Voice of the National Federation of the Blind
The National Federation of the Blind is not an organization speaking for the blind--it is the blind speaking for themselves.
THE BRAILLE MONITOR
Published monthly in inkprint, Braille, and on talking book discs
Distributed free to the blind by the National Federation of the Blind
President: Kenneth Jernigan, 524 Fourth Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50309
EDITOR: Perry Sundquist, 465 1 Mead Avenue Sacramento, California 95822
Associate Editor: Hazel tenBroek, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708
News items should be sent to the Editor
Address changes should be sent to 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708
If you or a friend wish to remember the National Federation of the Blind in your will, you can do so by employing the following language:
"I give, devise, and bequeath unto NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND, a District of Columbia non-profit corporation, the sum of $_____(or,______ "percent of my net estate", or "the following stocks and bonds:") to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons and to be held and administered by direction of its Executive Committee."
If your wishes are more complex, you may have your attorney communicate with the Berkeley Office for other suggested forms.Printed at 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708
MONITOR MARCH 1971
THE 1970 AMENDMENTS TO THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT--THAT WEREN'T
by Perry Sundquist
THE DISABILITY INSURANCE BILL
Letter from Kenneth Jernigan
WHY SHOULD THE BLIND RECEIVE DISABILITY INSURANCE?
by Kenneth Jernigan
ORGANIZING IN RHODE ISLAND
by Mary Ellen Anderson
"THE BLIND"--DO THEY EXIST?
by Kenneth Jernigan
LOW INTEREST LOANS FOR THE BLIND
by Fareed Haj
BLIND SECRETARIES AND TRANSCRIBERS ORGANIZE
by Guy Sullivan
BETTY CAPPS SHARES RECIPE
WSAB SPEAKS OUT FOR COMMISSION BILL
TWO VIEWS ON THE WELFARE PLAN
by Elliot L. Richardson and Alvin L. Schorr
by Evelyn Weckerly
NEW YORK AGENCIES ORDERED TO IMPROVE JOB OPPORTUNITIES
FEDERATION HEAD SAYS DISADVANTAGES EXAGGERATED
MEET OUR STATE PRESIDENT--ULDINE THE LANDER AND OUR STATE AFFILIATE--IDAHO
MORE ON THE LOREN SCHMITT STORY
by Eileen Wilson
READING THE 'IN THING' FOR BLIND
by Gary Claxton
IT'S PLEDGE TIME
by Lawrence Marcclino
MATTRESS EXECUTIVE HAS RIGHT TOUCH FOR BUSINESS
by Alexander Auerback
WHITE CANE WEEK AT TWENTY-FIVE
by Anthony Mannino
BLIND LEGISLATOR HELPS PREVENT BLINDNESS
by Hon F. Bradford Morse
GUIDE DOG USERS ORGANIZE
SEPARATE AGENCIES DEALT ANOTHER BLOW
INTEGRATION--THE CHALLENGE OF OUR TIME
by Berthold Lowenfeld
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by Perry Sundquist
Last April (almost a year ago) the House of Representatives passed its version of the 1970 Amendments to the Social Security Act. This included a five percent increase in benefits, effective January 1, 1971, plus an escalator clause whereby the amount of the Social Security payments would rise automatically whenever the cost of living Price Index rose. In early December of 1970 the Senate Finance Committee reported out its version of the amendments to the floor of the Senate. This included a ten percent increase in benefits and the escalator clause--and a great many more extraneous measures which were highly controversial.
As the 91st Congress ground to a dismal close, all Congressional business was stymied by a series of seven different filibusters in the Senate Opponents of the supersonic transport led off and two separate attempts to close off debate failed Waiting in the wings were equally vocal and adamant opponents of the massive catch-all Social Security bill as reported out by the Senate Finance Committee--child care, family assistance experimentation, health insurance, tariff and trade restrictions, and veterans' pensions. On December 29, 1970 the Senate passed a version of the Social Security Amendments by a vote of eighty-one to zero. However, the House Ways and Means Committee refused to enter into a Conference Committee to reconcile the differences between the two Houses on the ground that there just wasn't sufficient time to work out compromises before the constitutional adjournment date of the 91st Congress on January 3, 1971. So, there were the 1970 Amendments to the Social Security Act--that weren't!
Hopefully, but not at all certainly, the new 92nd Congress will pass at least the Social Security increases and make them effective as of January 1, 1971.
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Letter from Kenneth Jernigan
I am sending this letter concerning our disability insurance for the blind bill to State and Chapter Presidents with the request that they see that all of their members are informed of its contents.
As all of you know, the 91st Congress adjourned without passing any Social Security amendments. Consequently, our disability insurance bill did not pass since it would have been part of the overall Social Security Amendments package.
However, I feel that I can write you on a note of real optimism. In the 91st Congress Social Security amendments were first considered by the House of Representatives. You will recall that the Ways and Means Committee did not include our disability insurance bill (H.R. 3782) in the Social Security package, but it did accept part of it. According to the Ways and Means Committee Report accompanying H.R. 17550, some thirty thousand blind people would have been made eligible for Social Security payments and would have received twenty-five million dollars in the first year. These provisions and the arguments supporting them were taken from our bill and our testimony. Therefore, we know that they were the result of Federation action.
When H.R. 17550 reached the Senate, it was amended by the Senate Finance Committee in executive session to include all of the provisions of our disability insurance bill. The Senate (in the dying days of the Congress in December) adopted the amended version of H.R. 17550--including, of course, the provisions of our disability bill. This was the fourth time that the Senate had passed our bill.
After passage by the Senate the Social Security amendments were sent to the Senate-House Conference Committee to iron out differences. By now, of course, there was a race with the clock, and the question was whether any bill at all would be adopted. As you know, none was.
However, I am convinced that if the Senate-House Conference had agreed on a bill, all of the provisions of our disability insurance bill would have been included. My reasons are these: Federation effort had secured one hundred fifty-nine House cosponsors to Congressman Burke's bill, H.R. 3782. Several of these cosponsors were House members of the Conference Committee Federation effort had secured sixty-nine Senate cosponsors, several of whom were also on the Conference Committee. The Senate had passed our bill unanimously. Therefore, all that was required was for the Senate conferees to stand firm and for only a few of the House conferees to agree with them.
With the adjournment of the 91st Congress all of this is simply history. However, our effort was not wasted, for I am convinced that if we act with dispatch and firmness it has paved the way for the passage of our bill by the 92d Congress. Chairman Wilbur Mills of the Ways and Means Committee has stated publicly that he expects to report out a Social Security bill by Lincoln's Birthday. If he comes anywhere near to meeting this deadline, he will probably report out the same bill the Committee sent to the floor in the 91st Congress. Of course, we will try to have our disability provisions tacked on by the Ways and Means Committee, but this may not be possible if Chairman Mills is determined to report something to the floor immediately. Under the House rules the bill cannot be amended on the floor after it comes from Ways and Means.
If we are not successful with the House Ways and Means Committee, we will go once again to the Senate, where we are almost certain to be successful. This will put us once again in the position of trying to win in the Senate-House Conference Committee, which I feel we can do if we sustain our efforts.
I have gone into this much detail in order to give you the background for the action I think we must all take immediately. There may not be time to build up a long list of House cosponsors, especially if Chairman Mills keeps his promise to act by Lincoln's Birthday. However, we should flood our Congressmen and Senators with letters asking them to introduce and support legislation identical to H.R. 3782 of the 91st Congress. We should ask members of the House Ways and Means Committee to see that our disability insurance bill is made part of the overall Social Security package, and we should ask those Congressmen who are not on the Ways and Means Committee to contact those who are. We should adopt the same course of action with respect to the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate as a whole. All House members and Senators who were cosponsors in the 91st Congress and who are members of the 92d Congress should receive letters or telephone contacts from us. Those who were not cosponsors should be bombarded with requests that they join the ranks.
I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of immediate action on the part of all of you. We must have letters and phone calls to Congressmen and Senators from every Federationist and every friend we can muster. We can pass this bill (and we can pass it this year) if we make the effort, or we can fail to pass it if we do not care enough to do what must be done. John Nagle will do all that he can in Washington. I will do likewise. But the bill will pass or fail by what you the membership do in your contacts (or lack of contacts) with Congressmen and Senators during the next few weeks and months.
Since the South Carolina Convention we have done a good deal of talking in the Federation about joining each other on the barricades. If there was ever a time, this is it; so come on, Brother, let's go.
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by Kenneth Jernigan
[Reprinted from The Braille Monitor, January 1969.]
In the upcoming 91st Congress the National Federation of the Blind will be making an all out push to secure the passage of the Disability Insurance Bill. In 1964, 1965, 1967, we secured passage of this Bill through the Senate but lost its principal provisions in the Senate-House conference. This time we can and must secure its enactment. It will mean the difference of thousands of dollars to many thousands of blind people. It is morally right. It is up to you and me to do our bit by writing letters and making personal contacts with Congressmen and Senators.
This may be the most important single piece of legislation affecting the blind ever introduced in this country. It certainly ranks along side title X of the Social Security Act giving public assistance to the blind in the 1930's, the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Act in the 1930's, and the Barden-LaFollette Act including the blind in rehabilitation in 1943. The provisions of the bill are simple and far reaching. If it passes, any blind person who has six quarters of employment during which he has paid into Social Security will be eligible to draw disability insurance payments as long as he remains blind. This would be regardless of his income or earnings. It is only fair to say that if we get the bill enacted, we will go back to the next Congress and ask to have the six quarters reduced to zero. In other words what we are asking and what we can achieve (if we all work and do our part) is this: every blind person in this country (simply because of blindness and regardless of earnings) will be eligible to draw full disability insurance payments.
Why should this be so? Is it really fair for a blind person with a high income to draw a monthly insurance payment? Are we being inconsistent by talking, on the one hand, about equal opportunity for the blind and their ability to compete and, on the other hand, asking for what amounts to preferential treatment?
It all depends on whether you look on this proposal as a true insurance or as a welfare payment to relieve the distress of poverty. The idea that society should give payments or subsidies to particular individuals or groups on the basis of something other than poverty or economic need is not at all new or revolutionary.
If, for instance, a rich man has three children and a poor man has none, the poor man is still taxed to help pay the costs of sending the rich man's children to the public schools. This is so because society has determined that such a system is in the best interest of the State and the Nation. It is not that the rich man can not afford to make special payments for the costs of educating his children or that the poor man (who may have no children at all) can easily spare the cash. Society is thought to be better off if the children of all (rich and poor alike) have the opportunity to attend public schools and if all who have taxable assets (regardless of whether they have children) pay to support the schools. In fact, if only poor children could go to the public schools, our society would be segregated into classes, and there would be considerable stigma attached to attending the public schools. Accordingly, a subsidy is given to the people who have children (rich and poor alike) because a social need is thus met. We have become so accustomed to the subsidy that we do not think about it at all, and one rarely hears any serious suggestion that only the poor should be able to attend the public schools, with the rich barred from the subsidy.
Likewise, farmers (the wealthy and the poor alike) are paid support prices and subsidies. Rightly or wrongly the Congress has determined that a social need is met by the provision of the subsidy. In the same manner tariffs are charged on certain items coming into the country, taxing the consumer to support a given business or industry. It is thought to be in the best interest of the country to "protect" that particular business or industry by means of a subsidy, regardless of what it may be called.
Also, steamship lines, railroads, and airlines have been given various subsidies in the form of mail contracts and other benefits And speaking of mail, certain types of mail (particularly first class) make a profit while others are heavily subsidized by the government--on the theory that society receives benefits by having particular types of material as widely distributed as possible (magazines, newspapers, etc.)
Thus, it would appear that the principle is long standing and firmly established that society shall pay a subsidy if a social benefit results. This brings us back to the question of disability insurance for the blind. Why should it be granted? In other words, what social benefit results?
Before dealing with this question let us talk for a moment about the nature of insurance. If a man goes to a private insurance company, he may buy insurance against blindness. If he then becomes blind, he will receive the insurance payments. He is receiving the insurance for which he paid, and his income has nothing to do with the matter. But, some may object, "you have said that you would like to have disability insurance payments made to all blind people-even those who have not paid in to Social Security (in other words, to those who have not paid premiums)." True. But again, we can find a parallel in private insurance. A man may buy insurance against blindness for his entire family. His child may not have paid one dime toward the premium, but if the child becomes blind, he will receive payments. He is part of the family, and the family has purchased insurance against blindness on all of its members.
"Even so," the doubter may say, "these arguments would only hold true for people who become blind. What about the person who has been blind all of his life? Can a man buy insurance against what he already has?" No, a single individual can not. But, a group can. In many organizations (including the one in which I work) this very thing can and does occur. The State of Iowa has purchased hospital insurance to cover its employees. Further, it pays a large part of the premium for each employee. If a new person joins our staff and subsequently is hospitalized because of a pre-existing condition, he still draws full insurance payments as part of the group. The group has purchased insurance to cover its members (from a private company, incidentally).
These are the principles of insurance, and insurance is not welfare. It is for the rich and the poor alike. The main requisite of insurance is that it meet a need for the individual or the group purchasing it.
"So," one asks, "what is the social need to be met, and how will society benefit?" To answer the question let us look at the situation now and compare it with the situation which will exist if our bill passes.
At present if an individual becomes blind and ceases to be gainfully and substantially employed, he likely will be eligible to draw disability insurance. He has every incentive to remain unemployed and not to return to work at all. Why? In the first place he is probably not an expert in the law He only knows that he is now drawing an insurance payment each month and that if he tries to go back to work, he may lose it--whether his attempt at self-support is successful or not. The law is complex, and the talk of allowed earnings, trial work periods, definitions of gainful and substantial employment, et cetera, is confusing and not conducive to an attempt to make new beginnings. Furthermore, if the individual actually goes to work and (after a specified trial work period) is making in the neighborhood of one hundred twenty-five dollars per month, he will lose his disability insurance payments. This is true even though he may have been drawing considerably more than one hundred twenty-five dollars a month in disability payment. If dependents are taken into account he may have been drawing disability insurance payments in excess of three hundred dollars per month tax free. He is penalized for having tried to become self-supporting by losing his insurance altogether. Even if he goes to work, he is tempted to conceal earnings and, if he yields to the temptation, lives in fear of being detected.
Let us suppose that before blindness the individual had an income of $15,000 per year. If (after blindness) he finds employment at $6,000 per year, he is still not eligible to continue to draw his disability insurance, even though the loss of income has occurred.
Besides all of this, it is conceivable under the present law that the individual may become blind, go back to work, then lose his job, and thereby become ineligible ever to receive disability insurance payments again because (by going back to work) he has demonstrated that his blindness does not prevent him from engaging in gainful and substantial activity. If, on the other hand, he is willing to settle down and draw his disability insurance without any attempt to go back to work at all, he can securely rest in the knowledge that the payments will continue month after month, year after year.
If an individual is born blind, he may be eligible for disability insurance if his father had a given Social Security status. Otherwise, he can not qualify. There are many other ramifications and qualifications but the point is clear. Under the present law the incentives are for an individual to remain idle, to sit at home and not jeopardize his monthly check.
Now, let us consider what the situation will be if our disability insurance bill passes. There is no complexity and no confusion. The blind person has every incentive to venture and earn to his full capacity. He knows that he will have a monthly insurance payment coming and that it will not be jeopardized by attempts at improving his condition. The blind person is better off and society is better off for him to be productive instead of idle, working instead of sitting at home. In addition, this does not even take into account all of the current anxiety and grief which occur because of the present complexities, mix-ups, and disqualifications on technicalities.
Moreover, there is one more matter which should be mentioned. The real problem of blindness is not the loss of eyesight. It is the misunderstandings and the misconceptions which exist. With proper training and opportunity the average blind person can do the average job in the average place of business and do it as well as his sighted neighbor. The massive discriminations which exist against the blind in employment and in opportunity come from society as a whole, not merely from the blind members of society. Therefore, it is reasonable that society should insure its members against these disadvantages.
For all of these reasons I believe that we should go forth and confidently press for the passage of our disability insurance bill--for all blind people, and in the coming session of Congress. It is morally right; it is economically sound; and it is politically practical. Furthermore, if each of us will work vigorously, we can get the job done.
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by Mary Ellen Anderson
Topping off an already great year for the NFB was the December 12, 1970 formation of the National Federation of the Blind of Rhode Island, an expanded, revitalized, and reconstituted State affiliate.
Neighboring New Englander, NFB Treasurer Franklin VanVliet had met in October with members of the Rhode Island affiliate (the Rhode Island Council of the Blind) exploring plans for strengthening and expanding the organization A December organizational campaign was mapped out.
