JUNE - 1972

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



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

EDITOR: Perry Sundquist, 4651 Mead Avenue Sacramento, California 95822
Associate Editor: Hazel tenBroek, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708

News items should be sent to the Editor

Address changes should be sent to 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708

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

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

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

Printed at 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708

JUNE, 1972






by Florence Grannis

by Robert Acosta

by Marc Maurer



by Nellie Hargrove



by Art Ferranti

by Jim Omvig

by Margaret Bohley  

by Donald Bell
Submitted by Mrs. Florence Grannis

by Paul Slater


by Nerine Coffin


by Curtis Chong

by Janet Weddleton

by Louise Ellyson





A situation has arisen in the Florida Vending Stand Program which is so outrageous that it is hard to believe. It is the sort of thing .which the NFB was established to combat, and we are doing it.

The circumstances are clear-cut and easy to relate. The Federal Randolph-Sheppard Act makes it clear that funds may not be withheld or "set aside" from the earnings of stand operators except for one or more of the following purposes: 1) maintenance and replacement of equipment; 2) purchase of new equipment; 3) management services (in other words payment of the salaries of stand supervisors); or 4) assuring a fair minimum return to other operators. These are absolutely the only purposes for which funds may be withheld. The Federal law makes it clear that there may be no exceptions.

As a matter of fact, even though the law permits it, no State has any business making deductions from the earnings of vending stand operators. This is not done with respect to other groups of blind persons who have received agency assistance--factory workers, lawyers, teachers, secretaries, et cetera. In any case, the Federal law says that the "set aside" must be "reasonable." Florida has determined that it is reasonable" to take 6 1/2 per cent from the gross sales of vending stand operators. If the average vending stand or cafeteria makes a net of approximately 20 per cent, it can readily be seen that the Florida Agency is skimming off almost a third of the profits of the operators. One wonders how the Agency officials would feel if their salaries were treated likewise.

Further, the Florida Vending Stand Program is operated under the tightest and most restrictive of conditions. If an operator works hard enough and shows sufficient initiative to begin to build a profitable business, then a second operator is added to the stand to split the profits. This is the way the Agency puts it in its official rules and regulations governing the Vending Stand Program: The Bureau shall "issue licenses to more than one operator for a particular vending stand location whenever the volume of business and net proceeds from a vending stand are sufficient to warrant such action and services if an additional operator can be satisfactorily used in the operation of the stand. When more than one operator is licensed for a particular vending stand, the net proceeds less set aside shall be distributed between or among operators on a percentage basis determined by the Section, in proportion to quantity of work, hours, and responsibility, in order that distribution will be just and equitable."

The tight control of the Agency and the ward status of the operators are emphasized by such language as the following (again, quoted from the State's rules and regulations governing the Vending Stand Program): "The Bureau shall approve sources of supply from which merchandise may be purchased by each vending stand." "The Bureau will determine the need for additional employees for the stand in each case where such is deemed necessary and will in all such cases hire such additional personnel for the operators as required." The operator shall "take no action in derogation of, or inconsistent with the paramount right, title, and interest of the Bureau to vending stand equipment, will not provide any capital or equipment with his own funds or with funds loaned or given to him. The operator will purchase merchandise, supplies or other expenditures as directed by the Vending Stand Supervisor with the funds entrusted to him by the Bureau and will not represent himself as the owner of any of these items at any time." The operators "will report promptly any complaint or criticism concerning the operation of the vending stand to the Vending Stand Supervisor, regardless of how trivial such complaint or criticism may seem to be. He will not attempt to answer any complaint or criticism from the property owner or other person controlling the premises and the operating privilege. He will take no part in any controversy, unless specifically authorized to do so by the Vending Stand Supervisor and/or the Administrator of the Vending Stand Program." Operators must sign any type of oath which may be required by the State and Federal governments."

What a fine set of regulations! As the song says: "You load sixteen tons and what do you get/Another day older and deeper in debt/Saint Peter don't you call me now/I owe my soul to the company store."

Apparently, (as Monitor readers will see) there are not only company stores in Florida but also company unions. Be all of this as it may, the worst is yet to come. In 1967 (without so much as a by-your-leave) the Agency began to demonstrate that it was Master, indeed. In total violation of the Federal law and its own rules and regulations, the Agency began to take an additional 5 percent of the gross earnings of the eleven stand operators at the Cape Kennedy Space Center--in other words, somewhere in the neighborhood of another 20 percent of net profit. And what, one might ask, was the urgent purpose and need for such confiscatory taxation! The money was given to the recreation fund for Space Center workers at the Cape.

This unbelievable situation continued until 1969 when a petition signed by the operators was sent to the State Agency protesting the rakeoff. Mr. Murdock Martin, (head of the Agency) and his Vending Stand Supervisor came to the Cape and reportedly told the operators that the rakeoff would continue, like it or not. Then, a newspaperman got wind of the story and the Agency did a retake. Agency officials came back to the Cape. There was a "vote" by the operators to discontinue the "donation" to the Space Center, and all seemed to be forgotten and forgiven. It was back to the "company store as usual."

In February 1972 the State Agency acted again. A "consent" form was circulated among the stand operators on the Cape. They "voluntarily" agreed to give 2 percent of their gross earnings (8 to 10 percent of net) to the recreation fund.

But something was new in '72. There was now an NFB affiliate in Florida. From 1967 to 1969 there was only an American Council of the Blind affiliate in the State. One wonders where it was when the 5 percent was being skimmed. One wonders where it is now when the NFB is on the barricades. One wonders where the Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America (the ACB affiliate) was and is. Many of the blind of Florida (and, for that matter, of the nation) keep saying that the ACB and its affiliates are company unions. Let the facts speak for themselves.

In any case, one courageous operator, James C. Parkman, refused to "donate." He would not sign the consent, and he would not be intimidated. Another operator, Charles E. Groover, first signed and then revoked the signature. At this stage, the National Federation of the Blind of Florida and the newspapers of the State entered the battle. Under date of February 25, 1972, an article (reprinted in this issue of The Monitor) appeared in the newspaper Today of Cocoa, Florida. On March 2, 1972, another article (reprinted in this issue of The Monitor) appeared in Today. One does not have to look hard to find evidences of blatant pressure on the part of the Agency by the time of the second article.

Federationists who attended the Houston Convention last year will remember Louis Corbin, the capable chairman of the NFB Blind Lawyers Division. Mr. Corbin, who lives in Jacksonville, is one of the leaders of our Florida affiliate. He is also an able lawyer and a dedicated member of the movement. In consultation and in concert with President Jernigan, and Beth Bowen, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Florida, Mr. Corbin became attorney for James Parkman, and the blind prepared to go to the barricades.

Under date of April 12, 1972, a letter (reprinted in this issue of The Monitor) was sent by Mr. Corbin to the Federal Administrator of Social and Rehabilitation Services. The Administrator was asked to compel Florida to comply with Federal law. The Administrator was further asked to see that no reprisals were taken against operators who dared protest the "rakeoff."

Mr. Corbin and the Federation also went to court. The formal complaint (reprinted in this issue of The Monitor) was entered to seek justice and relief. Attached to the complaint was the infamous "consent" form (reprinted in this issue of The Monitor.)

Under date of April 17, 1972, a letter (reprinted in this issue of The Monitor) was sent from Mrs. H. E. Bowen to newspapers throughout the State of Florida. Mrs. Bowen asked the press to publicize the disgraceful and illegal action of the Agency and to help preserve the rights of the blind. Mrs. Bowen said in part: "The National Federation of the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind of Florida .... will not stand by and allow the Bureau of Blind Services to coerce, harass, or in any other manner intimidate those citizens whom the Bureau of Blind Services is supposed to serve, not rule. We will no longer tolerate the Bureau of Blind Services assuming a massah-servant attitude toward the blind citizens of Florida."

On April 19, 1972 a State Vending Stand Supervisor showed up at the Cape. On that same date a petition (reprinted in this issue of The Monitor) was circulated stating that the operators "wanted" to "donate." As the petition put it "It is our considered opinion the actions and attitudes of those in disagreement with the majority concerning the "donation" are not in the best interest of Florida, the Bureau of Blind Services or the Vending Stand Program at Kennedy Space Center. ... We have a moral responsibility to speak out against this perpetuated hoax which endangers the structure of the entire program concocted by James Parkman and supported by Mrs. H. E. Bowen of Jacksonville, the President of the National Federation of the Blind of Florida." One would not, of course, wish to imply that the petition was brought to the Cape by the Vending Stand Supervisor and that the operators were told to "line up and march." However, the coincidence of timing is noteworthy, and the generosity of the operators in insisting upon giving up so much of their profits is highly commendable-especially in view of the worthy nature of the cause. There are even those who say that the typing would make it appear that the same machine was used to write both the petition and the earlier infamous "consent" form. But they are undoubtedly simply militants or radicals, who see something wrong in everything-even when it is there to be seen.

The Florida press responded affirmatively. Newspapers in Miami, St. Augustine, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and other cities spread the word. Typical is the article (reprinted in this issue of The Monitor) which appeared in the April 18, 1972 edition of The Tampa Tribune.

The trial date is now set for June 2, and the lines are drawn for the battle. Once again the blind of Florida and the nation are going to the barricades. Where, one repeats, are the American Council of the Blind, its Florida affiliate, and its Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America? Where are they--those groups that claim to be representative of the blind and defenders of the rights of their constituents? Where, too, is the Florida Bureau of Blind Services--that "professional" organization dedicated to the promotion of the welfare of the blind? Where are those luke-warm blind people who say to us: "Why do you want to stir up all this trouble? Why do you not recognize that the interests of the agencies are the same as those of the blind?" Where is the National Accreditation Council of Agencies Serving the Blind and the Physically Handicapped--that organization which is the self-appointed watchdog of the agencies, the guardian of high standards, the keeper of moral rectitude?

It is not pleasant to engage in conflict; but if the choice is to submit meekly and see blind people walked on like rugs or to fight, then there can be no question as to what the decision must be. Let those who call this radicalism or militancy make the most of it. Let all self-respecting blind people and all friends of the blind come and join with us. The battle may be difficult. The power arrayed against us is great. But we will not retreat, and we will not quit. This is a new day for the blind of this nation, and as often as we must we will go to the barricades.

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by Tom Dunkin

[The following articles are reprinted from Today, Cocoa, Florida, regarding the blind operators at Kennedy Space Center.]

Florida Today
February 25, 1972

Handicapped food concession operators at Kennedy Space Center will be compelled to contribute two percent of their gross sales income to a recreation fund for KSC employes, if current plans materialize. A proposed "donation" by the food service employes has been recommended by the Florida Bureau of Blind Services, and tentatively is planned to go into effect next week, although there is some opposition.

A similar five percent bite was ended three years ago, after some complaint among the food vendors involved. The new plan, according to one source at KSC, has the endorsement of the state agency to aid the blind.

"Certain things have been put out by the administration," indicating it will be advisable to make the two percent "donation" voluntarily, a vendor said. There are at least 11 persons involved in such work at the space center, and two of them reportedly are refusing to make the "donations." The "donated" funds will be for a government employes recreation fund, the same system that caused considerable controversy in 1969 when some of the handicapped vendors objected.

One person, who described the contribution as a part of the cost of doing business, said the proposal was made in this manner: "It was pointed out that it would be in the best interest of all employees." Asked if he felt the charge was justified, the vendor said he considered it necessary "to have the opportunity to make a living."

Charles Hammond, supervisor for the vending stand division of the Bureau of Blind Services, was not available Thursday for comment on the proposed contributions. But, Hammond is due to be in the Brevard area next week for a meeting with the vending stand operators.

The vending stand operators all have visual handicaps. They are provided with job opportunities by the Bureau of Blind Services, one man said, for which they pay 6 1/2 percent of their gross sales. Attitudes varied among several persons questioned about the "donation" proposal. Another estimated the cost to his operations to be around $300 a month.

The five percent assessment was ended late in 1969 after several operators questioned propriety of the payments. At that time, the employes agreed among themselves to end the "voluntary" payments, which the Florida Council for the Blind, the agency which preceded the Bureau of Blind Services, made mandatory, according to reports at that time.

The payments go to a recreation fund for KSC employes, and support a variety of activities, including a flying club, scuba diving club, golf and organized sports. The visually handicapped persons making the payments did not benefit from such programs several said. One vendor said ... he considered the two percent charge "payment for the privilege of being on the space center," and that he did not personally object.

A federal law, the Randolph-Sheppard Act, provides for the employment of handicapped persons on federal reservations, and the KSC employment is administered by the Bureau of Blind Services, a vendor said. If agreement is reached, the "donations" are to begin next week, but there "are two holdouts," one vendor--who claims he isn't one of them-said. . . . "If they don't sign up" for the voluntary two percent contribution, "it may delay the program," he said.


Florida Today
March 2, 1972

Blind snack bar operators are 10-to-l in favor of a proposal to contribute two percent of their income from operations at Kennedy Space Center to an employes recreational fund, a state official said. . . Charles T. Hammond Jr., vending stand supervisor for the Bureau of Blind Services with headquarters in Tampa, said he will have to confer with his superior, Murdock Martin, bureau chief, before he knows what the next move will be.

Hammond said, "I'm optimistic" that all of the 11 employes of the bureau will support the proposal, although one is "still undecided." Hammond met. . . with all 11 vendors.

Funds involved would go to a fund maintained by KARS, a KSC athletic, recreational and social organization, from which the blind employes would be entitled to benefits. Primary activity supported at present by KARS is Complex 99, a recreational area on the center which offers swimming, picnicking, fishing and boating among its activities.

A similar contribution by blind stand operators, of five percent of gross income of their stands brought controversy that resulted in an end to the contribution in 1969. At that time, a number of the blind employes of the state agency objected to the donation.

A KSC official said Wednesday night "KSC is not soliciting any contributions from the blind. KSC did not solicit in the past," said P.A. Fagnant, chief of the Visitor Information Center of the Planning and Operations Branch of KSC. Fagnant said such contributions have been offered by the Bureau of Blind Services in the recent instance, and by its predecessor, the Florida Council for the Blind, in the past. Fagnant, who has been at the missile center since 1959, has been coordinator of non-appropriated fund activities since that time, as a voluntary added activity to his other duties. Fagnant said no funds from the recreational activity now go to flying, shooting or diving clubs on the reservation. They all are self-supporting, he added. The earlier controversy questioned the benefit blind persons might get from such clubs.

[Editor's Note: Evidently, flying, shooting, and diving are not "athletic, recreational and social" activities. What activities the funds do support is not clear. Perhaps it is imagined that flying, shooting and diving are activities in which the blind do not and could not indulge.]



April 12, 1972

Administrator of the Social and Rehabilitation Service
United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
Washington, D. C.

In re: Bureau of Blind Services
State of Florida

Dear Sir:

I represent James C. Parkman who operates a vending stand located at Kennedy Space Center, Cape Kennedy, Florida. His stand is operated pursuant to the provision of the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Act as amended, 20 U.S.C, Chapter 6A. The licensing agency under which he operates is the Bureau of Blind Services of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, State of Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services.

Recently he was informed by supervisors in the Vending Stand Section of the Bureau of Blind Services that he would be required to contribute 2% of the gross proceeds of his stand to a recreation fund for employees of the Kennedy Space Center; that if he did not make such contribution he could find himself reassigned to a vending stand located elsewhere. Two percent of his gross is a substantial portion of his profits and it is my understanding of the Act that only certain set asides are permitted and that contributions to a recreation fund do not come within those permitted set-asides.

Although he has been subjected to great pressure, my client has not signed a consent for this contribution. Another operator at Kennedy Space Center, Mr. Charles E. Groover, signed a consent after being subjected to the same type pressure, but later rescinded it in writing. The other nine (9) operators at Kennedy Space Center have signed consents but it is my firm belief that they did so under duress.

I have not advised my client to request a fair hearing because both Mr. E. C. Crawford, head of the Vending Stand Section, and Mr. Murdock Martin, chief of the Bureau of Blind Services, have personally attempted to persuade him and others to agree to the 2% contribution.

Therefore, it is my opinion that a request for a fair hearing from a man who has already reached a decision, namely Murdock Martin, would be the height of futility.

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that it is my belief that the agents of the Bureau of Blind Services, the licensing agency for Florida, have failed to comply and are failing to comply substantially with the Vocational Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. Ch. 4) by coercing my client and others to contribute as set forth in this letter; that the acts of such agents are the acts of the said licensing agency.

I respectfully request that you inform said agency of its failure to comply with the said Act and direct it to comply with the same by withdrawing any demand whether direct or indirect upon my client to contribute to such fund.

I respectfully request your protection and help in seeing that the Florida Bureau complies with the Act and I further respectfully request your protection in preventing reprisals against my client by the Bureau because of his seeking and following the advice of legal counsel.

