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. 6 June 1963


By Dr. Jacobus tenBroek



By Milton Cohen





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



By Dr. Jacobus tenBroek

(Editor's note: The following report on the status of sheltered shop workers was prepared for presentation at the annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Philadelphia. July 4, 1963. Dr. tenBroek, president of the American Brotherhood for the Blind, is also the founder and past president of the National Federation.)

What is the status of handicapped workers in sheltered workshops? Are they employees--and if so do they have the normal rights of organization and bargaining on the job, and of compensation off the job? Are they trainees, undergoing vocational and personal rehabilitation to fit them for placement in outside occupations--and if so, do they have any of the rights of employees? Are they wards, or inmates, in the custody of a charitable agency, capable only of moral uplift but not of economic or social elevation? These are questions that go back to the historic origins of the workshop as we know it: the separate but related institutions of the asylum, the medieval hospital, and the poor-law workhouse.

The past few years have witnessed a succession of developments which give new weight and importance to these questions--among them strikes, walkouts and layoffs; legislation, lawsuits and legal decisions. During the past year, in particular, several events of great significance have occurred which make it especially timely now to summarize the major happenings for their bearing on a new appraisal of the sheltered workshop and the workers it shelters.

The question of the status of shop workers has been raised in connection with their eligibility for unemployment and other social insurance benefits; and the answer has been mixed. In 1959, the California legislature reached the point of declaring that the workers in its sheltered shops were not "inmates of a state institution...but are employees of the state"--and extended to them the rights of state unemployment compensation insurance and of unemployment compensation disability insurance. In the following year Oregon's Attorney General issued a similar ruling, thereby joining such states as Washington and Wisconsin, which for years had held their shop workers to be eligible for unemployment compensation.

An opposite view of the character of sheltered shop employment has resulted from a recent federal district court decision and a congressional committee report both of which deal with federal disability insurance. On their face these opinions give an impression of liberality, since they make disability insurance payments available to sheltered shop workers. In fact, however, they are based upon the proposition that workshops cannot be treated as places of normal or regular employment. "It should be a rare case," according to the congressional committee, "in which a severely impaired individual who can market his skills only in a sheltered workshop and is capable of productivity resulting in very low earnings would be found able to engage in 'substantial gainful activity.'" And in the opinion of the district court, the earnings of a sheltered shop worker are properly to be regarded "not as wages for work performed, but [as income] derived from purely philanthropic sources." While this theory may help to secure disability insurance benefits for shop workers, it can hardly be said to move in the direction of improving wages and working conditions for those who labor in the shops.

The most important source of definition of the status of the shop workers has been the newly independent and often militant activities of the workers themselves--centering in union organization, collective bargaining efforts and strike action. These are the acts of free citizens and workers, not the behavior of suppliant wards. Significant episodes in this struggle have occurred in Dallas, Texas; Cleveland, Ohio; St. Louis, Missouri, and in the California cities of San Diego and Berkeley.

The first of these events was the least successful and the least clearcut. In the summer of 1958 seven blind salesmen of the Dallas, Texas, lighthouse began a strike which lasted two months before it was broken by total rejection of the strikers' demands. Unfortunately there was a lack of solidarity between the salesmen and the nonstriking workers inside the sheltered shop. The confused issue which resulted proved too great a handicap for the seven blind salesmen, despite the support of the organized blind of Texas and the NFB, along with some help from local organized labor.

The 1960 strike of Cleveland shop workers was both clearer in the issues presented and more successful in its outcome. After a ten-day strike for higher wages, eight blind broom-makers of the Society for the Blind workshop returned to their jobs on the basis of an agreement which promised higher income under their piece-work system--an agreement worked out with the aid of a friendly union official.

During the same year, 1960, the employees of San Diego's sheltered workshop defied the agency management by forming their own association and moving to improve their conditions of work through bargaining. In some ways this episode also presented a mixed picture; the handicapped workers were predominantly not blind, and their hastily formed association failed to hold together for long. The chief significance of the San Diego case lay in the decision handed down by the National Labor Relations Board following a petition by the shop workers. By a majority ruling of three to two, the Board held that the sheltered shop was a rehabilitation center rather than an employment establishment and thus declined to assert its jurisdiction with respect to collective bargaining and other conditions of normal labor-management relations.

The strike of the St. Louis shop workers against the Lighthouse for the Blind began in November, 1961, and ended in January, 1962, with the appointment of an arbitration board to review the workers' grievances. The blind employees had sought to gain recognition of the AFL-CIO Leathergoods, Plastics and Novelty Workers Union as their bargaining agent. Their eight-week strike started, according to local newspaper accounts, when half of the Lighthouse's workers stopped work and established a picket line to enforce their demands. The essentials of their case, as reported in the press, were the familiar ones of sheltered shop history: lack of a set wage scale, no provisions for seniority or orderly layoff, no hearing of grievances or indeed any form of labor-management communication other than dictation from above. Dissatisfied with the award which was made by the arbitration board, the shop workers carried their case to the NLRB.

