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National Offices






Editor                                                                  Associate Editor

PERRY SUNDQUIST                                              HAZEL tenBROEK
4651 MEAD AVENUE                                           2652 SHASTA ROAD
SACRAMENTO, CALIF. 95822                              BERKELY, CALIF. 94708



If you or a friend wishes 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 nonprofit corporation, the sum of $____ (or, "____ percent of my net estate", or "the following stocks and bonds: ____ ") to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons."

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































The 1971 Convention of the National Federation of the Blind was memorable for many things, not the least of which was a spirited encounter between the Federation and leaders of the Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress. The encounter involved both personalities and philosophy. Mr. James Hahn, one of the top officials of the Division, was scheduled to appear on our program but did not keep the appointment. This led to considerable controversy.

Then, there was the matter of philosophy. A variety of points were at issue. At the banquet I addressed myself to one of these as follows:

Consider what has happened to the talking book. From the very beginning of the library service back in the 1930's, the first side of each talking book record has concluded with these words: "This book is continued on the other side of this record." The flip side has always ended with: "This book is continued on the next record." Surely no one can have any serious quarrel with this language. It serves a purpose. The reader, absorbed in the narrative, may well not remember whether he is on the first or second side of a record, and the reminder is useful and saves time.

In the last three or four years, however, something new has been added. After the familiar "This book is continued on the next record," the statement now appears: "Please replace this record in its envelope and container." That one, I must confess, crept up on me gradually. Although from the very beginning I found the statement annoying, it took some time for its full significance to hit me.

Here I was, let us say, reading a learned treatise on French history—a book on Gallic statesmanship—one which presupposes a certain amount of understanding and mental competence. The narrative is interrupted by a voice saying "Please replace this record in its envelope and container." Then it strikes me: These are the words one addresses to a moron or a lazy lout. These words do not appear on records intended for the use of sighted library borrowers. They are intended for the blind. To be sure, they are not an overwhelming or unbearable insult. They are only one more small evidence of the new custodialism, the additional input of contempt for the blind recipient of services which is in the air these days.

I have heard that the words were added at the request of some of the regional librarians because certain blind borrowers were careless with the records. Are sighted people never careless with books or records? Are such words at the end of the record really likely to make the slob less slobby? The ordinary, normal human being (blind or sighted) will, as a matter of course, put the record back into the envelope and container. What else, one wonders, would he do with it?

Regardless of all this, one thing is fairly certain: My remarks on the subject will undoubtedly bring forth angry comments from library officials and others that I am quibbling and grasping at straws, that I am reading meanings that aren't there into innocent words. To which I reply: I am sure that no harm was meant and that the author of the words did not sit down to reason out their significance, but all of this is beside the point. We have reasoned out the significance, and we are no longer willing for our road to hell to be paved with other people's good intentions, their failure to comprehend, or their insistence that we not quibble.

As predicted, these remarks were not greeted with universal approbation. In fact, Federationists will remember that we found ourselves engaged in a general confrontation with the Library during the rest of 1971 and most of 1972. Mr. Robert Bray, then Chief of the Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, was not one to run from a fight. He came up to the line and slugged it out. Even though we felt we had justice on our side and that we had to take the stand we did, the situation was not pleasant. It seemed to many that the whole thing resulted only m a stalemate with nothing but hard feelings and wasted effort accomplished.

Events have now shown that this view was wrong. Our words were not wasted. Our efforts were not in vain. When we consider the value of concerted action and self-organization, we must never limit ourselves to the immediate or the short-range. Instead, we must take the long view and the broad perspective.

We must not shrink from necessary combat, but we must also remember that every war (regardless of its merit and irrespective of its outcome) brings casualties. Conflict and confrontation must be the last alternative, the expedient to be tried when all else fails. Harmony and co-operation are always preferable if circumstances permit. These principles have constituted the bedrock of Federation policy and action since our founding.

Therefore, developments involving the Library of Congress during the past few months have been especially gratifying. Late this spring Mr. Frank Kurt Cylke was appointed Chief of the Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Shortly thereafter, he and Florence Grannis (Librarian at the Iowa Commission for the Blind) held conversations at the national meeting of the American Library Association. A few weeks later, Mr. Cylke and I talked at length at the convention of the American Association of Workers for the Blind in Cleveland.

Mr. Cylke made it clear that he had reviewed all of the earlier correspondence and that he wanted no controversy with the organized blind. It was apparent that the very fact of the controversy and the issues it brought into focus had served the constructive purpose of creating a climate conducive to mutual respect and understanding as opposed to the old custodial notions of bygone days. He said that he would be glad to consider our views. In fact, he indicated that he would welcome and encourage our suggestions and wanted to work with us. In turn, I assured Mr. Cylke that we, too, wanted harmony and cooperation and that we would do everything we could to work with him.

I invited Mr. Cylke to visit our program in Iowa, and he accepted the invitation. He and Mr. Richard Evensen came to Des Moines late in September. We had extended conversations, and I believe the visit was extremely productive. I should say here that Mr. Evensen is blind and that he has been named by Mr. Cylke to one of the top posts in the Division. I think Mr. Cylke recognizes the significance of this move and that the appointment was made with this in mind-although, as he said, not for tokenism.

As we sat at the dinner table, we exchanged ideas concerning the future of the Library and how we might work in partnership. I let Mr. Cylke hear the relevant portion of the 1971 banquet address, and I urged him to remove the objectionable language from the talking book records—not just because of its content but as a symbol of the new concepts now developing at the Library of Congress. He said he would study the matter and give me an answer. As you will see, he was as good as his word.

I believe that, after you read the following series of letters, you will agree with me that a new atmosphere now prevails at the Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Plans were made for Mr. James Hahn to visit the Iowa Library in November. It was also decided that other staff members of the Division would come from time to time. I am sure that Mr. Cylke will not take every suggestion we give him and that we will disagree with some of his decisions. I am equally sure that he will not approve of all our views concerning his actions and policies. However, I feel quite certain that we have established the firm basis for an enduring partnership of progress and cooperation and that library services for the blind will be better for it. As you read the correspondence, I know that you will share my optimism and my hope for the future:


Washington, D.C., October 4, 1973.

President, National Federation of the Blind,
Des Moines, Iowa.

DEAR MR. JERNIGAN: We are exploring ways to include blind readers more actively in the selection of titles for the Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped's program. As a first step, we would like to invite the membership of the National Federation of the Blind to compile a list of twenty-five titles which they feel should be considered for inclusion in the program and which will be identified as their recommendations.

Any suggestions you might be able to offer in regard to other ways our readers might effectively be reached would be appreciated.


Head, Selection Section.


Des Moines, Iowa, November 6, 1973.

Head, Selection Section, Reference Department, Division for the Blind and
Physically Handicapped, The Library of Congress,
Washington, D.C.

DEAR MISS WERNER: This will reply to and thank you for your letter of October 4, 1973, in which you invite the National Federation of the Blind to compile a list of twenty-five titles for inclusion in the books-for-the-blind program. Our Executive Committee meets during the Thanksgiving weekend. At that time I shall discuss this matter with them, and we will begin to compile a list. Shortly after the first of the year I hope to be able to send you our proposed twenty-five titles. Of course, we recognize that you may or may not be able to make these titles available. The important thing is that the Division is interested in having input from the consumer. I shall also discuss with the Executive Committee your statement that the Division would be happy to have any suggestions concerning "other ways . . . readers might effectively be reached."

We of the National Federation of the Blind appreciate your letter. Even more, we appreciate its tone and spirit.