I arrived on Thursday, December 3, having caught the last plane to leave Superior, Wisconsin, prior to the onset of truly ideal snowmobile weather, grounding all air activity in the area. That evening I met with RICOB president Joe Silveira, vice president Ken Brackett, and Fr Gerard Sabourin to plan the week-long campaign. We all agreed that Rhode Island urgently needed a greatly expanded organization--one that would be truly statewide in character. The Rhode Island Council of the Blind had originated in the Newport area, and many in the State still erroneously referred to it as the "Newport Council". In order to clear the way for expansion, we decided to dissolve the RICOB. All members enthusiastically endorsed this course of action
On Friday, RICOB members and I set about the work of contacting blind persons throughout the State, explaining the work of the Federation, taking memberships and issuing invitations to attend the December 12 reorganizational meeting to be conducted by John Taylor. Early in the week I made three discoveries which markedly improved my efficiency. The first was that I could drive from southern Rhode Island to the northern tip of the State in less time than it takes to cross the city of Miami. The second was Fr. Sabourin's street index of the whole State, something I had never seen before. My final and most important discovery was the small hidden handle which opened the gas tank lid on my rented Volkswagen. Despite extraordinary mileage, I can tell you VW's do eventually run out of gas.
In a State without an active organization of the blind, the need for one is always readily apparent. Rhode Island proved to be no exception. I encountered blind persons who had been denied the opportunity to enroll in student teaching courses, indicating Rhode Island's need for the Model White Cane Law. Some blind persons and evidently many election officials were unaware that the voting laws had been changed to allow a friend or relative to assist inside the voting booth. Despite the fact that the RI State Agency providing services to the blind is the Division of Services for the Blind in the Department of Social and Rehabilitative Services, many knew only of services available through the Rhode Island Association for the Blind, a privately operated sheltered workshop.
Fortunately, however, as these and other problems emerged, so did blind Rhode Islanders with the will and capacity to deal with them. At the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, I met Ken Bryant who immediately agreed to attend the Saturday meeting. The two of us then set out in search of other blind students. Although it took Ken awhile to convince me that college customs had changed a bit since my day, he soon had me roaming through the halls of men's dorms without too much fear of being apprehended and tossed out. Our search paid off when on fourth floor of Butterfield Hall we found Ed Aptt, a graduate student in guidance and counselling. Ed having been denied the opportunity to take standard Educational Testing Service graduate entrance exams, readily understood what the Federation was all about and joined on the spot.
In Woonsocket I met Larry Keefe, another Rhode Islander well aware of the work which needs doing. Holding a B.A. in government and history, Larry had decided to pursue a teaching career. After successfully completing fifteen hours' credit in the college of education of a State supported school, he was denied the opportunity to student teach. I left Larry reading the Model White Cane Law and drove back to Providence, knowing I'd found another Federationist.
Long before the end of the week it became a foregone conclusion that the affiliate to be formed on Saturday would be an excellent one John Taylor arrived late Friday night, leaving his bag m Chicago and bringing with him the midwestern snow storm I had left behind the week before. Fr. Sabourin, who had already contributed to the organizational drive in a variety of ways, attempted to use his special influence to stop the snow before morning--his only failure of the week.
Despite the heavy snow a substantial number of hardy Rhode Islanders gathered at the Biltmore Hotel in Providence on Saturday, December 12, 1970. John Taylor opened the morning session with a discussion of the organized blind movement, speaking of the barriers which have been broken and those which remain.
From the dual vantage point of Federationist and agency administrator, Mr. Taylor dealt with the kinds of services a good agency can provide, emphasizing the key role which organizations of the blind must play in the development of high caliber rehabilitation programs. An informal discussion session which continued vigorously throughout the luncheon break concluded the morning program.
In line with the old adage, actions speak louder than words, the afternoon session was packed with action. Adoption of a constitution, selection of a name, election of officers and board members, talk with the Honorable Joseph Garrahy, Lt. Governor of Rhode Island, regarding legislation, and adoption of a resolution to work for passage of the Model White Cane Law.
Brevity ruled in the selection of the name. The National Federation of the Blind of Rhode Island (and brief it is compared to the other major contender--The National Federation of the Blind of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.)
A capable and committed group of Federationists were elected to lead the NFB of Rhode Island President is Ken Brackett of Pawtucket. Ken, who is employed by Decorative Textiles, is a veteran Federationist. Ken claims credit for winning Franklin VanVliet to the Federation, and can tell some interesting stories about Franklin's initial reaction to becoming involved with a bunch of blind guys. After attending the Columbia and Minneapolis Conventions, Ken became convinced that a stronger affiliate was needed in Rhode Island. With his experience, determination, and capacity for hard work. Ken will provide the NFB of RI with outstanding leadership.
First vice president is Edna Bartram of Newport. Edna is active in the League of Women Voters and is a resource worker in A Better Chance Program, an organization which recruits disadvantaged youth for independent schools. Also competing for Edna's time are husband, Jim, an engineer for Raytheon, and two sons. After introducing myself to Edna, she began telling me what needed to be done in Rhode Island, and I became quickly convinced that Edna would be an energetic and able leader in the new organization.
Second vice president is George Dubiel of North Providence, an ornamental die maker prior to losing his sight seven years ago. A Monitor reader for some time, George has a good understanding of the Federation and will be a valuable board member. George and his wife, Mildred, have three grown sons.
Secretary of the NFB of RI is Rev. Gerard Sabourin. Fr Sabourin first became aware of the organized blind movement through his work as Director of the Diocese of Providence Special Services Department. Although sighted, Fr. Sabourin is a real Federationist in every way.
Treasurer is Stephen Garabedian of North Providence. Steve is greenskeeper of the Louisquisset Golf Club. Steve began reading banquet speeches and the "Man and the Movement" at the beginning of the week and soon was a knowledgeable and committed Federationist. Incidentally, a great place for coffee and cake is with Steve and Betty Garabedian and their four delightful children.
Board member Regina Tedeschi is a senior at Rhode Island College. Regina is currently student teaching in the area of learning disabilities. Larry Keefe and Ed Aptt were elected to fill the second and third board positions. Fourth board member is Joe Silveira of Newport, past president of the Rhode Island affiliate. Joe has held positions as precision parts inspector and assistant buyer with Avica Corporation, is a past Grand Knight of the Newport Knights of Columbus, and a past president of the Newport County Radio Amateur Club. Joe has attended NFB national Conventions regularly since 1967.
With a power packed board like that I know we'll be hearing of big accomplishments from the National Federation of the Blind of Rhode Island in the very near future. It will take some doing to beat "little Rhody's" 1970 Christmas present to the Federation!
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by Kenneth Jernigan
Recently I attended a meeting at which a very intelligent and charming blind woman was speaking. Among other things, she said that she objected to the concept of "the blind." As she put it, "There is no such thing as 'the blind.' Some blind people are old and some are young; some are rich, some poor; some are educated, some uneducated; some are Methodists, some atheists; some are intelligent, and some stupid. First and foremost, the blind are people, and the fact that they are blind does not really give them anything in common."
This is a notion which I often come across, especially among some of the agencies for the blind. In essence what it says is this; a blind person does not necessarily have anything in common with other blind persons. Therefore, there is no "common cause." Thus, there is no need for the organized blind, and there is really no such thing as a "movement."
I wholeheartedly disagree with this line of thought. It fails to take into account the principal fact affecting the lives of blind people in the world today--namely, that the primary problem of blindness is not the blindness itself, not the lack of eyesight. Rather, it is the misunderstandings and misconceptions which exist on the part of the public and (because the blind are members of that public) on the part of many of the blind themselves.
One could say, for instance, that a black man living in the United States in 1920 (or, perhaps even much later) might have been rich or poor, old or young, Methodist or atheist, intelligent or stupid, and that he, therefore, really had nothing in common with other blacks; but beyond all of these differences was the fact of society's attitudes toward him and his own attitudes toward himself-attitudes which he had absorbed from the larger society. Overshadowing almost every other factor in his life (whether economic, social, or intellectual) was the fact of his blackness and the reactions to it.
Indeed, some black people in that day became quite successful, and many of them mistakenly tried to dissociate themselves from other blacks. They said, in effect, "I have many white friends, and I am really not like other black people." They said this with pride, not realizing that they were still judged by others of their race and that they had common interests with them, whether they wished it or not. Other blacks, of course, tried to avoid contact with the larger society altogether. They attempted to associate only with those of their race and to gain status and security by having nothing to do with the outside world.
It is generally recognized now that both of these attitudes were mistaken. When the blacks began to organize, there were some (whites and blacks alike) who, deploring the trend, tried to discourage it. They said something like this: "You don't want to be lumped in with all other blacks You don't want to segregate yourself. You are first and foremost a person, only incidentally a black."
The facts, of course, were that until the blacks began to develop a sense of group identity and organized, they had no real hope of true integration into society. The regrettable truth that some of the organized action has been violent and destructive can probably be traced to the fact that organization was so long in coming.
It is not necessary to favor the extreme militancy which has characterized the past decade to recognize the validity and desirability of concerted action by the black minority. In fact, one result of responsible group action can and should be the exercise of reasonable restraint in dealing with grievances.
As it is with the blacks, so it is with the blind. It is true that not every blind person behaves himself in such a way that I would like to associate with him socially. It is true that I have little in common intellectually or in hobbies or recreational activity with this or that blind person. However, all of this is beside the point. I have a common problem with every blind person in this nation, whether I find him congenial or not; and this common problem makes it mandatory for me (if I intend to behave responsibly and in my own best interest) to try to work with him in a group action. The agencies for the blind can not solve all of our problems, nor can we expect to solve them singlehandedly as individuals. It is true that the individual must work for his own salvation, but it is equally true that broad social problems require group action. This fact of life is almost axiomatic in America today.
Over and over I receive letters from blind persons throughout the country, pointing up the truth of instances of discrimination. One such letter came to me recently from Mary Hartle, one of our progressive student members in Minnesota. The communication she received from Saint Cloud College illustrates the problem we face and the common action required of us all. The NFB is making progress, and at an accelerating pace; but we still have a ways to go.
Despite the fact that hundreds of blind people are now employed as teachers and that it is standard practice for the blind to be able to enroll in many colleges and universities, Saint Cloud College excludes them all. They exclude "the blind"--the rich and the poor, the Methodist and the atheist, the young and the old, the bright and the stupid. Yes, "the blind" exist. And we had all better make certain that we recognize it. Here is the letter which Miss Hartle received:
November 30, 1970
Ms. Mary A. Hartle
College of St. Benedict
St. Joseph, Minnesota
Dear Ms. Hartle:
This is to acknowledge your letter of November 16. The degree of visual handicap which your friend has would be a determining factor in whether or not she could become a teacher. It is true that we do not admit students to teacher education who have physical handicaps that would interfere with their carrying out of their teaching responsibilities. The reason for this is that we are not able to provide a total program of preparation which includes student teaching. A teacher has certain legal responsibilities for the safety and welfare of the children with whom she works. A person who has any kind of a handicap which would prevent them from being fully responsible for the safety of the children would prevent a person from being able to perform all of the functions expected of a teacher.
We are not able to provide student teaching in the schools with which we have contracts in these kinds of situations because of this liability factor.
In addition to the liability factor, it would be difficult for an individual who has a severe visual handicap to perform all the necessary functions of a teacher. From our experience individuals with limiting handicaps are unable to secure employment.
Dean. School of Education
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by Fareed Haj
[Editor's Note: Dr. Haj is second vice president of our Florida affiliate and an active and dedicated Federationist. He sent the following letter to President Jernigan, which Federationists should find interesting and provocative He says as of December 15, 1970:]
Dear Mr. Jernigan:
Last week I began reading The Braille Monitor and I find it so very informative and interesting that I cannot understand how I missed reading it all these years. I am writing this letter as a result of an article The Monitor had in one of its issues on the feasibility of establishing credit unions for the blind. While I am in favor of the idea and was glad to know that several such unions already exist, I do not feel that credit unions are an adequate answer to the problem they are established to solve.
As a teacher I am eligible to borrow from our teachers' credit union under the same regulations as the sighted members of the profession Similarly. State employees have their own credit union and the blind workers can join on the same terms. The blind can also open charge accounts with various department stores under the same unsatisfactory and inflationary terms sighted consumers have to endure. The major problem of the blind in borrowing money is not so much that they are discriminated against as it is they are unable to have satisfactory collateral in many cases. This bars them from borrowing at more reasonable rates and forces them to turn to those charging much higher interest rates. Even credit unions are not exactly cheap I paid ninety dollars on a nine hundred dollar loan taken for one year from our teachers' credit union.
I am wondering if it would be unreasonable to suggest that the State or Federal government make provisions for the blind to borrow at low interest rates. Should this happen we would not be the first group to be granted special treatment. Veterans have special rates when buying a house, and fanners get their special subsidies The Small Business Bureau has low interest rates for those who meet the requirements Why not the blind?
Even in this day and age most blind workers are overqualified or underpaid or both. As for the underpaid, their name is descriptive enough, and they are lucky to be able to make ends meet, let alone pay high interest rates. With the overqualified blind, it is another story. These spend any number of years in training while their sighted future fellow workers are already on the job earning their full wages. Starting relatively late, having wasted a year or two or more, the blind will earn considerably less during a lifetime of work than the sighted person performing the same duties. Inasmuch as the blind often have a late start they cannot afford to invest any part of their earnings or even buy a home until much later than their sighted comrades. This problem is often compounded by their lack of security on the job and their need for many essentials after years of poverty, following which they must start from scratch. All this makes it difficult for the blind to build up collateral in property or other assets, hence their problem in borrowing.
Suppose the blind were permitted to borrow at three percent interest? How would that make a difference in their lives? More of them might take advantage of such a provision to buy their own houses. There they would be saving some of the money they were previously giving to landlords with no return. Now the mortgage they pay would be an investment as they can always get more than their home expenses if and when they decide to sell. If they already have a home they would have a chance to invest in stocks and bonds, in real estate or other lucrative businesses. The low interest money they invest will have a chance to work for them, and many of the blind will, for the first time, have a chance to enjoy that good life they hear about so much as they sit by their radio sets.
It has been said, "nothing succeeds like success". We have tried to educate the public to recognize the abilities of the blind. Seeing is believing, and the public will believe it when they see it. Show them blind landlords and stockholders in their community rather than peddlers and mendicants. Show them blind businessmen rather than suppliants in their society, and they will be convinced of the capabilities of the blind without much preaching. Poverty breeds the same and largely insures its continuance, and money draws more money to it. A low interest rate might give the blind the chance to enjoy the abundance of their society for the first time, and if that society is willing to guarantee a minimum income to preserve the dignity of all Americans, why not give low interest rates to blind workers to enable them to find for themselves a place in the sun economically speaking. It makes good social sense. It even makes good economic sense. A blind worker thus helped is less likely to need public support again as he slowly solidifies his position in society.
It is conceivable that in his inexperience a blind man may need wise counseling and advice regarding the best means of investing his money, but this is a service which some private or public agency for the blind may wish to develop even if it means hiring qualified counselors from within the ranks of the financial field. It is not unfair to give the blind a break when the growth of the supermarket and the reliance on cars to reach less expensive highway stores has put the blind at a purchasing disadvantage for years. They need to rely on their small neighborhood store, with its higher prices, and their disability to take advantage of distant, or even nearby specials and discounts has made it more expensive for the blind to live even without the need to use cabs more extensively than the sighted public. I do not think that the public would terribly mind if the blind were permitted to draw loans at lower interest rates either through a special fund entrusted to commissions for the blind or through specific banks in various communities.
I would like to hear your reaction to this suggestion, which occurred to me as a result of reading The Braille Monitor, which I find very stimulating. I also want to tell you how much I enjoy my new affiliation with the National Federation of the Blind. Over the years I have been almost completely isolated from other blind adults and I find my new association with them a great experience--sometimes rewarding or frustrating, challenging or thought-provoking, but always interesting. I trust that this, my first communication, will be one of many between us over the coming years.
Fareed Haj. Ph. D.
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[Reprinted from the Minnesota Bulletin.]
In our humble opinion if ever any one member should be singled out for a special tribute in appreciation for distinguished service, he has got to be our chairman of the Special Committee on Finance. Philip E. Houghtelin, who has successfully piloted this committee since its creation away back in 1962. When you think of it, it seems almost unbelievable but the records show that he has, practically single-handedly, been instrumental in raising the total of approximately sixty thousand dollars for our. Organization over the past eight years--well, actually seven years because, as Phil states it, the first year was mainly devoted to "tooling up".
Now, the fact that these funds have kept our treasury healthy and solvent year by year, and at a low, low cost of about three and a half percent, is only one consideration that merits this high and most well-deserved recognition. The knowledge that you have carried on the work with persistence in spite of the aggravating discomforts and pains of arthritis is another consideration we appreciate.
