THE BRAILLE MONITOR

Voice of the National Federation of the Blind

JUNE 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, 4651 Mead Avenue Sacramento, California 95822
Associate Editor: Hazel tenBroek, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708
News items should be sent to the Editor
Address changes should be sent to 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708

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

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

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

Printed at 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708

TABLE OF CONTENTS

FUTURE IMPERATIVE: THE CHALLENGE TO EDUCATION
by Kenneth Jernigan

ALABAMA REORGANIZES
by Mary Ellen Anderson

OREGON BLIND WIN A ROUND

NEW ATTITUDES TOWARD BLIND NEEDED
by Al Dieffenbach

THE SECRETARY EXPLAINS

BEING BLIND IS CHALLENGE TO THIS EDITOR
by William Eastmond

WE FACE A TIME ---

INFORMLNG DRIVERS ABOUT BLINDNESS

AN UNSAFE DEPOSIT AGAINST THE BLIND
by Kenneth Jernigan

MEET OUR STATE PRESIDENT--GEER WILCOX AND OUR STATE AFFILIATE--MICHIGAN

COMPETING NATIONAL HEALTH PLANS

THE SOUNDING BOARD

THE TURNING POINT

OREGON CONVENTION
by Leanna Deeds

A TENNESSEE DESSERT
by Nellie Hargrove

COLORADANS WORK FOR FIRST AID CERTIFICATES
by Betty Ausmus

STUDENTS RESTORE JOBS TO BLIND
by Walli Schneider

A VETO VETOED

A CHALLENGING CONTEST
by Marjorie Gallien

A GIFT TO THE SIGHTED
by Myrna Schmidt

THE TENNESSEE CONVENTION
by Nellie Hargrove

BRINGING THE SUN AND THE MOON TOGETHER
by John Bilby

MONITOR MINIATURES

FUTURE IMPERATIVE: THE CHALLENGE TO EDUCATION

by Kenneth Jernigan

[Editor's Note: Generally Kenneth Jernigan is known to Federationists as working in the movement or as Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind. There are other facets to his career. As an example, he makes a number of commencement speeches and speeches on educational matters. The following paper was delivered at Mount Mercy College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on May 21 at their commencement.]

I wish to talk to you today about tomorrow. It is customary, of course, on commencement occasions for "middle-aged squares" like me, who have lived too long in the past, to brighten up and talk about the future. Indeed, it seems that nowadays the future is a subject for all occasions. There is a science of the future (called "futurology"); a society of futurists; magazines and books devoted to tomorrow--and even "Laugh-In" has a news-of-the-future episode each week. I feel about all this somewhat the way Mark Twain felt about the weather. You remember he said somewhere that "everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." It seems to me that now everybody talks about the future, but nobody does anything about it. Well, almost nobody. There are two groups of people at least--the futurologists and the science-fiction writers--who are doing something about it, each of them important in its own way.

There is another group of people who ought to be doing something about the future--but, for the most part, are not. I refer to our educators. It sometimes seems that the schools have all their windows open to the past, with perhaps a skylight or two looking out on the present. They have yet to come to terms with the future and to recognize its imperatives.

I heard a good and graphic illustration of this failure of the schools the other day in a radio interview with Alvin Toffler, who is the author of a significant and best-selling book called Future Shock. Toffler said that he had carried out an opinion survey with a number of high school girls. He asked them first to predict seven future events likely to make an important impact upon the world during the next few years. The girls named a number of likely things--such as war between Russia and China, the take over of education by teaching machines, meaningful world government. World War III, and the development of human communities on the ocean bottom. Then Toffler went back to the same students and asked them to anticipate seven events in their own lives which would be of major importance to them in the same period. The girls talked about careers and marriage and travel and large families and the good life--without awareness that, as the song says, they were living in two different worlds. What was remarkable, Toffler said, was that in no case did the seven major events which these students anticipated in their own lives take into account any of the seven events they had predicted would affect or change the world. In short, what they thought would happen in the world out there was not real for them, was not seen as something that would affect them in their own private lives. The great issues and breakthroughs of the future failed to touch them where they live.

This failure to make the future present--to make it relevant--is not, to be sure, solely the fault of the teachers. It is also the fault of students, who are caught up entirely in the present--the here and now--and are "turned off" (as they say) by the future in the same way that they are turned off by the past. If history is bunk, future history is bunker. During recent years students have been accusing their teachers of not talking about relevant things--and they are right. For their part, teachers have been accusing their students of not thinking about relevant things--and they, too, are right. But both students and teachers are wrong in their definitions of what is primarily relevant: one side supposes that it is the present, and the other that it is the past. I suggest to you that what is most relevant of all, as a field of study and a source of instruction, is the future.

It is hard work, to be sure, to open a mind for the first time to the uncertainties and outright mysteries of the future. "That is not where the action is," alter all--at any rate, not yet. Moreover, the ability to tolerate the future is like the ability to plan, or to save, or to defer pleasure. It takes will, it takes effort, and above all it takes thought.

More than that: to cope with the future takes a new kind of thinking--someone has called it "cope-ability"--a kind of thinking unfamiliar to most of us and unconventional in the schools. For the methods and materials of education are rooted in the past and mired in tradition. Even as they move painfully toward the future, they force their students to go on looking backward through the rearview mirror. Our schools are like those generals who are forever getting their troops in readiness to fight the last war.

Some twenty years ago Norman Cousins published a book with the title Modern Man is Obsolete. What he meant was that the modern age, with all its traditions and skills, had come to an end--to be replaced by a post-modern age with altogether new and different requirements, including a new set of roles and talents and life styles for man himself. Not only modern man, but modern times and the modern school, were obsolete.

Cousins' warning is still more to the point today. Since he wrote, the process of obsolescence has turned into the rattle of rigor mortis. The old modern culture--the old ways and the old world--are in the throes of a death struggle; and a new world is striving to be born.

(The poet William Butler Yeats put the issue more starkly. Referring to the death of the modern age, with all its household gods, he asked: "And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?")

In reality, I believe, we are farther along than that: we have passed the takeoff point and are well embarked upon the new age--an age of unprecedented novelty and unheard--of challenges and unimagined opportunities. It is, in fact, nothing less than a Second Renaissance.

H. G. Wells once said that civilization had become a race between education and catastrophe. He was a trifle premature, but his words are a conservative statement of the crisis which now confronts us. Either we turn ourselves around and face the future--or we face the music of doom. For the forces we have already set in motion, the technological powers we have unleashed, will not wait upon our pleasure.

Once before in history there was a comparable crisis of culture and collision of world views. That critical epoch has become known as the Renaissance. It has often been celebrated, however, for the wrong reason. Its true significance did not lie in its revival of ancient learning--its rediscovery, as it were, of old worlds. The Renaissance was more truly characterized by its discovery of new worlds--new visions, new vistas, and new viewpoints. Within the space of a few years, at about the turn of the Sixteenth Century, men were forced to move from the deeply ingrained image of a flat earth, with all that that entailed, to the fantastic new image of a round earth, with its accompanying conception of the world as a whole--not a mere collection of separate countries, but the great globe itself. Just think what a shock of recognition, what a mind-boggling experience, it must have been to men and women living in that crucial time. One could reach the East by sailing West; the sun, not the earth, was the center of the solar system; and even the concepts of up and down became relative instead of absolute. It is just such a breakthrough in understanding that Toffler describes by his term "future shock." The men of the Renaissance were helped to meet that shock, to accommodate the transforming vision of the world of the future, by a remarkable generation of prophets and artists--whose imaginative designs were a kind of early science fiction. There was Sir Thomas More with his Utopia; there was Francis Bacon with his New Atlantis; there was Shakespeare with his Never-Never-Land of "The Tempest"; there was Leonardo Da Vinci with his futurist sketches and speculations. (It is noteworthy that some of Leonardo's amazing inventions became reality almost immediately and others, like the airplane and submarine, waited four hundred years to become practical; but their real significance in either case was in the part they played in orienting Leonardo's contemporaries to their own immediate future--to a round world instead of a flat one, to an East reached by sailing West, to a sun at the center of the solar system.)

The Renaissance was a time of invention and exploration, of creativity in art and originality in thought--of comprehensive visions and imaginings on the grand scale. Accordingly, the age produced a distinctive self-image, an imaginary picture of itself, which has ever since been known as "Renaissance Man"--symbolizing the man of broad and rounded learning, the generalist and humanist who was also master of the new science--the very embodiment of the Great Awakening.

The Renaissance Man was the opposite of that simple figure who still symbolizes the Middle Ages for us: the craftsman or guild member, the medieval worker with his single trade or narrow specialty. At the critical point of culture change, as the Middle Ages gave way to the Renaissance, these two images of man contested briefly for dominance--and the past gave way to the future.

Today, as we enter the Second Renaissance, we are witnesses to another such confrontation. On the one hand is the model of the specialist, the technician--the modern equivalent of the guild type, defined by his functional role within the great machinery of the industrial system. This is the model of the finished human product so dear to our schools. Over against it is, once again, the image of Renaissance Man: humanist and planner, generalist and synthesizer. Which image of man shall prevail?

If the schools and colleges continue on their present collision course with the future, the obsolete model of the narrow guild specialist will surely prevail--long enough, at least, to wreck any prospect of a smooth and sensible transition into new age education. For it is true of the schools that, where they should be developing generalists, they are turning out specialists; where they should be creating humanists, they are processing technicians. Our colleges and universities in particular are split and fragmented into a scatter of departments, and the departments in turn are broken up into technical specialities. This academic compartmentalizing, this proliferation of professors, closely reflects the social and economic pluralism of the industrial age--the age of independent guilds and unions, of separate agencies or factions, of small operators and independent businessmen--in short, the age just ended. The past, as Marshall McLuhan has said, went that-a-way.

It was perhaps enough then, in the age of innocence and free competition, for a man to work at his trade and cultivate his garden, and ignore wider horizons and deeper understanding. But we are now well advanced into the post-industrial age, the era of the conglomerate and the megalopolis, of information systems and communication networks and urban complexes. We need men to match our concrete mountains--men capable of overviewand super-vision. At IBM, so we are told, the key term these days is not “data collection" but "pattern recognition." Just so, in the wider society, the key problem is not specialization but generalization, not technical expertise but social comprehension.

I have a suggestion for the schools--both the high schools and the colleges. They both teach more than enough of history. My suggestion is that they drop some part of that treatment of the past, valuable as it is, and replace it with a lively treatment of the future--in the form of a mandatory course in science fiction. I will even name the course for them: "Science Fiction 2000."

I said earlier that there were two exceptions to the rule that everybody talks about the future but no one does anything about it. One exception is the writers of science fiction; the other is the experts of futurology. Their contributions are not, however, (as I see them) of equal value. The difference between them is the difference between prophecy and prediction; and it is a substantial difference. The predictors of the future are the futurologists--the straight scientists--who tell us what the world will be like, in terms of sure things and solid probabilities. They operate on the same principle as the weatherman. The prophets of the future are the science fiction writers--the half-mad scientists--who tell us what the world might be like, depending on our own will and action. They operate on the same principle as the seer or wise man.

Science fiction is not a science of probability (as futurology is) but an art of possibility. It performs a necessary and vital function, which the schools have defaulted on--which is to speculate dreamily about the future, to set the imagination loose to contemplate Utopias and ponder alternative societies. Science fiction deals with the fabulous and the mythical, but in so doing tells us forgotten truths about ourselves and our civilization, both past and present. It may appear to be frivolous (mere literary entertainment) but it is in fact thoroughly serious--a means of enlightenment and a form of moral philosophy, the most relevant material available today. Science fiction is the prime educational resource, as well as the imaginative literature, of the Second Renaissance.

There is a common mistake that people make about science fiction, even where they are most sympathetic to it. They say its chief merit is that it has predicted specific events and developments (such as the moon landing, atomic warfare, and organ transplantation). But, on the contrary, the great contribution of science fiction is not that it foresees remote eventualities but that it comprehends the evolving present and immediate future. Its real importance is that it prepares us to recognize and cope with the strange new world into which we are hurtling at breakneck speed. In short, it lessens the shock of contact with the future.

Science fiction, then, far from being an escape from reality, is a guide to emerging reality--to the otherwise uncharted and exotic terrain of the brave new world we are entering. Science fiction is the primary agency of orientation and adjustment to the shocking future. It is not surprising, then, that it should have flourished (in its classical form) during the Renaissance; and that it should be so conspicuous today. Whenever there is an age of reawakening or real breakghrough, there is a flourishing fiction of prophecy. For, as a creative literature of adaptation, science fiction plays its most vital role in times of sudden and drastic change--when strange new forces are at work and traditional guideposts have become irrelevant, incompetent, and immaterial.

During most of the past, in ordinary times, the future exerted no such force or demand upon people. Significant changes, when they came at all, came so slowly and gradually that no serious problem of adjustment or adaptation existed. The past was a good enough guide--indeed, an indispensable one--because it continued into the present and would surely be projected into the future. Most societies were, in David Riesman's term, securely "tradition-directed"; and their systems of education and socialization were safely built upon the customs and patterns of established life styles. By the 19th century in the Western world, according to Riesman's formulation, tradition-direction had given way to inner-direction, by means of which each individual incorporated within himself in the form of conscience the basic values and commitments of his culture. And in our own century, the same author maintains, the style of inner-direction has given way to other-direction, through which we take our cues not from the inner voice of conscience but from the outer voices of significant other persons around us--especially those of our own age and social group.

I suggest it is time for an amendment to Riesman's formula. As we have progressed in our cultural style and social character from tradition-direction through inner-direction to other-direction, so must we move now toward the style of future-direction. The purpose of this would not be merely to insulate ourselves against future shock, although that in itself is a needed therapy. More affirmatively, the purpose of a future-directed orientation should be to help us become the designers and makers of the future rather than its passive victims. For the future can be ours if we know how to detect and to ride its wave.

