THE BLIND AMERICAN

JANUARY ISSUE 1963

INKPRINT EDITION

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

2652 SHASTA ROAD, BERKELEY 8, CALIF.

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

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

VOLUME III NO. 1 January 1963

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

http://www.archive.org/details/blindamericanjan31amer

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

NFB'S PRESIDENT EARNS DOUBLE HONORS

FAST SHUFFLE FOR NEW JERSEY BLIND
By Robert H. Owens

WELFARE "RAID" SCANDAL IN CALIFORNIA

NEW HOPE FOR DISABLED SENIOR CITIZENS

MICHIGAN LEADER HITS BLIND TEACHING PLAN

PROGRESS IN REVERSE
By James B. Garfield

IOWA'S BLIND “AT THE CROSSROADS"

THE PRESIDENT'S COMMITTEE - AFTER 15 YEARS

NEW LEGISLATIVE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE STATES

BLIND PROVE SKILL AT TRADE FAIR

BROTHERS ... & OTHERS

 

NFB'S PRESIDENT EARNS DOUBLE HONORS

Russell Kletzing, president of the National Federation of the Blind, has twice in recent weeks received recognition for distinguished performance in his profession.

A senior attorney on the staff of the California State Department of Water Resources, Kletzing was promoted in January to the position of Assistant Chief Counsel of the Department--the highest civil service rank yet attained by any blind person in California. In his new capacity, Kletzing will be second in command over a departmental staff of 18 attorneys.

In addition to his promotion, Kletzing has been presented with the state of California's Award for Superior Accomplishment in recognition of his contribution to the success of the state's complex water resources program.

He received the governmental citation during special ceremonies held January 29 at the state capitol in Sacramento. The award was presented by William E. Warne, director of California's Resources Agency, who described the event as "a token of the deep appreciation of the State of California for your outstanding contribution to the Department of Water Resources."

Kletzing's efforts in the negotiation of contracts governing the South Bay (California) Aqueduct and in the development of standard legal provisions for water supply contracts were singled out by the agency director as "an extremely significant step toward making possible the delivery of project water to the people of California."

Warne pointed out in his conferral speech that "legally binding forms of agreement, containing the essential points negotiated, were developed by Mr. Kletzing in a matter of a few hours when deadlines were imminent. He played leading roles in the sensitive negotiations with water districts, in some cases dovetailing provisions with simultaneous negotiations with the Bureau of Reclamation.

"Improved morale within the legal staff of the department as a whole, as well as positive assurance to water users throughout the state that the department is progressing toward timely water delivery, are necessary results of such accomplishments," Warne said.

"In addition, Mr. Kletzing's performance has set a high standard and an example for those who have been privileged to work with him," he concluded.

In his capacity as senior attorney, Kletzing has for several years directed the legal negotiation of water supply contracts for his state--highly complex and intricate operations involving numerous agencies throughout the state and covering expenditures of more than three billion dollars by water users over the next 75 years.

Kletzing also was California's legal representative in contract negotiations with the federal government leading to construction of the joint-use facilities of the San Luis Project in the state's San Joaquin Valley--an unprecedented example of cooperation through which state and federal governments have pooled their resources to construct and operate the 450-million dollar water venture. The joint development, which provides a guide through the complicated relations between the national and state governments, was scrutinized over several months by Congress and the Secretary of the Interior and found to be legally "water-tight."

Besides these duties, Kletzing acts as chief water rights expert for his state agency, representing the department before the Water Rights Board, the California Water Commission and other public bodies. His primary responsibility in this area of activity is to protect the claim to water rights of the giant state project; in other cases he also presents the views and opinions of the department's experts to make certain that the most efficient projects will be brought into being.

In addition, Kletzing's official assignments include taking charge of the agency's legal concern with federal legislation, with inter-state water compacts and various relationships with other states, California's massive state water project--planned, designed and built by the Department of Water Resources--involves the construction of 21 dams, among them two of the largest in the nation. The project also entails hundreds of miles of aqueduct, canals, pipelines, tunnels and power plants throughout the state--all designed to serve the water demands of the state's booming population and to solve such chronic problems as those of flood control and inadequate irrigation for farmlands.

During the past year a $120 million contract, largest in the nation's history, was awarded for construction of the Oroville Dam complex, key unit in the plan to provide maximum water benefits to all parts of the state. At the same time President Kennedy and Governor Brown together launched construction of the San Luis Project, an important link to move water to Southern California in 1971.

The first water to be delivered through state project facilities began flowing through the South Bay Aqueduct into Livermore Valley last May. The full South Bay Aqueduct, scheduled for completion in 1966, will take water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara--extending some 40 miles at a cost of about $45 million.

The state Department of Water Resources is marketing the project's water under contracts expected to return the full cost ($1.75 billion) to the state. The department, in which Kletzing plays a key role, has already begun operating the system that is intended to assure the nation's largest state the water it must have for continued development.

