his candle under a bushel.
Constitutional Committee. One other new committee is a standing constitutional committee which will receive proposed amendments during the year and draft them in proper form for presentation to the convention. Its chairman is Mr. Russell Kletzing, 2341 Cortez Lane, Sacramento, California. Other members appointed by Dr. tenBroek to this committee were Durward McDaniel, Oklahoma; Lyle Von Erichson, Washington; William Taylor, Jr., Pennsylvania; and Donald Capps, South Carolina. All but the last are practicing attorneys.
Things Get Under Way. Paul Kirton and I arrived in Santa Fe on Tuesday, (the convention was scheduled to open the following Friday). We were amazed to find that at least fifteen or twenty delegates were there ahead of us. Dr. tenBroek had .already been there about ten days, having brought his family and rented a house--without a telephone--so that he could get a few hours undisturbed rest during the convention. By Wednesday night there were well over a hundred of our people in the convention city--many of them "politicking" like mad. By Thursday night all but a very few stragglers were thronging the little city. Official registration figures were never announced but I am afraid quite a few--after having spent hundreds of dollars to get there--forgot to register and saved the two dollar fee. This is really too bad because registration fees go to the host affiliate to help defray the increasingly heavy cost of putting on national conventions. Last year our Massachusetts affiliate all but bankrupted itself and had to scrape along the next twelve months with next to nothing in its treasury. At its meeting last November the NFB executive committee, feeling that since we have become such a big organization and our national conventions are so heavily attended, and that the financial burden on the host affiliate is now too heavy, voted the modest registration fee for future conventions. My estimate of those in attendance at Santa Fe would be approximately seven hundred.
After preliminary ceremonies Friday morning, the traditional roll call of the states began. Each delegation spokesman rose in turn and named those present from his state. I can remember when this took about fifteen minutes. Now it takes nearer an hour and a half. There was a totally unexpected but extremely heartwarming interruption to the proceedings when the Wisconsin spokesman came to my name. It was greeted by a storm of applause, which began simultaneously in every part of the auditorium and lasted at least two minutes. It brought tears to my eyes. I was not in the meeting at the time but I am told there was a similar demonstration the morning of the last day when the convention voted unanimously the restitution of the 1958 salary I had returned to the American Brotherhood for the Blind, which had subsequently turned over the check to the NFB treasury.
Our national conventions have heretofore always been graced by the presence of many nationally and internationally famous speakers, both in and outside of work for the blind. This year, because of the expected factional turbulence, none were invited. The single exception was the banquet, which was kept segregated from the rest of the convention. It is to be hoped that this unfortunate innovation will never have to be repeated. One full day or, at most, a day and a half should be sufficient time for us to take care of Federation business and the rest of the time should be given over, as it always has been, to educational program items. We can hardly expect to be successful in educating the sighted public and bringing to it some degree of insight into the real problems of blindness until our own members are thoroughly informed and until they are brought to a real understanding of our philosophy. Our state and national conventions are the occasions when this can be done most effectively.
The Friday afternoon session began with the president's report on developments within the NFB during the year since Boston. This was followed by about an hour of questioning from the floor. Some questions were bona fide efforts to elicit information; others seemed motivated by a desire to embarrass the president, but all were answered directly and right to the point. The president was in top form and seemed to be exhilarated by the challenge. The applause indicated that the overwhelming majority of the delegates were solidly with their leader.
Late in the session Kenneth Jernigan, chairman of the budget and finance sub-committee, began a long and very detailed financial report. A consulting accountant had flown in from St. Louis to help in clarifying certain portions. At first a few delegates appeared to have some difficulty in understanding the difference between budget categories and book-keeping headings but it finally became clear that the latter made it possible to break down the figures and render them much more meaningful. Kenneth began by reading the 1958 audit, prepared by a C.P.A. Later copies of the audit were distributed to each state delegation. The change in bookkeeping headings had not been made until December, so the 1958 audit was based on the old system. Kenneth and the accountant analyzed the budget in detail and then went through it again as it would have been had it been prepared on the basis of the new system of bookkeeping. He then went on to submit the figures for the first five months of 1959. He told the delegates that he was prepared to show them either a voucher or a cancelled check for every single item of expenditure made during the whole 17 month period. He ended with a detailed statement of the current balances in all the various bank accounts in Springfield, Illinois and Madison, Wisconsin, including an item of something over $23,000 in accounts receivable by the national white cane week committee. This statement left no doubt but that there was more than enough on hand to pay the states' share of the greeting card receipts for the past twelve months in full if the delegates had so voted. The consulting accountant, however, had explained how important it was to get all NFB books on a calendar-year basis and there was no objection from the floor. Each state, therefore, received its share of the receipts from July 1, 1958, through December 31, 1958, and will receive a check for its share of all 1959 receipts shortly after January 1, 1960.
In view of the many innuendos which had been circulated and of the many questions raised during recent months with respect to NFB expenditures, it was expected that there would be a goodly number of queries from the floor when Kenneth finally came to the end of his report, (the second part of which was made Saturday morning). When the applause subsided he stated that he was ready for questions but there was complete silence. The report had been so exhaustive that there was apparently nothing left to be explained.
The election of a full set of officers and directors occupied a good part of Sunday morning and the afternoon had been set aside for sightseeing and organized recreation.
The Banquet. Our banquets have traditionally been the climactic points in our national conventions. This time the most dramatic and exciting moments came at the end of the great debate on Saturday and during the election Sunday morning. Yet the Sunday night banquet was in no sense anti-climactic. It had been carefully insulated from the rest of the convention and it was entirely free from tension or bitterness. As a matter of fact it was one of the best we have ever had. Even the food was excellent! The decor was spectacular and the long program was intensely interesting and inspiring. Dr. tenBroek delivered the main address and once again roused his audience to a high pitch of enthusiasm. The famous General Patrick J. Hurley, former Secretary of War, was nothing short of terrific. He said he knew what it meant to be a member of a down trodden minority because he was a Republican. He paid high tribute to Dr. tenBroek. "Your leader," he said, "is not only an eloquent and polished orator but an intellectual giant. He has made me wish I were in Congress just so I could work for the passage of the Kennedy- Baring bill!" This year's Dr. Newell Perry Award went to Perry Sundquist, head of the Division for the Blind in California. He is an active member of the California Council of the Blind and richly deserves the esteem and love in which he is held by the blind people of his state. He has demonstrated during his long tenure in office that consultation with the blind is productive of only good results. He has set an example that many other administrators of programs for the blind would do well to follow. His modest and self-deprecating speech of acceptance won the hearts of all present. Albert Gonzalez, president of the New Mexico Federation of the Blind, acted as toastmaster and acquitted himself nobly.