A future-directed curriculum in the schools might begin with the course I have proposed--"Science Fiction 2000"--as an introductory probe and orientation. It might continue, following a suggestion of Toffler's, with Student Councils of the Future--devoted to dreaming and scheming various alternative "assumed futures" for discussion and action. There might well be rewards for the most ambitious and outrageous hypotheses about the shape of things to come. Through all such courses and activities the objective would be not the spinning out of empty abstractions (constructive as that might be as an exercise in mind-stretching) but the exploration of the future in the interest of the present.

That is the key to the future-directed life style, both in and out of school. Speculation about the future, however worthy in its own right, falls short of the mark unless it is dragged down to earth from the airy realm of abstraction. The testing-ground of future thinking is finally the present. The real proof of its value is the light it sheds and the difference it makes in the conduct of our lives.

If we are not to suffer future shock, then, there must be a secure electrical connection between our future thinking and our present living. Those high school students interviewed by Toffler were not ignorant or foolish in their anticipations of future events--but their predictions for the world at large were immaterial and irrelevant to their own projected personal worlds. The students had not plugged in the connection between the two. Therefore, when they leave school and go to meet the future, they are due for a shock.

What about you? I have issued a challenge, the challenge of the future imperative, to the schools. Now I should like to propose a challenge to the scholars--to you. I challenge each of you to try the Toffler experiment on yourself--but with one difference, since you know what he was up to. Make a list of your own seven predictions of the most important world events over the next ten or fifteen years. But then ask yourself these questions: What difference will it make in your own life, if and when, any of those events comes to pass? Do you predict an end to our war in Viet Nam, and with that an end to our military commitment in Asia, and with that an end to the draft? Well then, how will that affect your life and hopes and career? Alternatively, if you anticipate our continued large scale involvement in Asian war, with the threat or actuality of World War III, what is that going to mean for your life and career plans? Put this practical, personal question to yourself after each one of your general predictions--and see if you don't feel a small preliminary twinge of future shock. I hope you do. Better a few such small shocks of recognition than the massive shell shock which otherwise may be yours.

The point of that exercise in future-thinking is for you to find out how well prepared or poorly you are to meet the future when it comes around the mountain. It may be riding six white horses when it comes--or it may be riding a whirlwind. Either way, as the saying goes, forewarned is forearmed.

"Life," said the Prophet, "goes not backward, nor tarries with yesterday." If we restrict our learning and schooling to the past, we shall be educating not for life but for death. This is not to belittle the study of history, which is more than ever essential in a time of crisis, change, and confusion of values. But while we can and do visit the past profitably, through its archives and storytellers, we are not sufficiently aware that we can also visit the future, through its own chronicles and storytellers. We must learn, in Robert Heilbroner's phrase, to regard "the future as history."

That, then, is my challenge to the schools and the scholars. We on Spaceship Earth may continue to back into the future, toward certain doom, or we may direct our movement and plan our voyage. The responsibility is great, and the choice is totally yours. For you will be the pilots, the navigators, and the engineers of spaceship Earth in the years ahead. What will happen to Spaceship Earth under your direction? Will it crash and burn among the cold and lonely stars, or will it carry mankind to a new and better future? Will the race of man perish on a burned out cinder, or will it flourish in a new and better Garden of Eden? You must decide.

Back to Contents

ALABAMA REORGANIZES

by Mary Ellen Anderson

Rising above a stormy past which left bleak stagnation in its ruinous wake, blind Alabamians new to the organized blind movement joined veteran Federationists of the Magic City Chapter--Alabama Association of the Blind in establishing the National Federation of the Blind of Alabama on March 13, 1971. Many of you will remember the unfortunate events of 1966 which lead to the splintering of our Alabama affiliate. The issue then was crucial: would the organization abdicate its right and responsibility to provide a forum for free and independent self expression? For true Federationists there could be but one answer to that question--a resounding NO! Although costly at the time, the ultimate wisdom of that decision was reaffirmed on March 13, 1971 with the emergence of the NFB of Alabama, a vigorous, progressive, and independent organization.

Prior to March 13, Arlene Gashel and I traveled throughout the State contacting blind persons and issuing invitations to attend the meeting. Marshall Tucker of South Carolina came for a week-end to help with the work. It is, of course, an oversimplification to say that we issued invitations to attend a meeting. We did indeed do that. More importantly, however, we discussed in depth the goals, philosophy and work of the National Federation of the Blind, and put forward the challenge to become actively involved in the building of an effective, working organization within the mainstream of the organized blind movement.

Among those responding to the challenge was Dr. Jeff Buttram, professor of sociology at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Jeff, who describes himself not as a blind professor, but as a professor who happens to be blind, and his wife, Jessie, who is also blind, immediately began working toward the establishment of a chapter in Tuscaloosa. Cedric Flowers, owner of the Flowers Piano Company, and his wife, Sue, joined in the effort. Established on March 8, the Tuscaloosa Chapter elected Cedric Flowers president, and Jessie Buttram vice president. As its first project the chapter will work for the establishment of an efficient volunteer transcriber's group to provide text books for blind college students. On the evening of the organizational meeting in Tuscaloosa Arlene and I, Jeff and Jessie, and their two children piled into our rented Volkswagen and headed out for a delightful dinner. But not before we witnessed a hilarious episode involving Jeff and a deaf cat who insisted on darting in and out of a crawl space underneath the house and whose only access is a trap door which can only be opened by moving a massive chest of drawers. You can imagine the rest of the story.

As the organizational drive continued we met a number of college students who are preparing for teaching careers in the public schools. We were unable to discover any blind teachers currently employed in the Alabama public schools. The State does not have the Model White Cane Law which outlaws discrimination in public employment. In order to pave the way for those who are now preparing for teaching careers, the NFB of Alabama will work for enactment of this law. Needless to say, some of the affiliate's most enthusiastic new members are college students. One of these is Sue Heaton, a senior at Jacksonville State University. Sue has recently completed her practice teaching in the public schools.

In Birmingham Arlene and I met Jack Rivers, a law student at Cumberland School of Law. Jack lost his sight five years ago in an accident and, after evaluation, was encouraged to work in a sheltered shop. He declined this dubious opportunity, enrolled at St. Bernard's College and graduated valedictorian of his class. Experiences like that tend to produce real Federationists and Jack Rivers is no exception!

Somewhere along the line our rented Volkswagen developed a most nerve-jangling rattle. While I insisted that it came from the right and that Arlene could find it if she'd only try a little harder, Arlene claimed just the opposite. Humoring each other we searched our respective sides in vain, each mile becoming more convinced that the other had lost her senses. Eventually Arlene discovered the problem between the seats--sure enough coming from her left and my right. Somehow I'm beginning to believe that the quirks of rented Volkswagens will never cease to plague me.

On Friday, March 12, we turned the VW in and waited anxiously for Don and Betty Capps, Marshall Tucker, and Lois Boltin to arrive from Columbia. They informed us that the only rattle they experienced was an endless stream of jokes delivered enroute by the first vice president.

The crowd began arriving Saturday morning amid heavy rain which dampened bodies but not spirits, Arlene manned the registration table while Lois and Marshall distributed large volumes of NFB literature--in Braille, talking book, and print.

On hand early to meet and welcome new members were veteran Federationists Gibson Young, president of the Alabama Association of the Blind, Joe Horsley, president of the Magic City (Birmingham) Chapter, Burlie Dutton and Catherine Bonner.

At 10:00 a.m. Don called the convention to order. After presenting a taped message from President Jernigan, Don outlined the history, purposes, and goals of the NFB. A productive day of discussion and planning followed. Sue Heaton discussed her recent student teaching experience, including the problems she encountered in gaining permission to teach in the regular public schools instead of at the school for the blind as others had always done. Frank Tompkins presented the Model White Cane Law. Cedric Flowers reported on the Tuscaloosa Chapter.

Selection of a name, adoption of a constitution, and election of officers and board members occupied the afternoon session.

Joe Horsley's proposal that the name be National Federation of the Blind of Alabama was unanimously agreed upon.

Dr. Jeff Buttram of Tuscaloosa was elected president. Jeff, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Alabama, holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Tennessee. He has taught at the college level for nearly ten years, including five years in his present position. Jeff and Jessie have a son and a daughter, ages seven and four.

First vice president is Jack Rivers of Birmingham. Jack, as I mentioned earlier, is a student at Cumberland School of Law and holds a degree in political science and history. Jack and his wife, Barbara, have a daughter who happens to be a Girl Scout and a super saleswoman. (I bought five boxes of chocolate mint cookies from her.)

Joe Horsley of Ashville is second vice president. Joe is president of the Magic City Chapter and has been active in the NFB for many years. Before retirement, Joe was employed by the American Cast Iron Pipe Company.

Secretary is Sue Heaton of Oneonta. Sue will graduate from Jacksonville State University this spring with a major in history and plans to begin graduate work at the University of Alabama this fall. Although Sue is too modest to admit it herself, her friends tell me that she will graduate with a nearly perfect grade point.

Treasurer is Burlie Dutton of Birmingham. Burlie has operated Dutton's snack bar in the Social Security Building for seventeen years, and was a hard working Federationist long before she opened the snack bar.

Board members elected are Cedric Flowers of Tuscaloosa and Frank Tompkins of Montgomery. Cedric owns and operates the Flowers Piano Company. Cedric and Sue have a lovely daughter age seven. Frank will graduate this spring from Huntingdon College with a degree in history and plans to begin graduate work in the fall.

No doubt about it--we have another excellent affiliate in the National Federation of the Blind of Alabama!

Back to Contents

OREGON BLIND WIN A ROUND

In Oregon a bill creating a proposed State Department of Human Resources, another one of those now all too familiar "umbrella" agencies, has been vigorously fought by the organized blind of the State who insist that their Commission for the Blind not be swallowed up by the superagency. The bill, which passed the House, is now before the Senate Committee for consideration. At the Senate hearing some seventy blind persons appeared in opposition. Their appearance and solidarity were most impressive and persuasive. In fact, Robert Davis, the Governor's coordinator of human resources, told the Committee that neither he nor the Governor would object if the Commission for the Blind were left as a separate agency. The Committee will hold another hearing to give further consideration to the proposal.

James Southworth is president of the Mid-Willamette Chapter of the Oregon Federation of the Blind. Correspondence with NFB President Kenneth Jernigan and the testimony Mr. Southworth gave, tell the story of what happens when the blind really join forces and work together.

 

625 South Bain Street
Albany, Oregon 97321
March 25, 1971

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

Dear Mr. Jernigan:

A short but sincere "thank you" for inspiration, direction, and encouragement, throughout the years and especially at convention time and the following Sunday.

When we returned home from convention we received a memo from our State Senator that a Senate committee hearing would be held in three days regarding the Human Resources Bill, 1059. After calling you, we began valiantly to arrange membership support and testimony by Mr. Ken Hopkins. It was a tough, fast battle! It now appears that we are winning round number two.

Ken Hopkins gave excellent testimony, captivated, and convinced the committee. Your fiery enthusiasm was expressed through Winona Parker who responded with great appeal to organized attendance and participation (she also did a job at the Capitol building in getting people fed in the dining room and directed to the hearing chamber.) Commendation also goes from my heart to Jeff Brown, and Jackie Church for their Paul Revere efforts in getting us together in attendance.

There were between seventy and eighty OFB, OCB and independents at the hearing, and the Capitol was impressed.

Enclosed are copies of the news releases the following day and a copy of our prepared statement (which, damn it all, was not presented audibly to the gathered throng) but which is written into the Senate records.

There will be one more hearing and I hope we can continue to be as effective as you stimulated us to be this week. Keep the good advice and direction coming. We need it. Many thanks. Our best to you and yours.

Sincerely,

James A. Southworth, President
Mid Willamette Chapter of the OFB

2 enclosures

 

April 7, 1971

Mr. James A. Southworth, President
Mid Willamette Chapter of the OFB
625 South Bain Street
Albany, Oregon 97321

Dear Jim:

Thanks for sending me the clippings and your statement. As you can imagine, I am delighted that the human resources bill has been stopped in its tracks. The blind of Oregon should learn a very important lesson from what has occurred in this matter.

When I was in Portland, most people were saying that the blind did not have a chance of keeping out of the "umbrella" department, that the bill was a cinch to become law. Nick Pete, the Director of Rehabilitation, treated our organization with virtual contempt. I had the feeling that some of our members were convinced by his confident attitude and thought the best we could do would be to lie down and die peacefully--or, perhaps, to go with hat in hand and ask for whatever crumbs he chose to give.

You will remember that Ken Hopkins and I, along with many of your Oregonians, said that we could win; and even if we couldn't we should never give up--that we should battle year after year for a generation if necessary to see that an independent agency for the blind existed in Oregon.

Now, it would appear that our efforts are paying off. This is what happens when the blind unite and work with determination. We must achieve our own salvation. Nobody else is going to do it for us. Congratulations to you and the entire membership of the Oregon affiliate. Keep up the good work, and let me know how things are going.

Cordially,

Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind

 

For the record, my name is:
James A. Southworth

 

I reside at:
625 South Bain Street
Albany, Oregon 97321

Thank you, gentlemen, for the permission to speak at this hearing.

Taxpayers have a right to see the numbers of handicapped and disadvantaged removed as the recipients of their tax dollars. But for this to become an actuality, the handicapped must be educated in order to successfully support themselves. Such training can best be obtained through the single agency geared to satisfy the needs of its own particular handicapped clients. It is our premise that a single agency into which all these separate agencies are lumped together would pervert and nullify the will of the clients to do for themselves simply by the fact that they must wade from one department to another, trying to cope with inter-departmental rivalries and competition and red tape.

