Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2010 with funding from National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

Published monthly in Braille and inkprint and distributed free to the blind by the American Brotherhood for the Blind, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, President. National headquarters and editorial offices at 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, California.

Editor: Floyd W. Matson
Executive Secretary: Anthony Mannino, 205 South Western Avenue, Room 206, Los Angeles 4, Calif.







An Editorial





By Donald C. Capps




The principal welfare programs of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare--among them aid to the blind--will be brought together in a new Welfare Administration to take effect late in January, according to an announcement by HEW Secretary Anthony J. Celebrezze.

The new Administration will direct the Department's programs of aid to the blind, aged, disabled, and dependent children, along with other welfare activities (specified below). The sweeping administrative reorganization is evidently in line with recent moves--notably that embodied in the controversial new Title XVI--tending toward integration of the various social security programs of categorical aid.

"This constitutes the first major realignment of welfare functions since the Department was established in 1953," Secretary Celebrezze said in his announcement. "It reflects the magnitude and importance to the nation of the new welfare amendments which President Kennedy has called 'the most far-reaching revision of our public welfare program since it was enacted in 1935.'"

Dr. Ellen Winston, commissioner of welfare for North Carolina, will be appointed to head the new Welfare Administration, the Secretary said. He also announced that Robert Ball, present Commissioner of Social Security, will continue to direct the Social Security Administration.

Secretary Celebrezze declared further that he will rename the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration and give its head the title of Commissioner of Vocational Rehabilitation. Noting that the size and importance of this program have increased markedly over recent years, he announced that Miss Mary Switzer, veteran director of OVR, would be retained under the new title to head the program.

"The realignment of our welfare and social security functions," the Secretary said, "is designed to strengthen the administration of both programs by placing them in two separate organizational units each reporting directly to the Secretary. This action will not entail any additional superstructure, personnel or operating funds.

"The new responsibilities placed on the Federal-State welfare programs by the Public Welfare Amendments of 1962 and the rapid growth of the social security program, which now employs nearly half the Department's personnel, have made it very desirable to have a Commissioner of Welfare who can spend full time giving leadership and direction to that area of activity and a Commissioner of Social Security who can spend full time on the direction of the nation's social security system."

Secretary Celebrezze, himself a recent appointee to the HEW Cabinet post, noted that the new organization accords top-level administrative status to the old-age, survivors and disability insurance program, which now becomes the primary mission of the Social Security Administration. In addition, this agency will continue to administer the Federal Credit Union Act.

The following activities will be transferred from the Social Security Administration to the new Welfare Administration:

--The Children's Bureau, which has basic concern for the welfare of children, for research and reporting on all conditions affecting their well-being, and for federal functions in connection with federal-state programs of maternal and child health, services for crippled children, and child welfare services.

--The Bureau of Family Services, which is responsible for federal functions in connection with federal-state programs for old-age assistance, medical assistance for the aged, aid to families with dependent children, aid to the blind, and aid to the permanently and totally disabled.

--The Cuban Refugee Program, responsible for various services of aid and resettlement to refugees from Cuba.

Secretary Celebrezze announced that in addition to these three programs the Special Staff on Aging and the Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Development Staff, which presently report directly to his office, will be transferred to the new Welfare Administration. These two units have program interests and operational functions which are closely associated with the Department's other welfare programs.

These five activities reportedly constitute the principal federal-state programs of the Department which are now directed to the interests of older persons, children and youth through services, research and grants.

The new Welfare Administration will become the sixth major operating agency of the Department of HEW. The other agencies are the Social Security Administration, Food and Drug Administration, Public Health Service, Office of Education, and Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (now the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration).

Under the reorganization, according to the Department's announcement, the Office of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration will absorb the staff and functions of the Director's Office of the present Bureau of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance. The present divisions of the Bureau will become divisions of the Social Security Administration and report directly to the Commissioner.

The federal social security program was said to have become the largest retirement, disability and survivors program in the world and one of the major operating responsibilities of the U.S. Government. The vast majority of jobs in the nation are covered by the program and nearly 90 million persons are currently insured.

New Welfare Commissioner

Dr. Winston, who will head the new Welfare Administration, brings to her governmental post a background of 18 years as North Carolina's public welfare commissioner, plus four earlier years as head of the department of sociology and economics at Meredith College of North Carolina. The author of numerous books in the fields of sociology and social welfare, she has had broad experience with state, federal and voluntary agencies in various areas of social planning and community organization.

Some of the positions she has held in recent years include: president, American Public Welfare Association (1957-1959); member of the board of directors of the Council on Social Work Education; member of the fact-finding committee for the Midcentury White House Conference on Children and Youth; member of the National Council on Child Welfare and of the Federal-State Committee on Aging.

Dr. Winston is presently a member of the Board of Directors of the Child Welfare League of America, and chairman of the League's Ad Hoc Committee on Public Agency Relationships. In 1962 she was appointed to a two-year term on the Advisory Committee on Problems of the American Community (Brookings Institution) and to membership on the Advisory Committee on Housing for Senior Citizens of the Housing and Home Finance Agency. She is also chairman of the Division on Social Welfare Manpower for the 1963 National Conference, on Social Welfare.

She is the wife of Dr. Sanford R. Winston, author and lecturer and head of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at North Carolina State College.

Back to Contents


(Editor's note: Following is the text of a statement released jointly by the California Council of the Blind and the California League of Senior Citizens, dealing with the recent Report and Recommendations of the State Welfare Study Commission. The advisory commission, established by California statute, was composed of 19 voting members (all but two appointed by Governor Brown) plus four others drawn from the state legislature. Under the chairmanship of Superior Court Judge Winslow Christian, the commission was generally empowered to study and make recommendations on the whole field of the state's public welfare laws and administration. Among its members were Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, chairman of the State Social Welfare Board, and J.M. Wedemeyer, director of the California Department of Social Welfare.)

