Voice of the National Federation of the Blind

APRIL -1973

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 S or percent of my net estate or the following stocks and bond 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

APRIL 1973


by Peter A. Roidl

by Kenneth Jernigan



by Kenneth Jernigan




by Donald C. Capps



by H. Oberheu, S. Yamamoto, and E. Stenson

by Janiece and Roger Petersen

by Jim Craig

by Marcia Mendelson Allocco

submitted by Manuel Urena



by Peter A. Roidl

All of us in the National Federation of the Blind of New York State from charter members to our newest recruit take great pride and honor in hosting the 1973 Convention of the National Federation of the Blind Please be assured that we do not regard the privilege at all lightly and that we will spare neither time effort, nor money in order to guarantee your comfort and enjoyment during your stay with us Here are the details of only some of the plans which have been made for you.

The only place for an NFB'er to be from about the thirtieth of June to the seventh of July is at the Statler Hilton Hotel on Seventh Avenue between Thirty-third and Thirty-second Streets in New York City. Undoubtedly this Convention will be the largest ever and potentially the most interesting and enthusiastic because of the vast facilities of the Statler Hilton and the endless attractions that New York City has to offer. If you have not already done so make your reservation with the hotel now. The room rates at the Statler Hilton are phenomenally inexpensive--only $8 for single occupancy, only $12 for double occupancy with either double or twin beds, and $5 more for an additional roll-away. At these prices, you surely can plan to come early and stay late in order to take full advantage of everything the hotel and fun city offer.

The Statler Hilton Hotel, until 1927, was the largest hotel in the world with well over two thousand guest rooms and for those interested the building stands over three hundred feet high and occupies eighty thousand square feet. Its Cafe Rouge is as popular today as it was during the days of the big bands which regularly appeared here. Some of the names which surely evoke nostalgic memories are Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Fred Waring, Kay Kayser, Frankie Carle, Abe Lyman, Woody Herman, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Count Basic, Russ Morgan, Sammy Kaye, Vincent Lopez, and Glenn Miller the telephone number of the Statler Hilton is Pennsylvania 6-5000, which is also the title of a song written by Glenn Miller during one of his numerous appearances at the Cafe Rouge. The vocalist at the time was Marian Hutton, but she sang it along with members of the band itself the Statler Hilton operates two of the City's finest restaurants the Haymarket in the lower lobby which serves breakfast lunch and dinner plus a beautiful cocktail lounge and the Penn Bar on the lobby floor, which serves lunch and cocktails until 1:00 a.m. and an Oyster Bar open from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Many other specialty shops and boutiques within the hotel are ready to cater to your desires. One of the most spacious lobbies you have ever seen and eight guest elevators are able to expedite the gatherings and dispersals of the largest of crowds; congestion in the public areas of the hotel should be at a minimum always.

“Only in New York is heard,” so often in New York City that it has become almost the official motto--it is both a boast and a challenge. To make your stay in New York a memorable one, we will do our best to make it convenient for you to visit many of these unique attractions on the afternoon of the Fourth of July. Should you arrive early for or stay after the Convention by a day or two, you may make arrangements to visit more of them on your own.

Just two blocks east from Convention headquarters is the paragon of all skyscrapers the Empire State Building. Though forty years old it does not show its age one bit; this sleek tower of steel, limestone, and aluminum is still as modem as tomorrow. Day or night, whiz nonstop to the top, 1250 feet, to see and photograph all of New York City.

Madison Square Garden Center the mecca of all sports fans is only about one hundred yards from the hotel. Regular tours are conducted which reveal to the visitor the vastness of its facilities for both the spectator and the sports participants whether they are contestants in a boxing championship or a performer in the largest circus on earth. For events scheduled during your stay, write to Ticket Department, Madison Square Garden Center, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza New York, New York 10001. Other sports shrines worth notice are Yankee and Shea Stadiums, Belmont Park, and Aqueduct. The Yankees are at home from June 30 to July 5, when they play Cleveland and Boston three and five games respectively; and the Mets are at home July 6 and July 7, when they play Atlanta two games.

No trip to New York would be complete without a visit to its famed Statue of Liberty. The lady in the harbor is surely the city's best-known and truest symbol. It is she who continues to welcome all the exotic ingredients that make up the hearty, invigorating, wonderful mix that New York is today. The boat ride to the statue provides an excellent view of the city's skyline and the climb up the circular stairs to the statue's observation platform is most exciting. With its great harbor and encircling rivers--the Hudson, the East, and the Harlem--New York by water is one of the world's most unforgettable shows. The best seats for it are aboard the Circle Line's three-hour narrated, cruise, around Manhattan. Not to be forgotten is the Staten Island Ferry. Where else can you take a twenty-minute sea voyage for only a nickel?

For those who like to do their sight-seeing afoot, lower Manhattan is a fascinating place. Walk down Wall Street. As you stroll through these imposing, steep-walled canyons you feel the power. “When the Street speaks, the world listens.” With the World Trade Center (two towers, each 110 stories) and with the South Street Seaport "museum of ships" nearby, the area is more dynamic than ever. Also nearby are two of the city's most charming neighborhoods, Chinatown and Little Italy. Two old but completely different cultures live harmoniously side by side. Go to them for their superb cuisine at budget prices and for their colorful streets and shops.

Head uptown just a few blocks and you encounter Greenwich Village. Today it is really three separate places: the original West Village (with its historic landmarks lovely town houses and small friendly shops theaters and restaurants), the Middle Village (more commercial and clamorous), and the East Village (with its head shops head theatres and head people). But whatever its differences, the entire Village lives under one banner, “Bohemia Forever!” 

One of the city's great gifts to the people is Rockefeller Center which is to New York what Piazza San Marco is to Venice. Enjoy its beautiful Channel Gardens; dine in its quaint outdoor cafe; sit next to its fountain and listen to the summer band; and window-shop the Center's great stores. If time permits, do not miss the world's greatest entertainment bargain at Radio City Music Hall where you can see a spectacular stage show featuring the Rockettes and a First run film in the world's largest indoor theatre.

While in New York how can you not attend a theater? The very name is magical and the beauty of the New York Theatre today is that it is all over town--off Broadway, as well as on, and at Lincoln Center. All those crepe hangers who say that the theater is not young and inventive (they have been around since the time of Euripides) are directed to Joseph Papp's Public Theatre on Lafayette Street in the East Village, the Mercer Arts Center in the Middle Village, or the new hits of Broadway--especially the works of the new, electrifying, black playwrights. For a complete list of shows (many of which are on "two for" discounts) check with and purchase your tickets from the ticket exchange located in the lobby of the Statler Hilton.

The United Nations, the Great Peacemaker of Turtle Bay, is one of this troubled world's most important sights. All the new exhibits, art works, and services make it more fascinating than ever. Dine there, wander through the marvelous gardens, and shop in their extraordinary gift, souvenir, stamp, and book shops which feature fascinating articles from the world over.

Are you a museum buff? Then you will be in the right place because in New York your choice is almost without limit. There is the Metropolitan Museum (including the Cloisters), the fabulous Brooklyn Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, the Museum of the City of New York, the New York Historical Society, the Modern, the Guggenheim, and the Whitney Museums of Art. Bring along a good pair of walking shoes because most of these are vast.

If you want to see New York City doing its thing in the open air, be sure to spend some time in its parks. In Central Park you may observe the local citizens parading fashions, folk dancing, horseback riding, cafeing, picknicking, or dog walking--all from a rented horse-drawn buggy if you so desire. On the Fourth of July you surely will have a chance to see either a Shakespearean play, Metropolitan Opera, or Philharmonic Concert--all free. Other parks worth visiting are Prospect, Paley, and Greenacre. Paley Park is especially interesting because of its feathery honey locust trees and a unique “waterwall.”

New York is a shopper's paradise and the Statler Hilton is in the midst of it. Just a stone's throw away is Macy's, Gimbels, Altmans, Corvettes, and many other large department stores; and, just a block or two further away are Saks, Alexanders, Lord & Taylor, and scores more. An army of knowledgeable volunteers is being recruited now to escort you on your shopping expedition. Should you want to venture further (and if your money holds out) try some of the smaller shops and boutiques along Fifth Avenue, Thirty-fourth Street, Fifty-seventh Street, or Fifty-ninth Street. Happy bargain hunting!

Of special interest to many of you may be a visit to Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown Heights, New York. This guide dog training school has become one of the most modem and progressive of its kind in the East. The school has promised to go all out with its hospitality. Here is an extraordinary opportunity to learn just how such a place functions.

Obviously it will be impossible to even begin to get around to everything mentioned above in the time allotted for sightseeing during the Convention. Five or six of the most popular attractions will be available for you to choose from on Wednesday afternoon; your choice need not be made until you arrive. It is hoped though that your enthusiasm and interest has been aroused sufficiently to induce you to make a busy time of your stay with us.

Because you will undoubtedly be in New York for a Sunday or two while at the Convention, you will have the rare opportunity to attend such places of worship as St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Temple Emanu-El, the Abyssinian Baptist Church of Harlem, Trinity Church, and St. Paul's Chapel. These places are world famous and the famous of the world have been their visitors.

New York is city of restaurants; it boasts of having more than ten thousand. Take your pick from basic “Nathan’s” to the posh “21, “from the established “Four Seasons” to the new and with-it “Maxwell’s Plum and PubTheatrical,” from the sidewalk café to the swinging singles pub. Whether you crave Spanish Quail, Clams Reganate, Duckling a l’Orange, or thick roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, you will find them all here; no other city has such diversity of fine eating places as New York. You surely will be able to find just the right type of restaurant to suit your taste and budget. The city's nightclubs, too, are world famous and feature not only fine food but exciting entertainment by top stars in the world of show business.

Yes, the only place for an NFB'er to be during the first week of July is here in New York City. Please come, we are expecting you. The National Federation of the Blind of New York State promises you the time of your life. For those who have not ridden on a subway, New York is interlaced with all kinds of them.

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by Kenneth Jernigan

"Uncle Tom and Tiny Tim are brothers under the skin.” So declares a professor of English at the City College of New York, Dr. Leonard Kriegel, in a striking article published in The American Scholar (Summer 1969). Dr. Kriegel also happens to be (to use the blunt, old-fashioned term which he himself prefers) a "cripple." The full title of his article is "Uncle Tom and Tiny Tim: Some Reflections on the Cripple as Negro.”1

This scholarly essay, which is equally remarkable for what it says and what it fails to say, provides me with the text for my own remarks. The title I have chosen reveals my debt to Dr. Kriegel. It is “Disability and Visibility: Uncle Tom, Blind Tom, and Tiny Tim." Up to a point my remarks are an extension of the thesis advanced by Dr. Kriegel. Beyond that point they are a critique and a refutation of his argument.

The thesis of the Kriegel essay may be simply stated. It is that the cripple (that is, the physically disabled person) is today in much the same plight as the Negro in America a generation ago--before the advent of the civil rights era and, more particularly, before the rise of that militant movement of collective self-assertion known as "Black Power." As the Negro had been cast by society in the role of Uncle Tom (the bowing and shuffling “darkie" created by Harriet Beecher Stowe) so the cripple is cast in the image of Tiny Tim--the famous little caricature of helplessness and pathos in Charles Dickens' classic story, "A Christmas Carol.” The force of these twin stereotypes, both of them symbolic of inferiority and helplessness, is such as to obscure the reality and actual identity of the Negro and the cripple--who, in effect, have become invisible. "It is," writes Kriegel, “not the black man and the cripple alone who suffer from invisibility in America." Other minorities also are alienated or misunderstood. "But one can suggest," he continues, "that if most persons are only half-visible, then the cripple, like the black man until recently, is wholly invisible. Stereotypes persist long after reality fades away; for us, Uncle Tom still prays on bent knees while Tiny Tim hobbles through the world on huge gushes of sentiment and love."

