THE BLIND AMERICAN

 

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

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

VOLUME III NO. 7 July 1963

TABLE OF CONTENTS

NEW STUDY OF WORLD COUNCIL REPRESENTATION

CALIFORNIA'S BREAK-THROUGH ON RESIDENCE

A RESOLUTION TO ABOLISH RESIDENCE LAWS

WHITHER THE WORLD COUNCIL?
By Dr. Jacobus tenBroek

BLIND TEACHERS IN THE SCHOOLS
By Dr. Isabelle L.D. Grant

NATIONAL FEDERATION HOLDS CONVENTION

JACOB FREID RECEIVES NEWEL PERRY AWARD

DOES BLINDNESS IMPROVE SENSE OF TOUCH?

SCIENCE FOR THE BLIND--A SERVICE

NEW COURSE FOR BLIND HOMEMAKERS

THE MAIL BOX

BROTHERS ... & OTHERS

Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2010 with funding from National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
http://www.archive.org/details/blindamericanjul37amer

 

NEW STUDY OF WORLD COUNCIL REPRESENTATION

A sweeping public review of the nature and composition of United States representation in the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind has been set in motion by the six U.S. delegates presently comprising that representation.

The comprehensive appraisal, first in the 13-year history of the world organization, was agreed upon by the six delegates in a meeting July 22 at Seattle. Coming as it does preparatory to next year's World Assembly session in New York, the review is expected to excite broad public discussion across the country on the basic question of how blind Americans may best be represented and served within the international framework of the World Council.

As a first step the U.S. delegation plans to address inquiries to organizations of the blind, welfare agencies, associations and institutions of all kinds in work for the blind--seeking answers to the question: "Do you wish to be represented in the World Council?"

All organized groups and agencies interested in being represented--as well as in the issues of how such representation should be apportioned and distributed--are invited to communicate with M. Robert Barnett of the U.S. delegation, who has kindly consented, at the request of his fellow delegates, to serve as the ad hoc secretary of the group. Mr. Barnett, the executive director of the American Foundation for the Blind, may be addressed at the Foundation's offices, 15 West 16th Street, New York 11, New York.

By provision of the World Council constitution, the United States was assigned a total of six delegates. The original distribution of these seats, made 13 years ago, has never been altered. The delegates attend sessions of the World Assembly every five years, and some are also members of the Executive Committee (which has five North American seats). The agencies or organizations represented by delegates must therefore be financially capable of supporting considerable travel expenses, as well as the membership dues of $100 per year.

The present members of the U.S. Delegation, in addition to Mr. Barnett, are: Professor Jacobus tenBroek, representing the National Federation of the Blind; Max Woolly, American Association of Instructors of the Blind; Eric T. Boulter, American Foundation for Overseas Blind; Marjorie S. Hooper and Gordon B. Connor, American Association of Workers for the Blind.

It is hoped that the responses of organizations to the delegates' inquiry will also suggest guidelines and standards helpful to the group in its study of how representation of the American blind in the World Council may best be carried out. The review process is expected, among other things, to raise fundamental questions of political science and procedure--such as those of the relative merits of proportional, regional and functional representation.

Also prominent among the issues to be faced is that of the proper balance between organizations of the blind and agencies for the blind in the U.S. delegation.

In the effort to devise a system of appropriate tests and standards governing the selection of groups to be represented, the U.S. delegates will seek to give weight to such factors as the size and makeup of organizations, the scope of their membership or clientele (national, regional, statewide, etc.), the character of programs and services, and many others.

It is emphasized that these standards will themselves undergo appraisal and review in the course of the study, which should be completed in time to determine the U.S. delegation to the World Assembly meeting in August, 1964. Following the receipt of replies to their questionnaire, the delegates will meet in November to process the list of interested organizations, and to begin the evaluation of claims. After more extended review, they plan to meet again in January or February to provide an opportunity for those eliminated or doubtful to obtain a hearing.

Back to Contents

 

CALIFORNIA'S BREAK-THROUGH ON RESIDENCE

A highly significant break-through in blind welfare--removing at a stroke one of the oldest and most onerous obstacles to the granting of public assistance to those in need of it--has occurred in California with the enactment of a bill abolishing all length-of-residence requirements as a condition of eligibility for state Aid to the Blind.

The new measure (A.B. 59), introduced by Assemblyman Philip Burton, stipulates only the fact of state residence and explicitly declares that "No period of residence in this State is required" under the blind program.

In a related move toward liberalization the state law also reduces the residence requirement for Aid to the Permanently and Totally Disabled from five to three years.

This bold action by California to free its welfare programs from one of the rustiest shackles of the medieval poor law poses a direct challenge to the nation--not to the states alone but to Congress and the Federal Government.

The two most populous states in the Union--New York and California--have now rid themselves of the antiquated and inequitable restriction of fixed residence for their reedy blind populations. Four other states as well--Connecticut, Hawaii, Mississippi, and Rhode Island--have abolished their residence requirements, together with the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands.

The Federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare has long been on record in opposition to residence requirements in state welfare programs and in favor of their abolition.

So has the National Advisory Council on Public Assistance, which in its 1960 official report flatly labeled all such limitations on residence as "anachronisms" and declared that "It is time for a change." So, too, has the National Social Welfare Assembly, which has established a special committee to drum up interest in the problem and work for the elimination of the residence laws.

The American Legion and the National Travelers Aid Society, among numerous other concerned public groups, have also set up committees to explore the issue and find the means of its solution.

It is time that Congress heard the voice of the people on this issue of social justice and acted firmly to knock down the barbed-wire fences of extended residence all across the land.

The bills are there, in the hopper, ready to go. They are: H.R. 5706, introduced by Congressman Walter S. Baring; and H.R. 6245, introduced by Congressman Cecil R. King.

It is notable that when the Federal Administration was pressing only a few years ago for the abolition of residence restrictions in welfare, California's Congressional representatives were among the opponents of the move--apparently in fear that it would result in a stampede of the needy into the Golden State. Now that their own state has seen fit to eliminate its residence bans in aid to the blind, those Congressmen should (out of self-interest as well as altruism) be among the first to seek an extension of the residence benefit to all the states.

The case for the abolition of residence requirements in public welfare is clear and conclusive. It has been systematically set forth by the National Federation of the Blind, along with other citizen groups, in public testimony over the years. Its main features may be briefly stated.

Free movement across state borders and from one community to another is a basic right of all Americans, bound up with the right to opportunity and free expression, and encouraged by our economic system and our political commitment to individual liberty. The motives of blind persons in their movements are no different from those of other people: either they result from the search for broader horizens of opportunity or they are impelled by reasons of health. More immediately pertinent is the fact that the right of blind men and women to be unrestricted in their movement, in their departure from, one state to take up residence in another, is intimately related to the announced purposes of self-support and self-care under the Federal-State public assistance program. It follows therefore that the residence barriers presently erected in most state programs of aid are contradictory of these purposes.