A disastrous retreat in public welfare is in line for California if the state adopts the report of the Welfare Study Commission, approved December 20, 1962, and submitted to Governor Brown and the legislature early in January.

In two related recommendations encompassing drastic changes in the state's present welfare system, the study commission proposes to turn back the clock to a welfare era of county control and supervisory impotence by the state.

The two recommendations are:

1. Control over welfare is to be returned to the counties, where it had once resided in the days before the growth of modern welfare administration.

2. The State Board of Social Welfare is to be stripped of its statutory powers as watchdog of the public interest--the powers of rule-making, hearing of individual appeals and setting of personnel standards--and reduced to the ineffectual status of an advisory board with no powers whatever.

Should these two recommendations be followed, the welfare advances of the past thirty years for all disadvantaged groups--and in particular for the aged and the blind--would be in immediate and critical danger. The plain fact is that the State Social Welfare Board is today the champion of the cause of the underprivileged and deprived in California. Welfare recipients of all categories now look to it for justice, for fair hearing, and for improvement of their condition. The Board is today a democratic and liberal force. Although their terms overlap, all of its present members have been appointed by Governor Brown. In recent years, therefore, the Social Welfare Board has exhibited much more vigorous and constructive leadership than ever before in the past two decades. Indeed, it is just because of its strong and affirmative character that the move is now on to abolish the State Social Welfare Board.

In stark contrast to this vigorous performance by the Social Welfare Board, the county welfare administrators, bowing to political pressures, have tended to follow the "Newburgh line" of retrenchment, reaction and resentment toward all those unfortunate enough to need the help of government.

The Welfare Study Commission itself was county-dominated from top to bottom, and constituted in effect a county commission despite its ostensible statewide character. Of the 19 voting members on the commission, 13 were county officials: namely, three county welfare directors, four county supervisors, three county administrative officers, a county superior court judge, a county district attorney, and a county probation officer. Of the remaining six members, four were selected as representatives of the general public, and two, the chairman of the State Social Welfare Board and the director of the Department of Social Welfare, were named to the commission by statute. Four members of the state legislature were also added to the commission, but were held by the Attorney-General to be non-voting members.

This blatant stacking of the commission in favor of the counties was further revealed in the selection of its four principal committees--three of which were chaired by county representatives.

The brunt of the commission's argument for what amounts to a free rein over welfare by the largest counties stems from its enthusiastic acceptance of a report by Griffenhagen-Kroeger Associates of San Francisco, public administration consultants hired by the commission. In effect, this report would abolish the present policy of systematic state supervision over county welfare in favor of a loose classification through which all counties would be freer to choose their own administrative methods and the largest counties would get the least supervision of all.

The proposal is described in the firm's report as one of "first dividing the counties in two groups according to the degree of supervision they require." The decision would be made by establishing "criteria of administrative and professional service by which counties will be divided between those needing only counsel and those needing close supervision." It is quite clear that this division would leave the major counties of California in the category of those "needing only counsel."

In program terms, the meaning of this course of administrative devolution is unmistakably clear. Recipients of Old Age Assistance and Aid to the Blind will soon discover that the county has regained the arbitrary whiphand over their welfare which the state legislature has been progressively removing step by step over the past generation.

This is not the only peril which the commission has presented to needy blind and aged Californians. Although there are recommendations for improvement in other programs, there is only disaster and defeat for these two basic groups; and indeed all of the established categories of welfare recipients find their independence and very existence cast in jeopardy by proposals which blur the fundamental distinctions among them and move inexorably backward. Under this scheme the aged, the blind and the disabled would be scrambled together in a common category.

But the welfare problems of the blind are demonstrably different from those of the aged, and the problems of the disabled are different from both. Adequately meeting the distinctive needs of particular groups of disadvantaged persons, through preservation and strengthening of the categories of assistance, should be the single major criterion of welfare programmers--not a bureaucratic reshuffling of services in the name of "simplification" to meet the convenience of administrators.

The most critical single blow struck at California's welfare system by the study commission report is its proposal to emasculate the state social welfare board and to turn over its powers lock, stock and barrel to a state welfare department wholly unprotected from the pressure of political and county interests. This move amounts to a clear-cut surrender of the public interest in the face of what the commission itself describes as "criticism and controversy" which has made the board a "storm center for critics of some of its policies and decisions." The language of the report makes clear that its decision is nothing more nor less than a strategic capitulation to the pressures of these critics--whose doctrine of public welfare is more appropriate to the age of the almshouse and the county work-farm than to the modern era of client-centered social security and constructive rehabilitation. The identity of these critics is well-known: they include the County Boards of Supervisors Association, and some county welfare directors.

In the process of reducing the social welfare board to an impotent "advisory board,” the study commission has taken away not one but all of the powers with which the legislature has seen fit to invest it. Specifically, these are the powers of determining welfare policy, the hearing of appeals from aggrieved clients, and the setting of rules and standards for welfare personnel.

In its abject surrender of the public interest the commission has flatly opposed and contradicted the firm advice of its own consultative agency--Griffenhagen-Kroeger Associates--whose recommendations in other areas are endorsed as the highest wisdom. Here are a few of the salient points made by the Griffenhagen-Kroeger report with respect to the proper role of the social welfare board:

"We are persuaded by a number of arguments favoring retention of a Board of Social Welfare:

"... 2. A board is an essential buffer between the director and the public and official pressures by which he is beset. In a field as controversial and as costly as welfare administration will always be, a single director would be unlikely to survive these pressures very long.

