THE BRAILLE MONITOR

JULY 1967

INKPRINT EDITION

VOICE OF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND

The National Federation of the Blind is not an organization speaking for the blind--it is the blind speaking for themselves

Monitor Headquarters
2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708

Published monthly in braille and distributed free to the blind by the National Federation of the Blind, President: Jacobus tenBroek, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708.

Inkprint edition produced and distributed by the National Federation of the Blind.

Editor: Jacobus tenBroek, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708.

News items and changes of address should be sent to the Editor.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

WHITE CANE SAFETY DAY PROCLAMATION

SUMMARY OF NFB BILLS PENDING IN CONGRESS
by John Nagle

RESIDENCE REQUIREMENT IN WELFARE RULED INVALID

VIRGINIA CONVENTION

BLIND SHOPWORKERS DEMONSTRATE IN BRITAIN
by Tom Parker and J. Caven

BLINDED PILOT IS TALKED DOWN

BLINDNESS INSUPERABLE SAYS STANFORD

CAN THE BLIND PROFESS
by Floyd Matson

IOWA LEGISLATIVE VICTORY
by Kenneth Jernigan

UTAH CONVENTION

THE BURTON BILL AND THE NFB: CORBIN-tenBROEK CORRESPONDENCE

ROAD RULE FOR BLIND IS REVIVED IN AUSTRALIA

ST. LOUIS LIGHTHOUSE STRIKE DRAGS ON

THE BLIND AND THE CIGARETTE PACKAGE GIMMICK

D. C. WHITE CANE MEETING

LIMITS ON 'UNREASONABLE SEARCH' DECLARED

600 STAGE BOYCOTT IN COLLEGE FOR DEAF

SOCIAL SECURITY--APPLY! APPLY! APPLY!
by John Nagle

STATE AND NATIONAL BLIND LEADER OBSERVES 20th ANNIVERSARY WITH COLONIAL LIFE
by Mildred Kirkland

NEW YORK CITY WILL EXPAND NEWSSTAND ITEMS

SURGERY TO RESTORE FEATURES TO "THE FACELESS MAN" IS NEARING AN END

IOWA CONVENTION

TIGHTENING OF DRIVER LICENSES UNDER STUDY

MOBILITY BRAILLE MAPS

NEW ERA SEEN AHEAD FOR MOST SIGHTLESS
by Bob Considine

TAPE RECORDERS FROM SCIENCE FOR THE BLIND

VIRUS THAT CAUSES BLINDNESS KILLED BY COLD

SPECIAL PRAKING PRIVILEGES

MONITOR MINIATURES

CAMPBELL AWARD
by William L. Eberline

ROLE OF THE HANDICAPPED IN AN AUTOMATED SOCIETY
by Robert B. Seeley

THE GLOUCESTER TREATMENT
by Margaret Robertson

DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR THE BLIND

 

PRESIDENT JOHNSON ISSUES WHITE CANE SAFETY DAY PROCLAMATION

Three years ago the National Federation of the Blind secured the passage through Congress of a resolution authorizing the President of the United States to make an annual proclamation of White Cane Safety-Day, October 15th. The President has issued such proclamations. Their tone, content and effect have been exceedingly good. The proclamations, however, were issued generally about October 1st, leaving little time for adequate distribution.

This year the National Federation of the Blind asked the President to issue the White Cane Safety Day Proclamation several months earlier and he has most generously complied with our request. On May 29th, he issued this year's proclamation. Again, its contents are most excellent. We may now begin the process of securing state and local government proclamations. We may also get things underway for adequate newspaper, radio, TV and other publicity. The Proclamation is reprinted below. You may secure as many copies as you wish by writing to NFB Headquarters, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California, 94708.

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

Independence - so important to every American - has a special significance to the blind. Although imprisoned in a world of unceasing darkness, the blind must still be able to enjoy freedom of movement.

The White Cane has become the emblem of the blind American's determination to live the most independent, constructive life possible. Since the foundation of the National Federation for the Blind in 1940, the White Cane has symbolized the aspirations and abilities of the blind. Available to every blind American, it is his passport to self-sufficiency.

But the blind can enjoy their freedom with confidence only if their fellow citizens learn to treat them with consideration and respect. Today, all 50 states have White Cane Laws, emphasizing that for the White Canes to spell independence to the blind they must also spell caution to the rest of us.

We must learn to recognize this symbol from afar, and to understand how much another person's freedom and life depend on our acknowledging his right-of-way above our own.

To make our citizens more fully aware of the significance of the White Cane, and of the need for motorists to exercise caution and courtesy when approaching its bearer, the Congress, by a joint resolution, approved October 6, 1964 (78 Stat. 1003), has authorized the President to issue annually a proclamation designating October 15 as White Cane Safety Day.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, LYNDON B. JOHNSON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 15, 1967 as White Cane Safety Day.

I call upon all our citizens, our civic and service organizations, schools, public bodies and the media of public information in every community to join in observing White Cane Safety Day, so that blind persons in our society may increasingly enjoy the greatest possible measure of personal independence.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

DONE at the City of Washington this twenty-ninth day of May in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and ninety-first. (SEAL)

LYNDON B. JOHNSON

By the President: DEAN RUSK Secretary of State

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SUMMARY OF NFB BILLS PENDING IN THE 90TH CONGRESS

By John Nagle

This is a selective list of those NFB bills which require immediate attention by Federationists. There are many other NFB supported legislative proposals to which your attention will be called at an appropriate time.

The following four bills were introduced by Congressman Cecil R. King, California, and Senator Vance Hartke, Indiana:

H. R. 3064-S. 1681 would permit a person who is blind according to the generally used definition of blindness and who has worked for one and one -half years in Social Security-covered employment, to draw dis- ability insurance cash benefits so long as he remains blind and irrespective of his earnings.

H. R. 4879-S. 1950 would greatly improve federally-supported state programs of aid to the blind, by requiring that special needs resulting from blindness be recognized and fully met, by eliminating the length-of-time limitation upon the exemption of all resources of a person working to achieve self-support under an approved rehabilitation plan, by- limiting a relative's obligation to contribute to support, by prohibiting residence requirements and lien laws, by providing for a minimum public assistance payment, by permitting categorical administration of aid, by allowing a state to withdraw from a Title XVI combined plan of aid and resume categorical programs, by permitting separate aid to the blind administration in a Title XVI state, by requiring that social services be given to only those who request them, that continuance of aid not be contingent upon acceptance of such services, and that social services be administered on a categorical basis, by increasing the federal share in aid to the blind payments, and be requiring that congressionally-provided funds intended to raise the level of aid payments be actually passed on to aided blind persons.

H.R. 3065-5. 1949 would prohibit a state from having any durational residence requirement for receiving aid to the blind payments.

H.R. 3066-S. 1952 would outlaw the legally enforceable obligation of relatives to contribute to the support of needy blind persons.

H. R. 2368, by Congressman Carl Perkins, Kentucky, and S. 1951 , by Senator Vance Hartke, Indiana, would include disability insurance beneficiaries in the Social Security-based hospital and medical insurance program.

S. 1965, by Senator Vance Hartke, Indiana, would amend the Social Security Act to provide that increases under Title II shall be disregarded in determining need under Titles I, IV, X, XIV, and XVI of such Act. This measure would assure that a person receiving a Social Security monthly payment would receive the full amount of any increases in such payment even though he also receives supplementary public assistance.

Letters in support of the above House bills should be sent to the introducers and to Honorable Wilbur D. Mills, Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means.

Letters in support of the above bills introduced by Senator Hartke should be sent to Senator Hartke and to Honorable Russell B. Long, Chairman, Committee on Finance.

H.R. 9995, by Congressman James G. O'Hara, Michigan, would amend the National Labor Relations Act to assure to handicapped workers in sheltered workshops the right to organize and bargain collectively with shop management.

H.R. 7396, by Congressman Philip Burton, California, would prohibit the "means test" for any vocational rehabilitation service.

Letters in support of the above House bills should be sent to the introducers and to Honorable Carl Perkins, Chairman, Committee on Education and Labor.

H.R. 7192, by Congressman Robert J. Corbett, Pennsylvania, and S. 1953 , by Senator Vance Hartke, Indiana, would amend the federal postal laws so as to extend the free mailing privilege, presently available on braille and recorded books for the blind, to include physically disabled persons now eligible to participate in the federal Books for the Blind Program, and it would also cover under the postage-free privilege specially designed and adapted tools and equipment for the blind and physically disabled, and would also allow such persons to mail, postage free, letters in braille, large print, and on discs and tapes.

Letters in support of H.R. 7192 should be sent to the introducer and to Honorable Thaddeus Dulski, Chairman, Committee on Post Office and Civil Service.

Letters in support of S. 1953 should be sent to the introducer and to Honorable Mike Monroney, Chairman, Committee on Post Office and Civil Service.

H.R. 10780, by Congressman Paul G. Rogers, Florida, and S. 325, by Senator Lister Hill, Alabama, would authorize the establishment of a National Eye Institute in the National Institutes of Health system, to conduct research, itself, and to finance the research of others into the causes of blindness.

Letters in support of H.R. 10780 should be sent to the introducer and to Honorable Harley Staggers, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce.

Since Senator Hill is both the introducer of S. 32 5 and the chairman of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare which has jurisdiction over the bill, you need send only one letter in support of S. 32 5, and that should be sent to Senator Lister Hill.

H.R. 599 - by Congressman Don Fuqua, Florida, and S. 698, by Senator Edmund Muskie, Maine, contain a provision--waiver of single state agency requirement--which would allow state executive authorities to locate the administration of a federally-supported state program in a state agency different from the state agency provided for in the program-creating federal law, even though such federal law, such as a combined plan of aid under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, requires state administration of the program by a single and specified state agency.

Letters in support of H.R. 599 should be sent to the introducer and to Honorable William L. Dawson, Chairman, Committee on Government Operations.

Letters in support of S. 698 should be sent to the introducer and to Honorable John L. McClellan, Chairman, Committee on Government Operations.

The letters "H.R." before a bill number indicates a bill has been intorduced in the House of Representatives, and the letter "S." before a number means the bill has been introduced in the Senate.

Letters sent to a Congressman should be addressed: Honorable, House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515.

Letters sent to a Senator should be addressed: Honorable, Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510.

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RESIDENCE REQUIREMENT IN WELFARE RULED INVALID

Washington:

A special three-judge federal court ruled June 19 that Connecticut's one-year residency requirement for welfare eligibility violated the Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and the right to travel.

If sustained on direct appeal to the United States Supreme Court, the ruling by the court in Hartford is broad enough to strike down as unconstitutional the residency restrictions of more than 40 states.

State welfare residence laws, long under fire by welfare groups on policy grounds, have been under legal attack recently in several courts but the Connecticut case was the first to reach such a decisive stage.

By coincidence the 2-to-1 decision came as federal judge Alexander Holtzoff in U.S. district court here was rejecting an almost identical legal argument by neighborhood legal services attorneys.

States like Connecticut have erected long residence requirements for welfare elegibility as a deterrent to movements of destitute families from other states. Connecticut lengthened its residence requirement in 1965 from one month to one year.

The law and its application, the court said, amounted to a discouragement of the exercise of the right to travel, one of the privileges and immunities of American citizenship. The court said the right was meaningless unless it included the right to establish residence in another state.

Brian Hollander, a neighborhood legal services attorney for welfare applicant Vivian Marie Thompson, told the court that the principle of state residence requirements for voting was not threatened by the lawsuit. In the case of voting, he said, the state can usually demonstrate an interest in a reasonable residence requirement as a basis for intelligent local voting.

Mrs. Thompson, mother of two children, moved to Hartford from Boston in 1966. The state stipulated that she moved to live near her mother, not to increase her welfare check.

State Attorney General Harold Mulvey announced plans for appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

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VIRGINIA CONVENTION

The ninth annual convention of the Virginia Federation of the Blind was held May 19-21 at the Holiday Inn, Portsmouth, Virginia.

May 20 was a full day of speakers and discussions dealing with issues of vital interest and concern to the blind men and women of the Old Dominion State.

Roy Ward, supervisor of home teachers for the Virginia Commission for the Visually Handicapped, talked about a demonstration and exhibit of low vision aids which he had set up for all convention attendants to investigate toward obtaining possible vision improvement, Richard Randall, of the local Social Security Office, discussed how the different programs under the Social Security system affect blind people and their families and dependents. Melvin Joyner, home teacher with the Virginia blind agency, reported on "A Day in the Life of a Home Teacher." "Employment Opportunities for the Blind"--a traditional program feature of Virginia conventions--was moderated by John F. Nagle of the Washington office of the NFB, and panelists were Miss Rena Fay Dowdy, blind student at William and Mary College, Miss Patricia Shepherd, blind teacher at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, Hampton, and Harry Vandevander, blind piano tuner. Kenneth Jernigan, First Vice President of the National Federation of the Blind and Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, discussed the various programs operated by the Commission, stressing, particularly the philosophy and functioning of the Iowa Orientation Center. J. Marshall Bradley, public relations director of the Virginia Commission for the Visually Handicapped, reported on progress and planning for the rehabilitation and adjustment center for the blind of Virginia. John Nagle gave a report on the Federation's national legislative program, and emphasized the importance of actively supporting the NFB-sponsored disability insurance for the blind bill, H.R. 3064, introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Cecil R. King, California.

Fifty-seven Federationists and their families and friends from the Tidewater area of Virginia were addressed by Kenneth Jernigan on the topic: "Why I Am a Federationist", at the convention banquet.

Officer and committee reports were read, considered, and adopted throughout the convention.

Resolutions directed toward discrimination elimination in insurance for blind persons and another directing organized efforts toward securing legislative enactment of the Model White Cane Law in Virginia were unanimously approved and adopted by the convention.

Robert McDonald, President of the Virginia Federation of the Blind, and James Copeland, organization state Treasurer, were selected as delegate and alternate to represent the VFB at the Los Angeles convention of the National Federation of the Blind.

The 1968 site of the Virginia convention will be determined by the Executive Committee of the Virginia organization of the blind.

The convention was held for the first time in an area of the state where there was no organized blind chapter.

This action was taken to interest the blind of the Tidewater section of Virginia, where Portsmouth is located, in the organized blind movement, in the hope of establishing VFB chapters in Portsmouth, Newport News, and Hampton.

During the course of the convention, meetings were held with local blind and sighted people, and by the time the convention adjournment hour had been reached, plans had been developed for leaders of the organized blind of Virginia to return to the Tidewater area for further discussion, and, hopefully, chapter organizational meetings.

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BLIND SHOP WORKERS DEMONSTRATE IN BRITAIN

by Tom Parker and J. Caven

The wages dispute. On Saturday the 29th April the London and Home Counties District Council held a special meeting to deal with the question of the wages dispute in the London Workshops for the blind. For many months the blind workers had been growing restless over the failure of the employers to pay them the fourteen shillings a week excess rate which had been paid to the manual workers of the Local Authorities as far back as July 1965. The blind workers, conscious of the fact that in the London area they had received the same rate of wages as the manual workers employed by the Local Authorities were satisfied that they were also entitled to this increase. This view must have been shared by the London Borough of Newham because they actually paid this increase to the blind workers employed in the former West Ham Municipal Workshop. It was paid for two weeks, then withdrawn. This therefore was the atmosphere at the special meeting of the District Council. On this occasion they were armed with the knowledge that the National Executive Committee of the League had given permission for the District Council to organise a one day strike in the London Workshops. After full consideration of the circumstances it was decided to spread this effort over three days as far as the token strikes were concerned, and then organise a march to the House of Commons on the fourth day. In the event, however, we had to change the plan slightly owing to circumstances beyond our control. The strikes and March were concentrated into three days. On Monday the 8th May the Kilburn, Crawford Street and Greenwich Workshops were called out in the afternoon by the Green-which and Paddington Branches carrying out the plan approved by the District Council. They presented letters of protest at their respective Town Halls, and in the case of the Kilburn workers the Mayor of the London Borough of Brent received the protest in person and undertook to bring it to the attention of his Council. On Tuesday the action was repeated by the workers at West Ham, Waterloo Road, Peckham, Tottenham Court Road and the Bedding Factory attached to that Workshop. In some instances the workers came out and demonstrated in the streets, in other instances they held a sit-in strike, remaining in the Workshop until long after the normal closing down time. On Wednesday, the 10th May we held the final event in this particular campaign. This was the march to the House of Commons.