The major organization expenditure involved in this "contact and follow-up operation" is for telephone and mailing service. How that man finds time and physical stamina for keeping up his own private piano service clientele together with extra-curricular duties is way beyond us. Such shining examples of dedication and loyalty are mighty rare. As one old inside observer has aptly put it, "Phil sure lives for that Organization, doesn't he?" Forty years of nearly uninterrupted activity will eloquently testify to that. Nobody is indispensable, they say, nevertheless, we are faced with the sobering thought of eventual replacement, but how and by whom? With this in mind Phil has conscienciously attempted to shift the load to other shoulders, from time to time, but unfortunately, with little success.
As proof that his versatile interests are not restricted exclusively to our own local field of service, early last spring Phil launched out upon a mammoth undertaking. He genuinely felt the sincere desire and need to share the fruits of our fundraising success with the other NFB affiliates, to, if possible, contribute something toward the national good of the blind. He went to considerable lengths to prepare directories of all philanthropic foundations suitable for presentation to each State affiliate at the NFB Convention held here last July. This meant forty-four separate directories to go to as many State affiliates. With the enlisted cooperation and assistance of the Communication Center, Minnesota State Services for the Blind, these were transcribed into Braille, a tremendous task, of course, requiring ten transcribers and proofreaders to make up fifty-eight volumes in all, averaging two to three inches in thickness. For this magnificent piece of volunteer work beautifully accomplished on schedule, we owe a debt of undying gratitude to Miss Joanne Jonson and the Communication Center which will be impossible to repay. Just how much benefit these publications will bring to the affiliates will, of course, not be known for perhaps a year or two, all depending upon the use each individual affiliate makes of the fundraising opportunity We shall never cease thanking you. Miss Jonson, for helping to make this valuable project possible.
Knowing Chairman Phil as we do, we are sure his unassuming modesty will rebel and perhaps blush a bit at this seemingly extravagant tribute, but speaking for the entire organization, it is most sincerely intended as a humble gesture of appreciation for your immeasurable devotion and service. So our hats are off to both Phil and Val. How much effort, time, and energy Val has invested in this thing, doubtless no one will ever fully appreciate So, again, hats off to you both!
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by Guy Sullivan
Definite form and new purpose are the results of a meeting of blind secretaries and transcribers held in Des Moines, Iowa in January. Under the aegis and with the guidance of NFB President Kenneth Jernigan, the National Association of Blind Secretaries and Transcribers was organized.
The group stated its purpose in clear and concise terms: "To promote the training, advance the interest, and expand the opportunities of blind secretaries and transcribers." The organization plans to investigate training practices, hiring, work conditions, and salaries as compared with those of sighted persons, and will work to better conditions when they are found wanting. A bibliography of Braille reference material consisting of medical terms, spelling, and other pertinent information will be compiled and made available to those engaged in this field of work. A constitution was adopted and officers elected.
Plans are going forward for an information booth at the NFB Convention in Houston, Texas, July 5-9. Notices about the formal organization of the group and its ambitions, purposes, and goals will be sent to a number of publications.
Officers elected are: Anita O'Shea, Massachusetts, president; Guy H Sullivan, New York, first vice-president; Tyna Lou Walton, Utah, second vice president; Cindy Lou Patterson, Iowa, secretary; Garold McGill, Indiana, treasurer. Others who participated in the marathon organizing sessions were: Dorothy Datter, California; Beatrice Nixon, Tennessee; and Julie Vogt, Iowa.
Blind transcribers and secretaries wishing to join should contact the secretary, Mrs. Gary Patterson (Cindy Lou), 927 Clinton, Des Moines, IA 50313, or any of the other officers or members.
In line with emphasis on special interest groups being featured at this year's NFB Convention, the National Association of Blind Secretaries and Transcribers will hold a four-hour meeting on Monday afternoon, July 5, at the Shamrock Hilton Hotel in Houston from 1 to 5 o'clock The meeting will be open to all who are interested It is planned to have prominent speakers appear on the program along with representatives from IBM and other equipment manufacturers.
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[Editor's Note: Our NFB President really started something with his recipe for corn bread published m the December 1970 Monitor Cooking, it turns out, seems a favorite hobby for many blind people. Most cooks have at least one "special" recipe. Why not let us have yours? The end result should be an NFB cookbook. Send your recipes to the NFB's Berkeley Office, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, CA 94708, where The Monitor crew is anxious to kitchen-test them.
Don Capps' lovely wife, Betty, has kindly offered to share one of her favorites with Monitor readers.]
CHOCO LATE TORTE PIE
3 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate wafer crumbs
1/2 pint whipping cream
Beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form; gradually beat in sugar until stiff peaks form; fold in nuts, vanilla, and chocolate crumbs; spread in 9-inch lightly buttered pie plate; bake at 325 degrees for thirty to thirty-five minutes. When cool, spread whipped cream on top, sweetened to taste. Decorate around edge with crumbs; chill several hours or overnight.
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[From The White Cane, publication of the Washington State Association of the Blind, our NFB affiliate.]
by Wesley Osborne
Our proposed bill to establish a Commission for the Blind is now in the hopper and will be under consideration by the Legislature during the next two months.
Following the WSAB convention in Hoquiam last summer, the Legislative Education Committee sent for a number of State laws from those States where commission-type agencies exist. We researched those laws as well as our own State laws dealing with various services to blind people and worked out a proposed draft. This draft was then placed in the hands of legislators who have checked it carefully with existing State laws to be sure the final version would be what we want done.
The director would be operating under, and be responsible to the Commission, which includes blind persons in direct contact with the blind of the State through active participation as members of WSAB. In contrast, the Chief of State Services and the Superintendent of the State School for the Blind are only responsible to then immediate supervisors, who in turn are responsible to the next in command on up through a pyramided agency to the Director of Social and Health Services, and as such are really responsible to no one. The director of the Social and Health Services department is not and cannot be expected to be knowledgable in the affairs and needs of the blind, and is extremely busy with much larger problems in terms of numbers of people.
The greatest danger, and what makes this campaign an urgent matter, is the threat of disbursement of what services we have, of dividing the various components between several general and overall agencies and services The details of such a plan are already in the works. In such an event, services and benefits to blind people of this State will suffer. This is the way of mediocrity.
Achievement of a Commission for the Blind would open up many new and exciting doors and greatly enhance opportunities and possibilities for blind persons to live satisfying, useful lives, and to have some say about it.
by Jeannie David
As a blind person, I am excited at the prospect of a commission for the blind in the State of Washington I am certain that the same degree of progress which has been made in Idaho, Iowa, South Carolina, and other States under the commission system of organization can be realized in this State. What does it have to offer? In my opinion, it has three primary advantages: simplification, consolidation, and personalization of services. First, the system provides a direct line of power and responsibility. Much of the discouraging tangle of red tape, the frustrating practice of buckpassing could be eliminated. Second, services to the blind would be brought together under one authority, and therefore they could function as a vital interrelated unit. To bury these components in the compartments of a superagency means a loss of efficiency. Third, the commission arrangement gives the individual blind person more control of programs offered in his name. He or one of his representatives can obtain a position on the commission and thus work to promote the actual interests of blind people themselves rather than those which sighted officials imagine for them.
I hope that the legislators of this State will back the commission bill. I am sure that they will see the fallacy of the statement that to lump all service-oriented agencies together is more efficient, more economical. Such an arrangement would result in loss of opportunity for visually-impaired persons who use these specialized training resources to become productive, contributing citizens.
by Sue Anderson
One of the primary goals of the Washington State Association of the Blind is to promote the social and economic well-being of all blind persons through their integration into society Often during this process a person may need the services of a counsellor or to learn a particular social or vocational skill. If in trying to obtain these services a person is forced to battle the bureaucracy of a super agency. It is likely that he will become lost in the maze. This is very discouraging and frustrating. With a Commission for the Blind through which the blind could have a say, these services would be more readily available. Through the use of readily available services, the visually impaired persons of this State will have a better opportunity to become productive and integrated members of society.
by Charles Ferer
A new look can be given to the services for the blind through a commission form of organization Youth, the heads of families, and the retired persons who have to master a visual handicap as well as prepare themselves to enter the everyday work-a-day world can be better prepared to meet today's problems with a commission rather than a sub-agency within the Super Agency.
The State population has been increasing nearly four and a half percent a year and the resultant number of visually handicapped people has also increased. Not only are there more people but the modern computer age has demanded greater and more skilled training for those entering the labor market. The youth of today are dissatisfied with the old attitude toward the visually handicapped which has been that they are helpless and to be indulged with pity. They want to be active participants in society to the best of their ability, and that will demand increased training opportunities be made available. Much of the training that is offered today is not sufficient for the increased number of handicapped people and not broad enough in scope to allow them equal opportunity to develop their talents into skills.
The creation of a commission would allow a head of a department, who is directly responsible to the legislature, to coordinate and expand existing programs and to develop new sources of education and training as the need arises.
A commission could present a new outlook in training and education of all sorts, a channel for the betterment of equal opportunity in employment, and promote the general social well being of the visually handicapped. In other words, a commission would be speaking for all phases of life rather than as an extension of the welfare arm of our State government.
This new look towards the problems of the blind is very important because there has not been any change in these services for nearly twenty years.
There is a great need for a better understanding on the part of the general public that blindness is a visual handicap and not an impairment of a person's mental ability. The commission form would definitely aid in developing a new public image by a new posture of legislative representation.
by Carl Jarvis
It is my belief, and I am sure it is that of many thousands of blind people across the nation, from all walks of life, that all publicly financed programs for services for the blind can best be administered by a single agency devoted solely to that purpose.
I am convinced by the record that those States where services for the blind are administered by a Commission for the Blind, show a greater return for the money spent and a larger percentage of rehabilitated blind persons. That is why I support the Commission for the Blind proposal to the legislature for this State. Such a commission would be more accessible and responsive to blind people, could provide better, more adequate services, and could better support its own proposals before the legislature.
by Marie Lemke
No one can really know what it is like to be blind unless they are blind. It follows, therefore, that those best qualified to determine the needs of blind people are the blind themselves. For this reason, I support the proposed legislation establishing a Commission for the Blind in this State. With some blind members of the commission selected from our organization, we would be guaranteed that respresentation which we need and an avenue of direct approach to the agency.
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NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
2652 Shasta Road
Berkeley, California 94708
Nature of Scholarship
The Howard Brown Rickard Scholarship, administered by the National Federation of the Blind, is to be awarded each year to legally blind university students studying for a professional degree as specified below. Scholarships vary from year to year as to number and amount Payments will be made, one-half at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters, or one-third at the beginning of each of three quarters.
This scholarship was established by a bequest of Thomas E. Rickard in honor of his father, Howard Brown Rickard.
Who is Eligible
Any legally blind university student in the professions of law, medicine, engineering, architecture, and the natural sciences, including undergraduates in these fields is eligible to apply.
How to Apply
Fill out completely the attached application and mail to Allen Jenkins, Chairman, Rickard Scholarship Committee, National Federation of the Blind 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708, by June 1.
HOWARD BROWN RICKARD SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION
Applicant's Full Name __________________________________ Age ______ Sex _____
City __________________________ State _______________ Zip Code ____________
Home Address _______________________________________________________________
City __________________________ State _______________ Zip Code ____________
High School Attended _________________________ City ___________________
College Now Attending _________________________ City ___________________
Number of Units Completed by End of Present Term ____________________________
Colleges Previously Attended: (Indicate the year you attended college and total number of units completed at each college.)
______________________ From _____________ To _____________ Units ____________
______________________ From _____________ To _____________ Units ____________
Major Subject ____________________________________
List name and amount of any scholarships you have received or are receiving:
Attach the following:
1. Transcripts from all colleges attended. (If you are entering college, attach high school transcript.)
2. A statement in 250 words of your reason for applying for this scholarship and how it will assist you to achieve a professional goal including, if you wish, information about your financial situation. Please include information about your visual acuity indicating whether you are partially or totally blind.
Make sure all spaces are filled in and mail application by June 1 to:
Allen Jenkins, Chairman
Rickard Scholarship Committee
National Federation of the Blind
2652 Shasta Road
Berkeley, California 94708
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by Elliot L. Richardson and Alvin L. Schorr
[Copyright 1970 by the New York Times Company Reprinted by permission.)
Elliot L. Richardson
Mr. Richardson is Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare.
So great is the aversion to welfare in the minds of many American people and Congressmen that we seem all but powerless to reform it. On the one hand, there is no groundswell in Congress to cut back benefits now being provided. But neither can members of the Senate Finance Committee convince themselves that added investments are necessary--as they would be in the case of a failing business--to put the welfare system on a sound basis.
Yet we will spend vastly more on our present bankrupt system if we do not reform it soon. Essentially, the choice is not whether to spend more but how to spend it.
The projections of welfare costs under current law are staggering. In the year since the President made his proposals, the number of AFDC (aid to families with dependent children) recipients has grown by almost two million persons--an increase of over twenty-five percent--and total expenditures climbed nearly one billion dollars from June 1969 to June 1970. If present trends continue, these expenditures will increase to twelve billion dollars in 1976.
To suggest, as the Finance Committee has voted, that we must experiment further before making a commitment to reform is to suggest a delay we cannot tolerate. State budgets and tax bases can no longer sustain cost increases of thirty to forty percent a year in welfare. Those who counsel that we proceed with only an experimental strategy are talking about a four-year delay in reform. For it would take at least two years to develop the results from serious experiments and another two years before the Federal Government could enact reform legislation and tool up.
What, then, are the arguments for delay? Why has a bill, which the House of Representatives passed overwhelmingly, been experiencing such trouble in the Senate? Surprisingly little opposition has developed over some of the most remarkable aspects of the bill.
The idea of a national minimum floor under welfare payments, the establishment of nationally applicable eligibility rules, the move toward Federal administration of welfare, and the expansion of training and day care activities--all of these seem to have been nonissues in the Senate debate.
Rather, the debate centers around the heart of the family assistance plan--the decision to extend assistance to the working poor, and thereby to expand the likely number of assistance recipients by perhaps as many as seven million people. Rarely if ever has a proposal been met with such misinformed but energetic attack.
It is the greatest irony of all that those who attack the expansion of assistance to the working poor--principally the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Conservative Union--are those who should most favor this effort to reward and sustain the work ethic in our society It IS noteworthy that most of the business community, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the Committee for Economic Development, the American Federation of Retailers have endorsed the plan.
As most people know by now, our present welfare system does not provide any support to families headed by men who are working full time but earning poverty wages. These are the so-called working poor and they make up over forty percent of the poor.
They by no means fit the traditional image of welfare recipients in the minds of many--namely, shiftless people content to live off the dole. Indeed, it is questionable whether that unfortunate image is characteristic of any substantial portion of the present welfare loads. These are the people who are the casualties of the free enterprise system--the forces of competition and productivity have limited their wages to levels which cannot adequately sustain family life. Many of these men would be better off if they quit work and went on welfare.
It would certainly be rational public policy if we were to attempt to insure that the working poor were always better off than those who were not working. It becomes absolutely compelling public policy to do so when it is the fault of Government programs--the current welfare System.
Chairman Wilbur Mills and ranking Republican John Byrnes of the House Ways and Means Committee grasped the compelling force of this argument. It is simply an intolerable inequity to continue to exclude those who are working even though their poverty is as deep and demeaning as that of the typical unemployed welfare mother.
And yet there are still those who simply cannot get past the fact that to include the working poor would be to increase Federal dollars spent on public assistance. That to me is shortsighted and self-defeating. For if we do not spend extra dollars to support the work ethic in this country, we will spend extra dollars as a consequence of seeing that ethic erode.
Alvin L. Schorr
Mr. Schorr, formerly HEW Deputy Assistant Secretary, is Dean of NYU's Graduate School of Social Work.
One lesson that is apparent in the erosion of the Family Assistance Program is the profound contempt with which most Americans regard poor people. It has become fashionable to locate this resentment in blue collar workers and others with modest incomes. But professionals, businessmen, and officials who testified at Congressional hearings displayed the most primitive understanding of or sympathy for poor people.
The struggle for FAP might not so readily have unleashed these feelings if its own central ideas had been freer of contempt. For example, the Administration has based its case in part on the argument that men desert their wives in order to qualify them for assistance under the present program.
(That argument is now an embarrassment, as FAP would also provide more income to broken than to intact families, but never mind.)
The frequency with which so-called fiscal desertion has been claimed does not make it so. The poor are not less sentimental about marriage and parenthood than you and I; nor are welfare agencies exactly a soft touch. The mother who applies for relief must explain in some detail what has happened between her and the father of her children and, as the law requires, set law enforcement authorities on his trail. As Mayor Lindsay has testified there is no evidence that fiscal desertion is more than a random anecdote. Then what does the common agreement about it express except stereotypes based on fear or anger.
That Americans of all religions are equally Calvinists is hardly a novel observation. It is the passion and universality of these views about poor people, and finding these views buried in the core of this attempt to do something to or for poor people, that is intimidating. One must despair if the real problem is that we need people poor. That is a possibly less than hopeful conclusion from the struggle for FAP, but let it be stated. The other lesson may be more practical. It is that we may get further by being more candid and less clever.
The Family Assistance Program was framed to appeal to everyone at once It would double the number receiving assistance, but it was cloaked in a rhetoric of workfare It would cost money, but it promised to save money eventually. The President is said to have been elated by what appeared, at first reaction, to be a brilliant political move.
Now, it is evident that the position was vulnerable on many scores. FAP does not represent a solution to family breakdown, even if one thinks that problem is caused by public assistance. FAP does not substantially improve incentive to work. Existing public assistance provides training and day care and permits people to retain a percentage of earnings, essentially as in FAP.
FAP would not raise assistance levels in twenty, ten, or eight States, as Administration spokesmen have variously said, but in three or four States. It is even uncertain that FAP would be directly administered by a new organization. The Administration may contract with States--presumably with State welfare Departments--to operate FAP, and there is reason to believe that it would.
These vulnerable points reflect difficult dilemmas in public assistance. For example, one cannot raise payment levels very much or provide really attractive incentives without making half the population eligible for assistance. Citizens and Senators might have grappled with these problems and accepted some resolution if they had not been led to expect a brand new thing--a radical reform. Why were the problems masked and the proposals labeled radically new? Because of the pragmatic political view that getting anything done in social policy requires that everyone be conned.
Now we may get no new program at all or we may get a poor new program that, with luck, embodies one or two useful reforms. The opportunity has been missed to tell citizens candidly what, most of all, this bill was meant to do and what the problems are They might understand more about poverty and more about what great nations may do about it. If they understand the issues, they would certainly disagree about and take longer to enact reform, but choose better.
Instead, they have been persuaded that a radical reform that they do not entirely understand has bogged down in Congress Citizens conclude, one supposes, that good ideas that are acclaimed on all sides can be undone by bureaucracies and other insidious forces. It is not a lesson we need to learn once more, and this particular time it is not the truth FAP was handled as a confidence game. The lesson to learn is that confidence games are not good public policy and, sometimes, not even good pragmatic politics.
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by Evelyn Weckerly
The first annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan was held November 7-8 at the Detroit Hilton Hotel. It was permeated by a new spirit of enthusiasm and dedication. Much was accomplished, and several important resolutions were passed.
The featured speakers at the opening session Saturday morning were Robert Wisner, superintendent of the Michigan Rehabilitation Center for the Blind, and James Obranovic, superintendent of Michigan Industries for the Blind. Mr. Wisner discussed the program of the Michigan Rehabilitation Center for the Blind, which went into operation last January Mr. Obranovic dealt with the place of sheltered shops in rehabilitation. His talk was followed by a lively discussion from the floor.
In the afternoon John Nagle, chief of the Washington Office of the National Federation of the Blind, and Dan Webber, assistant prosecuting attorney for the city of Saginaw, carried on a most informative dialogue concerning key provisions of the Model White Cane Law. Carl Schier talked about the two cases now in the court of appeals involving blind teachers, Evelyn Weckerly and Pauline Fucinari, as well as employment discrimination being experienced by Ilene Goldman in connection with her status under Detroit civil service regulations. (Since the convention, the Weckerly case lost in the State Court of Appeals and an appeal for a rehearing is being made).
The final item on Saturday afternoon was the election of officers and two board members. They are as follows: Geer Wilcox, president; John Mullin, first vice-president; Rosemary Moore, second vice-president; Pauline Fucinari, secretary; Dorothy Steers, treasurer; Allen Harris, board member; and Dan Webber, board member. Two other board members, Robert Mounsey and Irving Wright, have another year to go in their terms of office.
Banquet festivities began with some fine singing by Violet Kuhapt, accompanied by Anita Walker. Charters of affiliation were then given to Lansing, South Oakland County, and Detroit. Finally, John Nagle gave a most stirring and inspiring address in which he called on us to demand and then work for truly good services from agencies created for the purpose and an end to the myriad kinds of discrimination through which society prevents us from living really normal and vocationally fulfilling lives. After the banquet there was plenty of hospitality and fine music for dancing provided by Clayton and Anita Walker.
The Sunday session began with a panel discussion of Michigan's library services. John Nagle was here joined by Bob Mounsey, John Mullin, and Russell Thompson, Many members of the audience participated. The conclusion was the passage of a resolution calling for the present two regional libraries in the State (one in Wayne County and the other in Lansing) to be brought together into one large, well-staffed, and efficient library. Three other resolutions called for the termination of Michigan Industries for the Blind and continued organizational opposition to the establishment of any future sheltered shop in the State; the separation of our services for the blind as much as possible from the control of the Department of Social Services through the establishment of a citizen board of blind representatives from the organized blind to administer these and all other State services for the blind; and the adoption in Michigan of all seven sections of the Model White Cane Law. John Nagle then gave a very fine Federal legislative report. Members reacted enthusiastically to the showing of President Jernigan's interview "For the Record". Geer Wilcox was named 1971 national Convention delegate, with the other officers following as alternates in their natural order. The 1971 convention site will be selected by a poll of the membership in the early spring.
One of the most pleasant features of this convention was a group of exhibits. Included were materials from the Metropolitan Society for the Blind, IBM, and Amana Corporation in cooperation with Detroit Edison. It was Amana Corporation which generated the most excitement with demonstrations of the new Braille-marked microwave oven with Braille cookbooks and charts.
All those who attended this first convention of Michigan's hew NFB affiliate went home enthusiastic about the organization and its programs and with high hopes for fruitful accomplishment in the future. The resolutions which we passed call for many far-reaching reforms. Making them a reality will call for our best efforts and will require much hard work, but the results thus achieved will be well worth it. The foundation has been laid. Let us make 1971 a year of truly great accomplishments by and for the blind of Michigan.
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[Reprinted from The Eyecatcher, publication of the Empire State Association of the Blind.]
Recent actions were taken to increase employment and improve promotional opportunities of blind persons in State Government.
Governor Rockefeller directed all State departments to assign deputies to coordinate all such recruiting activities within their departments and to work with the State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped and the State Civil Service Department to increase blind people's hiring and promotional opportunities.
An increasing number of skilled blind persons are becoming available for employment as a result of the new programs and new training techniques the State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped has developed, the Governor said. The Commission is placing more than four hundred fifty blind people annually in competitive, gainful employment m professional, technical, managerial clerical, and sales positions.
This fall the Commission will have a record number of four hundred fifteen students in one hundred forty different institutions of higher learning, in both undergraduate and graduate programs.
We have been encouraging industry and business to employ blind workers for years, and we must place more of them. One way is to demonstrate to industry and business what these poeple can do by using State Government as a showcase.
Blind workers placed in competitive jobs in industry and business include lawyers, musicians, laboratory technicians, machine operators, computer programmers, typists, salesmen, and bench workers.
In addition, the Commission annually trains some three hundred fifty blind women in homemaking so that they can run their own homes.
At present, the Commission is responsible for certification of eligible blind candidates on civil service lists. It reviews the candidate's capabilities in relation to the job requirements.
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[Reprinted from the Denver (Colorado) Post.]
"The disadvantages of being blind have been vastly overdramatized", the President of the National Federation of the Blind said in an interview at the Denver Hilton Hotel.
Kenneth Jernigan, Des Moines, Iowa, who is blind, said he hopes through his organization to change the public's many distortions and ideas about the blind, “without losing the good will that exists".
Jernigan, who said he sold insurance and ran a furniture business before assuming his present job as director of the Iowa State Program for the Blind, believes that practically any job can be performed by a blind person if he is given the proper training.
"Most people don't think there is discrimination toward the blind", he added. He cited cases where he has been refused a hotel room and service in a restaurant because he is blind.
"Blindness isn't our real problem; it's working into society in an acceptable way," he said.
Before any group of "second-class citizens" can make gains they have to go through a stage of hostility, he explained. "We hope to keep this to a minimum, but we want to be first-class," he added.
Jernigan, who earned a master's degree and has an honorary doctorate in humanities, was in Denver to address the State convention of the Colorado Federation of the Blind.
Jernigan explained that the various federations for the blind were organized to give blind persons a voice in their own affairs "We have help from various State organizations but they don't always understand our real problems," he said.
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From her initial election in 1942 as president of the Idaho Progressive Society of the Blind, Uldine Gartin Thelander has been outstanding in her service with organizations of the blind. Her labors have ranged from home teacher in the Idaho Department of Public Assistance since 1941, to president of the Gem State Blind, Inc. The many years of her devoted work has gained her recognition as a dedicated individual and one of the foremost leaders of the blind in her State. In 1964 she was named "Woman of the Year" of the Boise Altrusa Club. In that year also, she received a certificate from the Idaho State Governor for twenty-two years of meritorious service as an instructor in the State's adult blind program. In 1967, Uldine was elected to the NFB Executive Committee to fill an unexpired one-year term and was elected to a two-year term in 1968.
Uldine was born in Jordan Valley, Oregon where her father was a pioneer stock rancher. At the age of four she lost her sight from unknown causes. She left Oregon at the age of seven and moved to Caldwell, Idaho, where she attended public schools at the primary and secondary levels. Undaunted by her handicap, she continued her education and received the B.A. degree in 1920 from the College of Idaho at Caldwell. After college she taught elementary grades at Apple Valley, Idaho for two years. She then interrupted her teaching to move to Eugene, Oregon. In 1933, she received the Bachelor of Music degree, majoring in voice, from Eugene Bible College, now Northwest Christian College. From 1931 to 1936 she served as director of Young People's Work in the Christian Church in Springfield, Oregon.
Upon returning to Idaho in 1936, she became involved with the Idaho Christian Endeavor Union, a statewide organization of young people and continued as its president until 1942. During the same period she joined the Idaho Progressive Society of the Blind. From 1942 to 1944 she served as its president. She continued to serve on the Executive Board through successive reorganizations. She has been re-elected president of the State group--The Gem State Blind--each two years since 1960.
Along with her affiliations with blind organizations she has been selected as an honorary member of Delta Kappa Gamma, a teachers' sorority, and was elected a life member in 1950. She was appointed to the State Library Advisory Board in 1967.
The first organization of the blind in Idaho was known as the Idaho Progressive Society of the Blind, formed in 1935. Tumultuous years of growth and development resulted m the formation of the Gem State Blind, Inc., the NFB affiliate in Idaho. The Gem State Blind has grown from one to six chapters with a current membership of nearly two hundred persons. Extensive fundraising activities have resulted in combined chapter and State budgets rapidly reaching the neighborhood of ten thousand dollars per year.
Early in their history, the membership of the organized blind of Idaho succeeded in the passage of guide dog and white cane legislation. Numerous attempts were made to work constructively with the Department of Public Assistance, the State agency charged with serving the adult blind of Idaho. As early as 1963, the organization recommended establishment of an orientation center in Idaho.
We feel that our greatest accomplishment was securing the establishment of the Idaho Commission for the Blind in 1967. Loyal members of the Gem State Blind and other blind people from throughout Idaho worked to secure passage of the Act establishing the Commission. Says President Thelander of the struggle, "Without the advice and guidance of Dr. tenBroek and personal assists from out-of-State Federationists, we might not have succeeded." The full impact of the influence of the Gem State Blind was made quite clear when Governor Don Samuelson appointed President Thelander to the Commission. We of the Gem State Blind are extremely pleased with the program and accomplishments of the Commission. The Gem State Blind has continued to support the Commission by backing its legislative requests, as well as securing passage of Idaho's Model White Cane Law. At our last convention we voted to establish an Advisory Committee to be made up of members from the organized blind, the School for the Blind, and the Commission for the Blind so the best possible programs and education might be available to the blind of Idaho, children and adults alike.
In 1968 the newsletter was re-established in order to keep our membership better informed. The newsletter is now produced six times a year and is distributed to blind persons throughout Idaho. In order that the public might gain a better understanding of blindness, we have produced a brochure telling about our organization, its functions, and our philosophy regarding blindness. Copies are available simply by requesting them from Mrs. E. V. Thelander, 1629 Manitou Avenue, Boise, Idaho 83706.
Our State is large in area, making the distances between chapters great, but we intend to continue growing and to move forward in obtaining SECURITY, EQUALITY, and OPPORTUNITY for all the blind of Idaho and the nation.
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[Editor's Note: Spurred by Loren Schmitt's continuous prodding (see The Braille Monitor April 1970, January 1971), The Disabled Students Organization (DSO) on the University of Illinois campus, took some action. The DSO issued a special edition of its paper the Spokesman which carried a series of statements, recommendations, and demands, characterized by Mr. Schmitt as "an example both of rehab's ability to co-opt the legitimate demands of a constituency led by blind persons and of students' (prospective intellectuals) capacity for mystification and obscurantism." Because of interest shown in the problems raised by Mr. Schmitt and his struggle with rehab and the college administration, the pertinent portions of the special issue are set forth below.]
In the recent months the executive board of DSO has become greatly concerned about widespread and growing dissatisfaction among the disabled students arising from certain policies of the Rehabilitation Staff. In attempting to search out the source of dissatisfaction among its members, the executive board of DSO has gathered information and opinions from a great many disabled students on campus.
In the recent past, activities of DSO have usually been confined to safe, respectable, as well as educational, functions such as wheelchair athletics (football, basketball, cheerleading, and square dancing) and to boosting the cause of rehabilitation through a variety of public relations activities (the annual yearbook, banquet, and tours) The basic policies and practices that were instrumental in setting up the program now need to be revised in order to continue and advance the program.
Attitudes are changing. Students are demanding a greater voice in all the administrative decisions that directly and indirectly affect their own lives and those of fellow students. Like other American minority groups, they are becoming more resentful of the paternalistic and condescending attitudes which many students feel the staff exhibits.
Realizing that the unrest and resentment directed toward the Rehabilitation Center has a potentially detrimental effect on both DSO and the Rehabilitation Program as a whole, we are now presenting to the Staff and the University the most outstanding sources of dissatisfaction. We plan, not only to bring about changes in certain practices, but also to open the channels of effective communication so that University students who are disabled, REC Staff, and the University personnel can close the gap which now exists and minimize future misunderstandings.
Contained with this packet are a list of assertions compiled by the students and papers concerning specific constructive changes which we feel are urgently needed at this time.
The first three assertions are of special concern to the freshmen students. DSO feels these concerns must be investigated and changed immediately.
1. We assert that all new students who enter the University and have a physical disability, be encouraged and allowed to be university students first, and not only rehabilitation students. In the past, the majority of New Student Week has been spent at the Rehabilitation Center. New students feel that much of their time that week is wasted in meetings, movies, etc., and that they are segregated unnecessarily from the rest of the University. They feel there is a greater need for them to be in their dorms, getting acquainted with roommates, making friends, and generally becoming integrated into the University.
2. We assert that in the future, all academic counseling of new students, as well as upperclassmen, be done by departmental advisors, and not by the Rehabilitation Staff. It is felt that much more effective academic counseling is offered by the individual colleges, and therefore, all students should be actively directed to their respective colleges Students can then avail themselves of the services at the Center for working out any special scheduling problems If the new students were not required to spend New Student Week at the Center, there would be ample tune for them to obtain academic counseling in their colleges before the early registration.
3. We assert that the Spokesman is a student newspaper for communication exclusively among rehabilitation students and those members of the staff who find it of interest. As such, there should be no pre-publication censorship by any member of the staff Final authority for content is at the discretion of the Publications Committee of DSO.
The next three assertions express the students' concern about their relationship to the Rehabilitation Center and Staff.
1. We assert the right to participate in the decisions that affect our lives. To implement this right, we assert that DSO officers or their representatives be invited to ail weekly staff meetings held at the Rehabilitation Center, and that DSO be allowed to cast two votes on all matters that come to a vote.
2. We assert the right to live full personal lives free from excessive supervision.
3. We assert the right to represent ourselves, to the fullest extent feasible, in all encounters with the University and the world.
Part of the discontent that has been a feature of life in and around the Center, for students and staff alike, stems from the uncomfortable burden of vastly more work to be done than the existing staff or the existing budget could possibly hope to accomplish. A great many good things have been done m the past--more than any layman, unaware of the energy and dedication of most of the students and staff, would have ever dreamed possible. But times have changed, and the Rehabilitation Center, both in its institutional structure and in the program it follows, has failed to keep pace. These final assertions are concerned with the students' relationship to the University
1. We assert that the University of Illinois actively acknowledge their unique role as a world leader in the field of rehabilitation.
2. We assert that the presently inactive Student Rehabilitation Advisory Committee be reconstituted as an active body with student representation.
3. We assert the right to have student representation or continuous student input on the following University committees whose decisions and findings affect our lives:
a. Human Relations and Equal Opportunities
b. University Council on Extension and Public Service
c. Policy Committee on Student Affairs
d. Campus Planning
4. We assert that the University of Illnois fulfill its research responsibility by giving the Rehabilitation Center a full measure of qualified staff and budgetary support.
To implement the above statements and assertions we recommend the following:
1. A full time Medical Director with a joint appointment in the College of Medicine.
2. A full-time adaptations designer with a joint appointment in industrial design, not a half-time graduate assistant as we now have, and a full-time qualified machinist to work in cooperation with the industrial designer.
3. A full-time Public Information Office including films, tours, and publications, directed by a professional in the field of public relations and communications, not an occupational therapist and volunteer students as now.
4. A full-time Research Coordinator.
Because of the lack of funds and manpower, too much of the Rehabilitation Center stands unused:
1. Over fifty thousand dollars worth of equipment and tools in the basement are scantily used for vitally needed experimentation on adaptive devices.
2. Three consulting offices in the medical wing are almost never used.
3. For lack of student interest and relevance to student needs, the present physical education program falls short of its potential and the gym is used to half of its capacity.
4. A physiological research room is used for storage ninety-nine percent of the time.
5. A DSO office sufficient for permanent salaried staff is used for storage and occasional volunteer projects.
6. Busses stand idle evenings and weekends for lack of more drivers and better salaries.
7. The vast basement is forty to sixty percent unused in terms of time.
8. Room 132, largest room upstairs, goes mostly empty.
In conclusion, we recommend that the Student Rehabilitation Advisory Committee with student representatives investigate the truth of and need for the above assertions through personal investigations, visits, interviews, and open hearings if necessary so that students, REC Staff, and University personnel may join efforts in bringing about constructive changes which will benefit University students who are disabled, the Rehabilitation Center Program, and the University as a whole.
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by Eileen Wilson
The weekend of November 20, 21, and 22 will long be rembered by the members and guests who attended the second annual convention of the Sunflower Federation of the Blind in Leavenworth, Kansas.
Friday evening was taken up with meetings of the resolutions and nominating committees as well as the usual pre-convention board meeting. The guests who were present enjoyed the informal atmosphere of the hospitality room, visiting with fellow members and helping themselves to the ample supply of refreshments.
Saturday morning was devoted to the business of the organization such as the secretary's minutes, the treasurer's report, and reports of various committees as well as those of the local chapters. President James Couts gave a brief resume of the growth and progress of the Sunflower Federation, noting especially the passage of the Model White Cane Law, an amendment to exempt the blind from the Lien and Recovery Act and the Little Randolph Shepherd Act. Manuel Urena, assisted by his wife Pat, added the usual spark of amusement and humor in his contribution towards spurring us on in the work of the Federation.
The first speaker Saturday afternoon was Senator Charles E Hinchey who told us the correct way of contacting our State representatives for the purpose of securing their help for our legislation George Tomlinson, Field Representative of the Social Security Administration, explained Social Security Laws pertaining to benefits. Harry Hayes, Director of Services for the Blind and Visually Handicapped gave an informative talk concerning matters under his jurisdiction. Barney Lambert, Kansas Lions, told us about a project at the Kansas University Medical Center in which the Lions will equip one wing for eye research with the ultimate goal of an eye bank. Gardner Hart, Veterans Federal Employment Representative, Civil Service Commission gave a statistical report of the history of employment in the United States throughout the past several years.
As usual the banquet was the highlight of the convention. The Honorable Blake Williamson in his inimitable fashion as toastmaster helped to create a lively evening, Jim Omivg of the Iowa Commission gave the banquet address. He cited several cases of discrimination and how they were solved. A dance concluded the activities of the evening.
Sunday morning a resolution was adopted to investigate the possibilities of securing legislation regarding unemployment insurance and workmen's compensation for blind workers in sheltered shops. A resolution pertaining to the Use Law was adopted. This law makes it mandatory that State institutions purchase products made by the blind in sheltered workshops. The Sunflower Federation resolved to do everything possible to see that this law is enforced.
Wichita was chosen as the site of the 1971 convention, and the following officers were elected: James Couts, president; Dick Edlund, first vice-president; Jim Stewart, second vice-president; Beth Graber, secretary; Walter Long, treasurer; and four board members: Eileen Wilson, Nathan Shelby, Malvan Avants, Norman Laudemann.
The convention was brought to a close with a brief meeting of the board of directors.
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by Gary Claxton
[Reprinted from the Omaha (Nebraska) World-Herald.]
In just ten years the Iowa Commission for the Blind has developed, in its headquarters building, the world's largest library for the sightless.
The library, exceeding by five times a collection for the blind at the Library of Congress, is housed on 100,000 feet of shelf space.
"This is a cause and a movement--not just a job--for virtually everyone here," said Mrs. Florence Grannis, the slight and sprightly head librarian of the Commission for the Blind.
"Mr. Jernigan is the answer," said Mrs. Grannis. "He decided when he began this activity that he was going to have a library and it was going to be the largest library anywhere."
She referred to Commission Director Kenneth Jernigan, himself blind, who has received national attention for his work in building Iowa's program for the blind through diligence and persuasive personal magnetism.
Prior to his arrival in 1958, a study revealed that Iowa had the worst program in the nation for the blind. The commission occupied the basement of a condemned State building.
In 1960, Mrs. Grannis arrived from a similar job in Seattle to supervise the first shipment of five hundred twenty-eight books to blind borrowers all over the State. Now requests from other libraries for advice are "a constant thing", said Mrs. Grannis, who now has more than twenty years' experience in her field.
Through the library, blind Iowans receive the bulk of the world's great literature, children's books, current popular magazines, and needed textbooks in the media of their choice--Braille, large type, records, recorded tapes or tape casettes.
The library collection occupies much of four floors of the six-story commission building, previously abandoned by the Des Moines YMCA The structure just underwent its third remodeling in ten years and already is straining at the seams as staff members strive to use every inch of space from the basement to the roof.
Blind Iowans attend an Orientation Center, where they learn the skills they need to live m the world without sight. They must be at least sixteen years of age. But many are much older.
Some have lost their eyesight as a result of diabetes, glaucoma or deterioration of the retina. Some are victims of accidents, especially with acid; birth defects or the Vietnam War.
The library is a three-dimensional world of labels, maps, and signs in both print and Braille. A sign on the entrance door sets the mood when it demands: "No silence".
"Reading becomes the 'in thing' at the center, when it's commonplace and stylish to have a book in your hand and when, if the first book doesn't please you, you can go back every ten minutes and make another choice," Mrs. Grannis said.
Some blind individuals read as many as ten hours a day, she said, "so a well-read blind person may be far better informed and more interesting as a speaker than his sighted associates might be.
"Our philosophy is that the blind of the State should have all that they would have if they weren't blind or lived in a good library area," she said "We want every borrower to get as many books as he wants--the books he wants--when he wants them."
To reach that goal, the library maintains a highly efficient checkout system with a file for each borrower (about 5,200 of Iowa's estimated 6,000 blind) to provide a personal touch and to keep track of the books the borrower has or wants.
State and Federal funds support the Commission Much library material comes from the Library of Congress, which also has supplied about 4,200 record players, geared to slow speeds, for qualified blind and physically handicapped Iowans.
Mrs. Grannis recalls the "bad old days" when the book GONE WITH THE WIND, recorded at thirty-three r.p.m. weighed eighty-five pounds Progress in recording methods now means "the blind get more to read in a more satisfactory form."
"We have one hundred fourteen students in college and we prepare the textbooks for them. The fact that we have a good running jump on many of the classics, like DON QUIXOTE in Spanish, means we are likely to have what they need," Mrs. Grannis said.
But the library can provide books or records on request More than 1,000 volunteers around the country, including inmates at three prisons, hand transcribe about three hundred to five hundred books a year with Braille writers, which convert the system of six raised dots and spaces into one hundred ninety-eight different combinations or signs.
Mrs. Grannis compares the process to those volumes hand lettered by monks--producing what might be the only copy in the world. The library currently is exchanging books with Russia.
"That's one of our advantages," she said. "Most public libraries won't go out and produce it. If they don't have it, you're out of luck."
Now there are more books transcribed for the Iowa library than for all other libraries for the blind combined.
"Every one of us has limitations," said Mrs. Grannis, quoting Jerniganian philosophy. "I am limited because I'm older than forty, very small, and a woman. My granddaughter is limited because she's four years old.
"It's sometimes a limitation to be very brilliant There was a time when jobs were very hard to come by, and we wouldn't hire college graduates because they were overqualified," she said.
“Blindness is not a dreadful handicap; it's just a physical nuisance," she said "We don't compete against each other on the basis of how we might be but how we are."
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by Lawrence Marcelino
The year 1971 has arrived, dear friends, the year 1970 has passed. Now is the time to plan your State's pledges and donations for the year 1971 to the Dr. Jacobus tenBroek Memorial Endowment Fund of the National Federation of the Blind. Now is the time to plan to do better than you did last year
At our Houston Convention in July the rollcall of distinction will be read at which time each State will have an opportunity to declare its pledge, or better yet, to make its donation by check to the NFB Endowment Fund. At your State conventions and at the meetings of your executive committees and your boards of directors, please be sure that the Endowment Fund is on the agenda. Please make your State's donation in an amount commensurate with the value of the National Federation of the Blind and with the esteem we owe to its founder and great leader, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek.
Do not shrug off your State's pledge to your chapters. The State affiliate is asked to exercise leadership and to conduct an organizing and systematic campaign to solicit funds in an amount which will enable the State affiliate to make its declaration with pride at the Convention. The affiliates and chapters are asked to keep the Endowment Fund at all times in the minds and hearts of their Members. Members and friends of the Federation should be encouraged to name the Endowment Fund as a beneficiary in their wills Donations to the Endowment Fund in lieu of flowers would make a perpetual and most fitting memorial to friends and members who pass on.
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by Alexander Auerbach
[Copyright Los Angeles (California) Times Reprinted with permission.]
"Just by touching a mattress I can tell more about how it is made than any other man in the plant," says the president of Aireloom Bedding Company of Alhambra.
King Karpen (that's his real name) has to rely on his sense of touch, for he is virtually blind He had lost most of his sight when he started the firm nineteen years ago, when he was thirty-nine, but that was the least of his handicaps.
He had chosen to compete as a small company in an industry dominated by heavily advertised national brand names, and to compete on the basis of quality in a product line where the consumer cannot see or readily judge the quality.
"I'm stubborn", Karpen admits. His stubbornness got him into his own business His father (also named King, apparently just at the whim of King Sr.'s mother, who never explained her choice) was one of the nine brothers who ran S. Karpen & Brothers, a national upholstery firm.
Despite his failing vision, caused by a rare childhood disease, Karpen finished UCLA and went to work at S. Karpen & Brothers, and for ten years worked in the credit department and in bedding production.
Then the firm was bought out. The new owners booted out the other Karpens but kept King, because of his experience in bedding.
"I simply couldn't live with the new owners. They wanted me to do things I felt were not compatible with my way of doing business," he says. (The company he left has since been re-sold.)
So, with $25,000 he started Aireloom Bedding Company, spent $16,000 on machinery, and proceeded to build his business. At the time, he had lost eighty-five percent of his vision. Today he has lost ninety-five percent.
About his loss of sight Karpen says, "I have no time nor inclination to think about what might have been."
He thinks he probably had an easier time of it because he lost his vision gradually and thus was better able to adjust his activities.
"More important than any handicap or lack of it is the ability to select key personnel and a good common business sense. If you can guess right sixty-five percent of the time, your business will be successful," he says.
So far he has guessed right often enough to build his firm to about a two-million-dollar per year sales volume.
Some six hundred dealers carry the Aireloom line of mattresses and box springs, sofa-beds and upholstered furniture. Even with his customers, Karpen is stubborn:
I have the ability to say "no" and stick to it, if the customer is demanding something which I feel is not in his or our best interest. That has saved us a lot of financial and production problems.
Often a factory is forced into a corner to please an account, and it gets creamed. We don't want any store or chain to account for more than twelve percent of our volume. If they did, we might feel beholden to them, and that would affect our economic judgment.
Karpen uses the word "we" a lot, and liberally credits his co-workers for the company's success. All employees are on a profit-sharing system.
But a visitor to the Alhambra plant soon understands that Karpen runs the show, in management, marketing, and production.
Profit and loss figures by department are checked every three months, he says, "because if you know about something you can do something about it, but too many small bedding companies just try to guess their costs."
It's in the factory, however, that Karpen is most obviously the man in charge. When a knotting machine had problems with a new type of twine, he told his men how to redesign it. The machine maker said it wouldn't work, but it does.
"By feeling a piece of mattress ticking I can tell the essential thread count, amount of sizing, and quality of the fabric," he says. "It's just a question of using fully the senses you have."
Most mattress makers wire the box spring together. Karpen insists on hand-tying the springs with linen twine, the same construction used in upholstered furniture Most use metal springs to support the mattress edge, but he uses hand-sewn batting, claiming it won't sag.
All this is expensive, and now Karpen is looking at the less affluent market, particularly the newlyweds. A number of small companies producing lower-priced bedding have had financial problems because of management during the past year, says Karpen, especially as the housing market dwindled. New homes often mean new bedding.
"We felt there was an opening as dealers looked around for new suppliers they could depend on, and we decided we could offer a more promotional line if we used automated machinery and a simpler design to cut costs."
The new line won't have the hand-crafted luxury features of the Aireloom line, but Karpen refuses to use inferior materials. "Young people may buy crazy things, but they are discriminating in what they buy."
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by Anthony Mannino
In 1946, only six years after the founding of the National Federation of the Blind, Mr. Ross Koen, a very energetic and enterprising Federationist from Wisconsin, foresaw the need for some kind of public relations venture for the NFB which would bring the NFB to the attention of the American public and also provide a means of raising money for the new and meagerly funded organization. After extended communications and consultations with Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, the young President of the NFB. Mr. Koen set about the establishment of May 15 through May 21 as White Cane Week. He prepared for the first nationwide mailing of an appeal letter and literature soliciting financial donations and public support for the Federation.
He worked hard and long with the preparations urged by the firm belief that this was the best way to reach the people who might answer the call. The Spring of 1947 was launching time for the first campaign. By May 1st Mr. Koen had done his work and all was in readiness. He had been able to pursuade the governors of Wisconsin and South Carolina to issue "White Cane Week" proclamations which pointed out the significance of the white cane and the need for job opportunities for blind persons and also stressing the work being done by blind persons in trying to help themselves. Mr. Koen enlisted the help of the National Junior Chamber of Commerce and the National Safety Council. Both of these organizations participated in helping to get this project off the ground. Many local, county, and State organizations were apprised of the Federation project and there were quite a number of them that joined in the swelling ranks of supporters.
Mail was sent into all the States of the union. The plan was that the net receipts would be tallied from each State and that profits would be shared fifty-fifty by the Federation and that State with the Federation affiliate. The share from a State not having an NFB affiliate would be used to organize an affiliate in that State.
The first White Cane Week mailing, 1947, netted a little over $16,000 In view of the fact that this was an initial effort, with a tremendous amount of spade work that had to be done, the result was very satisfying Compared with present day average results for an initial mailing, it was a phenomenal success. The project had cost over $40,000 and brought a profit of better than $16,000. This is sensational in comparison to the present day average, when we can only expect to break a little better than even on a first mailing. Besides bringing in a good financial return, this project proved to the Federation what might be done for the organization through these letters of introduction to prospective donors California, Michigan, and Washington were the leading States with the highest return on this initial mailing.
With this encouraging result, Mr. Koen proceeded to plan for the next year. From then on it was a matter of escalation of the effort and increased involvement by the State affiliates and local chapters. For a few years this was the main source of income for the Federation and for many of the affiliates. In 1953 the NFB took on the greeting card mailing program, concentrating on this while the State affiliates went on with the letter mailing and other methods of fundraising and publicity Until 1970 Alaska, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, South Carolina, and Washington had been using the appeal letter mailing piece, with the older affiliates of course already reaping the benefits of a regular donor list from previous years. Other State affiliates are just beginning to adopt this method of fundraising while each of the rest of them use other projects as their fundraising program The one thing most of them have in common is that the effort is framed into the annual White Cane Week, May 15 through May 21.
The Federation has let the annual attrition gradually consume its White Cane Week donor list, thus leaving the way open for the State affiliates to gain support of the direct mail potential donor Now, more than ever, the procedures laid out by Mr. Koen are most applicable. Competition for the charity dollar is very keen Foundations and organizations for various causes have kept springing up at national. State, and local levels, each of them plunging into the race for public recognition and funds. There is only one way to combat the trend and that is to act in your own behalf with a well-organized fundraising and publicity campaign of your own.
The challenge must be accepted and we must go after our share of the public support for charitable organizations. Apathy and neglect will bring little or no return. The Federation itself is faced with large expenditures for the organization and the growing services it renders to its members. We must put forth our own local and State affiliate power to pull the oars for continued progress through fundraising and public relations. The basic procedures are still valid They still include enlisting others to help in your project, making the project one of direct communication with the prospective donors, showcase the work of your organization and the results you have achieved in giving services, point out the continuing needs that must still be tilled for blind persons who need your help. Once you have chosen the project, start the ball rolling as you aim to reach every prospective supporter.
We still like the direct appeal letter and its positive potential. White Cane Week has earned its niche of recognition through the years of its existence. It is certainly to our great advantage to use the week of May 15 through the 21st to the ultimate degree, to keep our organizations alive so as to be able to gain our goals. The way was paved for us by farsighted pioneers of the Federation. Let us fortify ourselves with good funding and realistic public relations so that we can do even more in the days ahead to promote the philosophy of our State organizations and the National Federation of the Blind.
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by Hon. F. Bradford Morse
Editor's Note: The following remarks were made by Congressman F Bradford Morse of Massachusetts and printed in the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD.]
Mr. Morse, Mr. Speaker, in the early 1950's, when I was teaching law at Boston University, I had the privilege to meet and get to know a young law student, now State representative to the Massachusetts General Court, Gregory' B. Khachadoorian.
Mr. Khachadoorian's performance as a student, his career, and his achievements as a dedicated and effective public servant are especially notable, for he has been almost totally blind since the age of fourteen.
I was greatly impressed with his ability, his drive and courage, and the concern he displayed for others, despite his own handicap, when I first met him almost twenty years ago, and I was privileged to have had a hand in his decision to enter politics.
I am not surprised that he has been enormously effective in his role as legislator, nor that his efforts for eye safety legislation have had an effect far beyond the boundaries of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Indeed, he provides a demonstration of courage and public devotion from which every man--with or without the benefit of sight--can draw great admiration.
It is, therefore, with the deepest respect, and with enormous pride and sincere warmth in being able to call Gregory Khachadoorian my good friend, that I share with my colleagues today the following article from News, the publication of the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness, Inc.:
Gregory B. Khachadoorian, State Representative to the Massachusetts General Court from the 7th Middlesex District Arlington and Lexington, and one of the Massachusetts Society's most active and newest board members, credits his legislative career to a blinding accident incurred when he was fourteen years old.
Mr. Khachadoorian was working in a garage checking the air pressure in a tire when the split rim flew off the wheel and struck him across the bridge of his nose and eyes causing almost total blindness.
His dreams of a West Point career were brusquely shattered Undaunted, young Khachadoonan, or "Khachy", as some of his friends call him pursued his studies with the help of readers and Braille, and graduated from the Boston University Law School.
A Boston University law professor, F. Bradford Morse, now a United States Representative from Massachusetts and Harold Putnam a legislative aide to Leverett Saltonstall, former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, encouraged the young lawyer to enter politics Mr. Khachadoorian, now serving his sixth term as Representative since his 1959 election, has campaigned tirelessly for the enactment of legislation to require protective wear for the general public, as well as for students using laboratory and shop facilities in schools.
Alaska was the first State to enact a law based almost verbatim upon the two bills which Representative Khachadoorian had filed in the Massachusetts Legislature in 1967.
Sponsored by ophthalmologist Milo H. Fritz, a member of the Alaska House of Representatives, this law, which became effective in May 1969, provides that "no person may fabricate, distribute, sell exchange, or have in his possession … eyeglasses or sunglasses unless they are fitted with plastic lenses or with glass lenses which are tempered or case hardened." The bill also outlaws frames manufactured of cellulose nitrate or other highly flammable materials.
Connecticut was the second State to enact almost identical legislation, also based on Mr. Khachadoorian's original texts. "This is just the beginning," says Mr. Khachadoorian. He fervently hopes to see such legislation passed in all fifty States, and there are increasing indications that such hopes are justified.
Meanwhile, he continues to press for safety eyeglass legislation in Massachusetts, his native State. The present bills were filed in December 1969 for action by the 1970 Legislature. Actually, three bills will be proposed to the Legislature: 1) mandatory use of hardened glass or plastic lenses, 2) a ban on cellulose nitrate based frames, 3) a bill incorporating both provisions.
Although Mr. Khachadoorian would of course prefer legislation covering all eyeglass and sunglass wearers in fifty States, he believes that a State-by-State approach may possibly be more realistic.
In the course of his continuing campaign in support of his legislative proposals, he addresses industrial, church, school, civic, and other community groups. Opposition in the past he says, came mainly from a few ophthalmic manufacturers, although this has lessened considerably.
His staunchest supporter and collaborator is his wife, Mary, a vivacious brunette. They met at the National Braille Press, Inc. in Boston, where she is chief stereotypist. He recalls that he was selling tickets for a benefit ball and. as an inducement, offered to dance with any takers. Mary took him up on his offer, and then on his proposal of marriage, which was celebrated in 1959.
Queried about his hobbies, the forty-one-year-old legislator unhesitatingly named eating and reading--in that order. His husky, six-foot frame testifies to the pursuit of the former. Mary even attended an Armenian cooking school to learn how to prepare his favorite dishes. His wide scope of interests and knowledge reflects extensive use of the variety of materials now available in Braille. An eloquent speaker, he is equally at home in Armenian and Turkish, the former being his mother's native tongue.
Mr. Khachadoorian is a member of the Massachusetts Bar, United States Supreme Court Bar, and the United States (Boston) District, and Court of Appeals.
He is also a Shriner, Aleppo Temple, and a member of the Lions Club in Arlington, Massachusetts.
In summing up his remarkable career at the halfway mark, Mr. Khachadoorian not only attributes his success to the efforts he made to overcome his handicap, but states, "You could almost say that my handicap became my profession", since he is Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, a State Commission.
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[Editor's Note: Correspondence between President Jernigan and Anthony Mannino of California gives the pertinent information.]
December 17, 1970
The enclosed announcement came into my possession yesterday through a casual meeting with two Council members who are guide dog owners. It was a Braille copy which we have transcribed word for word … I think the fact that such an organization is being organized may need our attention.
My information is that the enclosed announcement is going to be sent to guide dog owners throughout the United States in an effort to organize a national organization of guide dog users. I have no information regarding the personnel initiating the organization of this group…
If you can make contact with some of our New York friends, obtain accurate information regarding personnel, etc., we should probably then consider what our stand should be regarding such an organization. Please let me know what you think. With three guide dog schools in California, this group would undoubtedly find a fertile field for membership in our State. Do you believe this will be an organization which might assume responsibilities in the area of guide dogs and be ultimately of some use? Should we stand by to see what happens or should we discourage our people from joining because it may prove to be another competitive group?
Hoping to hear from you soon, I remain
December 30, 1970
I have read the letter concerning the National Society of Guide Dog Users, Inc. with interest and some concern. It seems to me that we should discourage our members from joining this organization and that we should give careful consideration to the trend now going forward to establish more and more so-called "national" organizations concerning blindness. Ideally there would be only one organization of the blind in each locality--which, in turn, would be affiliated with one organization in each State--which would be affiliated with the National Federation of the Blind.
Until the splintering away of the small contingent calling itself the American Council of the Blind in 1961, this was more and more becoming a reality. Despite the brave show of organizational titles which the American Council of the Blind has fostered, this is still largely the case. From what I can gather the American Council of the Blind and its array of so-called independent "national" organizations (lawyers, Lions, data processors, etc.) is pretty thin and sparse.
I have no reason to suppose the National Society of Guide Dog Users, Inc. is allied with the American Council or anybody else. However, the problems it's seeking to solve can, it seems to me, best be dealt with through the regular channels of the organized blind movement. Discrimination against guide dog users, for instance, is adequately handled by Federation sponsored publicity and negotiations such as occurred in the Seattle Space Needle case [see Braille Monitor, December 1969]; by Federation sponsored court cases; and by our Model White Cane law; and a separate organization attempting to pass similar legislation at the State or national level is likely to cause more fragmentation of effort and confusion than constructive achievement.
In fact, this trend of proliferating "national" organizations puts the emphasis in the wrong place It almost reminds one of the 1896 effort which brought into being the "American Blind Peoples' Higher Education and General Improvement Association." This group was established because a few blind persons were denied the right to go to college and thought they ought to do something about it--which was certainly right. But they missed the point by assuming that the problems of college blind people were different from those of other blind people instead of being the same. The principal problem in 1896 was exactly what it is now--the misunderstandings and misconceptions about blindness which exist, on the part of the public toward the blind and (it must be admitted) sometimes on our own part as blind people. We are part of the culture in which we live and are, therefore, likely to assimilate public attitudes about us and make them our own if we are not careful. Every blind person--the rich and the poor, the old and the young, the educated and the uneducated, the black and the white, the guide dog user and the non guide dog user, has a common problem and a reason for united action.
Our difficulty is not that we do not have enough organizations to represent us but that we have too many. I think we should concentrate our efforts on strengthening the Federation and that we should realize that it is broad enough to deal with any particular problem of the guide dog user or any other sub-group.
As you may know, the NFB Executive Committee at Thanksgiving decided to broaden and strengthen the interest groups associated with our movement--secretaries, lawyers, teachers, students, etc. This, however, does not constitute fragmentation since all of these groups will be working in the overall structure of the NFB and will add to our totality as a movement
I am sending this letter to State and chapter presidents and a variety of other people throughout the country to call attention to the problem symbolized by the establishment of this new organization. Indeed, some of its members may be members of the NFB as well. My letter is not meant to disparage their efforts or to downgrade the very real problems faced by the guide dog user. Rather, it is meant to say that we cannot accomplish our purposes by fragmentation, that the blind as a group have only so much energy, and that this energy should be concentrated if we are to achieve real and lasting improvement of our condition. Whether it is publicity, fundraising, legislation, or membership recruitment we are better off if we work as one organization instead of many. The NFB should and will deal with any legitimate problem confronting any blind individual or group. In turn, it needs the combined effort of the largest possible number of blind persons.
Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind
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NFB President Kenneth Jernigan in his paper on "The Separate Agency for the Blind--Why and Where" [See The Braille Monitor for July 1970] wrote "A very disturbing trend is becoming increasingly apparent throughout the country with respect to the organizational and placement structure of programs for the blind--a trend which may be more ominous than anything we have seen in the past twenty years. It is nothing less than the total obliteration of separate agencies for the blind by combining them into larger catchall departments of government." Mr. Jernigan was more of a prophet than he knew. Now the Federal Government has succeeded in further jeopardizing the existence of separate agencies for the blind.
The Family Assistance Plan bill, proposed in the 9 1st Congress, provided for the elimination of the separate adult categories--title X for the blind; title I for the aged; and title XIV for the disabled; with their separate requirements and needs recognized--for a mandatory title XVI which would pool and combine all three and tie them together with a common standard of need It also proposed that services in welfare be combined with services in rehabilitation under a new title XX called "Individual and Family Services Program" However, the act did not pass.
But, in the services programs, what could not be accomplished in the Congress has been accomplished by administrative decree and not a little administrative maneuvering.
State administrators of rehabilitation and welfare programs have always had trouble keeping up with the rapidly shifting scene in the Federal Department of Health, Education and Welfare. In States where these programs are administered at the county or parish level, and the changes and directives must filter through the State administration the confusion is compounded.
In November, HEW asked the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (SCAVR) to conduct an investigation on the feasibility of combining rehabilitation with the social services section of the welfare program. The matter of joining the study was discussed at length by committees of CSAVR in mid-December. At that time they agreed to participate in the feasibility study but announced that such participation did not signify approval of the proposal. But while the State administrators were convincing themselves to join in the study, the department acted. On December 28, regulations dated December 19 were filed by the office of the Secretary of the Department of HEW. These regulations were published, as required by law, in the Federal Register on December 29, 1970.
In effect, the regulations rewrote the Act without benefit of the Congress. They provide, among other things, for "planning, development and coordination of those SRS (Social Rehabilitation Services) programs which provide services for the handicapped, including disabled Social Security applicants and beneficiaries, the developmentally disabled, the blind and welfare applicants and recipients…" The regulations thus carry out the principles laid down in Family Assistance Program which were not enacted by the 91st Congress.
Swept away is the Division of Services to the Blind and the blind are dumped into a general pot called "Special Populations" The new division "provides opportunities and mechanisms for the full development of projects, programs and services for individuals and groups who suffer from specific disabilities or who share common conditions or characteristics, medical or otherwise, which permit categorical identification." The blind must fall into the "otherwise" category, by and large, since their blindness may or may not have been caused by medical problems; and if it were, the medical problem which caused the blindness is no longer a factor to be considered in classification. If it is, we are going to have a further division of the adventitiously blind and the congenitally blind. Many of both conditions of blindness were caused by a variety of medical problems. Are we then to have on the one hand the diabetically blind, retinitis pigmentosa blind, glaucoma blind, and so on down the list, and on the other hand, the gun-shot blind, the dynamite blind, the auto-accident blind, and so on down the list, all receiving separate attention because of their medical problems rather than the major residual problem of blindness? However, attention doesn't necessarily mean or lead to services.
Now the procedures are to be alike for all disabilities and the States are to receive grants "in the development and expansion of rehabilitation programs and services for all disability groups, including alcoholics, drug addicts, arthritics, epileptics, the blind, heart, cancer, and stroke victims, those suffering communication disorders, etc.," as well as all public assistance recipients We are again thrown into Johnson's Almshouse described by him in 1911 as "a very heterogeneous mass, representing almost every kind of human distress Old veterans of labor worn out by many years of ill requited toil, alongside of worn-out veterans of dissipation, the victims of their own vices; the crippled and the sick; the insane; the blind; deaf mutes; feeble-minded and epileptic; people with all kinds of chronic diseases; unmarried mothers with babies; short term prisoners; thieves, no longer physically capable of crime; worn-out prostitutes, and along with all of these, little orphaned or deserted children, and a few people of better birth and breeding reduced to poverty in old age by some financial disaster, often through no fault of their own." Only the feeble-minded and the prisoners are removed from the current list--the former under a division devoted to the "developmentally disabled"; and the latter under the penal laws. In sixty years we have come full circle--and may do things differently but that doesn't necessarily mean progress.
Those who proposed the current program may think this harsh for they propose to provide leadership, plans, coordination, consultation, guidance, and collaboration; and are going to develop standards, and program policies; and will direct, serve, evaluate, stimulate, disseminate, conduct, design, coordinate and otherwise "evolve new approaches toward more meaningful lives for the handicapped."
Gone is the program goal, expressed as late as the Regulations of 1969, which "plans and directs advisory and consultative services of professional staff in areas such as aid to the blind, guidance, training and placement," and which dealt with the necessity to collaborate "with Federal agencies and State licensing agencies m the development of additional vending stands and other employment opportunities for the blind …" In their stead the Division of Service Systems is to develop and support "the introduction of program approaches, techniques, and methods leading to the establishment and improvement of service delivery mechanisms and which are responsive to agency client needs …” as well as to provide leadership in the "development of new projects with industry under the legislative mandate and promote employer interest m hiring the handicapped." All this with the major objective of accomplishing the agency missions, which seems to be to set up the "mechanisms" to deliver service, and seems to have given up the old objective of self-care, self-support, through training and placement for the recipient of the services. As a matter of fact, it really isn't too clear who the recipient of the services from HEW is--the delivering agencies or their clients.
The suspicion that perhaps it is the agencies and not the clients who will be the recipients of the services is reinforced by the other division titles in the Regulations: Division of Service Systems; Division of Manpower Development; Division of Planning and Management Assistance; Division of Monitoring and Program Analysis; Division of Grant Administration; Budget Division. The first sentence of each of the Division regulations is also revealing of intent: "Develops and supports the introduction of program approaches, techniques and methods leading to the establishment and improvement of service delivery mechanisms which are responsive to agency client needs" "Provides and expands training opportunities and materials for professional, technical, and subprofessional persons to meet the manpower requirements of State and other agencies …" "Provides nonfinancial technical support and assistance to regional offices, State agencies and other grantees across agency programs." "Develops and applies evaluative tools and indicators for the purpose of measuring State agency and other grantee program performance." Provides grant administration and technical support services in financial management within RSA and to regional offices." "Provides budgetary services and assistance to the agency and maintains associated liaison services with the department and SRS."
More than language has invaded the processes which developed these Regulations. One is led to believe from the language employed, that computer programmers rather than rehabilitation administrators wrote the Regulations. Is rehabilitation, then, to be the victim of fitting the program to the processes? Are people to be rehabilitated only when their problems can be programmed into a particular systems analysis? And will the solutions to their problems be limited by the kind of hardware or software the systems people employ?
Since the mentally retarded is the only individual group recognized m the new Regulations and all the others are dumped together into the Division of
Special Populations, what need for separate agencies? All their problems are to be treated as though they were alike. The only worry seems to be that the "agency mission" develop a "systems delivery service" whether it will fit the problems of the disabled and the disadvantaged or not. And if it is all to come out of the same computer, who needs a special division or agency to distinguish one group from another? Like Procrustes Bed, all the disabled and disadvantaged must fit the program at the peril of their rehabilitated lives.
Taken together with what is happening to special programs in some States, the most strenuous efforts possible must go into preserving the special quality of programs for the blind. The idea of separating eligibility from services was the first step. To make administration of programs easier and so that eligibility workers will not have to learn so much and earn too much, eligibility requirements are standardized. In such a move, special needs have no place. If services are standardized for administrative convenience, special programs will go the way of special needs. Now is the time for all-out work to create as many commissions for the blind as possible. Now is the time for every blind person to contact his State president and ask him how each of you can help. No one else will do it for you.
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by Berthold Lowenfeld
[Reprinted from the Sixth Annual Distinguished Lecture Series in Special Education and Rehabilitation, 1967.]
Many people contend that human nature has not changed for thousands of years, and this can certainly be demonstrated in many ways. We are still fighting wars, we are still envious of those who live better than we do, and, in general, the Ten Commandments which set the ethic code for mankind need enforcement in order to be observed. Many of the other ideas which have been proclaimed in the Old and New Testaments are still far from realization. One is, therefore, looking for any areas in which progress--and I don't mean technical progress--can be noticed, and it is my proposition today to discuss with you such areas.
I would like to start by presenting to you my concept of the history of the status of blind persons in western society. There are four phases in this history which are distinctly different, and in each one of them the status of the blind showed decisive progress I will not and cannot go into the reasons for these changes. Economical ones certainly play a great role but my purpose is to show that the status of the blind, as well as society's attitudes toward them, have changed and that these changes were progressively for the better.
In many primitive societies and during early historical times, the blind were regarded as liabilities and their status was that of separation In tribal life, any person who could not fend for himself and defend himself was usually considered a liability1 The two extreme forms of separation are annihilation and veneration. Annihilation of blind and imperfect children was, for instance, practiced by the Spartans who set them out m the wilderness of the Taygetus Mountains and left them to starve; in Athens, they were put into clay vessels and left by the wayside; and in Rome, baskets were sold on the market so that infirm children could be put into them to be floated on the Tiber River in which they drowned. These practices were legitimate under the laws of Lycurgus in Sparta and of Solon in Athens Plato, Aristotle, and Seneca approved them in theory. R. S. French2 states, "Among the more primitive peoples the right to live must have been denied the later blinded almost equally with those born blind. The individual man was valued for his fitness for practical life and his availability for war."
On the other hand, we know of some ancient blind people who were venerated by their contemporaries. Homer, who is believed to have lost his sight rather early in life; and a considerable number of other Greek and Roman bards and philosophers, among them Demodocus, the "bard divine", and the prophets Tiresias and Phineus. This veneration is the benevolent form of separation, because essentially it also removes the blind individual from the normal life of his society. Either form of separation can be found in other early societies, and even in historical and not too remote times among primitive people, and as genocide among those who regressed into savagism.
In western society the advent and rise of the monotheistic religions led into the second phase in which the blind were regarded as wards of society. In the Old Testament we find such protective demands as, "Thou shalt not curse the deaf nor put a stumbling block before the blind," (Leviticus 19:14) and "Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way" (Deuteronomy 27:18) Hebraic law puts great stress upon each individual's obligation toward the needy, including the blind, and the family was primarily responsible for the welfare of all of its members. Christianity always considered children, the aged, and the blind as special wards of the Church. It is interesting to note that these three groups are still distinguished as special categories in modern social welfare legislation. In the early Christian communities, the deacons took special care of the blind, and wealthy Christians took blind people into their households as their special wards. During and after the fourth century, asylums and hospitals were founded which also received the blind, such as the one by St. Basil in Caesarea-in-Cappadocia. However, there is no doubt that most of the blind were left to a beggar's lot, relying upon the good deeds of individuals and upon alms from the Church.
During the Middle Ages a number of hospices were founded exclusively for the blind. In these, the blind were organized in brotherhoods without actually constituting a church order. Among them, the Quinze-Vingts is the best-known. It was built in 1254 by St. Louis, reportedly in order to house a congregation of three hundred blinded Crusaders. Other similar brotherhoods came into existence in Italy, Spain, Germany, and in Scandinavia. These brotherhoods were connected with specific churches and they were under the patronage of various saints.
The ward-status gave the blind not only the right to live but also to be protected and assisted. Under it, some of the blind became well-known as bards, singers, and musicians. However, from the beginning of the eighteenth century on there appeared throughout the western world blind individuals who by their own efforts achieved not only an education, but also became outstanding in various fields of endeavor. This phase I propose to call that of self-emancipation. I would like to give some examples of such self-emancipators whose collective appearance and achievements resulted in the establishment of educational facilities for the blind throughout the civilized world.
Nicholas Saunderson (1682-1739) lost his sight through smallpox at the age of one year. This Yorkshire man became one of the outstanding mathematicians of his time and, at the urging of Sir Isaac Newton, was appointed the fourth Lucasian professor of Mathematics at Cambridge. He lectured on the Newtonian Laws and on optics, and became a Fellow of the Royal Society.
John Metcalf (1717-1810) was also blinded by smallpox, when six years old. He traveled around England by himself mostly by walking, studied mensuration, contracted for road constructions, and became well-known as an engineer. According to R. S. French,3 he "seems to have been one of the first to use crushed stone for making road-beds." He also became known as a bridge-builder.
Francois Huber (1750-1831), born in Switzerland, became totally blind as a result of cataracts and consumption. Because of his poor health, he moved to a country place and became a naturalist, specializing in the life of bees. His wife and a perceptive servant assisted him with his studies, and he became the outstanding authority on the life and habits of bees. His discoveries about the functions of the queen and the other bees in the hive, his observations on the use of their antennae, on their breathing, on their flying, etc., moved Maurice Maeterlinck4 to the statement: His "New Observations on Bees," … have remained the unfailing, abundant treasure into which every subsequent writer has dipped there is not a single one of his principal statements that has been disproved, or discovered in error; and in our actual experience they stand untouched, and indeed at its very foundation.
Thomas Blacklock(1721-1791), born in Scotland, lost his sight also through smallpox, before he was six months old. He began to write poetry and studied for the ministry. Although he achieved fame as a preacher and was an ordained minister, the prejudice of his contemporaries prevented him from a parish-church career. His poetry was published, and he also made translations from the French He became the intimate friend of David Hume, furthered Robert Burns, and befriended young Walter Scott.
Maria Theresia von Paradis (1759-1824) became blind at three years of age and showed unusual talents, intellectually and in music. She was the protégée of Empress Maria Theresia of Austria and undertook many trips throughout Europe as a concert pianist. She had entrance to European high society and became herself a center of social life. Ishbel Ross5 tells how Maria became involved with Mesmer and mesmerism and "emerged from this experience a creature of mystery and romance."
All of these self-emancipators not only achieved outstanding results in their respective fields of endeavor, but also devised a variety of techniques and skills which enabled them to accomplish their achievements in spite of being blind and in spite of the lack of any educational facilities for the blind. There are many others who struggled for an education of the blind by having invented their own techniques for acquiring an education. Among them were the ones who devised various ways of writing, of doing arithmetic and even higher mathematics, of corresponding with each other, and of making embossed maps and other appliances individually needed by them.
These self-emancipators encouraged the founding of the first educational institutions for the blind, and inspired particularly Valentin Haüy who established the first school for the blind in Paris in 1784. There were other influences too, among which the writings of Diderot and Rousseau and the example of Abbé de l‘Epée in founding a school for the deaf must be mentioned. However, the achievements of blind people themselves are the most important single factor which by itself provided, as we would scientifically say, the "necessary and sufficient conditions" for the establishment of educational provisions for blind children.
Schools for the blind were founded in various European countries: in Liverpool, England in 1790; in Vienna, Austria by Johann Wilhelm Klein in 1804; and in Berlin, Germany in 1816. In the United States, the New England Asylum for the Blind (now Perkins School for the Blind), the New York Institution for the Blind (now the New York Institute for the Education of the Blind), and the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind (now Overbrook School for the Blind) were established between 1829 and 1834 The first State school for blind children was founded in Ohio in 1837. Prior to this time there were three private schools or institutions. After that, educational provisions for blind children were established in most of the States.
With the educability of blind children an accepted fact, the fourth phase in the history of the blind, that of integration began. For the purpose of this paper, integration is defined as follows: "The mutual acceptance, based on equality of opportunity and before the law, between groups which differ in some important characteristic, may it be racial, religious, physical or otherwise " Since the founding of schools for the blind, many changes have occurred which justify the contention that we live in a period in which the integration of the blind into society is gradually becoming a reality. If we review the past five decades, the world as a whole has indeed seen great changes: the aftermath of the First World War, the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Atomic Age, and now the Age of Automation During these years, events in work for the blind have taken place in the United States which are, I believe, no less revolutionary for our field.
Let me first discuss the rise of public school education for blind children in the United States. The first public school class for blind children was set up in Chicago in 1900 After the first years of growth of classes for blind children in public schools in the early I900's, the enrollment leveled off and remained proportionately the same for many years It amounted to no more than ten to fifteen percent of the total blind school-age population as registered with the American Printing House for the Blind. From 1952 on, the enrollment in public school programs showed a steady and sharp increase until in 1965, sixty percent of all registered blind children were enrolled in such programs while the remaining forty percent attended residential schools.
In fact, the largest share of the increase due to retrolental fibroplasia (an eye disease connected with oxygen treatment of prematurely born children and rampant from 1942 to 1953) appears to have been absorbed by the public school programs in which attendance rose from 985 in 1952 to 11,051 in 1965. While public school attendance of blind children multiplied more than ten times, enrollment in residential schools for the blind rose from 5,108 in 1952 to 7,330 in 1965, that is by less than half. The reasons for this shift I have discussed in my article, "History and Development of Specialized Education for the Blind,"6 and, therefore, I will mention here only the three factors which I consider most responsible for it: (1) the increasing integration of the blind into society; (2) the American high regard for public school education; and (3) the recognition of the importance of family life for the individual child.
There are other changes in the direction of integration Residential schools for the blind have turned from more or less "closed" schools to more or less "open" schools, thus following the trends which characterize changes in public school education. Personnel in these schools, particularly the teachers, are required in most states to be professionally trained and certified in their area of specialization. Administratively, most residential schools now function under State Departments of Education and are thus an integral part of the public school system of their states.
Public school programs for blind children also have undergone considerable changes. They have developed from so-called Braille classes which were segregated, into resource programs and itinerant teacher provisions. In these, the blind child is placed in the regular classroom and receives supportive assistance, given to him and his teacher by an instructor especially trained in the education of the blind. Also, programs for the education of teachers of the blind were until some decades ago conducted almost exclusively by a few residential schools for the blind. At present, they are a part of the teacher-education offered by public and private colleges and universities within their regular course programs.
In the field of work for the adult blind, equally important changes have occurred which are significant for the trend toward integration. Foremost among them is the great change which has taken place in vocational rehabilitation and its underlying philosophy Some fifty years ago, the prevailing practice was to assume that "the blind" could do only certain types of work, and for these they were prepared in schools and workshops for the blind. Our present-day approach is to determine where the individual blind person's aptitudes and interests lie, to provide training in the kind of work for which he is best suited--no matter whether any blind person has done it before--and then assist him in being placed in the field for which he has been successfully trained.
The Commissioner of the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration, Miss Mary E. Switzer,7 expressed this approach as follows: The Vocational Rehabilitation Administration is committed to a program of intense promotion of vocational individuality for blind people--to safeguard them against being herded into lines of work convenient to society, but crushing to personality, to find instead a lifework which by its very nature gives the greatest possible opportunity for functioning of each unique combination of talents. The legal framework for this advance in the United States was provided by the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, particularly in its 1954 Amendment, and the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration has used it boldly and imaginatively to build up strong programs serving all disabled citizens. This complete change in approach has resulted in an increased influx of blind people into industry, private enterprise, and into the professions.
There are other facts which support the thesis that we live in the period of integration of the blind into society, because this trend permeates most of the activities in work for the blind. Let me refer to just a few of them. It is not by chance that new ways of enabling blind people to become efficient in mobility were found during the past two or three decades and are still being searched for. In the course of the rehabilitation of war-blinded personnel, mobility training techniques were developed, largely by the efforts of Dr. Richard Hoover,8 making use of the long cane which functions as a bumper and a probe. These techniques have been refined and systematized so that they now constitute a specialized field of instruction for which training facilities are available at the college level. Many consider the limitation of mobility the most serious effect of blindness Mobility training which is now offered by an increasing number of agencies and schools for their blind clients and pupils, is the most important technique restoring to blind persons a measure of mobility freedom. It is an essential element in increasing the independence of the blind individual, thus promoting his integration into the normal stream of life.
More blind people than ever before live in the United States with their own families or in their own households. About half a century ago, most agencies for the blind conducted, as an integral part of their services, homes for blind persons--sometimes two, one for men and one for women If we survey the field now, we find that most of these institutions have ceased to operate and their demise is deplored by few, if any. This is in line with the integration of the blind into society
Blindness, according to its legal definition, comprises a wide range of visual functioning, from total blindness to considerable residual vision. Great progress has been made in the field of optical aids. These are individually prescribed to improve residual vision to the point where one can successfully function as a seeing person. This service, promoted by grants of the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration, is now rendered by many agencies in work with the blind and by specialists in this field and has normalized the status of many hitherto "blind" people.
College education has generally become much more widely spread since World War II and the enactment of the GI Bill of Rights. The number of blind students attending regular colleges and universities has also greatly increased. Fortunately, the United States has never provided a segregated college for the blind but has always adhered to the policy of admitting and educating blind students in the regular colleges and universities.
In most of these efforts and achievements, blind people themselves have played an increasing role. In such national organizations as the National Federation of the Blind, they have themselves assumed leadership in promoting legislation on behalf of the blind and in other phases of work for the blind. This tendency also shows up in the evergrowing number of executives and employees of agencies serving blind persons who are themselves visually handicapped. While international and national conventions in work for the blind were dominated in the past by seeing representatives, in the more recent decades blind persons themselves have assumed greater leadership and responsibilities.
There are without doubt many forces--economic, psychological, sociological--which need still to be overcome in achieving real integration, and I certainly don't want to overlook or belittle them But my thesis is not that integration is already accomplished, but that it is the challenge of our time.
I have tried to prove to you that we now live in a time of integration of the blind into society. This fact, alone, however, would not have justified that I gave my presentation the universal title of "Integration--The Challenge of our Time." This I did because I now want to suggest to you that the sequence of status-characteristics which I have discussed for the blind, holds true not only for them but also, with some modifications, for other groups of the handicapped and, indeed, for minority groups in general.
Let me first discuss with you, albeit not with the same details as I did for the blind, the history of a few groups of handicapped people The first phase, that of separation, was as I have already commented, one which concerned not the blind alone but all those who, for reasons of impairment, were considered a liability to their group This includes the deaf, the crippled, the mentally handicapped, and others Similarly, the ward-status, giving the handicapped a right to live and to be protected and assisted, is a historical phase through which most groups of people with impairments had to go Although the blind were especially protected by the Church, other impaired groups during the Middle Ages were also assisted by the Church.
The deaf, as well as the crippled, had their period of self-emancipation also. There were numerous deaf people who showed that they were able to learn to communicate; some others showed remarkable proficiency in the art of painting and as artists in other fields. These self-emancipators encouraged sporadic educational efforts for the deaf from the sixteenth century on until Abbé de l'Epée in the 1760's founded the first school for the deaf in Paris. Education of the deaf, and later on rehabilitation of the deaf, opened to them the door to employment, not in special workshops but in certain fields of the open labor market--such as printing, baking, shoemaking, and many others. The full social integration of the deaf into society is made more difficult because of the communication barrier which is inherent to deafness.
The lot of the crippled during the Middle Ages was unfortunate because this handicap became traditionally the object of ridicule. Many of the crippled were used as court jesters and abused for the amusement of the masses. Their real plight was recognized much later than that of the blind or the deaf. Only when medical interest in the orthopedically crippled grew were attitudes toward them changed. This happened in some countries sooner, in others not until the eighteenth century. In our days, medical and vocational rehabilitation of the orthopedically impaired aims at their economic and social integration into society.
The treatment of the mentally handicapped during the Middle Ages was indeed a sorry chapter, since most of them were considered as possessed by evil spirits or were objects of other superstitions. In many places, mentally retarded and insane people were actually separated from society, until not too long ago, by being thrown into towers and fed like animals. Only in the early seventeenth century did St. Vincent de Paul begin to provide institutional care for the mentally handicapped. It is obvious that we cannot expect self-emancipation for this group, but medical progress in treating mental illness and increased educational as well as rehabilitative efforts and services are channeling more and more mentally handicapped individuals back into society.
Jacobus tenBroek9 adds to the already discussed factors, some other legislative programs which promote integration: the public assistance titles of the Social Security Act, the so-called architectual barriers statutes, the guide dog laws, and the white cane laws. He asserts that they "are built upon an integrationist foundation and neccessarily imply an integrationist objective". He comes to the following conclusion: From the foregoing, it is abundantly clear that integration of the disabled is the policy of the nation This policy has been expressed by Congress and by the State legislatures, not once, but many times, and not merely with respect to a single, narrow area of human endeavor, but with respect to the whole broad range of social, economic, and educational activity backed up with numerous specially created agencies and instrumentalities of government, with affirmative assistance and negative prohibitions, and with vast expenditures of money amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
It is the thesis of my presentation that the history of other minority groups follows a pattern similar to that of the handicapped. I propose to exemplify this on two minority groups, the Jews and the American Negroes.
The Jews lived during the Middle Ages strictly separated from the rest of the community in Jewish ghettos, defined in Webster's Seventh Collegiate Dictionary as "a quarter of a city in which members of a minority group lived because of social, legal, or economic pressure". The separation in such ghettos resulted in many cases in the extinction of their inhabitants by fire and sword, so that entire ghetto communities were annihilated, particularly during the time of the Crusades. Although such excesses never completely stopped--the pograms in Russia and the Nazis' genocide program occurred in the twentieth century--there were some Popes who tried to protect the Jews. In some countries, the rulers, emperors, kings, dukes, and others assumed the function of protectors of the Jews who in turn had to pay high tributes for this protection. They were in a true sense the wards of their protectors, though in critical times this did not help them much--they were still killed, burned or driven out. During all these centuries of persecution, individual Jews continued their Biblical and Talmudic studies and took pride in meticulously following the rules of their religion.
In the eighteenth century, the age of enlightenment began to improve the conditions of the Jews. The French Revolution and particularly the American Declaration of Independence, proclaimed equal rights for all. The Jewish people themselves began to take advantage of the opportunities opening up for them. It was particularly Moses Mendelssohn who convinced the intelligentsia of his time that full civil rights should be extended to the Jews. Thus, the emancipation of the Jews in Europe was the result of the spread of enlightened ideologies as well as of the influence of some outstanding Jewish writers and philosophers. With equality legally established, the integration of the Jews into the various societies in which they lived progressed in general, though regressions into separation and even annihilation are recorded facts of history. The latest event in the history of the Jews, statehood in Israel, resulted in their admission to the United Nations which is an international form of integration.
So far as the American Negro is concerned, his history began with slavery, which surely is a form of separation. The Negro slave lived completely apart from the white society and his life hung on a thin thread. He lacked the protection of the law and even when this was extended to him, his owner was still his master. When slavery was abolished, the Negro in the American South remained the ward of his master who in exchange for his services felt an obligation to take care of him and his family. The Negroes who left the South for other parts of the United States lived for many decades lives of servants or earned their livelihood as the most lowly-paid workers In spite of the abolition of slavery, the Negro did not enjoy equal rights and did not take part in the economic and cultural rise of the nation.
Beginning with Booker T. Washington, there appeared in the American Negro society leaders who were acutely aware of the inequalities under which their people had to live and of the unfulfilled promises held out to them by the Constitution. I see the present struggle of the American Negro as an act of self-emancipation and its leaders like Martin Luther King as the self-emancipators of their race. Whether the American Negro wants integration or will establish himself as a distinct group with complete equality in opportunities and before the law, remains a question which only the future will answer. However, the Negro's integration as a full-fledged and equal-right member of our society is undoubtedly the greatest inner-political challenge facing the United States.
What practical application does the recognition that we live in the age of integration have? If we accept this interpretation of our place in this historical development, we not only gain an objective for our efforts but also a criterion for what is desirable and undesirable in working with the handicapped and other minority groups. I would like to broaden a formula which I offered in 195010 concerning work for the blind: Institutions and services for minority groups which separate them and keep them separated, are regressive. Even though they may be temporarily beneficial to an individual, they are undesirable and inimical to the interest of the group. Institutions which aim at integration and instill in the individual the spirit of independence and strengthen those qualities and skills which will enable him to take his rightful place as a member of society are progressive, desirable, and in the best interest of the group.
When I said at the beginning of my presentation that I would not discuss the reasons for the facts which I have tried to lay before you, let me stress again that I am quite aware of these reasons, particularly those of an economic nature. They played a great role in practically all the events which I have discussed. But I have set as my task to present to you a sequence of historical phenomena connected with the rise of some minority groups from separation and ward-status, through self-emancipation to integration. This sequence appears to be an indication that attitudes toward minorities have undergone profound changes, changes which are a hopeful sign that human nature does show improvement in some respects, even it if takes thousands of years to make them apparent. On this hopeful note I would like to conclude my presentation.
1. For a discussion of this, see Wright, Beatrice A. Physical Disability--A Psychological Approach. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960. pp. 253-256.
2. French, Richard S. From Homer to Helen Keller. New York: American Foundation for the Blind. 1932. p. 34.
3. Ibid p. 68.
4. Maeterlinck, Maurice. The Life of the Bee (translated by Alfred Sutro). New
York: Dodd, Mead, 1901. pp. 13-14.
5. Ross, Ishbel. Journey Into Light: The Story of the Education of the Blind. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc. 1951. p. 90.
6. Lowenfeld, Berthold. "History and Development of Specialized Education for the Blind," Outlook for the Blind. December 1956. pp. 401-408.
7. Switzer, Mary E. and Bledsoe, Warren. “U.S. Government Sponsored Research to Study Blindness," Blindness 1964 p. 4.
8. Hoover, Richard E. "The Cane as a Travel Aid," in Blindness, edited by Paul A. Zahl, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 1950. pp. 353-65.
9. tenBroek, Jacobus. "The Right to Live in the World: The Disabled in the Law of Torts," California Law Review, L. 1966. pp. 841-919.
10. Lowenfeld, Berthold. "Cooperation in Work for the Blind, Here and Abroad," Proceedings of the Twenty-Fourth Convention of the American Association of Workers for the Blind. 1950. pp. 19-20.
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Last year we used five hundred twenty-three rooms at our National Convention in Minneapolis. The Shamrock Hilton will give us six hundred rooms for the 1971 Convention to be held in Houston. Texas, July 5-9--and no more! There are no other hotels for miles around. If you want a room at the Convention hotel and have not yet made your reservation--do it today. Tomorrow will probably be too late.
The Hoosier Star-Light, published by the Indianapolis Star in Indiana, reports that television and radio personality Helen Tullis of Baltimore is an expert on pedestrian safety which is one reason why she was recently appointed to the staff of the Department of Education of Maryland. An assistant supervisor of pedestrian safety, Mrs. Tullis, who is blind, IS an educator in the art of safe and sane walking She has even written a highly popular booklet about it.
The U.S. Department of HEW has issued its Vending Stand Report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1970. There was an 8.8 percent increase in gross sales during the year, totaling nearly $94 million and returning a net profit to operators of $19 7 million There was a total of 3,059 stand locations and the annual average earnings of the 3,352 operators was 56,300 The average earnings of operators was highest in Maryland ($10,788) while California had the most stand locations (278). The District of Columbia had the highest number of vending stands per 100,000 of the general population (9.40) as compared with the national average of 149.
A controversial Cambridge (Massachusetts) study which calls for reforms in programs for the blind has been criticized by a Federal rehabilitation official for being "pervaded by intellectual snobbery" The study, which involved a year-long evaluation of services for the blind in the United States by the Organization for Social and Technical Innovation under the prestigious sponsorship of the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness, suggests that programs for the blind reallocate priorities so that they serve the total blind population, especially by including more services for the elderly and the multihandicapped blind.
For many children, says the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness, the learning-to-see process is hampered by "amblyopia", an eye condition which for most successful correction should be detected by the age of six. Amblyopia, or "lazy-eye blindness", is inadequate vision caused by the disuse of one eye. It is only by means of a professional eye examination that amblyopia can be detected, and then remedial measures taken.
The Lions Club of Downey, California has recently formed a non-profit corporation called Tapes for the Blind, whose purpose is to make available at low cost tapes of high quality to blind and physically handicapped persons. Some of the tapes available are of extremely high quality from aerospace companies which have been used but did not meet the rigid reliability requirements of aerospace application. For further information write Tapes for the Blind, 12007 South Paramount Boulevard, Downey, California 90242.
The Census Bureau says there were 24.3 million Americans living in poverty in the United States in 1969, and it would have taken over $10 billion to raise their incomes above poverty levels. The Bureau's definition of poverty varied with the size of the family and other factors. For a nonfarm family of four headed by a man, for instance, the poverty level was $3,745.
About six of every one hundred persons in the United States, or six percent of the total population, received public assistance money payments in 1970. The largest proportion, four of every one hundred persons, were getting assistance under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program. This is more than twice as many as received this type of aid a decade ago.
The Voicespondence Club is a non-profit, cooperative organization of recorder owners living in every State in the Union and in about forty different countries all over the world who exchange ideas, conversation, music, copies of their phonograph records, and tell the ordinary happenings of their daily lives. Many of the club's members are blind. The Tarver Memorial Fund, associated with the club, offers special services to blind members. Those interested should write for an application for membership to the Voicespondence Club, P O. Box 207, Shillington, PA 19607.
The Queensland (Australia) White Cane Committee, under the chairmanship of Ian Stewart, is circulating attractive publicity kits throughout Queensland for this year's White Cane Safety Day. These kits have gone out to press, radio, and television, to all local authorities, to Lions Clubs, trade unions, churches, primary and secondary schools, and to doctors and youth organizations. Keep up the good work!
Betty J. Niceley of the Kentucky Federation of the Blind writes that Kentucky is a place of excitement and action. Even a simple thing like a KFB Board Meeting can be filled with suspense. On November 14, such a meeting was being held at the home of President Bob Whitehead. Everything was going smoothly, and much was being accomplished. Betty asks if we would believe that the highlight of the whole affair was the fact that President Whitehead left home and group for the hospital? The only thing that saved the day was the fact that Lillian Whitehead left us in charge of a delicious supper she had cooked for us and our mates. We are happy to report, says Betty, that Bob is feeling quite well now and plans to attend the Convention in Houston this summer. Oh, yes--the Louisville Association for the Blind has already chartered a Greyhound bus for Houston and the Convention. Someone told those Kentuckians that the early bird gets the worm, so that hotel reservations have been made and Kentucky will move in on Texas like a stampede. Why don't other groups make the same arrangements and plan to say "howdy" to our friends from Kentucky--in Houston?
The Los Angeles City Board of Education just announced the lifting of restrictions in the hiring of blind teachers for the Los Angeles city school system. This was good news to the California Council of the Blind whose Los Angeles area membership has been fighting the discriminatory practice of the system for many years. At this time the Board of Education boasts of two blind teachers already employed in the Los Angeles schools. It asserts that blind teachers who might be employed in the future may have teacher assistants Considering the fact that teen teaching is now a general practice, the assistant teacher seems to be no great threat to the independence of the blind teacher. It may even give the blind teacher an opportunity to show his or her real capacity and ability. The Los Angeles school system having opened this door to the blind teacher is an important and long-sought achievement for our California NFB affiliate Congratulations to the Los Angeles Board of Education members and all those in the CCB who had a part in finally bringing about this decision. It shoud be noted here that a bill has just been re-introduced in the 1971 California Legislature by Senator John Harmer of the Glendale-Burbank area which would divide the single Los Angeles Unified School District into twelve separate districts, each with its own board of education We sincerely hope that if such a bill is passed, that this will not again jeopardize teaching position opportunities for blind teachers. Developments will be watched carefully by the CCB. We are sure of that.
Louis C Corbin of Florida writes that: My wife, Shirley, and I appeared on the locally produced Today Show of talk about the Jacksonville Association of the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind. We had only eight minutes, but hopefully we stimulated some interest. I hope that a delegation from the Jacksonville Association will be able to appear on another TV show here called Feedback, carried by the educational channel. In addition to an interview, the audience has a chance to telephone in questions and comments.
If you live in the San Francisco Bay area, bomb scares are not all that unusual. So one evening in January' when those assembled at the monthly meeting of the San Francisco Chapter of the California Council of the Blind were told to evacuate the Federal Building, they did so with a lot of joking and laughing. The group reassembled outside to watch the activity accompanying such events--the arrival of fire equipment, rescue squads, and men from the bomb squad carrying strange equipment. When the television crews appeared they were naturally curious about the number of blind people standing about. Chapter president James Wood, blind attorney who practices in The City, was interviewed and took the opportunity to tell them about the Council and its work. In due course, the time-bomb, with fifteen minutes left to go, was discovered and dismantled. Had it gone off, concussion from the blast alone would have caused a number of injuries. The San Francisco Chapter has come to the conclusion that another place to meet should be found and are looking for a non-public building which can accommodate them.
Section 1007 of the Social Security Amendments of 1969 required the States to exempt four dollars a month of income from any source for those persons who receive both Social Security benefits and public assistance payments under Aid to the Blind, Old Age Assistance, and Aid to the Disabled. Section 1007 became effective in March of 1970 and was later extended through October, 1970 when it expired. However, on December 7, 1970 Congressman Phillip Burton of California introduced a bill (H R 19915) to make the four dollars exemption continuous through December, 1971. The bill was passed by both Houses of Congress on the last day of the 91st Congress. The President approved the measure on January 11, 1971 and it is now known as Public Law 91-669. Thus, thanks to the energy and dedication of Congressman Burton, the four dollars exemption will be continuous from last November. Since both Houses of the Congress have included this provision in their proposed amendments to the Social Security Act, it seems fairly certain that this exemption will be carried forward on a permanent basis.
The Richmond (Virginia) Area Federation of the Blind recently held elections with the following results: Miss Lydia Stuples, president; William Wirtz, first vice-president; Mrs. Mildred Conner, second vice-president; James F. Nelson, Jr., secretary; Everette Foulkrod, treasurer. Board members--Mrs. Everette Foulkrod; Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Layne; J A. Garnett. Member of Eye Grant Committee (a three-year position--Mrs. Joseph Pleasant.
Free 1971 Braille calendars, with holidays noted, are now available from the American Brotherhood for the Blind. Requests may be sent to Twin Vision Publishing Division, 28440 Topham Street, Tarzana, CA 9 1 356.
The Tar Heel State Federation of the Blind was accepted into the field of membership of the NCFB Credit Union at the holders' meeting January 16, 1971, We feel that this is a step forward, for now, the members of the Tar Heel State Federation of the Blind may join and benefit from the Credit Union without having to join another organization first.
Lois Sutherland writes that: We are organizing a serious and close-knit group of accordionists. Its purpose will be to promote good music for the accordion by performing it well. Our programs will include a great deal of classical music, and some lighter music in good taste. Applicants must have some background in serious music for the accordion, and proficiency in Braille and Braille music. They must be willing to follow instructions, work hard, and get along well among a few people with whom they will be spending a great deal of time. An applicant having no knowledge of Braille music may be accepted if his or her other qualifications are adequate. We would like to hear from those interested at their earliest convenience. They may write in Braille or inkprint to: Mr. and Mrs. H. D. Sutherland, Route 1, Box 393, Colton, CA 92324.
Word has just reached us that Richard Nelson, long-time president of the Nebraska Federation of the Blind passed away on January 30, 1971 after a long illness. During the troubled times in the Federation, he was a principal figure in holding the group together. The illness which finally took his life, caused him to retire from office about a year ago Dick's familiar figure will be missed at National Conventions which he attended without fail for many years. All Federationists extend their sympathy to his lovely wife.
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