"3. A board well chosen to represent various viewpoints represents influences that can be rallied to defend and support a program; and reflects diverse attitudes and interests in the development of policy and in advising the director.

"4. By the same token, a representative Board reflects the general public attitude in ways that it would otherwise be hard for the director to determine. Surrounded, as he necessarily is, by his administrative and professional assistants, he needs the balance of the lay viewpoint.

"5. By the rotation of appointments, there is brought into welfare administration a fresh viewpoint that the career civil servant tends to lose. At the same time, a career staff provides the continuity needed to complement a changing Board.

"6. Occasionally a member may be appointed to a Board who has special talents and interests that are a useful offset to the administrative organization. Admittedly, there is the hazard of a tendency to interfere with administration, but the potential advantage outweighs the incidental annoyance of occasional interference."

The California Council of the Blind and Senior Citizens League fully support these views as expressed by the official advisory report of Griffenhagen-Kroeger Associates. Lacking the intervening protection of a strong and independent state board, the county boards of supervisors are in a formidable position to exert pressure upon the director. In the commission's projected system the state welfare director is now required to "consult regularly with county welfare directors and other county officials in order to make certain that county experience, views, and participation occurs fully and constructively in the process leading up to formulation of both policies and procedures." Without effective surveillance by the board, the state welfare director is now free to make whatever private deals he may wish, or be pressured into, with individual counties. Under such conditions it becomes painfully apparent that, in the words of the Griffenhagen-Kroeger report, "a single director would be unlikely to survive these pressures very long." The relationship of the state department to the counties will inevitably become one of deals and sellouts, secret surrenders and subterfuges, leading to more and more autonomy for the counties along with less and less supervision by the state.

Although from the standpoint of blind and aged recipients the report poses only dangers and disasters, the Senior Citizens League and the California Council of the Blind endorse two constructive recommendations with reference to other categories of public assistance clients. These are: (1) the extension of ANC to cover able-bodied unemployed parents residing in the home; and (2) the expansion of Aid to the Totally Disabled to admit to coverage those who are unable to gain employment by virtue of their disability. We regard both these proposals as affirmative and enlightened, and urge their adoption.

Back to Contents


That the dread spirit of "Title XVI" is on the march across the land, extending its sway even into states supposedly immunized against its influence, was graphically demonstrated during the past month in New Jersey.

A bill reorganizing the state's welfare system, and in particular its program of aid to the blind, was signed into law by Governor Hughes in mid-December. The legislation removes blind aid from the State Commission for the Blind and places it under a 15-member board of public welfare designed to serve all categories of public assistance recipients.

The reorganization bill was said by the governor to be aimed at streamlining the New Jersey welfare department by "improving control and management" of all its activities, in line with federal moves toward administrative simplification and uniformity as incorporated in the 1962 public assistance amendments.

Although the planned merger of blind recipients with other aided groups under a single administrative formula reflects the policy of federal administrators with respect to Title XVI (the optional joint category), the New Jersey legislation wholly ignores the fact that the federal program has made deliberate and explicit exception in the case of those states which have separate commissions or agencies for the blind administering welfare services.

The federal interpretation, contained in the Department of HEW's State Letter 582 (see THE BLIND AMERICAN. October 1962), allows for a separate and different standard governing eligibility, need and grant requirements for the blind, in conformity with the law, in states where such commissions are in existence. In other states which file a combined plan under Title XVI, the federal Department requires a "common standard" for determining need and payment for all three adult categories. There must also be identical provisions governing property holdings, lien and recovery requirements, and any reduction in payment must be common.

But the Departmental letter specifies that "in states which have a separate agency for the blind, the standard for the blind can be different from the standard for the aged and disabled."

Thus the setback with the blind of New Jersey have sufferred through the new reorganization law is unnecessary and gratuitous--even under the terms governing Title XVI. By removing aid to the blind from the existing state commission, the New Jersey legislature and Governor Hughes have gone much farther than the federal law, and in fact have chosen to disregard an express immunity which that law provides.

They have thereby deprived the needy blind citizens of their state of an established welfare facility, carrying with it assurance of a separate standard of aid and payment, which the federal program as passed by Congress had specifically left intact.

It has frequently been pointed out in these pages that adoption by the states of the optional Title XVI--lumping together aid to the blind, the aged and the disabled in a single category ruled by a common standard--places in immediate jeopardy all the significant advances won by the blind nationally over the past two decades with respect to public assistance. Although the New Jersey Commission for the Blind had lagged conspicuously behind other states in effectuating these gains, they remained potentially available as nationally sanctioned objectives for the blind of the state.

Now, by the single swift action of the legislature and the governor, decapitating the commission and creating the catch-all welfare board, that potentiality has been obliterated.

Back to Contents


(Editor's note: The forceful statement which follows represents the partial text of testimony presented by the Metropolitan Washington Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers at budget hearings of the District of Columbia Commissioners held in November. The statement was prepared by Dr. Daniel Thursz, ACSW vice-chairman and head of the Public Welfare Crisis Committee.)

We are grateful for the opportunity to appear and comment on the proposals concerning public welfare that appear in the budget request now before you. Our chapter, consisting of more than 1,100 professional social workers, has been concerned with the developments which have taken place during the past year in this area. At the present time, more than eighty of our members are involved in a special Public Welfare Crisis Committee which is divided into eight task forces ....

In testifying on the 1964 budget proposals, we are faced with a dilemma. So much of the budget depends on the philosophy of public welfare aid which is adopted. While we wish to testify on some very concrete aspects of the proposals, we must at the same time indicate some of our most basic concerns which would affect the total budget and operation of the Public Welfare Department.