Kletzing's remarkable rise in his professional career has not been without its share of frustration and setbacks along the way. As a young lawyer, fresh from the University of California's Boalt School of Law, he applied for some 30 positions before finding employment. He worked for seven years for the federal bureau of reclamation in Sacramento.

It was Kletzing's initial attempt to get a federal job that led to a case now famous in the annals of the organized blind movement. He successfully passed a civil service examination for attorney, only to find later that officials in Washington had removed his name from the civil service list.

Convinced that the only reason for this was that Washington had discovered his blindness, Kletzing went to the National Federation of the Blind, with whose vigorous backing he made a test case of the issue--the celebrated "Kletzing case" through which the NFB ultimately forced open the doors of civil service employment in various fields formerly barred altogether to blind persons.

No one is likely to argue, on the basis of Kletzing's subsequent career in both federal and state government, that blindness is any barrier to employment in the civil service--no matter how high up on the ladder.

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FAST SHUFFLE FOR NEW JERSEY BLIND

By Robert H. Owens

(Editor's note: As a sequel to our brief report last month on ominous developments in New Jersey's blind-aid program, THE BLIND AMERICAN invited Robert H. Owens, executive secretary of Associated Blind of New Jersey, to describe the state's new welfare "reorganization" plan in more detail. Following is his report.)

An editorial archer for a leading New Jersey newspaper recently pulled his bow against the state's welfare programs, sending blunted arrows flying at "lavish expenditures" and the $36 million cost of the programs in 1961. According to the newspaper, too many are getting too much.

The editorial writer's heaviest shafts were aimed at the state's aid to dependent children program, just as other writers, in other states, have concentrated attacks on that particular phase of welfare.

But in New Jersey now, as in other states, there no longer is a particular phase of welfare. Pot-shots at dependent children are pot-shots at the aged, the totally disabled and, yes, the needy blind. Until December 11, 1962, such was not the case in New Jersey: the needy blind enjoyed the distinction of a separate program, administered by county welfare boards, under the supervision of the Commission for the Blind.

All that was changed in December when the New Jersey Legislature, in its final working session of the year, passed a bill to reorganize the state's welfare programs. This was December 3. That day, both houses passed the bill--which had ping-ponged between the legislative branches all year--as an "emergency" measure.

The "emergency," it seems, is one of enabling the Garden State to dig deeper into federal tills as soon as possible. Throughout the new law, signed by Governor Richard J. Hughes 8 days after it was approved, there is heavy emphasis on obtaining additional welfare funds from Washington.

Consider this excerpt from the law:

"... the Commissioner of Institutions and Agencies is authorized, directed and empowered to issue, or to cause to be issued by the appropriate departmental officers or agencies, all necessary rules and regulations and administrative orders, and to do or cause to be done all other acts and things necessary to secure for the State of New Jersey the maximum Federal financial participation that is available with respect to a program of assistance for the blind ..."

Does that seem so terrible? Not really. But what you just read is only an excerpt, an excerpt from a 31-page, omnibus law which assigns the Commission for the Blind to the state's Division of Public Welfare, under the vast and powerful Department of Institutions and Agencies (17 relief and training institutions and noninstitutional agencies, and eight correctional institutions).

It is a law that has its purpose, as it relates to the needy blind, clearly stated by its sponsor. Assemblywoman Mildred Barry Hughes of Union County. Every piece of legislation proposed in New Jersey is accompanied on its travels by a printed, explanatory statement. Here's what the statement says in explanation of the law's effect on the 950 blind assistance recipients in New Jersey:

"Reorganize the blind assistance program so that it will be administered by the County Welfare Boards, under State supervision by the Bureau of Assistance, according to the same pattern that now exists for the other three Federally matched public assistance programs, viz. Old Age Assistance, Disability Assistance, and Assistance for Dependent Children ..."

The statement makes it clear, very clear, that New Jersey's needy blind have fallen prey, through no fault of their own, to the baited trap described by National Federation of the Blind President Russell Kletzing as "Snare 16"--the federal option which holds out a larger handful of money to those states with scrambled aid programs.

New Jersey's organized blind fought a 16-year battle against "decentralization" legislation. Norbert Cifelli, new board chairman of Associated Blind of New Jersey, Inc. (organized 1962), recalls the first attempts to effect such changes as the result of a study by a special legislative committee headed by the late Walter Kidde (rhymes with ditty), a prominent North Jersey businessman. The "Alexander Report" followed several years later, with virtually the same recommendations--then came the handful of money, and that was just too much.

The Commission for the Blind opposed the new law, too, but its protestations were mild-mannered. Toward the end--a year or so ago--it went off on a different tactic, attempting to be transferred to the State Department of Education!

The new law, which is technically effective in mid-1963, makes the commission a constituent agency--along with the Bureau of Assistance and the Bureau of Children's Services--of the Division of Public Welfare, under the Department of Institutions and Agencies.

