Dr. tenBroek was always surrounded by books. His wife Hazel told the testimonial dinner audience that two of the reasons the couple bought the Shasta Road house in which they lived for many years were their growing family and growing library. In this picture Dr. tenBroek's Hall Braille writer sits on the walnut stand he always used, and his law books are ranged behind him as he works at his desk.
From the Editor. In the February 1993 issue of the Braille Monitor we reported on a gathering of a hundred fifty men and women who had taken Dr. tenBroek’s courses and who had come from across the country to honor his memory. We reprint it here, beginning with the note from the associate editor:
From the Associate Editor: Probably every state affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind still boasts some members who were lucky enough to have met Dr. tenBroek or even to have known him well. As I travel to various state conventions, I meet these people, and what strikes me is the delight and reverence that seem to suffuse each of them as the recollections begin to flow and the anecdotes of his activities and pronouncements are retold and savored. I regret deeply that I never met our beloved founder, but I cannot truly grieve for my loss because in a very real sense he lives on in everything we do and every step toward equality we take as a movement. As Dr. Jernigan has said, "It would be equally accurate to say that the man was the embodiment of the movement or that the movement was the expression of the man."
All of us recognize to varying degrees the truth of Dr. Jernigan's statement. What we take with less seriousness and understand with far less clarity is the profound effect Dr. tenBroek has had on the world beyond the National Federation of the Blind and the blindness field. Dr. Jernigan tells the story of boarding a train in Boston four or five years ago and overhearing several young people, obviously law students, vehemently arguing about the effect of tenBroek on the legal point they were debating. Somehow our very reverence for Dr. tenBroek within the context of our own knowledge of his greatness has served to diminish our appreciation of his larger contribution to the American scene and the direction of legal thought in the twentieth century.
It has been given to that other group of people whose lives have been irrevocably changed and profoundly enriched by Dr. tenBroek's influence (his students) to broaden our understanding and deepen even further our appreciation of our founder's contribution to the world. In the September 1992 issue of the California Monthly, the publication of the Alumni Association of the University of California at Berkeley, one of those students, Frank Winston, set forth his recollections of Dr. tenBroek. Here is what he said:
On Jacobus TenBroek
by Frank D. Winston
In February 1951 I was a seventeen-year-old freshman who needed to satisfy Speech 1A or English 1A. Confidently thinking I had a gift of gab, I enrolled in an eight o'clock prelaw class taught by Professor Jacobus tenBroek, Berkeley class of '34, Boalt School of Law class of '38. He was an attorney, having earned doctorates in law from Boalt and Harvard. His class focused on analyzing scholarly writings and U.S. Supreme Court cases dealing with Constitutional law. It turned out to be a more miraculous class than any beanie-sporting freshman had the right to expect.
One unusual factor was that tenBroek had what to most of us would be a handicap--he was blind. No stranger visiting his course would ever have guessed it, though. From the opening class, when he took the roll of his twenty-five students on Braille cards, until the next class when he looked directly at you before calling your name (he asked you to sit in the same area each time, though not any assigned seat), you knew you were in for a very bright ride.
Terror was instilled if you ever dared to be late to his class. As soon as you entered his classroom, he would track you after two steps and identify who you were and where you were headed. The dreaded colloquy would go something like this:
T.B.: "Greenwood, any idea what time it is?"
G.: "Yes, sir. Ten minutes after the hour."
T.B.: "It is fifteen minutes after the hour."
G.: "Yes, sir."
T.B.: "Greenwood, do you know what time this class starts?"
G.: "Yes, sir. Ten minutes after the hour."
T.B.: "After what hour?"
G.: "Eight o'clock, sir."
T.B.: "And by what clock? The Campanile?"
G.: (Resignedly) "Yes, sir."
Jacobus tenBroek reminded you that it made no sense to raise your hand in his classroom when you wanted attention, because he couldn't see it. Nor did it make sense to call out his name, since everybody knew it. Professor tenBroek's solution was to invite you to interrupt him (or a fellow student) by shouting out your own name and hoping for recognition. By that simple technique we all got to know the names of our less timid classmates very quickly.
