THE BRAILLE MONITOR

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

DECEMBER 1969

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.

If you or a friend wish to remember the National Federation of the Blind in your will, you can do so by employing the following language:

"I give, devise, and bequeath unto NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND, a District of Columbia non-profit corporation, the sum of $_____ (or, “_____ percent of my net estate", or "the following stocks and bonds:_____ ") to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons and to be held and administered by direction of its Executive Committee."

If your wishes are more complex, you may have your attorney communicate with the Berkeley Office for other suggested forms.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

LETTERS FROM THE NFB PRESIDENT

NFB WINS FIRST ROUND IN FUCINARI CASE

KANSAS AND MISSOURI ATTEND SEMINAR IN DES MOINES
by Eileen Wilson and Manuel Urena

MIGEL AWARD CEREMONIES

BLIND STUDENTS AND THE NFB
by James Gashel

WASHINGTON STATE STUDENT DIVISION
by Kenneth N. Hopkins

LAWRENCE (MUZZY) MARCELINO HONORED

MEMORANDUM FROM THE WHITE HOUSE
by Richard Nixon

BLIND STILL SPACE NEEDLED

EMPLOYMENT IN IOWA
by Kenneth Shedenhelm

MASSACHUSETTS CONVENTION
by Rosamond M. Critchley

PROGRESS ON TV
by Susan Ford

THE ROAD TO HELL
by Kenneth Jernigan

MEET OUR STATE PRESIDENT—JOHN McCRAW AND OUR STATE AFFILIATE—MARYLAND

BROOM SHOP HAS NEW ADMINISTRATION
by Donald C. Capps

ALABAMA CONVENTION

CHILDHOOD
by Virginia Geier

OHIO CONVENTION
by Alfonso Smith

AUTOMATION IS AN ASSET TO THE BLIND
by Roy Zuvers

PENNSYLVANIA CONVENTION
by Dorothy Digorolamo

FISH VOLUNTEERS AID NEEDY
by Margaret Langlie

MAINE CONVENTION

TWO BLIND BOYS HAVE NO PLACE TO CALL HOME
by Iola Johnson

KENTUCKY CONVENTION
by Harold Reagan

THE QUALITY OF OUR MERCY
by Martin Agronsky

MONITOR MINIATURES

LETTERS FROM THE NFB PRESIDENT

15 October 1969

Dear Colleagues:

In the interest of economy (both time and money) I have sent you somewhat fewer letters and releases lately, but it now seems time to bring you up to date on a variety of matters. Let me say at the outset that most of the news is good.

In the first place, I want to give you some happy tidings concerning FEDCO. In mid-August things were looking somewhat gloomy. Bernie Gerchen called to tell me that our computers had broken down just at the critical time when we were preparing our fall mailing. Further, he said that we were having trouble with our necktie suppliers and that it looked as if we might have a strike late in September when our labor contracts expired. He told me that the Federation should prepare for the possibility of a sizeable reduction in income for the fall mailing season.

As September progressed, things began to look up. The computers were somehow patched up, and the mail began to roll. Also, the labor negotiations did not break down as predicted. The problem of increasing costs for our ties and of getting them supplied at all was not solved (and still is not for that matter) but we are managing.

Indeed, we probably will not realize as much from our mailings this fall as last year. Even so, there is good news. Those who attended the Convention this summer will remember that I reported that we had paid $350,000 of our $500,000 purchase price for FEDCO. We have just paid the remaining S 150,000. This means that FEDCO is ours free and clear with the exception of something over $20,000 in interest, which we will pay shortly after the first of the year. What a great day for the Federation, and what a bright promise for the future!

We now have 151 House cosponsors for our Disability Insurance Bill. The number keeps crawling slowly upward, but we need more letters and more personal contacts. Some time during the next month the Federation will probably give testimony supporting the disability insurance bill before the Ways and Means Committee. Therefore, letters to Chairman Wilbur Mills and to any other members of the Ways and Means Committee will be helpful.

There is nothing new to report on the Internal Revenue situation. We have submitted all the requested data and are waiting for a decision. We hope, of course, that it will be favorable.

At the Convention this summer some of you saw and purchased the NFB pin. It is a triangle set in a circle containing the words "Equality", "Opportunity", and "Security". In the center are the letters NFB in gold on a blue background. It is a very attractive pin, one that should be worn proudly by every Federationist in the country. We have recently secured a new supply, and orders should be sent to the Berkeley Office, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708. NFB pins sell for two dollars each. Money should accompany orders from individuals, and it would be helpful if money could also accompany orders from state and local affiliates. However, pins will be sent on consignment to state and local affiliates on request.

Many of you saw the new NFB film at this summer's Convention. It runs for slightly more than twenty-nine minutes and is in color. Immediately after the Convention we had a flurry of requests, but now business has slowed to a crawl. Remember that this film is available to show to service clubs, your local chapter, or on television stations. All you have to do is write to the Berkeley Office and ask to have it sent. We have it; let's make use of it.

The Executive Committee will be meeting in Des Moines over the Thanksgiving weekend. We will be talking about constitutional revisions and the general business of the organization. The members of the committee will also have an opportunity to see the NFB office and, hopefully, to have a little Thanksgiving cheer.

Since I last wrote to you, I have been much on the road to conventions. Finally, I had to give in and take to the air. I flew to the New Hampshire convention in September and will also be flying to New Jersey, California, and Colorado.

One thing that determines me to adopt this dangerous course is the experience I had on the way to the Ohio convention last weekend (October 11 and 12). I had decided to go by car to this one, and we were sailing along at more than ninety miles an hour in southern Indiana when a wooden box appeared on the road in front of the car. We could not get into the other lane because of two trucks and the box had nails in it (although we did not deduce this until later). The result was that we blew both tires on the left side of the car and had quite a guessing game as to whether we would come to a stop in an upright position or some other way. Fortunately, the upright position prevailed. We were none-the-worse for wear except for a delay while we waited to hitch a ride into town and find new tires. Perhaps flying is really not so dangerous after all—at least in a relative manner of speaking.

The Hawaii survey is definitely on. We have a distinguished team of five who will go to Hawaii in November to make the study. Perry Sundquist will head the group. The other members are John Taylor, Assistant Director in charge of Field Operations, Iowa Commission for the Blind; Ken Hopkins, Director, Iowa Commission for the Blind; Florence Grannis, Assistant Director in charge of Library and Social Services, Iowa Commission for the Blind; and Dr. Floyd Matson, Chairman of the Department of American Studies, University of Hawaii. Perry Sundquist, as all Federationists know, has had more than thirty years of experience in welfare programs for the blind, most of it as head of the Division for the Blind in the California Department of Social Welfare. This is a survey team of which we can be proud, one that will do a top-flight job in studying Hawaii's programs for the blind.

As I travel around the country, I find that more and more people are taking a personal interest in the Federation and identifying with it. One big factor seems to be the talking book issue of the Monitor, which is reaching many people who have never been part of the movement before. Another factor seems to be the number and variety of Presidential Releases which have been going out. Many of the chapters are setting aside specific times when members can listen to the releases. This is certainly one way of keeping informed about what is happening throughout the movement.

In a few weeks, I shall probably be sending another letter to you to bring you up to date on what is happening. In the meantime I would urge all of you to keep me informed on events in your area. We must keep our lines of communication open if we are to go forward as one united movement.

Cordially yours,

Kenneth Jernigan
President

------------

26 November 1969

Dear Colleagues:

On October 15 I sent you a letter covering a variety of matters affecting the Federation. The time has now come to up-date the items discussed in that letter and to tell you about some new ones.

In the first place I have good news about the plastics company. As you know, it has been on again and off again. It now looks as if we will get it after all. The FEDCO Board (that is, the officers of the NFB) have negotiated a tentative agreement to buy a controlling interest in the company for $450,000. The deal which we thought Bernie Gerchen had made earlier did not work out, and so we are the beneficiaries. Our proposal would call for us to buy forty-seven and one-half per cent of the stock outright and to get the voting rights to another five per cent, which would give us the controlling interest. Although the company was only started a few months ago, it is already beginning to gather real momentum. At present it has something like $100,000 worth of orders, and it appears that Sears, Montgomery Ward, and some other important chains will be handling several of its products. Everything looks extremely promising, and I hope to be able to tell you soon that we own the controlling interest in a growing business.

Our fall mailings have shown good results. We did have labor difficulties after all, but they have not seemed to hurt our volume very much. In addition to the neckties we have sent out a large number of greeting cards and are anxiously awaiting the results. By the time you get this report we will know whether this venture was a success. In other words, things are looking increasingly bright on the financial front.

It is a good thing that this is so, for expenses continue to go up, up, up. For one thing, circulation of the Monitor also continues to go up mightily. We are now ordering 2600 of the talking book issue, and it seems certain that we will have to order more starting with January. Since it costs some $3600 a month (or $43,000 a year) to produce the 2600, we are likely to be spending more than $50,000 next year for the talking book Monitor alone.

In addition, the Braille issue costs around $2000 a month and (as with the talking book) is increasing every day. When you add to this the cost of the print issue (something over 3000 copies) and the preparation and maintenance of the mailing lists, as well as preparation of copy for all three editions and related matters, it is not difficult to see why we are spending close to $100,000 a year to produce the Monitor. It is probably the best possible way we could use our money, and I hope we have so many new readers that the cost will be doubled by next year. Incidentally, I also hope that we have enough additional income to pay the bills.

This fall has probably been the busiest time in my life—what with conventions, presidential releases, legislation, Monitor articles, general correspondence and other matters—not to mention the business of directing the Iowa Commission for the Blind. Even so, I suspect the pace may continue to accelerate. It is a sign of our phenomenal growth and progress.

Beside the serious business, each convention I have attended this fall has brought its own particular lighter moments. Take New Jersey, for instance, in late October. Myles Crosby was having a great time drawing names and giving out prizes. His wife Fran had just stepped out of the room and Myles gave the next lucky prizewinner a fine purse. The recipient raised an objection and said, "I believe there has been a mistake and that this purse belongs to someone." "No," Myles responded, "it is one of the prizes, and you have won it." Just then Fran re-entered the room to inform Myles that he had just given her purse away. Everybody in the audience (including Myles, and maybe Fran) had great good fun out of the incident.

During the weekend of November 1, I went to Los Angeles to attend the California convention. As is always the case with California conventions, it was big, productive and inspiring. I found time to sneak away to buy several pounds of fresh figs, which were just going out of season. Most of the time, however, Tony Mannino kept me hard at it.

On Monday, November 3, I checked into the University Hospital in Iowa City for several days of diagnostic study. But nothing earth-shaking resulted. Mostly, I got a speech from the doctor, which can be summed up as a strong recommendation that I take a vacation. It can also be put another way—that I am in pretty good health and am likely to be around for a while to come, barring highway or airplane accidents.

By the time you get this letter, we should know something of the direction our disability insurance bill is likely to take. Things look increasingly good, but I hope you will continue to do all you can in the way of letters and contacts with your Congressman. We are hopeful that the House Ways and Means Committee will take action before the first of the year and that the action will be favorable.

As we draw closer to January 1, it is only natural to look back over the past year with its successes and failures. We have reason to rejoice at our progress and to look forward with hope to the months ahead. May each of you have a good Christmas and a happy New Year.

Cordially yours,

Kenneth Jernigan
President

Back to Contents

NFB WINS FIRST ROUND IN FUCINARI CASE

Mr. Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind
524 Fourth Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50309

Dear Ken:

WE WON THE FUCINARI CASE! And we won it solidly, having received a unanimous vote of the Tenure Commission in our favor. I know that you will be happy with the victory.

I, of course, am elated, for I was told by the Teachers Union and by their counsel, indirectly, that we had no chance of prevailing. My analysis of the facts and the law is affirmed, and I feel as though I have, in partnership with the Federation, helped strike a blow against the arbitrary and unjust practices of school bureaucracies that are levelled at blind teachers.

Not only does the decision have great significance for the blind, but all probationary teachers in the state will benefit. The NFB can take pride on both counts.

Thank you for your kind letter of September 12, 1969. When I get discouraged and frustrated with the problems that confront me in matters like the Weckerly and Fucinari cases, it is reassuring to know that your group is striking out and forging ahead regardless of temporary setbacks such as the one we have experienced in Evelyn's Appeal. You are indeed a courageous group and I am proud to be working along with you. . . .

Sincerely,

Carl Schier
Levin and Schier
Attorneys and Counselors at Law
Southfield, Michigan 48075

Back to Contents

KANSAS AND MISSOURI ATTEND SEMINAR IN DES MOINES

by Eileen Wilson and Manuel Urena

It used to be said that "All roads lead to Rome," but in the Federation that phrase is being amended to say "All roads lead to Des Moines." And so it was on the weekend of September 11-14 for some twenty-three Kansans and Missourians. Led by the redoubtable presidents, Jim Couts and E. E. (Cotton) Busby, of the Sunflower and the Progressive Blind, respectively, these twenty-plus Federationists came to Des Moines for a seminar embracing: rehabilitation, orientation, social welfare, and, of course, Federationism.

The program began early Friday evening when the first contingent to arrive enjoyed a delicious supper with President Ken Jernigan. Immediately afterwards, the visitors went to a meeting of the Des Moines Association of the Blind which is the local chapter of the NFB. Still later the same evening, Manuel Urena and Jim Valliant at 11:00 p.m. greeted the last arrivals at the Greyhound station. With typical dispatch and hospitality, the guests were settled in the Commission building and in the homes of Association members and made themselves ready for an informative two days.

Saturday morning opened with a hearty breakfast from the Commission Grill presided over by our President who discussed with the visitors the matters they wished the seminar to include. After breakfast, the meeting adjourned to a conference room and the seminar was under way.

Mr. Jernigan led off and discussed current Federation projects including legal actions, organizing activity and student difficulties at various colleges, especially at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. In addition, he touched upon the history of the Iowa Commission, emphasizing the various problems that had to be resolved in order to secure the high quality of programs which are presently available to blind Iowans. This naturally aroused a good deal of interest since one of the prime objectives of the seminar is to bring about better services for the blind in their respective states.

President Jernigan was succeeded by John Taylor, Assistant Director of Field Operations, who discussed the provisions and technicalities of rehabilitation. Again, a good deal of discussion ensued and much light was shed concerning what is permissible and what is mandatory in the realm of rehabilitation. John, too, explained explained several provisions of the Social Security program with particular emphasis on disability benefits. All the participants felt that much knowledge had been absorbed in this first session.