The author's point is that the disabled person is crippled less by his physical condition than by his social conditioning--that he is the victim of outer circumstance rather than of inner defect. “While his physical condition is not imposed from outside, the way in which he exists in the world is," Kriegel points out. "His relationship to the community is, by and large, dependent upon the special sufferance the community accords him.... And regardless of how much he may desire to participate in the larger community, the cripple discovers that he has been offered a particular role that society expects him to play. He is expected to accede to that role's demands."

There is more on this point in the Kriegel article, but this should be enough to give a serious dimension to the author's quip about the relationship between the symbolic figures of Uncle Tom and Tiny Tim. Neither figure is an authentic reproduction of reality; both are counterfeit images--but they still pass for the real thing and carry on their traditionally respectable careers in too many places and too many minds.

To these two brothers under the skin we may add a third--the oldest of all and perhaps, the most destructive. His name is Blind Tom." He is the proverbial blind beggar--the pathetic fellow with the tin cup and the clutch of pencils, who taps and blunders his way through the folklore of a dozen cultures, a shadowy figure on the lunatic fringe of life--the very model of dereliction and despair. The universality of the "Blind Tom" theme is recalled to us by poems such as this:

The Spring blew trumpets of color;
Her green sang in my brain-
I heard a blind man groping
"Tap-tap" with his cane.2

You are not Blind Tom, of course, nor am I. But he is the label too often thrown over us like a strait jacket and, all too often, worn willingly and unprotestingly. It is as true of the blind person as the cripple that, to quote Dr. Kriegel, "what [he] must face is being pigeonholed by the smug. He is expected to behave in such-and-such a way; he is expected to react in the following manner to the following stimulus.... He reacts [all too often] as he is expected to react because he does not really accept the idea that he can react in any other way. Once he accepts, however unconsciously, the images of self that his society presents him, then the guidelines for his behavior are clear-cut and consistent."

Up to this point Kriegel's analysis of the dilemma of the disabled is accurate and praiseworthy--and, with only minor reservations, can be extended to embrace the blind as well. Uncle Tom, Blind Tom, and Tiny Tim are all brothers under the skin.

So far, so true. But when Kriegel turns from diagnosis to prognosis--when he writes out his prescription for reform--he loses both nerve and credibility. For in the end he can see no real hope for the cripple, no prospect of a normal life or an equal role in society. Least of all does he envisage any concerted voluntary action by the disabled themselves to establish their "visibility" and to take a hand in their own destiny. Moreover, it is at this point that he abruptly abandons his analogy between Uncle Tom and Tiny Tim. "It is noteworthy," he writes, "that, at a time when in virtually every comer of the globe those who have been invisible to themselves and to those they once conceived of as masters now stridently demand the right to define meaning and behavior in their own terms, the cripple is still asked to accept definitions of what he is, and of what he should be, imposed on him from outside his experience."

If this is not the way it should be for the cripple, the author seems to be saying, it is the way it must be. For the cripple is, after all, a cripple. He really is helpless. But let Kriegel put the case in his own words. Pointing to the effectiveness of Black Power threats and actions, he declares: "If a person who has had polio, for example, were to threaten to bum cities to the ground unless the society recognized his needs, he would simply make of himself an object of laughter and ridicule. The very paraphernalia of his existence, his braces and crutches, make such a threat patently ridiculous. Aware of his own helplessness, he cannot help but be aware, too, that whatever limited human dimensions he has been offered are themselves the product of society's largesse. Quite simply, he can take it or leave it.”

Those are the words of total defeatism, the attitude of Tiny Tim himself--of the object of charity and pity, "aware of his own helplessness" and afraid to bite the hand that feeds him. Not for the cripple the dawning belief of black Americans "that they possess choices and that they need not live as victims." Why not? Because, we are told, "The cripple's situation is more difficult. If it exists at all, his sense of community with his fellow sufferers is based upon shame rather than pride. Nor is there any political or social movement that will supply him with a sense of solidarity. If anything, it is probably more difficult for the cripple to relate to 'his own' than to the normal.”

There you have it. For all his higher education, for all his superior knowledge of literature and history, Professor Kriegel knows little of the world in which he moves, and about which he writes. In particular he knows nothing of the politics of disability, of the power and pride of self-organization among those whose problems in society may well exceed his own--that is, the blind. Of us--the blind--it was also once supposed that we could never relate to one another except in shame, and surely could not mount a social movement under our own steam and leadership without all falling down in the ditch. But look at the record and the reality. The National Federation of the Blind is well into its second generation, and not just going strong but stronger than ever--stronger in solidarity and commitment, stronger in achievement and effectiveness, strong enough to move mountains and shake foundations. As Dr. Jacobus tenBroek (the beloved founder of our movement) declared at our 25th Anniversary Convention in the Nation's Capital in 1965: "We have not only survived; we have not only endured; we have prevailed." We have prevailed over the agency system which once sought to keep the blind invisible, inaudible, and sheltered. We have prevailed over the welfare system handed down from the poor laws, which saddled the blind with a host of stigmas designed to keep us immobilized and destitute. We have prevailed over massive barriers of discrimination and exclusion in public employment, such as those erected by the Civil Service Commission, whose walls have now come tumbling down before the persistent trumpets of the organized blind.

Above all, perhaps, we have prevailed over the despair and disbelief in our own minds—-the demons of doubt and defeatism, which whisper to the blind man that half a life is better than none, that there is no place in the sun for him but only a shelter in the shade, that his destiny lies forever in the shadows and blind alleys among the brooms and bric-a-brac of economic and social futility. Those demons, too, have been routed.

This we have done, and more, in the span of a generation. What the organized blind of the National Federation have accomplished, others may also accomplish. Indeed, there is already in existence a national association of the physically handicapped--as well as numerous regional and special-purpose groups, such as the lively and progressive post-polio association in the San Francisco Bay area, which vigorously lobbies the State capitol and publishes a politically potent newsletter.

One wonders what these activist "cripples" must make of the tone of despairing pessimism which runs through much of Kriegel's article. One need not wonder at all about the reaction of blind Federationists to passages such as the following, quoted approvingly by Kriegel from the pen of another disabled author:

"Somewhere deep inside us is the almost unbearable knowledge that the way the able-bodied world regards us is as much as we have the right to expect. We are not full members of that world, and the vast majority of us can never hope to be. If we think otherwise we are deluding ourselves. Like children and the insane, we inhabit a special sub-world, a world with its own unique set of referents."

Do those words sound familiar? Of course they do. They are the very gospel of defeatism which once pervaded the literature on blindness and echoed gloomily down the corridors of the governmental and private service agencies. They are the sentiments of the New York Lighthouse administrator who declared a score of years ago that "the rank and file of blind people have neither the exceptional urge for independence nor the personal qualifications necessary to satisfactory adjustment in the sighted world.”3 They are the viewpoint of the historian of blindness who unqualifiedly conceded that "there is little in an industrial way that a blind person can do at all that cannot be done better and more expeditiously by people with sight”--and who warned that “the learned professions, including teaching, are on the whole only for those of very superior talent and, more particularly, very superior courage and determination to win at all costs.”4 The views of the crippled author are neither more nor less negative than the attitude of the agency psychiatrist who asserted that "blindness is a visible deformity and all blind persons follow a pattern of dependency."5

But there is no need further to illustrate or recollect that old familiar refrain, whose dominant theme was that blindness is synonymous with helplessness and that the visually disabled must not be misled into supposing that they can ever venture forth into the mainstream of society. The simple and historic fact is that the blind have been venturing forth, in droves, for several decades now. We are teaching in the public schools and the colleges and universities of our states; we are effectively at work in all of the learned professions, including medicine and research science, as well as law and education; we have escaped the protective custody of the agency system, have broken the "pattern of dependency," and have won for ourselves careers of full participation and productivity, of self-sufficiency and self-respect.

And in the accomplishment of this great leap forward, let it be emphatically avowed, no force has been more powerful than the inner force of self-organization among the blind themselves. In the unity and brotherhood of Federationism, in the crucible of our often embattled struggle to gain a voice and a hearing, in the gathering of strength and access of confidence which the Federation movement has instilled in tens of thousands of blind Americans--in this remarkable adventure of mutual aid and common action we have found a new identity as free and responsible members of society.

The saddest feature of the "Tiny Tim" article, with its air of futility and hopelessness, is the utter failure of the author to recognize or understand the proven way out of alienation. Over and over he exclaims of the disabled that among them "there is no sense of shared relationships or pride”; that "cripples do not refer to each other as ‘soul brothers’”; and that the only sense of community they can share "is based upon shame rather than pride." We have already noted this author's surprising ignorance of "any political or social movement that will supply [the cripple] with a sense of solidarity." But perhaps we should not be surprised; for this ignorance of the political facts of life, if inexcusable, is not uncommon among the supposedly informed commentators on disability. Indeed, nothing is more remarkable about the literature on blindness--both professional and inspirational--than the resounding silence which that literature displays on the issue of collective self-organization and self-expression by blind Americans. One may search diligently (often for several years at a time) through the back numbers of the New Outlook for the Blind, house organ for the American Foundation for the Blind, without encountering a single reference to or mention of the National Federation of the Blind. One may pore over the massive files of professional publications and periodicals churned out by the agencies, both public and private, without even a glimpse of the most significant and progressive development of this century in the field of blindness: that is, the national movement of the organized blind.

I believe that it is the simple truth to observe that this conspicuous omission of virtually all reference in the literature on blindness to our organized movement is not accidental but deliberate: that it represents nothing less than a conspiracy of silence on the part of controlling interests in the agency system. If that charge sounds excessive, consider an analogy. Suppose that, after scanning all the published histories and studies of modem industry and employment, you were unable to discover any mention at all of organized labor and the trade union movement. Might you not suspect that so striking an omission could not occur by accident?

But this analogy is, of course, hypothetical. Let me, therefore, suggest another which is altogether real. One of the most important figures in the Russian Communist Revolution of 1918, and in the subsequent creation of the Soviet Union, was Leon Trotsky--whose leadership role was second only to that of Lenin. Following Trotsky's defeat and expulsion at the hands of Stalin some years later, virtually all reference to him and his influence was expunged from Soviet histories and textbooks--even to the point of doctoring old photographs to erase his image. By this act of editorial liquidation the Russian government has not only denied the existence of one of its major revolutionary leaders; it has also rewritten history to conform to its political specifications.

There are, as the church recognized long ago, two distinct categories of sin: sins of commission, and sins of omission. The persistent silence of the agencies and their literature concerning the existence of the organized blind constitutes a sin of omission--a default of responsibility and a dereliction of duty. The sin is a grievous one, and its consequences are tragic Because of this conspiracy of silence, some individuals who are without sight may never learn of the presence of the organized blind movement and thus may never know of the possibility of independence and achievement which might be theirs. Because of this conspiracy of silence, serious scholars seeking to survey the field of work with the blind may, in some instances, be so deceived as to fail even to discover the existence of the National Federation of the Blind.

Just how sinful this calculated omission can be is shockingly illustrated by a recent book of broad impact and influence, The Making of Blind Men, by Robert A. Scott.6 Scott writes an entire treatise on what he calls "the blindness system," a book which purports to make a thorough analysis of the agencies doing work with the blind in this country today and of the problems and hopes of the blind. Yet, I call your attention to the almost unbelievable fact that despite the author's claim to have covered "all major points of view, issues, and activities" in the field through nearly one hundred interviews with leaders and blindness workers, including "representatives of all major public and private organizations for the blind"--despite all this, there is no mention anywhere in his book of the National Federation or of any other organizations of the blind themselves! No mention--despite the fact that there are almost 50,000 of us in the Federation in every part of the country! Even in his detailed discussion of the varieties of agencies and organizations in the field, which is piled high with mountains of statistics and data, there is no reference to the organized blind whatsoever.