Like Old Times. On the surface, at least, the final day of the Santa Fe convention was very much like the final day at nearly all previous conventions--except the last two. There were no "party line" votes. No harsh, bitter words came from any speaker who took the microphone. Discussions were animated but not acrimonious.
Following John Taylor's legislative report, the delegates began consideration of various resolutions presented to them by Allen Jenkins, chairman of the resolutions committee. Considerable time was given to H. R. 772, the so-called "Independent Living Bill", now before Congress. It has been supported by the National Rehabilitation Association and several of the big agencies for the blind. It has been strongly opposed by the American Public Welfare Association. It was pointed out that, while the measure has in it much of good, and its enactment would result, among other things, in higher pay for home teachers, (who are now shamefully underpaid), it was felt that the bill, in its present form, in unacceptable. The bad in it outweighs the good. It would make the teaching of self-help and self-care a federally reimbursable function of state vocational rehabilitation agencies. Such services are highly desirable and we want them made available to blind people but we do not want them as a substitute for job placement. If the present bill became law it would, (as Durward McDaniel put it), "take the rehab boys off the hook", insofar as job-finding and placement are concerned. Even now many of their alleged "closures" are strictly phony but this measure would, in effect, relieve them altogether of the responsibility of finding bona fide employment for the blind. This is exactly what many NRA members want, and have been advocating, but it is certainly not what we want. The resolution on this subject, as adopted unanimously, expresses our opposition to "the philosophy embodied in H. R. 772, in its present form". Other objectionable features, from our point of view, are the disproportionate emphasis on the purely medical aspects of rehabilitation and the language in the section dealing with sheltered workshops. Another resolution receiving favorable action reversed a decision made by the executive committee last November. The president had been forbidden to send national representatives to state conventions at NFB expense. He may now do so whenever there has been an invitation and, in his judgment, the state is not financially able to assume the cost. The above two resolutions, and others acted upon favorably, will appear in these pages from time to time during the coming year. By mid-afternoon it was abundantly clear that even the few program items which had been scheduled--such as the reports of the West Virginia and New Hampshire surveys--would have to go by the board. The hands of the clock moved inexorably toward the five o'clock deadline. Even my poor little White Cane Week report went into limbo. This was the first national convention since the one held in Cleveland in 1944 that the mellifluous, pear-shaped tones of my voice were not heard at all.
There was one traditional, last-session fixture which could not be bypassed or postponed. This was the selection of the convention city for 1961. Nine states had figuratively tossed their hats, berets and sombreros into the ring by prior announcement but only six cities were actually nominated with any real conviction. These were Spokane, De- troit, Buffalo, Wichita, Philadelphia and Kansas City, Missouri. At one point it looked as though the Spokane bandwagon was unstoppable but the balloting was halted momentarily to question the Washington spokesman more closely and as a result of this the Spokane bandwagon swerved into the ditch. Only Detroit, Buffalo and Kansas City survived the third ballot. Detroit was eliminated on the fourth and on the fifth Kansas City won out-- 24 to 20.
A motion was then adopted--somewhat hastily, I think--setting up a committee to examine the qualifications of any cities from which invitations are received up to thirty days prior to the 1960 convention at Miami. This committee will report at Miami and recommend a 1962 site. I was sorry to see this happen. The free-for-all, spontaneous, highly spirited last-session debates over future convention sites have been among the most colorful and exciting features of all previous conventions. I would prefer to see us make a mistake once in a while rather than move toward the cut-and-dried, machine-like procedures that render AAWB conventions so unspeakably dull.
There were two meetings of the executive committee during the stay at Santa Fe. The first, held on June 25, was very brief. About the only business transacted was the re-election of Dr. Munford Boyd, of the University of Virginia, and Dr. Kingsley Price, of the University of Maryland, to the board of directors. It was felt that there would be little point in the executive committee making other decisions at a time when the convention itself--the ultimate authority in the NFB--would be taking over in a few hours. The second meeting was held immediately after the convention adjourned on the 29th. The most significant action taken at that meeting was the adoption of a policy under which most of the Federation's financial bookkeeping will be turned over directly to a regular accountant.
During the course of the convention, four other special groups held meetings--teachers, piano technicians, vending stand operators and state presidents. The lawyers found it impossible to get together this time.
It would be unthinkable to end this story without paying a glowing tribute to the host affiliate, the New Mexico Federation of the Blind. The problems which it faced and largely overcame were much more formidable than those most host affiliates are called upon to deal with. The delegates had to be housed in half a dozen relatively small hotels and it was almost the height of the tourist season, The affiliate itself is small in numbers and a comparative newcomer in the Federation. A new administration came in only a month before the convention. Aisle micro- phones were unprocurable. The unaccustomed altitude affected many delegates. Yet this dauntless little group rolled up its collective shirt-sleeves and accomplished miracles. It enlisted the active support of a dozen local sighted groups and assigned each of them specific duties. Every one of these groups came through and delivered the goods. Dr. tenBroek, who was on hand ten days before the convention sessions began, testifies that Albert Gonzalez and his lovely wife, Virginia, worked day and night, as did others in their organization. The fact that Albert seemed to be owner or part-owner of about forty percent of the business enterprises in Santa Fe and that he is, because of his dynamic energy and winning personality, a real political power in his own right, certainly helped. One of his chief lieutenants, "Senator" Sam Chavez, became extremely popular with the delegates.
And so another great and memorable national convention passes into history. It is devoutly to be hoped that this one marked a turning point in the affairs of the National Federation of the Blind.
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By instinct and inclination Dr. Jacobus tenBroek is a creative scholar. His five earned academic degrees attest to the thoroughness of his training and preparation and the acclaim with which his writings in the fields of constitutional law, political science and social legislation research have been received is ample evidence of the good use to which he has put that training and preparation. If he were to consult only his own preferences, his time would be divided between family and scholarly pursuits--both of which he so passionately loves. But deep within him there has always been another powerful drive, motivated by his great-hearted sympathy for his less fortunate fellow blind and his unshakable conviction that something can be done about it. At a personal sacrifice which few will ever fully comprehend, he has devoted a very considerable portion of his time and of his tremendous energies to a movement for which he has been the inspiration and the driving force and to which he has given peerless leadership. He has welded the blind of this country into a united, determined, articulate force, dedicated to the proposition that blindness need not be a blighting, crippling, soul-disintegrating affliction but, on the contrary, that blind people can and do retain their God-given capacities and their essential normality and are therefore entitled to, and worthy of, the first class citizenship which they can attain through self-organization.
