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.
NFB CONVENTION BULLETIN
by Don Capps
THE VRA AMENDMENTS OF 1968: MORE LOSSES THAN GAINS FOR THE DISABLED
by Kenneth Jernigan
by Jan Omvig
TRIBUTES TO BILL WOOD
JOBS IN TELEPHONE COMPANIES
PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS IN ILLINOIS
by James Gashel
CLIENTS REHABILITATED IN 1967
SOUTH CAROLINIANS COMMENT ON NFB CONVENTION
NFB PRESIDENT WRITES STATE AND CHAPTER PRESIDENTS
MANY CHANGES IN U.S. WELFARE RULES
by Kenneth Jernigan
TELETYPE DEVICE PRINTS INSTANT BRAILLE
by R. Richard Ciccone
AID TO THE BLIND--RECIPIENTS AND AVERAGE GRANT BY STATE
PIANO TUNERS PLAN ACTION
AN SOS FROM DR. GRANT
NEW YORK CONVENTION
THE WHITE CANE IN AUSTRALIA
THE WIN PROGRAM
THE NASR SONIC SYSTEM OF MUSICAL NOTATION
by Owen E. Nasr
WEST VIRGINIA CONVENTION
by Jean Ann Chambers
SPECIAL PLACEMENT SERVICE
BUILDERS WARNED ON HANDICAP AIDS
by William Robbins
ADAPTING THE RANDOLPH-SHEPPARD VENDING STAND PROGRAM TO THE ADVANCES OF AUTOMATION
NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICE CENTERS
WEST VIRGINIA OFFICIAL DIES
AFDC "FREEZE" POSTPONED ONE YEAR
THE POPPING CORK MENACE
by Dr. Leonard Reiffel
UNIVERSITY FEDERATION RECEIVES CHARTER, ADOPTS RESOLUTION
by Ramona Willoughby
WHO ARE THE BLIND WHO LEAD THE BLIND
As the Monitor is going to press, President Jernigan reports that he has just returned from Washington where he completed arrangements for the relocation of the Federation's office. Because of the proposed construction of a Washington subway system (see Letter to State Presidents in this issue) it was necessary for the Federation to find new quarters. President Jernigan reports as follows:
"Our new Washington address is Suite 212, Dupont Circle Building, 1346 Connecticut Avenue, N. W., Washington D. C. 20036. John Nagle and I spent a good part of Tuesday, September 10, working with decorators, office furnishers, and the building management to get things in shape. Our new quarters are really first-rate. We have three spacious rooms on the second floor of one of Washington's finest buildings.
Most of our old office furniture was dilapidated beyond belief. All of it was over ten years old and some of it was in pretty sad shape when we got it. In making the move I arranged for a complete set of new office furniture.
The contrast between our old quarters and the new is considerable. We now have offices which are in a location and furnished in a manner which can bring pride to us all. I hope it will be possible for many of you to visit our Washington office during the coming months."
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by Don Capps
Come one, come all!--Better yet "ya'll" come as we say in South Carolina. While recent NFB Conventions have been getting bigger and better, plans are already under way to make the 1969 Convention the very best yet. The following are some of the reasons we think so.
The Convention will be held in Columbia, South Carolina, at the Wade Hampton Hotel, during the week of Monday, June 30, Rest assured that there will be plenty of Southern hospitality. In recent years Columbia has been selected as an Ail-American City on two occasions which gives you some idea as to its excellent national reputation. The population of metropolitan Columbia is in excess of 300,000.
The hotel rates are fabulously low--yes, even "unbelievable". The rates are the lowest in some twenty years. Listen to this: single rooms, $5.00; doubles, $7.50; and twins, $9.50. For an extra bed for a third person in the room, $2.50. There will be no charge for children under twelve occupying room with parents. (If additional roll-away is required there would be a $2.50 charge.) The Wade Hampton is a modern hotel with fine accommodations and is air-conditioned throughout.
The banquet will be held at 7 o'clock on Thursday evening, July 3. The price is a low $3. 50 and the menu will be good. This undoubtedly will be a memorable banquet program.
The day for the tour will be Wednesday, July 2 and what a fabulous tour we have lined up for you. At 10 a.m. sharp you will board air-conditioned buses and two hours later you will be in old historical Charleston for a delightful luncheon and an afternoon and evening of never-to-be forgotten sightseeing. From the luncheon you will visit three of Charleston's most famous attractions--Boone Hall Plantation, Dock Street Theatre, and Fort Sumter, Many of you have expressed a desire to visit a Southern plantation. Boone Hall Plantation, a magnificent establishment of 738 acres in Christ Church Parish, is rich in the history of the South Carolina Low Country. The Plantation received its name from Major John Boone, who was among the settlers who came with "The First Fleet" to South Carolina and he received the land as a grant in 1681 from the Lords Proprietors.
On the right, along the famous Avenue of Oaks, is said to be the grave of one of the sons of Major Boone. On the left are the nine original slave houses which were used to house the Negro slaves on the Plantation prior to the Revolutionary War. Near the mansion is the original ginhouse, which is believed to have been constructed about 1760. On the channel below the slave quarters is the dock where cotton was loaded for shipment to Charleston. Near the ginhouse is the pecan grove which at one time was part of the largest pecan grove in the world. The brick used in the construction of the mansion, the ginhouse, the slaves houses, the garden walks and walls was made on this plantation.
The mansion, rebuilt in 1935, with its spiral stairway and gracious appointments, is a beautiful example of a Southern plantation home. It is flanked on either side by formal gardens of hundreds of camellias and azaleas in plantings similar in design and color.
The half-mile avenue of huge, moss-draped live oaks is unsurpassed anywhere. Boone Hall has been photographed by Walt Disney and featured in New York Times, National Geographic, Holiday, Town and Country and many other magazines. The Plantation was used in filming part of the motion picture "Gone With The Wind."
The original Dock Street Theatre of Charleston opened in February, 1736, with George Farquhar's "The Recruiting Officer," being the first hall built in America exclusively for the production of plays. The original theatre was burned and a second theatre was opened in 1754. In 1782 the theatre was again destroyed by fire. In 1800 the Planters Hotel was built on the site of the Dock Street Theatre. This hotel was remodeled in 1835.
The old Planter's Hotel was the stopping place for the Southern plantation owners, and there the cream of the society of the early nineteenth century gathered for fun and frolic, to dance and feast. Romance and tragedy centered around both the theatre and the hotel. Many a love affair budded within their walls; pistol duels were often held around the corner.
In 1935 the government undertook the restoration of the Dock Street Theatre as a WPA Project, at the same time retaining as much as possible of the Old Planter's Hotel.
The reconstruction was completed in the fall of 1937, and on Friday night, November 26, 1937, the theatre reopened with Farquhar's "The Recruiting Officer"--the play presented on the opening night in 1736.
After seeing Boone Hall Plantation and Dock Street Theatre, we will then board boats and visit Fort Sumter which is located in the Charleston Harbor. This is where the first shot of the Civil War rang out over a century ago. Fort Sumter became a National Monument by an Act of Congress on June 25, 1948. Its brick walls at the opening of the War Between the States were forty feet high and from five to ten feet thick. Fort Sumter is built upon a shoal in the narrowest part of the channel of Charleston Harbor over three miles from the city.
After our visit to Fort Sumter, everyone will then be "turned loose" to dine at the many famous restaurants in Charleston featuring the best seafoods, after which we will again board the buses returning to the Hotel arriving by bedtime. It's incredible but the price for the entire tour is only $7.00. Yes, this includes everything except your evening meal. Don't miss it!
Again in 1969 there will be door prizes galore. Don't be late for the sessions, and don't leave the meeting room. The prizes will be worth winning. Here is a reminder to state and local affiliates: We ask that you please help us by securing as many worthwhile door prizes as possible for the drawings. We again recommend that door prizes be worth $25 or more. You will recall that at Des Moines many of the door prizes were worth quite a bit more, such as tape recorders, typewriters, and yes, even a deep freeze. It is a good idea to get started now. All door prizes should be sent to Miss Lois V. Boltin, No. 1 Carrillon Apts., 1413 Pickens Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29201.
You will find South Carolina and its people very friendly and helpful and the South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind will do its very best to make your stay in the Palmetto State very pleasant and memorable.
South Carolina is a state of beaches, islands, mountains, good roads, pine forests, and 400,000 acres of lakes. It is a land of history that great men like the "Swamp Fox," "Gamecock," "Old Hickory", John C. Calhoun, Woodrow Wilson, and the "Bald Eagle of the Confederacy" proudly called home.
South Carolina is Nature's Child with 472 species of birds, wild-flowers, bear, deer, giant turtles, oysters, shrimp, landlocked striped bass, and sailfish.
It's a land scarred with 137 Revolutionary War battle sites and Civil War forts now sweetened with the scent of magnolias and azeleas.
South Carolina is a land peppered with 300 years of history ex-pressed in a historic museum, church or plantation house. It is a land of championship golf courses, alligators, waterfalls, apples and apple cider and peaches and peach cobbler. It is she-crab soup, Spanish moss and sea shells.
South Carolina is a land of cotton fields, the elusive plat eye spirit,atomic energy plant and textile mills. It's Issaqueena Falls, Hell Hole Swamp, southern hospitality and international polo games all rolled into one. And it's home for two and a half million people who want you to come and enjoy it.So, get busy, and send for your reservations today! No, don't procrastinate and put it off until tomorrow--do it now! Send requests for reservations to: Reservations Manager, Wade Hampton Hotel, Main and Gervais Streets, Columbia, South Carolina 29201.
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by Kenneth Jernigan
On July 7, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the VRA Amendments of 1968 into law (P. L. 90-391), the third of such amendments in the past four years.
From the point of view of the handicapped persons intended to be served by the federal-state vocational rehabilitation programs--and the National Federation of the Blind has always contended this point of view should be dominant and controlling in these programs--the latest series of "improvements" incorporated into the federal vocational rehabilitation law are a mixed bag, with the detrimental and the outright bad far out-numbering and outweighing the ameliorative and the good!
The National Federation of the Blind presented testimony in both the House of Representatives and Senate hearings on vocational rehabilitation amending legislation, and some major accomplishments resulted, but far, far too few!
But the most important victory achieved by the organized blind in the V. R. hearings does not even appear in the new V. R. public law!
The Administration had proposed to remove "employment" as the objective to be served by vocational rehabilitation programs, as the purpose and goal of such programs, thus converting existing vocationally oriented, job-purposed V. R. programs into mere rehabilitation programs--providing services to make the handicapped more comfortable with their handicaps, but not directed toward assisting them to achieve economic self-sufficiency in spite of their handicaps!
Fortunately, however, for the disabled men and women of America fortunately, too, for the disabled children of America as well--the House Select Subcommittee on Education, which has jurisdiction over vocational rehabilitation amending legislation, rejected the disastrously portentous "employment" deletion proposal, as a consequence of the informed and forcefully persuasive arguments contained in the NFB testimony.
On this issue, the committee members recognized the Federation's view as that of handicapped people speaking from their experience as handicapped people, expressing their preference for work and self-achieved financial support rather than welfare and publicly-financed dependency.
How successful were the Federation's efforts on another proposal considered during the vocational rehabilitation congressional hearings and adopted as a provision of the '68 Amendments to the VRA will only be known as regulations interpreting the new vocational rehabilitation law provisions evolve into a public document and as they are implemented in the day by day operations of state vocational rehabilitation agencies.
Section 13 of the new V. R. amendments provides that vocational evaluation and work adjustment services be made available to disadvantaged persons by state vocational rehabilitation agencies.
And "disadvantaged individuals" to be served under this section are defined to include "handicapped individuals. . .and other individuals disadvantaged by reason of age, low educational attainments, ethnic or cultural factors, prison or delinquency records, or other conditions which constitute a barrier to employment, and members of their families, when the provision of rehabilitation services to family members is necessary for the rehabilitation of the disadvantaged individual."
Recognizing the need of non-physically and non-mentally handicapped but otherwise economically disadvantaged persons for the services provided by vocational rehabilitation agencies, the NFB endorsed Section 13 in the vocational rehabilitation congressional hearings. But the Federation also recognized the fact that under this provision millions of new clients are being made eligible for vocational rehabilitation agency help.
In its testimony before House and Senate committees, therefore, the NFB urged that separate personnel administer services to the handicapped and to the disadvantaged. "This" we stated, "would assure that personnel engaged in V. R. work would not have their attention and efforts divided between meeting the vocational needs of the physically and mentally handicapped and those otherwise handicapped.
"If this separately designated personnel feature is not included [in the proposal], far too often, the vocational rehabilitation counselor,
pressured by the need to show the results of his work by the numbers of persons served, would find it much too advantageous to concentrate his attention and labors upon the relatively simple and soluble problems of the socially and culturally and educationally disadvantaged rather than the difficult and seemingly insoluble problems of the physically and mentally disabled, and would fail to assist them to achieve gainful employment in the competitive economy."
Neither the House nor Senate committees adopted the "separate" personnel recommendation of the NFB. We were unofficially informed that the recommendation was most seriously considered by the House committee members, but was rejected because of the claimed scarcity of vocational rehabilitation-trained personnel even under the existing program providing services only to the physically and mentally disabled.
Also aware of the tendencies of some vocational rehabilitation administering agency officials, the NFB further urged, with reference to Section 13 of the new rehab law, that "this evaluation and work adjustment of the disadvantaged proposal should also require separately kept and separately reported statistical data, as to services provided to the new category proposed to be served by vocational rehabilitation agencies.
"By this separation of statistics," declared the organized blind, "by the requirement for the separate reporting of services provided and results claimed to be achieved, there would be then no possibility of confusion as to the numbers of physically and mentally disabled persons served, and the numbers of otherwise disadvantaged persons served by vocational rehabilitation agencies."
The House committee accepted this recommendation of the Federation, and at page 15 of House Report 1346, which accompanied the issuance of the committee-approved V. R. bill, the committee not only adopted the substance of the Federation position, but the Federation testimony language is clearly detectable in the following paragraph from the committee report:
"In adopting this section, the committee wishes to suggest that the rehabilitation services administration keep separate statistical data, as to services provided to the new category of individuals proposed to be served by vocational rehabilitation agencies. By this separation of statistics, there would be little possibility of confusion as to the numbers of physically and mentally disabled persons served, and the numbers of otherwise disadvantaged persons served by vocational rehabilitation agencies."
If the predictions of the Federation are shown to be correct as the months pass, and the ever-increasing caseload of disadvantaged persons as clients of vocational rehabilitation agencies causes these agencies to function less efficiently than they do now, if blind persons and other physically impaired persons find they are failing to receive any help at all from vocational rehabilitation agencies, or that the help they do receive is long-delayed in coming, is of poor quality and insufficient quantity or adequacy for their needs, it is my hope that you will write to us telling us, accurately and with utmost detail, about your unsatisfactory dealings with your vocational rehabilitation agencies.
We will build a composite record of such experiences, and with this established proof of demonstrated experience, we will then go again to Congress and plead for the enactment of statutory remedies if such a course seems indicated. The NFB certainly will not be passive when action is indicated.
One very beneficial and most important change made in the V. R. Law by the recently adopted Amendments increases the Federal share in meeting the cost of V. R. services. Previously, the Federal government matched each state dollar of Vocational Rehabilitation money with three Federal dollars. Under the newly revised formula, the Federal government will provide four Federal dollars for each State dollar spent in providing V. R. case services to handicapped individuals. This action by Congress is of far-reaching value to clients of V. R. agencies.
As someone said, during the discussion of the V. R. Amendments of 1968 at our recently held National Convention in Des Moines, Iowa: "A state agency can't even provide poor quality Vocational Rehabilitation services if it doesn't have money!"
And although Congress has been making increasingly larger sums available each year for Vocational Rehabilitation case services. States have failed woefully to take full advantage of available Federal dollars, and have failed to put up enough State money to claim the full amount of Federal funds available to them.
Only seven jurisdictions in 1965, five in 1966, and again only five in 1967, claimed, in full. Federal money available to them for the providing of Vocational Rehabilitation services to their physically and mentally disabled clients. Thus, the change in the Federal-State financial matching formula in Vocational Rehabilitation, from 75 percent Federal to 80 percent Federal, from 25 percent State to 20 percent State, will mean that, for the same amount of State V. R. matching money, a State will receive a substantially greater return. Additional V. R. money should mean improved and more plentiful V. R. services to disabled people.
Several provisions of P. L. 90-391 are designed to strengthen the use of sheltered workshops in the rehabilitative process. One provision, which the Federation unsuccessfully opposed, would re-define sheltered workshops as rehabilitation facilities under the V. R. Act. The House Committee did recognize the Federation's opposition to this proposal to the extent of setting forth a rather clear statement of the function which should be performed by a sheltered shop when it is used as a rehabilitation facility.
Handicapped people who have had dealings with sheltered shops claiming to provide rehabilitative help and services, however, already know what a great discrepancy exists between what sheltered shop-rehabilitative services are said to be and what they usually are!
Another provision of the V. R. Amendments of 1968 would allow the use of up to 10 percent of the State's Vocational Rehabilitation case service funds toward the construction of rehabilitation facilities, that is, orientation centers or sheltered workshops used for rehabilitation purposes. The Federation charged that there were just not enough Vocational Rehabilitation dollars now available in the States to meet the case service needs of handicapped clients, and opposed the further diminution of such funds by this provision, but we were unable to prevent this provision from being enacted into law.
One of the outstanding provisions of the new Rehab Amendments, and one that offers much potential for renewed hope and brighter expectations to disabled people from Vocational Rehabilitation programs, is a provision authorizing that contractual arrangements may be made for on-the-job training of handicapped persons by business and industry. Year after year, in congressional hearing after congressional hearing on Vocational Rehabilitation amending measures, the National Federation of the Blind has argued against the sole use of sheltered workshops to provide handicapped men and women with job training and job preparation and adjustment services.
The NFB, therefore, vigorously supported this on-the-job training proposal in both House and Senate hearings, and we hope this departure from the outdated and unjustified use of the sheltered shop in rehabilitation will be followed by other equally beneficial and hopeful departures from the demonstrated failures of the past.
Another provision of the V. R. Amendments adopted this year by the 90th Congress permits the waiver of the requirement in existing law that a single agency administer a State Vocational Rehabilitation Plan in a State.
The NFB opposed this provision when it was a proposal being considered in Senate and House hearings. "If this proposal is adopted," we categorically asserted, "if Vocational Rehabilitation agencies are allowed to surrender their separate agency status and merge with other state agencies, we believe the objectives of the Vocational Rehabilitation program will soon be dissipated and distorted as they are altered and adjusted to fit the needs of companion agencies.
"For example," we said "if a State V. R. Agency were to be merged with a state agency which administers public welfare programs in the state, the V. R. agency would soon be giving prior consideration, and ultimately, sole consideration, to disabled persons in need of financial assistance, because they are in need of such assistance, rather than providing Vocational Rehabilitation services to disabled persons because they are disabled and in need of help to learn to live again and function successfully as disabled persons."
Then we expressed deep concern that if a State Vocational Rehabilitation agency becomes buried and hidden away somewhere in the maze of a huge bureaucratic structure, evasion and a shifting of responsibility will result; the accountability of Vocational Rehabilitation officials to disabled persons, to legislators would be forfeited in the name of organizational efficiency.
The Federation lost its fight on this potentially perilous proposal, but all Federationists must be alert to the possibility of danger implicit in this provision of the new Rehab Law, and must be prepared to wage all-out war against the consolidation of State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies with other state agencies.
Tell your state officials if they want to move a Vocational Rehabilitation Agency in state governmental structure, then let them move Vocational Rehabilitation Services to the Blind into a separate agency. Let them move all services to the blind in the state into a Commission for the Blind directly responsible to the Governor of the State, directly and identifiably responsible to the blind people of the state!
The 1965 Amendments to the VRA provided for state-wide planning of Vocational Rehabilitation services and allocated certain funds for the purpose. When the 1968 Amendments to the Vocational Rehabilitation Act were under consideration by Congress, they provided for a continuation of state-wide planning--they provided for the continuation of state-wide studies of the needs of disabled people and how these may be most effectively met.
The Federation believes there is far too much talk about rehabilitation and far too few actual results achieved in the way of constructive employment for disabled men and women. We believe that there is far too much planning and far too little execution, far too much discussion about the needs of handicapped people by V. R. administering agency personnel and far too little effort made to meet known needs, or to ascertain the needs of disabled clients of Vocational Rehabilitation agencies from the disabled individuals, themselves.