This incredible lapse of scholarship on the part of Professor Scott is, moreover, still more astonishing in view of the fact that his study is not laudatory but highly critical of the role of the agencies in what he calls the "blindness system." It seems unlikely indeed that he has consciously suppressed information concerning the organized blind. What is a great deal more likely is that such information was not volunteered by his informants, most of whom were agency personnel, and that it simply did not turn up in his scrutiny of the professional literature. In short, his otherwise valuable assessment of the field of work with the blind has been seriously distorted, not to say invalidated, by the conspiracy of silence on the part of powerful agency interests hostile to the philosophy and achievements of the organized blind movement.

The moral of this story is crystal clear. The message of Federationism has not yet been broadcast far enough and wide enough; the voice of the organized blind is not sufficiently heard in the land. Not only must we reach more blind persons themselves with our philosophy, our history and our program; we must reach out to the wider community as well, to the reading public and its writing members, and not least to those who write of social movements and stigmatized minorities and the politics of social service. We cannot rely on others to carry the torch for us; nor can we hide the light of that torch under a bushel, lest it be the light that failed. While there is much that can be done on the national level--through our publications and conventions, through our informational mail campaigns and white cane observances, through our congressional bills and alliances, through the speeches and writings of our national leaders--much also can be done at the grass roots, by our state and local chapters and most of all by individual Federationists on their own initiative. The challenge to all of us is simple: Let no discussion of blindness and the blind, in print or on the air, whether popular or professional, go unanswered unless it demonstrates are cognition of the role of the National Federation and the organized blind movement. Let each of us cultivate the habit of verbal protest, by letter or 'phone call, whenever we encounter the worn-out half-truths of those who celebrate the good works of foundations, agencies, and bureaus--of charities and service clubs--without an equivalent awareness of the other half of the truth embodied in Federationism. Let the word go out from every Federated comer of the land; let the whole truth emerge; let the people know.

The struggle of the organized blind today has shifted its focus and battleground, but it is no less critical or crucial than it was a decade ago. It is no longer a "hot war," fought out in the open for all to see and hear--as in the days of our battle for the right to organize, waged dramatically in congressional hearings and violent confrontations. Although the confrontation is still frequent and violent enough, it has largely become a cold war, a silent struggle underground, reminiscent of the words of the poet, "where invisible armies clash by night." Our struggle now is to become visible as a social force--to break out of the conspiracy of silence--to be seen, to be heard, and to be recognized.

When we have accomplished that breakthrough--when we are fully visible to the professionals, the public, and ourselves in the reality of our independence and collective strength--when these things have been done, we shall have buried forever the pitiful figure of "Blind Tom," the beggar boy, and have paved the way for a new understanding of the blind.

The challenge is real; the need is urgent; and the responsibility is ours. Enlightened professionals in the governmental and private agencies can and will help, but they cannot and should not be expected to lead the way. Likewise, sighted friends who believe in our cause and know what we are doing can give invaluable assistance; but again, they cannot and should not be expected to furnish the impetus or provide the leadership. We as blind people must do that job for ourselves. Do it we must, and do it we will! We have set our feet on the road. We have begun to march. We have taken up our positions at the barricades, and we shall not rest or quit until the job is done.


  1. KRIEGEL, Leonard, "Uncle Tom and Tiny Tim: Some Reflections on the Cripple as Negro," The American Scholar, Volume 38, No. 3 (Summer 1969), pp. 412-430. All subsequent references to this article are from these pages.
  2. KEMP, Harry, "The Blind." Quoted in John Bartlett, Familiar Quotations, edited by Christopher Morley (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1951), p. 882.
  3. BEST, Harry, Blindness and the Blind In the United States (New York: Macmillan, 1934), p. 473.
  4. FRENCH, Richard S., From Homer to Helen Keller (New York: American Foundation for the Blind, 1932), pp. 198-201.
  5. CUTSFORTH, Thomas D., "Personality and Social Adjustment Among the
    Blind." Quoted in Jacobus tenBroek and Floyd W. Matson, Hope Deferred: Public Welfare and the Blind (Berkeley University of California Press, 1959), p. 7.
  6. SCOTT, Robert A., The Making of Blind Men: A Study of Adult Socialization (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1969).

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The National Federation of the Blind of Georgia has become the forty-eighth affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind. The new Georgia affiliate came into being on Saturday, January 20, 1973, at the White House Inn, Atlanta, Georgia. With blind persons throughout the State joining the new organization, fifty-two charter members give real promise for continued growth and vitality in the years ahead.

For some time there have been plans to organize a new affiliate in Georgia. These plans received a tremendous boost last summer in Chicago when Bob and Caroline Brown, a fine young blind couple from Georgia attended the National Convention and participated extensively in all the activities. Bob Brown was caught up in the enthusiasm and excitement of the tremendous throng at Chicago. Upon his return to Georgia he immediately set out to establish an NFB affiliate in his home State. For the next several months he traveled extensively throughout the State of Georgia which happens to be the largest State east of the Mississippi. Bob Brown, in his contacts found considerable enthusiasm and interest for an NFB affiliate, which proved helpful in the formation of the NFB of Georgia.

Harvey Webb of Louisiana, who is a member of the Executive Committee of the NFB, had accepted the primary responsibility of heading up the organizing team and arrived in Atlanta on Friday evening, January 12. Harvey was joined by other members of the organizing team which included Peggy Pinder, Pat Schaaf, and Mrs. Kim Peterson--all of Iowa, and veteran organizer Marshall Tucker of South Carolina. Unfortunately Harvey had to return home on Monday, January 15 because of the illness of both his wife and mother. Marshall Tucker with considerable experience in having participated in several previous organizing campaigns stepped in and did an outstanding job in replacing Harvey as head of the organizing team. Although Georgia is very large, members of the organizing team were able to make contacts throughout the State including Atlanta, Savannah, Columbus, Macon, Warm Springs, and Augusta.

On Friday evening, January 19, Don and Betty Capps, along with Lois Boltin Tucker arrived in Atlanta and joined the team and finalized plans for the organizational meeting the following day. With Don presiding, the meeting got under way at approximately 10:30 a.m. with the program featuring information concerning Federation structure, objectives, and NFB achievements. The morning program also included a taped message from President Jernigan which was received enthusiastically by the group. This was followed by a question and answer session. After lunch the group adopted a model constitution.

The following officers were then elected: President, Robert Brown, Atlanta; first vice-president, Richard Webb, Atlanta; second vice-president, Ernest Robbins, Savannah; secretary, Judy Herndon, Macon; treasurer, Anderson Frazer, Columbus; two-year board position Bill Mann, Columbus; one-year board position, William Scoggins, Atlanta; NFB delegate, Robert Brown; alternate delegate, Richard Webb.

The Model White Cane Law was then presented to the group and was received with overwhelming approval. The group unanimously voted to have the Model White Cane Bill introduced and actively supported. The officers and board members of the NFB of Georgia represent a broad cross-section of the blind population in that State.

Robert Melvin Brown, the new president, is twenty-five years old and is married. President Brown is a native of Savannah and after graduating from public school he attended the University of Georgia in Athens and subsequently earned his Master's degree in sociology. He is presently a social worker and has considerable experience in this field.

The first vice-president, Richard Webb, is twenty-seven years of age and has been blind only four years. He graduated from the public schools and later attended the Seattle, Washington, Area Technical School taking architectural drafting Before losing his sight Richard operated a printing press. Since becoming blind Richard has been an assistant mobility instructor and presently is at the Georgia Rehabilitation Center in Warm Springs receiving training as a medical transcriber. His hobbies include tape recording the second vice-president, Ernest L. Robbins resides in Savannah, is married, and has two children. He has been blind only since 1967. Ernest is successfully employed as a vending stand operator at the Buick Company in Savannah.

The secretary is Judy Herndon. The youngest member of the board, she is a freshman attending Mercer College in Macon. Judy is a very bright and attractive young lady and was particularly enthusiastic concerning the introduction of the Model White Cane Law.

Anderson Frazer of Columbus was elected treasurer of the new organization. Anderson has been blind only two years and was formerly employed as a social studies teacher. Presently he is a graduate student at Georgia State College at Columbus, taking secondary education Anderson plans to return to public school teaching. It will be noted that these five officers represent several different callings and careers. They all are highly intelligent and will provide the NFB of Georgia with solid leadership. They are joined by two board members. The two-year board position is held by William Mann of Columbus. He is a minister of music at the Independent Bible Baptist Church in Columbus. The Reverend Mann has been blind for his entire life and is married and has two children.

The one-year board position is held by William F. Scoggins of Atlanta. Bill is twenty-four years of age and attended the public schools. He is employed by Sears in their carpet department.

The establishment of the NFB of Georgia leaves only four other states to bring into the NFB family. The leaders of the new Georgia affiliate will be recruiting other members and will be establishing other chapters to join the chapter already formed in Columbus.

The National Federation of the Blind cordially welcomes the NFB of Georgia into its ever-growing family. The newest NFB affiliate gives great promise for an active and independent organization of the blind in Georgia which will pursue the NFB objectives of equality, opportunity, and security for the blind. The addition of the NFB of Georgia now makes the South solid for the National Federation of the Blind. Go Georgia, go.

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February 14, 1973

TO: The NFB Executive Committee
State and Chapter Presidents

Dear Colleagues:

Recently I sent you a letter telling you that Congressman Wilbur Mills had agreed to cosponsor our Disability Insurance bill. I asked every Federationist to write to Congressman Mills to thank him for his support. I also asked that every Federationist get at least two other persons to write.

In response to my letter a number of Federationists have called to ask me such questions as the following: What is the number of our Disability Insurance bill? When was it introduced? What should the letters to Congressman Mills contain?

The answers are these: The bill has not been introduced as yet and, therefore, has no number. As soon as it has been introduced, I will give you the details. The letters to Congressman Mills need not be long or complicated. You should indicate that I have told you of my meeting with him in Washington and of his pledge to cosponsor our Disability Insurance for the Blind bill you will not need to describe the bill further than that. He will know what you mean. You should express appreciation for his promise of help and tell him how important this is to you and to all of the blind people and their friends and families throughout the country.

I am asking every State president to let me know as soon as he is certain that one thousand letters or more have gone to Congressman Mills. The first State to achieve this goal will receive suitable recognition nationally, both by Presidential Release and at the Convention. We ought to be able to get five to ten thousand letters out of some of our more active States.

As soon as you have sent your letters to Congressman Mills, you should begin to contact your own Congressmen and United States Senators to ask them to cosponsor the Disability Insurance for the Blind bill. We are going to make the same kind of concentrated drive this year that we made a couple of years ago, but this time (with the added support of Congressman Mills) I think we can get the job done. We need your Congressmen and Senators as cosponsors. It is up to each of you to get the job done.

Remember that the Office of the Budget estimates that the passage of this bill will put more than two hundred million dollars into the pockets of blind people during the first year of its operation. It will affect all blind people. If this is not enough incentive to bring grass-roots action and effort, we deserve what we will get--which will be nothing. Please make a sustained and strenuous effort to get the job done.


Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind

P.S. As I indicated in my first letter on this subject, the address of Congressman Mills is:  

Congressman Wilbur D. Mills, Chairman
House Committee on Ways and Means
Longworth House Office Building,
Suite 1102
Washington, D. C. 20515

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Kenneth Jernigan

[Editor's Note: This first appeared in The Monitor in January 1969. Note that it is just as applicable today as it was then. Please study this paper and discuss it as broadly as you can with everybody you meet and know.]