TenBroek led his classes while methodically stroking his red goatee, perhaps to slow the pace of his constant inquisition. He had a great ability to take any side of an argument. It didn't matter what side you took, because he would confirm or create a controversy anyway, to your great discomfort. And, if you read aloud from any case and left out a word, he would immediately jump in and correct you.
Fellow tenBroek alumni and colleagues may well have been inspired to their accomplishments by his tutorship. They include retired California Supreme Court Justices Allen Broussard '50, Boalt '53, and Frank Newman, Boalt '41; State Senator Dan Boatwright '56, Boalt '59; Appellate Court Justices Robert Puglia, Boalt '58; Fred Marler '54, Boalt '59; and Coleman Blease '52, Boalt '55; former U.S. Commissioner of Immigration Alan C. Nelson '55, M.B.A. '58; University of Texas law professor (and Chicago Eight co-counsel) Michael Tigar '62, Boalt '66; and many other prominent Cal grads.
TenBroek was always a strong advocate for the rights of the disabled. In 1940 he founded the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the largest and most influential of the organizations representing blind people. His wife Hazel worked with him in NFB activities and remains active in the organization. Hazel tenBroek also became a key member of an advisory group to Alan Nelson '55 when he served as state director of rehabilitation in the early 1970's.
Professor tenBroek died in 1968, but generations of students remember his charm and wit, the fun of his classes, and his scholarship. Michael Tigar, in remembering tenBroek, told the NFB convention in 1968: "Professor tenBroek taught by the Socratic method, [but] was Socratic in more than technique. He really compelled us to confront fundamental issues.... In the University community, too, he was a fierce and formidable defender of academic freedom for students and teachers. If Socrates had had such a defender, Athens's hemlock supply would not have been depleted."
Recently, as I carefully read a major decision of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1991-1992 term, I trembled with the recognition that if I dared to skip or misread a word, tenBroek's voice would ring in my ears, forcefully reminding me of the importance of rational reading. Nor will I forget his concern for the poor and disadvantaged, which he championed long before it became politically correct. Hail Cal! Hail tenBroek!
There you have one student's recollection of Dr. tenBroek, and he is not alone in the warmth and gratitude he feels toward his professor and guide for the impact he had on his students' lives and cast of mind. A group of Berkeley alumni who remembered Dr. tenBroek's influence on them began planning a dinner to honor their teacher and mentor on October 30, 1992. In order to assemble the invitation list, they asked Mrs. tenBroek to prowl through old files in search of Dr. tenBroek's class lists. The task was enormous, but it was clearly necessary if all the former students who wanted to come were to be notified. More than one hundred fifty of them dropped everything and came, many from across the country, to be together for this absolutely unique evening of tribute, recollection, and laughter.
Among those invited, of course, were Dr. Jernigan and President Maurer. Unfortunately, the general assembly of the World Blind Union was taking place that week in Cairo, and the presence of both NFB leaders was required. Dr. Jernigan, however, prepared a tape-recorded message, which was played to the guests at the beginning of the evening's festivities. Here is the text of his remarks:
In 1961 Dr. tenBroek visited Dr. Jernigan at the Iowa Commission for the Blind in Des Moines. Here the two examine raised-line blueprints.
The purpose of this dinner tonight is to bring together as many of us as possible whose lives were touched by Jacobus tenBroek. It would not be possible, obviously, to bring all of the people together who fall into that category. Recently, when I talked to Alan Nelson, I told him that nothing would keep me away from this dinner except the fact that I am going to be out of the country. I also told him that I would like to share with you the preface that I wrote in 1990 to a little book called Jacobus tenBroek: The Man and the Movement. I first put this book together in 1968 when Dr. tenBroek died, and it was reissued in 1990, on the fiftieth anniversary of the National Federation of the Blind.