It has been conjectured by Mr. Nick Pete (the Director of Rehabilitation) that the individual and the individual's family have a variety of needs which cannot be satisfied by any single agency.

We contend that an individual going to a single agency which, through sound practice, dedication, and proven fundamental training obtains much better satisfaction, help, and success than he would by being shuffled from department to department in a multi-headed Human Resources jungle of statistical, numerical, and multi-departmental blanket requirements. In the main, most of this data would have no direct bearing on the client's knowledge, ability, skills, or needs.

Mr. Pete has also alleged that "he and the members of the Legislature do not care what has been done in other States. . . . Oregonians are different."

We ask, in the name of human consideration, why Oregon need form a mammoth, expensive bureau, which, to date, wherever tried, has failed to yield proven accomplishment or success, regardless of variation in its interlaced, honeycombed structure. Instead, if Oregon must make some alteration, can we not base that alteration upon an existing, proven foundation of the single agency and improve its dedication, appropriate service, clear and simple help to those persons needing the agency's aid?

Good Oregon Legislators, have any of you personally seen in the last twenty-five years any expansion merger program, either in business or government that has not cost the stockholder or taxpayer more in time lost, fractured communication, and money than could ever have been imagined? (or mentioned by the computered accountants of cost).

We, the blind of Oregon, know what we have and that there are some corrections and/or improvements to be made. We ask that you help by consulting us about our needs and by working us into the Commission board and by helping us give greater service at lower cost by our staying with the proven, already trained, existing single agency.

Back to Contents

NEW ATTITUDES TOWARD BLIND NEEDED

by Al Dieffenbach

[Reprinted by courtesy of the Seattle (Washington) Times.]

New public attitudes and remodeled agencies must be developed to give blind persons the understanding, the opportunities, and more of the self-rule they deserve, the director of the Idaho Commission for the Blind said here yesterday.

"There are too few options open to the unsighted," Kenneth Hopkins said, citing such "opportunities" as operating a news stand or tuning pianos.

Blind persons need new programs that are individualized to help in any endeavor be it piano tuning or engineering, so that the blind can occupy the position of normal but unsighted persons in the mainstream of life, Hopkins said.

"A blind person, once he is trained and working, is essentially normal, not permanently handicapped," Hopkins, thirty-four, said.

The popular but erroneous beliefs about blindness are much more prevalent than they are about other handicapped persons, he said. "There still are people who think blindness is a sign of divine displeasure," he said.

Hopkins said he was in Seattle as a representative of the National Federation of the Blind to advise and assist in helping with efforts to establish a State commission for the blind.

Such a commission would guide a separate agency, combining all of the publicly financed services for the blind.

"We know that, nationwide, the services for the blind get submerged in public agencies, that staff persons frequently categorize rather than individualize the blind and that an agency tends to respond to its own needs and deals with paperwork and policies rather than people," Hopkins said. There is a distinct danger that the newly blind person may adopt the public's or the agency's attitude that the blind are severely limited by their handicap, he added.

"It is a reasonable understatement," he said, "that the blind do not have enough to say about the agencies, the programs and the people who are supposed to help."

Back to Contents

THE SECRETARY EXPLAINS

[Editor's Note: Following are excerpts from a letter written by Elliot Richardson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare about the Division for the Blind.]

Thank you for your letter of February 4, transmitting a copy of the letter to John D. Twiname, setting forth the views of the ad hoc committee representing national organizations of and for the blind.

As Mr. Twiname and Dr. Newman explained during their meetings with these representatives on February 4 and 25, the language contained in the FEDERAL REGISTER describing the proposed reorganization of the Rehabilitation Services Administration and the consequent position to which this announcement seemed to relegate services to the blind were unfortunate. There was never any intent to downgrade this important program area.

Let me assure you and the other members of the group that I do understand the needs of the blind and the unique position that services for the blind in our organization has held during the past quarter century. We have no intention of permitting any administrative arrangement to lessen our interest in these services.

As you know from the February 25 meeting involving you and your colleagues, Administrator Twiname and Commissioner Newman have reached a decision which we believe provides positive answers to the questions raised in the written statement you forwarded to me. The new Office for the Blind and Visually Handicapped will be given the same status as the former division. It will be placed on a level with all the divisions in the Rehabilitation Services Administration. In addition, the head of that office will be designated as a Special Assistant to the Administrator of the Social and Rehabilitation Service to provide consultation in expanding services and generating new programs for blind persons.

As indicated during the conference, in order to insure appropriate communication and obtain valuable consultation from the consumers of the services, a small advisory committee will soon be appointed, drawn from the national organizations of and for the blind, as well as blind persons representing consumers of our programs.

I am very pleased that, working together, we were able to resolve a misunderstanding before it became a serious issue. It is my hope that you will continue to work with us in our efforts toward improving comprehensive services to blind and visually handicapped persons.

With kindest regards,

Sincerely,

Elliot Richardson
Secretary

Back to Contents

BEING BLIND IS CHALLENGE TO THIS EDITOR

by William Eastmond

[Reprinted by courtesy of the Asbury Park (New Jersey) Press.]

Walter Weber is a newspaper reporter, but instead of a pad and pencil he takes notes in Braille.

The twenty-nine-year-old editor of the local weekly newspaper, The Central Jersey News, has been totally blind since he was seven. He lost sight in his right eye when he was six months old and shortly afterward, sight started failing in his other eye.

Mr. Weber is the only blind newspaper editor in New Jersey and possibly in the United States. A graduate of Jamesburg High School and Gettysburg (Pennsylvania) College, where he received a bachelor of arts degree in history, Mr. Weber does not consider his blindness a handicap, but rather a challenge.

For more than a year after taking over the paper, (then the Monroe News,) following the death of his father, Edgar, no one knew he was sightless. "I made a very conscious effort not to mention that I was blind. I wanted to prove first what I could do, and then be condemned or respected for the job I did.

As the editor, chief reporter, and business manager, Mr. Weber is on the job twenty-four hours a day in the newspaper offices in the basement of his home. He also covers fourteen night meetings a month here and in neighboring Jamesburg. His mother, Mrs. Gertrude Weber, who is in charge of circulation, provides the transportation.

A dedicated newsman, Mr. Weber is ever conscious of attempts to influence the news and steers clear of political friendships and favors. Many times after a meeting, an official will offer him a ride home, which he declines. "I have to maintain my independence for the sake of the newspaper," he says, "although it would be a big help to my mother sometimes if I took the ride. He also refuses to go to parties and other such events where there will be politicians or officials. "I like to think of the subscribers as my employers," he says, "and they have to know they are getting the best possible product." He also has no time for clubs or hobbies. "I was in the Jaycees, but I have no time now."

On Monday and Tuesday he edits copy, writes headlines, and lays out the front page. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, he is the business manager and over the weekends he writes the editorials.

"Our proofreader reads the copy to me, and I edit as she goes along." Laying out the front page was the hardest problem to be worked out, he said. He finally devised the present method in which he uses paper lined in Braille, and colored crayons. Each story is identified by a different color, by first marking the copy and then outlining its location on the Braille paper with the crayon. "It's not the best method, but it works pretty good," he says.

Mr. Weber was actually thrown into the newspaper business, as he was making plans to enter Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia to study psychology, hoping eventually to teach the subject at a university. To obtain enough credits to begin his studies, Mr. Weber attended night and summer classes at Rutgers University. He earned money for the courses by working as a warehouse packer for E. R. Scribb and Company, Franklin Township. "My father died at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday (November 22, 1966) which is the same day we wrap up the paper," he said. "I called the first aid squad and then wrote his obituary. After the paper was pasted up, we picked out the coffin and plot and then I was on my own."

The only newspaper experience Mr. Weber had was selling advertising over the telephone, "and I wasn't doing too good a job at that," he recalled. The new responsibility became even more frightening, he said, when the business manager, who had worked very close with Mr. Weber, prior to his death, injured her leg and was unable to come to work for three months.

"I had to start from scratch," he said, "so I began to study journalism and business management." As he learned, Mr. Weber began to "clean up" the paper. Copy was carefully edited and more care was used in putting the paper together. "My father never had any training in journalism or publishing and he never edited anything. Copy went into the paper just as we received it," he said.

The first change in the management of the paper came in March 1967 when Mr. Weber hired an advertising salesman. Before that the editor doubled in both jobs. He also hired a part-time reporter. In July 1968, Mr. Weber gave the paper its present name, "and we started leaning on hard news" coupled with hard hitting editorials. Circulation has stayed about 2,702, "but now everyone is paying," he says, noting a lot of subscriptions went unpaid, "before we cracked down."

In November 1969, a part-time circulation manager was hired and there are now thirteen carrier boys delivering the paper in addition to the mail subscriptions. Using what he learned from studying business management, Mr. Weber cut the payroll from fourteen employees to eight, by consolidating jobs. The paper is published in the basement and printed by the Princeton Packet, Princeton.

Except when meetings conflict, Mr. Weber covers all of them himself, depending on the part-time reporter to make calls at the police stations and "other leg work." Newspaper work has also made Mr. Weber a new person, taking him "out of a shell." "Being blind can really cause a problem," he says. "It creates a kind of recessive personality. Many sighted people think it a big thing for a blind person to do a simple thing like tie their shoes or shave," he said, stroking his well-kept beard. "We are equal and should be treated that way."

Mr. Weber has his wish. Advertisers try to exert pressure on him for editorial stands and he has been threatened with numerous law suits. Last spring he was threatened with physical harm. "I told the man not to dare threaten me," he said, "and hung up." The first few threats of libel suits, "worried me a bit, so I studied libel law and now I don't pay much attention to the threats. Most people, like myself, are scared to get involved," he says, recalling how he felt when he took over as editor. "You're scared at first, but the more you get involved, you become less afraid and get more wise. The first few months I attended meetings, I felt self-conscious. Now it doesn't bother me." It was also disturbing, Mr. Weber recalls, when people began to react to his editorials. "My father only printed the nice things. Now I have thicker skin and the complaints don't bother me."

The Braille machine Mr. Weber uses to take notes is actually a pocket model he found through the Lions Club in England. He made a large padded case in which he puts the machine to muffle the tapping sound at meetings. He then transcribes the story from the Braille tape to a typewriter. "I used to write the story first in Braille," he said, "but now I do it directly on the typewriter. It saves a lot of time."

The Monroe News was founded by his father and two friends in 1961.

Back to Contents

WE FACE A TIME ---

Whither public welfare in the United States? More particularly, what lies ahead for those 80,500 recipients of Aid to the Blind now receiving an average monthly grant of $102.35? Less than one-half of these persons receive any Social Security benefits.

Today our public welfare system has become known as the shame of the nation. America has been most generous with its foreign aid, but shouldn't charity now begin at home? At present the administration of welfare funds is beset by many evils--inequities, callous disregard of human suffering, insufficient funding, and incompetent bureaucracy. Yet today, despite all of these ills, some 13.5 million Americans depend on public assistance for their very existence. The cost is fifteen billion dollars a year, half paid from Federal funds and the other half from State and local funds.

The problem of ever-increasing caseloads and mounting costs has been created in large part by the mass movement of millions of Americans from rural areas to the large urban centers in the past thirty years, in search of a better way of life, many to find that an increasingly sophisticated economy has no place for them.

In his State of the Union message earlier this year the President called the present welfare system "a monstrous, consuming outrage." His solution is the Family Assistance Plan which became hopelessly bogged down in the 91st Congress.

It has been reintroduced in the new Congress as H.R. 1 and would, among other things, establish a minimum guaranteed income of $1,600 a year for a family of four receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children plus eight hundred dollars in food stamps. It would be the beginning of a complete Federalization of the public welfare system in this country.

Currently there are two million recipients of Old Age Assistance; 900,000 recipients of Aid to the Disabled; 80,500 recipients of Aid to the Blind; and a staggering nine million recipients of AFDC, about one-half of them being of minority racial groups, mostly black. It is this last program, AFDC, which has drawn the wrath of those who are the most vocal (and often powerful) critics of public welfare. Some eighty percent of these families are fatherless, through death or divorce or desertion or illegitimacy. The image which most Americans have of the AFDC mother, be she black or white, is that of an indolent, irresponsible, poverty-prone individual who carelessly breeds public charges. Actually, of course, this is not a true image as research studies have shown over and over again. The simple fact is that the AFDC program has become the dumping ground for the failures of our society--failure to provide remunerative employment for the unskilled, failure to provide adequate education, and failure to make available decent health care for the poor. Thus goes the cycle of poverty and its resulting human and social costs.

It is possible, perhaps even probable, that some version of the President's Family Assistance Plan will pass the Congress this year and become effective by July of 1972. What may happen is that, instead of enacting the President's revenue-sharing plan (giving the States about four billion dollars in new Federal money with no strings attached), the Congress may enact a full-scale Federal take-over of public welfare with uniform standards, thus relieving the States of the seven billion dollars they now spend on this program. If so, how will the adult aids fare--the blind, the aged, the disabled? There have been proposals of guaranteed monthly income to these recipients varying from ninety dollars to one hundred thirty dollars. The figure of one hundred ten dollars is half way between and may seem most likely at this time. The States could then, if they chose, supplement the minimum grant with their own funds. But how many of the States will so choose?

We will all wait and watch--and pray. Certain it is that we face a time ---.

Back to Contents

INFORMING DRIVERS ABOUT BLINDNESS

[Reprinted from the IAB Bulletin, publication of the Iowa Association of the Blind.]