It is not the blind alone who suffer from the discrimination and deprivation wrought by state residence barriers. But the effects are substantially the same for the blind as for those economically disadvantaged groups whose right to movement was upheld by the Supreme Court in the famous case of Edwards vs. California (314 U.S. 160, 1942). "Any measure," wrote Justice Jackson in that case, "which would divide our citizenry on the basis of property into one class free to move from state to state and another class that is poverty-bound to the place where it has suffered misfortune is not only at war with the habit and custom by which our country has expanded, but is also a shortsighted blow at the security of property itself." Justice Douglas in the same case warned that any state prohibitions upon the free immigration of persons who are poor "would prevent a citizen, because he was poor, from seeking new horizons in other states. It might thus withhold from large segments of our people that mobility which is basic to any guarantee of freedom of opportunity. The result would be a substantial dilution of the rights of national citizenship, a serious impairment of the principles of equality."

The imposition of residence requirements as conditions of eligibility for public assistance, accordingly, constitutes a denial to blind recipients of that right of free movement which is indispensable to opportunity. Now that self-care and self-support have become part of the declared purpose of the Federal program of public assistance, such requirements deprive the recipient of aid of one of the primary and frequently essential means of achieving that goal--namely, the right to follow the path of economic opportunity and personal improvement wherever it may lead.

Back to Contents

 

A RESOLUTION TO ABOLISH RESIDENCE LAWS

(Editor's note: The National Federation of the Blind, in its Annual Convention, July 3-6, 1963, at Philadelphia, gave unanimous approval to the following resolution.)

WHEREAS, Congressman Walter S. Baring, Nevada, continuing his sincere, steadfast, and vigorous support of the beliefs and objectives of the National Federation of the Blind, has introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 5706; and

WHEREAS, this bill would prohibit the imposition of any length of residence requirement in state programs providing aid to the blind, permitting all persons who are otherwise eligible for public assistance in the state to receive the same upon acquiring residence; and

WHEREAS, enactment of this measure into federal law is most essential if qualified and employable blind persons who are recipients of aid are to be permitted, encouraged, and assisted to seek employment opportunities for jobs for which they are qualified wherever such jobs can be found throughout the entire country; and

WHEREAS, enactment of this proposal into law is most necessary if professional and vocational training and other rehabilitative services are to culminate in remunerative employment for substantial numbers of blind persons; and

WHEREAS, such freedom of movement is particularly of overwhelming importance to persons who are both deaf and blind, and for whom there are now available drastically limited employment opportunities in a number of states of which they may not freely avail themselves because of durational residence restrictions; and

WHEREAS, the State of California, with public assistance programs for the blind among the most generous in the nation, and other attractions not to be minimized, has recently abolished durational residence requirements for blind persons;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this 4th day of July, 1963; that the organized blind thank and commend Congressman Baring for his fine cooperation and always eager willingness to assist us in our efforts to lessen the disadvantages of blindness, and particularly thank Congressman Baring for the introduction of H.R. 5706; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the officers and staff of the National Federation of the Blind are directed to take all necessary actions to secure the adoption of H.R. 5706 by the 88th Congress.

Back to Contents

 

WHITHER THE WORLD COUNCIL?

By Dr. Jacobus tenBroek

(Editor's note: Professor Jacobus tenBroek delivered the following address before the National Federation of the Blind in its annual convention at Philadelphia, July 4, 1963. He spoke in his capacity as the Federation's delegate to the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind. His address is two things in one: it is, first, a report on developments within the World Council during the last year, and particularly upon the shameful way in which the National Federation was stripped of its seat on the World Council Executive Committee. At the same time, the speech is a thoughtful consideration of some important things that the World Council ought to be doing. Dr. tenBroek is professor of political science at the University of California (Berkeley), where he has made a distinguished reputation as a teacher. Through his many books and other publications he has acquired a national reputation as a constitutionalist and a welfare authority.)

The World Council for the Welfare of the Blind is now in its thirteenth year of existence. What has it accomplished? Where does it stand today? Whither is it tending?

Surely no organization, even if it were a world government rather than a voluntary association, could hope in so short a time to command the many crushing problems that plague the blind populations of our crowded planet. It could scarcely begin to contend with the burdens of poverty alone--an impoverishment so massive and total as to leave millions of the sightless in a hundred countries at or near the level of starvation. Add to that the inexorable dilemmas of ignorance, disease, economic exclusion and pariah status--and a beginning is made toward recognition of the plight of nine-tenths of the world's blind.

In these desperate and seemingly hopeless circumstances, what is there that can be done? What can we reasonably expect of such a body as the World Council?

We can expect, first of all, inspired leadership: a leadership of men to match these mountains of insecurity and terror: a leadership that is creative, resourceful and affirmative--rather than timed, conservative and exhausted. We can demand vigilant awareness of where the crucial problems lie, and unremitting attention to the means and strategies of combatting them. We can hope for a sweeping vision of frontiers to be sought and conquered; for a deeply felt appreciation of the universal needs and aspirations of blind people the world over; for an unswerving commitment to their rights as human beings and fellow citizens of the world; and for a persistent and impatient agitation--drumming its message on the ears of governments and into the minds of people--toward their gradual translation into fact.

Most of all we can expect and demand of that leadership a reach of rhetoric to match its depth of dedication: a bold capacity for fresh and eloquent expression of the high goals of social evolution--the emancipating goals of opportunity and equality, of independence and integration--to which any world organization for the welfare of the blind must surely be devoted.

We cannot expect immediate solutions to the global terrors of fear and hunger which torment the blind; but we can expect an impassioned proclamation of their urgency and devastation. We cannot expect a cure-all for the cultural and social blights that stunt the growth of countless blind youths and condemn them to lives of futile desperation; but we can expect a resounding manifesto against the defeatism and indifference that permit these things to rage unchecked. We cannot expect a social revolution overnight; but we can expect a full and fearless revelation. We cannot expect, from the labors of the World Council, an instant conferral upon the world's blind of the epaulets of dignity and the credentials of acceptance; but we can expect, and we can demand, a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Blind Persons--a declaration paralleling and enlarging the two great pronouncements already promulgated by the United Nations: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Universal Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

That is what a World Council, fit to give the whole world counsel, can do. And that is what it may undertake to become for all the blind: not a guardian but a leader; not an institution but a movement.

How does the present World Council measure up to these standards? What has it done in fact, and what does it propose to do in principle? It proposes first to work for the welfare of the blind throughout the world. It proposes next to provide the means of consultation between organizations of and for the blind in different countries. It proposes, "wherever possible", joint action towards the introduction of minimum welfare standards. And it proposes finally to help in the improvement of such standards.

That is all. Those are the high purposes, and the only purposes, to which the World Council is constitutionally committed. Surely they are minimum purposes, cautious and conservative objectives, for so august and international a body.

But if the constitutional purposes of the World Council are conventional and meager, its actual performance over the past dozen years has been inconsequential and trifling. It has formed committees, one or two of substantial scope but most of them involved with the routine matters of social services, technical appliances and braille uniformity. It has increased membership fees--and numerous member nations have declined to pay them. It has voted funds for traveling representatives, and its representatives have traveled. It has published a periodical bulletin, which few have received and fewer still have ever read. It has immersed itself in the minutiae of administrative chores and staff reports. It has avoided offending any vested interests in the superannuated agencies of the world. It has placed its stamp of approval upon sheltered workshops and other mouldering artifacts of custodial caretaking. It has gone through the motions of a live body, but has placed no substantial matter in motion. In general, and in effect, it has tended to let ill enough alone.

