NOVEMBER --- 1967
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.
LET'S MISS A MEAL FOR THE IFB
by Russell Kletzing
TWO NFB-SUPPORTED BILLS "HALF-PASSED" BY THE 90TH CONGRESS
BLIND THERAPIST RUNS COMPLEX UNITS
by Harvey Ekenstierna
by John Nagle
LASER USE TO BE SURVEYED
WORLD COUNCIL REBUFFS INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION
DISCRIMINATION OF THE MONTH
by John Nagle
A CHINK IN THE WALL
by Russell Kletzing
BINOCULAR VISUAL ACUITY SURVEYED
NEW STUDENT REFERRAL SERVICE FOR D. C. AREA
by Evelyn Weckerly
FEDCO PURCHASE COMPLETED
BRITAIN - NOW A 'MEANS TEST'?
by Dana Adams Schmidt
AD HOC COMMITTEE VS BARTMEN
NORTH DAKOTA CONVENTION
by Rudolph Bjornseth
NEW SCOPE FOR BLIND TYPISTS
by Cindy Lou Justice
PRESIDENT SIGNS REHAB AMENDMENTS OF 1967
BLIND JUSTICE DRIVES HER OUT
by Charles A. Johnston
SOUTH CAROLINA CONVENTION
by Donald C. Capps
THREE GET NOBEL PRIZE FOR EYE RESEARCH
by Werner Wiskari
EXCERPTS - NAPH 9TH ANNUAL NATIONAL CONVENTION
by Mary Ellen Howard
BLIND WORKERS GROW MILITANT
WEST VIRGINIA CONVENTION
by Victor Gonzales
A FRIEND OF THE COURT: THE ORGANIZED BLIND
by Jacobus tenBroek
by Russell Kletzing
Now that we are in the midst of the third "Miss-A-Meal" effort, it is clear that this annual event has already become a Federation tradition. The idea constituted the happy marriage of two new institutions in Federation-land, both of which arrived at about the same time. The International Federation of the Blind grew up three years ago in response to a worldwide need of those organizations of the blind to discuss their problems and to act collectively. The Congressional resolution establishing White Cane Safety Day as October 15th of each year was obtained after years of effort by the NFB to offer an opportunity, not only to educate the motoring public as to the meaning of the White Cane, but also to use the full educational potential that the White Cane constitutes as a symbol--a symbol of independence and progress for the blind. Already, the observance of White Cane Safety Day has spread to various countries throughout the world.
The "Miss-A-Meal" concept is simple. We are asked to skip one meal and donate its price to the work of the International Federation for forging better conditions and raising high the hopes for blind people throughout the world. In his letter to Federationists this year. Dr. tenBroek said, "Throughout most of the world, all but a few blind people are poor, unemployed, untrained, unwanted--and hungry. If you miss a meal on October 15, you will be not nearly as hungry as most of these blind people are.
"With these contributions we could, perhaps, provide a meal for some thousands of blind people who are desperately hungry. But -what would they eat the next day, the next month, or the next year? What they need is the opportunity to earn their daily bread. The hope that guides the International Federation is aimed at orientation, training, jobs, and full community participation for all blind people everywhere.
"Since its inception three years ago, as a result of direct action by the NFB's Detroit and Phoenix conventions, the International Federation has kindled a spark of excitement and inspiration among blind people in every corner of the world. The IFB must grow to be a powerful force for the betterment of the conditions of all the blind everywhere.
"Contributions should be sent to: Treasurer, International Federation of the Blind, 4604 Briarwood Drive, Sacramento, California 95821."
At this writing a week after the replies started coming in, the response has been warm and gratifying--already more than $500.00 has been contributed. Many of the letters have been heartwarming, but one deserves especially to be quoted here:
"Dear Dr. tenBroek:
Enclosed please find check for ten dollars for the International Federation of the Blind campaign. Part of the money has been donated by blind children in the resource program for the blind in public schools for Gary, Indiana, who skipped one meal along with their Braillist, Mrs. Koester and Resource Coordinator, Mr. Masoodi, to aid the blind around the world. These children are between ages of nine and sixteen and all express eagerness to contribute for this worthy cause. A friend of International Blind, Miss Parkhurst, also skipped a meal and contributed one dollar.
With best wishes.
Bashir A. Masoodi"
Last year contributions through the "Miss-A-Meal" program came to more than $1600.00, a cogent display of the responsibility and brotherhood that the American blind feel toward blind people throughout the world. Hundreds of the contributions are from individual members. Also, many of the chapters and state affiliates made very substantial joint contributions, often matching from the treasury the amounts that the members contributed from "Miss-A-Meal."
True, October 15th has passed, but we need not let that be a deterrent. In a cause so worthwhile any day is a good "Miss-A-Meal" day for the IFB.
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The Corbett bill, making changes in the federal postal rate laws for the benefit of blind and physically handicapped persons, is now Section 114 of H.R. 7977, the bill to adjust certain postal rates. This bill was adopted by the House of Representatives on October 11, by a vote of 318 to 89.
On May 16, John Nagle of the Federation's Washington office presented supporting testimony before the Postal Rates Subcommittee of the House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, along with spokesmen of other national organizations for the blind and physically handicapped. The bill would extend the free mailing privilege presently available on braille and recorded books for the blind to physically disabled persons unable to read or use conventionally printed matter.
Section 114 of H.R. 7977 also provides for the inclusion in the postage free privilege specially designed and adapted tools and equipment for the blind and physically impaired. It also would allow such persons to mail, postage free, letters in braille, large print, and recorded on discs and tapes.
On October 10, without a dissenting vote, the United States Senate approved S. 1224, a bill to establish a register of blind persons in the District of Columbia and to provide for the mandatory reporting of information concerning such persons.
A similar measure was considered in public hearings by the Senate Subcommittee on Public Health, Education, Welfare, and Public Safety of the Senate D.C. Committee during the 89th Congress. John Nagle appeared on behalf of the organized blind to express the supporting views of the NFB. Although there was no opposition to the D.C. blind register bill, no further action was taken on it following the hearings and it died with the close of the 89th Congress.
Re-introduced as S. 1224 in the 90th Congress, the blind register bill was finally considered in public hearings. The Federation submitted a written statement requesting committee approval and congressional adoption.
The Federation declared that, if blind people are not known to administering agencies and do not know of the existence of programs, then they remain without the specialized help they must have if they are to successfully overcome the restricting circumstances of their physical impairment.
Mandatory reporting of blindness in a statutorily-established blind register, stated the Federation, will serve to bridge the gap between blind people needing publicly provided help and assistance by agencies oriented and equipped to help them, and blind people needing such help.
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by Harvey Ekenstierna
(Reprinted from the Newark Evening News, Sept. 15, 1967)
TOMS RIVER--One man's drink is another man's poison, and what is a handicap to one person can be a challenge to be met and overcome to another.
So it is with Miss Roberta Vickery of Beachwood, on-call physical therapist at Community Memorial Hospital. Miss Vickery is blind.
Miss Vickery, who is "Bobby" to her friends, handles the complex ultrasound muscle stimulator, diathermy, exercise and whirlpool equipment in the department with consummate skill.
On crowded hospital floors she works with patients who are unable to come to the department for treatment.
She is able to make use of the complicated equipment through a Braille shorthand system. She marked all of the equipment with the Braille notes. She knows exactly which dial to turn and which frequencies to use without requiring help from a sighted person.
Miss Vickery was graduated in 1946 from the N. Y. Institute for the Education of the Blind, and received her training as a physical therapist through the New Jersey State Commission for the Blind. She is one of two known registered physical therapists in the state who are blind.
Miss Vickery experienced difficulty in finding placement in hospital work, because most people doubted she could manage the arduous work or keep track of the equipment and find her way around without help. She proved them wrong, however. She also has a private practice of patients referred to her by area physicians.
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by John Nagle
"This was certainly a fine convention!"
This was the unanimous opinion of all who attended the first convention of the Free State Federation of the Blind, held October 6-7, in Baltimore, at the downtown Holiday Inn.
Convention Chairman John McCraw and his committeemen prepared and performed like veteran convention planners for the first meeting of the organized blind of the state of Maryland--and the success achieved was a tribute to their efforts!
The 96 registering conventioneers were provided with a full program of informed and informative speakers. Kenneth Jernigan, First Vice President of the National Federation of the Blind, moderated two panels: One on the subject "Services for the Blind in Maryland, " with Maryland blind program administrators as panelists; and one on the subject "Local Organizations of the Blind--How To Build and Strengthen Them," with Free State Federationists as panel participants. State director of Maryland vocational rehabilitation, R. Kenneth Barnes, discussed plans for organizing a comprehensive rehabilitation center in Maryland. Dr. Isabelle Grant, of international federationism fame, talked about her experiences with the blind of the world. State and federal legislative reports were given by Ned Graham and John Nagle.
During the business meeting, reports and resolutions were heard and accepted, and the state constitution was amended to provide for the office of second vice president. Roger Peterson of Chestertown, Maryland was elected to fill the newly created state office.
The convention banquet was attended by 145 blind Marylanders, their families and friends, and they listened to Kenneth Jernigan describe, and prove by document, that medieval attitudes towards blindness and blind people are still rampant throughout our land--and, even more shocking, are rampant in agencies and persons purporting to serve the blind.
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(An HEW Release)
The Public Health Service's National Center for Urban and Industrial Health announced it has started a national survey to determine how widely lasers are being used in industry and medicine. The survey also will determine how often lasers are causing eye damage and burns to workers who use them.