In the upcoming 91st Congress the National Federation of the Blind will be making an all-out push to secure the passage of the Disability Insurance Bill In 1964, 1965, 1967, we secured passage of this bill through the Senate but lost its principal provisions in the Senate-House conference. This time we can and must secure its enactment. It will mean the difference of thousands of dollars to many thousands of blind people. It is morally right it is up to you and me to do our bit by writing letters and making personal contacts with Congressmen and Senators.

This may be the most important single piece of legislation affecting the blind ever introduced in this country. It certainly ranks alongside title X of the Social Security Act giving public assistance to the blind in the 1930's, the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Act in the 1930's, and the Barden-LaFollette Act including the blind in rehabilitation in 1943. The provisions of the bill are simple and far-reaching. If it passes, any blind person who has six quarters of employment during which he has paid into Social Security will be eligible to draw disability insurance payments as long as he remains blind. This would be regardless of his income or earnings. It is only fair to say that if we get the bill enacted, we will go back to the next Congress and ask to have the six quarters reduced to zero. In other words what we are asking and what we can achieve (if we all work and do our part) is this: every blind person in this country (simply because of blindness and regardless of earnings) will be eligible to draw full disability insurance payments.

Why should this be so? Is it really fair for a blind person with a high income to draw a monthly insurance payment? Are we being inconsistent by talking, on the one hand, about equal opportunity for the blind and their ability to compete and, on the other hand, asking for what amounts to preferential treatment?

It all depends on whether you look on this proposal as a true insurance or as a welfare payment to relieve the distress of poverty. The idea that society should give payments or subsidies to particular individuals or groups on the basis of something other than poverty or economic need is not at all new or revolutionary.

If, for instance, a rich man has three children and a poor man has none, the poor man is still taxed to help pay the costs of sending the rich man's children to the public schools. This is so because society has determined that such a system is in the best interest of the State and the nation. It is not that the rich man can not afford to make special payments for the costs of educating his children or that the poor man (who may have no children at all) can easily spare the cash. Society is thought to be better off if the children of all (rich and poor alike) have the opportunity to attend public schools and if all who have taxable assets (regardless of whether they have children) pay to support the schools. In fact, if only poor children could go to the public schools, our society would be segregated into classes, and there would be considerable stigma attached to attending the public schools. Accordingly, a subsidy is given to the people who have children (rich and poor alike) because a social need is thus met. We have become so accustomed to the subsidy that we do not think about it at all, and one rarely hears any serious suggestion that only the poor should be able to attend the public schools, with the rich barred from the subsidy.

Likewise, farmers (the wealthy and the poor alike) are paid support prices and subsidies. Rightly or wrongly the Congress has determined that a social need is met by the provision of the subsidy. In the same manner tariffs are charged on certain items coming into the country, taxing the consumer to support a given business or industry. It is thought to be in the best interest of the country to "protect" that particular business or industry by means of a subsidy, regardless of what it may be called.

Also, steamship lines, railroads, and airlines have been given various subsidies in the form of mail contracts and other benefits. And speaking of mail, certain types of mail (particularly first class) make a profit while others are heavily subsidized by the government--on the theory that society receives benefits by having particular types of material as widely distributed as possible (magazines, newspapers, etc.).

Thus, it would appear that the principle is long standing and firmly established that society shall pay a subsidy if a social benefit results. This brings us back to the question of disability insurance for the blind. Why should it be granted? In other words, what social benefit results?

Before dealing with this question let us talk for a moment about the nature of insurance. If a man goes to a private insurance company, he may buy insurance against blindness. If he then becomes blind, he will receive the insurance payments. He is receiving the insurance for which he paid, and his income has nothing to do with the matter. "But," some may object, “you have said that you would Uke to have disability insurance payments made to all blind people--even those who have not paid in to Social Security (in other words, to those who have not paid premiums).” True. But again, we can find a parallel in private insurance. A man may buy insurance against blindness for his entire family. His child may not have paid one dime toward the premium, but if the child becomes blind, he will receive payments. He is part of the family, and the family has purchased insurance against blindness on all of its members.

“Even so," the doubter may say, “these arguments would only hold true for people who become blind. What about the person who has been blind all of his life? Can a man buy insurance against what he already has?" No, a single individual can not. But, a group can. In many organization (including the one in which I work) this very thing can and does occur. The State of Iowa has purchased hospital insurance to cover its employees Further, it pays a large part of the premium for each employee. If a new person joins our staff and subsequently is hospitalized because of a pre-existing condition, he still draws full insurance payments as part of the group. The group has purchased insurance to cover its members (from a private company, incidentally).

These are the principles of insurance, and insurance is not welfare. It is for the rich and the poor alike. The main requisite of insurance is that it meet a need for the individual or the group purchasing it.

Having said all of this, we come squarely to the issue. We the blind are asking society to purchase an insurance policy against blindness. Of course, the blind are part of society, and the blind who are working will (just as others) pay taxes to purchase the insurance.

"So," one asks, "what is the social need to be met, and how will society benefit?" To answer the question let us look at the situation now and compare it with the situation which will exist if our bill passes.

At present if an individual becomes blind and ceases to be gainfully and substantially employed, he likely will be eligible to draw disability insurance. He has every incentive to remain unemployed and not to return to work at all. Why? In the first place he is probably not an expert in the law. He only knows that he is now drawing an insurance payment each month and that if he tries to go back to work, he may lose it--whether his attempt at self-support is successful or not. The law is complex, and the talk of allowed earnings, trial work periods, definitions of gainful and substantial employment et cetera is confusing and not conducive to an attempt to make new beginnings. Furthermore, if the individual actually goes to work and (after a specified trial work period) is making in the neighborhood of one hundred twenty-five dollars per month, he will lose his disability insurance payments. This is true even though he may have been drawing considerably more than one hundred twenty-five dollars a month in disability payments. If dependents are taken into account he may have been drawing disability insurance payments in excess of three hundred dollars per month tax free.

He is penalized for having tried to become self-supporting by losing his insurance altogether. Even if he goes to work, he is tempted to conceal earnings and, if he yields to the temptation, lives in fear of being detected.

Let us suppose that before blindness the individual had an income of $15,000 per year. If (after blindness) he finds employment at $6,000 per year, he is still not eligible to continue to draw his disability insurance even though the loss of income has occurred.

Besides all of this, it is conceivable under the present law that the individual may become blind, go back to work, then lose his job, and thereby become ineligible ever to receive disability insurance payments again because (by going back to work) he has demonstrated that his blindness does not prevent him from engaging in gainful and substantial activity. If, on the other hand, he is willing to settle down and draw his disability insurance without any attempt to go back to work at all, he can securely rest in the knowledge that the payments will continue month after month, year after year.

If an individual is born blind, he may be eligible for disability insurance if his father had a given Social Security status. Otherwise, he can not qualify. There are many other ramifications and qualifications but the point is clear. Under the present law the incentives are for an individual to remain idle, to sit at home and not jeopardize his monthly check.

Now, let us consider what the situation will be if our disability insurance bill passes. There is no complexity and no confusion. The blind person has every incentive to venture and earn to his full capacity. He knows that he will have a monthly insurance payment coming and that it will not be jeopardized by attempts at improving his condition. The blind person is better off and society is better off for him to be productive instead of idle, working instead of sitting at home. In addition, this does not even take into account all of the current anxiety and grief which occur because of the present complexities, mix-ups, and disqualifications on technicalities.

Moreover there is one more matter which should be mentioned. The real problem of blindness is not the loss of eyesight. It is the misunderstandings and the misconceptions which exist. With proper training and opportunity the average blind person can do the average job in the average place of business and do it as well as his sighted neighbor. The massive discriminations which exist against the blind in employment and in opportunity come from society as a whole, not merely from the blind members of society. Therefore, it is reasonable that society should insure its members against these disadvantages.

For all of these reasons I believe that we should go forth and confidently press for the passage of our disability insurance bill--for all blind people, and in the coming session of Congress. It is morally right; it is economically sound; and it is politically practical. Furthermore, if each of us will work vigorously, we can get the job done.

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If the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) could have its way everyone would believe that only the National Federation of the Blind feels that the NAC standards are harmful and should be discarded. The facts, however, are something else again.

One of the official sub-groups of the American Library Association is the “Round Table on Services for the Blind.” For the most part the “Round Table” consists of regional librarians for the blind officials of the Library of Congress and other American Library Association members knowledgeable about library services for the blind. There has never been any unanimity of support for the NAC standards among the libraries for the blind. However, an official action of the “Round Table” now brings the matter into focus. As a part of the mid-winter meeting of the American Library Association held in Washington, D. C., the Round Table on Services for the Blind met on February 1, 1973. It discussed the NAC standards, and there was a very strong feeling that these standards no longer serve (if, indeed, they ever did) any useful purpose. In fact, there was an overwhelming consensus that it would not be desirable for a library to adopt them, regardless of its resources. One of the NAC contentions has always been that the reason some agencies and organizations have not adopted its standards is that they do not have the money or the staff or the facilities--in other words, that the standards represent the goal at which to aim. At the Round Table meeting it was made clear that this is simply not the feeling of the libraries, whatever may be the case with other agencies or groups.

A committee of the Round Table had been appointed to study the NAC standards and make recommendations. They presented the following recommendation, which was fully discussed and then unanimously adopted:

Recommendation from the Ad Hoc
Committee Concerned with the NAC
Standards for Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired

ALA Round Table on Library Services to the Blind

It is the consensus of the Committee members that the NAC Standards as they pertain to library service for the blind are no longer relevant. Current developments in the field require that qualitative as well as quantitative standards be developed which would insure quality information services to all handicapped persons. These handicapped persons should include the totally blind, visually impaired, perceptually handicapped and any other person who, because of a physical impairment cannot effectively use conventional printed matter.

The Committee also strongly recommends ALA appoint a committee to develop new standards as soon as possible to meet the needs of the profession and that the committee include representatives of the Round Table, AHIL, LAD, and PLA.* However, ALA should be represented on any committee which has to do with library standards and should participate in any revisions to NAC standards pertaining to library service.

Mona Werner, Chairman
Dan Bailey
Francis Warnholz
Walter Smith
Committee members not present:
Kathy Jackson
Muriel Javelin

Submitted: February 1, 1973

*AHIL American Hospital and
Institutional Libraries
LAD Library Administration
PLA Public Library

(All divisions of the American Library Association)


Let NAC explain away this action on the part of the Round Table on Services for the Blind if it can. Undoubtedly it will try. NAC should read the handwriting on the wall. Time is running out for it.

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I write this report to the leaders and officers of the American Council of the Blind. I must begin without ceremony: which one of you slimy characters did it? Which one of you finked? Don't pretend you don't know what I mean. Our beloved American Council of the Blind has fallen upon evil days (not that they were ever that good), so my identity must be concealed.

Obviously we have security leaks even at the upper echelons. Otherwise, how could my report of last year's ACB convention have found its way into the hands of the National Federation of the Blind? And how could that disgraceful and despicable communication from Major John Andre have got to the same place? I now have still another matter of concern to report to you. It may well be more serious than anything that we have encountered. As you know, the National Federation of the Blind has been trying to open up the meetings of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped to meaningful participation by the organized blind. We, of course, have been supporting NAC, but our position has been somewhat embarrassing. At the December 1972 meeting of NAC the National Federation of the Blind and others picketed and demonstrated to try to gain public support to make NAC more democratic. Naturally, we refused to participate in any such tactic, being satisfied with the status quo. After all, our own beloved Reese Robrahn is a respected member of the NAC Board and gets on quite well with his colleagues.