Very truly yours,

National Federation of the Blind.


Washington, D.C., October 9, 1973.

Assistant Director in Charge of Library and Social Services, Iowa Commission for the Blind,
Des Moines, Iowa.

DEAR MRS. GRANNIS: Please know that Mr. Evensen and I truly appreciated your comprehensive introduction to Iowa library service for the blind and physically handicapped. We certainly benefited from our exposure.

As a result of our visit to Iowa and my subsequent Indiana trip several decisions have been made to change current practice and to examine existing policy.

Effective immediately DBPH will apply the terms "Book Selector" or "Selector" only to those regional or subregional workers actually selecting books for Braille or sound reproduction. We will employ Readers' Advisor, where professional assistance is offered, and Charge Clerk where clerical work is performed. The field will be so notified by Mr. Hahn.

DBPH will recruit "high level" personnel from a broad base and will solicit regional library input.

Mona Werner will investigate the possibility of issuing the October 1973 Esquire in press Braille and notify you of our decision.

Mona Werner will design a mechanism for use in developing a refined book selection policy.

DBPH will, as a general rule, cease duplicating titles on talking books and cassettes. The field will be so notified.

I consider my review of your library a significant experience. It is good to know we have such a strong agency in the field.

Thank you for the opportunity to observe your people in action.

Sincerely yours,



Washington, D.C., October 9, 1973.

Director, Iowa Commission for the Blind,
Des Moines, Iowa.

DEAR MR. JERNIGAN: I truly appreciated the opportunity to visit the Iowa Commission for the Blind and especially benefited from the tour of the library. Mrs. Grannis is a definite asset to your organization.

On my return to Washington I investigated our policy regarding announcements on discs and cassettes. Please know that, effective November 1, 1973, the following comments will no longer appear on Library of Congress issued items:

Talking Book Discs

"Notice to listeners; Please be careful not to scratch or otherwise damage these records. Remember that many other people wish to read them."

End of even-numbered sides: "Please replace this record in its envelope and container."

End: "Please replace this record in its envelope and container."


"Please be careful in the handling of these recordings."

Our most recent specifications carry the following:

"Special Note: . . . Reference to care of records and avoidance of damage by scratching is particularly prohibited."

"Announcements such as the above will be cause for rejection of the title."

Please know that I welcome any additional comments you may wish to make.

Sincerely yours,


Des Moines, Iowa, November 6, 1973.

Chief, Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped,
The Library of Congress,
Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. CYLKE: Let me begin by telling you how happy we were to have you and Mr. Evensen visit us in September. Both Mrs. Grannis and I especially appreciated your willingness to discuss problems and to consider our suggestions and opinions.

As I am sure you can imagine, I was much pleased with your letter of October 9. The fact that the objectionable language is being removed which tells the reader to replace the record in the envelope and container is important—not so much for itself but for what it says about the new attitude of your Division, and about you and your understanding. I feel that the blind of the Nation will hail this change as a major step forward. On the surface it may appear small, but it is not. Its implications are significant and far-reaching.

Along this same line, your letter to Mrs. Grannis of October 9 is equally noteworthy. In it you say that the people in the regional libraries who confer with blind persons about their reading interests and the specific books they want will no longer be called "book selectors." Instead, they will be called "readers' advisors." Again, this change may appear to the unobservant or the uninformed as unimportant or quibbly. Not so.

In public libraries throughout the Nation there are "readers' advisors," but (so far as I know) there are not "book selectors"—except, that is, when they actually select books for the library to purchase. The fact that, in the past, some of the libraries for the blind have chosen to use the term "book selector" instead of "readers' advisor" is so significant that it could almost be said to symbolize an entire system and to capsulize a way of thought. Much of what our organization is all about is embodied in the subtleties of the distinction, it is not splitting hairs, and it is not just a matter of semantics.

By asking that the language be removed which tells the reader to replace the record in its envelope and container we of the organized blind were not, of course, suggesting that the records be treated with less care, nor were you doing so when you complied with our request. By asking that we no longer have "book selectors" but "readers' advisors" we were not suggesting that blind persons require any less assistance than the sighted in choosing the appropriate book. As we both recognize, the discussion involved something else entirely.

You may depend upon the cooperation of the National Federation of the Blind (and upon my personal cooperation) as you work to develop better library services for the blind and physically handicapped in the months and years ahead. In our meetings I have found you to be both sensitive to the needs of your reading public and truly interested in learning their views. I am sure you will make your own decisions, but I am equally sure that in the process you will give consideration to the suggestions of the consumer. This is all we ask, and all we have ever asked.

I am glad you and Mr. Evensen came to visit our library, and I look forward to a long and productive association.


Iowa Commission for the Blind.

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[Editor's Note. Mrs. Grannis is Assistant Director in charge of Library and Social Services, Iowa Commission for the Blind. This was a speech presented at the convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio, Dayton, Ohio, October 20, 1973.]

What is the National Federation of the Blind all about? Better lives for blind people. How do libraries fit in? They can and must take their rightful place as an important segment of the total package--the package made up of mobility, employment, social responsibility, and other aspects of the mainstream of existence. The library can and should be an integral element contributing to the mainstream—not an isolated, peripheral, stagnate tidewater.

President Jernigan says, "Given proper training and opportunity—using alternative techniques—the blind person can come to do virtually anything he would do if he were not blind, and do it as efficiently as his sighted neighbor." So, Bob Smith, an independent tax-paying blind guy works at the plant down the street. He has been elected union shop steward and needs a copy of the union agreement. He comes to his library with the print copy in hand and while he browses through the Braille stacks looking to see which best seller he wants to read next, the agreement is Brailled for him and rolls off the Braille embosser about the same time he checks out his book—in multiple copies, if he wants. An impossible dream? No! Something for the future but not now? Not a bit! It's beginning to be a reality in at least one library and it can and should be in them all! This is your library service—as consumers your input should be of such a nature that "instant Braille" is a very real part of your libraries' "output."

The Federal "Books for the Blind" legislation was passed more than forty years ago, but it has by no means reached its potential. Why? Because of general social attitudes about blindness held by blind and sighted alike. Over the ages, blind people have been told what they should do, what they should have, what was good for them, so much and so long that they absorbed this paternalistic custodialization; and by the time the "Books for the Blind" program came along, they had become so imbued with the general notions "that anything is good enough for the poor blind"—they were so ignorant of what good library service could be—they accepted second rate—or third rate—or fourth rate service—and said thank you. It's time for this to stop. It's time for blind people to say what their "Books for the Blind" service should be and to say it emphatically and insistently—and that's what the National Federation of the Blind is all about, too.

The National Federation of the Blind was not in existence when the "Books for the Blind" program began—how much different it all might have been had Dr. tenBroek and President Jernigan been around in those early years! So, forty years ago when the Federal "Books for the Blind" legislation was passed, the social attitudes held by the predominately sighted society were reflected in the choices of administrators for the program. When I became a regional librarian in 1952, the man at the top in the Library of Congress Division for the Blind was a political appointee—that is, he knew the "right person" so he could get into the public trough—but he did nothing for the Division. His successor, Robert Bray, was better but he had limited administrative and library background. Frank Kurt Cylke, who was appointed Division Chief in July of this year, after Mr. Bray's retirement, has far more adequate educational and professional preparation for up-grading the books for the blind (let us hope this truly reflects philosophical advancement toward the blind on the part of the Library of Congress honchos—not just a happy fluke!)