At a time when the United States Congress has passed major legislation designed to emphasize the rehabilitative aspects of public welfare, it is ironic that the District of Columbia, the Nation's Capital, should be retrogressing and instituting steps which are punitive and destructive. Instead of focusing on children and parents in need, we seem to be absorbed in a process of giving assistance grudgingly to the "deserving poor." While not willing to spend our tax dollar on rehabilitation, we are investing huge sums of money to ferret out those who do not meet what have been described as the narrowest eligibility standards in the nation.

Gentlemen, we do not believe that immorality should be "subsidized." We, too, are committed to the Ten Commandments, religion and patriotism. But we also believe that we should love our neighbors as ourselves and what is as important, we are deeply committed to the proposition that the welfare of children should not be harmed because of the alleged sins of their parents. We think it is wrong to use the public welfare program to "enforce" adherence to the Ten Commandments. Conformity to the Commandments is required of all of us. Those who unfortunately need to receive help from the community, should not be made the target for a special program of enforcement.

If our Public Welfare Department is to be concerned with sin, let it also examine the sin of those who by narrow eligibility requirements, award a premium on desertion, and make it necessary for families to separate before they can get food and other necessities for children; those who by providing insufficient assistance to meet basic needs, force individuals and families to supplement such grants, thereby perjuring themselves; and the sins of the rent gougers, the seductive credit companies and "lay-away" stores.

We believe that the approach now taken in the Public Welfare budget proposals will not result in less dependency. We think it will do great harm to thousands of children and their families. And, we are convinced that the price we will pay as a community--both financially and in terms of human resources--will be much greater.

What does this have to do with the budget proposals for Fiscal 1964? A great deal. The proposals are based on the assumption that the total case load in the Aid to Dependent Children category will go down. There is nothing in our estimate of the present economy or our knowledge of the sociological trends to support this view. While the total population of the District may go down slightly, the segment vulnerable to economic and social deprivation is increasing. Numbers will go down only if we maintain and increase eligibility inflexibility thereby denying help to children and families who need assistance, and forcing the institutionalization of children--a fact recognized in the budget which already calls for much greater investments in our institution facilities and staff ....

Our comments and suggestions thus far have pointed to the need of re-evaluation of the total public welfare program and approach. Does it make sense to project a drop in the ADC case load of 1,514 cases . . . and at the same time project an 83 percent increase in staff at DC Public Welfare Institutions and the additions of scores of buildings? Does this result in a saving of funds and is this the best way of helping children and parents? Gentlemen, no group is more aware of the complexities of our present social structure and its problems than the profession of social work. We submit that the present approach does little to solve these problems.

The answer to the problems of dependency lies in a massive program of rehabilitation--using all our creative powers, fighting on all fronts, and especially in the neighborhood, and keeping a sharp focus on the long-range goals. We were pleased to note in the initial budget presentation of the Department a few steps in that direction. We were shocked to find that most of these proposals--those with a rehabilitative goal--were disallowed in the General Administration revision ....

Finally, we should like to call to your attention a situation which we believe to be illogical and in need of quick remedy. In its budget request, the Department of Public Welfare has requested an increase in the per capita food cost at its institutions from 63¢ to 70¢ based presumably on the increase in the cost of living. Yet, we understand that there are no proposals to allow the Public Assistance grants to also reflect that increase which the Department recognizes so well in its own operations. It is our understanding that grants are still based on 1953 figures for rent, and 1957 figures for food, and that only 95 percent of the need computed on this obsolete basis is included. If that is the case, Gentlemen, we urge immediate action to correct this inequity. Children must be fed on the basis of the prices in grocery stores today--and not those that were prevalent in 1957. Children must be housed in apartments for which rent is paid on the basis of today's prices--and not those of 1953.

On behalf of the National Association of Social Workers, Washington Metropolitan Chapter, we thank you for the privilege of presenting these views and wish to reassert our willingness to cooperate fully in any constructive program of the Department and the Commissioners.

Back to Contents


The vigorous statement reproduced above ("Social Workers Lash D.C. Welfare Plans") embodies a commodity not always and everywhere associated with our voluntary agencies of social welfare. That commodity is courage.

The willingness--indeed, the eagerness--of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the National Association of Social Workers to stand up and be counted (and be heard) for their convictions at the budget hearings of the formidable District Commissioners is surely deserving of praise.

And when that stand is as outspoken and plain-spoken as this; when it risks hostility and condemnation by taking the political bull by the horns--its spokesmen earn the admiration of all who are genuinely concerned with the philosophy and spirit of welfare.

There is something else that is noteworthy about this forthright testimony by Washington's social workers. It finds no parallel, no approximation, no faintest echo that we can detect, from the editorial and executive offices of the major national agencies of social workers for the blind.

The most charitable inference to be drawn from this loud silence is that these powerful American foundations and associations do not consider the problem to be their problem.

But the concerted and contagious attacks upon welfare which THE BLIND AMERICAN has been chronicling for over a year are not to be dismissed as just attacks upon unmarried mothers, or absent fathers, or impoverished minorities, or able-bodied malingerers, or others who might comfortably be identified with "some other category." They are attacks upon welfare. As such (like other expressions of prejudice) they are indivisible: they rain down alike upon the just and the unjust, the old and the young, the seeing and the blind--upon all who fall within the purview of public aid.

No welfare category is an island, entire to itself: but each is part of the main. Therefore--welfare client, worker for the blind, program administrator, foundation executive--never tend to know for whom the angry bell tolls.

It tolls for thee.

