THE BRAILLE MONITOR

Voice of the National Federation of the Blind

JULY 1971

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

THE BRAILLE MONITOR

Published monthly in inkprint, Braille, and on talking book discs
Distributed free to the blind by the National Federation of the Blind
President: Kenneth Jernigan, 524 Fourth Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50309

EDITOR: Perry Sundquist, 465 1 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.

Printed at 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708

TABLE OF CONTENTS

THE AFFILIATE THAT COULDN'T AND WASN'T
by Kenneth Jernigan

D.C. BLIND VENDORS WIN BATTLE
by Timothy Hutchens

DRASTIC CUTBACKS IN FOOD STAMP PROGRAM

BLIND, BUT NOT HANDICAPPED
by Jeanne Vap

PRIORITIES: THE FORD-JERNIGAN EXCHANGE

EYES NOT MOST IMPORTANT AT ALL
by Ray Schrick

NFB OPPOSES WAGNER-O'DAY AMENDMENTS

BLIND PARAPLEGIC SUCCESSFUL
by Thomas Grubisich

VIRGINIA CONVENTION
by Ruth Drummond

BLIND COEDS BECOME ADEPT
by Jim Donovan

MEET OUR STATE PRESIDENT--CARL LARSON AND MEET ONE OF OUR MINNESOTA AFFILIATES

RECIPE OF THE MONTH
by Thelma Dinsmore

PROGRESS IN THE FUCINARI AND WECKERLY CASES

FATHER THOMAS J. CARROLL
by Rosamond Critchley

THE PROCESSION FORWARD

MISSOURI REORGANIZES

FROM THE ARCHIVES

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MARY HUGO
by Thelma Emrick

CONGRESSMAN CORBETT DIES

THE WEST VALLEY CHAPTER IS ON THE MOVE!
by Robert Acosta

D.C. CONVENTION
by Jim Doherty

LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS OF THE BLIND: HOW TO BUILD AND STRENGTHEN THEM
by Kenneth Jernigan

MONITOR MINIATURES

THE AFFILIATE THAT COULDN'T AND WASN'T

by Kenneth Jernigan

For quite some time I have been intending to discuss with Federationists a problem which I believe needs attention. I was turning over in my mind several possible approaches when an exchange of letters brought the problem to such sharp focus that I decided to give it immediate attention.

A student in an eastern state wrote to me some time ago and asked for information about the NFB. I sent him banquet speeches, philosophical articles, and other background material. In a letter dated March 16, 1971, he wrote to me as follows:

"I would like to thank you for all the information you sent me about the NFB. Could you please tell me if there is a branch of the National Federation of the Blind in [my state] ... I would also like to know how does one join the Federation. After listening to all the information that was sent to me I firmly believe that we have the right of self organization and that we blind people should and must organize so we could be first class citizens of America. We still face many problems, but a strong organization such as the NFB could really help a great deal, which it already has. I also believe students should take an active part in the movement because we also face many problems. Thank you for your cooperation.

Sincerely yours,

--------------”

As you might expect, I was delighted to receive this letter. Here was a young blind person who had taken the trouble to inform himself and was now anxious and willing to join the movement and work to improve the condition of the blind. Accordingly, on April 9, 1971, I wrote to him as follows:

"Dear ----------:

I have your letter and am pleased that you would like to become a part of the organized blind movement. Yes, the National Federation of the Blind does have an affiliate in [your state] ... It is -----------. Its President is -----------, address -----------. Also, there is a chapter in [your city] . . . My latest records indicate that its President is ----------, address -----------. By joining one of the affiliates of the ----------- you automatically become a member of the National Federation of the Blind.

Cordially,

Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind"

I confess that I felt some satisfaction and some uplift in spirit after writing that letter. It is good to have young people seeking a way to join our movement, and it is not every day that the national president can bring a new member into a local chapter. Imagine, then, my feelings upon receiving the following letter from the president of the local chapter in question. Dated April 16, 1971, it said:

"Dear Sir,

"Your letter to -------------,in regards to join some Blind Organization, We are a private Blind Association, We do not take in new members only by recogintion of one of our members in good standing of our Association, then they must be interviewed by three members on our membership committee.

"Weare limited to fifty members which we have now a waiting lestof some length to join.

"We are only interest in our Association so please don't send us any letters only which would be of use to us or the [state organization] . . . and don't send us any more records from 2652 Shasta Rood Berkeley California 94708.

"Inclosed find a picture of our Hall a show place in -----, builded by use and paid for Cash.

"We do not receive any assistance from the City,Country, State or Federal Government, we are self supporting.

"We take many trips to many places, as on September 20th, 1969, we took a trip to Washington D.C., to the White House by a special invitation from Mr. & Mrs., Richard M. Nixon President of the U.S.A. a personal friend of our Comptroller,

"We have social nights on the third Satursday in the month dinner at 6 o'clock and if you are in our city at that time come have dinner with us.

As ever yours
President"

Many thoughts go through one's mind upon receipt of such a letter. The first impulse is to write back and say, "What kind of kooks are you?" The second impulse is to write to the local affiliate and point out some of the facts of life.

As a chapter of their state organization they are also a local affiliate of the NFB. As such, they are bound by the policies and constitution of the national body. This means, among other things, that they cannot have "closed membership"--assuming that they would want to, which seems to defy all logic and common sense.

Of course, one is also tempted to make other comments about the letter. Its arrogant provincialism is only exceeded by its pathetic attempt to achieve status by talking of visiting the President of the United States. One could wonder just how close the "friendship" between the comptroller and President Nixon is; and if, indeed, such friendship exists, what the local president did while in personal conference at the White House to bring to the attention of President Nixon the Disability Insurance Bill and other problems affecting the blind. In fact, is it more significant that the local group took a trip to Washington or that they spurn a blind applicant for membership and tell us that they have others who are receiving the same treatment? How lacking in perception! What a failure to understand what the real problems of blindness are and what the purpose of organization is! How naive to think that the problems of their locality or their state can be separate from the problems of other blind people in the nation and, indeed, that they can solve their local problems (if they admit that they have any) by a policy of closed membership.

As I say, one's first impulse is to say all of these things, but that impulse passes. The state president must be contacted and informed of the local irresponsibility and lack of understanding. Discussion must be initiated concerning constitutional conformity and a determination made as to whether the local really wishes to remain an affiliate (and even if it does) whether it is the kind of group which we want. Above all, the blind student must be reassured that this is not the typical local chapter and that he is welcome and needed in the movement.

Almost without exception the state and local affiliates of the NFB are organizations in which we can take pride. It is a pleasure to be able to refer new members to them. Sometimes, however, I feel a twinge of discomfort when a newcomer has read our material, become enthusiastic, and asks how he can join, and I must refer him to a state or local affiliate that I know is inactive, or worse. Some local groups (and, as I say, they are few and becoming fewer) are still primarily coffee and cake outfits, thinking only of recreation or local problems. They do not identify with the national movement; do not think of their local meetings as meetings of the NFB; do not make available to their members correspondence and releases from the office of the national president; do not read and discuss The Monitor; do not, in other words, recognize the fact that they are part of the nationwide body and that they have common problems with all other people who are blind.

Recently, for instance, when I had traveled to a distant state to appear at the annual convention, a local blind woman told me that she was looking forward to being at the banquet. The next day she said to me: "I intended to come last night, but it was such a nice day that the river and the out-of-doors called. I am sure you understand."

To which I replied, "Yes, I understand."

A few minutes later a blind man (a friend of hers) came into the room and the woman said to me "I have been trying to get him to join the Federation but I haven't been able to get him to see the value of it."

I made some remark to the effect that "the world is like that" or, "Just keep working on him, and I am sure he will come around." I was tempted to say: "How can you expect him to believe the Federation is worthwhile and important? How much do you believe in it yourself?"

In another recent instance a state affiliate considered asking the national office of the Federation for a cash grant to help build membership. They had received financial assistance the year before. This year, they had a very successful fundraising activity which netted them more than $15,000. It apparently did not occur to them that, instead of asking for financial assistance, perhaps they should be making contributions. Some states, for instance, with far less income gave half of their net proceeds to the national body with generous contributions to the support of The Monitor, White Cane Week, the Jacobus tenBroek Memorial Endowment Fund, or the International Federation of the Blind.

This is in no sense a disparagement of those affiliates which need and seek help from the national office of the Federation. This is one of the reasons why the national body exists. Nor is it a criticism of those state or local affiliates that truly cannot afford to make large contributions. Rather it is a call to conscience and a plea to examine basic values. Some states, for example, do not ask for any reimbursement for delegates' expenses to the national Convention. Others (often with more resources) do. In a few instances (very few, I am glad to say) I have heard individuals comment something to the effect: "let's get all we can. After all, the NFB is paying for it." They seem to forget that they are the NFB, that every person in their state who receives The Monitor is getting over $12.00 a year from the national office of the Federation, that the Congressional battles are their battles, that the court cases against discrimination are their cases--in other words, that the movement is their movement and that they have responsibility for it.

On the other hand, I know an individual who is not in good health and has very little money who recently (without any fanfare or wish for recognition) gave $100 to the movement. It represented a large percentage of all of the possessions he has in the world. I know another individual who borrowed money to give $150 to a new member so that he could attend this year's Houston convention. The new member was told that he did not need to pay the money back but only to give an equal amount to help some member in the movement at a future time when he could afford it and it was needed.

We still have a ways to go, but as a movement we are steadily gaining in group identity and individual commitment and dedication. This is what makes us what we are, and this is why we are certain to prevail in our goals and objectives. As I said before, it is no game we play--this business of organization. It is as serious and important as the lives and destinies of us all. It is worth whatever we can bring to it in the way of talent, devotion, and energy. It is the greatest means we have of bringing a better life to all of the blind.

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D.C. BLIND VENDORS WIN BATTLE

by Timothy Hutchens

[Copyright 1971, the Washington (D. C.) Evening Star. Reprinted by permission.]

A corporation whose directors will include District officials, residents and blind vending stand operators will succeed the Washington Society for the Blind as manner for the sightless merchants in public buildings here. The District government has fired the society, effective June 30, as the organization providing general managerial services for the vendors. Expiring that date is a city contract for the work in Washington under terms of the federal Randolph-Sheppard Act, which gives preference to the blind as vendors in the buildings.

District officials have been displeased with the role of the society, which has provided the services since 1938. The Firing came after the D.C. Mayor's Advisory Council on Vocational Rehabilitation recommended in November that the society managed "a paternalistic, fear-producing and poorly operated program" for the vendors.

The nine-member board of directors of the new corporation will include Norman W. Pearson, director of vocational rehabilitation; Oreste F. Maltagliati, associate director of finance and revenue; Bernard M. Levy, chairman of the advisory council; Milton Perry and George R. Reed, president and vice-president of the operators association; and a representative for the U.S. General Services Administration. GSA is the landlord for most of the buildings where the stands are located. Still to be named to the board are three persons from the general public.

Vendors and city officials agreed on details for the non-profit corporation at a meeting in the District Building. Already incorporated, it is known as the District Enterprises for the Blind, Inc. The vendors' seventy-five stands in the District last year had gross sales of $4.2 million. The Washington Society for the Blind, a charitable organization, was organized in 1938 to help the operations.

The vendors association has complained in a lawsuit that the society has accumulated $500,000 in service fees from the receipts and that the money should be distributed to members. The society has declined to reveal how much it holds from the receipts, although U.S. District Court Judge William B. Bryant ordered an accounting within three months.

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DRASTIC CUTBACKS IN FOOD STAMP PROGRAM

For several years now, all recipients of public assistance have been automatically entitled to purchase food stamps, thus enabling them to stretch the food dollar in the face of inflationary prices. This has been a welcome resource to millions of persons in need.

However, all this is being changed by the new regulations which put severe limitations on family resources and methods of computing income. These new regulations were contained in the Federal Register of April 17, 1971 (35 F. R. 7320) and will take effect thirty days thereafter unless a dismayed public opinion forces a modification. It is estimated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new food stamp regulations would cut 350,000 recipients of public assistance from the program entirely and cause a severe reduction in benefits for another 1.5 million.

Almost all recipients of Aid to the Blind, Old Age Assistance, and Aid to the Disabled in California will be dropped from the program. In addition, recipients of Aid to the Blind in other states with relatively high grants in public assistance will be hard hit--such States as Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Pennsylvania. Under the new regulations a person with a total income of more than $160 a month will be ineligible, as will a couple with an income of more than $210 a month. Income is defined as, but not limited to, any of the following: compensation for services; net income from self-employment; payments received as an annuity, pension, or retirement; old-age survivors, disability benefits; and payments received from public assistance programs.

In view of the present high rates of unemployment and inflation in the country, it is difficult to conceive of revised regulations which are more ill-timed or callous in their effects on needy persons. Already the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Nutrition is taking testimony on the disastrous results of the revised regulations on the lives of recipients of public assistance and it is hoped that an aroused public opinion will compel the Department of Agriculture to rescind the proposals.

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BLIND, BUT NOT HANDICAPPED

by Jeanne Vap

[Reprinted by courtesy of the Sacramento (California) Union.]

Feeling for the latch, Dorothy Scott opened the screen door carefully. She wore tinted glasses and was well groomed with carefully coiffed white hair. A dog was barking in the background. "Be careful of the step," she cautioned. Miss Scott couldn't see the step herself. She is blind.