Even so, we have to give at least lip service to the concept of increased consumer participation. On December 15, 1972, our honored colleague Durward McDaniel wrote a letter to Dan Johnston, the lawyer who has been leading the fight in our Iowa lawsuit to discredit the Commission for the Blind of that State and the President of the National Federation. Mr. McDaniel's letter reads as follows: 

Durward K. McDaniel
Washington, D. C. 20006

December 15, 1972

Dan Johnston, Esquire
Jesse, Le Tourneau & Johnston
917 Savings and Loan Building
Des Moines, Iowa 50309

Dear Dan:

When you appear on our application on the 20th, a good example which will illustrate the use of Commission staff to quote "aid the blind" is the fact that John Taylor was in New York City on Monday, December 1 1 , where he directed about forty-five demonstrators and picketers complete with placards. The National Federation of the Blind was picketing the meeting of the Board of Directors of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped.



As I have told you before, I have always been skilled in espionage. Accordingly, it should not surprise you to learn that, when one of us did such a dastardly thing as give Mr. McDaniel's letter to the NFB, I should learn of the leak. I ask you to reflect on what they will do with Mr. McDaniel's letter. They will say that it proves once again that we are a company union. They will say that we are willing to sabotage the effort to make NAC more democratic in order to further our own partisan purposes in Iowa. They will also laugh--and, I think, with some justice--at our wretched security system. How, I ask you, could Mr. McDaniel's private letter to Dan Johnston have fallen into the hands of the National Federation?

And the timing of it all! The fat will really be in the fire (as that new expression goes) when the NFB learns that our immediate past president, The Right Honorable Reese Robrahn, has now been elected to the Board of Trustees of the American Foundation for the Blind. Admittedly that is just where he belongs, but couldn't he have been rewarded in a more private manner? Think of what that crowd in the NFB will do with all of this when they put it together and come up with the obvious answers! Of course, there is always the remote chance that they won't believe it when they hear that Judge Robrahn has joined the board of the American Foundation for the Blind, but I doubt it. That Federation crowd has already been making comments about “Uncle Tom" and impertinently referring to Bob Bamett as "Uncle Bob.” Now, they may begin talking about "Uncle Reese."

Things have certainly come to a pretty pass. With our defeat in the Iowa courts and our honored colleague Mr. McDaniel being exposed on every front we're in danger of collapse and utter destruction. Who among us can be trusted?

It is getting so bad that being an officer in the American Council of the Blind is like being a janitor in a haunted house. Also, mentioning the Iowa lawsuit to a member of ACB is like talking about ropes to a man whose Dad just got hanged for murder.

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[Editor's Note: So successful have been the graduates of the Iowa Commission for the Blind that we reprint here the last Annual Report of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, published by the State of Iowa.]


Each year since 1964 visitors from all over the world have come to Iowa to study the programs of the Commission for the Blind. They have carried back ideas to their own countries and, in many instances, have used Iowa as a model for their hoped-for success. Fiscal 1972 was no exception. From Asia and Europe--from far and near--from various parts of the United States and from abroad the observers came. Some for hours or days, some for several weeks. Not only were they helped, but Iowa was benefited also. If permanent and meaningful improvements are to be achieved in attitudes about the blind and opportunities for the blind, the effort must be broadly based. Iowa cannot exist as an island. Commission effort and resources must be used to insure this success.


SUCCESS in rehabilitation means jobs and self-support. The Commission for the Blind provides the training needed for blind lowans to enter employment, and the job placement contacts for newly acquired skills to be put to use.

In fiscal 1972 another important new step was taken. The Commission appointed an Advisory Committee on Employment of the Blind--consisting of more than fifty people: successfully employed blind persons (mostly graduates of the Commission's program), members of the press representatives of business, State officials of the Lions Clubs key figures of the Iowa Federation of Women's clubs, bankers, telephone people, labor officials, educators, attorneys, representatives of farm organizations, and civic and social leaders. The Advisory Committee met three times during the fiscal year and had working sub-committees during the interim. Members pledged themselves personally to make preliminary contacts with employers, and a comprehensive public information effort was undertaken. It will probably never be possible to measure the full impact of the Committee, but already a number of jobs have been found--SUCCESS, by any standard.

Blind persons like sighted persons have varying abilities capacities and interests. Some achieve full self-support or support of a family. Others become competent housewives. Still others are capable of only partial self-support--each finding his own measure of success.

It is the function of the Commission to find the blind person and to provide encouragement, stimulation, training in the skills of blindness, vocational training, job counseling, contact with well-adjusted blind people, and job placement assistance. It is the responsibility of the blind person to work toward his own rehabilitation, utilize every physical and spiritual resource available to him, and strive to achieve his own success. This is being done ever more vigorously. It is the new pattern and the new philosophy--of the Commission for the Blind, and the blind themselves. It is the symbol and the substance of success.

In the 1970 remodeling the Commission for the Blind planned its MTST (Magnetic Tape Selectric Typewriter) classroom. Now, it has a full range of these computerized office machines of the future and the dividends are beginning to be realized. MTST operators are highly skilled and much in demand. Business must either train its own operators or find a suitable source of supply. Here is where the Commission for the Blind comes in. The blind can use the MTST as efficiently as the sighted.

During fiscal 1972, 116 blind lowans were rehabilitated. They were a cross section of the State's population. They were employed in a wide range of occupations—machinists, secretaries, teachers, social workers farmers, darkroom technicians, restaurant operators, factory workers, computer programmers, and businessmen. The Legislature and Executive Branch of government made possible the funds; the Commission for the Blind provided encouragement, stimulation, know-how, training, and assistance in finding employment; the general public offered opportunity and understanding; the blind did the rest. They worked hard and dared to dream. Their story is one in which lowans can take pride. Every citizen of the State shares in their success.


It is respectable to be blind. This statement cannot be emphasized too strongly or made too often a great percentage of the population blind as well as sighted still do not believe it. The Commission's job? Make it a reality--otherwise, nothing else counts everything depends on it—self-confidence, belief, skills, techniques, the courage and the will to venture.

The Center staff not only develop new techniques and improve old ones they also teach the hundreds of proved ones to new students. It would be impossible for a single individual to devise or think of all these on his own. By attending the Center, the student can quickly learn long cane travel, Braille, typing, the use of the abacus, wood and metal work, personal grooming and hair styling, cooking and shopping techniques, and other skills.

More important, the student must learn new attitudes about blindness. It may be on a field trip around a campfire it may be water-skiing, woodcutting, horseback riding, canoeing, or attending meetings or visiting programs for the blind in another state; or it may be sitting in the recreation room at the Center, talking with fellow student or staff member. The Where doesn't matter. The critical thing is for the blind person to come to believe in himself, to realize that he can be self-supporting, to learn that he can give as well as take, to be glad that he can have responsibilities, to know that life is good--to dream the impossible dream.

The mixture of skills and attitudes, of drudgery and dreams, of hard work and high hopes is the secret of the process. The rate of success is gratifyingly high, well over ninety percent. A few (a very few) go away defeated and bitter, blaming the world and the Commission for their blindness and failure; but the overwhelming majority leave happy and optimistic, prepared to achieve success.


Commission Library a key factor in SUCCESS for blind of Iowa. At Commission Building or postage-free through mail: well-rounded collection—“how to do it" books, current literature, classics, scholarly works, magazines all kinds. Talking books (long play discs) continue to be heart of collection; cassette use growing fast; open reel magnetic tape declining; large type popular; sharp upsurge in number of hand transcribed books Brailled by volunteers during year.

Continued increase in provision of textbooks to blind students; elementary grades, high school, college. Reading rooms Commission Building popular. Maps, globe by touch. Braille music, math devices.

Almost 40,000 books were processed by the library each month during fiscal 1972--a constant stream of material going to the post office and another coming from it. It requires an active staff actively working. To the blind person it means the book he wants at the time he wants it.

In 1959 Iowa had no library for the blind. Today, unexcelled--modem reading rooms, varied collections. Each year circulation has increased. In fiscal 1972 more than 220,000 books sent to blind people throughout the State. Total circulation since beginning of Library went over the one and one-half million mark during the year.

The Commission for the Blind provides library services to those who, because of visual impairment or some other physical condition, cannot read regular print. Sometimes a borrower will use more than one means of reading--Braille as well as talking book; talking book as well as tape; etc. The same library user may be represented in more than one category. Some, of course, use only one kind of reading matter. Each employs the pattern best calculated to achieve his own SUCCESS.  


The Commission for the Blind provides a variety of devices to the blind for use in their daily living. White canes, Braille watches and clocks, specially marked games, cooking utensils and timers with Braille dials, and adapted needle threaders are examples of what is available. All of these special aids are provided to the blind person either at the Commission's cost or, in cases of vocational or other established need, at less than cost or no charge, within the limits of the Commission's resources.


Over a thousand volunteers work in the Commission's program to help the blind achieve success.

Each year a workshop is held for those volunteers who transcribe reading matter into Braille, large print, or onto tape. Every such meeting brings new recruits and new techniques. Inmates at Fort Madison State Penitentiary and three similar institutions outside of Iowa, temple sisterhoods, church groups, service organizations and individuals far and near work devotedly to make reading matter available to the blind.

Motto of the Lions: "We Serve." Through the Iowa Lions Sight Conservation Foundation, through local clubs, and as individuals, the Lions of Iowa do, indeed, serve. They support sight conservation and programs for the blind with a spirit of generosity and understanding.

People of the telephone industry (particularly the Hawkeye Chapter of the Telephone Pioneers of America and the Thomas Griffith Chapter of the Independent Telephone Pioneers) repair and deliver talking book machines by the thousands. They explain Commission services and do anything else they can to help. Without them the blind of the State would be less likely to achieve success.

The home industries program of the Iowa Commission for the Blind enables blind persons who, because of age or some additional handicap, are not able to work competitively outside their own homes, to engage in productive activity. The hand hemming of towels and tablecloths, the making of dishcloths, apron sets, and cloth dolls are but some of these activities. During the past year there has been increasing emphasis on machine sewing of certain items. This has enabled a number of blind persons with severe multiple handicaps (deafness, amputation, etc.) to earn money to meet special needs. Alternative techniques permit machine operation and success.

The items manufactured in the home industries program are primarily distributed through the Iowa Federation of Women's Clubs. Each club in the State has a "towel chairman" who coordinates local sales. In addition to this long-standing service project, the clubwomen of Iowa are increasingly active in public education about the capacities of the blind, in community development of opportunity for the blind, in taping books for the library, and in overall assistance to the Commission for the Blind at the local level.

The program of the Iowa Comission for the Blind would not be complete without many other individuals and organizations. Especially the blind themselves, organized to form the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa, work and consult with the Commission continuously to aid its staff in setting proper goals, teaching effective techniques, and opening economic and vocational opportunities.

The forward movement of Iowa's blind citizens is truly a joint effort of the Legislature, the Executive Branch of government, service clubs, volunteer groups, and the public to cement into the traditions of our State the potentialities of the blind in their effort to achieve SUCCESS.

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by Donald C. Capps

One of America's most beloved leaders in work with the blind, Hubert E. Smith, of Augusta, Georgia, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away on Thursday, December 21, 1972, from an apparent heart attack. While Mr. Smith had been in declining health for a number of years, his death was a shock to all of his many friends throughout the nation. The South Carolina Aurora Club of the blind, Inc., extends its sincere sympathy to his widow, Mrs. Jewell Smith, and to the other members of the Smith family "Babe" Smith, as he was affectionately known to his many associates, was highly respected and loved by blind people as well as sighted persons throughout the country his passing has created a real void in the ranks of those blind Americans who have dedicated their lives to serving their fellow blind. Babe Smith was a real giant in the field of work with the blind for more than four decades. A native South Carolinian, Babe went to Augusta, Georgia, in 1928 with only $100 which he had saved, and opened a small workshop. This was a particularly difficult time for the American people as it was the beginning of the depression and not many sighted persons ventured into a new business much less an individual who did not have physical sight. However, the Babe was not an average individual and possessed that real quality of courage which lifts man to greater heights. A tragic gun accident which took his sight at the age of sixteen dramatically changed his life, but placed him on a road of unmatched service to the nation's blind. Those individuals of lesser character and courage may well have seen their dreams dashed by such an accident, but it only served to bring out the very best in Babe Smith. Babe Smith loved his country and was a staunch believer in the virtue of real and sincere patriotism. His devotion to country and to man was clearly outlined in the following article which appeared in the March 6, 1963, edition of The Augusta Chronicle.