For several years Neil Butler, former president of the Iowa Association of the Blind, has been working diligently to educate automobile drivers about the laws pertaining to blind pedestrians. Early in the last year of his administration, Lt. Crystal from the Iowa Highway Department and President Butler developed a plan through which every licensed applicant would be tested concerning his knowledge about sightless travelers.

It appears from the initial results that this unique method may provide the best means for educating the general public about matters and rights which are guaranteed under the law to blind pedestrians. Potentially this could be one of the more fruitful developments that have come about in many a year.

On October 29, 1970, the Department of Public Safety of the State of Iowa initiated a unique system of drivers license examination combined with educating the potential operator of a motor vehicle. Unique because it is a pilot program--it is the only one of its kind in the nation. Working with funds provided by a grant from the National Highway Safety Bureau, Iowa has utilized the expertise of known leaders in the fields of driver testing, research and closed circuit television.

The testing concepts were developed through the combined efforts of skilled drivers license personnel from throughout the country. Aetna Life and Casualty of Hartford, Connecticut, subcontracted with the Iowa Department of Public Safety to develop these concepts into filmed testing teaching segments. Visual Educom, Inc. (formerly Raytheon Learning Systems) was the subcontractor which developed and built the system. The research phase of the project is currently being developed and implemented by the University of Iowa.

The system works as follows: You are seated at one of the TV sets. Push the PRESS TO START button and answer the next twenty-three questions. This technological advancement will more than likely end the paper-pencil examinations of drivers license applicants.

This advanced innovation of drivers license testing is of importance to blind people in Iowa because a blind person carrying a white cane is shown crossing an uncontrolled intersection. He waits at the curb until an approaching motorist stops and then proceeds on across the street.

At the present time it is being used at only one testing station in Des Moines. Later, if it proves satisfactory, the program may be expanded and used in other major cities in Iowa and parts of it could potentially be used nationwide.

The publicity realized from this project was brought about through the joint efforts of members of the IAB and the Iowa Commission for the Blind in cooperation with the Department of Public Safety. The full impact of the benefits may not be realized for some time, but it is one more step along the way to eliminate some of the stereotypes about blindness that still exist in Iowa and the country.

Although the full returns are not in concerning this experiment, it is clear from present indications that this type of program can benefit the blind tremendously. Mr. Butler, the Iowa Commission for the Blind, the Iowa Department of Public Safety and other agencies which have had a part in this program, deserve high commendation. In all likelihood, many of the National Federation of the Blind affiliates could profit by our experience here in Iowa. It is certainly to be hoped that Federation affiliates throughout the country, if at all possible, work out a similar type arrangement with the State agency administering services for the blind in order to bring to the public's attention the rights and responsibilities of blind pedestrians.

Back to Contents

AN UNSAFE DEPOSIT AGAINST THE BLIND

by Kenneth Jernigan

17 March 1971

Dear Colleague:

There are still those who tell me that blind persons are not the victims of discrimination--that we have no need to join together to take common action. If such statements were not so bitterly ironic, they might be amusing. I invite you to read the enclosed correspondence for an example of what I am talking about. Rest assured that the NFB will take positive and vigorous action. We simply must not allow this sort of thing to happen to blind people any more. When it happens to one of us (whether in Florida or California, Tennessee or Texas, Iowa or Illinois) it happens to us all.

Cordially,

Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind

 

SECURITY PACIFIC NATIONAL BANK
Westwood Village Branch
950 Westwood Boulevard
Los Angeles, California

February 12, 1971

Mr. David E. Weddle
11931 Goshen, Apt 2
Los Angeles, California 90049

Dear Mr. Weddle:

On September 4, 1970 when the bank entered into a safe deposit rental agreement with you, we did not stay within limitations set out for us. It is required of us in cases where a renter is considered blind that safe deposit agreements be entered into only when a co-renter signs or when a deputy is appointed. In all entries to the box, it is necessary that either the co-renter or deputy attend any access to the box.

We shall be most happy to maintain the agreement with you if you desire to comply with our request.

Very truly yours,

James E. Bradshaw
Assistant Vice President

 

11931 Goshen Avenue, No. 2
Los Angeles, California 90049
March 1, 1971

James J. Geigel, Vice President
Security Pacific National Bank
Western Region
1901 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, California 90054

Dear Mr. Geigel:
Enclosed is a copy of a letter I received from James E. Bradshaw, Assistant Vice President at your branch in Westwood. I find it hard to believe that such a ridiculous and archaic rule exists in the operations procedures of Security Pacific National Bank. It might be more accurate to say that the whole thing is disgusting.

Reflecting on the matter for a while, after my temper had cooled a bit, four points that I would like to convey to you come to mind. Other than the fact that this is a case of blatant discrimination, these are my thoughts.

First of all, it is obvious that simply due to the fact that I am blind, you (Security Pacific) feel that I am incapable of handling my own affairs. Because I am blind you feel that I need a co-renter or deputy, custodian if you will, to accompany me each time I enter my safety deposit box. After all, you must feel, if I cannot see, I obviously cannot know what I have or have not placed in my box. This, if it were not so serious, would be funny. After all, if I were so oblivious to my surroundings, how could I possibly have completed my undergraduate studies and now be very successfully pursuing post graduate work at U.C.L.A.? That question does not even mention the fact that I live alone, travel where I please by myself, am active in notable civic organizations such as the Santa Monica Jaycees and pursue all other activities (except driving a car, of course) in which a young man my age might be interested. Compared to my daily routine, I feel that the impracticality of my handling a safety deposit box is a farce.

Secondly, if I were forced to have someone else go with me each time I enter my safety deposit box, whether it be a co-renter or deputy, I would be giving up my right to privacy, a right that is sacredly held by citizens of the United States. It is for rights such as this that our country was founded and the denial of such a right causes the creation of a second class citizenship. I am not willing to be a second class citizen simply because I cannot see.

Thirdly, it would be damned inconvenient if I were forced to have someone accompany me to my safety deposit box each time I chose to enter. Further, the inconvenience to any co-renter is apparent. Also, any deputy that may be appointed might not be available at my convenience. Again, without my freedom to come and go as freely as other safety deposit box renters, I would be reduced to a second class citizen.

Fourth, and a very important point indeed, you are telling me with your ridiculous rule, that you have no trust in the honesty of your employees. If you have no faith in the honesty of your own employees, there ought to be some drastic changes in your personnel policy.

These few points, I am sure, will convince you that your rule regarding entrance to safety deposit boxes by blind persons is, indeed, not based on any logical reasoning. Perhaps, I will admit, there is some criterion upon which one should have restrictions such as the ones with which you want me to be imposed. Certainly, however, blindness is not that criterion.

Needless to say, I am not willing to be degraded and inconvenienced by your rule. I trust that you will reevaluate the rule, bring it up before the necessary board or committee, and let me know soon about any results. I shall be waiting to hear from you.

Yours very truly,

David E. Weddle

Encl.

CC:
Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind

Anthony G. Mannino, President
California Council of the Blind

James E. Bradshaw, Asst. Vice President
Security Pacific National Bank, Westwood

 

11931 Goshen Avenue, No. 2
Los Angeles, California 90049
March 3, 1971

Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind
4th and Keosauqua Streets
Des Moines, Iowa

Dear Ken:

Enclosed are copies of two letters, one from my bank and my response to it. My feelings and, I am sure, those of the Federation are clearly explained in my letter and hence I will not reiterate them here.

In addition to my response, I have sent copies of the letters to Tony Mannino, president of the California Council of the Blind. He has told me on the telephone that he will write a letter himself in an attempt to help remedy the situation.

Can any help come from the national level or do you even think it is necessary at this time? Any action on the part of the Federation will be well appreciated.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

David E. Weddle, President
Student Action Union, CCB

Encls.

 

March 15, 1971

Mr. David E. Weddle
11931 Goshen Avenue, 2
Los Angeles, California 90049

Dear Dave:

I have just read the correspondence concerning your safe deposit rental agreement, and the Federation will, of course, join in the battle. As far as I am concerned, the day has passed when people and institutions can treat us as if we were children or incompetents and get away with it. I will be in touch with Tony Mannino and with you to see what can be done.

Cordially,

Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind

Back to Contents

MEET OUR STATE PRESIDENT--GEER WILCOX AND OUR STATE AFFILIATE--MICHIGAN

Hi, I'm Geer Wilcox and I have recently become president of the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan. I grew up in a small but highly industrialized city, New Britain, Connecticut. I lost my sight in 1951 when I was ten. My parents, perhaps from a militant combination of wisdom and fear, fought to keep me in public school and to get the State to provide a teacher of Braille skills. Successful at that, they located a mobility instructor and hired a college student to ride herd on my academic progress. This paid off. I went on to graduate from the Choate School, in 1959, from Harvard in 1963, and from the University of Michigan School of Social Work in 1967.

Throughout my high school and college years I sought summer employment; the excitement of swimming, sailing, and fishing was not enough. I worked four summers at different summer camps and spent one summer as a volunteer in an inner-city church in New York City. Camp counseling was not a very lucrative occupation, but it was fun and it provided experience and references for later school and job applications.

Not knowing what I wanted to do after college, I joined the Peace Corps and served two years in the Dominican Republic. There I taught cane travel and manual skills at the National School for the Blind with the hope of reorienting the school and its pupils to the goals of independence and integration. From there I went to graduate school and to my current job as a caseworker at the Lansing Family Service Agency.

My first contact with the NFB was at the Des Moines Convention. At first only a spectator, I became more and more involved with the Federation, especially the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan.

The National Federation of the Blind of Michigan was brought into existence by Kenneth Jernigan in the late summer of 1969. A team of national organizers with help from Michiganders rounded up many of the old Michigan Council members and much young blood to form the new Michigan affiliate. The need for reorganization was great since the old Council was wobbling and Michigan was weak in her programs and services for the blind as well as her social attitudes.

Since its inception the Michigan affiliate has been growing, steadily if not quickly. Chapters have been formed in Lansing, our capital; Detroit; and Ann Arbor. One chapter of the old Council is still with us, that in South Oakland County. Several new chapters are in the wind. Our board, made up of John Mullin, Rosemary Moore, Pauline Fucinari, Dorothy Steers, Bob Mounsey, Irving Wright, Allan Harris, and Dan Webber is young, vital, and eager to move.

Our major program as an organization has been in the area of legislation. Using the Model White Cane Law as a basis, our able draftsman and defender Carl Schier has put together a number of strong bills which we have been working hard at getting through the legislature since 1967. In 1969 we were able to get an amendment to the State Fair Employment Practices Act through the House, but it later died in Senate committee. It has been difficult to promulgate legislation of several kinds in Michigan because of the lack of consensus among organizations of and for the blind. In the past year we worked actively with Senator Mahoney to secure funds for the State Library for the Blind and currently we are fighting legislation which would cripple the vending stand program. With the new legislative session well under way we are digging in again and working for the establishment of civil rights for the blind in Michigan.

We have re-established our bi-monthly newsletter, although the organization cannot yet afford to publish it in Braille. Our funds come from two sales--a candy sale in 1969, and a sticker sale in 1970; both were moderately successful. We also have a contract with a vending machine company which yields a basic income for the organization. We are young and growing. There is much to do by way of pulling together ideas and programs, but we have resources, energy, and talent. Michigan will move ahead.

Back to Contents

COMPETING NATIONAL HEALTH PLANS

On January 25, 1971, Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and twenty-four other Senators co-sponsored a bill called the Health Security Act of 1971. The program, which would begin July 1, 1973, would establish a health security program for all Americans through the mechanism of national health insurance; there would be no requirement of past contributions or a means test. The bill aims at major improvements in the organization and delivery of health care services. It provides for no cut-off dates, no co-insurance, no deductibles, and no waiting periods. The bill also provides full coverage for physicians' services, inpatient and outpatient hospital services, and home health services. Full coverage would also be provided for other professional and supporting services, including optometry services, podiatry services, and devices and appliances. The bill imposes certain limitations--skilled nursing home care is provided for not more than one hundred twenty days per benefit period and psychiatric hospitalization is provided for not more than forty-five consecutive days during a benefit period. In addition, dental care would be provided for children through age fifteen only. Prescribed drugs would be limited to those provided through hospitals. Administration of the program would be by a five-member Health Security Board under the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

The program would be financed through a Health Security Trust Fund. Fifty percent of the cost would come from general Federal tax revenues; thirty-six percent from a tax of three and a half percent on employers' payrolls; twenty percent from a tax of one percent on employee's wages and unearned income up to $15,000 a year; and two percent from a tax of two and a half percent on self-employment incomes up to $15,000 a year.

Medicare and medicaid under the Social Security Act would be terminated. The total cost of the program is estimated to be $41 billion a year.

On February 18, 1971, President Nixon sent to the Congress his own health care plan. This plan would foster the growth of health maintenance organizations which provide a fixed-price contract for comprehensive care and would stress the element of preventive medicine, such as is offered by the present prepaid group practice plans. His plan would encourage a greater supply of health care facilities and professionals in isolated rural areas and big city ghettos. It would increase Federal aid to schools of medicine, dentistry, and osteopathy and it would increase Federal funds for cancer research. President Nixon's program requires all employers to provide their employees with comprehensive private health insurance. It replaces most of the present medicaid program with a Federally-financed private health insurance plan for families earning less than $4,000 a year and it eliminates the present $5.30 monthly contribution by Medicare beneficiaries for health care. The cost of this program is estimated to be about $4 billion a year.

Thus the Congress will have before it for many months to come the task of deciding on an expanded health plan for Americans. The Kennedy program is far-reaching and constitutes a comprehensive national health plan. The President's proposal is geared to patching up areas of extreme weakness in our present diverse system of health care and emphasizes more help to the private sector to achieve this. Certain it is that this subject of more adequate health care pinpoints the degree of urgency with which most informed Americans regard the necessity of revamping our present system. It will also provide one of the main arenas for a confrontation between a Republican President and a Democratically-controlled Congress.