Back to Contents


The controversial city manager of Newburgh, New York, Joseph M. Mitchell, who gained prominence a year ago by imposing severe restrictions on the community's welfare programs, was arrested early in December and subsequently indicted on a charge of bribery, according to news reports in THE NEW YORK TIMES.

The TIMES' Western Edition reported on December 8 that Mitchell had been taken into custody the day before by detectives from the district attorney's office. He was reportedly arrested at the Newburgh City Hall following a weekly meeting of the City Council.

It was said that Mitchell was accused of agreeing to accept $20,000 from two New York real estate men allegedly for the purpose of rezoning property owned by them in Newburgh. A second man, Lawrence J. DeMasi, Jr., was simultaneously arrested in a Manhattan hotel with the reputed $20,000 bribe in his possession.

A week later (December 15), the Western Edition of the TIMES headlined Mitchell's indictment and stated that he was accused on three felony counts involving the asking and receiving of bribes and a misdemeanor count of conspiracy.

The alleged conspiracy was said by the newspaper to have come to light when the two real estate men (Stephen and Joseph Wahrhaftig, twin brothers) complained to the New York district attorney about the asserted bribe offer. They had reportedly sought a variance in Newburgh zoning regulations for construction purposes, and claimed that they were confronted by Mitchell with a demand for $20,000 to put through such a change.

The 40-year-old Mitchell, who took office as Newburgh's city manager in October 1960, came to national attention the following spring and summer through his imposition of stringent cutbacks on welfare expenditures and an even harsher "crackdown" on the city's recipients of welfare aid. (See "Newburgh: A Counterrevolution in Welfare?" THE BLIND AMERICAN, September 1961.)

In his pursuit of lower relief rolls and virtual elimination of many welfare services, Mitchell ran afoul of state and federal requirements governing public assistance and ended up by cutting his community off from the principal sources of funds to support its programs of social security and rehabilitation.

Some of the features of his "tough" 13-point plan for welfare, adopted by Newburgh despite opposition from the State Social Welfare Board and from the Federal Administration, were: aid payment by voucher instead of by cash; monthly visits to the welfare office by recipients for review of their status; cutting off aid to unmarried mothers who bear another child out of wedlock; limitation of relief payments to a 9-day maximum in one year, with further restrictions effectually cutting aid to one or two weeks at a time.

Back to Contents


(Editor's note: The following article, describing how blind and other handicapped persons in five midwest states receive placement services from a radio station, is reprinted from the December 1962, issue of PERFORMANCE, monthly publication of the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped.)

A South Dakota businessman, weary after a day full of problems, sits down in his living room to relax and let his radio divert his troubled thoughts. Five minutes separate him from his favorite news program. It was a discouraging day to look back on. The job order for his most faithful customer was 2 weeks behind schedule--employee absenteeism and inefficiency had wrecked the timetable--and that very day his shop mechanic had walked off the job without advance notice. Where in the world, he wondered ....

As if by chance, but actually by intent, the voice from his radio penetrates and meshes with his musing: ". . . seeks employment as mechanic or in mechanical area. This man is a high school graduate and has had additional training in mechanics from a trade school. Excellent qualifications. Willing to relocate ...."

It was Yankton's Station WNAX presenting its "Handicapped" program, aired for 3 weeks last Spring throughout South Dakota and the neighboring states of Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota. The announcer was giving availability notices of Status 6 cases--those persons rehabilitated by the Service to the Blind offices within the 5-state area and who were now ready for employment. Interspersed among the listings of available employees were announcements concerning job proficiency, absenteeism, and similar information concerning the employee potential of visually handicapped persons--all aimed at encouraging employers to consider handicapped workers for their companies.

"... Male, age 36, married, two children, has light perception, travels independently ...."

This applicant was rehabilitated by one of the 5 state agencies serving the blind within the listening territory of Station WNAX. What better means to make his rehabilitation complete and meaningful than to achieve a successful job placement, and what better means to make known to employers his availability than to draw upon the civic responsibility of Station WNAX, Yankton's Sound Citizen?

Such programming is nurtured by a strong community spirit, and Station WNAX displayed a responsible attitude toward cooperating with local officials for the betterment of the community. The "Handicapped" program was born, or more appropriately, "brewed,” in a coffee shop meeting between Howard H. Hanson, Director of South Dakota's Service to the Blind agency, and Elmer Smith, Station Manager of WNAX. Mr. Hanson is also Chairman of the Governor's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped.

The coffee break followed a broadcast taping session for NEPH Week at the radio studio--Mr. Hanson and the manager of a local electronics firm were interviewed about the need for increased employment opportunities for the handicapped. The day's business held precedent over the coffee cups, however, as Mr. Hanson discussed with the station manager the services offered by his department to visually impaired persons.

This conversation reminded Mr. Smith of a show which had just ended on his station concerning teacher placement. Many vacancies in teaching positions were filled as a result of broadcasting lists of teacher applicants and job openings. If this program idea was successful in placing available teachers, why couldn't it be extended to the placement of the handicapped, Mr. Hanson wondered. The station manager became immediately interested and offered the facilities of WNAX to serve the ready-for-placement rehabilitants. It remained for Mr. Hanson to arrange for submittal of listings from the other 4 state agencies.

"Female--age 42--good travel vision--15 years experience in commercial field--seeks employment as dictaphone typist. ..."

Employers called the station concerning the announcements and inquiries were channeled to the agency in the applicant's resident state for appropriate follow-through. Satisfied with the success of the project, the Governor's Committee in South Dakota plans to schedule a full 30-day program for all handicapped persons during next October. Such a concerted effort by public spirited citizens to gain acceptance of qualified handicapped workers has dynamic social consequences of lasting importance to the community. Not only are the handicapped benefited in a singular way, but their asset as employees reverts to the benefit of the community.