Lasers are light beams in the infrared, visible, and ultraviolet frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum focused to an ultra-fine point.
These instruments are so powerful that they can transmit beams to the moon and cut through the hardest materials known.
The growing use of lasers in industry includes melting metals, crushing rocks, and drilling diamonds. Investigations of lasers in industry are underway to test their value as a communications and military tool. In medicine, lasers are used in eye surgery, and experimentally against cancer.
The great power generated by lasers also presents risks in industry. So intense is the beam that a worker looking at it without goggles for even a fraction of a second can have his eyes permanently damaged. They can also cause severe damage to the skin.
"As the laser beam is put to more and more uses, larger numbers of American workmen will be endangered," said Jerome H. Svore, Director of the National Center for Urban and Industrial Health in Cincinnati, Ohio. "Now is the time to start working towards measures to protect them from injury."
The Center's Occupational Health Program, headed by Dr. Murray Brown, will first make a detailed study of lasers being used in Massachusetts.
This study will be conducted in cooperation with state officials and the Public Health Service's National Center for Radiological Health.
Massachusetts is one of five states in which about half of the lasers in the country are being used, the others being California, New York, New Jersey and Ohio. Lasers being used in these states and elsewhere will be surveyed later.
Three states--Connecticut, Illinois and New York- -have legislation pending to register, certify, or establish standards for lasers to control industrial and medical exposures. Similar legislation has been introduced in Congress.
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A conciliatory overture on the part of the International Federation of the Blind, looking toward joint convention sessions with the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, was sharply rebuffed in a recent exchange of correspondence between leaders of the two global organizations.
The IFB's gesture toward cooperation was initiated in a letter of May 9, 1967, from IFB President Jacobus tenBroek to WCWB President Eric Boulter, noting that the IFB executive committee had voted to hold the next general meeting of the all-blind federation in New Delhi, India, in the fall of 1969 at a date fixed to harmonize with the meeting of the General Assembly of the WCWB.
"It seemed to the members of the executive committee," Dr. tenBroek wrote, "that this arrangement would be most agreeable to the individuals who serve in both organizations, and at the same time would provide an opportunity to demonstrate to the world that there is no conflict between the purposes and activities of the two organizations.
"In order still further to carry out this latter purpose, we would like to propose to you that the largely ceremonial functions of the two organizations be conducted jointly. Thus, for example, if high officials of India or other important national or world dignitaries are to deliver greetings or welcoming speeches, we would like to have these presented to both our bodies in joint sessions. It might be economical, feasible and desirable to work out still other functions in common, " the IFB president's letter stated.
Nearly six weeks later, on June 20, WCWB President Boulter replied to Dr. tenBroek's overture by dashing cold water on the entire proposition. "I would frankly consider it unlikely," he wrote, "that the officers of WCWB or the members of the Assembly program committee would wish to take any action on your proposal that the 'ceremonial functions' that traditionally form an important part of the WCWB gatherings should be planned and held jointly with IFB. Nevertheless, I shall be pleased to consult them in the matter and shall then contact you again."
True to his word, the World Council president again wrote to Dr. tenBroek on August 10--nearly two months later --conveying not only the flat rejection of the IFB invitation by the WCWB leadership but their continuing hostility toward the International Federation itself. His letter made emphatically clear that the world association of agencies for the blind regarded its own group as the only legitimate channel of self-expression by blind people and their organizations throughout the world.
Asserting that the World Council's officers and convention planners were unanimous in their opinion that the International Federation of the Blind "should not be invited to participate jointly with us in any of the sessions of the 1969 World Assembly at New Delhi, " Boulter indicated (without directly saying so) that pressure had been brought to bear upon the government of India to prohibit "any other international organization to meet in that country during the same year to discuss questions relating to blindness."
He then went beyond the question of cooperation between the two world groups to reassert the WCWB's total opposition to the existence of an independent organization of blind people themselves on the global level:
". . .the officers of WCWB have, without exception, advised me that in their opinion they consider the creation and operation of an international federation of the blind, outside the framework of WCWB, as unnecessary and possibly detrimental to the best interests of blind people, wherever they may be, " he wrote.
Boulter also maintained that there is ample opportunity and machinery for participation of the organized blind within the structure of the World Council, that "such participation has always occurred and every effort is being made to ensure its maintenance and expansion. " Thereupon, in an indirect move toward the formation of a company union of the organized blind within the WCWB, he observed:
"It is also generally agreed that there may be much to be gained from the continuing collaboration of representatives of the organized blind at the international level. Should it be shown that this is so, we feel that every opportunity exists for such collaboration to occur within the framework of WCWB, possibly by the creation of a permanent committee composed entirely of such individuals."
Declaring that such a "committee" would promote maximum cooperation between all who are concerned with the problems of the blind, the WCWB president termed it "unfortunate. . . that such a proposal was not submitted to World Council for the Welfare of the Blind prior to the creation of the International Federation of the Blind as a separate entity."
Boulter's letter concluded with an expression of hope that, although collaboration between the two international bodies was impossible at the New Delhi meetings, "the resulting correspondence may open up a line of approach through which the activities of the organized blind may be combined with the activities of all those who are responsible for maintaining services."
The IFB's president. Jacobus tenBroek, in his reply dated August 14, expressed disappointment at the "sharpness of the rebuff" with which his proposal was greeted, and pointed out that the gesture had been intended "to serve as an announcement to the world that the IFB and WCWB were not necessarily hostile and at war. Your letter makes it plain that you and your agency conferrers share no such purposes and attitudes."
Responding to the charge that the officers of the World Council consider the formation of an independent international organization of blind people as unnecessary and "possibly detrimental, " Dr. tenBroek asserted that "the officers of the WCWB surely cannot be unaware that their very attitudes and policies with respect to the organized blind are the forces and factors which made 'necessary' the creation of an organized blind world movement outside the WCWB."
He continued: "That you 'warmly support and encourage the fullest participation of the blind' is a palpable contradiction of the facts of life as they have been brought into being by the WCWB over the whole of its existence. Not only do you not warmly support and encourage such participation but you have vigorously fought it at important stages of its expression and in significant instances of its manifestation."
As examples of such discouragement of participation by the blind themselves and their organizations, Dr. tenBroek declared that "the desperate effort launched by the Anglo-American agency coterie to defeat the proposal made at the last assembly meeting for at least equal representation of the organized blind could only be described as an effort to prevent 'participation' of the organized blind at the international level.
"Your own rulings and attitudes with respect to the composition of the American delegation and the Australian delegation and the interpretation of the constitutional amendment adopted on this subject in 1964, further reflect the hostility of the officers of the WCWB to 'participation' of the organized blind on the international level."
With regard to the Boulter proposal for a "committee" of the organized blind to be set up within the WCWB, the International Federation leader asserted that "whatever committees may or may not be created in the future, as distinguished from those that have been created in the past in the WCWB, the agency controllers of the WCWB would do well to recognize that the IFB is a fact of international life which will not be scared away by their frowns and which will not only continue to operate but will grow, flourish and become ever more important as has been true of the organizations of the blind within the various nations."
His letter concluded that, in light of the present rebuff of the IFB's proposal "and assuming that you are genuine in your expression to promote 'maximum cooperation,' I assume that you and your conferrers will now come forward with some tangible, workable and acceptable mechanism through which cooperation may be affected in the areas in which we are in agreement. "
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(Reprinted from The White Cane, October 1967)
A tiny tale to point out that blind persons really do suffer discrimination. While the situation may be minor or even laughable, the fact remains that equal treatment was not present.
The Tacoma News-Tribune reports that Clay Patterson ordered a cocktail with his dinner June 30 and was refused on the grounds that he was blind and unescorted. His argument of temperate habits and his ability to move with his white cane were unheeded.
He took the case to the State Board Against Discrimination and was told they had no jurisdiction since his case wasn't based on race, color, creed, national origin, or blind persons with guide dogs.
He then took the matter to the State Attorney General's office where he was advised to petition the Liquor Control Board to recognize the white cane as a means of locomotion.
The chairman of the State Board Against Discrimination has now indicated that he will recommend that the next legislature correct the inadequacy of the law. In the meantime, Patterson has appealed the "lack of jurisdiction" ruling, claiming that the ruling was arbitrary and that his constitutional rights had been violated.
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by John Nagle
The Fourteenth Annual Convention of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts was held September 30-October 1, at Fall River, Massachusetts, in the brand new Holiday Inn.
The high point of the gathering was whenever and wherever Dr. Isabelle Grant spoke--during the convention banquet, as a scheduled program speaker, or in any of the rooms or corridors of the motel-and her spirit put new vitality and meaning into Federationism for the Bay State Federationists.
Other speakers, too, contributed much to the success of the ABM convention Lorraine Gaudreau, educational specialist for visually handicapped children of the state of Maine, talked from her experience as an educator of blind children; Saul Freedman, coordinator of rehabilitation services for the New York Association for the Blind, discussed evaluation and testing--psychology style; Edward W. Jenkins, music teacher at the Perkins School for the Blind, reported to the convention as a member of the international committee dealing with matters of music braille notation; Senator Mary L. Fonseca of the Massachusetts General Court from Fall River, talked about her philosophy of social welfare legislation.
There was a panel moderated by Domenic Marinello, ABM member from Boston, with panelists Dorothy Bailey, Wilberta Woods, Elena Antonetti, and Saul Freedman, and a lively discussion developed aided by a vocally participating audience, on the subject, "The Role of a Blind Member in a Sighted Family."