The law creates a new 15-member citizens' board of public welfare, and specifies that three members of the board be concurrently serving in the Commission for the Blind. (But this stipulation provides the blind little comfort in view of the requirement that all assistance programs be administered according to the "same pattern.")

It allows the commission to appoint its own executive officer (unclassified civil service) and says it is to retain its present structure, except for its former responsibility in supervising the blind assistance program. That function is to be taken over by the Bureau of Assistance, under the review authority of the giant citizens' board.

County welfare boards will continue to be the link between the needy blind and the assistance supervisors, but the supervisors are now further from the client, higher on the administrative ladder.

In New Jersey, there are reportedly more than 80,000 "reliefers" or 21,527 welfare families. The cost of the overall program to the state, in 1961, was $15,840,000. Using that figure, the "reorganization law" would reduce state costs to a little under $8,000,000. However, contradictions to this estimate can be found where statistics are juggled to provide selected slants or different lines in the welfare picture.

From any angle, the new feature of New Jersey's welfare programs, as they relate to the blind, are clear beyond doubt. From their higher perch, welfare administrators will not attempt to distinguish the state's 950 aid-to-the-blind clients from the 80-odd thousands of other welfare recipients. From those heights, everybody looks the same and that's how they will be treated--the law says it must be.

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WELFARE "RAID" SCANDAL, IN CALIFORNIA

Unscheduled surprise early-morning visits to the homes of welfare recipients in California's Alameda County have led to the firing of a partially blind social worker and to vigorous denunciation of the program by the chairman of the state Social Welfare Board who is a national leader of the blind.

Benny Parrish, 29, blind employee for the past three years of the county welfare department, was fired in January following his refusal on grounds of moral principle to join in the secret raids which were supposedly aimed at uncovering fraud among families receiving aid to needy children. The raids were not carried out only against those suspected of being ineligible but against a random sample of all cases.

The secret raids were subsequently attacked by Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, welfare board chairman and president of the American Brotherhood for the Blind, as "equally destructive of human dignity, civil rights and the purposes of public welfare."

Parrish, born in 1933, in his teens began to lose his sight by a progressive malady. He attended the Oakland Orientation Center for the Blind, from which he graduated in 1954. At the University of California in Berkeley, he was active in the Blind College Students Association until his graduation in 1959. Now married, he is a resident of Richmond, California.

Parrish was reported by the Oakland TRIBUNE as having justified his refusal to join the welfare raids on the basis that they serve only to destroy the effectiveness of welfare workers. "These unscheduled visits are an infringement upon the privacy of these people, which imply that they are guilty of fraud,” he declared.

"There is sufficient existing structure to guard against fraud. In the few cases where I found evidence of fraud, I made immediate references to the investigators," he said.

"It would seem that the only possible theory upon which these raids could be carried out is that recipients of public assistance are something less than citizens of the United States, or even human beings,” Parrish declared. "The carrying out of a policy of this kind would be much more appropriate for zoo keepers than for social caseworkers.”

Dr. tenBroek's statement, which drew banner front-page headlines in the Berkeley GAZETTE on January 19. reportedly labeled the policy of stealthy home visitations as "a pattern of creeping infiltration of the law of welfare by the law of crimes, which replaces rehabilitation with retaliation and seeks to convert public welfare into private warfare against the unfortunate."

He declared that the clandestine calls "destroy dignity and privacy, create fear and bewilderment on the part of parents and children alike, impair the relationship between client and worker--and in short imperil the basic purposes and aims of the welfare program.

"Raids by policemen are permissible when they have some good ground to suppose that a crime has been committed--but raids by policemen are not permissible in the absence of well-grounded suspicion of crime," Dr. tenBroek said.

"Mass raids conducted by social workers without specific evidence of criminal offense do not stand upon better legal footing than similar raids conducted by the police.

"And whether they are conducted by the police or by social workers, they do not stand on better legal footing when they are carried out against welfare clients than when brought against a random selection of taxpayers, county supervisors, university professors or newspapermen,” he added.

The state welfare official and blind leader asserted that "the problems from which these needy families suffer--poverty and unemployment, race prejudice and family disruption--are not to be solved by such procedures as these.

"The underprivileged cannot be rehabilitated by further undermining their privileges and those of others in the community,” Dr. tenBroek said.

His was one of many voices raised in the state against the county welfare raids, which have drawn strong opposition from the California Social Workers Organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Alameda County Central Labor Council, and other groups.

The Labor Council's executive committee voted to support the fight of the East Bay Municipal Employees Union to seek reinstatement of the blind social worker, Parrish, who had declined to join the official raiding parties. The union's local said it would appeal his firing and ask the county board of supervisors and civil service commission to "right the wrong that has been committed.”

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NEW HOPE FOR DISABLED SENIOR CITIZENS

One fine morning recently--according to a report in PERFORMANCE, "The Story of the Handicapped"--some 20 men and women converged from subway and bus to report at their new jobs in a converted factory near Coney Island.