Mr. Cylke indicates knowledge of what a library should be, thoroughness in exploring problems, a willingness to listen, and innovative creativity.

With this rather lengthy introduction, what services are reasonable to expect from a library for the blind? Whereas sighted individuals can get books from a multitude of places, blind people have virtually no source of reading matter, except their library. Therefore, blind people should have at least as good library service as they would have if they were not blind and lived in a good library area. With this in mind:

It is reasonable to have a courteous, competent, trained, and philosophically progressive staff.

It is reasonable to expect to have a balanced book collection, to have most of the books that any self-respecting small public library would have—to have some of most types of literature represented—something light, something scholarly, something dirty, something uplifting, something controversial, something for everybody, and to have the specific books which are in the collection be superior representatives of their type, e.g. a "reasonable" per cent of the total collection should be mysteries, and the mysteries which are selected should be skillfully written.

As an aside: Recently I had a memo from the person at the Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress who is responsible for choosing which books are going to be produced for our libraries. She said they are not going to record Dr. Atkins' diet revolution book—that book which purportedly shows you how to melt off pounds while never being hungry, because—it was too controversial. Don't blind people have enough judgment to decide which diet will contribute to their well-being? A check with public libraries in our area indicated that each and every one of them had Dr. Atkins' book. What does that decision tell you about attitudes?

Let me hasten to add that this event occurred only a short time after Mr. Cylke assumed his duties as Chief of the Division. I doubt that he was aware of it at all. At any event, it might, for a number of reasons, not have been practical to add Dr. Atkins' book to the collection at precisely the time I requested it. However, the reason given for not doing so was totally wrong and absolutely unacceptable. It is completely at variance with the new attitude which increasingly characterizes the Division under Mr. Cylke's leadership. Every appearance indicates that Mr. Cylke's predominate characteristic is his wish to make libraries for the blind good. He is service oriented and he is knowledgeable enough to know what that means.

When I showed Mr. Cylke a copy of my remarks about Dr. Atkins' diet book he made the following reasoned response:

"A few comments regarding the diet book written by Dr. Robert Atkins are appropriate. As you point out we did not select the title for national distribution. Mona Werner in her memo to you of September 25, 1973, noted that an examination of the book and 'in view of the lawsuits brought against the author due to its content' resulted in rejection. I will add that my personal review of the matter causes me to support Mona's decision. I refer you to representative views in Newsweek (1/22/73, pp.79-80); Harper's Bazaar (6/73, pp. 32-33); Virginia Kirkus (8/1/12); New York Times (2/1 1/73, p.5); and The New Republic (5/5/73, pp.12-13). The Library Journal in September 1972 said the title was 'not recommended' and the AMA'S Council on Foods and Nutrition called the diet 'unscientific and potentially dangerous to health.'

"We do have many diet books-two lists are enclosed with this note. Please know that our decision resulted from attention to good book selection principles, limited as we are to acquiring approximately 1,000 of 55,000 titles issued each year, and was in no way an attempt to censor or limit blind or physically handicapped readers.

"Incidentally, we do have the title in hand-copy Braille—in National Collections—to insure its availability for serious research."

Certainly here Mr. Cylke takes a defensible position, especially since a hand Brailled copy of the book is available. When he really delves into the collection in depth, however, I believe he will share my view of the generally unsubstantial content of the collection and the woeful absence of "basic books." For example, the Division provided our library of 40,000 titles with thirteen books by Emilie Loring* while the Des Moines public library with its collection of 377,000 titles has only three of them. Yet we have only two recorded world histories: A global history of man,1 copyright 1962, by Lefton Stavrianos (a talking book high school textbook) and A history of the world,2 copyright 1961, by Alice Magenis (magnetic tape—junior high textbook). Two more recent editions of this latter book, not in our collection, have been published. (The Des Moines Public Library has twenty-three adult world histories in its collection.)

It should be borne in mind that library standards say a small library should have a minimum of 100,000 titles and libraries for the blind have no more than 40,000 titles. (Most do not have that many.) Therefore, the books chosen for the libraries for the blind must be scrutinized even more carefully than for other public libraries.

The library should have books pertaining to local and state history and books by local authors stressing local people, events, interests and mores.

A reasonable proportion of the books in the collection should be suitable for children.

It is reasonable to have some easy way to know which books are available in the collection and to be able to know something about them—some explanation such as printed catalogs and subject booklists. Ideally, these catalogs and booklists would be transcribed onto tape and in Braille.

It is reasonable to expect extensive reference service. That is, you should be able to have your questions answered, whether they are "Who are Pavlov and Pavlova?", "What is the value of vitamin C?", "Who won the World Series in 1950?" or a whole world of other handy items.

It is reasonable to expect to have any bibliographies prepared to order. Ideally, again these should be on tape or in Braille.

Items should be able to be produced to order on tape or in Braille. Those production facilities should be on hand.

Braille books should be arranged in some orderly way for browsing, and a convenient and attractive reading area should be provided.

Competent reader's advisory services should be available: Someone who can suggest books and discuss them in an intelligent way. Are you aware of the fact that most libraries for blind people have what they call "book selectors," whereas that term is unheard of in libraries for the sighted? It would not be tolerated! Libraries for the sighted have reader's advisors. What does that tell you about attitudes?

The way the "book selectors" operate in most libraries for the blind is something like this. When borrowers register for library service they sign reader preference cards indicating the type of reading they prefer—natural history, religion, biography, etc. Then, when their name comes up for books, the "book selector" mails them some book in this category. In nearly all the libraries the talking books are arranged on the shelves numerically in the order received. The libraries have great sheets with the talking book numbers arranged in columns. If you, as borrower, have said you want westerns, one of a title by Zane Grey may be number 3,842. The book will be mailed to you and the number 3,842 will have a red line drawn through it on your number sheet to show you have had it. If you send request lists it is likely that the number of each book you have chosen will be circled on your number sheet. When it is your turn for a book this sheet will be consulted and if it comes handy you will probably get a book you have requested, but if not you will get what a "book selector" has selected as one in the category you have indicated you desire. Thus the "selector's" interpretation of your reader preference card, plus his judgment will determine whether the books you receive will be your "bag." Some of you may like this type of grab-bag surprise package reading, but from the comments I have heard, many of you do not. Certainly this system would not be tolerated in a library for the sighted. The fact that it can be taken for granted and accepted as commonplace in many of the libraries for the blind is, to say the least, revealing. It points up the problem and it also suggests the way to the solution. Just because you may like some mysteries—for example, those by Dorothy Sayers—doesn't mean the hack who done it" will turn you on. Of course, the caliber of service will partly be determined by the book knowledge of the "book selectors." Not long ago at a national convention I heard some of my fellow regional librarians discussing books. Go down Moses3 was thought by one to be the ideal book for the sweet little old lady with religious propensities. Our lady of the flowers4 was just the book to send to the gardening enthusiast and Trout fishing in America5 would be fine for sport fans. This was all in earnest but I had difficulty keeping from exploding with laughter because the short stories in Faulkner's Go down Moses are written with extreme candor and earthiness which is reflective of his characters—simple, sometimes brutal Deep South lower class whites and blacks—hardly religious.

Genet's Our lady of the flowers was written entirely in a prison cell and is concerned with the beauty and holiness of what are for Genet the two definitive male activities: homosexuality and crime. He presents in this work only those fantasies and dreams which arouse him sexually, and in so doing constructs a virtual case-study book of perversions.