Yet through the years, by dint of rising at three or four every morning and denying himself almost every recreation, he has contrived--over and above his teaching duties, the time consuming chairmanship of the University of California's Department of Speech, and the arduous preparation which he makes for the once a month meetings of the California Board of Social Welfare, to come up with a very respectable literary output. In 1955 the book entitled Prejudice, War and the Constitution, of which he was the principal author, won the Woodrow Wilson Award. The American Political Science Association confers this award each year upon the author of the most distinguished book in its area of special interest. This year the long anticipated Hope Deferred, of which he is also the principal author, has appeared. (Incidentally, it will be reviewed and substantial sections of it reproduced in the Braille Monitor as soon as we are able to get back to our normal size.) He has published learned monographs and law review articles at frequent intervals and these have had a very real impact. His writings have been widely quoted by judges, social scientists, legislators and outstanding teachers.
All of which leads up to the announcement that the Ford Foundation has, for the second successive year, offered Dr. tenBroek a Fellowship which will enable him to spend an entire year in research and writing at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Palo Alto, on the edge of the campus of Stanford University. Last year he reluctantly turned it down but this time he has accepted. The Ford Foundation will pay him the full salary which he would otherwise have received from the University of California--from which he has taken a year's leave of absence. He will be completely free to pursue any line of studies which he may choose. He will have access to the great libraries of Stanford. He will be privileged to associate for an entire year with some of the world's most eminent scholars. The area which the Center has set aside for the common use of these pundits is known as the "Think Tank". For this particular fellowship the Ford Foundation annually scrutinizes the qualifications of about five thousand men and women of learning. Of these only fifty to eighty are selected. They may be chosen from any part of the world.
Dr. tenBroek begins his fellowship year on August 15 and has arranged to move his family to Palo Alto. He plans to return to Berkeley once a week so as to keep in touch with Federation affairs. John Taylor may be transferred to the Berkeley office for the period of the president's absence and in that case John Nagle would assume command in Washington, D.C.
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As I had hoped and confidently expected, there was a heartlifting rush of last minute contributions from Federationists everywhere. More than $500 came in before the deadline date was reached. When Darlene and I leave for the Rome meeting of the Assembly of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind on Tuesday, July 14, I shall be very proud indeed to take with me a draft on a New York bank in the amount of $1,708.79, which I shall present to M. Georges Raverat, who is in charge of our world shrine.
This total represents contributions from 510 individuals and organizations--all NFB members except that a last minute $25 gift came from the Alumni Association of the Perkins School for the Blind, many of whose members are Federationists. A collection was taken up at the Santa Fe convention, sponsored by Yvonne Eick of San Diego. The amounts contributed in this way could not be determined and so could not be credited to the states of the contributors. If this had been possible I am sure the four states whose names do not appear would not be absent from the tabulation below. But the names of those who dropped in slips will be duly inscribed on the great scroll at Coupvray, France, the birthplace of our patron saint.
The final ranking of the states, insofar as it can be determined, follows: (1) Wisconsin, $187.50; (2) Virginia, $155.00; (3) California, $134.63; (4) Massachusetts, $88.00; (5) Texas, $85.58; (6) New Jersey, $78.00; (7) Missouri, $76.00; (8) Minnesota, $66.00; (9) South Carolina, $61.20; (10) Ohio, $60.00; (11) New Hampshire, $52.30; (12) North Carolina, $48.00; (13) Iowa, $46.11; (14) Pennsylvania, $41.25; (15) Oregon, $40.25; (16) New York, $37.71; (17) Connecticut, $34.00; (18) Kansas, $33.00; (19) North Dakota, $32.50; (20) Montana, $29.25; (21) Wyoming, $26.50; (22) Georgia, $25.00; (23) Tennessee, $22.00; (24) Florida, $21.00; (25) Colorado, $20.00; (26) West Virginia, $17.00; (27) Vermont, $16. 25; (28) Michigan and Rhode Island, each, $15.00; (30) District of Columbia, $13.50; (31) Illinois, $13.00; (32) Nevada, $11.00; (33) Alabama, $10.00; (34) Nebraska and Oklahoma, each, $8.00; (36) Arkansas, $7.00; (37) Idaho, $5.75; (38) Indiana, Kentucky and Washington, each, $2.00; (41) Arizona, $1.50; (42) New Mexico, $1.00; (43) Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, $5.00; (44) Anonymous, $55.01.
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By Donald Capps
(Editor's Note: Those who attended the Santa Fe convention heard Donald Capps explain that, after Miss Boltin has completed a year on her new job, she will be qualified to take civil service examinations for positions which will pay her 50 to 100 percent more.)
Three years ago and three thousand miles across the United States, Lois Boltin attended the convention of the National Federation of the Blind in San Francisco and first heard of a Braille switchboard. She became interested in this relatively new field of employment for the blind. This interest grew until, in the summer of 1958, Lois made a decision to enter training. We learned that such training could be obtained from the Minneapolis Society for the Blind and contact was made by the South Carolina Aurora Clubs of the Blind with this center. Her application was accepted and she journeyed to Minneapolis last October.
Since this training is relatively expensive, Lois had requested assistance from the State Rehabilitation Agency. She was informed that, since she was already employed as a vending stand operator, she would not be eligible for any assistance from the Division, notwithstanding the fact that this training would eventually improve her economic status. Despite this discouraging news, Lois, at her own expense, in addition to a contribution from the White Cane Week fund, decided to go ahead. This type of training requires from eight to ten weeks but she completed it in six weeks. Only three other students had ever accomplished this feat.
When Lois returned to Columbia the latter part of November we immediately began negotiations with the local telephone company to secure the Braille attachment. It took four months. Steps were then initiated to secure switchboard employment for Lois. Placement help was again refused by the State Agency. We requested the telephone company to furnish us with a list of the firms in the Columbia area and other cities of the state using the type of switchboard which can be easily adapted to the Braille attachment. The telephone company very kindly complied and we then wrote a number of letters to these firms explaining Lois's qualifications. In addition, several newspaper articles were published to focus public attention on Lois's outstanding accomplishment.
The Chamber of Commerce was contacted for its assistance and recommended that we inform the civic organizations of Columbia of this situation. Some thirty civic organizations were furnished complete information and their cooperation was requested. In this way we felt we would be able to reach many of the businessmen of Columbia.
Other steps were taken in addition to the above, but Lois and this writer soon realized that there is absolutely no substitute for a personal contact. Consequently, on Saturday, June 13, bright and early, Lois and I began our tour of the downtown, on foot. We covered thirty-two blocks during a six hour period, calling on various firms. We were received most courteously and were pleased to learn that the businessmen of Columbia were open minded on the subject of employing the handicapped, including the blind. We felt they were further enlightened by our visit.