Across town, Peggy Hamblin sits in a wheelchair, recovering from a broken ankle. "Another dog attacked Din a. I got caught in the middle," she explained. Dina is a black labrador guide dog. More than a pet, Dina also is Mrs. Hamblin's eyesight.

Dorothy Scott and Peggy Hamblin have more than a handicap in common. They both love animals and are the "contact committee" for the Sacramento Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Guild.

Once a month they telephone all members to remind them of meetings and activities. The list is eighty names long--and in Braille. Running their fingers over the raised dots, Mrs. Hamblin and Miss Scott can read the names and numbers. It might take a little longer, but that doesn't slow them down.

"I joined SSPCA because I thought even if I just paid my dues it would help," said Dorothy Scott. "I've always loved animals. I know how to make up with them." Miss Scott has had bull dogs, cats, a maltese terrier--and now, a pug. She has never owned a guide dog. "I didn't feel I could keep a dog at my stand. It would be cruel to keep him lying on the cold floor." The "stand" was the State stand for the blind, a concession selling magazines and candy, which Miss Scott operated for twenty years.

"People who can see don't realize how much blind people can do," said Miss Scott. She is a case in point. In addition to working for SSPCA, Dorothy Scott also serves on her church music committee, solicits subscriptions for The Christian Science Monitor and is secretary for the California Council of the Blind, Sacramento Chapter.

"A job means so much," she said. Miss Scott managed her own stand so well that it got too big for her. "I had to hire help!"

The first blind student to attend Sacramento City College, she knew the frustration of sitting home for ten years because she couldn't find employment. "There are more work opportunities for blind people today," she concedes.

Although she didn't have time for volunteer work while she was working, Miss Scott has kept very busy with it since her retirement three years ago.

While Dorothy Scott is the "career girl," Peggy Hamblin is the homemaker on the SSPCA "telephone team."

Mrs. Hamblin worked for a while in the Oakland factory for the blind. That's where she met her husband, Lynn Hamblin, who also is handicapped. She carries a slate and stylus with her, as others would carry pencil and paper. And cooks delicious meals on a "well-marked"

"I first heard about SSPCA from a lady who drives us to bowling," she explained.

Mrs. Hamblin got Dina five years ago from the San Rafael Guide Dog School and life has been much easier for her since. "Dina is shorter than most guide dogs. She is twenty-four inches high-just my size," she explained. "It is so much better with her. I can go to the store by myself, and come home when I finish, instead of having to wait for a ride."

Dina's bed is in the Hamblin's bedroom. "She is always ready to go when I get the harness," she continued. "A dog takes on its owner's personality," Mrs. Hamblin is convinced. "Dina is very independent."

"Finding homes for orphan dogs" is the most important service provided by SSPCA, according to Mrs. Hamblin. "Dogs and cats need love too."

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PRIORITIES: THE FORD-JERNIGAN EXCHANGE

903 West Dickerson
Bozeman, Montana 59715
March 1, 1971

Mr Kenneth Jernigan, Director
Iowa State Commission for the Blind
Fourth and Keo
Des Moines, Iowa 50309

Dear Mr. Jernigan:

I have a letter from the University of Northern Colorado which tells me that if I am fully sighted (vision within the normal range) I may apply to be part of a program which is a concentration of study in mobility and is conducted in the summer months. This program is in conjunction with the masters degree program in Education of the Visually Handicapped child. I am wondering how such a distinction can be made legally. It seems to me that since the program is more than likely federally supported, the civil rights laws pertain to this kind of discrimination as well as in job opportunity itself. Is there anything that can be done so that blind people are given an opportunity to concentrate in mobility if one would wish to do so. I know that this vision thing is prevalent in other colleges and universities offering a similar master's degree. I also know that the reasoning behind it is that blind people, because they are blind, cannot teach someone how to use a cane. Still, since you and I don't believe that, is there anything that can be done to change things?

Sincerely,

Susan Ford

 

March 9, 1971

Mrs. Susan Ford
903 West Dickerson
Bozeman, Montana 59715

Dear Susan:

I believe it is general practice throughout the country for the programs training mobility instructors to discriminate against the blind. This is done on the grounds that a blind person cannot safely and effectively teach mobility to another blind person, and the reasons are cloaked in fancy-sounding and high-flown "professional" jargon. It is all done in the name of objectivity and scientific accuracy. But discrimination and ignorance are still discrimination and ignorance, regardless of the guise in which they travel.

In order to do something about the discrimination in the training of mobility instructors we would probably need to institute court action, massive political pressure, or wide-spread public protest. To do any or all of these things would require energy, manpower, and probably money. We have all three, but not in unlimited supply. Therefore, it is a matter of setting priorities. Which discrimination will we attack first? Which new opportunity will we try to make available?

Blind persons are being denied the right to go into that profession. They are being denied the right to use public transportation and to go to restaurants. They are facing discrimination after they are already on the job. On the positive side we must institute wide-spread programs in public education. We must open new jobs and create new training programs. The question is which of these things we will do first and which we will postpone.

Yes we can do something about the discrimination you mention. It is wrong, and it deserves attention. The only question is how soon we will have the manpower and resources to devote to it.

In the meantime if you feel like commencing battle, 'sic 'em. I will do all that I can to help you.

Cordially,

Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind

KJ/skl

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EYES NOT MOST IMPORTANT AT ALL

by Ray Schrick

[Reprinted by courtesy of the Wenatchee (Washington) World.]

There are things more important than eyes for seeing. You get that feeling talking with Gary Myrene. He's a counselor, dealing with the social and psychological and adjustment problems of kids. He's employed by the North Central Washington Center for Youth Services, a State agency.

Myrene, now thirty, has been blind in both eyes since a gym accident when he was a high school freshman. "You use other ways of learning than being able to see," says Myrene. Sound becomes an immediate key in unlocking another person's personality or in helping him make his way around town.

How successful is he? Each Wednesday morning, as part of his job, he travels. His wife takes him to Pangborn Field. There, he boards a charter flight of Magee Aviation with Pilot Tom Blaesing at the controls. Flying costs only slightly more than would the mileage paid if Myrene drove by private auto and it provides a much better schedule than other commercial means of travel for a day's business trip to the basin, he says. "There wasn't a single day I was unable to get down to Ephrata since last September," says the counselor. "But I wasn't always able to get back on schedule." When that happened, he boarded a train at Ephrata, arriving in Wentachee sometimes at 8 or 9 p.m.

Sound bouncing off objects, like radar, helps him get around. "You can tell how far away you are from objects by the echo," he explains. At a busy intersection, he says, "You watch the light signal. I listen to the cars." Buzz or click in the signal itself also may tell him when it changes. "You learn to pick up clues around you."

At the office, he makes a point of telling visitors, who otherwise might not notice right off, "I'm blind." In the case of children, if they have questions, he invites them to ask. In fact, being blind in some cases may help a counselor. "Kids are real fascinated with Braille," he says. "This can be a way of getting them involved." After a while, visitors sometimes forget he's blind. Some pull a family photo out of a wallet to show him.

More than one lady has told him she feels comfortable in the fact that she can't be seen while being interviewed. "They feel more accepted on what they are." A disadvantage of his not seeing, of course, is that facial expressions and other clues that come from seeing a person's appearance aren't available to him. Even this can be turned to a positive point, he says. "When you can't see Johnny's expression, some member of the family has to explain, 'Johnny really gets a hurt look on his face when dad says that.'" This helps members of the family start being aware of others, which sometimes may be one of the problems in the first place.

Being blind also can be an asset in counseling non-verbal kids, the toughest kind to work with. "I can't see the nod of a head, so it starts them talking." The soft-spoken counselor also has learned to pick up clues to another person's appearance by listening.

He can tell if you're talking with your head in your hands or looking directly at him. He knows, of course, if you're shifting around in your chair, or walking around the room. "A person may deny something is bothering him, yet if he clears his voice a lot or scoots around in his chair, it may tell you a different story," he explains. In fact, he says, "It's harder to disguise feelings in a voice than in a face. With a face, you can put on a front with a big smile. But if you know the signals, you can tell if a person is really happy underneath by his voice."

Although he works basically with the problems of kids up to eighteen years old, the child may often be only the symptom of a family problem, so counseling may involve working with the entire family.

Myrene became aware of his interest in the family as a social unit as an undergraduate majoring in sociology at University of Gonzaga in Spokane. Afterwards, he took his master's degree in social work at University of Washington graduate school. After graduation, he worked as a counselor for the Family Counseling Service, Seattle, from 1966 until coming here about a year ago.

His supervisor here, Vern Howeiler, says: "He's doing an excellent job. We're very glad to have him." Myrene still has firm faith in the family, despite the changes it has undergone from the tight-knit farm group of fifty years ago to today's sometimes loosely-fabricated unit. "I don't think it will go out of existence," he says. "Nothing works better than the family as a way of bringing up kids."

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NFB OPPOSES WAGNER-O'DAY AMENDMENTS

[Editor's Note: Following is the testimony presented by the NFB regarding S. 557, now before the House of Representatives. S. 557 passed the U. S. Senate unopposed.]

My name is John F. Nagle. I am appearing here today to express the opposition of the National Federation of the Blind to S. 557, a bill that would broaden the scope of the program under which blind-employing sheltered workshops make products for the Federal government, to allow sheltered workshops employing other severely handicapped persons to participate in this program. It is our conviction, Mr. Chairman, that enactment of S. 557 into Federal law would result in depriving employed blind persons of their jobs. It would deny employment opportunities to blind persons wanting to work.

As blind adults, the members of the National Federation of the Blind are acutely aware of the difficulties and the discriminations encountered by disabled persons seeking employment. Therefore, we are most sympathetic to any effort being made to provide job opportunities to non-blind severely handicapped people. But, Mr. Chairman, when proposed legislation may only serve to benefit non-blind severely handicapped people at the expense of blind people, when proposed legislation such as S. 557 may only create job opportunites for non-blind severely disabled people by taking existing jobs away from presently employed blind people, we cannot permit such a proposal and such a disastrous possibility to go unchallenged and unopposed.

Supporters of S. 557 will contend that under the bill, blind workers are assured protections of their interests by being given a preference, that only products for the government which cannot be made by the blind shops will be available for manufacture by the severely handicapped shops. We believe this statutorily designated preference as provided for in the bill assures little protection to blind workers and has slight value or meaning for them.

Decisions as to which products can or cannot be made by the blind and as to which services can or cannot be provided by the blind will be the responsibility of Committee members unfamiliar with the almost limitless capacity of blind people to perform competitively, competently, and efficiently. The Committee will be offered a choice between workers who cannot see and workers who can see though they have other physical or mental impairments, and it will be under heavy pressures from severely handicapped shops to give them work through the expanded Wagner-O'Day program. With these conditions and forces at work, Mr. Chairman, there is not the least doubt in our mind that the blind shops and the blind workers will get less-and-less product-manufacturing and service-providing work from the government, in spite of the preference built into the act to protect the jobs of blind workers.

However, Mr. Chairman, if we were living in boom times, with the demands of the Federal government for products and services insatiable, then the disregarding of the blind shop priority in S. 557 might have less harmful possibilities for blind workers, for we could expect there would be more work available than could be performed by both blind and severely handicapped shops. But as you well know, Mr. Chairman, we are not living in boom times, but in depression times, and so far as the blind shop workers and their dependency upon Wagner-O'Day government jobs are concerned, this depression has been increasing in intensity for the past several years as indicated by the diminishing gross business done by the blind shops for the Federal government.

During the fiscal year ending June 30, 1967, according to the annual report of National Industries for the Blind, $28.4 million worth of work was done under the Wagner-O'Day Act. Each year since fiscal 1967, however, there has been a continuing drop in the amount of such work done by the blind shops. It now appears, from figures available through February, 1971, ($6,765,000 or less than a million dollars a month) that fiscal year 1971 may only show about $12 million worth of Wagner-O'Day work done by the blind shops.

Mr. Chairman, to the blind workers who depend upon the Wagner-O'Day program for a living, this more than a fifty percent increase in government orders means fewer jobs for blind workers and substantially smaller earnings for the blind workers who remain working. And as though diminished government business were not enough of a calamity, the blind shopworkers now face the strong possibility of even less work under the Wagner-O'Day Act if S. 557 is enacted into Federal law.

We urge this Committee and the Congress, therefore, to reject S. 557.

We ask you to recognize the hazards this measure portends for blind persons presently employed under the Wagner-O'Day Act, for the blind persons who might be employed under this Act in the future.

But, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee: If you determine to give your approval to S. 557, then we recommend that you amend S. 557 as we suggest:

1. Protection of blind preference

Although S. 557 as drafted provides for a preference to non-profit agencies for the blind in the making of commodities and the providing of services for the Federal government, we believe, if this priority is to effectively protect the jobs of blind workers, S. 557 must be amended as follows:

"Section 2 is amended by adding at the end thereof a new subsection:

"(c) Research and development including on-the-job testing by blind workers of varied productive capacity, shall be conducted by the Committee to determine if a commodity may be produced or a service provided by qualified non-profit agencies for the blind, and at the close of each fiscal year, the Committee shall submit to Congress a report of such research and development, indicating the nature and extent of the inquiry conducted for each commodity and service and giving in ample detail the reasons for determining the inability of blind workers employed in qualified non-profit agencies for the blind to produce such commodity or to provide such service."

Adoption of this amendment, we believe, will strengthen the intent expressed in the bill to secure and protect the interests of blind workers engaged in earning a living under the Wagner-O'Day Act.