The afternoon program started with an exhaustive tour of the Commission facilities guided by the indefatigable Director. Originally, it was suggested that the tour take forty-five minutes. Finally, one and one-half hours were allocated; the actual time extended beyond two hours. I leave it to you whether the tour proved interesting and enlightening to the group.

At approximately 3:00 p.m. Mrs. Grannis, Assistant Director in Charge of Library and Social Services, talked about her specialty. Aside from the library per se, she conversed about organizing transcribers, methods of improving library services and new technical developments-cassette replacement for talking books. As usual, this part of the agenda proved to be stimulating; hopefully it may provide the first step in the improvement of library services for Kansas and Missouri.

The last part of the seminar on Saturday terminated with a discussion led by John Taylor and Sylvester Nemmers, President of the Credit Union and Chairman of the Iowa Association of the Blind Legislative Committee. Several questions were raised about how an affiliate may sponsor a credit union. Additionally, John and Sylvester related to the visitors the best procedures for introducing and guiding legislation. This was particularly timely since the IAB, as many Monitor readers know, had a smashing legislative year. Sylvester and John also made specific suggestions concerning how best to improve the category of Aid to the Blind.

Before the group joined President Jernigan for supper, which was to be on the Commission roof, they were asked to proceed to the Savery Hotel for a social hour hosted jointly by Cotton Busby and Dr. Saulter and his wife. I am sure that I do not have to tell Federationists about a social hour hosted by Brother Busby. Suffice it to say that everyone was happy about the fact that Cotton had made the journey to Des Moines.

Supper consisted of a cookout. Former students together with the few present students at the Center (practically all of the Center student body was at the time working at a fair) chipped in and helped to prepare the food. As usual everyone had a splendid time and was filled to capacity.

The evening session was again under the direction of President Jernigan. This session he devoted to the main objectives and purposes of the organized blind movement. His talk not only answered several questions but inspired everyone to go home and work a little harder.

The entire Sunday program was chaired by Manuel Urena. This situation had been made necessary because President Jernigan, along with John Taylor, Florence Grannis, and Jim Valliant, had boarded a plane early Sunday morning for Houston, Texas, where they began to make preliminary arrangements for the 1971 Convention. Manuel explained the facilities of the Center and pointed out the role of orientation in the rehabilitation process. At 10:30 Sylvester Nemmers took the group on a general inspection tour of his brand new, full-line cafeteria in the Federal Building.

After lunch, again provided through the facilities of the Commission Grill operated by Phil Parks, a large number from the Des Moines area told the group of their various jobs and how they secured them. The list included everything from workers in retirement and nursing homes to computer programmers, from electrical engineers to medical and insurance secretaries, and from industrial workers to kitchen helpers. All the participants found it most interesting and encouraging to hear of the diverse kinds of work these people are doing.

At 4:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon the seminar adjourned and several individuals had to scamper to catch the bus. From the foregoing, it is easy to see that a seminar in Des Moines means a work-filled period. Judging from the response, everyone thought the weekend exceedingly profitable. No doubt other affiliates may soon follow Texas, Kansas and Missouri; everyone thought the weekend exceedingly profitable. In the words of Eileen Wilson of Kansas, "It was very enlightening for those who attended the seminar and we are most grateful to the Iowans who took part in the activities, for their generous hospitality and the knowledge which they imparted to us."

Back to Contents

MIGEL AWARD CEREMONIES

[Editor's Note: John Nagle was a recipient of the Migel Award at ceremonies which took place in New York City on October 23. NFB President and Mrs. Jernigan were in attendance. John received congratulatory messages from over half of the United States Congress. Following are the Remarks of Peter J. Salmon in conferring the award and John Nagle's Response.]

REMARKS

by Dr. Peter J. Salmon

On April 16, 1969, Congressman James A. Burke, of Massachusetts, was recognized by the Speaker of the House and allowed ten minutes to make a statement. Congressman Burke proceeded to deliver an amazing eulogy of one of the two recipients of the Migel Medal present with us today, Mr. John F. Nagle. Congressman Burke said that in his knowledge no other person ever accomplished the incredible feat which was carried out by John Nagle entirely alone, with simply the use of his trusty cane. John had actually interviewed all of the Congressmen in the House of Representatives, enlisting their aid for a bill which he was promoting on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind, H.R. 3782, concerning a liberal application of Federal disability. At the time of Mr. Burke's presentation John had secured sponsorship by the Representatives for ninety identical bills. As of today, I understand that the number of Representatives sponsoring an identical bill has increased to one hundred fifty-two, and in addition, there are sixty-eight Senators. This is typical of John Nagle who, though a young man, has become a legend in Washington because of his untiring activity and carefully documented presentation of bills sponsored by the Federation. I have had the privilege of witnessing John in action on many occasions and can testify to the attention and respect with which he is held by the various committees of Congress.

It is the intention of the American Foundation for the Blind today to recognize John F. Nagle and the important contribution he has made in the field of social action in behalf of blind people. The fact that the American Foundation for the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind have not always seen eye to eye on matters of legislation is irrelevant to the intent of this presentation today. Men of good will can, and perhaps should differ on important issues, and at the same time respect each other's position. This is democracy in action.

No matter how modest a person is, and John Nagle certainly is modest, one cannot help but have a certain warmth of feeling when he is recognized by those who wish to express their appreciation and admiration and to do so publicly. It is, indeed, a high tribute when one's co-workers single out one of their own to bestow an honor on him. John Nagle was so recognized, and I quote:

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."

My remarks regarding John of necessity have been brief because, among other things, he is a very young man and has many years ahead to continue his valiant support of blind persons, and notwithstanding all he has done in the past, I dare say that his accomplishments of the future will be even more significant.

For my part, I feel privileged and grateful to the Migel Award Committee of the Foundation in permitting me to present these remarks regarding John because of my own personal high respect for him and belief in his integrity, ability, and unbelievably hard work.

I salute John Nagle not only as one of the recipients of the Migel Medal, but as the MAN FOR ALL SEASONS.

--------------------

RESPONSE OF JOHN NAGLE UPON RECEIVING THE MIGEL MEDAL

Since I speak and act in Washington and throughout the country in representative capacity for blind people, today I accept the Migel Medal in representative capacity, I accept it in behalf of the blind people for whom I speak and act.

As a lawyer, I am most fortunate, for the cause for which I plead is always justice, equality, and opportunity—not as abstract and coldly impersonal terms, but as actual happenings in the lives of blind men and women with whom I share the experience of blindness.

As a person, I am most fortunate, for I have the love and loyalty of a fine wife, the concerned warmth and admiration of many friends—and the patient understanding of the blind people for whom I work, who ask, not that I always win for them, but who ask only that I try—and because I try, they continue to honor me with their trust.

If you are giving me the Migel Medal because I have worked hard in my job with the National Federation of the Blind for the past eleven years, then you should know that I have worked hard because I have been driven by an anger that burns fiercely within me—

Because a blind man was denied admission to Georgetown University Law School because he was a blind man;

Because a blind woman, employed and ably earning a living, had to sign away all her legal rights to get a place to live;

Because needy blind people in West Virginia must try to live on an average of sixty-eight dollars a month when sixty-eight dollars a week would not provide them with a decent living;

Because, so often, agencies intended to assist blind people fail to assist them;

Because, so often it seems, employees of such agencies are against blind people instead of for them—

Because of these and so many other needless frustrations and unnecessary obstacles and unreasonable obstructions that make the circumstances of blindness burdensome and intolerable when blindness can be managed so successfully.

I am a very ordinary person with only average talents and limited abilities, yet—

The need to achieve justice is so alive within me that when I encounter discrimination and prejudice and unfairness in the lives of blind people—

I become wiser than I thought I could be because I must be wise;

I become tireless in pursuit of solutions though I live always on the edge of exhaustion;

I speak with a power that astonishes me as I hear myself, but I speak with power because I must and because the cause for which I speak gives me the power I need to have.

You who are listening may say I am a modest and a humble man, and neither is so.

No one could ever possibly describe an Irishman in such terms—and I'm Irish and I'm far from modest and I'm possessed of much self-pride.

But it is my job for the National Federation of the Blind—the cause of blind people for which I speak—that has brought me here today.

And so, in behalf of this cause, I accept the Migel Medal and thank you for it.

In behalf of the blind people who employ me, I thank you for the recognition you have given us, today.

Back to Contents

BLIND STUDENTS AND THE NFB

by James Gashel

[Editor's Note: The following is taken from an address by the NFB Student Division President on Tuesday, July 1, 1969, to the delegates at the National Federation Convention in Columbia, South Carolina.]

During the past two years, the National Federation of the Blind has witnessed the influx of young people into its ranks. Correspondingly, the attention of the organized blind has become focused on the specific problems of discriminatory treatment in college courses of study and in securing and holding professional positions. This is not to say that the NFB has turned its back on the older blind citizens with their special needs, but rather that its scope of operations has broadened as the blind make their way in an ever increasing array of fabulous occupations.

The entrance of young blind people in to the movement is not, however, as rapid as all this suggests—it is merely a trend, and a beginning one at that. It is to the problem of making this trend a strong and viable feature of the organized blind movement that I wish to address myself today. I want to do this by posing two questions—questions that must be answered by every state affiliate and local chapter in the country.

The first of these fundamental questions is "Why do young blind people need the organized blind?" Surely I don't have to develop a long, complicated chain of reasoning to give an answer you will accept. We need the NFB for precisely the same reasons anyone does. If you need examples, they are right handy. Remember the case of Frank Graff who was turned away from Stanford University for graduate work in history. Remember the cases of Susan Willoughby and Judy Young who were unjustly treated in applying for student teaching. Or the case of Evelyn Weckerly who, on the grounds of blindness alone, was considered unfit for continuance in a position she had held very successfully.

But there are still more examples, less known perhaps, but equally devastating. Take the case of Jana Simms who, in the past few months, has been confronted with a typical difficulty of procuring a standard foreign language exam in the proper form for efficient and fair use. Take the case of Loren Schmitt who not only has had trouble getting to take a graduate exam with the aid of a reader, but also has encountered the custodial treatment of a major university's rehab center while only applying for graduate admission. Incidentally, such custodial treatment is given generously to all blind students attending that university. And take the case of Pam Buckler who was virtually denied a job by one school administrator in Iowa where such practices are clearly against the policies of the State Education Association and the laws of the state. And take my own case—I applied to roughly thirty schools for a teaching job and received favorable replies from only two—a pretty high percentage for a blind guy. And so the list goes on and on.

To further illustrate the problems of the young blind though, let me read to you a letter written to our national President last year:

Dear Mr. Jernigan:
...While visiting some friends in Iowa a few weeks ago, I heard what you are doing for your blind. I wonder if you would mind answering a few questions and giving me some information.
Your two booklets, What is the Iowa Commission for the BLind?, also Breakthrough have been read to me. You mentioned vocations such as teachers, computer programming, engineers. I've been counselled by the Minnesota State Services for the Blind for years. They discourage teaching and programming, and after reading your booklets I wondered if these vocations are more feasible in Iowa than in Minnesota. I was interested and read much literature on programming, stating that it is a good field for the blind, yet it does not seem to be working well in Minnesota. I do know of two blind programmers who were successful in gaining employment, we read about them in the paper, but out of a class of nine who finished a course last November only one had found employment in this field.
The work I was most interested in was radio announcing which I had an opportunity to do at St. Olaf College, a small station on the campus. I loved it and was determined to go into the field. Minnesota State Services gave me a short course at Browe Institute of Radio Broadcasting and Electronics, where I found there are some aspects of radio announcing that a blind person could not handle alone.
I am now groping, what to do—maybe I am aiming too high...

And to him we answer, no, your agency is aiming too low just like lots of other agencies in the land counselling blind students. Need I say more to show you why young blind people need the NFB? Let me sum up the answer this way: It can hardly be denied that in every state of the nation during the past year at least one blind student fell victim to unusual and discriminatory treatment at the hands of a college or university; or, what is worse, in many states blind students suffered under the bondage of a custodial agency, not helping, but hindering them in becoming qualified professionals in their chosen fields.

Now that leads to the second question which I believe all state affiliates and local chapters must ask themselves—"Does the NFB need the young?" Surely once again it hardly takes sophisticated reasoning to answer the question. Let's turn to our goals—security, equality, and opportunity. We should add, of course, for all blind people.

Now can we really achieve security when a significant number of blind men and women are treated as patients by custodial agencies for the blind? Can we really achieve security when a significant number of the blind cannot get jobs for which they are well-trained and well-qualified? And can we really achieve security when even after we have proven ourselves we are considered unfit for the job solely because we are blind? I think the answer to these three questions is an obvious and resounding "No!".

Now what about equality? Can we reach this goal without attacking the problems of discrimination on the college campus? And so it is with opportunity—will we achieve full opportunity if agencies for the blind continue counselling practices based on the easy and sure, but not the proper, placement? Again, the answer is clearly "No!". And so we conclude that if we are really to achieve security, equality and opportunity for all blind people we must attack the problems that all blind people face, both young and old.

Here I must hasten to refer to what I said at the opening of my remarks: We are beginning to do this, especially on the national level. But I must also point to what I said of the state and local chapters, that in every state in the past year at least one blind student encountered significant difficulties with his university or state agency. The sad part is that in many cases these incidents were not known by local chapters or state affiliates, and accordingly they went unsolved. And who suffered because of this? Not only the individual blind student involved, but all of us because we failed in these cases to reach security, equality and opportunity. Let me put it another way. We need blind students in the NFB for the same reason we need all blind people—because their interests are our interests, their problems, our problems, and their goals, our goals.

As I see it, this answers the two questions our affiliate and chapters should ask themselves, but the effort must not stop with these answers. Action must follow! In some states it is already beginning, but I believe that every state affiliate and local chapter should make a conscious and sustained effort to recruit blind students into the organized blind movement.

Such a recruitment program need not entail the creation of a student chapter, but rather the attraction of students into the regular life of any state affiliate or local chapter. In other words, blind students should not be viewed as a special group apart and separate from the organized blind movement as a whole. Their membership and active participation should be sought because it is in the best interests of the organized blind to have all segments of the blind population fully involved, and that naturally includes blind students.