Respectfully yours,

Louis C. Corbin

cc: James C. Parkman
4865 Santa Rosa Avenue
Titusville, Florida





James C. Parkman,
E. C. Crawford, as Director of the Vending
Stand Section, a sub-bureau of the Bureau
of Blind Services; Murdock Martin, as Chief
of the Bureau of Blind Services; Craig Mills,
as Director of the Division of Vocational
Rehabilitation; Emmitt Roberts, as Secretary
and Head of the Department of Health and
Rehabilitative Services; and Rueben O'D.
Askew, as Governor and Chief Executive of
the State of Florida, Charles Hammond as
Supervisor in the Vending Stand Section,


1. This is a proceeding for declaratory relief under Fla. Stat. Ann. 120.30 (1971) for the purpose of determining a question in actual controversy between the parties hereto.

2. The Honorable Craig Mills, The Honorable Emmitt Roberts, and the Honorable Rueben O'D. Askew, Governor of the state of Florida, are named as defendants because the Bureau of Blind Services is a bureau within the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation which is a division of the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services and because the Honorable Rueben O'D. Askew, Governor of the State of Florida is the Chief Executive of the State of Florida.

3. Plaintiff is a resident of Brevard County, Florida and operates Stand Number 150 at Kennedy Space Center, Cape Kennedy, Florida.

4. Plaintiff operates said stand under the immediate supervision of the Vending Stand Section.

5. On or about February 15, 1972, and on several subsequent occasions, plaintiff was approached by Charles Hammond, his immediate supervisor in the Vending Stand Section, and was asked to sign a consent, a copy of which is attached hereto, allowing the Vending Stand Section to contribute 2% of the gross sales of plaintiffs stand to the NASA Exchange Council, Kennedy Space Center. The NASA Exchange Council is an employee recreation fund for the Federal employees of the Kennedy Space Center.

6. Plaintiff has not yet signed said consent.

7. Plaintiff was informed by said Charles Hammond that if plaintiff refused to sign said consent, he would be removed from his stand at Kennedy Space Center and relocated elsewhere.

8. Subsequent to said Charles Hammond's initial attempt to coerce plaintiff to sign said consent, defendant Murdock Martin visited plaintiff and further attempted to persuade him to sign said consent.

9. There are ten (10) other vending stand operators at Kennedy Space Center, nine of whom have signed said consent. The tenth (10) operator, Charles E. Groover, signed said consent but later rescinded it in writing.

10. From approximately March 21, 1967 through approximately December 1, 1969, the Vending Stand Section withheld 5% of the gross sales of plaintiffs stand and of the other stands located at Kennedy Space Center and allegedly contributed said 5% to the NASA Exchange Council without any consent from plaintiff, written or otherwise, and in fact against plaintiff’s urgent pleas. Plaintiff does not know but that the Vending Stand Section may again take the same unauthorized liberty with the plaintiff’s income regarding the proposed 2% contribution.

11. It is plaintiffs opinion that whether he and/or the other vending stand operators at Kennedy Space Center consent to said contribution to be withheld and distributed by the Vending Stand Section that the withholding and distribution by the Vending Stand Section would be illegal because the withheld amounts would not be used for any of the four (4) purposes as set forth in Florida Administrative Code lOG-2.05 (2) and (3) and paragraph H (1) of the Rules and Regulations of the Vending Stand Section, nor would the withheld amounts constitute an operating expense as set forth in paragraph H(1) of the Rules and Regulations of the Vending Stand Section.

12. Plaintiff believes that it would be utterly futile to request a fair hearing under the Rules and Regulations of the Vending Stand Section because both defendants, E. C. Crawford, Director of the Vending Stand Section, and Murdock Martin, Chief of the Bureau of Blind Services, have attempted to persuade him to consent to said contribution and are therefore prejudiced in the matter.

13. Further plaintiff believes that a request for a fair hearing would result in reprisals being taken against him by the Vending Stand Section and the Bureau of Blind Services, either in the form of transferring him to a less desirable location or removing him from the vending stand program or some other form of reprisal.

14. Further plaintiff believes that unless he receives protection of this court that reprisals will be taken against him by the Vending Stand Section and the Bureau of Blind Services for seeking and following the advice of legal counsel.

WHEREFORE, plaintiff prays for a declaratory judgment under Fla. Stat. Ann. 120.30 (1971), and that the defendants and each of them their agents and servants, be restrained and enjoined by the order of this court, pending the final determination of the issues stated herein, and upon such determination, be permanently restrained and enjoined from withholding any percentage of the gross sales of plaintiffs stand or of any other stand at Kennedy Space Center and contributing said percentage to the NASA Exchange Council or to any other social club or charitable organization and from in any way bothering, interfering with, harassing, or coercing plaintiff with regard to said contribution and from taking reprisals against plaintiff for his refusal to consent to said contribution and for his seeking and following the advice of legal counsel, and that the plaintiff may have his costs and such other and further relief as the court may deem equitable.

Louis C, Corbin, Attorney for Plaintiff
137 E. Forsyth St.
Jacksonville, Florida



The undersigned, being first duly sworn, says that: he is the plaintiff in the above styled cause and that the foregoing has been read to him and that the statements contained therein are true.


Sworn to and subsrcibed before me this ____day of____, 1972.

Notary Public
My commission expires:


I Understand and Agree the following expenses will be charged
to Stand No._____, Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Nature of Expense: 2% of Gross Sales, Payable to the NASA Exchange Council, KSC
Date  __________  Signed: _____________________
Witness __________________________



April 17, 1972

FROM: H.E. Bowen, President
National Federation of the Blind of Florida
2415 Brownwood Rd,
Jacksonville, Florida 32207

Enclosed are copies of a letter and of a complaint which you may find to be newsworthy. If so, please let it be known that the National Federation of the Blind, headquarters Des Moines, Iowa, President Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, and the National Federation of the Blind of Florida, the Florida affiliate, have and will continue to support Mr. Parkman and his fellow vending stand operators legally, financially and morally or in any other legitimate way that may be necessary in order to put a stop to the unauthorized and illegal rake-off of their hard-earned income by the Bureau of Blind Services. The National Federation of the Blind and its Florida affiliate are aware of the many good services and programs which the Bureau of the Blind Services provides for Florida's blind citizens, nevertheless, the National Federation of the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind of Florida will not stand by and allow the Bureau of Blind Services to coerce, harass or in any manner intimidate those citizens whom the Bureau of Blind Services is supposed to serve, not rule. We will no longer tolerate the Bureau of Blind Services assuming a "massah-servant" attitude toward the blind citizens of Florida.

If you should decide to publish anything on this matter, we would very much appreciate your letting us know so that we may read your article.

H.E. Bowen



April 19, 1972

It is our considered opinion the actions and attitudes of those in disagreement with the majority concerning the "Donation" are not in the best interest of Florida, The Bureau of Blind Services or the vending stand program at Kennedy Space Center.

The unwarranted and untrue bad publicity instigated by those seeking personal vengence against the Bureau of Blind Services, have, in fact, damaged our character, integrity, and public image.

We feel very strongly that their continued appearance on the Cape poses a hazard to our right to make a living. Further, by stirring up public resentment on the Cape at this time may severely damage and undermine any good relations with NASA and further. . . .

We have a moral responsibility to speak out against this perpetuated hoax which endangers the structure of the entire program concocted by James Parkman and supported by Mrs. H. E. Bowen of Jacksonville, the President of the National Federation of the Blind of Florida.

We feel this attitude is detrimental to the Space Program as a whole.

There was no pressure exerted on anyone to acquire a signature on any document.

We feel a responsibility as contributing members of society and Kennedy Space Center, which is a primary aim of the Bureau of Blind Services as well as better relations between blind and sighted people.

The 2% donation would be a token of our appreciation for the many free services and considerations given us by NASA.




[Reprinted from The Tampa Tribune Tuesday, April 18, 1972.]

The blind operator of a vending stand at Kennedy Space Center filed a lawsuit yesterday charging that state officials are trying to skim off a percentage of his gross income for a space center recreation fund.

James C. Parkman asked Brevard County Circuit Court at Titusville for an injunction to prevent any of his income being withheld without his permission. He also asked a court order preventing reprisals against him.

Mrs. H. E. Bowen of Jacksonville, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Florida, announced the suit and issued a statement supporting Parkman's position.

She said the organization "will no longer tolerate the Florida Bureau of Blind Services assuming a 'massah-servant' attitude toward the blind citizens of Florida."

Defendants in Parkman's suit are Gov. Reubin Askew, Emmett Roberts, secretary of health and welfare, and officials of the State Bureau of Blind Services.

Parkman contends in his suit that Charles Hammond, supervisor of the vending stand section of the state agency, asked him on Feb. 15, 1972, to contribute 2 percent of his gross sales to the NASA Exchange Council, an employe recreation fund at Cape Kennedy.

The suit claims that 5 percent of gross sales from his and other blind-operated stands on the federal missile base was withheld without the vendors' consent between March 21, 1967, and December 1, 1969.

Parkman said the withholding of funds--whether vendors agreed to it or not--was illegal because the money would not be used for any of the purposes set forth under Florida law.

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[Reprinted from the NFB of Iowa Bulletin.]

Before wrapping up its 1972 session the Iowa Legislature adopted a key proposal of far-reaching importance to the blind and other disabled persons. Senate File 1148 amends the Iowa Civil Rights Act by adding disability to a series of characteristics against which discrimination is made illegal. In each instance where the Act prohibits discrimination against such factors as race, creed, color, religion, sex and national origin the new bill adds disability and includes such new areas as discrimination in employment, in housing, and in use of public facilities and transportation. On March 22 Governor Robert D. Ray signed Senate File 1 148 into law and it becomes operative presumably on July 1, 1972.

Iowa's Model White Cane Act has now been joined on the statute books by another provision of law protecting the rights of the blind and the otherwise disabled. The two acts functioning together will afford a measure of protection under the law against discrimination which goes far beyond what is available in any other state. Under this year's amendments to the Civil Rights Act the Iowa Civil Rights Commission is charged with responsibility for investigating allegations of discrimination based on disability, for holding hearing on such allegations, and rendering binding decisions. These amendments add a new enforcement vehicle to protect the rights of the disabled.

Under the 1972 Civil Rights Amendments a blind person who is qualified by training or experience to hold a particular job cannot be denied an opportunity to work in that position on the basis of blindness without establishing a legally defined act of discrimination. A blind person who is denied a promotion to a job for which he is qualified by training or experience will now be the object of discrimination under Iowa law and such a blind person will have the right to have his case adjudicated by the Civil Rights Commission.

Senate File 1148 enjoyed strong bipartisan support in both houses of the Iowa Legislature, but it did not become law without opposition. The Iowa Manufacturers Association and other groups sought to water down the bill or kill it by crippling amendments but the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa and the Iowa Commission for the Blind both called upon legislatures and other friends to successfully defeat these efforts. The National Federation of the Blind of Iowa President and other members made individual contacts with most senators and representatives and President Nemmers and Mr. Kenneth Jernigan also met with key members of the House and Senate to explain the need for the bill and answer questions regarding its impact.

The organized blind and in fact all blind Iowans have now reached another milestone on the road to full equality and first-class citizenship. An important objective of the new civil rights amendments will be to educate employers and the general public regarding the capabilities of blind persons, but when the need arises Iowa law now has teeth with which to deal with discrimination based on blindness. The new amendments will not require acceptance of blind persons for jobs and activities for which they are not suited but it does prohibit denial of opportunities based on blindness whenever blindness is not a relevant factor. The National Federation of the Blind of Iowa and the Iowa Commission for the Blind working together have achieved another important goal.

[Image] The Signing of the Iowa Civil Rights Act Sylvester Nemmers, Governor Ray, and President Jernigan

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NOTE: Senate File 1148 (enacted by the Second Regular Session of the 64th General Assembly of Iowa) amended Chapter 105A, 1970 Code of Iowa, "Civil Rights Commission." For purposes of this document, phrases or words added by Senate File 1148 are italicized and Chapter 105A is reproduced as it will appear in the Code of Iowa.



105A.1 Citation.

105A.2 Definitions.

105A.3 Commission appointed.

105A.4 Expenses--rules

105A.5 Powers and duties.

105A.6 Unfair practices--accommodations or services.

105A.7 Unfair employment practices.

105A.8 Aiding or abetting.

105A.9 Complaint--hearing.

105 A. 10 Judicial review.

105 A. 1 1 Rule of construction.

105A.12 Local laws may implement this chapter.

105A.13, Unfair or discriminatory practices.

105A.14 Exceptions.

105A.15 Sex provisions not applicable to retirement plans.

105A.1 CITATION. This chapter may be known and may be cited as the "Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965".

105 A. 2 DEFINITIONS. When used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

1. "Court" means the district court in and for the judicial district of the state of Iowa in which the alleged unfair or discriminatory practice occurred or any judge of said court if the court is not in session at that time.

2. "Person" means one or more individuals, partnerships, associations, corporations, legal representatives, trustees, receivers, and the state of Iowa and all political subdivisions and agencies thereof.

3. "Employment agency" means any person undertaking to procure employees or opportunities to work for any other person or any person holding himself or itself to be equipped to do so.

4. "Labor organization" means any organization which exists for the purpose in whole or in part of collective bargaining, of dealing with employers concerning grievances, terms, or conditions of employment, or of other mutual aid or protection in connection with employment.

5. "Employer" means the state of Iowa or any political subdivision, board, commission, department, institution, or school district thereof, and every other person employing employees within the state.

6. "Employee" means any person employed by an employer.

7. "Unfair practice" or "discriminatory practice" means those practices specified as unfair or discriminatory in sections 105A.6, 105A.7 and 105A.8.

8. "Commission" means the Iowa state civil rights commission created by this chapter.

9. "Commissioner" means a member of the commission.

10. "Public accommodation" means each and every place, establishment, or facility of whatever kind, nature, or class that caters or offers services, facilities, or goods to the general public for a fee or charge, provided that any place, establishment, or facility that caters or offers services, facilities, or goods to the general public gratuitously shall be  deemed a public accommodation if the accommodation receives any substantial governmental support or subsidy Public accommodation shall not mean any bona fide private club or other place, establishment, or facility which is by its nature distinctly private, except when such distinctly private place, establishment, or facility caters or offers services, facilities, or goods to the general public for fee or charge or gratuitously, it shall be deemed a public accommodation during such period.

11. "Disability" means the physical or mental condition of a person which constitutes a substantial handicap. In reference to employment, under this chapter, "disability" also means the physical or mental condition of a person which means the physical or mental condition of a person which constitutes a substantial handicap, but is unrelated to such person's ability to engage in a particular occupation.

105A.3 COMMISSION APPOINTED. The Iowa state civil rights commission shall consist of seven members appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate. Appointments shall be made to provide geographical area representation insofar as may be practicable. No more than four members of the commission shall belong to the same political party. Members appointed to the commission shall serve for a term of four years except the initial appointees shall be appointed by the governor to serve as follows:

1. Three members shall serve from the date of appointment until June 30, 1967.

2. Four members shall serve from the date of appointment until June 30, 1969.

Vacancies on the commission shall be filled by the governor by appointment for the unexpired part of the term of the vacancy with the advice and consent of the senate if the general assembly shall be in session. Any appointment filling a vacancy occurring while the general assembly is not in session shall be transmitted to the senate for confirmation within thirty days following the convening of the next session of the general assembly or the appointment shall expire. Any commissioner may be removed from office by the governor for cause.

105A.4 EXPENSES--RULES. Commissioners shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for necessary travel and other expenses incurred while on official commission business. The commission shall adopt, amend, or rescind such rules as shall be necessary for the conduct of its meetings. A quorum shall consist of four commissioners.

105A.5 POWERS AND DUTIES. The commission shall have the following powers and duties:

1. To appoint and prescribe the duties of a director and such investigators and other employees and agents as the commission shall deem necessary for the enforcement of this chapter.

2. To receive, investigate, and pass upon complaints alleging unfair or discriminatory practices.

3. To investigate and study the existence, character, causes and extent of discrimination in public accommodations, employment, apprenticeship programs, on-the-job training programs, vocational schools, and housing in this state and to attempt the elimination of such discrimination by education and conciliation.

4. To hold hearings upon any complaint made against a person, an employer, an employment agency, or a labor organization, or the employees or members thereof, to subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance at such hearings, to administer oaths and take the testimony of any person under oath, and to compel such person, employer, employment agency, or labor organization, or employees or members thereof to produce for examination any books and papers relating to any matter involved in such complaint. The commission shall issue subpoenas for witnesses in the same manner and for the same purposes on behalf of the respondent upon his request. Such hearings may be held by the commission, by any commissioner, or by any hearing examiner appointed by the commission. If a witness either fails or refuses to obey a subpoena issued by the commission, the commission may petition the district court having jurisdiction for issuance of a subpoena and the court shall in a proper case issue the subpoena. Refusal to obey such subpoena shall be subject to punishment for contempt.

5. To issue such publications and reports of investigations and research as in the judgement of the commission shall tend to promote good will among the various racial, religious, and ethnic groups of the state and which shall tend to minimize or eliminate discrimination in public accommodations, employment, apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs, vocational schools, or housing because of race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, ancestry, or disability.

6. To prepare and transmit to the governor and to the general assembly from time to time, but not less often than once each year, reports describing its proceedings, investigations, hearings conducted and the outcome thereof, decisions rendered, and the other work performed by the commission.