2. Upgrading wages and working conditions in sheltered workshops

Mr. Chairman, when compared with wages paid in open industry and benefits available and accepted as a right of employment and generally assured to workers in open industry throughout the entire nation, the wages and working conditions in sheltered workshops operated as places of employment for blind and other severely handicapped persons are miserably and grossly substandard.

Handicapped workers--blind workers and other severely handicapped workers--are paid sub-minimum wages by authority of special provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Many of them are not afforded Workmen's Compensation protection. Social Security-based retirement, disability, survivors and health benefits, and unemployment compensation coverage. They are denied the protection of Federal law in the exercise of their right to organize and bargain for improvement of wages and working conditions with shop management.

Mr. Chairman, during the second session of the 91st Congress, the Senate approved an amendment to the House-passed unemployment compensation bill, to provide unemployment compensation coverage for handicapped persons working in sheltered workshops. Unfortunately, however, spokesmen for sheltered shop management led by Goodwill Industries and including many blind-employing shops, were able to persuade the House-Senate Conferees to reject the handicapped-workers-benefiting amendment, contending it would be so prohibitively costly it would force some sheltered shops to close down.

But, Mr. Chairman, sheltered shop management did not object to provisions of the unemployment-compensation-amending bill which would bring physically fit managerial personnel within unemployment compensation coverage. They did not contend that extension of this benefit to physically fit shop employees would be so prohibitively costly that shops would have to close down--even though many of these non-profit agencies for the blind and severely handicapped have far more unimpaired management employees than impaired sheltered shop workers on their payrolls.

From the foregoing, Mr. Chairman, it is apparent to the National Federation of the Blind and to all handicapped people that handicapped workers in sheltered workshops can expect little in the way of bettered wages and working conditions to result from action of sheltered shop management alone.

Therefore, Mr. Chairman, we commend to your attention and for your approval, an amendment of the Wagner-O'Day Act through S. 557, that will upgrade the wages and benefits to blind workers and to other severely handicapped workers employed by qualified non-profit agencies which produce commodities or provide services to the Federal government under the Act.

We propose that S. 557 be amended as follows:

"Section 4(d) is amended by adding at the end thereof a new clause:

"(3) in order for any qualified non-profit agency for the blind or any qualified non-profit agency for other severely handicapped to produce commodities or provide services to the Federal government under this Act, it must submit documentary evidence to the Committee that it:

"(A) Pays the prevailing hourly minimum wage specified in Section 6 of the Fair Labor Standards Act to its blind or other severely handicapped employees;

"(B) Accepts jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Act;

"(C) Provides retirement, disability, survivors, and health benefits coverage, under titles II and XVIII of the Social Security Act to its blind or other severely handicapped employees;

"(D) Provides unemployment compensation coverage under the Employment Security Act to its blind and other severely handicapped employees;

"(E) Provides Workmen's Compensation coverage in accordance with applicable Federal and State laws and regulations to its blind and other severely handicapped employees;

"(F) Accepts jurisdiction and adheres to all federal, state, county, and city Occupational Health and Safety Standards laws, ordinances, and regulations; and

"(G) Any qualified non-profit agency for the blind or any qualified non-profit agency for other severely handicapped which produces commodities or provides services to the Federal government under this Act relinquishes and waives any exemption or exclusion it might enjoy by reason of its non-profit status or for any other reason and accepts jurisdiction of and is bound by all federal, state, county, and city laws, ordinances, and regulations described in the foregoing provisions of this clause."

3. Requirement of seventy-five percent blind or other severely handicapped in direct labor

Mr. Chairman, another much needed improvement in the Wagner-O'Day Act and S. 557 is a clarification of how much blind labor or how much other severely handicapped labor must be employed in producing any commodity or providing any service to the Federal government under the Act.

Regulations promulgated by the Committee on Blind-Made Products have been interpreted by the Committee, we believe, erroneously and to the great disadvantage of blind sheltered shop employees.

"It has been the consistent and long-standing interpretation of the Committee that the provision in the Committee regulations requiring seventy-five percent blind employment on direct labor on 'all commodities' means that blind persons must perform seventy-five percent of the workshop's total direct labor on the totality of all products produced by the workshop; it does not mean, it was not intended to mean, that blind persons must perform seventy-five percent of the direct labor on each and every particular product produced by the workshops."

The National Federation of the Blind believes the above interpretation is contrary to the spirit and purpose of the Wagner-O'Day Act, an act intended by Congress to promote and increase the employment of blind persons and this interpretation controls and limits the employment of blind persons.

As a direct result of the application of this restrictive interpretation, Mr. Chairman, it is possible for a product to be produced and sold to the Federal government under the Wagner-O'Day Act with no blind labor at all or a very small percentage of blind labor involved.

It is possible under this injuriously restrictive interpretation of the Committee on Blind-Made Products, Mr. Chairman, for hirings or firings to occur in a blind shop and only sighted workers be hired at the same time blind workers are being fired for lack of work.

Now, Mr. Chairman, an effort is being made to impose this erroneous and injurious interpretation of the Wagner-O'Day Act statutorily by including it in the provisions of S. 557.

We believe the goal, and the only goal, of the Wagner-O'Day Act, of providing maximum employment opportunities for blind workers and for other severely handicapped workers under the Act will best be served by requiring at least seventy-five percent direct blind labor or seventy-five percent direct other severely handicapped labor in the production of any separate and single commodity and in the providing of any and each service to the Federal government under the Act.

Toward this end, we offer the following amendment to S. 557:

"The two sentences in Section 4(d)(1) are amended by striking out the words 'during the fiscal year for the production of such commodities' and inserting in lieu thereof 'for the production of any commodity;'

"The two sentences in Section 4(d)(2) are amended by striking out 'during the fiscal year in the provision of such services' and inserting in lieu thereof 'in provision of any service'."

Mr. Chairman, there may be those who will argue to this Committee not only for the retention of the seventy-five percent blind or other severely handicapped direct labor on all work done during a year rule, but they may even try to persuade you that the seventy-five percent figure is far too high, and they may urge that sixty percent would be more reasonable as a requirement.

You may even be asked to entirely remove this requirement from the Wagner-O'Day program, thereby allowing blind or other severely handicapped shop management to use twenty-five percent or ten percent blind or other severely handicapped labor under the Act--or no blind or other severely handicapped labor at all.

If these arguments are offered to you, Mr. Chairman, they will be offered by those more concerned with the production achieved by a shop, than by the number of jobs it provides blind and other severely handicapped workers.

We plead with you to reject these misleading arguments that would place gross business of a shop above jobs for handicapped persons.

We plead with you to reject the arguments that would convert the Wagner-O'Day program into a program where much work is done but done by physically fit workers with little work at all, or no work at all, done by blind workers, or by other severely handicapped workers.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, if this Congress enacts S. 557 into Federal law, the lives of thousands of blind and other severely handicapped men and women will be affected by the results.

They will be either harmed or helped, their expectations smashed or fulfilled, their opportunities for independence and dignified employment or dependence and humiliating public welfare determined as their destiny.

We ask you, therefore, to assume continuing Congressional responsibility for the fair and successful operation of the Wagner-O'Day Act by requiring by amendment to S. 557 that, each year, the Committee or Committees created under the Act make a full and thorough accounting of their stewardship of the Act to the Congress.

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BLIND PARAPLEGIC SUCCESSFUL

by Thomas Grubisich

[Reprinted by courtesy of The Washington (D.C.) Post.]

In 1964, when he was recovering from an explosion that left him badly burned and a blind paraplegic, James Caldwell was too weak to do many simple tasks in his new apartment. "I decided I couldn't pour coffee out of a pot," he recalled. "I was afraid I'd drop it and burn myself. So I bought an urn--a ten-cup urn that had a spout that I could turn. But, you know, coffee doesn't taste very good if you reheat it a couple of times. So I bought a four-cup coffee pot, and I learned how to pour it."

After mastering the four-cup pot, Caldwell learned--or relearned-other, harder tasks. Eventually he learned how to program computers (he was a mechanical engineer before his incapacitating accident), and in 1967 he placed a portfolio on the desk of a personnel officer at the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company. "I decided to have everything I could do hardbound, so that if a guy said he didn't want me, that meant he didn't want to hire blind people."

The phone company hired Caldwell. Today, at thirty-three, he is a staff associate at the company's big Fairland Data Center on Columbia Pike in Montgomery County.

Hanging on the glass partition of his office is the National Rehabilitant Award, the only such honor given by the federal government in its fifty-year history of rehabilitation programs. Next to the award is a letter of commendation from President Nixon. Caldwell found the presidential letter recently in a pile of mail at the foot of the door of his Silver Spring home.

On August 9, 1962, Caldwell was in the backyard of his Annapolis home preparing to barbecue some dinner steaks. "I had the world before me," he recalled. "I was just out of the service, I had a wife, a new job, a new car, two poodles--everything a young engineer should have."

Then the charcoal-lighting fluid he was using exploded in his hand. He was burned over seventy percent of his body. At the hospital, infection attacked his central nervous system, leaving him blind and paralyzed from the waist down.

Caldwell recalls coming out of a coma: "I came to. I told the nurse I had to sail on the Lusitania. This history book, I remember, said it was torpedoed. I sure didn't want to be on it and find myself in the cold Atlantic. Then the nurse told me I was at Johns Hopkins. I said Johns Hopkins was sure a damn funny name for a ship."

Once out of a coma, Caldwell did not immediately become aware of the extent of his catastrophe. He was so weakened by bums that he only gradually realized he could not move his legs at all.

A doctor at Johns Hopkins told him, he remembers, "I couldn't live anywhere but in a 'protected environment.' I knew what that meant--a six-bed ward."

Caldwell didn't want to live in a six-bed ward, so he called the state Division of Rehabilitation, which got him admitted to Montebello Hospital in Baltimore, one of the three state-run institutions for treatment of chronic disease.

"They carried me in stark naked under a sheet," he said. "Everything I owned was in a paper bag."

At Montebello, Caldwell learned Braille, typing and how to maneuver in a wheelchair all his waking hours. Still debilitated, he began lifting barbells. "People think of physical therapy as back rubs and whirlpool baths," he said. "But it's hard work and a lot of sweat."

At Montebello he worked closely with a counselor, Gene Spurrier, also blind. Spurrier had helped him through the first crushing days at Johns Hopkins. Recalling their first meeting, Caldwell said, "Here I was, crippled from the waist down, blind, and still passing out now and then, and he said, 'Things could be worse. You could be deaf.'"

Recovery, Caldwell said, was like being reborn and going through the stages of life he had already experienced. He clearly remembers progressing, a second time, through childhood and adolescence. The periods, though telescoped, were vividly real for him.

From Montebello, Caldwell went to his new apartment, to begin his second life on his own. There, existing on Social Security disability funds and insurance payments, he prepared himself for a new career. A federal government worker, John DeRuyder, tape-recorded computer courses for him Caldwell wrote a Braille program and DeRuyder "debugged" it. All this work went into Caldwell's hardbound portfolio.

In his first job with the telephone company, Caldwell worked at the Cockeysville, Maryland, data center. One of the inconveniences was the cafeteria. "It was a little tough to get down there for coffee during lunch hour," he said. "So I asked the girl there if she could run up some coffee to my office. Her cup of coffee was the best one I ever bought. Karen and I were married in September, 1967." (He and his first wife had divorced.)

The Caldwells are building a home in Columbia. Caldwell is excited about the new town in Howard County. "I want to make that place so that if there is a handicapped child there, he will have a place to go," he said. "They've got bikeways there. If you can ride a bike on them, you can ride a wheelchair."

Caldwell is president of the free preschool nursery for blind children sponsored by the Silver Spring Lions Club. The major problem there, he said, is not having too many children, but not finding enough. Many blind children who don't go to a special preschool haven't learned what they need to know to go to the state school when they are five, he said. One of the students at the Lions-sponsored preschool, for example, was nine when he came and still in diapers and unable to talk.

Caldwell doesn't like the term "disabled worker," usually applied to him and other people with handicaps. "The only question an employer should have," he said, "is can this person do as good a job as someone else. I perform a useful function. I don't see how I could be called disabled. If a handicapped person works only half a day, then he should get paid for only half a day."

Employers should say, lie said, "No charity, no special breaks, just competitive pay for competitive work." Caldwell adds: "The handicapped, like any other broad segment of the population, range from the chronic complainer seeking only the greatest return for the least output of effort to the most determined worker seeking to find fulfillment in meaningful employment."

Caldwell refers lo handicapped people as a "virtual labor pool." He has drawn up a proposal telling the phone company how it can match more jobs to people with handicaps.

He said a recent experience of his own opened up a new job classification for blind people. During a strike by phone workers, executives were trying to find a spot that Caldwell could fill. They decided to put him in the "automatic interceptor" job, where an operator routes callers to a new-number listing.

The strike ended before Caldwell could begin the job, but he suggested that blind people be hired for the classification since it did not require visual skills. And now they fill the automatic-interceptor jobs.

There are an estimated five million to nine million handicapped persons in the United States eligible for government-sponsored rehabilitation services. The federal government estimates that altogether there are twenty million handicapped people in the country. Caldwell wonders if even that figure includes all the handicapped. "How do you count the housewife who falls down and breaks her hip and is limping around the rest of her life, or the man who suffers a heart attack and has to adopt a regimen?"