Back to Contents

THE SOUNDING BOARD

[Reprinted from the VFB Newsletter, publication of the Virginia Federation of the Blind, Ruth Drummond, Editor.]

As members of the National Federation of the Blind and an active member of your local chapter, chances are you'll attend the annual convention of the Virginia Federation of the Blind in Harrisonburg and in July will be on hand for the national Convention in Houston.

Planning for conventions is largely the task of the Federation leaders and involves long hours of work, travel and money. This raises an important question: What motivates so many members and non-members to attend conventions?

For most people, conventions are serious business. Over seventy-seven percent of the convention goers interviewed by Opinion Research Corporation say they go to these meetings to get information related to their business or professions and to exchange ideas with others in their field. A very small minority, approximately one in ten gave social reasons for attending. NFB Convention goers seek to improve their knowledge about the National Federation and to keep abreast of new ideas and trends. Today's convention goer is not content to be just "talked to," he wants to participate. He serves as a member of committees and offers his time and talents to the program on banquet night. These members are not simply membership card holders, they are active federationists and convention attenders.

The word "convention" has a magic effect on most folks. For many, an annual convention is looked forward to and planned for a whole year. Many members plan vacations during this time. This is the time to meet and talk with the national leaders and renew acquaintances made the previous year. So it must be everything they have anticipated.

For the homemaker, who cooks the whole year, the food must be excellent. She is the home's interior decorator, so she will no doubt be interested in the furnishings and the physical arrangements. She is her home's maid, doorman, waitress, and most times laundress, and knows what good service is all about.

There is a committee for every event in the Convention. There is a committee to meet with the hotel or motel manager or with one of the salesmen to set up the exact order for chairs, podiums and adequate number of glasses and ashtrays and the PA systems. There is a committee to greet the newcomers, transportation, guides and a committee to man the registration desk and the exhibit rooms.

Many drivers, and guides accompanying the delegates like to tour the town seeking those little out of the way places just right for that midnight snack, most convenient shops to purchase the forgotten tooth brush and gifts to take home to the kids. There is a committee for this service too. They arrange sightseeing tours, hospitality and this sort of thing.

Once the NFB Convention starts, it is like most conventions--meetings, speakers, luncheons, receptions and dinners. But when the gavel raps sounding the opening of the Convention the President will be in charge of the meetings. He is familiar with the federation procedure, questions pending, legislation enacted, thus giving him a perspective and enabling him to act with intelligence and understanding.

It is his responsibility to plan the program, keep the meeting moving along as scheduled and to preserve order and harmony during the Convention.

You as the voting delegate attending the Convention will represent your local chapter and should be punctual for all meetings and be on hand during the complete sessions. You should be familiar with the Convention procedure and it is hoped that you will study with care the resolutions that are to be acted upon

....Become a good federationist by being A FEDERATION CONVENTION ATTENDER....

Back to Contents

THE TURNING POINT

[Editor's Note: The State of Idaho has recently published the Annual Report of its Commission for the Blind, entitled "The Turning Point".]

During Fiscal 1970 the Commission for the Blind increasingly became the TURNING POINT in the lives of blind Idahoans by providing through its programs a realistic alternative to a life of dependency and deprivation. Central to this program of services is the belief that with training and with opportunity the average blind person can work for the average employer in the average place of business as well as his sighted neighbor. The TURNING POINT for many individuals is services which have as a goal the competitive employment of the individual at a level consistent with his abilities and capacities.

Blind persons, like sighted persons, have the whole range of human characteristics. As a result of this combination of strengths and weaknesses, some can achieve full self-support while others can only become partially self-supporting. In either case, the individual turning from economic and social dependency and achieving self-direction and independence results in substantial savings to the State by decreasing the demand upon the tax dollar. Further, the increased spending power of the individual--the difference between his paycheck and his welfare check--during his lifetime will be about $100,000. It is obvious that the investment necessary for even a few blind persons to achieve independence and competitive employment is a boon to the economy of the State and has an immeasurable effect upon the individual in terms of dignity and self-worth.

As an illustration, one man has become Idaho's first blind Automotive Transmission Repair Specialist, and as such has secured his and his family's future. The TURNING POINT in this individual's life was the acquisition of skills and the opportunity to productively utilize these skills. Another man, once dependent upon the State and his parents for his family's well-being, is fully exercising his mathematical talents as a Computer Programmer. His level of income is now consistent with his talents and abilities. Just as these two individuals have mechanical and technical abilities, others have business and managerial abilities. One man, having worked in the business world most of his adult life, became blind and unemployed. He received training in alternative skills and techniques--everything from cane travel and Braille to record keeping--and now is a licensed Real Estate Salesman. Another man, blind since childhood, has received the same training. To him, opportunity was the management of a snack bar.

Other blind men and women find independence as ordinary laborers and workmen. One individual once relegated to the bleak life of sheltered employment took the opportunity created by the Commission to become a laundry worker. He is now competing with his sighted fellows for advancement to supervisory responsibility. The TURNING POINT in the life of a young lady was the opportunity created by the Commission for her to become a floral arranger and sales clerk. Her life has changed from one of dependency and frustration to one of responsibility and fulfillment.

Some blind persons have the ability to become professionally employed. One such person found training in alternative skills and techniques, a college education, and opportunity created by the Commission, to add up to teaching in a Headstart program. This same training has prepared her to be a competent wife and mother, caring for her husband and family.

All in all, during Fiscal Year 1970, seventeen individuals entered employment throughout the full range of occupational endeavor, which is a thirty percent increase over last year. In addition to the Automotive Transmission Repairman, the Computer Programmer, The Real Estate Salesman, the Snack Bar Manager, the Laundry Worker, the Floral Arranger, and the Teacher, others found independence and fulfillment as a Physical Therapist, a Civil Engineer, a Nurseryman, a house-to-house Saleslady, as a Janitor, and as an Assemblyline Worker. Three other persons, as a result of training, resumed the responsibility of caring for their homes and families. The total effect of these individuals participating fully in the lives of their community has a substantial impact upon our State's economy and during the coming year we anticipate an even greater number of persons achieving productive and meaningful lives.

As a part of the vocational rehabilitation process, the Small Business Enterprise program has the ability to provide a blind individual with specialized skills and techniques necessary in the world of business. To provide opportunity to the blind individual having these skills and desirous of entering his own business, the Commission develops vending stand locations throughout the State. During this year we added to the existing Snack Bars in the State Capitol Building and the St. Maries Federal Building by opening a small Cafeteria in the Boise Family YMCA and a Snack Bar in the Borah Post Office. The substantial growth in this program--the total number of stands having doubled during Fiscal Year 1970--provides the needed opportunity for blind individuals to demonstrate their abilities in everything from food preparation to salesmanship. During the coming year we anticipate the development of two additional locations again substantially increasing the opportunity for blind persons to participate in food service management. One location, in the basement of the new State Office Building, will come as a result of the combined efforts of the Department of Public Works, Civil Defense, Division of Building Services and the Commission for the Blind; all working together to develop attractive and convenient food service for those persons employed in the Capitol Mall area. Further, the management of this food service operation will provide the opportunity for another person to demonstrate the competency of a blind person as a result of training and opportunity. The Small Business Enterprise program as well as the vocational rehabilitation process will continue to grow and develop. As a result of this training and opportunity, the average blind man can successfully compete with his sighted neighbor, thereby demonstrating the essential normalcy of all blind persons.

LIBRARY SERVICES available from the Commission have rapidly increased and expanded over the last three years. During Fiscal 1968, these services consisted simply of the provision of the talking book machine. In the next year the number of new talking book machine users increased from 149 to 178. Further that year found the expansion of library service to include the provision of talking book machine accessories (earphones, remote control units, and variable speed control units) to personalize the utility of the talking book machine. Fiscal Year 1969 also saw the beginning of the transcribing program--transcribing printed material onto tape and into Braille. During Fiscal 1970 these services were increased with a total of 191 talking book machines being distributed. All of the services continued from the previous year and the program further expanded to include the provision of tape cassette recorders.

Library service is a vital part of the Commission's program. These services often introduce a blind person in Idaho to the programs of the Commission. The talking book machine often enables an individual to read again--something he may not have been able to do for months. Once introduced to the Commission's programs the blind person learns that a successful, normal and productive life is within his grasp through vocational rehabilitation services--training and opportunity provided by the Commission. Throughout the process library services play a substantial role. Blind students enrolled in our colleges and universities obtain transcribed printed material from the Commission. Blind persons taking other technical and professional training recognize and utilize the Commission's transcription services to obtain specialized material not otherwise available. Library services now available could not be possible were it not for volunteer assistance provided by the Telephone Pioneers and the individuals transcribing material. The value of the time and material donated by these much-appreciated volunteers would be truly astounding.

The most important TURNING POINT in the lives of blind persons, from dependency and deprivation to self-fulfillment and independence, is often orientation and adjustment training. This integral part of the Commission program derives its direction from our understanding of the meaning of dependency and deprivation to the life of the blind person. Dependency to a newly blinded person means initially the loss of his ability to earn his own way in the world and this humiliation denies him any social mobility and very often little social existence. These factors combine to deprive him of dignity in his own eyes and in the eyes of his family, "for when an adult becomes blind he becomes completely lost He has always equated blindness with helplessness and probably the only blind persons he has ever seen are beggars on the street or an occasional homebound individual who hasn't been able to do much at all except sit in the rocking chair. He may have known of a successful blind person but probably considered such an individual to be exceptional, with special gifts and powers. If a newly blinded adult does not get help and get help quickly in several areas, it is likely that he will spend the rest of his life just sitting around doing nothing, a burden to himself and to his family. His family might have the best intentions in the world but they will not know how to help him. They will tend to overprotect and shelter him, will be afraid for him to move about by himself and certainly discourage him from walking downtown, from working with power tools or otherwise exerting himself. The newly blinded person needs help in several ways. First and foremost, he needs to see other blind persons who are actually traveling by themselves and doing things for themselves--blind people who run a drill press or a power saw, cook a meal or run a sewing machine, go to and from a job and who are carrying on regular and normal lives. He needs to learn the long cane method of travel and information about what blind persons all over the country are doing and the new jobs being filled by them. If the blind person is a man he needs to learn how to saw a board straight, to drive a nail, fix a leaky faucet or do simple electrical wiring. If the blind person is a woman she needs to learn techniques for cooking as a blind person, to learn to read recipes in Braille, how to measure her ingredients and how to tell when food is done in an oven. She needs to learn how to cut out a pattern to make a blouse or a skirt. The newly blinded person needs intensive instruction in Braille, typing and all sorts of activities of daily living, everything from parting hair straight to matching colors. Some of this help can be brought to blind persons in their homes. Obviously, this help would be limited for often a blind person cannot learn as rapidly in his own home with his own family as he can in an orientation center. Until the establishment of the Commission no such training was available in Idaho and the blind had suffered accordingly."

Implicit in these remarks from the first Annual Report of the Idaho Commission for the Blind is both the goal and the format for the establishment of a comprehensive orientation training center in Idaho. At the present time the Commission is providing orientation training for blind persons on an intensive basis in Boise and is doing so under tremendous hardships. One of the serious difficulties we face is the lack of housing for out-of-town trainees. The blind person moves into Boise to an apartment house, if rooms are available, at some distance from the Commission. Sighted persons also residing in the apartment house, not especially knowledgeable about the problems faced by the blind, are over-protective and often through their misconceptions of the needs of blind persons destroy the hard-won confidence built during the day of training. It is true enough that the blind person needs to mix and mingle with the public. In fact, a stated goal of the Commission is the complete integration of blind persons into the mainstream of life. This certainly demands substantial contact with the sighted world. However, the newly blinded person needs integration into the sighted world to be apace with his progress and training.

Maximum progress for the training of male students of the orientation program is severely hampered by the fact that instead of learning to "saw boards straight, pound a nail, or fix a leaky faucet" the male student learns techniques of cooking a meal and working around the house. This training, when combined with a healthy attitude toward blindness, will provide a base upon which he can do many things but it will not give him the direct experience so badly needed in working with the tools and equipment used to make repairs around the house or a new bookcase or a picture frame. More importantly, home economics for male students does not provide the man seeking employment in Idaho industry the knowledge and experience of using power equipment and Braille measuring devices. Finally, to many men, working in the kitchen is woman's work and his involvement in the program, whether rightfully or wrongfully, suggests to him that he cannot really compete with other men in the sighted world.

Home economics itself, since the inception of the orientation program, has been taught in the home of a staff member who receives no extra compensation for this service. This is not only an imposition on the private life of the teacher, but is an inconvenience to the program, for students each day must be transported to this person's home and again to the offices of the Commission to complete the day of training. The present space available for the instruction of Braille reading and writing, typing, and cane travel limits the number of students to nine.

To improve the existing conditions in the orientation program and to maximize the effect of the State's investment in blind people, the Idaho Commission for the Blind is requesting from the 41st Legislature an appropriation for the purchase of a building to be established as an orientation center for the blind of Idaho and to house the central offices of the Commission's program. The building needed by the Commission to house an orientation center must incorporate the knowledge we have gained through our present orientation program, must be capable of expansion along proven historical lines and finally must have the capacity for the innovation of our program to meet specific Idaho needs.

The most significant lesson learned during the three-year existence of the orientation program is the value to the blind individual of travel training. The importance of a blind person learning to travel with a long cane through busy downtown streets and congested buildings is such that it has overcome shortcomings in the training program. Travel training with the long cane has given persons the ability and confidence to attend Idaho colleges and universities to continue with their education, to receive specialized technical training in locations totally unfamiliar to them, to safely negotiate complex industrial locations and factories and to simply go about the business of life wherever that may take them.