The deepest failure of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind may be simply stated. It has shown itself to be lacking in vision. It has been unable to prevent its own blindness. Confronted with the grave social and human issues facing blind people everywhere, it has chosen to look away. It has shed no light and generated no heat.

Why has the World Council never prepared or debated such a Universal Declaration as I have proposed? Why has it remained silent concerning the human rights of blind persons--their right to organize, their right to opportunity, their right of access to normal callings and pursuits, their right to equality? The answer is not far to seek. The Council has not thought of blind people in terms of rights but in terms of incapacities--of lacks and losses that can be readily catalogued and catered to by social services, technical appliances, therapeutic aids and a uniform braille code. Its leaders have chosen to regard the welfare of the blind as synonymous with the activities of their agencies.

No one should be surprised by this agency posture. From the beginning the World Council has been little more than a confederation of agencies. It was born, as an official account tells us, out of discussions held at an International Conference of Workers for the Blind--which agreed to create an organization to "enable workers for the blind everywhere to unite" in order to further their collective interests. Nothing was said about an organization enabling blind people everywhere to unite in order to carry out their collective interests. The constitution of the World Council further nails down the premise: "All Representative Members", according to Article II, Section 2, "should hold or have held responsible positions in the direction or administration of recognized agencies for the blind."

It is this clearcut and thoroughgoing agency domination of the World Council which has produced an inevitable conflict between the Council leadership and the National Federation of the Blind--a conflict which was brought to a climax during 1962 by two successive and related events. Both events were calculated devices aimed at eliminating the voice of the organized blind from the ruling organs of the World Council. Let us look at them in turn.

The first of these events was the removal--illegal, unconstitutional and arbitrary--of the NFB from its elective seat on the World Council's Executive Committee. Second was the ratification of that ouster by action of the Executive Committee at its August meeting in Hanover.

The background of the plot to remove the NFB may be briefly summarized. In 1959, the Federation's delegate was elected by the World Assembly in his representative capacity to a five-year term of membership on the Executive Committee. That election gave the organized blind people of the U.S. their only direct representation on the governing Executive Committee--with the remaining seats occupied by delegates of national agencies for the blind (that is, the American Foundation, the AAWB, and the American Foundation for Overseas Blind).

In 1961, the NFB's delegate was removed and replaced by the Federation itself. Ostensibly on the basis of this routine action, the World Council president (Col. E.A. Baker of Canada) wrote in April of 1962 to the North American delegations requesting a mail ballot to fill two asserted vacancies on the Executive Committee--one of which was the Federation seat.

The claim which has been subsequently pursued by the Federation for restoration of its Executive Committee membership has centered on these main points:

1. The postal ballot was illegal and void, since the NFB's seat had not been and could not be vacated except through withdrawal of the NFB or the normal termination of its five-year tenure;

2. The president's action was unconstitutional, since Executive Committee seats are held by delegates acting not as individuals but in their official capacity as representatives of national agencies or organizations;

3. The agencies' ouster of the NFB was flagrantly inequitable and discriminatory, since organizations of the blind were already grossly under-represented in the World Council as opposed to agencies for the blind, and by this action the American blind in particular were deprived of any voice in the policy-making Executive Committee.

The rejection of our claim by the World Council was first announced in a letter to me (as the NFB's delegate) from Col. Baker on May 23, and was again announced in a letter of June 7 from M. Robert Barnett, self-designated "titular head" of the U.S. delegation to the Council. In the face of this flat refusal, I submitted a formal request on behalf of the Federation that the issue of the NFB's right to its seat on the Executive Committee be placed upon the agenda of the meeting of the Executive Committee in Hanover, Germany, to be officially decided by that vote.

The negative responses of the World Council officials to this demand for a hearing exposed a blatant defiance of accepted democratic procedure by the Council's ruling body. It was maintained that the NFB's delegate, although a member of the World Council, could not be permitted to attend the Executive Committee meeting because those meetings were closed and secret--barred against the public and barred even against other members of the World Council. In Barnett's language, "WCWB has always maintained a strict rule that meetings of the Executive Committee shall be attended only by persons who have been duly elected to that Committee."

The NFB convention, meeting in Detroit in July last year, voted unanimous approval of three separate resolutions relating to the World Council. The first denounced the Council's action in stripping the Federation of its Executive Committee seat, and instructed the Federation's officers and delegate to do all in their power to reverse the decision and regain the seat. The second resolution condemned the Council's policy of secret committee meetings and confirmed our efforts to have this topic placed on the agenda of the coming Executive Committee meeting in Hanover. The third resolution, taking note of the fact that "the World Council is dominated by agencies for the blind ... and is in any event largely ineffective and inactive", called for the inauguration of "a world organization of the blind people themselves for purposes of self-expression and self-improvement."

At the end of July, as the National Federation's delegate, I journeyed to Hanover, Germany, for the express purpose of representing the NFB before the World Council Executive Committee with respect both to our stolen seat and to the contested policy of closed committee meetings. Every effort was made to secure a hearing; but this was in effect denied to us. What happened was that I was informally and vaguely advised, in the mid-morning of August 3, that the Committee would be at a certain place at noon and that I also should be there. The exact issue under consideration was not divulged. Upon arriving at the appointed place I was told that this was not a session of the Executive Committee, after all, but only a group of "private individuals" who happened to be in the same room at the same time--and who also happened to comprise the membership of the Executive Committee. I then spoke to this "private" group for 40 minutes on the NFB's position regarding the theft of the Federation's seat, concentrating upon the constitutional, legal and democratic grounds supporting our claim to the elective seat. I gave emphasis to the importance of assuring genuine representation in this ruling body of the World Council to independent associations of the blind. I concluded with an argument on the urgent need for an ostensibly international organization to keep its meetings open and above board rather than barred, as the Committee sessions were barred, against the public and even against other members of the Council.

Following my remarks I was immediately dismissed. Two and a half months later, on October 17, I was informed by letter from Col. Baker that the Committee had reconvened in its regular closed session immediately after my talk and had voted against our request for reinstatement.

In October, also, the World Council published the official minutes of the Hanover meeting. That report was both inaccurate and uninformative on the issue of the contested seat. No indication was given of the broad constitutional and legal grounds on which the Federation's claim rested; instead the minutes stated merely that the Committee had "listened sympathetically to Dr. tenBroek's exposition of his case"--which was not true, judging from the hostile expressions heard during the talk--and had subsequently reconvened in order to turn it down.

President Baker's letter informing me of the negative action of the Committee gave another version. Among other things he disclosed a decision of the Committee which was nowhere to be found in the official minutes--namely, its rejection of our protest against the policy of secret meetings. That disclosure unwittingly gave renewed point and emphasis to our demand that the World Council abolish its rule of secrecy. It also contradicted the contention of Mr. Barnett--who had attempted in correspondence with me to refute the charge of secrecy by saying that, after all, the minutes contained everything and were available to all members.