The hardest hit, he said, are paraplegics--not just because of the extent of their handicap, but because as a relatively new group, not a great deal is known about them He explained: "Before World War II, the paraplegic usually died. We didn't have the medicine and therapy to save them. So no one ever had experience with them."

Then he adds, with the humor that runs through his conversations, "The blind have been around for a long time. And they've got some chapter and verse in the Bible. They have always had quite a lobby."

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VIRGINIA CONVENTION

by Ruth Drummond

The Virginia Federation of the Blind held its annual convention at the Holiday Inn, Harrisonburg, Virginia, April 23, 24, and 25. A reception for the out-of-town guests was given the evening before the convention got underway by the Skyline Federation of the Blind, the host chapter. The convention was welcomed by the Honorable Roy Erickson, Mayor of Harrisonburg.

From the reports presented all affiliates are active and meeting regularly. Jimmy Nelson was moderator for a panel about employment opportunities for the blind. Panelists were: Fred Pieper, social worker; Mason Riggs, motel manager; Mrs. Phyllis Campbell, short story writer; and Stewart Bowden, teacher. William T. Coppage, Director of the Virginia Commission for the Visually Handicapped and James Omvig, Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist in Professional Placement, Iowa Commission for the Blind were members of a panel moderated by John Nagle, Chief of the Washington Office, about the advantages of a separate commission for the blind. Other speakers were: Mr. Dennis L. Holmes, Principal, Department for the Blind, Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, Staunton, and Mrs. Carol Snyder, Educational Consultant with Educational Services, Virginia Commission for the Visually Handicapped who discussed the topic "A Consolidated School for the Blind--for Better or for Worse?"

During the afternoon session the convention adopted two resolutions: that this organization goes on record as being in complete opposition to any structural reorganization of services for the blind which would take such services out of the Virginia Commission for the Visually Handicapped; that we are in favor of placement of the Virginia School for the Blind under the administrative jurisdiction of the Virginia Commission for the Visually Handicapped.

Mr. Paul Loewenstein of Bankers Life and Casualty Company gave a very enlightening talk about health insurance for the blind. Indications were that his company offered the same restrictions as most other companies do on policies for life insurance with double indemnity for the blind. However, after hearing the discussion following his talk he is taking this problem as a personal crusade to have his company rectify this situation.

Senator William Aldhizer from Broadway, Virginia, and Congressman and Mrs. J. Kenneth Robinson of Virginia's Seventh District were among the honored guests that attended the banquet on Saturday evening and listened to the address given by Jim Omvig.

Early in the fall of 1970 the Virginia Federation of the Blind established a
Memorial Fund and at this convention in Harrisonburg passed a resolution designating that these funds be used to establish and build the Virginia Federation of the Blind endowment fund and that these funds be open to receive any gifts and donations from whatever source.

Miss Lydia Stuples, President of the Richmond Area Federation of the Blind presented the convention a Memory Book as a gift from her chapter.

Mr. Jimmy Nelson of Richmond was elected as two year board member. VFB President Robert McDonald of Alexandria was elected delegate and Mrs. Nancy Hoover, Harrisonburg, alternate delegate to the National Federation of the Blind Convention in Houston.

Next year's Virginia convention will be in Charlottesville and in 1973 Winchester was chosen as the convention city.

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BLIND COEDS BECOME ADEPT

by Jim Donovan

[Reprinted by courtesy of the Huntsville (Texas) Item.]

Five Sam Houston coeds, all blind, jumped at the chance to be interviewed as a group--as a "minority," one of the girls said later. It would be good fun, they admitted towards the end of the session: Let's see if the reporter asks the same old, dumb questions?

He did, and they responded with a mixture of humor and seriousness. They kidded, laughed, occasionally poked fun at their handicap, replied to cold inquiry with candid answers, and throughout, conveyed an inexorable sense of courage and optimism.

None hesitated to say the word "blind," nor balked at its use.

Frankie Adkins, twenty-two, of Manila, Arkansas, recalled one question (which the reporter did not ask) that she had been asked regarding her ability to overcome blindness: When had she first learned to eat? And she answered, "Well, one has to learn pretty early. . ." Miss Adkins is majoring in elementary education. After graduation she plans to teach the blind, and, hopefully, make a contribution to the processes of educating the nonsighted. She already has experience working with the blind as an instructor.

Donna McBride, twenty, a junior from Houston, explained that she and her friends were premature babies. While in the incubator they received superfluous amounts of pure oxygen, she said, in such cases, too much oxygen scarred the retina and rendered the babies blind.

"It was in the early fifties that doctors realized why so many incubator babies were going blind," Miss McBride said with a voice that indicated relief for the future born, not ironic sadness or self pity that the discovery had missed her and her friends by just a few years.

Miss McBride said that after school she hopes to sing professionally with a chorale group for a couple of years. Then she would like to teach music, preferably to sighted students. "I feel it would be more of a challenge," she said.

But as far as teaching in public schools, "we have been told not to expect too much," she said, they are not inclined to hire the nonsighted person. As a music student, Miss McBride is majoring in voice and has some interest in woodwind instruments.

Yvonne Hadley, twenty, and Shelly Conkling, nineteen, both of Houston, are music education majors. Miss Conkling, whose field of interest is voice and piano, said after graduation she "plans to teach music anywhere I can find a job." Miss Hadley said she also plans to teach.

Most any day, one of the girls can be seen scurrying along the campus on her way to class, minesweeping with an elongated cane, picking up directions, twists and turns in the route, detecting an occasional eruption or declination in the sidewalk.

Laura Born, twenty-two, a senior music major, who considers herself the dean of the blind girls because she was the first one on campus, told of once having lost her way as a young girl. Sensing someone present, she asked for assistance. She asked several times and got no response. Finally, someone came by and informed her that she was addressing a lamppost. "Very embarrassing," she smiled.

Sam Houston is not the Bonneville Flats. The verdant topography is hilly and etched with sidewalks that criss and cross, intersect, and take abrupt right angles. More tricks than a miniature golf course. To make the obstacle course even more perilous for the nonsighted, there is an occasional steep set of steps, which looks like it might have been chiseled out by a mountain goat. But the girls are not intimidated by such trails. When they first come to school, they have someone run their route with them. Depending on the individual, they master their paths in one, two, or three days.

Donna McBride became so confident of her route that she failed to use her cane on one trip. But an uncovered manhole cover, left momentarily unguarded by some workmen, caused her to have an accident. Luckily, she was injured only slightly, but received a stem lecture from her mother on Donna's irresponsibility, according to Donna. Characteristic of Donna, said one school official, she did not complain about the fall and accepted the accident as her own fault.

The girls came to Sam Houston because it was a school that was not too large and not too small. And most of all, they agreed, it was a school that offered a good education.

Upon first entering a class, they inform the teacher that they are blind, and leave matters of testing and such to his decision. No special consideration, please! "But the teachers are very cooperative and helpful," one of them said.

Laura gave a demonstration of how she takes notes on a Braille apparatus. Some of the girls use tape recorders. There are readers, who are hired by the girls to help the blind with reading assignments. All the girls use non-Braille typewriters. However, the latter talent can be somewhat hazardous for a blind person. Yvonne Hadley told how she typed out an assignment on a roller, before she realized that the paper had fallen out of the machine. Or, "nothing is more exasperating than to type along and then discover there's no ribbon in your typewriter," she said. Shelley Conkling said once she typed out the first page of a theme on the top page of a newly purchased package of typing paper. The top page was covered with advertising. . . .

Facilities for the blind at Sam Houston? "Who needs them?" said Miss Born. The girls' independence is fortified by the determination to be productive and useful citizens. This attitude of independence is not necessarily unique to blind persons, according to Frankie Adkins, who has worked with newly-blinded individuals who refused to become self-reliant.

Despite conquering and compensating for their non-sightedness, the girls agreed that their social life was not what it could be, although they all have many friends. "We enjoy the same things every girl enjoys. We like music, dancing, dating and movies," said Miss McBride, but other people often don't realize this. But that's only natural. . .blind people are a minority. . ."

Mrs. Garnita Bass, resident director of Smith Hall, where the girls live, said that the blind girls, due to their handicap, accepted life with a wider perspective. "They all have such good dispositions and are generally very easy to work with," she said.

Regardless of the individual personality of each coed, these five are linked by at least two common characteristics, the quality of humility and a quiet determination to meet life head on.

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MEET OUR STATE PRESIDENT--CARL LARSON AND MEET ONE OF OUR MINNESOTA AFFILIATES

My name is Carl Emil Larson and I was born January 1, 1912, in Clarissa, Minnesota. My parents emigrated from Denmark in 1902. I was raised on a dairy farm in Minnesota with my three brothers and two sisters. When I was seven I contracted German measles which left me very nearsighted. When I was twenty-three I had a hemorrhage of the eyes which left me with ten percent vision. I attended the Faribault Braille and Sight-Saving School in Faribault, Minnesota.

In 1938 I moved to Minneapolis where I later met and married Luella Koepp. We have a son, Howard, who is an electronics technician servicing x-ray equipment, and two grandchildren-Cindy, four, and Travis, one and a half.

My first job was in a sheltered broomshop. When the war started 1 worked at Northwest Airlines as a salvage sorter for three years. Then I worked for Minneapolis Honeywell Company as a punch press operator. In between layoffs I was a house to house salesman. I have worked for D. W. Onan Company since 1952. This company makes electrical generators and my job is electrical assembly.

I own my home in North Minneapolis and have several real estate investments which I have remodeled with my son. I make a hobby of investing in the stock market and I was introduced to this by another blind Federationist, Jim Ryan.

The United Blind was formed in 1939 in Minneapolis. I joined the United Blind shortly after it was organized. I was elected a board member in 1948 and served on many committees, including the housing committee of which I was chairman. In 1962 I was elected president of the organization and I have served five terms.

The United Blind of Minnesota was formed to establish and maintain a community center for blind people; to help blind people with emergency needs; to supply adequate recreational programs; to work for better legislation for the blind on the State and national levels; and to improve working conditions in the sheltered workshop. We have one hundred sixty-five members at the present time. We hold quarterly meetings of the membership and the seven-member board meets once a month. Our social activities include monthly dances and meetings of the card club. Once a year we have a theater party and a variety show in November. We have a Christmas banquet for all the members and their families.

Last year was quite a successful one for us in the State Legislature. There is a joint legislative committee of both Minnesota affiliates. Seven bills were passed with the help of Lawrence Marcelino and John Taylor. We are proud of the Homestead Tax Reduction bill for blind homeowners in the State. Other bills passed include a three-year lien law, thirty-day notice of change in aid grant, and the provision of a reader for blind persons wishing to take a Civil Service examination. A diluted version of the Model White Cane Law was also passed.

Our funds are raised by three blind solicitors who call on businesses, professional people, and labor unions and who travel all over the State. Our candy sale in October has been quite successful.

The United Blind of Minnesota was one of the first chartered members of the NFB. We will continue to work through the national organization for a happier and better life for all blind people throughout the world.

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RECIPE OF THE MONTH

by Thelma Dinsmore

[Editor's Note: Thelma, wife of NFB Executive Committeeman Ray Dinsmore, says this is truly a dinner party dish.]

BROCCOLI LIMA BAKE

1 package frozen chopped broccoli
1 package frozen Ford Hook lima beans
1 can creamed mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
I package dried onion soup
1 can water chestnuts, sliced
3 cups Rice Crispies
1 stick butter

Cook vegetables until barely tender. Blend sour cream, mushroom soup, and soup mix, and fold into cooked vegetables; pour into buttered baking dish. Push sliced chestnuts down into mixture edgewise. Top with Rice Crispies which have been browned in butter. Cover loosely with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes.

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PROGRESS IN THE FUCINARI AND WECKERLY CASES

by Carl F. Schier

[Editor's Note: Readers of The Monitor will recall numerous mention of the cases of two Michigan school teachers, both blind, whom the NFB has championed. Here is the latest news on these important test cases, contained in a letter from our attorney to President Jernigan.]

2290 W. Grand Boulevard
Suite 301
Detroit, Michigan 48202
April 13, 1971

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

Dear Ken:

I have been meaning to write you for two weeks, and I apologize for the delay in getting the good news to you.

We won the Fucinari case, by a unanimous decision of the Court of Appeals. I hope that this ends this matter for us once and for all. Presumably the Board of Education will not want to appeal the matter further. I see no possibility for them to prevail in seeking Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court. Pauline has been given notice that she will be denied her permanent certification, a further move by the Board of Education to prevent her from teaching. However, her union, the Dearborn Federation of Teachers, is going to handle the matter. I believe she will prevail in this cause as well.

With respect to Evelyn Weckerly, I received a notification from the Supreme Court of Michigan today that they are going to hold her case in abeyance until they decide a previous case which raises some of the same constitutional issues. In the previous case, the Supreme Court decided against the teacher by a four to three decision, Republicans in the majority. In our most recent election, Democrats were elected to the Supreme Court and they now hold the majority. It would appear that the earlier case will be reversed, and based thereon Evelyn's case should also be reversed and she may be reinstated as a tenure teacher. I really can't say what will happen until the previous case is decided.

So far, so good. We will now have to wait and see what happens with respect to the Weckerly Appeal.

Sincerely,

Carl F. Schier

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FATHER THOMAS J. CARROLL

by Rosamond Critchley

With the passing of Revered Thomas J. Carroll on April 24, 1971, a true friend and benefactor was lost to blind people of Massachusetts and elsewhere.

Born in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1909, he was the son of a prominent businessman of that city, and the only son among eight children. Six of his sisters survive him.