Wednesday, the 10th May. This was the day the blind workers marched to the Commons to solicit the support of Members of Parliament. All the Workshops listed above were called out for the afternoon. They were asked to assemble outside the Waterloo Road Workshops so that we could move off at 2:30 p.m. This had all started as a London District Council effort, but day by day we were receiving news from the Provinces that other workers were coming in to join in this march. They came from Scotland, they came from Wales. They came from Northern Ireland. They came from all over England. This was a tremendous demonstration of the strength of feeling throughout the country on this issue. By the 6th March it had become quite obvious that the Employers were not prepared to pay the last increase of 11/10d a week which the manual workers of the Local Authorities had received. We therefore now have a gap of 25/10d a week in London and 11/10d a week in the rest of the Country between the wages paid to the blind workers and the wages paid to the manual workers of the Local Authorities to whose wage rates we have been linked for so long. And, what's worse, every body knows that the manual workers will be receiving a further increase of ten shillings a week in September.

The square mile ban. This is a regulation which prohibits any organised demonstration within a square mile of the House of Commons whilst the House is sitting. We therefore had to devise a way of getting our people to the House of Commons at the right time and, if possible, in one body. A route was therefore selected with this problem in mind. We marched to the Temple Underground Station where London Transport had arranged to provide an empty train so that our marchers could arrive at Westminster in one body. This part of the operation was carried out very smoothly indeed.

The reception at the Westminster Underground Station. When we alighted from the train we were greeted by some Labour Members of Parliament. They were John Ryan of Uxbridge, who had been particularly helpful in arranging for us to have a Committee room in the House in which we could meet some of the Members. There was Lena Jeger of Holborn and St. Pancras. Frank Aullaun of Salford East, Norman Atkinson of Tottenham and Jimmy Dickens of Lewisham West. These
Members escorted us round the square to the House of Commons. Everything came to a standstill whilst we were going round. The taxi drivers who were also demonstrating gave way to us. We're grateful to themfor this.

During the afternoon and evening our members were able to lobby many M.P.'s. Other Members of Parliament either came to the Grand Committee Room where we were assembled and talked to us, or sent their good wishes, I still recall the comment which Mrs. Freda Corbett M. P. made to me. She was always very active in the former London County Council. Her comment was very telling. She said, "I don't understand this, I thought we had settled it twenty years ago". We also thought this Mrs. Corbett, but the Employers apparently do not share our views.

Appreciation. We are Grateful to the London Trades Council, which the following day carried an emergency resolution deploring the unilateral action of the Employers in severing the link and pledging us their support; to their Secretary John Raeburn who walked with us to the House of Commons; to the London Transport Executive for their cooperation; to the Police generally for their help on all three days of demonstration; to the Press and the TV News; and above all to the Members of Parliament named above who assisted us in every way possible; to our own members for the wonderful way in which they co-operated with us in carrying through this operation. Everyone did the things they were asked to do.

A reminder to the Employers. The London blind workers still remember that in 1946 when the Middlesex County Council under its first Labour Administration decided to raise the minimum wage from £3/8s to £5/3s the then municipal wage, every Manager in the London Workshops for the Blind refused to operate the decision so that the County Council had to find an alternative way of ensuring that their blind workers would get a square deal on wages. They determined to send each of their blind workers a monthly cheque bringing the minimum received each week in the workshops up to the municipal rate. Eventually the Managers gave way, but they have always been opposed to the link with the manual workers. Our members still recall the years of bitter- ness in the workshops when every wage increase had to be the subject of haggling. They also recall the peace in the workshops on the wages issue which has existed for almost twenty years. This link took a quarter of a century to achieve. It was good to see on the 10th of May that the League could be stirred from its complacent lethargy which the success had induced. They all know that the link with the manual workers has been more than an umbrella. It has been a shield which has protected them from that grinding poverty which was so much a characteristic of their experience in the days before the Local Authorities took an interest in their well-being.

DEMAND FOR WAGES INCREASES

(Reprinted from the Glasgow Evening Times, June 14, 1967)

By James Caven

Watched by sun-soaking city workers, 300 blind men and women marched round George Square this afternoon protesting against the withholding of a wage increase.

The workers, some carrying banners demanding "justice for Scottish blind workers" arrived in a fleet of buses, and marched round the square before holding a protest meeting in North Frederick Street.

Marching with their blind colleagues were 20 foremen from the Royal Glasgow Workshop for the Blind. Other foremen who stayed behind to look after trainees stated they would not accept wages for staying.

The workers are protesting about being refused a pay award of 12s6d a week which has been paid to municipal workers. Normally workers employed in workshops for the blind in Scotland receive the same awards as municipal workers.

When the municipal workers receive another 10s in the autumn it means Scottish blind workers will be 22s6d per week worse off than the municipal men -- for the first time since the war.

The workers cheered as Mr. Hugh Wyper, secretary of Glasgow Trades Council, pledged support from unions in Glasgow if the workers' claim was not won.

As the meeting went on, a deputation visited the City Chambers to see the chairman of the West of Scotland joint committee for the administration of the Royal Glasgow Workshops for the Blind.

This committee is drawn from local authorities, and was meeting at the City Chambers today.

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BLINDED PILOT IS TALKED DOWN

(Reprinted from the New York Post, May 20, 1967)

Saigon (AP). Col. Richard Ayersman of Tempe, Ariz., had just pulled off the bomb run in his Al Skyraider when the high explosive shell exploded in his cockpit - driving plexiglass fragments into his left eye and face. Ayersman punched his microphone button and told everyone in the area, "I'm blinded."

Maj, William E. E. Roth of Aurora, Illinois, the forward air controller, said, "We heard him say he was hit and that he couldn't see. He was holding the plane steady and he was coming up (from his bomb run). We were close to Phu Bai and wanted to get him there right away."

The major burden of guiding the nearly blinded pilot to the marine airstrip fell to Ayersman's Vietnamese wingman.

He began to talk Col. Ayersman down, warning him that he was a little high, a little too far left, a little too low until at the last minute the blood stopped flowing in Ayersman's right eye and he hazily saw the runway and landed.

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BLINDNESS INSUPERABLE SAYS STANFORD

[Editor's Note: Frank Graff is a young blind person who completed his undergraduate work at Cornell University at the end of the 1966-67 academic year. While still a senior he applied for admission to do graduate work in history in a number of the country's best universities. One of these was Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Stanford rejected Graff's application. The grounds given are remarkable for the mannerliness and kindliness of spirit, for their candor and for their outright expression of discrimination based on blindness. Indeed we have here a classic case of such discrimination complete with all the benevolent motives and mistaken impressions which lie at its foundation. Accordingly, we are reprinting with only slight and irrelevant deletions the letter of rejection sent by Stanford to Frank Graff and certain correspondence which ensued between Stanford University and Professor tenBroek. While all of this has been going on, Frank Graff has been accepted to do graduate work in a history department of another university of equal standing. Rejection by graduate schools and departments of students on grounds of blindness is surprisingly common. Many instances have come to light over the years including a number in recent years. The discriminatory element, however, is usually hidden behind a form letter turning down the application.]

Stanford University
Stanford, California

Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate Division

February 28, 1967

Mr. Frank Warren Graff
514 Wyckoff Road
Ithaca, New York 14850

Dear Mr. Graff:

I am sorry to have to tell you that the Department of History has recommended that you be denied admission to Stanford University for graduate work. I think that I can best indicate the Department's reason by quoting directly from the note on the report. "Mr. Graff is a young man of superior courage, and quite possibly superior intellect as well. But blindness in a research historian is virtually an insuperable handicap."

The basic problem, of course, is that work on the graduate level involves scanning thousands of pages of material during research work, whereas that at the undergraduate level is more nearly confined to a reasonably manageable body of standard histories and monographs. Your experience as a student in undergraduate history courses is therefore not an accurate indication of the kind of problems that you will face as a graduate student.

I can assure you that the committee in the History Department took full account of your statement, including your explanation of how you intend to surmount your difficulties. I am very sorry indeed to disappoint you after what is undoubtedly a gallant achievement on your part, but those involved felt that in this case the kindest path was to prevent frustrations before they occurred, and I myself concur in their views.

Sincerely yours,

Virgil K. Whitaker

 

University of California
Department of Political Science
Berkeley, California

March 17, 1967

Professor Virgil K. Whitaker
Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate Division
Stanford University
Stanford, California

Dear Professor Whitaker:

I hope you will not regard it amiss of me to intrude myself into a matter which you may think none of my business.

A young blind person named Frank Graff of Ithaca, New York has been in touch with me about his rejection by the Stanford History Department as a graduate student. In your letter to him you are frank to tell him that the grounds of the rejection are his blindness.

Graff got in touch with me because though I am blind I have been in the academic world for thirty years. He has consulted me about the problems of a blind person seeking to enter and to make his way in that profession. I have advised him that there is no reason why he can't do the work, including work in history.

Working with the use of readers undoubtedly presents some problems not experienced by an academician working with the use of his own eyes. The point you particularly mention--the ability to scan--is in some cases a good one. Lots of my seeing friends in the profession, however, can't scan either and proceed very much at a pace that I achieve. Indeed, by necessity the plodder may do more careful work.

In terms of production, I have been able to hold my own with most of my colleagues, having authored or co-authored four books and roughly fifty articles in the journals. Most of these have been in constitutional law and legal history. Nor do I rely solely on my own experience. There are literally dozens of blind persons teaching and researching in the colleges and universities of this country. I am personally acquainted with a good number of them. Some of them are productive; others not so much so, as in the case of our seeing colleagues. Productivity and competence to do research and writing are not, I am firmly convinced, functions of visual acuity but of mental perceptiveness and habits of labor.

I know nothing about the extent to which Frank Graff possesses these latter qualities. Indeed, I would not only be content that you should apply your usual standards, but would insist that you do so. Exclusion on grounds of blindness alone, however, is by everything that I know about blind people and about myself altogether unwarranted--if you will permit me to say so.

I should be most happy to discuss this matter with you personally or, if you wish, to meet with a committee of your department. I urge you to reopen Graff's case and to decide it on its merits.

Cordially yours,

Jacobus tenBroek
Professor of Political Science

P.S. The sentiment expressed near the close of your letter, ". . .those involved felt that in this case the kindest path was to prevent frustrations before they occurred. ..." rings a bell out of my past. One of the professors in a department where I had applied to be a teaching assistant argued that the application should be turned down so as not to "stir hopes that could not be fulfilled. "

Stanford University
Stanford, California

Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate Division

March 21, 1967

Professor Jacobus tenBroek
Department of Political Science
University of California
Berkeley, California 94720

Dear Professor tenBroek:

I appreciate your thoughtful letter of March 17 about the application of Frank Graff to do graduate work in History at Stanford University. Since the decision was made by the Department of History, I am taking the liberty of forwarding your letter to that Department so that your testimony may be considered by the committee that made the original decision. Certainly you have written an eloquent letter.

Thank you again for your interest.

Sincerely yours,

Virgil K, Whitaker

cc: Professor David Potter

 

Stanford University
Stanford, California 94305
Department of History

March 30, 1967

Professor Virgil Whitaker
Dean, The Graduate Division

Dear Professor Whitaker:

Thank you for sending us Professor tenBroek's letter concerning our negative action on the application of Frank Graff.

This is a complex matter, rendered more complex by the fact that the record includes letters of recommendation by referees, written opinions on the application by each member of the Admissions Committee, a report by the Chairman of the Committee to you, and your letter to Mr. Graff. None of these were identical, and the reasons for the action of the committee were not exclusively because of Mr. Graff's handicap. For instance his most recent grades include more B's than A's, which is below the norm of the applicants whom we admit. We do believe, however, that an inability to glance through bodies of material is a substantial disadvantage to a man working in History and that it is more of a disadvantage in History than it would be in other academic fields.

In some ways Mr. tenBroek's own achievements, which we recognize and salute, are a proof of his own personal indomitability, and in no sense a reason for discounting the importance of the handicap.

In view of the full record, which as we observe, did not turn entirely upon this one point, we do not feel that we can reopen the case. Perhaps Mr. tenBroek might be informed that our decision was not made solely on the issue of Mr. Graff's handicap.

Sincerely yours,

Lyman P. VanSlyke
Director of Graduate Admissions
Department of History

 

University of California
Department of Political Science
Berkeley, California

April 4, 1967

Dean Virgil K. Whitaker
The Graduate Division
Stanford University
Stanford, California

Dear Dean Whitaker:

. . . I hope you do not mind my returning to the subject of Frank Graff. Professor Van Slyke's letter makes it clear that the case will not be reopened. I am less concerned about that, however, than about the principle involved.

Professor Van Slyke indicates that factors other than blindness were given weight in the negative decision. Certainly I approve of applying to Graff whatever academic tests are used for everybody else. Professor Van Slyke's letter, however, only slightly changes the basis of discussion. That blindness was used as a factor at all is the critical matter--not that it was the sole and exclusive ground of decision. The United States Supreme Court, for example, has said that race may not be invoked as an educational test at all, whatever the weight given to it in any individual case.

Professor Van Slyke argues that inability to scan bodies of material is a substantial disadvantage in history, and that it is more of a disadvantage in that field than in others. I concede the first point, but doubt the second. Vast bodies of material must be covered in all the social sciences. In law, the reading is particularly heavy. Even though one is not doing legal research, the practitioner, the professor and the judge all must keep abreast of the work of innumerable courts, and success in any given lawsuit may well depend upon research competence. Yet there are somewhere between one and two hundred blind persons practicing law in the United States - at least a dozen judges from trial courts to the Supreme Court and a handful or more teachers and scholars. So even though we should admit the disadvantage of inability to scan, it does not follow that this is such a disadvantage as should or does rule blind persons out of the research professions.

What is even more critical in my point of view than the fact that the department decision rests on preconceptions about blindness rather than on actual knowledge is the fact that a test is applied to Graff which is not applied to other applicants. The history department, I am sure, does not examine students in terms of their ability to scan before it admits them. To my certain knowledge there are lots of professors in the social sciences on the Berkeley campus who have a very poor ability to scan, and some of these are in our history department. The same surely must be true of graduate students here and elsewhere.

If in a meeting of a department in the social sciences or in history a faculty member should propose to establish a scanning test for all graduate student admissions, I think I would be opposed to it on general grounds. The question really isn't can a student scan; it is can he do the work, and this is dominantly a question of intellectual capacity. If he actually produces, who cares what his methods are. But in the absence of a department's adopting any such test to be applied to all students, there can be no justification whatsoever for applying it to particular students, and especially for selecting the students to whom it is to be applied on the basis of general misimpressions about the nature of blindness and its limitations.

I am flattered by Professor Van Slyke's characterization of me as personally indomitable. This is a mode of argument 'which has always plagued the task of opening employment opportunities for blind people. First, the prospective employer says that it may be possible for blind persons to work in somebody else's field, but not in mine. Then he explains away successful blind people in his field by pointing to their unusual qualities. As a matter of fact, as I have pointed out before, blind people have succeeded and do succeed as teachers and scholars in history, in other social sciences, in law and in many more fabulous fields. A blind person of my acquaintance, over the disbelief and resistance of the faculty, took a Ph. D. in chemistry and is now a research chemist. Another blind person of my acquaintance did the same in nuclear physics. The argument is always the same: it may be that they can succeed somewhere else. What is overlooked in using the argument about exceptional blind persons is the number of them there are and the variety of fields in which they have succeeded. But, in addition, if the successful blind are to be explained away in terms of their particular qualities, would it not make sense for the prospective employer to test for those qualities in the newly appearing blind persons? For example, does the Stanford history department have any reason to suppose that Frank Graff is not "personally indomitable"? First they require him to be able to scan; then they require him to be personally indomitable. If he cannot do one and is not the other, then he may not be a graduate student in history, even though other students are admitted who cannot scan and are not personally indomitable.

Truly the handicap of blindness lies not so much in the physical fact as in the misconceptions of sighted people about it and the exclusionary actions which they take on the basis of those misconceptions.

Yours sincerely.