Let me take a few minutes to be a bit more specific about the particular advantages blind students have as a part of the organized blind movement: 1. Blind students receive or should receive a constant stream of services from their state agencies. This puts them in the most direct position to provide firsthand information to the organized blind in the crucial area of services to the blind, both rehabilitation and library. 2. Blind students are constantly attempting to enter new and unopened professions for the blind. This puts them in positions of vulnerability to the discriminatory practices of many employers. Needless to say, much life can come to an organization when it is forced to struggle for its goals of security, equality, and opportunity. 3. When blind students become a part of a movement they tend to become actively involved, all of which is to say that such activity, if properly directed, can lend vitality to an affiliate or chapter. 4. Finally, the tremendous wealth of talent and leadership among our blind students in the colleges and universities cannot be ignored. As the Student Division has grown we have witnessed the active participation of blind students on many NFB boards and committees. The same goes for state affiliates. I believe we cannot miss the wisdom they have brought to the task.

There are, of course, several other reasons why you ought to get out and recruit blind students, but as I see it, these are the most compelling and convincing ones. Now, all I have to say is "Let's get with it!" We have more blind students here than last year but this is only a fraction of the number that will be with us in the future.

Back to Contents

WASHINGTON STATE STUDENT DIVISION

by Kenneth N. Hopkins

On the weekend of September 14 and 15, I attended a meeting of the Student Division of the Washington State Association of the Blind. At this meeting, only the second of its existence, a goodly number of people were in attendance. There were many interested students, officers and members of the Washington State Association of the Blind, including Tom Gronning, Nellie Couch, Al Fisher, Dr. Dunham, Director of Services to the Blind of the State of Washington, and myself. The meeting was opened with a very fine discussion by the officers of the purpose of the organization and its potential activities. Dr. Dunham followed the discussion with the officers with a general statement of services available to the blind of Washington and further indicated his concern for the establishment of appropriate services.

Next on the program I discussed with the students in Seattle many of the projects of Student Divisions throughout the country. Of particular interest to many was the survey in Iowa by their Student Division of the Braille and Sight Saving School at Vinton, the story of which has been carried in the Monitor. Through this example the students saw their value as an organization and their relationship to the parent organization, the WSAB.

The discussion then turned to instances of discrimination faced by blind students in the Seattle area. The first instance was that of Janell Peterson, the blind person with the guide dog who was not allowed in the elevator going to the top of the Space Needle. Upon examination of the situation it was determined that the restaurant atop the Space Needle would be happy to allow the blind person with the guide dog. However, the restaurant is 500 feet or so in the air and the only way to it is by using the elevator and the elevator is owned by a separate corporation.

Miss Peterson and her family took this situation to the Governor's office who informed the Space Needle, Inc. of a blind person's rights under the White Cane legislation passed last year in Washington. Nevertheless, Miss Peterson was not allowed to use the elevator. Next the Petersons went to the King County Prosecuting Attorney in whose hands any action taken to correct this discrimination now lies.

Secondly, a blind student was denied housing while attending the University of Washington. Although this individual, Jeannie Campos, had gone ahead and obtained another place of dwelling, several other students reported that apartment owners, to stop blind persons from using their dwellings, are raising the rent to the extent that the persons cannot afford to live in the apartments. The student organization indicated its determination to assist the State Organization in obtaining relief from these discriminatory actions. Washington has a Model White Cane Law and it may not be long before its provisions are tested in court.

All in all, it was an excellent meeting. The Washington Student Division is well on its way. It has energetic members and strong, capable officers. I am sure much more will be heard from this new organization.

Back to Contents

LAWRENCE (MUZZY) MARCELINO HONORED

Lawrence (Muzzy) Marcelino became the first recipient of the newly established Dr. Jacobus tenBroek Award at the banquet of the California Council of the Blind convention recently held in Hollywood. The citation of the Council for distinguished service to the blind will be awarded only from time to time when a person is found who has performed outstanding service. This year the Citation was awarded to Muzzy in recognition of his great contributions to the welfare of the blind of California through the Council, to the blind of the nation through the National Federation of the Blind, and to the blind of the world through the International Federation of the Blind—contributions which have extended over a period of more than thirty years. The award was presented on behalf of the Council, most appropriately, by Mrs. Jacobus tenBroek.

Marcelino's activity in the work of the Council began during his undergraduate days at the University of California in Berkeley. He attended meetings of the Alumni Association of the California School for the blind and wrote letters in behalf of bills pending in the State Legislature whenever asked to do so by Dr. Newel Perry, then President of the Council. Muzzy's active participation in the work of the Alameda County Club of Adult Blind also began in his college years. He had found the meetings dull and the membership much older and more passive than he would have liked. But one day Jacobus tenBroek caught him between the Library building and Wheeler Hall on the campus and strongly upbraided him for not going to the Club meetings. Muzzy rather enjoyed that episode and assured Chick tenBroek that he would attend meetings regularly and pitch into the work. And so he did. He brought in other students and soon had the Club zooming. And thus began the career in the movement of one of its most dedicated leaders.

Muzzy's activity in the Alameda County Club of Adult Blind consisted in supporting Dr. Perry's positions on issues, especially on matters pertaining to the Aid to the Blind Law, its amendments, implementation, and administration. He was very familiar with that law because at the time he was a recipient of Aid to the Blind himself. Further, during his last semester of attendance at the School for the Blind, he attended a small class given by Dr. Perry after school hours for graduating seniors. Dr. Perry made this select group memorize the entire Aid to the Blind Law, section by section, comma by comma. Not only did they memorize the law, but they argued over the meaning of every phrase and clause. To be sure, this rigorous instruction served not only to teach them the provisions of the Aid Law, but it sharpened them on analysis, the English language, and gave them a grasp of legislative terminology because, as Marcelino learned in later life, Dr. Perry had studied a good deal about constitutional history.

In 1942 Muzzy moved to San Diego to take a job as a social worker in that county's public welfare department. He became active in the San Diego Braille Club and led a campaign there for the abolition of a visual acuity requirement for the position of Field Worker for the Blind (home teacher). The chief proponent of this requirement was the then Superintendent of the Training Center for the Adult Blind in Oakland under whose supervision the field workers operated. Muzzy and his cohorts stirred up a great deal of opposition to that requirement which was finally discarded by the State Personnel Board.

Muzzy's attendance at the semi-annual conventions of the Council began in 1943 and he has missed only one meeting since then. From the start he sat in on the Committee on Resolutions, later participating actively in the drafting of resolutions. Muzzy has been a most active member of the Resolutions Committee since 1947 and is now Chairman of Resolutions.

Marcelino spent a great deal of time during the year of 1949, both day and night, in the Council's successful campaign to repeal the McLain Pension Scheme. He spoke at group meetings, handed out leaflets, and wrote and delivered spot announcements on numerous radio stations in Northern California.

In 1960, Russ Kletzing, then President of the Council, appointed Muzzy Editor of the Council Bulletin, a post which he still holds and in which he has served with distinction. Marcelino has also served on the Council's Social Welfare Committee since its inception in 1963. In the early sixties Muzzy was elected Secretary of the Council after having served on the Executive Committee as a member at large. In 1966 Marcelino was elected Second Vice-President of the Council and in 1968 he was elected First Vice-President.

After leaving the San Diego County public welfare position, Muzzy spent a year as a Rehabilitation and Education Aide for the United States War Department at Dibble Hospital in San Mateo, California, followed by a year as a Training Officer for the Veterans Administration, then twelve years as a Rehabilitation Counselor for the Blind in the California State Department of Education. Since 1961 Muzzy has been employed as a broker by the Mutual Fund Associates of San Francisco and is a successful businessman.

Back to Contents

MEMORANDUM FROM THE WHITE HOUSE

by Richard Nixon

[Editor's Note: The subject of this Presidential Memorandum to heads of Executive Departments and Agencies is Federal policy for employment of the handicapped.]

It is the policy of this administration, in staffing the Federal service, to give full consideration to the employment and selective placement of the handicapped.

Administrations of both parties, since World War II, have set examples of national leadership in opening the Government's doors to more than one-quarter million citizens who, though handicapped, have nonetheless been occupationally qualified. Today throughout the economy we find general acceptance of the reminder: "Hire the Handicapped—It's Good Business."

I have personally observed the mutual benefits that derive from hiring the handicapped, and I want this "good business" to continue and prosper.

Therefore, I ask each of you to make a commitment to removing any remaining barriers to the Federal employment of
—the physically impaired who are not occupationally handicapped when assigned to the right jobs.
—the mentally restored whose only handicap is that they once suffered an emotional illness.
- the mentally retarded who can demonstrate ability to perform the simple and routine tasks that need doing in all organizations, regardless of size.

The Civil Service Commission will provide leadership and direction for the overall Federal effort in carrying out this policy.

I am confident that you will give this policy and the Commission your earnest support.

Back to Contents

BLIND STILL SPACE NEEDLED

[Editor's Note: The following story is reprinted from the October, 1969 issue of the Washington State Association of the Blind publication, The White Cane.]

Declaring that "our policies remains unchanged. Only a court of law can decide the merit or lack of merit in my stand on this matter," Mr. Warren Saunders, Vice President and General Manager of the Space Needle in Seattle, dismissed the plea of representatives of the Washington State Association and the Youth Association of the Blind that he abandon his stated policy of requiring that blind persons with dog guides be carried in manned but otherwise unoccupied elevators.

The dispute started August 29 of this year when Janell Peterson, recently home from Morristown, New Jersey with her Seeing Eye dog, was denied access to the elevators at the Space Needle while accompanied by her dog. Miss Peterson was told that no animals under any circumstances would be allowed on the elevators or on the observation deck. The Space Needle Restaurant is operated by a separate company which has no objections to dog guides, but all patrons of the restaurant must use the elevators to get there. Later Mr. Saunders modified the policy to allow blind persons accompanied by dog guides access to the elevators and the observation deck only after normal hours.

On September 16 Mr. Saunders issued the policy statement which provided that blind persons with dog guides would be permitted on the elevators and observation deck, but that they could only ride a manned but otherwise unoccupied elevator. He concluded the statement by saying, "I do not feel I am violating the spirit of the law in requesting blind persons to accept individual elevator service." While being issued on Space Needle stationery, the policy statement was signed by Mr. Saunders as Executive Vice President of Pentagram Corporation, presumably the parent company of the Space Needle Corporation.

The policy statement was issued after Mr. Charles Carroll, prosecuting attorney for King County, had written to Mr. Saunders on September 12 about Miss Peterson's complaint. In his letter, Mr. Carroll advised Mr. Saunders of the provisions of Chapter 141 of the 1969 Washington Session Law—the new White Cane law—and concluded by advising Mr. Saunders that, "A person, firm, or corporation acting in violation of the provisions of this act is guilty of a misdemeanor.

"This matter is invited to your attention so that you may take immediate steps to eliminate the situation which reportedly exists at the Space Needle."

In a letter to Mr. Saunders, Cecil Phillips, president of the WSAB, said that it is discrimination, "as long as you maintain the position in that document," (referring to Mr. Saunder's policy statement of September 16.) He went on to say that it constituted discrimination "Not only against dog guides, but against blind people themselves...It is precisely the spirit of the law, the intent and purpose of the law, that your stated policy violates."

Referring to the law, Mr. Phillips said, "It is clear and concise technically and in its intent and purpose. It brooks no equivocation or compromise. Its purpose is to secure the right of mobility for blind people, without which it is impossible to achieve our desired goals of justice and equality." As a concluding point on the question of separate elevator trips for blind people with dog guides, Mr. Phillips said, "The doctrine of separate but equal, as a philosophy or as a policy was stricken down by the U. S. Supreme Court in 1954. We think it is high time for the new policy to be applied to the blind."

As of this date nothing has been heard from Prosecuting Attorney Carroll as to any further action on his part in the case. It was reported by one of his close aides, however, that it was his feeling Mr. Carroll considered that the position of Mr. Saunders in his September 16 policy statement should be an acceptable compromise.

The WSAB and the National Federation of the Blind are considering possible avenues of action to enforce the White Cane Law.

Back to Contents

EMPLOYMENT IN IOWA

by Kenneth Shedenhelm

Blind Iowans have recently found successful employment in a variety of areas which range from maintenance work to computer programming to teaching. Yet, the most dramatic success undoubtedly lies in the latter field.

During the summer no less than seven blind Iowans found teaching positions! Mrs. Judy Saunders will be an elementary teacher in Devils Lake, North Dakota during the upcoming year. It should be remembered that Mrs. Saunders had been a successful teacher in the Urbandale School District before marriage took her to North Dakota. Mr. William Fuller also discovered that qualified blind instructors can change jobs without undue delay. Mr. Fuller, who had formerly been a teacher-counselor in Milton, Iowa, has secured a new position as a counselor in Mount Sterling, Illinois. Miss Mavis McVeety is a third blind person who obtained a different position during the summer. Miss McVeety will teach high school French and English in Milford, Iowa this fall. In addition to these three persons who moved to different localities, four young, blind graduates obtained their first teaching jobs. Mr. James Gashel, President of the NFB Student Division, will teach Speech and English in Pipestone, Minnesota. Mr. Gashel will also be in charge of the extra-curricular debate program. Mr. Robert Seliger will teach junior high Industrial Arts in Osage, Iowa, and Mrs. Joanne Fernandez has accepted a position as an elementary teacher in Ames, Iowa. Finally, Miss Pam Buckler, a recent graduate of the Iowa Commission for the Blind Orientation Center, will instruct classes in English and History at Onawa, Iowa this fall.

Thus, seven blind Iowans will teach public school classes this fall in a variety of subjects. Although it cannot be said that prejudice did not rear its ugly head, the placement of seven blind teachers during the summer is in sharp contrast to the difficulty encountered in the past. The willingness of school superintendents to employ blind teachers is the result of many factors; however, the philosophy of blindness which Mr. Kenneth Jernigan, NFB President, has spread throughout Iowa and the successful performance of blind teachers themselves are the greatest contributions to an enlightened public attitude.

However, blind persons in other fields of employment have found it possible to return to their former positions or to improve themselves by changing jobs. For example, Mr. Richard Steckel has returned to his former job as a machine operator for A. Y. McDonald in Dubuque, Iowa following extensive training at the Orientation Center, and Mr. Lee Jones, who had been a computer programmer for the State of Iowa, turned down a promotion to accept a position as Lead Programmer for Frye Manufacturing (Des Moines) which affords a greater income and a better future.

Yet, the employment story still goes on. Mr. Ronald Hall has found employment at Iowa Methodist Hospital; Mr. Larry Hanover has accepted a position as a computer programmer; Mrs. Margaret Schuh is a housemother at Wesley Acres Retirement Home; Mr. Tom Fogerty and Miss Rita Timmerman are employed as messengers for different financial institutions in Des Moines; Mr. Tom Pross has accepted a position as a machinist following a period of training; Miss Lillian Hoefer is now a film developer in Waterloo.