A 1932 graduate of Holy Cross College, Worcester, Massachusetts, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1938, and was immediately assigned by William Cardinal O'Connell, then Archbishop of Boston, to assist the late Right Reverend Monsignor John J. Connolly, director of what is now known as the Catholic Guild for All the Blind. When Father Connolly was later reassigned to parish work, Father Carroll succeeded him as director of the Guild.

In this capacity, he was deeply involved in the religious instruction of blind youth, and is vividly remembered by those who attended Perkins School for the Blind in the 1940's.

Nevertheless, his primary concern was with the problems of those who lost their sight later in life. Starting with work among newly-blinded veterans of World War II, this eventually led to the founding of St. Paul's Rehabilitation Center, and later St. Raphael's Geriatric Center, both in Newton, Massachusetts, where the Guild headquarters is now located. The work of these combined facilities is now nationally famous.

In ill health for a number of years, Father Carroll still continued to work tirelessly in his chosen field. He was also in great demand as a speaker. On July 4, 1958, when he addressed the Boston Convention of the National Federation of the Blind, he did so from a wheelchair. He continued as director of the Catholic Guild for All the Blind until his retirement in August, 1970.

During Father Carroll's wake, held at St. Paul's Rehabilitation Center, appropriate selections were sung by a quartet of former members of the Catholic Guild Chorus, a group of blind singers directed by Anthony J. Cirella, which at one time performed extensively in the Boston area.

In keeping with the simplicity which had characterized his personal life, Father Carroll was laid to rest in Gloucester, in an unadorned pine coffin of his own design.

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THE PROCESSION FORWARD

[Editor's Note: The State of South Carolina has recently published the Annual Report of its Commission for the Blind, entitled The Procession Forward. Significant excerpts from that report follow.]

The South Carolina Commission for the Blind was created by legislative enactment in 1966 and began functioning as a separate agency in January, 1967. The law under which the Commission operates places on it the responsibility of interpreting, administering, and supervising an all-inclusive program of work for the blind. These responsibilites are accomplished in four major departments: Prevention of Blindness; Adjustment, Training and Placement; Education; and Business Enterprises. Because of the efforts of both the administrative and professional staff, the Commission has been recognized among other agencies for the blind as being one of the most progressive in the nation. It is truly an agency on the move. With continued encouragement and support of its many friends, it cannot help but maintain or even increase its momentum.

Highlights during the year include: Commission offices were opened in Aiken and Sumter; the Industrial Evaluation and Training Unit took the place of the broomshop of the Association of the Blind of South Carolina; home industries moved into a marketing and retail outlet located in Columbia; the first blind school teacher was employed in the South Carolina public school system; more than 1,600 talking book machines were on loan in the State; the fifty-three blind-operated concession stands located State-wide established a new record for sales and for profits to the operators; almost two hundred blind rehabilitants were placed into productive employment; and construction plans were completed for new Adult Training and Adjustment Center.

Dr. Fred L. Crawford, Executive Director of the Commission, says: "We are convinced that blindness should not deter employability; that blind persons can learn new ways of doing things without sight. Our Agency is a client-oriented organization whose primary mission it is to prevent blindness and restore sight, but in the event that this is impossible, to provide adjustment to blindness training and rehabilitation service."

The Prevention of Blindness Department served more than four thousand clients during the year. These included those for whom money was used to treat medical conditions, glaucoma, and surgery. Cataracts, the leading cause of blindness, were first on the list of eye conditions reported for treatment. The Commission sponsored payment for cataract surgery for two hundred ninety-seven persons. Most of these were reported to have regained useful vision after the surgery and many had normal vision restored. Thirty-three authorizations for enucleations were issued. The Commission has sponsored thirty-eight strabismus operations for children under the age of seven. A total of five hundred forty-seven persons received hospitalization and treatment or surgery. The program also sponsored 2,178 eye examinations. The glaucoma register maintained by the Department now contains the names of eight hundred forty known glaucoma cases.

Adjustment, training and placement: 1,271 individuals were served in the Adjustment, Training, and Placement program. These persons received such services as eye examinations, general medical examinations, psychological testing, eye surgery, hospitalization, eye medication and treatment, glasses, adjustment to blindess training, vocational training, college sponsorship, reader service, maintenance, occupational tools and licenses, training equipment, and transportation. The Department received eight hundred forty-one new referrals and 1,115 cases remained on the agency's rehabilitation rolls to be evaluated and served during the new fiscal year.

The Commission operates an Adult Adjustment and Training Center in Columbia. The Center offers courses that assist a blind person to become adjusted to his disability, and specific vocational training is available in such areas as concession stand operation, typing and transcription, household management, and home industries. Additionally, communication skills, such as Braille, personal typing, and handwriting are taught. Also provided is professional travel training by qualified mobility and orientation instructors. Late in the session of the 1970 South Carolina General Assembly, permission was granted to the Commission to receive from the Association of the Blind of South Carolina a tract of land consisting of more than five acres located in a prime area of the City of Columbia. Therefore, land is now available on which a comprehensive rehabilitation center and other facilities can be built. Since December of 1969 the Commission, as a part of its training program, has been operating an industrial evaluation and training unit in the Association's facility. Many blind persons who have been exposed to this activity have been placed into highly competitive employment in private business and industry.

During the year the Library increased its small collection of Braille, tape, and talking books to more than 2,000 titles in various media. The average circulation in the Library is seventy-five books a month. Circulation for the year was eight hundred forty-nine volumes and five hundred two titles, with most of these being talking book records and tape. The Library distributed the talking book machines with more than 1,600 having been issued to eligible readers.

With the goal of increasing the opportunity for a blind person to achieve economic independence and productive employment, Business Enterprises placed major emphasis during the year on the acquisition, maintenance and supervision of blind-operated concession stands throughout the State. The Department listed fifty-three such stands located Statewide in courthouses. State institutions, highrise office buildings, motels, technical education schools, parks, private industries, and federal installations. Average monthly income for operators was $358.20.

Home industries is an agency activity designed for homebound blind. Clients who are unable for any reason to engage in productive employment outside the home can avail themselves of the opportunity to earn money through this program. Craft items such as dolls, mats, brooms, aprons, tote bags, artificial flowers, and crocheted items are made by the clients with materials provided by the Commission. After an item is made it is then inspected and marketed by the Commission's outlet in Columbia. Profits from the sales of the item are returned to the person who made it.

A relatively unique function of the Commission, since it is one of only a few agencies for the blind so involved, is Disability Determination under the provisions of the Social Security Act. Claims for disability insurance benefits are reviewed and then recommendations as to appropriate action are made to the Social Security Administration in Baltimore, Maryland. During the year two hundred sixty-eight cases were received for review, two hundred forty-eight were processed and twenty were pending decision. This service, although offered by the Commission, is one hundred percent federally funded by the Social Security Administration.

Dr. Crawford, in his letter transmitting the Report to Governor West, said: "With only three and one-half years of serving our visually handicapped as a separate agency, the board and staff of the Commission are encouraged by the progress that has been made in the way of programs and services."

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MISSOURI REORGANIZES

Based on the solid foundation laid by the Progressive Blind of Missouri, a new organization has come into being--The NFB of Missouri.

In November 1961 a group of twelve true Federationists formed an orgnaization which was to become the affiliate of the NFB in 1962--The Progressive Blind of Missouri. That small band of dauntless people, as George Rittgers their founder put it "had chili and stew suppers and ice cream socials and sold greeting cards" to earn funds to keep the small organization together during their first year. But it has been a rewarding experience for all its members. It established the Jacobus tenBroek award given each year to the sighted person who has done the most for the blind. The Progressive Blind has played host to the President of the International Federation of the Blind, Rienzi Alagiyawanna, and the organization has done many things to aid the growth of the IFB.

Throughout the week following Easter Sunday, in April of this year, a team of organizers went to work in the State of Missouri recruiting members and forming two new chapters. A fine new constitution was drafted and adopted at a State convention which gives broad executive power to the State president.

One new chapter is the St. Louis Chapter of the NFB. Its officers are: John J. Dower, president; Willard Hubbell, vice president; Margaret Bohley, secretary; John Wampler, treasurer; and Loretta Benavidez, member at large.

The other new group is the Springfield Chapter of the NFB and it is headed by the following officers: Gayford Allen, president; William McAtee, vice-president; Mrs. Billie Weaver, secretary; Dewey Amlin, treasurer; and Shellie Parrish. member at large.

The new leaders of the NFB of Missouri are: Mrs. W. W. Beedle, president; Edward Hill, first vice president; Gerald Salter, second vice president; Pauline Salter, recording secretary; Hazel Hill, corresponding secretary; and E. E. Busby, treasurer. The members at large are Jana Sims, Melvin Lewis, John J. Dower, and Gayford Allen.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

[Editor's Note: The following correspondence is between Perry Sundquist, then Executive Secretary of the American Brotherhood for the Blind which published The All Story Braille Magazine and Jacobus tenBroek, newly elected President of the National Federation of the Blind.]

 

November 28, 1940

To the President--
National Federation of the Blind

Dear Chick:

Thanks a lot for sending me a copy of your letter of the 19th to Doctor.

Needless to say, I heartily congratulate you on the almost inconceivable achievments obtained at Wilkes-Barre. The National Federation of the Blind is potentially the greatest weapon yet fashioned with which to advance the welfare of the blind in this country.

Of course, the new organization will either wax into full growth or languish and soon die--depending largely on how much of a spark is applied. But with you as President for the next two years, and with all the help that we here in California can possibly give you, I think the future is not so dark.

For some time I have been searching for some means by which the American Brotherhood could use its slender resources to a more vital purpose--and the thought has occurred to me that perhaps some arrangement could be made whereby it could publish a monthly bulletin or Magazine of the Federation--purely as a service to the Federation in advancing its purposes among the blind of the member States and of other States. As you know, Pennsylvania puts out, quarterly or so, a little paper entitled We The Blind--and doubtless this is a potent means of furthering organization. Well, the Federation could put out a national magazine.

While I have no doubt in my own mind that the most important way in which any private agency can serve the blind is to lend every and all assistance to the blind themselves in order that they may make their voice effective, any plans along that line must naturally be digested by the Brotherhood's President, Dr. Perry, and by its Board of Directors. I have broached the idea to Doctor already.

I will be glad indeed to learn details by which the blind successfully finance their activities in Illinois--and incidentally, I would like very much to know how Pennsylvania is able to secure a reputed membership of three thousand blind in its Federation. That is, to me, the eighth wonder of the world.

Well, enough for now. But I do hope that we can really make the new Federation a powerful outfit.

With kindest regards to Hazel and yourself,

Cordially,
Perry

 

University of Chicago Law School
November 29, 1940

Dear Perry,

It would certainly be a godsend if the National Federation of the Blind could have at its service a magazine devoted to a discussion of the legislative problems of the blind. Such a magazine would be especially important if it gave us a monthly contact with our members and if it were directly available to them in Braille. One of the immensely difficult problems that the National Federation has to face is that of communication with the blind throughout the nation and that communication needs to be fairly frequent if not constant with respect to the activities of the organization which will deal almost wholly with legislative and administrative problems. Your idea is a splendid one and I hope it will receive the backing of your Board. Dr. Perry has sent me a copy of the letter in which he gave the project his enthusiastic blessings. Keep me informed as the matter develops. . . .

Cordially,

Chick

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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MARY HUGO

by Thelma Emrick

[Editor's Note: Over three hundred people attended a party given in honor of Mary Hugo's twenty-fifth anniversary as a home-teacher-counselor in the Cleveland area. A portion of Miss Emrick's remarks about her working companion follow.]

Mary's education started at age five when she was entered at the State School for the Blind in Columbus, Ohio. This was an innovation because the school had never accepted a child this young but Mary adjusted readily and soon won a place for herself and spent happy years there. . . . Even at that early age, her propensity for what was to become her life's work showed itself. Many children older than Mary were sent to the school not knowing how to tell their clothes apart, how to put them on; how to tell the right shoe from the left shoe or how to lace and tie them. She took great delight in helping these children learn how to do these important things. . . .

Mary went on to graduate; at that time it was not rated as a first class high school, so she came back to Cleveland, entered Glenville High and graduated from there. She then entered Western Reserve University and graduated in three and one-half years. After that she took graduate work at Columbia and Ohio State Universities. She received her degree in education and social work and received her teacher's certificate, so she could teach in public school, if she wished.

Mary was really a trail blazer in many ways; it was not as easy then as now, for a blind person to get a college education. Colleges and universities were not accustomed to having blind students and were somewhat loath to let them enter. Talking book machines, tape recorders and taping programs for the blind were still just a dream for the future and not a reality. The only tool was Braille and good friends who would take their valuable time to read to you. Mary felt it her duty and obligation to make the best record possible and to show, that if given a chance, a blind person could do creditable work. She tells of the occasion when it was the time of the year for the Dean's call. This usually meant you were being called in and made aware of what you probably suspected; namely, if you didn't do better work you would flunk out. Mary got one of these slips too and waited in great fear and trepidation. When her turn came the dean said: "there's nothing wrong, Mary. We just want you to know how happy and pleased we are that you are doing such a good job." After she finished college she taught in public school at the junior high level, but decided this was not the kind of teaching she wanted to do. So she applied for and got a job as Home Teacher for the State Services for the Blind in Columbus. She taught for several years in a district out of Akron and this brings us up to the time we met.