7. To make recommendations to the general assembly for such further legislation concerning discrimination because of race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, ancestry or disability as it may deem necessary and desirable.

8. To co-operate, within the limits of any appropriations made for its operation, with other agencies or organizations, both public and private, whose purposes are consistent with those of this chapter, and in the planning and conducting of programs designed to eliminate racial, religious, cultural, and intergroup tensions.

9. To adopt, publish, amend, and rescind regulations consistent with and necessary for the enforcement of this chapter.

10. To receive, administer, dispense and account for any funds that may be voluntarily contributed to the commission and any grants that may be awarded the commission for furthering the purposes of this chapter with the approval of the executive council.


1. It shall be an unfair or discriminatory practice for any owner, lessee, sublessee, proprietor, manager, or superintendent of any public accommodation or any agent or employee thereof:

a. To refuse or deny to any person because of race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, or disability the accommodations, advantages, facilities, services, or privileges thereof, or otherwise to discriminate against any person because of race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, or disability in the furnishing of such accommodations, advantages, facilities, services or privileges.

b. To directly or indirectly advertise or in any other manner indicate or publicize that the patronage of persons of any particular race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, or disability is unwelcome, objectionable, not acceptable, or not solicited.

2. This section shall not apply to:

a. Any bona fide religious institution with respect to any qualifications the institution may impose based on religion when such qualifications are related to a bona fide religious purpose.

b. The rental or leasing to transient individuals of less than six rooms within a single housing accommodation by the occupant or owner of such housing accommodation if the occupant or owner or members of his family reside therein.


1. It shall be an unfair or discriminatory practice for any:

a. Person to refuse to hire, accept, register, classify, or refer for employment, to discharge any employee, or to otherwise discriminate in employment against any applicant for employment or any employee because of the race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, or disability of such applicant or employee, unless based upon the nature of the occupation. If a disabled person is qualified to perform a particular occupation, by reason of training or experience, the nature of that occupation shall not be the basis for exception to the unfair or discriminating practices prohibited by this subsection.

b. Labor organization or the employees, agents, or members thereof to refuse to admit to membership any applicant, to expel any member, or to otherwise discriminate against any applicant for membership or any member in the privileges, rights, or benefits of such membership because of the race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, or disability of such applicant or member.

c. Employer, employment agency, labor organization, or the employees, agents or members thereof to directly or indirectly advertise or in any other manner indicate or publicize that individuals of any particular race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, or disability are unwelcome, objectionable, not acceptable, or not solicited for employment or membership unless based on the nature of the occupation. If a disabled person is qualified to perform a particular occupation by reason of training or experience, the nature of that occupation shall not be the basis for exception to the unfair or discriminating practices prohibited by this subsection.

An employer, employment agency, or their employees, servants, or agents may offer employment or advertise for employment to only the disabled, when other applicants have available to them, other employment compatible with their ability which would not be available to the disabled because of their handicap. Any such employment or offer of employment shall not discriminate among the disabled on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, or national origin.

2. This section shall not apply to:

a. Any employer who regularly employs less than four individuals. For purposes of this subsection, individuals who are members of the employer's family shall not be counted as employees.

b. The employment of individuals for work within the home of the employer if the employer or members of his family reside therein during such employment.

c. The employment of individuals to render personal service to the person of the employer or members of his family.

d. Any bona fide religious institution with respect to any qualifications for employment based on religion when such qualifications are related to a bona fide religious purpose.

105A.8 AIDING OR ABETTING. It shall be an unfair or discriminatory practice for:

1. Any person to intentionally aid, abet, compel, or coerce another person to engage in any of the practices declared unfair or discriminatory by this chapter.

2. Any person to discriminate against another person in any of the rights protected against discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, or disability by this chapter because such person has lawfully opposed any practice forbidden under this chapter, obeys the provisions of this chapter, or has filed a complaint, testified, or assisted in any proceeding under this chapter. An employer, employment agency, or their employees, servants, or agents may offer employment or advertise for employment to only the disabled, when other applicants have available to them other employment compatible with their ability which would not be available to the disabled because of their handicap. Any such employment or offer of employment shall not discriminate among the disabled on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, or national origin.


1. Any person claiming to be aggrieved by a discriminatory or unfair practice may, by himself or his attorney, make, sign, and file with the commission a verified, written complaint in triplicate which shall state the name and address of the person, employer, employment agency, or labor organization alleged to have committed the discriminatory or unfair practice of which complained, shall set forth the particulars thereof, and shall contain such other information as may be required by the commission. The commission, a commissioner, or the attorney general may in like manner make, sign and file such complaint.

In an action the plaintiff may recover, if he shows that there was no reasonable cause to believe the ground upon which the complaint was made, the actual damages sustained and reasonable attorney fees to be fixed by the court.

2. Any place of public accommodation, employer, labor organization, or other person who has any employees or members who refuse or threaten to refuse to comply with the provisions of this chapter may file with the commission a verified written complaint in triplicate asking the commission for assistance to obtain their compliance by conciliation or other remedial action.

3. After the filing of a verified complaint, a true copy thereof shall be served by registered mail to the person against whom the complaint is filed. Then a commissioner or a duly authorized member of the commission's staff shall make a prompt investigation thereof and if such investigating official shall determine that probable cause exists for crediting the allegations of the complaint, the investigating official shall immediately endeavor to eliminate such discriminatory or unfair practice by conference, conciliation, and persuasion.

4. The members of the commission and its staff shall not disclose the filing of a complaint, the information gathered during the investigation, or the endeavors to eliminate such discriminatory or unfair practice by conference, conciliation, and persuasion, unless such disclosure is made in connection with the conduct of such investigation.

5. In case of failure to satisfactorily settle a complaint by conference, conciliation, and persuasion, or in advance thereof if in the opinion of the investigating official circumstances so warrant, the official may issue and cause to be served a written notice together with a copy of such complaint, as the same may have been amended, requiring the person, employer, employment agency, or labor organization named in such complaint, hereafter referred to as respondent, to answer the charges of such complaint in writing within ten days after the date of such notice or within such extended time as the investigating official may allow.

6. When the investigating official is satisfied that further endeavor to settle a complaint by conference, conciliation, and persuasion shall be futile, the official shall report the same to the commission. If the commission determines that the circumstances warrant, it shall issue and cause to be served a written notice requiring a respondent to answer the charges of such complaint at a hearing before the commission, a commissioner, or such other person designated by the commission to conduct the hearing, hereafter referred to as hearing examiner, and at a time and place to be specified in such notice.

7. The case in support of such complaint shall be presented at the hearing by one of the commission's attorneys or agents. The investigating official shall not participate in the hearing except as a witness nor shall he participate in the deliberations of the commission in such case.

8. The respondent may file a written verified answer to the complaint, and may appear at the hearing in person, with or without counsel, and submit testimony. In the discretion of the hearing examiner, a complainant may be allowed to intervene and present testimony in person or by counsel.

9. When a respondent has failed to answer a complaint at a hearing as provided by this section the commission may enter his default. For good cause shown, the commission may set aside an entry of default within ten days after the date of such entry. If the respondent is in default, the commission may proceed to hear testimony adduced upon behalf of the complainant. After hearing such testimony, the commission may enter such order as in its opinion the evidence warrants.

10. The commission or the complainant shall have the power to reasonably and fairly amend any complaint and the respondent shall have like power to amend his answer.

11. The commission shall not be bound by the strict rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity but the right of cross examination shall be preserved. Complainant shall bear the burden of proving the allegations in his complaint. The testimony taken at a hearing shall be under oath, reported, and, if ordered by the commission, transcribed.

12. If, upon taking into consideration all the evidence at a hearing, the commission shall find that a respondent has engaged in or is engaging in, any discriminatory or unfair practice as defined in this chapter, the commission shall state its findings of fact and shall issue and cause to be served upon such respondent an order requiring such respondent to cease and desist from such discriminatory or unfair practice and to take such affirmative action, including, but not limited to, hiring, reinstatement, or upgrading of employees, with or without back pay, the referring of applicants for employment by any respondent employment agency, the admittance or restoration to membership by any respondent labor organization, the admission to or continuation in enrollment in an apprenticeship program, on-the-job training program, the posting of notices, and the making of reports as to the manner of compliance, as in the judgment of the commission shall effectuate the purposes of this chapter.

13. If, upon taking into consideration all of the evidence at a hearing, the commission shall find that a respondent has not engaged in any such discriminatory or unfair practice, the commission shall state its findings of fact and shall issue and cause to be served an order on the complainant and the respondent dismissing the complaint.

14. The commission shall establish rules to govern, expedite, and effectuate the procedures established by this chapter and its own actions thereunder.

15. Any complaint filed under this chapter shall be so filed within ninety days after the alleged discriminatory or unfair practice occurred.


1. Any complainant or respondent claiming to be aggrieved by a final order of the commission, including a refusal to issue an order, may obtain judicial review thereof, and the commission may obtain an order of court for the enforcement of commission orders in a proceeding as provided in this section.

2. Such proceeding shall be brought in the district court of the district in the county in which the alleged discriminatory or unfair practice which is the subject of the commission's order was committed, or in which any respondent required in the order to cease or desist from a discriminatory or unfair practice or to take other affirmative action, resides, or transacts business.

3. Such proceeding shall be initiated by the filing of a petition in such court and the service of a copy thereof upon the commission and upon respondent or complainant. Thereupon the commission shall file with the court a transcript of the record of the hearing before it. The court shall have jurisdiction of the proceeding and the questions determined therein, and shall have power to grant such temporary relief or restraining order as it deems just and proper, and to make and enter upon the pleadings, testimony, and proceedings, set forth in such transcript an order enforcing, modifying, and enforcing as so modified, or setting aside the order of the commission, in whole or in part.

4. An objection that has not been urged before the commission shall not be considered by the court, unless the failure or neglect to urge such objection shall be excused because of extraordinary circumstances.

5. Any party may move the court to remit the case to the commission in the interests of justice for the purpose of adducing additional specified and material evidence and seeking findings thereof, providing such party shall show reasonable grounds for the failure to adduce such evidence before the commission.

6. The hearing on appeal shall be tried in equity and shall be de novo. The court may receive additional testimony and may affirm, modify, or reverse the order of the commission.

7. The jurisdiction of the court shall be exclusive and its judgment and order shall be final subject to review by the supreme court as provided by law.

8. The commission's copy of the testimony shall be available to all parties for examination at all reasonable times, without cost, and for the purpose of judicial review of the commission's orders.

9. The commission may appear in court by its own attorney.

10. Unless otherwise directed by the commission or court, commencement of review proceedings under this section shall operate as a stay of any order.

11., Petitions filed under this section shall be heard expeditiously and determined upon the transcript filed without requirement for printing.

12. If no proceeding to obtain judicial review is instituted by a complainant or respondent within thirty days from the service of an order of the commission under section 105A.9, the commission may obtain an order of the court for the enforcement of such order upon showing that respondent is subject to the jurisdiction of the commission and resides or transacts business within the county in which the petition for enforcement is brought.

105A.11, RULE OF CONSTRUCTION. This chapter shall be construed broadly to effectuate its purposes.

105A.12 LOCAL LAWS MAY IMPLEMENT THIS CHAPTER. Nothing contained in any provision of this chapter shall be construed as indicating an intent on the part of the general assembly to occupy the field in which this chapter operates to the exclusion of local laws not inconsistent with this chapter that deal with the same subject matter.

105A.13 UNFAIR OR DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES. It shall be an unfair or discriminatory practice for any owner, or person acting for an owner, of rights to housing or real property, with or without compensation, including but not limited to persons licensed as real estate brokers or salesmen, attorneys, auctioneers, agents or representatives by power of attorney or appointment, or any person acting under court order, deed of trust, or will:

1. To refuse to sell, rent, lease, assign, or sublease any real property or housing accommodation or part, portion, or interest therein, to any person because of the race, color, creed, religion, national origin or disability of such person.

2. To discriminate against any person because of his race, color, creed, religion, national origin, or disability in the terms, conditions or privileges of the sale, rental, lease assignment or sublease of any real property or housing accommodation or any part, portion or interest therein.

3. To directly or indirectly advertise, or in any other manner indicate or publicize that the purchase, rental, lease, assignment, or sublease of any real property or housing accommodation or any part, portion or interest therein, by persons of any particular race, color, creed, religion, national origin, or disability is unwelcome, objectionable, not acceptable or not solicited.

105A.14 EXCEPTIONS. The provision of section 105A.13 shall not apply to:

1. Any bona fide religious institution with respect to any qualifications it may impose based on religion, when such qualifications are related to a bona fide religious purpose.

2. The rental or leasing of a housing accommodation in a building which contains housing accommodations for not more than two families living independently of each other, if the owner or members of his family reside in one of such housing accommodations.

3. The rental or leasing of less than six rooms within a single housing accommodation by the occupant or owner of such housing accommodation, if he or members of his family reside therein.

105A.15 SEX PROVISIONS NOT APPLICABLE TO RETIREMENT PLANS. The provisions of this chapter relating to discrimination because of sex shall not be construed to apply to any retirement plan or benefit system of any employer unless such plan or system is a mere subterfuge adopted for the purpose of evading the provisions of this chapter.

After a handicapped individual is employed, the employer shall not be required under this chapter to promote or transfer such handicapped person to another job or occupation, unless, prior to such transfer, such handicapped person by training or experience is qualified for such job or occupation. Any collective bargaining agreement between an employer and labor organization shall contain this section as a part of such agreement.

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by Florence Grannis

[Editor's Note: Mrs. Grannis is Assistant Director in Charge of Library and Social Services, Iowa Commission for the Blind.]

Below is a summary of current postal regulations relating to the blind.

Material mailed under Postal Regulation No. 138 must be for the use of the blind or other persons who cannot use conventionally printed material. There must be no advertisements, fees, or charges connected with this mail, and postal inspectors have the right to open all objects mailed as FREE MATTER FOR THE BLIND OR HANDICAPPED.


1. Unsealed letters from a blind person, if they are written in raised characters or in large print type, or are sound reproductions.

2. Reading matter and musical scores--these include cassettes, magnetic tapes and records.

3. Material for the production of one of the above--including blank tapes and cassettes; Braille paper.

4. Record players, tape players, or their parts.

5. Braille typewriters or writers, or their parts.

6. Material designed or adapted especially for the use of a blind person or a person with a physical impairment that makes it impossible for him to read conventional print.

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by Robert Acosta

My Fellow Federationists: You are cordially invited to attend the second annual meeting of the Teachers Division of the National Federation of the Blind to be held during the afternoon of July 3, 1972, at the Palmer House in Chicago, Illinois.

Our program will begin promptly at 1:15 p.m. with a report from the Division President, Robert Acosta. At 1:30, we shall hear a dynamic speech from our keynote speaker, Dr. Jacob Freid who is a member of the Board of Directors of the NFB as well as being the Director of the Jewish Braille Institute in New York City. Dr. Freid will speak to us on the topic: "The Blind Teacher and the Triple Revolution."

At 1:50, Mr. Carl Schier, Attorney at Law, will speak to us on "The Blind Teacher and Classroom Liability." At 2:15 we shall hear a panel discussion on "The Education of Blind Children in Illinois." Members of the panel are: Moderator, Mr. James Gashel, Instructor, Iowa Commission for the Blind; Dr. Elberta Pruitt, Director of Special Education, Chicago City Schools; Mrs. Dorris Willoughby, Resource Teacher, Cedar Rapids School District; Mr. Thomas Svob, Assistant Superintendent of the Illinois Braille and Sight Saving School.

At 3 p.m. we shall hear another panel discussion on "Teacher Placement in Illinois, as a Reflection of our National Employment Crisis." Moderator, Mr. Kenneth Hopkins, Director Idaho Commission for the Blind; a Representative of the Chicago Teachers Union; Mr. Thomas L. McGreal, Director Educational Placement Office, University of Illinois; Mrs. Gail Lieberman, Educational Specialist for Visually-Impaired Handicapped Children, State of Illinois; and Miss Veronica Cummings, Teacher Counselor, Department of Personnel, Chicago City Schools.

At 4:00 p.m. we shall hold a dialogue between the audience and a select group of master teachers. They shall discuss "The Blind Teacher and Classroom Techniques."

The meeting will be adjourned at 5:00 p.m. We wish to point out that there will be ample time allowed for questions from the audience of our various participants.

The Teachers Division is also hoping to host a reception on the evening of July 3rd in order to talk with one another on a more informal basis. This reception will give us a chance to speak with those honored guests who took part in our program.

We'll see you in Chicago.

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by Marc Maurer

Each year the National Federation of the Blind Convention is bigger and better than ever before. So it is also in the National Student Division; we grow with and benefit from the spirit and drive of the organized blind movement. Since 1967 when the Student Division was organized each annual meeting of the members of this group has been bigger, more interesting, and more far-reaching in its consequences. In 1971 under the able and imaginative leadership of President Gashel, the Student Division initiated action which might well result in very pleasing developments within the sphere of rehabilitation for Wind students. Already, the beginnings have been made toward meaningful dialogue with rehabilitation officials.