Although I have undoubtedly omitted many recent placements, the point is clear—blind Iowans are finding employment which is commensurate with their desires, abilities and education through the unified effort of the organized blind and the consistent pattern of success which has been established by blind individuals.

Back to Contents

MASSACHUSETTS CONVENTION

by Rosamond M. Critchley

The sixteenth annual convention of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts. Inc., was held Saturday and Sunday, October 4 and 5, at the Hotel 128 in Dedham, Massachusetts, with the Watertown Chapter as host.

Things actually began to happen on the evening of the third, when the nominating, resolutions, and executive committees held meetings, and people from all nine chapters were constantly arriving. The convention officially opened Saturday morning, with the usual welcoming speeches, and a fine keynote address by our illustrious native son, John Nagle. Then followed a talk by Philip Davis, a young electronics engineer who recently joined the staff of our State Commission for the Blind as a technical consultant.

The balance of the session was given to an item entitled "What's On Your Mind?" in which ABM members were enabled to fire questions at our two NFB guests, John Nagle and Perry Sundquist.

Afternoon speakers included: Gregory B. Khachadoorian, at present the only blind member of our State Legislature; Dr. Marchand of the Massachusetts Ear and Eye Infirmary; James Gashel, President of the NFB Student Division; and John F. Mungovan, State Commissioner for the Blind. This session was climaxed by a discussion entitled "Blind People Can Teach" moderated by Perry Sundquist, Editor of the Braille Monitor. Members of the panel were: Dr. Kenneth Cross, a successful blind teacher who also has filled various school administrative positions; Robert Scott of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind; and Sister Jean Breault, a blind nun with considerable teaching experience.

Throughout the day, interspersed among the other program items, were reports from the various chapters, telling of their activities and accomplishments during the past year.

At the banquet Saturday night we heard a fine speech by Perry Sundquist, tracing the history of blind peoples' efforts to better their condition from the dawn of civilization to the present. During the remainder of the evening there was community singing.

Sunday was taken up with the business meeting, preceded by a brief memorial service for members who had died during the previous year. There were reports of federal and state legislation, a report of last summer's NFB Convention, committee reports, etc. Among the resolutions adopted were those which extended our thanks and congratulations to Charles W. Little, to our outgoing president, Eugene Sibley, and to our Congressman James A. Burke.

Officers elected to serve for the next two years are: President, Anita M. O'Shea—Springfield; First Vice-President, Eugene E. Sibley—Greenfield; Second Vice-President, Domenic J. Marinello—Boston; Recording Secretary, Rosamond M. Critchley—Worcester; Corresponding Secretary, Mary Czub—Watertown; Treasurer, Edward B. Murphy—Worcester; Legislative Chairman, Domenic J. Marinello.

Back to Contents

PROGRESS ON TV

by Susan Ford

[Editor's Note: The following story is reprinted from the October 1969 issue of The Observer, the newsletter of the Montana Association for the Blind, Inc.]

How many of you happened to have the television on during the presentation by CBS of "Seven in Darkness"? The movie dramatized an account of a group of blind people en route to a convention of the blind, who were involved in a plane crash. The blind persons were the only ones who survived; and therefore, the movie was then directed to the further survival of these persons and to their ultimate assured safety. Let me direct my comments not to the plot of the movie but rather to its philosophical implications about blindness and the way they were handled by the producer.

The first noticeable bit of information for the layman is that, indeed, these people are going to a convention of blind people—are our sighted colleagues aware that blind persons do congregate to discuss common problems and to arrive at suggestions by which such problems may be solved?

Next, we see a very pronounced stress on the use of the white cane. What an excellent publicity gimmick just about three weeks before National White Cane Safety Day! Through the discussion of the characters, we also learn that through the use of the cane, blind persons can become successful and independent within a sight-oriented society.

Another aspect of the film depicted the confidence which we hope will develop in every newly-blinded person. A major, just returned from Vietnam, was frightened, irritable, and unpleasant to his colleagues. He was sure that he could no longer operate effectively in society. However, by the end of the film, it was this same major who led (not by the hand but by strategy) the party out of the forest, away from a pack of attacking wolves, and to the safety of a more civilized country.

I say unhesitatingly, that the film was not ideal. There were some mars in its philosophy; there were places where the image of the helpless blind was still apparent. But in this film we saw blind persons find safety from a dangerous situation through the use of their canes and their brains. How much better is such a film than those which we have often seen—you know the ones—where the blind beggar obtains the sympathy of his community by begging on street comers and proving both to himself and to the world that he is truly helpless and can do nothing to benefit himself or society.

Back to Contents

THE ROAD TO HELL

by Kenneth Jernigan

Because blind people cannot negotiate a flight of stairs, they ought not to teach in two-story school buildings.

This is just one of the false assumptions in the mail that has come across my desk recently. Taken together, several of these letters indicate that we have made some progress in changing public attitudes about blindness. But they also show how far we have to go before the blind will be regarded merely as normal people possessing one particular characteristic.

More important, my correspondence vividly illustrates the value of publicity in getting results, the need for White Cane legislation to make us peers in the eyes of the law, and how indispensible effective organization is in the drive for equality, security and opportunity.

If there are doubters among us, let them delve into the following correspondence.

One of our members who has finished her college training in order to become a teacher encloses a letter from an assistant superintendent in a western city who writes, "we have decided because of physical facilities (two story building) and first grade students that we at this time shall be unable to offer you a position."

Now, her letter to me, and my reply:
Dear Mr. Jernigan:
Here is the letter, which I spoke with you about during the convention. I read it over once more, and it says nothing using the words blind or blindness as such, but I think the discriminatory intent is obvious.
By the way, since the convention, I looked through the placement office files on campus. I now find that I have several letters telling me that positions are filled, and that the placement office has letters written later than mine, which request applicants who might fill the same positions which I applied for. Is there anything I can do about that?
Sincerely,
(signed)

--------------------

Dear - -:
I very much appreciate having the letter which rejects you as a teacher because you would have to work in a two-story building. I would say that the letter is quite clear and very specific. Despite this sort of thing, which all of us know to be a common occurance, I still meet blind people who tell me that they know of no discrimination against the blind and that they see no reason to organize.
You say that you have evidence that some school officials wrote to you telling you that their teaching positions had been filled and then later asked the college placement bureau to help them find qualified applicants. This is an old dodge and is, of course, another clear-cut case of discrimination. If this sort of thing is called to the attention of your rehabilitation agency and if they have anything on the ball and are at all sensitive to the needs and wishes of the blind, then they ought to take it up by negotiation, persuasion, the threat of negative publicity, or other means. Alternatively, the organized blind of your locality or the state might consider similar action. Public officials usually feel a great deal of reluctance at the prospect of negative publicity, especially when the case is clear-cut and they are caught red-handed.
I have forgotten whether your state has yet adopted the Model White Cane Law. If so, then we are on strong ground and can really push matters. Since the Model White Cane Law declares that the blind shall have equal consideration with others in employment as teachers, the case you cite would seem to put school officials in clear violation of the law. If you have not yet secured the enactment of the Model White Cane Law then this emphasizes and points up the need for redoubled effort.
Whatever action is to be taken should be initiated and pushed at the state and local levels. If you take action and it seems as if we can help from the national level, then we will certainly do so to the extent of our manpower and money resources.
In the meantime, all of us should read and learn well the story which is written here—the old story of discrimination against the blind and denial of opportunity which nothing in the world will change except our own determination and collective action.
Cordially,
(signed)
Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind

--------------------

Two story building indeed! One wonders—if this school administrator were trying to sell his home, would he refuse to sell to a blind person because it has two stories? Or if he owned a two-story retail establishment, would he refuse to do business with the blind on the upper floor?

He is apparently unaware that there are literally hundreds of successful blind teachers around the nation—almost one hundred in California alone. But one wonders if even that would convince him.

No doubt if she had applied for a high school teaching position, this administrator would have told her she could handle first graders (somewhere else, of course), but not students at the secondary level.

As long as this sort of thing can happen to even one blind person anywhere in the country none of us is safe. It does not really matter whether the man meant well or had kindly intentions. Our road to hell is usually paved with people's good intentions, but it is also paved with large blocks of our own sloth and procrastination.

Back to Contents

MEET OUR STATE PRESIDENT—JOHN McCRAW
AND OUR STATE AFFILIATE—MARYLAND

The Free State Federation is a relatively infant affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind. It came into being during the Convention in Louisville, Kentucky in 1966. This is not to say that a segment of the blind citizenry of Maryland was not involved in the movement before 1966; rather it is to say that a broader based organization of the blind came into being allowing fuller participation in enhancing the destiny of a still larger segment of those citizens who, because of their blindness, were denied first class citizenship.

I, John F. McCraw, am the second and current president of the FSFB. My personal history began on November 4, 1921 in Norfolk, Virginia. Concurring with the decision of my parents to migrate to Baltimore in 1925, I, without too much urging, joined with them in their migration.

In 1926 I embarked upon an educational voyage lasting eighteen years. In 1932, detached retinas of both eyes necessitated a change in my academic course. I was enrolled in the Maryland School for the Blind. In 1940 I matriculated to Morgan State College here in Baltimore and in 1944 earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. Along with the usual scholastic pursuits, I, upon losing my sight in 1932, assiduously applied my energies to the learning of music and, more specifically, the piano.

During the period 1944 to the present, I have been gainfully employed as a professional musician. Concurrently, I have taught travel training, worked as a medical transcriber, taught in the public school system as a substitute teacher and am now now daylighting as a recreationist employed by the city of Baltimore.

My familial career began sixteen years ago when I married Constance Taylor. Issuing from the happening, Connie and I have two sons, Franklin J., age fifteen and Paul Vincent, age thirteen. Now back to the FSFB.

Structurally, the State Executive Board has presented chapter charters to two chapters in Baltimore, Maryland Council of the Blind, Inc., 1966, Greater Baltimore Chapter of the Blind, 1966; one chapter in the Washington area, Twin County Federation of the Blind, 1967; one chapter on the eastern shore of Maryland, Chester River Federation of the Blind, 1968; one chapter in Cumberland, Associated Blind of Greater Cumberland, 1968; and our most recent chapter, Anne Arundel County Federation of the Blind was founded May 24, 1969.

On the fundraising front, we have met with varying degrees of success ranging from less than fair to excellent. Chance drawings (excellent), St. Patrick's Day dance (excellent), boat excursion (excellent), Bingo (good), concerts (good), cannister placement (excellent), and appeal letters (less than fair) are a few of the fundraising projects utilized by both the State Executive Board and the individual chapters.

Our past achievements are interwoven with our ongoing goals: passage of the white cane law in its entirety, establishment of a Commission for the Blind, opening the public school system to qualified blind teachers, liberalizing aid to the blind laws, pushing for better working conditions at the Maryland workshops for the blind, and building a philosophically sound and fiscally stable state affiliate of the NFB with a growing and a purposefully active membership.

Back to Contents

BROOM SHOP HAS NEW ADMINISTRATION

by Donald C. Capps

The broom shop operated by the Association of the Blind of South Carolina has a new administration. On Saturday, August 30, the annual meeting of the Association was held, and a constitutional amendment was adopted which permitted the election of an entire new board. The new officers and board members are: President, Marshall Tucker; Vice-President, Robert L. Oglesby; Secretary and Treasurer, Lois V. Boltin. Board members are: James Sims, Jimmie Smith, Vertis Rheuark, John Raybourne, Sr., and Francis M. Stanton. Until the 1968 convention, Mr. A. D. Croft had been the President of the Broom Shop Association for the past twenty years, but he, along with two other members of the board, were replaced at the 1968 convention. However, because of a constitutional provision, other members of the board could not be replaced last year. At this year's convention, a constitutional amendment was adopted with a seventy-five per cent majority, and this enabled the election of established leaders of the organized blind movement in South Carolina.

The new officers and board members have inherited an extremely unhealthy sheltered workshop setup with buildings in need of repair and tremendous indebtedness. Some eighteen legally blind persons are employed at the broom shop. The new officers and board members are faced with many problems inherited from the previous administration. At this writing, reasonable and practical solutions are being studied and sought. Monitor readers will recall that in 1967 a suit was filed against Mr. A. D. Croft and other members of the Broom Shop Board because certain blind persons had been denied membership in the Association. Mr. Croft and the Broom Shop Board had also opposed the Commission Bill which has been sponsored by the South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind, the state's NFB affiliate. The court ruled that Mr. Croft and other board members of the Broom Shop Association could not deny membership to blind South Carolinians in that the broom shop had been erected on state owned land and was receiving annual appropriations from the General Assembly. This court ruling enabled responsible blind persons of the state to become members of the Broom Shop Association and ultimately resulted in the new officers and board members being elected. Successful court action was the primary basis for this notable achievement and triumph.

Back to Contents

ALABAMA CONVENTION

The annual meeting of the Alabama Association of the Blind was held at the Thomas Jefferson Hotel in Birmingham, Alabama on September 20, 1969. During the day's sessions a variety of business matters were considered and acted upon including approval of a pledged contribution to the International Federation of the Blind. Officers elected for the following year are as follows: President, Mrs. Eulasee Hardenbergh, 2315 Avenue F Ensley, Birmingham, Alabama 35218; First Vice-President, Gibson B. Young; Second Vice-President, Carl H. Freeman; Secretary, John Edward Holstein; Treasurer, Mrs. Burlie K. Dutton.

John Taylor attended the Association's convention representing the National Federation of the Blind and delivered the principal banquet address. His remarks reviewed progress of the organized blind toward gaining the threefold objectives of the movement—security, equality, opportunity. Among distinguished guests attending the banquet were: Mr. William M. Nettles, Administrative Assistant to Alabama Governor Albert P. Brewer; Jefferson County Probate Judge J. Paul Meeks; Mr. J. W. Teal, a Birmingham resource teacher; the Reverend M. P. Burns; Happy Hal Burns, a local radio and television entertainer; and Mr. D. B. Stroup, District Governor Alabama Lions.