For these reasons, the Federation opposed the continuation of the state-wide planning provision of the new Rehab Amendments. But the Federation lost on this point. The planning will go on, the conversations and meaningless meetings will continue, and disabled persons already well informed on the kinds of Vocational Rehabilitation services they need, probably will continue to wait, and wait, and wait!
Two final provisions of the '68 Rehab Amendments seem to have possibilities of beneficial V. R. action for disabled persons. One provision authorizes the Secretary of HEW to make grants for the development of new programs to recruit, train, and place the handicapped in public service positions.
In giving Federation support to this provision in the congressional hearings, we stated: "We believe the agencies, institutions, facilities, and installations which administer governmental services and activities at every level of government, have positions which can be filled and filled competently and well by persons with various physical and mental impairments.
"Whether such positions are for professionally trained persons or highly qualified technicians, whether for unskilled or semi-skilled buildings and grounds maintenance personnel, cities and towns, counties and states, and even the Federal government, have job vacancies, and there are substantial numbers of handicapped men and women able and anxious to fill them, wanting the chance to earn a living in constructive and worthwhile work."
If the full possibilities of this provision of Federal law are realized, numerous new fields and classifications of employment will be opened up to qualified blind persons, to other qualified physically and mentally disabled men and women.
The last provision of the newly adopted V. R. Act Amendments allows a Vocational Rehabilitation agency to provide services to the members of the family of a rehabilitation client if such service would contribute to the rehabilitation of the handicapped individual. By virtue of this authority, a Vocational Rehabilitation agency might pay for the transportation expenses of a family to a place of employment along with the handicapped husband and father. It could mean training the wife of a blind vending stand operator so that she would be able to assist him in his vending stand business.
As I said at the beginning of this analysis, the 1968 Amendments to the Vocational Rehabilitation Act are a mixed bag of good and bad, but unfortunately, the bad would seem to outweigh the good in their potential for harm to the only public agency to which disabled persons may turn in their need for help in learning to function successfully and competitively in spite of their impaired conditions--it is the only public agency to which a disabled person may turn for help to train for and to secure employment.
As the months pass and the new Rehab Amendments are changed from legal provisions into actual experiences in the lives of disabled people, if it is found that the "bad" provisions are too bad, the Federation will ask Congress to enact remedial legislation; if the "good" provisions are found to be too weak to be effective, we will ask Congress to strengthen them.
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by Jan Omvig
August 16, 17 and 18 found the membership of the Gem State Blind assembled in Boise for the 33rd annual convention under the able and energetic guidance of its President, Uldine Thelander.
On Thursday evening, just prior to the opening of the convention, the Legislative Committee met. Constitutional revision suggestions occupied much of the time, with the suggestions later accepted by the full membership. Legislative priorities for the coming year were discussed at this meeting. First, and foremost, was the proposed reorganization of state government that would throw services to the blind back into an even larger agency than before. It was the concensus of the Committee that our primary efforts should be directed at saving our new Commission for the Blind. Federationists throughout the country know of the strenuous efforts of the Gem State Blind to secure the Commission and it would be a sad state of affairs, indeed, if the Commission were to be swallowed up before having a chance to mature. At its meeting, the Executive Committee concurred with the Legislative Committee in regard to the priority business of the organization in that it, too, expressed the feeling that we must stop any move to transfer services from the Commission to a "super" agency. At this meeting NFB President Kenneth Jernigan also spoke out against such reorganization.
At a very well-attended press conference, President Jernigan frankly discussed his and the organization's views regarding the proposed reorganization, and its adverse effect on the blind of Idaho. It is interesting to note that the head of a large state department which would also be brought under the umbrella agency, was prompted to contact the news media to state that he had heard no such proposal and that he felt the national leader of the blind was premature. (Exactly two weeks later the Legislative Counsel Bureau Subcommittee on Budget and Finance came out with just such a reorganizational proposal.)
Again with regard to reorganization, there was a panel discussion featuring Dr. Jernigan and the Chairman of the Legislative Counsel Bureau, Myron Schlechte, which evoked much comment and many questions from the membership.
President Jernigan gave an excellent banquet address on Friday evening. His generous praise of the Commission and its director, Mr. Kenneth Hopkins, added much to the new-found hope and forward-looking spirit among blind Idahoans.
Director Hopkins addressed the convention on Saturday evening to acquaint the membership with the plans and progress of the Commission--the services available, the training now being provided, the jobs already secured, and those anticipated.
President Jernigan also met with the University Federation. This new chapter pledged its support and assistance to the parent group in every way possible but especially to the end of maintaining the Commission as a separate and independent agency.
It was the feeling of this correspondent that the membership went home with new knowledge and in high spirits.
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Death has claimed a long-time leader of the blind in Colorado. Bill Wood, Second Vice President of the Colorado Federation of the Blind, died in September. He was also Chairman of the Legislative Committee and served on the Resolutions Committee. Bill Wood was a dedicated Federationist and will be greatly missed, as evidenced by the following tributes.
Marjorie Gallien, Corresponding Secretary of the Colorado Federation of the Blind writes: "Right now we feel very deeply the recent passing of William E. Wood, one of the founders of the Colorado organization who served either as President or First Vice President of both the State and the Denver organizations ever since. He was also our Legislative Chairman, engrossed in a study of White Cane Laws."
Kenneth Jernigan, President of the National Federation of the Blind, writes: "Bill Wood was the first President of the Colorado Federation of the Blind when we reorganized the affiliate in 1955. I well remember the Colorado survey and the preliminary work which went into the establishment of the affiliate. I also remember vividly the night we organized the Colorado Federation. Henry Taylor, President of the old affiliate, resigned in the interest of trying to bring about a broader base of organization and a new era of unity. Henry is one of the unsung heroes in the Federation, as far as I am concerned. Bill Wood was then unanimously elected, and the affiliate was on its way. If it had not been for the actions of State Services for the Blind, I am convinced that Colorado would have had model programs and model conditions for the blind. Bill Wood worked hard, in good times and in bad, and did all that he could to advance the cause. He is now dead, and will be sorely missed.
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Dear Mr. Jernigan:
At the NFB Convention, it was mentioned that some members had jobs with the telephone company in Des Moines.
I would like to use those inroads with the New York Telephone Company, and would appreciate knowing the job titles, duties, and any special adaptations that were necessary in order to permit the person to function competitively.
The young lady whom I would like to place, knows Braille, types well, and has experience in telephone sales.
I have some very good contacts with the New York Telephone Company, and believe that they would like to be convinced that they have jobs that unsighted persons can do.
Any names of persons in the Des Moines Telephone Company who would be helpful, would also be greatly appreciated.
1 will keep you informed as to how things develop.
Samuel K. Wolff, President
Dear Mr. Wolff:
We have placed three persons as CAMA operators with the telephone company in this state. They all worked out well. One of them is
On August 1, a graduate of our Center went to work with the phone company in Des Moines as a customer service representative--at least I think this is his title. He goes to see customers and attempts to sell them additional telephone service. He held this job before becoming blind, came to our Center for training, and is now back at work. It is, of course, too early to tell how he will do, but I am convinced that he will have no problems. If a man can do a job as a sighted man, he can learn to do it as a blind man. Therefore, I would say that a blind person who has been blind all of his life could handle the job of service representative.
These are the two jobs with which we have had firsthand experience. However, the telephone company people have been talking with the blind woman who is now working as a CAMA operator, about a promotion. She would be another type of customer service representative, calling people on the telephone, handling complaints, et cetera.
We have had excellent cooperation from all of the people in the telephone company here. Mr. Otis Selindh, Northwestern Bell Telephone Company, 909 High Street, Des Moines, Iowa, has been especially helpful to us and would, I am sure, be happy to answer questions if he were contacted.
Kenneth Jernigan, Director
Iowa Commission for the Blind
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by James Gashel
[Editor's Note: As Federationists know, Jim Gashel is the president of the NFB Student Division. He was one of the team who went to Illinois to help organize the new affiliate--The Illinois Congress of the Blind. His opinions and ideas on the situation he found in Illinois are summarized in the following article.]
After spending better than a week talking and working with large numbers of blind persons in Illinois, I cannot help but conclude that the primary factor in our successful organizing campaign was the over-whelming discovery by many blind Illinoisians that they have for some time been out of the main stream of organized blind activity. Even though most blind persons in Illinois have had a difficult time getting jobs, something which too many others have found impossible to do, few had ever heard of the NFB, and they listened eagerly as the members of our organizing team told about the Model White Cane Law, the opening of Federal jobs under Civil Service, and our publicity campaigns emphasizing the employability of the blind. Few blind persons with whom I spoke were aware that the teaching profession is beginning to open its doors to the entrance of the blind. Most of them had no idea that the organized blind were responsible for the increased wages paid by sheltered shops. Only one or two had ever heard of the Disability Insurance for the Blind Bill, and the list goes on and on.
But the blind of Illinois did not listen passively to the story of NFB struggle and success in other parts of the country. For example, upon hearing about our current court battle for the right to serve on juries they began to question the State of Illinois' prohibition against blind persons serving as jurors. When told of how the California Council of the Blind has led the way in opening up teaching opportunities for blind persons in California, and how the Iowa Association of the Blind has made a similar accomplishment, they grew angry over a Chicago ordinance which bars disabled persons from teaching in the City's Schools.
When the blind of Illinois learned that some agencies in the country now are doing an efficient and effective job of helping blind persons achieve first-class citizenship and assume a productive role in society, they reflected on the substandard services they currently receive from an agency buried in a gigantic bureaucratic department. Moreover, when members of the organizing team mentioned some of the services an adequate agency for the blind should provide, Illinoisians said they didn't know such services were available anywhere. Most of the blind students I talked to felt fortunate to receive $1000 per year, the maximum the agency provides for tuition, books and supplies, room and board, and other college expenses. Needless to say, this amount is grossly inadequate in view of the high cost of education. Nevertheless the students were astounded to learn that agencies in other states, operating under the same legislation, are meeting all of the needs of the college students they serve.
In my all too brief discussions with blind persons in Illinois, I learned something of what it must be like to live in a state lacking an NFB affiliate. Most blind persons are discouraged from seeking employment for which they are qualified, solely because they are blind. I talked to several college graduates who work as typists, or in industry; not in their chosen professions. I talked to others who strongly desired to leave the sheltered workshops and move into employment in private industry. And I talked with many who want to quit their current employment and enter college. In every case, however, the realistic dreams of these people have gone unfulfilled either because of the all pervasive social attitudes about blindness, or an Agency restriction, or both. In most states with NFB affiliates these lamentable situations occur less often, but in Illinois, where we have no affiliate, the blind are conditioned to accept disappointment and unfulfilled hopes as a normal routine.
This customary way of life for the blind of Illinois has, however, not warped their spirit. In fact, there is every indication that their desire for change is intense, and with ample reason. For years many have struggled alone for jobs and social acceptance. Some have achieved success, but far too many have fallen through no fault of their own. Now the blind of Illinois have been initiated into the organized blind movement, sharing in its efforts, contributing to its goals, and reaping the benefits of its labors. The blind of Illinois have many long-standing and difficult problems, but many more hopeful prospects for the future.
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The U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare reports that for the 1967 fiscal year a total of 173,594 persons were rehabilitated by vocational rehabilitation agencies. The median age for those rehabilitated was 33 years. The proportion of male clients decreased over the past five years by 4 percent. Also decreasing was the proportion that was white while the number of Negroes rose from 18.5 percent in 1963 to 19.8 percent in 1967. A larger increase over the past five years was shown by the percent of clients without dependents, 53.2 percent in 1963 compared to 59.2 percent in 1967.
Better than one-fourth of the persons rehabilitated had a mental disorder as their major disabling condition. Mental illness accounted for 16 percent and mental retardation 10 percent. The area of disablement for an additional 25 percent centered around conditions involving the extremities or trunk. The single largest group causing major disabling conditions was accidents, injuries, and poisonings.
In 1967, the average cost of purchased services per rehabilitated person was $554. The average cost of services by disabling condition ranged from $947 for blind persons to $358 for persons with digestive system disorders.
The largest source of referral of clients to the rehabilitation agencies was hospitals and sanatoriums, not physicians. A client's largest single source of support, though not necessarily his sole source, was most likely to have been family and friends. This source was 51.4 percent while support fronn currect earnings was 20.7 percent. Of the persons rehabilitated in 1967, 10.7 percent were applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits at the time they were closed rehabilitated.
About one in every four of the persons rehabilitated in 1967 was also working at acceptance. Three-fourths of the clients were employed in the competitive labor market at closure. Service occupations (23.4 percent) was the largest occupational category of persons rehabilitated.
The median length of time required to process a case, from referral to closure, was 12 months, a decrease of one month from the 13-month median of the previous four years. An average of two months was required from employment to closure during the past year.
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[Editor's Note: The August issue of "The Palmetto Auroran", publication of the South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind, contains interesting reactions to the NFB Convention held in Des Moines in July. Following are the comments.]
My First NFB Convention
by Mrs. Reba Hancock
This 1968 NFB Convention was, in my opinion, a great one to be the first for me to attend. After several hundred miles by Greyhound, from Columbia, South Carolina to Des Moines, Iowa, by way of Chicago, Illinois, Gayle Martin of Inman, South Carolina, and I arrived at the Bus Depot at 1:00 a.m., Monday, July 1, 1968, Much to our joy, two lovely young people met us in an NFB courtesy car. There was never a more welcomed person that these two NFBers.
After a much needed bath and rest, we got into the swing of things on Monday night at the hospitality hour. Each morning we attended a short devotional service which got the day off to a good start. These were most enjoyable. Nearly all of the meetings were interesting and most informative. The memorial service for Dr. Jacobus tenBroek was very impressive. It was a distinct thrill to hear the strong vote cast for our own Donald C, Capps voted in as the First Vice-President of the NFB. I can not begin to tell all about the tour of the Iowa Commission for the Blind and see the fabulous progress made in 10 years. It is indeed a wonderful example of determination, dedication and hard work.
The banquet was a lovely affair. The redwood candleholders, complete with candles, (made in the woodwork shop of the Commission building and given each person as a souvenir) were used in a memorial tribute to Dr. Jacobus tenBroek.
It was wonderful to see Dr. Isabelle Grant again.
After the closing session, the eleven adult delegates from South Carolina had a delightful supper together. It was hard for Gayle and me to leave the group to make that several hundred mile trip back to South Carolina.
It was my first NFB Convention, but God willing, it will not be my last. Thank you again for letting me be one small part of this great get-together. I may attend many more, but none will ever be as enjoyable as this one was.
My Thoughts About My First NFB Convention
by James Sims
I arrived on Monday afternoon, July 1st. There was someone there to meet us as soon as we got off the plane. There were several blind and sighted people that met us. We were taken by the Iowa Commission's bus to the Hotel. There I began to meet more blind people than I had ever seen in my life. They were from all walks of life and some of the friendliest people that I have ever met. From that first devotional service on Tuesday morning until the final session ended Friday afternoon, I have never been so impressed in all my life. Since I attended the NFB Convention, I have been made to appreciate more the different programs for the blind that the NFB supports. I have always believed in what the NFB stands for, but if possible, I believe in it more so now. Words can not express what I think of the Iowa Commission for the blind. It is the most well-rounded program for the blind that I have ever seen or heard tell of. I am amazed at such a fine job that they are doing. I would not take anything for my first NFB Convention. It was one of the most rewarding experiences that I have ever had.
"It Was Wonderful”
by Maxine R. Bowles
[Editor's Note: Mrs. Maxine R. Bowles is the very capable Fiscal Director of the South Carolina Commission for the Blind.]
When Dr. Ken Jernigan came to visit with us--the South Carolina Commission for the Blind and the Aurora Club--last November, everyone knew that great excitement was in store at the 1968 National Federation of the Blind Convention, I must say, however, that it far surpassed any of my personal expectations.
Upon arrival in Des Moines late on Wednesday afternoon, I rushed to the seven-floor, modern, well-equipped building housing the Iowa State Commission for the Blind. Needless to say, my first thought, and constant one since, was "We, too, must have one." The trainees, the staff, and all Iowa NFB members are proud, and rightly so, of their accomplishments and a visitor quickly realizes the efforts and support of the individuals involved in making this such an exemplary facility with its ongoing activities. Conventionaires had toured the building, been served sandwiches, Iowa corn, salad, ice cream and drinks, in the dining room and hamburgers on the roof-top overlooking the capitol. The swimming area was open and many had taken advantage of the pool.
I joined our group shortly after seven and, as friendly as everyone is who attends the Convention, it was good to get with home-folks. They must have been exhausted after such a busy day but no one would admit it and we had a real gala evening. The banquet the next night was a stimulating highlight and memorable affair.
Business sessions started promptly on Thursday morning, continuing through Friday, and within a very short while, I realized the dedication and determination that existed with NFB members. I have followed their activities for many years but to see for the first time, first hand was an experience I shall never forget. One of the outstanding moments for me was when our "very own" Don Capps told the entire group of the wonderful endeavors and close-knit working relationship we have in South Carolina.
I left Des Moines and NFB with mixed feelings. I had such a meaningful and wonderful experience that I wanted it to continue but could hardly wait to get home to start helping with plans for the Convention right here in Columbia next year.
The enthusiasm the group has for future plans and realization of achievements for NFB is so contagious that I am fully convinced Convention time in sixty-nine will be the very finest and most successful yet!
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22 August 1968
TO: State and Chapter Presidents
This letter is being sent to you to cover a variety of matters. It is being written at the conclusion of a conference which Hazel tenBroek and I have been having in Des Moines. She came on Monday of this week, and we have been reviewing the work of the Berkeley office, discussing the future of the MONITOR, and making general plans. In addition, I have been showing her our Commission operation, and we have been getting in a little general socializing as we could. This evening, for instance, she, Anna Katherine, and I are going for dinner and the evening to the home of Neil Butler, president of the Iowa Association of the Blind.
When Hazel returns to Berkeley tomorrow, she will take this letter with her and will mail it to you from the Berkeley office. From time to time in the future as matters accumulate which I would like to discuss with you, I shall send similar letters to the State and Local Presidents.
This brings me to the first item requiring attention. I suspect that I do not have anything like a complete list of state and local presidents. I have only about two hundred names on the roster, and I am sure there are close to four hundred of you. Furthermore, I feel certain that a number of changes have occurred that I do not know about. Therefore, will each state president please verify that he is, indeed, holding that office; and will each local chapter president do likewise. These names should be sent to Hazel tenBroek at the Berkeley office, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708. I cannot emphasize strongly enough the urgency of this request. Any time there is a state or local election, the Berkeley office should be notified immediately. Hazel will see that the information is passed on to me and others who need the list.
Let me turn now to a discussion of the MONITOR. Before last week's issue, 2000 people received the MONITOR in braille. As you know, the new Illinois affiliate has just been organized, and when I came back from Chicago, I had close to 200 names to add to the MONITOR list.
We have about 2500 on our print MONITOR mailing list; and that, too, has recently been increasing quite rapidly. We are sending out about 250 tape copies each month.
We are now going to make an experimental run of putting the MONITOR on talking book. At both the Washington and Idaho conventions, which I recently attended, strong sentiment was expressed for doing this. We have investigated the costs, and I believe we can swing it. Anyway, we are going to give it a whirl.
The question is how to build up the list for the initial mailings. We are going to begin by ordering something over 1000 talking book copies. We will put fifteen of these in each of the thirty-eight Regional Libraries for the Blind. This adds up to 585. We will send each state and local president that I have on my list two copies, which will mean somewhat over 400 more. We will keep something over 100 copies in the Berkeley office for distribution to those who ask for them.
This is merely a means of getting started. As we proceed, we will continue to send copies to the Regional Libraries and will expect each of you to let Hazel know whether you would like to have future copies sent to you--and if so, how many. In addition, you should send us names and addresses of those who want the talking book edition, and you should urge others to do so. In other words, we are going full blast on this effort and would like to send the talking book edition of the MONITOR to every blind person in the Nation who wants it. If the demand justifies it, and if the cash holds out, the talking book MONITOR will become permanent.
As I indicated to you when I sent you the Illinois Bulletin, we are now undertaking a vigorous organizing campaign. As quickly as possible we hope to establish a strong affiliate in every state in the Union. Hand in hand with this effort must go our system of communication. This is why the MONITOR is being put on talking book, and it is why each of you should actively work to expand our mailing list for the braille, inkprint, and tape editions. We are on the move!