The Board's decision, handed down in October, is significant in five respects. First, it concerned a workshop for the blind, as opposed to general shops employing persons of various handicaps. Second, it referred to a sheltered workshop the nature of which ruled out a decision based on grounds of its rehabilitative function; while such training was found to be among its services, only four or five individuals in the preceding year had been trained in collaboration with the state Bureau of the Blind (as against 105 persons employed in the workshop). Third, the Board throughout its opinion referred to the personnel inside the shop as workers, in the status of employees. Fourth, the workshop was seen by the Board to be in substantial measure a self-supporting commercial enterprise. Total sales for 1961 amounted to $469,000. The Lighthouse was able to pay 90 percent of its expenses with proceeds from sales. Only 10 percent of its income was derived from voluntary contributions--a sum not markedly out of line with the public subsidies received by many regular business establishments.

Fifth, the underlying assumption of the Board that the St. Louis workshop is essentially a custodial agency, whose workers are to be regarded as wards, takes this case far beyond the significance of the earlier San Diego decision. The basis of the ruling is revealed in this sentence: "The need of the workers is a consideration in their hiring, laying-off and recall by the employer." The Board's decision thus accepts the definition of the workshop's function and character advanced by its managers in their brief. That definition was set forth in these stark terms: "Disputes between the Lighthouse and its blind people [are not] in the category of disputes between employer and employees in private industry. Emotional and social problems are involved in dealing with the blind. In many instances the blind are also handicapped emotionally. The Lighthouse exists only 'because members of the community are willing to donate their time, services and money so that a helping hand may be extended to those in need. ... The end results sought by it are philanthropic in nature and the social need for its existence must not be jeopardized by subjecting it to the full scope of the Labor-Management rules applicable to private industry."

The employers' brief was replete with such suggestive phrases as these: The Lighthouse "a therapeutic program to help and assist blind people to become useful members of the Community. ... [Its] problems are more properly those of programs sponsored by non-profit welfare institutions for treatment of individuals with special needs."

On this view--the essentials of which have been taken over by the NLRB in its decision--the blind persons in the workshop are indeed employees of a kind: a kind without rights. They are there not so much to work, in the conventional sense, as to learn "proper work habits" such as "how to get along with people." Still more fundamentally, they are there neither for work nor for vocational training but for "treatment" of the special needs that are assumed to be an inevitable accompaniment of blindness--namely, emotional and social abnormality. The case for the sheltered workshop, as here presented, is scarcely to be distinguished from the case once made for that notorious institution of the middle ages: the combination workhouse-hospital-and-asylum.

The decision of the NLRB in St. Louis is therefore more retrograde by far than that which it handed down in San Diego. But both decisions are alike in the consequences of their refusal to grant the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Act. By so doing they sanctify the exemption of the workshops from the minimum-wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and discourage self-organization or expression on the part of the workers, with the effect of throwing them upon the mercies of workshop managers and controlling agencies. In short, the two decisions together not only perpetuate but intensify the economic dependency and helplessness of workshop employees.

The most recent event in this succession of actions by sheltered shop workers--and very possibly the most significant of all--occurred just last month in Berkeley, where 40 employees of the California Industries for the Blind workshop succeeded in their strike for increased wages and security of employment. The struggle went through several stages. The first was the successful organization of all but a few of the plant's 80 workers by the AFL-CIO State Employees Union. That was followed by a walkout of the 40 broom-makers early in May to enforce their demands. Workshop officials momentarily acceded to their wage requests, then retaliated by laying off all 40 of the strikers. The grounds given were a surplus of brooms, which was belied by the reported fact that the state had just ordered 800 dozen brooms from outside sources. The blind workers and their union then sought and received strike authority from the Central Labor Council of the county, and promptly put the strike into effect. The strikers had the support of almost the entire working force of the shop (only four braved the picket line), and also of other unions in the area. The picket line did not stop at the Berkeley workshop; a busload of blind strikers, complete with guide dogs, traveled to the state Capitol and flung a picket line around the controlling department of education and even around the Capitol building, wherein sat Governor Pat Brown and an observant session of the Legislature. Their protest was prominently reported on TV and in the press. The response was quick in coming. After only two days the strikers were back at work, assured of no reprisals or loss of pay, with their principal demands met and others promised a reasonable hearing through collective bargaining.

The legal situation of the Berkeley shop workers, to be sure, is somewhat different from that of the employees in the San Diego and St. Louis shops, neither of which is a state-operated facility. The National Labor-Management Act excludes all state employees, including employees of state workshops, from its jurisdiction. On the other hand, there are two laws on the books in California which serve in lieu of coverage by national legislation. One is the "little Kennedy bill," the right-to-organize measure for the blind steered through the Legislature in 1961 by the California Council of the Blind, which grants to blind persons the right to organize without interference by any state agency. The other statute, enacted in the same year, extends to all public employees the right to join whatever organization they choose in order to express their interests and viewpoint to the agency which employs them.

These events of the recent past do not solve the riddle of the status of blind workers in sheltered workshops. If anything, they serve to compound the confusion. If we are to believe the NLRB, in its San Diego incarnation, the people in the shops are trainees. If we are to believe the NLRB, in its St. Louis incarnation, they are wards--although they are also workers of a kind. If we follow the reasoning of the federal district court, they are not wage earners at all but the recipients of philanthropic handouts. If we are to take seriously the victory of the Berkeley broom-makers, then they are not only employees--but employees with many of the rights and responsibilities that accrue to organized labor.