Travel training in the downtown of Idaho's capital has brought about an awareness to the community and to the State of its blind citizenry and of their real capabilities. Directly as a result of this exposure to the public, job opportunities have become available for blind individuals. The public, seeing for the first time blind people efficiently and safely traveling in this congested area, begin to consider what things a blind person might do and become more willing to give them an opportunity to earn their own way in the world.

The building being requested must include space for the instruction of Braille reading and writing and typing and for the development of a comprehensive home economics department. The latter should include an apartment where blind persons could live and assume the responsibilities of its maintenance and upkeep as they would their own home, as they will upon completion of training. This unit must contain ample kitchen space and equipment for the comprehensive training of blind women to care for their house and family--to prepare a meal, to bake a cake, to learn when something is done in an oven, to learn skills and techniques, to do all of the tasks normally confronting the modern housewife and homemaker.

A building would allow for an industrial arts program to be developed where a man could learn to "saw a board straight, pound a nail, fix a faucet." The importance and need of this kind of training cannot be overstated. If a businessman, let us say, were to become blind he would, during his training, learn to work with power equipment and alternative techniques for using measuring equipment and hand tools. With these skills he would design and make a bookcase, perhaps, or a coffee table or a chess set. The completion of this project would do important things for his confidence in himself. From the experience of learning and using techniques to make a coffee table he would be better able to develop alternative approaches to the problems he will face as a blind businessman.

The establishment of a comprehensive orientation center must include living space for students. Dorms, as a part of the orientation training program, would allow the individual to control his integration into society--to keep apace with his training and progress.

The ability to house students within the center makes the training more available to blind persons throughout the State by avoiding financial and other difficulties arising from locating apartments in Boise. The acquisition of a building to provide the comprehensive and integral services of a full orientation and adjustment center has received recognition and implementation throughout the nation.

The acquisition of a building by the Commission for the establishment of this comprehensive program of orientation and adjustment training is the logical and needed expansion of the Commission program. This center is not only needed to give the Commission the ability to provide training to a constantly increasing number of blind persons needing and wishing services, but it is necessary to meet contingencies now being faced. The State of Idaho, in its concern for the program serving the adult blind, is at a TURNING POINT. The direction of progress is the full recognition of the value of Idaho's blind citizenry and the development of a comprehensive orientation center to maximize the ability of the Commission for the Blind to provide training and opportunity leading to the complete integration of blind people into their communities--as taxpayers, not tax consumers.

The ability of the Idaho Commission for the Blind in becoming the TURNING POINT in the lives of blind Idahoans is the result not only of the staff of the Commission but of the cooperation and assistance provided by many private and public agencies. No Annual Report could be complete without an expression of appreciation for assistance provided by the Gem State Blind, the Telephone Pioneers and our transcribers. The cooperation from other Governmental Agencies, the Governor's office, and the Legislature, has played a vital role in the success of the Commission in bringing blind people from dependency and deprivation to independence and self fulfillment.

Back to Contents

OREGON CONVENTION

by Leanna Deeds

The first annual State convention of the Oregon Federation of the Blind took place Saturday, March 20, at the Heathman Hotel in Portland. About seventy-five people attended including State Legislator Ed Patterson, Marco Haggard, an assistant to Governor McCall, and Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, President of the National Federation of the Blind.

The OFB State board met on Friday evening, March 19. Outgoing president Glen Muilenburg had contacted several State legislators about OFB opposition to the inclusion of the State Commission for the Blind in the umbrella Department of Human Resources. The legislators' replies were read to the board members and guests. Some agreed with the OFB and some did not. Some expressed interest and a wish to be kept informed, and some only acknowledged the receipt of Muilenburg's letter. The OFB's main project now is to keep the Commission out of the umbrella department by lobbying before State legislative committees. The pros and cons of reorganization dominated the convention.

Other business at the Friday night board meeting included the appointment of a nominating committee and a committee to approve local chapter constitutions. These two committees met after the board meeting.

Friday afternoon, Dr. Jernigan met with the press in the executive suite of the Heathman Hotel. The press conference was organized by Jeff Brown, a member of the OFB. The conference lasted an hour and a half, and out of that time Dr. Jernigan spent forty minutes discussing Oregon's human resources bill. The resulting press coverage on the OFB convention and its position on reorganization was very good. This is proven by articles from the Portland Oregonian and Oregon Journal. A local television station gave the conference time on the following evening's newscast.

The Saturday morning session of the convention opened on schedule at 9:30. President Muilenburg welcomed members and guests. Dr. Jernigan read an article from the March Monitor entitled "The Blind--Do They Exist?" and discussed Oregon's Human Resources bill. He stressed the need for OFB action on the Human Resources question in spite of the odds against halting the bill's passage. The most lively event of the morning was a debate between Dr. Jernigan and Nick Pete, who is in charge of general rehabilitation in Oregon and who spoke in favor of the Commission's inclusion in the Department of Human Resources. Argument centered around the practicality of the Human Resources organizational structure.. Dr. Jernigan showed that blind people cannot be rehabilitated with an organizational chart, as Pete proposed to do. The morning session also included a speech by Douglas Kinney, who is coordinating a new program of prevocational adjustment and training for the blind. Kinney discussed this program at length.

Jay Foberg, director of Legal Aid Service for Multnomah County, began the afternoon session by reporting on the progress of a case in which the OFB is suing the Commission to get access to the Commission's register of blind people in Oregon. The OFB lost the suit in circuit court, but the convention voted to appeal the case. The OFB wants access to the register in order to distribute information to blind people about State legislation which affects them. Les Swope, acting director of the Commission for the Blind, reported on recruiting of a new director. The late director, Cliff Stocker, was killed in a car accident. A representative from the Welfare Department was next on the agenda. She discussed welfare in general and aid to the blind in particular. Ken Hopkins, Director of the Idaho Commission for the Blind concluded the afternoon session by talking about the Idaho Commission and how that agency's services were improved after the Commission was taken out of the Department of Public Assistance. Then an impromptu debate developed between Dr. Jernigan and Ed Patterson, a State Representative on the question of Human Resources. Patterson favors reorganization.

The convention elected the following officers: president, Jeff Brown of Portland; treasurer, Gere Gilkison of La Grande, who was re-elected; and board members Jim Southworth and Winona Parker, both of Albany, Oregon. Jeff Brown was elected Houston Convention delegate and Jackie Church, OFB board secretary is the alternate delegate. The four local chapter presidents also gave brief reports on the status of their chapters.

Dr. Jernigan's banquet address illustrated how counselors of the blind in super-departments are becoming so immersed in counseling theory, jargon and research that they cannot communicate with their clients. Local chapter presidents were also presented with charters at the banquet.

The entire convention was extremely informative. It resulted in some immediate and effective action. The following Wednesday a delegation of eighty blind people overflowed a hearing room at a State Senate Committee hearing on the Human Resources bill. The presence of a large number of blind people impressed the committee members very much. The committee showed a favorable attitude toward the blind people's position. The OFB hopes to have an even larger group at the next committee hearing of the bill.

Back to Contents

A TENNESSEE DESSERT

by Nellie Hargrove

During the Christmas holidays Dr. and Mrs. Jernigan came to Tennessee to spend a few days at the farm of Dr. Jernigan's father. My daughter and I drove to Beach Grove on Christmas day to join the Jernigans for dinner. Being somewhat puzzled about what I could take to our host and hostess in the way of a small gift, I decided to prepare a variety of my favorite holiday dishes and share them with Dr. and Mrs. Jernigan and their other guests. I took a four layer chocolate cake made from an old family receipt, egg nog, a cranberry salad, and a lime holiday dessert. These goodies seemed to have pleased all of the dinner guests and I think our national President was most surprised to learn that I could cook.

Since my early childhood, cooking has been my favorite pastime. I have a vast collection of receipts which I have accumulated through the years, most of them not to be found in the ordinary cookbook. Dr. Jernigan wondered if any of the receipts I have could measure up to his corn bread. Therefore, I decided to share with Monitor readers my favorite of all the desserts I make. I call it simply, "Hot Fudge Dessert." It is a quick simple dessert, sure to please those with the most discriminating tastes.

Combine in mixing bowl

1 cup all purpose flour (sifted)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup of sugar (granulated)
2 tablespoons cocoa

Mix dry ingredients well; blend in

1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons salad oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pour batter into buttered, pre-heated 8x8x2 baking dish. Do not place in oven yet. Now, combine

3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
3/4 cup nuts (pecans or English walnuts are fine)
1 3/4 cups very hot water

Stir until brown sugar is completely dissolved. Pour over top of batter. Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. Serve by spooning into dessert dishes and topping with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. This dessert will have a moist, pudding-like consistency. It should be served hot. I hope that you will try it. I am sure that you will enjoy it. If this dessert rates anywhere near President Jernigan's corn bread, I would be delighted to know about it.

Back to Contents

COLORADANS WORK FOR FIRST AID CERTIFICATES

by Betty Ausmus

[Betty Ausmus of Colorado, whose husband Glen is president of the Colorado Western Council of the Blind recently reported to State president Ruth Ashby.]

You asked me to tell you about the first aid course that we took. This was a brainstorm of Glen's, and was one of the best ones that he has ever had, I think. He worked for Union Carbide Corporation for many years until his failing eyesight forced his retirement, so he was well acquainted with the extensive safety program and first aid classes they sponsor for their employees. He contacted Eddie Pearsall, who is in charge of Carbide's safety program in this area, and inquired about getting an instructor for us. Mr. Pearsall was very much enthused about this and volunteered to take on the job himself. He had no idea of what this course would consist of because he didn't know how much a blind person would be capable of doing, and as far as we have been able to determine from Red Cross, a class of blind people has not been taught before.

After much correspondence with Red Cross and with Hadley School, we obtained the Hadley first aid course and started our class in December. The Hadley course formed the basis, with more detail coming from the Red Cross manual and from Mr. Pearsall's knowledge acquired from his Bureau of Mines training. Mr. Pearsall improvised as he went along, and I think he was constantly surprised at how much the blind are capable of doing for themselves and for others.

We learned many things--just to mention a few, we learned how to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, treatment of various kinds of wounds, burns, some bandaging, how to put a splint on a broken limb, treatment of shock, and treatment of various kinds of poisoning.

There were seven blind and four sighted people who took the class, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. We are to receive Junior First Aid certificates. We would have been able to qualify for Senior certificates, except that there were a few things that we were not able to cover, such as transportation of the injured, and some of the bandaging.

Some of the members of our affiliate who didn't take this class with us have expressed a desire to take it, and some of the class would like to repeat it, so I believe we are going to begin another class soon.

When our certificates are presented to us, Union Carbide plans to give this extensive publicity with articles and pictures going to several of the Carbide publications as well as to several national safety publications.

Back to Contents

STUDENTS RESTORE JOBS TO BLIND

by Walli Schneider

[Reprinted by courtesy of the Portland (Oregon) Oregon Journal.]

It wasn't the last straw after all. Seventeen sightless employees of the Oregon Blind Commission broom shop are back on the job in Portland this week after three months of unemployment. And they're even able to chuckle over such bad puns. Chalk up the jobs--plus the regained senses of humor--to an estimated 1,000 teen-agers from nine Oregon high schools who've become door-to-door salesmen after school. Their product: blind-made brooms.

Their sales pitch: "Almost everybody needs a simple item like a broom. We're selling them for another reason--to help put blind people back to work. When they don't have jobs they have to become government dependents. And the blind don't want to depend. They want to make their own way. We can help, so..."

Broom sales aren't exactly sweeping the State. But they're soaring. "We've hired back seventeen employees," reported Ed Hamar, industries foreman. "And we've sent out three hundred fifty dozen brooms to the schools-most of them already sold." Within the next sixty days, Hamar makes a hopeful prediction, there will be a total of twenty-five to thirty blind employees turning out the carefully made brooms in the workshop. "That doesn't sound like a huge work force," Hamar admits. "But when the whole workshop has been closed down for three months with no one working, it's almost 'mass production'."

Lack of orders for any blind-made product--from the brooms employees counted on as almost "sure sale" to mops and ribbon bows--closed down machinery. Industry cutbacks canceled contracts that had kept other sightless persons sorting parts or packaging macaroni. What had been, at a peak period, a work force of seventy-five persons dwindled by late 1970 to a dozen. Then, "it was zero," Hamar said. "It was seeing these people who were self-supporting suddenly have to revert to charity that was killing," he added. And it was hearing about those blind persons that kicked off broom sales in one Oregon city.

Husky young members of the McMinnville Wrestling Club got word of the crisis and ordered ninety dozen brooms. The majority of each broom's price tag--$2.75--would keep blind workers employed. A small portion would go to the club's own treasury. "We had sold some products for the blind before and made enough extra money to finance our club's participation in a wrestling tournament," explained Jack Bryan, young spokesman for the club. "This time the basic idea wasn't to help ourselves but to put blind people back to work. We figure no one who is able to help himself likes to feel dependent." Brooms sold.

So did the young wrestlers' theory. Naming speakers from their own forty-member club, the youths branched out to visit any high school that would listen--sweeping east to Salem, west to Willamina, north to Forest Grove. High school clubs and classes joined the broom sale brigade, Volunteer salesmen now hail from Newberg, Dayton, Yamhill-Carlton, St. Paul, Willamina, Forest Grove, Hillsboro and Washington high schools. "And that's just a start," McMinnville club members say. "We plan to make this a Statewide project if we can. We've got a lot of work to do."

And, thanks to the McMinnville young people, so do seventeen blind persons.