Brautigan's Trout fishing in America has been deemed as surrealistic without possessing the disjunctive effects so familiar to surrealism. Brautigan's prose is blunt and sparing and packed with symbolism. He makes small talk, writes letters, spins Western yarns, concocts recipes, makes love, and only occasionally catches a trout. As Newsweek writes: ''Trout fishing in America is not a book for the sportsman to get hooked on. Brautigan is an outdoorsman, but far out. His work abounds with wild-life, but not of the Field and Stream variety . . . ." So if the librarians—the people in charge—exhibit this knowledge of books, how will the "book selectors" do?

Here again, commendation must be given Mr. Cylke, for he has now indicated to the regional librarians that the term "reader's advisor" should be used instead of "book selector." Let us hope that the change is made and that it is not merely a matter of semantics with the same old "book selectors" doing business as usual.

Each borrower should have personal services—the knowledge that he is not a mere listing. The library should be in touch in person, by phone, and by mail and have in and out WATS service. The library should acknowledge and follow up on each complaint and suggestion. If nothing can be done, the patron should be told that. Each library borrower has a right to receive the particular books he asks for in the quantity he wants, when he wants them, not some other book a librarian feels is just as good or the same kind of book, and certainly not what a librarian feels he should be reading instead of what he asks for. If the library does not have the book, a real attempt should be made to obtain it.

If the consumer really wishes titles selected for him, the library should do it.

The patron should receive periodicals before they are out of date.

Books should be in good condition when they are mailed. This means there must be staff to check the condition of each one.

The library should lend both talking book and cassette machines to its patrons.

It is reasonable to expect that the librarian will be present at state conventions of the blind, participate in programs at these conventions, have displays, and be available to talk to the borrowers at these conventions.

The library staff should know their equipment.

Additional services which are reasonable to be able to expect:

Now you have had the National Federation of the Blind viewpoint. These are the services blind people should have from our libraries. These are the National Federation of the Blind goals.

Not all of these things can be expected immediately—today, but the speed of improvements must accelerate! The philosophy that libraries for the blind should be staffed by the most qualified people available, that they should be housed in the best possible space, that the book collection, circulation equipment, and all allied areas should be as good as human and financial resources can make them must prevail.

What are you as blind people—members of the National Federation of the Blind—going to do to bring this reality about? I, as one librarian, am at the barricades—to make life better for blind people through libraries—I trust all of you are with me.

*Loring's novels are novels of women, often the targets of sinister plots, but ultimately the recipients of happiness and true love. Almost invariably her heroines are paupers or heiresses. They are as invariably unmarried, widowed or spinsters, or victimized by philandering husbands. Often they are saddled with the care of small sons, nephews, scarred brothers, and the like. But almost as invariably, they are, in the end, swept off their feet by heirs, military officers, doctors, or lawyers, while their persecutors are punished.

In Emilie Loring there is no middle class or middle road, and without these there can be no reality. Neither is there a heartbreak that cannot be healed, and to accept that is to deny reality. To accept as reality the starkness of some modern fiction is to become hardened, embittered, perverted, or more. To accept as reality the world of Emilie Loring is to become as an ostrich, ceasing to be capable of functioning satisfactorily in a real world.

1. Lefton S. Stavrianos, A global history of man (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc., 1962).

2. Alice Magenis, A history of the world (2nd ed.; New York: American Book Co., 1961).

3. William Faulkner, Go down, Moses, and other stories (New York: Random House, 1942).

4. Jean Genet, Our Lady of the flowers, trans. Bernard Frechtman (New York: Grove Press, 1951).

5. Richard Brautigan, Trout fishing in America (New York: Delacorte Press, 1967).

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

President Jernigan, back in the days of poverty when we were struggling to establish Iowa's Regional Library for the Blind (1960+), used to say when I demurred that something wasn't first class or complete: "I'm a half-a-loafer, that is, I'll take what I can get now, library-wise, even if it's only half a loaf or a quarter, or maybe one slice of bread." He didn't always say—but the implications were clear and his actions on other matters spoke—that then he would work so that he could turn in the single slice for a baker's dozen loaves, all supersized—whole grain and enriched.

Subregional libraries for blind people tend to be half-a-loaf, a single slice, or sometimes only a crumb. No regional library for the blind can be, at this stage, the "ideal" library. Books for the blind are too costly, the Federal program has not been in existence long enough, no one has worked single-mindedly and effectively enough to create an "ideal" library for blind people. Most of the regional libraries for the blind are far from ideal. They vary from fair to poor to horrendous, measured on any sort of scale which has a model library as the standard.

So, you take a less-than-satisfactory book collection and divide it. Can there be any other result except that it will be even more impoverished by being split?

An official of the Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress recently admitted to me that subregional libraries were begun as desperation measures. Some regional libraries were giving such abysmally poor service that some crutch for them had to be devised! Instead of making the patient well, a group of small, weak libraries was established in ordinary public libraries. It almost seemed as though the thinking was that if the blind person had his library geographically close to him, he would have the illusion that he had good, or at least satisfactory, library service. We are not so easily kidded! True, if the subregional Library happened to be in the town where the blind borrower lived, he could, if he chose, go to the library and get his book in person. He could, that is, if he happened to want one of the few books this subregional had. (Likely the collection had only fairly recent, moderately popular books and probably not more than two copies of each of these.) In all probability, the total stock of books would come to no more than 2500—talking books, a few cassettes—no Braille.

Who in the subregional library would render service to him? Undoubtedly, this staff member had many responsibilities toward the general public in this predominantly sighted community. In other words, this staff member was no doubt trained and hired to run a department or work in a department oriented to a particular aspect of "regular" library work (the music or art department of a public library, for example) and already had more than enough responsibilities relating to this before service to blind people was larded in. Librarians, overwhelmingly, tend to be philosophically service oriented (the motivation for going into library work was likely in that direction and all the subsequent indoctrination reinforced it) so the staff member was already sold on the idea that it was his responsibility to serve all members of his community, including the blind. Thus, he embraced his new responsibilities more or less enthusiastically. It was his duty to bring books to these blind people and he might get some plaudits—serendipity. (Most individuals believe that blind people tend to be graciously thankful for all small favors.) When the work really comes, though, it's another matter. The talking books tend to be heavy, dirty, and yes, smelly. (Some of the walk-in blind borrowers are all this too.) Instead of plaudits for charitably taking on this new chore, the librarian may well get brickbats for not having the books the borrower wants when he wants them, he may be disillusioned about blind people as a class, and his subsequent attitude may be even more unfortunate. He may feel that all blind people are subnormal and pathetic, or that they are all demanding and irritable.

As one subregional librarian said to me, "I undertook to provide books for the blind people in my community, though heaven knows I already had more than I could do keeping the bookmobiles going and all I get is gripes from the readers that records are omitted or they don't get the books they want, excuses or delays from the regional library which is supposed to service my back-up and hints from it that I am not doing enough. My work is slipping and the talking books take up space needed for regular books."

When an economic crunch comes and there is a staff freeze (someone quits and cannot be replaced, only too commonplace now) in the situation I have described, there would be one fewer person working with the bookmobiles and what happens? Isn't it overwhelmingly probable that the books for the blind will be slighted even more?

Let's now consider the "back-up" regional library. Allegedly, it will with due celerity furnish directly to each blind borrower anything he wants which is not available directly from his subregional. This is a fine ideal but blind library patrons in subregional areas tell me it is just not lived up to.