Employers need able workers; the handicapped need suitable jobs. How can they satisfy their respective needs? In the midwest, by turning to Station WNAX:

"... High school graduate--able to use public transportation--special training in dictaphone typing received from commercial college available immediately ...."

Back to Contents


Tennessee. Residence requirements for all welfare programs in the state would be reduced from one year to six months if the 1963 legislature adopts a recommendation recently approved by the State Legislative Council.

The Council, an interim study group, has also urged that the Tennessee legislature petition Congress for an amendment to the Social Security Act which would forbid the states to require more than a year's residence under any category of public assistance, according to a report in FROM THE STATE CAPITALS.

Texas. Texas voters at the November election approved a state constitutional amendment to increase the authorized limit on old age assistance, aid to dependent children and aid to the blind from the present $47 million to $52 million annually. Also passed was an amendment which will raise the limit on state expenditures for aid to totally and permanently disabled persons by a full million dollars--from $1.5 to $2.5 million.

New York. State Social Welfare Commissioner George K. Wyman--whose advisory report a year ago for the Department of HEW was influential in construction of the Administration's welfare program--recently made known his attitude toward the principle of relatives' responsibility and toward modification of the means test for elderly recipients of medical care.

"Filial responsibility,” said Commissioner Wyman, "is an historic principle in our social welfare philosophy and a cornerstone of our social welfare law." His antiquarian views were made known in the course of a hearing conducted in New York City by the Joint State Legislative Committee on Health Insurance Plans.

Others who took a different view at the hearings included New York City Welfare Commissioner James R. Dumpson and City Health Commissioner George Jeans. They supported proposals submitted by the State Medical Society to confine the means test for eligibility for medical care to the indigent aging to the "recipient or spouse" only. Commissioner Dumpson pointed out that it now costs the city twice as much as it collects to obtain reimbursement from relatives for welfare costs, and that the amount received is a very small percentage of the welfare budget.

Wisconsin. The State Board of Public Welfare has given its endorsement to a proposal which would repeal the present ceiling on the amount a person may receive under aid to the blind (as well as under old-age assistance and aid to the disabled), with the actual amount to be set in individual cases by the county welfare director.

Illinois. Drastic legislative action to curb illegitimacy and "sexual depravity" among families on relief has been advocated by the State Legislative Advisory Committee to the Illinois Public Aid Commission.

The advisory body called for laws requiring caseworkers to turn over to law enforcement agencies any information in their possession disclosing violation of existing criminal laws. Under the recommended legislation, social workers would be compelled to report instances of adultery, incest, statutory and other rape, and fornication.

The action was reportedly taken after publication of an opinion by State Attorney General William C. Clark that under existing law caseworkers cannot legally report such information turned up during their interviews with relief families. (For a contrary view of the obligations of social workers and the nature of welfare law, see above, "Social Workers Lash D.C. Welfare Plans.")

In another development, the Illinois Public Aid Commission has issued a blunt warning to relief recipients that regulations governing their aid will be tightened. Commission Executive Secretary Harold O. Swank issued four directives purportedly strengthening administrative control over aid recipients and effecting economies in the state's relief program.

Among other things, Swank said that from now on recipients cannot move without the authority of their caseworker. (Presumably his reference was to the change of home address; but the nature and implication of his remark will undoubtedly be appreciated by all recipients of public aid in Illinois.)

Back to Contents


(Editor's note: Last summer Dr. Isabella L.D. Grant, member of the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind and officer of the California Council of the Blind, left the country with a Fulbright grant and the approval of the U.S. State Department to take up again the work she had begun in Pakistan, centering on the education and rehabilitation of blind youth. Following are excerpts from letters of Dr. Grant reporting on her experiences and adventures in the troubled and populous new nation of Asia.)

THE BLIND AMERICAN surely reaches far out, when I can be accosted on a street in Lahore by a young, promising blind fellow and his friend and asked, "What's a Twin-Vision Book?" I promptly produce from my bag the sample copy Jean gave me, and Delawar starts thinking, first negatively, that here again the Western world can do things the Eastern world cannot do, until both of us do a little bit of talking, and come up with the idea that maybe Twin Vision is not exactly what we need here, but something else is; and Delawar comes up with his ideas. Paper is scarce, materials all too often non-existent, but they can be had, if we try long enough and hard enough. Oh, that there were more Delawars than one--but there is one. I have started the fellow in writing to young blind leaders I have met in many countries, Austria, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Australia, Phillipines ... and Delawar is delighted that he now has achieved one of the goals of his life, to have contacts with other blind persons throughout the world ....

When I was here three years ago, I had a wonderful response to what I was doing, had, I thought, full cooperation of people, together with understanding of the problem of education and training of blind youth; but one thing I did not fully realize, though I did have a hunch about it: what would they do when I left? Did they have the initiative to carry on under their own steam? They didn't .... So this time I changed the approach. I set out to get the cooperation and approval of the State Department of Education, and I insisted on their getting me a "counterpart" whom I would train, prepare and inform, so that he would be the leader in the project and not I. After being literally tossed from one official to the other, no one wanting to assume responsibility nor make any decisions--to seven officials in all I took my project, until finally it dawned on them that I meant business. But after all I was only a woman, in this man-centered society, and furthermore an American--another strike against me.

It lasted these three months, and now I have the counterpart--a promising young fellow, sighted, dedicated to his country in his way, and I believe that after these four weeks with him, he is getting a new idea about the blind people of his country .... He was not "selected,” you don't do that here. He walked by chance into the office of the Deputy Director of Education asking for a job, and the D.D. sent him upstairs to me. I did not let him go!

