The Blind American





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, Calif.

Editor: Floyd W. Matson.

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


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









By Dr. Jacobus tenBroek

By Robert H. Owens




Perry Sundquist, First Vice President of the National Federation of the Blind, became its chief officer on April 1, following the resignation of John Taylor from the organization's presidency. Taylor, who was elected to the leadership post at last year's NFB convention, released the following letter on March 26 to the Federation membership:

"Dear Friend:

"On April 1,1962, my resignation as Federation President will become effective. Before reaching this decision, I considered carefully the personal circumstances involved as well as the numerous expressions of trust and confidence in me which have come from the membership. The reasons upon which my resignation is based are at least two-fold.

"First, the office of Federation president, if its functions are to be discharged promptly and with imagination, requires more time than I am presently able to devote to it.

"Second, Perry Sundquist, the Federation's First Vice President, is an able and experienced leader who has been active in the organization since its formation 22 years ago. Perry is fully conversant with Federation programs and activities and has agreed to take on the work load of the Presidency.

"The new Federation Headquarters office will be: National Federation of the Blind, Inc., Office of the President, 4651 Mead Avenue, Sacramento 22 , California.

"Our new President has my complete support and cooperation and I shall assist him whenever possible. I shall continue as National White Cane Chairman through the Detroit convention and the Des Moines office will remain open for some time.

"The Federation's legislative programs have been moving ahead rapidly, and they will continue to progress at the present pace or perhaps be accelerated as a result of the additional time and experience which Perry will be able to devote to them."

The NFB's outgoing president, who had served with distinction in such earlier roles as officer, member of the board of directors and Washington office chief, was the Federation's First Vice President at the time of his selection by the Kansas City convention to fill the presidential seat left vacant by the retirement of the organization's founder and longtime leader Dr. Jacobus tenBroek.

The pressure of increasing responsibilities on two separate fronts contributed to Taylor's decision reluctantly to turn over the reins of office --a decision which Federationists across the country also will accept with reluctance and regret. As director of vocational rehabilitation for the Iowa Commission for the Blind, John's professional responsibilities have been steadily mounting; while on the domestic front, he and his wife recently welcomed their third addition to the family, an 8-pound, 2-ounce boy, John Christopher Taylor. Fortunately for the NFB, the energy and devotion which this former Tennessee teacher has brought to all his tasks -- and not least of all to that of chief executive -- will remain available to the organized blind movement as John continues in the role of active member and leader.

The New President: A Profile

Sundquist, a pioneer member of the National Federation, has been for the past 20 years Chief of the Division for the Blind in the California State Department of Social Welfare. In recognition of his numerous contributions to the welfare of the blind, both in his own state and throughout the nation, he was the recipient in 9959 of the NFB's Newel Perry Award.

Following early education in both the public schools and the school for the blind in Washington, Perry moved to California at the age of 14 to enroll at the famous school for the blind in Berkeley -- where he studied under the late Dr. Newel Perry and first developed his lifelong interest in the educational and organizational cause of the blind. His own visual impairment, severe although not total, did not keep him from going on to earn a B.A. degree in political science from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1931 he married Emily Wright, whom he had met as a college undergraduate. Mrs. Sundquist is now a teacher in the Sacramento public schools.

A leader in the formation of the California Council of the Blind in the mid-thirties, Perry was named in 1935 to conduct a statewide census and economic survey of the blind in California for the State Department of Education. Shortly thereafter, he became executive secretary of the American Brotherhood for the Blind (of which he is presently an officer). Among the many distinguished posts he has held are those of board member of the California Conference of Social Work; president of the central district of the Coordinating Committee on State Services for the Blind; president of the Fort Sutter Chapter, California State Employees' Association, and head of the Division of Public Assistance in the State Department of Social Welfare.

Something of the character and administrative ability of the NFB's new president may be inferred from the following tribute to Sundquist in his public capacity delivered by Dr. Jacobus tenBroek in the course of a 1956 speech before the California Council of the Blind:

"It is the administrator who stands between the letter of the law and the intended beneficiaries. How well that letter is carried out, how much of the benefit is received, depends upon how well the administrator comprehends the letter, how much he approves of what he comprehends and how much skill he displays in the execution. In all of these respects Perry has been unexcelled. He has understood the constructive purposes of the legislature. He has approached his task with confidence in himself and in the blind and with a contagious enthusiasm. Above all, by legal coercion, when that is necessary, by cajolery, by friendliness, by good nature, by patience, by tactical delays, by flexible adaptations, and most important of all, by persuasion -- by all of these various and diverse administrative devices and techniques Perry has demonstrated his really topflight skill as an administrator. In my many years as a member of the State Social Welfare Board, I have seen Perry exhibit these qualities month by month and week by week."



The right of blind people to organize -- at least in New Jersey -- was formally confirmed last month in action taken by the senate of that state. By a unanimous vote of 20-0, the New Jersey solons on February 19 approved a bill modeled after the right-to-organize section of the federal measure supported by the organized blind and first introduced in 1957 by then Senator John F. Kennedy and Congressman Walter S. Baring. The New Jersey measure, sponsored by State Senator Frank Farley, now awaits a similar test in the Assembly.

Under the title, "Senate Confirms Human Rights for the Blind," the NEWARK STAR-LEDGER of February 25 devoted major space to a bylined article (by Franklin Gregory) dealing with the blind right-to-organize bill and its legislative career. Following are excerpts from the newspaper account:

"We are indebted for this story to Robert H. Owens of Trenton, secretary of the State Council of New Jersey Organizations of the Blind. it explains, he says, why the organized blind are asking state legislation which gives 'express recognition of the right of our blind citizens to organize and express their views.'

"To a good many people who watched the bill come up for a vote in the Senate last Monday, it seemed at first blush rather superfluous that a law was needed to guarantee this right for the blind. Don't all citizens in the United States have the right to organize? Doesn't everybody have the right to voice his opinions?

But on closer examination it seems that the blind have been left out of the main current. Senate President Frank S. Farley, sponsor of the bill, told his colleagues: 'They feel very strongly that they should have the right to express their own viewpoint, directly rather than contributory organizations.