To secure the benefits of the National Labor Relations Act, individuals have to be employees or at least workers. This is provided in the law itself. So, too, under the California legislation just mentioned, the workers in order to receive unemployment compensation have been declared to be in the status of employees. The history of the right to organize in this country has mainly been the history of the right of labor to organize. The right of people to organize, however--to join voluntary associations for self-improvement, political activity, social gains, religious worship, or mutual protection--is not necessarily linked to their status in the labor market. It is inseparably connected with their rights as men and as citizens in a free society. Unless we are prepared to deny that workers in sheltered shops are men and that they are citizens, they are entitled to the full benefits of these rights as are all others. And this is true whichever of the conflicting theories about them we choose to adopt--whether we regard them as employees, as trainees, or even as recipients of charity. I am not prepared to deny that they are men and citizens--are you?

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In June all roads led to Copenhagen, Denmark, for the Ninth World Congress of the International Society for Rehabilitation of the Disabled. At this important gathering, which occurs every 3 years, international spokesmen for business and industry, government, organized labor and the handicapped focus their attention on employment of the rehabilitated worker. The meeting serves as a stimulus to the employment of the handicapped throughout the world and in turn to speed the economic and social progress of all nations.

"Disability--Prevention and Rehabilitation" was the theme of the Congress. The discussions explored this central theme and the ways of solving the worldwide medical and social problems brought about by the increasing number of accidents causing disability.

Sectional meetings following the daily general sessions were to evaluate the physical, psychological, and sociological problems of the disabled and their rehabilitation; the influence of social insurance systems; the changing labor market; vocational aspects of rehabilitation; problems of transportation; and work and traffic injuries.

President of the International Society is Mr. Hall Popham of Canada. Mr. Donald Wilson is Secretary General of the Society. Ian Campbell of Canada is Chairman of the World Commission which is sponsoring the Seminar following the Congress.

An estimated 200 to 300 persons from the United States were expected to attend the Congress and participate in pre-Congress or post-Congress tours of rehabilitation facilities on the Continent, coupled with sightseeing.

Disabled persons all over the world are the ultimate beneficiaries of these congresses. New ideas for rehabilitation programs are freely exchanged and subsequently adapted from country to country. New concepts in rehabilitation methods are developed at these international meetings and molded to fit the particular needs and resources of any given region, or community, whether in a small local rehabilitation center or in a large government program.

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(Editor's note: The letter and note which follow are reprinted from the June, 1963, issue of the California COUNCIL BULLETIN.)

The following article, which appeared in the March, 1963, issue of THE SPOKESMAN, published by the Bay Counties Post-Polio Association, is reproduced in this Bulletin with the kind permission of Mrs. Evelyn Martinson, author of the article, and Robert Penn, President of the Association. It answers the question: Should sheltered workshops have a role in the vocational training and rehabilitation of the disabled? Bear in mind that since her workshop stint, Mrs. Martinson, the writer of the article, has been successfully employed as a legal secretary and as a deputy city clerk in Southern California.

"Dear Editor:

"The article 'On Record' interested me considerably, as some years ago I had some experience in working in a sheltered workshop. Due to this experience, I very strongly feel that any State support of these workshops would be a gross misappropriation of public funds. Let me tell you about it.

"In September, 1952, I contacted polio, and, after the usual hospitalization and treatment with which we are all familiar, I returned home, legs almost completely paralyzed, but quite able to care for myself and my home without assistance. In other words, nothing had changed for me with the exception that I had to get around in a wheelchair.

"In 1955, 1 found that it would be necessary for me to go to work in order to support myself, and having had previous accounting and secretarial experience, I went job hunting. Almost every place that I applied informed me that they could not hire me without proof that I would be able to work a full 8-hour day.

"After about 3 months of looking and being turned down, I decided that the only thing to do was to find some way to prove to these prospective employers that I was capable of working. So I went to a sheltered workshop where I spent another three months gaining my 'proof'.

"We began our day of work with church services. I have nothing against religious services, but we were all preached at as though we had something to be ashamed of because of our handicaps--that because of our afflictions we were sinners. I might add that, unless we attended these services, we were docked one-half hour on the pay check.

"The pay check was a thing of beauty! For some reason, which I will never understand, this workshop was not governed by the minimum wage laws. I made the fabulous sum of $.45 per hour. Hardly a living wage. Every handicapped person there received the same hourly rate of pay. However, there were a number of people employed there who were not handicapped, and these people were paid substantially more--in some cases, three and four times more than the handicapped.

"We were also constantly reminded that if we couldn't 'cut the mustard,' there were plenty of others just waiting for our jobs and that we should be grateful that we were allowed to work there. The work load and the pressure were extreme.

"Now, all of this may sound pretty terrible, but every one of the handicapped workers there at that time felt the same way about it as I did. Eventually, I was able to gain employment in private industry and finally worked my way to being a legal secretary. The final blow to come from the workshop, however, was a call from them to my first outside employer informing him what a good job they had done in training me for outside employment. The skills that I had acquired during my high school and early employment years, they were taking credit for!