Prior to his elevation to the bench, J. Paul Meeks served in the House of Representatives of the Alabama Legislature. In 1949 he successfully sponsored Alabama's original White Cane law. During the 1969 session of the Alabama Legislature, the NFB's Model White Cane Law was introduced by Judge Meek's son, J. Paul Meeks, Jr. The bill passed the House of Representatives and was on the Senate calender during the closing days of the session, but when the Senate became embroiled in a controversy, sufficient time to pass the bill was not available. Representative Meeks will introduce it in the next session of the Alabama Legislature. Joe Horsley, President of the Magic City Chapter, presided over the banquet and the Alabama Association contributed a substantial sum of money to the public school program for the education of blind children. The banquet concluded with a spirited rendition of the NFB official song. The banquet was followed by dancing with music furnished by Mrs. Richard Sandefur and her orchestra.

Back to Contents

CHILDHOOD

by Virginia Geier

[Editor's Note: The following story is reprinted with permission from the 1969 annual Progress Report of the Progressive Blind of Missouri, Inc.]

When first approached about writing an article entitled "My Childhood as the Daughter of Handicapped Parents", my reaction was one of mild amusement, for I could well imagine the difficulties experienced by the child of a Negro real estate agent in Arkansas, or of an alcoholic mother, a movie star, a Baptist minister, paratrooper—or what have you. My situation, as I addressed my thesis, seemed infinitely simpler than theirs. For as closely as I can determine, in the time I have given to thinking about it, my life was not much different from that of any other child reared by parents who truly cared about instilling the essentials of a successful, happy life.

I recall that the first awakening—and it was rude—was when running at top speed across the porch and screaming at my father, who was strolling past at a lower level, "Catch me Daddy!" He, in deep thought, probably mulling over the problems of overpopulation or the causes and effects of motion pictures—for he is given to serious thinking—hearing me in mid-flight, didn't catch me, of course, and the ground met me with rude rejection. I ran to my grandmother who explained, "Your father can't see you—call sooner and give him time, and he will catch you." I remember saying, "I wish I had a daddy who could see." To which my father retorted, "I wish I had a daughter who didn't jump on me either." After that it became a mere matter of keeping my dolls and other valuables off the floor—and, by the way, when I jumped on him again, he got plenty of warning such as, "Daddy, catch me, are you ready?" To which he always yelled back with arms opened wide, "ready", and I jumped with complete confidence I would certainly be caught.

Being a child of a blind couple is not a bad thing—in fact, it has many benefits only such a child recognizes. I think one is that they try harder at being good parents. I, for example, was born in the depression year 1932, but I never suspected we were poor—I thought everyone ate bread sopped in gravy, and besides, I like gravy dipped with finger pieces of bread. I never heard the words "We are poor" or that God-awful expression "We can't afford it."

At this point I am searching my brain for some incident, an earth-shaking experience, proving beyond all doubt that life for me was different from the other children in the block and something does come into focus of mildly interesting proportions. Since no one in the family could see well enough to drive, we naturally didn't have a car—which is as good an excuse as any for my parents' total lack of church attendance...This excuse in the neighbor's eyes did not, unfortunately or fortunately, as the case may be, include me. So since we, as a family, had no religious affiliation, everyone in the block felt it his religious duty to see to it that the little blind grocer's daughter got to church. In my memory I have had extensive ecumenical training and experience the hard way.

The families were varied in their religious endeavors: United Brethren, Four Square Gospel, Salvation Army, not to mention my favorite one, known simply as the Little White Church in Orchard Park, whose young preacher showed home movies and was an amateur magician. Each summer my knowledge of the Methodist or Baptist religions was expanded depending upon which one my other grandmother was attending at that particular time. The only religion I can recall having missed and never even saw the inside of was the Catholic one.

When I was six or seven a man in the block committed suicide and my mother took me to the funeral. As children will, given the idea, we took over from there and for one whole summer we played funeral. We took turns dying and lying among countless tin cans and flowers, until one of the mothers observed us. As it was her child's turn to be dead, she objected strongly and that was the end of that.

Another fun thing we did was climb a particularly tall tree, ease clear out on the limb as far as we dared and hang by our arms. Everyone else counted slowly to see who was currently the strongest one. While I was on my annual trip to my other grandmother's, out of town, one of the girls let go, fell, and broke her arm in two places. I remember the rest of us were really put out with her for letting go because from that time on the tree was another one in the long list of no-nos.

Holidays were the very best ever. The fourth of July was firecrackers in a coffee can hoarded for that special day. A watermelon reposed in a washtub with a fifty pound cake of ice. Pop bottles kept the watermelon company all day as the melon wasn't cut until after sundown. The pop was consumed all day long between lighting firecrackers.

Easter was a large basket filled to the top with chocolate bunnies and sticky eggs of sugar. It didn't matter that they didn't taste very good. We seldom ate them anyway. They just melted into the artificial green grass and were admired and traded with the other children in the neighborhood.

May Day was something I remember because my own children never celebrate it. I never have figured out why. Little baskets were cut and pasted together, with handles to hang upon friends' doors. The idea was to fill the baskets with candy and flowers, hang them on the doors, knock real hard, and run. The receiver ran after the person who had done the hanging. The trick was to catch that person and kiss him. I used to worry that I would catch one but they ran like the devil, not willing to risk the kiss reward either.

Christmas, I was told later, was saved for all year with the high point being a ninety-eight cent doll, sporting a hand-crocheted dress with beautiful hand-made shoes of real leather fashioned from an old purse my grandmother had salvaged from someone's trash. My grandmother was a remarkable woman but that's another article entirely. Anyway—Christmas was grand and I managed to fool my parents into believing in Santa for five or six years, but we both kept up the act for the others' benefit for an additional couple of years. After every Christmas I was convinced we were probably among the upper rich.

In conclusion my young thirteen-year-old daughter, after reading the earlier part of this writing, remarked, "Gee Mom, you sure had a neat childhood." I am of the opinion that everyone's childhood looks neat to everyone else. Childhood is something to survive but would that it could go on forever.

Back to Contents

OHIO CONVENTION

by Alfonso Smith

The twenty-third annual convention of the Ohio Council of the Blind was held October 9 through 12 at the Sheraton-Gibson Hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio. Over three hundred persons attended this successful event which was hosted by the Queen City League of the Sightless of Cincinnati.

Among our special guests were representatives from the National Office, President Kenneth Jernigan; Mrs. Florence Grannis, Librarian for the Iowa Commission; Jim Omvig and two students also from the Iowa Commission.

The weather and the general atmosphere during the convention were sunny and cheerful. This led to a beautiful sunset cruise by the convention people on the Johnson Party Boat down the Ohio River on Friday evening. The entire convention was held on the roof garden of the hotel.

Some of the highlights of the board meetings which were held on Thursday evening, Friday morning and Saturday evening, were the voting in of three new affiliates; the Omega Council of the Blind of Cleveland; Dayton Council of the Blind; and the Student Division of the OCB. Also an Executive Committee consisting of the officers and four current members of the Executive Board was created to act in an emergency on business between conventions. An extensive report on the structure and functions of credit unions was given by Mr. Omvig and President Jernigan.

The first session opened Friday at 1 p. m. The keynote address was delivered by the president of OCB, Al Smith, in the absence of Mr. Clyde Ross who was ill and unable to attend the OCB convention for the first time since its organization. Using the theme of the convention "Let Every Man Prove His Own Work", Mr. Smith brought out the importance of the word "let". He said a man should be given the opportunity to prove his own work regardless of his condition. President Jernigan spoke on the blind movement at all levels, the progress being made by the NFB, pending bills, politics in the movement, and benefits that are derived from being an NFB member. There were reports from delegates to the National Convention in Columbia. On Saturday morning the committee reports were given. An informative speech on group insurance was given by representatives from the Continental Insurance Company. The OCB convention voted to sponsor without financial obligation insurance for its members and their families. The speaker for the afternoon session was Mr. Milton Jahoda, Executive Director of Cincinnati Association of the Blind, who spoke on the "Responsibility of the Agency to the Client". A question and answer period followed.

President Jernigan gave the address at the banquet Saturday evening. In this speech on "General Misconceptions of Blindness" he stressed the need for more public education that blind people are average people without physical vision.

Awards were presented to Mrs. Edna Fillinger for outstanding work in the blind movement in Ohio, and to the Summit County Society of the Blind for receiving the largest amount of points for work during the year under the OCB point system. A plaque in memory of First Vice-President Carl Eiche, who passed away in September, was given to his widow, Mrs. Mary Eiche. Miss Mary Kinney received the plaque for Mrs. Eiche. Entertainment was given by the Clovernotes under the direction of Mrs. Jeanne Simons.

Officers elected on Sunday morning were: President, Alfonso Smith, 2020 Jacobs Road, Youngstown, Ohio 44505; First Vice-President, Mrs. Helen Johnson, Toledo; Second Vice-President, Thomas Matthews, Jr., Akron; Secretary, John Knall, Cleveland; Treasurer, Ivan Garwood, North Baltimore (Ohio); Executive Committee member for two years, Charles Novinger, Dayton; and James Dewey Cummings, Toledo; one year, Raymond Creech, Dayton; and James Green, Cleveland.

Back to Contents

AUTOMATION IS AN ASSET TO THE BLIND

by Roy Zuvers

[Editor's Note: Roy Zuvers is a young blind man, graduate of the Missouri School for the Blind, who is now employed as a computer programmer by the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Roy is active in the organized blind movement.]

"Things have never been as good as they are now, and they'll never be as bad again."

A friend made this statement one morning while we, along with a group of our fellow employees, were casually enjoying coffee before work. All of us laughed when he made this paradoxical remark, and the usual conversation among us was resumed. Later, however, I could not help thinking of that statement in the light of what has happened to others in this prosperous, rapidly-advancing country of ours.

Prosperity is a combination of many things. Among the most important of these is successful employment. Successful employment is holding a job where one is not only earning an adequate living, but where one is doing the work of one's choice, and where one is a normal functioning part of the working group. For the blind, these successes have been a long time in coming.

For those blind persons now graduating from high school and college, the opportunities of their choice are fairly well open to them, but this was not the case a few years ago. We were able to mass produce certain items before the second world war, but there were plenty of people to work with our tools of production. With the advent of that war, however, we were really forced to swing into mass production and with a manpower shortage. These events gave persons who were considered handicapped the chance to prove themselves and it became evident that they were not as handicapped as they were thought to be.

Now we have the ability to mass produce, almost overproduce, everything we need, let alone the luxuries we enjoy. Our various industries can now produce products from the finest garment to the strongest steels available with detailed design and with accuracy. Machinery and modem technology make it possible for our farms and ranches to produce more than we need. We have better ways to draw from the wealth that our country has to offer. In these areas and more, persons who were once thought to be handicapped are now engaged safely and productively. In the fields of service-oriented facilities, it has also been found that a person with a physical handicap is at no disadvantage when it comes to performing the work of his choice. The person with a handicap in one area can excel in other areas. Handicapped people operate the machines in our factories and the typewriters in our offices. They work as counsellors, teachers, lawyers, independent businessmen, and in our many fields of technology. In fact, it would be impossible for any single article to discuss all of the fields where blind persons are employed, let alone persons affected by other physical conditions. But this does not mean that we have solved our discrimination problems. We still have employers who discriminate against the blind, not because they have evidence that the work cannot be done, but because they haven't given the person a chance to prove himself. These employers have all sorts of fears because of their lack of awareness of the capabilities of the blind and other handicapped persons.

We hear sometimes of a person trying to find out if a blind person could do a job by closing his own eyes or blindfolding himself and then trying to do the job, whereupon he often fails or has a hard time with the job, giving up saying that it can't be done. This type of test does not take into consideration that a handicapped person may have many years of experience at living with the condition, fully adjusting to it, and any training the person may have had along these lines. Such a test is therefore invalid and should not be used.

To make a simple statement, blindness is a condition where the person lacks physical eyesight, and that's all it is. Blindness does not mean that the mind cannot function to its fullest capabilities nor does blindness mean that the rest of the physical senses are lacking. It is clearly obvious, with proper knowledge of the condition, that the person who is blind lacks only in eyesight and nothing else. If all employers would recognize this fact, more people could be put to work who really want to work, and because of this desire, would be productive workers. In the meantime, we owe thanks to those employers who have realized the productivity of blind and other handicapped persons, for it has been through their open-minded attitude that a lot of progress has been made. These employers, who represent private firms throughout the country, city and state governments, and branches of the federal government, can testify to the productivity we speak of, which is the best testimony of all for they have seen it in action.

With these thoughts in mind, let's discuss one of the most rapidly developing fields of today, that of computer programming. To be trained and to work efficiently in this field, requires that the individual have an active, progressive mind. He or she must be able to think logically; that is, to look at the job to be done, develop an overall picture of what is required, and from this develop a logical sequence of instructions for the computer to produce the desired information. Because of its nature, then, computer programming lends itself rather well to the training and successful employment of persons with physical handicaps. In this light it becomes natural that some very successful computer programmers are blind.

To qualify for training in this field you must have, as we said before, the ability to think a problem through and develop a logical sequence of instructions for solving it. One should be interested and able to perform at least high school mathematical problems; college math is helpful, but not a prerequisite, to entering the programming field.

Persons who have an interest or education in business, scientific, or engineering fields may find programming not only interesting but very helpful in their work. The greater your education and/or job experience, the easier it will be to find work after training.

If you are just graduating from high school and think you would be interested in programming, it might be a good idea for you to attend one of the many business schools specializing in the training of computer programmers.

I graduated from such a school in February of 1969. After attending one of these schools and after the basic training in computer programming you are given, if you feel that you wish to go on to college and further your education, your basic background in programming will be beneficial.

It must be realized that education doesn't stop when one graduates from a business school such as this, for actually, you are only getting started. A lot of additional time other than class time must be spent reading manuals, studying lectures, and taking notes. It does not hurt to write a few extra programs in addition to those assigned for class.

The business school will give a test which has a logic and mathematics section at least. Tests may vary according to the standards of the school. After passing the test, the student will have at least 1,020 class hours which will include lectures on computer design, programming for various computer systems, writing programs, key punching, operating the computer, etc. Many manuals are available in Braille and others are recorded on tape. It is not known how many business schools around the country will accept blind persons as students. It is worth noting that at least one college—National College of Business, Rapid City, South Dakota, does accept blind students for training in computer programming. This college offers degrees in several fields and is one of the few colleges offering a degree in computer science.

Other known facilities where blind persons may obtain training as computer programmers are the Lear-Siegler Institute of Business and Technology, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where I received my training; Systems Development Corporation, Santa Monica, California; and MedComp Corporation in Cincinnati, Ohio. The availability of other schools in one's own area should be checked when the decision is made to take the training.