50th Anniversary of Inauguration

Hubert E. Smith has been blind for 50 years but sitting in the front of his Heard Avenue home on Tuesday he could still recall how on March 4, 1913, he went to Washington to see the inauguration of President Woodrow Wilson.

"I shall always be grateful to the Augusta Chronicle for that experience," Smith said. As a poor 16-year-old farm boy he had won the trip by selling subscriptions for The Chronicle. It was his first excursion away from home. He was in a party of 30 boys. Smith remembers how the group traveled north in a luxury Pullman coach and "were able to eat anything we wanted." He was one of a crowd of 100,000 in Washington that day to see the parade sweep up Pennsylvania Avenue. He saw the bright ranks of marching men and was stirred by the music of the bands and the great occasion. He remembers standing just across the street from the steps of the Capitol and seeing Woodrow Wilson, a tall slender figure, take the oath there. It was one of the happiest days of his life, as two weeks later he was blind.

A gunshot accident at his home took his sight away. He was heartsick, his spirit almost broken. Gradually, assisted by the power of prayer, Smith began to live again. He entered a school for the blind in Columbia, South Carolina, and learned new skills. His desire was to help people in similar condition.

In 1928 at the age of 31, Smith opened a workshop for the blind on Seventh Street opposite the old Augusta Chronicle office. The paper called it the “little shop with big ideas," he recalled, and gave the group a lot of valuable publicity. The shop became Georgia's first training school for the blind.

Smith then formed Ways and Means for the Blind, Inc. to handle their business affairs. As they began to acquire profits he invested them in mortgages and rental properties. Profits were used to assist blind people. Interest-free loans were given to blind people to help them buy homes. Free Braille watches, books and tape recorders were given away. Smith's next venture was in the real estate business, buying land and building houses. With uncanny instinct he made thousands of dollars.

"People in Augusta think I'm a rich man, but I have never taken a salary," Smith explained. "I own nothing in my own name."

"My one ambition is to help the blind people of this world."

The growth and progress of the South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind and its leadership owes a great deal to the advice and assistance of Mr. Smith. This writer is especially appreciative of the sound advice and much-needed encouragement given by the Babe, particularly during the early days of a weak South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind.

It was in September of 1956 that it was our distinct honor and privilege to visit in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Hubert Smith and to meet this fine couple for the first time even though we had heard of their good works for many years. When Aurora became a State organization in 1956, it owned no typewriter or other office equipment, and it was Mr. Smith who presented the organization with a typewriter as a free gift. That same year Babe provided the money to have the Columbia chapter's old bus painted. This marked the beginning of a relationship which saw Aurora on the receiving end of many gifts by Babe Smith through Ways and Means for the Blind, which have led to many benefits for South Carolina's blind citizens. A $300 interest-free loan from Ways and Means enabled Aurora to establish a concession stand in Richland County Courthouse in 1957. Thus this business opportunity has enabled a blind person to earn a livelihood for more than fifteen years.

Babe was keenly interested in a livable pension for the nation's blind and greatly appreciated the work done by the National Federation of the Blind in this important field. This writer had the unforgettable privilege of presenting a $1000 bond to the National Federation of the Blind at its annual Convention in 1959 in Santa Fe, New Mexico on behalf of Ways and Means for the Blind and its distinguished president, Mr. Hubert E. Smith. At that time it represented the fourth gift of $1000 which had been presented to the NFB by Ways and Means for the Blind in appreciation for the outstanding work being done by the NFB for the nation's blind In appreciation of the wonderful support given by Mr. Smith, the South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind at its annual convention in 1959 presented him with a certificate of lifetime honorary membership. In responding to this presentation Mr. Smith wrote the following:

"May 19, 1959

Dear President Capps:

At certain times we face the realization of the total inadequacy of words to convey the almost tangible feeling of gratitude for an act of magnanimity generously bestowed.

I find myself beset by these limitations when I attempt to express my appreciation for the Certificate of Life Membership in the South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind humbly received some days ago. I hope I may be forgiven for the feeling of pride that prompts the display of this citation on my office wall.

Thank you and all your associates again for remembering me in this manner, even though I feel unworthy of the compliment.

Sincerely yours,
Hubert E. Smith"

While Babe Smith was an humble man he was also a very gracious person and possessed considerable wit and humor. It is recalled that he particularly enjoyed the following composition or "sayings" which he preferred to call them as follows:

"Every dog has his day
Is a fact well known to men,
Except the one with a broken tail
And he has his 'week-end’”

The blind of the State and especially Aurorans are very proud of the Aurora Center of the Blind as it represents one of the finest facilities for the blind to be found anywhere in the country. Babe Smith gave generously toward the building and furnishing of the Aurora Center. Ways and Means for the Blind presented the Aurora Center a check for more than $1100 to furnish the original office which was subsequently dedicated as the Smith Memorial Office. When the Aurora Center expanded in 1970, the much larger office was also designated as the Smith Memorial Office. As a living memorial to his beloved father, Mr. Hubert H. Smith, Babe presented a beautiful painting of his father which now hangs in a prominent place in the Smith Memorial Office. Babe did a great deal of reading throughout his long and useful life and this was a source of much education and learning. He believed that other blind persons should have all types of reading material and this led to his interest in sponsoring a number of tape libraries for the blind throughout the country. For several years now the Aurora Center's tape library has been serving the blind of South Carolina as well as a number of blind persons throughout the country thanks to the generous support of Ways and Means for the Blind. Babe Smith was a philosopher in his own right. He was wise and possessed a real philosophy of life as evidenced by the following:

If troubles vow to beat you down
More so when you're all alone
Face them with a cheerful smile
And keep your thoughts on home
Whoever waged a harder fight
than he who fights alone
Who else deserves a place of hope
Nearer to the mercy throne."


"Between the two he had to choose
Wealth to gain--immortality to lose
These fresh footprints on the
heart of time
Are the living things he left behind.”

And so this world has lost a great man who lived his life for others. Babe Smith's life was characterized by a genuine belief, which he put into practice, that he was to serve mankind He sincerely believed that he had two homes--an earthly home and a heavenly home. During his earthly home and journey, Babe did everything humanly possible to be of service to his fellow blind and to this end he was successful by any yardstick. Yet in serving mankind as he did, Babe was also building for himself many crowns In his heavenly home. This is succinctly manifested in the motto which appeared on the letterhead of Ways and Means for the Blind which reads as follows: “You cannot take it with you, but you can send it on ahead." Not many men among us have sent more ahead than did Babe Smith and he has undoubtedly taken his rightful place among the heavenly host.

Those of us who are left behind mourn his passing and will miss him greatly. Yet the work he did during his life's journey will live on forever. In the realization of and preparation for that final day. Babe Smith wrote the following:


"I'm so happy. Lord!
How can I wait
To walk unchallenged
Through the open gate?
And quietly stroll
O'er love-bleached sand
To my eternal home
In Glory Land?
Then suddenly.
Oh, what a thrill!
There it stood on yonder hill,
Gleaming white beneath the pines.
Altogether beautiful, and all mine!
Then the Master came and said to me:
'Each unanswered prayer
Has become a tree,
And every trial
That seemed so hard
Is now a flower in your yard.'
There are wondrous things for me to do
In my home beyond the blue,
But the greatest joy I'll ever know
Will be when I meet You at my door."

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[Editor's Note: It looks as though we may be coming to the end of all those refusals for entry into professional schools because of the difficulties surrounding entrance and aptitude tests. Across the country currently at least six blind students have been denied admission to law schools on this ground. Take heart; the solution seems to be at hand. We hope that those students who are aided by these and other efforts of the National Federation of the Blind will not write and tell us to remove their names from The Monitor lists because now that they are in school or have professional jobs they are too busy to help other blind people.]


January 31, 1973

Ms. Kim Peterson
Commission for the Blind
4th and Keosauqua Way
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
Dear Ms. Peterson:

The master cassettes of the ACT Student Profile Section and four tests, the booklet of raised line drawings and your suggestions for the cover letter have been received.

The cassettes are now in the hands of the Research and Development Division for their approval. Your suggestions to be included in the cover letter addressed to those who will be administering the cassetted tests will be taken into consideration as we prepare the letter.

When the Research and Development Division has completed their review, we will return the cassettes to Mrs. Florence Grannis, Librarian, Commission for the Blind, 4th and Keosauqua Way, Des Moines, Iowa 50309, and include our order for the additional copies of cassettes and of the raised line drawings.

We sincerely appreciate your fine assistance and cooperation. Please extend our thanks to all who had a part in making this service available.

Have an enjoyable vacation.

/s/Olen E. Jones Jr
Director, Test Administration and Security

cc: Mrs. Florence Grannis, Librarian
David S. Crockett, Vice President of Program Operations



[The following is a reprint from Activity, December, 1972, a publication of the American College Testing Program.]

A new testing service for the blind is currently under development by ACT.

In conjunction with the Iowa Commission for the Blind, ACT is working on a plan to put the ACT Assessment on cassette tapes. Scheduled for distribution by next spring, the tapes will add a new dimension to the Special Testing Service at ACT.

The Special Testing Service annually administers the ACT Assessment to hundreds of students who are unable to take the test at a regular test center for reasons such as physical handicaps, confinement to a hospital or correctional institution, or religion.

"Every year, many visually handicapped students are meeting their university and college admission requirements by taking the ACT Assessment through cooperation of ACT's Special Testing Service," according to Olen E. Jones, director of the Department of Test Administration and Security at ACT.

Requested by Counselors

"Although most of these students are able to take the tests using the Braille or large-type test booklets, many counselors for the blind have asked that the ACT Assessment be placed on cassettes in order to be of maximum assistance to these students," Jones commented in explaining the development of the cassettes.

When completed, the cassettes will be distributed in the same manner as the Braille and large-type booklets. The new service will, however, enable blind students to have the ACT Assessment administered in their local area rather than traveling to special test centers.

During the 1971-72 testing year, 1,402 people were given special testings of the ACT Assessment, a 55 percent increase over the 1969-70 testing year.

A total of 523 visually handicapped people took the ACT Assessment through the Special Testing Service in 1971-72. Of those, 217 took the Braille test, 262 used the large-type booklet, and 44 wrote the test from the regular test booklet.

In other special testing situations during 1971-72, ACT Assessments were administered to 295 servicemen at sea or in foreign countries; 178 inmates at penal institutions; and 122 people with physical handicaps other than visual.

Special Testing also administers the ACT Assessment to foreign student candidates who live a great distance from one of the 164 overseas test centers ACT maintains in 70 foreign countries.

Special Arrangements

Through the Special Testing Service, the ACT Assessment can be arranged locally at a time and place convenient to students in special situations. To initiate a special test administration, a candidate or counselor should send the following information to the Department of Test Administration and Security at the ACT National Office in Iowa City:

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The demand for back issues, especially in ink and in Braille, continues at a high pitch. We need your help. We certainly do not want anyone who is using back issues in ink and Braille to give them up. But it would help others who need them if those of you who have Monitors taking up storage room would share them with us. Many libraries are building sets. So are State affiliates and chapters of the NFB. They are invaluable in carrying on improvement programs, for the supply of resource material in The Monitor seems inexhaustible.

In particular a plea goes out here for the Special Supplement published in May 1959 in both ink and Braille as well as for the August 1962 issue in Braille.

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by Howard Oberheu, Susan Yamamoto and Eileen Stenson*

[Editor's Note: The following is reprinted from Human Needs, a publication of the U. S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.]