The Federation's dispute with the World Council, meanwhile, attracted wide attention. In addition to regular detailed reports in THE BLIND AMERICAN, the issue came in for lengthy discussion in the pages of LISTEN, a national bi-monthly publication of the Catholic Guild for the Blind in Boston. In its August, 1962 issue, the magazine departed from its usual plane of objectivity to describe the NFB's conflict with the Council as mainly a clash of personalities, and to ignore most of the basic issues involved. It was also noteworthy that the LISTEN article made no reference whatsoever to the Federation's demand that the Council Executive Committee abandon its practice of closed meetings and secret covenants secretly arrived at.

The 1964 General Assembly of the World Council will convene in New York City during the first two weeks of August. Since the Federation's membership in the World Assembly has not as yet been challenged, its delegate will be in attendance at the meeting.

The official theme of the Assembly, we are told, will be "The Problems of the Blind in a Changing World". But a more appropriate theme for that meeting might be "The Problems of the Blind in an Unchanging World Council". The conflict between the National Federation and the reigning officialdom of the Council is less significant in itself than as a symbol of the severe malady from which this global agency is suffering. It is a disease of unsympathetic atrophy, whose symptoms are paralysis of the will, morbid sensitivity to illumination, and a fear of open places--accompanied by fits of pique and delusions of grandeur.

Whether the sickness which has overtaken the World Council will prove fatal, only time (and perhaps the next Assembly) can tell. But it has already dealt a crippling blow to the hopes of blind people the world over. Instead of a declaration of rights, the Council has given a recital of difficulties. Instead of proclaiming a call to arms, it has issued a statistical bulletin. Instead of providing an open forum to which all the blind might repair for great argument and high debate, it has confronted them with barred gates, sealed chambers, and secret covenants labelled "confidential".

The founding fathers of the World Council, as we have seen, were of the agencies. Its Representative Members, by constitutional fiat, are of the agencies. Its ruling directorate of titular and non-titular heads are of the agencies. We may say of the World Council, in summary, that the voice it affects is the voice of the blind man--but the hand is still the hand of the custodian.

Back to Contents

 

BLIND TEACHERS IN THE SCHOOLS

By Dr. Isabelle L.D. Grant

(Editor's note: Dr. Grant, a member of the board of directors of the National Federation of the Blind, has retired from teaching in the Los Angeles public schools and is currently teaching and working with the blind in Pakistan.)

During the recent convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Philadelphia (July 3-6, 1963), a group of blind teachers--drawn from delegates, members, and friends of the Federation--held their fifth annual reunion in the Independence Room of the Sheraton Hotel. The meeting was well attended by representative teachers from kindergarten level through the university, by teachers retired from the profession and interested in placement of blind teachers, as well as by persons planning to enter the teaching profession.

Although much progress has been made in the placement of blind teachers during the last decade--there being now well over a hundred blind teachers in elementary and secondary schools throughout the nation, and an unknown number, probably equal to that figure, in colleges and universities--a qualified teacher who is blind still meets with a barrier of discrimination because of his blindness. At the meeting the necessity was pointed out, and plans made, for the compiling of a brochure to be distributed on a nation-wide scale to state personnel directors in the field of education--with a concise analysis of legal implications, if any, methods employed by the blind teacher in classroom management, the handling of disciplinary problems, and various techniques developed by blind teachers already in the field. It was further pointed out that the blind teacher who is duly prepared has a distinct contribution to make to a college or school faculty, as well as to the pupils and students in his or her charge. It was also deemed advisable for the group to make contact with such teacher organizations as the National Education Association, the Council for Exceptional Children, and similar organizations of national stature, to seek to establish a policy with regard to the employment of blind teachers.

The question as to how to apply for a teaching position came up for discussion. Much stands to be gained--or lost--by the blind applicant in his introductory letter, and in the interview. How does a blind person establish confidence in an employer? What questions would a prospective candidate expect? Some guidance along these lines could conceivably be of benefit to the blind applicant, and prepare him for this new experience of applying for the job.

Caution was expressed regarding the necessity of including all teachers in this drive to open up opportunities for blind teachers. It is a fallacy to believe that the door to the college or to the university is genuinely open to the blind teacher. There could be many more of our highly qualified and highly intelligent blind people in both public and private institutions of higher learning than there are at present. We as the organized blind have made much headway in opening up opportunities for blind persons in civil service, but we are still lagging deplorably behind in the teaching field.

The NFB's President, Russell Kletzing, appointed a committee of three to work out these plans, under chairmanship of Isabelle Grant.

Back to Contents

 

NATIONAL FEDERATION HOLDS CONVENTION

(Editor's note: Following is a convention bulletin released by President Russell Kletzing of the National Federation of the Blind.)

One of the most productive and altogether memorable conventions in the recent history of the National Federation of the Blind took place in Philadelphia during the first week of July, 1963. Some 600 Federationists--delegates, members and their families--converged upon the Sheraton Hotel from all parts of the country to participate in a four-day program remarkable for the number and substance of its activities, both serious and social.

Perhaps the most spirited of the convention's many high points was an unannounced event which occurred on the final morning. It began when our founder and President Emeritus, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, arose to pay tribute to the extraordinary overseas accomplishments of the Federation's "ambassadress of good works", Isabelle Grant. His talk was climaxed by a motion calling upon the convention to affirm its sponsorship of Dr. Grant's educational mission and to express its moral and financial support. An enthusiastic procession of Federationists thereupon moved to the auditorium microphones to pledge their contributious to the cause. When this extraordinary display was ended, a total of $1,565 in cash and pledges had been received from individual blind persons and organizations for the NFB's Foreign Aid Fund, to further Isabelle's continuing work for the blind in Pakistan and elsewhere. The details of this magnificant enterprise had been spelled out by Dr. Grant in an earlier convention talk entitled "Return to Pakistan".

Federation members and friends who were unable to contribute in person at Philadelphia, and who wish to help the growth of our Foreign Aid Fund, may do so by sending their contributions to the Federation's treasurer, Franklin Van Vliet, R.F.D. No. 7, Penacook, New Hampshire.

Dr. tenBroek's appeal on behalf of the Federation's overseas program was one of three warmly welcomed appearances by our founder before the convention. On July 4 he presented a detailed and decisive paper on recent developments across the country affecting the status of blind employees of sheltered workshops, under the title "Blind Shop Workers: What Are They?" On the last afternoon of the meeting, in his capacity as the Federation's delegate to the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, Dr. tenBroek delivered a highly informative and challenging report on the relationship of the organized blind to the World Council, culminating in an appeal for a "Universal Declaration of the Rights of Blind Persons" to be sponsored by the World Council and issued by the United Nations along lines of the UN-sponsored Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

Speeches

Among the many distinguished public officials and welfare authorities who addressed the convention was John W. Macy, Jr., Chairman of the United States Civil Service Commission, who spoke on "Equal Employment Opportunity Under the Merit System". His theme of rapidly improving job prospects for the physically handicapped and other deprived groups was summarized in the assertion that "a highly significant change in attitude has taken place in the Federal civil service--a change from allowing equal opportunity to insisting upon it."