Two hundred and ten members and friends of the organized blind of Massachusetts were most attentive during the convention banquet narrations of Dr. Isabelle Grant, as she described her experiences as a blind American learning of blind persons in other lands by living and working with them. All present acknowledged the right of the Greater Springfield Association of the Blind to the Dr. Jacobus tenBroek Award for its many accomplishments during the prior year.
During the business meeting, reports were given on federal and state legislative activity; on the NFB-L.A. national convention; and on finance, membership, and other organizational committee activities. Resolutions were considered and adopted.
Elections were held and the following persons were elected to a two-year term of office: Eugene Sibley, President; Anita O'Shea, First Vice President; Domenic Marniello, Second Vice President; Rosamond Critchley, Recording Secretary; Bernice Hamer, Corresponding Secretary; Daniel Lynch, Treasurer; and Charles W. Little, Legislative Chairman.
By unanimous vote it was determined to hold the '68 convention of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts in the city of Brockton, with the members of the Brockton Chapter serving as convention planners and hosts.
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by Russell Kletzing
A team effort of the organized blind, the American Federation of Teachers and others, resulted in the hiring of Bob Acosta by the Los Angeles City School District. Bob is the first regular classroom teacher, who is blind, to be hired in more than a decade in Los Angeles. Bob's story is an interesting one. Early last summer Bob applied to the Los Angeles City School District for a position, and was summarily refused on the grounds of blindness. Bob immediately contacted the NFB, and acting through the California Council of the Blind, it urged an immediate reversal of this decision. It was pointed out that an amendment to the Education Code obtained by the California Council in 1965 prohibited discrimination in the hiring of teachers on the grounds of blindness.
The representative from the school district's Medical Department stated in part:
"1. Visual observation is an important part of the teaching process,
2. Continuous observation of pupil activities by a sighted employee is both reasonable and necessary.
3. Immediate observation of pupil error, physical appearance, and behavior is an essential part of the teaching process.
Therefore, it was proposed to allow employment of carefully selected teachers whose vision does not meet the health standard of the district. . . "
Upon receiving this letter the California Council asked that this matter be referred to the Board of Education, as the position taken by the Medical Officer was contrary to the law. The letter stated in part:
"The grounds for this appeal are as follows: The policy explained in the letters from Dr. Calvin is contrary to Section 1312 5 of the Education Code. That section makes it unlawful for a school district to refuse to engage a teacher on the grounds that he is blind if such blind teacher is able to carry out the duties of the position. The policy of the Los Angeles City School District, as expressed by Dr. Calvin, that sight is necessary to teaching except in special restricted situations, is contrary to the letter and the spirit of Education Code 13125. That section indicates clearly that the Legislature has determined that blind people are qualified as teachers and must be given an equal opportunity for employment as teachers, unless the particular teaching assignment requires normal sight. A blanket ruling that most teaching jobs within the district cannot be performed by a blind person is contrary to this requirement established by the Legislature.
"It is requested that the Board of Education reverse the policy as expressed by Dr. Calvin, and Mr. Acosta be granted full opportunity for a teaching job, as required by Education Code 13125."
This appeal was taken to the Board of Education not only in the hope of reversing the ruling by action of the Board but also because such an appeal to the Board of Education was a necessary prerequisite to the filing of a court suit. Congressman Edward Roybal of Los Angeles went to bat for Bob as did Roger Segure of the American Federation of Teachers.While the District was under the pressure of the appeal to the Board of Education, they were able to convince the Medical Officer to certify Bob, and within a short time they were also able to convince a fair-minded high school principal to hire him. He is teaching high school history and English to sighted children under the same circumstances as the sighted teachers in that school.
We are hopeful that this represents the beginning of a major change in policy of this school district that employs approximately 25,000 teachers. We feel sure that there will soon be more applications of blind teachers to test this optimistic theory.
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(An HEW Release)
A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics continues the presentation of data on binocular central visual acuity levels of adults, with and without usual refractive correction. This report amplifies the first-time national findings presented in an earlier report, "Binocular Visual Acuity of Adults: United States, 1960-1962, " by relating them to certain demographic characteristics such as geographic region, area of residence, education and income, and occupation. The data were collected by the Health Examination Survey through direct health examinations administered from October 1959 to December 1962 to a random probability sample of the country's civilian, noninstitutional population, aged 18-79 years. About 6, 700 persons were examined, representative of the total 111 million adults in the U. S. population.
Central visual acuity for distance vision and for near vision was measured for each examinee on a screening instrument which compared favorably with the commonly used Snellen-type wall charts and cards. The acuity scale, expressed in the Snellen notation, ranged from 20/10 to 20/200 for distance vision and from 14/7 to 14/140 for near vision. Acuity levels of at least 20/20 for distance vision and 14/14 for near vision are frequently referred to as "normal" vision. The visual acuity "score" for an examinee was that which corresponded to the smallest letters he was able to read with no more than the allowable number of errors.
In general, both distance and near visual acuity without correction was slightly better for Negro men and women than that for white men and women. With their usual correction, however, the proportion of whites who achieved the equivalent of "normal" vision was markedly greater than that for Negroes, reflecting a higher rate of refractive correction among white adults.
No consistent pattern of visual acuity differences was evident by geographic region: Northeast, South, and West. Slightly fewer urban than rural residents had visual acuity levels the equivalent of 20/20 or better, with or without correction.
As educational attainment and family income increased, the rate of adults testing 20/20 or better increased because of the positive association of these socio-economic factors with age.
The findings indicated that white-collar workers generally were more likely to have 20/20 visual acuity with their usual correction than were those in certain blue-collar occupations. The sample of examinees was too small to provide reliable data for employees in specific types of occupations within the various classes of industry.
The differences in populations and survey methodology used in this and other visual acuity studies made reliable comparison of the findings extremely difficult.
Copies of "Binocular Visual Acuity of Adults by Region and Selected Demographic Characteristics: United States, 1960-1962" (PHS Publication No. 1000, Series 11, No. 25) may be purchased for 30 cents from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.
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(Reprinted from DBPH NEWS, August, 1967)
Because of a desire on the part of the community for a more effective, coordinated system of providing recording services for blind and other physically handicapped students who cannot read conventional print, the Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped has established a Student Referral Center. Neal Ewers, a new staff member of the Division's Volunteer Services Section and a graduate of Lynchburg College in Virginia, is responsible for organizing the program, which will serve students of all educational levels.
As clearinghouse for the Washington Metropolitan area, the Center will maintain a file of volunteer groups and individuals who record books. Since different groups often specialize in taping certain types of subject matter, the recording specialties of these groups will also be noted. Instead of trying to reach all the recording groups and agencies to find out whether a particular book has already been recorded, a student need only call the Student Referral Center for this information now. If the book is available, he will be told where to request it. If the book has not been recorded, however, the Center will arrange to have it taped by one of the volunteer groups.
The Center will also provide tape-duplication services and some instruction in the use of equipment. For further information, call (area code 202) 882-5500, Ext. 38.
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by Evelyn Weckerly
The 1967 convention of the Michigan Council of the Blind was held on September 30 and October 1 at the Tuller Hotel in Detroit. Our South Oakland County chapter was the host affiliate.
The first session on Saturday afternoon, featured two speakers. One of these was Mildred Stern, Social Services Consultant, Metropolitan Society for the Blind, Detroit. She spoke briefly about the kinds of services available from her agency and its place in the community. Great emphasis was placed on the Metropolitan Society's work with and through other community agencies and on the importance of consultation: that is, consultation with these agencies and among staff members of the Society itself. Consultation with the organized blind was of little importance in all this. Our second speaker, John Taylor, discussed many problems with us. These included the building and strengthening of local affiliates, the Kalamazoo orientation center (for which funds have been appropriated to begin construction), and the Model White Cane Law. Because of its importance, much time was spent in a lively discussion of the last-mentioned item.
We had two speakers at the banquet. The first one was David McMann, Director of Echo Grove Camp. He spoke briefly about the summer camp program in which we have been involved during the last three years. The second speaker was again John Taylor. His banquet address began with a review of the accomplishments of the NFB since its founding in 1940 and of its founder and leader. It climaxed with a resounding call for rededication to our goals as Federationists, because the prospects for their realization are greater now than ever before.
The Sunday morning session concerned itself with business. We decided to raise funds through the selling of candy as is being done in Iowa, with net proceeds being split equally between the state and national treasuries. Therefore, much time was spent discussing the organization of the project. This was very ably led by Glen Sterling, who had come with John Taylor and who had handled the bookkeeping last year during our Iowa affiliate's fund-raising drive.
Three resolutions were brought before the membership, one of which was defeated. One of those which passed expressed approval of plans by the Division of Services for the Blind to establish a residential training program for blind tuners. The other expressed disapproval of the state agency's practice of selecting representatives of organizations of the blind to serve on its advisory board because it is undemocratic. After the passage of this resolution, Miles Gary was elected as our representative beginning in January, 1968.
Other business may be summed up briefly. Due to the resignation of our president, three changes were made in the Council's officers. Mary Louise Gooder became president; Edward Konieczki, first vice-president; and Dorothy Eagle was elected second vice-president. An amendment to the constitution was passed, giving the president power to appoint all committees. (Previously, committees had been elected by the board of directors.) The president was selected as our delegate to the 1968 NFB convention, with Miles Gary as alternate. Our 1968 state convention will be held in Muskegon.