"Before the bill passed, 20-0, Farley gave a nice hand to Robert Cifelli, the blind news vendor in the State House, for calling the problem to the Legislature's attention. We asked Cifelli to amplify and Cifelli turned us over to Owens. Owens told us:

"'The proposal would recognize, as a public policy, the blind person's right to freely formulate collective opinions. Nobody has denied that right. Blind people, like everybody else, are allowed the privilege of free assembly.

"'However, because there is a tendency by most people to listen only to those who profess to speak for the blind, rather than to the blind speaking for themselves, the state council maintains that a law recognizing the blind's right, particularly, is needed.'

"What it adds up to, we gathered, is that a lot of well-intending do-gooder groups -- as so often happens in other fields of welfare -- think they know more about what's good for the blind than the blind themselves.

"Owens said Farley, by sponsoring the bill, added his name to a growing list of eminent advocates of the blind's right to self-expression. . . . Today some eight identical proposals are before Congress, including one sponsored by Rep. George M. Wallhauser (of New Jersey).

"Kennedy told the U.S. Senate that sometimes the right of the blind to join their own organizations 'has been prejudiced by a few professional workers ... who have allowed their personal views to be expressed in official action for or against particular organizations of the blind.'

"Kennedy also warned the 'administrators and workers in welfare programs for the blind possess unusual power to control the lives and influence the conduct of their clients.'

"Owens added: 'But this does not necessarily apply solely to professional workers for the blind. It applies as well to the numerous well-meaning individuals who would answer the waitress. It applies to those who would pour cream for the blind -- without even asking whether they might like their coffee black.'"



A major step toward the achievement of the long-term objectives of the blind has been taken by the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives, as a result of public hearings held during February on the Administration's welfare bill, The revised measure, as it emerged from committee deliberations on March 7 (under the title of H.R. 10606), bore an official stamp of approval for two vital reforms long fought for by the organized blind -- in one case virtually alone and unaided.

The persistent uphill campaign waged by the National Federation of the Blind over the past dozen years on behalf of the separate Missouri and Pennsylvania programs of aid to the blind -- a struggle which had secured temporary reprieves for the independent state plans in each successive session of Congress -- has finally been brought to fruition with the committee's decision (subject to passage by the full House and Senate) to grant permanent approval to the Missouri and Pennsylvania formulas. The years of lonely battling against the solid opposition of the federal administrators and the indifference of the national welfare agencies thus gives promise of resulting in total victory for the cause of the blind.

A second important victory -- which moves a long way toward fulfilling the objectives of the King bill -- is contained in the recommendation of the House committee for a substantial increase in the federal matching formula for the blind, the aged and the disabled. The federal matching share would be increased from 4/5 of the first $31 of the grant to 29/35 of the first $35; and the federal maximum for matching would be raised from $66 to $70. These increases, moreover, would be permanent.

There are other gains which deserve mention in the welfare bill as approved by the Ways and Means Committee. The federal government would increase its matching share (from 50-50 to 75-25) for certain services in all public assistance programs which are deemed to "prevent or reduce dependency and promote self-sufficiency." The 75 percent matching would also be available for training public assistance personnel for work in state or local welfare agencies.

On the negative side of the legislation, the bill in its present form deletes the original proposal of the Administration for a reduction of state residence requirements to a one-year maximum, along with additional federal matching for states removing their residence requirements entirely. The present measure also retains a provision which should be deleted: the proposal for an optional combined state plan (title XVI) merging the programs of aid to the blind, the aged, and the disabled.

The Committee Report

Three days after its approval of the welfare bill, the House Ways and Means Committee released a notable report on its deliberations (House Report No.1414, March 10, 1962). Among the significant features of the publication are the following:

1. It makes plain that the bill's provision for "incentives" to employment through the consideration of work-connected expenses is applicable to title X (Aid to the Blind) and to the other categories of recipients, rather than being limited to the ADC program as originally proposed. Moreover, the committee has emphasized that the "work expenses" to be considered refer to "any expenses reasonably attributable to the earning of income." This language plainly necessitates a broad and liberal allowance of such expenses by the states.

In view of the long-continued efforts of the NFB to gain more realistic exemptions of income and expenses for welfare recipients, it is significant that the committee report reflects an enhanced recognition of the hardships worked by the present law: "Your committee believes that it is only reasonable for the States to take [such expenses] fully into account. Under existing law if these work expenses are not considered in determining need, they have the effect of providing a disincentive to working since that portion of the family budget spent for work expenses has the effect of reducing the amount available for food, clothing, and shelter." With respect to the blind, the already existing stipulation that net income from exempt earnings be considered should have been sufficient to have this effect. But since some states have been niggardly with' regard to the meaning of "net," the new provision will have a liberalizing effect upon those states.

2. The report clearly underscores the expectation of the Ways and Means Committee that the increase in payments to the blind, aged and disabled now authorized will be passed on to individual recipients. "The old, blind and disabled people assisted under these programs are living, in many parts of the country, under marginal conditions. It is timely for the Congress to take steps to improve their condition. The bill would enable the States, without additional States appropriation, to give the needy aged, blind, and disabled $4 additional each month, plus continuing the $1 increase voted last year on a temporary basis. The committee expects that the States will pass this additional money on to the recipients promptly. This has been the general experience with past increases of this type over the years."

However, the expectation of the committee's Democratic majority that the additional money will be passed on is not shared by the Republican members. In a statement of their "separate views" at the end of the report, the GOP minority argues that the projected increase "goes to the State, not to the welfare recipient," and accordingly that there is "no assurance that the benefits of a single beneficiary under any of these programs will be increased one cent." The Republicans express opposition to the increase of federal funds both for public assistance and for preventive and rehabilitative services.

3. The report states that under the new optional category (title XVI), the blind and disabled would benefit from "more favorable medical matching" than under the existing separate titles, by virtue of extending to them the formula enacted in 1960 and 1961 for old-age assistance -- which makes possible an additional $l5 for medical care beyond the average maximum payment. Moreover, with reference to commissions for the blind, the report gives assurance that "those states with separate agencies administering programs for the blind can submit a separate blind program under this title and still derive and medical care advantage."