But we did not find any vacant positions. We were about to call it a day but remembered we had missed one personnel manager. As fate would have it, we did find him in on our second call. His interest was immediate and this was heartening and encouraging to both of us. After an interview lasting more than one hour Lois was told that the firm was definitely interested. On June 16 Lois was given the official word that she had been accepted and was asked to assume this position as soon as possible. On June 29 she will begin work.
This position will afford Lois a substantial increase of $400 per year. Every Auroran and blind person in this state should be right-fully proud of this accomplishment. Lois is the first blind person in the state to complete Braille switchboard training and the first to gain this type of employment. The ice has now been broken and we sincerely hope that the Aurora Clubs have proved to everyone that this is a promising field of employment for the blind. This is a milestone in work for the blind. The Aurora Clubs, which pioneered this work in South Carolina, have shown again their ability to render their members tangible and lasting service. The Clubs, of course, have no budgets which will afford paid counselors or placement agents; but with dogged determination on the part of Lois and the Clubs, and faith in God, she will be gainfully employed in the type of work for which she has so diligently trained herself. The Clubs stand ready to help others. In this position Lois will be a living demonstration of the abilities of the blind.
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By Paul Kirton
The convention of the Montana Association for the Blind was called to order on Friday night, July 10. The first session had as its highlight the reports of the NFB convention as seen by Harold Campbell, (president and delegate to the past three national conventions), Mike Maloney, (school teacher and delegate for the first time at Santa Fe), and Sharon Cromeenes, a rehabilitation counselor in Montana. From these three, the convention had a broad picture of the NFB convention and its surrounding atmosphere.
Saturday morning was consumed with the reports of standing committees and with the adoption of new by-laws. Saturday afternoon found its program filled with guest speakers. The first of these was Mr. Ernest L. Parmer, principal of the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind, who was also director of the summer school which is conducted by our affiliate in Montana in cooperation with the welfare department. The next speaker was Mr. Glenn I. Harris, principal of the Montana School for Deaf and Blind. He first reported on the activities at the school and then asked for questions. The questions were penetrating, but they were sincere and friendly. After Mr. Harris, I spoke to the group; the subject of my remarks was "From the Black Plague to the Present Pestilence". Specific sections of the Montana Welfare Statutes were compared to their origins in the Statute of Laborers proclaimed just at the end of the Black Plague and the Elizabethan Poor Laws. Most of the historical material had been gleaned from Dr. tenBroek's new book, Hope Deferred.
The banquet speaker was ex-Congressman Orvin Fjare who spoke of "America, the Land of Opportunity".
Sunday morning the following officers were elected: R. Harold Campbell, Hobson, president; Flo Lindenfield, Billings, secretary; Annie Blazich, Bozeman, treasurer; W. H. Farmer, Billings, first vice-president; Luella McVeda, Lewiston, second vice-president; Kenny Richardson, Bozeman, third vice-president; and Keith Denton, Lakeside, fourth vice-president.
The convention then determined that Montana should make a bid for the 1962 NFB convention; the board was instructed to arrange for a seminar with discussion leaders to be provided by the NFB; the board was to investigate the possibilities of a credit union; and important federal legislation affecting the blind, including the King bill, was endorsed. I once more found the people in the Northwest to be friendly and hospitable and the climate to be exhilarating.
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From the Des Moines Register and Tribune: "Two years ago Clarence E. Olson of Council Bluffs figured his blindness was not only a handicap but a depressing factor in his everyday life. 'Another six months at home and I probably would have ended up an invalid,' he said, 'It deteriorates you mentally if you don't do something about it.'
"With the help of the Iowa State Commission for the Blind, Olson did something about it. 'I was sitting at home doing nothing but drinking coffee and wearing out the seat of my pants,' Olson recalled.
"Olson, 44, had been branch manager of Allis-Chalmers at Omaha, Nebraska, when his sight failed in 1957. 'I'd been at home more than a year. I guess I knew I was blind but I didn't admit it, even to myself. I told Mr. Jernigan I wasn't blind,' Mr. Jernigan held up five fingers and asked Olson: 'How many fingers am I holding up?' He couldn't tell me so I told him, 'You're blind. Let's face it.'
"Olson went to Oakland, California, as a 'student observer'. After six weeks observing and learning, Olson returned to his home and then went to see his superiors at Allis-Chalmers. He was returned to his old job. Olson's branch consists of 111 dealers in four states. His wife drives him to and from work and his secretary reads his mail to him."
From the Aberdeen Daily World, via the Washington State White Cane: "A blind grade school teacher in Oakville, Washington, stood before his class and gave a spelling test recently. If ever there was an opportunity to cheat on a test, this was it. But there wasn't any horse-play.
Charles Ferer walked back and forth before his students and displayed the patience and understanding which had won him their respect. He spoke softly and answered each question in detail. When asked about the honor system he uses during his tests, Ferer spoke loud enough for the entire class to hear. 'My pupils and I have an understanding. All of us know the cheater is only cheating himself,' he said.
"Ferer lost his sight shortly after an automobile accident in 1951. Despite this he continued his studies at the University of Idaho until he graduated in 1955, four years after his marriage."
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H.E.W. News Release, July 2, 1959: "Appointment of Louis H. Rives, Jr., as Chief of the Division of Services to the Blind, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, was announced today by Miss Mary E. Switzer, O.V.R. Director.
"Mr Rives has been with O.V.R, since 1947, Totally blind since the age of two, he became associated with Federal programs and services for the blind after approximately four years in teaching and legal work with the Federal Security Agency, predecessor to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. He is a native of Norfolk, Virginia, and received Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Civil Law degrees from the College of William and Mary, the latter in 1943.
"With O.V.R., Mr. Rives has been, successively, a specialist in rehabilitation of the blind, an adviser in the formulation of state rehabilitation programs, assistant regional representative of O.V.R. in Dallas, Texas, and, since April 4, 1958, Assistant Chief and Acting Chief of the Division of Services to the Blind.
Miss Switzer also announced the appointment of Charles W. Bledsoe as Assistant Chief of the same Division...."
(John Taylor writes: "I believe that Lou in his capacity as Chief of the Division is providing the kind of leadership which has long been needed.")
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"Dear Mr. Card: This is a greatly delayed letter that I have intended to write for the past several years. Somehow, something always seems to come up to sidetrack me.
