THE BLIND AMERICAN

 

INK PRINT EDITION

PUBLISHED BY THE AMERICAN BROTHERHOOD FOR THE BLIND
A CHARITABLE AND EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION

2652 SHASTA ROAD BERKELEY 8, CALIF

JULY ISSUE 1962

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)

http://www.archive.org/details/blindamericanjul27amer

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

KLETZING ELECTED PRESIDENT OF NFB

PRESIDENT KENNEDY SIGNS PUBLIC WELFARE BILL

NATIONAL FEDERATION CHALLENGES WORLD COUNCIL

DR. ISABELLE GRANT: RETIREMENT AND COMMENCEMENT
By Anthony G. Mannino

NO TEARS FOR RIBICOFF

NAGLE HONORED BY FEDERATIONISTS

WELFARE OF THE BLIND: PERILS AND PROSPECTS
By Dr. Jacobus tenBroek

BROTHERS. . . OTHERS

 

KLETZING ELECTED PRESIDENT OF NFB

Russell Kletzing, of Sacramento, California, was unanimously-elected president of the National Federation of the Blind at the organization's annual July convention in Detroit.

Kletzing, a senior attorney with the California State Department of Water Resources, has served as secretary of the NFB for the past two years and was previously a member of its executive committee. He succeeds Perry Sundquist, retiring president, who declined to seek renomination.

The new chief executive brings to his office an outstanding record of leadership and constructive service in the organized blind movement. He was for three years president of the California Council of the Blind, having been re-elected unanimously after first assuming the position in 1959. Some years earlier he was named chairman of the (Council's?) Educational Policy Committee, which produced under his direction an exceptionally authoritative report on the education of sightless children. At the same time he became co-chairman of the national conference on the education of blind children.

The year 1959 marked a high point in Kletzing's career. In that year he became First Vice President of the California Council (and subsequently its president); while the National Federation not only elected him to its executive committee but made him chairman of both its constitutional committee and its subcommittee on budget and finance. Since January 1962 he maintains an active role as executive secretary and general counsel of the state organization, which is an affiliate of the National Federation.

Among Kletzing's many current projects in his home state is a campaign to "sell" business and professional groups on the merits of the braille telephone switchboard. In an effort to broaden this field of opportunity for the blind, he has given talks and demonstrations before such community service clubs as Rotary, Kiwanis, Twenty- Thirty, and the Junior Chamber of Commerce.

For such voluntary undertakings as these, as well as for his other accomplishments as a leader of the blind, Kletzing was recently nominated for the famed Lane Bryant Award, presented annually for outstanding individual contribution to community and national betterment.

Born in Chicago in 1925, Kletzing was totally blinded by retino-blastoma at the age of one. After eight years at the California School for the Blind in Berkeley, he attended Oakland's University High School, where he was awarded the scholarship cup upon graduation in 1942. Shortly thereafter he enrolled at the University of California's Berkeley campus, majoring in chemistry and graduating cum laude in 1945 after compiling a brilliant academic record. While winning the Scaife scholarship and being elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year, he managed to find time to take a leadership role in a variety of student activities including varsity debate, membership in the Associated Students' Executive Committee, presidency of the Student YMCA and presidency of the Honor Students Association.

Immediately following his graduation from the university, Kletzing found employment as a social worker at the Poston Relocation Center (harboring Japanese-Americans relocated as a wartime security measure), where he remained until the center was closed. He then went on to law school -- first to the University of Chicago for one year, next to the University of California for two years culminating in the law degree in 1949. While a law student, he published several authoritative articles in legal journals, concentrating on labor law and taxation.

In 1950 Kletzing joined the United States Bureau of Reclamation as an attorney, where he remained for the next seven years. Subsequently he transferred to the state department of water resources, and in 1959 was promoted to the position of senior attorney.

Kletzing married Ruth Staples in December, 1954. The couple have a son, Craig, now four years old.

Other NFB Elections

The 1962 convention of the National Federation of the Blind at its July meeting also elected a full slate of officers and several new board members to accompany its new president.

The officers now are: First Vice President, Kenneth Jernigan, Iowa; Second Vice President, Don Capps, South Carolina; Secretary, Eulassee Hardenburgh, Alabama, and Treasurer, Franklin Van Vliet, New Hampshire.

Newly elected to the executive committee were Audrey Bascom, Nevada; Stanley Oliver, Michigan, and Perry Sundquist, California. Bill Hogan of Connecticut was re-elected to his seat. Other members of the board whose terms carry over are Anita O'Shea, Massachusetts; Tom Moody, Texas; Frank Lugiano, Pennsylvania, and Harold Reagan, Kentucky.

BACK TO CONTENTS

PRESIDENT KENNEDY SIGNS PUBLIC WELFARE BILL

President Kennedy on July 25 officially signed into law the Public Welfare Amendments of 1962 (H. R. 10606). The bill, which had originated in the House, was passed by the Senate in amended form on July 17 and approved the following day, with further amendments, by the joint conference committee of the House and Senate.

As finally enacted, the new welfare measure retains the Senate- added provision for extra exemptions of income and resources (over and above the $85 allowance already in the law) in the case of a blind recipient who has an approved plan for self-support. The increased exemption, limited to a 12-month period, embraces whatever amounts of income and resources may be considered necessary for the fulfillment of the individual plan. (For details on this and other provisions, see "Senate Committee Reports on Welfare Bill, " THE BLIND AMERICAN, June 1962.)

The legislation also contains the bill's original provision increasing the federal share of aid to the blind (as well as to the aged and the disabled) to twenty-nine thirty-fifths of the first $35 of the average monthly payment per recipient -- as opposed to the present 4/5 of the first $31 -- and raising the federal maximum for matching from $66 to $70.

However, the proposal of the House bill which would have made increases effective July 1, 1962, has been dropped in favor of a Senate amendment putting them into effect October 1, 1962. The measure now continues the $31 and $66 figures of existing law until September 30 of this year, when the new formula will become effective.

The mixture of positive and negative ingredients which characterized the Administration's public welfare bill at the outset of its congressional career has been stirred, strained and occasionally brought to a boil over the intervening months -- but the final product still retains its peculiar sweet-and-sour flavor.

Thus, on the sweet side, the legislation provides all recipients of public assistance with incentives for employment through the consideration of "any expenses reasonably attributable to the earning of income, " and under ADC authorizes the setting aside of earned income in whole or in part to meet future needs of dependent children.

But distinctly on the sour side is the enactment of the medieval work- relief principle in ADC as contained in federal authorization for community work and training programs. (For discussion of this, see THE BLIND AMERICAN, February 1962.)

Still more disastrous in its potential consequences is the new Title XVI, inaugurating an optional category lumping together aid to the blind, aged, and disabled. The requirements of the joint category are thrown into further confusion by virtue of a last-minute amendment which makes it unclear whether blind recipients will receive the existing $85 per month exemption of income or will be limited to a more restrictive exemption permitting the agency to disregard not more than the first $10 of the first $50 per month of earned income plus one-half of the remainder.

Neither the bill as enacted nor the report of the conference committee does anything to enforce the expectation of the House Ways and Means Committee that the $4.20 per month increase in the grant will be passed on to recipients rather than absorbed by the states. It is now up to organizations of the blind (and other client groups) within the states to make known their rights and demands in this matter to their respective legislatures. (The warning of the Republican members of the Ways and Means Committee, issued last March, is still pertinent. In stating their minority views, they maintained that the additional money "goes to the state, not to the welfare recipient," and therefore that there is "no assurance that the benefits of a single beneficiary under any of these programs will be increased one cent.")