4. In their minority statement, the Republican committee members challenge the claim that the welfare bill moves substantially toward the prevention of dependency and the rehabilitation of welfare clients. "There is nothing to prevent the States from using this [federal] increase to reduce their budget for these services by one-half--the equivalent of the increase in the Federal contribution," they assert. "This provision assures neither increased emphasis on preventive and rehabilitative services, nor improvement of these services." The Republicans express particular opposition to the provision for federal training grants for public welfare personnel, described as "the end of the line for the federal-state cost-sharing welfare programs." The minority report concludes: "We fully agree that greater stress should be placed on the preventive and rehabilitative aspects of public welfare. Our only regret is that the much heralded creative efforts of the Administration toward that objective has produced little more than a proposal for an increase in the Federal contribution."

Postscript: State GOP Balks

A blunt (if ironic) confirmation of the fears of Republican committee members that additional federal funds for public assistance might not be passed on by the states to their intended beneficiaries--but instead diverted to other uses not consistent with congressional intent -- appeared in the last week of March in California.

Republican leaders in the state Assembly, according to a report in the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, "called for the cancellation of a projected $4.20-a-month increase in old-age pensions for 268,010 Californians. Instead, they said, an anticipated $12.6 million Federal welfare appropriation should be diverted to provide $6 million more for pay raises for state employees than the 5 percent raise recommended by Governor Edmund G. Brown. The remaining $6.6 million, they said, should go into the state general fund..... .

"[Assemblyman] Bagley said he regarded present welfare payment levels in California as adequate.... 'These programs have been expanded to the jeopardy of other areas of state responsibility,' the GOP Assemblyman said....

"The Republicans added they had no intention of opposing a scheduled $4.20-a-month increase in pensions for 14,000 blind."



(Editor's note: Following is a legislative bulletin released during March by the National Federation of the Blind, with these purposes: "to focus attention exclusively upon the proposed title XVI, to indicate its present and potential dangers to the welfare of the blind, and to suggest what action Federationists might wish to take to circumvent it.")

The proposed 1962 Amendments to the Social Security Act contain a title XVI which would encourage the states to lump the blind with the aged and the disabled in one plan.

This so-called "optional" provision for a combined state plan for the aged, blind, and disabled is, in our judgment,most unfortunate. The tendency would be to scramble together the aged, blind, and disabled -- and social work staff would be expected to be all things to all clients. The distinctive needs of the aged, the blind, and the disabled would tend to be disregarded and their unique problems thus receive little, if any, specialized assistance toward their solution.

The problems of the blind are different from those of the aged, and the problems of the disabled are different from both. Each group needs separate and specially qualified personnel, informed in the nature of their problems and qualified by experience to help in the solution of those problems.

If self-support and self-care are to be the attainable goals of public assistance for the blind, then the present categorical approach should be strengthened, not weakened. Adequately meeting the needs of particular groups of disadvantaged persons should be the one major consideration, not simplification of administration which really means uniformity to make the job easier for the administrators!

The strong inducement in the proposed title XVI designed to force states to adopt the misnamed "optional" combined state plan for the aged, blind, and disabled is that the Federal Government will participate in medical care costs up to 50 percent of $15, or an increase to the states in Aid to the Blind and Disabled of as much as $7.50 per case per month in federal money, similar to the matching formula already provided for in Old Age Assistance.

This proposed scrambling of recipients of Aid to the Blind with recipients of Old Age Security and Aid to the Disabled would mean that the needs of blind persons would largely be lost sight of, making it virtually impossible to carry out the Congressional objectives of title X of the Social Security Act. The argument for the proposed title XVI is one of bureaucratic convenience under the name of "simplification," but the assumption which lies behind it is the fallacious one that needy blind men and women are not sufficiently distinct from other disadvantaged groups to be treated separately, in terms of their unique problems and specific needs.

A blind person's needs are as broad as the effects of his blindness and these needs differ significantly in many respects from the needs of other disadvantaged groups. Are the needs of blind persons still in the productive years of life the needs of older citizens who have progressed beyond those years? If so, the objectives of rehabilitation, of re-training, and of economic contribution are pointless. Are the blind to be treated in the same way as the permanently and totally disabled? If so, their hopes for escape from dependency, for the achievement of self- support and competitive acceptance are surely doomed — for their rehabilitation problems are quite different.

As early as 1830 Indiana enacted a measure to provide for the support of needy blind persons. Four other states -- Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts and Wisconsin -- passed similar laws between 1830 and 1909. Six more states entered this field of legislation by 1920, and eleven additional states by 1950. By 1935, when the Social Security Act was first passed by the Congress, some twenty-seven states already had enacted special programs of public assistance for their needy blind residents. Thus, for 132 years the states have realized the necessity of making special provision for public assistance for blind persons.

If title XVI is enacted into law it will actively encourage a complete scrambling of Aid to the Blind with the other categories of public assistance -- in budgetary procedures, in rule and regulatory material, and in the actual administration of the program.

Only when there is an opportunity in the administration of Aid to the Blind to deal with the unique needs of blind persons separately can the program objectives be advanced. The immediate and long-range social and economic gains which result from gearing the administration of Aid to the Blind to the reduction of physical, social, and economic dependency certainly far outweigh any considerations with respect to ease of administration or bureaucratic "simplification."

If the great human and economic values stemming from the reduction of dependency are to be realized, Aid to the Blind must not be lumped with other categories of public assistance. Unless the proposed title XVI is stricken from the 1962 Amendments to the Social Security Act, the progress made in this country in meeting the needs of blind persons on a separate basis for over a century will be scrapped!

To avert these various dangers letters should be written to the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, the Honorable Harry F. Byrd, whose address is Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. Letters should also be sent to the senators from the writer's own state, especially if they are members of the Finance Committee. Your letter should specify those parts of the bill which are favorably regarded (i.e., the cash gains and the Missouri-Pennsylvania approval), and then indicate the reasons why title XVI should be deleted from the bill. Correspondence to congressmen should be individual -- that is, not a form letter.

Members of the Senate Finance Committee are:

Democratic: Harry F. Byrd, Chairman; Robert S. Kerr, Oklahoma; Russell B. Long, Louisiana; George A. Smathers, Florida; Clinton P. Anderson, New Mexico; Paul M. Douglas, Illinois; Albert Gore, Tennessee; Herman E. Talmadge, Georgia; Eugene J. McCarthy, Minnesota; R. Vance Hartke, Indiana; J. W. Fulbright, Arkansas.