"If, as suggested in your article, grants were to be made to private industry for on-the-job training and employment of the handicapped, degrading and humiliating experiences like this could be eliminated. A sheltered workshop was of no real benefit to me. I would have had a much better attitude had I never seen the inside of one. I spent months fighting down the bitterness I acquired there.

"I realized there are many people who are so severely disabled that it would be unrealistic for them to be employed in other than a workshop, but certainly such a workshop must be beneficial and pleasant to them, or the will to work could vanish completely.

"I also want to say that, unless a handicapped person is given the opportunity to work to the best of his ability, as every other person is given the opportunity, our sense of self-respect and our rights as citizens are seriously jeopardized."

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By Milton Cohen

(Editor's note: Mr. Cohen is Executive Director of the Federation of the Handicapped. His article first appeared in PERFORMANCE, official journal of the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped.)

Pioneering in finding new placement opportunities for the disabled has been one of the principal objectives of the Federation of the Handicapped since three amputees banded together in 1936 to make themselves and their fellows self-supporting.

The latest effort in opening up new job opportunities occurred when the first disabled person ever employed in the Personal Service Center at the Brooklyn Naval Base took over the job of engraving, embossing, key-making and similar jobs which add to the comfort of Navy personnel and their families.

The story of how Leonard Karafial, polio victim, was given the opportunity to blaze a trail which not only may extend through the 6 Personal Service Centers the Navy now operates, but the 22 planned to open during 1963, is the tale of a chain reaction which resulted from good work done by the handicapped for a private employer.

For some time our Industrial Homework Division has contracted for a variety of sorting and clerical jobs with the New Hermes Engraving Machine Co., New York City. This is the company which furnishes the machines which make it possible for naval facilities to offer the personal services, such as embossing and name-engraving, which could not easily be purchased locally. When it became difficult to find personnel with the qualities and training needed, the company staff proposed that the Federation's services be put at the disposal of the Navy Ship Stores Office in Brooklyn. The position requirements had already been established. The NSSO Services specialists pinpointed two essentials that must be characteristic of personnel hired to operate the Centers: (1) adequate training in the operation of the key-making, engraving, embossing, and other machines used to bring small comforts to NEX patrons, and (2) the temperament and personality needed for what is essentially a one-man operation.

A report, printed in the Navy Exchange Review, attests to the firmness with which Navy officials became convinced that handicapped workers could fill the bill:

"Consideration of the personnel problem ultimately led to the realization that the sort of patience, sensitivity, and ability to give concentrated application to tedious detail were qualities which handicapped persons usually have developed, of necessity, to a greater degree than is found in people who are not physically handicapped."

Pilot Test Program

The immediate result of preliminary exploration of these new work opportunities was the setting up of a pilot test program with a handicapped operator working a full 8-hour day in the Personal Services Center at the Naval Receiving Station in Brooklyn, where he received his on-the-job training. He is paid not only an adequate wage, but is assured of a percentage on the sales of services he makes. Following close on the heels of this successful experiment, the Federation of the Handicapped's representatives offered a plan whereby pretrained personnel can be made available to any Navy Exchange that needs them, wherever located. A second man is now in training. Lawrence Shierlock, victim of poliomyelitis, when he is thoroughly prepared will go on the job at the Personal Services Center at the Naval Station in Charleston, South Carolina. This is how the practical details of this pioneering job have been worked out:

When NSSO receives a request from a Navy Exchange Officer who wishes to participate in the program of hiring pretrained handicapped personnel to operate a Personal Services Center, the Federation arranges for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation office located in the area of the Exchange to send prescreened applicants to the Navy Exchange for an interview. The applicants necessarily will be men living in the area of the Exchange, but all training will be supervised in New York City by Federation of the Handicapped. Once the applicant has been accepted by the local Navy Exchange personnel officer, his responsibility for the handicapped employee ceases until the applicant returns to the Exchange, fully trained to operate all necessary machines and fully qualified to act as a salesman for the services his customers want. Training will be supplemented by on-the-job experience in the Personal Services Center at a Brooklyn Navy Exchange.

The exchange which eventually will hire the handicapped person pays no part of the expenses of his training or transportation to the training area. He will be put on the Exchange payroll only when he arrives trained and ready to work.

In addition to making possible a revolving nucleus of pretrained personnel not readily available in most communities, the Navy Exchange Offices are also making a constructive community contribution by making it possible to open new avenues of training, employment, and job security for handicapped persons in areas where they might never have had them.

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(Editor's note: The following biographical sketches are reprinted from the National Federation of the Blind's official publication, "Who Are the Blind Who Lead the Blind?" released in January, 1963.)

Member, Executive Committee

Powerful testimony to the fact that blindness need not be a barrier to a full, active and thoroughly normal life is to be found in the vigorous and varied career of Stanley Oliver of Detroit, Michigan. In addition to his important role with the National Federation, he is a board member and legislative chairman of the Michigan Council of the Blind and has served for 16 years as editor of its braille and print magazine, The Eye-Opener. Oliver is also a past president of the Michigan Federation of the Blind, a long-time member of the advisory board to the state's division of Service for the Blind, and holds down a position on the advisory board of the Metropolitan Society for the Blind.