It is this author's firm belief that prior to attending a programming school, a blind person should know how to type and have his own typewriter; he should know how to read and write Braille efficiently and needs his own braille writing equipment; he should have a tape recorder, and a key punch machine would be beneficial. The use of the key punch machine is taught in the school. He should have the school's guarantee that he will have hands-on time on the computer. While he may not use this to any great extent after school, it will be helpful to know the control and the physical set-up of the machine. This knowledge will be especially pertinent when one needs to show the operator how to adjust the printer for Braille output.

Braille output from the computer is in Grade One and a few adjustments need to be made to the printer for best results. These adjustments will be learned in school; however, no expensive equipment is necessary in order to obtain Braille from the computer. The standard printer is used and a program is read into the machine which translates print characters into their Braille equivalent. One can write his own program for the machine. There are programs available for several machines. I. B. M. provides the greatest amount of support along this line. Not only can one obtain programs from I. B. M. for Braille output on I. B. M. systems, but any manuals needed can be had from the company. This means that when one goes to work, the programmer may receive a Braille copy of any I. B. M. print manual being used in the department where one is working.

There are several reasons why Braille reading and writing efficiency are good for the blind person working in programming. In school, it is difficult to memorize all the details of programming and all of the necessary system control formats. One needs to look them up, and to do this on tape would be slow and tedious. If one is not in possession of all the manuals, then copying is necessary for future reference to the details. When testing and debugging programs one needs the listing of the program from the computer with which to work. One wishes that core dumps didn't have to be read, but this is not the case.

Then, too, there is the problem of getting job information as a programmer at work. Employers will want to discuss methods used to do this when talking with an applicant. One way is to use a tape recorder to record the needed information typed before it is needed. Again, I. B. M. offers support to both the employer and employee with the new electric Braille typewriter. This machine can be used by anyone who knows how to type. In the lower case setting, the machine operates like a standard typewriter; in the upper case position, all of the Braille contractions and special characters needed to transcribe Grade Two and even Grade Three are found. Being electric, the machine is quite easy to operate. It produces an excellent quality of Braille which may be used for thermoform copies if desired.

With the use of all the facilities and equipment available, any qualified blind person may learn and work successfully as a programmer. We have come a long way in this field but we still have a long way to go. We know that we can educate and equip programmers but we need strong progressive programs to educate employers concerning the availability of the qualified and reliable help. Of course, this is true in every field where blind persons can work.

Unfortunately we still have employers (good, intelligent employers) who discriminate without knowing the facts and without giving a person a chance. When we can truly say that we have this problem solved, we can also say that we have accomplished a great task in the development of our society. Public education is what we need now and we have a lot of good employers and educators to help us, so let's get busy and get the job done!

Many people have said that automation has presented us with problems, and it has; however, in the process it has created so many new opportunities that we cannot afford to stand still or go backward. The blind people must train and retrain, keeping themselves in readiness for any opportunity. Goals must be set and when they are attained, other goals must be in view—like climbing a magnificent mountain and finding more heights ahead to be reached. Then it can truly be said: "Things have never been as good as they are now, and they'll never be as bad again."

Back to Contents

PENNSYLVANIA CONVENTION

by Dorothy Digirolamo

It is the custom of the Pennsylvania Federation of the Blind to hold its state convention in Harrisburg every other year but, because of the anniversary of the National Federation of the Blind and also of our state affiliate it was held in Wilkes-Barre from Friday, September 26 to Sunday the 28th.

George Burke from our affiliate in New Jersey and Ned Graham from Maryland were our very welcome guests. Both spoke a few words of greeting on Saturday morning.

Saturday afternoon was devoted to amending the constitution and to the president's legislative report. Our banquet speaker was a professor from King's College. Sunday morning was given over to the treasurer's report, the president's report on the National Convention, and two resolutions presented by the Liberty Chapter, which were accepted by the convention. The meeting was adjourned at noon on Sunday.

The elections of officers and board members was held Saturday morning and it was a lively time. Dr. Mae Davidow, a teacher at the Overbrook School for the Blind, is our new state President. William Murray, Director of the York Center for the Blind, is First Vice-President. Oliver Kauffmann, a stand operator in Erie is Second Vice-President. Robert Morganstern, employed by the Department of Welfare in Pittsburg, is Third Vice-President. Ann Kovacic, a social worker who assists her husband at the Lighthouse for the Blind in Beaver Falls, is Recording Secretary. Edward Pickens, semi-retired from a very successful magazine business in Harrisburg, is treasurer. Rita Drill, employed by the Department of Special Education in Philadelphia, is Editor of We, The Blind. Dr. Freddie Spruil, a minister in Philadelphia, is Grand Chaplain. The board members are: William Corey, a retired telephone solicitor from Pittsburg; Jack Shoumaeker, a stand operator from Altoona; Kenneth Jones, a blinded war veteran from Allentown. All officers and board members will remain for two years.

Back to Contents

FISH VOLUNTEERS AID NEEDY

by Margaret Langlie

[Editor's Note: The following story is reprinted from the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily Times and tells of an unusual organization with a high purpose. It was sent to the Monitor by Kelly Smith, to whom Fish volunteers bring clients for physical therapy.]

Taking their name from the ancient symbol of Christianity, Fish volunteers have their work cut out for them in making good their claim to the title.

The first branch of Fish was organized in 1961 in Oxford, England, and in 1964 it spread to the United States. Since that time about one hundred Fish groups have spontaneously appeared all over the country. The Anchorage Fish group got its start in December, 1967. Some sixty volunteers represent six church denominations at present. But according to Mrs. Lowell Thomas, Jr., Fish coordinator, the group hopes to broaden that base to include all churches and many secular organizations. There are also volunteers in Chugiak, Eagle River and Palmer.

Volunteers provide a number of services to needy people in the area, including reading to the blind, providing transportation for shut-ins and serving as companions for the elderly. On an emergency basis volunteers do babysitting, prepare meals, do housework, and locate articles of clothing or furniture. Fish volunteers are in close contact with the needy they help. Some of those who provide transportation, for example, become so attached to a particular person that they almost adopt them, Mrs. Thomas says. There is no exchange of money involved in any of the Fish projects. "We can't give money, only service," says Mrs. Thomas.

However, she continued, if there is a definite need for financial help. Fish has in its ranks an accountant who offers financial advice in the evenings as his part in the volunteer program.

Fish often receives calls from emotionally disturbed people who are primarily in need of a willing ear—and the volunteers listen. Fish serves when they can, but at times the only real help must come from professionals. Volunteers who answer the telephone have available a list of doctors, lawyers, clergymen and other professional people. They also maintain close contact with the Mental Health Association, the Salvation Army, the Welcome Center and the Borough Health Department.

If persons in need of volunteer help do not ask for it, a friend or neighbor may call and enlist Fish aid. "As soon as they are on their feet, they take over themselves; they don't use Fish," Mrs. Thomas says.

Among its volunteers, Fish boasts a teacher who has offered to tutor in her spare time, a psychologist who is willing to counsel the needy and a nurse who does what die can in her off-duty hours. Two members of Alcoholics Anonymous have also joined Fish to donate their time to alcoholism problems. Some of the volunteers were at one time recipients of Fish aid themselves.

One-fourth of the volunteers, unlike most organizations of its kind, are men. And Mrs. Thomas says without hesitation, "Some of our best workers are men, without doubt. I don't know what we'd do without them." When asked who is eligible to become a Fish volunteer, Mrs. Thomas was most emphatic. "No one can join unless they are willing to take a call at dinner time or when they are the most tired. They really must be dedicated!"

"The Fish telephone number is a link between those who need help and those who want to help in many ways," she said.

Back to Contents

MAINE CONVENTION

The Fourth Annual Convention of the Maine Council of the Blind was held October 25, at the Sheraton-Eastland Hotel, Portland.

At the organizational business meeting, committee and officer reports were considered and approved, a new chapter from the capital city of Augusta was admitted as an affiliate of the Maine State organized blind, two constitutional amendments were adopted, the city of Bangor was determined upon as the site of the 1 970 Maine Council convention and elections were conducted.

The following were elected to a two-year term of office: President, Harold Miller; Vice President, Natalie Matthews; Secretary, Walter McMullen; Treasurer, Donald Mailloux; and three-year board member, George Call.

The convention program was full, interesting and stimulating. C. Owen Pollard, Director of Eye Care and Special Services Division (Maine's For-the-Blind agency), described new devices and appliances available for loan to blind people by the agency; Maurice Johnson, Maine's only blind vocational rehabilitation counselor, contrasted the role of the rehab counsellor today and yesterday; John Nagle, the Federation's Washington Office Chief, reported on the organized blind activities in the 91st Congress; Franklin VanVliet, NFB Treasurer, moderated a panel on "Federation Spirit" with Edward Vachon, New Hampshire piano tuner-technician, and John Nagle as participants; Alfred Beckwith, New Hampshire vending stand operator, narrated his NFB-supported battle to retain his vending stand.

The banquet-attending Maine Federationists, their families and friends, listened attentively to John Nagle as he delivered an address entitled "What's in it for Me?"

There is a developing NFB tradition—that Federationists shall attend state conventions other than that of their own organization—and the Maine convention gave added vigor to this tradition, with people from Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, as convention attendants.

Back to Contents

TWO BLIND BOYS HAVE NO PLACE TO CALL HOME

by Iola Johnson

[Editor's Note: The following is reprinted from the Washington (D. C.) Post and is followed by a letter from the Chief of the Washington Office of the NFB to the Director of Special Education of the District of Columbia.]

Love, affection and counsel—someone to kiss a bee-stung finger or bandage a skinned knee or elbow—are the needs of parentless children struggling for adulthood.

These are the needs of normal children, but the needs of a blind, parentless child are even greater.

Two blind children at Washington's Junior Village are facing an additional disappointment this fall. For the second year in a row, they may be denied the opportunity to attend the Maryland School for the Blind because they do not have foster homes to visit on the weekends.

Bryant, a six-year-old boy, and Odun, fifteen years old, were both accepted by the school last year. Jean Schreiber of the child welfare department said they were unable to attend because foster homes could not be found for them.

Dr. Herbert J. Wolff, superintendent of the Maryland school, said the youngsters will be admitted this fall only if they have been placed in foster homes or if it seems unlikely they will be placed sometime during the term.

To the boys, both are remote.

The regulation requiring students to go home each weekend was enacted to prevent student dissatisfaction, Wolf said.

In the past, students who have been forced to return to Junior Village on weekends have had adjustment difficulties, he said.

He cited an example of one youngster who ran away from school rather than return to Junior Village. He said the boy was found in New York City and has since been placed in a foster home.

According to a caseworker at the school, the insecurity brought about by not having a home and family is intensified when students must return to the Village on weekends.

Weekend students are an added expense to the school, she said, because a weekend staff would have to be maintained.

--------------------

August 21, 1969

Dr. Stanley Jackson, Director
  of Special Education
D. C. Department of Education
1619 M Street, N.W.
Washington, D. C.

Dear Dr. Jackson:

The National Federation of the Blind, which I represent in Washington, is a nation-wide federated organization, with a membership primarily of blind men and women. We are joined together and working together for the purpose of gaining equal life and livelihood opportunities for all blind Americans.

The National Capitol Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind is our affiliate in the District of Columbia. Several months ago, our group learned that there were a number of blind children living at Junior Village, and we decided to try to determine if there was anything we could do to be of assistance to them. We gained as much information about these children as we could, the kind of life they lead, their educational activities, whatever else we could learn that we felt might enable us to be of some help to these children.

In our efforts to be informed as to the circumstances of these Junior Village blind children, in all of our efforts to try to help them, we encountered bureaucratic indifference and bureaucratic "red tape", lost records, endless procrastination and delay, "passing the buck", gross ignorance re the needs and possibilities of blind children—and though we tried diligently to better the lot of these children, we were frustrated in all we tried to do, our every overture of assistance failed, our concerned interest was rejected by officialdom.

Yesterday we learned of the story in the Washington Post (a copy of which is herewith attached) that foster homes were being sought for Odene Taylor and Bryant Christianson, two blind children presently residing at Junior Village. The foster homes, if located in or near Baltimore, would enable Odene and Bryant to be entered at the Maryland School for the Blind. Since the school is closed weekends, Odene and Bryant would need a home near to the school, and the location of the foster homes is a requirement to their being accepted by the Maryland school.

We believe the present course of action being pursued with reference to Odene Taylor and Bryant Christianson is wrong, will not serve their best interests and recommend that it be abandoned. Instead, as interested and concerned citizens with a very personal and real knowledge about blindness and the problems of blind children and adults, with a very acute awareness of the need that blind children obtain the best possible educational foundation if they are to function successfully as blind adults, we most earnestly request that arrangements be made so that Odene Taylor and Bryant Christianson may attend the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, in Hampton, Virginia, Dr. William J. McConnell, Director.

We are honored to say we are acquainted with Dr. McConnell and know him to be a fine person, a competent educator, and a kindly and considerate human being.

We are also acquainted with several members of the staff at the Hampton School, and have found them to be of the McConnell pattern.

If foster homes are found for Odene Taylor and Bryant Christianson, even if they are good ones, they will still only be temporary abodes—Odene and Bryant will continue without permanence in their lives, they will remain forlorn waifs receiving only the luke-warm concern of professional homemakers and the casual attention and either too-lenient or too-rigid discipline of professional parents.

If Odene and Bryant were to attend the Hampton School, we believe they soon would become a part of the school community, they would finally "belong". Dr. McConnell and his staff would provide Odene and Bryant with the concern, kindly-firm attention these two children need. Entered at the Hampton school, Odene and Bryant would soon establish a place for themselves in the life of the school, and would benefit greatly by this achieved self-importance, by being absorbed in the warm and friendly school atmosphere.

Again, we urge that such steps as are necessary be taken that Odene Taylor and Bryant Christianson be entered this fall as students at the Hampton School for the Deaf and Blind. We understand that the District of Columbia Government has a contract with the Maryland School for the Blind, and generally sends its blind children to this school by reason of such contract. We further understand, however, that if parents or interested citizens request it, consideration will be given by the District of Columbia government to educate blind children at a place other than the Maryland School.

We hope that established practice will not prove an insurmountable obstacle, that the proper authorities will do what is necessary that Odene Taylor and Bryant Christianson may have the better chance, the better chance that would be afforded them at the Hampton School for the Deaf and Blind.