I am calling a meeting of the NFB Executive Committee to be held in Des Moines at 1:00 o'clock on Saturday, November 30. Many things have occurred since the convention, and there will be a full agenda. The meeting will continue on Sunday morning, and at that time we will be discussing legislative strategy for the coming congressional session. I will undoubtedly be writing you again after the meeting, but if any of the state or local leaders would care to attend the Sunday morning session, they will be welcome to do so--at their own expense, of course. The Saturday meeting will be an executive session.
We are going to have a change in the Washington office. Let me hasten to add that the change is to be one of location, not personnel. The Subway Authority will be taking the location of our present building, and we must move. In the process, we hope to find a better location and more desirable quarters. John Nagle and I are currently negotiating for a lease in a good building in a very desirable section of the city. I will be sending you the new address and other details when the matter is finalized.
Speaking of changes, I have asked Hazel tenBroek to serve as associate editor of the MONITOR. In reality she has been assisting Perry and serving in this capacity all along. This simply makes it official. She will, of course, continue to function as office manager in Berkeley and will assist me in a variety of research and other projects.
As I travel about the country and as I hear from Federation leaders by mail and phone, one fact repeatedly emphasizes itself. There is a new spirit of enthusiasm and growth permeating our entire movement. It was evident at this year's convention (the largest in history), and it is increasingly apparent at every level of the organization. I believe that we are on the verge of the greatest growth and expansion and the greatest unity of purpose we have ever known. The days ahead promise to be full of excitement and progress for the NFB. I hope that all of you will keep me informed of what is happening in your area and that you will also remember to send items to the MONITOR.
Cordially and fraternally yours,
Kenneth Jernigan, President
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There are at least fifty specific changes in the federal Social Security Act, either legislative or administrative, that will have an effect on welfare administration in the several states. Some of these more important changes are:
1. Work Incentive Program. This requires the referral of all appropriate Aid to Families with Dependent Children recipients to the Work Incentive Program to be administered by the Department of Employment in the states, while providing day care, work expenses and supportive social services.
2. Separation of eligibility and services. Adequate numbers of full-time professional staff are to be assigned to service functions under conditions which will prevent their time being diverted to eligibility or other non-service functions. A reduction in the extent of federal participation is provided for beginning July 1, 1969 where separation is not effected.
3. Establishment of an Advisory Committee on Aid to Families with Dependent Children and Child Welfare Services is required. Recipients of assistance or services, or their representatives, must constitute at least one-third of the membership of the Advisory Committee and be representative of the total recipient population. There must be adequate opportunity for meaningful participation in both policy development and program implementation.
4. Integration of AFDC and Child Welfare Services. All services must be provided by or under the supervision of a single organizational unit.
5. Use of nonprofessional positions. Provision must be made by not later than July 1, 1969 for the employment of public assistance recipients or other low-income persons to assist in the provision of services.
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by Kenneth Jernigan
From time to time I receive various inquiries concerning our fundraising efforts--particularly our sending of unordered merchandise. Last year, before we purchased Fedco, I received such an inquiry from a lady in the State of Nebraska. I answered as follows:
Dear Mrs. Blank:
This will reply to your letter concerning the necktie which was mailed to your deceased husband. These neckties are mailed by the National Federation of the Blind, of which I am an officer. It is a legitimate sales effort. The necktie is worth the price asked, but the individual does not have to keep it or pay for it if he does not wish to. The Federation makes a fair and reasonable profit on every tie sold and is giving an article of value, not simply requesting a contribution as is usually the case.
I am not certain how familiar you are with the work of the National Federation of the Blind, but in my judgment the organization has done more than any other single group to improve the lot of the blind in this nation during the past twenty years. This, of course, is a personal opinion, and others may have different views. In any case, the Federation is a legitimate and reputable organization with a well established program and lists of accomplishments in behalf of the blind.
As to the other organizations which use one type or another of unordered merchandise as a method of financing their programs, no single answer can be given. Some are legitimate; some are not. Some send worthwhile merchandise; others trash. Some are dignified and constructive in their approach; others sloppy and maudlin.
Local Better Business Bureaus tend undiscriminatingly to frown on unordered merchandise mail campaigns. There are several explanations which can be given as to why this is so. Let us suppose that a piece of merchandise costs the organization 90 [cents] (including the loss occasioned by the people who do not return the article if it is not wanted or who do not make full payment for it.) Let us further suppose that the organization charges $1.00 for the item. The Better Business Bureau tends to say: "The organization is cheating the public, because the public is lead to believe that the $1.00 they give is going, in its entirety, to the support of the organization; whereas, in reality only 10 percent is going to the charitable cause while 90 percent is going into the pockets of unscrupulous, unprincipled, mangy fundraisers."
The organizations tend to reply: "Any business which can make a steady profit of 10 percent on the sale of merchandise is doing pretty well and, in fact, will make absolutely all of the money that it needs or wants if it can only sell enough merchandise. It is not reasonable to go to a local dry goods store and say to the merchant, 'I will not buy a suit from you for $100.00 because only 10 percent really goes to you, the balance going into the pockets of unscrupulous wholesalers, landlords, and light companies.'"
Since this is really not a complicated argument and since it does not require an extremely high degree of intelligence to unravel, one would suppose that the average Better Business Bureau would be able to understand it and see the justice of it without a great deal of difficulty. Such, however, is usually not the case, leading some cynics to say that the local Better Business Bureau represents local merchants (who wish to make at least the 10 percent profit which we discussed earlier). If merchandise comes into the community by mail (neckties, for instance) and if such merchandise is purchased in quantity then the local shopkeeper may well not make even 10 percent.
There are, of course, some organizations (just as there are some local merchants and Better Business Bureaus) that send unordered merchandise through the mails and that are not legitimate. These tend to bring discredit upon all. There are also doubtless some people who genuinely believe that the practice of raising funds by the sale of unordered merchandise is a bad practice. I think this opinion is wrong, but each to his own notions.
The point that must be emphasized, however, is simply this: the National Federation of the Blind is a tremendously worthwhile organization. It is improving the lives of blind people. If it is to continue to operate, it must have money. To the present time, it has found no way of raising money which is as effective and successful as the sending of unordered merchandise. As evidenced by the response, the public does not disapprove of the method. There is certainly nothing morally or legally wrong with the method. Therefore, I am sure that the Federation will continue and expand the project.
If I may provide further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Very truly yours,
Kenneth Jernigan, Director
Iowa Commission for the Blind
More recently the Kansas City, Missouri Better Business Bureau made some unflattering remarks concerning our mailings on a radio broadcast. Gwen Rittgers and others in the area took them to task. Ultimately I got into the act and had quite a spirited exchange of correspondence with some of the BBB officers. My final letter read:
Dear Mr. Buckley:
This will reply to your letter of August 5, The National Federation of the Blind owns FEDCO. The address is the one you listed in St. Louis. Every nickel of profit or contribution in connection with the sale of the neckties goes to the National Federation of the Blind. The Federation has a contract with FEDCO for technical and bookkeeping reasons, but I repeat that we own FEDCO entirely, the officers of the Federation serving as the officers and Board of FEDCO. Let me hasten to add that the officers of the Federation receive no compensation whatever. In case you think I may be playing at technicalities, let me also add that the officers of FEDCO receive no compensation whatever. If my earlier letter to you sounded somewhat crisp, it is because a number of us are getting somewhat tired of what appears to us the rather highhanded action of the Better Business Bureau with respect to the whole field of charitable endeavor. We believe that the attitude of the Better Business Bureau toward unordered merchandise has developed for the reasons I outlined to you. Further, we believe that the statements the Better Business Bureau tend to make to the public on these matters are knowingly and deliberately deceptive, almost to the point of fraud.
We readily concede the right of any individual to his own opinion about unordered merchandise, but we do not condone unethical and deceptive behavior on the part of a group that holds itself out to the public as the watchdog of integrity. The officers and leaders of the National Federation of the Blind are men of reputation and standing in their states and communities. They do not take kindly to being smeared. I invite you to make inquiries in my own community and state, as to my personal reputation. The same would be true of any of our other officers and leaders. In other words, we are not bilking the public by performing a charitable service, and we are not innocent dupes, being hoodwinked by unscrupulous promoters.
I hope this letter clears up the questions you had in mind and that accurate statements can be made in the future.
Very truly yours,
Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind
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by R. Richard Ciccone
CHICAGO (AP)--Ben Blagg is a blind radio announcer. He can read with his fingers the history of the Civil War but he can't "read" the daily history of the Vietnam war.
Jim Inman is a junior high school honor student. He also is blind and often must depend on someone to read him reference material he needs for his studies.
Blagg, 24, and Inman, 14, are like many other blind persons limited to reading only printed material that has been translated into Braille--the system of raised dots whose various arrangements represent letters and contractions.
Many literary classics and reference books are available at Braille libraries in central locations but this doesn't help a student like Jim Inman in Wheeling, Illinois, or a radio announcer like Ben Blagg who must be able to read newscasts in his job at KLIB, Liberal, Kansas.
What will help is an invention recently completed by Ray Morrison an engineer from Skokie, a suburb northwest of Chicago.
Morrison has designed a device that can be adapted to an Associated Press news printer that will enable Ben Blagg to "read" the news as it happens.
Morrison's invention, attached to a news printer in a broadcasting station or newspaper office, will convert into a narrow tape a Braille translation of the news story which appears on the teletype printer.
Blagg admits that reading news from a narrow tape which may stretch several hundred feet would be difficult.
"I'd copy it over on a Brailler to make sure there were no mistakes. But I could do it myself, that's the main thing," Blagg said.
Blagg uses the Perkins Brailler--a typewriter-like machine with six keys that emboss dots in the arrangements which can be distinguished by touch.
"Someone reads my program schedule to me the day before," Blagg explained, "and I put it in Braille. The phonograph records we use are preselected so there's no problem there."
"If I could read the news myself, I could sign on in the morning and sign off at night," Blagg said. "This would probably make the difference in some cases whether I'd be hired or not. "
"I had quite a time getting a job," Blagg said. "This invention will create many opportunities for blind radio announcers."
The idea of instant, electromechanical Braille first occurred to Morrison several years ago.
"I'm a ham operator-radio teletype," he explained. "I developed a machine that allowed me to send messages to other hams by using an ordinary typewriter keyboard. The messages were received in perforated paper tape which could be read. "
"But there was a blind ham operator in Los Angeles who couldn't read the tape," Morrison said, "so I adapted a receiver for him that would emboss the tape instead of perforate it."
Morrison, 65, has been employed as an electrical engineer by Illinois Bell Telephone Company for 41 years.
"I was always interested in the blind and I used to fix their machines--Perkins Braillers--at the Johanna Bureau, a Chicago foundation for helping the blind."
"Some years ago," Morrison said, "I saw a prototype model of a device that could produce a Braille tape from printed, teletype copy. I thought I could improve on that model so I started working on it."
Teletype Corp. and Illinois Bell allowed Morrison to use their facilities and computers for figuring the conversion factors.
"I used a standard typewriter keyboard which means anyone operating it doesn't need to know Braille. The operator can punch the lettered keys and the tape will come out in Braille."
The impact of Morrison's device may be greatest in the education of the visually handicapped.
The cost of full Braille reference libraries and tape recordings is prohibitive for all but the largest and wealthiest educational institutions.
The real need for the blind student is low-cost, immediate access to study materials.
The special education office of the Illinois Office of Public Instruction plans to install Morrison's device in its Chicago center to provide materials for schools with students like Jinn Inman.
Morrison explained that an instructor at the Wheeling class for the handicapped will be able to call Chicago and ask for a specific reference. Anyone who can type can copy the reference on Morrison's device and a Braille tape of the material will be produced.
"The telephone company--at the regular cost of a phone call--will transmit the tape to the receiver in the Wheeling school and the student will have the reference material in a matter of minutes," Morrison said.
Mrs. Kay Kacena, supervisor of blind education in the Wheeling school district, said "there are more than 20 visually handicapped students in the district. They are in different grades and have different study assignments. If we have to read reference material to one student, we disturb the others."
"Teaching is also becoming more and more individual and we are diverting from textbook material and asking students to use outside reference sources," she said.
"This presents a hardship to the blind student because he needs someone to read him the references," she said. "We could get the tape, cut it and past it on sheets of paper and the student would have his reference without disturbing anyone or wasting his time."
The cost of Ray Morrison's invention is interest, ability and a few dollars in parts. He will send the designs to anyone who wants to build the Braille tape adapter.
"The equipment designs," Morrison said, "are original development and are declared in the public domain for use by anyone for the benefit of the blind."
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[Editor's Note: Following are the number of recipients and the average money payment in Aid to the Blind, by state, for the month of February, 1968 (from the Social Security Bulletin for June, 1968).]
Number of Recipients
Average Money Payment
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[Editor's Note: Following is a letter from Stanley Oliver of Michigan to NFB President Kenneth Jernigan.]
I want to call your attention to some concerns affecting the status of blind piano tuners, in your capacity as President of the National Federation of the Blind. The Braille Monitor and the Piano Technicians Guild journal published some months ago my article "Agencies for the Blind and Piano Tuning". We must surely deal with the present effectively if we are to shape the future. Let me list some specifics calling for vigorous resolution.
At the national PTG convention held earlier this month in Calgary, Alberta, PTG President Ralph Kingsbury, 3303 N. 107th Street, Wauwatos, Wisconsin 53222, called a number of us blind tuners together for an informal idea exchange. We have, in my opinion, a generally excellent relation between sighted and visually handicapped men within our association. Those of us who are blind within the PTG are keenly aware of the decent and helpful attitudes of sighted colleagues. May I suggest we do what is ready for action within the philosophy of the NFB to promote integration of blind tuners from brackish waters into the main channel. Technical institutes at conventions and special chapter program materials are indispensable to building technical and business skills.
For some fifteen years I have corresponded with Alfred Heckman, London, England, president of one of seven blind tuners groups there. What is patent from this and perusal of the Piano Tuners Quarterly of England, is that the heavy hand of agency domination and separate status has set England's blind tuners far down the road. The incomes of blind English tuners on an average appear very poor. Mr. Bryan Hewitt, tuning instructor. Royal Normal College for the Blind, where he supervises a five year tuning course, expressed amazement at the scope of work and effectiveness of United States blind tuners following his visit here last year. A truly remarkable individual, Alfred E. Knight, O. B. E., a piano manufacturer based in England and whose products are sold around the world has been designated by the English Queen to promote the welfare of English blind tuners. "Alfie" as he is known to all of us refers to organizing all English tuners and then calling a strike. Knowing Alfie, he just might do that.
Alfie Knight's travels take him to over fifty countries annually including United States visits for the major music trade shows. Last year he delivered a letter of greetings from Ernest Chandler, president of the English blind tuners to our Detroit national PTG visually handicapped meeting attended by around fifty men. For the 1969 PTG convention in New Orleans he has proposed to bring along with him a spokesman of the association. In my view, which is shared by some other tuners, the best interests of visually handicapped tuners in England would be served by a concurrent process of striking off the custodial agency domination which has brought about inferior insights and actualities and in the same action move to merge the separate blind and sighted tuners national organizations. The agencies for the blind in the main, as you and I so well know, have stood athwart the plain best interests of their "clients" and have too often sought merely their own continuance as a business enterprise. The Iowa Commission for the Blind under your vigorous leadership offers a challenge to agency practice around the world, which was recognized by President Lyndon B. Johnson when your outstanding achievement in Iowa received a Presidential citation. We can work and hope that the philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind so ably developed by our late beloved Dr. Jacobus tenBroek and now carried forward by yourself will find its true realization in improving some facets of living for the visually handicapped. Alfred E. Knight, 26 Wellfields, Loughton Essex, England, has many blind friends not only among blind tuners in the United States and England but also in other lands. His pianos are manufactured under licensing agreements in eleven countries besides England.
In conjunction with William Stegeman, Austin, Minnesota, chairman, national PTG committee on tuning schools, I am gleaning what data is available from rehab agencies on tuner training. This will form part of the committee report on Problems and Affairs of the Visually Handicapped at the 1969 convention. I would be concerned with what provisions are current under your direction for tuner training and whatever statistical data related to this.
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[Editor's Note: Readers of the Monitor are aware of Dr. Isabelle L. D. Grant's activities in behalf of the blind of foreign countries, carrying on her duties as Ambassador of Good Works to the Blind Overseas. Dr. Grant issues a call for our help. She writes:]
First call for used portable typewriters and things. We need all of the used portable typewriters we can muster. Please take that one out of the closet and get it on its way. We need it for a school for the blind, an organization of the blind, or for an individual. Send the portable along to me and I shall send it where it will be used. (Dr. Isabelle L. D. Grant, 851 W. 40th Place, Los Angeles, California 90037.)
I am sending this week fifty frames and styluses to schools in the heart of Africa, to individuals, and to organizations of the blind. Have you any slates and styluses hidden away? Let me have them to send to those who haven't any. I am on the hunt for equipment of every sort--Taylor frames, mathematical instruments, folding canes. Braille watches, transisters and larger radios.
Pakistan is receiving many boxes of discarded eye glasses which are being distributed to needy individuals through the assistance of CARE. The eye glasses may be sent to other countries on the CARE list. We should stop at nothing less than doubling our present total of around 65,000 pairs. Dr. Mae Davidow has assumed the responsibility for collecting the glasses. Please set up centers for collecting the glasses and pack them in boxes or barrels after wrapping each pair with Kleenex-type tissue or in a glasses case before sending the large quantities to Dr. Davidow, care of the Overbrook School for the Blind, Philadelphia, Pa. 19151.
Finally, Braille books for overseas--keep 'em rolling. The 32,000 volumes already sent have gone into many countries but the need is still great. The call came from every one of the eleven countries in Africa which I visited. There is no limit on the subjects asked for. Members of the Student Division of the NFB are undertaking the wrapping and sending of the books. Please put complete titles together in one carton. The books are sent free through the mail and should be addressed to the President of the Student Division, Mr. James Gashel, 2303 Olive, Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613. Please put on the right hand corner of the carton, "Free--Reading Material for the Blind".
As usual, you are going strong, Isabelle. Keep it up!
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High enthusiasm! Rock-solid unity! Thoughtful deliberation! Constructive actions!
These phrases aptly describe the thirteenth annual convention of the Empire State Association of the Blind, held at the Hotel Syracuse in the city of Syracuse, New York, August 30-September 2.
The convention program was loaded with issues of vital concern to blind people. John Taylor, Assistant Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, told of the Iowa Orientation and Vocational Rehabilitation programs, and how the Federation philosophy is practiced in these programs in Iowa. Ralph Garretson, Acting Technical Officer, Division of Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress, discussed changes to be made in Talking Book machines and the Casette Tape Recorder as a reproducer of books for the blind. Attorney Garry Orenstein talked about a blind person serving as a juror, the legal and attitudinal barriers which bar his entry into the jury box in New York state. A resolution was adopted directing the organized blind to seek legislative elimination of this discrimination in New York state. William Dwyer gave a report on state, and John Nagle on federal, legislative efforts and accomplishments.
"The Single or Multiple Agency for the Blind" was the topic of a panel moderated by John Nagle, participated in by panelists John Taylor of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, Arthur Copland of the Industrial Home for the Blind, Brooklyn, Milton Rosenbloom of the Syracuse Lighthouse for the Blind, and Kenneth Fitzgerald of the faculty of Syracuse University.
John Taylor, John Nagle, and Dominic DeJohn, President of the Empire State Association of the Blind, gave moving tributes to Dr. Jacobus tenBroek and the great good his life had and continues to have upon the lives of all blind people.
Reports were given, discussed, and approved; resolutions were read, debated, and ratified. And the ESAB grew during its thirteenth annual convention, for Chapters 9 and 10 were accepted into affiliate ship: Long Island Society of the Blind, and Adirondacks Brotherhood of the Blind.
The convention high point in Federation zeal was reached at the banquet. Nearly one hundred Empire State Federationists and their friends listened attentively as John Taylor and John Nagle talked of the organized blind movement, described its structure, goals, and achievements.
Rochester was ratified by the convention as the site of the '69 ESAB convention, and Niagara Falls was chosen as the site of the '70 ESAB convention.
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[Editor's Note: Following is a letter from Tim Fuery of Brisbane, Australia to Kenneth Jernigan, President of the NFB, which gives some interesting slants on the status of the white cane 'down under'. Mr. Fuery is a sheltered shop worker in Brisbane and is the representative of the Blind Workers' Union to the Convention (to be held in Sydney) of the Australian Federation of Organizations of the Blind. Many Federationists in this country will remember what a delightful fellow Tim Fuery is, having met him during his visit in 1964.]