"I had the pleasure of attending the convention when it was held here in New Orleans and since that time have been an avid reader of the Monitor. As a matter of fact, regardless of how heavy my mail, I always pull the Monitor out first and read it. I also attend the monthly meetings of the Local Federation and I spoke before the Tampa Federation group last summer.
"I edit a free publication written by and for the handicapped. My staff includes four Federation members--one in Tampa, one in Baton Rouge and two here in New Orleans. We also have two with cerebral palsy, two with muscular dystrophy, one with polio, and the father of a retarded child. My sports editor is blind and attends L.S.U., studying journalism. With her knowledge of baseball she could make a great many sighted sports writers take a back seat. As a matter of fact, last month she suffered a fractured ankle while playing baseball!
I want you to know how much I enjoy my print copy of the Monitor, and how very much I admire the ideals that the Federation stands for. Sincerely," Marcia J. Gentzler, Editor, Handi-Caption, 3707 Danneel Street, New Orleans 15, Louisiana.
"Dear George: I have been receiving the Monitor regularly and am glad that the big supplement was brought out.... Now that I have the Braille information, I have more of an idea what is going on....
"After reading the letter from Donna Jean Neerland, Madison, Wisconsin, I am impelled to make a few comments. I also terminated my schooling with a high school diploma. I find no difficulty in understanding the articles in the Monitor. I think that we are entitled to details and some subjects require a long article. I detest being talked down to. There are many blind people with eighth grade diplomas and even less schooling and so how far down should the writers go? Writers deliberately use repetition for emphasis and to enable the reader to remember.... If one has all the details one is better able to clarify his ideas. The end of schooling should not be the end of education. I like to read something that helps me to come up nearer what I would have gotten by going on in school. If you want some big terminology and want to feel like you have been whirling around in a swing, just read the New Outlook. Even the professionals disagree on the meanings of some of that stuff. I have never had that experience from reading the Monitor ...." George A. Holben, Canton, Ohio.
"Dear Sir: Let me thank you for the magazine (Braille Monitor) which I'm receiving regularly. Though I always read 'From Our Readers', I have not had an opportunity to write to you of my appreciation of the magazine. Now I wish to express my appreciation for the Braille Monitor--the way it is compiled and the selection of articles in it. It's really a pleasure to go through it because it furnishes many informations about the blind of the world. The high standard of the articles in the magazine is a treat to me too; I shall be happy to say that the Braille Monitor leads the other magazines in this category. I wish you every success. Yours faithfully," V. N. Chinnan, Kerala, South India.
"Dear Mr. Card: This is in reference to the article in the May Monitor entitled 'The Case Against Aluminum'. Since I have had some 25 years experience in the examination of foods for metallic poisons and other deleterious ingredients, I am, perhaps, as well qualified as anyone to give a scientific answer to these charges.
"I do not know what kind of 'Doctor' the Dr. McGuigan is, but obviously he is neither an M. D. nor a Ph.D. The author may be quoting from testimony given before the Federal Trade Commission, but that does not affect the complete lack of any scientific basis for the statements made. In the first place, hydro-oxide, phosphate and chloride are not, of themselves, poisonous.... Aluminum compounds are no more toxic than those of iron or tin which might be absorbed from iron or steel utensils or from tin cans, and from enamelled cookware. In any event, the amount of metal so obtained would be extremely small.... As for the narcotic mentioned, pharmacological science knows of no such substance that could possibly be produced by the frying of bacon in aluminum." Ned Freeman, Conyers, Georgia.
"Dear Mr. Card: I am writing in reference to the letter in the column of the Monitor entitled 'From Our Readers'. It was from a Mr. George Holben, who gave blind parents a bit of advice--and it is these two bits of advice I should now like to comment upon, feeling as I do that there will be some interested blind parents.
"First of all, Mr. Holben states that he feels it a cruelty and an injustice to depend upon young children for aid to the blind. I feel that giving young children responsibility of most any sort is a good idea. My twins, age three, tell me where to step and are learning left and right and they find things which I drop and which I have misplaced. I depend on them. It is true that they will not be with me always and that they need their play and their friends but I find that if they are cross-patches and growlers the only way to live with them is to put them to work--anything--dishes--washing and drying--(no matter how the job is fouled up in the beginning, for it will get better later) or picking up lethal objects on stairways, helping to clean up the messes they have made, etc. I feel, too, that one of the most important reasons kids turn 'bad' is that they do not and have not had enough work to do--that is, something to occupy their minds besides play and more play, for they are, even when very small, equipped with minds which demand the right to participate and minds that need and want responsibility.
"As to Mr. Holben's second point--that bit of information about putting bells on the child--well, you know I tried that one and sure enough, they pulled off the bells and put them into their mouths. Now, when they sit quietly, I know it is time for action--and I don't need a bell to complicate things either. All three of my boys--(the smaller one is just two)--are rowdy, healthy children and when they sit still or are quiet for even one minute, (providing they haven't been looking at picture books), I start to worry, for most of the time they are wailing, laughing, screeching, singing or fighting.... Sincerely", Patsy R. Smith, Sheridan, Wyoming.
"Dear Mr. Card: ...Referring to your letter of May 15 regarding switchboard instruction at the May K. Houck Foundation, I delayed answering until I had a definite date to report. We now have information to the effect that Mr. Carl Wiley will begin Braille telephone switch-board instruction on Monday, July 6. Mr. Wiley, who managed the motel for the season here, will also train applicants in motel management. He had a successful season and is willing to pass on his knowledge to others. Mr. Wiley is not waiting for the outcome of the experiments conducted by the Bell Telephone Laboratories, as he has been advised they are not yet completed and that the new equipment is in a state of development and is not practical as yet for use in switchboard instruction. If there are any important developments, I will keep you posted. Yours truly," Walter P. Jones, Sarasota, Florida.
"Dear Mr. Card: ...My only other excuse for writing such a long letter is that every issue of the Braille Monitor proves for this reader as stimulating as it is informative. No other magazine in Braille have I read which gives me as a blind person such a sense of vital belonging in the scheme of things. May your fine work long continue! ... Sincerely yours," Melvin A. Gallemore, Seattle, Washington.
"Dear George: Is that all right, as one 'George' to another? ...I enjoy the Monitor and thank you and whosoever else is responsible for my receiving it. I like your general attitudes and wish that all the blind would exercise the same spirit and good sense that you do. You are a guy I would enjoy meeting face to face.
"...I am an elderly retired minister. I have never felt any inferiority when among sighted folk. ... I have found that wit and humor help a blind person. By being funny or witty a blind person can cause the bystander and anyone around to feel that he is not too bad off after all. The worst thing blind people can do is to air all their troubles.... In meeting the public, I always take advantage of every opportunity to publicize the abilities of capable blind people. I always minimize the handicap of blindness....