Sincerely yours,

John F. Nagle, Chief
Washington Office

Back to Contents

KENTUCKY CONVENTION

by Harold Reagan

The 1969 State Convention of the Kentucky Federation of the Blind was held in the Kentucky Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday and Saturday, September 5 and 6. More than one hundred blind persons and their friends participated in the Friday night social and reception in the beautiful Mirror Room. The excellent music was furnished by five blind youths.

There were two fine business meetings on Saturday. Mr. L. P. Howser, Superintendent of the Kentucky School for the Blind, outlined the tremendous progress of the school during the past twenty years. He stated that the state is planning to construct a gym and swimming pool at the school very soon. Mr. Charles E. Cox, manager of the Kentucky Industries for the Blind, pointed out that the new workshop and rehabilitation center will open within a few weeks. Miss Frances Coleman, Director of the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Frankfort, Kentucky, presented the role of the new library administering the needs of the blind in Kentucky. Mr. T. V. Cranmer, Director of the Division of Services for the Blind, gave an interesting report on the work of the Division.

Following Mr. Cranmer's talk, the convention approved a resolution which urges the 1970 Kentucky General Assembly to appropriate $25,000 to expand the work of the Kentucky Business Enterprises Program for the Blind. Don Capps, First Vice-President of the National Federation of the Blind, spoke on the subject, "Why a Commission for the Blind?" The Assembly approved a motion, instructing the president of the organization to appoint a committee to meet with Mr. Cranmer and endeavor to determine the feasibility of a commission for the blind in Kentucky.

The following officers were elected to serve the ensuing year: R. E. Whitehead, President; Margaret Bourne, First Vice-President; John Steele, Second Vice-President; Arthur Kopp, Third Vice-President; Peggy Peak, Recording Secretary; Eloise Becker, Corresponding Secretary; and Harold Reagan, Treasurer. Other members of the board: Orville Philips, Chaplain; Glen Shoulders, Finance Chairman; and Pat Vice, Legislation Chairman.

The climax of the convention was the banquet address by Donald Capps. He spoke on "What makes an Organization of the Blind Tick". Don's inspiring address and other activities at the convention contributed much to what is probably the outstanding State Convention of the Kentucky Federation of the Blind thus far.

Back to Contents

THE QUALITY OF OUR MERCY

by Martin Agronsky

[Editor's Note: The following address was delivered by Martin Agronsky, the distinguished news analyst and internationally-famous commentator, at the National Citizens Conference on Rehabilitation of the Disabled and Disadvantaged.]

Most speeches are too long. A schoolboy was once asked to write a short paper on crime and punishment. I think that he achieved the most succinct and most magnificent beginning for a speech that anyone's ever managed. He said, "Each year in the United States many people are put to death by elocution." I'll try to save you from that kind of death.

Miss Switzer is very right in saying that I do care about the work you're doing. You're doing just about the most important work that there is to be done.

We are here at this National Citizens Conference on Rehabilitation of the Disabled and Disadvantaged to discuss where we are going in the field, to examine, as I know you've been examining, how we can best help those in your profession to serve the interests of the nation; to appraise (I suppose that'd be a better way to put it) how best to stimulate a basic change in the public attitude toward what must be done, and, most importantly, to try to identify those factors which seem increasingly to make our more conventional past approaches, toward helping people all too frequently fruitless.

In 1964 a man named Lyndon Johnson called for "unconditional war on poverty".

Today, as we all know, relatively little has been accomplished toward the winning of that war, while the gap between the affluent and the disadvantaged has, inexorably, grown even wider.

The trouble is that a generation of conventional, well-meaning liberal approaches to the problem of poverty has resulted in little more than the freezing of the class barriers that separate the more mobile, from the ranks of the permanent poor. These wasted Americans are doomed at some time before their very conception to lead lives of desperate and meaningless futility; worse than that, they are a drain on the economy; worse still, they are "carriers" of what you might call the plague of poverty, infecting others around them with the despair of mere existence without destiny.

Now all of us, of course, know these things. That's why you're here. But even we, ourselves, tend to forget the almost criminal neglect by what is in many respects, not a Great Society, but a Cruel Society, of millions upon millions of our fellow citizens. In the politics of poverty, a nation which can pridefully point to an unparalleled level of almost redundant affluence seems strangely unaware of the degradation of one-fifth of its population.

It isn't that we don't know where the poverty is. We will soon reach the point of no return in our cities where soon four-fifths of our people will live. Here the unemployment rolls and the welfare rolls are swollen with a class of permanently unemployable. How would you describe them? Perhaps as the human refuse of a society whose automated machinery has come to constitute in itself a class of almost elite beings more deserving of attention than the workers they have replaced.

Gotham has become a Gommorah—full of decay and despair.

And those poor left behind in the rural areas fare no better: in the Mississippi River Delta, for example, over fifty thousand people have no cash income whatsoever, not even a dollar a month to buy Federal food stamps to avoid starvation.

What is to be done?

Alfred Marshall, at the end of the last century, said, "The study of the causes of poverty is the study of the causes of the degradation of a large part of mankind, overworked and undertaught, weary and careworn, without quiet and without leisure."

How much has changed since that time? That so little has changed is the great failure of American liberalism. We have simply failed to find the answers to the problem of the rehabilitation of human beings, and we are perhaps farther from an answer now than we once were. For the fact is that the poor get less out of the welfare state than any group in America.

Our approach to the problem, I think, still reflects the pompous Puritanism of the past. We are parochial and patronizing toward the poor. Oscar Wilde commented that charity creates a multitude of sins. Institutional charity compounds those sins. John Boyle O'Reilly put it well:

The organized charity, scrimped and iced,
In the name of a cautious, statistical Christ.

I think what bugs the kids in our country and what they are uptight about is the fact that they see a violent and materialistic society which has made it more difficult, rather than less, for some to have class mobility and to rise within the system.

They see a society increasingly characterized by what Senator George McGovern has so well called "handouts for the rich."

Our curiously Puritanical prejudice against handouts for the poor contrasts strangely with the phenomena of virtually unlimited subsidies to the wealthy. Their subsidies are taken for granted, just as are the incredible tax shelters for the rich that exempt them from an equitable burden of taxation on the very monies given to them from the public exchequer.

As John Kenneth Galbraith put it and put it very well, "America is the only country in the world that has socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor."

In the same vein, Anatole France once said, "The law in its majestic equality forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."

But yet properly conceived and correctly administered, and this is your concern, welfare is not charity. It is rather an investment in what is economic, and not wasteful; what is orderly, and not chaotic; what is creative, instead of destructive; what is healthy, instead of sick; what is fair, instead of unjust. Welfare that does not meet that test, I would submit, is far worse than no welfare at all: for it would then conceal the symptoms and by concealing the symptoms it would enlarge the disease and would eventually poison the system of the body politic.

I think the great difficulty with some of our more unsuccessful attempts at rehabilitation is that perhaps the programs were approached with the assumptions that they would operate in practice as well as in theory, when in fact there was little if any comprehension by the theorists of the needs or the hopes or the aspirations of the recipients who inevitably took a dim view of the menacing good-works that insidiously seduced them into dependence, and denied their very dignity.

It is written in First Corinthians that charity is the greatest of all virtues, greater than faith and hope. But I am not sure that the Scriptures meant the sort of charity that fails in its only justifiable purpose—that is, to enlarge the capacity of the recipient to help himself become independent. For thoughtless and indiscriminate charity not only demeans those it pretends to help, it can destroy them. It is like throwing a drowning man both ends of a rope. As John Steinbeck put it in the Grapes of Wrath: "If a body's ever took charity, it makes a burn that don't come out."

Maimonides once enumerated the various stages of charity, of which the last and most meritorious was to help a man to help himself, to enable him to become self-supporting so that he will no longer have to rely on the beneficences of others.

People like you are what makes that possible. Fortunately there are increasing signs that these things are recognized—that is, that there are more requirements to successful programs of human rehabilitation than money alone, and that we need to learn a very great deal more about the factors in an environment that go to create that mysterious and elusive and wonderful quality of self-respect that must exist in an individual if he is to grow.

The former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, John Gardner, remarked a while ago: "Man is in trouble. And if you are not filled with foreboding you don't understand your time."

What is the nature of this trouble? I think it lies in our national priorities. Inexorably since the end of World War II we have subordinated human values and needs to national security needs and demands. I do not advance this observation as a great discovery. It has in fact become a cliche. It has been stated so often, I guess, it bores us all. But boring cliche though it may be, I would say to you that it is the central and destructive problem of our time and our society and we would ignore it at our peril.

This is what I would like to discuss with you today, how much and how tragically the obsession with national security has affected our lives and will, unless checked, affect those to come in what Emerson called "the great chain of being."

What we render unto Caesar is the hog's share of our national substance. It has disturbed the very metabolism of America.

Most importantly to you people here, the price that must be paid falls mostly within the province of those in your profession and of the people that you try to serve. The price we are paying is, by some malignant alchemy in reverse, to transmute the golden dreams and goals of those who want to build a better society into a frantic effort to produce the weapons that, if ever used, would destroy this society and all other societies.

Of course, the military is not the only group that has this obsessive mania for injecting an American presence into the domestic affairs of every village on the face of this planet.

We have a hard-core diplomatic establishment whose foreign service officers also have an understandable vested interest in our maintaining a virtually unlimited overseas establishment that involves us in everybody's affairs.

I am reminded of the time President Franklin Roosevelt was asked what the function of the State Department would be in time of war. "Well, I hope," said Roosevelt, "that they would stay neutral."

Eight years have gone by since President Eisenhower's famous speech when he warned of the existence of a military-industrial complex that, as he put it, and we all know the phrase, "has the potential for a disastrous rise of misplaced power."

What's happened in the eight years since that speech? The statistics are dreadful. We have poured considerably more than five hundred billion dollars—that's half a trillion dollars; five hundred billion dollars —if you can conceive of that kind of money—down the bottomless pit of military expenditures.

Most of this money was spent with the one hundred top Defense Department contractors who employ some 2,072 known—I guess it would be more than that if all were to be identified—retired military officers of the rank of full colonel, or Navy captain or above, to negotiate defense contracts.

What do these figures mean? Better question: What do they mean in your terms; in terms of your profession?

They mean that the cost of the ill-fated Nike X missile system, now obsolete, would pay for our entire public housing program nearly one hundred times over. That's one thing they mean.

They mean that the projected forty-two billion dollars, three hundred million for weapons procurement for this year, for the year 1969, is thirteen times what this Administration recommended that we appropriate to educate the fifty-two million school children and the nearly eight million college students in the United States. The Congress authorized the expenditure, by the way, of nine billion dollars this year for education. Now, the Administration has sent to the Congress a revised budget. That budget recommended that the amount appropriated be cut to about one-third the amount authorized. That three billion dollars that's been recommended is one-fourteenth of the estimated cost of weapons for which we have made appropriations.

Senator Stephen Young placed that in an interesting perspective. The Senator noted that we have said to sixty million students, we will spend less than ten percent as much for you as we spend on our weapons. Can there be any wonder that the young ask what has happened to our sense of values?

Put it another way. Two firms in this country, General Dynamics Corporation and United Aircraft, received more than four billion dollars last year in defense contracts. Four billion—that is more than the entire Nixon Administration's recommended program to be spent for our sixty million students.

One contractor, Lockheed Aircraft, received in fiscal year 1968 enough defense contracts to pay for a school lunch program for one million students for thirty years.

Senator Proxmire pointed out that last year one contractor, McDonnell, received one billion, one hundred million dollars in contracts, at the same time that we closed two narcotics research laboratories and while the Senate Rules Committee cut the budget for the Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs from two hundred and fifty to one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Couldn't afford it. This at a time when ten million school children in America suffer from chronic malnutrition or hunger. This yearly budget to fight malnutrition was what we spend every two minutes in Vietnam, if you want to figure it in that statistic. This is the amount some wealthy farmers receive each year for leaving their fields idle and not growing crops. While denying the additional one hundred thousand dollars to this committee, we spent seventy million dollars on the absurd civil defense boondoggle.

Former Secretary of HEW, Wilbur Cohen, testified that food stamps and other Government food assistance programs do not even reach fourteen million of the Nation's twenty-two million poor.

While our laws prohibit an aged Social Security recipient from earning more than $1,680 annually while keeping his benefits intact, one out of fifty of our corporate farmers is now able to gross one hundred thousand dollars a year or more in Federal support dollars and 680,000 taxpayers last year deducted a billion dollars of farm "losses" from their non-farm income as a tax dodge.

Senator Stuart Symington, a former Secretary of the Air Force, has long been an advocate of strong preparedness and never distinguished for being a pacifist. And yet, Mr. Symington warned recently that the final costs of the thin and thick systems for the Anti-Ballistic Missile System could eventually reach four hundred billion dollars—more than the total national debt.

The payroll costs of the Pentagon are rising at a rate of about one and one-half billion dollars per year.

Senator Hartke pointed out that the notorious two billion dollar cost overrun on the C5A contract is more than we spent on all public health research and other services plus the anti-poverty program combined. Figure that statistic.

So we've come a long way, baby, as they say in the cigarette commercial—a long way from the America of Jefferson and Jay, of Twain and Thoreau, of Edison and Einstein—to an America of napalm and nuclear warheads.

As the Brothers Goncourt wrote in the last century, "If man continues to uncover secrets of the Unknown which had perhaps best be left in darkness, one day the Creator may well come down and, like the old gentleman with the ring of keys in the tavern at night, say to us, "Closing time, gentlemen."

I think John Kennedy put it pretty well: "The responsibility of our time is nothing less than to lead a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; human, if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough—but a revolution which will come whether we will it or not."

"We can affect its character," Kennedy wrote, we cannot alter its inevitability...America is, after all, the land of becoming—a continent which will be in ferment as long as it is America, a land which will never cease to change and grow. We are as we act. We are the children and heirs of revolutions and we fulfill our destiny only as we the struggle which began (long ago) and which continues today."

Dr. Jerome Frank, a distinguished authority on the psychological aspects of war, tyranny, and other popular activities of the contemporary human race, believes that "survival today depends on reducing, controlling, channelling, and redirecting the drive for power and the impulse unto violence, and fostering the countervailing drives toward fellowship and community."

Everybody sees the problems—sees them clearly. I know there are many of us who neither like the course we are following—nor do we want to go down the bloody corridors where the kids would lead us, with the prospect of sharing with them the wreckage of a ruined society.