In 1962, Oliver acted as general chairman for the NFB's national convention held in Detroit. A few years earlier he was called upon to testify before a congressional committee in Washington on behalf of the Federation's campaign for a bill granting the blind the right to organize and to be consulted in the formulation of public programs affecting their welfare. As state legislative chairman, he has often represented the Michigan Council of the Blind before committees of the state legislature.

Besides these productive and time-consuming activities on behalf of the blind of his state and nation, Oliver is president of the Detroit division of the Piano Technicians Guild, serves on its national committee, and for almost a decade has edited a column, "Tricks of the Trade," published regularly in the Braille Piano Technician. On still another level of community activity, he is secretary of the Association of Presbyterian Men, Winchester Village Church.

Born in 1913, Oliver graduated from Detroit's Cass Technical High School in 1930 with such distinction that he was awarded the John P. Wicker scholarship in the fine arts, providing a year of paid tuition in artistic fields. Following this training Oliver completed a year of college at Wayne State University before deciding to launch his own business as a contractor in the painting trades.

Shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Oliver lost his sight. He found employment during the war years with the Ford Motor Company as a specialist in electrical subassembly work, and meanwhile turned to the study of piano servicing in order to master a trade more secure in its prospects--and less discriminatory toward the blind--than the fluctuating cycles of industrial employment. Leaving the factory in 1948, he added rug-making and sales to his work as a piano technician until he had built a servicing business large enough to support himself, his wife and two children. Two of his major accounts today include the Detroit public school system and the music department of Wayne State University.

Stanley Oliver's talent for helping and instructing others apparently runs in the family. Today both his son, Jim, and his daughter, Patricia, are teachers in the public schools.

Member, Board of Directors

Famed the world over for her inspired and inspiring labors toward the education of the blind of all nations, Dr. Isabelle Grant may well be termed the unofficial ambassador-at-large of America's organized blind. For the past several years an executive officer of the California Council of the Blind and trustee of the American Brotherhood for the Blind, she was named an honorary board member by the National Federation of the Blind in 1960.

Teacher, counselor, vice-principal, writer and lecturer--and finally resource teacher--Dr. Grant retired in 1962 after 35 years of outstanding service in the Los Angeles city schools. Although she had lost her sight 12 years earlier, she continued her teaching career without letup--but with a new mission and specific purpose: helping to train and rehabilitate sightless children in the integrated school program.

A native of Scotland, Dr. Grant received her education from the University of Aberdeen, the University of Paris and the University of Madrid, and later acquired a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.

In 1959, accompanied only by "Oscar" (her cane), Dr. Grant set out on a year-long sabbatical-leave tour which took her to no less than 21 Middle Eastern, Asian and Far Eastern countries. On her journey she flew from country to country for the primary purpose of "meeting people and listening to their thinking." But she also studied the training and rehabilitation programs for the blind in each nation, and organized pioneer educational projects in many. One notable result of her contacts was that, in cooperation with the Lions Club in Karachi, the California Council of the Blind and other groups and individuals throughout the country have since sent thousands of pairs of glasses to the visually handicapped of Pakistan.

The extent of Dr. Grant's influential efforts in West Pakistan may be measured by the fact that in 1962 she returned there to resume her educational project under a Fulbright Fellowship, with the full official approval both of the U.S. State Department and of the governmental authorities of Pakistan. But perhaps the warmest testimony to her work and leadership is to be found in the words of a pamphlet published in 1960 by the newly formed Pakistan Resource Teachers Association:

"We know that the visit of Dr. Grant to Pakistan has been a source of great inspiration and encouragement not only for the blind of the country but also for those who are working for the welfare of the blind. When the Directorate of Education agreed to organize a six weeks' Seminar on the Education of the Blind, it was more of a personal favour to Dr. Grant than anything else. None expected that this Seminar would continue for more than a week but the magnetic personality and the new ideas of the instructor kept all of us together. ...And every time we left the classroom we were more enthusiastic and thrilled. It is said that attitudes take a long time to change but we, the participants of this class, had completely changed our attitudes towards the blind by the end of the fourth week of the Seminar."

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The spreading practice of searching the homes of public assistance recipients under state welfare plans has itself come under "searching scrutiny" in a recent memorandum by Professor Charles A. Reich of Yale University Law School. In a thoroughly documented 16-page (single-spaced) opinion entitled, "Searching Homes of Public Assistance Recipients: The Issues Under the Social Security Act," Professor Reich first examines the status of the home-searching practice under general federal law and then the "basic question" of whether such searches may be carried on consistently with the purposes of the Social Security Act. His conclusions, summarily stated at the end of the memorandum:

"1. Searching homes of public assistance recipients without warrant violates the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments;

"2. Congress has specifically forbidden the enforcement of federal laws by such methods;

"3. A state welfare plan embodying such methods of enforcement would necessarily be inconsistent with the Social Security Act;

"4. The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare has the power and the duty to disapprove any state plan in which searches of homes are part of the method of administration."

At the outset of his study, Professor Reich points out that "public agencies responsible for enforcing eligibility requirements frequently make surprise visits to recipients' homes to determine whether the recipient has misrepresented family circumstances and, especially, whether the father or some other man is living at home." These visitations are commonly made without warrants and in the middle of the night, with inspectors demanding entry and then looking over the premises, he observes. "... on occasion there have been mass raids designed as general checks on eligibility. The demand for entry may carry with it the threat, express or implied, that refusal to admit will lead to discontinuance of public assistance."