Jacobus tenBroek

 

Stanford University
Stanford, California 94305
Graduate Division

April 6, 1967

Professor Jacobus tenBroek
Department of Political Science
University of California
Berkeley, California 94720

Dear Professor tenBroek:

Dean Whitaker left for his sabbatical quarter before your letter of April 4 arrived, so I have the task of answering it. And an unenviable task it is, for your arguments on the abilities of blind persons and the standards used to judge them are very powerful, indeed. The question, however, is how to apply your arguments to the case of Mr. Graff. Permit me to try, but let me say first that my views are entirely irrelevant to a decision in the case, since that is entirely in the province of the History Department, and they have made their decision, which I take to be irrevocable.

In any event, I have read Mr. Graff's papers carefully, and I must say that, on its face, his record is not good enough to qualify him for financial aid, and probably not for admission, in a highly competitive department. But the record cannot be taken at face value precisely because he is blind. How does one adjust a record to account for such a handicap? How does one weight the obviously great courage and fantastic organization and perseverence he has shown since he lost his sight?

My answer to these questions is the same as yours: they should not be counted in his case because they are not counted for others. In my view, the mistake made by the History Department was not in turning Mr. Graff down, but in giving him extra points because of his handicap. If in fact it is an error, I find it a perfectly human one, and I am not inclined to fault the department too seriously for it.

I suppose that all of this is not only irrelevant, as I said, but gratuitous as well. Basically, though, I agree with your position on principle and with the History Department in their action, though perhaps not with all of the reasons for their action. If I have left the matter in sufficient disarray, I shall bring my contribution to an end.

Sincerely,

Robert M. Rosenzweig
Acting Dean

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CAN BLIND PERSONS PROFESS? AN EDITORIAL

By Floyd W. Matson
Professor of American Studies
University of Hawaii

The foregoing correspondence between academic officials of one university and a single professor at another, regarding the capacities of a blind person for graduate research and the activities of a professor, has a familiar and doleful ring. Variations on the theme are known to all readers of the BRAILLE MONITOR.

Can a blind teacher, qualified as a teacher, really teach? Can a blind professor, qualified as a professor, actually profess? Can a blind juror judge (does he possess judgment)? Can a blind electrician, trained as such, electrify a house--or only shock its tenants?

The underlying question, common to all these interrogatives, is this: does a blind man have any ability? By and large, the presumption of society is that he does not -- that his disability drives out all ability, that blindness is not inconveniencing but incapacitating.

This time -honored presumption, to be sure, flies in the face of all the forms of evidence available: it contradicts the record of experience, defies logic, and ignores the findings of science both natural and social. But that does not matter; it never has mattered. The presumption of incompetence is more than a prejudgment: it is a prejudice (that is, a judgment held not only before the fact but after the evidence is in and despite it).

It is possible to argue with the prejudiced; indeed, it is possible to argue forever. But in the meantime, if change is the objective, the way to deal with a prejudice is to defeat it. More specifically, the tactic is to prohibit or prevent its expression in the form of discrimination.

Thus the exclusion of the blind from civil service employment has been overturned by the efforts of the organized blind. Today, whatever commissioners or clerks may choose to think in the privacy of their minds, they cannot permit blindness to be a test or a factor in the examinations and eligibility standards.

And thus, in a few public school systems (but only a few), blindness is regarded as an irrelevant condition on the part of teachers -- like race, color and creed.

When enough of such barriers are down, it is predictable that the underlying prejudices will utlimately go down with them. Perhaps the blind will always carry a heavy burden of proof; but that is not the worst part of it. What is worse is that, where the barriers are up, they are given no chance to show that they can support the burden --no opportunity to prove themselves.

Frank Graff, seeking to prove himself as a graduate student in history--find potentially as a professor of history--is to be given no chance to do so by the department chairman and the graduate dean. He has been tried, in absentia, and found guilty of being incompetent. He is guilty entirely by association; he is a member of an incompetent group known as the blind. The barrier is up on the campus and across it are written these words: "Blindness in a research historian is virtually an insuperable handicap."

Never mind that there are eminent research historians who are blind; they are obviously indomitable personalities who have overcome the insuperable handicap. Their exceptionality only proves the rule. Never mind that there are eminent research scholars in law, in politics, in physics, in philosophy, in education, even in library science; if these disciplines are not immediately at issue, then they are allowed to make no dent upon the barrier and upon the presumption. It is always the instant case, the particular profession or calling, which is peculiarly beyond the capabilities of the sightless.

"We have nothing against blind people, poor souls," say these Stanford deans and dons. "Let them go in freedom to study and teach elsewhere. But would you want your own department to marry one of them?"

It is still the case that there is none so blind as those that will not see. No doubt they cannot be compelled to see the truth, to face the facts, and to look at the record. But they can be opposed and exposed; their blue laws of segregation and exclusion can be replaced with constitutional laws of opportunity and equality. On the campus as in the capital, in the classroom as in the hiring hall, they can and will be overcome.

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IOWA LEGISLATIVE VICTORY

By Kenneth Jernigan

As I told you on the telephone, we have had a wonderful legislative year. We successfully resisted the attempt to reorganize our Iowa Commission for the Blind out of existence and lump it with a variety of other agencies under an expanded welfare department. We successfully resisted having our Commission and our School for the Blind placed under Civil Service. It would appear that the Commission will get every penny that it requested in appropriations. Through the efforts of the organized blind it would appear that we are going to get substantially more money for public assistance than the Governor recommended. We passed an amendment to our library legislation by a unanimous vote of the legislature.

As if all of this was not enough, we have just had complete victory in the passage of our Model White Cane Law and we did not lose a single section or paragraph of it. It was introduced in the Iowa Senate some two months ago by one of our leading Republican senators. The organized blind throughout the state did a magnificent job in creating a favorable atmosphere for its passage. We had some brief concern, and the bill was slightly delayed when questions were raised concerning the contributory negligence provisions. The blind redoubled their efforts, making personal contacts and sending letters and telegrams. I wrote a letter to the sponsor of the bill and had a lengthy conversation with him concerning the entire matter. On April 14 it passed the Senate by unanimous vote.

With the battle half won we turned our attention to the House. The bill was referred to the Health and Welfare Committee and the personal contacts and letters and telegrams were once again brought into play. The contributory negligence provisions were questioned for a second time, and there were some suggestions that we might consider amendments. We stuck to our guns, however; and the objections began to fade. Then we faced a series of delays of a different kind. The Health and Welfare Committee scheduled a meeting and one of the State Senators died two days before the meeting was to occur. So many representatives went to his funeral that a quorum could not be had. This meant a delay of another week. By now we were late enough in the session that a House Steering Committee had been appointed to handle and weed out all bills coming from other committees.

The contacts and the letters continued. Final action came with a burst of speed. The Health and Welfare Committee passed the bill unanimously on May 3. The Steering Committee passed it unanimously on May 10. The House gave it unanimous approval on May 11. The Governor signed it on May 22. Perhaps the greatest tribute to the organized blind of the state and the most significant factor in the passage of the bill can be seen in the remarks made by the sponsor at the time of the House vote. I had discussed strategy with him the night before, and we had decided that the best tactic would be a bold, brief approach. When the bill was called up for action, the sponsor rose and said: "This is a model bill recommended by the Iowa Association of the Blind and the Iowa Commission for the Blind. It passed the Senate unanimously, and is recommended unanimously by the Steering Committee. If there are no questions, I move that it be read for the last time and placed on its passage." There were no questions, and there were no negative votes.

What a wonderful victory for the blind of our state! What a wonderful promise for the future.

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UTAH CONVENTION

By Merlin Peterson

The annual convention of the Utah Association for the Blind was held May 20, 1967 in the Murray B. Allen Center for the Blind in Salt Lake City, Utah. The agenda included addresses by Mr. Jack M. Yeaman, acting supervisor. State Services for the Visually Handicapped; Mr. Don H. Edwards, principal, Utah School for the Blind, Ogden, Utah; Miss Cheryl Outsen, 1967 graduate of the University of Utah and Miss Leslie Hutchings, 1967 graduate of Bountiful High School. Newly revised Articles of Incorporation were read and adopted.

Mrs. Norma Spencer of Salt Lake City was elected as vice president and Mrs. Maxine Dixon, the incumbent, also of Salt Lake City, was retained as secretary. Treasurer Gladys Nichol and President Merlin J. Peterson will serve an additional year to complete their present terms. Included in resolutions adopted was one urging Congressional support of N.F.B. proposed legislation.

Representing the N. F. B. we were privileged to have Dr. Isabelle L. D. Grant of Los Angeles, California as our distinguished visitor and as featured speaker at the banquet. She recounted many interesting experiences concerning her three years' residence and travel in Pakistan and 42 other countries.

During her visit in Utah, Dr. Grant addressed the student body of the Utah School for the Blind, encouraging them to lead useful lives and to take advanta.ge of the educational opportunities that are given them. Through discussions with supervisors of schools of education in universities of this state. Dr. Grant encouraged employment opportunities for blind teachers in Utah's public schools.

We are grateful to Dr. Grant for her valuable help and to the N.F.B. for helping to make her visit possible.

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THE BURTON BILL AND THE NFB
Corbin-tenBroek Correspondence

Dear Dr. tenBroek:

I have just received the May issue of The Monitor. I am very disappointed after reading the article of the Burton Bill. I am sick deep down inside. I was hoping you would tell the readers where the bill is and to write to their representatives. The last I heard the bill was in the Ways and Means Committee, Wilbur Mills Chairman. You did not give this information to the readers.

When you started the NFB it was for the purpose of a national pension for the blind. I know much has happened since then. Many changes have taken place. I know you have had a long rough cold road. Now that the Burton Bill would give the blind a decent standard of living, I cannot understand why you have taken such a cold indifferent stand. There are thousands of us who never worked under Social Security. This bill would help us. I am not sure how many who have six quarters. I do know there are many who have a very low Social Security check who have to have public assistance. Your bill would not help people who have to have public assistance along with their six quarters. Why spend time and effort for piece meal legislation when there is such a great need for something like the Burton Bill?

I have mailed out close to one hundred copies of the Burton Bill, asking that the enclosed copy be sent to others asking them to support the bill. I know from the replies I have received that many will be disappointed when they learn that the NFB is so cold.

The welfare recipients here in Illinois are in one awful mess. Many of the organizations have broken up. No one is interested. The ones with jobs seem to know little and care less. All they talk about is raising money. Of course we know it takes money. No one knows that better than the recipient who has to get along on so little.

We believe the NFB has missed a great opportunity to organize here in Illinois. Had they come out strong for the Burton Bill we feel sure that many would have been willing to join. But now, some are giving me the laugh.

I know you know more about the condition of the blind than most others. I do not have to tell you. The six quarters of social security will mean little to people who are dependent on that small amount. We believe it is time for the leaders who have the interest of the blind and the leaders who have the interest of the aged, and the disabled to get together and really do something that would help the largest segment of these people. We all know that Social Security is a help. We also know that no one can exist on it if that is all they have. Thousands have to go on public assistance. That means their Social Security means nothing to them except they have to live according to public assistance.

Much of the time of the last convention was spent in talking about putting out the fires in foreign countries. I know the blind in foreign countries are having it rough. But I also know there are thousands of blind right here in our own country who are losing their homes and are existing on much less than a dollar a day for food. I know that there are many deaf blind who have almost nothing. These people will not be helped by your bill, but they would be given a decent living by the enactment of the Burton Bill.

Since the NFB has taken such a lukewarm, do nothing attitude against the Burton Bill, I can not see any need for an affiliate here in Illinois.

I do sincerely hope that the NFB will change its attitude and come out and push for this bill, of course, it is getting late. Congress is in the last days.

We had a little get together last night. We could not see any need for writing letters supporting the bill which you ask us to support.

You asked us to support a bill which would place us in a separate category. I know the blind have some needs that the others do not have. But I also know a person who is not able to work and does not have a decent living is as much in need as the blind person. I saw my mother fade and pass. I know she needed help as much as any blind person. Thank God I was able to give her what she needed. My heart aches for older people who have to depend on public aid.

Please put this letter in the Monitor. Lets have the opinions of others. I would like to hear from public assistance recipients as well as others.

Please excuse the mistakes. My machine is not working very well. Dr. tenBroek, I know there must be some reason other than we know that you have not come out in full support of the Burton Bill. Is it that you have been over ruled? Is it that you are not kept informed on this matter? I know you have been sick, and perhaps have not been going at the speed you did for many years.

Please forgive me if I sound bitter. But I am so disappointed. Please publish this letter.

Sincerely yours,

Miss C. L. Corbin

 

Dear Miss Corbin:

Your letter of May 29th has just arrived and I am replying to it immediately.

Naturally, I am most sorry that you are disappointed in the future of the Federation and distressed at the general course of events. You are most charitable in seeking to explain v/hat you regard as my attitudes on the basis of bad health, lack of information or being over ruled. I assure you, however, that I have not been over ruled and that my information is as up to date as ever. Moreover, though my health may prevent me from fighting as many hours a day as I used to, it has not in the least affected my judgment as to what I should fight for.

Your criticism of the Federation's position seems to me to be based upon an error as to what that position is and a mis-assessment of the prospects of the Burton Bill.

First, let me say to you that the Burton Bill is sponsored by Congressman Philip Burton. You may notice that he represents San Francisco. For many years he served in the California Legislature. At that time he was a most devoted friend of the blind and carried much of our legislation. Since he has been in Congress, he has continued his close alliance with us. Indeed we, among others, suggested the Burton Bill to him.

Consequently, you are entirely in error when you say that we are cool toward the Burton Bill. On the contrary, we are most enthusiastic about it. In fact, the NFB has sponsored legislation of this sort from the very beginning. You may remember the McNary and Angell bills of the 1940's. They provided for a national annuity to all blind persons. This is very much the pattern of the Burton Bill.

The reference to the McNary-Angell bills may provide the key to our present position. Those bills were not passed. It is perfectly obvious that the Burton Bill will not pass this Congress. It is equally obvious that it will not pass the next Congress, The Burton Bill falls in the category of a long-range aspiration. We feel that its introduction now will provide an opportunity gradually to build up support for it, not just among recipients, but among Congressmen and others.

It is a colossal mistake to reach for "pie in the sky" and, at the same time do nothing else to get something to eat. Our policy is to reach for "pie in the sky" with one hand and to grab for some meat on the table with the other. So what is the meat on the table? There is a whole series of bills that will bring about some improvement of the lot of the blind. One of those bills is our social security measure. We have a great chance to pass that measure during the present session of Congress. Having gotten it through the Senate twice by overwhelming majorities, it is obvious that it is attainable. True, it will not help all the blind; it will not help some of the most destitute, but it will help many blind and especially in the future, it will help aged blind.

We are not stopping with the social insurance bill as you apparently mistakenly believe. We also have a public assistance bill. That bill will increase the grant and will do away with many of the onerous restrictions of the public assistance programs such as responsibility of relatives, residence requirements, the tougher phases of the means test and so on. Here again, we have a good chance to get some improvements while at the same time, reaching for the "pie in the sky"--which is the Burton Bill. In fact, however, you will note that we have not yet put on a brisk campaign for our public assistance bills. The reason is that the time is not yet appropriate. When it is, our notices will go out to blind people all over the land.

In the field of maintenance of income, we are seeking to effect a pincers movement. On the one hand we are trying to get more and more blind people included in the social insurance. On the other hand, we are trying to improve public assistance so that it will have many of the desirable features of the social insurances. At some point these two lines of attack will meet and we will then have the Burton Bill.

May I add that the NFB has to be concerned with all of the problems of the blind. There are a good many of these in addition to public assistance and social insurance. For example, we are also sponsoring legislation to improve the lot of the sheltered shop workers. We are doing this by way of minimum wage legislation and collective bargaining proposals. We are also seeking to improve the vending stand program.

We will fight throughout the land to increase employment opportunities for qualified blind persons. Improvement of rehabilitation programs must be counted as one of our major aims. We also have been striving to secure the adoption in state and federal legislation of what may be broadly called the right to live in the world, including safeguarding rights to travel, to be in public places and to equal access to public accommodations.