The preface tells as well as I know how--at least in brief form--some of the things that Dr. tenBroek meant to me and the relationship we had. Here is the preface:
I first met Jacobus tenBroek in the summer of 1952. He was in the prime of his vigor as an author, a college professor, and the leader of the organized blind movement in the United States; and I was the newly elected president of the Tennessee affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind. We were immediately drawn to each other--he as mentor and role model and I as protégé and willing student. But our relationship was not one of difference and distance. Rather, it was one of collegiality and partnership in a joint effort--the bringing of equal rights and first-class status to the blind.
In 1953 I moved to California to work on the faculty of the state orientation and adjustment center for the blind, and since the Center was in Oakland and Dr. tenBroek lived next door in Berkeley, we were in constant communication. During the next five years I spent many delightful hours in the tenBroek home, where Dr. and Mrs. tenBroek served sumptuous meals, entertained interesting guests by the roaring fire in their 1,600-square-foot living room, and provided mental stimulation and lively talk. For me it was a time of growth--of finding myself, of making lasting commitments, and of determining what my life's work would be.
In 1958 I moved to Iowa to become director of the state Commission for the Blind, but my relationship with Dr. tenBroek did not weaken. Year by year it grew stronger as we worked in the common cause of building the National Federation of the Blind. Through the trials of the organization's civil war, the rebuilding of the mid-1960's, and the period after he learned that he had cancer in 1966, Dr. tenBroek and I were an inseparable team. He faced his terminal illness as he faced everything else in his life, matter-of-factly and looking to the future.
By the fall of 1967 it was clear that he had only a few months left, and I began to write and assemble Jacobus tenBroek: The Man and the Movement. It was never intended as a print or Braille publication but as a recording of the actual sounds of his speeches. He died on March 27, 1968, and that very afternoon (with heavy heart) I finished my work on the master tapes and sent them off to the recording studio.
The national convention was held in Des Moines that summer, and every person who attended was given the recording of Jacobus tenBroek: The Man and the Movement. That was twenty-two years ago, and much has happened during the intervening time. The Federation has grown in power and influence; the National Center for the Blind has been established in Baltimore; and a whole new generation of blind Americans has come to leadership in the movement. But essentially the National Federation of the Blind is still the organization which Jacobus tenBroek planned and loved and labored to build. The basic philosophy is the philosophy which he propounded; the underlying structure is the structure which he established.
Therefore it seems particularly appropriate in this year of the fiftieth anniversary of the National Federation of the Blind that Jacobus tenBroek: The Man and the Movement be reissued--and this time not only in recorded form but also in print and Braille. He was the first president of the organization, and he will be a principal element in the administration of the last president, whoever and whenever that may be. In writing this preface and working to issue this publication, I give tangible expression to the debt which I owe to Jacobus tenBroek and to the love which I bore him. He was the guiding force of my formative years and the touchstone of integrity by which I have measured the actions of my later life.
The third generation of the movement is now in the flower of its strength, and the fourth generation is coming to maturity. The National Federation of the Blind is in good hands, and the spirit of Jacobus tenBroek is vibrantly alive in the unity of purpose and the drive to freedom of its leaders and members.
May 18, 1990
That is what I said in 1990, and I can do no better on this occasion. May this be a wonderfully pleasant event, filled with gusto--just the sort of thing Dr. tenBroek would have enjoyed.
There you have Dr. Jernigan's remarks to the testimonial dinner, delivered by tape recording because of his absence from the country. As a memento of the evening, each dinner guest was presented with a print copy of the book, Jacobus tenBroek: The Man and the Movement. As president of the National Federation of the Blind of California, Sharon Gold was also invited to speak to the assembled guests as part of the evening's program. Here are her remarks:
Mr. Chairman, members of the dinner committee, and distinguished guests: It is a privilege to take part in this tribute to the great teacher and leader Jacobus tenBroek. I did not have the opportunity to meet, know, and study under Dr. tenBroek personally; yet Jacobus tenBroek has been my mentor and has directed my life and the lives of all blind people, whether or not we knew the living man.
The American journalist and author Walter Lippmann said, "[T]he final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on." Measured by the highest standards, Dr. tenBroek has met that test, and this gathering of his students tonight is but one more example of the strength of his leadership.