In this spirit of progress, the Student Division moves forward. This year's meeting is expected to be the best we have had yet. Discussions will be held concerning many phases of activity pertinent to students. There will be consideration of many long standing student problems and contemplation of ostensible solutions. With well known officials, we will try to discern and analyze the trends in rehabilitation and education of blind students.

The 1972 meeting will be exciting, informative, and interesting. Members attending the meeting may expect quite lively discussions, and their presence there is likely to make the exchange even more voluble. I look forward to seeing you there.

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The National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science will hold its first seminar the afternoons of Sunday July 2, 1972 and Monday, July 3, 1972. Meetings will be held at the Palmer House just prior to the NFB Convention.

The Sunday afternoon session promises to have something for everyone. For those interested in becoming computer programmers, we will have representatives from technical schools and schools for the blind to discuss their various programs. For those interested in learning new techniques, there will be a panel of employed blind programmers discussing some of the techniques which they feel have improved their efficiency. We also plan to have employers talk to us about the good and bad points they have found in working with blind people in our profession.

We hope to have several companies and individuals on hand with products that are useful aids to the blind programmer. We hope that as many as possible will bring displays to be placed in our exhibit room for at least the two days of our seminar and hopefully for the whole NFB Convention. There will be time during both sessions for open discussion of any devices that are on display or that representatives talk to us about.

Our organization has been steadily increasing in membership since our first meeting last summer. This year's business meeting will be a very important one, as we will be discussing and adopting our constitution and electing our officers and board members. Our president, Curtis Willoughby, will give us a report of the activities of the organization during the past year and will suggest possible direction for us to follow in the years to come.

Get your reservations in now. Remember, if you want the attractive NFB rates, you must indicate on your reservation that you will be attending the NFB Convention. If you wish further information about our organization, please contact Bob Ray, 671 32nd Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50312.

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The Lawyers Division of the National Federation of the Blind will meet at 1 p.m., July 3, at the Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, Illinois. The program will be presented by Russell Specter, Esquire, former Deputy General Counsel, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and now practicing attorney, Washington, D. C. Subject: Uncovering discriminatory practices and developing remedies under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This program will be of interest to all judges, lawyers, law students, and pre-law students and of special interest to plaintiff’s attorneys who are interested in entering a new, exciting, and very lucrative field of law. It will be equally appealing to attorneys and students who have the desire to engage in legal work that is beneficial to their fellow man.

This program could very well change your whole professional career. You owe it to yourself to attend and become active in the lawyers section of the NFB. If you have any questions or foresee any difficulties in attending the Convention, and, particularly, the lawyers section meeting, write or call collect to:

Louis C. Corbin, Esquire
316 Guaranty Life Building
137 East Forsyth Street
Jacksonville, Florida 32202
Business phone: (904) 355-5589; (904) 355-5580
Home phone: (904) 743-1511

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by Nellie Hargrove

It happens every Easter. Every year, blind Tennesseans and their guests gather somewhere in Tennessee and spend their Easter weekend participating in the annual convention of NFB of Tennessee. Some traditions are observed and new ideas are introduced. The tone of this year's convention was high-spirited enthusiasm.

There was more than one highlight of the convention this year, but one of the most outstanding was the introduction of Tennessee's dynamic new Director of Services for the Blind, Mrs. Elaine M. Parker. After her appearance on Saturday morning's program, enthusiasm began to mount, and it did not subside throughout the convention. Mrs. Parker's elaboration on the new programs for the blind which she is launching was exciting and encouraging.

Another highlight of the convention was an address by Edward M. Lindsey, past president of Lions International, an internationally known figure as well as a very popular Tennessean. Sharing the platform with Mr. Lindsey was Don Capps, who is also very popular with Tennesseans. After his speech, Don was presented with a set of candle holders which were made of Tennessee marble to commemorate Iris participation in our convention.

Still another highlight of the convention was the presentation of the "Federationist of The Year" award to the first vice-president of NFB of Tennessee, Lev Williams. Lev has been an officer in the organization since its beginning, and he has been an outstanding worker in the movement. He is dedicated, loyal, and determined.

Table favors at the banquet were copies of a country music recording by Leroy Duff, who is the second vice-president of the NFB of Tennessee. Leroy records under the name of Diamond King and his promoter alleges that he is the nation's second No.1 black country music singer.

A really heavy dance band composed of professional musicians who were all blind provided music for dancing after the banquet. It is generally believed that Tennesseeans play just as hard as they work but not as often.

It was election year and all officers were returned to their positions with the exception of second vice-president. This position was filled by Leroy Duff, and J. Marshall Warren was elected to a two year term on the board. There were no dissenting votes on a motion to charter a bus to Chicago to the NFB Convention, and door prizes for that Convention were to be accumulated by the president.

The convention had its lighter moments. Someone broke the somber air of a legislative discussion to ask if his guide-dog could receive Medic-aid, and at one point in the Sunday morning session, every board member present was fined fifty cents for not having his NFB pin on his person. When Lev and Barbara Williams went to get their car from the parking garage to drive back to Memphis, they found that the garage had been locked up tight for the holiday. It took a number of calls to Nashville's city hall and a lot of persuading to get the car out.

Conventioners were entertained by a speech from Clay Coble, who is the Superintendent of the Tennessee School for the Blind. Mr. Coble appeared to be considerably more at ease after the huge pink rabbit which was sitting on the speaker's table was given away as a door prize.

At a time in the affairs of mankind when we must be concerned with such paramount issues as a search for world peace, how to keep from suffocating from air pollution, or preservation of natural resources, it is somehow very reassuring to know that a hundred people can gather for a weekend to consider the most perplexing problem, the restoration and preservation of the dignity of mankind. It happens every Easter!

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I hope Christmas will be better this year than it was last year. We have come a long ways in the last few years, but we still have a long ways to go. It is a hard fight, but I think we can make it. There's a lot of the blind helt down by their own people just like I was for a long time. Some of them will say, "What can you do?" They should say, "What can we do to help you help yourself?"

Most of the blind that works here in the shops is on the welfare. Some of them is always asking me why I don't get on it. I would if it was run right. I rather be free to spend what little money that I have the way I want to. We have worked and took care of what little we have made. We may have to get on the welfare some time. It helps a lot of people, but on the other hand it holds a lot of people down.

We got a little raise at the shops about two weeks ago. Ten cents on the hour. I get $1.40 an hour now. Some of the sighted people that work here make over a $100 a week.

They have built more to the shops. They're working on the old part now. They need new trainees but can't get them. They don't have any place to stay. Back when I first come here, this was a good place for the blind to get around. But now the city has moved just about everything. Rent is so high that the blind can't pay it on what we make in the shops. If the blind work in these workshops, they're going to have to have better laws than they have now.

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The blind of Connecticut originally organized around 1948, primarily for the purpose of securing more adequate legislation to advance the welfare of the blind. One of its earliest accomplishments was the removal of the Director of Services for the Blind in 1953 since he refused to cooperate with the objectives of the movement. Fundraising has consisted of using the White Cane Week canisters, candy sales and raffles.

The Connecticut affiliate was reorganized in December 1971 as the NFB of Connecticut with 38 members and one chapter in Danbury. A new constitution was adopted and new officers elected. Several local chapters refused to accept the new constitution, preferring to continue their own programs as they had been. The charter group was small but of high caliber. In January, a new Hartford Chapter was organized and we are slowly adding new at-large members who will be able to spread the word and form more chapters.

Before we were ready to jump into the action, someone pushed us in and we had to swim. A position as Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in the State Department of Education and Services for the Blind was posted. Of eleven blind applicants, none was accepted to take the tests for the position. We believed that five of these did meet the qualifications so we protested, charging discrimination. Another organization of blind persons, who refuse to join the NFB, has been working closely with us on this situation. It is still unresolved; but it has led us into other areas such as seeking to establish communication between us and the State agency. We found for instance, that no blind person, except those appointed to the Board of Directors, had even attempted to attend a meeting of that Board. We did try and had a long talk with the Chairman, two Board members, and the Executive Director of the agency.

Also, one of our blind college students was struck by a car in Danbury; he was not seriously injured, but no charges were brought against the driver, a policeman in Danbury. The blind student had his white cane and was on the edge of the street. We believe there was a violation of the State statute requiring motorists to give special heed to blind persons carrying white canes or using guide dogs. A letter of protest has gone to the Mayor of Danbury and to the newspaper. We await developments. This does give urgency to pushing for the Model White Cane Law which campaign we are now preparing for the 1973 legislative session.

The president of the NFB of Connecticut is the Reverend Howard E. May, Jr., a minister of the American Baptist Convention. The Reverend May had been in Willington, Connecticut for almost four years when his sight squeezed off, a result of diabetes for over 35 years. He is still an active pastor. His wife, Betty, returned to college for a degree in Education and is teaching kindergarten. The youngest of their four children is 16 years old. The Mays have been involved in a number of causes over the past 25 years, but now that they are in it, they say they find the NFB both exciting and necessary.

As Reverend May put it: I was one of those fellows who was too busy to find out what other blind people were doing. I did have plenty of work to keep me busy. I faced the general attitudes of sighted people toward the blind but was not particularly upset. For some reason, curiosity I guess, I went to a statewide meeting of the blind in Hartford and met some of these people. Then I realized what I should have known--that other blind persons were having a much worse time than I, finding jobs, housing, being deprived through inadequate grants of assistance. Also I saw the number of bright, energetic, ambitious young blind going to colleges and looking forward to a life and career. As a "preacher" I have always believed that I should put my money where my mouth is. (Incidentally, I have more mouth than money.) So here I am, and glad to be with the NFB of Connecticut and of the Nation. We have a great bunch of people. I find it thrilling to be working with them. I have a concern, though. I expect to go to Chicago and to take my dog, Ned. Where is the nearest park?

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by Art Ferranti

[Editor's Note: A recent development is the extent to which student newspapers on college campuses have become interested in publishing articles on blindness and blind students. These articles have centered on such topics as attitudes toward blindness, blind students' opinions on whether the college ought to have any special programs such as the ones which exist at the Universities of Hawaii and Illinois, and the real problems of blindness. Student publications at the University of Hawaii, Notre Dame University, St. Cloud State College, and the College of St. Benedict have published articles of this nature. The following article is reprinted by courtesy of The Observer, student publication of Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana.]

There is almost unknown by the student bodies of Notre Dame and St. Mary's another "Minority" on campus. But unlike other minorities, these people do differ physically since they lack the sense of sight--but that is the only difference.

Also unlike most minorities, the blind are not covered by the Federal Civil Rights Act (however, a state "Model White Cane Law" has been accepted in 23 states since its origination in 1966).

There are four undergraduate and one graduate blind students at Notre Dame and St. Mary's. There is also one blind professor on the Notre Dame Faculty. This is the largest number of blind students to be at two institutions at any one time.

Mark Maurer, a blind sophomore, besides taking classes at ND, is president of the National Federation of the Blind, Student Division. As such, he has to deal with the problems of the 1,500 blind students across the nation (there are an estimated 400,000 to 2,000,000 blind people in the U. S. today).

Professor Stephen Rogers, on the General Program and Comparative Literature faculties, has been with Notre Dame for eleven years. Jim Grimes is a second year law student at the University.

As can be evidenced by these three people, the blind are a vital part of the Notre Dame community. Admission standards for the blind are the same as for sighted students. Grimes said the admissions board knew of his blindness and had accepted him on the basis of his academic merit. His basis for a scholarship was also on that of academic abilities.

"Readers" are a necessary tool for the blind on any campus. Notre Dame does not fund any special program for readers but leaves that responsibility to the individual. Professor Rogers, who utilizes two student readers, says that they are paid "a mere pittance" of their worth. Maurer has readers from the ND - SMC community. Red Cross volunteers give of their time for Jim Grimes. "You have to have the readers," said Grimes, "but we also make use of tape recorders and what Braille material is available."

Maurer likes the idea of having to take the initiative at Notre Dame to get your own readers. Notre Dame also does not provide any special programs for the blind and Maurer agrees with this idea. "People should not try to be specifically helpful to blind people because it probably will not help them in the long run," he said referring to types of rehabilitation programs at universities such as Hawaii and Illinois.

Professor Rogers agrees with Maurer, "The individual must meet his own needs but the University does make allowances whenever possible." For his own duties as a teacher, Rogers said that he is, "expected to perform like everyone else in his department," However he favored special rehabilitation centers which are set up for all the handicapped in many states to help prepare a student who has sufficient qualifications and desire to get into a college.

Grimes said that there is a great deal of work expected of him like all law students and that he has adjusted to the problems associated with doing this work.

As far as problems concerning this completion of work, Grimes said the main problem is that people do not understand about the blind and are indecisive about "not doing enough vs. doing too much, so consequently many do nothing."

Maurer also feels that a lack of understanding is at the root of the problems of the blind and the prejudices against them. "Few hate the blind but due to a lack of understanding, discrimination may be as great or greater than that of racial prejudice," Maurer added.

Rogers said that, "there are no sensational statements to be made about the blind. Intelligent people on the whole are easy to get along with." However, he added, "People in the outside community are discriminated against more than here."

Grimes said though that "he would like Notre Dame to increase their tapes and Braille materials for the blind as, in fact, all universities should. There have been improvements and considerations," he added.

The greatest problem the blind had to face here--and everywhere for that matter--seems to be that of acceptance. Grimes said that there is "no way to make someone like you. Be yourself and hope people will accept you. Adjust to the situation and hope the people will adjust to you." Maurer said that, "I do not mind being known as a blind guy, because that is what I am; but I am also a person."

Kenneth Jernigan, President of the National Federation of the Blind, stated in a report to the Iowa Commission for the Blind, "The real problem of blindness is not the loss of eyesight. The real problem is the misunderstanding and lack of information which exist. If a blind person has proper training, and if he has opportunity, blindness is only a physical nuisance."

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by Jim Omvig

[Reprinted from the NFB of Iowa Bulletin.]

On Saturday evening, March 18, 1972, a new milestone was reached in the history of the Orientation Alumni Chapter, National Federation of the Blind of Iowa (a group composed of former students of the Iowa Commission for the Blind Orientation Center.)

In the past, our organization has involved itself in many and varied activities. We are continually involved in the process of educating the general public as to the attitudinal problems which exist concerning blindness, and as to the capabilities of properly trained blind persons. Further, we seek to improve the lives of blind Iowans by advocating and supporting much needed legislation and by resisting and fighting discrimination when it occurs. To date, our most effective and successful venture has become our annual legislative banquet. Each year we entertain the state legislature of Iowa at a banquet which is planned and paid for by members of our alumni chapter. We can conceive of no better method whereby legislators can be informed as to the tremendous worthwhileness of our rehabilitation programs for the blind. The personal contact achieved at these banquets demonstrates vividly to legislators that the money which they appropriate to the Iowa Commission for the Blind is well spent.

This year, our Chapter decided to embark on a new venture. Because of the excellent training and opportunity which we have received from the Commission for the Blind, hundreds of us are now successfully employed. It seems to us that the time has now come when we should recognize those employers who have been willing to give us the chance to prove our abilities in employment. In addition, this seemed to be an excellent opportunity for us to continue our educational activities by inviting some employers who, for whatever reason, have not yet employed blind persons but who might be encouraged to do so in the future.

Accordingly, employed blind persons, their employers and potential employers from throughout the state of Iowa, were invited to attend our Saturday evening banquet. The banquet was held in the assembly room of the Iowa Commission for the Blind's building in Des Moines. One hundred and forty-six persons were in attendance, and the evening proved to be a resounding success.

Following an excellent banquet meal which was served by Dick Bevington, blind cafeteria operator in the Commission building, Miss Shirley Lansing, mistress of ceremonies for the evening and president of our Alumni Chapter, introduced Commission Director Kenneth Jernigan for the main speech of the evening. Mr. Jernigan's remarks were excellent. He pointed out to the employers who were present what many of us know so well: namely, that the real problem of blindness is not the physical loss of eyesight, but rather is to be found in the negative public attitude which exists concerning blindness and blind people. Mr. Jernigan pointed out that it is this negative attitude and lack of understanding about blindness which leads to employer resistance to employment. He also hit hard at the concept that we are not seeking charity or kindness but rather wish equal opportunity in employment. In this connection, he spent some time discussing the new Iowa law [discussed elsewhere in this issue of The Monitor] which forbids discrimination in employment on the basis of disability.

Mr. Jernigan then concluded by discussing another kind of problem which we face when we are seeking employment. That is, that a real communication gap exists. He pointed out that when we as blind people or as Commission counselors and employers are discussing such terms as competent employees, good travelers, good typists and secretaries, and the like, we use the same words but they often mean entirely different things to us. Our meaning of competence in each of these areas is generally not understood and accepted by the general public. We must work hard at eliminating this communication breakdown.

The remaining portion of the program consisted of brief remarks by several employed blind persons and their employers. Some of those who spoke were: Shirley Lansing-public school math teacher; Ray Halverson-insurance underwriter; Don Morris--communications consultant; Gary Patterson and Bob Ray--computer programmers; Sylvester Nemmers--cafeteria operator; Bill Fuller--high school guidance counselor; Howard Craig-hospital dark room technician; Barbara Vekre--social worker; Cindy Patterson--MT/ST operator; Carol Clark--medical transcriber; and Steve Barber--motel management trainee.