Let me say that this letter is not intended in any way to suggest to you that you should slow up your efforts to secure the adoption of the Burton Bill, more power to you. Obviously, blind persons should put their efforts into what they think most concerns them. What I am saying is that we are adapting our activities and policies to gain the most that can be gained at any given time for as many blind people as possible. We do not want to go all out for a measure that cannot now be achieved and thus neglect the advantages that can be gained by brisk effort at the moment.

I always appreciate your letters. You say what you have on your mind and this is what we all should do. At the same time, you are charitable in your comments and this is what we should all be.

Cordially yours,

Jacobus tenBroek

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ROAD RULE FOR BLIND IS REVIVED

(Reprinted from The West Australian)

The reinstatement of the white stick regulation in the traffic code was announced by the president of the West Australian Institute for the Blind, Mr. P. C. Munro, in his report to the 72nd annual meeting.

Eastern States Organizations for the blind had expressed interest in the provision in the West Australian traffic regulations under which blind people with white sticks were protected when crossing roads, executive director R. T. Lowe said.

The provision had been deleted last year to bring W. A. into line with the uniform traffic code but was restored in September after Mr. Lowe had complained that 12,000 blind people would be denied a basic right.

The regulation said motorists must take every precaution when blind people with white sticks used the roads.

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ST. LOUIS LIGHTHOUSE STRIKE DRAGS ON

According to John Jegel, Organizer, District No. 9, IAMAW, the strike at the Lighthouse is continuing at a slow pace; that is, there has been no response on the part of management to meet with the Union.

Interest has been shown by several organizations for the blind in the St. Louis area, and they are now investigating conditions and giving their full support in whatever way they may be of any help publicity wise. Also, the other labor unions are requesting companies that they have under contract to refrain from sending work across the picket line in order to give us full support of our strike for Union representation.

The employees of the picket line are strong in their position and hopes are held high that we will be successful in our fight to bargain for them. . .

The plight of the blind workers in the St. Louis Lighthouse shop is told in letters written by the workers and published in the St. Louis Labor Tribune.

"Mr. Hennerich (the Lighthouse Director) broke up the safety committee that is needed so badly in a blind shop. If the Committee had been operating I would have never broke my nose trying to pass on a walk lane that was loaded with skids and floats. "

"Floats and skids are left standing around after use, blocking regular passageways. Boxes are thrown anywhere. . . as a result, I stepped into the open end of a box, not knowing it was in the aisle, slipped. . . and had to be off work two months."

"Everytime I would make pretty good on a job, they would either cut the price of the job or move me to another job."

"The piecework rate at that time was $6.50 per thousand. The girl who quit was averaging 3,000 a day. . . I soon built my speed up to 3,500 a day. . . my supervisor informed me that the piece rate had been cut down to $4 per thousand. . . I then held my speed between 3,500 and 3,800 a day so they wouldn't cut it again. Then Mary (Mary Havener, a floor supervisor) began saying that I wasn't fast enough and began putting a sighted woman on the same job with me."

"When you are on a job, you can only earn 75 cents an hour. When I am put on a job earning a little more, I am laid off."

"We stopped getting timecards. . . Mr. Hennerich said that we could keep our own records. But our records were never recognized by either the supervisor or the office. Oh yes, the time cards also had the number of hours worked per day on it. When vacation time came around and there was a mistake, it would be changed, but, Mr. Hennerich stopped time cards from being given to the workers."

"I worked there for three years and always received 2-1/2 days vacation when others that were signed had worked less time than me got longer vacations with pay than I did."

"We never know from one hour to the next when we will be finished and sent home for that day. This is an actual fact the year round. We are supposed to get vacation time but since the weeks are based on the time worked, we seldom total enough time to receive more than a few days instead of a week."

"You can never obtain these hours because they lay-off and it is hard to earn these hours. They will lay you off and tell you they will call you when you are needed. . . then they will get sighted persons. They will work us just enough to say that we are employed."

"I have been working at the Lighthouse since 1961 and have never gotten full vacation or holiday pay because I would be laid off purposely during these times. . . not because I wasn't doing my work properly, but because I wasn't liked by my supervisor."

"The piece work equipment is in poor repair most of the time. . . this slows you up when you are trying to work against time."

"The meters on the belt on the first floor that I work on need repairing very badly. When working on piecework jobs you're paid only for that number of products that have been registered on your meter. I've worked a half a day with a meter that I know was sticking but every time I reported it I was told that I was slow and the meters were alright."

Many of the letters complained of health hazards, (unsanitary conditions in the washrooms, lack of hot water until the Union began organizing), lack of ventilation ("on a hot day, the stagnant air and close quarters of people working together is beyond description"), poor, if any supervision and a lack of any form of training program.

As one interested party, who read of the blind worker's plight, wrote to District 9: "What opportunity can they (the blind) expect from private industry if they are treated so unfairly at the industry founded to give them jobs?"

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THE BLIND AND THE CIGARETTE PACKAGE GIMMICK

[Editor's Note: Under the heading of "The Locale Changes But Not The Scent" Bill Gold published the article reprinted below in The Washington Post , 30 March 1967. Tom Bickford, president of the Capitol Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind then wrote to Gold with some comments of his own. Tom's letter is appended]

About two weeks ago, a mimeographed appeal was circulated in a large local office. It told of a blind scholar from Ethiopia, an honor student at Howard University, whose eyesight could be restored by surgery. "Three major tobacco companies" who have banded together to donate funds for worthwhile purposes in exchange for empty cigarette packages would pay for the operation if enough empty packages were collected and turned in. "I know you would like to help this boy," the circular letter said. "Bring your empty cigarette packs to my office and I will see that he gets them."

The normal human reaction to an appeal of this kind is predictable. Of course everybody wants to help. That's what the cruel person who originated this story counted on.

But several District Liners in that office remembered this column's investigations of such rumors, and asked me to get to work on this one.

I got in touch with the man who had circulated the memo. He turned out to be intelligent and cooperative.

He had encountered the appeal in a highly respectable office on Capitol Hill and had done some checking on it. Assured that the project was on the level, he got behind it.

After I told him what I had learned from previous investigations, he suggested that we try to trace this one back to its origin, too. To that end, he worked for about two weeks, interviewing people who had "heard about it."

The result, as always, was a dead end in the chain of transmission. And a flat denial from the Tobacco Institute.

The institute is kept busy denying stories of this kind, partially because there are so many variations. Sometimes it's entire packages you're asked to save, sometimes just the red cellophane tapes. Sometimes you're going to help a blind person regain his sight, sometimes you're going to get him a Seeing Eye dog (a version denied regularly by the Seeing Eye Foundation in Morristown, N. J.).

Earle C, Clements, former Representative and Senator from Kentucky, is now president of the Tobacco Institute. He says:

"I know of no company in the tobacco industry which is party to such a scheme, and our associates deeply regret that well-intentioned persons have been misled by these rumors. It is needless to say that we have made every effort to run down the source of such stories, but to no avail."

 

Dear Mr. Gold:

On Thursday, March 30, one of our alert, sighted members spotted the report of your investigation of a rumor that by saving empty cigarette packs one could help pay for an operation to restore the sight of a blind Ethiopian honor student at Howard University. Having recently admitted to membership a blind Ethiopian student who happens to be enrolled at Howard University, we decided to conduct an investigation of our own.

We learned that our newest member is the only blind Ethiopian student at Howard University and in the United States. We also learned that there is no operation now known to medical science that could restore his sight.

Our Ethiopian member raised some searching questions of his own when he learned of how his plight had been used to perpetrate a public hoax. He wondered how "the man who circulated the memo" and the "highly respectable office on Capitol Hill" could become involved in the cigarette scheme without having first checked the story with either the tobacco companies or the only blind Ethiopian student at Howard University. He wondered why there are no laws to punish the instigators and the perpetrators of such schemes considering the serious menace both to individuals and to the public constituted by this sort of chicanery.

We hope that the public will become less susceptible to this kind of hoax through more articles like yours calling public attention to them.

Sincerely yours,

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WHITE CANE BANQUET IN THE D.C.

Kenneth Jernigan, First Vice President of the National Federation of the Blind and Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, was the featured speaker at a banquet sponsored by the Capital Chapter of the NFB, held May 18, in the Nation's Capital.

Climaxing the efforts of the organized blind of the District of Columbia to educate the general public about blindness and blind people during White Cane Week proclaimed by the Commissioners of the D.C., the White Cane Banquet was attended by sixty Federationists and their friends from the Washington-Virginia-Maryland area.

The White Cane Banquet might well have been described as "Iowa Night"--with Ken Jernigan leading the list of lowans in attendance -- Master of Ceremonies, James Omvig, an attorney with the National Labor Relations Board, is a graduate of the Iowa Orientation Center, and Jim's wife, Janice, was a typing teacher at the Center before her marriage; Tom Bickford, President of the D.C. affiliate of the NFB, was once a Vocational Rehabilitation counselor at the Iowa Commission for the Blind; Ramona Willoughby, an active member of the D.C. group, also a graduate of the Iowa Orientation Center, will graduate this June from Georgetown University, Washington, as a Russian language major.

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LIMITS ON 'UNREASONABLE SEARCH'

By Fred P. Graham

(Reprinted from The New York Times, June, 1967)

Washington - When the early Americans declared in the Fourth Amendment that private quarters should be secure from unreasonable searches, nobody thought it necessary to specify that the prohibited searches were those conducted by prying law officers.

Just a few years before, as British colonists, they had bitterly resented the wholesale ransacking of homes by British revenue agents under the authority of general search warrants known as "writs of assistance."

As James Otis put it, these warrants placed "the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer, " because they gave blanket authorization for revenue officials to search any suspected place at their discretion.

The intruding "petty officers" that inspired the Fourth Amendment were police in search of incriminating evidence, but there was nothing in the amendment itself that said prying officials on other missions were not also barred. It said:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated. . ."

Yet until last week, when the Supreme Court held in two related cases that property owners and occupants can refuse to admit health, fire and other inspectors onto their premises unless they have warrants, the Court had insisted that the amendment does not bar warrantless searches by administrative officials.

In last week's cases, the Court ruled out state prosecutions of a San Francisco man who refused to admit a health inspector to his apartment and a Seattle man who barred fire inspectors from his warehouse.

Both cities had typical ordinances that said inspectors could enter without warrants and that individuals could be punished for blocking their way. The Court declared these ordinances unconstitutional, saying the Fourth Amendment requires warrants, unless the individuals involved consent to the inspections.

When this issue reached the Court before, in 1959, it held in a 5-to-4 decision that the purpose of the Fourth Amendment's protection is to prevent the seizure from private quarters of evidence that could be used in court.

Since the usual inspection by a fire or health official is not intended to turn up evidence of a crime, the Fourth Amendment does not apply and no warrant is required, the Court said.

But since then, the efforts of officialdom to cope with the hazards of city congestion have multiplied the occasions for inspectors to check on sources of fire, disease, pests or pollution.

Most are done in an inoffensive manner, but until last week's Court decisions, the individual had no right to resist the growing parade of inspectors, and in most cases he could be put in jail if he tried.

Now he knows he can slam the door on the inspector unless he has a warrant signed by a judge, telling what the inspector is looking for and describing the place to be searched.

The catch is that the Supreme Court, conceding that inspectors must ultimately have access to private property, made warrants extremely easy for officials to obtain.

Details will have to be spelled out in the ordinances of each city, but the Supreme Court suggested procedures that would be acceptable:

An inspector will first go out without warrants into the areas to be checked, where, experience shows, at least 85 per cent of the people will voluntarily admit them.

If any persons refuse, the inspector can, in an emergency, insist on entering without a warrant, otherwise judges will be authorized by law to give the inspector a warrant to enter the premises, based on general allegations - such as that the premises have not been checked in a certain number of years, or that the buildings in the area are old, or that conditions in the neighborhood are bad.

When the inspector returns with his warrant, the property owner will have to let him in or face a fine or jail term.

It is the generous standards for granting warrants that drew the most intense fire from the critics. Justice Tom C. Clark said in his dissent to last week's decisions that they "prostitute" the Fourth Amendment's requirement that search warrants be issued only upon proof of "probable cause."

In criminal investigations, this means officers must supply facts to show that evidence of a crime will probably be found in the premises to be searched. Since the Court's newly-announced standards will permit inspectors to get search warrants almost by rote, Justice Clark branded the procedure "an exercise, a pretense."

On balance, however, the average man's privacy seems to have been bolstered by the rulings.

Inspectors, not wanting to bother with warrants, will accommodate citizens as much as possible in hopes of getting permission to make the inspections. Both parties at last know their rights.

In fact, the most important benefit may be the establishment of the principle that a man's home is his castle to the bureaucrat, as well as to the policeman.

The most welcome casualty of this principle is likely to be the notorious "midnight raids" staged by some welfare agencies. Up to now, courts have not interfered with the practice of some officials who barge into the homes of welfare recipients at all hours, in search of evidence that they are cheating on the welfare rules.

A court test grew out of an early-morning "raid" carried out in 1963 by 75 social workers from the Alameda County, California, Welfare Department.

They swooped down on the homes of 416 recipients of aid to needy children, looking for "welfare fraud" - unauthorized men living in homes of mothers receiving grants for dependent children. The bed-check resulted in aid being discontinued in 20 homes.

One social worker, a man named Benny Max Parrish, said the raids violated the constitutional rights of the welfare recipients. He refused to take part in the raid.

He was fired, and when he appealed, the California courts upheld his discharge on the ground that he had not been asked to violate the welfare clients' constitutional rights.

In light of last week's ruling, it would seem to be only a matter of time until the Supreme Court declares that the Fourth Amendment also protects people from intrusions by social workers, public housing officers and other public officials.

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600 STAGE BOYCOTT IN COLLEGE FOR DEAF

(Reprinted from The New York Times, May, 1967)

About 600 of the 900 students at Gallaudet College, the nation's only college for the deaf, boycotted classes in the middle of May to protest the administration of the school's health department.

In a petition to the college president. Dr. Leonard M. Elstad, the students demanded doctors and nurses able to communicate in sign language, a full-time physician, a better infirmary and more freedom to seek outside medical help.

The boycott apparently related only to general medical treatment and had nothing to do with ear and speech therapy given the students.

College officials said they would study the student demands. They noted that a committee of students and faculty members had been seeking ways to improve the college health department.

"We are willing to do all we can," George E. Detmold, the academic dean, said in an interview. "One of the problems is that the students feel they have not been treated as adults or with enough compassion. Another is that the students want action today, right now."

The health department staff consists of Dr. Richard Todd and four nurses. None can use sign language, and thus sick students must make known their ailments through written notes.

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SOCIAL SECURITY--APPLY! APPLY! APPLY!

By John Nagle

Mrs. A. became blind when she was 10 years old and has only light perception. During World War II, she worked in Social Security- covered employment for about 4 years. Mrs. A. was not eligible for disability insurance payments because she couldn't meet the 20 quarters work requirement in the federal Disability Insurance Program.

In 1965, Congress amended the Social Security-Disability Insurance Law. It provided that for workers disabled by blindness before age 31 the work requirement is one-half of the quarters elapsing after age 21 up to the point of disability with a minimum of 6 quarters.

Mrs. A. now is drawing disability benefits under this provision of the Social Security Act, even though she lost her sight at the age of 10!

Another case is that of Mrs. B. She became visually impaired in her mid-teens and is totally blind. A music teacher, Mrs. B has paid Social Security taxes for more than five years as a self-employed person. Although her net returns from giving piano lessons were very small each year, Mrs. B. never applied for disability payments, "because," she said, "since I was earning, I didn't think I would qualify. " However, Mrs. B. was persuaded to file an application for disability payments under the regular provisions of the Disability Insurance Program. Her application was approved, because, although she was earning, the net amount of income to her, after paying expenses, was far below the allowable amount under Social Security.

A most important lesson is illustrated by these two case histories!

If you are blind or severely visually impaired, and have ever worked for any length of time in Social Security-covered employment or are now so employed, file an application at your local Social Security office for disability insurance benefit payments!

Don't you decide that you aren't eligible!

Don't ask your milkman or mailman!

Don't ask me!

File an application and let the Social Security officials determine if you are eligible!