Many people knew Jacobus tenBroek as an author, a scholar, a university professor, and a constitutional lawyer. So profound were Dr. tenBroek's writings that his treatises are still studied by law students across the country. Others know him as the founder and first president of the National Federation of the Blind. Jacobus tenBroek conceived of this organization as a vehicle enabling blind people to speak out on issues of concern to them. It was his call to the blind in 1940 that resulted in a constitutional convention in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, at which he directed a handful of blind people representing seven states in the founding of the National Federation of the Blind.
For twenty-eight years, President tenBroek led the blind of this nation and the world. He taught us that through organization and collective action we can be equal partners in society. He taught us that blind people need not be wallflowers clinging to the periphery of life but that we should step out and step into the mainstream, walking the streets and byways with our heads high and spirits proud.
The speeches and documents written by Dr. tenBroek, which address the rights of the blind and disabled, are the foundation of the philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind. As he traveled the length and breadth of this country and other nations, President tenBroek's following increased and young leaders emerged. When Jacobus tenBroek died in 1968, the torch passed to his protégé Kenneth Jernigan, the leader of the new generation of informed blind Americans. Expanding the foundation that Dr. tenBroek built, Dr. Jernigan led the Federation's growth to a membership of more than 50,000 blind people.
The third generation has now assumed the leadership of the National Federation of the Blind. Under the presidency of Marc Maurer, a young attorney who grew up in Iowa, the organization continues to grow and mature. As it grows, the teachings of Jacobus tenBroek live on, and those of us who have come to the organization since the late 1960s still turn to his writings for strength and guidance.
In the last years of Dr. tenBroek's life he put much effort into organizing the blind of other nations. This very evening Dr. Jernigan and President Maurer cannot be with us because they are continuing Dr. tenBroek's efforts on behalf of the blind of the world. As the president of the North America/Caribbean Region of the World Blind Union, Dr. Jernigan is in Cairo attending the quadrennial meeting of the WBU, to which President Maurer is also a delegate.
No remarks about Dr. tenBroek would be complete without a word about his widow Hazel, who has devoted more than fifty years of her life to improving the lives of blind Americans. During the twenty-four years since Dr. tenBroek's death, Hazel has worked diligently to promote the organization she helped her beloved husband found. During these years she has continued to honor their partnership and has kept the faith they shared. We affectionately call her "Mrs. T." She is a leader in her own right and, to me, a wonderful personal friend. Mrs. T's favorite evening activity is to invite as many Federation members for dinner as the dining room table will accommodate and to discuss the current work of the NFB. Of course the evening is never complete without a story or two about Chick and the Shasta Road house.
The blind are an emerging minority, and the National Federation of the Blind has led the way in our quest for first-class citizenship. With conviction and the will to carry on, we go forward in our march with the Federation song on our lips:
TenBroek has sounded trumpet which shall never sound retreat;
We have sifted out the hearts of blind before our Judgment Seat;
Oh, be swift all blind to answer, and be jubilant your feet;
Our Cause goes marching on.
Those were the remarks that Sharon Gold made at the tribute dinner for Dr. tenBroek. When she delivered her annual report to the 1992 convention of the National Federation of the Blind of California on November 7, she attempted to capture the spirit of the dinner for her listeners. Here are excerpts from her report:
To the members of the National Federation of the Blind, Jacobus tenBroek's life and leadership were profound. Dr. tenBroek conceived of a national movement of blind people that would be self-directed and would establish the right of blind people to determine their own destiny. He led blind people to form the NFB at a time when the blind were virtually barred from the mainstream of community life. Because of his wisdom and foresight we are assembled here today to share our ideas and ideals through the 1992 Convention of the National Federation of the Blind of California.
Jacobus tenBroek was a great American. He was a constitutional lawyer, a renowned author, a respected teacher, and professional colleague. For twenty-five years Dr. tenBroek was a member of the faculty of the Speech and Political Science Departments at the University of California at Berkeley. He also served a term as chairman of the Speech Department.