Most blind, disabled, and elderly receiving public assistance are women. This is one of the findings of a just-published 1970 SRS study of the three adult categories Old--Age Assistance, Aid to the Permanently and Totally Disabled, and Aid to the Blind.

The largest number of adult recipients are white, but there has been an increase in blacks in the categories of AB and OAA since previous studies (OAA, 1965; APTD and AB, 1962). People of Hispanic origin comprise seven percent of the OAA and APTD categories and five percent of the blind and visually impaired. Native Americans and other ethnic groups are represented in very small percentages.

Contrary to the popular stereotype of people who migrate from State to State for assistance, a majority of the recipients have never lived outside the State in which they are receiving assistance. Those among the disabled who have moved, did so before 1950. In addition, most of the population surveyed had lived at their present address two years or more. The majority in all categories live in urban and metropolitan areas, following the general United States trend.

Length of time on assistance since the most recent opening of the case until the "study month" is also contrary to the popular idea that people are recipients all their lives. In assistance to the aged, the median number of years since the most recent opening of the case has dropped from 6 to 5.3 years. For APTD, the median time has remained a constant 2.6 years. Only in the AB category did the median slightly increase from 6.1 to 6.3 years since 1962. However, long-term cases for both AB and APTD increased.

The OAA category, of course, is influenced by fluctuations in the general life span in the United States. For a sizeable majority of all adult recipients an OAA grant is the first time for public assistance under an adult category.

Age at the time of acceptance is a factor in the length of time on assistance, as well as in the progress the recipients are able to make in coping with their life situations. Blind recipients are now younger as a group, with a median age of 59.9 years; this may be attributable to the fact that there was a marked increase in recipients who were blind at birth. Under OAA the median age has decreased to 75.5 years. The incidence of congenital malformation and injury at birth has declined to 17 percent in the APTD category; nevertheless, the median age decreased to 54.6 years and the proportion under 30 years increased.

About half the recipients have living children; however, very few have children contributing to their support. Among the elderly in particular there has been a considerable decrease in recipients who have children contributing regularly to their parents' support.

Most spouses living with OAA recipients continue to receive some type of assistance. Of these, 67 percent receive assistance in their own right, while 15 percent do so as a member of the recipient's assistance group. Other types of assistance received by spouses of the elderly, in order of frequency, are APTD, AFDC, and AB.

About 1 in 4 blind persons has children living in the home. Of all AB recipients, 11 percent have children financially dependent on them for support.

A more complete picture emerges with the finding that many recipients live alone. About 2 in 10 of the blind live alone; 3 in 10 have never married. AB recipients living with spouses declined slightly, but the level of those who are married remains at 30 percent.

There was a slight increase in divorce and separation among the disabled; 37 percent, however, never married.

The marital status of OAA recipients remains much as it was in 1965. Half have been widowed, while 25 percent are married and living with a spouse. A smaller percentage of OAA recipients are alone because of factors such as their age and continuing physical and mental handicaps that have prevented wide social contacts. Part of this isolation might possibly be attributed to urban living, which promotes the one-person unit and works against the extended family.

However, there is a balance between the possible good and bad effects of the recipients' shift from rural to metropolitan living. In APTD there has been a decline in institutionalization: more disabled people are now encouraged to be as independent as possible. In the past, a person with a handicap might have been tightly bound by societal restrictions. With enough encouragement, such an individual can now begin to forge his own life style, regardless of how limited it may be in comparison with the able-bodied.

Urbanization may have had one positive effect on the education of the blind and disabled. On the average, APTD recipients had a higher level of education in 1970 than in 1962. This rise matches the overall rise in the educational level that has occurred among Americans during the same period. Blind recipients in particular gained in this area: numbers of blind high school graduates and those with some college nearly doubled to reach 10 and 4 percent, respectively. In 1970, 1 in 7 blind recipients had completed a vocational training program, usually in trades and crafts. The use of specific blindness-related training and training aids increased.

Education and urbanization do not go hand-in-hand where the aged are concerned, however. Their educational level remained low. In 1970 only 2 percent were known to have completed a vocational training program.

In contrast to the constant complaint that public assistance recipients have been loafers all their lives, 69 percent of the aged have a history of previous employment. Almost 1 in 4 OAA recipients had been employed as a service worker. Each of the other major occupational groups (blue-collar, farm, and white-collar workers) was less frequently represented. AB recipients employed full time increased.

Of AB recipients with labor market experience, the most frequently reported occupations were blue-collar. There was a decrease in disabled recipients who had never been employed; in fact those currently employed or employed within the past year increased to 6 percent.

In general recipients in each category are more mobile than ever before. The findings in the AB category are particularly striking, because 1 in 4 of these persons can now negotiate the world outside his home unaided by person, dog, or device.

Among OAA recipients, 2 in 3 continue to live in their own homes. There was a shift from privately-owned to rented housing: renters now comprise 45 percent of OAA recipients. APTD recipients who live in their own homes remained at 54 percent; those in institutions comprise 13 percent; while 2 percent are in group quarters.

Physical illness seems to continue to be a major factor in the need for public assistance. Mental illness is a factor to a lesser extent, but there are usually emotional adjustments to be made when a physical problem is present. APTD is, by definition, a category outlined by physical problems. Diseases of the circulatory system continued to be the most frequently reported primary disabling condition, although decreasing from nearly 3 in 1 to 2 in 10 among recipients. Over a third of the disabled were either mentally ill or retarded.

Nearly half of the APTD recipients received one or more social services. Three in 10 received social services related to physical functioning, including physicians' and outpatient or clinic services, while nearly 1 in 10 received social services related to mental functioning, including physician's and outpatient or clinic services and assistance in admission to an institution.

The supportive or sustaining services received by 1 in 10 recipients included homemaker services, chore services, social outlet services, and volunteer visiting services. Two in 10 recipients received other social services, including referral for vocational rehabilitation services, counseling and information about family planning, and directions for gaining assistance with mobility or self-care activities.

In 1970, 63 percent of OAA recipients had one or more chronic health conditions. After "the big three"--circulatory diseases, arthritis, and rheumatism--the most frequently reported illnesses are diabetes, mental illness, digestive diseases, and respiratory diseases. Small percentages for cancer, alcoholism, and tuberculosis were reported.

About 3 in 10 OAA recipients received one or more social services. The most common type of social service related to physical functioning was help in obtaining a physician's services. Among the few who received social services related to mental functioning, the most common type was assistance in gaining admission to a skilled nursing home.

Although there were more AB recipients blind from birth, there was a decrease in the totally blind from 18 to 16 percent. Deafness continued as the major secondary impairment among AB recipients. In addition to their physical and mental impairments, other chronic health conditions affect 4 in 10 blind persons receiving assistance.

In the receipt of social services by AB recipients, there was an equal balance of 25 percent between social services related to physical functioning and social services related to housing improvement, referrals to (or joint planning with) vocational rehabilitation, or arrangements for getting a talking book machine. Of the 16 percent of AB recipients receiving supportive or sustaining social services, 6 percent received homemaker services and only 4 percent were referred to social outlets, such as senior centers.

The general population ought to obtain a better understanding of the severe problems that illness, injury, and defects can create in the lives of Americans, especially the poor. Then the public may be in a better position to support advances in health, education, and rehabilitation. If weather modification, organ transplants, moon travel, and computers are now part of everyday life, then we can make the new rehabilitation techniques into realities, also. Our society manufactures so many disposable goods that there is a tendency to throw away people, too. However, as the 1970 data indicate, even our most vulnerable citizens are waging a powerful struggle to survive--not to be discarded by the young, able-bodied majority.

*Mr. Oberheu, Ms. Yamamoto, and Ms. Stenson are analysts of the staff of the National Center for Social Statistics, SRS. Their data is based upon Findings of the 1970 OAA/APTD/AB Study, Part I, Demographic and Program Statistics, published September 1972; single copies available from SRS.

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by Janiece and Roger Petersen

[Editor's Note: The following was taken from The Newsletter publication of the NFB of the District of Columbia.]

From September 30 through October 3 we were in Louisville, Kentucky for the annual meeting of the Board of Directors of the National Braille Association. We took advantage of this opportunity to tour the Printing House and to talk to several people who are in the forefront of technical development pertaining to blindness. We were impressed by the rapid expansion of the use of the computer in the production of press Braille at the Printing House. Keypunch operators who do not know Braille transcribe print books onto IBM cards. The computer transposes this information onto cards which are punched with grade two Braille code. These cards are, then, read by the machine which produces the plates for the Braille press. The Printing House says it takes two weeks to train a keypunch operator as compared with two years to train a Braille transcriber. Of the Braille books produced at the Printing House, 70 percent are now produced in this way. Braille books using special codes such as math and music are still prepared by Braille transcribers, although the first computer-transcribed music book is nearly complete.

There are two recording formats being developed for rapid search, dictionaries, and other materials. The first is of Printing House design using a stereo disc and a special player. One stereo track is recorded at 4-1/6 RPM and contains the detailed material; the other track contains index words recorded at 66-2/3 RPM. Provision is made for rapid scanning without damage to the record. The second system (developed by T. Cranmer, State Bureau of Rehabilitation, and Emerson Foulke of the University of Louisville) is a cassette dictionary. The definitions are recorded at 15/16 IPS with the words to be defined superimposed at a much higher speed, so as to be understandable with the cassette on fast forward. In our opinion, the latter system is better since the new machines available from the Printing House can play these cassettes.

Sharing the resources and the facilities of the Printing House is the Instructional Reference and Materials Center. This unit is set up to develop new tactile and visual teaching aids and to publish information on such aids available on the commercial market. Once an item is perfected, it is turned over to the Printing House for manufacture. Although the thrust of this program is to make materials available to teachers of the blind ordering on federal funds, they would also be helpful to parents of blind children or blind parents of sighted children.

The 1972 version of the Freund Handwriting Kit is an example of a product which has gone this route. In our opinion, this kit is far superior to the 1966 version. It may be purchased from APH for $17.50. Of course, this item is useful for adults as well as children.

At Emerson Foulke's Perceptual Alternatives Laboratory, University of Louisville, there were several pieces of sophisticated equipment: a computer terminal with audio input and output which allows for all kinds of computer processing of recorded speech. A machine has been built which moves a continuous line of Braille past the reader's stationary fingers at a controlled rate for Braille reading experiments. Dr. Foulke has designed a machine which can automatically produce the cassette dictionary already mentioned.

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by Jim Craig

[Editor's Note: Reprinted by courtesy of the Greeley (Colorado) Tribune. Carl Coleman is an active Federationist.]

Carl Coleman is a mechanic. In fact, he is a good mechanic. The only difference between him and other mechanics is that Carl Coleman is totally blind.

Carl Coleman doesn't let his blindness bother him because he takes extreme pride in his work and tries just that much harder to do the best job he can. And as he pointed out after 25 years of not seeing, you get used to it.

Coleman said that mechanics run in his family and in fact a brother and his father were mechanics for many years before switching to the carpentry profession. He added that it seemed to be the natural thing to do, and so he did it.

He took a 13-week training course in auto and transmission mechanics in a class with only one other blind person, the rest had full vision. He has been a mechanic ever since.

Currently he works for Aamco Transmissions in Greeley. Coleman pointed out that he has been doing transmission work for nine years and that the reason he is in Greeley is because the people he works for heard about his ability and hired him.

For Coleman the ability factor and just a chance to prove it is what all people need to make it. …

"Everything is relative to what a person wants to do and how badly he really wants to do it," Coleman said. "A lot of blind fellows can do my job or any other job they want. The employer must give them a chance and not stereotype them; they are individuals too.

"Just like any person, all blind people are not good with their hands. They have minds too. I am a mechanic and can tune pianos, but not all blind people can do it nor can I do things some other blind persons can do."