An especially enthusiastic reception was given by the convention to Senator Jennings Randolph of West Virginia, father of the Randolph-Sheppard vending stand law, who spoke on "Areas for Improvement in Programs for the Blind". Reporting on the recent actions of Congress in various fields affecting the blind, Senator Randolph promised to continue his vigorous campaign to correct abuses in the vending-stand program, notably those arising from the unfair competition of automatic vending machines.

"The Peace Corps--America's Newest Contribution to Underdeveloped Nations" was the subject of an excellent talk by William R. Wister, Jr., Special Assistant to the Director of the Peace Corps, who pointed out that one blind volunteer has already been accepted by the Peace Corps and is presently at work in the National School for the Blind in the Latin American Republic of Santo Domingo, while other blind recruits are being trained and sought.

The broad field of education as it affects the needs and problems of blind people was a major focus of convention interest, with no less than five authoritative speeches addressed to the issue. The director of the Library of Congress's Division for the Blind, Robert Bray, presented an illuminating report on the methods utilized by the Library in the selection of reading material for the blind. Clinton Fair, Legislative Representative of the AFL-CIO, discussed the general subject of "Education and the Blind" from the point of view of organized labor. Dr. Thomas Benham, of Haverford College, covered a more specialized segment of the field identified by his title, "Science for the Blind". The programs and needs of special education received attention from two speakers: Joseph G. Cauffmann, Principal of Pennsylvania's Overbrook School for the Blind, and Robert Langford of the Hadley Correspondence School for the Blind.

A brace of expert reports on the recent action of Congress with respect to Federation objectives was supplied by Tim Seward, Administrative Assistant to Congressman Walter Baring and a steadfast supporter of the organized blind, and by John F. Nagle, Chief of the Federation's Washington Office.

Pauline Gomez, the president of New Mexico's Federation of the Blind, addressing the convention on the subject "To Build an Orientation Center", reported that the state legislature has given approval to a bill sponsored by the NMFB to study the creation of a full-scale modern orientation center for the blind.

Panel Discussions

Four separate panel discussions, each one featuring lively and fruitful exchanges among four experts (as well as between the panel and the audience), provided conventioners with invaluable information and knowledge on such subjects as federal legislation and the new welfare amendments, the administration of services to the blind, and the nature of the handicap of blindness.

"The Effect of the Welfare Amendments of 1962 on Aid to the Blind” was the topic of a highly qualified group moderated by Perry Sundquist, Chief of California's Aid to the Blind program. Members of the panel were John Hurley, Director of the Family Services Division of the Federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; John Mungovan, Director of Services for the Blind in Massachusetts; and John Nagle, the NFB's indefatigable Washington representative.

The sweeping subject of "Legislation in the 88th Congress Affecting the Blind" was dealt with in a stimulating and instructive manner by another panel chaired by John Nagle and consisting of George Keane, Chairman of the Legislative Committee of the American Association of Workers for the Blind; Irvin Schloss, Legislative Analyst for the American Foundation for the Blind; and Dr. Edward Waterhouse; Legislative Chairman for the American Association of Instructors of the Blind. The discussion demonstrated the firmness, range and importance of the common front which prevails among the major organizations and agencies in the field of work for the blind.

"The Nature of the Handicap of Blindness--and the Programs Necessary to Cope with It" was the effective title of an extremely informative discussion led by Donald Capps, the Federation's Second Vice President, with the following participants: Fred Silver, representing St. Paul's Rehabilitation Center, Catholic Guild for the Blind, Boston; Dr. Jacob Freid, Executive Director of the Jewish Braille Institute of America, New York; Dr. Douglas MacFarland, Director of Virginia's State Division for the Visually Handicapped, and Kenneth Jernigan, Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind.

The last of the group discussions, moderated by John Taylor, Chief of Vocational Rehabilitation Services in the Iowa Commission for the Blind, dealt with "Administration of Services for the Blind--Goals and Problems". Other participants in the stimulating session were Dr. Norman Yoder, Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Council of the Blind; Julius Rothbein, Business Manager of the New York State Commission for the Blind, and Carl Barr of New Jersey's Commission for the Blind.

Reports

In a concise but thorough Presidential Report, Russell Kletzing reviewed the major events and administrative decisions undertaken by the Federation during the past year, with emphasis upon such matters as the national legislative program, fund raising, and assistance to organizations and individuals.

First Vice President Kenneth Jernigan, as Chairman, delivered the report of the Subcommittee on Budget and Finance. The White Cane Report was presented by John Taylor, Chairman of the White Cane Week Committee. Highly informative and encouraging reports on legislative achievements during the year were presented by representatives of five of our state affiliates. They were: Marshall Tucker, South Carolina; James McGinnis, California; William Klontz, Iowa; Maxine Pugh, Nebraska; and Roger Smith, Alabama.

Banquet

More than 460 conventioners were in attendance at the gala banquet on the evening of July 4, ably presided over by Master of Ceremonies Perry Sundquist. The Newel Perry Award, presented annually by the Federation for distinguished contribution to the cause of the blind, went this year to Dr. Jacob Freid, Executive Director of the Jewish Braille Institute. In his speech of presentation, President Kletzing paid tribute to Dr. Freid's courageous championing of the Federation and the organized blind movement, together with his notable achievements as the director of a forward-looking agency and brilliant editor of the Jewish Braille Review.

The banquet address, a highlight of the evening and indeed of the entire convention, was delivered by Kenneth Jernigan, our First Vice President and the Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind. Posing the forceful question, "Is blindness a dying--or a living?", his speech dealt probingly with the contrast between two antagonistic philosophies governing programs and services for the blind; the custodial doctrine of resignation and dependency as against the affirmative creed of opportunity and equality which animates the National Federation.

A telegram of greetings and commendation to the convention from President John F. Kennedy was read at the banquet. The text of the telegram follows:

"23rd Annual National Convention, National Federation of the Blind, Sheraton Hotel, Philadelphia. I am pleased to send greetings to the 23rd annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind. It has long been demonstrated that blind persons, properly trained, can be among our most useful citizens. Full opportunity for self-support and economic security should be the goal of all who work in this field. None of our handicapped citizens should be denied the tangible benefits and personal satisfactions that flow from a productive way of life. Best wishes for a constructive and useful meeting.
John F. Kennedy."

A unique souvenir of the convention in the form of a replica of Philadelphia's famed Liberty Bell, courtesy of the host Pennsylvania Federation of the Blind, was given to all those present at the dinner.

Elections

Victor Johnson (Missouri) and Ray Dinsmore (Indiana) were elected to two-year terms on the Executive Committee, replacing Tom Moody (Texas) and Frank Lugiano (Pennsylvania). The convention also re-elected Anita O'Shea (Massachusetts) and Harold Reagan (Kentucky) for similar terms. Three new members were added to the full Board of Directors: Lyle Von Erichsen (Washington), Dr. Jacob Freid of New York City, and Hubert E. Smith, president of Ways and Means for the Blind of Georgia. Dr. Isabelle Grant (California) was re-elected in the same capacity.