Last Friday evening, October 30, a testimonial gathering was held in San Francisco by Dr. tenBroek's former students. These men and women traveled from near and far to honor and pay tribute to the University professor who taught them more than Speech 1A. Not only did Dr. tenBroek have a profound influence on the lives of his fellow blind, he also had a profound influence on the lives of his university students, many of whom have gone on to become noted lawyers, university professors and deans, lawmakers, state appellate justices, California Supreme Court Justices, and a U.S. Commissioner of Immigration.
Dr. tenBroek died in 1968. Now, twenty-four years later, over one hundred fifty of his former students gathered to celebrate the influence that this great man had on their lives. Frank D. Winston, a San Francisco immigration attorney and one of the organizers of the tenBroek Tribute Dinner, was the master of ceremonies for the event. Mr. Winston said of Dr. tenBroek, "There are an incredible number of people on whom he had an impact. In many cases he is the only professor they remember from their entire college careers."
In his opening remarks Mr. Winston said in part, "In the 1930s, when Jacobus tenBroek first applied to teach at the University, he was denied that privilege, as he was later at other schools and universities. We know of his scholarliness and his intensity. But he threatened the university, not with a lawsuit, but with his very style by saying, `I will teach for free; and at the end of the semester, if you are convinced that a blind professor cannot operate, then you fire me.' He later became chairman of that same department that didn't wish to hire him. It's because of that fortitude that we are here tonight."
During the evening's program one of the committee members roamed through the crowd with a portable microphone. Former students stood and spoke from their hearts about the life and teachings of Professor tenBroek and how he touched their lives and careers. One of Dr. tenBroek's students said, "I have extremely fond memories, memories of awe of Jacobus tenBroek--the ability he had to open up, make you think, make you read, substitute reason for bias and prejudice. I am very pleased that I was asked to come here tonight to remember this great man. He played a great, great part in my life."
Another student posed the question, "What kind of an affair is this?" He then responded with his own answer, "I'll tell you one thing it is. It's a tremendous joy and pleasure to know that so many of us have come together simply to celebrate the fact that this great man touched our lives. I think we ought to give a lot of applause to the people who took time to organize this event this evening."
Another of Dr. tenBroek's former students chose to attend the tenBroek Tribute Dinner even though he was celebrating the conclusion of twenty-five years of directing the Continuing Education at Bar of the University of California Extension Service. He said, "Even though it is my retirement day, my last day, I'm going to share it with the people who took tenBroek, as I did."
Yet another student said, "I think tenBroek touched all our lives, and, as has been noted, many of us have probably been influenced by him more than anyone else we had in college. It reminds me of some lines from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, `The Psalm of Life.' It goes like this:
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints in the sands of time.
I think tenBroek left great footprints."
This family portrait was taken in 1958. Young Jacobus (Dutch) was thirteen, Anna was ten, and Nick was five. The family are seated in the lower section of the large living room in the Shasta Road house.
Dr. Jernigan has said of Dr. tenBroek that so much a part of Dr. tenBroek's life was the National Federation of the Blind that you cannot separate the man from the movement or the movement from the man. Although they did not say it like this, throughout the Tribute Dinner, the statements of Dr. tenBroek's former students reflected the sentiment that you cannot separate the man from his teaching or the teachings from the man. The students came to celebrate the greatness of Jacobus tenBroek. Because he was a blind man and the founder and first leader of the National Federation of the Blind, Dr. tenBroek's students could not pay tribute to their teacher and mentor without bringing honor to the National Federation of the Blind. Thus these wonderful students advanced the cause of blindness and touched each of our lives and the lives of all blind people to follow us by every testimonial word they said.