His happiness in his work and his ability is evident. He has a tool box full of his own tools he has purchased over the years but has never seen. But they are as shiny as new. And he uses them with the greatest of skill.

"A lot of times people will notice I am blind and stand and watch me as I work. In fact the guys have told me that sometimes I gather quite a crowd. But it never bothers me since I don't know they are there.

"At other times people never realize it. I will never forget the impression I had of a guy who I asked to tell me when I filled his transmission with fluid. He didn't answer me for a long time and just stood where he was. He really had no idea that I was blind and I could just see his expression."

To Coleman his work is his life besides his wife and five children. He said that dropping a socket is funny when it rolls across the room, but not at the time it happens because it takes a long time to find it.

He is the first to admit that some things come slowly to him and cause minor irritation at the time they happen. But he notes that you have to be able to laugh at yourself since it does not mean a whole lot in the end.

For Carl Coleman his hands do his seeing and in spite of the years of cuts and bruises, they still do a job as well if not better than his natural eyes he lost 25 years ago.

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by Marcia Mendelson Allocco

Presently, the blind and physically disabled are excluded from the New York State Human Rights Law and, therefore, are unable to bring complaints of discrimination before the New York State Commission on Human Rights. Discrimination against these groups in housing, public accommodation, and employment is widespread. It is imperative that the State Legislature amend the Human Rights Law to include the Wind and disabled.

As part of a program to implement this legislation, members of the New York City Chapter (formerly the Concordia Chapter) of the National Federation of the Blind of New York State, with the cooperation of members of Metropolitan Chapter and other interested blind persons, staged a peaceful, albeit high-spirited, demonstration at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, New York City, on Saturday, February 3, 1973. The purpose of this demonstration was to make the public aware of the fact that the blind and disabled are excluded from the New York State Human Rights Law and is urging its support of upcoming legislation to amend the law.

Leaflets were distributed, petitions were signed, as over fifty demonstrators marched and chanted slogans printed on signs, such as: "Dignity, Not Charity"; "Legislation Now"; and "Equal Opportunities Now." The press, and several local radio and television stations covered the demonstration. Some of the participants were interviewed, including
Dr. Patrick Peppe, Dr. Edwin R. Lewinson, and Miss Ruth Johnson.

Daniel Allocco, chairman of the six-member demonstration committee, shouting into a megaphone, exhorted the participants to remember why they were there, and what they were fighting for; reminding them that each and every blind person must take on the responsibility of implementing this legislation. To quote Mr. Allocco: "We, the blind of this State, must take a more active part in working toward the achievement of equal opportunities for all people."

Dr. Patrick Peppe, NFB of New York State legislative chairman, is working with State legislators concerning a bill to amend the Human Rights Law.

A great deal of planning and hard work went into this demonstration. A six-member committee was drawn from New York City Chapter, chaired by Daniel Allocco, with the assistance of Marcia Allocco, Alex and Sirra Chavich, Frieda Wolff, and chapter president Rita Chemow. A leaflet briefly describing the NFB, and stating in basic question-and-answer form the purpose of the demonstration, was drafted. Notices in Braille and inkprint were distributed to the blind population of New York City, and letters concerning the demonstration were sent to all local chapters throughout the State.

We wish to thank Dr, Jacob Freid and his highly capable staff at the Jewish Braille Institute of America, for aiding us in printing of leaflets and notices, for obtaining permits, and for securing press coverage. The JBI is to be greatly commended for the excellent support it has given us in this venture. We also wish to thank our sighted friends who aided us in printing signs for the demonstration, and for their able assistance throughout this project.

We hope and trust that through our effort and action we too can join our fellow Federationists on the barricades.

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submitted by Manuel Urena

Carnitas-Hors d'oeuvres

1 lb. lean pork
salt and pepper

Cut pork into one-half-inch cubes and salt and pepper them to taste. Arrange on a baking sheet and cook in a two-hundred degree oven for two hours or until the pork is crisp.


Step I

2 dozen corn tortillas
2 1/2 lbs. lean hamburger
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons oregano
salt and pepper to taste
cooking oil

Mix well hamburger, onion, and spices. Divide this mixture into twenty-four portions, placing a portion inside each tortilla and folding it in half. Some people shape the hamburger portions like hot dogs, others like half moons. Pour cooking oil to a depth of one inch in a large skillet. Heat oil to medium hot temperature and cook tacos, using tongs to turn. Fry eight minutes on the first side and five minutes on the second side. Drain well.

Step II

2 lbs. longhorn cheese, grated
6 medium tomatoes, halved and thinly sliced
1 head of iceberg lettuce, shredded (if iceberg lettuce unavailable, romaine will do nicely.)
24 cooked tacos

Stuff tacos with cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce. Serve on a large platter garnished with tiny tomatoes and large black olives.

Refried Beans

1 lb. dry pinto beans (do not soak)
salt and pepper
garlic, if desired
1 cup grated longhorn cheese
4 Tablespoons cooking oil

Wash and rinse beans and place in a large pot with water to cover; add salt and pepper and one or two cloves of garlic. Bring the beans to a slow boil and maintain at this temperature for four or five hours, adding water as necessary. The beans should be very soft when done, with liquid just covering them. Put aside until ready for frying. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat Add beans and liquid cautiously. As beans are heating, stir and mash with heavy spoon Add cheese Refried beans may be served at once or kept covered and warm for an hour or two. Just before serving garnish with a little grated cheese.

Chili Sauce

2 heaping teaspoons cayenne pepper
8-ounce can of tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons water
dash of salt

Combine ingredients and place in a small serving dish. Serve as an accompaniment for tacos, beans, and other Mexican foods. Warn guests.

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Blind Californians are celebrating "The Return of the Native”--Manuel Urena He has been appointed as Program Manager for the Blind in the State Department of Rehabilitation by the forward-looking new Director of Rehabilitation, Alan Nelson. This combination augers well for blind programs in this troubled time of reorganization in many states in which programs for the blind are being “umbrella-ed” into general programs where they become only an insignificant raindrop in the barrel of disadvantaged, minority, and otherwise disabled, aged, and children.

Even though the 93d Congress is still very young, a batch of bills has been introduced raising the Social Security benefits all the way from 5 percent to 50 percent, even though the 92d Congress passed a 20-percent increase last summer. Many of these measures will also attempt to increase the amount of exempt income from any source over the $20 a month now in the law.

This year the House Ways and Means Committee plans extensive hearings on the subject of tax reform. The hearings will be quite broad in scope. President Kenneth Jernigan of the National Federation of the Blind and John Nagle, Chief of its Washington Office, will testify in behalf of the retention of the special tax exemption for blind persons.

Dr. Richard W. Bleecker, Director of Arizona's Division for the Visually Impaired, has resigned in order to accept a position as Associate Director of NAC.

Raymond Taliaferro writes that the North Jersey Association of the Blind has elected the following officers for 1973: president, Edward Fedush; vice-president, Mary Bovi; secretary, Raymond Taliaferro; sergeant-at-arms, Clest Plevere; treasurer, Cornelius Vandine; trustees, Roy Nevatney, Frank Shack, and Louis Bailey.

The U. S. Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments on a challenge to the constitutionality of a 1971 New York State law that required able-bodied welfare recipients to accept work. A three-judge Federal District Court had ruled that the federal work incentive program had preempted the field, thus invalidating the State effort. The Supreme Court said it would postpone settling unstated jurisdictional questions until it heard arguments on the issue in a few months. Ordinarily, when the Justices accept a case of this kind, they officially "note probable jurisdiction."

Congressman William D. Ford of Michigan recently introduced legislation designed to provide special educational services to all handicapped children, including the mentally retarded and emotionally disturbed. The bill would provide Federal grants to help State governments finance up to 75 percent of the additional costs involved in providing the special services needed for education of the handicapped.

One of the country's largest processors of film has turned to nineteen blind employees to help speed along the dark room phase of this process. GAF Corporation, which also manufactures film and cameras, discovered in the early Fifties that while sighted darkroom employees could handle about 125 rolls of film an hour, the sightless could easily better that by about 35 more rolls hourly. The company ascribes this difference to the fact that the blind person's sense of touch is incredibly more developed than that of the average sighted person. And obviously the blind don't lose time adjusting to darkness as they leave and reenter the darkroom with more film.

Last Fall the President vetoed the Rehabilitation Amendments of 1972. Now Senator Alan Cranston of California is spearheading a move in Congress to quickly re-pass the bill and then, if it is again vetoed, to seek to override the veto. The vetoed bill cleared the Senate by a vote of 72-0 and the House by a vote of 327-0, so it would seem highly probable that a second Presidential veto could be overridden.

The Newsletter, published by the NFB of Mississippi, reports that it would like to reach 300 members this year. It also points out that the 400-to-500 percent increase in blind people employed by the Division for the Blind is primarily the result of the existence of the NFB of Mississippi.

The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare recently came out with new rules governing the right to apply for public assistance. The regulation clarifies the applicant's right to select the specific plan of assistance under which he wishes to be considered. The application for aid may be made in person, by a designated representative, by mail, or by telephone.

A new program, "Project: Banking and the Blind," was launched in Ontario, California, and Washington, D. C., recently. Sponsored by the American Bankers Association, Project is geared to help meet the financial problems of the blind and physically handicapped. Braille and talking book editions of a booklet on financial planning are now available through local banks across the country. Entitled "Personal Money Management," the booklet is being distributed by member banks of the American Bankers Association.

An interesting newsletter, "Children of the Silent Night," is being published in the interest of deaf-blind children everywhere by the Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, Massachusetts 02172.

In Vienna, Austria, there is an electronic beeping noise at some street intersections so that the blind can hear whether the stop lights are on green or red. A loud, low-frequency beep tells the blind to cross. No sound means wait. The beeping noise lasts five seconds and tells the blind person to go and that he will have twelve seconds to cross the street. The first sound-light system was set up opposite a school for the blind but was so successful that the city promises to install more.

It is estimated that there are 1.7 million visually impaired persons in the United States today. They are mainly elderly, most of them unaware of their eligibility for help, and very often do not consider themselves blind at all. The 1.7 million figure includes those who are not "legally blind," that number being variously estimated as being between 400,000 and 500,000.

California's new State budget contains $20 million for the construction of new State Schools for the Deaf and Blind, now located in Berkeley. The present buildings are obsolete and rest close to an earthquake fault.

The National Federation of the Blind of Missouri has recently issued a very attractive folder with several illustrations of blind persons busily engaged in various callings. It also contains the story of the work of the NFB of Missouri and its objectives. Incidentally, that good-looking chap on the front cover is none other than Jim Couts, Second Vice-President of the National Federation of the Blind. Other State affiliates interested in producing similar brochures should send for a copy of this one. Just write to NFB of Missouri, 342 South Myrtle Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri 64124.

Joseph E. Varghese writes that the annual convention of the NFB of Michigan was held November 3 through 5, 1972. John Taylor, Assistant Director in charge of field services, Iowa Commission for the Blind, was the keynote speaker and his subject was the employment of the blind and the role of the NFB in procuring equal employment opportunities. Attorney Carl Schier discussed aspects of employer-employee liability, insurance, and related concerns. He also briefed the audience on the legal battles of the NFB. President Geer Wilcox was reelected for a two-year term; other officers elected are: Allen Harris, first vice-president, Detroit; John Mullin, second vice-president Lansing Ruby Gamer, secretary, Detroit; Dorothy Steers, treasurer, Detroit; and Ray Roberson and Barbara Byers were elected to the board of directors. Geer Wilcox and Allen Harris were elected as delegate and alternate delegate to the 1973 national Convention. The highlight of the convention was the banquet address by John Taylor who recounted the Federation's successes in fighting prejudice and discrimination and suggested that there were still battles to be won.

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