As they took their assigned places before different products ranging from hardware to toys and plastics, the similarity of their state in life became interestingly apparent, even to themselves. A shy glance past his workbench brought each employee to realize that he shared much in common with his fellow workers. Every one there was more than 60 years old and every one was severely disabled.

This pilot neighborhood workshop, with each person assigned to subcontracts according to his special skills or preference, is designed to evaluate the response to regular employment of disabled men and women in the older age group. An earlier project had demonstrated that disabled older workers could be successfully retrained and placed in employment--so conclusively, in fact, that the scene at Coney Island was being repeated in Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri; St. Paul and Mankato, Minnesota; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Miami, Florida; and the Virgin Islands.

Through such rehabilitation projects, supported by grants from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, an older disabled person is able to achieve self-respect and dignity during the later years of his life.

Older persons suffer disproportionately from chronic illness and physical disability. Diseases of the heart and related cardiovascular illnesses are responsible for most of the disability among the aging. Of the estimated million or more partially paralyzed persons in the country, a majority are more than 50 years old. The incidence of mental illness increases with age, and 25 percent of the patients in mental hospitals are more than 65 years old. Arthritis incapacitates many aging people. Two-thirds of the country's blind people are 45 years old or more, and 56 percent of our deaf persons are above that age.

Usually the economic condition of older persons makes it more difficult for them to bear the costs of prolonged medical services. They become an increasing burden to their children with the consequent loss of dignity and independence. As the lifespan has increased, chronic disease has increased proportionately with the older persons as the particular targets. Because further extension of the lifespan is inevitable, a still further increase in chronic disease is inevitable, with all its burdensome economic aspects.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation has estimated that about 1.5 million of the 5 million long-term disabled persons of 45 years or more--among them 115,000 persons of 65 years and beyond would be feasible for vocational rehabilitation through the nationwide State-Federal program, which emphasizes employment. The public program of vocational rehabilitation is employing fresh endeavors, new concepts, and new methods for restoration of older persons to productive work to enable them to lead fuller and more useful lives, and reduce the enormous toll of dependency on families, on institutions, and on the public purse.

Under the rehabilitation program, there has been since 1945 a steady increase each year in the number of older disabled individuals rehabilitated into gainful employment. In 1945, for instance, 7,344 disabled persons 45 and older were rehabilitated. This represented 17.5 percent of the total rehabilitated that year. In 1952, there were 16,034 disabled persons in this age group rehabilitated, and the number jumped to 21,086 by 1957. Last year 26,900 persons 45 years of age and older were rehabilitated, representing 29.1 percent of the total.

A wide diversity of disability problems is found among older disabled people. To obtain more knowledge about them, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is helping to support research and demonstration projects, such as the one in Coney Island. Since 1954, the Office has provided financial assistance amounting to almost $7 million for 71 projects. All of these projects are showing new methods and techniques for dealing with the problems of disability among older workers.

A number of projects are seeking to assist older people confined to institutions and nursing homes to become as self-sufficient as possible. For some, this would mean resumption of a normal place in community life. The University of Michigan achieved excellent success in a project designed to evaluate and develop the work potential of long-term patients confined to county medical care facilities. A 72-year-old woman who hadn't worked in 5 years, arose from her wheelchair and walked.

These experimental projects are proving one thing: worthwhile work can be done by mature but handicapped people who are granted their deepest wish, to be allowed to live useful lives.

In the spring of 1961, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation sponsored two 1-week conferences at the State University of Iowa focused on counseling the older disabled worker. Planned as short-term training workshops, these meetings were designed to increase the understanding and skill of counselors and other rehabilitation personnel who serve older disabled persons. Emphasis was placed on medical and psychiatric evaluation of older workers and patients, counseling techniques in working with this age group, utilization of community services and resources, and employment problems and placement procedures to be utilized with older clients. A report, Counseling the Older Disabled Worker, is now available from S. Roberta Church, Consultant on Aging, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Room 3516 North Building, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Washington 25, D.C.

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MICHIGAN LEADER HITS BLIND TEACHING PLAN

A $4,000 research project on "Programmed Learning Materials for the Blind" to be conducted at Western Michigan University has been criticized by a leader of the Michigan Council of the Blind as a reflection of stereotyped and prejudiced notions concerning the abilities of blind persons.

Sandford E. Allerton, board member and past president of the state blind organization, voiced his criticism in a letter to a university official following a report of the federally-supported project in the Kalamazoo GAZETTE.

The newspaper account noted that the idea for the work had resulted from discussions between personnel of the university's Center for Orientation and Mobility, the Special Education division of the School of Education, and Dean George G. Mallinson of the School of Graduate Studies.

In their surveys the officials found no mention of the use of "programmed materials for the blind,” the paper reported. Observations in classrooms for blind children were said to have shown that "a teacher must spend about 10 times as much time per [blind] student as would be necessary with sighted students. Therefore, the WMU investigators feel that any learning procedure that would reduce the time needed for individual instruction while still accomplishing the desired aims is worthwhile," the article stated.