With respect to the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments--which guarantee "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures"--the Yale law professor puts three subsidiary questions: "(a) Whether the searches are conducted with the consent, express or implied, of the recipients; (b) whether the object of the searches is to secure evidence for criminal prosecution or forfeiture; (c) whether the searches, under all the circumstances, are reasonable." The answers to all three questions are held to be in the negative.

On the issue of consent, Professor Reich notes that "the mere demand for admission [into the home] by one in authority is likely to be considered as coercive" by the courts; and he concludes on the basis of numerous Supreme Court cases that "the opening of a door by a welfare recipient, in response to a demand by official investigators, is not consent to a search." Moreover, he points out, this conclusion has been reached "without assuming the existence of any threats to the occupants. In reality, there is often a threat, sometimes made explicitly, and sometimes merely present in the mind of the recipients, that unless inspectors are admitted public assistance will be taken away." On the basis of this element of coercion, he expresses "little doubt that the Court would deem even an implied threat to cut off assistance as coercive in a welfare search situation."

After exploring various theories advanced in support of the home-searching policy in welfare, Professor Reich declares: "In summary, there is no theory under which it can be said that public assistance recipients consent, expressly or impliedly, to searches of their homes. The official demand for entrance is sufficient to render any apparent consent involuntary, the threat of loss of public assistance underscores the coercive nature of the demand for entry, and no law requires, or could require, consent to such searches as a condition of receipt of public assistance."

The Object of the Search

Next Professor Reich turns to the question whether the object or purpose of a search affects its validity under the Fourth Amendment, and more particularly whether an inspection for the purpose of checking on eligibility does not have more constitutional latitude than a search for evidence of crime. Recalling that in the landmark case of Frank v. Maryland, the Supreme Court had authorized a public health inspection of homes as a "non-criminal" inspection, he expresses belief that the Court's holding "would not be extended to apply to welfare searches" because the latter lack all of the careful safeguards present in the Frank case. "Instead, welfare searches are very frequently the very 'midnight knock on the door' which the Court condemned." Furthermore, he declares that recent Supreme Court decisions show the high tribunal "to be moving toward a more sweeping, rather than narrower, interpretation of the right of privacy."

But Professor Reich goes on to assert that the very assumption that welfare searches are not searches for evidence of crime is open to serious question. Citing a number of cases in which such home visitations have led to criminal prosecution, he concludes that "many if not all such inspections are properly classified as criminal searches. ...It follows that welfare searches are unlawful unless they can be justified as 'reasonable' within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment's language prohibiting only 'unreasonable' searches." And on this score he notes that the Supreme Court regards searches without a warrant as unreasonable even where officers have grounds for believing they will uncover evidence of wrongdoing. On the basis of relevant Court cases, he reaches the conclusion that "inspecting the homes of persons receiving public assistance without warrants is, regardless of variations in circumstances, unreasonable and therefore illegal and unconstitutional. No arguments based on necessity to enforce the welfare laws will justify the search without warrants of the homes of welfare recipients. Nor will any amount of information showing the likelihood of violation. On this question, the Supreme Court has been so clear and consistent that further citation of authorities is unnecessary. The practice of welfare searches is, we must conclude, a clear violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments."

It is so, writes Professor Reich, because, in the words of the Court only two years ago, "At the very core" of the Fourth Amendment "stands the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion."

The Responsibility of H.E.W.

The conclusion reached by Professor Reich--that home searches of public aid recipients without a warrant violates the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments--leads him next to examine two specific questions regarding social security: whether such searches are compatible with the Act, and whether the Department of Health, Education and Welfare has any power or responsibility with respect to them. On the first question, he points to two federal statutes--the first dealing with unwarranted searches by officers or agents of the United States, the second prohibiting state and federal officials from enforcing any law by means that deprive people of their constitutional rights. On the basis of these specific laws, as well as Constitutional standards for administration of public programs, he holds the policy of searches to be incompatible with operation of the programs of social security. Moreover, a review of the powers and responsibilities of the Secretary of H.E.W. demonstrates that "his duty to exercise his power by prohibiting the unconstitutional practices is both plain and unavoidable."

"It should be added," writes Professor Reich, "that the Secretary's moral duty is particularly great because persons on public assistance are hardly in a position to enforce their rights of privacy. They are the nation's underprivileged, without the means or knowledge to litigate constitutional questions. If they are denied assistance either because of the evidence found after an illegal search or because they resisted an illegal search, lengthy, expensive and uncertain court proceedings would be required to overturn this denial. The federal government should not place upon the most unfortunate of its citizens the burden of vindicating constitutional rights at the risk, of their own and their children's subsistence."

The concluding paragraph of Professor Reich's memorandum deserves to be quoted in full:

"One final word seems appropriate. The chief object of the Fourth Amendment was to protect the home and, thereby, the integrity of every individual. The object of the Social Security Act was also to protect the home, and to protect the independence and self-respect of the individual. It would undo the most fundamental purpose of the Act if it were to be carried out by methods that violate the sanctity of the home and degrade and humiliate individual recipients. To insist that officials who administer funds appropriated under the Social Security Act must obey the Fourth Amendment is no more than to insist that the high aim of that Act not be forgotten in the day-to-day difficulties of carrying it out; and to make certain that the Act remains what it was, above all, intended to be--a guardian and insurer of the dignity of man."