Through the efforts of an acquaintance of mine, who was blind, I learned about this job. Mary interviewed me and told me about the duties. I said I would try it for a while until I found something better. That was a few years ago; in fact we started together on June 7, 1932. From then until now I have never been able to bring myself to leave this job. I have had great joy and personal satisfaction in doing it.

Our first district was south-eastern Ohio; very rough, almost mountainous country. Many times we have had to park the car on the road and walk across fields, sometimes plowed ones and climb the biggest hills you can imagine to get to the house. I believe the hardest part of Home Teaching is to motivate a person to try. Some of you here today were eagerly waiting for teacher to come and get you started; some others of you had to be nudged to make an effort; then there are others who have to have more severe jolt....

Home teaching is not just a job to Mary; it is a way of life. I know you students of hers have felt her warmth, friendliness and sincere interest in you even on her first contact with you by phone. When she was in her teens she said to Miss Totman, one of the workers at the Board of Education, "Why does everyone call me Mary; why don't they call me Miss Hugo like they call you and everyone else Miss?" She didn't realize then the value of this warmth and friendliness inherent in her nature and what an asset it would be to her later in life. One student said to her: "Miss Hugo if you have to correct us or our work you do it with such loving kindness we can't get hurt or angry with you."

Part of the work dear to her heart is with the deaf-blind. Nothing had been done for them until Mary came along. Their names were put on the card file and their folders filed away and that was the extent of it. Because of Mary's request and Eileen Shea's willingness they became campers at Highbrook and the Jolly Time Club was started for them No part of the work is more rewarding because they respond with all their hearts. They love teacher and beam when her hand touches theirs.

I think those of you who are her students have learned more than just the rudiments of the course you are taking. You have learned by example as well as by precept. You have learned to laugh at your mistakes; how to live life as a blind person. Learned to do as teacher does; accept blindness as a handicap and a great big, darned inconvenience and not an insurmountable object. I think most of you realize how fortunate you are to have such a teacher; her kind is not likely to come your way again soon.

So--Mary, I'm glad our lives met those years ago. To do this work with you gives life zest and excitement. To face each day knowing you're needed to help do such worthwhile work is in itself a reward. The years have put the gray in our hair and maybe slowed us down from high to second gear but we both still have the desire in our hearts to help others help themselves. God willing, we will be out tomorrow morning doing this.

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CONGRESSMAN CORBETT DIES

Few in the Congress of the United States have been more consistent or loyal supporters of NFB legislation over the years than Congressman Robert J. Corbett of Pennsylvania. As President Nixon said, "His constant concern for the blind, the infirm and others in special need was a tribute to his humanitarianism."

The blind of the Nation have lost a dedicated friend. His work for the blind was summarized in the Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) Press as reprinted in the Congressional Record for April 26: "Mr. Corbett was recognized as a friend of the blind and was honored by their organization. He saw to it that in the Reorganization Act some years ago the right of blind people to operate vending stands in Federal buildings was preserved. He was the author of a law permitting Federal employees who become blind to continue working if they can provide 'sighted readers' to help them. ..." He was also the author of the Joint Resolution which provides that the President of the United States shall proclaim October 15 White Cane Safety Day. He recently came to the rescue of several hundred blind people who work in post offices when the Postal Corporation Act put their jobs in jeopardy. John Nagle and the blind of the country will miss his compassionate understanding and his ever-ready willingness to help with our legislative problems.

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THE WEST VALLEY CHAPTER IS ON THE MOVE!

by Robert Acosta

We have indeed seen two most exciting months m the West Valley Chapter. In early March the chapter hosted a legislative luncheon in honor of our new young Assemblyman Robert Cline. There were approximately one hundred Federationists in the room and we proceeded to educate Mr. Cline regarding the goals and beliefs of the National Federation of the Blind. Mr. Cline commented on a commission for the blind as follows: "I wholeheartedly support your concept of an Office of Services to the Blind; a separate agency for the blind is good business."

On March 25, 1971, the West Valley Chapter held a special meeting in honor of Dr. Kenneth Jernigan. We were most honored to have him as well as Perry Sundquist, Hazel tenBroek and our State President Tony Mannino in attendance. Dr. Jernigan gave us a very inspiring speech and he left our young people with a new realization as to what the Federation is all about. The theme of his speech to us was: "To what extent do you believe in our movement?" Dr. Jernigan cautioned not to believe that Federationism was a game. "This is serious business and you are not children."

At our March meeting the West Valley Chapter voted to charter a bus to take Federationists to the site of our spring convention in Stockton, California. We are happy to announce that there were no seats left over; we took forty-nine blind Americans to the spring convention of the California Council of the Blind.

On April 15, 1971, President Henry Negrete of the Capitol Chapter, CCB announced that West Valley vice-president Rob Turner had been chosen as one of the ten outstanding young students who will take part in a cultural exchange program in Sweden this summer. It was then the task of the West Valley Chapter to raise the needed $700 to pay for Rob's fare. Our own young people started the ball rolling by pledging $220 out of their own pockets and we went out and raised the balance. We did so by sponsoring a swap meet and by soliciting the assistance of various service organizations in the San Fernando Valley area. We are most grateful to the Teamsters Union which donated $300 to this worthy project.

So you see, Mr. Jernigan has lighted a fire under us and we are indeed a chapter on the move.

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D. C. CONVENTION

by Jim Doherty

Last year when Virginia Nagle suggested a convention of the blind in the District of Columbia, many members of the Capital Chapter were skeptical. The basic question in their response was, "Don't we have a convention at every chapter meeting?" But we decided to try it. Part of the success of that first convention is shown in the fact that twice as many people attended the daytime sessions as belong to the Capital Chapter, and three times the total membership were at the banquet. Impressive numbers, however, were not the whole story. Everyone agreed that the discussions held, contacts made and information gamed in that one day were ample justification for repeating this year. And so we did, on May 8.

Regular Monitor readers will remember that the January issue carried a review of the Capital Chapter's successful attempt to keep open education opportunities for the District's blind youngsters. Progress since last fall was the first matter of concern on the convention agenda. The recently appointed head of the program for the blind in the D. C public schools went through much verbal manipulation and description of some nice sounding ideas to tell us that the situation was still uncertain.

This was followed by a more hopeful discussion on careers. Several chapter members described their work, their problems and their victories over them.

It was back to disappointment again with representatives of the D.C. Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Columbia Lighthouse. Both candidly admitted failure to achieve large scale placement, but their candor faded when questioners pointed out weaknesses in training programs and the lack of a vigorous job development effort. Other public agencies represented during the day were the local Department of Public Welfare, the program of education for adult blind and the government run homes for orphans and the aged, all of which have extensive involvement with blind clients.

Highlights of the afternoon were a talk by NFB President Kenneth Jernigan on the necessity of active membership in the Federation and a stirring account by George Reed of the stand operators' fight to win control of their own businesses. Part of that exciting story appeared in an earlier Monitor and the next step appears in this issue.

During the open discussion period, two resolutions were passed. Recalling that the Superintendent of Schools in the District had promised the blind a voice in advising the Board of Education on programs for the blind, one resolution directs the Chapter officers to take whatever steps necessary to secure this representation. The other was more a formal suggestion that an NFB survey of services in the District might remedy many of the problems we had discussed throughout the day.

At the banquet President Jernigan spoke of the twin idols worshipped by most agencies: jargon and research. With many devastating examples of paralyzed prose, he showed how millions of dollars and immeasurable amounts of time have been wasted by public and private agencies in pursuit of globs of meaningless information. In a show of good sportsmanship, Dr. Ed Newman, Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration, Department of HEW, said he would like to have copies of the speech to distribute to his staff.

Despite a continuous drizzle, close to a hundred registered for the convention sessions and one hundred forty crowded into the banquet room. The unity and visibility given the organized blind movement by these two conventions make it a safe bet that there will be another in 72.

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LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS OF THE BLIND: HOW TO BUILD AND STRENGTHEN THEM

by Kenneth Jernigan

[Editor's Note: From the time when President Jernigan first prepared his paper on how to build local organizations of the blind and delivered it at the New Orleans Convention in 1957, it has been one of those select documents of our movement which have served as guides to Federationists all around the country. The ideas expressed are as good and as important today as they were then. The demand for copies continues unabated. Therefore we are again reprinting this article, revised and updated by its author.]

It is generally recognized that the Federation can be no stronger at the state or national level than it is locally and that the very future of our movement is largely dependent upon the kind of local chapters which we now have and which we develop. My purpose here is to discuss local organizations of the blind--how to build them, what projects they can undertake, their purpose of existence, and their relation to the state and national offices of the organization.

In the first place Shakespeare's question, "What's in a name" has more than an academic significance for us. Our name--perhaps I should say our names--has presented us with a real problem. If you should go into a strange town in the United States tomorrow and ask a local member of Kiwanis where the Kiwanis met and when its next meeting would be held, he would, without hesitation, give you a local address and a particular date. If you should then register surprise and tell him that you thought Kiwanis was an international organization and that you had wanted the date and the place of the international convention, he would probably be considerably amazed and think you quite odd. He would likely tell you that Kiwanis is organized into local clubs, that the local clubs are grouped into districts, and that the districts combine to make up the international organization. He might then give you the time and the place of the next international convention and also of the district meeting if you were interested; but his first thought when you asked him about Kiwanis would not be of his local club as one organization, the district as another, and the international as still another. He would think of Kiwanis as one organization, and he would primarily think of it as his local club, with himself as a member.

If instead of asking him about the time and place of the next meeting, you should begin your conversation by making unkind or critical remarks about Kiwanis, he would resent your statements and take them personally. It would do you little good to explain to him that you did not mean him or his local club, but that you were referring to the district or the international. He would probably only become angrier at such a sophistry and tell you that a criticism of Kiwanis was a criticism of him.

The same is true of the American Legion, the Catholic Church, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and a hundred other organizations. There is uniformity of name and no confusion. With us, however, the situation is different. Recently I spoke at a meeting of a local chapter of one of the Federation's state affiliates. I began by posing a question to the group. "If," I asked, "someone had met you on your way to this meeting and inquired of you when and where the next meeting of the National Federation of the Blind would be held, what would you have told him?"

One man in the back of the room replied with the city and state of the next national Convention.

I then asked the same question again, substituting this time the name of the state affiliate, and the same individual gave me the date and the place of the next state convention. He did not think of his local chapter meeting as being a meeting of the National Federation of the Blind or the state organization; yet, such was in reality the case.

The different local and state organizations of the blind throughout the country have grown up with all sorts of names, and it is not now practical, even if it were desirable, to achieve total and immediate uniformity. It is worth noting, however, that the trend is in that direction. The new state affiliates are generally coming into the movement using the name National Federation of the Blind of (name of state), and many of the older affiliates are changing their names in the same manner. Likewise, the local affiliates (both old and new) are increasingly doing the same thing. At any rate it is necessary for us to keep at a minimum the confusion our present multiplicity of name tends to create. If every meeting of every local chapter throughout the Federation is regarded as a local meeting of the National Federation of the Blind and also of the state affiliate, the activities of the local will take on new meaning and importance.

This leads quite naturally to a discussion of the specific projects which a local can undertake. Perhaps I should begin by describing a typical meeting which might occur in a local. The president calls the meeting to order. The secretary reads the minutes of the last meeting. The treasurer reports, giving the current bank balance and itemizing all money which has come in since the last meeting and all expenses. Then come committee reports. These can be interesting or dull depending on how they are handled If each separate project of the chapter is handled by a committee, which reports at every (or almost every) meeting, the broadest possible participation and interest can be achieved. The following are examples of committees which may be established:

1. Membership Committee: Any chapter will be stronger for having a good membership committee. This committee should probably not contain fewer than three nor more than nine members. It will work better if it holds at least one formal meeting before each regular chapter meeting--probably about a week or ten days before It should secure a list of the names, addresses and (when possible) phone numbers of every known blind person in this area. This list should be divided into three sub-lists: members in good standing, delinquent members, and non-members.

Each member in good standing should receive either a phone call or a card or letter before every meeting, reminding him of the time and place and telling him something about the program. This will provide a project for the committee and will also stimulate interest among the general membership, giving each person a sense of belonging and participation.

Members who are not in good standing, who do not attend meetings, and are apparently losing interest in the organization, should receive special attention. Different ones of the committee may call or visit them. Writing will be less effective. Perhaps they are dissatisfied with something a chapter is doing. Perhaps they do not properly understand the real nature and purposes of the organized blind movement, what it is accomplishing and how it affects them personally. Perhaps they have never felt that they were really part of the group or that they were needed. In any case, they should be talked with. If possible, a member of the committee might offer to come by the home of such a person on a meeting night and accompany him to the meeting.

The great problem with non-members is finding them. Local doctors may be willing to help--in some areas they make regular referrals to the Federation's affiliate. The postman and the minister are excellent sources of names. Sometimes (but only sometimes) the local welfare department will send out announcements of meetings along with aid checks. Notice of meetings in newspapers and on radio may be tried. The important thing is to make a determined and sustained effort to locate every blind person in the area. The rest is simply a matter of persistence and enthusiasm, coupled with a real understanding of our movement, its purposes and objectives.

One final thing should be said about membership and attendance. It will stimulate interest if the number of those present at each meeting is recorded in the minutes.