Back to Contents

A VETO VETOED

California's Welfare and Institutions Code has long provided for a Special Deposit Fund created by set-aside contributions from blind operators of vending stands "to be used for maintenance, repairs, and replacement of equipment, for additional equipment, for the construction of new vending stands and food service facilities, for loans to operators for initial stock, and for such other expenditures as are found necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter; provided, that no portion of such service charges shall be used for administrative salaries." In spite of this absolute prohibition, the Department of Rehabilitation was using the Fund for the payment of salaries of sanitarians and architects. The counties already have health inspection personnel and the State has a whole bureau of architects. The Department claimed these expenditures were only for consulting services even though the jobs in question were permanent ones--obviously a subterfuge. Some of the monies in the Fund were also used for administrative travel.

To prevent these illegal expenditures from being made from the Fund, the California Council of the Blind sponsored legislation in the 1970 session to amend the law by adding to the ban on administrative salaries the words "or administrative costs." The bill passed the Legislature but, on September 20, 1970, Governor Ronald Reagan vetoed it, stating: "Although this bill is designed to prevent the depletion of funds held in the vending stand Special Deposit Fund, all evidence indicates that the fund is able to support all costs related to the administration of the Business Enterprise Program, including the 'administrative costs' which this bill will prohibit, without any general fund appropriation. Whenever possible, I believe programs such as this should be self-supporting to the maximum extent possible. Accordingly, I am returning the bill unsigned."

In the meantime, the California Blind Businessmen's Association brought suit in the Superior Court to require the Department of Rehabilitation to follow the law and to cease using money from the Fund to pay administrative salaries and other administrative expenses. On January 29, 1971, the court issued its decision, holding that funds collected from blind businessmen and used to pay salaries to State employees be returned to the Fund earmarked for use by the blind vendors in public buildings. The court also granted a writ of mandate prohibiting the State from future use of such funds to pay administrative advisers.

Thus Governor Reagan's veto has been vetoed by the courts of California.

Back to Contents

A CHALLENGING CONTEST

by Marjorie Gallien

Sharpen your pencil and your wits. The Colorado Springs Council of the Blind has voted to sponsor a contest to harness public brain power to find new job ideas for the blind. Tentative rules are given below. We wish we could offer prizes sufficient to attract engineers and other think tanks. But we can't. Besides, money may not be the sole criterion. Glancing through "contest" newsletters I found one for the best answer to "What did the oyster say when she found she was about to have a pearl?" Prizes were $3, $2, and $l--hardly worth a postage stamp. Yet some of the more than three hundred entries were as clever and time-consuming as they would be for really big stakes. I'm convinced that people who habitually enter contests do so simply for the challenge, the way they work crossword puzzles, take on hobbies, or play games. The winner: "Look what happened when I got an itty bitty boulder."

We'll publicize the event in three "contest" newsletters, high school and college papers, religious and fraternal news, house organs such as Bell Telephone, Postal Employees News, Dow Chemical, etc., small town papers, Air Force Academy, Ft. Carson Army base, Army Hospital, Veterans Hospital, and State penitentiary. Some will print it, some won't. But think of all those people going about with their eyes closed.

The purpose of any contest is to promote a product. Our objective is threefold: (1) Many will read the list of present occupations and this alone may be an eye-opener; (2) Some will give it serious thought so that, whether they enter or not, they will gain new perspective on a subject that otherwise might never occur to them; (3) If we gain even three good ideas we'll consider the whole thing worthwhile.

SIGHTLESS BREADWINNERS CONTEST

The Colorado Springs Council of the Blind announces a "little" contest of: 1st prize, $25; 2nd prize, $15; two 3rd prizes, $10; ten 4th prizes, blind-made merchandise.

For: The longest list of new ideas for jobs in which the blind could be gainfully employed. Ideas must be new and workable. Job situations in which the blind are presently employed will not be counted. Ideas may be listed or accompanied by explanation. Judging will be based on practicality, as well as the length of the list. Decision of the judges will be final. Void where prohibited by law.

Mail to: Sightless Breadwinners Contest, Colorado Springs Council of the Blind; 2228 E. Bijou; Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909. Enter as often as you wish. Closing date, November 1, 1971.

Some jobs at which blind persons are presently employed are:

vending stand operator
dictaphone typist
telephone operator
lawyer
computer programmer
farmer
industrial sewing
lathe operator
piano tuner
physical therapy or massage
income tax consultant
baby sitter
darkroom film technician
radio broadcaster
automotive tune-up
electrical engineer
public relations
salesman
teacher
writer
psychologist
telephone solicitor
chair caning
broom maker
musician

Back to Contents

A GIFT TO THE SIGHTED

by Myrna Schmidt

[This article is reprinted from the New Jersey Council Chronicle, publication of the New Jersey Council of the Blind.]

On a stormy Friday night in November, I asked the members of the Light Brigade to give to the sighted. You see, I am a music teacher at the elementary level in the Englewood Public Schools. Our school constantly attempts to expose children to as many facets of life as possible in order to truly educate them. Therefore, I was really not surprised when one day, early in the school year, our principal announced that Fridays would be quite different around Quarles School. Rather than the resource classes (music, art, library, gym) that day would be devoted to extra-curricular activities. He asked us to think about interests and hobbies which we might share with the youngsters.

The art teacher chose to have a dance group, the gym instructor a tile craft class. I pondered the problem for a time and then an idea suddenly popped into my head. Why not teach the kids a bit about Braille? They had always been fascinated when they saw me reading or writing and had asked me if they might learn it some day. So, why not now? Well, I would need money for materials and where could I possibly find that when the school budget was so very tight? The PTA was going to have a bake sale to raise funds for this program, but that would not be until Christmas time. What in the world could I do? All at once I knew just what to do. I would request funds from the Light Brigade.

Now we're back on that night in November. I explained to my fellow federationists that I felt my project was valid because I certainly hoped that I was going to do more than just teach a little about Braille. For I believed that in the process of learning to punch out all of those dots, my kids were going to ask me lots of questions about the ways in which blind people function and this would be my opportunity to educate the future public.

How did the chapter respond to my request? They gave me the green light by voting to allow me $30 for the supplies which I needed to launch my project. Thus, on the first Friday of December, two groups of youngsters aged seven through nine, learned to make their first Braille letters. After the classes were over, they begged to take materials home over the weekend in order to practice their newly-acquired skill and to show their families how blind people read and write.

The response to my Braille groups has been even better that I expected. Both parents and faculty members have praised the project and the Light Brigade for giving the children this unique opportunity. And, just as I had hoped, both they and the children have asked many questions about blindness which has given me the possibility to attempt to explode some myths and tell it like it is.

Back to Contents

THE TENNESSEE CONVENTION

by Nellie Hargrove

The Sheraton Motor Inn in Memphis, Tennessee was the scene of the second annual convention of NFB of Tennessee. Conventioners began arriving around noon on Friday, April 9.

Friday evening the State president hosted a dinner for board members and their families. Delicious Tennessee ham with all the trimmings was enjoyed by twenty-two guests. Afterwards, a short business meeting of the board was held.

The convention was opened by C. Gordon Stephens, president of the hosting chapter, at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday. The mayor of Memphis welcomed the convention to the city. A rousing address by NFB President, Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, got the convention off to a high-spirited start.

Saturday speakers included Mr. S. Wayne Mulkey, Tennessee's Registrar of the Blind; Mr. Terry Carney, president of Tennessee Chapter of AAWB; and Mr. Warren Maddix of the district office of Social Security.

On Saturday afternoon The Progressive Guild of Memphis was accepted as the third chapter of NFB of Tennessee. The guild is said to be one of the oldest organizations of the blind in the South. Its very able president, George Douglas Duncan, is a long time member of NFB. He has attended numerous national Conventions. The guild has a membership of forty-one. It is a certainty that NFB of Tennessee will be stronger with the participation of its new chapter.

The highlight of the Saturday evening banquet was an outstanding address by Dr. Kenneth Jernigan. Another feature of the banquet was the presentation of "The Federationist of the Year," award which went to Mrs. Lillie Christmas. Mrs. Christmas is secretary of NFB of Tennessee. She is a bookkeeper at the A. P. Mills Industries in Memphis. Her devotion and interest have been outstanding. Never has anyone given more to the Tennessee affiliate. Mrs. Christmas is loved and admired by everyone who knows her.

Door prizes were drawn throughout the convention. Fourteen prizes were given away; among them a tape recorder, radios, small electrical appliances, and a hand-made ladies' stole which was designed and made by the State president.

On Sunday morning, the State board of directors hosted a breakfast in the General Forest Room for members who had made outstanding contributions toward improvement of the organization in the past year. The breakfast was attended by thirty-six. In an address by the State president, guests were recognized and their work noted.

Sunday's program included legislation and elections. Three board vacancies were filled. C. Gordon Stephens and Charles Hooks were re-elected. Mr. George Douglas Duncan was elected to serve a two-year term on the board. Nellie Hargrove was elected delegate to the NFB Convention and C. Gordon Stephens was elected alternate delegate. Nashville was selected as the '72 convention site.

Back to Contents

BRINGING THE SUN AND THE MOON TOGETHER

by John Bilby

[Reprinted by courtesy of the Honolulu (Hawaii) Advertiser.]

The vibrations are beginning to sound like Hawaii's own first super rock group: The Sun and the Moon. For instance, just as I'm trying to gather all my notes together on my desk to write this, Advertiser reporter Leonard Lueras introduces me to Milt Lau, who puts on the free Parks and Recreation concerts. I ask him what he thinks of their sound.

"Mike Cord is probably the best bass man in town," he begins. "Randy is the best drummer in the State."

"Don't you think Wayne's piano adds to it?"

"Adds to it? Wayne makes the group!”

This is the kind of story that you hate to sit down and write because the best is always yet to happen. For instance, I didn't have the slightest idea where it was going when I started. A piano teacher named Don Wiley wrote me a letter saying he was guardian of a blind boy who played the piano, and I could do an interesting story about how well he gets on. Then I found that his boy, Wayne Borje, played in a group that was at the crater New Year's Day, and Randy Seol, the drummer in the group used to be the Strawberry Alarm Clock's drummer. Leonard wandered into the office on his day off to pick up some mail. I told him I was going out to hear this group practice and he and a friend came along.

The practice room is Don's piano studio, above a Palolo meat market. The first sound I hear is somebody playing George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue." When we get up there I recognize Randy Seol from the cover of the "Peppermint and Incense" album, and I recognize Don Wiley from the illustrations of my boyhood Don Quixote. And Wayne is absorbed in that keyboard that's all black keys to him.

Wiley is forty-five. Everybody in the group is twenty. When Wayne started letting his hair grow long, so did Wiley. Wayne has been blind from birth. He became a classical piano pupil of Wiley, whose hands are now going. Arthritis. He can't play much any more.

You see the picture. Wiley became Wayne's eyes. Wayne became Wiley's hands. They won't dig my saying that. They're both independent cats. But they are a really together "father and son."

Mike sprays Finger Ease on the neck of his bass. "Nice quiet place," Leonard says.

"We never get hassled and we practice at some weird times," Randy says.

"We get a nice crowd downstairs bopping around," says Mike. Wayne doesn't say anything. A handshake and a hello-that's all so far. The nice quiet place becomes decibel city.

After a sailing while they are playing "Sunshine of Your Smile," and it's nothing like Cream, and then "Spinning Wheel," and it's nothing like Blood, Sweat and Tears, and then "Jailhouse Rock," and it's nothing like Bill Haley, and more! And Leonard and Dan and I are looking at each other and grinning, because none of us have ever heard three Honolulu musicians doing all of this, everything in their totally own way.

The sound has rushed through rock, classical concerto, jazz, rock, and finally they are playing this completely insane boogie-rock-boogie, and I feel a fifteen-year-old's scream of ecstasy beginning to form inside my thirty-five-year-old head.

They take five then and answer my questions. Mike says he is from Las Vegas. He played with Moses and the Highbrows, the Reycards, and assorted other groups before joining the other two.

Randy is from Riverside, California, and he and Leonard got rapping about Ramona High School, which they both attended.

I asked Wayne's guardian, Wiley, what his trip had been. "I started out strictly classical," he said. "I didn't get into rock at all until Wayne did. When I heard the Beatles in 1964, I thought they were terrible. All my kids were pleading to play Beatles' songs in their lessons.

"Now," he said, "I teach more rock than classical."

"I'm an Oahu boy," said Wayne when I asked. "I went to Diamond Head School, then transferred to the State Rehabilitation Center for the Blind." Wiley became his teacher part-time there, in 1964. Wayne started coming regularly to his studio for lessons. Then his parents moved to the other side of the Island. Wiley arranged with them to have him move into his studio and flat, so he could continue his piano lessons.

Randy continued with his trip. His family moved to L.A. and he started playing with The Public Bubble. Then he joined the Strawberry Alarm Clock for eight months' climb to the top of the charts. He knows what it's like to be there

Then the hassles set in. "I got between everybody and asked out." He and his wife and baby came to Hawaii with $200 and he started doing construction work. "Then I got a funky job on Hotel Street playing in a strip joint." Then he auditioned for the Waikiki hotel gig where he met the other two.

The three have been backing up a pop singer six nights a week in Waikiki, under another name, and getting together afternoons to perfect their rock blend.

Anyway, this afternoon at the piano studio, they played two compositions of their own--Randy's "My Woman and I," and an unnamed song by Mike.

All of our heads felt like the end of the first side of Abbey Road. "What do you call the second one?" I asked after a while.

"That's it!" Mike said. "We'll call it 'The Second One.'"