In my letter of 4th August I mentioned to you that the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Alderman Clem Jones, proposed to write to you seeking additional information on the modern concept of Orientation and Mobility-training for blind people. I tried to set out the conversation I had with the Lord Mayor on 23rd July which led up to his deciding to seek this information. It seems to me now that it might be of use to you if I gave you some idea of the history of the use of the White Cane in this State, and of the present position re the training of blind people.
The White Cane has been in use here in Queensland for somewhere about twenty odd years. The acceptance of the cane has been progressive and increasing. Even though less than one hundred percent of mobile blind people use the cane, a very large proportion have adopted it. The experience of Ian Stewart, the Amenities Officer at the Queensland Industrial Institution for the Blind is that he is now providing canes for people including partially seeing ones who have resisted its use before.
A good measure of publicity is obtained to tell seeing people of the cane and its significance. This is handled mostly by the White Cane Committee.
The canes used are mostly the short English style, mostly the light folding ones. Since I brought the Long Cane here four years ago there has been some interest in this style, but only three or four men have tried to adopt it. Up to the present there has been no organized teaching of any White Cane Technique or Method of use.
The Principal of "Nargethong", The School for Visually Handicapped, attended conferences in the United States about a year ago and came home firmly convinced of the need for mobility training. His name is Eric B. Searle.
Eric Searle plans to have the Physical Education teacher attached to his school trained in the Long Cane Technique as taught at the Royal Victorian Institution for the Blind, in Melbourne. The Rehabilitation Centre there was established some years ago under the patronage of Dr. Hoover of the United States. Things seem to be at a standstill just now as the instructor at the R. V. I. B. Melbourne has suffered heart trouble and is out of action. It seems that there is no definite plan for action until Melbourne is operating again. The Director of the Royal Victorian Institution for the Blind is Frank Y. Turley, one of the Australian Delegates to W. C. W. B.
I understand that mobility training is now being carried out at the Royal New South Wales Society for the Blind, William Street, Sydney, New South Wales. The Director of which is Ian Burnet.
Education of the Blind here in Queensland is carried out by the State Education Department and the Lord Mayor does not have anything directly to do with it. However, I expect that he could bring some persuasive influence to bear if he chose to. There is a small Training and Placement Centre for the Blind which provides limited facilities for adult blind. Director Harold Dickinson, (a blind man) but it does not have any mobility instructor on a professional basis.
I consider that any information and encouragement that you can give Lord Mayor Jones will have a very useful influence, and I will appreciate it. Unfortunately there is not much interest on the part of adult blind persons in modern mobility training, or in the Long Cane. I have no doubt but that this would grow if there were facilities. I wonder if a teacher exchange by the School for Visually Handicapped could serve us well. Sorry to be burdening you with these screeds, but I try to encourage any chance of the introduction of improvement in facilities.
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Federal Social and Rehabilitation Service Administrator Mary E. Switzer said that a new program will help individuals on welfare train for and find jobs in their local communities.
The program, established by the Social Security Amendments of 1967, is called WIN, for Work Incentive. The objective of the program is to help recipients of aid to families with dependent children (AFDC) become self-supporting members of society.
An initial $10 million was provided for the new program in the supplemental appropriation signed by President Johnson on July 9. Regulations implementing the program were published in the Federal Register on July 15.
Adult AFDC family members enrolled in the WIN Program will be able to work and, under other amendments, retain part of their earnings; in many States previously, total earnings were deducted from welfare payments, in effect taxing the recipient 100 percent of any income he earned. Expanded day care will be provided for children of working mothers enrolled in the WIN Program.
Responsibility for WIN has been assigned to the Department of Labor, where it will be administered by the Manpower Administration through its work training programs. Local welfare officers are responsible for referring eligible AFDC recipients to manpower agencies.
Eligible for the WIN Program are all members of AFDC households who are sixteen or older and not in school full time. Under the regulations, however, highest priority is given to AFDC unemployed fathers.
Next--in this order--are those mothers, caretaker relatives, and other essential persons who are already in a work training program and who volunteer; youths sixteen or older not in school or training and without educational plans for the next three months; mothers and others without pre-school children who volunteer and are not in a training program; mothers and others with pre-school children who volunteer; and any others determined appropriate for referral by local welfare offices. Volunteers for WIN are expected to exceed available slots for the first year, longer in some States.
Excluded from participation in WIN are the sick, incapacitated, and elderly; those who live too far away to make participation practical; full-time students; and mothers and other persons whose continuous presence in the home is required due to inadequate day care provisions for children or because of illness or incapacity of another member of the household. Safeguards are included to insure that enrollees are carefully and justly selected. States are also urged to provide enrollees with items or services--such as glasses, hearing aids, or cosmetic dentistry--needed to get maximum benefits from the WIN Program.
AFDC recipients referred to WIN will be oriented, interviewed, tested, and counseled by the manpower agency. First priority is to move enrollees into regular employment or on-the-job training. As an incentive, the first $30 the enrollee earns, plus one-third of the remainder of his earnings, will not be counted in determining his need for an assistance payment.
For example, an enrollee who receives a $220 per month assistance payment to cover his family's needs is placed in on-the-job training where he earns $135 per month. In adjusting the amount of his assistance check, the welfare agency would disregard $30 and one-third of the remaining $105, or a total of $65. By this computation, his assistance check would be reduced $70 to $150--but his total income would be increased to $285.
Second priority is to move WIN enrollees into institutional or work experience training. During this training period, enrollees will receive their public assistance payments plus up to $30 a month as a training incentive.
Under the third priority, the Department of Labor will enter into agreements with public agencies, or private, nonprofit agencies with a public purpose, for special work projects to employ persons found unsuitable for training and those for whom jobs in the regular economy cannot be found.
Welfare payments for these persons will be made to the local manpower agency and these funds will be pooled to provide a sum of money to reimburse the employers for a portion of their payroll costs. Enrollees are guaranteed a total income while working in these projects that equals at least the amount of their assistance payment, plus 20 percent of their wages. All State AFDC plans must be amended to include the WIN Program by July 1, 1969.
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by Owen E. Nasr
[President Jernigan's Note: When I was in the State of Washington to attend the convention of our affiliate, Wesley Osborne, one of the long-time leaders of the WSAB, told me of Owen Nasr and his system of musical notation. Mr. Nasr has prepared an article on the subject, which I thought might be of interest to Monitor readers. He gives private music lessons as an avocation and holds a full-time job with a paper mill. Anyone interested in further information should write to Mr. Owen E. Nasr, 623 South Polk, Tacoma, Washington 98444.]
The Nasr Sonic System of Musical Notation makes it possible for the musical symbols on a printed page of music to be represented by brief and concise sound symbols, mostly vocal, though some may be mechanically or electronically produced. The Vocal Sounds combine with each other to form word-like units that can generally be expressed in a fraction of the time it would take to play them. To facilitate the learning of this system the sound symbols with very few modifications have either been taken from already familiar names of musical symbols or follow a simple logical sequence or pattern.
This system alone enables the blind musician to "read" the notes as he plays. And because the sound symbols are so brief and can be written or brailled as well as spoken it makes it possible for people, blind or sighted, to converse musically in much less time than it would take to play, whistle or hum or otherwise describe the music. However, this system, combined with a special sound transcribing device especially designed for the Nasr System, makes it possible for the musician "reading" music through his ears to stop and start at will, instantly repeat any measure any number of times, advance or return a measure at a time, skip any number of measures at will or advance or return to preselected places. The musician can also store his music in an album much like sheets of printed music.
The sound symbols for the notes are taken from the universally known note names "Do" "Re" "Mi" "Fa" "So" "La" "Ti" "Do" using only the consonant from each to represent the note. Sound symbols for note duration are derived from another universally recognized sequence: The numbers "One" "Two" "Three" "Four" "Five" "Six" and "Seven". In this case we use only the vowel sound from each number to represent note duration. If "One" is used to denote Whole Notes then "Two" would apply to Half Notes and "Three" would apply to Quarter notes and so on. Let us work out an example using half notes and quarter notes. To indicate a half note we take the vowel sound of the word "Two" and we have "oo". This "oo" sound is placed immediately after the consonant which represents the note name. "D" for "Do", the first note in the scale, then immediately followed by the "oo" sound from the word "Two" to indicate half notes would give us the symbol "doo" and would mean "Do" held for the duration of a half note. The number "Three" stands for Quarter Notes. If we place the "ee" sound from the number "Three" after the consonant sound of "D" we get "dee" which means "Do" held for the duration of a quarter note. We can now write or say part of a simple little tune--"Frere Jacque". This is how it goes:--
dee ree nnee dee--dee ree mee dee
mee fee soo--mee fee soo
Like any new language this requires practice but it is interesting to find how easy it is to learn the basic principles of the Nasr System. The practice, it turns out, is mainly to work up a person's speed. The Basic Course has been prepared and will shortly be available in print, braille and on tape at a nominal cost. This course covers Note Pitch including symbols for Sharp, Flat and Natural as accidentals, Note Duration with recommended ways of writing, typing and brailling the symbols, including variations of Note Duration such as Dotted Notes and Triplets, Rests of different durations, Key Signature for all keys, Meter and Tied Notes. Simple Exercises throughout the text help acquaint the student with each new set of symbols. At the end of the Text there is a series of exercises that starts with the simple scale and works up gradually to a moderate degree of complexity because it is believed that the student should develop a certain amount of fluency before progressing to the next more advanced Text.
This Second Text is currently being prepared. Whereas the Basic Text deals only with such elements of music as are common to nearly all instruments, the Second Text will begin to specialize in areas peculiar to one or another type of instrument. It will cover several symbols for expression and will lead the student into playing chords and music with more than one concurrent part or voice. As a little preview of this last let us go back to our exerpt from "Frere Jacque" and use it to illustrate how Piano Music could be rendered for left and right hands. Let us suppose that the left hand is to play "dee ree mee dee, dee ree mee dee" while the right hand plays "mee fee soo, mee fee soo". To test this out obtain the assistance of two friends, a man and a woman. Have the man say "dee ree mee dee, dee ree mee dee" and the woman say "mee fee soo, mee fee soo". Have them say their lines simultaneously. It may require a little practice but as soon as the initial amusement has subsided, you will observe that the two lines are distinguishable one from the other. The higher the woman's voice and the deeper the man's voice the easier it is to distinguish the two. The transition from melody to harmony and polyphony is part of the substance of the second textbook where it is handled more completely and gradually.
After presenting the fundamentals of the Sonic System of Musical Notation to groups of blind musicians, university music majors and other interested people, it was very gratifying to see how well it was received, how fast the musicians picked it up, and the interest it generated. There seems to be considerable potential in its use by sighted or blind teachers teaching music to the blind also in the form of recorded lessons and it its use by blind members of orchestras and bands. With a portable tape recorder the composer, sighted or blind, could record his composition on the go anywhere without need of a musical instrument or manuscript paper. It is hoped that this system will help substantially to bridge the gap between braille and printed music.
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by Jean Ann Chambers
The annual convention of the West Virginia Federation of the Blind, Inc. was held August 16, 17 and 18 in Huntington, West Virginia. Registration showed a total of one hundred and twenty-two members present. With the addition of the new Parkersburg affiliate which was formed in June, 1968, eight affiliates of the West Virginia Federation were represented at this fifteenth annual convention.
On Friday afternoon, representatives of the Federation met with members of Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to hold their quarterly meeting. Representatives of D. V. R. also participated in the convention proceedings during the next two days and a report of rehab services for the blind was given by Mr. E. M. Ashworth as part of the convention program.
Our host affiliate, the Huntington Lighthouse, entertained their fellow Federationists with music and refreshments at a reception at the V. F. W. Friday evening from 9 to 12 o'clock.
The state officers and board members met Saturday morning at 8 a.m. at the Executive Board breadfast. At 9 a.m. the convention was called to order by President Robert L. Hunt. The morning's business session was occupied with reports from the chairmen of various state committees along with reports from each affiliate on their activities during the past year. President Hunt, delegate to the National Convention, gave an account of the proceedings in Des Moines, Iowa this past July. Following his remarks, President Hunt called upon others of the nine members who had attended the National Convention for their observations. These West Virginia representatives doubted that the hospitality of the Iowa Federation could ever be equaled.
The highlight of the first session was an address by Paul Miller, Executive Secretary of the Governor's Committee to Employ the Handicapped. Mr. Miller spoke of the work being done by the Governor's Committee and of the potential possibilities for the blind of West Virginia.
During the noon recess on Saturday, a luncheon was held for members operating vending stands. The convention reconvened at 1:30 p.m. with the presentation of the Charles Monfradi Membership Award of $25.00 to the Huntington affiliate for gaining the largest number of new active members during the twelve month period of June 1967 to June, 1968. The total active membership of the West Virginia Federation of the Blind, Inc. was reported to be one hundred and seventy-seven members distributed among the eight affiliates.
The C. Chris Cerrone Scholarship Achievement Award of $100.00 was won by Edgar MacDonald, a 1968 graduate of the West Virginia School for the Blind, Romney, West Virginia, who plans to continue his studies at Bethany College, Bethany, West Virginia.
A meeting of the West Virginia Camping Association for Blind Children, Inc., was held as part of the Saturday afternoon program. This year's camping session was held July 14-28, providing many blind children with an enriching and enjoyable experience. The West Virginia Federation is a generous supporter of this worthwile endeavor. President of the Camping Association, Paul Hughes, commented on the high quality of the present Director of Camp Braille Crest, John Ratcliff, and of his outstanding work with the children this summer, plus his plans for future camping sessions.
The current officers of the Organization were all reelected to serve for the coming year. They are: Paul Hughes of Wheeling, President; Roger Houston of Charleston, Vice-President; Jean Chambers of Wheeling, Recording Secretary; and Victor Gonzales of Clarksburg, Treasurer. Three of the four officers are blind. Following the meeting of the West Virginia Camping Association, the members of the convention viewed the NFB movie, "Leading the Blind". Plans include possible television showings of the movie throughout the state for the purpose of furthering public education concerning blindness.
Preceding adjournment, an address was given by the Democratic candidate for Governor of West Virginia, James Sprouse. Following his remarks, a question and answer period was held during which members of the Federation asked his stand on problems and legislation pertaining to the blind of the State, and requested representation on committees concerned with the welfare of blind persons by a representative chosen by the Federation.
The Republican candidate, Arch Moore, spoke to the convention during the Sunday morning session and also answered questions concerning his views on legislation and his plans pertaining to the blind of West Virginia if he should be elected Governor. West Virginia Federationists' interest in the future welfare of their fellow blind and active participation in the affairs of their State were well expressed.
The climax of the 1968 Convention was reached at the banquet held Saturday evening in the Ballroom of the Prichard Hotel, Huntington, West Virginia. The main address was delivered by Mr. T. S. Funk, Head of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation for West Virginia, who spoke of the work being done in the field of blindness and announced the recognition of the State of West Virginia as first in the nation in rehabilitation for the past year.
President Robert L. Hunt made a few remarks and expressed the Federation's appreciation to the Huntington affiliate for its hospitality. A special certificate was presented to Mrs. Charles Monfradi, signifying her life membership in the Federation in honor of the memory of her late husband and our beloved President, Charlie Monfradi.
President Robert L. Hunt called the convention to order at 10 a. m. Sunday morning, at which time a Memorial Service was conducted by the acting chaplain, James Martin. The service was held in honor of those members who had died during the past year, with special recognition to the memory of Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, NFB President. Tribute was also paid to Harley Reger, Director of Field Services for the Blind and Deaf of West Virginia who had been a friend of West Virginia Federationists, working along with them until his untimely death in July 1968.
Convention business during the Sunday sessions included reports of the Bowling committee, and a financial report and statement of the proposed budget for the coming year. A White Cane Report was given, incorporating the accounts submitted by the affiliates of their activities during White Cane week in May. A discussion was held concerning possible fundraising activities, as well as means of soliciting more Yearbook ads. Following reports on the Student Division of the NFB by President Hunt and Jean Chambers, ground work was laid for the formation of a West Virginia Chapter. The President will appoint a committee for the purpose of establishing the West Virginia Chapter of the National Student Division. Completed reports of the resolution committee, with Victor Gonzales as Chairman, resulted in the passage of a number of proposed resolutions. Included among these were resolutions concerning the White Cane Law to be presented to the State Legislature, and another pertaining to the erection of architectural barriers.
Preceding the election of State officers for the coming year, Morgantown was chosen as the convention site for 1969. The Federation also offered its support to the Centennial celebration of the West Virginia School for the Blind, including potential plans to hold the 1970 State convention in Romney, West Virginia. The 1968 Convention of the West Virginia Federation of the Blind, Inc. was adjourned at 4 p.m. August 18th.
State officers elected for the 1968-69 term are as follows: President, Robert L. Hunt, 89 Camden Avenue, Buckhannon, West Virginia; First Vice-President, Guy Parks, 120 South Chestnut Street, Clarksburg, West Virginia; Second Vice-President, Roger Houston, 306 1/2 15th Street, Dunbar, West Virginia; Secretary, Paul Hughes, 841 Fairmont Pike, Wheeling, West Virginia; Financial Secretary, Evelyn Milhorn, 517 North Wabash Street, Wheeling, West Virginia; Treasurer, E. Sid Allen, 1001 7th Street, Huntington, West Virginia. Robert L. Hunt was chosen as delegate to the 1969 National Convention, with Jean Chambers as alternate delegate. Five of the seven elected members are blind. The secretary and financial secretary are active sighted members of the NFB.
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The American Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation's Project on Recreation and Fitness for the Mentally Retarded has initiated a Special Placement Service in physical education and recreation for the handicapped. This new service is available to individuals seeking positions in physical education or recreation for the handicapped and to schools, residential facilities, day care centers, recreation departments, colleges and universities, and volunteer, private, and semi-private agencies seeking personnel for positions in physical education and recreation for the handicapped.
Many well-trained and qualified individuals are looking for positions in physical education and recreation for the handicapped; organizations and agencies seek well-trained and qualified individuals to organize, conduct, and supervise these programs. Special Placement Service is designed to work with both applicants and employers to help each learn of the other's availability. Wide dissemination of information about this service is necessary if the needs of applicants and employers are to be met; there must be a maximum of publicity to obtain a large listing of positions and of those seeking them.
This announcement is being circulated widely among all concerned disciplines--physical education, recreation, and special education--at all levels --national, state, and local--and among people in various key positions--state departments of education, city and county directors or supervisors, college and university personnel, recreation and park department personnel, executives of volunteer organizations and agencies, mental health and social welfare department personnel, editors of periodicals and newsletters, and representatives of selected professional groups. You are receiving this announcement to acquaint you with the service so you can use it and let others know about it. Announcements of this free service you make directly to your colleagues or through printed materials circulated by your organization will be very helpful and greatly appreciated. Additional information, appropriate forms, and exact procedures of operation can be obtained from:
Special Placement Service
Project on Recreation and Fitness for the Mentally Retarded
American Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation
1201 16th Street, North West
Washington, D. C. 20036
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by William Robbins
[Editor's Note: 1968 by The New York Times Company. Reprinted by permission.]
A Federal official warned building owners and operators that unless they provide for easy access for physically handicapped people they will risk losing Government agencies as tenants.
The official, William A. Schmidt, Commissioner of the Public Buildings Service of the General Services Administration, addressed the National Association of Building Owners and Managers, meeting in annual convention at the Washington Hilton Hotel.
A recent survey showed that the Government agencies were among the nation's biggest tenants, occupying about 6. 5 percent of the space in buildings owned or managed by association members. The count includes Federal, state and local offices, but Federal agencies occupy the lion's share of the space.
Mr. Schmidt said that more than 10 percent of the people in the United States, about 22 million, were handicapped in ways that made it difficult for them to get around.
"These people should be afforded every opportunity to obtain gainful employment and otherwise enter into the mainstream of American life," Mr. Schmidt said. "Through unintentional neglect or oversight, millions of citizens have been literally locked out from the public buildings which the Government has constructed or otherwise financed."
He attributed the fault to "not requiring that these buildings be designed and constructed so that people with physical impairments could readily enter and use the facilities."
Among provisions frequently made for the handicapped are ramps and doors that will admit people in wheelchairs.
The General Services Administration already requires that its own new buildings be designed for easy access by the handicapped, and Mr. Schmidt said the standards were being extended to include alteration of existing buildings.