2. Presidential Release Committee: Increasingly, letters and releases are being sent to the local affiliates by the state and national presidents. A committee should be appointed to see that the membership will be informed of the contents of these releases. Some of the communications should be read in full at the local meeting. It may be sufficient to summarize others. Some chapters have set aside a particular Sunday afternoon (or some other convenient time) at which releases will be read to all those who are to come. In any event it is absolutely vital and necessary that the material contained in the releases be made available to the rank and file members. In no other way can the individual meaningfully and fully participate in the general affairs and decision-making processes of the movement. How can one vote on issues in an informed manner if he is not informed?

3. Committee on National Legislation: This should be separate from the committee on slate legislation. Otherwise one of the two will be lost in the shuffle. It should be the duty of this committee to see that letters are written on Congressional bills affecting the blind, and each bulletin from NFB headquarters should be studied carefully and acted upon promptly. In no single instance have all NFB affiliates throughout the nation combined to carry out a really intensive letter writing campaign on a Congressional bill. Instead, the response has always been excellent in some areas, spotty in others, and totally non-existent in far too many. A real, united intensive campaign by all of us in every locality would bring unbelievable results.

It should also be the duty of the committee on national legislation to try to become personally acquainted with the local Congressman In most instances it will be possible to arrange to talk with him when he comes home. He should be made aware of the NFB and of the fact that he has constituents who are members. The job in Washington will be much easier and much more successful if even a few affiliates will do this. Personal contact should also be made, of course, with United States Senators when they are in the locality and can be reached.

4. Committee on State Legislation: It should be the duty of this committee to do on a state level what the committee on national legislation does on the national level. At least one major difference exists, however, between state and national legislation insofar as the local affiliate is concerned, and a word of caution should be said concerning this difference.

It is not as far to the state capitol as it is to Washington, and some locals, failing to get the State organization to support a particular measure which they want, introduce it and lobby for it on their own. This is necessarily a self-defeating practice, for if the blind have more than one voice in the legislative halls, their effectiveness is drastically curtailed if not destroyed Especially when competing groups of blind persons go before the Legislature and oppose each other, the results are disastrous. It is difficult enough under the most favorable of circumstances to get legislators to understand our needs and problems; and when the blind themselves are not agreed, the situation is likely to be hopeless.

If the state organization as a whole cannot be persuaded to sponsor a particular bill which a local chapter wants, or if the State organization votes to oppose a measure which a local strongly feels should be supported, the chapter will be well advised to swallow its impatience and go along with the majority. If its position has merit, the rest of the state organization can likely be brought around sooner or later; and in the meantime it is in a better position to demand and get support from the entire state organization on those matters in which it is in the majority. Not only is this a prime principle of survival, it is the very essence of true democracy.

5. Publicity Committee: Besides getting announcements of meetings on radio, television, and in good newspapers, publicizing special activities of the chapter, and seeing that occasional articles appear about successful blind' persons in the community, this committee can undertake a variety of other activies.

It can place Federation material in local libraries and waiting rooms of doctors' offices. It can communicate from time to time with THE BRAILLE MONITOR and other magazines. In short, it can and should be constantly on the lookout for new ways of acquainting the general public with the existence and philosophy of the organized blind movement.

6 There are several other committees--Ways and Means, Nominating, and the like which are more or less standard with all local chapters and require no comment. It is rather with the specialized committee that I should now like to deal, for there are in every locality peculiar opportunities for chapter projects which should be recognized and developed. Each local affiliate will be able, with a little effort and ingenuity, to come up with its own list, and no two will be exactly alike. This is as it should be, for the situation varies from community to community, and the activities should fit the need. The following list is, therefore, not definitive. It merely gives examples of the kinds of things which may be done:

a) Education of blind children: If there are public school programs for the education of blind children in the area, or if a residential school for the blind is near, or especially if both are at hand, a committee may be established to visit the schools and make a study and report. It is important that the members of the chapter know what is being done to educate blind children and how effectively.

b) Parents of blind children: There are blind children in almost every community in America. They are the future members of our organization, and we have a responsibility to see that their parents get a proper understanding of blindness and its problems. A committee may be established to seek out and visit parents and to work with them. The committee may wish to help them organize a parents' group. Speakers can be provided from the local blind for the meetings of this group. Parents should be given Federation material and thoroughly acquainted with the organization. Above all, they should be encouraged to attend meetings of the local affiliate and to realize that they have a stake in its activities since its actions now will affect so vitally their children's future.

c) Proofreading: In many communities there are groups which transcribe material into Braille; especially is this true of the Red Cross, certain Jewish groups and parents of blind children. Often they are very much in need of good proofreaders and will welcome the opportunity of developing a cooperative project.

d) Speaker's bureau: A committee can be established to contact local civic and church groups to get time on their programs for speakers from the chapter. If this is done on a continuing year-around-basis, not only will it acquaint many people with the existence and purposes of our movement, but it will also make fundraising much easier. Public education about blindness is an important aspect of our work, and the speaker's bureau is one of the most effective ways of bringing it about.

e) Visiting other chapters: If there are other affiliates of the state organization or of a neighboring state organization near enough to make such a project possible, intra-chapter visiting will be very worthwhile. A committee can be appointed to make the contacts and arrangements. Then, as many members as can do so should be encouraged to make the trips. Within the limits of its financial means, the chapter will do well to pay travel expenses for such occasions. The results will more than justify the expenditure--an interchange of ideas with another group, the observation of that group in its meetings; and, perhaps, most important of all, an increased sense of being an integral part of the overall blind movement.

f) Candy sale: Some local chapters have been quite successful with candy sales, especially at Mother's Day. Arrangements are made with the manufacturer, and specially designed boxes are procured. Consignments of the candy are placed in banks, stores and especially in manufacturing establishments and other such business houses; and a telephone sales campaign is also usually carried on. A committee of chapter members should be made responsible for placing the candy, conducting the telephone sales, and coordinating the work generally. In addition, (and probably most important of all) individual chapter members can sell boxes of candy to their friends and acquaintances and can conduct street sales and man booths in department stores or similar locations. This provides needed funds, meaningful participation for members, and overall exposure to the public in a constructive manner.

g) Other types of fundraising: There are innumerable types of fundraising projects which a chapter can undertake that will offer the membership a broad based participation and, at the same time build the treasury. One chapter sells plastic garbage bags. Another conducts card parties and bingo games. Still another conducts an annual wine tasting, for which it sells tickets. The important thing is to devise some project which can be fun, which the public will patronize, and which will bring in some money.

h) Blood bank: A chapter can establish a blood bank, either exclusively for the use of members and their immediate families or for all blind persons in the area. Arrangements can usually be made with the local county blood bank, and a chapter committee can handle the details of securing donors, providing transportation, and making withdrawals.

i) NFB Jacobus tenBroek Memorial Endowment Fund: The long range financial stability and strength of the national organization depend upon the endowment fund. Only a few local and state affiliates have so far established continuing projects for its support. Some time ago one state organization levied an annual assessment from all members. Whether it is still continuing this practice I am not sure. Another held a raffle at a recent convention and raised more than $100 on a transistor radio. So far as I know, only three local chapters have, to the present time, established continuing projects. One makes a lump sum annual contribution. Another gives one half of the proceeds from the raffle which it holds at its regular monthly meetings (usually about $10). The third makes a memorial contribution for each deceased member.

In time every local chapter should devise some regular means of support for the endowment. Our national organization can be only as strong as we make it.

j) White Cane projects: The immediate fundraising of the organized blind movement at both the state and the national levels is still largely a matter of the unordered mailings and the White Cane Week Most of the state affiliates carry on a White Cane mail campaign, but in addition, many local chapters have set up projects--raffles, dances, dinners, card parties, and similar activities. Usually the chapter keeps none of the proceeds from these White Cane projects, one half of the money going to the state organization and the rest to the national. This is not always the case, however.

k) Aid appeals: In almost every area there are blind persons who have been unjustly denied aid payments from the State or had their grants reduced. The chapter should establish a committee to acquaint these persons with their rights and to help them with appeals. Not only should the members of this committee study carefully their own state welfare laws and regulations, they should familiarize themselves with the Federal law and regulations. This is a difficult task, and most chapters will have to start from the beginning, but no other project can be more beneficial to the blind of a locality. The national office of the Federation will lend whatever help it can to any chapter establishing such a project.

1) Social Security and disability appeals: As more and more blind persons become eligible for Social Security or Disability Insurance payments, the need for assistance with appeals increases accordingly. Again, the local chapter should form a committee to handle such appeals. This will require study to become familiar with the Social Security law and regulations, but such study will result in better lives for the blind of the community. A high percentage of Social Security appeals have been resolved in favor of the appellant.

Many other projects could be added to the list given here. Each chapter can and should develop its own. The important thing is not that we have uniformity, but that we have vitality and growth. In addition to its regular standing committees every chapter should always have several special committees working, and at least one new project under way.

To return now to the typical meeting of a local chapter which I began to outline earlier, the committee reports are usually followed by old and new business. Here a great variety of matters can be discussed: new projects which the group is considering, information from the national or state offices of the Federation, or local happenings which affect the blind.

In one community a blind man was denied the right to serve on a jury. The matter was considered by the local affiliate, and it was decided to help him with an appeal to the courts if satisfactory arrangements could be made. In another case it was discovered that a large public building had excellent facilities for a vending stand but that the location had not been secured. A committee was established to investigate the matter, and if possible, to help a blind person get the place.

In still another instance a fund appeal letter put out by a local sighted group to raise money to provide recreation for the blind was considered, and it was decided to write a letter of protest to the group, with copies to the mayor and the Better Business Bureau, explaining the harm which is done to the blind by appeals which portray blindness as helplessness. The chapter did not really expect the fund appeal letter to be withdrawn as it requested, but it felt that its protest might cause the next appeal to be more restrained.

After old and new business adjournment generally occurs, unless there is what might be called the day's program: a guest speaker, or refreshments, or some recreational activity. These items require some comment.

Guest speakers are not only desirable but necessary at state and national conventions, but they should be used sparingly on the local level. It all depends on the purpose. If there is really someone that the chapter members want to hear, enough to shorten or eliminate business--which they want and need to transact, then by all means the speaker. If, on the other hand, a speaker is invited simply because it seems the thing to do--or worse yet, perish the thought, because a filler is needed and there is not enough business to take up the time, the danger signs are easy to read, and the chapter should examine itself carefully to see if revitalization is in order.

As to dances, coffee and cake, dinners, and recreational activities generally, the question is once again one of purpose and proportion of chapter time and energy. An occasional dance or dinner, a picnic or other outing, can be a positive means of stimulating interest in the organization. Some chapters have dinner with every regular meeting, and many serve coffee or some other refreshment. If these things are properly subordinated, if they consume a relatively small amount of the total time and energy of the group, especially if they are kept from becoming the real purpose of the meetings, they may be pleasant and, in some instances, even helpful. When, however, these things are not kept properly subordinated; when the members begin to get fidgety to have the business over so they can get to the social hour, especially when the coffee and cake are regularly provided by some outside organization which does all the preparing and serving; then the danger sign is flashing again, and the chapter may find, too late, that it is helping to promote the very things it is trying to overcome.

Having discussed specific local projects and activities m such detail, I should now like to make these additional remarks:

1. The chapter should serve as a general clearing house. It should assume responsibility for seeing that the names, addresses, and changes of address of all known local blind persons (members and non-members alike) are on file in the state and national offices of the organization. It should see that local blind persons receive NFB bulletins and that they get THE MONITOR. It should report local happenings affecting the blind to the state and national offices, and in turn it should keep its members and other blind persons in the area informed of happenings elsewhere. The chapter is the first link in our bond of unity.

2. Some local leaders say that they have difficulty in raising funds when any part of the money is to go outside of the local area--that is, when a percentage is to go to the state or the national Perhaps the problem is one of approach. If a local leader goes to a businessman in the community and tells him that the chapter is made up of local blind persons and that there is a state organization of the blind and also a national organization and that "those organizations" do good work and that "we (the local organization) try to help them when we can and with any money we can spare for that purpose," the businessman is more than likely to insist that "I want my money to stay in this community and be used exclusively for local blind persons."

If, on the other hand, the local leader talks to the businessman about the organized blind movement as a single entity, if he draws no distinction between his chapter and the state and national offices of the Federation but refers to them as one, as "we," the question of percentages will probably not occur at all. The businessman will be giving his check to the Federation, and he will know what is helping the local blind.

Is it really that local businessmen, newspapers, radio, and television stations, and others want their money to be physically spent in the community, or is it rather that they want it spent anywhere so long as the local blind get the benefit? Obviously the latter is true, for no one would object to buying a Braille watch for a local blind man even though the money had to be spent in New York, or a Braille book even though it came from Kentucky. If the chapter should send someone to another state to investigate job possibilities for one of its members, or to represent one of them in a legal matter, or to learn about some new aid or piece of equipment, no one would object; and if the chapter did not have enough money to pay all of the expenses and pooled its funds with a neighboring chapter to make the project possible, still no one would object. This, of course, is exactly what we have done by uniting into the National Federation of the Blind. Sometimes the problem is not with the local businessman but with the local leaders of the chapter. We must constantly bear in mmd what the real problems of blindness are and how those problems can be solved. "Localitis" is one of the worst diseases which can occur in our movement. The Federation is all of us. WE (you and I) are the National Federation of the Blind.

3. A chapter should be willing to pay the reasonable expenses of its committees and officers in the performance of their duties. This should be done without so much red tape and bickering that incentive is stifled and interest killed. The purpose of fundraising is to improve the welfare of the blind, not merely to build larger and larger treasuries.