Republican: John J. Williams, Delaware; Frank Carlson, Kansas; Wallace F. Bennett, Utah; John Marshall Butler, Maryland; Carl T. Curtis, Nebraska; Thruston B. Morton, Kentucky.



(Editor's note: The following news item, adapted from the legislative bulletin FROM THE STATE CAPITALS, is presented without comment as a significant illustration of one line of criticism presently being brought against federal administration of welfare.)

Concern over what it termed "steadily increasing domination by federal authorities and the consequent loss of state and local autonomy" was expressed recently by the New York State Board of Social Welfare. It urged changes in federal law to permit the state greater authority in administering welfare programs, which are financed in part by $200 million a year received from the federal government.

"We believe," the board said, "that a stand must be made now by this state and, hopefully, every other state to stop and to reverse the trend of federal domination of a growing complexity with federal regulations."

The board proposed that the state legislature recommend the following program to Congress: A state's welfare law should be used to determine whether a state conforms with federal law; the determining factor should not be the welfare plans that a state is required to submit to Washington as is now the case; the powers of federal administrators to review a state's program for conformity should be limited to reviewing the state's welfare laws; and federal decisions on the conformity of state laws should be subject to review in federal courts.

The board said such revision of federal law would leave it up to a state's lawmakers and not its administrators to decide whether to accept or reject federal funds. Limiting the powers of federal administrators would mean that they could not stretch federal requirements and threaten to withdraw federal funds unless the state amended its plans to conform to the latest interpretation of federal regulations.

The state board said there was no dispute with the federal government over welfare objectives. It said what was involved in the "bureaucratic network of federal regulations, reporting, auditing, bulletins, state letters, interpretations, conformity, reviews and a snowstorm of other administrative paper requirements."

It said new federal welfare proposals would, if adopted by Congress, "give the (U.S.) Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare full power to dictate in detail to all the States, and therefore to all the thousands of local communities in the nation."

"The discretion vested in the secretary is without limitation," the board said, adding that this was a "flat contradiction to the historic concern of New York State and its localities for home rule."



Under the international slogan "Preserve Sight: Prevent Blindness," the World Health Organization will inaugurate a year-long global campaign on April 7, designated as "World Health Day." The United States will join with other nations throughout the world in the cooperative program designed to call governmental and public attention to the universal problem of blindness.

The World Health Day observance, which centers each year around a public health problem of international concern, commemorates the creation of WHO on April 7, 1948. The decision to concentrate attention this year upon the theme of blindness was reached as a result of systematic preparations on the part of WHO and the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind. The latter organization made the first overture as early as 1959, and the matter was brought to fruition last year with a resolution by the host Indian government at the World Health Assembly meeting at New Delhi.

As part of the organized effort behind the present WHO campaign, a United States Citizens Committee for World Health Day, 1962, has been formed under the chairmanship of America's First Lady, Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, with Helen Keller as honorary chairman.

Member groups of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind -- including in the U.S. the National Federation of the Blind and the American Foundation for the Blind -- are lending their cooperation to insure the success of the worldwide project. It is expected that in many less developed countries the program will lay primary emphasis upon the preventive aspects of blindness; while in more advanced nations such as the United States there will be equal stress upon rehabilitation, education, employment and social integration of the blind within the community.



"The byword of our new program," said the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare to a committee of Congress recently, "is prevention." The program he was referring to is that which is embodied in the Public Welfare Amendments now before Congress. And the "prevention" which Secretary Ribicoff was referring to is also contained in the welfare bill as one of its professed objectives. Section 2 of the original bill forthrightly states one of its goals to be "Prevention -- prevention of dependency by dealing with the problems causing dependency."

This new rhetorical emphasis of "prevention," with respect to dependency and disability, is doubtless a fine thing in principle. And as with such other time-tested values as justice, liberty, home and mother, no one is likely to be found in vocal opposition to it. Granted then that we are all against dependency and for prevention, what is it exactly that we are agreed upon?

To be specific, what are the actual causes of dependency that are to be prevented; and what are the measures that will deal preventively with them? To be still more specific, are these causes clearly recognized and these measures contemplated in the welfare program contained in the new amendments?

In what follows I shall argue that they are not; that for all its sweeping promises and glittering rhetoric the program presented to us by the federal administrators may accurately be described as an ounce of prevention -- and a pound of cure-all.

In his testimony last February before the House committee holding hearings on the welfare bill, Secretary Ribicoff gave much attention to what he called "the importance of prevention." Under this formal heading, and for this express purpose, his statement listed three specific recommendations: (l) the permanent provision of aid to dependent children of unemployed parents; (2) the authorization of federal participation in ADC payments where both parents are in the home, and (3) the permanent provision for foster home and institutional child care.

I submit that it is altogether meaningless to proclaim these measures under the heading of "prevention." I know of no sense of the word in which any of them can be defined as preventive. Nor are they at all new or different in concept from the existing provisions of the law; indeed their effect is rather to reinforce and support those provisions by broadening the category of eligible children. These modest steps may be constructive in their own right; but it is a gross and pious deception to make them stand substitute for measures seriously intended to prevent the causes of dependency.

What are the causes of dependency, with reference to public assistance, that are to be prevented? A reasonable answer might be that those "causes are simply the conditions designated by the four categories of aid: namely, blindness, old age, disability, and the host of problems peculiar to ADC. But merely to mention these various causes and conditions is to perceive how complex is the issue of their "prevention." For not all of them are equally preventable, or preventable in the same way. At least one of them (old age) is not preventable at all; while others may well be found to be not preventable within the limited authority and competence of public welfare.

The very concept of prevention, in truth, has many meanings, some of them appropriate and others wholly inappropriate to the province of public welfare. Take old age: while the inexorable march of time and years cannot itself be prevented, there are two distinct lines of attack of a broadly "preventive" nature which might be identified. One line of attack is evidenced in the rapid advance of medical and scientific research into the organic process of aging. Through this exploration much has already been done to delay the infirmities of age and to lengthen the expectancy of life; but for all the alchemy of modern medicine and the magic of our science no cure is yet in sight for the condition of old age, and no vaccine against mortality. We who are teachers need have no fear of contradiction when we begin our lessons in logic with the true major premise: "All men are mortal . . . ."