According to the newspaper account, the university investigators "hope to determine formats of stimulus and response modes most suitable for using programmed materials with the blind, the personal factors of the blind person which may influence the use of programmed materials, the optimal length of the program, and achievement of blind students using some form of programmed learning.”

Allerton's letter, addressed to Dean Mallinson, follows:

"Dear Sir:

"As a qualified blind person I feel that I should make a few remarks concerning the article in today's GAZETTE about your research project for teaching the blind. I say "qualified" since I have been totally blind essentially all my life, have graduated from the University of Chicago (1921), and have had many years' experience working at a job. Through my associations with the Michigan Council of the Blind and The National Federation of the Blind, I have become acquainted with hundreds of blind people all over the country. I have some first-hand knowledge of their educational experiences and other problems.

"The observation that it takes ten times as long to teach a blind person as a sighted person suggests that something really serious is wrong with the program used. Certainly it doesn't fit in with my own experience of over forty years ago, in which I and other blind children attended regular classes with sighted children. The reaction of blind children was quite normal, and they didn't require so much extra attention.

"I can't help being annoyed and puzzled by the statement of aims of your study. What are "formats of stimulus and response modes?" Pedagogy is important, but the basic principles of teaching blind youngsters are really quite simple and have been known and practiced for many years. There are over a thousand blind students in U.S. colleges today, as a result.

"It may interest you to know that most educated blind people wish that their sighted brethren approached their problems from the blind person's point of view. All too often, the actions and attitudes of sighted educators and welfare workers are based on ill-founded presumptions and reek of paternalism. As a case in point, it is absurd to assume that sighted people can most efficiently teach the long-cane walking method; yet we have only recently witnessed public demonstrations of this fallacious notion. My wife and I laughed at the spectacle of a sighted teacher showing blindfolded prospective teachers to avoid the pillars at the Art Center by counting steps! Of course, it is already mistakenly presumptuous to believe that being blindfolded is anything near equivalent to being blind. I learned the method of long-cane walking from another blind man in about ten minutes, and while I may not have mastered all the details and finesses, I get around town just fine with it. To insist that a background of many college courses is required to teach something as simple as this is patently absurd.

"In general, the blind are anxious to help themselves, although they are also grateful for enlightened aid from sighted persons. Naturally they are interested when projects of this sort are announced, and can only plead that the investigation be guided by a realistic understanding of their problems, and that these precious funds be spent in a manner which will help them rather than merely perpetuate bureaucracy and paternalism.

Sincerely yours,

Sandford E. Allerton"

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PROGRESS IN REVERSE

By James B. Garfield

(Editor's note: Mr. Garfield is secretary of the California Council of the Blind. He was the subject of a biographical profile, "Success Story of an Old Trouper,” by Anthony Mannino, which appeared in the February, 1962, issue of THE BLIND AMERICAN.)

The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare is more demanding than was the prophet Joshua. He bade the sun to stand still. They demand that our welfare program turn the entire calendar backward. "Backward, turn backward. Oh time in your flight. Make me a child again, then see my plight.”

Scrambling the welfare agencies all under one head and all into one category is like turning back the calendar to the little red schoolhouse where all the students--pre-school, kindergarten, primary, and secondary--were in the same one-room school building under one teacher.

Specialized education under specialized teachers is far better, both for student and teacher, and certainly better for our economy. Likewise specialized welfare, with specialized case workers, is better for the recipient and for the welfare department--and certainly better for our economy. It strives to lift the able-bodied aid recipient into self-sufficiency and independence.

The return to scrambled welfare is as unjustified as would be a return to the little red schoolhouse. Who dreams these nightmares? Won't someone please wake him up?

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IOWA'S BLIND "AT THE CROSSROADS'

The blind people of Iowa are currently proving "that at the crossroads of independence and dependence the road of independence is a practical and possible choice," according to the 1962 Annual Report recently released by the Iowa Commission for the Blind.

The state agency, which administers all major welfare programs for Iowa's blind with the exception of public assistance, graphically stressed the "crossroads" theme throughout its well-illustrated report on state progress in such fields as vocational rehabilitation, orientation and adjustment training, vending stand operation, home teaching, home industries, braille library facilities, and a variety of educational and instructional services.

The cover of the printed report pictured a typical blind trainee, against a "crossroads" background, in three roles made possible for her by rehabilitation services: those of independent travel, homemaking activity, and secretarial employment. Her story was summarized on the inside cover as follows:

"Two Years Ago - Newly blind; fear; loss of job; no financial security; dependence.

"One Year Ago - Receiving training at Center for Blind in Des Moines; learning new techniques; meeting new people; new hope.

"Today - A husband, busy and full participation in community activities, such as square dancing, etc.; a home of her own, preparation of meals, vacuuming sofas, etc.; a job as secretary in office of insurance company; complete success."