If the Social Security people decide against your claim for benefits write me about it, and send me any letters you receive from the Social Security office. If it appears that the decision in your case was wrong, we will advise you to ask for a further hearing, and the Federation will give you all help possible in efforts to reverse the decision.

Even though it will be extremely advantageous for many thousands of blind persons to secure enactment of our disability insurance for the blind bill (H.R. 3064-S. 1681), still, there are many blind persons not now drawing disability benefit payments under the law, as it presently exists, who could qualify for such benefits.

I urge you to apply!

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STATE AND NATIONAL LEADER OF BLIND OBSERVES 20TH ANNIVERSARY WITH COLONIAL LIFE

By Mildred Kirkland

(Reprinted from the Palmetto Auroran, May 1967)

Twenty years ago, on April 15, 1947, a tall, lanky lad of 18 years strolled into the office of the Executive Vice President of Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company to be interviewed for the position of Claims Examiner Trainee. Donald C. Capps was the last and youngest of 12 men interviewed for this position. After some discussion, Mr. J. Clifton Judy, who is still with the Company and second in rank only to the President, turned to Don and said, "I'm going to give you the job--not because you know more than the others I have interviewed, but because you are the youngest and greenest, and because of this I believe I can train you better than the others. I'll start you off at a salary of $135 per month, and you will get periodic raises, if you earn them." This was Don's first full time job, and he quickly grabbed the opportunity. After all, he had come up the hard way, and this looked like big money to him. After graduation from high school, he had borrowed the money from his uncle so that he could attend business college and now that he had earned his diploma in Business Administration, the opportunity with Colonial Life was seized upon. Don really started off at the bottom in the Claims Department with Colonial Life, learning every phase of the operation. He typed form letters and did other routine clerical jobs preliminary to Claims examination, and other more difficult assignments. By applying himself, acquiring as much knowledge as possible, Don has gradually climbed the ladder to where today he manages and is in charge of the entire claims department, being accountable only to the claims vice president. The scope of his duties have changed drastically over the two decade period. Twenty years ago when Don was hired, the only persons who worked in Claims were Mr. Judy and his secretary and one other girl. Today there are some 20 persons in the Claims Department, including six examiners, most of whom were personally trained by and report to Don. At that time Colonial Life's total assets were approximately one million dollars, whereas today the company's total assets are nearly twenty million dollars.

Five years ago, in making a 15 year Service Award presentation to Don, the president of Colonial Life, Mr. E. F. Avery, stated the following, "Don has done a superior and faithful job for the Company,--in spite of the vision handicap which he has overcome in remarkable fashion--and which he has never allowed to circumscribe his life, family and community activities, or efficiency in performance of his very responsible job. In fact, he has always been noted for his tremendous
volume output in number of claims handled (and handled correctly and with good judgment)."

Incidentally, Don will soon be receiving his 20-year Service Award at a special banquet, which will consist of a $500 cash gift. Since 1953 Don has functioned with Colonial Life as a blind person, as his congenital eye problem grew steadily worse. Don lives a very versatile life. Each day he works with sighted people in a sighted world. His responsibilities with Colonial Life leave him little or no time during the day to devote much attention to the problems of the blind, but nights and weekends are an entirely different story. As a result of his business training and standing with Colonial Life, Don has used this knowledge and overall ability in advocating and promoting sound programs for the blind of the State. It might be said that one position compliments the other. Congratulations to you, Don, and may you have many more years of gratifying service, not only to Colonial Life, but to the blind of this State and nation.

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CITY WILL EXPAND NEWSSTAND ITEMS

By Sidney H. Schanberg

(Reprinted from The New York Times, May 28, 1967)

In an effort to save the fast-disappearing sidewalk newsstands from further decline, the city has decided to let them sell items other than newspapers and magazines, such as paperback books, pennants, rain-hats and pretzels.

City License Commissioner Joel J. Tyler, disclosing the plan stressed that the new items would have to sell for under $1 and "not interfere and compete with existing businesses substantially." Tobacco products and candy, for example, would be ruled out, he said.

Mr. Tyler, lamenting the gradual disappearance of the sidewalk newsstands, noted that they had declined in number from 1,580 in 1940 to 736.

"They need help badly, " he said, "and if we don't help them, they may be forced to close up and go on relief."

Most of the stand owners are either blind persons or disabled veterans. Both receive preference, under city law, in applying for newsstand licences.

Mr. Tyler linked the decrease of sidewalk stands with the decline in the number of New York City's daily newspapers. In 1900, the city had 15 newspapers and as recently as 1930 there were a dozen. With the death of the New York World Journal Tribune early this month, only three were left--the New York Times, The New York Post and The Daily News.

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SURGERY TO RESTORE FEATURES TO 'THE FACELESS MAN' IS NEARING AN END

(Reprinted from The New York Times, May 21, 1967)

He was known as "the man without a face" in the streets of Cali in Colombia. He had neither eyes, ears, nose nor mouth.

Next Tuesday the 33-year-old man is scheduled to have his third series of plastic surgery operations in two months. When he leaves the hospital early next month he will have a face.

These highly unusual and intensive operations were performed through the cooperation of Red Cross agencies in Bogota, Washington and New York; St. Luke's Hospital, where surgeons here donated their services, and KLM, the Dutch airline.

In May, 1958, Pedro Gaultero was blinded and badly burned when battery acid from a truck he was driving splashed in his face during an accident. Except for burns on his arms, he had no injuries below his neck, but the burns left a facelessness that brought shudders to those who saw him.

The acid destroyed both eyes, but it left the tear ducts intact and exposed to the air. For nine years, until the operations here, he cried without stopping.

He spent six months in a Colombian hospital, but no reconstructive work was done. The trucking company that had employed him paid those expenses.

Without a job, Mr. Gaultero returned to his mother's five-acre farm on a rocky hillside outside the provincial capital of Ibague. His father had died when the boy was six years old. His one sister, older and married, and his sweetheart both refused to see him after the accident.

Few neighbors visited the Gaultero farm and after a year, destitute, he and his mother moved to Cali, 180 miles away. For seven years Mr. Gaultero begged there on the wide, tree-lined streets.

"People must have seen me," said Mr. Gaultero last week, his long fingers feeling his new nose, the result of the first two series of operations, "but no one ever spoke to me. They were frightened."

The man who headed the medical effort was Dr. Richard Stark, chief of plastic surgery at St. Luke's Hospital here. "By June, when all this is over," he said, "he'll have 75 per cent of a normal face, but he will still be blind. I don't think he'll look the way he did before, but it's still a face. He'll be entirely presentable."

Dr. Myron Wright, president of St. Luke's medical board, said that what had been done in two months for the Colombian would ordinarily take years. "The intensity of these operations is revolutionary," he said.

In the first day's surgery, for example. Dr. Stark and three other plastic surgeons performed three separate operations simultaneously.

They accomplished in six hours what usually would be stretched over at least nine months' time.

Dr. Stark, who is 52 years old, is president of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He intends to present a paper on the case before a symposium on "Facial Traumas, " to be held in Washington in December.

"By avoiding the whole three-to-four year procedure, you have a chance to save the soul of a man," Dr. Stark declared.

"I just want to work and take care of myself," said Mr. Gaulters in Spanish. He took off the sunglasses that concealed the. still unrepaired area where he has no eyes, but only open tissues. Artificial eyes will be installed during the May Z3 operation. "I don't care that I am blind. I never want to beg again. Maybe I'll be a typist, or work with the blind, or on machines."

Dr. Stark said that such "total" face damage as Mr. Gaultero's was very unusual because "most people don't live through the kind of accident which would produce so much destruction."

The story of how a South American beggar came to St. Luke's Hospital in New York began March 18, 1966, when a Colombian newspaper printed an article about "The Man Without a Face."

Public interest was aroused. The president of the Colombian Red Cross got in touch with the American Red Cross in Washington, which in turn reached Dr. Stark, who immediately offered to help. St. Luke's Hospital said it would underwrite the hospitalization and KLM flew Mr. Gaultero here without charge.

Almost 500 persons, mostly employees of St. Luke's, have contributed money. By last week $4,330 had come to the hospital.

Asked what he had hoped for from his surgery in New York, Mr. Gaultero replied: "I did not ever think anything could be done. There was only one thing I wanted very much. I wanted to stop crying."

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IOWA CONVENTION

"It was the best. . . the biggest. . . the busiest convention!" These were the descriptive words heard often during the 3-day meeting of the Iowa Association of the Blind, held in Vinton at the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, June 2-4. More than 225 conventioneers were registered--the largest number ever! Sixty-nine new members joined the Iowa Association.

"Honored and distinguished" were the guests at the banquet which climaxed and gave a final triumph to the Iowa gathering. Secretary of State Melvin D. Synhorst was given the Altig Award for his many and major assists to promote the welfare and improve the opportunities of the blind of Iowa. State Senator David Stanley was presented with a special service award for his sponsorship of the Model White Cane Law in the Iowa Legislature, and for his successful efforts in persuading both houses of the Legislature to approve the measure without a dissenting vote in either body and without a change in the Federation's proposed bill. Half a dozen Iowa businessmen who were present at the banquet were recognized and commended for their fair and sensible employment policies. Each had hired at least one, and some several, blind persons.

"A New Method To Solve Old Problems" was the title of the address delivered at the convention banquet by John Nagle, the NFB Washington office chief. During the business and program sessions of the convention, resolutions and organizational reports were presented, considered, and adopted. A new state constitution was carefully examined section by section, and approved. Elwyn Hemken talked about state legislative accomplishments and failures during the prior year. Iowa's new Model White Cane Law was read and explained. John Nagle discussed the Federation's proposals now pending and to be introduced in the 90th Congress. Robert Hansen, Superintendent of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, recounted activities at the school since the last Iowa convention. A report on the Iowa Commission for the Blind was given by Director Kenneth Jernigan, joined by John Taylor who dis- cussed the vocational rehabilitation and vending stands programs, Manuel Urena who discussed the Orientation Center, and Mrs. Florence Grannis who discussed the Library.

The convention was informed that an application for a credit union charter had been rejected. The members of the Iowa Association voted unanimously in support of a resolution which directed the officers to learn whether the rejection was discrimination-based, and if so, to commence a legal action against the state officials responsible.

Janet Omvig reported that nearly $2,700 had been netted from the statewide White Cane candy sale and, in accord with established practice half would be retained by the Iowa Association, and half would be contributed to the National Federation of the Blind.

Committee reports were given on the educational problems of blind children in Iowa, on insurance discrimination, and on a survey of employment of blind teachers in Iowa, which had been conducted by the University Association.

Neil Butler, President of the Iowa Association was selected as organization delegate to the NFB-Los Angeles convention, and Ray Halverson as alternate delegate. Not only did the convention vote to pay the actual expenses incurred by Butler and Halverson; it also authorized ten fifty-dollar grants to assist blind members of the Iowa organized blind movement who can almost, but not quite, afford to go to Los Angeles.

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TIGHTENING OF DRIVER LICENSES UNDER STUDY

(Reprinted from the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, April 12, 1967)

Washington, April 12 (UPI). The next three drivers you pass on the highway could be: (1) Legally blind (2) Illiterate (3) 13 years old.

This information was turned up in a survey of state requirements for driver's licenses conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads recently.

The survey showed that 25 states want to know a driver's race, but only 16 require an eye test when a license is renewed.

Two states, Montana and North Dakota, issue restricted licenses to 13-year-olds. A total of 15 states permit 14-year-olds to drive, and one, Hawaii, issues a license for an indefinite time.

Lowell K. Birdwell, acting Undersecretary of Commerce for Transportation, said that it was a safe assumption that some of the drivers in states that do not require eye tests have vision "deteriorated to the point where they are menaces on the highway."

The report said that 19 states issue licenses to drivers who cannot read or write English. It added this comment to that finding:

"While some road signs have a distinctive shape or color, others do not, and one cannot help wondering what mysteries road signs and warnings must hold for such drivers."

Under the highway safety program, the Federal Government and the states are developing standards for licensing, along with mandatory auto inspections, driver education programs, and uniform traffic codes.

The programs must be in operation by Dec. 31, 1968, or the states could be penalized by 10 percent of their Federal highway funds.

A total of 41 states issue junior or other types of restricted licenses. The restrictions range all the way from economic hardship, to use between home and school only, and a diploma from a driver education course.

Even the cost of the license is far from uniform. In Ohio, it costs $1, the lowest fee, and in Rhode Island, the high-priced state, the cost is $8 for a two-year permit.

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MOBILITY BRAILLE MAPS

(HEW Release)

Maps in braille will be tested by blind students during a two-year research project recently awarded by the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, to the University of Maryland, College Park, Md. The award was $16,741 for the first year grant.

"Sighted men and women need maps as guides to turnpikes and highways," said VRA Commissioner Mary E. Switzer. "But the blind need mobility-maps to guide their walks on streets, within buildings, and to other areas of work, worship and pleasure."

Maps made from three different production processes will be tested for clarity and ease of reading. The men and women selected to evaluate the maps are from the Maryland School for the Blind, Baltimore, Md., the Overbrook School, Philadelphia, Pa., Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, and the Maryland Workshop for the Blind, Baltimore, Md.

The mobility maps to be tested were developed during a pilot project sponsored by VRA last year at the University of Maryland.

"It has been estimated that 90 percent of the 400, 000 blind people in the United States are essentially immobile," said Miss Switzer. "That alone tells us how isolating blindness can be. These maps will do much to help the blind toward independence."

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NEW ERA SEEN AHEAD FOR MOST SIGHTLESS

By Bob Considine

(Syndicated column released late in May, reprinted in Congressional Record June, 1967. )

New York - Kenneth Jernigan, director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, directs his crusade in the eternal night of his sightlessness. But his vision of a new day for the blind is strictly 20-20.

"The blind have a serious complication; nobody hates us," the educator said. "We are discriminated against, like the Negroes and other minority groups. We can't go here, we can't go there. Jobs we could handle are not available to us. But it is difficult to rebel, to stand up for our rights as citizens and human beings because we are so loved. And pitied.

"Aside from cancer, blindness is the trouble people fear the most. But at Des Moines we teach the newly blinded what we feel is a new outlook on sightlessness. We think of it as a characteristic, one of perhaps 500 each human being has. Each characteristic, in a sense, is a limitation, but it does not destroy the whole man. Nor should he permit it to destroy him.

"For example, I can never own a car driver's license. Is that sad? It might be for you, but not for me. I don't want to drive a car. Years ago I thought it might be nice to be a jockey. But I was cut off from pursuing that kind of life not by blindness alone, but by another characteristic: I weigh too much.

"I would not have hired Albert Einstein to teach at our place in Des Moines. He had two characteristics which would have made him a poor member of the faculty: He was too intellectual for us, and was easily bored.

"The Negro has reacted strongly to the discrimination against him. Some of the reaction to the hostility against him has resulted in his going in for riotous disorders - which have only short-term value. Progress lies beyond that, one hopes. But hostility is a sign of progress, Every ethnic group that progressed in this country went through a period of hostility - the Irish, Italians, Germans, Scandinavians, Jews, They rebelled against that hostility and won equality. The blind tend to be smothered in kindness."

Sometimes sympathy can rile a blind person. Jernigan said:

"We get a lot of people who mean well, God bless them, and when they are attracted by something we say or do they in turn will say in a most surprised way, 'I'd hardly know you were blind.'

"We've got to be kind to good souls with sight, too," the good man said. "Not long ago at the end of an especially long and hard day at the office I was tapping my way home and came to a particularly busy intersection. I knew it well. As I started to cross it I felt a hand on my hand. It was the hand and voice of an old man. I felt he might be 80. He said he would help me across the street. I pulled away from him stepped out ahead of him, and made my own way. And then when I reached the curb I examined my conscience and found myself grievously at fault. I wish I could find him to apologize to him.

"There are so many little things that can get under your skin, if you let them. A hotel clerk permitted me to check into his place on a business trip not long ago - sometimes they won't take me, of course. I was taken to my room by a bell-hop who gave me the layout of the place: Bed, table, bathroom, so forth. I extended my hand with a tip and he refused to take it. He said an odd thing. He said, 'I'm a gentleman. I wouldn't think of taking a tip from a blind man.'