The other form of "preventive" attack upon old age is that of social insurance -- specifically the program of OASI under social security, which aims directly at reducing the dependency and penury (if not the chronology) of advancing years. The degree to which the means of social insurance are adequate to its end is of course debatable. Obviously the success of such a program can at best be partial; it cannot make the old young, nor the poor wealthy. But to the extent that it retains for its payments the character of a rightful entitlement rather than of a charitable dole -- free from means tests, residence laws, responsible-relatives' provisions, eavesdropping caseworkers, and the like -- the program of old-age insurance may well be said to reduce if not prevent many of the cruellest effects of dependency for persons in the advanced years of life.

Clearly, neither of these two lines of "preventive" and corrective action related to old age falls within the jurisdiction of public assistance as it has always been defined. There is, much, of course, that welfare can do to relieve and palliate the distress of old age: by leading the aged toward self-care and self-confidence; by providing house-keeping, nursing home, hospital and medical care facilities; and generally by encouraging what used to be known, in a psychological sense at least, as independent living. Such measures can help to relieve the burdens of poverty and age; but they do little or nothing to attack the causes and thus prevent that dependency.

It is not easy to see how public welfare can be expected to do more than this, for the needy citizens of advanced years who fall within its purview. There are final limits to its competence and authority; certain social problems and personal sorrows must presumably remain forever beyond its power to heal or prevent. In any case what this basic program of public assistance serves to illustrate is that the free and easy talk of "preventing dependency" is neither so clear nor so laudable as it may at first appear. Whether effective prevention is possible, whether it is appropriate, whether it has any meaning at all for public welfare, depends upon a realistic factual analysis of the differing causes and conditions which underlie the dependency of each client group.

Let us take another example. What is the condition of need which is to be "prevented" in the case of families with dependent children? In the majority of cases, that need is demonstrably economic, and its cause is lack of employment. I need hardly remind you that the close statistical correlation between rising unemployment and rising ADC rolls if no accident. For people whose need is of this character the only viable meaning of prevention, as well as of cure, is regular and normal employment . However, that fundamental economic need, as we all know, seldom exists all by itself for the families who comprise the bulk of our caseloads: it exists in an atmosphere of racial prejudice and discrimination, of shifting industrial demands and the obsolescence of traditional skills. In short, for many recipients of welfare the prevention of need means first of all the provision of opportunity, of fair and open access to jobs; and for some it means the provision of new job skills to replace those placed on the scrapheap by automation and invention.

There are, of course, also needs and problems of another kind to be found among this client group. Some recipients are permanently unemployable by virtue of serious illness, incapacity or retardation, whether physical or mental in origin. What possible meaning can the doctrine of "prevention" have in such cases as these? No doubt the adjusting services of psychiatric casework -- clinical therapy, orientation, counseling and so on -- can do much in certain instances to reduce instability and minimize suffering. But for many if not most of these unemployable recipients -- at least until the day when science can substitute capacity for incapacity and replace a weak mind with a strong one — the most that can be hoped for is not prevention but palliation, not full rehabilitation but a measure of relief.

If we are to be serious about "prevention" with regard to this plethora of dependencies and needs under ADC, we must be prepared to undertake a sweeping venture of investment and investigation. If public welfare is to be genuinely preventive as well as palliative, it must be ready to move systematically and simultaneously on all these fronts.

Is the Administration prepared for so vast an undertaking of welfare? The echo answers yes. "Rehabilitation -- prevention -- not relief alone -- is to be the purpose of this program, " according to Secretary Rubicon. And he continues: "Now how, you may ask, is this accomplished? The answer is: through professional, skilled services ." There then follow, in his congressional statement, several examples of what is meant by services. In every case they are simply the supportive services of individual social casework. In no case do these personal services begin to touch the basic problems and causes of dependency we have been examining, with the possible exception of psychiatric causes. The prescription of the Secretary, in short, contains an ounce of prevention -- and a pound of cure-all.

We have seen that, with respect to the bulk of recipients under ADC, the prevention of dependency -- if it means anything -- means employment . With respect to most recipients of old-age assistance, on the other hand, prevention is beside the point and has little or no meaning. With respect to a third category, that of the permanently and totally disabled, the concept of prevention takes on still different coloration and connotation. The diversity of conditions, physical and mental, which are embraced within the provisions of title XIV makes any generalization hazardous; but it is perhaps safe to say (as I shall say in more detail in a moment) that for any disability the challenges are at once preventive and restorative. First of all, for those impairments which are "permanent and total" --i.e., crushing in their severity -- the goal of welfare must be to maximize the possibilities of self-care and independent living through all the means of therapy and training, relief and rehabilitation, which are available to the agencies of public assistance.

Not all disabilities, however, are so thoroughly incapacitating in their effect. For many of the blind and disabled clients of public assistance, the concept of prevention has another and different significance. With respect to the blind, in particular, the prevention of dependency has a double meaning. One meaning has to do with blindness as a disability, as when we speak of preventing the causes of blindness. The other meaning has to do with blindness as a social handicap, as when we speak of eliminating the stereotype of blindness. Prevention in the first sense is properly the concern of medicine and science; prevention in the second sense is properly the concern of welfare and rehabilitation.

In other words, there is little we can do about the physical disability of blindness, once it has occurred, except to cure it or live with it. But there is much that we can do about the social handicap of blindness -- that image of helplessness whose cause is to be found in prejudice and ignorance, and whose consequence is polite exclusion, segregation and discrimination. To surmount the social and economic handicap of blindness -- to prevent the peculiar form of dependency to which it gives rise -- requires special measures which will strike directly at its roots. These measures must proceed on two fronts. One involves an attack upon the public attitudes of suspicion and neglect, of misplaced pity and misunderstanding, which keep the blind from entering normal livelihoods and leading normal lives. On the other front such preventive measures must focus on the abilities and needs of the blind person himself, -- through incentives and encouragements to better his condition and improve his prospects for self-support.