Since subregional libraries have been peeled off from the poor regionals, it might be assumed that these regionals would be better able to cope with their remaining responsibilities. There is no evidence that this is so. Rather, there seems to be a tendency for the administrators of these regional libraries to feel there is even less need than ever to fund staff and space in their libraries for the blind satisfactorily.

In summary—in areas where libraries have been sick, sick, sick, the best remedy has been assumed to be for them to divide themselves like amoebas and hope that will take care of the situation. Maybe some people have better library service than they had before the split, but how much more satisfactory it would be to make the patient well—to bring about a "full-loaf" library program by supplying adequate books, staff, space and all the other whole-grains needed.

Zero divided by two, or three, or four, is still zero—or perhaps even less.

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The Executive Committee of the NFB met at National Headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, over the Thanksgiving holidays. By Wednesday all of the members had arrived—except NFB Secretary Marcelino who came on Friday—many with their spouses, to be on hand early Thanksgiving Day to partake of the bounteous hospitality of Kenneth and Anna Katherine Jernigan. Among the thirty guests were Iowa Secretary of State Melvin Synhorst and his family. Listen to this menu: roast turkey and dressing, smoked roast pork, smoked roast beef, smoked Tennessee ham, fried Maryland oysters, candied mashed sweet potatoes, scalloped corn, fried okra, pimento green beans, Synhorst spinach, cauliflower with blue cheese, tart fresh applesauce, fresh cranberry-orange relish, three-bean salad, fresh fruit salad, spinach souffle, crisp corn bread and hot biscuits, and three varieties of pie—pumpkin, mince, and pecan. Sound good? Indeed it was. However, in order to get some essential business done prior to such a feast, the Subcommittee on Budget and Finance met, in consultation with the President, and drafted a proposed budget for calendar year 1974.

The committee met continuously from noon to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, all day Saturday—from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and adjourned after three hours of work Sunday morning so that its members could catch their planes and scatter to the four corners of the country.

The discussions on the many items of the agenda were both far-reaching and in depth. The budget for 1974 was adopted as recommended by the Subcommittee on Budget and Finance.

The President then discussed in some detail problems surrounding fundraising and the transfer of the operation from St. Louis to a bank in Des Moines. He also mentioned that we would certainly not only entertain but examine in detail any ideas submitted concerning further fundraising efforts to defray the mounting costs of operating the organization.

President Jernigan spoke of our new and cordial relations with the Library of Congress. [See the article "New Day at the Library of Congress" elsewhere in this issue.]

A new source of income and fundraising for state and local affiliates has been arranged through the National Office. The Ludwig Candy Company has offered the organization an opportunity to buy a delicious candy. We all sampled it generously. It will sell for a dollar a box and can be purchased for forty-eight cents a box during the months of September, October, and November and for forty-six cents per box in any of the other months. The boxes will carry attractive NFB insignia and information.

The candy will be shipped in lots of fifty cases, with twenty-four boxes per case, anywhere in the country. The Ludwig Candy Company will pay the freight. This project is possible because of the savings involved in buying in volume on a national scale. It is hoped that all affiliates will take advantage of this surefire method of improving finances. Without funds, it is difficult to carry on programs to improve the condition of the blind. It will probably be mid-March before candy can be shipped.

John Nagle's resignation as Chief of our Washington Office was discussed. The President announced that he had employed a team to operate the Washington Office. They are well known on the state and national Federation scene—James Gashel and his wife Arlene. Both Jim and Arlene regard this new assignment as difficult but most challenging. It was the sense of the Executive Committee that the President had made an excellent choice in this team to run the Washington Office, and we all wish them well.

At this point in the proceedings, the members of the committee adjourned to see and hear the vivid pictures of our demonstration march on NAC headquarters in New York last July, noting with interest the hanging of NAC in effigy and the funeral oration delivered by the NFB President. Then we all heard, some of us for the first time, President Jernigan's eloquent explanation to the interviewer on the "Today" Show, which is broadcast nationwide from New York, just how NAC is hurting, not helping, those very people whom it is supposed to serve—the blind.

In 1974 the International Federation of the Blind will hold its Quinquennial Convention in Berlin. The President reminded us that, in 1970, the NFB Convention elected three delegates, its allotted number, to represent it at that meeting. They are President Jernigan, as chairman of the delegation, Dr. Isabelle L. D. Grant, and Anthony G. Mannino.

The President then proceeded to fill us in on the pending and possible lawsuits in which the NFB is or might become engaged to fight discrimination against the blind. The latest case at issue is that of a blind man and his blind wife who sought to adopt a child from Vietnam. Their application was initially accepted. However, when the society's agent in Vietnam found out that both of the willing adoptive parents were blind, she persuaded the society—the Friends of Children of Vietnam—to establish a policy that no blind couple would be eligible to adopt Vietnamese children.

As President Jernigan outlined case after case in which discrimination against the blind has raised its ugly head in one guise or another, every member of the Executive Committee realized only too well that discrimination against the blind still strikes, and the NFB must strike back! At present we find ourselves in such legal struggles as helping blind vending-stand operators in Ohio, protecting the constitutional rights of blind persons in connection with their ouster from membership in a society for the blind in Minnesota, winning back tenured status for blind teachers in Michigan and Ohio, launching a lawsuit—strictly on constitutional grounds—in Colorado where the Denver School System refuses to employ a blind teacher, fighting the case of a blind man in Kansas who was denied the right to buy insurance when he wished to travel on a common carrier—and on and on and on it goes. Next year there will be other cases of discrimination in other states, and the NFB will be there. If the agencies for the blind would join us in fighting discrimination against the blind, which is as much their concern as ours, our task would be easier. However, when the agencies won't lift a finger to combat discrimination, we must do it alone. And when the handmaidens of the agencies for the blind—the American Foundation for the Blind, NAC, and the American Council of the Blind—get in our way, we must try to remove these blocks to progress.

As the hour for final adjournment drew closer, President Jernigan moved rapidly to the following: soliciting suggestions for memberships on the eight or ten committees of the NFB which are appointed for one-year terms only; the "farming out" of the printing of the ink edition of The Braille Monitor, beginning with the December issue, to relieve the Berkeley Office of some of its overload; and the rental of additional space at the Randolph Hotel in Des Moines—something under 2,000 square feet—to accommodate the ever-growing need for storage facilities. The President was authorized to draft the agenda for the 1974 annual Convention of the NFB, with committee members to supply suggestions concerning program content.

The President then sketched details of seminars being held at the National Office—the first one during the last Labor-Day weekend and the next just after Christmas. There will be still others throughout the year. These seminars are becoming an increasingly important part of the activities of the National Office.

The making of a brief film on the Model White Cane Law and its significance was considered.

The tremendous growth of the NFB in recent years brings great satisfaction to all of us—but also problems. Especially a problem is the size of hotels which can accommodate our great crowds at national Conventions and the amount of room rates. After some discussion it was the consensus of the members of the committee that we should try for cheaper rates in a city other than Chicago in 1976 (perhaps $12 to $16 a day for singles or doubles); or, failing that, return again to the Palmer House in Chicago at increased rates (probably $12 and $16). The third choice would be to secure the best possible room rates in another city even though we would have to use more than one hotel and, probably, hold our meetings in a convention center.

Finally, the President explained the terrific workload which devolves upon him and said he would simply have to secure the cooperation of all and sundry to lighten it—especially the members of the Executive Committee and perhaps state presidents. Pressure on our local Congressmen and Senators to take action against NAC must be continued and our cause must be made known even more fully throughout the country by brochures and other means, including the spot radio announcements. We are in this fight to win for the blind!