"We also propose to extend these requirements to buildings leased in whole or in part by the Government," Mr. Schmidt said.
He noted that a bill pending in Congress would give legislative sanction to the establishment of such standards, adding that, with the aid of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, the G. S. A. would begin preparing regulations setting up design standards authorized by the bill. The measure has cleared both houses of Congress, but it awaits action by a conference committee to resolve differences between Senate and House versions.
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[Editor's Note: For two and one-half years the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation of the Government of the District of Columbia conducted a project to determine whether blind persons could be trained to replace sighted attendants of automated snack bars. Following is the Summary Final Report.]
This manual culminates two and a half years of research, experimentation, and training designed to determine whether blind persons could be trained to replace sighted attendants of automated snack bars. The project, entitled "Adapting the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Program to the Advances of Automation", was carried out with the help of a Research and Demonstration Grant provided by the Rehabilitation Services Administration of the Social and Rehabilitation Services in the U. S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. From the beginning the staff of the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation who were most intimately associated with the project were convinced that such employment was well within the capabilities of the blind. It was already well known that blind persons could be trained to operate complex industrial machines, so it remained only to discover the aids and training techniques needed to translate various cues and manipulations used in sighted operation of automated snack bars to other sensory modes available to the blind. A simple preliminary statement of the primary goal of the project read as follows: In order to furnish blind automated snack bar attendants, trainees must be screened and selected, a training center must be set up, and a research and training specialist must devise and utilize specific techniques and aids to impart to trainees the knowledge of how to manage and operate an automated snack bar.
A secondary goal deriving from the attempt to work within existing vending company operational practices was to develop contractual relationships between the licensing agency and vending machine companies which could serve as prototypes for other agencies.
The project actually began on February 15, 1965, when a Research and Training Specialist was hired. Arrangements for space to house the Research and Training Center were concluded with the cooperation of the General Service Administration and the U. S. Tariff Commission; the space, consisting of two adjoining rooms, was made available in the latter agency. One room was to be used as a training-work room, and the other was to be outfitted as a completely automated snack bar rendering twenty-four hour service. While the space was being refurbished by GSA, the R and T Specialist embarked upon a two-month program of orientation and planning, during which time he observed blind persons in a variety of training situations; and he learned the operating principles of vending companies and how to run an automated snack bar.
In order to eliminate as many trainee variables as possible, training was begun with three totally blind males with I. Q. s in the average range as measured on the Wechsler Verbal Scale. They possessed sufficient mobility skill to travel to and from the R and T Center regularly, and they could read grade-one braille without difficulty. The trainees were selected from the case load of clients in the Department's Division of Services to the Visually Impaired.
Bids were solicited from several vending companies on a contract to provide the necessary equipment and services to operate the project's snack bar. Three bids were received, and the bid most advantageous to the D. C. Government was selected. On May 12, 1965, the snack bar portion of the R and T Center was opened to the public.
Little by little during the next six months the responsibility for the operation of the snack bar was transferred to the trainees. As each special training and/or servicing aid was developed, and its usefulness was proven, the trainees came closer to independent snack bar operation. In August one trainee withdrew from the project for personal reasons. The work load was successfully rescheduled for the two remaining trainees. In September another trainee left the program by request. The third trainee demonstrated the ability to assume the full work load, and during the first half of October he operated the snack bar alone for one week while the R and T Specialist was on leave. The only sighted assistance he received during this week was provided each morning for forty minutes by a clerk from the main office of the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, who, not knowing snack bar operation, simply checked to insure that deliveries had been properly stored in the correct braille-marked bins and compartments.
Beginning in November, and with the help of a Clerk-Training Assistant, the R and T Specialist was engaged for the next eight months in continued efforts to refine the aids and to formalize the training techniques, as well as to confirm the partial success with additional trainees. Early in 1966 it was realized that final proof of a trainee's ability to manage independently required an additional snack bar in the project, one with a greatly increased sales volume.
Negotiation for such a location was begun with GSA officials. Meanwhile, the trainee successful in what was to become known as "basic" training, declined the opportunity to remain active in the program until such time as the "advanced" training location could be brought under the aegis of the project. However, five more trainees had entered the program before the end of July, 1966; the first three were totally blind and the last two, one of whom was female, were legally blind. Of these five, the first one successfully completed his training in less than three months and was scheduled to move to advanced training in August. Of the other four, three failed due to lack of ability to plan and organize their efforts efficiently, and the fourth one chose to discontinue in favor of other work.
In August, 1966, the project assumed responsibility for a second snack bar which was located in the Washington, D. C. Navy Yard Annex. The location proved ideal in two respects: It was a medium-high sales volume operation, and it was serviced by a different vending company. Thus, there was the opportunity to provide the final test period for the trainee who had completed basic training. At the same time, the training staff could learn whether the techniques already developed could be easily integrated with the operational practices of a different vending company. Shortly after taking over the Navy Yard snack bar, it was learned that a high sales volume automatic snack bar in the Administration Building of the Department of Agriculture would soon be turned over to the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Program, On November 1, 1966 the advanced trainee was able to replace the vending company's hostess in this location with no disruption of snack bar services. He was licensed to this facility as a Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Operator.
Between August, 1966 and February, 1967, eight more trainees entered the program. By March, 1967, it was readily apparent that the training techniques and servicing aids already developed were more than adequate to provide capable, blind attendants whenever new automated locations might be brought into the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Program. Training continued at a rate necessary to keep one trainee in charge of the advanced location and available to move into a new location at any time, another successful basic trainee on tap to move into the advanced location, at least one new basic trainee on hand and an applicant in reserve. A certain amount of latitude in scheduling proved possible because of the program's capacity to give, both machine and over-the-counter training.
The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation is currently training blind persons in automated snack bar operation at two locations. Basic training in the low sales volume location is carried out by the Assistant Training Specialist. The senior successful trainee manages the higher sales volume snack bar until a new automated vending stand is established. When a new stand is brought into the program the senior trainee is licensed for it and he is replaced by the next trainee to have completed basic training. The efforts of the advanced trainee are monitored by telephone and occasional visits by the training staff and through copies of periodic reports of inspections made by the vending company. In this fashion the senior trainee has the opportunity to prove that he has the ability to operate the snack bar without assistance.
The training staff consists of a Training Specialist and an assistant. The assistant carries out the day-to-day training at the basic center and handles associated clerical and administrative duties. The Training Specialist is responsible for all activities of the training locations and for overall supervision of the automated vending stand portion of the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Program administered by the Department. This latter supervision includes regular consultation and liaison with supervisory and operational personnel of three vending companies, the nominee for the Vending Stand Program, and the departmental Vending Stand Program Coordinator.
With present training facilities and staff this agency is capable of providing training simultaneously for one advanced trainee and up to three basic trainees. The average time in basic training to date has been approximately four to ten weeks; the exact length of training and the percentage of successful trainees are unpredictable variables at this time. Another uncontrolled factor involves the rate at which new automated locations are likely to be brought into the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Program. With adequate planning and careful attention to each trainee's progress, however, it is possible to have at least one successful trainee on hand while continuing to screen, and begin training additional candidates. A fast learner can be taught at an accelerated rate to fill in unexpected vacancy. Slow learners can be instructed at their own pace, or even slower, to ensure a continuous flow of trainees. In the event several speedy learners are encountered at once, this agency found it possible to schedule a course of over-the-counter training subsequent to the machine training, after which the trainees were licensed to new vacancies in the over-the-counter program. At the other extreme, when acceptable candidates could not be found when needed, a licensed over-the-counter operator who had requested machine training was given leave of absence to undergo machine training.
As this means of providing a smooth flow of trainees was developed, it was realized that there were further ramifications for the Vending Stand Program. When new machine trained operators are licensed, they become part of the promotion and transfer system of the Vending Stand Program. As more machine locations are added, it becomes important for all licensed operators to have the dual capacity of operating both types of vending stands. Only in this way can all operators receive fair and equitable consideration for upward movement in the hierarchy of larger income locations. Also, only in this way will the Vending Stand Program be able to offer government agencies a well-rounded service, i. e., machine locations, over-the-counter locations, and combined locations.
Actual training in this project has been carried on for approximately two and one half years. In this time twenty blind persons entered training. The following table reflects a breakdown of the results.
Of the ten individuals who successfully completed automatic training one withdrew from the Program. Three are awaiting placement, six are licensed as vending stand operators. Among the licensed operators two are managing over-the-counter vending stands and four are managing automated vending stands.
Significant Findings for the Rehabilitation Worker:
1. Blindness as such is not a bar to successful training and performance as the manager of an automatic full-line vending facility. Consequently, fully automated small business enterprises located on Federal properties can be identified as Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stands.
2. The licensed blind operator of an automated vending stand is an adequate replacement for the vending machine attendant normally supplied by the vending company at each full-line vending location.
3. Generally speaking, criteria used to select competent vending stand operators for manual vending stand operation can serve nicely with minor modifications to select competent operators for fully automated vending stands.
4. Satisfactory servicing, that is loading, sanitizing, etc. of full-line vending equipment to totally blind persons, does not require structural or engineering changes in equipment in current use. The use of certain aides which are relatively easy to fabricate is highly desirable.
5. It is possible to establish effective recordkeeping procedures which can be handled satisfactorily by totally blind persons and which will at the same time protect the mutual interest of the automated vending stand and the vending company. It is possible to establish satisfactorily counting procedures for merchandise and fiscal control which can be handled by a totally blind person while not interferring with the similar day-to-day procedures of the vending machine company.
6. It seems impractical to think in terms of one individual managing a vending facility which includes both automated full-line service plus manually operated counter service. At certain points the efficient operation of these two vending modes is mutually exclusive unless at least two people are available for managerial duties.
7. Basic training in automatic vending is best accomplished in a low sales volume location under close supervision. This may be done satisfactorily in a training facility which combines instruction in both manual and automatic vending stand operation. It is highly desirable, however, to have an advanced training location with a medium to high sales volume which is completely automated. Supervision of the advance training stand should be thorough enough to prevent any serious breakdown in service but flexible enough to allow the trainee to demonstrate independence.
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A project to bring vocational rehabilitation services into the neighborhoods where people need them was announced by Federal Social and Rehabilitation Administrator Mary E. Switzer.
The project, located in Minneapolis, is being supported with a three-year grant of nearly $250,000 to the Minnesota Division of Vocational Rehabilitation from the Social and Rehabilitation Service of the U. S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
Minneapolis is one of fourteen cities in the Nation selected to participate in the recently established Neighborhood Services Program. In addition to HEW, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Labor, and the Office of Economic Opportunity are participating in the program.
The present grant will be used to expand rehabilitation services and coordinate them with other services in a neighborhood center. The center, known as the pilot Center Project, is designed to centralize in a near-North Side neighborhood the facilities and staff for evaluating economic, vocational, and other problems of neighborhood residents and arranging for help from appropriate government or voluntary agencies.
The specific purpose of the vocational rehabilitation component is to help persons who are unemployed because of physical, mental, or social disability to become employable.
"This project illustrates our aim of bringing rehabilitation services directly to the people who need them and coordinating them fully with other services," Miss Switzer said.
The rehabilitation service unit in the Center currently consists of two rehabilitation counselors and a counselor-aide. Eventually, the unit is expected to serve five hundred disabled persons and rehabilitate an estimated one hundred and fifty each year into productive employment.
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Liookie, lookie, lookie
Come and have a cookie
Visitors answered the call of the energetic barker at the Iowa State Fair to enter the exhibit run by students, assisted by staff, of the State Commission for the Blind.
The cookies were found to be crisp to the bite, meltingly tender on the tongue and so pleasing to the palate they were consumed by the hundreds. As they ate, visitors watched unbelievingly as blind women mixed and baked more at a furious pace to keep up with the demand.
You who are bolder
Get your candle holder
They did, talking with blind students operating standard shop machines producing wood candle holders which the visitor took away as a gift.
All you people from County Adair
We'll Braille your name with a flair
They came from many other Iowa counties, too, to have their
names put in braille carrying them away wonderingly. Sighted people
shook their heads in amazement as they fingered the many sophisticated
braille books exhibited by the Commission Library.
The coffee's in the pot
Come and get it while its hot
Gallons of coffee were unerringly dispensed from an urn by a blind girl aided by a hand buzzer. Each cup was filled exactly with no overflow or short servings, leaving just enough room for sugar and cream.
It was a very hot, midsummer day. Everyone worked hard but seemed to be enjoying the occasion. Especially that barker.
You haven't yet seen enough
Come and watch us do our stuff
He sang out his jingles with clarity, lilt, and obvious pleasure. That barker was so good that surrounding exhibits began to complain of his power. Who was he? Why Kenneth Jernigan--cum Commission Director, cum NFB President, cum Barker--of course.
How do I know--your Associate Editor was there--at the fair (it's catching) during my Iowa visit. See the NFB President's letter to state and chapter presidents elsewhere in this issue.
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Harley B. Reger, Assistant Director of Rehabilitation Services in West Virginia, died recently in an automobile accident, prematurely ending a distinguished record in rehabilitation service both on the state and national levels. He began work with the Vocational Rehabilitation Division in 1949. In 1961 he became Executive Director of the West Virginia Society for Crippled Children and Adults. Mr. Reger returned to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in 1965 and later became chief of services for the blind and deaf, a post he held until he was named Assistant Director last June. Mr. Reger's untimely death leaves a real void since he was very active in community affairs and projects to help handicapped persons.
Following is a letter from Victor Gonzales of the West Virginia Federation of the Blind to NFB President, Kenneth Jernigan.
The angel of death has once again given the organized blind of West Virginia a severe blow. On Friday evening, July 28, Mr. Harley B. Reger was fatally injured in an auto accident. His only son was with him and the driver of the car. You may recall that Mr. Reger visited your office last year and was very much impressed with your program.
As chairman of the resolutions committee for our annual convention I would appreciate it if you would send to me a copy of any resolutions that you may want our state organization to consider. Could the national organization send a representative to attend the annual convention of our organization on an annual basis at the expense of the national organization? I am of the opinion that a representative of the "Federation" should attend the state conventions and I am preparing a resolution for consideration at our convention requiring that an invitation be given to the president of the National Federation of the Blind to attend our annual convention. I am also drafting another resolution calling for the appointment of a convention committee by the "Federation" president taking this chore away from the host affiliate. I think that this will make for a better planned convention and will also relieve the host affiliate from a lot of work.
Our next quarterly meeting with the DVR will be held on August 16th at Huntington, West Virginia. We plan to discuss the progress that has been made since our last meeting with reference to a research project to determine attitudes of the sighted towards the blind, the attitudes of the newly blind towards himself and other blind people and the attitudes of blind people towards the blind. Other items on the agenda will include the employment of another mobility instructor so that this program may be mobile instead of just at the rehab center, the replacement for Mr. Reger, field trips to be taken by personnel of DVR, and what new programs for the blind are in the making.
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The AFDC "freeze", officially described as a limitation on the number of children with respect to whom federal payments may be made under the program of Aid to Families with Dependent Children, has been postponed one year until July 1, 1969.
The postponement, actively sought by welfare directors from several states, was one of three amendments to the Social Security Act contained in the Revenue and Expenditure Control Act signed by the President at the end of June.
The other amendments included one that assistance payments under AFDC with respect to an unemployed father are prohibited with respect to any week for which the father receives unemployment compensation (formerly any month for which the father received such compensation for any part of the month); and postponement until January 1, 1970 of the effective date for the prohibition of federal matching payments under Title XIX toward the cost of services which would have been covered under supplementary medical insurance if the individual had been enrolled under that program (formerly January 1, 1968).
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by Dr. Leonard Reiffel
[Editor's Note: The Chicago Daily News recently published the following
article by Mr, Reiffel and permission to reprint was granted by the World
Book Encyclopedia Science Service of Houston, Texas.]
My good deed for today will be to warn you about the dangers of champagne. I know you are probably thinking that I'm about to launch into a lecture on the inebriating effects of the bubbly stuff, or maybe tell you stories about what a champagne party can do to your liver. But, I'm not. What I want to bring to your attention is "The Champagne Cork Menace!"
It seems that Dr. Desmond Archer and Dr. Nicholas Galloway, who are specialists at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, have begun to look into injuries occurring as a result of champagne corks being opened into an unsuspecting celebrant's eye. This is no laughing matter. The British physicians have reported that in three of nine such cases significant cataracts developed. There have also been quite a number of eye injuries from the plastic champagne corks that are relatively popular here in the United States, but the doctors in London were concerned only with accidents involving the real cork champagne corks which are used both in Europe and in the United States and are quite a bit softer than the plastic variety.
Incidentally, while investigating champagne and its hazards, the doctors were a bit startled to find that the monk, Dom Perignon, who invented champagne in the first place, was blind! The historical record, however, does not suggest that his blindness was in any way the result of popping champagne corks out of bottles.
Under the right circumstances, the cork shooting out of a champagne bottle can fly forty feet. A well-launched cork can travel forty-five feet per second, or about thirty miles per hour! Thus, a cork traveling at such speeds can reach the eye of a victim two feet away in less than 5/100 of a second. Since it takes about a tenth of a second just to blink, there isn't even time for human reflexes to protect a naked eyeball!
The British physicians also investigated other possible sources of cork injury, including those shot from bottles of beer and even perfume bottles. The most severe injury the doctors encountered in their investigations occurred when a bottle of homemade wine was opened. Apparently one must watch out for that home-brewed stuff for more than one reason.
How do you avoid these cork hazards? The best way is to hold a napkin over the cork, point the bottle away from everybody, and ease the cork off gently. The bottle should not pop, but rather should open with a sigh.
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I think your readers who own tape recorders would appreciate knowing that The Voicespondence Club, Doswell, Virginia, affords an excellent opportunity to make tape friends throughout the world and to keep abreast of what other people, sighted and blind, are thinking and doing. The Voicespondence Club is a nonprofit organization of approximately 2,000 tape recorder owners here and abroad. More than 750 of these voicespondents are blind.
Special services made available to blind members include the recording on to tape of the club magazine, THE VOICESPONDENT, and also the recording of a special publication for all handicapped members called JUST BETWEEN US. Arrangements are also made to help blind members and those otherwise handicapped to purchase recording equipment.
Doswell, Virginia is also the home of the Smith-McKie Library, a library of several thousand tapes which are loaned to blind listeners without charge. In making these tapes available, a concerted effort has been made not to duplicate any material now available to the blind in Braille or on Talking Book records. A complete listing of available tapes can be had for 25 [cents]. Although this does not cover the cost of the tape involved, the tape becomes the property of the listener.
Your readers are invited to learn more about The Voicespondence Club and also about the Smith-McKie Tape Library. Since this is a non-profit organization, a stamped envelope will be appreciated. All communications should be addressed to:
The Voicespondence Club
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share a very wonderful discovery with others. Also, will you please tell me how I can arrange to receive your magazine, the Monitor. I do read Braille and also have a tape recorder.
Gerald J. Paice
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by Ramona Willoughby
The newest chapter of the Gem State Blind, Inc. is the University Federation of the Blind. This group was organized last winter with the purpose of becoming part of the Gem State Blind. This became possible at the 1968 Convention of the Gem State Blind. Formerly, Gem State Blind had only geographical chapters. According to an amendment passed at this year's convention, special interest groups can now affiliate, and the membership voted to accept the University Federation of the Blind as the fourth chapter of the Gem State Blind, Inc.
The charter was presented by Gem State Blind President Uldine Thelander to University Federation President Chuck Walhof at the Convention banquet on Friday, August 16. It took but a moment to present the charter, but for both presidents and both organizations, it was an important moment.
On August 17, the University Federation was privileged to welcome Dr. Kenneth Jernigan to its meeting. Dr. Jernigan spoke with the group about various projects similar organizations have undertaken and the effectiveness of such projects.
He then turned his attention toward fundraising. He began by saying that fundraising projects are necessary, because we need money in order to operate. But he also pointed out that fundraising projects conducted by the blind can do a great deal toward educating the public. Groups of blind people --like any group of people--must claim the right to make money until the general public is used to the idea that this is just one more area in which blind people are normal. We must conduct fundraising projects until we cease to receive pity or disdain.
And Dr. Jernigan pointed out that student participation in the fight to keep the Idaho Commission for the Blind as a separate agency could be very valuable.