Before he and Dan split, Leonard gave them the names of several people that he thought they should ask to come listen to their sound. One of them was Herb Brentlinger, who did the promoting on this end of the last Jefferson Airplane concert at the Civic.

I stayed to hear more. About half an hour later, a barefoot cat that looks like Mick Jagger with glasses and a motorcycle helmet under his arm walks in. "I'm Herb Brentlinger. I just saw Leonard in Waikiki and he told me to come here."

Too much! Don went across the hall to their flat and brought back a bottle of Lejon American Pink Champagne.

We passed around paper cups, and then they started playing again, and pretty soon they are really getting it on. Mike is playing off Randy's drums for a while and then he starts playing off the piano. And Wayne's bare feet are dancing a frenetic boogie under the piano stool and he's mixing in runs from one end of the piano to the other and pounding the keys like a classical virtuoso. And Herb and I look at each other, and he smiles serenely and waves his head, "Wow."

Then the group moves into Wayne's composition, a rock rhapsody, "The Seasons of the Year," classical rock! "I like this even better than anything I've heard so far," Herb said. He compared a section of it to Vivaldi.

After that, there was about twenty minutes of music business rap and my mind dropped out for a while.

I picked up again when Herb was saying that he was trying to get Crosby and Stills, who were in town, and some others to do a concert at the Civic Auditorium the next night, and if it happened the Sun and the Moon would play before them.

"If the whole trip goes down, it'll be on K-POI, and well also hit Waikiki pretty heavily with handbills," Herb was saying.

"Say why don't we play 'Take Five?'" called Mike.

For a while it was just pure jazz, and then it started going through all kinds of changes, coming out rock-boogie-rock. Tall daddy Don was standing over his young friends beaming and beating his piano teacher foot eight to the bar.

"Out . . . rageous!" said Herb, and he split.

After a while there were just Wiley, Wayne and me in their flat. Wiley was frying the corned beef hash, Wayne measured out the rice and put it on to cook, moving around the rooms with no apparent need for sight.

Wayne told me he played the ukulele, bass, drums, and guitar as well as piano and organ. "I'm working on an African instrument called the kalimba."

I asked about the guitar. He hopped up from a stool he was sitting on, slipped across the room carrying the stool, put it down, climbed up on it and reached atop a tall chest for his beautiful Gretsch. Then he went out the door and came back with the amp, set the whole thing up, and as I leaned forward expecting to hear some George Harrison or whatever, he began to play the second movement of a Beethoven symphony. I forget which one.

People wonder how a blind person can find his way around a complicated thing like a piano keyboard. "I don't think about it," Wayne said. "I just do it."

How does he feel about contemporary American society? "I think young people are saying something that part of the U.S. doesn't hear.

"I'd like to see the coloring of skin stopped. I'd rather see persons judged as persons.

"Aside from recording contracts and money and all that jazz, what we're looking for is peace in this country, an end to the war, and communications between the generations."

Obviously, there's no generation gap where he lives.

The next day, I saw in Ken Rosene's column that he singled out The Sun and the Moon as the most together group at the crater.

The Crosby, Stills concert never did come down.

A writer for The Village Voice and The New York Times dug the Sun at the crater and said he was doing pieces about them.

Herb came by offering to put together a publicity package for them.

They played the Kapiolani Park concert yesterday as headliners.

Now it appears they're going to be asked to play at the Grateful Dead Concert.

It all seems to be coming together.

 Back to Contents

MONITOR MINIATURES

The annual dinner of the American Brotherhood for the Blind featured a hard-hitting address by its President, Kenneth Jernigan. A large gathering turned out at The Queens Arms Restaurant to hear the national leader and all were inspired by a brilliant presentation. The Twin Vision Division of the American Brotherhood was again selected for the George Washington Honor Medal by Freedoms Foundation for a new "Americana Edition" in its "Anthology of Great Documents." Twin Vision's Director, Jean Dyon Norris, was the recipient of a special award at this dinner which celebrated Twin Vision's Tenth Anniversary.

 

The redoubtable Dr. Isabelle L. D. Grant has an addition to her many laurels. In February she received the Diana Award from the Golden Empire Regional Council, Epsilon Sigma Alpha Sorority. "Diana" is the acronym for Distinguished International Academy of Noble Achievement. Isabelle also has a new address. She can now be reached at 801 Radcliffe Drive, Davis, CA 95616.

 

The ESAB reported in its latest edition of The Eyecatcher that during March 1971 the 70th blind teacher was placed in New York; eight of these are employed full time in the City of New York.

On March 1, 1971 Senator Jennings Randolph together with forty-seven other Senators introduced S. 1030 to amend the Vocational Rehabilitation Act to assure rehabilitation services to older blind persons. These include such services as outreach, referral, assistance in acquiring mobility and other personal management skills, and such other services as are specified in the Vocational Rehabilitation Act.

 

What happens when a blind person, with no knowledge of the English language, comes to this country to live? How does he cope with the simplest, most everyday business of living? This was the situation of a Cuban couple, both blind, in the San Fernando Valley when Mrs. Betty Herron, blind member of the Van Nuys Chapter of the California Council of the Blind was contacted by the Laubach Literary Council. As a result of her interest and concerns, Mrs. Herron is to become the first blind tutor of the Laubach Method of teaching English to foreign-speaking individuals. She has received a scholarship from the Van Nuys Business and Professional Womens Club for her course of instruction preparing her to teach the Laubach Method--and even while she is learning she is teaching the Cuban couple. It was through Mrs. Herron's efforts that the Laubach textbook was prepared in TWIN VISION, combining print and Braille on facing pages. This not only makes it possible for Mrs. Herron to receive her own instruction from sighted Laubach tutors, but also makes it possible for a sighted tutor to instruct a blind student. "This is a very exciting 'first'," said Mrs. Jean Dyon Norris, Director of the Twin Vision Publishing Division of the American Brotherhood for the Blind. "It will open up a whole new world to blind people who come to this country without knowing any English. It can be used for teaching English--or any language--to the blind throughout the world."

 

The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare recently announced the appointment of six new members to the National Policy and Performance Council, a rehabilitation advisory panel. It is chiefly significant that no representatives of the organized blind, or of any other consumer group, were included in the appointments.

 

Listen, published by the Catholic Guild for All the Blind, reports that Commissioner John F. Mungovan of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind was congratulated by Governor Francis W. Sargent following Mungovan's return from the conference of the National Rehabilitation Association where he was honored as one of the outstanding leaders in the vocational rehabilitation movement. The Commissioner received the 50th Anniversary Medallion. Mungovan was praised as a "leader of national stature" who has made many and substantial contributions to rehabilitation programs for handicapped persons. Congratulations, John--it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

 

On March 16th the Congress passed a ten percent increase in Social Security benefits, retroactive to January 1, 1971, for the twenty-six million beneficiaries. It is expected that the increase will be reflected in the June checks. The House of Representatives refused to adopt the Senate provision for a minimum of one hundred dollars a month and one hundred fifty dollars for a couple, so the present minimum of sixty-four dollars will be raised to seventy dollars and forty cents. The House also declined to increase the amount a person can earn who draws Social Security, promising to consider that later. The increases were tied to a bill requested by the President to raise the national debt limit by thirty-five billion dollars to a record high of four hundred thirty billion. The President, who asked for only a six percent increase in Social Security benefits, approved the higher amount on March 17th in order to secure the increase in the national debt limit. Under the new law each State is permitted but not required (in determining the need of its public assistance recipients) to disregard any retroactive payments of the benefit increase provided for the months of January through April of 1971, which is expected to be paid in separate checks in June.

 

Bob Whitehead, President of the Kentucky Federation of the Blind, has had far more than his share of hospital stays in recent months. He asks The Monitor to thank his many Federation friends for their cards, letters, and other expressions of concern during his last stay in the hospital following his fall and fracture. Bob is at home now and is able to get around some in a wheelchair and has great hopes of being with us at the National Convention in Houston.

 

The Elbee Audio Players of New York, a troupe of blind repertory players, will begin its tenth season of dramatic reading productions this fall. David Swerdlow, director, feels that there are many blind persons living in the New York City area who are interested in drama and would possibly like to participate in this fascinating program of audio drama by the blind. His address is 621 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10024.

 

A major effort is being made by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to reduce ineligibility and incorrect payments among welfare recipients. A special staff in HEW's ten regional offices is being set up which will continuously review the extent of ineligibility and incorrect payments in public assistance caseloads. It will provide a way of checking results of a simplified administrative method for determining welfare eligibility, which is being used in all States for aged, blind, and disabled recipients.

 

The Louis Braille Foundation for Blind Musicians, 112 E. 19th Street, New York, NY 10003, is currently offering the following services: audition, evaluation, and counseling of blind musicians and music students; scholarship aid when other resources are not adequate; assistance in promoting engagements for qualified artists; and transcription of music not otherwise available in Braille.

 

The Eyecatcher, publication of the Empire State Association of the Blind, reports that a new typewriter attachment will be available early this year from the Israel Electro-Optical Industry, Ltd. of Rehovoth. Blind typists will be able to read, proofread and correct normal typewritten texts. This is made possible by the Phylab Brailler, a device that automatically and simultaneously makes a copy in Braille of the black-and-white typewritten text. The price of the attachment is reported to be seven hundred fifty dollars.

In New Jersey the Governor's Welfare Study Committee has recommended nine major changes in the State's welfare system. One of the most sweeping would be to discontinue aid to the "under-employed," in which some welfare support is given those with full-time jobs on the theory the support will be an incentive for a person to continue to work rather than rely on welfare entirely. The Committee said the program has not worked out. There would also be established a research and evaluation group, directly responsible to the Governor, which would constitute a sort of watch dog group. There would also be the imposition of liens and reimbursement agreements on the part of any recipient who owned housing. Most special needs would be eliminated, including the present unlimited shelter cost payments.

 

A busy chapter, indeed, is the Des Moines (Iowa) Association of the Blind. Last year it hosted an all-day seminar for all chapters of the Iowa Association of the Blind around how to conduct interesting and productive meetings; presented the Community Blood Bank with a centrifuge and oxygen mask; hosted the IAB convention; had a fundraising project, a steak fry; inaugurated a monthly newsletter; sponsored a "Teach in" on blindness; held a Christmas party for Girl Scouts; and climaxed the year with a most successful candy sale. This year promises to be even more crowded with exciting and rewarding activities.

 

The Xavier Society for the Blind publishes a monthly magazine in Braille, The Catholic Review. The magazine, consisting of sixty pages, contains timely articles of general Catholic interest culled from the Catholic press. The yearly fee is one dollar. Sample copy sent upon request. Write to: Miss Ann Hynes, Xavier Society for the Blind, 154 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010, for subscription or sample copy.

 

The Midwest Blind Bowling Association held its fourteenth annual tournament and convention in March at Detroit, Michigan. Much friendly competition was had by all at the tournament, South Lanes, Southgate, Michigan. The Midwest Blind Bowling Association of the American Blind Bowling Association is now twenty-seven leagues strong. They hope for new leagues in each of their eight States, especially in Iowa and Indiana, which are unrepresented. Details for forming new leagues, and information about blind bowling in general, may be had by writing Leo K. Searles, President, Midwest Blind Bowling Association, 1704 Maryland Avenue, East, St. Paul, MN 55106.

 

The Maryland School for the Blind has a new member on its board of directors. He is Dennis Fisher, an administrative specialist in SSA's Office of Research and Statistics. Dennis is both the first blind person and the first Negro to be elected to the board. He is a graduate of the school, and also has a bachelor's degree in sociology from Morgan State College. [From the SSA Central Office Bulletin.]

 

The Greater Baltimore Chapter of the Blind has a new president--Nancina Thompson, clerk-typist on the Disability Inquiries Staff, BDI. Affiliated with the National Federation of the Blind, the chapter is a nonprofit organization of concerned blind citizens seeking legislation and funding for projects that will aid the visually impaired.

In Nancina's words, "we are working for first-class citizenship through equal employment opportunities, improved educational opportunities, and the right to freely participate in the everyday activities of this sight-oriented society."

Nancina, a member of the Disability Inquiries Staff for three-and-one-half years, has received a high quality increase and a Commissioner's Citation. Before coming to SSA, she worked as a medical transcriber. Nancina, who enjoys reading (in her spare time), is a soprano in the Douglas Memorial Church Choir. [From the SSA Central Office Bulletin.]

 

The Capitol Chapter (Sacramento) of the California Council of the Blind reports real progress in its effort to send blind youth to Sweden this summer to learn scuba diving. Some fifteen applications from blind boys and girls have been tentatively approved, the exact number finally selected depending on the amount of funds raised to finance the trip. The chapter has been busily engaged in holding a Casino Fun Night and a Wine-Tasting Party to raise money.

As we go to press, Franklin and Gertrude VanVliet have just returned to the cold Northeast from the warm and sunny Island of Aruba. Aruba is part of the Netherlands Lesser Antilles and is located about fifteen miles off the coast of Venezuela. It is attached to the Continental Shelf while its two neighbors, Curacao and Bonaire are oceanic islands.

The Concord Automobile Dealers Association has had a sales promotion campaign each February for the last eighteen years. Anyone who orders or takes delivery on a car between February 10 and 20--a kind of Washington's Birthday celebration--is eligible for prizes. Franklin and Gertrude took delivery on a new Oldsmobile on February 18. At a dinner on March 6 attended by some seven hundred people, the VanVliet name was drawn for the Caribbean holiday.

The VanVliets took advantage of the eleven day trip to visit longtime friends who are missionaries on the Island of Bonaire and then went on to enjoy the sunny weather, warm water and good food on Aruba. We hope, after Franklin's miserable time earlier, that this marks the beginning of a long fair weather season for the NFB Treasurer and his wife.

 

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.

Back to Contents