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[Editor's Note.— Regardless of how often and in how many ways the question is answered, there will still be those who will ask it again: What is the purpose of the National Federation of the Blind, and how does it help the individual blind person? The following letter is relevant in this connection:]

Milmont Park, Penna., October 16, 1973.

President, National Federation of the Blind,
Des Moines, Iowa.

DEAR MR. JERNIGAN: Last school year I wrote to you concerning some problems I was having in my attempts to study in France for a semester. You in turn sent my letter to various other people that you thought could assist me.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your help, as you will be happy to know that I was just accepted at the University of Montpellier. I am not sure about lodging yet, but Dr. Isabelle Grant, someone to whom you sent my letter, gave me the name of the president of the Federation for the Blind in Paris. He suggested the school to me and is going to see what he can do about housing. If I cannot live with a French family, as I had hoped, my mother and I will rent an apartment or something to that effect.

Because of your help, I am able to look forward to an interesting and enjoyable experience abroad. For a while, the possibility seemed rather doubtful.

Thank you again for your time and help. It was very much appreciated.



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At the time of this writing (late November) the battle with NAC continues in full fury. The blind are writing letters and making plans to attend NAC's winter meeting, having finally wormed out of NAC the time and place: Prince George Hotel, New York City, December 12-13. Congressmen and Senators are sending an increasing number of communications to NAC and HEW asking for explanations, and NAC and HEW are replying with the usual form letters of denial, character assassination, false statements, and personal abuse. The investigation of NAC by the General Accounting Office goes forward apace.

In other words, it is business-as-usual at the battlefront and every sign of a long struggle ahead. NAC has definitely taken heavy casualties, and cracks are showing in its defenses; but the counterattacks are still severe, even though sometimes seemingly tinged with desperation. Our best weapon, as it has always been, is the fact that we have justice and truth on our side and that we also have the guts and determination to persist, no matter the cost. These are potent weapons. Ultimately, as in our other battles for the rights of the blind, they will be enough.

Taken together, the following items give a comprehensive picture of the present state of things. This is the time for every individual blind person in the Nation to rally to the cause and do what he can.

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New York, New York, October 22, 1973.

Professor of Political Science,
University of Colorado,
Boulder, Colorado.

DEAR DR. WILSON: I refer to your article in the September 1973 Braille Monitor, "NAC—Rationalization of Tokenism." On page 507, you mention that the results of your site visit of NAC did not include specific recommendations as to "why and in what way are existing NAC standards inadequate." The assumption behind your comment is that the standards are inadequate.

Also, I refer to your assertion on page 508 that "Both the report and the investigation confirm my reluctant conviction that NAC's staff and board will never willingly respond to, nor will they ever seek effectively to implement, the pervasive and indispensable changes which are so imperatively required to liberate the Nation's blind from their prison of custodialization."

Since NAC standards are intended to help bring about needed changes in agency programs, we assume, again, that you are taking issue with NAC standards as they are written or applied.

Because of its concern that NAC standards are constructive and relevant, it is the policy of our Commission on Standards to solicit and review reactions which may identify strengths or limitations in the standards as established and as they are being applied.

For this reason, we request that you provide us with the information you have available to support your assessment of the standards to which you have referred. This should include: any published reports or studies substantiating your concerns and comments about the standards or their application; published standards of other accrediting bodies which support your point of view; evidence that the standard, when applied, would be detrimental to the service delivery system of an agency, et cetera. As you may know, NAC standards are based on a consensus of those in the field regarding what represents prevailing views as to best practice. The extent to which your concerns are shared and supported by other individuals or organizations and expressed in the professional literature will assist the Commission in its review.

We are eager to receive this documentation of your critique of NAC standards or their application, as well as your suggestions for change.

Research Associate.


Boulder, Colorado, November 5, 1973.

Mr. GERALD F. TOPITZER, Research Associate,
National Accreditation Council,
New York, New York.

DEAR MR. TOPITZER: I am in receipt of your letter of October 22, 1973, requesting that I document criticisms which I have made publicly about NAC, its procedures and policies, and the standards which it applies. I shall comply with your request with some reluctance.

My reluctance is traceable to two sources. First, I seriously doubt whether your request was made in good faith. I would "document" my suspicions by reference to the specific policy adopted by the executive committee of your board, and presently being implemented by your staff, to the effect that "documentation" is to be demanded from all persons and groups who have the temerity publicly to question NAC policies, procedures, or standards.

Now, there is a fatal overbreath here which renders the policy suspect. There are, indeed, some criticisms which can be "documented" by reference to "the professional literature," as you so carefully put it. But this literature is, or should be, known to your staff since I presume you are referring to literature written for and by persons whose professions include work with the blind.

If you are generally familiar with that literature then your request that critics of NAC "document" their criticisms by reference to it is, quite simply, a request that you be told what you already know.

At the very least, the motives behind such a request stimulate one's curiosity.

If you are not familiar with such literature then you should be and I respectfully suggest that you become so.

Other criticisms that might be and have been directed at NAC are "documented" in sources that you may or may not characterize as respectably professional. Early in 1966 The Braille Monitor began a series of detailed, critical evaluations of the standards then being considered by COMSTAC and which were later to be accepted by NAC in substantially their original form. I refer you specifically to issues of The Monitor for January through June, inclusive, 1966. Further elaboration of these criticisms is contained in lengthy correspondence between Professor Jacobus tenBroek, then President of NFB, and Mr. Arthur Brandon, chairman of COMSTAC, written in January, February, and March of 1966. I presume your files contain copies of this correspondence. Further yet, virtually every issue of The Monitor for the last year and a half (including the Special Issue on NAC of August 1972) has contained criticisms of NAC procedures, policies, and standards. Finally, I refer you, for purposes of "documentation," to my own remarks published in The Monitor of September 1973.

In regard to this second category of "documentation," I again suspect your motives in requesting it. You are already familiar with it and you have been for many years ignoring it with a remarkable tenacity.

Now, Mr. Topitzer, I must admit that I am not a very tolerant fellow when I have some reason to believe that people are playing games with me. It is difficult for me to believe that a person with your formal education and professional experience does not have a clear and accurate perception of the fundamental philosophical and operational differences which divide the organized blind and the organized "professional workers for the blind." It is equally difficult for me to believe that you are not aware of the documentation" of those differences. It is possible that you have not read, for example, tenBroek and Matson, Hope Deferred (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1959). The differences to which I refer are there delineated with clarity, precision, and vigor. Variations on these themes have been placed before professionals such as yourself time after time in hundreds of communications both oral and written. To assert with a kind of naive innocence that you remain unaware of these differences, of the philosophy and premises of the organized blind, and of the "documentation" relevant to these matters is to create a credibility gap that would easily accommodate both NAC and the current Administration in Washington—and that is a mighty large gap indeed.

The remarks which I address to you here are written neither in rancor nor in condemnation. I do not presume you or other professional workers and organizations for the blind to be venal or hostile. I am sure that you are very well aware that the difficulties you confront in your relations with the organized blind are but a part of a much larger phenomenon which has arisen in this country during the past fifteen years or so. One major group after another has coalesced to challenge that particular coterie of professional "experts" which, in the past, sought to and usually did determine the fate of individuals within the protesting group. Blacks, Chicanos, American Indians, the poor, and now the blind have rejected their custodialization and have begun to seize power over their own lives and futures. You do not need documentation" to tell you what they mean by the term "power." They mean active, voting participation by a substantial number of representatives of their own choosing in the decision-making processes which so vitally affect their lives. "Documentation" demonstrating their demands and their successes exists everywhere about us and I have no doubt whatever that you are familiar with it.

I further believe that you are aware of the current literature which "documents" the basic characteristics and patterns of organized bureaucracies, both public and private. I firmly believe that you are aware of research which reveals the universal tendency of organized professional experts to pursue their own professional ends, to promote their own security and that of their organizations, to make a "good record" as measured by their own professional standards—all at the expense of those whom they supposedly "serve." Professional workers for the blind in general, and NAC in particular, have not escaped this universal behavior pattern, and one could hardly expect them to. I might add, parenthetically, that university professors are afflicted with the same malady.

Quite frankly, Mr. Topitzer, professionals in the agencies and in NAC pursue quite different objectives than do the organized blind, and both groups are understandably motivated by perceptions of self-interest and personal achievement. These differing sets of objectives are often inconsistent or contradictory, and hence conflict is generated. If you really seek "documentation" for the validity of this perception (and it is the kind of "documentation" that really ought to concern you) then I can do no more at this point than recommend to you a good graduate level course in Organization Theory and Organizational Behavior. I simply lack the time to summarize for you the voluminous literature involved.

Nor do I have the time or inclination to dissect for you at this point each of the numerous standards which NAC is responsible for applying. If you are seriously interested in the sins of omission and commission which infect NAC standards, then you would do well to begin with the specific criticisms "documented" in The Braille Monitor issues covering the first half of 1966. At an appropriate time under appropriate conditions I would be happy to contribute whatever I can to the further analysis and evaluation of your standards. I would not think it appropriate to do so, however, until the organized blind have secured a significant representative voice in all of NAC's decision-making processes. It is my firm opinion that the issues of openness and representativeness must be satisfactorily resolved before a useful reconsideration of the standards themselves can be attempted. Standards are at best useless and at worst disfunctional unless they reflect the interests, concerns, and objectives of the blind themselves. Only the blind can effectively define these interests, concerns, and objectives. I learned some time ago that "whitey" is neither an effective nor an appropriate authority to specify for blacks the ends and the means that the latter should pursue. I do not wish to be placed in the position of a "sighty" who pontificates on such matters for the blind.

In your letter of October 22 you refer to my remark on page 507 of The Braille Monitor that the results of our site visit to NAC did not include specific recommendations as "to why and in what way existing NAC standards are inadequate." You then observe "that the assumption behind [my] comment is that the standards are inadequate," and you ask for "documentation" to validate this assumption.

A more careful reading of the text of my remarks would reveal that, in this particular case, the "assumption" of the inadequacy of NAC standards is an implication to be derived from the report of the site-visit team (a report to which I made no contribution) rather than from any premise advanced by me. Specifically, recommendation 1 (page 7 of the report of the site-visit team dated August 1, 1973) asserts "that there is a demonstrated need for strengthening services to the blind and the visually handicapped" and that therefore accreditation must be strengthened . . . and the total process must undergo constant evaluation." Now, if Mr. Reed believes that services must be "strengthened" and that accreditation must be "strengthened" and that the total process must be reevaluated, then presumably Mr. Reed assumes that something about NAC's current configuration is "inadequate." Since the assumption is his, why not ask him for the specifics and for "documentation" thereof. The policy adopted by your executive committee (to which I referred on page 1 of this letter) would seem to require you to pursue Mr. Reed in the same relentless quest of "documentation" you pursue Mrs. Bowen and myself.

At the outset of this letter I observed that my reluctance to respond to your request for documentation was occasioned by two considerations. I shall conclude this communication with a brief reference to the second one.

In a letter to Senator Abraham Ribicoff from your executive director, Mr. Alexander Handel, dated September 20, 1973, the following sentences appear: "The Dr. Richard Wilson referred to in Mr. May's letter made his comments to the NFB in advance of the official release of the team's report. This is considered to be a serious breach of ethics."

It is my opinion that the second sentence of the above quotation requires substantial "documentation." To which set of ethical principles does Mr. Handel refer? If to his own, then after observing his arrogant and outrageous attacks on the blind whom he is supposed to serve, I politely but firmly refuse to be bound by them. If to those which pertain to the Federal bureaucracy, then they have no relevance to me since I am not a member of that august establishment.

If by some chance Mr. Handel refers to the ethics which pertain to the citizen in a constitutional democracy, then I fail to discern the cause of his perturbation. The dominant ethic for the free citizen concerns itself with the right of the public to know virtually everything there is to know about the conduct of its business. This ethical norm, I am told, is embodied in the First Amendment to our Constitution.

The remarks which I addressed to the NFB Convention were not only justified by this ethic, but were imperatively demanded by it. You may be assured that I shall continue to abide by this ethical imperative. He who alleges that I have committed a serious breach of ethics is uninformed, impertinent, and insulting.

Sincerely yours,


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[Editor's Note.— In late November the following letter was sent by the NFB President to the Members of Congress.]

DEAR CONGRESSMAN: The blind have been telling the Members of Congress and the public that the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) is operating undemocratically and hurting blind people. Instead of answering these charges, NAC officials have responded by saying how bad the National Federation of the Blind and its leaders are. Most of their charges are provably false and may soon be tested in the courts.

For instance, NAC recently said to Senator Ribicoff, "It is our understanding that the Council of Better Business Bureaus has been unable to obtain a financial report from the NFB." I herewith send you a recent Better Business Bureau report concerning the NFB. You will observe that it is quite complimentary. Perhaps the rest of NAC's charges can be judged from this perspective—or will they now try to divert attention from their deficiencies by making new charges against the blind, the very people they are purportedly established to serve?

Let us suppose that we the blind of the National Federation are even worse than NAC says—that we are murderers, liars, thieves, arsonists, and bad dressers. We are also human beings, and we are blind human beings, by the tens of thousands. We say that NAC (while making decisions affecting our lives and receiving much of its funding from Federal tax dollars) holds closed board meetings and tries to exclude our observers; that it refuses to give us minutes of its meetings; that it has blind persons but not representatives of the blind on its board; that it accredits sheltered shops paying less than the minimum wage to blind workers and thus holds these institutions out to the public as worthwhile and creditable; that it refuses to meet with us to discuss differences; that its standards are so vague and generalized as to permit various interpretations and afford the opportunity for coercion and control of the entire field; that it has no mechanism for meaningful input from local consumer organizations when service agencies are being considered for accreditation; and that it treats the blind with contempt by answering every plea for reform with personal abuse and character assassination. How is NAC helped in answering these charges by claiming that the blind are bad and that their organizations are still worse? NAC either does or does not do the things we have said. It should be compelled to deal with the substance of the charges.

NAC's current statements should be compared with the comments of its first president, Mr. Arthur Brandon, who said in a speech at the National Federation of the Blind Convention in 1971 in Houston: "Your own Kenneth Jernigan, as you well know, is an influential administrator of a state agency. His special knowledge of management, along with his point of view about you the consumer, adds a significant dimension to the board's deliberations."

We urge the Members of Congress to recognize the justice of our cause, to refuse to be diverted by NAC's wild charges against the blind and their organizations, to resist the blandishments of NAC's power and money and influence, to withdraw Federal funding from NAC, to see that NAC's recognition as an accrediting agency is revoked by the United States Commissioner of Education, and to censure NAC for its misdeeds and high-handed behavior.

Very truly yours,

National Federation of the Blind.

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New York, New York, November 7, 1973.

United States Senate,
Washington, D.C.