These measures have been implicitly a part of the public welfare program at least since the purposes of self-support and self-care were injected into it in 1956. They are more than ever implicit in it now that the Administration has forcefully invoked those purposes and made them the central theme (in rhetoric at least) of its proposed amendments. But it must nevertheless be said that these measures are still far from explicit -- that they are not to be found in the actual provisions of the welfare bill. On the contrary, that bill is niggardly with respect to incentives, negative with respect to vocational training, and backward with respect to rehabilitation. While it promises much -- by way of prevention, rehabilitation, independence, self-support, and so on -- all that the Administration's program delivers is casework service with a smile.

That statement is not completely accurate. There is one unique form of "prevention" which is conspicuously evident in the welfare program. It is the oldest preventive method known to welfare -- that of punishment. It operates on the venerable theory that poverty is a crime and that dependency is synonymous with delinquency. On this theory our welfare officials appear to believe that dependency can be prevented by ordering mothers to go to work, and jailing them if they do not. They seek to regulate the entire realm of moral custom and behavior by arbitrary fiat; specifically, by making it a criminal offense to deviate from accepted patterns. And if punishment itself cannot deter the idle and the vagrant from seeking alms, an equally formidable deterrence of olden times has now been revived for the ADC program: that of the compulsory work test or forced labor gang. In light of these measures we may well ask: what price prevention now?

I have sought to show that the new welfare program, for all its ton of rhetoric, holds only an ounce of constructive prevention. But this does not mean that there is no place for preventive measures within public welfare, as well as outside it. Let us review some of the crucial measures of prevention that can and should be brought to bear against the social blights of dependency and disability.

First: the prevention of unemployment . This form of prevention does not mean, except in emergencies, public works (or make-work) projects; least of all does it mean the injection of punitive work-relief methods into public assistance. The goals of full employment and a healthy economy are those of the nation as a whole. What the agencies of welfare can do is to stimulate their clients to become self-supporting through the provision of realistic incentives, of income exemptions, of appropriate skills and of widened job opportunities.

Second: the prevention of social handicaps . Here too it must be the responsibility of society as a whole to prevent or abolish the festering conditions of hatred and prejudice, exclusion and discrimination, which limit the horizons both of racial minorities and of many of the disabled. What public assistance can accomplish is to overcome prejudice in its own house and back yard; to equip and prepare its clients to deal with it constructively and not passively, and to participate in the broader social attack upon the heritage of deprivations and disfranchisements which still renders our society tragically half-free and half-safe.

Third: the prevention of disease and disability . This is the province primarily of science and medicine, in alliance with public health. The lines between health and welfare (and education) are thin and often artificial, but they are also essential and sensible. If public welfare should take on the added responsibility of public health, it may well come to minimize and shirk its own. A very few special programs, such as the prevention of blindness, may find an appropriate and congenial residence in public assistance; but for the most part the responsibility for this research lies, as it has always lain, in the specially trained and equipped agencies of health.

Fourth: the prevention of technological and accidental causes of disability . This is, broadly, the realm of public safety campaigns and industrial reforms designed to reduce the incidence of avoidable injury. The improvement of safety factors is mainly a job for government, industry, advertising and the schools -- in which welfare is a sympathetic ally.

These then are a few of the concrete measures which can be taken toward the prevention of dependency -- both within the field of welfare and outside it. Dependency, however, must not only be prevented; where it already exists, it must be surmounted as well. In short, we must deal not only preventively with its causes but curatively with its effects. Preventive measures need to be supplemented by other measures of a rehabilitative and remedial nature. Among these are: vocational rehabilitation for the disabled, both through regular public agencies and those of public welfare; physical restoration and therapy aimed at self- care; medical assistance, including hospital and nursing services; psychiatric, diagnostic and supervisory provisions for mental and emotional illness; economic incentives and income exemptions designed to encourage self-support and independence. Provisions which are remedial and restorative are generally the responsibility of health and medical facilities; measures which are oriented toward vocational training and employment are properly the combined responsibility of welfare and vocational rehab agencies.

Finally, there is a third set of measures -- in addition to the preventive and the curative -- which are indisputably within the jurisdiction of public welfare. They are the "residual" and palliative functions of immediate relief and financial support -- those alluded to rather disparagingly by the President when he spoke of his own program as promising "services instead of support, rehabilitation instead of relief." No doubt the cash-grant aspect of public assistance lacks the glamor of newer and more sophisticated provisions; but it remains the irreducible bedrock of this or any welfare system. Whether such a system should undertake to do more than relieve the distress of poverty -- the original and fundamental purpose of social security -- is arguable, But whether it should or could do anything less than that is no longer open to dispute. Public assistance cannot be all things to all men, nor do all things for them. But it can enable society to guarantee one thing to all its members: namely, a minimum level of subsistence compatible with decency and health, beneath which no one need fear that he will fall. That has been the overriding goal of our social security programs for over a quarter- century; but who will contend that we have yet achieved it? The greatest inadequacy of our welfare system is still that of its level of payments -- and this is generally recognized to be the case by the social work profession. This fact is given emphasis in the recent authoritative report of the Project on Public Services for Families and Children, based upon a survey of some hundreds of workers and administrators across the country. Thus the authors comment:

"The material suggested that however important additional services might be, such services could not correct a deficiency credited by the fact of providing payments below the standards of health and decency. A social work educator spoke to this point: '...The prime necessity, I believe, is adequacy. Substitution of services, the necessity for which arises often because of inadequacy of money, is to my mind destructive of basic family rights as well as responsibilities.... I think we do not yet know what families could do for themselves if they were not struggling under some of the dire consequences of our inadequate grants.'"

As this last remark suggests, we have here the makings of a vicious circle. Once start providing "services instead of" adequate support, and those services might be multiplied indefinitely without relieving the basic economic need and its accompanying anxiety. What is required in public welfare is not less support but more and better support: not less relief but more adequate and constructive forms of relief.