4. THE BRAILLE MONITOR is the main link in the communications system between National Conventions among local, state, and national organizations. Each chapter and/or state group should have a reporter or correspondent whose duties should include sending information about local activities to the Editor, Perry Sundquist, 4651 Mead Avenue, Sacramento, California 95822. Requests to be added to THE MONITOR mailing list and changes of address should be directed to the Berkeley Office, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708. THE MONITOR is currently available in Braille, inkprint, and on talking book discs.

5. The broadest possible democracy should prevail at every level of our organization. In this connection chapter presidents should be careful to avoid the mistake of insisting too much on the strict observance of all of the technicalities of parliamentary procedure, textbook style. If we were a high school debating society, the situation would be different; but as it is, we have better things to do with our time than to study the intricacies of ROBERTS' RULES OF ORDER, REVISED. If a chapter president is really fair in his presiding, if he sees that everyone has a chance to be heard and that order is kept, and finally, if he moves the meeting along and gets the business transacted, the general membership will support him and he will get little criticism for avoiding the technicalities. Besides, he will be practicing true democracy, for few indeed are the people who are really well versed in the complicated maneuvers of parliamentary procedure. And parliamentary procedure can be used as a weapon to defeat the will of the majority. Fair play and common sense are the best foundations upon which to build a good organization.

6. At the 1957 Convention we adopted an official Federation membership pin. The pin sells for $2. Every member of the Federation throughout the entire country should be encouraged to buy and wear one of these pins, thus emphasizing in a visible way our unity of purpose as a part of the overall organized blind movement. The Federation membership pins are now available and can be had by writing to the Berkeley Office, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, CA 94708.

During these remarks I have tried to summarize what I believe to be the principles of strong and effective local organization. It has grown from a handful of small state organizations in 1940 to the powerful force which it is today. It has given the blind, for the first time in history, an effective way of making known their needs and desires and working toward the solution of their problems.

Because of the very nature of our movement we have inevitably made many friends. Also, because of the very nature of our movement (and again inevitably) we have made enemies. There are those who would like to see the Federation destroyed, and they are at this very moment doing what they can to see that it is destroyed. It must be our task to keep the Federation strong-strong at the national level, strong at the state level, and above all, strong locally. It is no game we play, this business of organization. It is a matter as serious and important as human dignity itself, and the stakes are as high as the independence and self-respect of us all.

We cannot all be the President of the national organization or a national board member. We cannot all be state presidents or state board members. We cannot all even be chapter presidents or board members. But we can all be workers in our local chapters, and by so doing, we can determine the very nature of the entire Federation. The Federation can never be weakened or destroyed unless it is first destroyed in the hearts of its local members.

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MONITOR MINIATURES

The West Virginia Federation of the Blind secured passage of two of its bills by the Legislature this session. Senate Bill 148 established a minimum salary scale for employees of the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind and granted these employees the same tenure as school teachers. Senate Bill 149 gives preference to the West Virginia Society for the Blind and Severely Disabled for the operation of food service establishments in public buildings in lieu of the operation of such facilities by the West Virginia division of vocational rehabilitation. A bill which would have set the minimum presumed need of every recipient of Aid to the Blind at not less than $125 a month failed to pass. However, Victor Gonzales and his colleagues in the Federation will be back next year to try this one again.

 

In Colorado a bill to provide a residence requirement for welfare recipients and designed to skirt a U. S. Supreme Court decision outlawing such requirements was passed by the Colorado Senate and sent to the House. The bill would, in effect, acknowledge that the State couldn't require the one-year residence, but for new welfare applicants it would allow county officials ninety days time during which they would determine "residence and verify the application." Several other states are also flirting with attempts to water down the ban on state durational residence imposed by the U. S. Supreme Court when it ruled unconstitutional a Connecticut law.

 

Under the heading "Blind Youths Start Braille Paper," Marjie Shoemaker of the Seattle, Washington, Post Intelligencer, reported that "Some students from Queen Anne High School are publishing an outspoken newspaper that is somewhat 'underground' in that it serves an exclusive audience. They are blind, and the newspaper is in Braille. The students have a cubbyhole office at the CSB where they write and publish the 'Puget Sound Periscope.'

"They think it gives them an opportunity 'to tell it like it is,' and they feel they have fewer restrictions than they would have on the usual student newspaper. So far, their only restriction is they can't use obscenity in Braille. . . . The newspaper goes to visually handicapped students throughout the Puget Sound area from Edmonds to Tacoma, and the editors plan to invite reporters from other schools to contribute to it."

 

Judy Young Saunders has been named as North Dakota's nominee for the nation's foremost handicapped citizen. Judy was one of twenty-eight persons honored at the Governor's Annual Meeting and Awards banquet on Employment of the Handicapped. Blind since the age of seven, Judy is a graduate of the University of Iowa. She taught fourth grade in Urbandale, Iowa, and in Devils Lake, North Dakota. She now has an infant son and is devoting her full time to him and her husband, Dr. Curtis Saunders. Congratulations, Judy! It couldn't have happened to a stauncher Federationist.

 

William H. Butts, aged forty-eight, blind and black professor of history and religion, received a doctorate degree in philosophy at Columbia University recently. An ordained Baptist minister, Butts has been blind since birth and grew up as an orphan in various public institutions.

 

Recently two Federationists--Mrs. Joyce Ellis of the Greater Baltimore Chapter and John W. "Billy" Potter of the Columbia Chapter of the South Carolina Aurora Club were married. Joyce and Billy first met in 1969 during the national Convention of the NFB in Columbia, Who said there aren't fringe benefits at the Conventions of the NFB? Joyce was secretary of the Baltimore chapter and Billy is a member of the State Board of the South Carolina affiliate. Joyce was a civil service employee with the U. S. Customs in Baltimore and Billy has worked with the Mental Health Commission for many years. They are making their home in Columbia, South Carolina. Don Capps, First Vice-president of the NFB, sent in this item and concludes his note with the question--"Perry, isn't marriage a wonderful institution?" We agree, Don, we agree.

 

Sharry Hudberg, blind twenty-one year-old senior at Spring Arbor College was this year's homecoming queen. She is a music major. Last summer Sharry worked in Quito, Ecuador, as a musical accompanist at a missionary radio station which broadcasts in six languages. Sharry worked in the English and Spanish portions. [From "Queen Reigns without Sight" by Donna M. Barnes, Jackson, Michigan, Citizen Patriot.]

A Federal hearing examiner has recommended that Connecticut be found out of compliance with Federal welfare law. He issued a proposed decision with the following findings: Connecticut imposes an unlawful ceiling on the amount of income that may be disregarded in determining the amount of Aid to Families with Dependent Children; in determining need and the amount of aid in all of its welfare programs, the State does not first deduct from gross earnings the amount to be disregarded, and then deduct work expenses from the balance; in determining need for assistance, the State does not consider expenses such as lunches and transportation costs to and from work as valid work expenses; contrary to Federal law, the State's Department of Finance and Control has unlimited access to entire case records in the four welfare programs; the State's Department of Finance and Control, instead of the Welfare Department, deals with the Internal Revenue Service regarding unlocatable deserting parents of AFDC children; in the Medicaid program, the State does not pay reasonable costs for inpatient hospital services as defined by the HEW Secretary; and, contrary to Federal requirements, the income levels used by the State to determine financial eligibility of medically needy families are lower than the most liberal money payment standards in public assistance programs.

 

Jacob Twersky, a former wrestling star at City College of New York, overcame blindness to compile an outstanding collegiate record. He was recently elected to the college's Hall of Fame.

 

A blind man in Michigan has been granted a permit to own a hand gun. The man applied to the police for the permit so he could protect his home. The permit found nothing in the Michigan law which required the holder of a gun permit to be able to see to aim.

 

The Blind Relief Association of India reports that that country has between four and five million blind, constituting one-third of the total blind population of the world; that with the possible exception of Egypt, India has the highest incidence of blindness in the world; that only one in every one hundred blind boys and girls gets the benefit of an education and the rest are left to the mercies of fate and eke out a miserable existence by begging; and that nearly eighty-four percent of the blindness in India is preventable.

 

More than forty-three million workers in the nation's private economy are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage requirements, according to a report by the U. S. Labor Department. Of the forty-three million workers, fifteen million are women and 4.6 million are members of racial minorities, including 4.3 million blacks. Still, almost twelve million employees in the private economy remain outside the Act's coverage. In addition to the forty-three million employees in the private sector, the Act's minimum wage provisions apply to 729,000 Federal government workers and 2.4 million employees of State and local governments, for a total coverage of 46.3 million workers.

 

The Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation recently submitted its final report for a vocational training project for blind persons in the field of electronics. This project was supported by an innovation grant through HEW's Social and Rehabilitation Service. Accomplishments during the time of the project were most impressive. The fact that twenty-four out of twenty-six persons who completed training are now successfully employed in the electronics industry certainly demonstrates the effectiveness and desirability of the special training and placement program followed in Florida.

 

Recipients of Aid to the Blind in the United States increased by only one tenth of one percent in the past year while Old Age Assistance recipients increased six tenths of one percent, Aid to the Disabled recipients by 16.7 percent, and Aid to Families with Dependent Children recipients by 28.3 percent. The monthly average cash payment in Aid to the Blind varied all the way from $175.55 (Alaska) to $13.45 (Puerto Rico). Only in fifteen States was the average Aid to Blind grant higher than $100.

 

Ethel ("Tiny") Beedle of Kansas City, the newly-elected president of the NFB of Missouri, broke her leg the other day while visiting at her daughter's. Apparently, instead of the election to the presidency going to Tiny's head, it went to her feet. Seriously, though. Tiny, we're really sorry--and John Nagle has promised to lend you his wheelchair so that you can get around Houston. Fortunately, John has outgrown the need for such a conveyance.

 

The Month's News, publication of the Illinois Congress of the Blind, reports the formation of a new chapter, the Chicago Congress of the Blind. This is the third chapter of ICB and its membership consists of the hitherto unaffiliated ICB members living in the Chicago area.

 

Andy Israel summed up what he learned in an interview with blind students for a story which appeared in the Stanford, California, Daily in the last paragraph: "Talking to blind students one realizes their life is not a constant struggle against blindness but rather a constant struggle with the everyday problems of students in general. Their lives are a constant stream of people, places, emotions, sunny days, long assignments, love and frustration, only they have an added frustration when people react to them as a stereotype rather than relating to them as people."

 

Professor tenBroek's series of articles which appeared in the Stanford Law Review under the title "California's Dual System of Family Law" have been brought out as a text intended to be used mostly in law schools. A colleague, Professor Joel F. Handler, is the Editor and the book now appears as FAMILY LAW AND THE POOR ESSAYS BY JACOBUS tenBROEK. There is a biographical sketch and an "Editor's Introduction" The Editor says: "tenBroek's work, as represented by this volume must be studied to appreciate fully what the system of family law in the United States has done to the poor. The principal state interest in discriminating against the poor has been the overriding desire to save public money. In this respect, Maryland is no different from Elizabethan England. tenBroek showed how this desire has spawned a whole system of unjustifiable inequalities and discriminations. In order to live, the poor must accept the conditions of public assistance, which make their family relationships different from those of the rest of society." [Editor's Introduction, p. xix]

 

The following eulogy to Philip Houghtelin from the officers and entire Minnesota Organization of Blind appears in the Minnesota Bulletin: To his immediate family and good wife, Philip's untimely departure from their midst will be deeply mourned. To his larger family, which m a very real sense became his beloved adopted family; namely, the Minnesota Organization of Blind whom he has faithfully and steadfastly served for the past forty years, Philip's passing from the scene of activity will be a profound source of grievous loss His guiding spirit, we are sure, will continue to pervade the Organization's deliberations and decisions as in many years past The important beneficial work initiated by Phil eight years ago through a Special Committee on Finance and carried on largely by him right up until the period of his critical illness will long stand, we believe, as a monument to the memory of his self-sacrificing devotion and effort. If ever called upon to tackle some challenging organizational problem or to help develop some program as for example, our Golden Jubilee activities of 1970, Phil would unhesitatingly turn his full attention to that matter of the moment even if it meant dropping his own work, testifying to how dedicatedly he lived for the Minnesota Organization of Blind. His twenty-six years of service as secretary, his able chairmanship of several important committees down through the years eloquently testifies to the inspiring caliber of his sound leadership. Our Organization has this day lost its most ardent champion and worker, and personally we have lost a beloved friend. Many of us are the better for having known Phil. The Organization extends its sincere hand of friendship and sympathy to his devoted wife, "Val," and to all those who mourn Phil's passing.

 

We are now sending out in Braille, inkprint, and on record, approximately 10,000 copies of THE MONITOR each month. It costs us approximately $125,000 per year to do this. THE MONITOR is, by far, the largest single item in the NFB budget. THE MONITOR is also the most important means of communication available to the blind of the nation. We do not make any charge for THE MONITOR and we have no intention of doing so. However, money is hard to come by and the continued financing of THE MONITOR is a major item. From the above figures it will be clear that it costs about $12.50 per year to publish and distribute each individual subscription to THE MONITOR. If readers or affiliates are in a financial position to do so and care to contribute toward the publication of THE MONITOR, donations will be gratefully received. Checks should be made payable to the National Federation of the Blind and sent to Franklin VanVliet, Treasurer, National Federation of the Blind, 207 Fisherville Road, Penacook, New Hampshire 03301.

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