Another defeat for recipients of public assistance is set forth in the decision to retain existing residence requirements -- after a brief and hopeful moment this summer when it appeared that Congress might heed the nearly unanimous opinion of social welfare groups that such restrictions on eligibility should be eliminated or drastically reduced.

Under the bill as adopted, states are no longer required (as they were in the House version) to provide certain minimum rehabilitation services of self-support or self-care as a condition of federal participation. But the same effect appears to have been achieved indirectly through language which makes the provision of such services a prerequisite of state entitlement to federal matching of administrative expenses at the newly increased rate (75 percent). Where these services are not furnished, the state will receive only 25 percent federal matching for the category involved.

Perhaps the most clear-cut achievement of the present legislation, from the standpoint of the organized blind, is its permanent acceptance of the separate Missouri and Pennsylvania assistance programs. This victory caps a long and virtually single-handed struggle by the National Federation of the Blind against the concerted opposition of public officials and private agencies alike.

BACK TO CONTENTS

NATIONAL FEDERATION CHALLENGES WORLD COUNCIL

An official challenge to the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind to reconsider a decision barring the National Federation of the Blind from its seat on the WCWB executive committee was issued in July by the national convention of the NFB.

The nationwide organization of blind people, in its annual meeting held this year at Detroit, voted unanimous approval of three separate resolutions denouncing the action of the World Council leadership, calling on the Council to set its international house in order by reversing its closed-door policy at executive committee meetings, and urging creation of a new world organization to be genuinely representative of blind people themselves. (The three resolutions are reproduced below.)

At the same time the NFB's delegate to the World Council, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, dispatched a letter to Council President E. A. Baker making formal request "that the Executive Committee at its forthcoming meeting in Hanover place upon the agenda the item of the right of the National Federation of the Blind to a seat upon the Executive Committee." (The full text of Dr. tenBroek's letter also appears below.)

The controversy between the NFB and the WCWB was triggered last spring by a "postal ballot" sent to North American delegates by Council President Baker intended to fill two alleged vacancies on the executive committee -- one of which was assertedly the result of the NFB's removal and replacement of its delegate. (For details see THE BLIND AMERICAN, May 1962 and June 1962.)

The purported election was thereupon challenged by NFB officers as constitutionally invalid and improper, but their appeal for reinstatement on the executive committee was subsequently rejected in communications from President Baker and the self-styled "titular leader" of the American delegation, M. Robert Barnett (who is also executive director of the American Foundation for the Blind.)

In the latest round of correspondence, Barnett wrote to Dr. tenBroek on June 28 reiterating his rejection of the NFB's demand for a review of the dispute by the WCWB executive committee. His letter stated in part: "I can only ask you again to consider that this question is not within the realm of the WCWB Executive Committee to resolve .... I do not believe that the President or other officers will rule otherwise even if I do formally present your request as one member of our delegation. Nevertheless, those key individuals have received all of your correspondence and are receiving a copy of this response. If they are disposed to make time available for you to argue this point further, I am sure that they will let us all know."

Barnett' s letter concluded with the following comment: "I believe it is clear, however, that the American delegation cannot assure you of an opportunity to debate your several arguments before an official session of the WCWB Executive Committee. You still are at liberty to request invitation to address the group by writing directly to President Baker or Secretary-General Jarvis. They will doubtless present your request to the Executive Committee at its opening meeting and will let you know whether it has been granted. I sincerely and personally ask you to consider, however, that you may be doing irrevocable damage to our own national relationships and creating unnecessary disturbance by demanding such an opportunity."

In his reply to Barnett, dated July 8, Dr. tenBroek wrote: "I share your belief that there is some merit in what is by now an agency platitude that those of us who speak for organizations of the blind 'serve' the blind 'best by attempting to put your influence into our sincere efforts to cement all of our progressive and competent bodies into some really effective harmony, particularly with respect to our international relationships."

"But can you really describe as 'progressive and competent bodies' representative organizations for the welfare of the blind which strip the blind of representation and which transact their public business in closed and secret meetings?" Dr. tenBroek continued. "Moreover, can you really characterize those who assert the right of the blind to representation in such bodies and who urge open and public meetings in the transaction of the public's business as doing 'irrevocable damage to our own national relationships and creating unnecessary disturbance'?"

Text of tenBroek Letter

Dr. tenBroek's letter of July 8 to World Council President Baker follows:

Dear President Baker:

This letter is intended to clarify the positions of the National Federation of the Blind in our recent correspondence and to reiterate a number of requests.

In your letter to President Sundquist you indicated that further discussion of the topic under review should be conducted with Mr. Barnett. In Mr. Barnett's most recent letter to me, he says that formal request should be addressed to you.

May I therefore formally ask in any official capacity as a United States delegate to the WCWB that the Executive Committee at its forthcoming meeting in Hanover place upon the agenda the item of the right of the National Federation of the Blind to a seat upon the Executive Committee.

The position of the Federation is that its representative was regularly elected to a full term upon the Executive Committee at the 1959 meeting of the Assembly. The Federation has not vacated its seat and does not desire to do so. There being no vacancy, a purported election to fill one, however conducted, is null and void. While the President of the World Council might make an initial decision as the existence of a vacancy upon the Executive Committee, any final determination must rest with the Executive Committee itself, perhaps with a power of review in the world assembly and the French courts.

I should suppose that as a matter of course the Federation would receive due notice and would be given a normal opportunity of representation in any discussion by the Executive Committee as to: a) the propriety and legality of placing such an item upon the agenda; and b) the determination to be made upon the merits of the issue once the item is upon the agenda. Though I am presently away from my headquarters, such notice sent to me there would be communicated to me.

I should like next to ask, again in formal fashion, and in my capacity as an official United States delegate to the WCWB, that the Executive Committee at its forthcoming meeting in Hanover review and reconsider its policy of closed meetings. In our view, the meetings of the Executive Committee should be open and public both with respect to all delegates to the World Council and to the public generally. While exceptions to this procedure may be justified, specific justification should be produced on each occasion and tolerated only in rare circumstances.

May I herewith communicate to you three relevant resolutions unanimously adopted by the recent national convention of my organization.

Yours sincerely,

(signed) Jacobus tenBroek

NFB Resolutions on World Council

The text of the three resolutions passed by the NFB convention bearing on its dispute with the World Council follow:

Whereas the Constitution of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind provides that its membership shall consist of three classes of members: 1) individual members; 2) representative members; and 3) associate and honorary members; and

Whereas one of the representative members of the six selected by organizations and agencies of the blind in the United States is selected by the National Federation of the Blind, and

Whereas the National Federation of the Blind also holds a seat on the Executive Committee of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind by virtue of the election of its delegate pursuant to the Constitution of the World Council, and

Whereas the President of the World Council, acting in collaboration with some of the United States delegates, has declared an intention to exclude the representative of the National Federation of the Blind from his rightful seat upon the Executive Committee of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind and in implementation of that intention has distributed ballots and purported to conduct an election to fill the seat now occupied by the Federation on the Executive Committee, and

Whereas all of this has been done in flagrant violation of the constitution of the WCWB, well established principles of international organization and of principles of representative and democratic institutions, and

Whereas the President of the National Federation of the Blind has protested this unconstitutional action and has requested that the issue of its right to its seat on the Executive Committee be placed on the agenda of the forthcoming meeting of the Executive Committee

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled at the Statler Hotel in Detroit, Michigan this / day of July, 1962, that we reject and denounce the unconstitutional, illegal, and improper actions and intentions of the President of the WCWB in attempting to strip the Federation of its lawful and proper seat upon the Executive Committee of WCWB. We commend our President for his actions in the premises and instruct him, our delegate to the WCWB, and our Executive Committee, to do all in their power to reverse the actions of the President of the WCWB and to maintain and enforce our right to a seat upon the Executive Committee. We particularly instruct our officers and delegate to demand that the right of the NFB to its seat upon the Executive Committee be finally determined by the Executive Committee itself and to take all necessary steps and conduct all necessary negotiations to that end.