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Virginia Federationists Convene. The sixth annual convention of the Virginia Federation of the Blind, held in Winchester, May 11 and 12, featured an unusual number of outstanding speeches, reports and discussions by prominent guests and state Federation members. The problems of enacting legislation at the Washington level were informatively dealt with by two experts: first by John Nagle, Washington office chief of the National Federation of the Blind, who presented both a report on the progress of current legislation affecting the blind and a paper on the NFB's methods of presenting its case before the national government. The second expert testimony was that of Tim Seward, administrative assistant to Congressman Walter S. Baring of Nevada, who spoke to the convention on "Tracing a Bill through Congress."

Nagle also presented a paper on "Employment Opportunities for the Blind," and moderated a sparkling panel discussion on the theme of opportunities in Virginia. Panel participants included Don Brown, who operates a telephone answering service; Robert W. McDonald, cook; Garland Nicely, industrial worker, and Inez Staton, X-ray technician. Definitely a high point of the convention, the group discussion represented a successful effort to demonstrate the range of employment opportunities through the exemplary achievements of blind individuals in various career fields.

Don Capps of South Carolina, second vice president of the National Federation of the Blind, delivered a banquet address on the subject, "Three Keys to Success." Capps also gave the convention a detailed report on the activities of the South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind.

With most officers elected in 1962 continuing for another year, the following new elections were held: Mrs. Bernice James, of Richmond, was named corresponding secretary to fill out the remaining year of a two-year term; James A. Garnett, of Richmond, became a two-year board member; Amy Barnes, of Winchester, was chosen to the board for the remaining year of an unexpired term; Milton Perry, of Winchester, was selected to be the delegate to the 1963 convention of the NFB; and Marian McDonald, of Alexandria, was elected as alternate delegate. The convention also voted to hold its 1964 convention in Alexandria, with the Potomac Chapter acting as host.


Clyde Ross Wins Lions Post. Clyde Ross, president of the Ohio Council of the Blind (a state affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind) was elected Custodian of the Braille Fund at the 1963 Ohio Lions Convention. This automatically makes Clyde chairman of the Braille Board, which is responsible for the publication and distribution of the Lions International Juvenile Braille Monthly Magazine.


JFK Honors 4 Blind Students. President Kennedy presented $500 scholarship awards to four blind students from across the country in late May as the climax of a contest sponsored by Recording for the Blind, New York City. The four students receiving the distinction for "outstanding scholastic achievement" were Charles Edwin Vaughn, of South Charleston, West Virginia; Jean Holland Van Ormer, of Cumberland, Maryland; Patrick Vincent Poppe, of New York, and Richard Henry Fidler, Hatboro, Pennsylvania. The age of the students ranged from 22 to 25.


Free Course for Blind-Deaf. The famous Hadley School for the Blind, of Winnetka, Illinois, is planning to offer a new course for those who are both blind and deaf, to be called "Independent Living Without Sight or Hearing." The course will cover such subjects as communication, travel, business and how to get cooperation.

THE BLIND AMERICAN is indebted to Will Bowman of Los Angeles for additional information with respect to this important educational opportunity. Mr. Bowman, an independent businessman who is himself both blind and deaf, tells us: "Mr. Richard Kinney, who is working on the project for the school, writes me that they are taking enrollments immediately so as to get an idea of how many students they will have, and that he has received several inquiries from home teachers and welfare consultants and desires to reach as many of these handicapped people as possible. I might say that the course is entirely in Braille and will be sent by mail, without charge, as the school is maintained entirely by voluntary contributions of the alumni who think that they have been benefited by the course after having taken it."


New Audio Approach. Through the use of educational tape recordings, students of physical medicine and rehabilitation throughout the United States and many foreign countries will have access to clinical discussions of various aspects of rehabilitation.

Under a project conducted by New York's famed Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and the World Rehabilitation Fund, 170 rehabilitation training institutions throughout the world will receive a series of twenty-four 2-hour educational tape recordings on rehabilitation. Each institution is also receiving a tape recorder player weighing just over 13 pounds.

Dr. Howard A. Rusk, director of the Institute, said of the project, "One of its great values is that physicians all over the world will have access to clinical discussions on various aspects of rehabilitation which do not lend themselves easily to publication in printed form." Dr. Rusk also said the recordings are designed for individual rather than group listening, "We hope a physician or student will use the equipment as he would use a reference book from the library. This is practical because of the very light weight of the player-recorders," he said.

The United States portion of the project is being aided by a grant from the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration. The international aspects are being aided by the World Rehabilitation Fund with the assistance of the Radio Corporation of America.