One active meeting was followed by another on September 7. At this time we elected officers for the next year. They are as follows: President, Linda Edwards, senior at Idaho State University, majoring in speech therapy. Garrison House, ISU, Pocatello, Idaho 83201; Vice President, Allen Merritt, junior at Boise College, majoring in psychology, 2120 Woodlawn Avenue, Boise, Idaho 83702; Secretary-treasurer, Ramona Willoughby, education student at Boise College, 1203 Beacon, Boise, Idaho 83706.
At this meeting we found it necessary to take definite steps regarding the reorganization problem in Idaho. The Budget and Finance Committee of the State Legislature has conducted a survey of the Department of Public Assistance and its relationship with several other departments in Idaho. There is now a proposal before this Committee to re-organize the newly-established Commission for the Blind under a monster super-agency. Every chapter of the Gem State Blind is resolved to defeat this effort, and we hope to defeat it before it goes before the legislature as a whole.
Therefore, the University Federation of the Blind passed the following resolution:
Whereas the Budget and Finance Committee of the Legislative Council of the State of Idaho has conducted a survey of the Department of Public Assistance and its relationship to other State agencies--including the Idaho Commission for the Blind;
Whereas a recommendation based on the findings of this survey has been made that the Department of Public Assistance, the Youth Rehabilitation Division of the Department of Health, Vocational Rehabilitation Division now under the Department of Education, the Youth Training Center at Saint Anthony, and the Commission for the Blind be reorganized under one large agency;
Whereas services to the blind in Idaho have been improved many-fold in the short time since the creation of the Idaho Commission for the Blind;
Whereas blind persons in other states in which similar reorganization has taken place have faced an abrupt and continuous deterioration of services;
Whereas the Idaho Commission for the Blind is immediately responsive to the needs of the blind in a way not possible in a large agency charged with serving such diverse groups as the blind, the aged, the mentally retarded, dependent children, and juvenile delinquents;
Whereas the members of the University Federation of the Blind, consisting of blind college students and blind persons employed in the professions, are directly and immediately affected by the quality of services to the blind;
Now therefore, Be it Resolved by the University Federation of the Blind at this regularly constituted meeting in Boise, Idaho, on the seventh day of September, 1968, That we, the members, deplore and oppose any attempt to include the Idaho Commission for the Blind under any other department of the State.
Be it Further Resolved, That we commend the Idaho Commission for the Blind for its outstanding progress and contributions to the well-being of the blind of Idaho.
Be it Further Resolved, That the officers and members of this organization are instructed to do all in their power to prevent the inclusion of the Idaho Commission for the Blind in said reorganization.
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It is estimated that between eight million and ten million Americans now wear contact lenses. Near-sighted persons need less frequent changes with contacts than with standard glasses, and if the contact lenses are fitted properly they will not damage the eyes.
The Seeing Eye Guide reports that President Johnson honored a Seeing Eye graduate in person, Sherrill Rae Peterson of Galesburg, Illinois. She was one of three blind college students who were presented with scholastic achievement awards and $500 checks by the President at a ceremony in the White House Cabinet Room. The awards and checks were from Recording for the Blind, Inc., a national organization which helps students by providing recorded books.
It is estimated that as many as 10,000 children will go blind this year in the Middle East because of a deficiency of Vitamin A. These children suffer from abnormal dryness of the eyeball with ulceration of the cornea caused by deficient diet. About half of the children will die. Experts believe that one dose of Vitamin A, costing a little more than five cents, would probably save many of these children since the liver stores Vitamin A in large quantities for years.
Here we go again! It was recently reported that a blind man and his wife stopped at a restaurant in Illinois with his harnessed guide dog by his side. An employee of the restaurant told them they couldn't bring the dog in, even though the dog was recognized as a guide dog. Illinois, like a great many other states, has on the statute books a law which specifically provides that neither the blind person nor his dog shall be denied the right of entry and use of any public place of accommodation.
On October 26 at the Empress Hotel in Asbury Park, New Jersey the eleventh annual Convention of the State Council of New Jersey Organizations of the Blind is having a National representative of the Student Division of NFB who will provide pertinent information for all blind and visually handicapped college students and potential college students.
Over 2,000 years ago, when the Jews were exiled from Palestine by the Babylonians, the Canaan dog retreated to the Negev Desert. Some of them became herd dogs and others reverted to a wild state. In 1935 an animal psychologist in Tel Aviv, Israel rounded up several Canaans from the desert where they had roamed for centuries and began to re-domesticate them. This psychologist. Professor Rudolphina Menzel, is director of Israel's Institute for Orientation and Mobility of the Blind, where Canaans are bred and trained as guide dogs. They are such good guide dogs that the demand for them in Israel is far greater than the supply. There are only about 250 domesticated Canaans in Israel today and only 38 in the United States. The Canaan is a medium-sized dog, about 24 inches tall and weighing 40 to 50 pounds. He has a rough coat that requires little grooming. Because the dog was able to survive hundreds of years in the desert, it has built up an immunity to many diseases suffered by breeds that have been sheltered for centuries.
Kaarlo Virkki, Secretary General of the Finnish Association for the Blind, feels that the greatest problem facing blind persons is that of conforming to a world organized by sighted persons. Virkii is in the middle of a seven-months tour of the United States, studying rehabilitation and placement techniques used in this country. According to Virkii the three most imposing problems which must be solved by the blind are mobility or travel, communication (both Braille and typewriting), and the skills of daily living. The daily living skills, those taken for granted by the sighted, include using the telephone, working in a kitchen and, among other things, handling money. Virkii believes that the United States has achieved excellent results with highly individualized rehabilitation training for the blind. In Finland large numbers of blind persons are gathered for a short 10-week rehabilitation course and the group is so large that individuals cannot be helped with areas of particular difficulty for them.
Pedestrian crossing lights that tick have been invented in Sweden so that blind persons can cross safely, knowing that the lights are in their favor. A slow ticking noise, 75 ticks a minute, indicates that the lights are at red. When they change to green, the ticking increases to 750 a minute. The sound is audible up to nine yards from the signal box. The device was developed by the Swedish electronics company AGA Lindings with help from the Swedish Association of the Blind.
The Kentucky Industries for the Blind is working on its largest assembly job of whiskey decanter stoppers. By the end of the year it will have assembled some six million stoppers for ten distilling companies. Decanter stopper assembly is an annual operation there.
Idaho Blind Person of the Year Award. The recipient of this year's award is a member of Western Chapter of the Gem State Blind (Idaho). A busy person, but one who always finds time to assist with the problems that arise, whether they be on the state or local level. Time and energy are not held back when there is work to be done. And, this blind person is not only active in our work, but also contributes greatly to service in the community. From this brief statement you may have already guessed that the recipient was our Gem State Treasurer, our Western Chapter Public Relations Chairman, Anabelle Alexander. Anabelle is a member of the Women's Association of her church, the YWCA, where she is currently serving a term of one year on the nominating committee, the Beaux Arts Society, the Idaho Historical Society Auxiliary and is the Junior Past President of the Boise Woman's Civic Club, During her term as President of the Civic Club this past year, the club received numerous awards, including a Certificate of Commendation from the General Federation of Women's Clubs, Washington, D. C. for its Community Improvement Program. Congratulations to you, Anabelle, on your well-merited award,
The Progressive Blind of Missouri has gone 'over the top' in its drive to raise money to purchase two recently marketed typewriters which reproduce Braille. Owen Rittgers reports that the Teamsters' Union Local 41 contributed the entire cost of one machine, and so the two IBM Braille typewriters will be purchased. There is even a sufficient surplus to purchase a regular typewriter and Braille paper. Good work Gwen!
Irvin P. Schloss of Washington, D. C., was unanimously elected to a second term as National President of the Blinded Veterans Association at the Association's Twenty-Third Annual Convention, San Francisco, California. He was blinded by shrapnel wounds in France in World War II. while serving with the Z5th Tank Battalion of the 14th Armored Division.
At the June meeting of the Associated Blind of Greater Brockton the following officers were elected: President, Manuel J. Rubin; Vice President, Lillian Brown; Secretary, Miss Mary Szczerba; Treasurer, Miss Priscilla Shepard; Sergeant-At-Arms, Fred Moynihan; lay members, Mrs. Geneva H. Rudd and Miss Ann Pendergast; trustees, Mrs. Irene Huston, Mrs. Rose Rubbo and Leo St. James.
At its June meeting the Associated Blind of Watertown, Massachusetts elected the following officers for the ensuing year: President, Mrs. Mary T. Castonguay; First Vice President, Miss Doris Nicholas; Second Vice President, Mrs. Mary Czub; Recording Secretary, Joseph Jablonski; Corresponding Secretary, Daniel J. Lynch; Treasurer, Edward P. Connelly; Sergeant-At-Arms, Gerald P. Clarke. Mrs. Castonguay will represent the chapter as member-at-large on the Executive Committee of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts for the next two years.
VFB affiliate, Potomac Federation of the Blind, recently elected the following: President, A. J. (Bill) Pettit; First Vice President, James Copeland; Second Vice President, Robert McDonald; Recording Secretary, Mary Lee West; Corresponding Secretary, Chester Avery; Treasurer, Marion McDonald; Board Members, Ruth Smith, Jean Miller and Louise Propst.
Bill Oakley of the Virginia Federation encountered policemen. Bill was carrying his cane, and the policemen wanted to know if he was doing some surveying. So the public does need to be educated!
The Alabama Association of the Blind will advertise the White Cane in a big way. They will have a float in the Veterans Day Parade and the White Cane will be featured. Under the energetic leadership of their president, Eulasee Hardenburgh, a forty foot trailer truck and a driver, along with materials from which to construct the float, have been donated. Ruth Ashby reports that Colorado is busy organizing new chapters and reorganizing and strengthening old chapters of the Colorado Federation. There is high interest and almost total participation in the work by the whole board of the state organization. One item of interest to other affiliates is that every blind person known to the organization will receive an invitation to the convention along with the agenda, and every prospective member a free banquet ticket. It pays to advertise. John Taylor will be the banquet speaker at the Colorado Federation convention.
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President of the National Federation of the Blind.
Administrator of a state rehabilitation and orientation program.
First Vice President NFB
Insurance Company Executive
Second Vice President NFB
FRANKLIN VAN VLIET
DR. MAE DAVIDOW
Member, Executive Committee NFB
Member, Executive Committee NFB
Member, Executive Committee NFB
Member, Executive Committee NFB
Member, Executive Committee NFB
Member, Executive Committee NFB
Public Welfare Consultant
Member, Executive Committee NFB
Member, Executive Committee NFB
Supervisor, State Program for the Blind
DR. JACOB FREID
Member, Board of Directors NFB
Director, National Service Agency for the Blind
Member, Board of Directors NFB
DR. ISABELLE L. D, GRANT
Member, Board of Directors
NFB School Teacher, Retired
Chief, Washington Office, NFB Attorney
Kenneth Jernigan, President of the National Federation of the Blind (right) with the late President Jacobus tenBroek, founder of the NFB.]
In the summer of 1940, a handful of blind men and women from seven states met at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, to inaugurate a new and unique voluntary association. The fruit of that historic meeting was the National Federation of the Blind, the first nation-wide organization in America open to all sightless persons--truly a federation of the blind, by the blind, and for the blind.
On that eventful day in 1940 when the National Federation of the Blind was formally inaugurated, it was no ordinary private group that was set in motion but an extraordinary social movement. The blind people of the United States, long immobilized in the protective custody of almshouse and lighthouse keepers, were at last on the move--and on their own.
Starting with ten who were stout-hearted men, they soon added ten thousand more. Today they have added tens of thousands more.
Foremost of the stout-hearted men who met at Wilkes-Barre--founder of the National Federation and creator of the vision which inspired it--was a twenty-nine year old California professor named Jacobus tenBroek, whose own blindness had not deterred him from earning a college degree and three post-graduate degrees in political science and law (a fifth earned degree from Harvard was later to be added).
Dr. tenBroek's own successful struggle for independence stood in stark contrast to the stifling atmosphere of overprotective shelter, enforced dependency and foreclosed opportunity which everywhere prevailed among the agencies and institutions for the blind of that day. The worst effect of this prejudice, in his view, was to isolate these sightless "wards" not only from normal society (and from their self-appointed "custodians") but even from significant association with one another--by depriving them of the means and responsibility for mutual effort and collective self-advancement.
It might almost be said that for tenBroek the end of sight was the beginning of "vision"--the vision of a democratic people's movement in which blind men and women would no longer be led but would take the lead themselves in their own cause, and in so doing point the way to a new age of individual independence and social integration for all blind Americans.
Born in 1911, the son of a prairie homesteader, young tenBroek lost the sight of one eye as the result of a bow-and-arrow accident at the age of seven. Thereafter his remaining vision deteriorated until by the age of fourteen he was totally blind. He did not sit long in idleness. Within three years he was an active participant and officeholder in local blind organizations in Berkeley, where he went to attend the California School for the Blind. By 1934 he had joined with Dr. Newel Perry, Perry Sundquist and others to form the California Council of the Blind--a prototype on the state level of the National Federation which followed six years later.
From its inception the national movement of the organized blind was shaped in the image of the revolutionary approach to blindness which was preached and practiced with equal brilliance by its founder. It was preached up and down the land, in convention and conference, to blind and sighted audiences alike, in a continuous succession of memorable public addresses stretching over more than twenty years. One of the first was entitled, "A Declaration of Independence by the Blind." Many of his speeches were inserted in the Congressional Record, reprinted in Vital Speeches, or published as articles by welfare journals. One, "The Cross of Blindness", found its way into two college textbooks on composition, and another, "Social Security: Today's Challenge in Public Welfare", into a volume of significant contemporary speeches.
But the new philosophy of normality, equality and productivity was not only "preached" by the NFB's first president. It was also practiced. In the same year in which the Federation was founded, tenBroek received his doctorate in jurisprudence from the University of California, completed a year as Brandeis Research Fellow at Harvard Law School, and was appointed to the faculty at the University of Chicago Law School. Two years later he began his teaching career at the University of California, moving steadily upward through the ranks to become a full professor in 1953 and chairman of the Department of Speech in 1955. In 1963 he accepted an appointment as Professor of Political Science on the Berkeley campus.
During this period Professor tenBroek published more than fifty articles and monographs--plus three books--in the fields of welfare, government and law, establishing a reputation as one of the nation's foremost scholars on matters of constitutional law. One of his volumes--Prejudice, War, and the Constitution--won the Woodrow Wilson Award of the American Political Science Association in 1955 as the best book on government and democracy. His other books are California's Dual System of Family Law (1964); Hope Deferred: Public Welfare and the Blind (1959), and The Anti-Slavery Origins of the Fourteenth Amendment (1951); revised and republished in 1965 under the title Equal Under Law. In the course of his academic career he was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, at Palo Alto, and was twice the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation. In 1947 he earned the degree of S. J. D. from Harvard Law School. He was awarded in 1956 the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by Findlay College in Ohio, and in 1964 the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by Parsons College in Iowa. In 1950 Dr. tenBroek was named a member of the California State Board of Social Welfare by Governor Earl Warren. Subsequently reappointed three times to the policymaking welfare board, he was elected its chairman in 1960 by the other members and served in that capacity until 1963.
After twenty-one years as president of the National Federation of the Blind, Dr. tenBroek resigned in 1961 only to resume the office by acclamation of the convention in 1966. In the interim, among other continuing activities, he accepted a position as the NFB's delegate to the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind. In that capacity he attended the meeting of the World Council's executive committee at Hanover, Germany, in the summer of 1962 and the quinquennial meeting of the Assembly of the World Council in New York in 1964. When the International Federation of the Blind was formed at organizational meetings in Phoenix and New York in 1964, he was selected as its president.
In August of 1966 Dr. tenBroek learned that he had cancer. The surgery which followed brought hope, waiting, and ultimate disappointment. On March 27, 1968, Jacobus tenBroek died. As Kenneth Jernigan, new President of the Federation, said in a memorial address: "The relationship of this man to the organized blind movement, which he brought into being in the United States and around the world, was such that it would be equally accurate to say that the man was the embodiment of the movement or that the movement was the expression of the man.
"For tens of thousands of blind Americans over more than a quarter of a century he was leader, mentor, spokesman, and philosopher. He gave to the organized blind movement the force of his intellect and the shape of his dreams. He made it the symbol of a cause barely imagined before his coming: the cause of self-expression, self-direction, and self-sufficiency on the part of blind people. Step by step, year by year, action by action, he made that cause succeed."
Such was the man who founded the National Federation of the Blind, and such was the movement he brought into being.
Since its modest beginning, the national movement of the organized blind has grown steadily in numbers, strength and influence. Today it has a membership of thirty-nine state affiliates, and is recognized by sightless people the country over as their principal means of collective self-expression--the voice of the independent blind.
The Federation believes that blind people are essentially normal human beings--that blindness in itself is only a physical lack which can be met and mastered, not an impairment of mental powers or psychological stability. Therefore all arbitrary barriers and discriminations--legal, economic and social--based on the false assumption that the blind are somehow different from those with sight must be abolished in favor of equality of opportunity for all who are blind. Because of their intimate firsthand experience with the problems of blindness--and because they too have the constitutional right to organize, to speak for themselves and to be heard--the blind themselves are best qualified to lead the way in solving their own problems. But the general public should be made aware of these problems and asked to participate in their solution. These are the fundamental beliefs upon which the National Federation of the Blind bases its philosophy and programs.
Today as in the past, the Federation is fortunate in the quality of its elective leadership. All officers and Executive Committeemen are blind; all are chosen democratically by delegates to the national conventions. Brief biographies of the blind who lead the blind are set forth on the following pages. They are men and women from many walks of life, representing a broad cross-section of the blind population of the United States. But while their backgrounds and careers are varied, they are drawn together by the common bond of having encountered blindness individually and successfully in their own lives, and by their dedication to the proposition that all who are blind are created equally capable of similar success. In the story of their lives and achievements is to be seen compelling proof of the affirmative democratic faith embodied in the National Federation of the Blind.
The office of president of the National Federation is held by one of the nation's most brilliant and successful administrators of programs for the blind--Kenneth Jernigan of Des Moines, Iowa, director of the State Commission for the Blind.
In his varied and accomplished career, Jernigan has built an equal national reputation as a leader of the blind through a succession of organizational honors including the presidency of the Tennessee Federation of the Blind, the vice presidency of the National Federation--to which he was first elected in 1959 and to which he was successively reelected until the time of his elevation to the presidency in 1968--and the winning in 1960 of the NFB's Newel Perry Award (given annually to the individual considered by the organization to have made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the blind).
Totally blind since his birth in 1926, Jernigan went to work immediately after graduating from high school as the manager of a furniture shop in Beech Grove, Tennessee, for which he made all the furniture as well as operated the business. In the fall of 1945 he enrolled for a college career at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville. Active in campus affairs from the outset, he was soon elected to office in his class organization and to important positions in other student clubs. In 1948, at the Southeastern Conference of the Pi Kappa Delta competition held at the University of South Carolina, Jernigan won first prize in extemporaneous speaking and original oratory.
A year after his graduating from the Tennessee Technological University Jernigan was awarded a Master's degree in English from Peabody College at Nashville, where he subsequently completed an additional year of graduate study. While at Peabody he was a staff writer with the school newspaper, cofounder of an independent literary magazine, and a member of the Writers' Club. In 1949 he received the Captain Charles W. Browne Award, presented by the American Foundation for the Blind each year to the nation's outstanding blind student.
Following his collegiate career, Jernigan spent four years as a teacher of English at the Tennessee School for the Blind. During this period he became interested in organizational work with the blind, starting with membership in the Nashville chapter of the Tennessee Association for the Blind (later the Tennessee Federation). He was elected to the vice-presidency of the state affiliate in 1950, and to the presidency in 1951.
In 1953 Jernigan was appointed to the faculty of the State Orientation Center for the Adult Blind in Oakland, California, where he remained for five years prior to accepting his current position as director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind. In this capacity he is responsible for the administration of state programs of rehabilitation, home teaching, home industries and various other services to the blind. The magnitude of Jernigan's achievement as commission head is perhaps best described in a sentence from the citation which accompanied the Newel Perry Award in 1960: "The task of taking on a rehabilitation program which ranked last in the nation in point of accomplishment, and within two years nearly quadrupling its number of closures while vastly improving its quality, is itself a remarkable feat of creative administration and sheer hard work." Since that date his performance in Iowa and the nation has greatly surpassed even those levels of accomplishment.
In June of 1967 at the annual meeting of the American Library Association in San Francisco Jernigan was awarded the Francis Joseph Campbell Award for his outstanding work in the field of library service to the blind. The citation recognized the Iowa library as not only the largest but among the most dynamic and effective in the world.