Whereas it is an important principle of democracy that the public business be publicly conducted and,

Whereas in accordance with this principle the practice of government, of quasi-public bodies, and of private organizations conducting business which is public in nature, increasingly eschew secret or closed meetings, and

Whereas Mr. M. Robert Barnett, describing himself as titular leader of the United States delegation to the WCWB, has informed our delegate that, as a matter of principle, the meetings of the Executive Committee of the WCWB are closed and secret not only to the general public but also even to duly selected representative members of the WCWB,

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled at the Statler Hotel in Detroit, Michigan, this 7 day of July, 1962, that if this information is actually correct we urgently request the Executive Committee of the WCWB to review and reconsider its policy in this regard. We confirm the action of our delegate to the WCWB and our representative upon the Executive Committee of the WCWB in seeking to have this topic placed upon the agenda of the forthcoming WCWB Executive Committee meeting in Hanover, Germany. We direct him to take all necessary and proper steps to achieve this object and to secure an affirmative vote if the item is placed upon the agenda.

We express our belief that all agencies for the blind should conduct their business in an open and democratic fashion.

Whereas the Blind people of the world at present have no effective world agency or instrumentality through which they may represent themselves or take effective collective action for the improvement of their lot, the discussion of their experiences and the formulation of solutions to their problems,

Whereas the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind is dominated by agencies for the blind rather than representatives of organizations of the blind and is in any event largely ineffective and inactive.

Whereas even that minimal and inequitable representation possessed by the blind of the United States in the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind and upon its Executive Committee seems about to be further curtailed by improper and unconstitutional actions of the officials of the WCWB,

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled at the Statler Hotel in Detroit, Michigan, this y day of July, 1962, that we herewith declare the urgent desirability and imperative necessity of a world organization of the blind people themselves for purposes of self-expression and self-improvement. We declare it as our policy henceforth to encourage and stimulate the development of such an organization. We instruct our President, our delegate to the WCWB, and our Executive Cornmittee, to take all such actions in such manner and in such times as seems to them most meet and feasible and supported by such resources as are available to bring about the
establishment of such an organization.

BACK TO CONTENTS

DR. ISABELLE GRANT: RETIREMENT AND COMMENCEMENT

By Anthony G. Mannino

(Editor's note: Mr. Mannino is Executive Secretary of the American Brotherhood for the Blind and a frequent contributor to these columns.)

On Friday, June 15, 1962, after thirty-five years of service in the Los Angeles City Schools, Dr. Isabelle L. D. Grant -- world-known blind teacher, executive officer of the California Council of the Blind and honorary board member of the National Federation of the Blind -- joined the honored ranks of retired teachers.

Starting with her initial assignment as an English and foreign language teacher at San Pedro High School in 1927, Dr. Grant's career spanned the many phases of education. At the same time she has also been a constantly enthusiastic participant in civic affairs and projects, especially those related to the field of education and programs for children. These have been years of distinguished achievements too numerous to list in this brief report. Teacher, counselor, vice-principal and resource teacher, she fulfilled the responsibilities in each of these positions with the spirit of a truly dedicated educator.

The many social functions held by colleagues and friends honoring Dr. Grant during the past month have all been climaxed by sincere expressions of praise and appreciation for the accomplishments of this dynamic teacher. Although she insists she does not deserve the honors and credits given her, the record of her career in the school system and in the field of education for the blind speaks volumes in her behalf.

With retirement from public school teaching a reality. Dr. Grant revealed the commencement of another vital and far-reaching venture in the education of blind children to which she is now going to devote the next few months.

The Los Angeles County Club of Adult Blind, at its June meeting, celebrated the retirement of Dr. Grant. Without warning, she found herself to be both honored member and guest speaker. As a token of its boundless regard for her, the organization presented her with a portable transistor tape recorder. Then, while introducing Dr. Grant to the large audience, President Emeritus James B. Garfield announced that she had just been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for work she would be doing abroad. Following this, Dr. Grant addressed the more than one hundred members and friends. After explaining that she was leaving again to continue the work she had started in West Pakistan, she outlined her plans for the future. She would first attend the National Federation of the Blind convention in Detroit and then on to Washington, D.C. From there she will board a plane for England. She hopes to spend some time with a sister and brother in Scotland. In early August she will journey to Hanover, Germany, to attend the meeting of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind. When this meeting adjourns she will then leave for Karachi, West Pakistan. Her project there has been approved by the U.S. State Department and her work will have official recognition and cooperation by the government authorities in West Pakistan.

In her inspiring talk, Dr. Grant also outlined the past achievements of the California Council of the Blind and the great contribution to her work made by the joint efforts of the Council, the Los Angeles County Club, the Lions International, the American Brotherhood for the Blind and some affiliates of the National Federation of the Blind. In bidding farewell, she voiced the hope that this timely support would continue to grow and that she would strive to utilize it in the Pakistan project. She pointed out that there is still much to be done on behalf of the blind here in our own area and country. Even so, she feels that this is a most opportune time to lend ourselves and our efforts to the blind peoples in other countries, to aid them in initiating adequate educational programs for blind children and adults. This effort should be made with the ultimate goal of having educational opportunities for the blind everywhere in the world comparable to those being achieved in the United States.

BACK TO CONTENTS

NO TEARS FOR RIBICOFF

Abraham A. Ribicoff, the first man to join President Kennedy's Cabinet and the first to leave, made his exit from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare early in June amid an atmosphere marked conspicuously more by relief than by regret.

His successor in the Cabinet post -- which carries responsibility for federal programs of public assistance and vocational rehabilitation among others -- is Anthony J. Celebrezze, 51, veteran mayor of Cleveland, Ohio.

The general reaction of Washington circles, official and unofficial, to the long-anticipated resignation of the HEW Secretary was summed up in a feature story published in mid-June by the San Francisco CHRONICLE under the headline: "The Unlamented Farewell of Secretary Ribicoff," The article bore the byline of the newspaper's Washington correspondent, Richard Reston.

The department of HEW was described as "a tangled, confused and demoralized administrative situation." The newspaper observed that in the 10 year history of the department "the administrative chaos has never really been straightened out," but added that "Ribicoff apparently made little, if any, effort to improve the situation."

Recalling that Ribicoff s appointment to HEW at the outset of the Kennedy Administration had been greeted with general enthusiasm, the chronicle's correspondent declared that "now, even among his friends, there are few who talk gloomily about his departure."