Of the employers who spoke, perhaps the personnel man who interviewed and hired Gary Patterson gave the most honest and thought provoking account of his experience. He said that at the time Gary came to apply, he (the personnel director) was new on the job and was attempting to assemble a cracker-jack staff for his company. He said that his initial reaction when being faced with a blind applicant was one of panic. He simply did not know what to do. He honestly stated that as the interview progressed, he was more and more impressed with Gary but his common sense kept telling him, "no, don't hire a blind person." Later in the interview, however, he realized that he had to do some soul searching. He said that if Gary had not been blind, he would have hired him on the spot since Gary was exactly the type of employee for which he was looking. He admitted that he was letting the sole factor of blindness stand in his way. He ultimately decided to face this issue squarely and hired Gary. He reports that his decision was an excellent one, for Gary is becoming one of his top employees. These remarks must have had a tremendous impact on those potential employers who were present.

Following the banquet, tours of the Commission facility and orientation center were given to those employers and other interested persons who had previously not had such tours.

As indicated, we believe that this event was an outstanding success. Visible proof of this belief is evidenced by the fact that we now know of two possible job placements which are a direct result of employers having attended this banquet. If even one of these positions is secured, it will be reward enough for the effort and expense involved to blind Iowans and will be sufficient reason to plan more banquets of this type for the future.

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by Margaret Bohley

Missouri is proud to announce that its eleventh annual state convention was held at the Gateway Hotel in St. Louis, April 14-16. As most of you know, Missouri was withdrawn from the NFB in 1961 and reformed with only one chapter in Kansas City This chapter struggled alone for ten years to carry on Federationism for the state, but in 1971 launched a campaign to spread again throughout the state, resulting in the organizing of three more chapters: St. Louis, Springfield, and St. Joseph. St. Louis was quite pleased, therefore, after one year in existence, to be able to host the 1972 state convention.

Arrangements were made for Kenneth Jernigan, our National President, to appear on radio station KMOX's "At Your Service" program for twenty-five minutes, to talk about Federation work and to answer questions from telephone callers.

On Saturday afternoon there was a panel discussion among members from six agencies serving the blind in this area and many questions were asked. Also, the groundwork was laid for the formation of a state-wide Credit Union.

The banquet Saturday evening was MC'd by Mr. Cleo Thomann of Kansas City. The McElroy Award for an outstanding blind person was presented to Mrs. Polly Salter of Kansas City, and the tenBroek Award to a sighted person for outstanding work for the blind, was presented to Elva Hayes of Kansas City. The highlight of the evening of course, was the banquet address by Dr. Jernigan whose speeches are always inspiring. The banquet closed with the singing of our Federation song, and a dance completed the evening.

Sunday morning brought the election of officers as follows: president. Tiny Beedle, Kansas City; first vice-president, John Dower, St. Louis; second vice-president, Joan Davis, St. Joseph; recording secretary, Polly Salter, Kansas City; corresponding secretary, Margaret Bohley, St. Louis; treasurer, Cotton Busby, Kansas City and members-at-large: Marty Watson, Kansas City; Dan Williams, St. Louis, and Bill McAtee, Springfield.

It was a great convention and you can be sure you will hear much more from Missouri in the future.

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by Donald Bell

Submitted by Mrs. Florence Grannis

[Reprinted by permission from The New Beacon. Mrs. Florence Grannis writes: "Over the years I have had hundreds of requests for information about the development of Braille, so I was delighted when I found the article "Reading by Touch" by Donald Bell in The New Beacon for January, 1965 (a fine British publication many of The Braille Monitor readers might enjoy), and I have been using it ever since. It is reproduced below." Mrs. Grannis is Assistant Director in Charge of Library and Social Services, Iowa State Commission for the Blind.]

If in this country today there is a single reason for the high proportion of blind people who lead useful, well-integrated lives, it must surely be the general adoption, not a century ago, of the Braille system of embossed writing. Braille, however, was not the first method of reading by touch. The desire of the blind to gain access to the written word led to many experiments in a variety of media, and even after Braille's invention other systems of embossed symbols were formulated and used.

Early Systems of Touch Reading

It is recorded that a distinguished blind Arab professor, Zain-Din al Amidi, of the University of Moustansiryeh, in what is now Iraq, in the fourteenth century improvised a method by which he identified his books and made notes. Although blind soon after birth, he led a studious life, interesting himself particularly in jurisprudence and foreign languages. In 1517 one Francisco Lucas of Saragossa contrived a set of letters carved on thin tablets of wood, which was brought to Italy about 1575 and improved by Rampansetto of Rome, who used larger blocks, engraving the letters instead of embossing them. Both systems failed because the letters were too difficult to read. In 1547 an Italian physician, Girolamo Cardano, suggested a method of teaching the blind to read which in some ways resembled the work of Louis Braille. In 1640 Pierre Moreau, a Paris notary, cast a movable lead type, but abandoned his invention because of lack of means. At the same time, letters made of tin were used by Schonberger, of Konigsberg. In 1651 George Harsdorffer, a Nuremburg poet, revived the classical method of a wax-coated tablet in which letters could be cut with a stylus. In 1676 an Italian Jesuit, Francisco Terzi, devised a kind of cipher code based on a system of dots enclosed in squares and other shapes. He also advocated a type of string alphabet, a system said to have originated in various parts of South America. Its adoption in this country is credited to two blind Edinburgh men, Robert Milne and David McBeath. Seven main knots, of varying construction, were used to represent certain letters, and the remaining letters of the alphabet used these knots in combination with a smaller knot set a varying distance from the main knot. A string alphabet was used for many years at the Glasgow Asylum for the Blind, and passages from the Bible were translated into this medium, the string being drawn from a reel by the reader. This system was also used by blind people to correspond with each other and with their sighted friends.

The French encyclopedist, Diderot, tells of a blind woman born in 1741 who had been taught to read from letters cut out of paper. A Viennese musician, Maria Theresa von Paradis, born in 1759 and blind from early childhood, learned to read by means of pins stuck into a cushion in the shape of letters. She subsequently was able to read a system of letters pricked through cardboard, invented by a blind man called Weissenberg of Mannheim, and even had a press invented for her by von Kempellen with which she printed German characters in relief.


The great pioneer, however, in the education of the blind was the Frenchman Valentin Hauy who founded at Paris in 1784 the first of all schools for the blind. His main concern, of course, was to discover a way of teaching his pupils to read. Maria von Paradis herself visited Paris and explained Weissenberg's system to Hauy. But Hauy conceived the idea that the blind could be taught to read by means of ordinary large type printed in relief. Although Hauy was not the first to discover the art of embossed printing, he was the first to use it in the production of books for the blind. For more than forty years the pupils of the school founded by Hauy acquired their education from his large, relief-printed folios, a very slow and cumbersome process. Writing, of course, was even more cumbersome, for the only way in which the pupils could express themselves was by setting up letters in type. In 1786 Hauy published his Essai sur l'Education des Aveugles, which described his aims and methods, and an English translation of this was published by Thomas Blacklock, the blind Scottish poet, in 1793. Hauy used the italic form of the roman letter in two sizes of type, the larger for beginners and the smaller for experienced readers. The pages were printed on one side only, and were pasted back to back before binding. He developed several abbreviations and
contractions to reduce the size of his books.

The Genesis of Braille

In 1 821 Hauy's school, the Institution Nationale des Jeunes Aveugles, was visited by an ex-captain of artillery, Charles Barbier, who in 1819 had invented a system of writing by dots based on phonetic principles: this he had evolved from a form of what he called "night writing", which he claimed would enable soldiers in the field to communicate with each other during darkness. Barbier's system, though too intricate for general use, interested some of the pupils of the Institution Nationale because it could be read more rapidly than Hauy's embossed roman letter, and, more important, it could be written by means of a stylus and a metal frame devised by Barbier. But it was not satisfactory, and its importance lies in the fact that it provided the idea on which Braille based his own system.

Meantime, experiments continued in other countries. A type of roman capital formed of raised dots and dashes was invented by Koechlin of Stuttgart. Klein in Vienna produced a vertical arrangement of five embossed points.

The first embossed books for the blind to be used in this country were some of Hauy's works imported in 1821 by Lady Elizabeth Lowther for her blind son, later to become Sir Charles Lowther, who in 1832 obtained type from Paris and embossed parts of the Bible for his own use.

Gall's Type

Hauy's books in 1826 so impressed James Gall, an Edinburgh printer and publisher, that he immediately started to experiment on his own account. In 1827 he published his First Book for Teaching the Art of Reading to the Blind, partly in inkprint and partly in his own embossed type. This was followed by other books. His alphabet was an angular modification of roman capitals, first engraved in wood and later cast in metal. He subsequently realized that dots were more easily deciphered by the fingers than unbroken lines and so developed a form of serrated type. He published, without financial help, several embossed books for the British and Foreign Bible Society, the London Sunday School Union, and the Religious Tract Society.

Fry and Alston

In 1832 the Edinburgh Society of Arts offered a gold medal for the best method of printing for the blind. No fewer than nineteen systems were submitted, sixteen of them using arbitrary symbols. The medal was ultimately awarded to Dr. Edmund Fry, of London, for a plain roman letter which, slightly modified later, became very popular in this country and America. Fry's type was adopted with some modification, by John Alston, of the Glasgow Asylum for the Blind, who established a printing press, and published, inter alia first the New Testament and then, in 1840, the complete Bible, in nineteen volumes, the first embossed Bible of any type. The books he published sold widely, here and in America. His types were cut in very sharp, thin faces in two sizes, Great Primer for ordinary use and Double Pica for learners and older readers whose fingers were insufficiently sensitive to cope with the smaller type.

Boston Line Letter

During Alston's time, the pioneer of embossed printing in the United States, Dr. Samuel Howe, the first director of the Perkins Institution in Boston, toured Europe inspecting all the methods of embossed printing he could find, and finally decided on a variation of the Alston system consisting of small angular letters without capitals. This became known as Boston Line Letter and, with the later addition of capitals, was widely used in the United States.

The very prolixity of these systems based on the roman alphabet shows that none was satisfactory: all in fact were very difficult to master.

Shorthand Systems

Systems based on shorthand were also tried, notably those of Lucas and Frere. Lucas, a shorthand writer of Bristol, used straight and hooked hues, curves and dots, the meanings of many signs, as in shorthand, being dependent on their position on the line. Books printed in this system were widely used, both in this country and abroad, and a musical notation was developed from it. Frere, a Londoner who was himself Wind, invented a system based on phonetic principles, the characters of which consisted of straight and hooked lines, angles and half circles, as well as hollow and solid circles. To speed reading, he bracketed two lines of type together, the second line of each bracket being reversed and read from right to left. No punctuation marks were used. Frere was also responsible for a method of printing his books, and this was used by others: copper characters were placed on a tin plate coated with zinc solution, and heat was applied to the bottom of the plate, resulting in the fusion of the characters to the plate and a consequent very sharp imprint. The difficulties of learing both the shorthand systems, however, were just as great as in the earlier "line" systems, although the books produced thereby were cheaper and less bulky.


The only line system now surviving, indeed flourishing, was that invented in 1847 by Dr. William Moon, of Brighton. Moon, after a partially sighted childhood, became blind at the age of 21 and soon mastered all the systems of embossed writing available to him: he found from experience that very few blind people were capable of using them satisfactorily and decided to produce a system of his own. This retained many roman letters in simplified form, the remaining letters being based on Frere's linear characters, without signifying the same letters. His alphabet consisted of only nine characters, their signification being determined by which way up they were used. He also, Uke Frere, bracketed his lines for ease of reading, but unlike Frere's return line, the letters in his were not reversed. He also reduced contractions to a minimum. He had early resolved to make the welfare of the blind his life's work, being deeply religious and a man of simple evangelical faith. At first he earned his living by teaching blind pupils to read, using Frere's system. He had married young, and his wife kept a shop to augment his earnings from teaching, five shillings a week at first. He records that soon after the birth of his second child "my landlord came and told me that he must raise my rent 6d per week. I told him that I would lay it before the Lord, beseeching Him to aid me in these trying circumstances. The following week, before the additional rent became due, an extra half-crown was added to my salary, which made ten shillings a week." He soon found that most of his pupils were unable to decipher the characters or to memorize a series of contractions, and so began to devise his own system. By this, he wrote in his diary, "a lad who had in vain for five years endeavoured to learn to read by the other systems could in ten days read easy sentences." In 1847 he issued his first booklet, printed on a wooden hand press in his house, and soon after began to undertake the printing of parts of the Bible. This led him to evolve a stereotyped plate from which copies could be printed whenever required: a plate of tinned sheet iron on which the characters of tinned copper wire, cut and shaped by special tools, were fixed. The first wooden press was eventually replaced by an iron Albion. The strong evangelical tenor of Moon's life led to much work for missionary societies, the Moon system being adapted to other languages. By 1880 the alphabets of 194 foreign languages were available for the use of missionaries, although now Moon is largely confined to this country. Between 1847 and 1880 he stereotyped 30,000 plates and produced nearly 125,000 volumes.

From 1923, Moon has been printed direct from type. Several of the types are square bodied, so that four characters can be produced, depending upon which way up the type is used, from one piece of type; others, on square or narrower bodies, make two characters; and some only one. Fourteen types are required to make the alphabet, and twelve other types are used for contractions and punctuation marks. There are six sizes of space, which are higher than those used for inkprint, since they must be as high as the shoulder of the type on which the letter is cast to ensure perfect embossing. The type is set by hand directly into the chase, and between each line a thin brass rule is used. There are about 900 letters and spaces in a Moon page measuring 12 by 10 in., and these can be set by an experienced typesetter in half an hour. The forme weighs 50 lb. The paper is moistened before printing to take the embossing without splitting, and after printing the pages pass through a mechanical gas-heated drier.

What became the Moon Society has since 1914 been managed by the (now) Royal National Institute for the Blind, and provides a useful and complementary service to Braille publishing, offering a clear, bold type for older people whose touch is not good for reading Braille.


It was Louis Braille who made the great breakthrough. In his time there were in existence over twenty different systems of embossed type, most of which had been invented by those who could see, and none of which proved as easy to the touch as to the sight. Limited in value though these systems were for reading, perhaps their most important drawback was their virtual uselessness in providing a means whereby the blind could themselves write: the education of the blind in literature and music had to be largely oral. In other words, two-way literary communication was impossible for blind people. The beauty of Braille's system was its simplicity, and its major advantage over everything that had gone before was that it could be simply and easily written by the blind. It was a practical script, invented and perfected by a blind man.

Louis Braille was born near Paris in 1809, the son of a cobbler, and lost his sight in early childhood as a result of an accident with one of his father's tools. He later entered Hauy's school and learnt to read Hauy's alphabet. He proved to be a first-class student, and subsequently joined the staff of the school. He studied Barbier's system, looking for a means whereby it could be adapted for both reading and writing and also for musical notation (he himself was a good musician and played the organ at several Paris churches). By 1825, at the age of 16, his system was more or less complete. The results of his experiments he summarized in a pamphlet issued in 1829. These results did not wholly satisfy him, however, and he worked on them for a number of years until in 1834 he produced an improved version of his scheme. This was more compact than any system which preceded or followed it.

Braille consists of sixty-three symbols, out of a possible sixty-four variations of the dots of a domino six (the sixty-fourth being the blank). These dots are, for purposes of description, numbered 1-2-3 downwards in the left hand column and 4-5-6 downwards in the right hand column. Letter A is dot 1, B dots 1 and 2, C dots 1 and 4, and so on. The first ten letters are formed from the top four dots, the second ten consist of the first ten repeated with the addition of dot 3, and a similar symmetry continues the division of the sixty-three symbols until seven groups of symbols are formed. In English Braille the alphabet takes twenty-six of the characters, punctuation ten, and the remaining twenty-seven are used to meet the special needs of individual languages or for contractions. Numbers are represented by the first ten letters preceded by a numeral sign. In a number of languages there are two grades of Braille, Grade 1, in which every word is fully spelt, letter by letter, and Grade 2 (the everyday form), in which various contractions are used to express prefixes, suffixes, pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions, and other frequently recurring groups of letters and words, the main purpose of these being the reduction of bulk. A few languages have a Grade 3, highly abridged, which comes close to shorthand, but Grade 3 is too complex for all but a small minority of readers who have a good command of language and a good memory. Sensitivity of touch, of course, governs the extent to which Braille is used: those educated in schools for the blind use Braille far more naturally and easily than those who lose their sight in adult life and are almost invariably slow readers. The older people are, the more difficult it is for them to acquire the sensitivity of touch necessary for ease of reading. Commercial Braille shorthands are widely used, for shorthand-typing is one of the more established occupations for the blind. From the beginning, Braille has been used for musical notation. It is also applied to the expression of scientific and mathematical symbols and formulae, the marking of instruments and equipment (watches, thermometers, gauges, playing cards, etc.) and to the outlining of maps and diagrams.

Despite its manifest advantages, the chief of which were its adaptability for writing and for rapid reading, its ability to express music as well as words, and its simplicity, Braille's system was slow to be adopted, especially outside France.

Braille in the United Kingdom

Dr. Thomas Rhodes Armitage, an able blind man, who is generally held to have introduced Braille to this country, expressed in his book THE EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT OF THE BLIND written in 1886, the following view of the bitter controversies which have been waged over types for the blind as late as the 1860s and 1870s:

The two main causes of this lamentable state of things seem to be that inventors of systems and managers of institutions generally had their sight and, misled by this sense, they could not understand or enter into the real wants of the blind. It is a curious and instructive fact that the two systems which are now most in favour with the blind themselves, and which have most vitality in them, are due to two blind men, Mr. Braille and Dr. Moon. . . . Among the more intelligent of the blind the opinion has long been gaining ground that for any good results to be obtained, the question must not be settled for the blind, but by the blind themselves. . . . The relative merits of the various methods of education through the sense of touch should be decided by those and those only who have to rely upon this sense.

This policy he had put into effect in 1868 when, with other intelligent and educated blind men, he had made an exhaustive study of all the available systems, and had decided that the blind would best be served by an acceptance of the Braille system in toto which he considered undoubtedly superior to all others. Armitage's committee became the British & Foreign Blind Association, later the National Institute for the Blind, and was in its early days solely a Braille publishing house. Under its leadership, Braille quickly became the educational medium of the British blind.

Braille in America

In the United States, however, the adoption of the French system took longer. By some the French arrangement was adopted, by others a modified form of the French system in which the most frequent letters were given the fewest dots, by others still a more radical change which involved making the Braille domino horizontal instead of vertical. All three systems had their advantages; the first achieved uniformity with Great Britain and most European countries; the second (American Braille) economy of dots, which made writing by hand easier; the third (New York Point) reduced space and made reading speedier. The disaster was having three entirely different scripts in English, indeed, within one country: school books, Bibles and the like had to be printed in three types, at great expense, and blind people brought up on different systems could not communicate. The futility of the situation lasted for thirty or forty years, and only in 1918, after much committee work, was unity achieved between Europe and the United States by the adoption of the original French system. But it was not until 1932 that agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States established Standard English Braille as the contracted form for everyday use throughout the English-speaking world.

Braille in Non-European Languages

After the adoption of the Braille system by European countries, the first adaptation of Braille to non-European languages began to appear in the 1870s. The UNESCO Report on World Braille Usage notes an Arabic Braille in 1878 and a Peking Braille at about the same time. Palamcottah or Askwith Braille for Tamil (South India) and Shirreff Braille for Urdu and Hindi (North India) were designed in the 1890s Marathi Braille (Poona), Nilkantrai Braille for Marathai, Gujarati and Hindi (West India), Oriental Braille (for all oriental languages) and Shah Braille (Bengal) came into being about the turn of the century. At the same time, independent mission workers in China were creating further adaptations for the Chinese. A Japanese adaptation had been made in 1887, and other languages followed rapidly-among them Sinhalese, Burmese, Korean, Persian, Armenian and Turkish. Many lesser known tongues, too, some even without visual scripts, were adapted to Braille. Most of the credit for pioneering Braille in Asia, Africa and the remote places of the earth belongs to the missionary bodies of Europe and America, the UNESCO Report emphasizes Working in their distant outposts, they took pity on helpless blind children and gathering them into missionary compounds, discovered almost without realizing it that they had founded pioneer schools for the blind Adaptation of Braille to the local vernaculars had to be made before systematic education could begin, and these they designed as best they could.


As the UNESCO Report points out, the 120 years between the publication of Braille's system in 1829 and the request to UNESCO in 1949 to lend its services to rationalize Braille usage in many parts of the world divide readily into two main phases. The first fifty years was that of the diehard retreat of the cumbersome old forms of embossing which the blind could not write, then seventy years throughout which the original Braille had to compete with many reconstructed forms of itself. The defeat of the old embossings was inevitable, and the civil war between the numerous adaptations of Braille was probably equally inevitable: The divergencies embodied theoretical improvements which had to be tried before their authors realized that local advantages were outweighed by wider considerations.

It is perhaps difficult for a sighted person to realize that, with the great variety of scripts used throughout the world to record the spoken word, the blind, whether their language is Chinese, or Tamil, or English, have only one script, and that is Braille. In this light, therefore, it is of great importance that a high degree of uniformity in usage be adopted. To this end, the World Braille Council was established in 1951 under the auspices of UNESCO, in 1954 coming under the aegis of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, and in the last decade much progress has been made, and is still being made towards achieving a standard world Braille usage.

Braille Printing

In Europe and America the general adoption of Braille was followed by the setting up of Braille printing presses and large Braille libraries. These stimulated the rapid growth of education for the blind, which in turn, led to a greater demand for books. Except in Japan, practically no machine-printing of Braille has until recently been done in non-European languages.

Braille books are produced in two ways, by hand-copying or by machine-printing. Hand-transcribed books are, in this country, written mainly by voluntary transcribers on Braille writers. The Braille writer was invented by an American, Hall, in 1892, and is a small portable machine with six keys, one for each Braille dot, which serves roughly the same purpose as a typewriter. It enables Braille to be written far more quickly than with a single stylus and writing frame. After the manilla sheets have been transcribed, they are proof-read, guarded, sewn into section, and bound into covers. In the early days of Braille, all embossed books had to be produced by hand, a long and laborious business-a situation comparable to that existing before the invention of movable type. Platen presses were, however, adapted to Braille printing, but on the transcribing side, the British and Foreign Blind Association for many years used brass plates embossed by hand with a punch and hammer. The first edition of the Bible in English Braille was produced this way between 1877 and 1890: every single dot of the 20,000,000 on the 6,000 sheets was the work of one blind man. The advent of stereotyping (also invented by the American, Hall), which was adopted by the British and Foreign Blind Association in 1902, improved matters considerably. The transcribing machines were much larger and heavier versions of the Braille writer, embossing not on manilla paper but on zinc sheets. These transcribing machines were by 1911 electrically operated, and by 1930 the National Institute for the Blind (as it then was) had acquired a high-speed rotary press for printing. While these technical developments vastly speeded up the process of Braille publishing, it remained, compared with letter press, a very slow and costly business.

Solid Dot Braille

In effect, ever since Braille invented his system, there has been no substantial change in the method by which it has been printed. Traditionally, Braille has been produced on stout paper by distorting the fibres of the paper to form hollow dots. This method, however, has always had two great disadvantages: the first, its great bulk compared with inkprint, and the second its lack of durability, or capacity to withstand repeated reading and handling in transit while still remaining legible. The bulk of Braille, and the consequent storage problem, precludes personal Braille libraries of any size, thus compelling the blind reader to rely to a far greater extent that the sighted upon lending libraries for his reading. And, of course, Braille books in constant circulation are more liable to damage than inkprint books, while beginners in Braille, both children and newly-blind adults, are prone to treat a book pretty severely until their fingers become practised and light of touch. Any system, therefore, which can substantially reduce the physical dimensions of books for the blind and improve their durability is vitally important.

The Braille publishers in the United Kingdom, the Royal National Institute for the Blind and the Scottish Braille Press (the latter operating on a smaller scale than the RNIB and producing for the most part periodical literature), are faced with the massive task of trying to provide as best they can a service which sighted readers get from hundreds of publishing houses offering great variety and specializing, many of them, to a greater or lesser extent in certain categories of book. But however small the proportion of blind people in the whole population, and however small the proportion of Braillists in the blind population, their reading requirements, educational, professional, and recreational, are as broad as those of letterpress readers. The need for expansion in Braille publishing has, therefore, always been apparent, and any method of increasing the speed (and thereby the quantity) of Braille production and of reducing the cost will contribute towards closing the enormous gap which exists between what is available to the sighted reader and what is available to the blind. The quest for a more permanent Braille goes back at least forty years: the idea of somehow depositing dots on paper rather than of perforating paper is by no means new. But it has been only comparatively recently that technical advances, particularly in the field of plastics, have made possible the development of a practical and economic process.

After many years of trial and error, the RNIB has evolved a method of depositing and heat-sealing solid dots of plastic on to the surface of a thin but strong paper, and based on this method a complete processing plant has been designed. This is the new system of printing Braille which has become widely known as "solid dot". The bulk of solid dot Braille is reduced by something like 45 percent; the dots themselves are uncrushable and do not deteriorate with use; and the system, although more costly to install than the conventional embossing plant of similar output, is quicker and less expensive to operate.

Since 1959 an increasing number of the RNIB's periodicals have been produced by the solid dot method, and a considerable volume of support for solid dot has led to the decision by the RNIB to adopt the process for most of its machine-printed Braille (the production of hand-transcribed books, of course, is in no way affected by solid dot). With the general acceptance of solid dot Braille and its employment for book production as well as for magazines, the way is clear for a further step forward by the blind, through the medium of the written word, towards equality of opportunity with the sighted.


T. R. Armitage. The education and employment of the blind. Harrison (London 1886).

C. Baker. The blind. Privately printed (London 1859).

C. T. Burt The Moon Society: A century of achievement, 1848-1948 NIB (London, 1948).

R. S. Clark Books and reading for the blind. Library Association (London, 1950).

J. Gall. A historical sketch of the origin and progress of literature for the blind: and practical hints and recommendations as to their education. Published by the author (Edinburgh, 1834).

R. B. Irwin. As I saw it. American Foundation for the Blind (New York, 1955).

E. C. Johnson. Tangible typography, or, how the blind read. Whitaker (London, 1853).

C. Mackenzie. World braille usage. UNESCO (Paris, 1953).

M. G. Thomas. The Royal National Institute for the Blind. RNIB (London, 1957).

H. J. Wagg and M. G. Thomas. A chronological survey of work for the blind. Pitman/NIB (London, 1932).

W. B. Wait. A review of the origin and development of embossed literature and music for touchreading, with special reference to the educational interests of the blind in the United States. Publisher unknown (New York, 1890).

W. B. Wait. The true structural basis of punctographic systems of literature and music. Bradstreet Press (New York, 1892).

P. A. Zahl, Blindness. Princeton UP (Princeton, NJ, 1950).

Reprinted from Typographica 6, December 1962, edited by Herbert Spencer and published by Lund Humphries, London.

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by Paul Slater

[Reprinted by courtesy of the Express-News of San Antonio, Texas.]

Charges of discrimination against minority groups are not uncommon these days, but in San Antonio--and throughout the nation--there is a little understood minority group, some of whose spokesmen feel it is the victim of unintentional discrimination by the general public.

The causes of this discrimination are unique--pity, sympathy and what some of the group call paternalism. Victims of this "benevolent" discrimination are those San Antonians either born without sight or who have lost the use of their eyes through accidents or disease.

Spokesmen for the blind feel that behind this paternalistic attitude is the general "image" of the blind: The man with a white cane who spends his days making brooms, tending a newsstand, or peddling pencils on a streetcorner.

Because of this image, the blind feel they have lost their identities as individuals, and therefore have fallen victim to often well-meaning discrimination. Ironically, some of this treatment is being practiced within the facilities set up to rehabilitate blind persons, according to several of the group's spokesmen. Leading the way toward changing their image, and doing away with this discrimination, are several blind persons who have achieved success locally in the business world, legal profession, and the academic community.

Four outspoken leaders among the San Antonio blind were born with sight and had to overcome the traumatic experience of adjustment to darkness. They are:

Dr. James S. Nyman, professor of political science and philosophy at Trinity University. Nyman, 41, was blinded at the age of 11 while playing with dynamite caps in a prospector's shack in his native British Columbia.

Lewis Vandiver, 58, the first assistant DA hired when District Attorney Ted Butler took office in 1969. Vandiver was left blind after unsuccessful surgery for detached retinas in both eyes and was forced to retire as a Post Office accounting clerk. "Blind accountants and sharpshooters are a little scarce," he quips.

Chester E. Neely, who at 36 is one of two senior programmers at Frost National Bank. Neely, a crop duster from Sabinal, was blinded when his plane crashed six years ago.

Sidney G. Ordway, a straight-A senior pre-law student at St. Mary's University. Ordway, while an Army major commanding a search and clear mission in Vietnam three years ago, was blinded in enemy sniper fire.

Each of these men could easily have adopted the attitude that, because of their mishaps, the world owed them a living. Neely admits that when he went blind "I didn't know what a programmer was" and that if it hadn't been for the accident "I'd still be punching a rudder." But, he adds, "I made my mind up I wasn't going to sell candy bars in a snack stand."

Vandiver entered St. Mary's after he found he was "a colossal failure" at selling janitor supplies. He decided to go into law to help his brother-in-law, then the only attorney in Yoakum but by the time he finished law school the town was overrun with lawyers, so he looked elsewhere.

Nyman, with a master's degree and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, is active in the National Federation of the Blind and as such is a political "activist" among the blind. Nyman, who several years ago lobbied successfully in the Illinois legislature for the model "white cane law," plans to work in Austin for passage of similar legislation which would ban discrimination against the blind in several areas as misdemeanor offenses.

Ordway, only an average student before entering the Army, maintains a 4.0 average in political science and German and was recently named to "Who's Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities." He says he was inspired following his loss of vision by two fellow patients at Walter Reed Army Hospital--a blind attorney and a friend with cancer of the spine.

"Blindness isn't a handicap. It's a damn inconvenience," Vandiver is fond of saying. Vandiver, who graduated at the top of his class from St. Mary's University School of Law attributes the remark to Judge Criss Cole of Harris County, one of several sightless judges in Texas.

The suggestion of "discrimination" against blind persons, as with any minority, produces a wide variety of reactions from complete denial that discrimination exists, to specific examples of unfair treatment. The attitude largely depends on the personal experience of a blind man. Neely believes that the "novice blind person"--that is, someone who has been blind only a short time--tends to be overly sensitive and has "false feelings." As a result, they overreact at the thought of discrimination, he says.

Nyman, however, cites widespread discrimination in areas ranging from insurance to employment, housing and transportation. At the local level, Nyman says he was refused service at a tavern because of his blindness. Blind people pay higher insurance premiums, if they can get coverage at all, because insurance companies believe loss of sight greatly increases accidental death, Nyman says. The presumption, he says is "a lot of bull. . ."

In transportation, he notes that blind persons have been refused train and bus tickets if they do not have an attendant. Ticket agents, not out of hostility but "for my own good," have confronted Nyman with the policy which he calls "paternalistic, to say the least."  Nyman says that he once "had to get loud and profane" to keep from being refused space on an airplane. On a train on the West Coast a conductor threatened to put Nyman off the train because he didn't have an attendant. "I said, what do you think I am, a zoo animal?" Nyman recalls.

Blind people face many obstacles in breaking into the job market. Nyman says the State Commission for the Blind is largely ineffective because many of its workers do not really believe the blind are competent (and those who are found to have ability often are absorbed by the commission) Many persons end up in the various Lighthouses for the Blind, but they are not subject to minimum wage laws because the work they are doing is supposedly rehabilitative, Nyman notes.

Blind workshops, which are supposed to prepare people for jobs in the open market, often become "a permanent kind of sheltered program" because the blind never leave, Nyman says. Vandiver believes many blind people feel secure in the workshop, a sort of "retreat into the womb," and do not want to leave. Ordway believes the San Antonio blind are shortchanged when it comes to adjustment and rehabilitation facilities. Except for a camp sponsored by the Lions in Kerrville, he says there is no place in the area offering persons what Neely calls instruction in "how to be a blind man"

A Vietnam veteran who earned the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, four Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Ordway is especially critical of the State Commission for the Blind. He says the agency, responding to a call by a blind friend, sent out a little old lady in tennis shoes. "He could get around better than she could," Ordway says of his friend.

Nyman, too, believes the commission has "limitations" and admits his federation "has a reputation of being hostile with agencies" for the blind. Neely, while grateful to his counselor for introducing him to a new career, says "some people in the state commission should be out doing something else." Vandiver, on the other hand, believes the commission is made up of "understanding people" doing "an outstanding job," and says some of the criticism is leveled by people "who feel they should take care of their every need." The commission "can only help when you want them to," he says. However, Ordway counters: "The commission thinks they're there to hand out welfare. Some of us who are Wind could support two or three people on welfare."

Blind men unfortunately are judged on their blindness rather than their qualities as individuals, those interviewed agree. "A blind person is like a sore thumb: He sticks out," Neely says. Neely recalls once while waiting for his wife under the Frost National Bank clock he was approached by another blind man. The other man, not realizing Neely, too, was blind, immediately launched into a long charity pitch. "I felt sorry for the poor man and gave him all the change I had," Neely recalls. "But the longer I stood there, the madder I got." A few months later the same man approached him and Neely gave him a lecture on how "I hump it every day" to make a living and he could too. The state commission confirmed that the panhandler was shiftless and had refused attempts to teach him a trade, Neely says. Neely, obviously disturbed by the image the beggar projects, and his own reputation, notes that if there's "a shiftless sighted guy on the other side of the street, nobody compares anyone with him."

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[Reprinted by courtesy of The Newsletter, publication of the National Association of Internal Revenue Employees.]

While most other unions are either ignoring the plight of the blind or attempting to preclude them from meaningful employment in Federal buildings NAIRE has been pressing Congress to enact legislation that will open vast new job opportunities for the sightless.

In hearings before the Senate Subcommittee on Handicapped Workers, NAIRE National President Vincent L. Connery urged "swift and decisive" Congressional action to create much-needed employment for the blind under the Randolph-Sheppard vending stand program.

In the testimony, President Connery offered "NAIRE's unequivocal support for S. 2506, a bill that would markedly improve one of the most meaningful programs that Congress has ever created for enabling blind persons to become self-supporting citizens. . . .

"Since the inception of the vending stand program in 1936, the number of blind persons employed as operators has risen to 3,352 men and women working in 3,061 stands throughout the country. In fiscal year 1970, these concessions had gross receipts of $93,925,464; the average income per operator was $6,300. . . .

"Yet despite the proven effectiveness of the Randolph-Sheppard program as a major source of gainful employment for the blind, the record of the Federal government has been woefully remiss. Presently, there are under 1,000 vending stands on Federal property employing fewer than 1,100 people. . . .

"But this must be changed and changed now; particularly when one considers the large number of blinded returning veterans injured in Vietnam. It is imperative that new employment opportunities be created for the sightless and that swift and decisive action be taken to improve the Act. Such is the singular goal and effect of the legislation which is pending before this Subcommittee.

"On first blush, it is inconceivable that anyone could possibly oppose a bill of such high purpose. However, much controversy has been engendered by two provisions in the legislation: one of which would change the term 'vending stand' to 'vending facility' and include vending machines within the preference granted to the blind by the Act; the other would require the 'exclusive assignment of vending machine income' to blind stand  operators. By thus enlarging the preference and requiring that all income from vending machines on Federal property be assigned to the blind, one of the major obstacles encountered by advocates of the program would be eliminated.

"Past experience has made it painfully clear that on more than just an isolated occasion the intent of the original Act has been subverted by foreclosing or limiting the areas in which Randolph-Sheppard stands can be established. In all too many instances, 'welfare organizations,' which at least in the postal service are controlled by AFL-CIO unions, operate vending machines and concessions that compete with the Randolph-Sheppard stands and deprive the blind operators from income which by all that is just and right should be theirs.

"In essence, the 'welfare organizations' deny the blind by locating machines and concessions in areas in which blind-operated stands and machines could be placed. Furthermore, the vending machines and stands controlled by the 'welfare organizations,' are supported by monies that would, if not for their existence, be spent in Randolph-Sheppard facilities.

"From the dearth of such stands on Federal property, it would also appear that Federal management, 'welfare organizations,' and oftentimes the postal unions have been engaged in a conspiracy to prevent blind vendors from gaining access to government buildings. Numerous examples of seemingly inexplicable managerial hostility toward the Randolph-Sheppard program have been vividly described in prior testimony.

"We of the National Association of Internal Revenue Employees cannot condone and, in fact, strenuously object to these activities. We never have nor will we ever seek to limit the employment opportunities or the income of the blind. Whether one hundred, fifty, or a single dollar is denied the blind because of the activities of 'welfare organizations' is of little consequence in judging the harmfulness of their actions: if one cent is taken from the blind that is one cent too much.

"We are, after all, talking about a matter of principle as well as finance. Either one agrees that every opportunity should be afforded those without sight or one does not. Either one recognizes that the Randolph-Sheppard program must be strengthened in order to provide additional employment for the blind or one does not. For us there is no balancing of interests between the needs of the blind and those of the 'welfare organizations': the scales are unalterably weighted in favor of the blind.

"NAIRE is a union, and very decidedly so. We provide those we represent with meaningful benefits obtained through the collective bargaining process after long and grueling hours of negotiations. We have made remarkable strides and have negotiated some of the most far-sighted agreements in the public sector; but we have never sought to prey upon those who do not have our strength in dealing with Federal management. Not once have we ever attempted to secure, as the postal unions have, any improvement in working conditions by foreclosing the blind. Such tactics are too repugnant to our membership and officers to even be considered. . . ."

In conclusion, NAIRE President Connery pointed out that "welfare organizations" are an outmoded relic of a past era. NAIRE provides its members with more services than the management-dominated "welfare organizations" ever could and finances its activities with union dues, not through "funds that should be accruing to the blind."

"Taken all in all, the 'welfare organizations' are not of such importance to Federal employees that they should be permitted to hamper the blind in their efforts to earn a living. To continue to allow such groups access to income which should be used to promote jobs for the visually handicapped cannot be justified under any circumstances."

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by Nerine Coffin

I recently resigned as president of the United Blind mainly for health reasons. I hope that I was able during my term of office to give them a good working organization as well as to have made enough positive moves in the direction of our goals to give the organization direction and momentum to continue. I have accepted the position in the organization as Advocate Chairman, and as such I shall continue communications with the Syracuse Association of Workers for the Blind, the United Way (the new name for Community Chest), and in any other function having to do with advocacy.

I shall be more satisfied about my part with the United Blind after I have made the following report to you, on our activities up to January, 1972, when I resigned.

In June of 1970 upon the request of the United Blind, representatives from our organization and from the Board of Directors of the Syracuse Association of Workers for the Blind met for discussion of our proposition that we have an equal number of blind persons and sighted persons on the Board of Directors. At this meeting, our representatives, including me, were thoroughly questioned about the number in our organization and the proposition we had made. Some questions were quite preposterous for intelligent sighted people to ask. The Board Members seemed to deliberately overlook the fact that we were not asking for the blind board members to be selected from our organization but rather that we should seek out and find representative blind people to serve on the board. This would break the old precedents of a retiring board member having the privilege to make nominations to fill his position. We were reminded by them that there were already three blind persons on the board and they intended to put some more on. At that time these three board members were mostly just window-dressing.

In March, 1971, the United Blind again requested a meeting with Dr. Kenneth Fitzgerald, president of the agency, and other board members. This time the meeting was to be with the United Blind Board of Directors at our meeting place. I learned from one of the blind members of the board that at the close of a board meeting our letter was mentioned but no one was appointed to come from the SAWB board.

Dr. Fitzgerald and Mr. Rosenbloom, director of the agency, came. At this meeting the United Blind did most of the questioning. We wanted to know why the Board felt that we did not have a feasible plan, as well as why there should not be more blind members immediately. We again got a numbers game from Dr. Fitzgerald in that he pointed out that our membership was some thirty-five and that if one half of the Board members came from it then other organizations of blind persons such as bowling groups, the Omegas Club (a social organization of the blind), et cetera, would want representation. He seemed to refuse to understand that we were not asking for this representation from our group but that we would be the advocates through which the blind board members would be selected. He threw in some very strange statements also-he compared our request for blind people to have an equal share in determining their own programs with the agency for unwed mothers having this kind of representation of unwed mothers on their board, and several other similar illustrations. However, one was so outstandingly brilliant that I must tell you this also. He compared our request to a hospital on whose board there is this sharing of membership by the patients in the hospital. He wanted to know what would happen if a patient were scheduled for surgery one morning and there was going to be a board meeting. I'm not sure which one, he or I, are supposed to be fools. He was either being very facetious and showing lack of respect for blind people or else he had become lost in his own expertise. This is the result of our second meeting. While we made no definite gains I have since learned that the Board and Dr. Fitzgerald are quite aware of us and give our organization thinking some consideration. A small gain, but maybe quite telling in the long run.

He made one more point which he considered very important--that in various programs sponsored by the federal government for under-privileged people the sharing of responsibility for their programs by the consumers had been a failure.

In 1971 the Board of Directors of SAWB requested that we send a list of names for their consideration as board members. One of our list was elected. One other blind person, chosen by a board member of SAWB was elected to the board and a third blind person had already been serving about three months as a replacement for a retiring board member. This brought the total of blind board members up to six, only one of which had come as a true representative of blind people. I think at this point I began to realize what was the strategy of the board of SAWB. They were rapidly increasing the number of blind board members but they were of their choice and blind people of this area had no voice in the matter. My realization became more firm when two more blind persons were put on the board in 1972 and none of them were suggested by the United Blind. At this time there are eight blind board members, only one of them truly representative of blind people. The Board already has a sufficient number of blind people on it to make the claim that they are meeting the real needs of blind people, and with the appointment of only six more blind persons on the board it will have reached the 50/50 mark. I think it is quite evident that they want to make us as well as the public feel there is really no need for an independent organization of blind people.

This development has caused us to work harder in other directions mostly in the area of improving the old stereotyped images of the blind and developing the image of independent blind citizens. Our first opportunity came last fall when one of our radio stations stated in a news broadcast that the Pioneer Activities Center, among other public services "encouraged blind people to string beads and tend newsstands." I happened to hear this broadcast myself and immediately wrote to the Director of the Pioneer Activities Center and took issue with her about it, I also called the radio stations and I found this had been taken out of a public release by a local county legislator. I did not get a retraction of this statement but I feel that we did make the news media and at least this public official aware of the fact that we are not going to be counted as helpless people stringing beads.

Recently there has been another opportunity to make ourselves known to the public as people who are not sitting down and accepting the plans and programs of even the Community Chest. Community Chest is arbitrarily forcing an "umbrella plan" upon several agencies, among them SAWB. None of these agencies made a very strong protest. We are planning further action on this matter by asking that the Community Chest send us a representative to explain this plan and how they feel it will improve services and the delivery of such to blind people. I think our feeling is that the old stereotype image of blind people as having lost their wits along with their vision and in other ways being undesirable because blindness is a punishment, a disgrace and a stigma, cannot be improved but rather strengthened by the association of the blind with alcoholics, retarded and other agencies involved. While we shall not want to appear to be discriminatory against these other people we feel that it is very possible that they may have similar feelings about us and that the most important part of rehabilitation of blind people will have received a set-back. It is more than possible that the Community Chest will not honor our request for more information. At this moment I do not know what will be our future activity if this umbrella plan becomes effective.

As if this were not enough we learned about the middle of February that a bill was ready to be introduced into committee which would establish an Office of Human Resources in the executive department in New York State, headed by a director whose powers seem to be all-inclusive. It includes all kinds of disabled people, and all of the mental programs. I guess the only thing left out are prisons. To us this seems an horrendous bill, which will far exceed the budget of all the individual agencies and commissions and will reach down into the private agencies as well. It will make a blind child a child of the state. In much of its pattern it duplicates what is already law, but of course to us the most important thing is that since the word "blind" was eliminated from the State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped last year thus depriving us of any individuality in their service, this now includes "this nameless group" blind people, in such a tremendous umbrella that we shall lose any chance of individual recognition. We are making plans to fight this thing and we have learned from our legislators that there is little chance of its coming to committee or the floor of the legislature before next fall. I think that we are going to be able in that time to lay a considerable amount of ground work in opposition to it.

Our problems in this county seem to be growing, and they are almost overwhelming. If you have any suggestions, advice or other help for us will you please give it now? I think we shall never again be faced with so much difficulty.

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[Reprinted by courtesy of the Livermore Lawrence Laboratory Newsline of Livermore (Calif.)]

Jim Willows of Electronics Engineering just made his first moves in the World Braille Postal Chess Championships-playing seven boards simultaneously against experts from seven different European countries. The competition got underway recently and may run as long as 18 months. All moves are exchanged by mail.

Jim, a computer programmer and electronics engineer with the Laboratory since 1954, is playing number two board on a four man U. S. team vying for the world title. Manning board one is Rod MacDonald of Washington, D. C., two-time national champion and also a computer programmer. Clay Walker of Detroit, a parts assembler, has board three; Bob Rathbun of Lowell, Massachusetts, a Baptist minister with his own church, is on board four. Like Jim, all are blind.

The world tourney is sponsored every four years by the 30-40 nation International Braille Chess Association. There's face-to-face across the board competition as well as the postal division in which Jim is competing. Sixteen countries are entered in the postal tournament: two sections of eight teams. Nations competing with the United States in Jim's section are Czechoslovakia, Norway, Spain, Hungary, Italy, Sweden and Belgium. The top four teams from each section will meet to determine the world's champion.

Jim finds himself playing white in three matches and black in four. Playing white gives the contender the advantage of first move. Black is on defense. The moves are made surprisingly quickly, since all competitors know offenses and defenses long ago tested by the world's master chess players. "It's a tremendous challenge," Jim admits. "I'm on offense against Czechoslovakia, Norway, and Spain. The Czech has adopted the Old Indian defense against my opening lead, so I've sent him three 'if moves. That is, I tell him that if he makes the expected defensive moves, my counter moves are thus and such. "The Norwegian has taken the Sicilian defense. I sent him two 'if moves. The Spaniard so far is noncommittal. I sent him two 'if moves, also."

One problem of "if moves, Jim explains, is that you're committed even if you make a mistake. Yet to speed the game they're standard procedure, particularly after response to an opening move. On defense, Jim has adopted the Nizmo Indian defense against his Hungarian opponent and taken a noncommittal position against the Italian. He has yet to hear from his Swedish and Belgian opponents.

To complicate matters, he's deeply embroiled also with the current U. S. Braille postal championships. Jim's the defending champion. He won the U. S. title in 1970 with nine wins and a draw. His 1971 record thus far is five wins and two defeats, but four games are still in process. He's leading in all four. "If I can pull them out," he says hopefully, "nine and two might just be good enough to win, or maybe tie." The U. S. competition is not expected to wind up before this spring.

Braille chess is played on a wooden board not much different from an ordinary chess board except in two respects. The black squares are slightly raised so the blind players can distinguish them from the white, and there are holes in the center of the squares with pegs on the bottom of the pieces. The players recognize the pieces by their shapes and distinguish black from white because the tops of the white pieces are shaved. "Black and white seem rather abstract," Jim chuckles. "I think more in terms like the white knights (horses) don't have any ears."

Jim started playing serious chess at Hay ward High School in 1945 but dropped it in 1949 on entering the University of California. It wasn't until 1964 that he started playing again, this time with the Lab team. By then Jim had been blind four years from a disease called Uveitis. He had been suffering from the disease since high school, but blindness, when it came, came overnight. His adjustment, to use Jim's word, was "difficult." He faced the problems and began to reshape his career at the Laboratory. He met and married his wife, Barbara, like himself learning to cope with sightlessness.

Chess became important. So did community activities. He renewed his interest in civic affairs. Barbara was equally active until a recent illness curtailed her activities. Computer programming captured his attention. He quickly developed a facility, and was assigned to the Special Development Group of Electronics Engineering's Special Projects Division. Since then, Jim has helped develop the Braille teletype installed near his office in Building 131, over which he receives inputs for his programming work.

His most recent effort was production of a computer program for drafting templates, a time-consuming job when done manually. Templates are full-scale drawings used, for example, to pinpoint the locations of mounting holes to be drilled in an equipment panel. "The program produces a magnetic tape for the 6600 or 7600 computer," Jim explains, "which is used to drive a Gerber machine in the lofting room of Building 131. Or to make a storable paper tape from the off-line CDC 160A computer to drive the Gerber. "The machine uses a light beam to produce the drawing, by photographic means. The final product comes out on Mylar, complete even to the material and finish specifications." Jim smiles. "It's entirely possible this job makes me the world's first and possibly only blind draftsman." 

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by Curtis Chong

The Hawaii Federation of the Blind held a successful state convention at the Princess Kaiulani Hotel on Saturday, March 25, 1972.

The morning session was high-lighted by a panel discussion concerning the topic, "What Should a College Do to Assist its Blind Students." Participants on the panel included Donald Thompson from Leeward Community College; Ike Matsumura from Kapiolani Community College; Mrs. Judy Saunders of North Dakota; and Curtis Chong, president of the HFB Student Division. It was generally agreed during the discussion that blind students attending college should assume the responsibility of completing their college education without the aid of a special program for the blind operated by the college. It was also agreed that a college was an educational rather than a training institution, and thus, any materials which a blind student desired to read for his own education should be considered by the vocational rehabilitation agency as educational.

The afternoon session began with an election of officers and board members. The officers elected were: Don Thompson, president; Roger Dinwiddie, vice-president; Joseph Peters, corresponding secretary; Patricia Devlin, recording secretary; and Amelia Cetrone, treasurer. The four board members elected were: Dr. Floyd Matson, Valery Marino, Albert Auyong, and Warren Toyama. Mr. Toyama was also chosen as delegate to attend this year's Convention of the National Federation of the Blind.

Following the election of officers and board members, there was a discussion concerning a bill which, if passed by the state legislature, would broaden the scope of the vending stand program currently existing in Hawaii to include the blind and other handicapped persons. Such a bill, if passed, would only prove harmful to the blind, as it would attempt to divide up an already small program into even smaller parts because of the increased number of persons which the program would have to serve. Most persons in attendance agreed with this view,

Mrs. Judy Saunders, a former blind school teacher from North Dakota, provided added inspiration and enthusiasm to the discussions throughout the day and highlighted the evening banquet with her key-note address.