Commission Director Kenneth Jernigan described his agency's publication as "a report of the blind of Iowa at the crossroads," which shows that they are "definitely capable of entering fully competitive society if given proper training and opportunity.”

Pointing out that the independent way for blind people has been provided by the Commission through its programs of rehabilitation and related services, the report declared: "It is no longer for Iowa merely a faith in blind people; it is now a fact that many blind Iowans are independent, self-sustaining citizens. It is also a fact that there are hundreds more who need and want these programs so vital to independence.”

In fiscal 1962 the Iowa Commission rehabilitated a record total of 50 blind Iowans, Jernigan reported. He added that the agency's goal is "to have every employable blind person in the state working at his full potential--whether complete or partial self-support."

Record highs were also announced in the state's vending stand program, both in terms of operator earnings and of new stands established. "Now there are 16 such concessions in Iowa, but with a full program there ought to be at least 30. The average earnings per operator were just over $230 per month," according to the report.

Newest and fastest growing division of the state program was said to be the Iowa library for the blind housed in the Commission's Des Moines building. More than 5,000 books per month were being sent by the library to over 1,300 active readers or borrowers as of last June, the report stated, with further rapid growth expected next year. "It is fully anticipated that by the end of fiscal 1963 there will be over 1,600 readers with a monthly circulation over 7,000.”

Three types of books are distributed by the library for the blind: braille books, talking book records, and taped books. "Also, within the limit of Commission resources the library will produce for a reader, either on braille or on tape, any book he might reasonably request,” the report said.

The Commission's remodeled Orientation and Adjustment Center, which last June ended its first year of full operation, was reported to focus its efforts on teaching "a blind person two things: the necessary skills to compete in a predominantly sighted world and the necessary attitudes to overcome public misunderstanding and discrimination.”

Regular courses in the Center curriculum include travel with the new long cane, braille reading and writing, attitudes and techniques, typing, personal grooming, homemaking and management, shop, physical education, library use and techniques, telephone switchboard training, food merchandising and small restaurant operation, and vocational planning and exploration.

"After finishing training at the Center, a blind person either goes directly to a job, continues with specialized training in preparation for a job, returns to the home community as a housewife, or learns vocational skills in an on-the-job training situation. He meets his crossroads and finds the way to successful living in a predominantly sighted world.”

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THE PRESIDENT'S COMMITTEE - AFTER 15 YEARS

The fifteenth anniversary of the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped--observed last fall along with National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week--was a time for reminiscence and stock-taking on the part of those who have been instrumental in the growth of the committee and the cause which it symbolizes.

In a joint statement released by the committee's Associate Members (federal agency administrators and Cabinet heads concerned with rehabilitation and employment), emphasis was given to "the acceleration of our Nation's economic growth, inextricably joined with the extension of equality of job opportunity" over the decade and a half following the birth of the President's Committee.

"We have seen great strides made in creating a favorable climate for the acceptance of handicapped workers, due in large measure to the observable performance of the handicapped themselves," the government officials remarked.

"Our free enterprise system is well suited for permitting the skills and abilities of a worker, despite his handicap, to be recognized. Moreover, there has been a growing recognition that the principle of fair play, so basic a precept of our democracy, requires that every individual be given a fair chance for selection and advancement in employment for which he has the capacity to perform.”

The opportunity-minded committee, initiated by President Truman and since warmly supported by both President Eisenhower and President Kennedy, dropped the qualification "physically" from its title in 1961 as a result of increasing activity and interest in employment of the mentally retarded and mentally restored.

The effectiveness of the committee's efforts in widening the horizons of opportunity for all groups of handicapped persons--whether lame, halt or blind--was underscored by Dr. Howard A. Rusk, veteran rehabilitation expert, in a NEW YORK TIMES article comparing public attitudes toward employing the disabled 15 years ago with those current today.

In 1947 the committee's primary concern was the employment of disabled veterans. Dr. Rusk recalled; but today the problems of the civilian disabled are of far greater concern. He pointed out that perhaps the most significant change in employment practices over the intervening period is that today we are successfully rehabilitating into employment numbers of disabled individuals "who were considered unemployable then.”

When the committee was first brought into being, "there were few State vocational rehabilitation agencies that would consider providing services for a person with paraplegia, paralysis of the legs and lower part of the body," he said. Although finding the right job for the severely disabled is still difficult, "it is now commonplace to find paraplegics at work in all types of jobs.”

He observed that another significant change in attitudes over the past decade and a half "is our increasing recognition that the psychological and social adjustment of the handicapped person is frequently a far more important factor in successful job placement than the physical disability.”

Noting that in one recent year (1960 to 1961) the number of handicapped individuals employed by the federal government had nearly doubled--from 4,706 to 8,648--Dr. Rusk asserted that a part of this increase had come from the appointment by the government of some 3,500 coordinators responsible for employment of the handicapped in each federal agency.