"The explanation of all this is that Ribicoff, one of President Kennedy's close friends and early supporters, simply was not interested, and therefore, ignored the administrative burdens of the huge government agency,"

He was said to have made this clear at the beginning of his term, when he reportedly "told the various section heads ... to run their affairs as they saw fit, and in the meantime, he would handle major pieces of legislation both on Capitol Hill and in the country." The only trouble with this calculated gamble, the article concluded, was that it didn't pay off.

Whether Ribicoff's successor will do better at straightening out the confusion in Health, Education, and Welfare remains a question of immediate concern to blind Americans -- as well as to many millions of other men, women and children whose health and welfare is intimately tied to the programs administered by the federal department.

In announcing Celebrezze's nomination. President Kennedy said that "Mayor Celebrezze brings to my Cabinet a wealth of experience gained from having worked through the years with the problems of people, particularly those in the areas of health, education and welfare."

The Ohio Italian-American was first elected Mayor of Cleveland in 1953. He was re-elected in 1955, 1957, and 1959, and in 1961 was returned for an unprecedented fifth term. The mayor's chief source of pride reportedly Is his city's slum clearance and urban renewal programs. He is also said to be a strong civil rights advocate.

The New York TIMES, in an article appraising the Kennedy appointee, regarded his as perfectly fitting the "managerial" pattern of the present Cabinet -- which it termed "a collection of competent and industrial technicians, with certain political attributes." The paper said of Celebrezze: "he is competent. He is a big city man. He is immensely industrious and knowledgeable about the problems of health, education and welfare in the big city."

Observing that intense public interest in the new appointment centers in the fact that the most controversial legislation on the President's priority list (such as aid to education and medical care for the aged) is handled by HEW, the TIMES article described Celebrezze as "a pragmatic experienced operator" possessing "almost the perfect technical and political background" to wage the Administration's battles on the fronts (or in the no-man's-lands) of health, education and welfare.

BACK TO CONTENTS

NAGLE HONORED BY FEDERATIONISTS

John F. Nagle, chief of the Washington office of the National Federation of the Blind, was the subject of an appreciative resolution adopted unanimously and enthusiastically by the annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind on July 7 at Detroit.

The full resolution follows:

"Whereas, the National Federation of the Blind through its President and its officers, desires to express its deep appreciation, its sincere thanks, and everlasting gratitude to John Nagle, Chief of our Washington Office, for his dedicated services to the national organization and to the blind of our nation, and

"Whereas, by his duty and service to our national organization, John Nagle, participated in the Third Regional National Rehabilitation Association Convention, took part in a panel discussion on vocational rehabilitation, and presented testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee in support of HR-4222, the Administration's health-care bill introduced by Congressman Cecil R. King, of California, and

"Whereas, the said John Nagle, testified before the Senate District of Columbia Committee in support of proposals to allow blind voters the right to have persons of their own choosing assist them in the voting booth; presented testimony to the House Special Subcommittee on Education on bills concerned with amending the American Printing House Act; independent living rehabilitation; sheltered workshop, teachers of the deaf, and teachers of all disability categories, and

"Whereas, John Nagle's N.F.B. Curtis Award address given at the banquet of our Kansas City Convention appeared in the Congressional Record with an introduction by Congressman William J, Green of Pennsylvania, and

"Whereas, the said John Nagle presented a paper on the meaning of disability to the individual before the Conference for Coordinators for Employment of the Physically Handicapped, sponsored by the U. S. Civil Service Commission copies of which were sent to all coordinators throughout the country, and

"Whereas, the said John Nagle, by his untiring efforts and devotion to the cause of the National Federation of the Blind, has enhanced and advanced its legislative programs to protect and preserve the rights and privileges of our blind people already acquired and that may be acquired;

"Now, Therefore Be It Resolved that the National Federation of the Blind, in Convention assembled, in Detroit, Michigan, July 4-7, 1962, hereby expresses its deep appreciation, its sincere thanks, and everlasting gratitude to John Nagle for his untiring efforts and deepest interest in promoting the social and economic welfare of the blind through legislation;

"Be it Further Resolved that as a token of esteem and respect, the name of John Nagle be inscribed in the records of the National Federation of the Blind, with the title of 'Friend of the Blind.'"

(Editor's note: Dr. tenBroek, president of the American Brotherhood for the Blind and past president of the National Federation of the Blind, delivered the following address at the banquet of the NFB's July convention in Detroit.

BACK TO CONTENTS

WELFARE OF THE BLIND: PERILS AND PROSPECTS

By Dr. Jacobus tenBroek

"Welfare," says the Oxford Universal Dictionary, "is the state or condition of doing or being well."

That short definition may not cover everything; but it goes straight to the heart of the matter. It identifies the two irreducible objectives of welfare for any individual -- those of doing well and being well.

The first points to a social and economic condition. To say of a man that he is "doing well" is to say that he prospers--that he is accomplishing things socially and economically. The second, "being well," describes a physical and mental condition--that of bodily health and emotional equilibrium. Personal welfare rests on both of these conditions. So, for that matter, does public welfare.

In its accent on relief and basic security, public welfare attends to the well-being of its clients. In its accent on rehabilitation, on self-support and self-care, it looks toward what we may call their "well-doing." Both are vital to an adequate and effective system of welfare.

How well, then, are blind Americans doing today and what is the state of their well-being?

I shall not draw up a balance-sheet of the perils and prospects confronting the blind in welfare. I propose to skip the customary practice of "pointing with pride" to the great advances and achievements which the blind have won since the poor laws of Elizabeth, or since the poorhouses of Victoria. Without overlooking these or forgetting them I shall emphasize our remaining weaknesses and recurring failures in welfare and security. I shall focus on ten specific but interrelated threats to the welfare of the blind which, taken together, place in jeopardy nearly all that has been won over the past generation of social legislation and reform.

These threats to our welfare come from a variety of sources and strike at different points of the system. Some are new. Some are ancient. All are immediate. All present a clear and present danger to the preservation of the modern philosophy and practice of welfare.

More than that, all but two of these threats, as we shall see, are part and parcel of a single movement lately risen from the gutters of politics and journalism which has spread its poison over the land from Newburgh to San Diego. You all know the main features of this movement. It speaks of reform but acts in revenge. It begins with a "clean-up," and ends in a crackdown. Its voice is the voice of law and equity--but its hands are the hands of Herod.

Let us have no illusions about the meaning of this organized assault upon the welfare system of the nation. It is not meant merely to close up a gap or a loophole here and there in the law. It is not meant to uncover the rare conniving client, the one recipient in a thousand, who owns a fur coat or keeps a lover. It is not meant to elevate the morals and improve the character of the millions of Americans, families and individuals, who are through no fault of their own needy or incapacitated.

It is not meant to clean house but to bring the house of welfare down in ruins. It is not meant to rectify injustice but rather to wreck that concept of social justice which has found expression in the social security program. It is meant to undermine the confidence of the public in their state and federal provisions of relief and rehabilitation. It is meant to bully, shame and frighten the recipients of that aid off the rolls and to turn back the clock of welfare to the days of the workhouse and the asylum.

As we who are blind observe this calculated campaign of fear and smear, we may well ask the question put by Patrick Henry in another crisis: "Sir, what means all this martial array?" And we may well answer, as he did: "It is meant for us--it can be meant for no others." The attack upon public welfare is an attack upon the blind, not vaguely and remotely, but immediately and frontally. When the principle of public assistance is compromised in one of its programs, it is comprised in all. When the protections of law and right are stripped from one group of recipients, they are on the way to being stripped from all. When the dignity and decency of one class of welfare clients is ridiculed, all of them are in jeopardy.