We surely do appreciate the important contribution of Glen Sterling and John Taylor from Iowa. They brought with them enthusiasm and the determination to win, and they imbued the rest of us with that spirit. Certainly, much was accomplished which should bear fruit during the coming year.
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by Russell Kletzing
The Federation took another step toward financial stability with the completion of the purchase of Fedco, as authorized by the Los Angeles Convention. Final details of the closing were taken care of and more than a dozen documents exchanged at a September 30th Executive Committee meeting held at the Federation's offices in Berkeley, California. This event culminated nearly three months of hard work by attorneys and Federation and Fedco officials, which included an Executive Committee meeting held early in September by means of a conference telephone hook-up.
The result of this concerted effort is a very stable and bright financial future for the Federation. Fedco has been mailing neckties and some other items on behalf of the Federation for several years. As of now, however, it is part of the Federation. We are now doing our own mailing, and its success continues to increase slowly but steadily.
The key to the continued success of these mailings is the genius of Fedco Manager, Bernard Gerchen, who has, over the last fifteen years, spearheaded the raising of the great bulk of NFB funds. As part of the purchase arrangement, the Federation has signed Mr. Gerchen up to a long-term ennployment contract, with the right of renewal on behalf of the Federation.
Since the Los Angeles Convention authorized the purchase of Fedco, some people have had the impression that the NFB had suddenly and dramatically become wealthy, almost beyond measure. Although the NFB's financial position is gradually improving, expanded programs also produce increased needs for the funds. One example is the payment of expenses for one delegate from each of the affiliates to national conventions, which commenced this year. Also, for the next several years, the Federation will have to make substantial payments in installments covering the purchase of Fedco.
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by Dana Adams Schmidt
(Reprinted from The New York Times , Sept. 17, 1967)
LONDON--In a newspaper article he wrote in 1937, Aneurin Bevan, one of the great figures of the Labor party's radical left, told about a 15 -year -old collier boy in the Welsh mines who went home one day and proudly announced he was to get a raise of 3 shillings (42 cents) a week. The following week the board supervising unemployment assistance in the village reduced his father's unemployment allowance by an equivalent amount.
Mr. Bevan was illustrating the iniquity of one aspect of the "means test," under which, in the 1930' s, persons who had exhausted their unemployment insurance benefits might receive Government assistance only if they could prove they had exhausted their savings, that they had no other capital assets, and that their close relatives were not earning.
Mr. Bevan called it "a principle that eats like an acid into the homes of the poor." He said that "in the small rooms and around the meager tables of the poor a hell of personal acrimony and wounded vanities arise."
In a speech in Scotland a few weeks ago, Ray Gunter, the current Minister of Labor, took a new look at the "means test" and declared that the issue between selectivity and universality in the dispensation of social welfare benefits was "a proper subject for argument in the labor movement."
By asserting that the words "means test" should no longer be regarded by labor as dirty, because there was, after all, "no cold inhumanity in testing and probing the way and the manner in which vast sums are paid in such benefits," he made quite clear that as far as he was concerned right was on the side of selectivity. No one doubted that this was now also the view of the Labor Government and that Mr. Gunter's speech was meant to prepare the way.
Last week the Trades Union Congress meeting in Brighton took Mr. Gunter at his word and debated the issue. But Mr. Gunter, listening in the public gallery, must have been embarrassed. Brushing aside all the counsels of reason it voted overwhelmingly against selectivity on any terms.
The delegates to the T. U. C. run to solid maturity. The majority, aged 50 or 60, clearly still regarded "means test" as very dirty words.
It was no accident that the Labor party was guided after World War II in its effort to build a welfare state, by the dogma, as stated by Lord (then Sir) William Beveridge, that the entire British population should receive equal security benefits in return for universal and equal contributions.
Yet this principle is now being questioned by some Labor party leaders. There is good reason to believe that a majority of the Labor Government has now come around, rather grimly, to accept the need for selectivity instead of universality.
Such a profound change in social policy would be motivated not by any change in the socialist philosophy, but by the hard facts of the British economy in the 1960's, dramatized last week by the highest August unemployment figures since 1940--555, 081, and still rising.
Hard pressed on the one hand to avoid inflation that might undermine the value of the pound, the Government is hard pressed on the other to finance its far-flung welfare programs. Government economists have calculated that to fulfill existing commitments in the social services the cost will have to rise 60 per cent by 1975, as the population increases and the use of the services continues to expand; on the other hand, the gross national product cannot be expected to increase more than 40 per cent during that period.
The Government must therefore choose between greatly increasing taxation, cutting all welfare benefits or reducing benefits for some so as to leave more for the neediest. Since the first two alternatives are politically unacceptable, the third appears to be the only way out.
Douglas Houghton, one of the Labor Government's leading economic experts, worked it all out and put it to the Cabinet some months ago. He proposed to build on the fact that almost everyone is now used to paying income taxes according to a graduated scale in reply to detailed questions which are really a form of means test.
By expanding the questions to cover more factors, he argued, contributions could be more accurately extracted from those most able to pay and routed to those most in need in the entire Social Security System-pensions, rent rebates, disability payments and family allowances.
At the time the Cabinet rejected Mr. Houghton's plan. It even went on last month to deal with child poverty by universal increases in family allowances. These cost L83-million ($232. 4-million) and still left half of the poorest children below what the official sociologists call the poverty line. Critics maintained the country would have been better served fiscally and socially with a L 13 -million program selectively applied to the 160, 000 families with the lowest incomes.
The family allowance decision, it now appears, was probably the last flicker of the old dogma of universality and equality. Then while the T. U. C.'s vote was a sharp kick in the shins for the Labor Government from a group that might be regarded as the hard core of the Labor party, it is not likely that the Government will be more than fleetingly deterred. The T. U. C. vote against selectivity is no more likely to determine Government policy than its vote against Government policy on Vietnam. The Government knows and understands Labor feelings on these issues. But larger considerations must prevail.
In the long run, Government policy on selectivity in social benefits will be determined by Britain's economic necessities, and first of all by the need to protect the pound.
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(Reprinted from Committee for the Rights of the Disabled Newsletter September, 1967, Oakland, California)
At least one passenger elevator will be installed in the BART system (in the S. Berkeley Station) as a direct result of the campaign by the Ad Hoc Committee for Freedom of Mobility for the Disabled. But this victory is not the final goal of the organization, which represents several organizations, including CRD and the California Council of the Blind. The Co-Chairmen, Charles Collier (CRD) and Michael Yale (CCB), are pressing for inclusion of elevators in all BART station installations.
The issue of elevators in the BART system, which would be the first transit system of area-wide nature to include facilities for the disabled, was pressed by Collier, Yale, and Tom Cummins, before the BART Board, the day after the Berkeley City Council voted the elevator for their station and urged the BART officials to follow their lead. The TV coverage given this meeting was the most exposure problems of the disabled have received from the mass media in the Bay Area. It was also the first time TV had brought the specific BART situation to public notice, aside from the demonstration sponsored by the Committee in August. The delegation (and several others who did not testify before the Board) presented the disabled' s case for elevators to the BART Board, Sept. 14.
The campaign for elevators in the BART stations began with a demonstration at a construction site in Berkeley, August 2l. That protest, in which 20 disabled persons sat-in at a new BART excavation until representatives of the system agreed to meet with them, resulted in the appearance before the Board, and the first public airing of the elevator issue, in the three years it has been ignored by the BART management. This airing generated the public support which moved the Berkeley City Council to set aside $100,000 of city bond funds for installation of an elevator in the Ashby PI. Station. To compile its own figures on costs and feasibility, the Ad Hoc Committee has retained Thomas Collins, a civil engineer; to disprove BART claims of excessive costs, Mr. Collins cites the pneumatic-lift units installed in many local buildings at a fraction of the cost BART has quoted.
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by Rudolph Bjornseth
The convention of The Federated Blind of North Dakota was held Oct. 14 & 15 at the Gardner Hotel in Fargo. It was a highly informative and educational meeting.
Saturday morning, Kenneth Jernigan, First Vice President of the NFB discussed the Disability Insurance measure now pending in Congress, also the purchase of the FEDCO Corporation and what it will mean to the NFB. He also talked about the overall status of the organization. The convention worked Ken very hard but as usual he came back with a smile and worked still more.
Other speakers included Mr. Christianson, Chief of the Rehab Services for the Blind at Grand Forks; Mrs. Hougland, Director of the Day School for the Blind in the Fargo area.
Dr. Curtis Saunders, the FBND delegate to the Los Angeles convention, gave a comprehensive report on the National convention and other sidelights.
The Sunday sessions were devoted to reports and business with the exception of the afternoon period when the Mayor of Fargo, Herschel Lashkowitz spoke to the convention. Two resolutions were adopted: First, "Protesting the proposed cut back in rail passenger services," and second, "Requesting that space for braille books be furnished in the new City Library."
Dr. Curtis Saunders was elected secretary, and Mrs. Elsie Teigland treasurer.
The highlight of the convention was the banquet held Saturday evening with Miss Ada E. Mark as toastmistress. The main address was given by Kenneth Jernigan. He spoke on the subject of prejudices against the blind and it was a real EYE OPENER for the sighted guests. Short talks were given by Mr. Young, a Lion representative; Mr. Jeffrey, Superintendent of the School for the Blind; Mr. Haugen, Head of the Fargo Rehab District; Lorge E. Gotto, FBND president. Entertainment was furnished by the band from the School for the Blind at Grand Forks, Donna Iszler directing. Edith Sears led the group singing.
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by Cindy Lou Justice
There is something exciting happening in the secretarial field which was discussed briefly at the NFB Convention in Los Angeles. It is important to blind typists as it is revolutionizing our field.
I am speaking of MT/ST. MT/ST means Magnetic Tape Selectric Typewriter. The machine consists of a selectric typewriter which types its characters by their selection on a rotating ball rather than type bars; and a "console" which contains all the recording and play-back mechanisms and is built much like an IBM Computer. The typewriter and "console" are connected by a cable and operate as one unit.
The magnetic tape used in this machine is 100 feet in length and is contained in a wide, plastic cartridge. This cartridge is placed over a spindle on the right hand side of the machine, then a button is pushed, "loading" the tape into the machine to the point where recording can begin. The machine is then put into the record position.
The typewriter is operated like a regular typewriter until an error is made. After finding you have made an error, back-space to the point where the error was made, type what was intended and, since backspacing also moved back the tape, the strike -over will erase the error and correct the tape.
At the beginning of each item a "reference code" is recorded, numbering each item. This material can then be typed automatically in multiple copies at approximately 170 words per minute with errors corrected. Tapes can be stored and the material run again in as many copies as desired.
What can be done if errors are not caught while recording? Suppose the boss would like something changed and you are no longer in possession of the dictated material? How can you, as a blind person, correct these errors? These are good questions, and probably every blind person operating an MT/ST has a different answer; but for me, the simplest way has been to note in braille the nature of this error and its location, paragraph, line, and word. For example, suppose the error is in Paragraph 2, Line 3, Word 4. I play the letter through the third word on this line, push the "skip" button, which will wind the tape through the fourth word, type manually the correct word, and let the machine resume playing back.
Thus far I have told you of the Model 2 machine. There is also another, the Model 4, which uses two tapes. Because of its two tape capacity, it can perform operations which the Model 2 cannot. If, however, the material is in a form which the blind operator can use, (which is also essential for the success of a Model 2 operator), it should be possible for the blind typist to operate the Model 4. I received some of my MT/ ST training on one.
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On October 3, in appropriate ceremonies at the White House, President Johnson signed the rehabilitation amendments of 1967--Public Law 90-99. Less comprehensive than the changes wrought in 1965, the 1967 act still contains a number of significant amendments. These are summarized by the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare in the report accompanying the bill.
The six amendments would:
(1) Extend through the fiscal years 1969 and 1970 the appropriation authorization for grants to States for the basic program of vocational rehabilitation services for handicapped individuals under Section 2 of the act;
(2) Authorize 1 additional year of appropriations for support of statewide planning in vocational rehabilitation by the States, through June 30, 1968;
(3) Authorize the Secretary to enter into an agreement with a public or nonprofit private agency or organization for the establishment and operation of a National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults;
(4) Authorize a program of project grants to States for providing vocational rehabilitation services to handicapped migratory agricultural workers and members of their families;
(5) Require that vocational rehabilitation services be provided by State vocational rehabilitation agencies without regard to the place of residence of the handicapped individual; and
(6) Provide a fixed allotment percentage for the District of Columbia.
Particularly important to the blind is the abolition of residence requirements. This has been a prime objective of the NFB for many years. Almost singlehanded the NFB procured the earlier amendment permitting the states to abolish residence requirements if they desired to do so. Since only a minor fraction of the states availed themselves of this opportunity, further Congressional action became necessary. The 1967 act couches that in the following words: "effective July 1, 1969, provide that no residence requirement will be imposed which excludes from services under the plan any individual who is present in the State. "
The argument for taking this step --an argument equally applicable with respect to residence requirements in welfare--is succinctly set forth in the Report of the House Committee on Education and Labor to accompany H. R. 12257. The House Committee stated:
"H. R. 12257 further proposes that State plans for the basic Federal-State program provide for furnishing vocational rehabilitation services without requiring that the handicapped person meet a residence test.
"The need for vocational rehabilitation services really has no correlation to residence within the State in which the individual applies for service.
"A requirement that a person must have resided within the particular State for some specified period prior to application for service gives rise to many difficulties for the more mobile segments of the population.
"Residence requirements for vocational rehabilitation service also may well discourage handicapped individuals from moving to better job opportunities in States in which they have had no previous residence.
Appropriate employment is difficult for handicapped individuals to obtain under the best circumstances. They should not be confronted with greater difficulties because of residence requirements for rehabilitation services.
"Authorities in the vocational rehabilitation field are convinced that imposing a residence restriction on service is interfering with service to many of the people who need help the most, and that it frequently causes long delays which seriously reduce the chances of successful rehabilitation.
"This change would become effective July 1, 1969, unless some States choose to apply it earlier."
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by Charles A. Johnston
(Reprinted from The Star-Ledger, Sept. 28, 1967)
The blind woman who operates the newsstand at Asbury Park's busiest intersection is going out of business.
Young thieves are costing her more than her profits, she says, and their parents don't seeing to care.
Mrs. Esther Epamimonda said she is closing her stand at Emery Street and Cookman Avenue, because the stand has been broken into at least six times in the last six months.
Three times, she said, police caught the thieves and took them to the Monmouth County juvenile court. But, Mrs. Epamimonda said, she has never been repaid for her losses, and except for reprimands the suspects have not been punished by the court.
"The worst part is the attitude of the parents," she said. "Not one has ever called to apologize or try to make up for what their kids have done to me."
Mrs. Epamimonda is the widow of John F. (Freddie) Epamimonda, who ran a newsstand at the Monmouth County Courthouse for 20 years before starting his city business in 1955. He died three years ago.
Besides newspapers and magazines the stand sells cigarettes and candy, which were the main attraction for the thieves.
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by Donald C. Capps
The South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind, Inc. held its 11th annual convention at the Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston the weekend of September 22nd, 23rd and 24th. Upwards of 150 persons were in attendance. Featured speakers included Dr. Isabelle L. D. Grant, who addressed a special luncheon; Dr. F. Arthur Lown, Coordinator of the Education of Blind Children in the Atlanta Public School System; Dr. W. W. Vallotton, head of the Department of Ophthalmology, South Carolina Medical College; and Dr. Laurens Walker, Supt. of the South Carolina School for the Blind. Donald C. Capps, Second Vice President of the National Federation of the Blind, was the keynote Banquet speaker with his subject being "A Movement of Nobility. " Several special awards were presented at the banquet, with the Aurora Service Award going to Miss Doris McKinney, sighted member of the South Carolina Commission for the Blind for the role she played in acquiring a suitable director. The Donald C. Capps Award, given annually to a blind person in South Carolina deemed to have made the greatest contribution to the well-being of the blind, was presented to Mrs. Mildred Kirkland, President of the Charleston Chapter. The Jack Morrison Memorial Award was presented to Hazel Varnedore, member of the Columbia Chapter. Dr. Fred L. Crawford, Director of the S. C. Commission for the Blind, headed up a special panel which discussed programs and progress of the newly-established Commission. Dr. Sam M. Lawton, Distinguished Aurora Club Founder and Chairman of the South Carolina Commission for the Blind, also addressed the Convention. The business session featured special reports, resolutions and the election of two new Board Members. These included Douglas Wyatt of Charleston and Miss Gale Martin from Spartanburg, S. C. A dramatic moment to the Convention featured a cane demonstration by Mrs. Onnie Barham, recently blinded school teacher who received her mobility training under the South Carolina Commission for the Blind.
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by Werner Wiskari
(Reprinted from The New York Times, Oct. 19, 1967)
STOCKHOLM, Oct. 18 --Two Americans and a Swede, all authorities on how the eye passes its images to the brain, were selected here today as joint winners of the 1967 Nobel Prize in Physiology of Medicine.
The Americans are 63-year-old Haldan Keffer Hartline, professor of biophysics at the Rockefeller University in New York, and George Wald, 60, professor of biology at Harvard.
The Swedish laureate is Ragnar Granit, 66, now in Britain as a visiting professor of neuro-physiology at St. Catherine's College, Oxford.
He is a member of the faculty of the Royal Caroline Institute, which makes the annual Nobel Medical Awards, and is head of its research organization, the Nobel Institute for Neurophysiology.
The three professors were honored "for their discoveries concerning the primary chemical and physiological visual processes in the eye."
They will share the prize money, which this year amounts to the equivalent of about $61,700.
The Caroline Institute hailed Professor Wald as "one of the world's greatest authorities on the biochemistry of perception."
Speaking for the institute. Prof. Carl Gustaf Bernhard said Professor Wald's primary contribution was toward the understanding of how light activates the photo -receptive cells in the retina, causing molecular readjustments.
Professor Wald was able to show how the substance rhodopsin, which is contained in receptor cells called rods, breaks down when light hits the retina.
This breakdown, it was explained, activates the receptors and the rhodopsin is built up again during periods of darkness.
Professor Wald turned toward the field of physiology of perception while he was at Columbia University where he obtained a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1932. He has been a professor of biology at Harvard since 1948.
Professor Hartline, the biophysicist, recorded by electronic means the electrical impulses from nerve cells and fibers when light strikes the retina. He studied the impulse pattern representing the message that was being passed to the brain by single visual cells.
He was able to explain, the institute said, how the eye, by sharpening contrasts, was able to differentiate form and movement.
Like Professor Wald, Professor Hartline was already prominent in his field in the nineteen-thirties. He joined the Rockefeller Institute, the forerunner of the university, in 1953.
The third laureate, Professor Granit, a Swedish subject who was born in Finland, was hailed by the Caroline Institute for his early work in color reception research.
The institute said he was the first to show how different neural units in the retina reacted to different parts of the spectrum.
On the basis of this, he concluded that there were three types of cones or color receptors in the retina covering different parts of the spectrum. The color message going to the brain, therefore, would be the result of a mixing of the impulses from the different types of cones.
Professor Granit has been involved in color perception work since the nineteen-twenties while in Finland where he studied and later served as professor of physiology in the University of Helsinki.
Professors Wald and Hartline are the 31st and 32nd Americans to be chosen as winners of the medical prize since the first Nobel awards were made in 1901.
Professor Granit is the third Swede to be honored. Last year the Institute cited two Americans for their cancer research--Professors Francis Peyton Rouse of Rockefeller University and Charles Brenton Huggins of the Ben May Laboratory in Chicago.
The three laureates chosen today were among about 160 scientists who had been nominated this year.
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by Mary Ellen Howard
(Reprinted from NAPH National Newsletter, Fall 1967)
Stefan Florescu of Detroit was re-elected NAPH president of the largest convention in the organization's nine-year history. The annual meeting, held July 31-August 3, 1967, in Charleston, W. Va. , was attended by delegates from 70 per cent of the chapters, both areas, and all the national officers.
A major outcome of the convention was approval for the establishment of a NAPH-controlled foundation "to plan, finance, construct, operate, maintain and improve housing and related facilities and services. . .(for) the physically handicapped and their families. " Up to $2,000 was authorized to begin the program.
Meeting concurrently, the NAPH Executive Committee accepted Pittsburgh Chapter's invitation to meet in Pittsburgh in April, 1968.
Reaffirming NAPH's position opposing any change in National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week, the convention adopted several resolutions urging Congress to retain the word "physically" in the title. Other resolutions:
*referred to the legislative committee a proposal to establish a Special Congressional Committee on the Physically Handicapped;
*called for working with the National Federation of the Blind on matters of mutual concern;
*urged that a census of the physically handicapped be included in the 1970 U. S. census;
*resolved to honor NAPH 10-year members at the 1968 convention.
NAPH's constitution and by-laws were amended to:
*provide for life membership (dues, $100--split between the chapter and the national treasury);
*permit payment of officer expense vouchers submitted within 60 days;
*require a candidate for the national presidency to have served at least one prior term as a national officer.
Alfred D. Hagle of the Library of Congress Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, in addressing the delegates, noted that NAPH is in a large measure responsible for passage of the law which provides that "talking books" may be used by certain physically handicapped persons. He asked for ideas in developing recording equipment to meet the needs of the disabled and invited inquiries.
A total of 33 persons were nominated for the 14 national offices -- eight incumbents won re-election. Enlarged standing committees were developed, and additional positions were established. Gerald Carey of Toledo was named assistant to the treasurer; John Rogers of Columbus was re-appointed librarian; Marlow Munns will continue as historian and custodian.
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(Reprinted from The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 24, 1967)
Blind workers grow more militant in pressing their job demands.
A strike against the St. Louis Lighthouse for the Blind is in its eight month; the workshop refuses to recognize demands for a union. Blind workers in a Berkeley, Calif., workshop recently picketed the state capital in Sacramento protesting Gov. Reagan's veto of a bill setting wage standards for handicapped workers. Blind employees say some sheltered workshops exploit them.
But the NLRB has refused to order workshops to bargain with handicapped worker groups; one ruling held such workers are legally subjects of rehabilitation rather than employees. The National Federation of the Blind pushes a bill in Congress that would amend the law to force workshops to recognize unions of handicapped workers.
In the St. Louis dispute, the Machinists Union lends support to the blind workers seeking union recognition.
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by Victor Gonzales
The fourteenth annual convention of the West Virginia Federation of the Blind, Inc. was held on August 19-20 at the Daniel Boone Hotel with the Charleston affiliate serving as hosts.
The convention was preceeded by a quarterly meeting between representatives of the "Federation" and DVR which was held Friday morning, August 18, 1967. Since November, 1959, representatives of the two groups have been holding quarterly meetings.
On Friday afternoon, August 18, 1967, "Federation" members coming to Charleston for the convention were taken on a tour of the Rehabilitation Center at Institute a short distance from Charleston.
On Friday evening the host affiliate held a social hour for the out-of- town guests.
The annual convention started with a breakfast meeting of the Board of Directors at 8:00 a. m. followed by a meeting of the resolutions committee. The convention was called to order by President Guy Parks at 9:00 a.m. The morning session was well attended as a report of the credentials committee stated that eighty-one persons had registered as of 9:30 a, m. A partial report of the resolutions committee was also approved by the members present. Mr. Howard Barton, Supervisor of the sheltered workshop at Institute, gave a report. As indicated by Mr. Barton, only the general activity of a workshop was being carried on at present with the manufacture of pallets, engineering stakes, pop box repair, blueprinting and drafting, some printing, furniture repair, and automobile body repair. It is hoped that some drygoods work will soon be started and other contracts are in the making but nothing definite as of that date. Mr. Harley Reger, Supervisor, State Services for the Blind and Deaf, also reported on improved services that DVR had to offer for the blind since the appointment of Thorald S. Funk as the new Director of DVR on August 1, 1966. Some of the improved services provided the blind during the past year are: A counselor in each of the state's five districts responsible for the blind clients in his district. Two of these counselors are blind. Employment of a full-time counselor and activities of daily living at the center at Institute. This man is also blind, as is one of the work evaluation counselors at the center.
The Saturday afternoon session was called to order by the president, and committee reports occupied the major part of the program. The annual meeting of the West Virginia Camping Association for Blind Children was a part of the program. The "Federation" has taken a keen interest in this organization and has contributed generously towards its success. The main purpose of this organization is to provide a summer camping session for the blind children of West Virginia.
The highlight of the convention was the banquet which was held on Saturday evening in the ballroom of the Daniel Boone hotel. One hundred twenty-five members and guests were present. The highlight was the awarding of the C. C. Cerone scholarship to Daniel Leon White. This award is worth $100 and is presented annually by the "Federation" in memory of the late president. The Charles Monfradi membership award worth $25 to the Morgantown affiliate was for obtaining the most active members during the twelve -month period preceding June 1, 1967. This award is given in memory of our late president, Charles Monfradi. The Honorable Robert Bailey, Secretary of State for the State of West Virginia, addressed the group and expressed his appreciation to the members for inviting him to attend. He was preceded to the speaker's platform by John N. Taylor representing the National Federation of the Blind. John gave a most inspiring off-the-cuff speech. His topic was "What we have done in the past, what we are now doing, and where we are going in the future?" This was the first visit since 1959 for a representative of the National Federation to an annual convention of the WVFB, and the members are most appreciative to Dr. tenBroek for sending John Taylor. During Mr. Taylor's address he also discussed the Model White Cane Law and that, too, was a timely topic as Secretary of State Bailey assured the members that he would see to it that the Governor's call would include a new White Cane Law for West Virginia.
The Sunday sessions were mostly reports of committees and the election of officers. Officers elected for the coming year were: President, Robert L. Hunt; 1st Vice-President, Guy Parks; 2nd Vice-President, J.I. Martin; Secretary, Paul Hughes; Financial Secretary, Evelyn Milhorn; Treasurer, E. Sid Allen; Chaplain, Roy Hoffman. Five of seven of the elected members are blind. The 1968 convention city is Huntington. The convention will be held the month following the annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind.
Resolutions adopted during the 1967 annual convention included the establishment of a permanent Charles Monfradi Membership Award; the endorsement of the camping program of the W. Va. Camping Association for Blind Children by donating $525, if needed, during the next year; requesting the state legislature to set a $75 per month minimum monthly grant for the recipients of welfare, with additional grants if need is indicated; that the membership immediately contact their representatives in Congress requesting their support of H. R. 3064 and S. 1681; and that the members give their assistance to the administrative staff at the School for the Blind with their plans for the school centennial which will be held during the 1970-71 school year.
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WASHINGTON--Sen. Javits disclosed that he will seek $10,000,000 in federal funds for a pilot project to test the advantages of a guaranteed income as an alternative to public welfare allotments.
Such a program, if determined desirable, Javits said, could serve as a "partial replacement of our present panoply of welfare aid and rehabilitation aids."
The most attractive approach to the notion of automatic, guaranteed income, the Senator said, is the so-called children's allowance, now provided by more than 40 countries to offset the costs of raising children.
With such a program in this country, Javits said, "the provision of services is fully separated from income payments--a cherished goal of social welfare professionals--and the stigma of welfare is substantially, if not completely eliminated because payments are automatic, and because others than those in the low-income category receive the allowances.
Javits disclosed his plans in testimony prepared for delivery before the Senate Finance Committee, holding hearings on the Administration's Social Security bill.
PALO ALTO, Calif. (UPI) --Medical researchers at Stanford University can now measure the slightest hearing loss in the youngest infants.
Dr. F. Blair Simmons disclosed how computers aided in a hearing test in the adoption of a six-month-old infant by a couple in Redwood City, Calif., who wanted assurance the child could hear.
Dr. Simmons explained that the new method picked up the brain's electrical responses to sound. With the baby mildly sedated and asleep, electrodes are pasted on the infant's scalp to monitor brain electrical activity before, during and after the test is given.
(From The New York Times)
Dr. Franklin H. Perkins, 87, a director of Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown and a descendant of the man for whom the school was named, died September 27, 1967.
Mrs. Marcia Golde, a staff member at Winnetka's Hadley School for the Blind, recently completed transcribing into braille markers to be used on the Roaring Fork Braille Trail near Aspen, Colo. The trail tells blind and deaf-blind persons what natural growths surround them at points along the path.
Harry M. Talbot of Marshfield, Mo., has been appointed superintendent of the Missouri School for the Blind, succeeding Maurice Olsen who retired.
Professors Joseph W. Wiedel and Paul A, Groves of the Department of Geography at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, 20740, are currently working under a grant from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Vocational Rehabilitation Administration, to investigate various aspects of the problem of tactual graphics for the blind. They have developed orientation and mobility maps which have met with some considerable success. At present they are working with neighborhood maps where instead of conventional mapping of streets they have indicated the presence or absence of sidewalks. The project is at the stage where test groups of various blind subjects in different age groups (with ability to read braille) play an essential part in the progress of the research. The testing materials can be sent through the mails to anyone who is interested in participating.
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by Jacobus tenBroek
An Address Delivered at the Empire State Association of the Blind Convention
New York City, September 2, 1967
For more than a quarter of a century now, a nation-wide federation of blind people has flourished in our Republic--an extraordinary people's movement made up of dozens of affiliates like this one, reaching from coast to coast, all of them welded together by a common need and a dominant collective purpose.
That purpose of the organized blind has never been a mystery. It has been to forge an instrument of self-expression and social action for a group of Americans traditionally as disorganized as they were disadvantaged- -as voiceless as they are sightless.
We have never deviated from that purpose. We have never had to. Our Federation has become truly the voice of the blind--not just of the professional blind, or of the sheltered blind, or of the pensioned blind, but of all blind Americans.
Nor have we halted at the plateau of self-expression. We have become a vehicle of action and participation at the centers of decision-making--an engine that has powered a social movement of striking effectiveness and historic achievement.
Both of those objectives --self-expression and active participation--were given their classic formulation just ten years ago in the measure we all know as the Kennedy Bill, introduced into the Congress by a junior Senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy. That bill sought to do two things: to guarantee to the blind the right to organize for self-expression, and to make it possible for them to be consulted through their own organizations in the development of official programs affecting their lives.
The Kennedy Bill has had a remarkable history. It lost the congressional battle but won the political war. In fact it scored a great moral victory and social triumph: it brought new recognition and respect to the cause of the organized blind, and it routed the forces of resentment and retaliation which some national agencies had marshalled against them.
Never again, since that fateful encounter in the halls of Congress, have the organized blind been threatened with extinction or openly challenged as to their right to be in the field. That right, and its attendant prerogatives, were established in the very act of their assertion--in the course of the struggle to acquire statutory protection.
For this reason the Kennedy Bill, a decade after its supposed "defeat," stands as a graphic symbol of the power of self-organization in the political process of a free society. For, as the organized blind have long since learned, it is not enough to have the right to speak; that right is an empty formality unless it carries with it the right to be heard. It is only then that monologue turns into dialogue--and that demands are converted into statutes.
In our tripartite system of government there are three focal points at which demands are presented, petitions heard, and grievances redressed. They are those of the legislature, the executive administration, and the courts. I shall not speak here of the executive arm and its vast appointive agencies, with whom our relations in the past have been so often embattled and frustrated. Rather I wish to call attention to our developing dialogue with the remaining two branches of the governmental process.
Even before the drama of the Kennedy Bill and its hearings --long years before --the National Federation of the Blind enjoyed a cordial and productive relationship with the members and committees of Congress. It was there, in 1950, that the first breakthrough occurred against the means test--in the form of a limited exemption of earned income for recipients of Aid to the Blind. It is in Congress that that breakthrough has since been progressively widened. It is in Congress that the thrust of our movement, and the force of our conviction, have been most consistently felt.
The reasons for this effective relationship are not far to seek. It is not merely that our cause is just and our hearts are pure. It is also because our Federation is representative, democratic and nationwide--and because our voice is strong. Congress is the marketplace of competing political claims; and in that pragmatic context it is almost correct to argue (in paraphrase of Justice Holmes) that the truth of an idea or a viewpoint is its ability to get itself expressed and accepted in the marketplace. In the legislative struggle the race is not always indeed to the swiftest or the mightiest; but it is never to the impotent or silent. It is most often to the vigilant, the alert, and the articulate.
Justice Murphy of the United States Supreme Court, in a famous labor relations case of 1940, described the role of communication by affected groups in determining the character of legislation: "Free discussion," he wrote, "concerning the conditions in industry and the causes of labor disputes appears to us indispensable to the effective and intelligent use of the processes of popular government to shape the destinies of modern industrial society."
Implicit in Justice Murphy's assertion is the notion that if one examines the output of Congress or of the state legislatures, over a period of time, he will observe within the pattern of prohibitions, provisions and pronouncements a rough reflection of the relative strength of the active forces in the community, the felt presence to a greater or lesser degree of labor and management, agriculture and industry, metropolis and village. This is the case because of the free communication of interests and viewpoints between the groups and the legislators --communication which enables the one to express and the other to assess particular values in the community. On this theory, the channels of communication must be kept open and new and effective modes of communication, such as picketing by organized labor or street demonstrations by organized minorities, must be integrated into the constitutional framework of guarantees concerning freedom of speech and petition for redress of grievances.
As it stands, however, there is a critical flaw in this theory of political pluralism, of the balance of forces to be obtained from the interplay of the active interests in the field. It leaves out of consideration and omits from the countenance of government, the very section of the population which is of greatest concern to us: namely, the deprived, the poor, the physically disadvantaged, those who are by tradition and almost by definition the least organized, least articulate and least potent of social groups. If the deprived and disadvantaged of America are disorganized and scattered, made dumb by ignorance and bowed down by weakness, unheard across the gulf created by the culture of poverty and unseen over the barrier of stereotypes of disability, then their interests can be registered in the processes of government only as they find reflection in the concern of others who are organized, articulate and sympathetic. Where they cannot speak for themselves --as in the case of the mentally defective or the mentally retarded--it is important that there be others to speak for them. Let him who assumes to speak for others, however, consider carefully the nature of his self-appointment, the extent to which he truly knows the needs and desires of the group represented, and, above all, whether the group cannot speak for itself. Indeed, the chief responsibility of those who would speak for the poor, the deprived, the disadvantaged, the disabled, the rejected, the politically mute, is rather to help them speak for themselves. Such groups must be provided with the opportunity, stimulated with the motive, and developed with the capacity to organize themselves for purposes of self-expression, to pull their own weight and articulate their own interests in the political marketplace. When this has been done, more is accomplished than the mere addition of another voice to the chorus of competing interests. A channel of communication is thereby opened across the cultures and the classes, an avenue of participation and expression which functions as a safety valve for the constructive release of frustration and discontent, as a route around riot and violent explosion, and as an agency of social integration and individual therapy. All this we know out of the depths of our own experiences and the triumph of our own movement.
In reforming the statutes of welfare and eroding the foundations of the poor law, as well as in creating them, the legislatures of the states and nation have long played a significant role. But their contributions have lately been overshadowed by the remarkable emergence of the third branch of government --the courts--as an ally of progressive action and an instrument of social change.
The legal and judicial system has, to be sure, more often in history been regarded as the agent of conservatism and consolidation than as the champion of change. This is no doubt as it should be; and there is much in our Anglo-American heritage that all of us would wish to see preserved intact and unmodified. Winston Churchill, perhaps the greatest conservative of the 20th century, distilled the essence of that tradition in a single paragraph of his famous speech of 21 years ago at Fulton, Missouri:
". . . we must never cease to proclaim in fearless tones the great principles of freedom and the rights of man, which are the joint inheritance of the English-speaking world, and which, through Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Habeas Corpus, trial by jury and the English Common Law find their most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence. All this means that the people of any country have the right and should have the power by constitutional action, by free, unfettered elections, with secret ballot, to choose or change the character of form of government under which they dwell, that freedom of speech and thought should reign, that courts of justice independent of the executive, unbiased by any party, should administer laws which have received the broad assent of large majorities or are consecrated by time and custom. Here are the title deeds of freedom, which should lie in every cottage home."
These "title deeds of freedom" are, however, not static documents but living and livid demands, requiring ever new extensions and interpretations with each generation. Moreover, the numerous rights of man and of the American citizen are not all, or always, mutually congenial; they are as often in tension as in balance. The right of property and the right of equal protection; the right of a fair trial and the right of a free press; the right of an individual to free speech and the right of the community to preserve order. . . these are a few of the conflicts among the "title deeds" which call for creative accommodation and adaptation to changing needs and circumstances.
Whatever may be said of the Supreme Court and the lesser courts in past generations, ever since the mid-1950's they have become a great national forum--indeed the principal forum--for the debate of social issues and the resolution of cultural crises. Leaving far behind them the passive function of adjudication, the courts and their officers, lawyers, acting singly and in concert, have positively entered the arena of social action, sometimes themselves instigating social change, sometimes giving their sanction and support to changes set in motion by others. It is certainly too much to say as some have said, that the judges are shaking the foundations of our system. They are rather doing all in their power to preserve that system by making it responsive to the dynamic forces of the times, by bringing its benefits to ever larger portions of the population and by restoring its basic democratic machinery.
Let's look at the court record--or at least at that part of it which speaks to our collective condition. We may put aside with a mere mention the historic series of decisions by the United States Supreme Court which has inspired and sustained the civil rights movement of our times, though those decisions have revitalized concepts of equality and equal protection of the laws and applied them to a publicly conferred benefit. We may also pass by the courageous performance of the high court in the area of legislative reapportionment, though in that performance the Court emphatically reaffirmed the right of all to participate in the process and machinery of government through which decision-makers are selected and decisions made that affect their welfare. We may also touch only lightly the course of decisions in the United States Supreme Court equalizing the scales of justice by granting to poor defendants the same protections and privileges that could always be purchased by the prosperous.
Moved by the same spirit of reform towards equal justice, the federal courts and state courts have recently begun to tackle some of the evils of the welfare system. On June 19, last, a three-judge United States district court sitting in Connecticut struck down as unconstitutional the state's residence requirement for public assistance. On June 28, another three-judge United States district court did the same in Delaware. Since that time, United States appellate courts in the District of Columbia and San Francisco have reversed lower court decisions holding that welfare residence requirements present no substantial federal constitutional issue and directing the creation of three -judge constitutional courts to take up the question. Still four other courts have such cases before them.
Three years ago the Supreme Court of California, in the landmark Kirchner case, struck a blow at the hoary doctrine of relatives' responsibility with regard to certain institutionalized recipients of public assistance. More recently, the California court handed down another decision equally constructive and far-reaching. In vindicating the five-year battle of Benny Parrish, a partially blind caseworker of Alameda County, the state court proclaimed that welfare recipients do not by virtue of that status abandon their constitutional rights--notably the Fourth Amendment right of protection against unwarranted intrusions into the home and the related right of privacy.
The beginning of welfare, the courts are declaring, cannot mean the end of constitutional well-being. Thus a court in New York has ruled that the welfare laws cannot be interpreted to authorize the imprisonment of recipients who refuse to work under terms imposed by the welfare department; for any other ruling would be in violation of the 13th Amendment and of the Federal Anti -Peonage Act prohibiting involuntary servitude --a legal euphemism for slavery. Also in New York, but not yet at the stage of final decision is the case brought by Prof. Edwin Lewinson to void discrimination against the blind with respect to their right to serve on juries.
Meanwhile, across the state border, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in the Argo case has found that "freedom of mobility is as much a fundamental right of American citizenry as freedom of speech" and that "even the ill and the infirm, to the extent that they can ambulate, may not be imprisoned in their homes." In upholding the rights of blind pedestrians to walk abroad as others do. Justice Musmanno, in that epoch making decision related the struggle of the blind for equal justice to the larger contemporary movement to extend such protection to the poor. His vigorous words are worth recalling:
"There was a time, " he said, "when the law offered no protection to the masses of people; only the lords of the manors, the counts and dukes had rights which the law deigned to uphold. In time the masses sloughed off their chains as serfs, but the law continued to regard only the wealthy as worthy of receiving its mantle of protection. . .
"Eventually this changed too," the Justice continued, "and the law gave status to the masses and the poor, but nothing could be done for the maimed, the crippled, the blind, the deaf and the epileptics. They were only half made up, and it was even assumed that evil spirits abode within them--thus, they were beyond the pale of the law and the courts.
"However, step by step," said, the court, "the law has progressed toward embracing the tenets of humanity, and so we find in the twentieth century that all people, regardless of color, religion, ethnic origin, financial or physical stature, have the right to stand equally with the mighty, the rich, the affluent, and the giants, at the bar of our courts."
Conceding some rhetorical license on the part of Justice Musmanno, his eloquent summation is not far off the mark. The steps of legal progress have been fast and frequent. For the first time in our national history, the poor, the halt and the blind are beginning to come under the protection of the Constitution.
Whence this giant stride of justice? How has the reform in the rule of law come about? The answers are complex. They relate to many things: to the shifting balance of power among the coordinate branches of the government; to the shifting balance of personalities in the courts, particularly in the high courts; to the shifting balance of forces, factors and groups in the national community; to the shifting sense of social consciousness and moral values in the entire population; to the myriad ways in which people think the times are out of joint. Oddly enough, the answers also relate to a simple mechanical fact about the nature of courts and to a complex non-mechanical fact about the nature of law.
Courts are to some extent and in a strange way a passive forum. They are dependent upon others not in their control to bring cases to them for decision. They cannot act on their own volition. They cannot themselves go out and gather the cases required in the development of particular fields of law. They can only sit and wait for someone to enter their doors bearing a complaint or other paper which will set their machinery in motion. Who serves that function in welfare? Who are the individuals, groups, institutions, with motivation or responsibility to initiate, develop, sort and prosecute cases which systematically test and protest the inadequate and detrimental features of the welfare system on constitutional, statutory, policy and pragmatic grounds? This happens almost spontaneously in fields where great organized economic interests are at stake, such as, for example, corporations, and where lawyers abound and flourish. In them, the courts are not only a last but a first resort and their surveillance of the field has an unremitting impact. Welfare is not such a field. The poor are not a likely clientele for lawyers who wish to prosper. In the absence of lawyers, there has been an absence of cases. It's just that simple.
Not only have financially-motivated lawyers been missing; so have cause-minded organizations. There has been nothing in welfare comparable to say the NAACP using the courts to protect the interests and rights of colored people or the various civil liberties unions around the country using the courts to protect civil liberties generally. For half a century, the NAACP has perceived the utility, shaped and financed the instrumentality and developed the technique for engaging the courts in helping to solve the problems of the Negro. Brown vs. Board of Education, the civil rights revolution, and the role of the courts and the NAACP in sponsoring, promoting and conducting it are the fruit of that conception and a significant part of history of the last 15 years. As in civil rights, so in civil liberties. The work of the civil liberties unions has been only less spectacular than the work of the NAACP. In both cases, private, voluntary organizations have been established by interested individuals and groups for the very purpose of making available lawyers and their protective activity to individuals in need thereof because of invasions of their civil rights and liberties. The poverty, isolation and weakness of the victim thereby ceased to render him impotent, placing the law and the courts within his reach. Staffs of lawyers with the specialized knowledge, with special motivation, and freedom from dependence on fees, were provided.
Within the past few years, beginnings have been made in supplying lawyers to the poor and the deprived. The neighborhood legal office and the whole effort of the OEO and, to a lesser extent, of HEW, is one such beginning. Foundation and university supported projects designed to stimulate and conduct test cases, such as the welfare law project at the Columbia Social Welfare School are another. Conscious of the relationship between problems of race and problems of poverty in our society, the NAACP is also moving into this area.
With respect to the problems of the blind, the NFB must be counted in this company; indeed, we had entered into the field long before most of the others mentioned, though their presence has vastly enhanced our work. Other organizations of the deprived and disadvantaged are beginning to walk in our footsteps. The welfare poor, so-called, are no longer silent. We may take just pride in the fact that this is so and that we were the first to organize and to break silence among this once mute population. We have broken silence not only with respect to legislatures and administrations, but -with respect to the courts. In various ways, we have stimulated, guided, aided, abetted, and supported litigation to establish the rights of the blind and otherwise disabled and to gain judicial protection for them. In several of the landmark cases of the last three years -- Argo , Kirchner and Parrish , for example --our role has been significant if indeed it has not been determinative. In this field, we claim for ourselves a role as friend of the court whether we file an amicus curiae brief or not.
To pursue these ends and employ these techniques through organizational activity has now been declared a part of the constitutional right of speech and association by the United States Supreme Court. "In the context of NAACP objectives, " said the court in a recent case, "litigation is not a technique of resolving private differences; it is a means for achieving the lawful objectives of equality of treatment by all government, federal, state and local. . . It is thus a form of political expression. . . Under the conditions of modern government, litigation may well be the sole practicable avenue open to a minority to petition for redress of grievances."
This is talk about lawyers, about getting into court. Once we get there, what do we find? Do not the judges share the attitudes of the rest of society about the deprived and particularly about the blind? Does not the law, after all, represent a balance of the articulate forces in the community, a balance struck without the weight of the deprived having been lifted onto the scales? To answer these questions about the substantive nature of the law requires a searching reexamination of the law itself. Such a reexamination is primarily the work of scholars. In this area, too, a beginning has recently been made, though much still remains to be done. Scholars have been writing articles, attending conferences, preparing papers, exploring various aspects of the topics. Seminars have sprung up in many law schools. Gradually, through these efforts it is becoming clear that still today we have a law of the poor and deprived; that many of the substantive rules of that law emerge from and are dependent on the welfare system; that the rules in many respects are harsh, discriminatory and unsuited to the ends of a welfare system; that other rules, while ostensibly uniform and evenhanded as to all classes of the population, fall upon the poor and deprived with unusual rigor; that, indeed, in many areas there are grave questions of constitutionality having to do especially with the 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States and comparable provisions in the state constitutions.
Here again, in this field of scholarly reinvestigation and reinterpretation, the work of the NFB has been significant. Indeed, it is not too much to say that it has been pioneering. We have conducted, supported and stimulated research and writing into the law of the poor and deprived from the beginning of our existence in 1940. Some of this work has provided the foundation for many of the law suits of today and of the past three years, as well as many earlier law suits that did not attain such general importance.
We are in a better position than most to know that the old law of the poor and the deprived was a deadly weapon against change. The new law, product not only of legislation but of the courts and of the friends of the court, old and new, will be a living force for progress --if we have the will and the wisdom to make it so. Let us devote ourselves to that endeavor.
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