So the Announcement has been worked out, with the full approval of the Joint Secretary of Education .... I met with Lions Clubs, met with leading educators, college presidents, principals of schools, teachers. Where I went Khadim went too, and he could not help getting what I was driving at. Just this past week, we went to the head of the Department of Social Work, as they call it in the University of the Punjab, and within half an hour we were addressing the advanced social workers' class.

The following day, we went to the office of the Deputy Directress of National Reconstruction, for in the village aid program the blind must be included, I said, and she agreed. As a result, Khadim and I are to work out materials in simple reading for sighted illiterates and the same material for blind persons. We must find the teachers through our seminars.

We visited Dr. Sill of the Peace Corps, and have been offered the facilities of his Peace Corps workers in the villages. We have started a braille "Corner" in the Punjab Public Library, and are now making plans to place there a copy of the Holy Koran, and another book in Urdu. Urdu braille books are just non-existent, so we have that to do too. Urdu is what we need, for the medium of instruction in the government schools is the vernacular.

We visited a large village, Posrur (all the villages here are large, with hundreds of thousands of people crowding in them), where I was told an enterprising blind woman had taken eight blind children into a school with some hundred other children. That little group and the teacher are now being befriended (I do not use the term "adopted") by the Iowa group under Bill Klontz. That was a request these folks in Iowa made of me when I visited there December last. The Iowa folks are going to send braille paper, braille slates and styluses, for there just aren't any here. The teacher had one of her own, and I gave her my one .... I trust I shall have more to give her when my two boxes arrive. They were dispatched at the beginning of June, and are still in transit (mid-December). ...


(Lahore, West Pakistan, September 18.) Lahore is to be my home for a little time. The heat is still soaring, the moisture unbearable, the rays of the sun piercing and depressive morally and physically. We are told it will cool off in some weeks. People here are kindness itself--albeit different in ways, work, customs, talk. But warm, in their way, and most gracious.

I am making contacts with persons in education, social welfare, and in fact anywhere I can find a receptive ear. Under the physical conditions, this is HARD WORK. Rickshas and small taxis are my mode of getting to places and people, but the drivers don't seem to want to understand my Urdu. Can you guess why?

I am living in a house with a most delightful young student from Delaware, who is attending the University of Punjab in the field of political science. Between the two of us, we have had to buy a myraid of necessities and to employ three servants, for one refuses to do the work of the other, and with my efficiency or yours, we could do it in one-tenth of the time.


(Lahore, September 25.) In spite of the severities of the culture shock, the climatic shock, the housing, food, and a thousand other shocks, not to mention earthquakes and floods, I'm still on my feet. It takes time to get into tune with the environment here. I wonder if any Occidental ever does, or perhaps it takes years and complete separation from the Occident to do so. I admire the Americans who have come here on any program whatsoever, particularly those with children and families. They are truly ambassadors of goodwill and of service.

I have had a most interesting press interview and I am sending you the clipping of it. The following day there appeared an unsolicited editorial which meant very much to me. Please interpret the editorial. It shows that somewhere hidden and latent, there is the desire to do something regarding the education of blind children, but the means, the methods, the direction--the "first step"--all of these are still lacking.

Besides the press interview, I was on the radio on Sunday night with the same story. I also spoke to a woman's group on Monday morning, all on the same topic. It is hard to give any pronosis or results. One week is not even a drop in the ocean in this enormous problem of traditional cultural stereotypes, etc., in my own field. Multiply that by other fields of social, economic and political development, and you have an idea of the problem.

I was asked if I sought to educate the blind. What could they do even if they did get education? This in short is the culture pattern with regard to blind persons. The point of view is not new to me, for I have been here before and found it then. It is going to take a long, long time to change this point of view, but every little effort, I am sure, will be of help. The concept of the dignity of the individual has not yet penetrated, in our interpretation at least. But I am hopeful. This is only the second week of my second visit. We shall see,

I talked before a group of 600 young boys in a boys' college yesterday. I received a most wonderful response, and these students asked the most interesting and challenging questions. I personally received a very, very cordial welcome and likewise thanks. You would have had a good laugh, however, had you seen me find my way to the college. I was perched high in a ricksha, alone, hanging onto my pocketbook, my cane and my hair. The ricksha driver drove like fury, and helped unnecessarily to digest my breakfast. I spent so much energy just going there that I was glad of the cup of tea and cake that were offered me.

Back to Contents


By Donald C. Capps

(Editor's note: Mr. Capps, the Second Vice-President of the National Federation of the Blind, is also a past president of the South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind and currently editor of the state organization's publication, THE PALMETTO AURORAN. The inspirational piece which follows appeared in the November, 1962, issue of the AURORAN under the title "Final Thought.")

Just for today I will try to live through this day only and not tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do something for 12 hours that would appall me if I felt I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

Just for today I will be happy. This assumes to be true what Lincoln said, that, "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be."

Just for today I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. Just for today I shall adjust my blindness to the world, and not try to adjust the world to my blindness. I will take my "luck" as it comes, and fit myself to it.

Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do somebody a good turn, and not get found out--if anybody knows about it, it will not count;--I will do at least two things I don't want to do, just for exercise;--I will not show anyone that my feelings are hurt--they may be hurt, but today I will not show it.

Just for today I will have a program. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will have a quiet half hour all by myself, and relax. During this half hour, sometime I will try to get a better perspective of my life.

Just for today I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful, and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.

Just for today I will be agreeable, I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, talk low, act courteously, criticize not one bit, not find fault with anything and not try to improve or regulate anybody except myself.