Let us look at these threats to the general welfare, one by one.

1. The most persistent and pervasive threat to our welfare is also the most ancient. It is, simply, the undying spirit of the poor law. That bleak and baleful shade finds expression today both in our written laws and our unwritten attitudes. It underlies all the righteous requirements of "deserving" character, of relatives' responsibility, of length of residence, and of the mean-spirited means test, which are still to be found infesting the public assistance statutes of the states and nation. Yet more insidiously, the spirit of the poor law is manifested in the ancient and demeaning stereotype of the welfare recipient and most conspicuously, perhaps, of the blind recipient, as somehow deficient in character, inferior in ability and abnormal in personality.

It may seem that we have come a long way in the 125 years since the case of New York v. Miln, in which the United States Supreme Court could speak in one breath of the moral pestilence of the pauper, the vagabond and the criminal. But as late as 1920 it was possible for a United States Senator to gain a public hearing with the argument that federal measures of welfare and rehabilitation would "place a premium upon the vagrant, the criminal and the worthless." "After a man has reached the period when he has hardened down into what he is in this world," thundered the Senator, "do you think you can make over the broken instrument, the failure of life?. . . Let such failures go to the poorhouse."

Lest anyone think that this Scrooge-like spirit is the extinct relic of a bygone era, that the medieval stereotype of the worthless needy has long since been laid to rest, I need only point again to the anti-welfare revival of the past year, in which that ghost from the past has been dramatically disinterred from its grave and made to walk abroad in the land, striking fear in the hearts of the ill-informed, heaping ridicule upon the heads of millions of Americans who receive welfare aid, and drying up the wellsprings of public and private charity alike.

Do I exaggerate? Hear the angry outcry of a national mass-circulation magazine in a recent diatribe (no worse than many others) entitled "The Scandal of Welfare Chiselings": "An almost visible wage of resentment has begun to roll across the land against the rackets and abuses that plague the vast, ever-growing American welfare programs. . . . The house of welfare is in disorder. In some places, it is downright disorderly. . . , The original conception of the great welfare programs. . . . has been warped and twisted out of all reason. Instead of giving temporary aid to those in need through no fault of their own, welfare rolls now harbor hundreds of thousands of the shiftless, cheats and criminals. . . When the rules are complex, the evaders, the frauds and the rationalizers take over."

There, my friends, is the first and greatest threat to our Social Security. That is Public Welfare Enemy No, 1.

2. A second and more specific form of the anti-welfare movement is the intrusion into the modern humanitarian law of welfare of the ancient and punitive law of crimes. Congress itself has done much to assist this infiltration. In the social insurances Congress has decreed that benefits may be denied to a person who commits treason, to one who has engaged in sedition, and to those who have been deported from the land on any of 14 lesser grounds. In public assistance, Congress has fortified the influence of the law of crimes by adding the statutory requirement that law enforcement officers must be notified in all cases of aid to needy children where either of the parents is absent.

Not to be outdone by Congress, the federal administrators have further opened the door to the spirit of crime and punishment by imposing a regulation requiring that a state's definition of fraud under public assistance must be the same as the general state law on fraud. There is no longer room for variation from program to program, for justice tempered by mercy, for recognition of special and extenuating circumstances.

Within our states, the penetration of the criminal law into public assistance is seen in the increasing proliferation of local rules and practices bringing to bear the methods of the lie detector to determine truth, of the blood test to establish parentage, of the night raid upon the homes of recipients to flush suspected partners, of the beating of park bushes to deter promiscuity, in sum, of the whole repressive weight of criminal investigation and police authority.

The challenge to social security involved in this insidious encroachment of the law of crimes is critical and immediate. The human problems with which the programs of welfare are necessarily concerned--problems of economic distress, of social dislocation, of personal confusion--cannot be solved by criminal sanctions and threat of punishment. They can be adequately understood and constructively approached only by measures addressed to their human conditions and inhumane consequences. It is this humanitarian approach that lies at the heart of the modern law of welfare as embodied in the public assistance program, and goes to the root of its persistent conflict with the much more ancient law of crimes. For the assumptions and objectives of the law of crimes are diametrically opposed. Its preliminary assumption is that persons who are in need are there either through choice or through weakness of character. Its ultimate objective is to wipe out the problem by suppression and punishment. Problems of poverty and immorality, of social crisis and economic depression, all are perceived by the law of crimes in the same narrow focus of personal responsibility, to be solved by arrest and investigation, by penal sanctions and retributions.

3. Out of this invasion of welfare by the spirit of crime and punishment comes another vital challenge to our whole system of personal and social security--a threat to the rights of the individual. To call the police is to invoke, not the general welfare powers of the Constitution, but its police powers. The police powers are those that deal with maintaining order, preventing vice and crime, securing safety, and protecting health and morals. When problems of poverty and need are handled under the police powers of the Constitution, they come to be equated with disease, immorality and disorder. The constitutional powers of the police have in fact been generally relied upon to protect one part of the community against another--in blunt terms, to protect the comfortable against the needy.

The classic illustration of this is seen in the notorious case to which I have already referred, that of New York v. Miln, decided by the United States Supreme Court in 1837. "It is as competent and necessary for a state," said the Justices in that case, "to provide precautionary measures against the moral pestilence of paupers, vagabonds and possibly convicts as it is to guard against . . . physical pestilence. Accordingly, the Court upheld--as a warranted exercise of the police power-- a New York statute designed to exclude the poor and unwanted brought to New York from other states or from foreign countries.

So, by this doctrine, the constitutional power of the states to deal with the poor is the police power to preserve public order, to quarantine contagion, to protect morals, and to maintain safety. Welfare programs founded in these conceptions focus on problems of behavior and morality, utilizing the instruments of coercion and restraint. They are calculated to safeguard the health, safety, morals and wellbeing of the comfortable and the fortunate rather than to relieve the distress and improve the opportunities of the unfortunate.

Not a few of these ideas survive to plague us today. If they do not have quite the dominance of a century ago, recent words and actions both official and unofficial make clear that they are still alive and kicking. We see it all again in county resort ordinances conceived in prejudice and applied in discrimination against aid-to-needy-children families. We see it in night raids, in polygraph tests, and in unwarrantable searches and seizures. We see it all again in conditions of probation imposed by the judges that forbid mothers to secure public aid for their children, whatever their need or eligibility; that command them to support their children on threat of imprisonment whatever their ability to do so, whatever the need of the children for their care at home, whatever the scarcity of jobs for the unskilled and the economically marginal.

We see it all again in the unmistakable denial by these actions of the constitutional guarantees of equal protection of the laws, of due process of the law, of the right of the people to be secure in their persons, papers, houses and effects, of the right to privacy and the right to counsel.

Justice Robert Jackson, in Edwards v. California, the 1941 counterpart of the Miln case, felt the impulse and found the words to capture the constitutional hopes of the underprivileged: "Does indigence," he asked, "constitute a basis for restricting the freedom of a citizen, as crime or contagion warrants its restriction? We should say now," he answered, "and in no uncertain terms, that a man's mere property status, without more, cannot be used by a state to test, qualify or limit his rights as a citizen of the United States. Indigence in itself is neither a source of rights nor a basis for denying them. The mere state of being without funds is a neutral fact--constitutionally an irrelevance, like race, creed or color." Such distinctions, he said, are "a short-sighted blow at the security of property itself. " For "property can have no more dangerous, even if unwitting, enemy than one who would make its possession a pretext for unequal or exclusive civil rights."

What is most striking about this statement is not its eloquence, nor even its democratic recognition of the dignity and worth of the human person. What is most striking is that it was a minority opinion. It could not command the allegiance of the majority of the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. The task that lies ahead of us--perhaps the greatest of all the challenges to the welfare of the blind and of all Americans--is to elevate this doctrine from a minority plea to a majority command, to transform it from a promise into a reality.

4. The threats to our welfare system which I have thus far enumerated, may seem to you distant. They are not. But still more obviously immediate is the next threat which commands our attention. It is that contained in federal support of community work relief projects, now made a part of the Public Assistance Amendments of 1962. What these projects do in the end, after all the hedges and qualifications have been uttered, is to put the clients of welfare, or their relatives, on labor gangs, imposing the ancient and infamous work test as a condition of their receiving aid.

Human labor, wherever it is voluntary, has a certain dignity and inherent value. But labor, where it is involuntary, is nor more than servitude. It has always been regarded as a proper punishment for crime to be sentenced to involuntary labor. We all recognize the punitive character of the Statute of Labourers of the 14th century, of the bondage of indentured labor in 18th-century America, of the infamous county work farms and workhouses of the 19th century. Now, in the 20th century, we have devised our modern facsimile, our streamlined version--the work-relief project. They are all the same in principle, all one in their intention and their effect: their effect upon the community and their effect upon the victim. Their intention is today what it has always been; to render the acceptance of aid a humiliation, to ring it around with harassments and intimidation, to destroy utterly whatever thin veneer of decency or dignity or normality may have come to be attached to the concept of public welfare over the past generation.

Do I put the case too strongly? Only recall the ignoble experiment put into effect just a year ago by the city of Newburgh. Its main feature was this notion of work-gang relief. But it did not stop at that. All able-bodied clients of the department of welfare were to be subjected to a monthly "muster," a line-up borrowed from the neighboring department of police. Applicants for aid were fingerprinted, quizzed, in effect given the third-degree- -and then, if they passed muster, were dispatched into the city dumps and gutters to labor for their alms. It does not appear that they were chained. But if they had been, they could not have been more clearly marked and branded as beneficiaries of that city's unchristian charity.

What possible excuse can there be for so punitive and degrading a device in our modern programs of public assistance? Two very different excuses have been heard, one of them out loud and the other in a whisper. Let us take the whisper first. It expresses the open secret, which can never be stated publicly but only revealed in confidence, that the Administration's approval of the work-relief system is a strategic concession given in return for votes--a sacrificial scapegoat thrown to the wolves of welfare. In short, the proposal is a political deal, an application of the familiar maxim of ward politics, "If you can't lick 'em, join 'em."

But there is another, and more public, line of explanation for this backward step into the work gang and the work test. Thus we are told that the work- relief project is not just one of work, but also one of "training." It has allegedly a doubly constructive purpose. It gives employment and it rehabilitates through training. Let us look more closely at this philosophy of excuse. What is the character of employment, and what is the quality of training, to be found in these public work relief projects? The work must clearly be of a kind which will not compete or interfere with the normal labor force, skilled or unskilled. It must be accordingly noncompetitive and abnormal, as well as irregular. In short, the work- reliefers can do only those chores that nobody else will do. Moreover, in performing them their rate of pay (applied against their aid grant) is not even required to conform to the national minimum wage.

Such is the character of employment under the work-relief provision. From this it is not hard to guess the quality of the "training" ostensibly involved. For such rock-bottom enterprises as are left available to the program, in so demoralized a setting as this, the very concept of "training" is violated beyond redemption; its effect is no longer rehabilitative but debilitative.

Where have we heard this line of talk before? Does not this noncompetitive program of make-work, with its spurious claims of employment and training, have a drearily familiar ring to us? It does indeed. It provides an almost perfect parallel to the sheltered workshop for the blind. Indeed it might be dubbed a sheltered work program for ADC'ers, and eventually, if it finds acceptance in its present form, for the blind as well. For are not the blind by our own insistent argument "able-bodied" too? It is a short step from the one program to the other. Neither one provides meaningful training nor adequate employment, but, in both cases, only an inferior substitute, an unreasonable facsimile, at once inconsistent with the conditions of modern society and with the principles of modern welfare.

5. The threats to the present-day welfare system, and to its blind recipients, are not all on the side of public assistance. On its other side, that of the social insurances, the danger takes the form of a movement of thought and law which, if not brought to a halt, can only end in undermining the original character of the program and wiping out its most distinctive and progressive features. The attack on social insurance--specifically, on the Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance program--is a triple-barrelled one. First, it would strip the program of its insurance characteristics by defining the regular payroll contributions of future beneficiaries not as premium payments to a trust fund but only as another form of federal tax--and a regressive one at that. Second, it would sweep aside as illegitimate and frivolous the time-honored assumption of Congress and the nation that the benefits of social insurance are received as a matter of earned right. Instead it would regard them as a gratuity no different from relief, to be conditionally granted or withheld by government at its discretion. Finally, this same movement has imported into the law of social insurance an ever-increasing battery of moral, political and behavioral tests which were no part of the original law and which in effect convert its benefits into a reward for good conduct.

It is sad to note that the Supreme Court of the United States has now lent its sanction to this three-pronged assault upon the original meaning of the social insurances. It did so in the case of Flemming v. Nestor, two years ago, in which it swept aside the notion (once taken for granted by all) that social insurance benefits have the character of an earned right. The program was held to be one in which the contributions of employed persons were not to be regarded as premium payments into a trust fund, to be paid back to the insured upon maturity, but rather as a tax to be used in public relief of the retired and disabled.

Insofar as this new doctrine comes to be accepted and enforced, these programs are no longer insurances at all but only charities- -programs of relief to which individual eligibility is never certain but forever contingent and revokable. There has thus been smuggled into the contributory social insurances the moralistic norms and nigglings of worthiness, of deserving and undeserving, of good behavior and deviations from it, which traditionally have characterized and distinguished the poor-relief programs of public assistance.

The challenge which is here laid down goes to the very root of the social insurances. If they are to retain their original and fundamental character--if they are to justify the faith of those who fathered them and of those who now support them--this challenge must be met and turned back. The concept of benefits as a matter not of charity but of right must be fully reinstated--and with it the consignment to oblivion of all personal tests of morality and conduct.

6. No threat to the welfare of the blind people of our land is more urgent, and no peril more prominent, than the current frontal attack upon their independent program of public assistance (title X) set forth in the Administration proposal for a new joint category blanketing the blind, the aged and the disabled. I need hardly emphasize to you how distinct and specialized are the welfare problems of the blind from those of the other aided groups. They are vastly different in point of fact; they are recognized as vastly different in point of law; they must be preserved in their difference and their autonomy if we are not to lose by silent attrition what we have won through active struggle over the past two score of years.

The proposal for the new category (title XVI) is defended mainly, if not solely, on grounds of administrative uniformity and simplicity. No doubt that is a value worthy of consideration. But who will maintain that it is the fundamental value to be advanced by these programs? Whatever became of the recipient? Is his convenience not to be weighed against the convenience of administrators? It is in other fields. No doubt it would greatly simplify the administration of justice if all law-breakers were to be treated and sentenced alike; but I hear no one proposing such a reform on the grounds of bureaucratic convenience. No doubt the administration of the public schools would be eased in its burden if all students were to be graded alike; but the goals of education and the interests of the students would be the losers. In the same way the objectives of self-support and self-sufficiency, of independent living and personal rehabilitation, clearly demand the preservation--not the dissolution--of the realistic distinctions between aided groups now erected by the public assistance programs.

There is, moreover, a deeper confusion involved in this issue: the confusion fostered by those who seek to abolish the system of categories altogether. This across-the-board opposition to categories as such is not just impractical but nonsensical. Our laws are not, and cannot be, universal in their effect; they deal with particular groups or categories of people, classified according to the limited purposes of the law. So long as there are laws and administration of the laws--so long, that is, as there are people In their irreducible human variety and difference--there will continue to be classification of them into categories. The question, in short, can never be whether to have categories, but rather which categories are legitimate and proper. In other words, where are the lines correctly to be drawn?

The answer to this question is to be found by looking, first, at the purposes of public assistance with respect to its various clients and, second, at the actual needs and circumstances of these client groups. One overriding purpose is common to all of the four existing categories: namely, to relieve the distress of poverty through a program of income maintenance. And there is some overlapping and intermingling of other purposes, such as self-care, medical aid and rehabilitation. But when we take a closer look at the groups involved, the similarities are seen to be less significant and less striking than the differences among them. Children are not included in the category because their needs are different from those of adults. It would be ludicrous to cast their lot with, say, the recipients of Old Age Assistance. It is hardly less ludicrous to cast the lot of the blind together with the aged and with the permanently and totally disabled. Indeed, what the blind client in his productive years most needs from welfare is the kind of consideration that will set him apart from those who are past retirement and those whose disabilities are total. What he needs, as they do not, is first of all the provision of training and of opportunity for normal competitive life and livelihood. Perhaps the most tragic consequence of this new categorizing of the blind with the mentally lame and the chronically halt is that these paramount and distinctive characteristics of many of blind persons--that they are able-bodied and able-minded, normal in capacity and self-sufficient in potential--is categorically denied and overridden.

Not long ago some experts in social work published a study entitled "Public Welfare: Time for a Change," which made the familiar argument for the abolishment of categories. But at the same time, without quite meaning to, the authors graphically exposed in a single phrase one of the main reasons for the necessary distinction between categories. They called attention to the process of "selective limitation" by which public welfare measures, in their inception, come to focus "around certain groups in the population whose claim to social protection is transparently obvious, most typically children or persons with particularly anxiety-provoking disabilities s such as blindness, leprosy, or insanity," What a forceful reminder this is of the social and psychological associations which blindness carries in its train — of the timeword tendency to regard the blind as pariahs or mental defectives, to be put away somewhere out of sight in sheltered retreats where the anxiety-provoking effects of their presence might be reduced to a minimum. Not long ago, in point of historical fact, the blind shared their classic retreat with lunatics, if not with lepers. In the era of the almshouse and the work farm, there was in essence only a single category of welfare recipient: that of the unfortunate. It may well be said that social progress for the blind began on the day when they were first recognized, for purposes of welfare aid, as a separate category. Once accepted on their own terms, their problem came to be seen for what it is in fact: one primarily of rehabilitation and retraining, of return to normal life and of reintegration into competitive society.

7. The threat of impending dissolution of the separate program of Aid to the Blind is not the only peril that has been posed by the public welfare package of the New Frontier. Another is summed up in the single key word which provides the theme for the whole program. That word is "services." The accent in welfare, said the President in February, must be on "services instead of support." And this point has since been hammered home deliberately and unmistakably by the Secretary of HEW and his staff of experts.

The term "services" has been made to cover a multitude of virtues- but its fundamental meaning is clear. It means simply the services of individualized casework, such as those of diagnosis, counseling, adjustment, psychiatric aid, and the like. These services have, of course, undisputed value in assisting individuals and families to solve their emotional problems and to make constructive psychological and social adjustments. Where the significant causes underlying dependency and need are of such a character, requiring informed guidance and therapeutic counseling, casework services are important and appropriate.

But it should be no less plain that where the root causes of poverty and dependency lie outside rather than within the person--where they are not psychological in origin but broadly economic and sociological--the services of individual casework, however expert, are far from adequate. When an individual or a family is in need not through such causes as alcoholism or emotional imbalance but because they are the victims of prejudice, of lack of opportunity, of unusable skills, of regional unemployment or other environmental causes, the help they need most is of a wholly different order from that which casework services can provide.

Indeed, it is not too much to say that the conventional services of casework, misapplied to such instances of hard physical and economic want, may often be negative and even actively destructive in their effect. What is the value of orientation and adjustment services for the victim of discrimination who cannot find work? Is it to teach him resignation and submission to a role of permanent inferiority and second-class status? And what of the young blind person who finds himself the victim of a similar (if less blatant) discrimination? Is he to be adjusted to an acceptance of the sheltered workshop as his predestined fate?

Let us have done with reckless talk of "services instead of support. " Let us above all cease the gibberish of supposing (as Secretary Ribicoff for one has done) that all the vast and deep dislocations of society and the economy are now to be remedied by the "professional, skilled services" of social casework. They are not. Many of those problems are beyond the scope and power of public welfare to alleviate. Others do lie within the scope of welfare--but only as it evolves beyond the traditional boundaries of casework to implement the high objectives of self-support and rehabilitation, of independence and integration, which are part and parcel of the progressive concept of welfare in the modern world.

8.If there is a threat to welfare in the beguiling phrase "services instead of support," there is a similar and equal danger in that other phrase of the new program: "rehabilitation instead of relief." No one would oppose a mere stress upon rehabilitation rather than relief alone--if that rehabilitation is vocational and not merely therapeutic. But why rehabilitation "instead of" relief? And why, for that matter, services "instead of" support? It is hard to avoid the suspicion that the original and primary purposes of public assistance--to relieve the distress of poverty and to support those handicapped or incapacitated--are here in grave danger of neglect if not extinction. At best, what these official phrases convey is a de-emphasis of the values of relief and support-- which means a devaluation of the cash grant. They do so, moreover at a time when the principle of a money payment, the unrestricted cash grant, is in urgent need of more rather than less encouragement--at a time when the pressures are mounting to garnishee and whittle away the public assistance check and substitute for it the humiliating system of the voucher.

What has become known as the principle of "adequacy"--that the money grant should be both unrestricted and sufficient in amount to meet the stipulated needs of the recipient--is eternally under fire from the penny-wise and plain foolish. These are the people who are always engrossed in inventing and imposing non-monetary services at the expense of adequate monetary support. Sad to say, they are joined by many in social work who tend to interpret the problems of the needy (even that of hunger) in psychological terms, to be cured by services and yet more services.

The greatest and most glaring weakness of our welfare system is still that of its level of payments--a failure which cannot be compensated for by any amount of "services," however professional or delightful they may be. This fundamental fact has been given renewed emphasis in a recent authoritative report of the Project on Public Services for Families and Children, carried out by some of the most eminent personages in social welfare and based on a survey of hundreds of workers and administrators across the country. The authors write:

"The material suggested that however important additional services might be, such services could not correct a deficiency created 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.'"

What a vicious circle this suggests--with the client caught helplessly in the vortex. It is not only that the services of casework, inadequate in the first place to meet the underlying problem, tend to call out more services and ever more services, without touching the real problem. That is bad enough and sad enough. But the evil is further compounded by the fact that the cash grant may itself come with strings attached--tied in with the acceptance of services which in turn control the amount of the grant and even the manner in which it is spent. In short, the threat of services is not simply that they may supplant the basic requirement of adequate financial aid--but that they may condition and regulate it.

9. We have observed that the threat of services is, on one side, the threat of further invasion of the rights of clients-notably the right to do with their money as they will--along with a denial of their capacity to act responsibly in their own best interests. This brings us to our next peril and problem facing the blind: the challenge of those who would lead our lives for us--who would, if they could, not only do for us but speak for us and even think for us. In more familiar terms, I am referring to the problem of custodialism.

It is this custodial bias which has led so many of the agencies to oppose with might and main the right of the blind to organize independently and to be consulted collectively. It is this vested interest which leads the agencies, now as ever, to oppose the independent ownership of vending stands by their blind operators--thereby lessening the supervisory control of the licensing agency. It is this caretaker mentality which leads the lighthouse keepers to perpetuate the rotting institution of the sheltered workshop, to oppose organization and collective bargaining by its inmates, to break their strikes and turn aside their pleas.

To an extent , one may even sympathize with the colonial custodians of the blind. What they face, all across the land, is nothing less than a revolution of rising expectations. The blind people of America are not content with servile states; theirs is a full-fledged independence movement. Their demand is for total equality--equality at the bargaining table, equality in the consultation room, equality in the market place. When the satraps of the agencies are prepared to meet those democratic terms--when they are ready to work with the blind, not on them.--the challenge of custodialism will be ended.

10. The last of the threats to the welfare of the blind is by no means the least. In many ways it is the gravest of all. It is the self- challenge of our own division and dissension--the internal peril of palsy and paralysis. Movements, too, have their diseases. And the worst of these, the one most often fatal, is the virus of creeping anarchy--the blight of disunity and discord which gnaws at the vitals of a stricken movement until its will is sapped, its strength drained away, its moral fiber shattered. The movement of the organized blind--we all know to our sorrow--has been so afflicted. If our movement is to rise again, there must be among us a massive recovery of the will to live: a revival of the sense of purpose and mission, indeed of manifest destiny, which once infused this Federation and fired its forward advance.

If we fail in that, more than a movement dies. The Federation has been, above all things, a repository of faith--the faith of tens of thousands without sight and otherwise without a voice. It has become a symbol, a living proof, of the collective rationality and responsibility of blind men and women--of their capacity to think and move and speak for themselves, to be self-activated, self-disciplined and self-governing: in a word, to be normal . Our failure is the death of that idea.Our success is the vindication of that faith.

It is not enough to know that the Federation will endure. What is essential is that it shall prevail: that the claim of the blind to normality, their will to equality, their drive for security, and their collective stride toward freedom, shall not perish from the land.

BACK TO CONTENTS

BROTHERS ... & OTHERS

Big Boost for Workshops. Workshops for the blind in seven cities have been awarded million-dollar contracts by the Defense Department to produce sanitation kits for the civil defense fallout shelter program. The state-operated sheltered shops are located in Phoenix, Arizona; Baltimore; Kansas City, Mo.; Binghamton and Brooklyn, N.Y.; Cleveland, and Greensboro, North Carolina.

The contract to Arizona Industries for the Blind was recently announced by General Manager James W. Caddick, who predicted that it would mean the addition of 25 to 30 blind persons to the present 38-man work force at the state department of welfare's agency. The Arizona contract, totaling $1,024,852, will finance the making of 121,421 of the defense shelter kits, Caddick said.

"This is a tremendous jump for us. It will give us an opportunity to show private employers that blind people can do the kind of work that we know they can do. This is the finest way to demonstrate their capacity," he said. The Arizona workshop manager added that the project should get underway in mid- August and continue for about five months.

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Iowa Association Meeting. The annual meeting of the Iowa Association of the Blind was held June 1 to June 3 at Vinton, Iowa, with over 180 in attendance. Program speakers included Superintendent Lee Iverson of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School; Don Walker, Principal of the School, and Dr. Isabelle Grant of Los Angeles, California. Dr. Grant also spoke at the banquet. This year marked the hundredth anniversary of the main building of the school at Vinton.

At the elections held Saturday afternoon, June 2, Williann Klontz was re-elected president for his second two-year term. Mr. Klontz was also chosen delegate to the Detroit convention of the N. F. B. His address is Box 713, Waterloo, Iowa. Other officers elected were Mrs. Mary Roth of Winterset, First Vice-President; Mrs. Ether Latham of Sioux City, Second Vice-President; Mrs. Mabel Nading of De s Moines, Secretary, and Mrs. H. E. Stutters of Clarion, Treasurer.

The convention sent resolutions to the Iowa senators urging them to support the deletion of Category XVI from the pending Public Assistance bill. Legislation was also endorsed for a state income tax exemption, and to oppose the closing of the Palmer School of Chiropractic to blind students. A committee was appointed to support Dr. Grant in her work in Pakistan.

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Move to "Deport" Welfare Clients. A bill recently introduced in the Louisiana legislature would call upon the State Welfare Department to furnish transportation out of the state to welfare recipients and to provide them with welfare assistance for up to a year after their departure.

The meaning for clients of the state's welfare services would seem to be crystal clear. If their deportment is not up to snuff -- deport them.

Good News f or D. C. Relief Families. The belief that there is no present need to limit the amount of public assistance payments made to families on relief has been expressed by District Welfare Director Gerard M. Shea in a recent report to District Commissioners.

As reported in FROM THE STATE CAPITALS (a periodical bulletin of state and municipal legislation), the welfare director's report came in response to a critical suggestion made last year by Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, chairman of a Senate subcommittee on district spending. Byrd had urged that the commissioners review the city's welfare program "with a view to perhaps reimposing a ceiling on public assistance grants, in order to reduce the rapidly growing costs of the program." In 1959 the district had abandoned a ceiling of $200 per family a month; the maximum payment currently is $374 for a family with 13 children.

Shea told the commissioners that the city's welfare program already contains a "built-in celing." The limit for any one family was said to be the sum of the maximums payable under each of several categories of assistance, such as food, clothing, rent, fuel and other needs. He pointed out that the city generally pays a family the difference between whatever income it has and the amount set by the department as a desirable subsistence minimum.

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Drive f or Rehabilitation . Prior to his resignation in June, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Abrahani Ribicoff announced that the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation had launched a strong drive to help disabled people leave public assistance rolls through rehabilitation services.

The drive, Secretary Ribicoff said, will involve co-operative working arrangements between the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Bureau of Family Services, which carries Federal responsibility for public assistance programs. State rehabilitation and welfare agencies also will be encouraged to work closely together, he said.

A major aspect of the drive reportedly will be to stimulate a series of demonstration projects for rehabilitating welfare clients. These projects are to be patterned on successful joint rehabilitation-welfare efforts in several parts of the country. One of these is in the District of Columbia. This has been spectacularly successful in helping handicapped mothers to leave the rolls of aid to dependent children.

This project, started in April 1961, has had 64 participants in two groups and 54 of these have been enabled to take regular employment and discontinue receipt of public assistance.

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