That is the way Sharon Gold assessed the significance of the tenBroek testimonial dinner. In mid-January the videotape recording of the event became available, and it was clear to everyone who saw it that Miss Gold had been correct when she said that in her report she had quoted only a few of the many moving anecdotes and testimonials. It seemed unfair to deny Monitor readers the pleasure of sharing a number more of the evening's highlights. Therefore, what follow are summaries and transcriptions of many more comments and reminiscences:
Dr. tenBroek and Nicolaas
Frank Winston, the writer of the magazine article printed earlier, served as the evening's master of ceremonies. A few minutes after the dinner began, he directed the attention of the audience to the back of the room, where apparently the hapless Greenwood of Winston's Cal Monthly reminiscence was to be seen slipping in late. Then followed a tenBroekian interrogation about the scheduled time of the dinner, the current time, and the clock by which the time was to be determined. It was clear that everyone in the group recognized the style of the interchange, and it set the tone of the evening.
After Dr. Jernigan's remarks had been played, Mr. Winston pointed out that it was fitting that this dinner was taking place in 1992 since the previous July the Americans with Disabilities Act had begun protecting an even broader group of disabled citizens. He went on to say that the commentary on the Act and the Congressional testimony all reached back to the language of advocacy that Dr. tenBroek's students remember and recognize from his advocacy of the blind in the forties and fifties. Reading the history of what followed, Mr. Winston continued, shows clearly that Dr. tenBroek's thought translated into advocacy, not only for all those with physical and mental disabilities, but for everyone who is disadvantaged. When the civil rights movement gathered force and power in the sixties and seventies, its theme and leadership style were based on that which Dr. tenBroek's students had observed in him in the fifties. "His messages of those early years are vibrant in society today."
One of the guests reported that he had worked as a reader for one of Dr. tenBroek's colleagues in the Speech Department. One day the professor mentioned that Dr. tenBroek was going to build a retaining wall on his property the following weekend and that he supposed he would be a good guy and volunteer to help him. On Monday morning the student inquired about how the building project had gone. The professor's answer was short and very much to the point: "I got a hell of a lesson in how to build a retaining wall."
The speaker went on to say: "When I took Speech 1A, I didn't know what to expect--whether it was going to be a class in rhetoric or how to stand up and give a speech. I found out it was a course in how to think. Like most freshmen I was a slate upon which nothing had been written when I entered college, and he [Dr. tenBroek] wrote very rapidly and very well."
A theme running through the comments was the speakers' awe at Dr. tenBroek's ability to make them think and to seize on an argument opposing their own in order to stretch their minds. One speaker described a five-minute speech that he gave in support of national health insurance. He presented his argument, annihilated the opposing points of view, and concluded with the statement, "National health insurance is as American as apple pie and needed more." Dr. tenBroek, a man of Dutch ancestry, immediately shot back, "Who told you that apple pie was American?"
One man pointed out that in his Speech 1A class a fellow student turned up a copy of Dr. tenBroek's book Antislavery Origins of the Fourteenth Amendment and began using tenBroek's arguments to bolster his own positions in class discussions. The speaker reported that it made no difference; Dr. tenBroek still destroyed his arguments.
Several people spoke of Dr. tenBroek's great humanity. One speaker remembered a day when he and another student were both late for class. He was running for student government office at the time and was under a great deal of pressure as a result. When the students arrived, Dr. tenBroek began needling the other student in his accustomed way. The student responded by pointing out that he was not the only one late that day. Dr. tenBroek immediately shot back, "I don't see your name as anybody running for public office." And Mrs. tenBroek remembered a time when her husband learned that one of his students was going to lose a much-needed scholarship to medical school because he had earned a B in Speech. When he learned about the problem, Dr. tenBroek said, "He's going to be a fine doctor some day; his grades show that. Why should I hold him back?" So he changed the grade to an A.
Another man remembered an incident during a tenBroek class in which a young woman who appeared to be attending college solely in order to find a husband timidly spoke her name in the discussion one day. She had never made a contribution before, partly because she was unsure of herself in the academic rough and tumble of the class and partly because there were so many brash and self-assured students vying for the opportunity to speak. But Dr. tenBroek heard her voice and recognized her. Gently, with none of the needling that he reserved for most of the students, he drew out of her the ideas she had only half formed and helped her construct her thoughts and argument. The speaker concluded by saying, "I learned from that what it meant to be a great teacher, and I'm sure she did too."