"And my Lions Club. God knows the Lions have done more for the blind than almost any other organization. But last Christmas it didn't ask me to join the volunteers who rang bells beside the Salvation Army collection pots. As if a blind man couldn't ring a bell just as well. . ."

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TAPE RECORDERS FROM SCIENCE FOR THE BLIND

In the Spring of 1966 Science for the Blind, Haverford, Pennsylvania 19041, began handling the Lafayette RK 142 Tape Recorder now available for $70 including shipping. This machine seemed to us to be one of the best machines available in its price range and our experience over the past year has indicated that our impressions were correct. We have had a number of the machines in the field with a very small percentage of complaints.

The 142 is available from Lafayette Radio Electronics direct for $59.95 PLUS shipping. However, we do not recommend purchase of the machine direct from Lafayette unless someone is available to trouble shoot the machine when it arrives. Our experience has indicated that a large percentage (more than 25%) of the machines shipped by Lafayette are not in good working order when they reach their destination. It is our practice, therefore, to unpack each machine, run it for a period of time and make the necessary adjustments to be sure that it is in good working condition before it leaves our hands.

In addition to checking each machine before it leaves us, we have also placed a one year guarantee on the 142, since we have found that occasionally a problem does develop in the field after prolonged use. If anything goes wrong with the 142 within the guarantee period, we will repair or replace it at no cost to the purchaser. The guarantee excludes, of course, damage from maltreatment of the machine. It also excludes normal wear of the heads and routine cleaning.

SPECIFICATIONS: Lafayette RK-142

POWER SOURCE: 110-120 Volts 60 Cycles AC

POWER CONSUMPTION: 85 V. A.

TAPE REEL SIZE: Up to and including 7"
TAPE SPEED: 7-1/2 and 3-3/4 ips, speed changed by select knobs
PLAYING TIME: 2 hours at 3-3/4 ips on 7" reel of 1/2 mil tape, one track
TRACK SYSTEM: 1/2 track monaural record and playback
PAUSE LEVER: Provides silent stop and start
REMOVABLE LID
POWER OUTPUT: 2 Watts
FREQUENCY BAND: 70-12, 000 cycles at 7-1/2 ips 70- 8,000 cycles at 3-3/4 ips
ERASE: 60 KC
S/N RATIO: -42 db or better at 7-1/2 ips
WOW-FLUTTER: 0.2% at 7-1/2; 0. 3% at 3 -3/4 ips
REWIND TIME AND FAST TAKE-UP TIME: 3 minutes for 2400 ft. tape
SPEAKER: 4" x 6" oval
WEIGHT: 18 lbs.
SIZE: 6-7/8" x 10-5/8" x 14-3/8"
ACCESSORIES INCLUDED: Microphone, 50 K Shielded connecting cable with clip leads Instruction Manual 7" take-up reel

With volume control at maximum, recording on tape can be located, with practice, in rewind or fast forward mode.

WRITTEN AUTHORIZATION SHOULD BE OBTAINED FOR RETURN OF A MACHINE UNDER WARRANTY.

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VIRUS THAT CAUSES BLINDNESS IS KILLED BY COLD

By Arthur J. Snider

(Reprinted from the New York Post, May 25, 1967)

Chicago, (CDN) - The virus doesn't mind a hotfoot but it can't stand frostbite.

Cures of a blinding eye disease caused by a virus are being achieved by touching a cold applicator to the cornea, the Illinois State Medical Society was told.

The eye disease, known as harpes virus keratitis, is a corneal scarring due to an eye infection by the same virus responsible for the common cold sore, herpes simplex.

In recent years, a drug known as IDU specifically destroyed the herpes simplex virus. The medical world acclaimed the first known drug capable of killing a virus.

But of late it has become apparent that only about 60 percent of these eye infections can be cured by IDU. Now the cold probe is picking up some of these unsuccessful cases and for the first time a virus is being killed by a mechanical treatment.

Describing the treatment to physicians, Dr. John G. Bellows, professor of opthalmology at Northwestern University, said it is likely that the cold not only destroys the virus in the corneal tissue cells but causes an antiviral substance to be released from these cells.

The substance is interferon, a natural virus-fighting agent that is produced by cells when an individual is afflicted with a virus infection, such as a cold or flu. Interferon limits the infection by inhibiting viral multiplication. An effort is being made in several laboratories to find ways of producing and bottling interferon.

In causing the corneal cells to release more inteferon than normally, the cold probe brings a halt to the eye infection. Eventually, the healthy surrounding cells migrate and spread into the destroyed areas of the cornea, Bellows said. No scars are left.

It's a simple office procedure done under local anesthetic. The cold tip is applied three times in rapid succession for seven seconds each time. The tip must be thawed by a stream of salt solution in order to separate it from the cornea. No bandaging is required. The cornea regains its normal luster in four days.

Use of cryotherapy in virus infections is the latest application of a promising new tool. Previously it has been used to remove cataracts, to seal holes in the eye retina and to destroy eye tumors.

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SPECIAL PARKING PRIVILEGES

(Reprinted from Performance, April 1967)

"HP" is a special insignia now appearing en some Pennsylvania license tags under the 1965 amendments to the Motor Vehicle Code of Pennsylvania. The "HP" plate is issued to any car owner, or co-owner qualifying as handicapped. The special statutory definition of a handicapped individual is one who has lost the use of one or both legs or arms or a combination thereof; persons who are blind also fall within its limits. There is no additional license fee.

This special plate allows a handicapped person to park for 90 minutes in excess of the legally permitted time without penalty. The regulation applies to any legal parking area except one in which it is prohibited by local ordinances regarding fire lanes, rush-hour traffic, or road hazards. Legal penalties are prescribed for any individual who falsely represents himself as a handicapped person or violates any pro- vision of the law.

Eleven other States provide special handicapped identification plates and overtime parking privileges. The Pennsylvania plates were first issued in April 1966 with some 1,400 "HP" plates distributed throughout the State during the first 4 months.

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MONITOR MINIATURES

State conventions are planned as follows;

Montana Association of the Blind
Billings, July 14-15

Washington State Association of the Blind
Winthrop Hotel, Tacoma, August 3-5

West Virginia Federation
Daniel Boone Hotel, Charleston, August 19-20

Empire State Association of the Blind
Governor Clinton Hotel, New York City, September 1-4

Kentucky Federation of the Blind
Kentucky Hotel, Louisville, September 15-16

Associated Blind of Massachusetts
New Bedford, September 30-Oct. 1

Michigan Council of the Blind
September 30 - Oct. 1

Indiana Council of the Blind
Claypool Hotel, Indianapolis, October 6-8

Ohio Council of the Blind
Southern Hotel, Columbus, October 13-15

State Council of New Jersey Organizations of the Blind
Empress Motel, Asbury Park, October 28-29

Maryland Council of the Blind
Downtown Holiday Inn, Baltimore, October 7

North Dakota Association of the Blind
October 14-16

 

Los Angeles, Cal. AP - Although deaf and blind, Mrs. Mary Lou Stockstill has established a link with the outside world through her hobby as a radio "ham."

Only sounds of 1000 cycles penetrate her deafness, but she can hear signals from her high-toned radio receiver when the volume is increased beyond a normal setting. She replies with telegraph signals, using Morse code.

A graduate of Indiana University, the mother of two is studying more technical aspects of radio, which she must master before she can receive a general amateur license, a step up from the amateur radio certificate she now holds.

 

"Tidewater Federation of the Blind" was the name selected for the new chapter of the Virginia Federation of the Blind.

Leon Weatherly, President, Rena Fay Dowdy, Vice President, Earl Groome, Treasurer, and Peggy Kravitz, Secretary, were the officers elected by the charter members at the chapter organizing meeting.

The newest unit of the organized blind movement in the Old Dominion State came into being--with Robert and Marion McDonald and Ginny and John Nagle present.

VFB President McDonald gave them a fifty-dollar check from the VFB as the first deposit to be made in the newly-formed organization's treasury.

 

John J. McMorrow, 87 years old passed away on June 3 at his home in Brockton, Mass. McMorrow lost his sight in an accident at the age of 55. He was president of the Associated Blind of greater Brockton for five years, and was treasurer of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts for eleven years, 1954 to 1965.

 

Mrs. Christine L. Proulx of 782 Summer Street, Manchester, New Hampshire, 03103, a member of the Merrimack Valley Chapter of the New Hampshire Federation of the Blind, has published a volume of inspirational poems entitled "Spreading Sunshine".

 

Friends, colleagues, and dignitaries from all over the world attended a testimonial dinner on June 1 in honor of Dr. Peter J. Salmon celebrating his 50 years of "uninterrupted and distinguished service" with The Industrial Home for the Blind.

 

Dear Mr. Jacobus tenBroek:

This letter is in reference to an article April 1967, Braille Monitor, page 226, in which you quoted the Miami Herald as saying: "Fred Wilson, business math teacher, at Coral Gables High School in Coral Gables, Florida is the only blind person teaching sighted students in the state."

I have been teaching fifth grade at J. Allen Axson School since the fall of 1961. I am totally blind and teach all sighted children in a self-contained classroom. I was the first totally blind person to be issued a teaching certificate for regular classroom teaching in the elementary schools of the state of Florida. . . Thank you.

Sincerely,

Mrs. E. N. Mauldin
Florida

 

Sidney B. Cohen, Executive Secretary of the AAWB passed away after yet another heart attack on Thursday, April 27, 1967.

 

The newly formed organization. Blind Merchants of New Jersey, will hold its next meeting on Sunday, August 20, 1967 at Camp Happiness, Leonardo, N. J. at 1 P.M.

The purpose of this organization is to improve financial and other benefits for blind vending stand operators.

A cordial invitation is extended to all blind vending stand operators in New Jersey and other interested persons to attend.

 

An estimated 4 million persons in the United States have some hearing loss in both ears, according to statistics just released by the Public Health Service's National Center for Health Statistics. An additional 2.5 million persons (13.5 persons per 1,000 population) are estimated to have loss of hearing in one ear,

 

Mr. Hubert Smith, Chairman, Ways and Means for the Blind, Inc. Augusta, Georgia, has again indicated his approval and support of our overseas program for the blind by sending to Dr. Grant, three hundred plastic frames and styluses. From her extensive correspondence and knowledge of schools, associations of the blind, and blind individuals in need of such educational materials, Dr. Grant has selected fifteen spots to which this most worthwhile and thoughtful donation will be sent.

The places include Indonesia, India, Assam, Pakistan, Morocco, Zambia, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Ceylon. There is a constant stream of requests for books, paper, frames, styluses, braillers, braille watches from these and more places. We thank Mr. Smith for his consideration of our project.

 

A joint program to help the disabled establish their own business enterprises was announced today by Miss Mary E. Switzer, Commissioner of the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration and by Bernard L. Boutin, Administrator of the Small Business Administration.

Among other programs, the Small Business Administration administers loans under Title IV of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which authorizes the making or guaranteeing of loans to help in setting up or strengthening small businesses. Mr. Boutin said he expected the SBA-VRA effort to stimulate the handicapped to make greater use of their loan programs.

 

Montreal - Handicapped vacationists planning to attend Expo 67 will find that their needs have not been forgotten. Special ramps, entrances, restroom facilities, elevators and transportation have been reserved for wheelchair tourists.

Also available is "Your Pocket Counsellor to Expo 67," a booklet designed to aid disabled and aged visitors. It can be obtained free of charge from Special Services for the Handicapped, Room 331-C, Place d'Accueil, Montreal.

A special Braille booklet for blind visitors will be available shortly from Special Services for the Handicapped.

Also available is a booklet describing hotel, restaurant and other facilities in Montreal suitable for handicapped visitors. It can be obtained by writing to the Junior League of Montreal, Room 1270, Ritz Carlton Hotel, Sherbrooke Street, Montreal 25.

 

From Jean Norris, Director, Twin Vision Publications, American Brotherhood: To make an interesting but long story short, I received an emergency call to be technical advisor for one of the shows on the new television series "The Invaders". The star, a sighted actress (Shirley Knight) is playing the part of a girl who has been blind for three years. They wanted to make sure she would act like a blind person. They had not been able to locate the collapsible cane called for in the script, and had made a telescoping cane from the leg of a tri-pod. The handle is a large, jeweled, plastic knob. I did the best I could, but what an impractical cane for a blind person. She caught on real quick on how to walk with the cane, find things and where to put it when she sat down.

 

A new system of Federal grants for the training of seriously handicapped people was launched by the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

Under the new program, disabled people entered into training in approved projects in workshops and rehabilitation centers will receive a weekly payment while in training. This is the first time such an intraining allowance has been available for the preparation of handicapped people and follows the pattern of other Federally-assisted training programs.

The first grants, totalling $1,041,000 for six workshops, were approved by Mary E. Switzer, Commissioner of Vocational Rehabilitation. Grants were made to the Rehabilitation Facility of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C. ($93,024); Goodwill Industries, Springfield, Mass. ($152,928); Federation of the Handicapped, New York, N. Y. ($216, 076); Opportunity Center, Inc., Wilmington, Del. ($148,877); League for the Handicapped, Detroit, Mich. ($258,425); and Goodwill Industries, Winston-Salem, N. C. ($171,670).

Handicapped trainees will receive a training allowance based on a maximum of $25 per week plus additional amounts for dependents, up to $65 per week. Lesser amounts may be paid to those in training who reach a point where they are able to produce some materials for sale, and thus receive wages in relation to productivity.

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JERNIGAN RECEIVES CAMPBELL AWARD

By William L. Eberline
Associated Press Writer

Des Moines (AP) -- The blind of Iowa, who only seven years ago had to turn to Illinois for library services, now are served by the biggest library for the blind in the world.

This rags-to-riches success story was recognized Tuesday with presentation of an award to Kenneth Jernigan, director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, at the annual conference of the American Library Association in San Francisco.

The award is the Francis Joseph Campbell Citation given annually by the Round Table on Library Service to the Blind. It is named for Sir Francis Joseph Campbell of England, a leader in the 19th century in promoting the use of Braille writing by sightless persons.

The presentation to Jernigan was made by Howard Haycraft of New York, author and board chairman of H. W. Wilson Co., a publishing firm, who received the medal last year.

Jernigan was cited for "his imaginative and constructive leadership" in establishing the Iowa library.

The citation said the library "offers to blind residents of Iowa a library service which compares favorably with that of the sighted, and may serve as an exemplar among those who serve the reading needs of blind persons throughout the country."

Jernigan told the Associated Press in an interview that establishing the library as an integral part of a total rehabilitation and training program operated by the commission "has fulfilled a dream that grew out of my own experience."

The Iowa library is one of 34 regional facilities in the Library of Congress system for the blind.

It has some 40,000 feet of shelf space and provides more than 12,000 books a month to more than 2,900 blind Iowans. It doesn't serve sightless persons outside the state except that it may lend books to other regional libraries.

Jernigan said the Iowa library is the only one he knows of that is housed under the same roof and is under the same direction as rehabilitation and training programs for the blind.

He said this makes the difference "between Braille being a novelty and a usable tool," and makes the library an integral part of Iowa's training and rehabilitation program which has received world wide recognition.

Another thing that makes the Iowa facility unique, Jernigan said, is that it is a "browsing library," with open stacks and study areas where sightless persons may have access not only to one book at a time, but can do reading in several at once if they want to.

He said more volunteer workers are transcribing more books into Braille and onto tape for the Iowa library "than the total combined for all other libraries for the blind in the nation."

"The significance of this," said Jernigan, "is that when a blind Iowan starts as a freshman in college, we find that we already have in the library about half of his textbooks in Braille or on tape. Most libraries would have only one or two.

Jernigan credited many volunteer workers, including the Iowa Lions Clubs, Jewish groups all over the state, the Telephone Pioneers of Iowa and prisoners at correctional institutions with helping to make the library a success.

He said a lot of credit also must go to Florence Grannis, who came to Iowa from Seattle to head the library when it was established in 1960 and is "the best librarian for the blind in the nation and probably the world."

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THE ROLE OF THE HANDICAPPED IN THE AUTOMATED SOCIETY

By John B. Seeley

[Editor's Note: The following is a portion of an address delivered at the University of California Medical Facility in San Francisco on April 8, 1967. It is reprinted with the kind permission of the author and his employer. Mr. Seeley is Staff Assistant, Handicapped Employees Program, IBM, Armonk, New York.]