In the spring of 1968 Jernigan was not only awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities by Coe College in Iowa, but he also received a special citation from the President of the United States for his outstanding contributions to the advancement of the blind. The citation was presented by Harold Russell, Chairman of the President's Committee on the Employment of the Handicapped, at a special ceremony at a luncheon attended by the Governor of Iowa and over three hundred state, civic, and political leaders. Mr. Russell said: "If a person must be blind, it is better to be blind in Iowa than anywhere else in the nation or in the world. This statement sums up the story of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, and more pertinently of its Director, Kenneth Jernigan.
"That narrative is much more than a success story. It is the story of high aspiration magnificently accomplished--of an impossible dream become reality."
Few more compelling examples of personal independence and social contribution could be found among blind Americans than that of the NFB's first vice-president, Donald C. Capps of Columbia, South Carolina. During the late 1950's and early 1960's he served four two-year terms as president of the South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind, the affiliate of the National Federation. Capps was elected to the second vice presidency of the NFB in 1959 and reelected for two-year terms in 1960, 1962, 1964, and 1966. In 1968 he was elected to the first vice presidency.
Born in 1928, Capps did not become legally blind until 1954, although he possessed a congenital eye defect. He attended the South Carolina School for the Blind and later attended public schools. Following his graduation from high school he enrolled in Draughon's Business College in Columbia; and upon receiving his business diploma, joined the Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company of Columbia as a claims examiner trainee. He has risen to his present position as head of both the Individual and Group Claims Departments.
Capps first became interested in the organized blind movement in 1953, and by the following year had been elected president of the Columbia chapter of the Aurora Club, which he headed for two years before assuming the leadership of the state organization. The extent of his contribution may be measured by the success of the Aurora Club's programs to improve aid and services for the blind in that state since its inception in 1956. During the following years the organization has been responsible for remarkable increases in the state's appropriation for cash assistance to the needy blind--advances which were won over the strenuous opposition of state public welfare officials. Among other improvements, Capps' organization has achieved an extra exemption on state income tax and amendments to the South Carolina vending stand law making the blind priority in employment mandatory rather than merely permissive and abolishing the so-called "set-aside"--a percentage of the stand operator's income previously appropriated by the state.
A truly major accomplishment was the successful uphill struggle of the South Carolina affiliate under Capps' leadership to bring about the establishment of an independent State Commission for the Blind, which became a reality in 1966.
Capps' energies as a leader have not been confined to the performance of his official duties, productive and time-consuming as they are. Among other activities he is editor of the PALMETTO AURORAN, the quarterly publication of the Aurora Club whose articles are frequently reprinted in national journals for the blind. In I960 Capps directed a campaign which led to construction of the Columbia chapter's $35,000 education and training center. He now serves as executive director and chairman of the board of trustees. In this role he has been instrumental in setting up a full time daily operation of the Aurora Center. In addition, Capps has served for fifteen years as the very successful fundraising chairman of the Columbia chapter.
The role which he has played in the organized blind movement of his state, as well as of the nation, is aptly symbolized by the "Donald C. Capps Award," a cash gift presented annually to an outstanding blind Carolinian. The Capps Award was created in 1961 by Ways and Means for the Blind of Augusta, Georgia, whose president is Hubert E. Smith. In 1963 he was appointed to the Governor's Committee on the Employment of the Physically Handicapped.
In December 1967, Capps was honored by his company with the presentation of an award "for twenty years' efficient, faithful and loyal service" in his managerial capacity. At a special Christmas luncheon signalizing the event, the firm's president, Edwin F. Avery, read a citation which stated in part: "Don has done a superior and faithful job for the Company, in spite of the vision handicap which he has overcome in remarkable fashion, and which he has never allowed to circumscribe his life, family and community activities, or efficiency in performance of his very responsible job. . . We take a reflected glory in Don Capps--and are extremely proud of the tremendous contribution which he has made in this state, and over the whole country, toward the progress and betterment of his fellows. "
In 1965 Don was doubly honored as Handicapped Man of the Year, both by his city of Columbia and by his state. In 1967 he was appointed to the Governor's Statewide Planning Committee on Rehabilitation Needs of the Disabled. He and his wife, Betty, have two children.
A longtime leader of the blind in Kentucky, Harold Reagan was first elected to membership on the executive committee of the National Federation of the Blind in 1949, a position in which he has served to date with the exception of three years. He was a prime mover in the establishment of the Kentucky Federation of the Blind in 1948 and served continuously as its president until his retirement in 1962. He has also been president of the Alumni Association of the Kentucky School for the Blind and president of the Kentucky Vending Stand Operators Association.
Blinded by a dynamite explosion at the age of eleven, which resulted also in the loss of his right hand, Reagan attended the Kentucky School for the Blind and went on to the University of Louisville, from which he graduated with an A. B. degree in history. Since 1934 he has been the operator of a successful vending stand business in Louisville.
Reagan's active leadership in the uphill campaign of the Kentucky blind for constructive legislation and improved public understanding of their capabilities was given symbolic recognition when the Kentucky Federation honored its outgoing president with the award of a braille watch for his "outstanding service to the blind" of the state.
Reagan has been a member of the Advisory Committee for the Division of Services to the Blind under the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services of the Department of Education in Kentucky ever since the Division was established in 1953. He served for many years as a member of the Kentucky Commission on Employment of the Handicapped. In April of 1968 he became president of the Louisville Association of the Blind.
In 1966 Russell Kletzing received the Newel Perry Award of the National Federation of the Blind for his outstanding contributions to the progress of his fellow blind. This honor marked the completion of four years in the presidency of the NFB. In 1966, also, he returned to the office of secretary, which he had occupied before becoming president in 1962.
In January, 1963, Kletzing became Assistant Chief Counsel of the California State Department of Water Resources--the highest civil service rank yet attained by a blind person in California. During the same month he was also presented with the State of California's Award for Superior Accomplishment in recognition of his contribution to the success of the state's complex water resources program.
He was president for three years (1959-1962) of the California Council of the Blind, of which he is presently the executive secretary and general counsel. He is also treasurer of the American Brotherhood for the Blind, and of the International Federation of the Blind.
Born in Chicago in 1925, Kletzing was totally blinded by retinoblastoma when only a year and a half old. After eight years of primary education at the California School for the Blind in Berkeley, he attended Oakland's University High School, where he was awarded the scholarship cup upon his graduation in 1942. Thereafter he enrolled at the University of California, majoring in chemistry and graduating with honors in 1945 after compiling a brilliant academic record.
While winning the SCAIFE scholarship and election to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year at college, Russell managed to find time to take a leadership role in various student activities--including varsity debate, membership in the Associated Students' Executive Committee, presidency of the Student YMCA, and presidency of the Honor Students Association.
Immediately following his graduation from the University, Kletzing found employment as a social worker at a wartime relocation center for Japanese-American evacuees, where he remained until the center was closed. He then went on to law school--to the University of Chicago for one year, next to the University of California's Boalt School of Law where he received his degree in 1949. While still a law student, he published several articles in legal journals, concentrating on labor law and taxation.
In 1950, Kletzing joined the United States Bureau of Reclamation as an attorney, where he remained for the next seven years. Prior to landing this federal job he was the instigator of a case now famous in the annals of the organized blind movement. He successfully passed a civil service examination for the position of attorney, only to find later that officials in Washington had removed his name from the civil service list. Convinced that the only reason for this was that federal officialdom had discovered that he was blind, Kletzing went to the National Federation of the Blind, with whose vigorous backing he made a test case of the issue -- the celebrated "Kletzing case" through which the NFB ultimately forced open the doors of civil service employment in various fields formerly barred altogether to blind persons.
In 1959, shortly after his transfer to the California Department of Water Resources, Kletzing was promoted to senior attorney. In this capacity, and later as assistant chief counsel, he has directed the legal negotiation of water supply contracts for his state, and was California's legal representative in negotiations with the federal government leading to construction of the San Luis Water Project, through which state and federal governments have cooperatively pooled their resources to build and run the 450-million dollar enterprise. He has been chief water rights expert for his state agency -- protecting the claim to water rights of the giant state water project involving the transportation of great quantities of water for more than 600 miles and the expenditure of more than two billion dollars -- and also has had charge of the agency's legal concern with federal legislation and with interstate water compacts and other relationships.
The year 1959, in which Kletzing was named a senior attorney in the state government, also marked a high point in his "avocational" career as a leader of the organized blind. During that year he became first vice president, and subsequently president, of the California Council of the Blind; while the National Federation elected him to its Executive Committee and gave him the chairmanship of both its constitutional committee and its subcommittee on budget and finance.
Kletzing met his wife, Ruth, while speaking at a meeting which she arranged in the course of her work with pre-school blind children. They were married in 1954 and have two sons, Craig, born in 1958, and James, born in June, 1963.
Dairy farmer, independent businessman, electronics technician, Sunday-school teacher, radio operator, politician--and Federation treasurer--these are only a few of the manifold activities met and mastered during the active career of Franklin Van Vliet of Concord, New Hampshire. In addition to his leadership role in the National Federation, he long served as president of the New Hampshire Federation of the Blind.
Born into a small New Hampshire farming community in 1922, Van Vliet lost the sight of one eye as the result of an accident at the age of seven, and gradually lost his remaining vision over the next decade through sympathetic ophthalmia. By an irony of fate, his father was for many years state supervisor of services to the blind. Franklin completed elementary schooling at Massachusetts' Perkins School for the Blind; but the death of his father forced him to leave school and go to work on a dairy farm, a job which he held for two years before moving into an industrial job with the state-operated workshop in Concord, New Hampshire. He next found employment in the field of his greatest interest, electronics, with a Manchester firm producing wartime technical equipment for the Navy. Following the war, falling victim to the mass layoffs of industry, he took a job as parts manager with the state highway department.
A lifelong desire to operate his own business was realized for Van Vliet in 1952, when he opened a shop specializing in manufacture and sale of various types of automotive upholstery and equipment. Forced out of business by chain-store competition. Van Vliet chose to turn adversity into new opportunity--by returning to school to master the intricate science of electronics. He attended the Radio Engineering Institute of Omaha, Nebraska, graduating in 1955 with a radio technician's diploma, and returned to Concord where he has since made a successful career as an electronics specialist.
Married in 1946 to Miss Gertrude Goodwin, the NFB's indefatigable treasurer today divides his "free" time between Sunday-school teaching, church organ-playing, and a vigorous outdoor life centering around the Van Vliets' summer cabin which he built.
Twelve years ago, Mae Davidow, a mathematics teacher at the Overbrook School for the Blind, was instrumental in reactivating the local chapter of the Pennsylvania Federation of the Blind in Philadelphia. As president of the West Philadelphia Chapter, Mae invited people from every section of Philadelphia to participate. As the chapter grew, new leaders emerged and were encouraged to start new chapters in other sections of the city. After five years of work in building up the membership of the group in the Philadelphia area, Dr. Davidow was elected to the Executive Board of the P. F. B.
Mae Davidow spent the early years of her childhood on a small farm near Bridgeton, New Jersey. At the age of ten, after a mastoid operation, Mae lost her vision. She entered the Overbrook School for the Blind and studied there for several years, but completed her secondary education at Bridgeton High School. She received a B. A. from the New Jersey College for Women, now Douglas College of Rutgers University. Temple University granted her a master's degree in 1949, and she earned her doctorate there in 1960.
In that year, Dr. Davidow undertook a new project supported by a federal grant to the Pennsylvania Office for the Blind. Her purpose was to gather occupational information that would help blind students and newly blinded persons make better vocational choices. In the course of this work she interviewed blind professional people in various parts of the United States, She has been chairman of the Mathematics Workshop of the American Association of Instructors of the Blind. Mae was president of the Overbrook Teachers Association and representative of the Pennsylvania State Education Association.
As a mathematics teacher at the Overbrook School for the Blind, Dr. Davidow was instrumental in establishing the use of the Cranmer Abacus as a part of the regular curriculum. In 1964 she attended the Abacus Institute at the University of Kentucky, the first such institute ever conducted in America. For four years Mae taught the Cranmer Abacus using Fred Gissoni's text. However, as an instructor of the abacus to both teachers and students, she has found it desirable to have a simplified manual for their use. Thus, in June 1966, was published "The Abacus Made Easy" by Dr. Mae E. Davidow. This book was introduced at the convention of the American Association of Instructors of the Blind in Salt Lake City. Soon the publication was put into Braille and large print, and is available to all the blind and the partially sighted.
In addition to being a devoted teacher, her social service work has been outstanding with both the sighted and the blind. She has taken an active part in leadership training at the Y. M. C. A.; and through her work as adviser to teenage girls, Mae has become adept at all the modern dances. As past president in a local B'nai B'rith chapter, Mae has helped to write a manual for advisers of B'nai B'rith Youth.
Recently, Dr. Davidow was elected to the Board of Managers of the Chapin Home for the Aged Blind in Philadelphia. She takes time in a busy week to visit and talk with the older citizens and brings word of progress in the field of education to several teachers there.
Dr. Davidow is a popular speaker at luncheon and dinner meetings of Lions Clubs, Rotary, Kiwanis, and so on. Her topic is usually "Preparing Blind Youth for Community Living". It is at these meetings that Mae seizes the opportunity to tell community leaders about the work done by the National Federation of the Blind.
Several years ago she was invited to give a series of lectures at Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee, and also at San Francisco State College. She lectured on the methods used to teach mathematics to blind students.
Recently she has conducted an Abacus Workshop at the Governor Morehead School in Raleigh, North Carolina, in conjunction with the East Carolina University.
Mae's work now includes research as well as teaching. She has completed a modernization of the Mathematics Course of Study on the elementary level. Now she is about to publish a Guide for Social Competencies aimed at elementary, junior high and senior high students.
Dr. Davidow was reelected to the Executive Committee at the 1968 Des Moines Convention. Her latest goal is to contact all the college students in Pennsylvania to familiarize them with the purpose and aims of the Federation of the Blind. Mae feels that with the interest and participation of college students in establishing new chapters and joining those in existence throughout the State, the Pennsylvania Federation of the Blind can become one of the most active affiliates of the National Federation of the Blind.
Orchestra conductor, licensed chiropractor, independent businessman, volunteer social worker, member of an agency board of directors -- these are some of the facets in the varied career of Raymond James Dinsmore.
Born in 1902 in the town of Elwood, Indiana, Dinsmore lost his sight through a medical accident at the age of two -- later recovering slight vision in one eye. He received his education at the state schools for the blind in Ohio and Indiana, and went on to graduate from the Central States College of Chiropractic in Indianapolis. Finding the professional field crowded, Ray went to work as a furniture craftsman until the advent of the great depression of the 1930's induced him to move to New York with his wife, Frances, and two children.
Breaking into the field of entertainment as a musician, Dinsmore organized and conducted an all-blind dance orchestra under auspices of the WPA's Federal Art Project, and subsequently found additional outlet for his musical talents in radio and in work with the Police Athletic League of New York.
During the thirties he became an active volunteer worker with the Blind Industrial Workers' Association of Brooklyn, a cooperative agency owned and operated by blind persons themselves, which included among its functions a workshop, an extensive home work program, and services of counseling and placement. In 1940 Dinsmore was elected business manager of the Association, acting as its representative to the Greater New York Council of Agencies for the Blind. He served for 20 years on the Council's legislative committee and for several years on its public assistance committee; and for 11 years was also a member of the board of directors of the statewide New York Association of Workers for the Blind. In 1955 he was instrumental in the organization of the Empire State Association for the Blind, which shortly thereafter became affiliated with the National Federation of the Blind.
In 1960 Dinsmore left New York to return to the Hoosier state, settling with his wife in Indianapolis where he started a successful commercial chair-caning and furniture repair business. He now heads up a subcontract division of the Indiana Agency for the Blind. His work consists of assembling telephone parts for Western Electric. Ray is a past president of the Indiana Council. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors.
Grocery store operation, landscaping, real estate business--these are but a few of the activities in which Ned Graham has engaged.
Graham was born in Burlington, North Carolina in 1926, and it was in this same town that he began and completed his formal education. Following his graduation from Jordan Sellars High School in 1943, he along with his family moved to Chester, Pennsylvania.
In January of 1945, he was inducted into the United States Army and served in the Special Services Division. He was honorably discharged in 1947 and returned to Pennsylvania to live with his family. Graham then entered A & T College in North Carolina where he studied cabinet making. Finding this unsuitable for future plans, he became an entrepreneur and delved into several self-owned business enterprises such as landscaping and operating a small sea food store. The sea food store proved to be so productive that in 1953 he expanded into the grocery business. This endeavor was so successful that his family was soon to join him in the ownership of a small chain of grocery stores. Still later he was to become involved in real estate while also keeping the grocery business in operation.
In 1956 Graham began to experience the effects of a congenital eye defect. By 1960 he was forced to seek training at the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind. Four years later, he moved to Baltimore and married Helen Warrington, a social worker with the Associated Catholic Charities. Today, he and Mrs. Graham are engaged in small real estate holdings in the Pennsylvania-Baltimore area.
When Graham came to Maryland in 1965, there was only one chapter, the Maryland Council of the Blind, affiliated with the NFB. With characteristic leadership and diligence, he soon organized another chapter in Baltimore known as the Greater Baltimore Chapter of the Blind. These two chapters joined to form the Free State Federation of the Blind, which received its Charter from the NFB in 1966 in Louisville, Kentucky. Graham was elected as first vice president of the Free State Federation and also served as Legislative Chairman. Since the formation of the Free State Federation of the Blind, Graham, has been instrumental in organizing two additional chapters--The Twin County Federation of the Blind and The Chester River Federation of the Blind. Graham is currently executive secretary for the Greater Baltimore Chapter and first vice-president of the Free State Federation of the Blind.
Graham is a member of St. Pius V Catholic Church and the Holy Name Society. Besides his participation in the organized blind movement and the church, Graham is also an avid bowler.
At the 1968 convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Des Moines, he was elected to a two year term on the Executive Committee.
Victor Charles Johnson, operator of a successful vending stand business in St. Louis from which he retired in January 1966, is a veteran leader in the organized blind movement both of Missouri and of the nation. First elected to a four-year term on the NFB's Executive Committee in 1952, he was again chosen for that office by the national convention in 1963, 1965 and 1967. He has been president and legislative representative of the United Workers for the Blind of Missouri, and has served two terms as president of the Alumni Association of the Missouri School for the Blind. In 1966 he was chosen as president of the Missouri Federation of the Blind.
Born on a Missouri farm in 1899, Victor was several months old before his blindness was discovered -- and for years continued to wear the useless glasses prescribed for him by a country doctor. Fortunately, he was encouraged to enter the state school for the blind in 1907, from which he graduated 13 years later.
After an apprenticeship as a salesman, young Vic Johnson entered a school of osteopathy in Kansas City in 1920, hopeful of a career in one of the few professions then formally open to blind persons. Although he soon dropped out of the institute in disappointment, Johnson successfully resumed his training the following year -- this time at the American School of Osteopathy in Kirksville, Missouri, where he received his degree in 1925. It was there that he met a girl from his home county. Miss Xena Eads, who was attending the State Teachers' College. Following their marriage in 1923, Xena taught at a nearby high school while Victor completed his college training.
In the years that followed it was not only Victor who found himself handicapped professionally by arbitrary stereotypes. The Johnsons discovered that a virtual ban existed in the state schools against married women as teachers. For years both were forced to labor in other fields -- Xena in offices and stores, and Victor at his old trade of door-to-door sales. Finally the passage of the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Act provided a new opportunity, and Johnson was among the first to establish a business in Missouri under the program. When he retired in 1966 his prosperous stand was still situated in the U.S. Court and Customs House in St. Louis where it first opened in 1937.
In 1922 Johnson joined Missouri's United Workers for the Blind, was elected president in 1927, and later represented the UWB at the state capitol during the legislative sessions from 1929 through 1937. He was again chosen to head the United Workers in 1947, seven years after it had become affiliated with the National Federation of the Blind.
Miss O'Shea, a native of Springfield, Massachusetts, was elected to the NFB's Board of Directors in 1961 as the climax of a decade's active participation and leadership in the organized movement of the blind in her state. A member of the executive board of the Greater Springfield Association of the Blind since 1952, she was named five years later to the board of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts. Shortly thereafter, she became the ABM's second vice-president, attained the presidency a year later (1958), and in 1959 served a full two-year term as president. In 1967 she was elected to a two-year term as first vice-president, carrying extra duties as acting president during that period. As chairman of the Organizing Committee of the state group, she reactivated and reorganized the Fall River chapter in 1968. Anita is currently president of the Greater Springfield Association of the Blind having been reelected to the office in June 1968. She was chosen by the NFB in I960 for a one-year term on the Executive Committee and was reelected for two-year terms in 1961, 1963, 1965 and again in 1967.