A number of people in the audience were senior faculty members at universities across the country. Several spoke of Dr. tenBroek's impact on their own teaching. Frank Winston mentioned that Dr. tenBroek's students were required to say their own names when they were seeking recognition. Since Dr. tenBroek was blind, this seemed a reasonable accommodation. But Winston makes the same demand on his students today because he has found that it encourages oral participation much more effectively than hand-raising does.
Dr. Stanley Lyman, a professor of sociology at the University of Southern Florida, told with much gusto the story of his first teaching job. He was twenty-two and a new graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. He had never studied with Professor tenBroek, but he was told by another member of the Speech faculty to go see tenBroek because he was prepared to offer Lyman a job as a lecturer in the Speech Department. He was very nervous during the interview and hesitantly asked what text book he would be expected to use in teaching Speech 1A and 1B. Dr. tenBroek tossed him a mimeographed booklet and said, "Use this." It was a collection of Supreme Court cases: Yick Wo v. Hopkins, Buck v. Bell, Korematsu v. the United States, and others.
Dr. Lyman said, "Dr. tenBroek, I've never even had a course in Constitutional Law. My B.A. is in sociology."
And Dr. tenBroek said, "Lyman, can you read?"
"Yes, sir," Lyman said.
"Good," Dr. tenBroek said. "I'm pleased to learn that. You take this book of cases home, and you read them. Next week you'll start teaching, and five weeks from now I'll come sit in your class, and if you're no good, I'll fire you. Have we got a deal?"
Dr. Lyman went home and spent a difficult weekend poring over the book, but Monday morning he began teaching. Five weeks later, to the day, Dr. tenBroek was there, sitting in the rear of the classroom. Lyman said, "I knew there was one rule: there was to be no lecturing in Speech 1A. The professor was to conduct a Socratic dialogue.... You were to get the answer out of the students. I was pouring sweat and asking questions."
At the end of the class Dr. tenBroek suggested that they walk back to his office together. As they were walking, Dr. tenBroek said, "Well you're all right, Lyman. You've got just one problem: you are standing too close to the front seats in the room." Lyman was astounded that Dr. tenBroek knew where he had been standing. Dr. tenBroek then explained that he had noticed that he was getting good discussion in response to his questions but only from the people in the front half of the room. He himself had had some difficulty hearing what Lyman was saying, so he concluded that he had been standing close to the front desks. He suggested that from then on Lyman stand with his back against the blackboard so that he would remember to throw his voice to the rear of the room.
One speaker said that Dr. tenBroek did more than use the Socratic method to teach his students that they could employ their intellects to explore both sides of a question. To them he was almost the embodiment of Socrates. The attorney who made this point most clearly went on to tell a story about a classmate of his who was always the first to shout out his own name for recognition. One day, when Dr. tenBroek had called on the young man, he said with great conviction, "Well, Dr. tenBroek, the answer to that question would require a value judgment."
After a brief silence Dr. tenBroek answered, "Phillips, don't you know that the most important judgments you will make in life are value judgments?" The speaker went on: "There was absolute silence in the room. It was the first time that Dr. tenBroek had told us that the content of our lives and of our decisions and of what we really thought was actually more important than the argumentation we were learning in his class. It's true, lawyers argue both sides, but the most important thing that a lawyer can do is to make his or her own value judgments. This was one of Dr. tenBroek's legacies, and I wanted to pass it on this evening."
One member of the audience had brought his wife and his son. Like seven other offspring of tenBroek students, the boy was named Jacobus tenBroek. After paying tribute to his former teacher as the man who had taught him to think and who had first persuaded him that there are more important things in life than having fun, he related the following recollection: "People have mentioned his academic prowess, but he was also an incredible advocate. I remember sitting in the hallway in Wheeler Auditorium when the December resolutions were being discussed in support of the free speech movement [at Berkeley in the early sixties]. We [the students] couldn't go inside the Academic Senate, but we could sit on the outside and listen to that debate. Lo and behold, our beloved Professor tenBroek was leading the floor debates on behalf of the resolution that would have supported the students. We saw him in a much different role, not talking academically about the importance of the First Amendment, but in life, on the floor, as an advocate conducting that debate. The man was absolutely awesome. I would never want to face an advocate like Professor tenBroek in a court room. I doubt if any of us could go toe to toe with him. He wasn't just an academic in the academic setup; he was also on the street with the students.