Automation in today's society brings advantages to the handicapped in three main divisions. 1. Occupation 2. Environment 3. Bodily aids. In the area of occupation there are either new opportunities or better ways for doing the old job, easier, faster and with higher quality performance.

In the environment, there are many machines that make life easier to cope with, safer or better.

The machines that apply to the body are those that are designed to minimize or eliminate phases of specific disability.

In the first category of occupation, one of the outstanding examples of automation directly affecting the handicapped is in programming. A programmer is one who outlines for a machine or computer step by step what the pattern of automatic operation shall be; how it can recognize choices and what logic it can follow to make desirable choices. These choices for the machine may be as simple as to continue or to stop or it may be as sophisticated as replacing its own worn-out parts.

Programming has several inherent virtues. It is a well compensated occupation. It has the status of a profession. It is physically effortless and mentally challenging and stimulating. It is in universal high demand.

Its requirements are also high. It requires a person of above average intelligence, one who has proven he has academic prowess with good college grades and who has math, science or business training. One whose thinking is logical. Other qualities are persistence, capacity for long hours of concentration, good social adjustment and initiative to work alone on a self-regulated schedule.

Aptitude is very important and should be the determining factor of whether or not a person undergoes training for such a career. Furthermore it is a profession that is open to the handicapped. There are notable examples of success in this field among the severely disabled. I have myself seen cerebral palsied, wheelchair post-polio, deaf, blind and deaf -blind programmers.

A word of caution however is in order here. Programming is not a new career opportunity for just any intelligent person looking for a profession. Managers of promise and college graduates with good grades have flunked out either in school or as trainees because they just didn't have the aptitude. The programming field is not a tenting ground for people selected by physical characteristics. It is not a category to rush certain disabilities into. It is not an occupation that the cerebral palsied, wheelchair post-polio, deaf and blind fit into because others with similar handicaps have succeeded, any more than red or blond hair, tall thin stature or dark-rimmed glasses suggest probability because other successful people have these characteristics. When the exceptional handicapped person is to be considered, it is on the basis of aptitude. One college says it this way. If, without the handicap, the person would want programming, then he has a good basis for consideration. Then it can be determined the extent to which he can overcome the handicap and perform the duties satisfactorily.

The blind programmer makes an interesting study here because of how modern technology has parlayed advantages for him. There are upwards of a hundred blind programmers in this country alone. The physical environment is ideal, hazard-free and associating with highly intelligent co-workers. The equipment is available which he needs for turning out work. The tape recorder or dictating unit is standard equipment for such an office and indispensible to him for recording source material and other instructional information. The typewriter and key punch machine are every bit as useful to him as for the sighted person.

At the present time Braille is an essential skill not to be taken for granted. As a program is assembled, the usual procedure is to keep the step by step directions in Braille on cards which can be referred to and deletions, corrections and additions made easily to strengthen the logic and preserve continuity.

A great advance was made when the computer was rigged to emboss Braille from its printer and thus communicate directly with the blind person. In early attempts, a Brailling program was written to plot periods, asterisks or apostrophes into readable configurations. An elastomer, (wide garter elastic, if you want its common name) was taped over hammers. In this way the paper was backed by a cushion and when the plotted characters slapped meaningfully against the surface there was an embedded effect that left an embossed configuration on the reverse side. This could be read by blind Braille readers satisfactorily. Thus they could get dumps and other print out information directly from the computer. Whole manuals have been printed out or embossed in this way for reading by blind people. Most of the blind programmers use this method today.

More recently there have been attempts to promote dedicated Braille computing printers. These devices are directly concerned with high speed standard height Braille embossing, and are linked to a computer and controlled by a Brailling program. There is a trend and challenge in this area spurred by an increasing demand not only from blind programmers but other blind businessmen and scholars who want quick, perishable current information involving their assignments in their varying fields of interest.

The increasing versatility of input machines of the optical scanner type and output machines of the voice response type spread the hope that even greater machine communication will be possible for the blind in the future.

Another job category in the computer industry that fits a particular handicap especially well is the key punch machine. This machine is an unusually noisy machine. Its operation is as simple as using a typewriter and it requires patience and dedication to sit for long hours and read source material. The noise factor is no problem at all for a deaf person. Therefore we find that some deaf people who have typing skills and who have reached a certain intelligence level who can copy accurately, have themselves a very suitable occupation. And because of this serious handicap, we find that they concentrate more than the average worker on their work and are subject to less distraction and side conversation.

Another area, Automated Copy Machines, has so simplified the hardware involved they lend themselves beautifully to use by the handicapped. Work savers--they are clean, simple to operate, accurate, quick and noiseless. An asset in any office for the able-bodied, it is a great asset for the handicapped, especially one who is limited in the use of his hands or eyes.

Capitalizing on the techniques of this copy machine, the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration is cooperating with a chain called CBSA--Community Business Service Associates. Under this arrangement, any type of handicapped person who can work the machines and manage a small business, is considered. Geared for people who are interested in a steady but moderate income, the wages start about $45 a week working upwards of $85 a week and eventually seeking the level possible in the community it serves. Potential managers are screened and trained by the VRA. The machines are sold at a discount to the VRA and the man is set up in a business community where such services are needed locally. Where business is good a helper may be added. A representative of the Photo copier manufacturer is trained to give special assistance in getting the business started and if warranted, broadening out in related areas. At present there are over 200 of these copy centers serving business communities in thirty states. A goal of at least six thousand more has been set up for the next three-year period.

Here we see a service that has displaced no one, that offers to make taxpayers out of tax consumers and stimulate business directly and indirectly, made possible by modern technology.

In the second category where technology is making the environment easier for the handicapped, we see many examples. So much advantage is given to the handicapped these days that we take little time for appreciation. To be sure, it has come about for the non-handicapped and can be considered as fringe benefits but it all expands the opportunities and capacities of the handicapped.

In door entrances some doors open automatically as you approach them and some doorways have no doors at all but merely an air curtain. Elevators have so successfully replaced stair climbing, we are critical of any building that is over two stories that doesn't have at least one elevator. Air conditioning gives modern offices such even temperatures that opening windows or putting sweaters or coats on and off is unnecessary. The growing practice for lighting is to have full, adequate lighting at all times everywhere that people work or go, so that neither positioning lights nor the working of wall switches is necessary. Electric pencil sharpeners can be worked one handed and have no switches. Electric typewriters make even impressions with effortless typing; and magnetic tape-controlled typewriters justify margins, allow erasure free corrections and will make as many copies as the machine is set for once the copy has been made. Telephone push buttons make dialing easier, while automatic dialers make it still easier and more accurate. Speaker phones eliminate handling of the receiver at all. Although foot pedals aid the control of dictation equipment and tape recorders, now some are voice actuated and respond only when the message is being dictated, turning on and shutting off by sound without switches.

Automatic water coolers are scattered conveniently about. Coffee is brought practically to the desk in many offices and factories. In the factories dictating equipment is used to feed instructions to people on the assembly line so they can work without glancing back and forth for instructions. As a matter of fact, this method was used in an IBM factory for a blind man. He was given a card-wiring job. The pattern of wires varied from one card to another and instructions were necessary to know how each individual card would be wired. With the Executary dictating equipment, the patterns and card numbers were recorded verbally. He would listen to a few sentences at a time and then proceed accurately. The combination was great. The man could listen, prepare some wires and then write the numbers on the card. However, there was one problem which bears noting here. After this method was agreed on, the man was notified. Everybody was sure that they had a workable plan until it was learned that the man couldn't write. As a blind man there had been no need and he had never learned. This is not unusual I understand. I know of a blind woman in her 30's who is an excellent speed typist and turns out flawless copy, yet she has just learned to write this year. She found a bank that puts the statements in Braille, so she started a checking account for the first time in her life and had to learn to write her name in ink to sign the checks. Her name now has added importance to her, and she a feeling of great independence.

But getting back to the man in the factory, undaunted, the Personnel man assigned to this transfer sat down an hour a day and taught the man numbers. It took a few weeks but he learned. Now he is happy in a new job with an added skill - the ability to write numbers.

The third area where automation serves the handicapped people is in bio-mechanical technology. Here we have some very up-to-date examples of what to expect in the future. Handicapped people benefit from automation in areas where program devices are engineered to minimize or eliminate phases of a specific disability. Going back a few years, there was a computerized brace for a person with arm paralysis. One of the activities was eating. A complete pattern of movements was programmed and with proper signals the machine enabled the paralyzed arm to feed the person who had no natural control left over it. This device was tested in a bio-mechanical laboratory at UCLA. Think of the thousands who have arm disabilities who would like a programmed brace that would enable them to answer the phone, to eat a sandwich, open a door, perform any of the dozen or more routine activities in personal or business situations.

In the area of artificial arms, there is emerging a product of modern technology known as a computerized limb. In Temple University an electric power system powers an artificial arm. The control sights are muscles, the impulses of which are picked up by electrodes. Resistors monitor the signals eliminating interference and contradiction, protecting the user from faulty commands or inadvertent actuation.

In a private research center in New Jersey an electronic wheelchair was designed to transport a quadroplegic post-polio victim. By a control mechanism in a helmet, the man had control over the direction and speed of the wheelchair, as well as remote control over office equipment such as the telephone, dictating equipment, and a page turner. This was demonstrated before the President's Committee for Employment of the Handicapped in 1966.

Whatever device can bring out the handicapped person's capacity to express himself and facilitate bodily functions necessary for this expression ought to be encouraged both in development and in acceptance. The two criteria here are economics and hardware tolerance. The cost of the device should be measured against the cost of carrying its class of users if they were nonproductive, and the device should not create directly or indirectly, more problems for the individual than it solves. . .

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The Gloucester Treatment

Punitive and political blinding in the British Isles

(Reprinted from THE NEW BEACON, March 1967. P. 64.)

It is a well-known, but still curious, fact of Shakespearean production, that the blinding of Gloucester in King Lear will make blench an audience which can view a mound of stage corpses with relative equanimity. We are accustomed to think of disease, congenital defect or accident as the causes of blindness, and go to great lengths to reverse blindness when this can be done. That blindness should be deliberately caused, that it should be an instrument of political advantage, a means of revenge on a defeated enemy, or part of the punishment of a felon, is a notion which society now finds repugnant. This was not always the case.

Margaret Robertson

Recently I have been investigating mediaeval causes of blindness in the British Isles. The evidence is scanty, scattered and often misleading, but given the right degree of scepticism and pertinacity it is possible to reach some valid conclusions. I had expected to find that injury in the course of war, unwise treatment and "leprosy" were major causes. I had always assumed that Gloucester's blinding bore little relation to fact, and that it was a dramatic device to emphasise the wickedness of Lear's enemies. Certainly I had not expected to find many historical Gloucesters. It was startling and harrowing to realise, from a fairly random reading of mediaeval chronicles and other records, how very common it was for people to have their eyes put out. I stress the randomness of this reading because there must be — particularly in court records — a quantity of still undiscovered references. So this article does not set out to be exhaustive, merely to give some idea of the prevalence of deliberate blinding. On the evidence I now have, I am sure that quite a large amount of mediaeval blindness was purposely induced. People mentioned by name in chronicles were, of course, of rather special eminence. If so many notables had their eyes put out, it is reasonable to assume that the other strata of society would be affected quite proportionately. Amongst humbler people, there would be, it is true, fewer Windings for dynastic reasons, but more for juridical ones. Also, from the masses were drawn hostages, who often enough had to pay with mutilation for some breach of faith on the part of their overlord, or some act of rage on the part of their captor. In the chronicles they are unnamed, but still remembered. Deliberate acts of blinding fell into two main categories, which one could call punitive and political. By punitive, I mean the blinding of convicted felons under the law; by political, the maiming of a defeated enemy, a rival king or contender for a throne, and so on. In fact the distinction is sometimes hard to make; particularly in Ireland there were instances where a rebel was blinded allegedly as a punishment for his revolt, but the issue was complicated by dynastic or territorial considerations. King A would allege that his neighbour king B was a rebel, and treat him accordingly; king B if blinded would (as we shall see) be ineligible to rule, which would be convenient for king A, who could either take over the territory himself or clear the way for an amenable candidate.

I HAVE found far more instances from Ireland than from Scotland, England or Wales. From this it should not be deduced that the Irish were outstanding miscreants. It is merely that for the period in question the Irish chronicles are unusually copious. (They cover to some extent events in Celtic Scotland as well, but not much to our present purpose.) Because the Welsh records are also fairly full, this article concentrates on parts of the Celtic fringe with an occasional glimpse elsewhere. Also, it deals mainly with political blinding. This is not the place to treat in much detail the complicated subject of punitive maiming, of which blinding formed a part. A quick look at the state of the English criminal law in the 11th to 13th centuries will provide some background, however.

In 1014 the Anglo-Saxon chronicle noted that king Canute had blinded and maimed a group of hostages. He went on from this to promulgate a code of laws which he must have wished to sound merciful. Certainly, they abolished capital punishment; instead, the criminal "shall have his eyes put out and his nose and ears and upper lip cut off or his scalp removed whichever of these penalties is desired or determined upon by those with whom rests the decision of the case; and thus punishment shall be inflicted while, at the same time, the soul is preserved from injury". About 1070, William the Conqueror echoed Canute's opposition to capital punishment, if not his solicitude for the criminal's soul. "We likewise forbid that anyone be slain or hanged for any offences, but his eyes shall be put out and his feet or his hands cut off, and he shall suffer castration, so that the trunk remains alive as a sign of his treachery and wickedness." Blinding with castration became a standard punishment for rape (although if the rapist's wife interceded on his behalf, it could be commuted to blinding). "Very slowly in the course of the thirteenth century". Pollock and Maitiand write in their History of English law, "the penalty of death took the place of mutilation as the punishment due for felons". But much depended on the individual judge. In 1203 a woman called Alice Crithecreche, of Lilleshall in Shropshire, was found to be an accessory to the fact in a murder trial. She had, the judgement reads, deserved death, but through a dispensation she would have her eyes put out instead. Law, but of a quite different order, also lay behind many acts of blinding in the Celtic lands. This was no draconian criminal code, but the peculiar Celtic law of kingship inheritance. This law is explained by T. P. Ellis in his Welsh tribal law:

"Though descent was hereditary in the male line, there was no necessary rule of primogeniture. The eldest son had a preference, all other things being equal, but the successor, who seems to have been nominated in the lifetime of the reigning prince, must be the fittest man of the royal family." He had to be unimpaired in sight, hearing, limbs and mind. The same applied to Ireland. There, the "derbfine" system of inheritance meant that a king's male descendants to the fourth generation were in theory eligible for the crown. However, the ancient code in the Book of Aicill states that it was "a prohibited thing that one with a blemish should be king at Temhair (ie Tara)". A king, once blinded, was automatically deposed. Ireland was divided into a number of small kingdoms with, intermittently, a high king at Tara. This law disqualifying the blemished obtained in them all. Obviously the unscrupulous, be they neighbouring kings or rival claimants, would be swift to take advantage of it.