At any rate, I don't believe our generation will ever consent to a revolution taking place without our having a piece of the action and a voice in determining the direction we go from here. And that raises a question: How can we get a piece of the action? That's your business, uniquely.

It is citizens such as yourselves that are in the vanguard of such a revolution if it is to come—if you desire it to come. For all the students and all the dissidents on earth are not sufficient in themselves to reverse the direction of a society. Ultimately, in a democracy, the complicity of people such as yourselves is essential. It is going to be your impatience with the direction we are heading that can reverse its course. It is your fear for the future that will shape it. It is going to be your insistence that we return to some semblance of a humane society, that can recreate it.

I think it would be most perilous if those of my generation sat back passively and let the kids monopolize the revolution game—and get a comer on all the idealism that's going around.

Perhaps it's time for all of us and especially people in your business to say to both political parties—we have had enough of surtaxes upon taxes to subsidize defense industry; that there must be an end to curtailment of essential social investment here at home in order to finance corrupt oligarchies and immoral and unjust wars abroad.

Perhaps it's time the people in this country said to both political parties that the revolution we want is to re-establish such agencies as the Department of Health, Education and Welfare as something more important than the Spanish-American War Monuments Commission.

I know we all get irritated with politicians at times.

A prominent churchman once said, "I still believe in God, in spite of the clergy." Well, I still believe in democracy, in spite of the politicians.

I think the thing for us to do is to go out and do some politicking of our own.

You remember that a delegation once called on Franklin Roosevelt when he was President in order to lobby for something or other. He saw them and said, "Well, you have persuaded me; now go out in the country and have pressure brought to bear on me so that I can do what you want." (I wasn't trying to be funny with that observation.) I think there is a great moral there. Very frequently there is the willingness on the part of an office holder or a policy maker to do the right thing, but what is missing is the state of public opinion that would support a given action he would like to undertake. The fact is that government needs the prod of pressure groups.

Each individual can do a lot. Many of us think we can't. Look at Ralph Nader. I think that Nader has spectacularly demonstrated, acting for the most part as a one-man lobby for the interests of the public at large, what can be done by an individual. In an earlier day, if you've forgotten it, Upton Sinclair demonstrated the same thing. This is how you make things happen in a democracy.

We must act to help people who need help. That's one way we can act. But there is another thing in the course of an action we dare never forget and that is that we must also understand how to provide that help constructively. I don't feel that in a meeting like this I should overlook that.

I'd like to ask you a question. Why is it that it seems so much easier to accomplish these ends that all of you seek, in hard times, than it is to accomplish them in good times? Curiously, it is particularly difficult in times of affluence to avoid being parochial and condescending in our attitudes about "helping" people. For the first time now we're finding among those who need help, articulate spokesmen. They've spoken here at today's meeting. What they're saying is something that is terribly important. What they're saying is, money matters, but it doesn't matter as much as the manner in which it is made available. So it's not just good enough to alleviate hardship; one must understand the human things and that again is uniquely your role.

I guess really what I want to say is that, finally, we must develop understanding that a man's pride matters terribly. In hard times, everybody is poor, and so the problems with identity and individual alienation aren't as great. In times of great affluence, on the other hand, the successful people have a tendency, a very natural tendency to say, "I made it; why can't you?"

The fact is there is often a reason why he can't make it. He may not have the natural qualities. He may not have the acquisitive drive that enables him to make it. It may be because we are not all born equal in our capacities—and we really aren't. The man who can't quite make it may be simply incapable of facing the kind of competition we have set up in our society. And that's another job for people like you—to make people understand that.

If the buck is not the be-all and the end-all and if we care at all about the human spirit—if we care about not only preserving a man's life, but preserving his pride and integrity as well—if we care about the integrity of his character in a philosophical sense then we have come far enough so that we understand that those who are being helped should have a feeling of being, themselves, involved in the helping process. And I compliment you for understanding that and I urge you to make other people understand that.

That is why we now seek to look among the poor for spokesmen. Who can better understand what it is to be poor, than a poor man?

I say again—rehabilitation matters. But what matters most—and certainly you understand this—is something else. What we are really talking about in a larger context, is the rehabilitation of the human spirit. Let us deal with other human beings who are in need not on the basis of a belief that there are some things at fault in them that they are in need, but that perhaps there is something wrong with our society, that they are brought to the point of needing.

Let us relate that to our contemporary values, to our morality, to our ethics. For we are dealing with the materials of human stuff, and there is more to giving than the receiving of a check through the mail.

Athens in the age of Pericles—New England in the days of the Transcendentalists—Washington at the time of Jefferson and Roosevelt—these serve as reminders that greatness does not depend on size, nor does size necessarily bring greatness. For the true measure of man is more than the size of his metropolises or the megatonnage of his destructive capability. I think the quality of our society—like all societies—is determined by our system of values and—what is more—by the consistency and honesty with which we make our actions congruent with the values we profess.

If you'll forgive my quoting from the Bible once more, (I'm not a preacher), in the Psalms it is written: "The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; they have ears but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths. They that make them are like them; so is everyone that trusts them."

Our idols, if our civilization is to survive, must stop being the trappings of our pomp and power; our idols must once again be our ideals.

A few years back, Alistair Cooke said, "America may end in spontaneous combustion, but never in apathy, inertia, or uninventiveness." I hope he's right.

That's the nature of our challenge. And uniquely again, I say especially to this gathering, the nature of your challenge is to invent new solutions for age-old problems with which you deal, as well as to revive some old values. We must rid ourselves of some of the new problems we have produced by abandoning those values.

This is the burden of true patriots, and if we can do this, then we can certainly fulfill this dream of rehabilitating the spirit of man.

I've been pretty negative, but there are many signs that we are moving forward. Some people are like what the small boy said about the mule, "They're awfully backward about going forward."

But as Aristotle said, "Man is a political animal."

That just about sums up what we know about political science to this day.

Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath put it another way: "We are the people." she said. And that's really what matters. We are the people and so are the people we must help.

So I guess what really matters is hope. Perhaps what really matters more is belief—belief in man, belief in the dignity of man. Few people are dedicated to anything. You must be dedicated to at least a belief in man or you wouldn't be doing the job you're doing.

A couple of thousand years ago Sophocles sat by the wine-dark Aegean Sea and wrote:

Numberless are the world's wonders,
But none more wonderful than man;
The storm-grey sea yields to his prows,
The huge crests bear him high;
Earth, holy and inexhaustible,
Is graven with shining furrows
Where his plows have gone...

I think all of us, and especially, I say again, the people of your profession, can usefully subscribe to those words.

Back to Contents

MONITOR MINIATURES

On September 25 President Nixon sent a special message to Congress outlining his proposals for changes in the Social Security Act. These changes were:

* * * * * *

The nation's first touring exhibit of art for the blind was given a preview showing in San Francisco recently. The exhibit, organized by the California State Arts Commission, will be documented in Braille and will include audio aids. The California show includes wood, bronze and marble sculpture, fabrics, and a piece of eighteenth century French armor. It will tour the state for a year.

* * * * * *

In 1968 a little more than two million Americans received some or all of their income through the Federal old-age assistance program and constituted one-tenth of all persons in the nation sixty-five years of age and over. In the past eighteen years the number of old age assistance recipients has dropped from more than one in every five elderly persons to about one in ten. The major reason for this drop has been the growth of the old-age and survivors' insurance program under Social Security, both in the amount of money payments and in the types of persons covered. There are now about sixteen million elderly beneficiaries under Social Security.

* * * * * *

A well-known British surgeon states that "eye strain" through looking at television, prolonged close reading, or any other form of visual activity is largely a myth. This and other "old wives' tales" about the eyes are included in a booklet published by the British Medical Association and entitled "So Now You Know About Your Eyes".

* * * * * *

It may soon be possible for the blind to have a new instrument that will greatly increase the amount of literature available and make the task of reading much easier. The new device, under development by the Atomic Energy Commission's Argonne National Laboratory will take symbols recorded on ordinary magnetic tape and play them back as patterns of raised dots which can then be read from a moving belt on an instrument smaller than a portable typewriter.

* * * * * *

The new Governor's Advisory Committee to the Kentucky Division of Services for the Blind met recently in Louisville. Six of the ten-member Committee are blind, five of whom are members of the Kentucky Federation of the Blind. Three subcommittees have been appointed—Business Enterprise, Legislative, and Public Relations.

* * * * * *

President Eduardo Frei of Chile recently signed into law a bill giving 30,000 blind Chileans, previously disenfranchised, the right to vote.

* * * * * *

An opinion handed down by a special three-judge Federal court in Portland, Oregon, rules unconstitutional a regulation permitting the Oregon Welfare Commission to terminate public assistance grants without giving the recipient a hearing. The court held that due process requires welfare recipients to be informed by letter seven days before the termination date why their aid is being cut off and invited to attend a hearing on the causes. The decision requires that the written notice to the recipient contain reasons for the proposed action and notice that the recipient will be provided a hearing before an impartial person prior to the termination of his aid; notice that his assistance payment will continue during the hearing and after until notice of the decision is mailed to him; and notice that he may be represented by legal counsel at the hearing and bring witnesses and evidence. At the hearing the recipient may examine welfare commission documents and records that bear on his case and may cross examine witnesses brought against him.

* * * * * *

Recently a fifteen year old blind youth from Cincinnati followed the pilot's instructions and brought a plane in for a perfect landing after only fifteen minutes of flying time. It was the first time a totally blind person had landed an airplane, as far as old-time pilots could remember. The youth received a letter from President Nixon telling him of the President's admiration for his enthusiasm and skill behind the controls.

* * * * * *

When the producers of Lassie filmed an episode about a blind youngster, they helped provide a valuable public service at the same time. Actors in the episode included children from the Braille Institute of America in Los Angeles. They were issued Braille scripts and made to feel comfortable in the woods. Lassie's producers built a "Braille trail" in San Bernardino National Forest. Following the trail's guide rope, the children find Braille placques that help them experience nature through their hands and ears.

* * * * * *

Mrs. Cynthia Morrison writes to the Monitor that she is very interested in enrolling in a school of broadcasting in her home state of Georgia and needs any information about blind broadcasters that is available so that she can work out her arrangements with the school. If any readers of the Monitor has any such information, Mrs. Morrison can be contacted by mail at the following address: 913 Worley Drive, Marietta, Georgia 30060.

* * * * * *

Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Robert H. Finch recently announced the appointment of Edward Newman as Commissioner, Rehabilitation Services Administration, Social and Rehabilitation Service, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

* * * * * *

The Michigan Council Bulletin reports: A Berkley, Michigan college student who technically has enough credits to graduate with a teaching degree is having a hard time fulfilling her last requirement—student teaching. Mrs. Carol Kilpatrick, age thirty, a Wayne State University student is trying to prove her teaching ability at Anderson Junior High, Berkley. She observes an eighth and ninth grade home economics class and occasionally teaches. Wayne State Counsellors, however, have told her "very forcefully," she said, that they don't know whether they can place her in a student teaching position. Part of the reason for her difficulty getting a student teaching position, she said, is that the Detroit School System does not hire blind teachers. The suburbs, she noted, are in high demand by student teachers. Once Mrs. Kilpatrick obtains her teaching degree, she hopes to teach a sighted class. Her advisors have warned her, however, she said, that her chosen field of home life is a highly visual field. It includes cooking and sewing.

For one entire day, Mrs. Kilpatrick said she instructed the class on consumer buying. "The day went just fine," she said. She would like to teach consumer information at Anderson Junior High School one day a week from the end of March through June. Wayne State counsellors, she said, have not yet approved the teaching as independent study for credit. Mrs. Kilpatrick said she feels optimistic about her future. "If given a chance to go into student teaching, that will be my proving ground, my selling point to obtain a job." "I have self confidence. I tell myself I can do anything, although I still get discouraged."

* * * * * *

Mrs. Ruth Barr, an occupational therapist of suburban Webster Groves, Missouri, has developed a system of writing Braille from left to right. Mrs. Barr first came in to contact with the Braille system eight years ago at McMillan Hospital. She explains simply, "I saw the need for something better." Basically, her new idea for Braille writing is to make the stylus hollow instead of pointed, and put little bumps instead of hollows on the slate. Then the blind could write from left to right. [Reprinted with permission from United Press International.]

* * * * * *

A thirty-three year old man, John Mulvihill from Union New Jersey, earned his Yellow Belt degree in Judo last month. Mulvihill's story stands apart from the ordinary because he has been blind for nineteen years. Mulvihill has been taking Judo instructions for almost two years at the Mount Carmel Guild Center for the Visually Handicapped, Newark, where he is also employed as a public relations man. The class meets weekly under the direction of Frank Dalton, a former Marine from Piscataway and holder of a Brown Belt. Mulvihill was the first of the students deemed ready for promotion and he was examined by John Cook, chief instructor of the New Brunswick Judo Club and holder of a third degree Black Belt. The examination was based on ability to demonstrate various Judo throws, grappling and strangle techniques, and Japanese terminology. At the conclusion of the examination, Cook awarded the Yellow Belt to John, whose promotion is being transmitted to and recorded with Kodokan Judo College on Tokyo, Japan. [Reprinted from the Union (New Jersey) Leader.]

* * * * * *

Temple University's new School of Social Work has accepted two blind students for the fall term. The acceptance came after a three-month effort by one of the blind applicants, Ercole Oristaglio, to obtain admission in spite of his handicap. His acceptance had been postponed because of the newness of the school and concern that it would not be able to give Oristaglio the full advantages of the program. Dr. Simon Slavin, Dean of the new School, said the decision was reversed after assurances from the Social Rehabilitation Service, Washington, D.C., that it would help provide supervisors for the two blind students. Oristaglio, fifty-five, a social worker with Philadelphia's Department of Health, said he was "very grateful". Also accepted was Mary Alice Shibe, twenty-three, a case worker with the Working Blind. [Reprinted with permission from the Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) Bulletin.]

* * * * * *

The Officers and Staff of the National Federation of the Blind extend to Federationists everywhere the warmest Season's Greetings and wishes for a Happy New Year. The year 1969 witnessed phenomenal growth in all areas of Federation activities—new affiliates, new interest, new Monitor readers by the hundreds, new progress on the legislative front. The President has welded the Officers and Staff into an efficient team and has persuaded many others in the organization to lend their time and talents to our efforts. Countless members have added their individual strength. May the New Year find all Federationists working toward our mutual goals of Equality, Opportunity, Security for blind people everywhere.
—The Editors.

Back to Contents