Back to Contents


F.J. Cummings Passes. Francis J. Cummings, executive secretary of the Delaware Commission for the Blind for the past twenty years, died in mid-October at the age of 58. A veteran leader in the field of welfare and services for the blind, Dr. Cummings lost his sight at the age of 12 and went on to graduate from the Overbrook School for the Blind, to gain his B.A. from the University of Delaware, and to earn both an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Among the offices and titles he held during his long career were: past president of American Association of Workers for the Blind; trustee, American Foundation for the Blind; member and delegate. World Council for the Welfare of the Blind; membership on the Council of State Directors of Vocational Rehabilitation; delegate to the 1960 Inter-American Conference on Work for the Blind, and member of the board of directors of the Philadelphia Volunteers Service for the Blind.


NFB Leader Cited. An editorial tribute to Kenneth Jernigan, director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind--and also first vice-president of the National Federation of the Blind--appeared in the DES MOINES TRIBUNE of November 29. 1962, under the heading "State Budget Presentations." The editorial stated in part:

"One of the most effective budget presentations made during the hearings held by Gov-elect Harold Hughes was that by Kenneth Jernigan, director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind.

"The hearings have a three-fold purpose. One is to acquaint the incoming governor with the functions and responsibilities of the various agencies of state government. Another is to give him an estimate of the money needs of the departments. And the third is to inform the public and the legislators on these matters.

"The latter purpose is largely ignored. The first of the three is brushed over skimpily unless questions are asked. The second gets most of the emphasis.

"Director Jernigan, who is blind, reversed this order of emphasis. He presented an impressive and detailed report of the work done by the commission during the last two years and the things that could be accomplished in rehabilitating blind persons during the next two years if sufficient funds are provided by the Legislature.

"It was done in terms of individuals who had been helped, their problems and their accomplishments. The resulting picture of the commission's work and objectives was far more informative than those presentations that dealt almost entirely in terms of numbers of dollars and numbers of employees ...."


N.J. "Leader of the Month." Norbert Cifelli, of Trenton, recently elected president of the Associated Blind of New Jersey, has been saluted by the organization's journal as "Leader of the Month" for his success in gaining publicity for the blind of the state in their campaign for improved programming.

Operator of one of the busiest blind-operated vending stands in New Jersey, Cifelli is known as "the most publicized member" of the ABNJ. His most recent appearance was on a nationally heard radio series, "Manpower," sponsored by the American Foundation for the Blind, released to stations across the country in November. In a taped interview with the Foundation's Dr. Gregor Ziemer, the Trenton blind leader told the nation how he performs his vending job, how he has improved it over 22 years, and how earning his own way in the community gives him a sense of dignity and independence not often associated in the public mind with blind persons.


BVA Names Two Staffers. Richard J. Curry of Syracuse has been appointed administrative director of the Blinded Veterans Association, and Edgar G. Shelton, Jr., has been named the BVA's director of public information. Both new appointees have had wide experience in fund-raising and publicity fields, and Shelton was formerly a vice-president of the American Broadcasting Company.


HEW Reports on Vending Stands. A new income high of $4,140 annually per operator was among the national averages reported recently by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (Office of Vocational Rehabilitation) in its survey of state vending stand reports for the last fiscal year. While noting that "such improvement reflects more selectivity in choosing operators and locations, plus better training and supervision,” the OVR announcement expressed concern that "some State programs show relatively little growth as compared with what is felt to be their potential."

The report also observed that on a national basis the vending stand program last year "realized 3.8 percent increase in number of vending stands; 8.8 percent increase in gross sales, and 12 percent increase in operator income."


A State President Speaks. Following is an excerpt from "The President's Page," written by James McGinnis, president of the California Council of the Blind, as a regular feature of the monthly COUNCIL BULLETIN. The present column appeared in the December, 1962, issue.

"The loud and continued outcries of the anti-welfare advocates pose a very real threat to the advances we have made in the past, and could place almost insurmountable obstacles in our path in the future. There is only one way to combat these threats to our objectives in social welfare, and that is to join forces with those people and organizations who support enlightened programs of social welfare.

"If we believe in the philosophy to which Dr. Newel Perry, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, Perry Sundquist, Russell Kletzing and others have dedicated their lives, then we must not sit back and wait for someone to do something ....

"Some blind people deride our efforts to improve social welfare benefits, to secure a more imaginative rehabilitation service, and to expand employment opportunities for the blind; yet, if we do not expand all our energies toward achieving these goals, no one else will and all of the blind will suffer serious setbacks.

"I have often heard people say, 'I wish blind children had better opportunities for education.' 'I wish blind teachers would be hired in our metropolitan school districts.' 'I wish employers would hire qualified blind people.' 'I wish welfare workers would treat their clients like people and not like thieves.' But we who are the Council cannot afford to be a wishing society. If our objectives are right and just, we must be willing to fight for them."


Finding My Way. This is the title of a recently published autobiography of the well-known blind author Borghild Dahl (New York, Button, 1962). For many years a professor of literature and journalism at Augustana College of South Dakota, Miss Dahl became blind in middle life after gradual deterioration of vision. She is the author of numerous works of fiction.


Erratum and Apologia. The name of Jewel Basse, of San Francisco, newly elected board member of the California Council of the Blind, was erroneously reported as "Jules Basse" in our October issue. The transliteration (or transformation) was of course unintentional; but we take editorial comfort in the knowledge that, when we do make an error, it is a jewel.


Close Work. Raymond Dinsmore, president of the Indiana Council of the Blind, and John Richardson, president of the Indiana Association of Workers for the Blind, have jointly announced that their two organizations are working together on proposed legislation to be presented to the 1963 session of the Indiana General Assembly, according to an item in the HOOSIER STAR-LIGHT. The Indiana Council is a state affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind.