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
Printed at 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708
THE BRAILLE MONITOR
Published monthly in braille and distributed free to the blind by the National Federation of the Blind. President: Kenneth Jernigan, 524 Fourth Street, Des Moines, Iowa, 50309.
Inkprint edition produced and distributed by the National Federation of the Blind.
EDITOR: Perry Sundquist, 4651 Mead Avenue, Sacramento, California, 95822. Associate Editor: Hazel tenBroek, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California, 94708.
News items should be sent to the Editor.
Address changes should be sent to 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California, 94708.
WHY SHOULD THE BLIND BE GIVEN A PREFERENCE IN THE VENDING STAND PROGRAM?
by Kenneth Jernigan
POST OFFICE POLICY ON VENDING STAND PROGRAMS
by W. F. Patterson
POST OFFICE POLICY REGARDING ADEQUATE INCOME FOR BLIND STAND OPERATORS--FACT OR FICTION?
by Kenneth Jernigan
THE VENDING STAND PROGRAM IN THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
by J. Herman Moore
VIEWS OF NFB ON PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE RANDOLPH-SHEPPARD ACT--H. R. 18410
TWO WHO HAVE GONE
by Mary E. Switzer
READER SERVICE: ROUND ONE
by James Gashel
THE ROAD AHEAD
by Robert Acosta
THE VERY BEST TEACHERS ARE
by Dr. Max Rafferty
BLIND TEACHER WINS FIRST ROUND
Weckerly v. Mona Shores Board of Education
I SUCCEED TO BE A UNIVERSITY LECTURER
by Ved Prakash Varma
SOUTH CAROLINA CONVENTION
BOOK SELECTION FOR THE BLIND--COMMITTEES AND COMMENTS
THE CONCEPT OF REHABILITATION--THE BLIND
by Capt. H. J. M. Desai
GOVERNOR'S PLAN MISSES THE POINT
LETTER FROM A READER IN GREECE
THE RIGHT TO LIVE IN THE WORLD LEADS TO JAIL
LEADING CAUSES OF BLINDNESS
by John A. Berg, M. D.
VISUALLY HANDICAPPED BECOME RADIO OPERATORS
SATURDAY SEMINAR IN CEDAR RAPIDS
LEADING THE BLIND
by Dr. Ray Penix
WHAT IS MEDIC ALERT?
by Kenneth Jernigan
On July 9, 1968, Congressman Dominick V. Daniels and others introduced amendments to the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Act. The Bill had good features, but it also contained extremely detrimental provisions. On September 10 John Nagle and I went to see Dan Krivit, Counsel, House Select Subcommittee on Education, to discuss H. R. 18410. The minority counsel for the Subcommittee was also present, and we spent a very profitable two hours.
John and I came away with the assurance that there will be no action on vending stand legislation during the remainder of the present Congress and that the whole matter of rehabilitation and related programs for the blind will be given consideration when the new Congress meets. We were also assured that the views of the Federation would be fully heard. The Federation statement concerning H. R. 18410 is reprinted in full in this issue of the Monitor.
One interesting aspect of our conversation with the majority and minority counsels had to do with the broad question of the basic concepts of the vending stand program and the goals of rehabilitation. The minority counsel said to me something to this effect: "You are arguing that the blind can compete on equal terms with others and that what they really need is merely training and opportunity. If this is so why should the blind be given a preference in the vending stand program at all? Why should they not compete (or bid competitively) with others for the right to provide food service on federal and other property?"
I responded that I thought the question was a fair one and that I would do the best that I could to answer it. When I had finished, I said: "Well, I don't know whether I have convinced you, but there isn't any point of my talking further. I have said all that I know to say and made the best argument that I know how to make. If I haven't made the point, I won't be able to do it with further talk."
The minority counsel responded that he would have to think about what I had said but that, in the meantime, he couldn't think of any answer to it at the moment.
Since the question of preference for blind persons in the vending stand program and its philosophical justification is something that we must deal with on a recurring basis, I thought perhaps Monitor readers might like to see the argument which I made to the minority counsel. It is largely contained in a letter which I wrote on August 3, 1965, to Governor Harold Hughes of Iowa when we were trying to get the Executive Council of the state to let us have the food service operation in the state Capitol and the new state office building:
August 3, 1965
Honorable Harold E. Hughes
Governor of the State of Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa
Dear Governor Hughes:
As you can imagine, I was greatly encouraged to hear on the news today that the Executive Council of Iowa had discussed at its meeting this morning the possibility of making available the cafeterias in the state buildings as one part of our over-all rehabilitation program for the blind. It is my hope that the Iowa Commission for the Blind will be given the exclusive right to operate all of these cafeterias and that it will also be given the cafeteria in the proposed new state office building.
I would like to give you my reasons, for at first glance it might appear that this request is a contradiction of the philosophy which I have always advocated. As you know, I have always said that I believe the average blind person can do the average job in the average place of business and that he can do it as well as his sighted neighbor. I have said (and I now repeat) that the blind need a chance, not charity; opportunity, not shelter or care. Yet, in the present instance I ask that you and the other members of the Executive Council give us these cafeterias without requiring us to bid competitively for them and that you consider making them available to us rent free.
I believe that this request is not a contradiction of our philosophy, and I would like to tell you why. If the blind have equal opportunity, I not only believe but I insist that they should accept equal responsibility and not ask for special privileges. But the plain truth is that the blind today--in Iowa, and throughout America--do not have equal opportunity.
We hear much (and justifiably so) about discrimination against racial and religious minorities, but we hear little about discrimination against the blind. Yet, this discrimination exists, often in a more restrictive and stifling form than against the racial and religious minorities.
You can make a man ashamed of his prejudice against a racial minority, for the prejudice is based upon hatred; but, discrimination against the blind is based upon charity and kindness, and a man will rarely forgive you if you rob him of his charity. Every one of us needs to feel superior to somebody, and the blind have traditionally been pitied as un- fortunate and helpless. The prejudice which bars them from employment and acceptance in regular community life and activities is based upon ignorance, not hostility; upon kindness, not hatred. This does not make it any less evil or destructive.
There is a large company here in Des Moines which has many jobs that a blind person could do as competently as any sighted person. Yet, this company will not even consider the possibility of talking with a blind applicant. They explained that they tried the experiment some fifteen years ago and that it didn't work out. If this same company refused to consider an applicant who was a member of a racial minority on the grounds that they had tried a member of that group fifteen years ago and that it didn't work out they would be in court tomorrow. But there is no civil rights legislation to protect the blind.
This instance could be multiplied many times over. It is most difficult to get companies or places of business even to consider the hiring of a blind person. Because they know the details of the jobs which they have to fill, the executives and department heads of these companies and businesses feel that they know whether the work could be performed by a blind person. They forget that they do not know the techniques of blindness and the methods by which a well trained blind person performs. Again, it does not matter that they are sincere. And how do you prove discrimination in such cases? The problem is not limited to private enterprise. It reaches into the state government as well. Recently we made a very persistent and prolonged effort to help a young blind woman secure work as a secretary. She is not a genius nor unusually outstanding but is a good, ordinary secretary of ordinary competence. She was turned down by more than one agency and department of state government for jobs that we of the Commission for the Blind are firmly convinced she could have performed competently.
The discrimination which exists is not merely economic; although, this is certainly one of its strongest manifestations. I have seen a blind person denied the right to buy flight insurance when going on an airplane--a ruling which was later reversed by the home office of the insurance agency. I have seen banks refuse to rent safety deposit boxes to blind persons unless they would sign a statement that they would not open the box unaccompanied by a sighted person. Some years back a student of mine was denied the right to give blood at a blood bank--solely on the grounds of blindness.
These are discriminations--flagrant, open, and destructive. The fact that they are not recognized as discrimination is a negative not a positive factor. Yet, where is the Civil Rights Commission for the Blind, or the executive orders, or the special laws? Incidentally, we are not asking for special laws in this area and have no present intention of doing so. We have made great strides toward understanding and equal treatment in the past few years, and we are mindful of the great reservoir of good will which government and the public at large have toward us. What we are asking is that you and the members of the Executive Council help us to balance the scales. I understand that the city of New York is currently in the process of hiring 5,000 Negro teachers displaced by integration in the South. These are probably good teachers, but they are not being asked to compete for these jobs in New York. Why? Because, I think, there is a recognition that some action must be taken to balance the social scales.
It is just such action that I urge the Executive Council to take in connection with the cafeterias. If competent blind persons are permitted to run these cafeterias, it will be a reaffirmation of the state's belief that the blind are capable of rehabilitation. It will help to balance some of the discriminations, both inside and outside of the government. It will be a demonstration to private business and the public at large of the capabilities of the blind to support themselves. Thus, it will be the means of securing many jobs in all sectors of the economy for the blind and will help to change the public image which now bedevils our way. Finally, it will be a concrete manifestation of the fact that the state really believes what it has said about the possibilities and potentialities of the blind, that the money spent in developing our training center and our total rehabilitation program was not simply a meaningless gesture of charity and pity but a deliberate investment in a worthwhile cause.
Anyone who goes (and many have done so) to the cafeteria which we now run at East Seventh and Court will see the living proof of what I have said. In the few months we have had it this cafeteria has already been the means of changing many public notions about the blind. The blind man who operates it is a self-sufficient, happy, productive citizen of our state. He not only supports himself but also a wife and a child. How much better that he should work and earn his own way than that he should sit at home and live on charity or at public expense 1
In most of the states of the union the blind are given the right to operate the food service in public buildings, and the Federal Randolph-Sheppard Act gives the blind an exclusive preference in such operations on federal property. I believe this is done because the discriminations against the blind are more restrictive and more uniformly practiced than against almost any other group of the handicapped; while, at the same time, the blind are capable of performing almost any job in business, industry, or the professions.
We know that you and the other members of the Council will give consideration to our views and that you will arrive at the best decision in the over-all circumstances. We are content to abide by that decision.
Very truly yours,
Kenneth Jernigan, Director
Iowa Commission for the Blind
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by W. F. Patterson
[Editor's Note: The following paper was read as part of a panel discussion on “Vending Stands, Their Present Status and Future Prospects", held at the NFB Convention in Des Moines last July. Mr. Patterson is Director of Employees Benefits and Services, Division of the Bureau of Personnel, U. S. Post Office Department.]
For my contribution to this panel discussion of "Vending Stands--Their Present Status and Future Prospects" I have been asked to present Post Office Department policy and attitudes toward the Vending Stand Program. During my discussion I will talk about (1) departmental policy on vending stands, articles to be sold and assignment of profits; and (2) the current status of these programs in post offices throughout the country.
I. Policy on Vending Stands
It is our policy that blind persons, when available and duly certified by a state licensing agency, designated by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, shall be authorized and have preference in the installation and operation of vending stands on property operated, maintained, and protected by the Post Office Department, provided, the installation of such stands is considered practicable and will not unduly inconvenience the department or adversely affect the interests of the United States.
Basically this policy requires the following in receiving approval to operate a stand:
1. The state licensing agency submits a request to the postal official in charge of the building involved.
2. The postal official (normally a postmaster) recommends approval or disapproval to one of our fifteen regional offices.
3. The director, engineering and facilities division in the region, approves or disapproves and notifies the state agency and the postal official involved.
If the application is disapproved, an appeal can be made to the department in Washington through the director of the region in which the stand is proposed. The Assistant Postmaster General, Bureau of Facilities, makes the final decision in these cases.
In the last five (5) months--the time I have been in my present position—I have not heard of a single appeal. I think we can take this as a good indication that the policy is being administered fairly and in a manner that is generally satisfactory to all concerned. I can assure you that this is a record we intend to maintain.
With regard to articles for sale, our policy approves these items:
4. tobacco products
5. articles in individual containers or wrappers in which they are placed before receipt by the vending stand operator.
6. such other suitable articles as may be approved for each location by (1) the postmaster and (2) the state licensing agency.
These items may be sold in vending machines operated in connection with vending stands.
This part of our policy is based upon the wording of Section 2(a) (4) of the Randolph-Sheppard Act of June 20, 1936, as amended by Public Law 565 approved August 3, 1954.
I would not be truthful with you if I indicated this part of our policy was working as well as provisions for "preference" in establishing stands for blind persons. In the short time I have been involved with the program, I have found exceptions to these provisions of our policy. Let me make it clear, lest you get the wrong impression, 1 am sympathetic to the problem and reasons for local exceptions. Nevertheless, I am sure you will agree there are many articles being vended by blind stand operators not intended by the regulations of the department.
I fully intend to concentrate my efforts on this aspect of the program. We want to develop a position that is in the interests of the National Federation for the Blind while at the same time providing for programs that enhance the welfare and morale of the 700,000 employees of the Post Office Department.
Another area I am sure that is of interest to you is assignment of profits. Our policy is that all profits of vending stands accrue to the blind stand operator. In addition, profits from all vending machines operated by a blind operator of a stand are assigned to the blind operator. Repeat!!!! This does not include vending machines which may be established independently of the blind operator's enterprise.
Profits of other vending machines operated by welfare committees are assigned to employees for welfare activities at the local installation in accordance with our national agreement with our employee organizations. When the blind stand operator does not receive an "adequate" income from his own operations, the state licensing agency may request assignment of profits from the welfare committee. This provision of our policy is required by Section I of the Randolph-Sheppard Act as amended in 1954.
"Adequate" income under department policy is defined as being equal to the average salary of the average employee at the installation. Usually, this approximates PFS-5 which ranges from $5,651 to $7,708. New salary effective July 13, 1968: $5,938 to $8,094.
When machines are in competition, profits from welfare committee machines may be used to supplement the income of blind stand operators. The postmaster and the state licensing agency shall determine whether such a sharing of profits is warranted. Their decision must be based on the following guidelines:
a. proximity to and competition with the vending stand
b. income which accrues to the operator from stand operation, and
c. profits from vending machines not operated in connection with the stand.
In this regard, I made a survey on June 3, 1968, on this issue. The reports from our fifteen regions show:
1. There are 329 blind-operated stands in post offices nationwide. Operators of these stands receive all income from stand operations and all income from vending machines operated in connection therewith. In addition to this income:
2. 85 vending stand operators or 26 percent receive all of the profits of welfare committee vending machines.
3. 108 vending stand operators or 33 percent receive part of the profits of welfare committee vending machines.
When there is disagreement on allocation of profits, an appeal can be made through our regional offices to the Assistant Postmaster General, Bureau of Personnel, who will make the final decision.
I have said the profits of vending stands and any additional funds allotted by welfare committees accrue to the blind operator of the stand; however, I have learned some state licensing regulations require the operator to pay into the state a fixed percentage of his profits. Therefore, although as far as the department is concerned profits accrue to the operator, I recognize this is subject to any state agency requirements.
In five months there has been only one appeal on this issue and in this case, involving a court decision dating back to 1966, the state licensing agency failed to comply with department procedures by requesting assistance and indicating the salary of the stand operator.
On the basis of available data, I have made three assumptions about profits from the vending program:
1. State agencies are reasonably satisfied with the department's practices on assignment of profits.
2. Since 60 percent of the blind operators are assisted, postal employee welfare committees provide significant support for the vending stand program.
3. The income received by the remaining 40 percent of the operators appears to be adequate without assistance from postal welfare committees.
Since I am a newcomer to vending stand operations, many of you are probably saying to yourself--who does this guy think he is--making assumptions and conclusions after several months in the field about a program that has been in operation over thirty years. You are right if our thoughts coincide. I am new at the business, however, I am certain that if my assumptions are incorrect you will let me know about it before this panel session closes. I certainly would like to learn of your views on this subject.
In summary let me make one point absolutely clear--in an environment where the welfare of two separate and distinct groups must be balanced and the best interests of each provided for, we may find some areas of disagreement. We in the postal service certainly accept this as a constructive tension.
The Post Office is completely sympathetic to the individual needs of members of this Federation and we want to cooperate with you to the utmost. However, I'm sure you will understand that we must also take care to act in the best interests of our postal family.
I am sure we can work together in meeting a common need with a mutual accommodation that is to the best advantage of all concerned.
I am most interested in learning from you of specific problems your Federation faces that our Department should consider in administering the provisions of the Randolph-Sheppard Act. I am hopeful that during this panel discussion or during the balance of the day you will inform me of the troublesome areas. Thank you.
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by Kenneth Jernigan
In recent months there has been a great deal of discussion concerning the vending stand program. Almost every facet of it has been subjected to examination and analysis. As those attending this year's NFB Convention will remember, one phase of the vending stand program was dealt with in Resolution 68-09, which read:
WHEREAS, it is inherent in the American democratic doctrine that an individual develop his talents and abilities to their maximum potential; and
WHEREAS, blind men and women share the American dream of high aspirations and financial success through diligent enterprise; and
WHEREAS, the "adequate income" policy of the U. S. Postal Department is a device by which blind people are denied the opportunity to earn more in U. S. Postal installations than the average salary paid to the average postal employee; and
WHEREAS, the General Services Administration has made it clear that food and merchandise service in government buildings will be fragmented into two or more operations rather than establishing one large installation, thus effectively limiting the income to the blind operator; and
WHEREAS, the real effect of these policies is to impose a ceiling upon the earning power of the blind stand operator, irrespective of his industry, energy, and imagination; and
WHEREAS, these policies demonstrate that both the U. S. Postal Department and the General Services Administration have insufficient faith in the abilities of the blind as potentially successful businessmen and women; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this 5th day of July, 1968, in the city of Des Moines, Iowa, that this organization deplores any policy which prohibits the blind from developing their capacities and earning power to the fullest extent possible and be it further
RESOLVED, that the NFB specifically rejects these policy decisions of the Postal Department and GSA which arbitrarily place blind stand operators in an inferior position and are repugnant to the American concept of free competition; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the NFB instructs its officers and staff to take all steps necessary to reverse these unfortunate policies, including negotiation with governmental officials, and recourse to legislative action; and be it further
RESOLVED, that this resolution be widely circulated, and the matter well publicized, so that public support may be developed.
This resolution was adopted unanimously at the conclusion of a panel discussion on vending stands, chaired by John Taylor. One of the panel members, Mr. William Patterson of the Post Office Department, asked for a copy of our Resolution 68-09 and subsequently wrote me a letter:
August 15. 1968
Mr. Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind
524 Fourth Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
Dear Mr. Jernigan:
Thank you for sending me a copy of the resolution of the recent convention which condemned the Department's "adequate income" provisions of our vending program.
In reviewing the resolution I can't help feel that there has been some misunderstanding on this issue. There is no ceiling on the amount a blind-stand operator can earn from his stand. This issue was clearly covered in my remarks.
The "average salary" provision of our program is invoked when the blind-stand operator does not earn sufficient money from his enterprise. When this occurs the State licensing agency may request assistance for the operator from the Postmaster. Funds earned by Welfare Committees' vending machines are then subject to assignment to the blind operator provided the blind operator earns less than the average salary of postal employees at the installation.
Since your Federation has stated formal objection to this part of the Department's policy, I would be most appreciative of receiving your recommendation for the change to replace our current method of assisting blind-stand operators when income from their vending stand is inadequate.
W. F. Patterson, Director
Employee Benefits and Services Division
On September 14, I responded:
Mr. W. F. Patterson, Director
Employee Benefits and Services Division
Post Office Department
Bureau of Personnel
Washington, D. C. 20260
Dear Mr. Patterson:
In your letter of August 15 you say: "I can't help feel that there has been some misunderstanding on this issue. There is no ceiling on the amount a blind stand operator can earn from his stand. . . the 'average salary' provision of our program is invoked when the blind stand operator does not earn sufficient money from his enterprise."
You then ask what the National Federation of the Blind would propose to replace your present policy, since we have formally objected to it. I would begin by answering that we must not allow ourselves to be confused by terminology. What a thing is called is not necessarily what it is. The Post Office Department says that it does not place a ceiling on the earnings of blind stand operators, but only "helps" the less profitable stands come up to an adequate income.
Under existing policies of the Post Office Department the blind operator of a vending stand located in a postal facility is allowed to earn as much as he can from the vending stand itself, but if he is unable to earn as much as the average pay to employees at the installation, the state licensing agency may request assignment of income from employee-operated vending machines to supplement the income of the blind stand operator. As you are well aware, the Post Office Department has authority to approve or disapprove the location of a vending stand, its size, the nature of service and products it offers, and the items to be sold. A rearrangement of any of these four factors can immediately affect the amount of income which the blind operator may derive from the vending stand. A restriction in the items to be sold at the vending stand can immediately transfer the sale of these items to vending machines operated by employee groups, and pressures are frequently applied on Post Office authorities to limit the operation of a vending stand and this limitation has the effect of expanding the volume of business conducted through vending machines.
For example, the Post Office Department may approve the installation of only a dry stand in a Post Office lobby. This prohibits the blind operator from selling beverages and many other products and directs the sale of these items to coin-operated vending machines from which employees receive commissions. On the other hand, the Post Office Department could approve a larger vending stand which merchandises foods and beverages and operates vending machines in other areas of the installation and make it unnecessary for employee groups to operate any kind of machines at all. With this illustration, it should be clear that restricting the type of permits which will be approved for the installation of a vending stand effectively limits the amount of income which the blind operator can earn.
Application of the "adequate income" principle employs a system which is frequently used to place a ceiling on blind operator earnings from the vending stand and then provides machinery for bringing that income up to the average income of postal employees at the installation. We believe that the Federal Government should compensate its employees in a manner commensurate with the service which they provide, and that it should not be necessary for Federal employees to conduct welfare operations on their jobs. Each year hundreds of thousands of dollars are diverted from profitable employment opportunities for the blind in postal establishments to employee welfare committees and the original purposes of the Randolph-Sheppard Act are frustrated.
In other words, what the National Federation of the Blind recommends is simple. We feel that the blind should be able to operate vending stands (in accordance with the spirit of the Randolph-Sheppard Act) on Federal property, including Post Offices. We feel that the permits for these vending stands should not be narrowly restrictive but should allow the sale of foods, beverages, or any other items which are to be sold on the premises. We feel that employee welfare groups or others should not be operating vending machines or engaging in similar business activities for profit on Federal property. To say that vending machines can operate on the premises and not be in competition with a vending stand on those premises is more fiction than fact.
In reality the Post Office Department now places, in many instances, a definite ceiling on the income of blind vending stand operators but seeks to cloak the act (as is so often the case) in the jargon of the exact opposite. The blind operator is "helped" to achieve an adequate income. One would hope to avoid such "help" as often as he could.
The National Federation of the Blind believes that the Randolph-Sheppard Act has been of tremendous value to the blind of our nation during the past third of a century. We believe that it has helped many blind persons achieve self-support and self-respect. We further believe that the Post Office Department has played a key role in this constructive work. In the present instance (and for the reasons given) we believe the policy of the Post Office Department is wrong--economically and morally. We, therefore, urge that the policy be changed along the lines suggested.
Very truly yours,
Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind
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by J. Herman Moore
[Editor's Note: The following paper was read as part of a panel discussion on Vending Stands held on July 5th at the NFB Convention in Des Moines. Mr. J. Herman Moore is Chief of the Contractual Services Branch in the Operations Division of the Office of Buildings Management Public Buildings Service.]
I appreciate very much this opportunity to appear on the program of your National Convention here in Des Moines. Six years ago tomorrow I had the privilege of appearing before your 1962 National Convention in Detroit. In the intervening years I have been on programs involving the blind which were attended, I am sure, by many of you at Miami Beach, Florida, and at Norman, Oklahoma.
Before moving into the two subjects which your President particularly asked me to discuss--the serving of beverages and foods by blind persons, and, the sale of magazines at vending stands--I would like to deal briefly with the scope of the vending stand program in GSA operated buildings.
At latest count, there were over 400 stands located in our buildings employing nearly 500 legally blind individuals. According to statistics maintained by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare this is the largest number of stands operated on the property of any one Federal agency.
Fifty percent of the Randolph-Sheppard vending stands are in GSA operated buildings.
These stands have annual sales of more than $10 million dollars and achieve a real purpose in providing Federal employees located in our buildings with necessary goods and services.
We have had extensive growth in our vending stand program in recent years, moving from 300 stands employing 340 blind persons serving 240,000 Federal employees in 1962 to more than 400 stands employing nearly 500 blind persons serving 320,000 Federal employees in 1968.
Much of this growth has been due to new building construction, although we are always on the alert for stand locations in existing buildings. Some of the growth is also due to a policy, announced a few years back, that in large new buildings we would establish several small stands each with a blind operator rather than to have one large stand with one blind operator and several sighted assistants.
My remarks concerning GSA policy with respect to the serving of beverages and foods by legally blind persons will be confined to those vending stands authorized by the Randolph-Sheppard Act physically operated by the blind person where the operator has no sighted assistance other than that provided by his supervisor. They will not deal with management of cafeterias or other basic service facilities required in our larger buildings.
In fulfilling its responsibility to arrange for food services which are required for the health, comfort, and efficiency of Government employees while on duty, GSA has traditionally relied primarily on commercial food service operators to provide cafeteria type services in these larger buildings.
There are some exceptions to this practice. Where the building population is relatively small, some food service is needed, and, it is determined that commercial operators would not likely be interested, a permit is issued to a State licensing agency to provide certain food service as a blind operation with sighted assistance.
In the operation of vending stands to which my remarks are directed, there are several things which we in GSA believe affect the degree to which a blind person may serve beverages and foods. The primary ones are safety and sanitation. These two items are in turn influenced by the individual ability of the blind person including his intelligence level, the field limitation of his vision, the training he has been given, the availability of automated equipment, the possible degree of self-service by patrons, vending stand layout, and many, many other things. Aside from the safety and sanitation and related aspects we would rely on the Department of Health, Education and Welfare to make final decisions as to what a blind person can or cannot do in the way of serving beverages and foods at our vending stands. The Department has the primary responsibility, as far as the Federal Government is concerned, in the field of vocational rehabilitation. It also maintains continual liaison with the State licensing agencies and knows what they are doing in this field.
We are advised by the Department and learned from other sources that great strides have been made in equipment technology, in training techniques and in other areas which go a long way toward improving the capability of blind persons to perform tasks which earlier were thought to be virtually impossible of performance.
GSA has participated in some of these efforts. For example, the District of Columbia Government's Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, with assistance from one of the major vending and food service companies, and GSA, has successfully trained blind persons to completely stock, sanitize and service a variety of automatic vending machines. Brailled coded shelvers, cartons, vending machine components, etc., permit the blind trainees to satisfactorily perform these tasks.
We also know that more new innovations in self-service techniques, in equipment, training, supervision, etc., are on the horizon, being tested, and, introduced which enable the blind to serve their patrons in many ways on terms of substantial equality with the sighted and partially sighted. We think self-service techniques are something vending stand supervisors should encourage wherever possible. Our experience is that patrons are perfectly willing to serve themselves when the proper facilities for such service are available.
The development of sound vending stand layouts is a most important factor in the achievement of the objectives of the blind stand program. The integration of the new equipment items and efficient self-service customer traffic patterns in future vending stands will, to a great extent, influence the success of such stands.
One of our main concerns about a blind person, especially a totally blind person, handling hot beverages and foods and utensils is the safety factor involving both the blind person and the patron. GSA is very safety conscious and has one of the best overall safety records in Government. We would not be inclined to approve the serving of a beverage or food item or the handling of utensils involving such service, if our safety engineers felt that unsafe conditions prevailed.
Another thing we must insist upon is cleanliness and sanitation, for obvious reasons. We would hesitate to approve practices of any kind by a legally blind person in the handling of beverages and food and ancillary utensils which would, in the opinion of our food service inspectors, be considered unsanitary. Experts from the Public Health Service of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare will be our agents in connection with inspections.
I would like to preface my remarks about the sale of publications with the statement that this subject is not one which can be dealt with exhaustively in the time allotted, or, by one with my rather limited capacity to discuss such a technically and legally involved matter.
As you may know, what is said by some to be obscene literature has, in recent years, been one of the most controversial issues affecting the public which have come before the courts. Nearly every recent session of the Supreme Court has dealt with some aspect of obscenity. Our Vending Stand Regulations provide as follows:
Periodicals and publications which have been judicially determined to be patently offensive and appealing to prurient interest shall not be sold.
This regulation is affected by several of the recent decisions of the United States Supreme Court, to which reference was made, which deal with obscene publications and other material.
In practical effect the regulation provides that no publication may legally be withheld from sale unless it has been found by an appropriate court that the publication would deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences and into whose hands a publication of this sort may fall. The trend seems to be in the direction of complete freedom to sell material without censorship except for hard core pornography. Hard core, in the main, refers to material that is calculated to incite sexual interest in a demeaning and indecent fashion. If the material has some artistic or social value, even if it contains what would ordinarily be considered obscene content, it would be considered legally unobjectionable. Also, the standards of the community have a determining effect as to whether or not the material is patently offensive.
Since the regulation was published in the Federal Register, June 25, 1965, we know of no complaints from either those who seek to control the sale of so-called obscene literature (Citizens for Decent Literature, etc.), those who favor the least possible restrictions on such sales (Civil Liberties organizations); or, publishers or distributors of publications, literature, or other material (Magazine Publishers Assn., American Book Publishers Council, etc.) Prior to the regulation we had complaints from all these sources.
The State licensing agency has the right to select such magazines or other publications as it thinks may be salable in a given vending stand and to place these on sale.
Only when an individual publication or class of publications is specifically found by an appropriate court to be patently offensive and appealing to prurient interest within the guidelines mentioned may it be removed from sale at the vending stand.
To sum up, there have been dissents in practically all decisions of the Supreme Court and both dissenting and majority opinions have dealt largely with what is obscene and what is not and for whom. Because what seems to be pornographic to one person is not necessarily so to another, this is an area in which pat answers are hard to come by, as the Supreme Court views illustrate.
Here again, a sighted vending stand supervisor can be of great help to the blind operator in seeing that the publications he receives from the distributor represent the most salable items, are clean and untorn, are properly displayed and that adequate stocks are maintained.
In closing I wish to mention a court case decided only last June 5, in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri. The suit was brought on behalf of an employee welfare and recreation association as plaintiffs and defendants were officials of the General Services Administration who had charge of various aspects of the operation of the building where various vending machines were located.
The case arose when GSA officials notified the employee group that the vending operations and a share of the income therefrom would be turned over to blind persons licensed by the State licensing agency. Theretofore the employee group had received all the revenue from the machines, amounting at the time of the suit, to about $20,000 per year. Plaintiffs claimed that the GSA regulations, issued under authority of the Randolph-Sheppard Act were not sufficient authority to permit the action taken by the GSA officials, and, sought a judicial determination and an injunction against transfer of the operation of the machines to blind persons.
The Government asserted that the administrative action involved here could not be challenged because the employee group lacked a sufficient interest in the vending machines revenue to give them standing to sue.
The court found in favor of the Government (GSA), on the basis that there are no grounds for concluding that the Randolph-Sheppard Act (and presumably regulations issued pursuant thereto) "affirmatively bestows a legal interest in vending machine revenue upon groups which may under existing arrangements receive such revenues in lieu of the blind. In other words, the blind are the persons sought to be benefited; the plaintiffs and the persons they represent are not."
As a result of this case, GSA proposes to soon revise its regulations to clarify beyond question their intent with respect to vending machine income and for other necessary and desirable purposes.
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On July 9, 1968, Congressman Dominick V. Daniels and others introduced H. R, 18410 a Bill to amend the Randolph-Sheppard vending stand for the blind law so as to make certain improvements therein. This Bill, carrying administration approval, would make far-reaching changes in the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Act, which has been in existence since 1936 and which has provided employment for thousands of blind men and women throughout the United States.
The National Federation of the Blind is a nationwide membership organization of blind persons with statewide and locally affiliated groups throughout the nation. The Federation's membership includes hundreds of blind persons who operate vending stands under the Randolph-Sheppard Act, as well as a number of blind persons who work in the administration and supervision of this program in the various states.
As of June 30, 1967, 815 vending stands operated by blind persons were located on federal property and 1,993 were located on non-federal property. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 1967, net earnings to operators of vending stands located on federal property totalled $4,585,095 while net profits to operators of vending stands located on non-federal property totalled $10,124,500. As of June 30, 1967, 2,808 vending stands were in operation under the Randolph-Sheppard Act and approximately 29 percent of these vending stands were located on federal property, while approximately 71 percent were located on non-federal property. Since more than two thirds of the vending stands in operation under the Randolph-Sheppard Act are located on non-federal property, any changes in the Act must be considered in relation to their impact on vending stands located on both federal and non-federal property.
In recent years many new techniques have been developed and included in the vending stand operator training programs and in the operation of vending stands by blind persons which materially affect the type and quality of services that can be provided. These changes have made it possible for blind operators to handle efficiently a wide range of products and services which were not considered practicable when the Randolph-Sheppard Act was adopted in 1936 and last amended in 1954. These changes have made it possible for blind operators to prepare and serve a wide variety of foods and beverages as well as the more traditional items explicitly included in the present Act.
H. R. 18410 proposes a series of changes in the Randolph-Sheppard Act which must be considered in their impact on the vending stands now located on federal and non-federal property and upon the continued expansion and development of the vending stand program for the blind. Any changes made should contribute to the growth of the program and should take into account the many techniques now available to enable blind vending stand operators to provide quality foods, beverages, and services in a manner not heretofore considered practicable by those imbued with traditional concepts of blindness.
In this connection comment must be made upon the negative attitudes of policy making officials in the Rehabilitation Services Administration of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. These officials have tended to cling to traditional attitudes concerning the inadequacies and lack of potential of the blind and have not kept pace with current thinking in the field. Specifically, they have tended to feel that blind persons could not serve coffee in an efficient and sanitary manner and that they could not handle large food service operations. They have held and disseminated these views despite irrefutable evidence to the contrary. New concepts and training techniques as well as recently invented mechanical devices, have completely outdated these notions. In fact, many blind persons throughout the country are today performing these very operations. In the face of such evidence, all theory (regardless of how well buttressed by professional argument or technical jargon) is simply irrelevant. Unfortunately, the attitudes of these federal rehabilitation officials have had an extremely adverse affect upon other departments and agencies of the federal government, particularly, the General Services Administration and the Post Office. It is not difficult to see why this would be so since these are the notions that have always been held concerning the helplessness and inability of the blind, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. The regulations concerning the establishment of vending stands promulgated by the various federal departments (what can be sold and what can not, how large an operation can be handled by a blind person, etc.) are issued only after consultation with officials of the Rehabilitation Services Administration--the people who are supposedly experts in the area of what blind people can do.
With specific reference to the provisions of the Bill, Section 2 of H. R. 18410 proposes that a new Subsection (d) be added to the Act. It would read:
"(d) The head of each department or agency prescribing regulations pursuant to section 1 shall provide in such regulations, among other things, that revenue from vending machines which are located within a reasonable proximity to, and which are in direct competition with, a vending stand shall be treated as proceeds of the vending stand. Such department or agency head, after consultation with the Secretary, shall by regulations specify the criteria for determining when a vending machine is so located and in such competition."
The National Federation of the Blind would recommend that Subsection (d) be revised to read:
"(d) The head of each department or agency prescribing regulations pursuant to section 1 shall provide in such regulations, among other things, that the revenue from vending machines shall be treated as proceeds of vending stands. Such department or agency head, after consultation with the Secretary, shall by regulations establish procedures to assure the provision of suitable space for vending stands on federal property at the time of construction or at the time of remodeling and renovation of federal property."
At the present time hundreds of federal employee groups and associations are operating vending machines, cafeterias, and similar services on federal property in competition with vending stands operated by blind persons, and our revised Subsection (d) would assign receipts from these employee operations to blind operated vending stands and encourage expansion of the vending stand program by including vending machines in it. Since the heads of federal departments and agencies are now permitted not only to determine whether a vending stand may be established but what articles it may sell, they are in a position (whether consciously or otherwise) to structure the operation so as to make certain types of food service (particularly the larger and more profitable types) out of bounds for the blind operator. They are also in a position to limit the range of products sold in such a manner as to make it appear that vending machines and cafeterias operated by employee groups are not in competition with the blind vending stand operator. There is constant pressure from employee groups, employee welfare funds, etc. to limit the operation of vending stands and to enlarge the scope of vending machines, cafeterias, and similar activities from which employees receive profits. The National Federation of the Blind believes that federal employees should be compensated in a manner commensurate with their contributions to the work of their departments and agencies, and that it is not necessary or desirable for them to conduct business operations for private or group profit. In recent years increased numbers of vending machines have been installed in competition with blind operated vending stands and increased amounts of revenue have been diverted to federal employee groups. This trend must be reversed if the vending stand program for the blind is to continue to develop, or even survive. It can not be too strongly emphasized that we would give all proceeds from vending machines and similar operations on federal property to blind vending stand operators. Otherwise, political pressure from employee groups and similar considerations are likely to be decisive in determining whether "vending machines are located within a reasonable proximity to and in direct competition with a vending stand."
Section 3 of H. R. 18410 proposes to further amend Section 2 of the Randolph-Sheppard Act by expanding the articles to be vended to include foods and beverages dispensed automatically or manually. It reads:
"Sec. 3. Section 2(a) (4) of such Act of June 20, 1936, is amended by striking out 'articles dispensed automatically or in containers or wrapping in which they are placed before receipt by the vending stand, and such other articles' and inserting in lieu thereof the following: 'and such other articles, including foods and beverages, dispensed automatically or manually and in accordance with all applicable health laws.'"
We concur fully with the changes proposed in Section 3. These changes reflect recognition of the many methods and techniques available to blind persons who operate vending stands and permit substantial expansion and improvement of the vending stand program for the blind.
Section 4 of H. R. 18410 proposes to further amend Section 2(b) of the Randolph-Sheppard Act by deleting the residence requirement and by striking inappropriate and outmoded language. It reads:
"Sec. 4. Section 2(b) of such Act of June 20, 1936, is amended by (1) striking out 'and have resided for at least one year in the State in which such stand is to be located' and (2) striking out 'but are able, in spite of such infirmity, to operate such stands.
We concur fully with the changes recommended in this Section. The residence requirement is an unnecessary and harmful restriction, and the notion that some blind persons are "able, in spite of such infirmity," has done damage enough in its time and should be struck down wherever it appears.
Section 5 of H.R. 18410 proposes to amend Section 3(3) of the Randolph-Sheppard Act by adding two additional uses for which set aside funds may be used by state licensing agencies. It reads:
"Sec. 5. Section 3(3) of such Act of June 20, 1936 (20 U. S. C. 107b), is amended by (1) striking out 'and' immediately preceding '(D)' and (2) striking out the colon immediately preceding 'Provided, ' and inserting in lieu thereof the following: ';(E) providing operators of vending stands retirement benefits and benefits while they are on leave from such vending stands; and (F) making expenditures which are considered necessary to broaden and improve the program established by this Act so as to further its intent and purpose, but only if the State licensing agency has satisfactory assurances that such broadening and improvement will be shared equitably by all operators under its jurisdiction:.'”
We recommend that Section 5 be deleted from the Bill. The entire concept of set aside funds is unjust and detrimental. The present law provides that funds may be set aside only for the following purposes: "(A) maintenance and replacement of equipment; (B) the purchase of new equipment; (C) management services; and (D) assuring a fair minimum rate to operators of vending stands." The proposed administration amendments, by adding two more uses to which set aside money may be put, would further divert proceeds from blind operators and cripple initiative and incentive.
A number of states have completely eliminated any set aside funds. This should be an universal practice and should be a requirement of the federal Act. In some states the set aside from larger and more profitable operations is virtually confiscatory. If, for instance, a vending stand operator in a given state must pay as much as 50 percent of his net earnings above $9,000 and if he must pay federal and state taxes on the remaining 50 percent, there is precious little left.
Blind and other disabled persons who are helped to go to college or into some other business are not required to contribute to the rehabilitation agency a percentage of their earnings for the rest of their lives, returning three, four, five, or more times the amount invested in them. Likewise, children who go to public schools are not required to pay specific "set asides" to the school board for the rest of their lives. They pay their share of taxes to support the school, as do other citizens of the community. The same should be true of blind vending stand operators. They should pay their share of taxes but should not be taxed doubly to support the rehabilitation agencies, to buy equipment for others, or to compensate inefficient operators. In fact, the power to make "set aside" levies from vending stand operators enables (in fact, tempts) the inefficient rehabilitation agency to set up unprofitable vending stands and subsidize them. If there were no "set asides," the agency would be compelled to exert itself to find profitable locations or other employment for the blind persons in question, and everyone would benefit.
Section 6 of H. R. 18410 proposes to amend Section 6(b) of the Randolph-Sheppard Act to redefine "blind person." The Randolph-Sheppard Act now says: "The term 'blind person' means a person having not more than 10 per centum visual acuity in the better eye with correction. Such blindness shall be certified by a duly licensed ophthalmologist."
H. R. 18410 would amend this paragraph to read:
"(b) The term 'blind person' means a person whose central visual acuity does not exceed 20/200 in the better eye with correcting lenses or whose visual acuity, if better than 20/200, has a limit to the field of vision to such a degree that its widest diameter subtends an angle of no greater than 20 degrees. "
We concur fully with this recommended change and urge its adoption.
Section 7 of H. R. 18410 proposes further to amend Section 6 of the Randolph-Sheppard Act by adding a new paragraph (f) to define "vending stands." The paragraph would read:
"(f) The term 'vending stand' means such shelter or counter and such other appropriate auxiliary equipment (as the Secretary may by regulations prescribe) as are necessary for the sale of the articles or services referred to in section 2(a)(4) and as may be approved by the appropriate State licensing agency and the department or agency or person in control of the maintenance, operation, and protection of the Federal property. Such term shall also include a 'dry stand', 'snack stand' and any other similar facility where (1) at least 40 per centum of the physical duties necessary to operate such stand or facility can be performed by blind persons efficiently and in accordance with applicable health regulations, and (2) 50 per centum of the blind persons employed in the operation of such stand or facility are persons to whom the appropriate State licensing agency has issued a license pursuant to the agreement entered into under section 3."
We recommend that Section (f) be revised to read as follows:
"(f) The term 'vending stand' means such shelter or counter and such other appropriate auxiliary equipment, including vending machines, (as the Secretary may by regulations prescribe) as are necessary for the sale of the articles or services referred to in section 2(a) (4) and as may be approved by the appropriate State licensing agency and the department or agency or person in control of the maintenance, operation, and protection of the Federal property. Such term shall also include a 'dry stand', 'snack stand', 'snack bar', 'cafe', 'cafeteria' and any other similar facility."
Section 7 is crucial. If adopted as proposed, it would be disastrous for the vending stand program and would have damaging implications for all rehabilitation of the blind and for other groups of the disabled.
The requirements that "at least 40 per centum of the physical duties necessary to operate such stand or facility can be performed by blind persons efficiently and in accordance with applicable health regulations" and that "50 per centum of the blind persons employed in the operation of such stand" be licensed by the State agency are detrimental on two counts:
(1) It implies that blind persons can not meet "applicable health regulations" in the same manner that other people can--in other words, that blind persons can not make or pour coffee in a sanitary manner, that they can not serve food, etc. Once more, it must be emphasized that (popular though this belief may be) this is simply not in accordance with the facts. In many locations throughout the country, blind persons are now actually doing this type of work, and doing it efficiently and in compliance with health and sanitation standards. In the face of such evidence, theories to the contrary would seem somewhat irrelevant, to say the least. As already noted, some of the federal rehabilitation officials themselves are victims of these outmoded notions and have helped reinforce them in the rules promulgated by various federal departments. In this connection consider the following policy statement by the General Services Administration:
"Although it is preferable that coffee and hot chocolate be dispensed by vending machines, there may be occasions when it must be prepared and dispensed by other means. In that event, the blind operator shall not prepare or serve it, nor handle the utensils used in connection therewith."
What a carry over from the Middle Ages! Not only may the blind person not make the coffee but he is not even allowed to touch or handle the utensils. These false concepts are hard enough to eradicate from the regulations. These falacies should not be compounded by having them placed on the statute books.
(2) Section 7 as written is designed to keep vending stands small and would appear to be an attempt to prevent blind persons from operating cafeterias or similar types of businesses. In some states (reportedly with federal blessing) a pernicious practice has arisen. If a blind vending stand operator begins to make reasonably good profits--in the neighborhood of $10,000 or $11,000 per year--a second operator is added to the stand and the profit is split between the two. If profits increase further, a third may be added, etc. The notion is that it is all right for the blind person to make $5,000 or $6,000 a year but that if he begins to make much more than that, people will begin to resent him and think that he is not properly humble and staying in his place.
In more than one instance officials in the vending stand programs have been heard to remark concerning this or that stand operator, "That fellow makes more than I do." The remarks have often carried overtones of envy, resentment, and a feeling that there is some how something improper about a blind person making an excellent income.
One wonders how rehabilitation officials who advocate adding additional operators to profitable stands would feel if it were suggested that the same practice be applied to the jobs of government employees. If, for instance, a federal rehabilitation official makes $14,000 or $15,000 per year, why not put two people in the job and pay each of them $7,500? This would cut down on the unemployment rate, and in any case a person can live quite comfortably on $7,500.
The blind vending stand, snack bar, or cafeteria operator should be allowed to make as much money as his initiative and enterprise will earn. This is the traditional American concept, one we hope Congress will not abandon in the present instance. Rehabilitation agencies should be required to develop other job opportunities or find other stand locations for additional blind persons needing employment. They should not have the "easy out" of loading existing profitable vending stands with additional operators, thus bringing the income of each down to a level thought proper for a blind person. It is well that blind persons have the opportunity to make enough money that many of them will have reserves and not always be living in a marginal situation. If the blind are to be independent citizens, they must be treated like other citizens and not as government wards.
Section 8 of H. R. 18410 proposes an effective date for provisions contained in the Bill. It reads:
"Sec. 8. The amendments made by this Act shall become effective July 1, 1969, except that any stand in operation as a vending stand in conformity with the provisions of such Act of June 20, 1936, on June 20, 1969, shall be deemed to have satisfied the provisions of section 6(f) of such Act as amended by this Act until such later time as there is a change in the number or identity of the licensed blind persons (as defined in such Act of June 20, 1936, as amended by this Act) directly associated with such stand."
We recommend that this section be revised to read as follows:
"Section 8. The amendments made by this Act shall become effective July 1, 1969."
In other words we recommend that the grandfather clause be eliminated. It is designed to reduce some of the outcry which would result if existing vending stands were subjected to the outrageous provisions of Section 7. K these provisions are really good, if they are really fair or reasonable, they should apply to all alike. In the vending stands program, as in other areas of American life grandfather clauses are not in very good odor, and rightly so. In any case if our proposed Section 7 is adopted, all possible reason for the grandfather clause would be eliminated.
The National Federation of the Blind urges the adoption of H. R. 18410 with the revisions we have suggested. During the past third of a century, the vending stands program has provided opportunity and employment for thousands of blind men and women. The federal law must be revised and updated to keep pace with changing concepts and technology. It must be made to reflect an ever increasing faith in the innate normality and capacity of the blind instead of being shackled by the pessimism of traditional stereotypes and outworn notions.
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by Mary E. Switzer
Administrator, Social and Rehab. Services, Dept. of HEW
[From Rehabilitation Record, July and August 1968]
At the close of a summer full of the yearning and striving of many people for better lives, I think sadly of the loss of two strong and effective champions of human rights. The achievement of dignity, independence, and full citizenship for all people, but especially for disabled people, is what Dr. Jacobus tenBroek and Helen Keller lived for, each in a different way.
Dr. tenBroek, born in Canada, lost his eyesight entirely when he was in his teens, just before he became a United States citizen. Blindness never stood in his way. Nothing, in fact, ever slowed down his remarkable career, not even the cancer which finally caused his death last March at age fifty-six.
One of the many lasting monuments to this great man is the National Federation of the Blind, which he founded in 1940 to unite the voices of individual blind people into a mighty chorus in support of the right of sightless people to be productive and independent.
He was a brilliant teacher at the University of California in Berkeley for twenty-five years and a recognized authority on constitutional law and on social welfare. He wrote and spoke with exceptional talent, and he used both skills many times to plead for academic freedom, civil rights, free speech, an end to discrimination against minority groups--in short, for most of the causes which so badly need voices like his today.
Helen Keller, born in Alabama, lost both sight and hearing in infancy. She lived for almost eighty-seven years--a long life of unparalleled inspiration to millions of people everywhere. Last June her ashes were placed in the National Cathedral in Washington, D. C., near those of her beloved teacher and friend, Anne Sullivan Macy, "the miracle worker", who imparted the gift of language to her as a child and who spent many years at her side.
Helen Keller was an alumna of my college, Radcliffe. She used her education to bring hope and inspiration to millions. She wrote prolifically and traveled endlessly, sometimes as an official representative of this country. Everywhere, here and abroad, people flocked to her and were warmed and encouraged by her example and her words of optimism and faith. She received the Meritorious Service Award of the National Rehabilitation Association in 1952 and has always been an idol of the rehabilitation family.
My own association with Helen Keller and with Dr. tenBroek has enriched my life and inspired my work. I will miss them, and all the world will miss these two who worked with such singular effect for people in distress .
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by James Gashel
[Editor's Note: James Gashel is President of the Student Division, National Federation of the Blind.]
Some months ago an article appeared in these pages outlining serious deficiencies in the volunteer reading services at Wayne State University in Michigan. The author, a blind student there, stated that most of the students are unable to get the volunteers when they want or need them, and that many of the readers fail to meet scheduled reading appointments. For most of these deficiencies he placed the blame on Elizabeth Ferris, Director of Services for Disabled Students at Wayne State. According to the article Miss Ferris has managed to establish an impenetrable "bureaucracy" for the real purpose of personal gain instead of providing adequate reader service.
The writer cited several of his personal encounters with the "Ferris bureaucracy", illustrating the excessive control in exercises over the procurement and use of readers by blind students. On at least one occasion he was reprimanded for attempting to find his own readers through advertising in the school paper. He noted that most students are afraid to criticise the current reader service arrangement for fear of losing further service.
It goes without saying that if blind students are having real reader difficulties they should be able to turn to their state agency for the blind for assistance--in this case the Division of Services for the Blind in Michigan. In most states the agencies have already taken steps to alleviate the problems involved in a volunteer reader service program by automatically authorizing blind students to pay a reasonable wage to their readers. But in Michigan the trend is to get by with volunteers and save the money which can and should be made available, especially when the University provides inadequate service. The report below clearly implies that the agency in question does not intend to provide paid readers as long as it is convinced that the Disabled Students' Service at Wayne State is performing its function at the present level of competence--a level which the blind students feel is inadequate.
The following report was filed by an agency official after a meeting on the problem. Clearly there are two diametrically opposed points of view--here is the Agency's version.
April 19, 1968
To: Edward Fitting, Director, DSB
518 HoUister Bldg.
Fronn: Harold Payne, Regional Supv., DSB
Wayne County Dept. of Social Services
SUBJECT: Student Meeting Wayne State University
On April 15, 1968 a meeting was held in Room 311 Mackenzie Hall at 9:30 to discuss Reader Service at Wayne State University. Present were Representative Robert Mahoney, Elizabeth Ferris and Mr. Goodrich of Wayne State University, approximately fifteen students from Wayne State University, and Betty Jacobs and Harold Payne of the Division of Services for the Blind. Mr. Giles of Congressman Conyer's office came at the end of the meeting. Representative White had been invited, but did not attend. Two of the students from Wayne State University, Raymond Roberson and John Covici made a tape recording of the meeting.
The meeting began by thanking all those present for their participation, and then I outlined the present policy for Reader Service at Wayne State University. At this point I will give a brief summary of what I have outlined as our present policy. We do request that all students at Wayne State University take advantage of the volunteer reader service through the Disabled Students Office. If a student is unable to obtain readers through the volunteer system the Division of Services for the Blind then provides a direct written authorization to a reader indicated by the student to provide for paid reader service. It is the student who determines when he or she needs a reader and not the University or a representative of the Division of Services for the Blind. We do ask that we have verification that every effort has been made to use the volunteer system.
At the end of the discussion of present DSB policy the meeting was thrown open for general discussion. At this point Mr. Covici took the floor and took issue with the present policy of the Division of Services for the Blind. Mr. Covici continued on and on and would not permit anyone else to take the floor and present their views. I pointed out to Mr. Covici several times that everyone there was fully aware of his position, and that it would be nice to hear from someone else. Finally I called on someone directly and we were able to get some discussion going.
To my knowledge the only objection of our policy in providing reader service at Wayne State University was the fact that we were requesting a student to first utilize the volunteer service available, and that we have the right to verify the student has attempted to use the service. It was interpreted that this gave the decision as to the need for paid reader service to Elizabeth Ferris rather than to the student. Supposedly the issue was one of principle and that principle would give the student the right to request paid reader service anytime he chose regardless of whether or not he wanted to first utilize the volunteer service. Again I will point out that this was only a question of philosophy and that there was no good reason indicated by any of the students which would make this a preferable method of arranging for reader service.
At one point Representative Mahoney attempted to ask about problems that any of the other students might have encountered over the reader service. However, Mr. Covici again took the floor and pointed out that his group had done a study of twenty-two students and all of the students indicated that they preferred the system outlined whereby the students would have paid reader service without checking with the volunteer service. Mr. Covici indicated that this was a professionally done study where all persons had the freedom to express themselves, and that this was the only type of study which had any meaning. He further indicated that any study through the Division of Services for the Blind or Wayne State University would not have this type of freedom. Representative Mahoney did ask Mr. Covici to give the floor to other students, and finally got into a discussion with him over the matter. However, we never did really get into any of the problems that most of the other students might have had, or this might have meant that there were no other serious problems.
In my opinion the meeting itself was a very useful one. During the meeting there were several topics which were raised which do require further study. It was pointed out that there is a need for more taping to be done, and that there is limited facility for this service at Wayne State University. It was further pointed out that there are limited tapes for this purpose. Another problem seems to be the amount of time it takes to schedule readers. However, this seemed that it was more a problem because the students would not alert the Disabled Students Office of their needs rather than the Disabled Students Office being able to fulfill the needs. Other comments were made about guidelines for the use of reader service. For example, one student stated that he wished he could use a reader in the library. He was of the impression that the readers could only be used at Mackenzie Hall. Miss Ferris pointed out that there was no such regulation, and that the only thing the Disabled Students Office requested was that the student not invite the volunteer readers to their rooms.
I do plan to meet with Miss Ferris again in the very near future to discuss some of the issues which came out of the past meeting in hopes that we might help to develop the best possible reader service program for the blind students at Wayne State University.
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by Robert Acosta
On December 2, 1967, the Eighth Annual Conference of Blind Teachers was held at California State College at Los Angeles. This event was hosted by Dr. John Dahl, Dean of the School of Education.
These conferences are held annually for a two-fold purpose; first, to share those experiences and techniques which enable the participants to become stronger teachers; second, and of more importance, to educate those administrators who have honest doubts as to the ability of the blind teacher to function successfully in the classroom.
In a speech entitled, "Listen! Mr. Administrator", Robert Acosta, the conference chairman, made a fervent plea to the many administrators throughout the nation to hire well qualified blind teachers, to "Give us the opportunity."
Mr. Acosta's remarks were heartily seconded by Dean John Dahl. Dr. Dahl maintains that times are changing and that administrators are beginning to listen as well as give opportunities to qualified blind teachers. Dr. Dahl went on to praise the Temple City Unified School District for not only hiring two blind teachers in the same district, but also for giving blind student teachers the opportunity to prove themselves. Regarding the philosophy of California State College at Los Angeles concerning the training of blind persons for the teaching profession, Dr. Dahl commented, "We feel that, at this institution, one of the more important contributions which we can make is the full dedication of the human person as a part of the total picture without reference to the color of his skin, the size of his feet, or the happenstance of biology or accident in that his eyesight is no longer as good as someone else's.”
The keynote speaker for this year's conference was Assemblyman Joe Gonsalves of the 66th District, Southeast Los Angeles County. During the legislature's consideration of SB 989 to amend Section 13125 of the Education Code, a bill to eliminate discrimination against blind teachers at the hiring level, Mr. Gonsalves served on the Fact Finding Committee on Education. Chairman of that committee was Senator Donald Grunsky who conducted a survey to determine the degree of success of those blind teachers in the public schools of the state. In its report to the legislature, the committee found that forty-two of the forty-five principals reporting indicated that they would employ a blind teacher if they had that decision to make again. All of the blind teachers were rated as average or better and more than ninety percent were either good, excellent or superior. The report stated, "The results indicate a level of satisfaction of blind teachers far above that which could be expected from a random sampling of sighted teachers. SB 989 was passed and signed into law in July, 1965. The Commission of Inter-group Relations in the State Department of Education will assist in the implementation of the law and a blind teacher who feels that he is being discriminated against solely because of blindness should contact this commission.
Assemblyman Gonsalves feels that the barriers of discrimination are being lowered by the excellent example of the now more than seventy blind teachers in California teaching on all levels from primary through college. This, he says, is a solid statistic, but there are other well qualified blind teachers who are still looking for jobs because of the lack of understanding on the part of some administrators. "The closed door which greets such applicants for teaching positions seems ridiculous in the face of statistics on future teacher shortages in California," he continued. It seems ironic to him that on one hand there is a hue and cry about mounting costs of Welfare in California, while on the other, there is still discrimination in the job market against the blind who are seeking an independent income.
"The Case of Mr. X", a hypothetical blind student who wishes to become a teacher was discussed by a panel consisting of Robert Acosta, Instructor at Chats worth High School in Los Angeles; Harry Runnion, State Rehabilitation Counselor; Dr. Harry Thrasher, Coordinator of Student Teachers, California State College at Los Angeles; Jane Randolph, Director of Teacher Placement, Whittier College; Mrs. Ida Flory, Teacher, John Adams Junior High School and Richard Haley, Director of Personnel Services, California Teachers Association.
As a rehabilitation counselor, Mr. Runnion said that it was his duty to see that any client of his who sought a teaching position should be as well qualified as any sighted person and that he should have emotional stability and be cosmetically acceptable. Mr. Haley and Dr. Thrasher discussed the fact that there is a teacher shortage, especially on the elementary level. Dr. Thrasher reiterated the philosophy of Cal-State at Los Angeles, that if a blind teacher is qualified, both academically and personality wise, she should not be discouraged. He said, "I believe that most administrators and most board members need to be told and oriented to the how's and why's of the value of the blind teacher in the classroom." He stressed the need for more tolerance by school districts in the southern California area who are reluctant to work with the blind cadet teacher. At the moment, the Temple City School District seems to be the only one in the immediate area which will allow a blind person to student teach in their schools. Mrs. Randolph pointed out that both Whittier College and schools in the Whittier area have been most cooperative in their willingness to encourage, educate, train and place their blind teacher candidates. Mrs. Flory told of her very rewarding experiences as a master teacher who directed a blind student teacher. "If the person measures up in putting across the program, then that is all I am concerned with," she said. Mr. Haley encouraged us to contact those principals who have had successful experiences with blind teachers and ask them to speak to various conferences of administrators in our behalf.
The panel then turned to the subject of the interview. Both Mr. Haley and Mrs. Randolph agreed that the placement officer should inform the district administrator that he is sending a blind person for an interview. The teacher applicant should leave with the interviewer a current list of blind teachers in the state. These lists give the name of the teacher, whether he teaches sighted or blind students, the name of the school and the district in which he is teaching. The hiring official can, at his convenience, contact principals who supervise blind teachers, several of whom may be in the immediate area, to learn about the performance of blind teachers in the classroom.
The next speaker on the program, Mr. Eugene Gonzales, Assistant Superintendent of Public Instruction, California State Department of Education was optimistic about the opportunities for blind teachers in the decade to come. He, too, felt that a directory of blind teachers in the state would be helpful to administrators who are uninformed about the capabilities of blind teachers. He offered to meet with a committee of blind teachers in order to explore employment opportunities. He has requested Dr. Rafferty, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to issue a circular to every district in the state giving his whole-hearted support to the hiring of well qualified blind teachers on all levels.
Mr. Fred Sinclair, Consultant in the Education of the Visually Handicapped, State Department of Education and Mr. Morris Heath, blind teacher in the Blythe, California City Schools, discussed sources of materials for the blind teacher, especially textbooks which are available in braille, on tape or in large print. Mr. Sinclair heads the Clearing House Depository for the Visually Handicapped in Sacramento and has compiled a handbook which will direct the blind teacher to those agencies which can assist him in obtaining the necessary textbooks in the medium he needs. For more information, contact Mr. Fred Sinclair, State Department of Special Education, Room 653, 721 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, California 95814.
Mr. Arturo Baca, Spanish teacher at Terra Linda High School in San Rafael, California reported on a workshop which he and six other blind teachers attended in New York in May, 1967. This three-day institute was co-sponsored by the New York Association for the Blind and the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Washington, D, C. Its purpose was to develop guide lines for the selection, training and placement of blind teachers in teaching positions in the public school systems at both the elementary and secondary grade levels. Participants at the conference included employed blind teachers, school administrators, teacher-training and placement bureau personnel, rehabilitation officers at both the state and national levels, and other agency personnel interested in the employment of blind teachers. A report of this institute's findings will be available in the near future.
A panel moderated by Mr. Max Brande, Instructor at the University of California at Riverside, discussed the "Blind Teacher in the Classroom". Participants were: Mr. Ron Miller, former high school teacher in Turlock, California, currently a Ph. D. candidate at the University of Southern California; Mr. Gerald Redding, a blind teacher from Canada; Mrs. Onvia Tillinghast, 3rd grade teacher in the San Lorenzo School District and Miss Sharon Gold, 5th grade teacher in the Muroc Unified School District, Edwards. The members of the panel are blind teachers who are either currently working in the classroom or experienced teachers who are pursuing advanced degrees. They gave forthright answers to questions concerning campus mobility, extra curricular duties, discipline, rapport with students, parents, faculty, materials used in the classroom and personally financed secretarial help. Depending upon the grade level, the personality of the blind teacher and other individual situations, these problems were met in various ways. (Note: A summary of techniques used by blind teachers in the classroom may be obtained upon request from: Mrs. Sally Jones, 400 Adams Street, Albany, California 94706.)
Dr. Richard Green, a guidance counselor for educational and business institutions, spoke to us on the "Changing of Group Attitudes." He stated that an organized approach to this subject was necessary. He advised us, as blind teachers, to make every effort to convince those who tend to say "No", that we can be effective teachers. This can be done through involvement. We must make every effort to meet with administrators and placement officers, "You cannot wait for chance, you have got to make these chances happen yourselves," he stressed.
Miss Charlene Kuhnheim, an honor student at the University of Redlands and a future teacher, discussed her experience as a blind student in Germany.
The meeting ended on an optimistic note as plans are under way for the 1968 conference.
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by Dr. Max Rafferty
[Editor's Note: Dr. Rafferty is California Superintendent of Public Instruction and Director of the State Department of Education. Copyright 1968, Los Angeles Times. Reprinted with its permission.]
Outrageous statement of the day: "There is no such thing as a physically handicapped teacher."
Author of outrageous statement: Me. To be ungrammatically emphatic.
Evidence: As follows.
During the past 27 years I've probably visited more high school classrooms than anybody else in the country except James Conant. During all that time I've been in exactly one room in which every single pupil was paying perfect attention.
It was a big class, filled with normally restless, irreverent, potentially hell-raising American adolescents. Yet every one of them was alert, attentive and 100 percent respectful. You could actually have heard that good old tired pin drop.
No, the teacher wasn't Bishop Sheen or J. Edgar Hoover or a top sergeant in the Green Berets. He wasn't tall or muscular or particularly good-looking.
Oh, he was an above-average teacher, all right. But there are tens of thousands of above-average teachers who have to settle every day for something less than perfect conduct from their teen-age charges, believe me.
This fellow had just one thing going for him with the kids. It was a mighty big thing, though.
He was blind. Couldn't see at all.
Our American youngsters may be rebellious. They may shock the rest of us from time to time with the tingling intransigence of so many electric eels. Some of them certainly wear their hair too long. But by and large they have an instinctive sense of fair play and a quiet respect for human decency which makes most of the rest of us look like moral pygmies by comparison.
A physically "handicapped" teacher rarely has to send anybody to the office.
Reason: Any student who dared to take personal advantage of that same handicap would be very apt to find an ominously quiet, burning-eyed delegation of his peers, male and female, waiting for him outside after class. It's the closest thing we Americans have, in fact, to that seemingly banal but pregnant phrase of our English cousins, redolent as it is with flat finality and freighted with memories of the old school tie:
"It just isn't done, you know."
This is why I was more than slightly miffed the other day when a lovely young lady named Jill Kinmont applied for a teaching job in one of our larger California school systems and was turned down because the Administration had a long-standing policy against employing teachers who couldn't climb stairs.
Miss Kinmont happens to be a brilliant, inspirational and attractive instructor. If you follow the sports pages at all you'll remember her as America's foremost skier some years back until an unfortunate accident ended her athletic career and put her in a wheel chair.
It's true that she can't climb stairs. It's also ironically true that relatively few California schools these days have any stairs to climb. It's truest of all that the youngsters of the Golden State would stand single-file in a line reaching clear back to the Sierras in order to get into one of Miss Kinmont's classes. Especially once they got a good look at her.
I'm happy to report that Jill now has several solid offers to teach in my home state. I'm sure, too, that her unquenchable cheerfulness and flaming determination to rise above the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune will make her one of our most valuable instructors, if only because of the example she supplies in her own charming person.
Now if we can just get our school authorities everywhere to tailor their teacher hiring specifications to the needs of their pupils rather than the other way around, maybe in the future our children will be able to learn from a long line of Jill Kinmonts.
Few of our fine blind, deaf and paraplegic teachers have Jill's marvelous athletic reputation. But nearly all of them have her courage.
Yes, I've known quite a few teachers with handicaps. They weren't physical ones, however.
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Over the years, the NFB has vigorously pursued a program of action through the courts as one means of opening or improving job opportunities in a given field or upgrading status for those seeking permanent employment in a particular occupation. The formation of the Student Division of the National Federation of the Blind has given impetus to and brought into sharp focus the great need to expand these efforts.
Teaching in the public schools is attracting more qualified blind students each year. In some areas of the country successful breakthroughs into school districts have been made. In others, the idea of a blind person teaching sighted children has never had cause to be entertained. Administrators in some public schools have taken on--one can not say "hired"--blind teachers with "temporary" or "limited" status. Some school districts impose teaching situations which are different from that for sighted teachers, for example, the requirement that the blind teacher must be teamed with a sighted teacher, or have a sighted assistant or attendant. This is especially true in large metropolitan areas where local school boards have been allowed to impose so-called "higher" standards for teachers, especially those with physical handicaps, than are required by the laws of the particular state. [See e. g., the Chavich case. The Braille Monitor, August 1965, p. 49, February 1965, p. 4.]
Evelyn Weckerly, a fully credentialed, experienced teacher, accepted a job two years ago with the Mona Shores School District. That District has a two year probationary period. At the end of the first year she was offered a contract for 1967-68. Nothing was said about unsatisfactory teaching. The time to grant her tenure arrived with the end of the last school year and she was faced unexpectedly by a situation not unknown to many of our teachers. As tenure time closed in, the school board in her district began to have second thoughts. While it was difficult for them to produce any reasonable evidence, she was given notice of termination of her contract as follows: "Under conditions and terms of the Michigan Tenure Act it is my responsibility to notify you that because of unsatisfactory work, your contract will not be renewed."
The language of the letter and the date of its mailing and receipt were subject to challenge. Evelyn, an active member of the NFB's Michigan affiliate, with encouragement both fiscal and spiritual from NFB President Kenneth Jernigan, and with the legal expertise of Carl Schier, an attorney thoroughly familiar with NFB philosophy, started the legal path to vindication. The first appeal had to be to the State Tenure Commission.
The briefs of Mr. Schier and the decision of the Tenure Commission reveal the following statements on the facts.
That as required by Michigan law, Evelyn Weckerly did not receive notice of termination at least sixty days before the end of the school year--June 7--and hence, had acquired tenure. On April 3, 1968, at a special meeting of the controlling board, the Superintendent recommended that she be placed on a third and last year of probation for reason of unsatisfactory discipline in her classroom due to her handicap. The Board passed a motion to terminate her employment at the end of the 1967-68 school year for this reason. That Miss Weckerly is blind and was blind at the time she was hired. On April 8 her principal personally told her of the decision of the Board. On April 9, a postal employee in the City of Muskegon says that he attempted to deliver the certified letter of the Board, but she was not at her apartment but was in fact teaching school. He left in her locked box the usual "Mail Arrival Notice" which informed her that a certified letter was being held for her at the post office. Miss Weckerly searched her mailbox for the expected letter on April 9, 10, and 11, looking for the notice which the principal told her on April 8 she would receive. She finally found the notice on April 12.
The State Tenure Board in deciding in Evelyn's favor concluded: "Some may argue that she had been notified because she had oral notice from her principal. The trouble with this reasoning is that he hadn't been designated as the agent of the board to give her notice and additionally the writers of this decision believe that it was the intent of the Legislature that such notice be given in written form, . . . We do not believe that delivery of the mail notice on April 9, 1968 constituted the required notice of termination in the absence of her attempting to avoid service. . . .”
Carl Schier notes: "The school board waited until the last possible day to mail notice to the Appellant. And in choosing the mails, as opposed to other methods of delivery which witnesses of the Appellee testified were available, the school board chose the method of giving notice which was least likely to succeed in the short time available. The policy of the statute will not be advanced by condoning such actions by the controlling board. . . . It is fairness that requires one seeking to alter the status quo to employ that means of giving notice which is reasonably calculated to apprise the other of what is going to happen. Applying this reasoning to the instant case, one concludes that when the School Board waited until the last point in time to notify the Appellant of the change in her status, the policy of fair play and substantial justice, which policy also underlies the Tenure Act, was not fulfilled. . . . From the facts one must conclude that the School Board was dilatory and neglectful in performing its statutory duty, which neglect resulted in unfair treatment of the Appellant. . . . Since the notice from the controlling board that her contract will not be renewed is the only notice she receives prior to making her appeal, due process of law requires that she be given a statement of the precise reasons why her contract will not be renewed, so that she can adequately prepare her appeal and defend against the charges made."
Though the "unsatisfactory" service issue was not detailed as required in the letter notifying Evelyn of her termination, it was brought out at the hearing. The testimony makes clear that Miss Weckerly is, to say the least, a "satisfactory" teacher. However, some of her sophomore students had caused occasional discipline problems. There was no indication that these incidents had not been successfully handled, only that they had occurred. It was also discovered at the time, that other teachers were having more trouble than she with this same class but none of them received notices of termination. Again, as in many such cases, the school and the school board were applying higher standards for the blind teacher than for the sighted.
The State Tenure Commission handed down the following order on August 27, 1968:
That the dismissal of the teacher was improper inasmuch as she had attained tenure status and had not been dismissed for a just cause after the filing of charges, her tenure status having been attained by failure of the controlling board to notify her of her dismissal at least sixty days prior to the last day of school.
Against the advice of its own attorneys, the Mona Shores Board of Education is appealing the case to the Circuit Court. This is only the next step in this case. However, Carl Schier will stay on the case, and so will the NFB.
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by Ved Prakash Varma
[Editor's Note: The following article was published in "Blind Welfare", the journal of The National Association for the Blind in Bombay, India.]
Born as a normal healthy child in a lower middle class family on October 9, 1934, I lost my eyesight in the very first year of my life owing to trachoma which could not be cured properly in time. My father, then assistant station master in Karachi Division, left no stone unturned to get my eyes cured, but his efforts resulted in a total failure. Although highly frustrated and grieved because of this great tragedy, he was, from the very outset determined to make me a self-supporting citizen by giving me as much education as possible.
I was admitted to a school for the blind in Karachi when I was only six years old. I started learning music, Braille and some cane work at this school, but I had to leave it within a year owing to my father's transfer elsewhere. Since he was appointed as a Relieving Station Master, and it was not possible for him to keep his family with him, we were compelled to live in a small town in Multan Division for several years. There I received religious education from a Sanskrit scholar who read out Ramayan and Mahabharat to me, and also taught me a few chapters of Bhagvadgita. This religious education continued for a year or two and I used to learn everything orally, because I had completely forgotten to read and write Braille. I was, however, very happy and devoted myself to the worship of God. I also acquired some interest in Hindu culture and religion.
But my father was not fully satisfied with my religious education, therefore he got me admitted to the Institute for the Blind at Amritsar in 1944 or 1945. I think my actual education began in this institute where I thoroughly learned Braille, light and classical music and chair-weaving. Although I had to leave this school due to Hindu-Muslim riots a few months before the partition of our country in 1947, I returned here in 1949, and continued my studies for about four years. I read almost all Braille books available in a small library of this school. Thus, I developed a keen interest in Hindi and English literature, and decided to acquire higher academic education. But I was soon convinced that it would be impossible for me to realize my high ambitions at this school, for it was run by public charity, and we, the blind boys, were treated by the public like beggars rather than students. I therefore left this school in May 1953, for good.
My father was then working as a station master in Jhansi Division, and my two younger brothers were studying in a Government college at Jhansi. I also began my studies for matriculation examination by the help of my parents who used to read out all the books to me. I worked hard and passed this examination as a private candidate from the U. P. Board in 1954 securing second division. I was now entitled to study in a college along with normal students, but owing to my handicap I had to face a great deal of difficulty in obtaining admission. I continued to struggle against the prejudices of the authorities concerned, and eventually succeeded in getting admission in a small Intercollege at Morena where my father was working as a station master. After studying at this college for about two years I got through the Intermediate Examination in second division, from the Madhya Bharat Board, in 1956.
By this time I had decided that I would continue my studies until I received the Master's degree, and then I would try to become a lecturer at any college or university. I therefore left that small Intercollege and joined Agra College at Agra, which is one of the oldest and famous institutions in Northern India. I had to make a great deal of struggle to have admission to this college, for the authorities concerned were not prepared to believe that a blind boy could study along with normal students. But once I was admitted to this college, my teachers were highly pleased with my performance. Besides studying Hindi literature, English literature and philosophy, I participated in various literary extracurricular activities, and won several first prizes at this college. In fact, I started participating in these activities immediately after my admission to Morena Intercollege, and during the period of two years I was awarded many first prizes. I did not wish to confine myself only to the prescribed courses, therefore after joining Agra College I enthusiastically participated in literary seminars, debates, essay writing competitions and other such activities, and was asked to represent my college at various institutions. I was, however, very careful and regular in my studies to which I always gave the highest priority. Thus, I passed the B. A. examination from Agra University in 1958 obtaining second division.
I was now a graduate, but 1 knew that this qualification was not enough for the profession I wanted to follow for my living. 1 therefore decided to continue my studies and joined the Department of Philosophy at the same college, for the Master's degree. I was well aware of the fact that if I failed to secure first class in M. A., it would be very difficult for me to obtain a suitable job at any college. It is for this reason that I worked hard for two years in order to realize my lofty ambition. Fortunately, my efforts were eventually crowned with success, and I received my Master's degree in I960 from Agra University securing not only first division but also first position in order of merit in the University.
In this way, I obtained an essential academic qualification for the job I had been aspiring for. I was appointed as a lecturer temporarily at St. John's College Agra where 1 successfully worked for about eight months. I then joined Agra College as a temporary lecturer, and worked there from July 1961 to March 1962. But, since I could not secure a permanent job at either of these colleges, I applied for the University Grants Commission Research Fellowship which was awarded to me in 1963, and I joined the University of Delhi as a research scholar in philosophy. So far as I know, I am the only blind student who has been awarded this high valuable research fellowship.
I now started working hard to write my thesis for the Ph. D. degree, I had been specially interested in moral philosophy, therefore I worked on contempory ethics for about three years. The precise subject of my research was: "SUBJECTIVISM AND EMOTIVISM IN CONTEMPORARY ETHICS: A CRITICAL STUDY". I had to study many books and journals regularly with the help of paid readers, for the topic of my research was very comprehensive and difficult. I devoted my full time to research and was eventually able to submit my thesis to the University of Delhi in January 1967.
My research fellowship expired with the completion of my work, and I was once again unemployed. But I had already taught the postgraduate classes at the University of Delhi as a U. C. G. Research Fellow, and I continued my efforts to get a job here. I ultimately succeeded in realizing my objective and now I am working as a teacher assistant in the Department of philosophy at the University of Delhi. I hope that in future I shall be able to do some higher academic work in my subject which would enable me to rise in my profession.
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The 12th Annual Convention of the South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind was held in Spartanburg at the Heart of Spartanburg Motel, September 13-15 and it was a triumphant affair!
Shortly before the holding of the Convention, the organized blind of South Carolina had established the right--by court action and legislative enactment--of any blind South Carolinian to become a member of the South Carolina Association of the Blind, and had elected three Aurorans to membership on the Board of Directors of the Association.
Another result, another achievement of the S. C. Aurora Club of the Blind in the S. C. legislature was prominently featured at the Spartanburg gathering. The S. C. Commission for the Blind, an agency solely serving the needs of blind people and in existence because of the tireless efforts of the members of the S. C. Aurora Club of the Blind, which sponsored the legislation creating the Agency by adoption of a resolution at the organization's 1964 state convention in the legislature, was represented by Dr. Fred L. Crawford and members of his staff, who were invited to the Convention and very graciously gave an accounting of their stewardship to the blind of South Carolina.
Donald C. Capps, First Vice President of both the NFB and the S. C. Aurora Club of the Blind, gave a report on the labors of the organized blind in the S. C. legislature over the past twelve years. The box score: eight Aurora bills introduced and eight Aurora bills enacted into S. C. law!
John Nagle, Chief of the Federation's Washington Office, gave a report on NFB successes in the 90th Congress.
A panel considered the recommendations of the Governor's Study on V. R. of the handicapped of South Carolina, and Dr. Crawford was moderator, with panelists Dr. Samuel Lawton, Founder of the Aurora Club of the Blind, Don Capps and John Nagle.
Three consequential resolutions were adopted urging the establishment of a library for the blind in South Carolina; in support of the education of blind children in public schools; and in support of higher aid to the blind payments for South Carolina's needy blind.
Three Honor Awards were presented at the Convention banquet and John Nagle delivered an address on Federationism to the 150 members and friends of the S. C. Aurora Club of the Blind. During the business meeting reports on organizational matters were considered and approved.
Elections were held and the following were elected to a two year term of office: President, Miss Lois Boltin, Columbia; First Vice President, Donald C. Capps, Columbia; Second Vice President, John Raybourne, Charleston; Secretary, Robert L. Oglesby, Spartanburg; Treasurer, Marshall Tucker, Columbia. Board members elected were: W. F. Young, Francis M. Stanton, McDonald Hancock, James Coleman, Jesse Swygert, all of the Columbia Chapter, Mrs. Elizabeth Porter, Mrs. Juanita Jones, Mrs. Eva Ward of the Charleston Chapter, Miss Gayle Martin, Mrs. Frances Wilkins and Sammy Smith of the Spartanburg Chapter.
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At the recent NFB convention, there was a great deal of talk about book selection for the blind by the Library of Congress. Some thought there should be more "best sellers". Others thought more emphasis sould be placed on the classics. Hardly anyone felt happy about the fact that no work of Freud, Darwin's ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES, and many similar books are not available either in press Braille or talking books. On one point, however, there was absolute unanimity--that a long look needs to be taken at the books which are put into the collection each year, and at the procedures which are used to select these books. Miss Jackie Wintle, Book Selection and Publications Officer, Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress, appeared at one of the business sessions and talked about current practices. The reaction of the audience made it clear that this is a topic of real interest and concern to blind persons throughout the country. When Mrs. Florence Grannis, Assistant Director in Charge of Library and Social Services for the Iowa Commission for the Blind, followed Miss Wintle with an address entitled "Philosophical Implications of Book Selection for the Blind", it was again made clear by the questions and comments that the convention felt that this whole area needs attention. In fact, the library discussion was one of the most provocative items on the entire program. One measure of its effect is the fact that the delegates took home for distribution and study more than 1,000 copies of Mrs. Grannis' paper. Both Mrs. Grannis and Miss Wintle referred to the Book selection committee recently appointed by the Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped composed of regional librarians for the blind. This is one means by which it is hoped better book selection can be achieved. Mrs. Grannis is Chairman of the committee. Its other members are: Miss Marcia Finseth, Head, Library for the Blind, Seattle Public Library, Seattle, Washington; Miss Mary Tincovich, Head, Library Services for the Physically Handicapped, Connecticut State Library, Hartford, Connecticut; and Mr. Crawford Pike, Librarian, Library for the Blind, Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, Talladega, Alabama.
At the conclusion of the library discussion at the convention, a resolution was adopted calling on the Library of Congress to give real weight to the opinions and recommendations of the book selection committee. The resolution also urged that the blind themselves be given a voice in determining what books will be available to them. If this resolution is to be meaningful, decisive follow up action must be taken by the Library of Congress and the blind themselves.
The book selection committee of regional librarians is already functioning. James Gashel, President, National Federation of the Blind Student Division, 2303 Olive Street, Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613, has appointed a student committee to work in the area. The committee consists of Roger Petersen, 116 School Avenue, Chestertown, Maryland 21620, Chairman; Craig Lynch, 2716 Normandy, Chicago, Illinois 60635; and Bob Acosta, 411 West Newby Avenue, San Gabriel, California 91776.
This committee will work directly with Mrs. Grannis, in her capacity as Chairman. Likewise, Kenneth Jernigan, NFB President, has appointed a committee to work with Mrs. Grannis. Its members are: Mr. Fred L. Crawford, Executive Director, South Carolina Commission for the Blind, 1400 Main Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29201; Mr. Samuel K. Wolff, President, CHOOSE, 11 Park Place, New York, New York 10007; and Nadyne Lessard, Secretary, Washington State Association of the Blind, 7901 S. E. Middle Way, Vancouver, Washington 98664.
Independent blind persons and representatives in state and local organizations of the blind who have book selection suggestions or other related ideas should contact any member of the committees or write directly to Mrs. Florence Grannis, Iowa Commission for the Blind, Fourth and Keo, Des Moines, Iowa 50309.
It is to be hoped that the blind will respond to this challenge by making their views known. It is also hoped that the Library of Congress will react cooperatively in its own enlightened self interest by giving real weight and authority to the recommendations which are made.
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by Capt. H. J. M. Desai
Hon. Secretary, National Association for the Blind
[Editor's Note: The following article was published in "Blind Welfare", the publication of The National Association for the Blind, Bombay, India.]
The concept of rehabilitation is of comparatively recent origin. The concept mainly developed during World War II. When the war was at its peak, hospitals were saddled with large numbers of more severely disabled people requiring prolonged medical attention. However, the physical condition of these patients was such that simultaneously with medical treatment, they could be usefully trained and helped in their rehabilitation. The minimum time required for hospitalization was also fruitfully utilised in evaluating the patient, assessing his medical and rehabilitation needs and initiating him in training aimed to lead to his ultimate and total rehabilitation. Thus while treatment was continuing, the patient was adjusted to his disability and assisted to regain normalcy. This approach of developing rehabilitation services simultaneously with medical treatment soon caught the eye and began to be increasingly resorted to.
The tremendous social and economic costs of disability as a major cause of dependency were increasingly recognized. The miracles of modern rehabilitation were before the people. It was known that by modern methods of rehabilitation, the total needs of the disabled would be met and they could be substantially assisted in regaining their rightful place and status in the general community life. Thus, World War II provided tremendous impetus to the rehabilitation movement.
For pioneering work in developing programmes of physical treatment and rehabilitation as understood now, great credit goes to Dr. Howard A. Rusk and Dr. Henry H. Kessler. They mainly demonstrated two things. Firstly, how excellent results could be achieved through comprehensive individualized services. Secondly, that few men are so disabled that they cannot learn to use their remaining capacities in some kind of work.
In the initial stages, most of the Centres were essentially medically oriented. The experiment of introducing vocational rehabilitation during the medical treatment period succeeded so well that gradually comprehensive vocationally oriented centres developed. A little later, the community rehabilitation centres, with emphasis on specialized services for specialized needs, developed.
It is accepted that the basic needs of the disabled as regards food, clothing, shelter, education, employment and normal family and social life are the same as those of the seeing.
Since the basic needs do not differ, it is essential that they are developed physically, mentally, vocationally and socially to take their rightful place in society.
Hitherto, the attitude of society towards the disabled was mainly negative; attitudes of pity, charity and misguided sympathy. For example, in the case of the blind, it was believed that with the loss of vision, all avenues of acquiring knowledge were lost. The negative attitude of the family members and the society generally were supplemented by the equally negative attitude of some of the clients themselves. This worsened the position. It is imperative that the clients are, from the earliest stages, guided to adopt correct attitudes and approaches towards their own disability. Unless we motivate them to develop very positive attitudes, not much can come of rehabilitation training. Success in motivating the clients and developing in them positive attitudes means half the battle won at the very initial stage itself.
The objective should therefore be to restore the client to the fullest normalcy and ability. All programmes are geared to assist the client to develop his total personality. Not only is the physical disability treated, but everything possible is done to treat the emotional, mental or social handicaps, if any. With wise guidance and counselling and with proper training, he regains his rightful place in society, both economically and socially.
To make the disabled person normal and productive is the main objective of rehabilitation. With this view in mind, the immediate and long term objectives should be clearly defined. The immediate objective of rehabilitation centre is to assist the client in adjusting to his handicap and restoring his shattered confidence. In this process, acquiring proficiency in self care, especially in the techniques of daily living, is the most important. The ultimate objective is to provide open and remunerative employment and a normal family and social life.
In the process, limitations imposed by the disability have got to be accepted fully. Every endeavour is made to develop the residual abilities. In the case of the blind, for example, the residual abilities are developed through the remaining senses of touch, smell, hearing, taste and by developing the client's memory and concentration.
Loss of vision is not the only loss consequent to a blindness. The loss of independence, the loss of mobility, the loss of skills of communications, the loss of skills in the techniques of daily living, the loss of total personality, all have to be fully accepted and overcome by modern rehabilitation training.
The rehabilitation process not only shows the way for gradually overcoming the losses referred to, but builds up the shattered confidence of the clients.
From the referral and the intake stage to the final "follow on" visits and ultimate resettlennent, all stages are most important and need sympathetic understanding and scientific treatment.
Wise guidance and counselling at the very initial stage is of the utmost importance. The client has to be made fully aware of his own, abilities and disabilities and made to recognize and accept his handicap.
Initial scientific evaluation and assessment helps in planning the immediate rehabilitation as also the ultimate resettlement of the client. Modern methods encourage joint planning and evaluation with representatives of a very wide variety of community agencies.
In rehabilitation, the individualized training of clients as also planning their immediate and long term training and resettlement has to be given the greatest importance. Each individual's problem and goals are different. It is accepted that every individual is a unique person with a unique problem. Generalizing has, therefore, to be discarded in favor of specialized and individualized planning and training.
The team concept whereby the multidisciplinary approach is furthered has to be adopted. Medical, psychological, social and vocational treatment and training have all to receive equal importance. If one is emphasized in preference to another, the treatment of the client as a whole will not be successful. It is therefore imperative that integrated and individualized services are developed with a view to developing the total personality of the client.
The human dignity of the blind individual has always to be borne in mind. The earlier the client is motivated to better efforts and guided to correct attitudes and approaches, the earlier will he achieve total and satisfying rehabilitation.
The medical authorities, the psychologists and the psychiatrists, the professional social workers, the vocational guidance counsellors and the client himself, all have very major and vital rolls to play in the total psycho-social and economic rehabilitation of the client.
It is to be recognized that the client will always come up with new emotional as also other problems. "Follow on" services, keeping in close touch with the client are, therefore, a must.
The goal should not be only economic resettlement, but the happy resettlement of the client in normal family and social life. With this view in mind, it is essential to solve their housing and other problems satisfactorily.
Once the client clearly recognizes his own abilities and disabilities, accepts his handicap, knows the limitations imposed by the handicap, develops right attitudes and approaches, is motivated in the right direction and assists the expert rehabilitation team, success is assured. The principles and methods employed in rehabilitation programmes have been embodied at India's first fulfledged Rehabilitation Centre for the Blind at Mt. Abu. This is the Pheroze and Noshir Merwanji Rehabilitation Centre for the Blind.
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[From the Intermountain Observer (Boise, Idaho) September 7, 1968]
Reprinted with permission.
Since its establishment less than one year ago the Idaho Commission for the Blind has begun to light a lamp in what was once a dark corner of public service in Idaho. The commission has been hiring teachers and rehabilitation counselors, laying plans for a long-needed orientation center and preparing in other ways to provide service to those who, until 1967, had stumbled for long years in the limbo of the State Department of Public Assistance.
The improvements which have occurred in this one area should be reason enough to doubt the wisdom of a vast reorganization plan now being contemplated at the highest level of state government. Governor Don Samuelson has proposed--and a Legislative Council study committee has agreed--that the functions of five state agencies be combined into a single department of social and rehabilitative services. The agencies are the Department of Public Assistance, the Youth Rehabilitation Division of the State Health Department, the Vocational Rehabilitation Agency and the Youth Training Center (reform school), both administered by the State Board of Education, and the Idaho Commission for the Blind.
The assumption seems to be that these agencies could do a better job under one administrative roof. But that is not necessarily the case, as any knowledgeable blind person or youth worker in Idaho can testify. Lack of administrative unity has never been a serious hindrance to these agencies in the performance of their services. The real problem has been a lack of money and, in the case of one agency in particular, a lack of desire to provide the service.
If Governor Samuelson and the Legislative Council committee are serious about getting more mileage out of their rehabilitation dollars, they should look to the Department of Public Assistance, which is the giant of the five agencies under consideration. That's where the problem lies. Under policies pursued by Bill Child, the state public assistance commissioner for more than a quarter of a century, the department has made a fetish of avoiding social and rehabilitative services. As a result, the state has spent millions of dollars on subsistence programs which accomplish little while failing to develop programs that would have helped people to help themselves.
The State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency had a similar problem until last year, when the State Board of Education, finally awakening to the difficulty, provided new leadership and guidelines. Now that agency, like the Commission for the Blind, is off and running.
So long as the problem persists in the Department of Public Assistance, it is superfluous to talk of broader administrative arrangements. Such proposals miss the point entirely and are likely, if carried out, to damage the smaller agencies which are doing a good job.
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A strong, active and united Kentucky Federation of the Blind held its 1968 annual convention, September 20-21, in the Kentucky Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky.
During the evening of September 20, while other Federationists were comparing notes on organizational activities and socializing, the members of the Kentucky Association of Blind Vending Operators held a business meeting with thirty of the state's thirty-five vending stand operators present.
Mutual problems were considered and discussed, and John Nagle, the NFB Washington Office Chief, explained a Randolph Sheppard Amending Bill now pending in Congress and described the Federation's views on the provisions of the bill.
Elections for officers of the Kentucky Vending Stand Operators' Association were held and the following were elected: Ernest Bourne, President; Glen Shoulders, First Vice President; Robert B. Whitehead, Second Vice President; Harold Reagan, Secretary; and Mrs. Pat Vice, Treasurer.
The morning of Spetember 21 was devoted, in large part, to organizational matters: Reports, resolutions, plans and discussions of future programs of the organization.
Convention program speakers were Ray Edwards, Field Service Representative of the Louisville Social Security Office, who talked about recent changes and social security programs; T. V. Cranmer, Director of Kentucky's State Vocational Rehabilitation Services for the Blind, and R. E. Lawrence, Director of the State's Business Enterprise Program, reported on goals and accomplishments, with particular reference to growth of the vending stand employment opportunities program in Kentucky. The comments exchanged between the agency heads and their blind listeners indicated a high respect of each for the other, and the fine and constructive cooperation which exists in Kentucky between the Blind Rehabilitation officials and the Kentucky organized blind. John Nagle gave a report on the achievements and failures of the Federation's national legislative efforts in the soon-to-end 90th Congress.
Officers elected at the KFB convention were: Robert E. Whitehead, President; Margaret Bourne, First Vice President; John Steele, Second Vice President; Arthur Copp, Third Vice President; Peggy Peak, Recording Secretary; Eloise Becker, Corresponding Secretary; Harold Reagan, Treasurer; and Orville Phillips, Chaplain.
President Whitehead announced the appointment of Glen Shoulders as Chairman of Finance and Mrs. Pat Vice as Chairman of Legislation and both automatically became members of the Executive Board of the Kentucky Federation of the Blind by reason of their offices, along with the membership-elected officers.
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195 Lykourgou Street
August 24, 1968
My dear Mr. Sundquist:
It is with great grief that I write this letter to you, because I read in "The Braille Monitor" that that great intellect. Dr. tenBroek is no more. How much I admired him reading his articles in the "Monitor". How sad that such energetic men should leave humanity when they are so badly needed.
Such a man is needed in every country so that the blind may
emerge from darkness and dependence. It is too bad, and I am sorry
for his loss.
I am a friend of Dr. Isabelle Grant, and it is she who sends me the "Monitor". I admire you Americans for what you are doing for yourselves. Unfortunately, it is not the same here. The blind of this country cannot unite, and if they are, they drag one way and others in another. They are always careful not for the general good, but for individual interests. I am very sorry to say this, but it is true, unfortunately.
There is the encouraging thought that if Dr. tenBroek is gone, he left behind him able men and women, such as you and Mr. Jernigan, to follow in his steps. It is wonderful that you can unite in your states and then belong to one Federation. How I wish that we could understand where our interests lie and thus do the same.
I haven't heard from Isabelle for a long time. Where is she? I read of her in the "Monitor", but not personally. I surmise that she is very busy in work for the blind.
Congratulations to all of you. Keep up the good work, and perhaps, some day, we too might join you.
(Miss) K. Nicolaidou
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It all began auspiciously enough. For days Russ Kletzing (Secretary of the NFB and Executive Secretary and General Counsel of the California Council of the Blind) had planned to take his two young sons to the California State Fair at its brand-new Cal Expo site. He knew how much they would enjoy all of those new-type rides in the Amusement Plaza of the Fair--and so would he.
On a Sunday in mid-September Russ and his sons arrived at the Fair. Then things began to happen. Russ blocked all ticket sales at the Sky Glide for over an hour when he was refused admission because he was blind. He later was permitted to ride in company with another State attorney.
The next day Russ returned to the Fair with Henry Negrete, Barry Smith and Phil Cherry to get on other rides in the Amusement Plaza of Cal Expo, Kletzing told the Fair officials that he would prefer that blind fairgoers be treated no differently than any other visitors. He pointed out that he had had no trouble in getting a ride last year on the Sky Glide at the site of the old State Fairgrounds in Sacramento.
The recreational area manager for Cal Expo said that insurance underwriters had advised him that coverage would be canceled immediately if blind persons were permited to use the Sky Glide. He added that insurance regulations covering use of such rides by incapacitated persons had been stiffened since last year.
Twice Kletzing forced the Sky Glide to shut down for several hours when the operator refused him permission to go on the ride. Russ said that when 600 blind persons from the NFB Convention had visited Disney-land last year, all rides were open to them. Kletzing, Assistant Chief Counsel for the California State Department of Water Resources, was arrested after he refused to dismount from the Sky Glide. He was charged with disturbing the peace and released on $125 bail.
Fair officials refused Russ permission to use the ride unless he signed a waiver releasing Cal Expo from all responsibility in the event of an accident. Russ refused. After tying up the ride for an hour by merely sitting in one of the buckets of the Sky Glide, kicking and fighting, Russ was bodily removed by four burly members of the Expo's security staff. He was taken to the Expo security office where he was detained until the arrival of the Sacramento city police.
Kletzing denied Expo's claim that the ride is dangerous. "Why do they let children ride on it?" he asked the Exposition officials. Actually, Russ had already challenged and conquered some of Cal Expo's toughest rides, including the Rotor, Tilt-a-Whirl and the Dodge-em Cars. His downfall was the very mild Sky Glider which is a cable car moving slowly about 20 to 30 feet above the ground and is designed to give passengers a bird's-eye view of the fairgrounds.
Apparently the Cal Expo officials were completely unaware of the new statute (the Model White Cane Law) which Russ helped guide through the recent session of the California Legislature and which, among other things provides:
"54. Blind persons, visually handicapped persons and other physically disabled persons shall have the same right as the able-bodied to the full and free use of the streets, highways, sidewalks, walkways, public buildings, public facilities, and other public places.
"54.1. Blind persons, visually handicapped persons, and other physically disabled persons shall be entitled to full and equal access, as other members of the general public, to accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of all common carriers, airplanes, motor vehicles, railroad trains, motorbuses, streetcars, boats or any other public conveyance or modes of transportation, hotels, lodging places, places of public accommodation, amusement or resort, and other places to which the general public is invited, subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law, or state or federal regulation, and applicable alike to all persons.
"54.3. Any person or persons, firm or corporation who denies or interferes with admittance to or enjoyment of the public facilities as specified in Sections 54 and 54. 1 or otherwise interferes with the rights of a totally or partially blind person or other disabled person under Sections 54, 54.1 and 54.2 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
"54.4. A totally or partially blind pedestrian shall have all of the rights and privileges conferred by law upon other persons in any of the places, accommodations, or conveyances specified in Sections 54 and 54.1, notwithstanding the fact that such person is not carrying a predominantly white cane (with or without a red tip), or using a guide dog. The failure of a totally or partially blind person to carry such a cane or to use such a guide dog shall not constitute negligence, per se."
However, if the Cal Expo officials never heard of the right of blind persons to live in the world, certainly this is not true of California Legislature which was meeting in Special Session the very day Russ was arrested. Assemblyman John L. Burton and Senator George Moscone of San Francisco promptly introduced a resolution in the Legislature calling upon the California Exposition and Fair Executive Committee to require "full and equal access" to public accommodations at Cal Expo. Assemblyman Burton said he introduced the resolution as the result of the refusal to permit Russell Kletzing, who is blind, to ride the Sky Glide at the exposition. The resolution requests the Exposition Executive Committee to require as a condition of concession rights that amusements and other public accommodations be available to all. The resolution asks that the Assembly be given a report within sixty days.
It is interesting and perhaps ironic that Russ Kletzing, who helped to guide through the Legislature this modern bill-of-rights for the blind only two months earlier, should be the first to test its implementation--or to prove dramatically its great need.
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[PHOTO/CAPTION: RUSS KLETZING LEAVES THE FAIR]
[Editor's Note: The following article was recently published in the Sacramento (California) Bee by the McClatchy Newspapers Service.]
Tom Fowle, who does aerobatics in the sky around Redding every chance he gets, only has one real problem: Getting to and from the airport.
Fowle, 21, cannot drive a car. He has been blind since shortly after birth.
With a seeing pilot accompanying him, Fowle can take off, do aerobatics such as loops and barrel rolls and bring the plane into a landing. The copilot keeps him posted verbally on the altitude, attitude, speed and direction of the plane but keeps hands off the controls.
Fowle's first flying experience was at the age of twelve "on one of those penny-a-pound deals." He flew intermittently as a passenger around the bay area until about a year ago when he moved to Redding.
Shortly after he came here, a friend took him to the airport and instructor Evelyn Waldren gave him a ride. Fowle took over the controls, impressing her with his skill. When they landed, she mentioned the blind "pilot" to Leo Purinton of the Redding Sky Ranch.
Disbelieving that a blind person could handle a plane, Purinton took Fowle up and became enthusiastic about the young man's ability. Purinton taught him to fly a specially built stunt plane. Since learning to fly, Fowle has performed in several air shows.
Because Federal Aviation Agency rules prohibit him from obtaining a pilot's license, a copilot must ride with him.
Fowle, who has been checked out in several different types of aircraft, says he does not really mind the FAA rules. "I don't really blame them," he said. "I don't disapprove of the rules at all. For me to fly solo in an aircraft would take some technical developments we don't have yet.
It's something I'd like to work on someday, however. I'd like to develop instrumentation that I could read out, but I'll have to wait until I get rich to do that."
What does it feel like to fly several thousand feet in the air not knowing what is beneath you?
"I think the feeling is very similar to the feeling anybody else gets, with a single exception: I can't look down at the ground."
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by John A. Berg, M. D.
[Editor's Note: Dr. Berg is Supervising Ophthalmologist for the State of California on a part-time basis. He is also in private practice and is a distinguished ophthalmic surgeon.]
The National Society for the Prevention of Blindness has long publicized that one-half of all blindness is needless and preventable. This statement, though startling, is probably true. Most blindness is the direct result of procrastination, neglect or ignorance. Modern ophthalmologists have available potent "Miracle Drugs" discovered and made available in the last decade and a half that will control disease processes affecting the eyes and preserve useful vision if employed before irreparable damage to eye structures has occurred. Prevention of blindness depends primarily upon early recognition and prompt, adequate treatment of those conditions which, if neglected, terminate in blindness.
It is estimated that there are in the United States about 400,000 persons, approximately two per thousand of the general population, who are totally blind or have impaired vision to such an extent as to prevent the conduct of normal activities without adjustments, in other words, who are 'legally blind'. Let us examine briefly the leading causes of blindness.
In the process of hardening, opacities frequently develop in the lens. These opacities are similar to the opacities that occur in the making of candy. After the syrup is boiled and begins to cool, crystals of sugar appear at the edge or scattered through the center of the mass of syrup. With the hardening of the lens, similar crystals form, which act as opacities, obstructing the light. Any opacity in the lens is a cataract. There are two types of cataracts; one is stationary and the second is a progressive type. The stationary type is frequently seen in children and young adults. The opacity may be very slight and the individual may go through life without any recognized impairment of vision. However, it may be so dense as to interfere with vision and require treatment at an early age. Occasionally children are born with cataracts (congenital cataracts) which become progressively more opaque and cause blindness unless removed by surgery. Such children should be placed under the observation of a competent ophthalmologist at the earliest possible opportunity. He is the only one qualified to determine when and how to treat them.
The progressive type of cataract usually develops after the fourth decade of life, and the progress may be extremely slow or, for some unknown reason, very rapid. Many individuals have lens opacities that persist and develop so slowly that they do not cause blindness even after a period of many years. In some individuals, opacities develop and impair vision in a matter of a few months, frequently seen in diabetics. Injury of the eye may be followed by the development of a cataract. It may or may not be a wise procedure to remove a cataract from one eye when the other eye is useful. Decisions in this situation should be left to the ophthalmic surgeon. Since the effective use of contact lenses, a dense cataract in one eye can be removed and the patient can regain the use of both eyes.
In those cases where cataracts become so dense as to interfere with the desirable activities of the individual, it is possible to remove the lens by surgery. When the lens is removed, the focusing mechanism is absent, and the eye is still blind. A glass or plastic lens placed in front of the eye to compensate for the lens that has been removed will result in restoration of useful vision. About 15.3 percent of all blindness among recipients of Aid to the Blind in the United State is due to imperfections in the lens or cataracts. Ophthalmologists very frequently are called upon to perform this type of surgery and remove the cataract, thereby restoring useful vision. This is not only a practical and useful procedure, but it is a procedure which should be encouraged in individuals having cataracts, unless they have some systemic disease which would interfere with the success of the operation.
Glaucoma is a disease that is characterized by increased fluid pressure within the eye. The fluids within the eye are secreted from the ciliary body just behind the iris and find their way through the pupil, and finally leave the eye through Schlemm's canal, which is located at the junction between the cornea and the white of the eye (sclera). When the filtration angle is obstructed and the pressure increases within the eye, it pushes the optic nerve back, causing a cupping of the disc. In this process the nerve filaments leading to the extreme limits of the retina are broken off. This destroys the peripheral and central fields of vision. When an individual looks directly at an object, he is using his central vision. At the same time, he is able to recognize objects off to both sides, the extent varying with his facial contours. To the temporal side, the normal individual will recognize motion a full 90 degrees away from the central vision and about 60 degrees from the nasal side in each eye as well as above and below. This is known as the peripheral visual field. In glaucoma this field is gradually destroyed. As the destruction approaches the central vision, the individual finds increasing difficulty in getting around in traffic and bumps into objects.
Glaucoma is the most serious disease that can affect the eye. If not controlled, the end result is inevitable blindness. There are two types of glaucoma. In the acute type, the eye becomes red and painful and the individual seeks medical advice because of the discomfort. However, there is a chronic simple type that causes no pain and does not affect the central vision until very late in the disease. This is the type that is usually discovered by an ophthalmologist in making a routine examination of the eyes. The difficulty in the control of this disease is due to the fact that the individual, having no pain or recognizable impairment of his seeing or reading ability, refuses adequate treatment. The ophthalmologist recognizes the progress of the disease by repeatedly examining the peripheral or central fields of vision and measuring the intraocular pressure. When these fields are slowly getting smaller, he knows that the treatment has not been adequate, irrespective of the absence of pain or the perfect central vision. More adequate treatment must be given to preserve the vision. Occasionally surgery is required on the eye to control the pressure.
Glaucoma will only be controlled when the general public recognizes that the absence of pain and the ability to read does not always indicate a healthy eye. Too frequently, people suffering from glaucoma buy glasses repeatedly. Unless adequate, periodic examinations are made by those skilled in recognizing this disease, it will be discovered only after irreparable damage has occurred. For this reason, it is of far greater importance to have an adequate and thorough examination of the eyes before buying glasses than it is to get the glasses themselves. Nearly 12 percent of all blindness in the United States is due to glaucoma.
Senile macular degeneration is becoming more prominent in our statistics as a cause of blindness. This is due to the increased longevity of human life and is due to degenerative changes in the back of the eye. It is believed that the small vessels become hardened with age and the highly sensitive visual cells cannot receive an adequate blood supply, (and like a tree without adequate water and nutrients from the soil) soon withers and dies. This condition frequently reduces the central vision (that necessary to read small print distant or near) but the peripheral or side vision remains good, so the individual can usually travel around. In many cases, low vision aids, may magnify both the distance and near vision so these individuals may be aided in their visual tasks. Unfortunately, there is no medical or surgical treatment for this condition to date. 9. 2 percent of blindness is produced by this disease.
The optic nerve connects the back portion of the eye with the brain. It is through this nerve that all visual impulses are transmitted from the eye to the conscious centers of the brain. This nerve is made up of numerous small fibers which, upon entering the eye, are distributed to the various portions of the structure called a retina. Some 12.4 percent of blindness is due to optic atrophy in this country, but many of these are probably secondary to glaucoma, rather than direct disease to the optic nerve, optic pathways or the visual centers.
Diabetes is a frequent systemic cause of blindness. It is due to an excess of sugar in the blood. This arises from the inability of the body to burn up the starches and the sugars taken in the diet. Too frequently people are unaware that they have diabetes until so advised by their physician who will give proper instructions, including a supervised diet, frequent testing of the urine to see if sugar is present, and the administration of orinase or insulin. For some persons this routine becomes tiresome. They begin to neglect their tests, fail to follow their diet and fail to use the insulin according to instructions. They do not consult their physician, and eventually the diabetes attacks the retina, causing a diabetic retinitis (characterized by bleeding within the eye) which results in blindness. Regular examinations to discover the presence of diabetes and, when found, continued supervision by a competent physician are necessary if the dangers of diabetic retinitis are to be avoided or delayed. At least 3.4 percent of blindness is due to diabetes in this country, and probably the figure is much higher than is usually reported. If diabetes is present for a number of years, even though controlled, the chances are that the retina will eventually become involved.
Arteriosclerosis is another frequent cause of blindness. Individuals with high blood pressure, with or without arteriosclerosis or atherosclerosis, if not properly treated, may develop hemmorhages in the choroid and retina with resultant blindness. Heart trouble, kidney trouble, tuberculosis and other diseases affecting the general health may also affect the eye. About 3.1 percent of blindness is caused by vascular disease of the retina and choroid.
In conclusion, it is a wise precaution to remember that it is far more important to have an adequate medical eye examination to be assured of the health of the various portions of the eye than to simply buy glasses. A regular eye examination by one skilled in diseases of the eye is a good investment. Where impaired vision is due to a refractive error, glasses should be worn, but only after disease has been ruled out.
Remember, one-half of all blindness is needless and preventable, so please do your part in promoting good eye care.
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[Editor's Note: The following article is reprinted from a recent issue of Performance, the publication of the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped.]
He's a bit different than the usual radio operator trainee. He uses a small metal stylus instead of a pencil to record the dots and dashes sounding through his headset. His sensitive fingers play as big a part in his training as his ears. And it takes a lot of practice before he can solder electrical components. He is blind.
The project, an amateur radio operators' class for the visually handicapped, is part of the Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) Youth Training Program. It was started at the New Mexico State School for the Visually Handicapped by Staff Sergeant Leo H. Smith, formerly of the Air Force Communications Service's 1914th Communications Squadron, Hollomac Air Force Base, New Mexico. J. D. Sneed, Superintendent of the school, which is located at Alamogordo, offered his cooperation.
Today, more than two dozen boys later, the course is working extremely well. Two of the boys are totally blind while the others have extremely limited vision. The man most active in the project is Charlie Mays, an instructor at the State School and himself visually handicapped. Mays was one of the first pupils to enter the course, and upon completion, and after obtaining his amateur radio license, he volunteered to teach visually handicapped children what he had learned. The personal interest Mays has given to the amateur radio school has kept the project alive.
There are now two groups of visually handicapped youngsters enrolled in the course — those working for general amateur radio licenses and the beginners, who are studying for novice licenses. Top student in the current class, Robert Whitlock, fourteen-year-old son of Mrs. R. L. Whitlock, Sr., of Santa Fe, New Mexico, has been blind since birth. He is expected to qualify for his operator's license soon. The others will qualify shortly thereafter.
The Holloman training program is administered by AFCS' Western Communications Region headquarters at Hamilton AFB, California, through the 1914th Communications Squadron. Surplus equipment is used for this program and for other MARS youth training programs, many of which are sponsored by schools, religious organizations. Scout and youth opportunity organizations, civic clubs, and amateur radio clubs.
Officials at the Holloman School are not only enthusiastic over their program but also pleased with the excellent atmosphere of good will which has resulted between residents of Alamagordo and the airbase. But they are most grateful for the benefits the students daily derive from the program. And for many of these youngsters, the feeling of achievement they now have results mainly from their accomplishments in learning a new way to communicate. It sort of gives them an edge over their friends who can see.
Charlie Mays has four civilian employees at Holloman who also are active as volunteer instructors in the program. None visually handicapped, they are Gordon L. Nelson, Joe Sale, Chris Echavaria, and Allen Chisholm. The five are licensed amateur radio operators and are active in the Air Force Communications Service's MARS program.
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[Editor's Note: The following article appeared in a recent issue of Performance, the publication of the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped.]
The key to placing the handicapped in employment in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, or in any other community, is essentially one of changing employer attitudes so they will recognize the ability of the handicapped.
This was one of the major conclusions reached by more than 300 employers, representatives of organized labor, and others who gave up a Saturday recently to discuss ways and means to put more handicapped people to work. Cedar Rapids is a labor-short area and many employers say the unemployment rate is less than one-half of one percent.
It was common to hear comments among the employers to the effect that they are searching for workers who are willing to learn and who will not "job hop." Often repeated, too, was the theme that the man-power situation is so tight employers find it difficult to attract any applicants.
There was no doubt, however, among those present, that the handicapped represent a vast source of manpower but, as Richard Hopkins, a barrel manufacturer and renovator who is Chairman of the Iowa Governor's Committee said, "the handicapped are still here and in need of jobs."
Hopkins and others agreed that some employer resistance still lingers and that a hard-hitting campaign is needed to provide employers with an understanding of the capabilities of the handicapped. And, they emphasized, it must use many of the same techniques used to merchandise a product.
Recommendations were also made that the handicapped who had not yet availed themselves of rehabilitation and placement services should be informed that these services are available. Other suggested areas of misinformation, where thorough educational activity is needed, include workmen's compensation and insurance matters. These constitute road-blocks which deter the ready acceptance of handicapped job applicants.
The meeting was sponsored by the Governor's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce, the Iowa AFL-CIO, the Iowa Union Rehabilitation Project, the State Employment Service, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Educational Services, the Commission for the Blind, the State Department of Health, the Commission on Alcoholism, and other agencies and organizations.
Keynoting the meeting was M, A. Maceau, personnel manager of the Cherry Burrell Corporation, a manufacturer of dairy equipment, who represented the Chamber of Commerce. He told the group that Cedar Rapids employers play an important role in community affairs and that they support the hire-the-handicapped program "as part of their business.”
Speaking at the luncheon session. State Treasurer Paul Franzenberg, who represented Governor Harold E. Hughes, commended the group for giving up a Saturday, when they could have done other things, and urged everyone "to become involved" in efforts to promote jobs for the handicapped.
The day-long meeting emphasized placement of the cardiac, epileptic, the older handicapped person, the alcoholic, and the mentally restored. After brief presentations on these impairments the audience participated in workshops where there were further discussions.
The meeting was deliberately scheduled for a Saturday so that employers could attend without diverting their regular office routine and so that members of organized labor could attend without taking time off from work.
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by Dr. Ray Penix
Station KNBC in Burbank (the west coast television outlet for the National Broadcasting Company) furnished cameramen and sound technicians for the greater part of one day during the Los Angeles convention of the NFB in 1967 for the purpose of producing a full thirty minute television production.
The idea of this effort was to demonstrate the employability of trained blind people who are given an opportunity for a job.
Mr. Bob Wright, the producer, feels that the show does a good job of fulfilling its intended purposed, but Mr. Wright, having many years of experience in the field, knew that a production has to have a balanced amount of public appeal in order to hold an audience while the desired message is portrayed. Therefore, the production not only shows blind individuals from various areas of the United States active in their chosen profession or occupation, but brief life stories are given to furnish the human interest required.
After its initial showing over KNBC on the west coast, "Leading the Blind" was presented to the National Federation of the Blind with the hope that it would be of much value in public relations.
To date the production has been viewed by an estimated five million people in various sections of the country. We have only scratched the surface in making available use of this valuable educational feature.
State and local affiliates of the NFB should write directly to Dr. J. Ray Penix, 428 East Olive Avenue, Burbank, California 91501 for arrangements to make use of "Leading the Blind" in your area.
Following are some suggestions useful in approaching your local TV manager:
1. TV stations are under the control of the Federal Communications Commission, Each station is required to apply to the FCC for renewal of its license periodically. One of the prerequisites for renewal is that the station must show the fact that it has devoted a certain portion of its broadcast time to educational programs, either with or without paid sponsorship. You are really doing your station a service by furnishing them with a good educational program with universal appeal that of "helping the blind to help themselves."
2. Inasmuch as the technical portion was done by union technicians who donated their time, the production cannot be shown on sponsored time, but must be used on free time on the part of the TV station.
3. An exact timing and brief resume of the production will be furnished any station upon request, also a black and white 16-mm film will be forwarded for review upon request.
4. Important: Determine whether your station is equipped to use Video — high bank — tape or 16-mm film. We have either medium. The Video tape is more attractive as it is in color.
Let's use this valuable informational resource to educate the public and thus increase the economic opportunities available to our fellow blind.
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The U. S. Office of Education announced that its Office of Programs for the Disadvantaged had been designated to receive and process suggestions and complaints of poor people about the operation of Federal education programs.
"I am making this designation," said U. S. Education Commissioner Harold Howe U, "because I hope it will help the Office of Education continue a dialog we began early in the summer, when we met with other agencies of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to hear the demands of representatives of the Poor People's Campaign."
At that time, members of the Campaign asked that the Department "establish a national structure and mechanism which provides for continuous input by poor black, brown, and white people in the design, development, operation and evaluation of all Federally funded education programs."
The Office of Programs for the Disadvantaged will receive reports of problems involving education programs supported with Federal funds, review complaints, and seek to determine whether poor persons are being adequately served by these programs. General information about programs affecting the disadvantaged also will be provided.
Dr. Regina Goff, Assistant Commissioner, Office of Programs for the Disadvantaged, promised that she and her staff would seek to provide quick responses.
"Perhaps more significantly," Dr. Goff said, "our information function should increase the competency of people at the grass roots level for solving their individual problems. We hope that initiation of this service will help to relieve the frustrations and sense of powerlessness felt by many of the poor and that it will demonstrate our Government's interest in improving their lives. "
Dr. Goff's office will respond to correspondence and also provide personal interviews. Representatives of the poor will be able to obtain clarifying information about Office of Education programs and receive help with specific problems relating to programs for the disadvantaged.
The Office of Programs for the Disadvantaged is advising all relevant organizations of the existence of the new service.
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The Medic Alert Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable, tax-exempt organization, founded in 1956 and dedicated to educating and encouraging individuals to wear on their persons identification of any medical problems that should be known in an emergency. Equally important is to have all medical facts registered in one central file. An additional goal is to urge physicians and all other medical personnel to advise persons of the importance of wearing such identification at all times, as well as to have their medical information filed where it can be obtained quickly in an emergency.
To accent the vital message of an existing medical problem, the Foundation distributes a metal emblem that bears the symbol of the medical profession; the words, "MEDIC ALERT", emblazoned in red on the face of the emblem; and the symbol for medical identification adopted by the American Medical Association. A medical information wallet card is provided with each emblem. The membership fee is $7.00, which includes a bracelet or necklace in stainless steel and one medical problem engraving. The fee is $9.00 for sterling silver emblems and $25.00 for ten carat gold-filled emblems.
On the reverse side of the emblem is engraved the immediate medical problem(s) of the wearer. A few examples are: "DIABETES", "ALLERGIC TO PENICILLIN", "TAKING ANTICOAGULANTS", WEARING CONTACT LENSES", "NECK BREATHER", "EPILEPSY". Additonal medical information and other personal information is filed in the Central Answering File.
The Central File accepts, on a twenty-four hour a day basis, collect calls when necessary from authorized persons (physicians, emergency hospital room personnel, law enforcement officials, etc.), then relays additional information from the file which pertains to the wearer. Each emblem is registered and the serial number is engraved on the reverse side, as is the telephone number of the Central File (209/634-4917). A percentage of each membership fee goes into a Trust Fund to perpetuate this vital service.
More than 200,000 Americans wear Medic Alert emblems. More than 2,000 join monthly.
The Foundation conducts a continuous educational program to professional people in order to make the significance and availability of the Medic Alert emblem, as well as the services of the Foundation, known the world over. A constant educational campaign is directed toward the general public.
The Board of Directors is composed of physicians, corporation executives, and leading businessmen. The Medical Advisory Committee and the National Advisory Board are, for the most part, composed of persons who are interested in or who actually administer first aid in an emergency. Medic Alert Foundation, Turlock, California 95380.
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The Congress appropriated $6,668,000 for the Books for the Blind and Physically Handicapped program administered by the Library of Congress for the current fiscal year. This compares with $6,085,000 for the last fiscal year.
The President approved a bill establishing a National Eye Institute as one of the National Institutes of Health to focus on research into blinding eye diseases, visual disorders, and the special health problems and requirements of the blind. This measure was vigorously supported by the NFB in hearings held by the Congress.
A new surgical technique which destroys eye tumors with ice crystals has been developed at Stanford University Medical School. Usually when a malignant tumor develops in the eye, called retinoblastoma, the eye is removed, unless radiation therapy halts the growth of the tumor. The new technique, known as cryosurgery, involves freezing tissues with liquid nitrogen to a temperature of 150 degrees or more below zero. Ice crystals form inside the tumor cells as the probe touches them. As the crystals expand they act like tiny, sharp blades, lacerating and eventually destroying the tumor. The treatment extends over a period of several months before the tumor completely disappears.
There is pending before the Labor and Public Welfare Committee of the United States Senate an emergency employment bill which would create jobs in public service employment such as schools, hospitals, recreation, public safety, etc. It is estimated that the measure, if enacted into law, would seek to provide about two and one-half million jobs over a four-year period and would cost in excess of ten billion dollars.
Just before its Summer Recess the Supreme Court refused to rule that chronic alcoholism is a defense to the crime of public drunkeness. The close (five to four) decision was a set-back to those groups which have been urging medical rather than punitive treatment for drunks. Mr. Justice Thurgood Marshall, in announcing the decision, said: "It simply is not yet the time to write into the Constitution formulas cast in terms whose meaning, let alone relevance, are not yet clear either to doctors or to lawyers." Mr. Justice Byron R. White, however, in a concurring opinion, said he could see a defense to public intoxication charges based on the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, but did not believe that such defense applied to the particular case in question.
George Shearing, the talented and famous pianist, has been blind since birth in London forty-eight years ago. He was the youngest of nine children. He studied piano and, influenced greatly by American jazz musicians, he became the foremost jazz pianist in England. Shearing came to this country twenty years ago and became a United States citizen in 1956. He lives in North Hollywood, California with his wife, Trixie, and their daughter Wendy. He has had a guide dog since 1962.
The National Industries for the Blind observed its 30th anniversary recently by announcing that in the last four years its sales of blind-made products has risen from $30 million to $54 million and wages have increased 42 percent to $8.8 million. The Federal Government accounts for more than half of NIB's sales, and not only in orders for brooms and mops but also for mess kits, clip-boards, aprons and 2.2 million military neckties. NIB's seventy-eight workshops across the country have stressed diversification of products in recent years including airplane parts and a variety of houseware items. In its workshop operations NIB gives employment to 4,000 blind persons and it hopes to provide work for an additional 15,000 in the next few years.
Victor and Xena Johnson have been vacationing in the Grand Canyon. This "retired" Missouri couple thought that the little garden they are sharing with their next door neighbors was going to completely burn up with hot, dry and windy days during their trip. However, the rains began to fall. Upon their return they found huge tomatoes, bursting heads of cabbage, succulent and sweet carrots and red beets. Fall turnips and sweet potatoes will soon be ready to use, also. Oh, the hardships of retirement!
It is reported that total expenditures by the American people for medical care last year was $41.6 billion. Public spending (from tax sources) accounted for $12. 6 billion of which $2.9 billion was spent for medical aid for recipients of public assistance under the medicaid programs in operation in thirty-eight states. It is estimated that some 10 million persons received medical care last year through the medicaid program, the per capita cost increasing from $7.63 per month per recipient in 1965 to $14.76 per month per recipient in 1967. The federal share in the casts of medicaid ranges from 50 percent to 81 percent, depending upon the per capita wealth of each state participating in the program. The balance of the cost is paid from state and local funds.
A new booth this year at the Scott County Fair (Davenport, Iowa) was operated by the Scott County Association of the Blind. The newly organized association is composed of ten blind persons. The booth was for the purpose of educating the public that blind persons are just ordinary human beings trying to lead a normal life.
The American Brotherhood for the Blind, through its Twin Vision Publishing Division, announces that it has started production on 6,000 Braille calendars for 1969.
Representatives of the California Council of the Blind spoke before a meeting of the State Board of Education to urge the establishment within the Department of Education of an affirmative program for the hiring of blind teachers. The Council pointed out that sixty-six blind teachers were employed in schools and colleges during the past school year, nineteen of these teaching blind children in resource classes and forty-seven teaching sighted students in regular classes. Despite the convincing record of successful teaching experience, major school districts in the State still refuse applicants on the grounds of blindness. This discrimination against blind teachers persists in spite of a law which declares the right of the blind to equal opportunity for teacher training and employment. The Council urged the Board and the Department of Education to take affirmative leadership in furnishing information to school administrators so that they can consider blind applicants objectively and on their merits. The Council pledged its full cooperation in carrying out the program "to remove the barrier that exists between this human resource and the great need for qualified teachers."
Warren Toyanna, dynamic president of the Hawaii Federation of the Blind, was married in August at the Makiki Christian Church. Since NFB President and Mrs. Jernigan were unable to accept the invitation to be present, the newlyweds wrote them a lively account of the proceedings. The wedding reception included such typical Hawaiian goings-on as a Chinese dinner for 386 guests, entertainment by a Japanese orchestra, accompanied by the popping of some 10,000 firecrackers, and endless Banzai toasts. The affair was followed by a much-needed-after-that-wedding honeymoon during which Warren and Julia enjoyed playing the role of tourists in their native islands. The NFB extends the wish that they have a long and happy life together.
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