The anniversary of the President's Committee was also marked recently by the publication of a brochure bearing the title, "A 15-Year Chronicle," with a foreword by Major General Melvin J. Maas, chairman of the committee since 1954.

The brochure traced the history of the committee from the inauguration in 1945 of the yearly observed National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week, an idea conceived by Paul A. Strachan, then president of the American Federation of the Physically Handicapped.

It was on September 15, 1947, at the instigation of President Truman, that Secretary of Labor Lewis B. Schwellenbach called together representatives from national organizations representing labor, industry and information media as the first step of a movement that led to formation of the President's committee.

"The President's Committee was born in September, 1947, but it had to grow, to develop, to make itself felt and heard throughout America," the committee brochure stated.

"From the start, the Committee received the full support of every segment of American life--Government, private enterprise, labor, the professions, the mass media, the complete spectrum of the nation.

"And slowly but steadily the word spread and grew in intensity: 'It's good business to hire the handicapped. It's good business to hire the handicapped.'"

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NEW LEGISLATIVE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE STATES

Recent legislative moves at the state level which have significance for the welfare and security of the blind include the following:

A special study commission has recommended to New Jersey's Governor Richard Hughes that the state's three vocational rehabilitation programs, including rehabilitation of the blind, be "unified within a single agency"--in the interests of "consolidation and centralization.” (A full report on this ominous development for the blind of the Garden State will be published in these columns next month.)

In Kansas, Governor Anderson has made recommendations in his message to the state legislature which would bring about changes in aid categories for the blind, as well as for dependent children, the aged and the totally disabled. He also has requested a law for the appointment of legal representatives for persons found misusing welfare funds.

Both branches of the Missouri legislature gave their approval last month to bills increasing the maximum monthly welfare payment by five dollars--thus increasing benefits for aged, disabled and blind recipients from $65 to $70 per month. State Welfare Director Proctor N. Carter said that the measures would increase the state's total welfare outlays by nearly half a million dollars.

New Mexico's Acting State Welfare Director Margaret Hart has announced the inauguration of a "new approach" to rehabilitation in public welfare, according to the bulletin FROM THE STATE CAPITALS. New welfare training sessions for field supervisors of the state's 28 county offices are reportedly underway at the University of New Mexico, emphasizing the analysis of causes leading to dependency and to social, emotional and economic problems on the part of recipients of public assistance.

Miss Hart was reported to have said the rehabilitative approach has demonstrated its usefulness and effectiveness through experience in special projects. She stated that the program can be especially effective if additional workers are added to the staff at the county level to give attention to deep-seated problems of families that have been dependent for years.

In West Virginia, a plan to rehabilitate disabled persons on the state's assistance rolls was recommended to the state legislature by Governor Barron, who asked for legislation permitting his administration to institute panels of physicians to evaluate and review applications by persons reportedly disabled, and to supervise treatment of those found actually incapable of working.

Among other things, a sheltered workshop program was specifically proposed by the governor to be established in the state. He asserted that a county medical society study had shown a considerable of those classified as disabled to possess "at least limited work capacities. Many of these persons could be given varying degrees of training by the State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, with a constant upgrading to their highest potential.”

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BLIND PROVE SKILL AT TRADE FAIR

(Editor's note: The following article is reprinted from the January, 1963, issue of PERFORMANCE, monthly publication of the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped.)

The crowd milled around a group of people busy putting together a conveyor system. It was similar to other skate wheel conveyor systems used to move goods around a firm or factory, but there was something about this activity that caught the eye of the passerby.

The men and women putting the conveyor system together were blind. Yet, this did not prevent them from speedily accomplishing their assigned tasks.

This demonstration took place at the American Pavilion at the recent Thessaloniki International Trade Fair in Thessaloniki, Greece.

The firm which supplied the conveyor system was the Alvey-Ferguson Co., of Cincinnati, Ohio, a longtime exhibitor at International Trade Fairs.

Mrs. Jayne Spain, President of the Company, went to Thessaloniki to give the men and women, who were students at the Thessaloniki School for the Blind, the special instruction required to set up the conveyor system.

Before going to Thessaloniki, Mrs. Spain received special instruction in teaching the handicapped from the Cincinnati Association of the Blind. While blindfolded, she was taught how the blind learn to assemble the various parts of her company's conveyor systems.

More than 600,000 people viewed the American Pavilion and the conveyor system. The exhibit won wide acclaim from officials of the Greek Government as well as those who viewed it. The Alvey-Ferguson exhibit clearly demonstrated the capabilities of properly trained and properly placed handicapped persons and how America makes full use of its most vital resource--its manpower.

Working closely with vocational rehabilitation groups, and Employment Service officials, the Cincinnati firm regularly employs blind and other handicapped persons in assembling its conveyor systems.