Events and Activities

Prominent among the organized social activities of the Philadelphia convention was a broad variety of scenic excursions arranged for delegates on Friday afternoon, July 5--including trips to Independence National Historical Park; Brandywine Park and the John J. Tyler Arboretum; Overbrook School for the Blind, and Valley Forge.

Among the special meetings conducted in the course of the convention were separate gatherings of the blind merchants and blind teachers, the latter presided over by Dr. Isabelle Grant.

No coverage of convention activities would be complete without an expression of appreciation for the indispensable services performed by the ministers who delivered invocations at the outset of each of our daily sessions. Among them were three distinguished blind persons: The Reverend Freddie Sproull, Grand Chaplain of the Pennsylvania Federation of the Blind; Father Harry J. Sutcliffe, Director of the Episcopal Guild for the Blind, and The Reverend Martin Luther Kirtz, Secretary of the Good Neighbor Club of Reading, Pennsylvania.

An especially great debt of gratitude is owed by all who benefited from the efficiently organized sessions to Kenneth Jernigan, our First Vice President who acted as General Convention Chairman, and to the leaders and members of the Pennsylvania Federation, notably its state and local hosts, Frank Lugiano and Frank Rennard,

Convention Sites

Washington, D.C. was selected by the delegates to be the scene of the 1965 convention of the National Federation. Phoenix, Arizona, chosen last year, was ratified as the choice for the 1964 convention.

Resolutions

The following resolutions (summarized here as to substance) were unanimously approved by the 1963 convention of the National Federation of the Blind. Copies of the full resolutions may be secured on request to: National Federation of the Blind, 2341 Cortez Lane, Sacramento 25, California.

63-00--urging the reappointment of John F. Mungovan as Executive Director of Services to the Blind for the State of Massachusetts.

63-01--calling for the passage of H.R. 5706, a bill to prohibit the imposition of residence requirements in state programs of aid to the blind, and commending Congressman Walter S. Baring for his introduction of the measure as well as his general support of Federation causes.

63-02--urging the enactment of H.R. 6245, the comprehensive public assistance bill introduced by Congressman Cecil R. King to improve aid to the blind by such means as abolishing residence requirements, relatives' responsibility and lien laws, and permitting separate administration of blind aid under title XVI.

63-03--expressing sincere appreciation to Congressman King for his consistent and effective efforts over the years on behalf of enlightened legislation affecting the interests of blind Americans.

63-04--condemning official interpretations by the Federal Department of H.E.W. of Title XVI provisions of the public welfare amendments as a violation of the spirit of the social security program and a blow to the welfare needs of blind people in particular.

63-05--urging passage by Congress of S. 1268, generously introduced by Senator Hubert H. Humphrey in order to liberalize provisions of the disability insurance program for blind persons by reducing the qualifying quarters of coverage required for such benefits and basing entitlement where it belongs--upon the existence and continuation of the physical disability of blindness.

63-06--urging the adoption of H.R. 1659, introduced by Congressman King to improve the welfare of the blind and reduce the burdens of dependency through allowing a taxpayer an additional federal income tax exemption when he provides support to a dependent who is blind.

63-07--expressing support for S. 12, introduced by Senator Jennings Randolph, establishing a presidentially-appointed appeals board for blind vending stand operators and granting them exclusive right to income from adjacent vending machines.

63-08--condemning and urging repeal of the "set-aside" provisions of the Randolph-Sheppard Act entailing charges against the income of vending stand operators which have the result of penalizing successful operators for the benefit of the unsuccessful.

63-09--endorsing and supporting S. 1576, a bill which would greatly increase livelihood opportunities for mentally and physically impaired children and adults by providing federal funds to assist in establishment of facilities, centers and training programs.

63-10--protesting and condemning the use of the means test in vocational rehabilitation for the disabled and urging all necessary steps to secure repeal of the "economic needs" provisions of the Act.

63-11--commending Chairman John W. Macy of the U.S. Civil Service Commission for his encouragement and assistance in improving employment opportunities for the handicapped in the federal Service.

63-12--urging that handicapped workers in sheltered workshops be given the federal help and protection which they are presently denied by decisions denying them the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Act and excluding them from social and economic benefits available to other industrial workers.

63-13--condemning the underprivileged and discriminatory status of sheltered shop workers, especially with regard to wages and working conditions, and calling upon the Federal Government to remedy these disgraceful conditions by all necessary actions.

63-14--voicing support for H.R. 3920 and S. 880, identical bills introduced by Congressman King and Senator Clinton Anderson, respectively, to provide health care for the aged, many of whom are blind, under the Social Security Act.

63-15--calling upon the Library of Congress to improve its present inadequate program of braille publications for the blind by (1) publishing in full all books selected, and (2) improving the method of selection by making available titles with a more valuable literary content and enduring importance.

63-17--urging support of White Cane Law principles and public safety campaigns by (1) action of NFB members individually and collectively, (2) proclamations by the governors of all states naming October 15 as White Cane Safety Day, and (3) wide public dissemination of this educational campaign by Lions Clubs and press media throughout the country.

Back to Contents

 

JACOB FREID RECEIVES NEWEL PERRY AWARD

(Editor's note: The following award speech was delivered by Russell Kletzing, President of the National Federation of the Blind, at the Federation's convention banquet on July 4 in Philadelphia.)

The Newel Perry Award is presented annually by the National Federation of the Blind to one outstanding individual who has rendered distinguished service, above and beyond the call of duty, to the cause of the organized blind. I feel confident in declaring that that cause has no more distinguished servant anywhere in the land, no greater friend and no warmer advocate, than the man whom we honor tonight--Dr. Jacob Freid.

Dr. Freid, who is known to us all as Executive Director of the Jewish Braille Institute of America, received his Ph.D. from Columbia University, where he was president of the Jewish Graduate Society. During World War II, he was head of the Moscow desk in the cable wireless division of the Office of War Information, and the United States State Department, the information liaison between Washington and the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Later he taught sociology at Rutgers University. For the past several years he has been chairman of the department of political science at the Senior College of the New School for Social Research, in New York City.

He is the author or editor of numerous published writings in the fields of social science and welfare, the latest of which is a comprehensive study of Jewish life and history entitled Jews in the Modern World. This monumental work, published in 1962, has already been hailed by scholars as a classic of social science and "a remarkable treasure-house of information and profoundly perceptive insight into the Jewish condition of our time."

Our national convention this year is, in a sense, a double anniversary. It is the 23rd anniversary of the founding of the National Federation. And it is also the fifth anniversary of a close and fruitful relationship--an affair of the heart as well as of the head--between the National Federation and Jacob Freid. It was at the Boston convention, in 1958, that the two first came together; and they have never since been parted. Dr. Freid has been much more than a guest at each of our conventions since then. He has been a very active participant, an inspired speaker, a wise confidant, and a steadfast friend. Above all he has thrown himself and his considerable energies into the thick of our struggles--both without and within the Federation. When the Kennedy Bill, the Federation's right to organize measure, came before a committee of Congress for public hearings in 1959, and when we were in desperate need of supporting voices to counteract the phalanx of powerful agencies arrayed against us, it was Jacob Freid who braved the wrath of agency interests to fly down to Washington and speak forcefully on behalf of the right of blind people to organize on their own. This was no mere act of courtesy. It was an act of courage, determination and devotion, for Jacob Freid is himself an "agency man". These are the qualities, coupled with rare intelligence and insight, which he has consistently and conspicuously displayed in the direction of his own agency: The Jewish Braille Institute of America.

As the executive director of the Institute and the brilliant editor of its well-known journal, the Jewish Braille Review, Dr. Freid has long been in the forefront of those enlightened forces in the field of welfare who recognize their function as that of working with the blind rather than merely for them--or against them. His attitude is part and parcel of a larger philosophy. He is a liberal in the true liberating sense: a fighter for every cause of social justice, however "lost" it may seem; a foe of prejudice and intolerance, wherever they rear their ugly heads; a spokesman for the deprived against the depraved, and for the underdog against the overlord. In short, he is not just a friend of the blind: he is a friend to man.

On behalf of the National Federation of the Blind, and with deep personal pleasure, I present the Newel Perry Award for 1963 to Dr. Jacob Freid.

Back to Contents

 

DOES BLINDNESS IMPROVE SENSE OF TOUCH?

Scientific findings which throw new light--and credibility--upon an old "myth" concerning blindness have been reported by University of California researchers investigating the effects of loss of sight upon brain growth. If valid, their studies would prove that the brain automatically compensates for blindness by improving the sense of touch.

Berkeley psychology professors David Krech and Mark Rosenzweig, along with biochemist Edward L. Bennett, have found in studies of rats that sections of the brain which register sensations from skin, muscles and joints grow after blindness occurs. Their researches provide the first known evidence that blindness can cause physical growth and chemical activity in the brain.

These findings, if corroborated by similar evidence drawn from human subjects, would tend to give strong--and unexpected--support to the old belief that blind persons develop "compensatory powers" as a counterweight to their loss of vision. This traditional notion, once held with conviction in many parts of the world, has been regarded increasingly over recent generations as an unfounded belief of superstitious origin completely without foundation in fact.

If the current laboratory discovery of the Berkeley scientists is proved true for human beings, the theory of compensatory "powers"--at least with respect to the power of touch--may be found to merit a sober second look. The university researchers are nationally reputable scholars who have long pioneered in linking brain chemistry with behavior and intelligence.

In their experiments, publicly announced July 25, rats were blinded under anesthesia at weaning and their brains subsequently examined after 80 days. It was reportedly found that the blinded rats, both those living in. isolation and others made to survive in a complex environment, had brain development to make up for their loss of sight. The brain growth was said to be automatic rather than acquired through learning.

Because the structure of a rat's brain is basically the same as that of other mammals--including man--the scientists have concluded that their discovery may have important implications and applications for research into human blindness.

Back to Contents

 

SCIENCE FOR THE BLIND--A SERVICE

Scientific reading materials and implements not available elsewhere to the sightless are provided by a unique service organization entitled "Science for the Blind", located in Haverford, Pennsylvania. A division of the Philadelphia Association for the Blind, the service was initiated in 1955 when the first issue of SCIENCE RECORDED was sent out to 50 interested blind persons across the country. Since then, Science for the Blind has increased the scope of its offerings to include four monthly periodicals, books, and special-interest tapes. Almost 250 listeners in the U.S. and abroad are said to be receiving a total of about 1,500 recorded tapes each month.

A representative project of the organization, begun last year, is the provision of second-hand calculators adapted to braille. The calculating machines, which are not known to be available from any other source, are purchasable for $125, including transportation, within the United States.

Another item available to blind persons is an inexpensive tape player priced at $54 (or $52.50 prepaid). The low price of the machine, which does not record but plays only, has been made possible through cooperation of the Library of Congress, which donated the obsolete Model S Talking Book machine from which both case and loudspeaker are utilized.

Science for the Blind circulates, among other recorded material, scientific articles from such periodicals as POPULAR SCIENCE, THE NEW YORK TIMES, CONSUMER REPORTS, RADIO DIGEST, TIMELY TOPICS, and EXTRAS. The Children's Science Series, for readers aged 9-12, was completed less than a year ago and may be matched by further sets if its popularity continues,

Back to Contents

 

NEW COURSE FOR BLIND HOMEMAKERS

The Hadley School for the Blind, a tuition-free correspondence school in Winnetka, Illinois, announces the addition of a new course, HOME MANAGEMENT FOR THE BLIND HOMEMAKER. In a specially prepared text compiled and edited by Mrs. Ruth Friedman of the school teaching staff, all aspects of homemaking are dealt with in a manner specifically intended for blind women.

The course is now available to any legally blind person and is offered in braille and printed form. The print version is available for legally blind persons who can read with the assistance of a visual aid, and is not offered to sighted individuals. The course will also be available in recorded form in the fall of 1963.

The textbook is said to contain 20 chapters with a set of review questions at the end of each chapter. The course is designed for personal enrichment and is not offered for academic credit. Matters to be covered include detailed information on the purchase and preparation of food, decorating, grooming, cleaning, entertaining, safety, health, sewing, and child care.

HOME MANAGEMENT FOR THE BLIND HOMEMAKER will be taught by Mrs. G. Glenn Downing of the Hadley School teaching staff. Mrs. Downing is a blind housewife with four sighted children who will be able to call upon many of her own personal experiences as a blind homemaker to provide first-hand information for the students. Students interested in enrolling in HOME MANAGEMENT FOR THE BLIND HOMEMAKER are to contact: Registrar, Hadley School for the Blind, 700 Elm Street, Winnetka, Illinois. Students should specify whether they wish to receive the braille or print version.

Back to Contents

 

THE MAIL BOX

(Editor's note: The letter from "Will Bowman of Los Angeles, which appeared in these columns last March, has apparently stirred a heated controversy over the relative merits and demerits of separate residence hotels for blind people. Without mentioning this journal, the editor of THE NEW OUTLOOK FOR THE BLIND felt obliged in the June issue to go on record in opposition to the idea. Now comes a correspondent from Phoenix, Arizona--Sister Anna S. Krieter--to join the issue against Mr. Bowman's proposal.)

"To the Editor:

"I enjoy THE BLIND AMERICAN very much. It contains a lot of good information. Both the Federation and the Brotherhood are doing a good work. I am a Missionary, and am praying for the Heavenly Father's blessings upon them and their work in behalf of us blind, and other handicapped folk. I sent for and received a dozen copies of the report on sheltered workshops, published in the March issue. This committee of the California Senate has done a very fine thing.

"Now, in regard to the letters written by Mr. Bowman of Los Angeles, the last of which also appeared in the March issue, I wish to state: I do not approve of a separate home or hotel for the blind. It is just some more segregation. The blind who do not have their own homes should be permitted to stay in the same hotels as the sighted. As a Missionary I sometimes take trips. In March and April of this year I was on a six-week trip to California, and stayed at hotels in four of the six towns I visited. In the two latter towns, I only remained a few hours each. I had no trouble getting rooms at hotels in San Bernardino, Bakersfield, Visalia, and Fresno. I do not stay at the expensive places. Of course, in my travels in various states I have had some difficulty in getting a room, but many of the places are very nice to me. The manager of the hotel at which I stayed in San Bernardino said some of her guests had been blind people, and she was aware of the fact that we all have different personalities just as do sighted people.