The Eva H. Smyth Award, an award given those sighted individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service to the blind, was presented to Mr. Albert Auyong, a hard-working sighted Federationist and a member of the local Lions Club.

Two scholarships were presented at the banquet. One scholarship enabled a blind student to take voice lessons, and the other enabled another blind student to pay her readers in college.

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by Janet Weddleton

[Reprinted by courtesy of the Albuquerque (New Mexico) News.]

"I place the blind at the top of the list of people who are discriminated against," Raymond Wasinger, of the Albuquerque chapter of the National Federation of the Blind told the News. "Industries pay higher insurance rates for their blind employees," he said, "even though statistics prove that the blind and disabled miss fewer working days and have fewer accidents." A Health, Education and Welfare Department ruling enables employers to hire some of the blind and disabled at 25% of the minimum wage," he added.

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services for the Blind, denied that this is discriminatory. "Its purpose is to permit extremely handicapped people to do something worthwhile," said Kenneth Kirby, home teacher for the blind. Don Enterline, counselor for the blind, added, "There is bound to be some discrimination. That is part of being blind. But, in general, a person is paid what he is worth."

"Too many of the blind in New Mexico do not know they are entitled to rehabilitation. Some haven't been trained properly--or at all," Wasinger charged. "Ability to do the normal things is easily acquired through training. There isn't a physically-well blind person who can't be mobile." Dr. Kirby said that the Alamogordo adult training center-in the process of being renovated--will be a diagnostic center ("to find out what people can do") and an adjustment center that will probably include mobility instruction.

Barbara Inness, outgoing president of the Albuquerque chapter of the Federation of the Blind, said they were first told the training center would be ready "in November," then, "in January." Now they are told, "in a few weeks." Wasinger called the Alamogordo center "very inadequate" as it is now. He deplored the lack of counselors to find suitable jobs for the blind, "who strive harder to accomplish any project." As an example, he related his own case history. Blinded at age 45, he learned to play the organ. In less than two years, he began playing professionally.

Mrs. Inness said a growing number of blind come to the monthly Federation "strategy planning sessions" at Immanuel Presbyterian Church. Wasinger listed three of the group's purposes: "We want to contact legislators to see what we can do about injustices against the blind. We want to inform the blind about pertinent legislation. And we want to tell them about the accomplishments of other blind people."

Mrs. Inness described the 22-member group (that began last April with a nucleus of eight) as "blind people speaking for themselves. Society perceives us to be less capable than sighted people. We believe we are extremely capable. But the crux of the matter is training." She commended the 1967 "White Cane Law" that gave blind people the right to travel alone on the streets. But New Mexico needs "a better library system of braille and talking books and tapes for the blind."

Blind college students receive $75 a month from state funds to pay readers. "Before January 1, they got $50," Mrs. Innes said. $75 will probably be adequate with supplementary help from volunteers. "Sighted people feel uneasy around the blind. They think we will be sensitive," she said. "We want to dispel this idea. Part of our purpose is better integration into society." To Federation members, this means lobbying for better education and for more employment opportunities for the blind.

Another more traditional group--also meeting monthly at Immanuel--is strictly social. "We enjoy being together," said Dr. Kirby, who started this loosely-organized club 2 1/2 years ago for older blind people. "There is less blindness today among the young, but more among older people," Kirby said. "Half or more of the blind are beyond employable age."

Adjustment to blindness "is a matter of learning to use what you have with greater efficiency. But if people lose their sight when they are older, other faculties are going, too. For example, diabetes (an increasing cause of blindness) may impair the sense of touch. Getting to meetings is a problem common to both groups. "Self-respect depends on the ability to move around alone," Kirby stressed, "but traffic scares a lot of Wind people."

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by Louise Ellyson

[Reprinted by courtesy of the Richmond (Virginia) Times-Dispatch.]

Desire for equal opportunity and equal rights is all too familiar these days, but in the case of Mrs. Stanley Bradby it assumes additional poignancy. Mrs. Bradby is crippled and blind. ... "I wanted a job where I could prove myself, work hard and be like others," she said.

She and her husband, who is blind, work at the Richmond Workshop for the Blind, run by the Virginia Commission for the Visually Handicapped. She folds pillowcases made there for federal and state governments. For folding 100 cases, two bundles, she receives $1.52. She folds a minimum of 15 bundles a day, tries to get to 23. "We also get funds from aid to the blind until we can earn enough to be independent," she said. And independence is what they both want.

Bradby earns $1.36 an hour at the workshop. Under yearly certification from the Department of Labor, based upon the shop's income, the shop is qualified to pay less than the minimum hourly wage, according to Frank Hart, director.

Mrs. Bradby had a normal childhood until she had a fall, while playing softball, which affected the bone in her left ankle. Eventually, she underwent a triple operation at the age of 14, and six months later she noticed that her vision was becoming affected due to overpigmentation. She later developed muscular dystrophy. Fortunately she has use of a muscle in each thigh which enables her to move with the aid of braces and crutches. "The scientists say I shouldn't be able to walk at all in my condition," she said. After attending a year of high school, she attended the Virginia State School for the Blind in Hampton. After graduation she attended the Arkansas Enterprises for the Blind for rehabilitation, lessons in meeting the public, typing, Braille and switchboard operating.

In Richmond she took vocal lessons at Virginia Union University and now studies vocal and organ music once a week at home with Frank Roane. "I suppose my greatest wish is to cut some records," she said. "Music is my hobby; I love all types: spirituals, folk music, hillbilly, jazz and classical. I have soloed at times."

Roane, in a telephone interview, said Mrs. Brad by "really has a soprano voice with great possibilities and is doing a beautiful job learning by rote on her small organ." Because of her difficulties with steps, she is the only pupil into whose home he goes to teach.

In the meantime she is studying for a Civil Service test in card punching. "Since I can type, I can card punch or do PBX work," she said. It would benefit me and other blind people if I could get such a job.

Housekeeping does not present many problems, she says. She cooks from recipes in her head, makes pies and cakes, selects oven temperature by the angle on the temperature dial. She has never burned herself. Getting upstairs is difficult for her. Her husband carries her crutches and she holds on the bannister four steps above and pulls up. Before she was married she manipulated the stairs alone, dragging her crutches, her pocketbook in her teeth. Getting down is easier, she said.

Mrs. Bradby is associated with Cordet, Inc., a group which offers work to disabled people and which also has social events. She has gone with the group to the Virginia Home "where many are in bad shape" and talks with the residents, telling them that life is worth living. She attends English discussion classes and was chairman of a banquet given by the Richmond Federation of the Blind which holds meetings each month. She was the Federation's delegate at the last state convention.

Bradby, too, would like a Civil Service job or one in a warehouse supply company. "A dollar and thirty-six cents an hour doesn't go far these days, and we have to pay taxes like everybody else," he said. The Bradbys have been married a year and a half and agree that they "understand each other." "Sometimes I get discouraged but I keep my will power," Mrs. Bradby said. "I want to be independent, to see what I can do on my own."

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by Robert Whitehead

1. Clip coupon from paper (when available).
2. Drive to nearest Colonel Sanders.
3. Dig into billfold.
4. Drive home with it, or eat it there.


by Cecilia De Miguel

1 package yellow cake mix
1 package instant vanilla pudding
3/4 cup dry sherry
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Beat above together with electric beater until smooth. Pour into two loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes-until a toothpick or a straw comes out clean when inserted into center of cake. Cool before turning out of pans. Do not grease pan.

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From the Gem State Blind: "We are sad to inform you of the passing of one of Idaho's strongest Federationists: Mr. Charles Walhof. Chuck was born in Twin Falls, Idaho, on the 5th of January, 1941. He became involved in the Federation in the mid 1960's and has occupied positions of leadership at local, state and national levels of the organization. He was involved as a leader in the early phases of the student division. In 1968 he was married to Ramona Willoughby, who survives him, along with daughter Laura and son Christopher. Death came on April 20, 1972, after a lingering illness. At the time of his death he was employed as a counselor for the Idaho Commission for the Blind. We in Idaho feel a terrific loss and we are sure that the Federation will feel the same.


The V.F.B. Newsletter, publication of the Virginia Federation of the Blind, reports that the Piedmont Federation of the Blind is its newest chapter. The publication also carries an encouraging note from Jim Copeland that he has served as a juror in the U. S. District Court, Eastern Division of Virginia in Alexandria. Jim was told by the court clerk that if he so desired he could write to the judge, who might excuse him on the grounds of blindness, but Jim felt it his duty as a citizen to serve. He found that his blindness was not a handicap. In one case, evidence in the form of written documents, was given to the jury to read, Jim suggested to his fellow members that time might be saved if the foreman would read aloud the documents instead of passing them around for each individual to read and this was agreed to.


[The following item is reprinted by courtesy of Newsweek. Copyright, Newsweek, Inc., April 3, 1972.] Blind Spot. It was a classic case of the do-gooders' blind spot. For months the U. S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing had experimented with currency with Braille markings in what it thought was a generous effort to help the blind discriminate between various denominations of bills. Bureau engravers produced experimental notes with combinations of dots, dashes, and crosses raised a few ten-thousandths of an inch above the surface, but blind testers found the marked bills hard to read. The project continued, but now the government has finally scrapped its research effort. The National Federation of the Blind had complained that the Braille bills perpetuated the stereotype of the helpless blind. "Blind people need an opportunity to earn money," admonished the Federation's Washington spokesman, John Nagle. "Once they get it, they can usually find a way to handle it." Nagle, who is blind himself, has niftily solved the problem of what to do with his folding money. The self-sufficient Nagle keeps each kind of bill in a different pocket.


Miss Ella Maidnagle of Laurel, Mississippi, reports real progress on the part of our newest affiliate, the NFB of Mississippi. Since January two local chapters have been formed, one in Jackson and the other in Laurel. Both chapters are already inquiring into how the State agencies can improve their services. The State affiliate is now seeking to have the White Cane Law passed by the Legislature.

Paul Dressel, secretary of the Queen City League of the Blind, Cincinnati, Ohio, writes The Monitor that his chapter held its annual election of officers and obligingly gives us the names and addresses of each officer. A sense of purpose and renewed dedication has enthused the membership for the coming year. One proof of this was the unopposed decision to change the name from the Queen City League of the Sightless to the Queen City League of the Blind. Paul reports that it was an idea whose time had long since come, but better late than never. In March the officers were installed by the Executive Director of the Regional Transit Authority who advised the members to work closely with politicians, both in and out of office. He reminded them that government officials, regardless if they are local, State, or Federal, are human beings, although it might not always be obvious. During the past year the Queen City League worked hard in an attempt to secure passage of a tax levy that would have permitted public ownership of Cincinnati's bus system. The levy was defeated but they are ready to have another go at it. Telephone numbers were recorded on cassettes, and the members called voters and tried to sell them on the idea of public ownership of the transit company, which would have been accomplished by a property tax. The membership is also trying to initiate a telephone sales service similar to the one that was operated in Detroit. Their goal would be for grocery and department sales only, rather than baseball averages, theater information, or news releases from agencies. They plan to contact the local Chamber of Commerce, area department store and grocery chains, and their State affiliate. These people really get involved.


It will literally take an act of Congress if the District of Columbia affiliate of the NFB is to secure the Model White Cane Law for Washington. Six members of the NFB of D. C. testified at the hearings held by the House District Subcommittee. They pointed out that existing civil rights laws do not protect the rights of the disabled. The White Cane Law would guarantee to the blind and physically handicapped of the District equal access to public places, accommodations and conveyances, the right to use the streets and sidewalks of the city with or without a white cane or guide dog, and equal opportunity in employment and housing. The affiliate pointed out that discrimination against blind persons is rarely malicious. Rather, it is based on a number of misconceptions, a desire to protect the handicapped and the feeling that blindness automatically renders a person inferior. Though it may not be malicious, such discrimination is no less disastrous for the blind person who is trying to lead an independent, productive life. The Congressmen were told that the White Cane Law will make it easier for blind and physically handicapped people to participate fully in the economic, social, and cultural life of the District of Columbia.


Government statistics point out the increased need for rehabilitation among sightless former servicemen and women. From 1942 to 1946, military rehabilitation treated 1,002 blinded military personnel. Some 800 Americans have been blinded in Vietnam. Between 400 and 500 new cases of blindness develop annually among veterans of the First and Second World Wars from service-incurred conditions. About 3,000 new cases of blindness occur every year among veterans who are in accidents or who suffer from eye diseases.

Blind persons in New York will soon be able to protect themselves against the pitfalls of consumerism when the State Attorney General's office begins distribution of a Braille version of its consumer guide, "The ABC's of Careful Buying--A Guide for Today's Consumer." The publication will be available free of charge. In addition, a large type edition of the consumer guidebook also has been prepared and will be available for those who have limited vision.

In a recent interview, the famous blind pianist-composer George Shearing said: "If I were offered sight tomorrow, I would refuse it. I'm glad I'm blind. I don't need sight and I certainly don't miss it. If I were to get sight now after all these years, it might change my life, and I wouldn't want that. I've had a good life and I'm still having a good one, visiting exotic places around the world, meeting presidents and astronauts, eating in the best restaurants, staying in the best hotels. I couldn't make life better, so why do I need sight? There's no shame in being blind and there's no reason why more blind people should not be professional men just like sighted people. It's silly to restrict capable blind people to things like basket-weaving."


With the biggest one-year jump in welfare costs in history causing a financial pinch across the country, the Federal Government has decided to give States a one billion dollar advance that could put thousands back on the welfare rolls this year. At present the States are drawing about one billion dollars a month from the United States treasury for the Federal share of the aid programs, amounting to about fifty-two percent of the total welfare costs. Last year welfare costs jumped around twenty-seven percent and so nineteen States put back payments in some programs. To ease the crunch, the Federal Government has decided to allow the States to draw an extra one billion dollars beginning in June, which would have to be paid back over the coming fiscal year. Although the Administration has held out the promise of Federal fiscal relief to the States under the welfare reform bill pending in Congress, the States are pleading for immediate help to meet their welfare bills.


Recently representatives of the Illinois Congress of the Blind met with the Supervisor of Services to the Handicapped at the Illinois State Employment Service to discuss the "working agreement" between the Employment Service and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation regarding the placement of handicapped persons, and particularly as it has applied to the placement of blind persons. The discussion confirmed the fear that the so-called "working agreement" simply is not working. Because of the co-equal responsibility which ISES and DVR have assumed for the placement and mutual reference of blind job-seekers, "passing the buck" has become a popular pastime of counselors in both agencies. In defense of ISES, it can be said that its counselors are bound by the United States Department of Labor to give first priority to the placement of veterans, and that the overwhelming demands of today's veterans have left them with little opportunity for training in the placement of their blind clients. However, the same cannot surely be said of DVR. What is their excuse?


Effective July 1, 1972, the sharing ratios for Aid to the Blind assistance payments in California will change to fifty percent Federal and fifty percent State, in place of the present fifty percent Federal, twenty-five percent State and twenty-five percent county sharing. For the first time the State will also pick up twenty-five percent of the costs of administration, cutting the county's costs in half-with the balance from the Federal Government. The State will pay one hundred percent of the costs of the non-Federal Aid to Potentially Self-Supporting Blind program. This shift in costs from the counties to the State is chiefly significant in that it will mean that the powerful County Supervisors Association of California will no longer have the financial motive to oppose the efforts of the blind to liberalize their programs.

Portrait of a President: Armand Lefebvre of Holyoke, Massachusetts, is the new president of the NFB of Massachusetts. He is a World War II Air Force veteran, owner of the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oakleaf Clusters. He is a Past Commander of American Legion Post 325. Mr. Lefebvre's blindness is due to an accident. Under the GI Bill he completed a business management course at Boston University. Singing is another of his interests. He is currently in the process of making a record album. Mr. Lefebvre is eagerly looking forward to attending his first NFB Convention in Chicago in July and to becoming personally acquainted with Federationists from other parts of the land.


The President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped has named Dr. Robert A. Bottenberg of San Antonio, Texas, as "Handicapped American of the Year." Dr. Bottenberg is a blind and partially deaf World War II veteran who uses his knowledge of mathematics and computers to help the United States Air Force make the best use of its manpower. He currently manages over one hundred professional and technical personnel as the Chief of the Computer and Management Sciences Branch of the Personnel Research Division, United States Air Force Human Resources Laboratory in San Antonio.


The Hadley School for the Blind in Winnetka, Illinois, is pleased to announce that expanded facilities now make it possible for the School to accept three hundred additional students for its free, accredited correspondence courses. Would you Uke to improve your Braille reading or writing? Your typing? Your spelling or math? To learn a foreign language? To complete the high school program you never quite finished? To study first aid or home management or amateur radio theory? To interpret the exciting age in which we live by learning more about American and world history? Prepare yourself for a vocation or a creative hobby? For full information, write in Braille or inkprint to the Registrar, 700 Elm Street, Winnetka, Illinois 60093.


From Colorado comes news of a new State publication, The Colorado Monitor, the editor of which is Susan Ford. The Colorado Monitor is the monthly newsletter of the Colorado Federation of the Blind and contains much news about the organization and its activities. Congratulations, Colorado!

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