And they did, as the chronicles show. The following incidents are selected from three Irish chronicles, the Annals of Ulster, the chronicle of the Four Masters, and the Chronicum Scotorum (the dates of which may be a couple of years out) and from one Welsh one, the Annales Cambriae. In 864 Aedh Finnliath, the high king of Ireland, blinded Lorcan, king of Meath. This apparently was to punish Lorcan for his odd behaviour the year before, when he had helped the Norsemen to plunder
Meath. Another Aedh, son of Flann Ua Maeilechlainn, was in 918 blinded by his brother Donnchadh. Donnchadh was the high king at that time; he ruled for twenty-five years, consolidating his regime by disabling Aedh and, two years after. killing another brother, Domhnall. In 997 "Domhnall, son of Donnchad Finn, was blinded by Maelsechlainn"; in 1000, "Aedh Ua Ciardha was blinded". Flaithbhertach Ua Neill, chief of the O'Neills of the north, blinded Donnchad Ua Ceile in 1009, and afterwards murdered him. (Flaith-bhertach died a penitent, after a pilgrimage to Rome, in 1036.) The following year saw the blinding of the abbot of Downpatrick, Scanlan Ua Dungalain. The perpetrator was Niall, son of Dubhtuinne, the king of Ulidia (part of Ulster). The Norsemen, known as the Gall, ruled Dublin at this time. One of them, Sitric Silkenbeard, blinded Braen the son of Maelmordha king of Leinster in 1018. This was no simple antagonism between Gall and Gael, however, for the men were not only allies, but cousins — Sitric's mother was Braen's father's sister. (Braen, disqualified to succeed, went abroad, and died in the Irish monastery at Cologne in 1052.) Another king of Ulidia, also called Niall (but the son of Eochaidh) put out the eyes of one Flaithbhertach Ua hEochadha in 1020, and in 1027 the king of Ossory, Donnchad MacGillapatraig, did the same to Tadhg MacGillapatraig, who seems to have been his brother. About 1030, the chronicler (who cannot have heard of abbot Scanlan) tells us, "Cathasarch, comarb of Cacmhghen (ie spiritual heir of St Kevin), was blinded by Domhnall, son of Dunlaing (the king of Leinster); and that was an unprecedented deed". Domhnall, however, met his match in Donnchad MacGillapatraig, whom we have met already. Donnchad fatally blinded Domhnall in about 1036, and Donnchad's inlluence is further seen in the deeds of Conchobar Ua Maelsechlainn, who blinded his own brother Flann the following year.

For a plain statement of the way these things worked, it is hard to better the chronicle entry for 1051: "Amhalghaidh, son of Cathal, son of Ruaidhri, king of the West of Connacht, was blinded by Aedh Ua Conchubhair, king of the East of Connacht, and Aedh afterwards fixed his residence in the West of Connacht." Aedh's naked ambition failed to disenchant the chronicler, who laments the death in 1066 of "Aedh Ua Conchubhair, the champion of the west of the world, the Cuchulainn of the Gaeidhel, the Hood of dignity and nobility of Erin, and the man who was wont to give the most of food and clothing, of gold and cows, for his soul, in Erin," Twenty-five years later, in 1092, another Ua Conchubhair king of Connacht, Ruaidhri, was himself blinded. It was done by an improbable-sounding pair whose names anglicise as Flaherty O'Flahcrty and Fogarty O'Fogarty. The crime of Flaithbhertach Ua Flaithbhertaigh and Fogartach Ua Fogartaigh was especially atrocious because, in the words of the chronicler, king Ruaidliri was "Ua Flaithbhertaigh's fosterer and seven times his godfather and his lord". It is not surprising to read that in 1094 "Flaithbhertach Ua Flaithbhertaigh was slain by the Sil-Muiredhaigh (ie O'Conors of Connacht) in revenge for the blinding of Ruaidhri". Ruaidhri himself died a pious death, on pilgrimage to Clonmacnoise, twenty-five years after he lost his sight and his crown. In the two years after Ruaidhri's blinding, two other Irish kings met the same fate. In 1093 the king of Ailech (part of Ulster), Domhnall Ua Lochlainn, blinded his neighbour Aedh Ua Canannain, the king of Cenel-Conaill. The next year, Flaithbhertach Ua Ateidh, king of Ui-Eachach in the north, had his eyes put out by Donnchadh Ua Eochadha, the king of Ulidia. Fate caught up with Donnchadh in 1113, when he in turn was blinded by Eochaidh Ua Mathganma and the men of Ulidia.

TO dispel the impression that this was an Irish speciality, we have only to look briefly at a few contemporary events in Scotland and Wales. In 1097, the king of Scotland, Donald Bane (one of the sons of the Duncan murdered in Macbeth) was deposed by his half-English nephew Eadgar. Two years later, Eadgar captured Donald Bane, imprisoned him for life, and had him blinded. Eadgar, son of St Margaret of Scotland and Malcolm Canmore (the other son of Duncan) was described by the chronicler as "a sweet and amiable man". In Wales, in 1113, one Owain blinded Madog the son of Rhirid. They were cousins; Madog had just sacked Meirionydd and murdered his two uncles, Owain's father being one. Two different men called Maredudd found their way into the chronicle for 1129-30. Maredudd the son of Bleddyn blinded and castrated Llywelyn the son of Owain (who had killed Maredudd's brother). The other Maredudd, son to Llywarch, blinded his two cousins, but evidently jibbed at blinding his two brothers as well. He delivered them as captives to one Baldwin, who did the job on his behalf. Blinding with castration was becoming more common, it seems; this happened for instance to Meurig, son of Meurig, in 1131.

Then there took place a dynastic blinding quite in the Celtic fringe manner, but this time it was ordered by a Norman king of England. Henry I threw into prison and blinded his brother Robert, the duke of Normandy. The Normans in fact adopted the custom quite enthusiastically, particularly in Wales. In 148 Hugh de Mortimer blinded his prisoner Rhys, son of Hywel, and in 1166 Henry II invaded Wales, blinding and castrating a large number of Welsh hostages. That very same year in Ireland, there was a blinding which would prove of much interest and advantage to the English king Henry. In fact, it was probably of all these political Windings the one of greatest historical consequence. It led directly to the Norman invasion and subjugation of Ireland.

The king of Ulidia, Eochaidh MacDuinnsleibhe Ua Eochadha, had surrendered to the high king of Ireland, Muircertach Ua Lxichlainn. Muircertach then blinded Eochaidh, "in violation (as the chronicler says) of the protection of the successor of Patrick and the staff of Jesus (ie St Patrick's crozier) and of Donnchadh Ua Cerbaill, namely the arch-king of Airgialla O'e Oriel)". Donnchadh marched against Muircertach, who was abandoned by his forces, and killed him. "A great marvel and wonderful deed was done then: to wit, the king of Ireland to fall without battle, without contest, after his dishonouring the successor of Patrick and the staff of Jesus and the successor of Colum-Cille (ie St Columba) and the Gospel of Martin and many clergy besides by blinding MacDuinnsleibhe Ua Eochadha." The high kingship thus fell vacant. An unsuccessful candidate, Diarmait king of Leinster, took his grievance across the Irish Sea, and returned with a small but effective Norman army. The English now had their first foothold in Ireland. One chronicler says that it was the Normans who in 1 194 blinded and castrated the son of Domhnall Ua Briain the Short-handed. But, to be fair, another chronicle has his grand-uncle doing it. The list of victims goes on almost to the end of the Irish mediaeval chronicles, to 1481, when "Patrick Savage was taken by Conn, son of Aedh Ua Neill the Tawny, and blinded and castrated in that captivity".

So mutilation, it would seem, was a mediaeval commonplace. A conversation in the Orkneyinga saga — an account of the Norse earldom of Orkney — certainly suggests that blinding and maiming were quite as usual as violent death. The speakers are the holy Earl Magnus (later canonised) and his rival and cousin Earl Hakon. Earl Magnus is about to be put to death; the date is about 1117. "Magnus said: 'God knows that I am looking more to your souls than to my life; and it better befits thee than to take my life. Maim my body as thou likest, or pluck out my eyes, and put me in a darksome dungeon.' Then said Earl Hakon: 'I accept this settlement and ask nothing further.' Then the chiefs started up and said to Earl Hakon: 'We will kill one of the two of you now; and never from this day forth shall both of you rule the land.' Then answers Earl Hakon: 'If you are going to be so particular in the matter, rather kill him, for I will rather rule realm and lands than die so suddenly.'" So Magnus was martyred. Right at the end of the same saga, there is an account of the meeting between Earl Harald and a bishop, in Scrabster in 1201. Appearances are horrific, but deceptive. "The Earl's army rushed from the ships up to the fortress. The Bishop walked towards the Earl and greeted him graciously. But the result of their meeting was that Earl Harald had the Bishop seized and his tongue cut out, and then had them thrust a knife in his eyes and blind him." Yet the bishop, we are told by other reliable records, remained bishop until 1213, so he must have been fairly unimpaired. What happened? The saga writer claims a miraculous cure. Fordun, the Scots chronicler, notes that "the use of his tongue and of one eye was in some measure left to him". In fact, Earl Harald's men, less bloodthirsty than their master, must have faked the mutilation. Perhaps they had more respect for the cloth than the blinders of abbots Scanlan and Cathasarch. Or perhaps they were just anachronistically humane.

© Margaret Robertson 1967

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DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR THE BLIND

(US - DHEW Release)

Currently, about 30,000 persons disabled by blindness - and 15,000 of their dependents - receive approximately $40 million a year in disability payments. The Social Security Administration believes that others may be missing out on payments because they do not know of the recent changes liberalizing the disability program.

To give you a better understanding of how the program works, and how the blind may benefit from its provisions, here are answers to questions that are frequently asked.

What does "disability" mean?

For social security purposes, "disability" means an inability to do any substantial gainful work because of (1) a severe physical or mental impairment that has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months or to result in death, or (2) "blindness." "Blindness" is defined in the social security law as either central visual acuity of 5/200 or less in the better eye with the use of corrective lens, or visual field reduction to 5 degrees or less.

How about a worker who meets the statutory test of blindness? What special consideration does he get?

Several special provisions apply to a worker whose sight is poor enough to meet the statutory definition described above.

Such a person, for example, generally would be considered disabled if he is not doing substantial gainful work. Even if he is performing substantial gainful work, he may still have his social security earnings record frozen so that the years in which he has low earnings or none at all will not be counted against him in determining his eligibility for future benefits or in figuring the amount of those benefits.

Another special provision permits a person who became unable to work due to blindness beginning before age 31 to qualify for disability benefits with fewer social security work credits than other applicants need. Also, blind workers 55 and over may qualify more easily because a slightly different definition of disability applies to them.

How does the "age 31" provision work?

Ordinarily, a worker needs at least 5 years of social security work credits in the 10-year period prior to his disability before he is insured for disability purposes.

But a person who becomes blind before age 31 needs credits for only- half the period between age 21 and the time he becomes blind. Thus, a worker disabled at age 26, for example, needs 2 1/2 years of social security credits out of the 5 years between ages 21 and 26. To qualify under this provision, a person needs at least 1 1/2 years of work.

In deciding whether a worker qualifies for disability benefits under this special rule, it does not matter if he is now over 31. What counts is the age at which he became blind.

What about the special provision for workers 55 and over? How does that apply?

Ordinarily, a blind worker - even though he meets the statutory test for blindness - cannot receive disability payments if he is able to perform substantial gainful work despite his impairment. But a blind worker 55 or over can receive disability payments, even though he is able to do substantial gainful work, as long as he is unable to do work that requires skills or abilities comparable to the work he did regularly before age 55 or before blindness (whichever is later).

However, benefits cannot be paid to any person under this special provision for months in which he actually performs substantial gainful work.

Can a blind worker who was previously denied benefits re-apply if he feels he may qualify under one of the special provisions?

Yes. Both special provisions discussed above are part of the 1965 liberalization of the social security law. A worker who was found ineligible for benefits earlier and who might now be eligible should inquire at his social security office for further information about re-applying. Suppose a worker does not meet the definition of blindness in the law, but still has a severe visual impairment. Can he qualify?

He may do so under the general definition of disability if his sight is poor enough to prevent him from doing any substantial gainful work in keeping with his age, education, and work experience. Over half of the blind workers who become entitled to disability benefits qualify under the general definition rather than under the special one for blindness. Generally, a person whose vision is 20/200 or less in the better eye with glasses can be found disabled if he is unable to do substantial work.

How much are cash benefits?

Benefits range from $44 to $152 a month depending on the worker's average monthly earnings under social security. If he has dependents, monthly family benefits may reach $339. 20. Benefits start following a "waiting period" of 6 full calendar months.

Suppose a person blinded in an industrial accident is receiving workmen's compensation benefits and becomes eligible for social security disability benefits. Can he get both?

He can - but the total benefits he and his family receive under both programs may not exceed 80 percent of his average monthly earnings under social security before he became disabled. The amount of his social security benefit may be reduced whenever necessary to keep within this limitation. But the adjusted combined benefit will always at least equal what the person and his family would have received in social security payments alone.

What if a person who has retired on reduced social security benefits before age 65 becomes blind. Would it pay him to switch to disability benefits?

If he has the necessary work credits and is still under 65 after the 6 month waiting period, it may be to his advantage to change. Disability benefits are generally larger.

Under what circumstances do disability benefits stop?

If a person shows he can do substantial gainful work again and is, therefore, no longer disabled, benefits stop. Benefits also stop if he recovers medically (whether or not he gets a job) or if he dies. Suppose a blind beneficiary goes back to work. How can you tell if his effort will be successful?

It's often difficult to predict whether a disabled person will be able to keep on working for any length of time. Therefore, the decision as to whether a beneficiary's work is substantial and gainful is put off until he has worked in 9 separate Months (not necessarily consecutive). Meanwhile, his benefits continue.

This 9-nionth deferment is known as the "trial work period." It gives the beneficiary a chance to fully test his ability to hold down a job. And he can be confident that his disability payments will continue without interruption while he does.

(Note: Persons qualifying for benefits under the special "age 55" provision should ask at their social security office as to how work affects their status.)

Are benefits stopped at the end of the trial work period?

Only if the evidence shows the beneficiary has regained his ability to do substantial work. Even then, benefits are continued for 3 additional months in order to help him adjust to being self-supporting again. (A beneficiary who recovers medically also gets 3 additional months of benefits - the month of recovery and 2 additional ones.)

If the beneficiary is still not able to perform substantial work at the end of his trial work period, benefits are continued.

What factors are considered in deciding if a blind person's work is substantial and gainful?

All the pertinent facts about his job are considered in making this determination - his skills, experience, responsibility, hours, productivity, and pay. The amount of his pay is perhaps the best gauge of how substantial his work is. For example, if a person's average pay is over $125 a month, his work would usually be considered substantial and gainful.

What if a person's average monthly pay is over $125, but a portion is really unearned - such as a subsidy added to help him meet living expenses?

The unearned portion is not counted in deciding whether he is doing substantial gainful work. All that counts is the pay he earns through his own efforts. By the same token, if it is necessary for someone to help him with his job, the dollar value of this assistance is deducted in figuring actual earnings.

Does an average monthly pay of $125 or less always mean that benefits continue?

Not always. Despite such earnings, a person may be considered able to engage in substantial gainful work if he shows he can do more work than he is actually doing or if he already does work of about the same amount and quality as non-disabled workers in his community who do similar work for a living.

Are the same earnings guides used to evaluate the work activity of beneficiaries employed in sheltered workshops?

There is one slight variation. A worker in a sheltered workshop whose pay is $125 a month or less is considered not to be doing substantial gainful work. It is not necessary to compare his work with that done by non-disabled people in the community.

How is substantial gainful work evaluated for a person who is self-employed?

About the same way the work of a salaried person is evaluated. All the pertinent facts about his work are considered - his skills, experience, responsibilities, hours, productivity, and earnings.

But business income is influenced by economic conditions, the value of unpaid services of family members, etc. Accordingly, more emphasis is placed on the extent of the activities performed in connection with the business, less on the amount of net earnings.

Suppose a blind beneficiary who returns to work or recovers becomes disabled again. Do his benefits start, as before, with this 7th month of disability?

If he again becomes disabled within 5 years and he still meets the work requirements, his benefits can start again with the first full month of disability. He does not have to go through a "waiting period" as he did the first time.

What is done for a blind claimant in the way of rehabilitation?

At the time a decision is made on his disability claim, the applicant is also considered for possible services by his State vocational rehabilitation agency. If he is considered to have good rehabilitation potential, he may be offered services by the agency.

Such services include counseling, teaching of new employment skills, and job placement. These services are generally financed from State-Federal appropriations.

Does social security help finance the rehabilitation of beneficiaries?

Yes. A 1965 amendment to the Social Security Act permits money to be made available to State vocational rehabilitation agencies from social security trust funds to finance the rehabilitation of selected disability beneficiaries. In any given year, the maximum amount allocated nationally for this purpose is equal to one percent of the total amount paid in social security disability benefits in the previous year. Currently, this amounts to about $15 million a year, but the figure will go us as total benefits paid increase.

Can a blind claimant be found disabled even if he is a good rehabilitation prospect?

Yes. In deciding whether a claimant is disabled, the determination is made regarding his present capacity to work, rather than the ability he may attain after receiving vocational rehabilitation services.

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