"I note with satisfaction how much more is being done in the schools for the blind to equip the graduate for life in the cold hard world. I remember, away back in 1901 when I was graduated, I had never manipulated a cane. When in school, if I wished to go down town I got a partially sighted boy to go with me. I little realized that it would later be necessary for me to navigate the towns and countryside by myself. The first thing I had to learn was to get about independently. I lost much time in mastering the use of the cane but now I sometimes even brag mildly about my own ability to navigate and how I have broken a colt to drive and have driven it without any assistance from anyone.
"When I attended the Michigan School for the Blind, there seemed to be a rather hostile attitude by the school authorities rather than a spirit of cooperation. On returning for a visit to the school most of us were met by an attitude of suspicion. Maybe they thought we were bringing a plug of tobacco to our former schoolmates. It is quite different now, at least at our Michigan school. Now the plan is to do all that can be done to equip the graduate to meet his problems in the outside world. Now he is urged to become mobile on his own. His idiosyncracies are pointed out to him and his bad habits of posture and other peculiarities are corrected as far as may be. I am sure this is a great addition to the education of a blind person.... Yours fraternally," George D. Clink, Brown City, Michigan.
"Dear Mr. Card: Ann's and my 'three score years and ten' are pretty near spent. We haven't set the world afire nor become famous but, thanks to Braille, we have lived lives useful to others as well as to ourselves. In fact I wonder if we folks who have to do our work without sight do very much of anything that Louis Braille's idea hasn't made possible.... Why! Even Dr. tenBroek, our illustrious president, and you, our favorite editor, and the rest of the hard workers in NFB have had their work made easier because of Braille. In fact I wonder if NFB itself, the greatest undertaking of the blind of all times, would have been possible or even imaginable without Braille.... Cordially yours," E. W. Kramer, Wenatchee, Washington.
"Dear Sir: ...Once in a while, we hear of guide dogs and/or their masters being struck by autos. I think the reason is that there is nothing distinctive about the pair. To the average driver, it's just a man with a dog. It occurred to me that, if all dog harnesses were made white, they could be seen from a greater distance, and people would know that a blind man is crossing the street. They would learn to yield him the right of way as they do the man with a white cane. Perhaps someone has already thought of this; if not, it may be worth considering. Yours truly," George D. Jung, Oakland, California.
"Dear Mr. Card: ...What a difference, in just one generation, between the old All Story and the present Braille Monitor! There are some articles I just cannot enjoy or agree with, but it works like this, what I don't like maybe somebody else does like, so that is the way it goes in life. What you don't like, maybe I do. You cannot please everybody with this magazine, but I know you try to please most of us readers. I enjoy mostly the section called 'From Our Readers', so keep it coming.... Very sincerely yours," Clark W. Noble, Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
"Dear George: ... It may sound as though I am following in the footsteps of others when I tell you how much I look for the coming of the Monitor. I read it as I go back and forth on the bus and whenever I can find the time. It is the only thing I do read, and it is so full of interest and so well written that it is a stimulating pleasure to read it.... Always yours," Arthur Colby, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
"Dear George: One disturbing feature in our wonderful scientific age is our inability to get along with our fellow workers and colleagues. Settling our internal squabbles is one thing but making an honest attempt to work out solutions whereby organizations of, and agencies for, the blind could work side by side toward a common goal is another. We as a group have the right to organize and stay organized but we also need the American Foundation for the Blind, the AAWB, the AAIB, etc., and you know it. The AFB, for example, has done much in the development of technical appliances and recordings; it is a clearing house for statistical purposes, and it has done a lot for programming in the fields of social security, home teaching and school work. Yet the minute someone mentions the Foundation you begin to bristle and your blood pressure rises twenty points. I say that the heads of the various agencies and organizations should form a national council, much as we are doing in Maryland, to work out concerted legislative programs jointly, so that we can go to Congress or the various state legislatures as a common group, united, and probably get through ten times more constructive legislation than we are doing now. Maybe such pieces of legislation as the Kennedy-Baring bill would fare better--or would not be necessary.... It may be an old cliche, but a house divided has held us back twenty years in the way of progress. Cordially yours," George Weinstein, Baltimore, Maryland.
(Reply: "Dear George: Your thinking is based on the assumption that all agencies for the blind actually do want the same things that we in the NFB want and actually are working toward the same goals we are. I wonder if you have read Dr. tenBroek's analysis of this assumption in the tremendous speech he delivered at the San Francisco convention in 1956? It is called Within the Grace of God and I will be glad to send you a copy. Cordially yours," George Card.)
"Dear George: ...I am enclosing a copy of Senate Bill 326, which is now law. It... may not really be adequate, but it at least puts the state on record as to its 'attitude' toward blind teachers....
"We have a student, Ron Warner, who will be a Junior this fall at Southern Oregon College. He plans to be a teacher and took on the job of putting this bill through. He is recording secretary of the Oregon Council of the Blind. He 'sold' the bill to the Education Committee of the Senate and later did the same job when the bill reached the House. He was aided by Claude Garvin, Junior at Willamette University, second vice-president of OCB. They did a fine job of putting it over. I helped a little by lobbying in both houses.
Our Aid to the Blind bill was again defeated. This was a stunning blow, especially to me. I spent 37 days at the '59 session.... I do hope we can find a lobbyist who can put it over next time. Of course, I want to remain on the committee and do what I can.
"A year ago a 'training scholarship' was established by the Oregon Council of the Blind in cooperation with the Oregon Commission for the Blind. The idea is to send, each year, one or two of our 'promising' young members to a convention of a nearby affiliate, for training and experience. Claude Garvin and Ron Warner were sent to the California Council of the Blind's 1958 spring convention. The same two 'hopefuls' will go to Yakima, Washington, to the annual convention of the Washington Association of the Blind, August 15 and 16. Claude and Ron are members of our executive board.
"The Western Conference of the Blinded Veterans Association was held in Portland, June 26 and 27. Durham D. Hail, president of the Oregon BVA and one of their national secretaries, and Douglas Kinney, field secretary, Western region, invited members of OCB to attend. Harold Baxter, president of OCB, Mrs. Evelyn Mathewson, chairman, convention committee, Stan and 'Woody' Pier attended. Our 'common problems', especially 'counseling, training and placement of blind persons' were discussed. Need for cooperation between BVA and OCB was brought out and, of course, Baxter invited BVA's to attend our convention. We hope to have one of the BVA staff on our program. 'D.D.' Hail did valiant work for OCB at the hearing on our Aid bill last spring and has joined OCB. Pier is a member of BVA. We hope to get members of BVA to see our angle on the Right to Organize bill in Congress...