Educated at Perkins School for the Blind, of Watertown, Massachusetts--where she was equally active in dramatic and musical presentations and athletic activities--Miss O'Shea went on to intensive preparation for a career as medical secretary, first through attendance at secretarial school and later through private instruction and self-instruction. From 1959 until 1966 she was employed as a medical secretary at the Wesson Memorial Hospital in Springfield. Since then she has been working at Providence Hospital in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
During her tenure as president of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts, Miss O'Shea was instrumental in the launching of several new programs for the blind, notably the establishment of an advisory committee which meets regularly with the director of the state's Commission for the Blind, She also inaugurated a Job Opportunities Committee which has had substantial success in informing potential employers of the vocational and professional capacities of blind persons.
In the fall of 1958 Miss O'Shea initiated a highly effective braille class for Springfield's Jewish Community Center, which has since produced an ever-expanding pool of volunteer transcribers to meet the needs of blind college students and pupils in the public schools. A number of her trainees have themselves become braille instructors, training more volunteer transcribers and recruiting readers for tape-recorded programs. In 1960 she was appointed by the Mayor of Springfield as general chairman for the 80th birthday celebration of Helen Keller. She received the Orchids Award from the Springfield Daily News in April, 1967, for her work with and for the blind on local, state and national levels. Her continuing activities include inaugurating instruction classes for modern dancing for local blind in 1968.
Past president of the National Federation, pioneer leader of the organized blind movement in California, veteran administrator of a model state welfare division--Perry Sundquist has played a distinguished role in the social progress of the blind over the past generation.
Born in 1904 in Minnesota, Sundquist received his early education in the schools of Canada and Washington, and later moved to California to enroll at the famous school for the blind in Berkeley-where he studied under the late Dr. Newel Perry and first developed his interest in the educational and organizational cause of the blind. Sundquist's severe visual impairment did not keep him from earning a B. A. degree in political science in 1928 from the University of California, plus two years of graduate study there and at the University of Southern California. In 1931 he married a college classmate, Emily Wright, now a retired teacher of the Sacramento public schools.
From his initial election in 1930 as secretary of the Los Angeles County Club of Adult Blind, Sundquist has been involved continuously in the organized blind movement. For five years following its formation in 1934, he was vice president of the California Council of the Blind. From 1936 to 1941 he served as executive secretary of the American Brotherhood for the Blind. In 1939 he was elected president of the Los Angeles County Club. His long years of association with the National Federation of the Blind were culminated with his election to the first vice presidency in July, 1961, and his elevation to the presidency some months later, an office which he held until his resignation in July 1962--followed by his election to a two-year term on the NFB's Executive Committee renewed in 1964 and 1966, and to fill an unexpired term in 1968.
Sundquist's career in public welfare work with the blind goes back to 1935, when he was appointed by the California Department of Education to conduct a state-wide study of the blind. In 1941 he became chief of the division for the blind, California Department of Social Welfare--a post in which he served with skill and distinction. His contributions as an outstanding administrator were given recognition in 1959, when the National Federation of the Blind conferred upon him its Newel Perry Award, and again in 1964 when he received the Citation of the California Council of the Blind. Sundquist is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. In 1962 he was awarded honorary membership in the California Optometric Association. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the California Conference of Social Work, 1951-1955, and is currently a member of the California Social Workers Organization, a registered social worker, and a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Academy of Certified Social Workers.
During the more than quarter-century that Sundquist served as chief of the division for the blind, the program of public assistance for the sightless in California came to include all of the essential elements which produce maximum incentive to rehabilitation and minimum dependency. The state's aid to blind laws now comprise such forward-looking provisions as a minimum guaranteed grant established at a decent level; the meeting of special needs above the minimum; incentives to self-support through retention of income and liberal property allowances; elimination of liens on the property of recipients; a medical care program with broad coverage; provision for meeting the costs of attendant care and other special services up to $300 a month over and above the maximum grant of aid of $189.50 a month; repeal of requirements for relatives' financial responsibility; and repeal of durational residence as a qualification of state aid. These and many other provisions preserving the dignity of the individual recipient make California's program of aid to the blind the most advanced in the nation.
In April, 1968 Sundquist was appointed editor of the Braille Monitor. On June 30, 1968 he retired from the position of chief of the division for the blind after twenty-seven years of service to the State of California. On July 1, 1968 he accepted a part-time position with the American Brotherhood for the Blind as social welfare consultant.
From her initial election in 1942 as president of the Idaho Progressive Society of the Blind, Uldine Gartin Thelander has been outstanding in her service with organizations of the blind. Her service has ranged from home teacher in the Idaho Department of Public Assistance since 1941, to president of the Gem State Blind, Inc. Throughout the many years of her service, she has gained recognition as a dedicated individual and one of the foremost leaders of the blind in her state. In 1964 she was named "Woman of the Year" of the Boise Altrusa Club and, in that year also, she received a certificate from the Idaho State Governor for twenty-two years of meritorious service. In 1967, Uldine was elected to the NFB Executive Committee to fill an unexpired one-year term.
Uldine was born in Jordan Valley, Oregon where her father was a pioneer stock rancher. At the age of four she lost her sight from unknown causes. She left Oregon at the age of seven and moved to Caldwell, Idaho, where she attended public schools at the primary and secondary levels. Undaunted by her handicap, she continued her education and received the B. A. degree in 1920 from the College of Idaho at Caldwell. After college she taught elementary grades at Apple Valley, Idaho for two years. She then interrupted her teaching to move to Eugene, Oregon. In 1933, she received the Bachelor of Music degree, majoring in voice, from Eugene Bible College, now Northwest Christian College. From 1931 to 1936 she served as director of Young People's Work in the Christian Church in Springfield, Oregon.
Upon returning to Idaho in 1936, she became involved with the Idaho Christian Endeavor Union, a statewide organization of young people and continued as its president until 1942. During the same period she joined the Idaho Progressive Society of the Blind. From 1942 to 1944 she served as president of the Idaho Progressive Society of the Blind. She continued to serve on the Executive Board through successive reorganizations. She has been re-elected president of the state group--The Gem State Blind--each two years since 1960.
Along with her affiliations with blind organizations she has been selected as an honorary member of Delta Kappa Gamma, a teachers' sorority, and was elected a life member in 1950. She was appointed to the State Library Advisory Board in 1967.
Uldine Thelander led the campaign to secure establishment of the Idaho Commission for the Blind in 1967, to which she has been appointed by the Governor as one of the three members.
New to the NFB Board of Directors is Manuel Urena, who is currently serving as an assistant director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind. Although his position involves him in a variety of activities furthering the Commission's program of services to the blind, his chief responsibility is the administration and operation of the Adult Orientation Center.
Manuel Urena was born in the small town of Etiwanda in California. From his birth he had impaired vision and by the time he reached thirteen years of age he was totally blind as the result of twice being hit in the eyes while playing. He attended the California School for the Blind for eleven years. During the last three of those years he went to public high school. Moving out of the residential school, he was able to graduate from Oakland Technical High School while living independently and meeting his own reader expenses.
He enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley, where he became involved in several campus activities. Urena was a member of, and later an officer of, the Honor Society while an undergraduate. He was an active participant in the University Model United Nations program and assisted in developing positions on international problems of the day for student debate. He was a member of the Chess Team.
Urena received the B. A. degree magna cum laude in 1956 and the M. A. degree in 1958. While working on the M. A. degree he enrolled in the School of Education and, after completing the necessary teaching requirements at Oakland Technical High School and Merritt Junior College, holds a lifetime teaching credential for the junior college and high school levels. When he did not attend summer school, he spent his summers working: selling Watkins products, assisting naturalization classes for Spanish-speaking immigrants, and tutoring for the California Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Urena has been active in organizations of the blind for fifteen years. His first knowledge of the organized blind movement came in 1949 when he was a freshman in high school. During that year he came under the tutelage of Dr. Newel Perry, director of advanced studies at the California School for the Blind. That learned mathematician did more than teach his blind students geometry, calculus, or trigonometry or see that the tasks assigned students attending "outside" high school were completed. He taught them to take a lively interest in the general life around them and especially to engage actively in the work of improving the social and economic conditions of the blind. So it was that Manuel Urena was introduced to the organized blind movement.
Late in 1952 he joined the Alumni Association of the California School for the Blind, a CCB affiliate. This joining resulted in his attending the Fall convention of the California Council of the Blind in 1953, memorable because it was to be the last CCB convention at which Dr. Perry would preside.
From this point on it was a foregone conclusion that Manuel would become deeply involved in the organized blind movement. His first project was as a member of a committee of the Alumni Association which was to review the programs and policies of the blind school. He regards this project as notable on two counts: first, because the work on this committee led to his first intimate meeting with Dr. Jacobus tenBroek (the beginning of an association and friendship which lasted for over fourteen years); and second, because it enabled him to work with a committee of distinguished blind people. His first office was also with the Alumni Association; he was elected its delegate to the CCB in 1955, a position he held until his departure from the State.
In 1954-55, Kenneth Jernigan came and spoke to the University Chapter of the CCB. Through this association Urena became active in a number of local blind organizations and held office in some. In 1958 Urena was very active on the State level and by 1959 he was elected to the Board of Directors of the CCB. He resigned that post to move to Iowa to accept a position under Kenneth Jernigan who had become director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind.
Rather than reducing his work or diminishing his interest in the organized blind movement, the shift to Iowa gave him even greater opportunities. Urena immediately became active in the Iowa Association of the Blind, a state affiliate of the NFB, and since 1964 has been a member of the LAB Board of Directors. He also has been an officer in his local association at Des Moines. In recent years he has assisted in forming several new chapters in Iowa.
On the national stage, Urena has been active also. For the last five years he has been chairman of the National Resolutions Committee. In 1967 he was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Brotherhood for the Blind. More recently, Urena has represented the NFB at hearings before state agencies and at state affiliate conventions. During 1968 he has helped reconstitute a Texas affiliate and organized a new affiliate in another state.
Long known to Federationists throughout the country as an aggressive champion of the cause of the organized blind, Dr. Jacob Freid was chosen by the NFB at its 1963 convention to join the national Board of Directors. During the same convention he was also honored as recipient of the Newel Perry Award, presented by the Federation for distinguished service in the field of work with the blind.
Himself without sight in one eye as the result of a detached retina, Dr. Freid has sufficient remaining vision to read and travel independently with corrective lenses. Following his graduation in 1937 from the College of the City of New York, where he was also an Honor Fellow, he went on to earn a Master's degree in sociology from Columbia University in 1938, and later returned to the same institution to receive a Ph.D. in sociology in 1956.
During the second world war, he was head of the Moscow desk of the Office of War Information and the United States State Department, acting as information liaison between our embassy in Moscow and our State Department in Washington. The work of his desk was considered by Averell Harriman, then U. S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union, to be the most successful operation conducted by our nation in its wartime relations with the Soviet Union.
Following the war he accepted an executive position with the American Jewish Congress, which he subsequently left in 1952 to become executive director of the Jewish Braille Institute of America. During the same period he taught sociology at Rutgers University, where his courses included a class on "Social Welfare Agencies: Problems, Standards, Community Relations." For the past several years he has been chairman of the department of political science at the New School for Social Research, New York City, and is presently also Chairman of the Faculty -- the highest elective post at an institution of learning which numbers among its faculty some of the nation's most distinguished social scientists.
Dr. Freid is the author of numerous published writings in social science and public welfare, the latest of which is a comprehensive study of Jewish life and history entitled Jews in the Modern World. Published in 1962, the work has been hailed by scholars as a classic of social science and "a remarkable treasure-house of information and profoundly perceptive insight into the Jewish condition of our time."
In presenting the Newel Perry Award to Dr. Freid, NFB President Russell Kletzing summed up the character of his contribution in the following words:
"Dr. Freid has been much more than a guest at each of our conventions since . He has been a very active participant, an inspired speaker, a wise confidant, and a steadfast friend. Above all, he has thrown himself and his considerable energies into the thick of our struggles -- both without and within the Federation. When the Kennedy Bill, the Federation's right to organize measure, came before a committee of Congress for public hearings in 1959i and when we were in desperate need of supporting voices to counteract the phalanx of powerful agencies arrayed against us, it was Jacob Freid who braved the wrath of agency interests to fly down to Washington and speak forcefully on behalf of the right of blind people to organize on their own. This was no mere act of courtesy. It was an act of courage, determination and devotion, for Jacob Freid is himself an 'agency man.' These are the qualities, coupled with rare intelligence and insight, which he has consistently and conspicuously displayed in the direction of his own agency: The Jewish Braille Institute of America.
"As the executive director of the Institute and the brilliant editor of its well-known journal, the Jewish Braille Review, Dr. Freid has long been in the forefront of those enlightened forces in the field of welfare who recognize their function as that of working with the blind rather than merely for them--or against them. His attitude is part and parcel of a larger philosophy. He is a liberal in the true liberating sense: a fighter for every cause of social justice, however 'lost' it may seem; a foe of prejudice and intolerance, wherever they rear their ugly heads; a spokesman for the deprived against the depraved, and for the underdog against the overlord. In short, he is not just a friend of the blind: he is a friend to man."
James Gashel, at age twenty-two, is the youngest member of the NFB Board of Directors. Blind since birth, he attended the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, graduating in 1964. While at the School he distinguished himself both in academic and extracurricualr activities. He graduated with honors, including the Palmer Award (given annually by the Iowa Association of the Blind) and the American Citizenship Award (presented to selected graduating seniors by the American Bar Association).
Immediately after high school Gashel entered the nationally recognized Orientation and Adjustment Center of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, where he spent a year of intensive training. He came to believe in the philosophy that the physical characteristic of blindness need not be any more limiting than hundreds of other characteristics and is, in fact, living proof of its validity.
In the fall of 1965, Gashel enrolled at the University of Northern Iowa, where he is currently a senior in speech education. Throughout his college career he has been a key member of the debating team and an enthusiastic participant in other speech activities. In the 1968 Iowa College and University Forensics Tournament he received ratings of excellent in both original oratory and group discussion and (with his team colleague) won third place in debating. He was selected to represent his university at the 1968 Student Congress held in conjunction with the annual conference Delta Sigma Rho Tau Kappa Alpha, national honorary speech fraternity. He now serves as President of that fraternity chapter on his campus. He was also recently elected to membership in Kappa Delta Phi. During his college career he also has been state president of the University Speech Activities Club and secretary of the Student Senate in his residence hall. In addition he has successfully competed in intramural wrestling and swimming.
Despite these varied activities Gashel devotes much time to the organized blind movement. Demonstrating his strong belief that the blind must organize to carry their enlightened philosophy to the public at large, he is currently an active member of three chapters of the Iowa Association of the Blind. In the fall of 1965 he participated in the formation of the University Association of the Blind, nationally recognized for its work in opening employment opportunities for qualified blind teachers. Gashel represented the University Association in successfully securing passage by the delegate assembly of the Iowa State Education Association of a resolution calling for annual consideration of blind persons in teacher employment. He also took a leading part in conducting a survey and preparing a report on educational programs for blind children in Iowa.
Gashel is president of the Waterloo Association of the Blind and first vice-president of the Iowa Association of the Blind. In 1967 at the Los Angeles convention of the National Federation of the Blind he was elected president of the NFB Student Division. In this capacity he has been largely responsible for creating and directing the organized blind student movement now sweeping the nation.
Because of his contributions as worker, leader, and spokesman in the student area and in the organized blind movement in general, Gashel was unanimously elected to membership on the NFB Board of Directors at the 1968 Des Moines convention. In his daily life and activities he exemplifies the dynamic spirit and activity of the organized blind movement.
Famed the world over for her inspired and inspiring labors toward the education of the blind of all nations, Dr. Isabelle Grant may-well be termed the unofficial ambassador-at-large of America's organized blind. For the past several years an executive officer of the California Council of the Blind and trustee of the American Brotherhood for the Blind, she was named an honorary board member by the National Federation of the Blind in 1960.
Teacher, counselor, vice-principal, writer and lecturer -- and finally resource teacher -- Dr. Grant retired in 1962 after 35 years of outstanding service in the Los Angeles city schools. Although she had lost her sight 12 years earlier, she continued her teaching career without letup -- but with a new mission and specific purpose: helping to train and rehabilitate sightless children in the integrated school program.
A native of Scotland, Dr. Grant received her education from the University of Aberdeen, the University of Paris and the University of Madrid, and later acquired a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.
In 1959, accompanied only by "Oscar" (her cane), Dr. Grant set out on a year-long sabbatical-leave tour which took her to no less than 21 Middle Eastern, Asian and Far Eastern countries. On her journey she flew from country to country for the primary purpose of "meeting people and listening to their thinking." But she also studied the training and rehabilitation programs for the blind in each nation, and organized pioneer educational projects in many. One notable result of her contacts was that, in cooperation with the Lions Club in Karachi, the California Council of the Blind and other groups and individuals throughout the country have since sent thousands of pairs of glasses to the visually handicapped of Pakistan.
The extent of Dr. Grant's influential efforts in West Pakistan may be measured by the fact that in 1962 and again in 1963 she returned there to resume her educational project under a Fulbright Fellowship, with the full official approval both of the U. S. State Department and of the governmental authorities of Pakistan. Dr. Grant is currently engaged in a significant project of initiating and implementing libraries for the blind in Africa, Central America, the Middle East, and in several countries in South Asia and the Subcontinent. The surplus braille books are collected from libraries and schools over the United States, selected, repacked and sent overseas to blind individuals, schools for the blind and organizations of the blind. Braille paper and braille equipment are also included in the packages, numbering in the thousands, as requested by overseas blind persons and organizations of the blind. For her unique contributions to the welfare and education of the blind of the world she was the recipient of the Newel Perry Distinguished Service Award in 1964.
In 1967, Dr. Grant was awarded the distinction of being selected the International Teacher of 1967 at the annual National Teacher Remembrance Day. On this occasion, for this honor, she was the recipient of a complimentary scroll from the Los Angeles City Council.
In 1967-68 she added to her list ten African countries plus return visits to five others from Britain to Hong Kong. During this fourth year of residence among the blind abroad. Dr. Grant followed her usual punishing pattern which indicates a remarkable strength of body and spirit by meeting with blind groups and individuals, addressing meetings, television and radio appearances, and making personal contact with as many government officials as were available. As always, the emphasis was on education of blind youth, rehabilitation, employment, and organizing the blind.
"Be It Further Resolved That as a token of esteem and respect the name of John Nagle be inscribed in the records of the National Federation of the Blind, with the title of 'Friend of the Blind.'"
These are the final words of a lengthy resolution adopted by delegates to the 1962 convention of the National Federation, for the purpose of expressing the organization's appreciation and gratitude to Nagle "for his untiring efforts and deep interest in promoting the social and economic welfare of the blind through legislation."
The recipient of this official accolade is a blind attorney from Massachusetts who, as chief of the NFB's Washington office, has been instrumental in the preparation and presentation to Congress (as well as the subsequent approval) of much of the constructive legislation affecting the welfare of the blind enacted in recent years.
Born in 1915, Nagle lost his sight at the age of 13 and thereafter attended Massachusetts' Perkins School for the Blind, graduating in 1934. He studied journalism at Boston University for the next three years, later switched to law and received his LL. B. degree from Northeastern Law School in 1942. Four years later he was awarded the B. A. degree in Public Affairs from the American International College. Meanwhile he was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1943 and to the Federal Bar the following year, and settled down to a full-time law practice in Springfield, Massachusetts, which was to claim his professional attention for the next 14 years.
During the years 1956-1958 Nagle became, successively, recording secretary of the Greater Springfield Association of the Blind, a member of its executive board, president of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts, and a member of the executive committee of the National Federation of the Blind. In 1958 he received a governor's appointment to the advisory board of the Massachusetts Division of the Blind, and in the same year was named by the NFB to its Washington staff. In 1963 he was admitted to practice law before The Supreme Court of The United States. He was also elected vice chairman of the D. C. Commissioners Advisory Council on Vocational Rehabilitation and named chairman of the Subcommittee on Legislation and Budgetary Matters.
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