Carolinians Receive Home Award. The following article appeared originally last April in a Columbia, South Carolina, newspaper and was republished in the May issue of THE PALMETTO AURORAN, journal of South Carolina's Aurora Club of the Blind:

"A blind Columbian and his wife moved into their new home Thursday. They were able to buy the house because of a grant which was awarded them by the Columbia Aurora Club of the Blind. Mr. and Mrs. James Sims, a couple in their thirties, were awarded the $500 grant last March. The gift was made possible by Ways and Means for the Blind, Inc., of Augusta, Georgia, whose president is a blind South Carolinian, Hubert E. Smith. The cash award was given to the couple to be used toward the purchase of a home.

"Sims is employed at the Association of the Blind workshop on Confederate Avenue. The Sims are members of the Aurora Club of the Blind. The cash award is known as the George A. McKie Award and is given annually by Ways and Means for the Blind to a sightless couple solely for the purpose of acquiring a home. It is one of 26 philanthropies sponsored by the group. Ways and Means for the Blind have given some 40 gifts in the past 25 years, according to Donald C. Capps, president of the Aurora Club. Capps says that more blind people have homes in South Carolina than any other state in the Union, due to the gifts from the Augusta organization. Last year the grant was given to Mr. and Mrs. Max Bonner, both Aurorans."


Ophthalmology Prof Honored. Dr. Michael J. Hogan, chairman of the University of California's Department of Ophthalmology, received the Proctor Gold Medal of the Association for Research in Ophthalmology at an Atlantic City meeting June 18. The Proctor Medal, among the highest honors an ophthalmologist can receive, is awarded annually to an outstanding contributor to research on the eye and its diseases. Among Dr. Hogan's research contributions have been studies of infectious and inflammatory diseases of the eye, the action of enzymes on various eye structures, and glaucoma.


"Ability Counts" Essay Winner. Kathleen Johanna Lewis, 17-year-old Philadelphia high school student, was the winner recently of an essay contest sponsored by the Pennsylvania Governor's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped. Her composition, entitled "How My Community Benefits from the Abilities of Handicapped Workers," was chosen from among 71 essays submitted by young state residents. Miss Lewis will receive among other prizes a college scholarship and a trip to Washington to attend the annual meeting of the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped.


New Book by Jacob Freid. Dr. Jacob Freid, executive director of the Jewish Braille Institute and long-time friend of the organized blind, is the editor of a newly published study, Jews in the Modern World, published in two volumes by Twayne Publishers, Inc., 31 Union Square West, New York 3, New York. Already the subject of high praise by experts in the field as "a veritable encyclopedia of information and ideas about Jewish life the world over," Dr. Freid's book has also been heralded as "a classic ... a remarkable treasure-house of information and profoundly perceptive insight into the Jewish condition of our time.”

Jews in the Modern World answers such questions as: What has happened to Jews and Jewish life throughout the world during this past generation? What are the significant trends in Jewish life and how will they influence the next generation"? The essays in the volume--contributed by such recognized authorities as Gordon W. Allport, David Ben Gurion, Mordecai Kaplan, Will Maslow, Leo Pfeffer and others, as well as by Dr. Freid--examine and analyze the cultural, demographic, economic, social and political characteristics of contemporary Jewish life.

Dr, Freid, well-known to blind Americans as editor of the JEWISH BRAILLE REVIEW, is currently chairman of the department of political science, Senior College of the New School for Social Research, in New York City.


Blinded Vet Runs Trailer Court. George Mitchell, blinded veteran of Denver, Colorado, was the subject of a recent feature story in the BVA BULLETIN (publication of the Blinded Veterans Association) for his achievement in successfully establishing and operating a large-scale trailer court. Mitchell, who uses neither a cane nor a seeing-eye dog, was said to be so familiar with every structure in his 114-trailer establishment that he can tell where he is just by touching something.

"Mitchell did much of the construction work in the trailer court and now does most of the maintenance," the article notes. "He uses many kinds of power tools, including a circular saw and welding torches. He has hurt himself only once. In 1960 he nicked the tip of one finger with the saw."

In addition Mitchell cut all the sewer and water pipe for his flourishing enterprise, which is nearly always filled to capacity. "He knows how to patch the sewer lines and does his own plumbing. He dug the post holes in the court and stretched the wire fences. George built a swing set on the playground in the middle of the court. The many children who play there know him by name and hail him whenever he comes out. He in turn knows his tenants by voice," the journal said.


Notable Talking Books. Recent additions to the ever-growing list of Talking Book literature available from the Library of Congress and its regional branch libraries for the blind indicate a rising level of taste and quality in reading material. Following is a partial check list of new Talking Books which have received solid critical acceptance in their fields:

Richard H. Rovere, The American Establishment; Robert Russell, To Catch an Angel; Frederic Morton, The Rothschilds; Marston Bates, Man in Nature; John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley; Robert L. Heilbroner, The Making of Economic Society; Alan Moorehead, The Blue Nile; William Faulkner, The Reivers; James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name; Walter Kerr, The Decline of Pleasure; Lawrence Durrell, The Dark Labyrinth; Mary Renault, The Bull From the Sea; Elizabeth Bowen, Seven Winters.


BVA Convention Set. The 18th annual convention of the Blinded Veterans Association will meet in Columbus, Ohio, August 6-10, with headquarters at the Deshler Hilton Hotel. All blinded veterans as well as BVA members are invited to attend what the Ohio Regional Group predicts to be the largest convention yet held by the national organization.

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