"Another first: Eight blind members of the two Portland chapters of OCB will present a two-act play, "The Beautiful People', by Saroyan, on July 31 Sincerely," Stan Pier, Portland, Oregon.
(Editor's Note: Here is the text of the Education bill referred to above: "In the employment of public school teachers, district school boards shall not discriminate... against blind teachers having all other qualifications required of a teacher.")
"Dear George: The second annual convention of the New Jersey Council of Organizations of the Blind will be held on Saturday, September 19, at the Hotel Douglas, in Newark. The theme of the convention will be 'Employment', and there will be a panel discussion. Mr. John Taylor will discuss Civil Service. Highlights of the convention will include an outstanding exhibit of scale models of cars, trains, planes, and buildings such as the Empire State, the U.N. building, the United States Capitol, George Washington Bridge, and many other things the blind people are interested in learning about. There will be a banquet in the evening, and John Taylor will deliver the principal address. Out-of-state visitors are welcome. Sincerely yours," Wilford Force, Neshanic Station, New Jersey.
"Dear George: In our little scuttlebutt session for piano tuners at the Santa Fe convention the opinion was vouchsafed by two of those present that the Braille Monitor would not publish statistical material favorable to the tuning profession. This struck me as irrational, however the observation was seriously extended and backed by reference to an attitude purportedly held by some NFB leader to the effect that legal or other college training qualifies a blind person to think and act effectively and that a piano serviceman--no matter how successful financially--represents an inferior calling. I am, of course, completely out of sympathy with such a view but since we have several hundred blind men successfully engaged in piano service, with their own Braille magazine and national conventions, I feel the matter should be cleared up.
"On the way home I had opportunity to talk for about an hour with Edward H. Menke, 5657 West Washington Boulevard, Chicago, editor of the Braille Piano Technician. In our conversation he mentioned that at different times in the past he had thought of sending you an article on the tuning profession which would include results of a survey of earnings of tuners. The last survey was in 1957 and indicated an average of about $100 weekly for the reporting group.... With best wishes to yourself and Darlene, Sincerely," Stanley Oliver, Detroit, Michigan.
(Reply--"Dear Stanley: Whoever stated that the Monitor would not publish material on piano technicians and on their profession could not possibly have been more mistaken. I personally have the highest regard for this profession and I have been extremely anxious to get hold of and publish the sort of material you speak of in your letter. I had to lift an account of the last national convention out of a state paper. You may recall that it was written by Irving MacArthur of Rochester, New York.
"Let me add that nowhere in the Federation is there an attitude of condescension or assumed superiority toward those who are not members of the so-called 'learned professions'. The fact that Clyde Ross of Ohio, who is a bench mechanic, was elected to the office of second vice-president and served for six years, and has since been twice elected to the executive committee, should put any such ridiculous charge permanently to rest. Ray Revor, one of my closest friends and one of the best piano technicians in Wisconsin, was also present at your meeting and told me much of what you have written. I was completely amazed that anyone should have such an idea. I hope Mr. Menke will send me any material he thinks worth publishing and the same goes for you and for others in your profession. Cordially yours," George Card.)
"Dear George: ...When I became president, I appointed a committee which I call Committee on Industries, and Claud and I have been working to try and get Brookley Air Force Base to open up more employment for the blind in the Mobile area, and eventually all over Alabama. We are also working on private industry. We had some success with Brookley Field, we believe. We are genuinely proud of the results of our work thus far, and will continue to plug away at it. We think that opening up industries of all types to the blind is a worthwhile goal for which to aim. I have talked with personnel managers all over the state and have stirred up varying degrees of interest in our problems. I just thought you might possibly be interested in this article for the Monitor news.... Your sincere friends," Claud and Wanda Haynes, Mobile, Alabama.
(From the Mobile Press: "Competitive examinations for Civil Service positions at Brookley Air Force Base will be opened to blind persons in the Mobile area. 'It will be the first time these competitive exams have been opened to the blind,' said Carney Givens, executive secretary of the Civil Service Board at the base. 'The date for the exams will be announced sometime in July or the first part of August,' he added.... In addition to permitting blind people to participate in the regular open competitive exams, Givens is also in process of establishing a survey committee which will determine what jobs at the base can be filled by the blind and other handicapped.... 'There are now 1,636 who have some physical handicap on the Brookley payroll,' he said....")
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The Monitor has been requested to publish the highlights of the coming convention of our New York affiliate, to be held at the Hotel Hamilton, Utica, September 4-7. Friday evening, reception; Saturday A.M., business meeting; Saturday P.M., stereo demonstration, reading aids, low-vision optical aids, and evening, board meeting; Sunday A.M., award breakfast, endowment fund, election of officers; Sunday P.M., vending stands, leadership training for chapter presidents, higher education seminar, and evening, banquet--Kenneth Jernigan, principal speaker; Monday A.M., vending stand symposium; Monday P.M., business meeting. Guests from other states are cordially invited and all planning to attend are urged to make reservations early.
From the Journal of Rehabilitation: "X-ray film development is an excellent vocation for the blind. In California there are about 30 blind people employed full time in this work and they have proved very satisfactory. There seems to be no service, commonly expected of a dark-room technician, which cannot be satisfactorily rendered by a sightless person, appropriately qualified and trained." (Editor's Note: My colleague, Paul Kirton, tells me that four out of the twelve members of his graduating class at the Texas School for the Blind are full time X-ray technicians and that there is at least one blind darkroom technician in every major city of Texas, as well as in many of the smaller Texas communities.)
From the New Outlook: "Russell C. Williams has been appointed Chief of Blind Rehabilitation at the Veterans Administration Central Office in Washington, D.C. He succeeds C. Oren Bledsoe, who moved to the Department of H.E.W. last September.... Mr. Williams transferred to his new post from the V.A. Hospital at Hines, Illinois, where he had served as Chief of the Blind Rehabilitation section since it opened in 1948.... Mr. Williams was a central figure in the V.A. training film, 'The Long Cane', which had a world wide distribution to demonstrate travel techniques."
Homer Nowatski and Ray Erickson of Illinois won the doubles championship at the national tournament of the American Blind Bowling Association, held in Chicago in June.
I gather from the latest issue of the Observer that Montana now has four organized chapters--Billings, Great Falls, Helena and Livingston.