"As I am a vegetarian and eat the Health Way, and teach Health Reform as part of this Missionary message, I couldn't eat in a hotel dining room, as Mr. Bowman suggests. A separate hotel or community for the blind or the aged is not right. I am bitterly against such things.

"I have lived in the same hotel here for seven years, and am happy here. I hope to have a place of my own some day. May the legislation for the blind prosper in Congress and in the various states. All state residential requirements for aid should be abolished. ... Your little friend,"

Sister Anna S. Krieter

Back to Contents

 

BROTHERS ... & OTHERS

Blind Father Saves Own Child. William Schmidt, a school-teacher of Temple City in Los Angeles County, was indoors at home in mid-July when he heard his wife's scream from outdoors. He raced downstairs and dived into the family swimming pool where his three-year-old daughter, Peggy Marie, already had sunk to the bottom. He groped until he ran out of breath, came up and then dived again. "At the deep end of the pool I felt her leg," he said later. He pulled the child up and revived her by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. "You may be surprised a blind man can move so quickly," the 29-year-old Schmidt told newsmen, "but I know my way around this house. I helped to build those stairs and most of the rest of the house." (Adapted from a news story in the Oakland, California, TRIBUNE.)

***************

Glasses for Pakistan. "Our drive for Glasses for Pakistan is more needed than ever," reports Dr. Isabelle L.D. Grant. The National Federation of the Blind has sent almost 20,000 pairs of used glasses over the past three years--in a campaign spearheaded by the California Council of the Blind to aid needy persons with defective vision. Dr. Grant notes she has made contact with Mr. Weaver, executive director of the CARE shipping office, who may be addressed at: CARE Warehouse, Delaware and Queen, Pier 38 South, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has stressed the need to wrap each pair of glasses separately in tissue paper to halt possible corrosion between metal and tortoise-shell or similar materials. Where possible, senders should avoid metal cases; leather or plastic cases are preferable, but none is required. Pack them tightly in cartons either medium or large sized.

"The need is greater than ever," writes Dr. Grant. "One member of the Lions Club in Lahore, a local physician, is offering to set aside one morning per week in his clinic for eye examinations and the distribution of glasses, a much-needed service for those who cannot afford it. A member of the Rotary Club in Dacca has arranged to set up another center in that stricken area--working, of course, through the CARE representative there."

***************

Washington Blind Meet. "United we stand, divided we fall" was the theme of the 28th annual convention of the Washington State Association of the Blind in mid- June, according to an editorial in THE WHITE CANE, official magazine of the WSAB. The theme introduced by Associate President O. E. Flory in his keynote address, and sustained through a hard-working three-day meeting involving reports from affiliated associations, progress reports from committee chairman, and "definite progressive plans for the future." Editor Helen B. Anthony expressed particular thanks to Russell Kletzing, president of the National Federation of the Blind, who "gave a masterly address from braille as the featured speaker" at the convention banquet, and to Lyle Von Ericksen, WSAB vice-president, who presided at the dinner.

***************

Allan Sherman Passes. Allan W. Sherman, Executive Director of the New York Lighthouse for the Blind and long-time Director of The Cleveland Society for the Blind, died in Stamford, Connecticut, on March 28. He was also an active official of the American Association of Workers for the Blind.

***************

Massachusettsan Cited. Mrs. Frederick L. Churchill, of Winchester, Massachusetts, was recently named a semi-finalist in the Lane Bryant Annual Awards competition and has been honored with a citation in recognition of outstanding community service. She was nominated for the national service award by Francis B. Ierardi, founder of the National Braille Press, Inc.

***************

Dr. Freid Finishes Story. Many of those who attended the NFB's rousing convention in Philadelphia will remember their regret when Dr. Jacob Freid, taking part in a panel discussion, was cut off by the clock in the midst of what promised to be not only a good yarn but a pointed one. Among those impatient to hear the ending was Dr. Isabelle Grant, who fired off a letter after the convention demanding particulars. Here is Dr. Freid's reply:

"Concerning the story that I didn't have time to tell, here it is:
Groups should not make false stereotypes and generalizations about themselves and their own members. Mr. Isaac was asked what he thought about Mr. Levy. His answer was that Levy was a scoundrel, an uncultured bore, a nincompoop and a conniver. He was asked about Mr. Cohen--'Cohen is a thief, a scoundrel who would steal from his own mother.' ‘And what about the Jews?', he was asked. 'The Jews are the salt of the earth; there is no finer people anywhere.' A sighted man was asked what he thought about Dr. tenBroek ... he answered, 'An intellectual genius, a natural leader of man, a champion of the under-privileged and a brilliant fighter for justice and equal opportunity for the blind.' He was then asked what he thought about Russell Kletzing. 'An incisive intellect, a distinguished leader, a fine legal mind and a champion of justice and equal opportunity for the blind.' 'Then what do you think of the blind?' 'A shiftless group of mendicants, maligners and welfare clients eager for a hand-out.'"

***************

Tele-Braille System Opened. The world's first Tele-Braille switchboard system, designed for blind operators, was inaugurated recently in Aberdeen, South Dakota, with a phone call from Attorney General Robert Kennedy in Washington to Mayor Cliff Hurlburt. The braille switchboard, which is expected to open new job opportunities for the sightless, was opened in the municipal building as the central switchboard system for city offices.

***************

Making Dolls No Hobby. A toy doll with a clock face, which blind or sighted children can play with and learn to tell time, may be the beginning of a successful business for Fred Funk, blind resident of Tampa, Florida, according to a feature story in the Tampa MORNING TRIBUNE. The local Lions Club has given him his first order, and Goodwill Industries has bid on dressing the dolls. "I hope I can hire handicapped people to paint dip, sand and round, and jigsaw the dolls," said Funk. "If the project works, it will put other people to work, too."

Tenth Anniversary for H.E.W. The Federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare recently took official note of its tenth anniversary in the business of "helping peopleto help themselves." Reviewing the past decade. Secretary Anthony J. Celebrezze noted that the Department's aim for the next ten years is "to make available to all citizens full opportunities for the development of their talents and abilities. These are our most precious resources--our hope for the future."

"Enchanted Hills" Youth Camp. A camp for blind children which is unique in the American West--Enchanted Hills, in California's Napa Valley--was the subject of a recent feature story in P.G. & E. PROGRESS, monthly publication of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Established in 1947, the 32-acre recreation center draws campers from seven Western states and Texas. Summer terms are divided to accommodate three age groups. Two 14-day sessions for children 7 through 11, followed by a three-week term for teenagers 12 through 17, accommodate 150 youngsters a year, according to the journal. Then the summer ends with a two-week vacation period for 60 blind adults. The programs are administered by the San Francisco Lighthouse for the Blind.

***************

Blind Golfers' Tourney. The 1963 United States Blind Golfers' Tournament is scheduled for September 5, 6 and 7 at the Westchester Hills Golf Club in White Plains, New York. The event is sponsored by the New York Lighthouse and is under the chairmanship of Harry H. Gordon of White Plains.

Back to Contents