It is fashionable at present, as Secretary Ribicoff's statement suggests, to speak dramatically of all the complex new problems that have supposedly arisen in welfare -- and to gloss over the old familiar problems as less interesting and somehow less significant. Thus the Secretary declares:

"Drastic shifts in our social structure have occurred during the recent decades. People are moving about the country at a rapid rate -- and this is a trend which will continue.... Desertion, divorce and separation have increased.... Discriminatory practices deny opportunities. Workers who are not highly skilled have lost their jobs as automation and increased industrialization demand higher and higher skills. All of these factors have thrown onto our welfare rolls a different kind of human burden. The dependents among us are often quite unlike those produced by the Great Depression of the thirties. They still include, of course, the lame, the halt and the blind we all want and need to help. But there are some who are quite different. Deprived of opportunity, bowed down under a bewildering array of new problems, suspect by their fellows, they are devoid of hope in the midst of a society providing abundantly and well for most of us."

There are two criticisms to be made of this dramatic statement. The first is that the new and "different kind of human burden" on our welfare rolls is, with minor exceptions, neither new nor different. The second point is that the solution for that burden held out by the Secretary -- that of more casework services -- is inadequate and incompetent.

Surely there have been "drastic shifts" in our society and economy -- ever since the Industrial Revolution, which first created the urban masses and mobile labor force that underlie the dependency, disability and simple poverty the Secretary is talking about. Desertion and divorce have increased, yes -- along with population. Automation and modernization have aggravated unemployment, yes. Racial prejudice has excluded minority groups from opportunity, yes. But surely these are problems long familiar to welfare work and theory, differing in our time only in degree rather than in kind. It may well be that the machinery of welfare is antiquated and needs rejuvenation; but this is a far cry from agreeing that (to quote the Secretary again) "we must now critically evaluate the fundamentals of public assistance" -- and presumably replace them with a new set of foundations. The old pillars of welfare have supported its structure for a generation without collapse; let us be careful that we do not now replace them with new and impressive foundations built on sand.



By Robert H. Owens

(Editor's note: Mr. Owens is president of the Trenton Association of the Blind and secretary-treasurer of the State Council of New Jersey Organizations of the Blind. His article is reprinted from the Trenton TRENTONIAN. Since the article was written, a bill supported by the New Jersey organizations to protect blind vendors against automatic machines has passed the state Senate and is awaiting action in the Assembly.)

An executive of a large vending machine company recently described automatic vending as an infant industry. He said, in effect, that coin-nursed merchandising is merely teething on the more than $2.4 billion Americans now insert in mechanical dispensers, and predicted the infant will grow to be an American business giant.

To many of us, automatic machine vending is already pretty gigantic. Rarely do we think of candy bars, soft drinks or cigarettes without looking for the nearest machine. And usually there's a machine nearby. But probably not one of us, outside the industry, is as acutely aware of the machines' proximity as are the blind. To them the growth of automatic vending is a threat to what is believed to be one of the most successful vocational rehabilitation programs for the blind in the world.

About 2,200 blind persons enjoy remunerative employment in across-the-counter sales of newspapers, cigarettes, candy and soft drinks. These men and women operate concessions in federal, state and municipal buildings throughout the country. Many of them report they are now spending more time listening to the wh-r-r-r and click-click of mechanical dispensers in corridors than in serving customers.

Some concessionaires complain bitterly about the machines' "encroachment." Others quickly admit the public seems to prefer the coin-dropping, button-pushing deal. Some blind vendors have installed machines of their own, and some find themselves competing with the "silent salesman."

The Randolph-Sheppard Act of 1935 provides that blind persons be given preference to operate concessions in federal buildings. States have copied the law, and amendments have been enacted giving the same preference for the locating of vending machines in the governments' buildings. But some concessionaires report they are not always given preference.

It is instances where the intent of the Randolph-Sheppard Act has not been observed that have alarmed the blind and spurred them to attempt to safeguard the program. Through local, state and national organizations of their own, the blind are working to expand and protect the program.

Working with the blind now, as he did in the early '30's, is Senator Jennings Randolph (West Virginia). The senator has introduced legislation which would authorize President Kennedy to appoint a board of at least three members to hear appeals when charges are made that the provisions of the Randolph-Sheppard Act are not being adhered to by persons in charge of federal buildings.

The bill would amend the original act to provide that income from vending machines in federal buildings be assigned exclusively to vending stand operators "to achieve and protect the vending stand preference."

The Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Act belongs to many people. It belongs to the legislators, organizations and newspapers who supported the idea in the days when Franklin D. Roosevelt, as governor of New York, by executive order established two of the country's first such stands in Albany. And the program belongs to the people whose tax dollars have sustained the idea since June 20, 1936, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Randolph-Sheppard Act.

And the program belongs to the blind -- those who enjoy the dignity of earning their way in the community, and those who hope.

There are nine vending stands in the Trenton area operated by blind persons. The oldest, established in City Hall 25 years ago, has been managed throughout those years by 62-year-old Howard Stults.



Rhode Island Sets Convention: The Rhode Island Federation of the Blind is making plans for its second annual convention to be held Saturday, May 26, at the Crown Hotel, 208 Weybosset Street, Providence. Scheduled to open at 9:30 A.M., the convention will close with an evening banquet and dance. The principal banquet address will be delivered by John F. Nagle.Washington office chief of the National Federation of the Blind. Other guests slated for active participation include Miss Norma Farrar, of Seeing Eye, Inc., Morristown, New York; Peter J. Salmon, head of the Brooklyn Industrial Home for the Blind, and Dr. William Feinbloom, New York City optometrist, A goodly portion of the afternoon program will be taken up with a panel discussion on sheltered workshops, according to information from Antone V. Santos, RIFB president.

California Council Holds Seminars: Two seminars attended by a total of 140 persons were conducted in Oakland and Los Angeles during February by the California Council for the Blind. Morning sessions were devoted to discussion of the changes in the public welfare laws and regulations affecting the blind. Panel participants included Perry Sundquist, Chief of the Division for the Blind in the State Department of Social Welfare (and new president of the National Federation of the Blind); Mrs. Lillian McClure, Assistant to the Chief of the Division for the Blind; Mrs. Hortense Tutelman, Director of the Division for the Blind of the Los Angeles County Bureau of Public Assistance, and Russell Kletzing, Executive Secretary and General Counsel of the California Council.

Afternoon sessions at the two seminars were devoted to analysis of employment problems faced by blind people. Special attention was given to teaching, switchboard operation, social work, and opportunities in state civil service.

New Travel Aids Foreseen: Experiments with new methods of mobility which may someday prove as effective as canes and guide dogs are being conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to the BVA BULLETIN, a publication of the Blinded Veterans Association.