The South Dakota Association of the Blind held its annual convention the first weekend in June at the residential school in Gary. It was in the nature of a farewell visit to the institution in which so many members had spent much of their childhood. The organization has gone all out in recent years to secure a larger and more modern school in Aberdeen and had just secured legislative sanction. An effort had been made to refer the matter back to the general electorate as a referendum but the delegates at this convention were overjoyed to learn that the petition had failed because of an insufficient number of signatures. An announcement was also made that Services to the Blind was moving into more commodious quarters in the State Capitol at Pierre.--Courtesy, Visually Handicapped Views.
From the Toronto National News of the Blind: "Three thousand sighted students are studying with blind music teachers in Canada.... Two blind professors of music hold staff positions at the University of Montreal. The teachers use Braille editions of the music under discussion while the sighted students follow printed scores.... There are now 1433 titles available in Braille at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind Music Library in Montreal."
From Health: "Today most large centers throughout the world have one or more eye surgeons who make a study of corneal transplantation.... One of the most extensive research programs of its kind on problems dealing with eye bank storage and corneal grafting has been underway during the past four years in the department of ophthalmology, University of Toronto Individuals wishing to donate their eyes after death may do so by signing a card which they may obtain from their nearest eye bank...." (Editor's note: A prospective donor should always be sure to advise his physician, attorney and next of kin of his intention so that his wish may be carried out promptly.)
From the Nebraska Observer: "All members of the Omaha Association of the Blind who wished the experience were given a half-hour complimentary flight over the city and surrounding territories, by various airlines.... Many are now anxious to take a longer trip in the future.... The board of trustess is making plans to start construction of a home for the blind sometime this fall or early winter."
"I have always regarded as mere impertinences of fate the handicaps which were placed upon my life almost at the beginning."--Helen Keller.
The Public Health Service in conjunction with the Bureau of the Census, by applying a test of ability to read ordinary newspaper print, has arrived at a blind population for the nation of 960,000.
From the latest California Council Bulletin: "The following Council-sponsored bills have been passed by both houses and sent to the Governor: (1) The right to organize bill; (2) Our bill to increase public assistance payments to the blind; (3) Our bill providing social security and unemployment insurance coverage to blind employees in state sheltered workshops; (4) Our bill recognizing integrated programs for blind children in public schools; (5) Our bill increasing the income exemption under Aid to the Partially Self-Supporting Blind to $1,200; (6) Our bill to provide for a program of placing blind people in state employment. Also, two bills were sent to the Governor increasing Aid to the Totally Disabled...."
The Vending Stand Operators of Massachusetts, (recently organized), have elected the following officers: James Callahan, president; Henry Wasson, first vice-president; Joseph Fennelly, second vice-president; Catherine Barnaby, secretary, and Esther Blanchette, treasurer.
Foreign: Twenty-seven year old blind Rajendra T. Vyas has secured a doctorate in philosophy from the Bombay University, the first time a blind student has been thus honored by any university in that country. The Braille magazine Leisure Time of the Blind , issued by the Russian Association of Helpers of the Blind, is celebrating its diamond jubilee, having first been published in 1898. M. Luciano Brod of Rio de Janeiro lost his sight whilst studying for the priesthood, but the Pope has granted permission for him to be ordained. This is the first time a blind Roman Catholic has been ordained in South America. The School for the Blind in Bussum, Holland, celebrated its 150th anniversary this year. The first Braille class providing for the education of blind children in a municipal school for sighted children has been opened in Tel Aviv.
From the Nevada Newsletter: "The Nevada Federation of the Blind will hold its 1959 state convention at the El Cortez Hotel, Reno, September 12-13.... President Audrey Bascom was a guest recently at a luncheon given by the Las Vegas Press Club for the famous Pearl Mesta, former Minister to Luxembourg. Mrs. Mesta has established a world wide reputation because of the lavishness of her parties--especially at national political conventions.... The wheels of progress and fortune are starting to hum toward the building of the refreshment stand on top of Boulder Dam. It will, of course, be operated by a blind person, and is expected to produce a very substantial income.... During the 1959 session of the Nevada legislature, provision was made in the Bureau's budget to establish a short-term orientation training course and plans are now under way to carry out this service. Arrangements for the utilization of facilities at Lake Tahoe have been all but completed.... The first session, limited to 25 students, will run from September 27 to October 10.... Social or economic status will have no bearing upon the selection of trainees.... Southern Nevada will have a full time professional counselor for the blind this fall, according to George Magers.... The population growth of Southern Nevada and Las Vegas now justifies this...." (Charles Lair, state secretary, is spending the summer as a beekeeper in Saskatchewan and contributes an extremely interesting account to this issue."... The queen bee," [he writes], "may lay as many eggs in one day as her total weight, a feat which has astounded scientists for years.")
On June 25th Senator Russell Long of Louisiana introduced a series of amendments to the corporation and excise tax exemption bill which would have brought about substantial improvements in the public assistance titles of the Social Security Act. All of the amendments passed the Senate by a record vote of 42 to 36 but were lost in conference. One of the Long amendments would have increased federal participation in the aid to the blind programs from $65 to $75 per month. Although the amendments were lost, the Senate is now on record as favoring substantial improvements in public assistance.
Winfield S. Rumsey, former executive assistant to M. Robert Barnett of the American Foundation has become executive director of the San Francisco Lighthouse. That position was created last year with the consolidation of the city's major private agencies for the blind--Enchanted Hills, Blindcraft, and the Association and Center for the Blind--into the Lighthouse for the Blind. His plans to expand services by the Lighthouse include: (1) increased efforts to sell blind-made products; (2) an emphasis on finding work for blind women; (3) a series of lessons to the blind on using commercial transportation, to allow them to travel to and from work without help; (4) an attempt to get more blind children to use the city's parks and recreation facilities by supplying transportation and supervision.
From Listen: "...Gordon B. Connor, administrator of St. Paul's Rehabilitation Center for the Blind, Boston, has been appointed assistant director of the Catholic Guild for the Blind in Pittsburgh.... A blind woman lawyer, Mrs. Kay Arvin, of Wichita, Kansas, is now listed in Who's Who of American Women.... Former Listen columnist Joseph W. McGuinness, who authored the 'Gadgets, Gimmicks and Gumption' column until the fall of 1957, died on April 16 at the age of 43.... A well established Swedish manufacturer has recently adapted its calculating machine for tactual reading.... Its price is not expected to exceed $185.00.... It will receive figures up to 10 digits in length on a 'Setting Board' with a row of protruding levers which are moved down in each column to set in the desired numeral. Below the 'Setting Board' is the 'Result Register' with a capacity for 13 digits. The figures here appear in Braille.... Repairs can be handled by representatives of the manufacturer in most population centers in the United States...."
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