"One of the lasting impressions I have of him is--certainly that great demeanor he had and how erect he was--standing on the corner of Telegraph and Bancroft after all the kids had been arrested in the free speech movement. He was about to go down to Berkeley Municipal Court to make an argument that all the charges should be dismissed in the interest of justice. He stood there, a very tall man on a little riser, making his argument about why it was unjust and in conflict with the First Amendment to proceed with those prosecutions. I learned a lot from him about the First Amendment, that it wasn't just a sterile document; it was something to be lived and fought for among professors and on the streets of the country. The other thing I learned from him was how important the Fourteenth Amendment was, and the true meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. I have since become a civil rights attorney, and I feel that in a small way my life is dedicated to what I learned from him about the importance of equality in the Constitution and how hard it is to obtain that equality. The lessons all derive from Jacobus tenBroek.... I learned a lot of lessons from him, and my life would not be what it has been without having had the wonderful opportunity to meet this truly incredible man."
A woman who had been Dr. tenBroek's student in a constitutional law class during the early forties recalled the time when she saw his passion break through his professorial calm. The class was discussing welfare, and the students were "spouting our own attitudes which we had picked up from the popular press." She noticed that Dr. tenBroek's face was growing redder and redder until he finally exploded, "Poverty is not a crime!"
She went on, "That burned into my mind; I have never forgotten it, and I think that more than anything else it has helped to guide my life."
An attorney with a particularly distinguished legal career stood to make a confession of what he had learned from Dr. tenBroek about ethics. In 1962, while he was in law school, he received a call from Dr. tenBroek offering him a job as reader. The preceding day another professor had also offered him a job as a course reader. The student told Dr. tenBroek that he had to call the other man "because we had kind of a tentative agreement. I need to talk to him, and then I'll get back to you." Dr. tenBroek inquired what he meant by using the word "tentative." The student stammered that he was sure that the other professor would understand.
Dr. tenBroek said with great firmness, "Well I understand. You're in law school now?"
"Do you know what an offer is?"
"Well it's withdrawn."
One man invited the audience to remember their dismay upon being told that speeches in tenBroek classes could be no longer than five minutes. When the students protested about the limitation, Dr. tenBroek's response was, "There is no subject on Earth about which any of you knows enough to speak for more than five minutes."
The final speaker of the evening was Fred Korematsu, whose case (Korematsu v. the United States) went to the Supreme Court in 1944. He had resisted the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War, but he lost the case. In 1954 Dr. tenBroek wrote a book, Prejudice, War and the Constitution, which argued powerfully that the First Amendment rights of Japanese Americans had been trampled by the mass internment and that the decision of the Supreme Court had been in error. As everyone now knows, the case was retried several years ago, and this time Fred Korematsu won. Everyone who referred to this case during the testimonial dinner acknowledged what is commonly recognized in legal circles: that Dr. tenBroek's book had irrevocably altered the way in which the legal world views Korematsu v. the United States and was the direct cause of the reversal in the Supreme Court's decision.
So the evening ended. It would be well for all of us to recognize the importance of what Dr. tenBroek's former students have taught us. The founder of the National Federation of the Blind made contributions to the world far beyond his work in the organized blind movement. His influence is still being felt as a force in legal thought today. His students recollect and pass on the principles and habits of thought that he taught them, just as we do, and his wisdom, integrity, and clarity of vision will continue to change the world in the coming century, not only in the field of work with the blind, but in the entire sweep of American society.
But perhaps the most fitting way to conclude this tribute to Jacobus tenBroek is to quote a poem written by his granddaughter Kelly after she visited her two grandmothers last year and read at the dinner by her father Dutch tenBroek. The family went to the cemetery in which Dr. tenBroek is buried, and this is the poem she wrote. It expresses a sentiment that is true for all of us:His grave was amongst the many,