The U.S. Exposition at the Thessaloniki fair was sponsored by the Commerce Department's Office of International Trade Fairs. This was the sixth appearance in 7 years at the annual Greek fair. More than 100 firms demonstrated their products and equipment carrying out the theme of the American show, "Resource Development for a Better Life.”

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BROTHERS ... & OTHERS

Capps Earns Service Award. Donald C. Capps, Second Vice President of the National Federation of the Blind, was honored in December with the presentation of an award "for 15 years' efficient, faithful and loyal service" as assistant manager of the claims department and manager of individual policy claim section with the Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company, Columbia, South Carolina. The service award was presented by the firm's president, Edwin F. Averyt, at a special Christmas luncheon signallizing the event.

The citation accompanying the award stated in part: "Don has done a superior and faithful job for the Company, in spite of the vision handicap which he has overcome in remarkable fashion, and which he has never allowed to circumscribe his life, family and community activities, or efficiency in performance of his very responsible job. In fact, he has always been noted for his tremendous volume output in number of claims handled (and handled correct and with good judgment).

"Mr. Capps has done outstanding work as President of The South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind. He has been greatly influential in making the organization strong and useful, and bringing about public understanding and support ....

"We take a reflected glory in Don Capps--and are extremely proud of the tremendous contribution which he has made in this state, and over the whole country, toward the progress and betterment of his fellows.”

Berkeley's Blind Wrestlers Unbeaten. The wrestling team of the California School for the Blind, Berkeley, won again in early January to remain undefeated in 25 consecutive meets. There was one tie in February, 1961, with Novato High School.

The leading wrestler on the Berkeley team is Carl Williams of San Bernardino, who has won 25 bouts in a row, including 10 this season. Dave Kallinger of Riverside, with 9-0, and Tom Treher of Arcadia, 8-1, are also outstanding.

The California School for the Blind was one of the first schools in the state to field an interscholastic wrestling team. The present athletic director, Dr. Charles Buell, introduced the sport at CSB in 1946. Since that time, the blind boys have traveled all over Northern California, winning 105 meets and losing 33. Three blind wrestlers have won State High School Championships and three more have placed second. In December, 1962, a team from CSB traveled to Tucson and defeated the Arizona School for the Blind by a score of 18 to 6.

Ohioan Wins Award. Robert Oberhouse, member of the Ohio Council of the Blind, received the award for Meritorious Service of both the President's and Governor's Committees on Employment of the Handicapped at the 1962 Ohio Welfare Conference, according to a recent Bulletin of the OCB. Oberhouse, a home teacher in Ohio, is a graduate of Bowling Green University and active in the Blinded Veterans Association, the Bowling Green Lions Club, the County Crippled Childrens Society and the American Legion.

Braille Poster Aids Blind. Cross-country circulation of a poster in braille designed to assist the blind employees of sheltered workshops has been announced by Secretary of Labor W. Willard Wirtz.

The poster was formally presented last November by the Cabinet official to Peter J. Salmon, director of the Industrial Home for the Blind, Brooklyn, New York. Salmon also is a member of the legislative committee of National Industries for the Blind and chairman of the Department of Labor's Sheltered Workshop Advisory Committee.

Employers reportedly are required by Fair Labor Standards Act regulations to place a poster explaining the law "in a conspicuous place where it can be observed readily by the handicapped clients and others in the workshop." The use of braille was said to have been decided upon as an effective means of informing the blind of the conditions required for their employment in sheltered workshops under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

It was not indicated whether the poster will also be mandatory reading for employers to assure their compliance with existing minimum wage, hour and other requirements of work in the sheltered shops. Although certificates of exemption are commonly obtained by workshop managers to avoid stipulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, various organizations of the blind (notably the National Federation of the Blind and its affiliated state associations) have long sought to reform the submarginal pay scales and antiquated working conditions in the nation's sheltered employment centers.

The Wage and Hour and Public Contracts Divisions of the Department of Labor have reported that there were 582 certified sheltered workshops at the close of fiscal 1962, of which approximately 100 are primarily designed to serve blind workers. The surveys also reportedly show more persons with severe handicaps receiving such employment than in previous years.

The braille poster was developed in cooperation with the Division for the Blind of the Library of Congress.

Radar "Eyes" for the Blind. Radar "eyes" based on the echo-sounding system used by bats may soon be adapted for use by the blind, according to reports of research being conducted in both England and the United States.

St. Dunstan's, the famed British institute for war-blinded men and women, claims the revolutionary new guidance aid was invented by Dr. L. A. Kay of Birmingham University.

In a brief account of research developments, THE WHITE CANE (monthly publication of the Washington State Association of the Blind) reports that the device has three main parts--a container with electrical components, a hand-held "probe" resembling an electric torch which is pointed by the blind person in the direction of the desired echo, and earpieces which fit into the ear.

Aerospace Industries Association of America, Inc., has declared that the invention enables a blindfolded person to detect and make his way around such objects as cars, trees and other persons--as well as to locate an open door and pass through without touching it.

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