The research, assisted by a grant from the Federal Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, was inaugurated in January, 1961, and is expected to be completed by the end of 1963. Various problems associated with designing guidance devices for the blind were discussed at a recent MIT meeting of technologists, mobility specialists and social scientists. It was pointed out that the aim of all such devices is to be lightweight yet able to detect hazards (both "obstacles" and "step downs") in the path of the sightless traveler. It appears that at present an obstacle detector is feasible but the problem of step-downs remains to be solved.

A new book entitled One to One: Communicating the Gospel to the Deaf and the Blind , by Erling Nicolai Tolfsrud, has been published by the Augsburg Publishing House of Minneapolis. The study, as described in the foreword, "is not just another book about individuals who are deaf or blind; it is written for people who wish to know better how to understand such persons and to gain insight into the lives of those who are either visually or aurally handicapped."

AAIB Names Research Committee: A new Research Advisory Committee, headed by Carl J. Davis of Perkins School for the Blind, has recently been formed by the American Association of Instructors of the Blind, according to an announcement in THE NEW OUTLOOK FOR THE BLIND. The committee will provide consultation to schools, agencies and individuals in work for the blind and generally function to stimulate research in the field. Chairman Davis is head of the Department of Psychology and Guidance at the Perkins School. Others serving on the committee include: Samuel C. Ashcroft, Associate Coordinator of the Department of Special Education, George Peabody College for Teachers; Milton P. Graham, Director of the Division of Research and Statistics of the American Foundation for the Blind; Carson Y, Nolan, Director of Educational Research, American Printing House for the Blind, and Herbert Rusalem, Director of Professional Training and Research, Industrial Home for the Blind, Brooklyn.

No Braille Money in Prospect . The federal government has decided not to print paper money in braille for the benefit of blind persons, according to a February announcement by a congressman who had requested the Treasury Department to do so. Representative Silvio O. Conte, Republican of Massachusetts, said he had seen the plan used successfully in Ethiopia. Treasury officials, however, indicated that the raised dots necessary for braille might become depressed and indistinguishable after usage. It was also reportedly felt that printing in braille "would be unwise since one could easily perpetrate a fraud on the blind by simply embossing a blank piece of paper" which would seem to the touch like genuine currency.

Lone Star Group Holds Convention:The Lone Star State Federation of the Blind held its annual convention on March 17, St. Patrick's Day, at the Southland Hotel in Dallas, Texas. Election of officers resulted in the naming of Ben Durham as president and Marcus Roberson as vice-president of the state-wide organization, which is an affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind. Chief speaker at the convention banquet was Kenneth Jernigan, director of the Iowa State Commission for the Blind and a longtime leader of the National Federation, who delivered a forceful address focused on recent internal problems of the NFB.

North Dakota Blind Meet: The Executive Committee of the North Dakota Federation of the Blind met in Fargo on March 17, with its president, Dr. Rudolph Bjornseth, as chairman. The group decided to hold its annual convention in Fargo on June 23-24.

California Council Convention Set: The Spring 1962 convention of the California Council of the Blind will be held at the Canterbury Hotel in San Francisco May k through 6, according to an announcement by Council President James McGinnis. Committee meetings will begin at 7:30 P.M. on the evening of May 4; general sessions will be held from 9 to 5 on Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6. The emphasis of the convention reportedly will be on the problems of employment of the blind.

The Virginia Federation of the Blind will hold its annual convention May 4-5-6 in Harrisonburg. John Nagle, chief of the Washington Office of the National Federation of the Blind, will make the banquet speech and will present a report on legislation affecting the blind.

Washington Plans for New Category: Whatever may be the response of the states to the other novelties included in the federal welfare package presently before Congress, one provision already is giving evidence of its attractiveness for administrators. That provision is the optional category (title XVI) which would lump together aid to the aged, the blind and the disabled.

In a March announcement of his agency's plans for welfare changes, Leonard G. Hegland, director of the Washington State Department of Public Assistance, pointed with particular favor to the proposed merger of aid to the three recipient groups which now receive aid under separate titles.

Addressing a forum sponsored in Seattle by the Council of Planning Affiliates, Hegland also criticized present welfare provisions as "out of date." He said better programing would stress services instead of support, in the form of intensive casework and better trained personnel. In describing the state's interest in developing a stronger casework program, Hegland emphasized that "it's going to cost money."

From the NEWARK STAR-LEDGER, February 25, 1962: "When (New Jersey State) Senate Majority Leader Charlie Sandman was discussing the child welfare bills, he meant to charge that 'free-loaders' were escaping their responsibility. What he actually said, however, was that the 'freeholders' were escaping. The Senate giggled. It was doubly embarrassing for Charlie because he and the rest of the lawmakers were being entertained that night at the annual banquet of the Association of Chosen Freeholders."

"Congressional Openhandedness." : The following editorial on the Administration's public welfare amendments, as embodied in H.R. 10606, appeared in the New York Times, March 20, 1962:

"In a sudden surge of beneficence the House of Representatives has voted to give President Kennedy $140 million more than he asked to liberalize welfare payments to the needy. The money will make available an additional $4.20 a month in Federal assistance for each of the 2.8 million persons now receiving aid to the aged, blind, and disabled under State-administered relief programs. Since the national average for most such payments is less than $70 a month, no valid complaint can be made that this will mean pampering those on the welfare rolls.

"However, the manner in which the House donned the robe of Lady Bountiful does raise two objections. One is that there is no assurance that the extra funds will actually reach the needy.

"The States will be free to use the money solely to reduce their own share of welfare costs. The second objection is that no similar provision is made for a blanket liberalization of Federal payments for aid to dependent children, the biggest program of all. The national average of these benefits is only a little over $30 a month, and in Mississippi the monthly rate comes to less than $10.

"The fact that the new law will for the first time make it possible for the unemployed fathers of dependent youngsters to share in Federal assistance does not justify excluding children from the general increase in appropriations. To compound the unfairness, a 'sleeper' provision in the House bill apparently will open the door wide for a return to such degrading practices as the distribution of relief through vouchers for food, rent, and other items. All this is at the opposite pole from the basic administration approach to a long-term solution of the welfare problem."