DEAR SENATOR RIBICOFF: The Jewish Braille Institute of America is the national organization of American Jewry in work for the blind in general and the Jewish blind in particular. It is sponsored by the three official women's groups of Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Jewry. I am enclosing for your information some of our literature and two recent letters—one from Leor Gamliel, formerly Larry Ginzberg from West Hartford in your state of Connecticut, the first blind American to receive a degree from Hebrew University, and the other from Max Kowen, a blind lawyer of Capetown, South Africa. This material will show you of the high esteem in which our agency is held by the blind whom we serve by reason of the fact that we are an agency not only for, but of and by the blind as well, whose program and policy are determined with the equal participation of our blind board members, and which is dedicated to the objective of equality and normality for the blind as whole persons and first-class citizens in our democratic society.

I have seen the letter of September 20, 1973, addressed to you by Alexander P. Handel of the National Accreditation Council and I respectfully ask the favor of providing you with information that should be helpful in your objective determination of the facts in a controversy critical to the success of the struggle of the blind of this Nation for equality—a struggle which is wholeheartedly shared by our Jewish Braille Institute of America. This you can see from our president's message in the enclosed grey brochure and the blind college-students' conference detailed in the enclosed copy of JBI Points.

First, Mr. Handel is in error when he states in his letter that "the NFB is alone among organizations of and for the blind in taking this position." The Jewish Braille Institute of America is such a national organization which associated itself with this position in a statement made this year by its president, Mrs. David M. Levitt, who is also president of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, and in its magazine the Jewish Braille Review.

Second, as the JBI executive director, as a former university teacher of sociology, and former chairman of the faculty of the Adult Division of the New School for Social Research, one of my special subject interests was normative standards in social welfare agencies (how should a good social welfare agency operate, and what are the criteria by which you can measure its performance). As an objective scholar who participated with many others in the first organizing meetings of COMSTAC, the progenitor of NAC, and who has observed it closely throughout the years since, NAC's actions and pronouncements turned me from being originally a fervent supporter to a saddened observer of Paradise Lost for the blind by discarding a golden opportunity for participatory democracy of the blind in helping to determine their own destiny, and betraying their hopes and need for equal status as NAC became a false messiah and a thoroughly establishment tsarist power group, cavalierly consigning the organized blind and their democratically chosen representatives to the role of "Bless the squire and his relations and keep us in our proper stations."

During more than two decades as editor of the Jewish Braille Review—which is a highly intellectual and cultural monthly magazine of the quality of Commentary, designed for blind professionals and college students and graduates—I have witnessed a revolution, generated by the blind themselves, to attain equality of participation in agencies for the blind, as a crucial example of their ability and right to equality in the sighted world as well.

I have seen the blind accept the struggle and achieve the triumphs that lead to equality of education, training, and opportunity without which equality of being and life are unattainable.

It has been an "Operation Bootstrap" in which the blind have lifted themselves out of employment ostracism and the condition of being self-ostracized to obtain the status and dignity that rightfully belong to all free citizens in a democratic society, to achieve their own potential, hopes, aspirations, and personal fulfillment. A frightened animal can't play and a frightened man can't think. But fright has given way to self-determination and organizational strength under the leadership of able men democratically chosen to lead the blind troops into battle for equality in all phases of life.

In this way have the blind come to achieve freedom from human bondage, secure in the knowledge that given the opportunity to contribute their abilities they can achieve equality and normality as human beings with the right to fulfillment rather than frustration. That is why by every test of scholarly objectivity as a sociologist I see the NAC as an establishment power group, an aristocratic anomaly in a democratic society in which a group of oligarchs have established themselves as the monopolists of the Sinaitic revelation of how standards should be determined. Benevolent despots throughout history have protested how benign their acts and how good their intentions have been. They have always been nonplussed with the apothegm that the way to hell is paved with good intentions. They have never appreciated how robbing a man of his right to choose and to decide is to rob him of his birthright of freedom and to consign him to being a ward or a slave.

This is the fallacy and Achilles' heel of NAC. The way it was brought into being, the makeup and selection of its board of directors is an anachronism and an insult. It is an anachronism m a society of free men because it denied its constituents and consumers the proper democratic role of equal partnership, participation, and decision in determining its makeup, standards, and procedures for their implementation and accreditation decisions. It is an insult because by this denial it demeans the blind to the order of helots who lack the capacity to determine their own destinies. Finally it is a contradiction because by this denial of the rights of the blind to participate proficiently and democratically in setting standards for those agencies ostensibly set up to be of service to them in realizing their potential, it implicitly denies that they have this potential to be normal, productive, creative, and equal participants of society.

The founders of NAC, the members of its board are not malevolent men, but the manner in which NAC was conceived and set up, and the way in which it functions engenders malevolence. Liberty is the courage to resist, and this the liberty-loving, free blind are doing through their own democratic organization with more than fifty thousand members throughout the United States.

NAC's selection of carefully chosen sighted, and acquiescent blind board members, including professionals of accredited agencies (an obvious conflict of interests), and its accreditations are implicitly redolent of company unionism and sweetheart contracts. It is for all of the above reasons that the Jewish Braille Institute of America has refused NAC's offer to apply for accreditation and would not accept it. It is not that we could not qualify, because we know from our intimate partnership with the blind and their feedback that we operate at what they consider to be a remarkably high standard of professionalism and cooperation with the blind that they wish other agencies would emulate.

The story of the blind is that of a both tragic and heroic climb from the abyss of a degraded status to a bridgehead of equality occupied by the courageous blind who have wrenched it from the benevolent paternalists who control the agencies for the blind on the one hand, and on the other from a grudging, misunderstanding sighted society who considered the blind only as objects of pity.

The struggle has been to have the blind judged on their ability, not their disability—their ability to perform on a par with the sighted on the job, and in the determination of the conditions that affect their lives. The organized blind consider blindness as essentially a nuisance that only unconscious prejudice and discrimination by the sighted world transforms into an unnecessary handicap.

Why has the struggle been so difficult? Because the relationship of the blind to those who control the passways to equality for the blind, both in the world of the blind within, like NAC, and in the world outside, has been a tainted bargain. Those who control the accreditation of agencies for the blind refuse to permit the blind the partnership of participatory democracy that should be the birthright of the American blind as normal human beings and citizens of a free society with the ability to contribute their constructive judgments to determining the actions and standards that affect them.

I have been appalled by the fact that, in this year 1973, instead of the blind becoming equal partners in the enterprise of determining their own destiny we see NAC acting towards them and their leaders the way the feudal robber barons acted toward the labor pioneers in the Pullman Strike of 1894, which the Attorney General, Richard Olney, destroyed by sending in Federal troops, and the coal strike of 1902 which ended differently because Theodore Roosevelt was appalled by the arrogance of the mine-owner "malefactors of great wealth." The adamancy of NAC in refusing the organized blind a proper role in its policy formation is an atavistic return to that time and its Bourbon high-handedness. It goes right back to George Baer, president of the Reading Railroad Company and the representative of the imperious anthracite coal operators in this 1902 confrontation who also were determined to break the mine-workers union. In vitriolic denunciation of the union's leader John Mitchell (like NAC's blasts at Kenneth Jernigan, the NFB President), Mr. Baer stated the mine-owners' self-righteous intransigence: "The rights and interests of the laboring man will be protected and cared for not by the labor agitators [in this case 'the blind agitators'], but by the Christian men to whom God in his infinite wisdom has given the control of the property interests of the country, and upon the successful management of which so much depends." President Roosevelt said later, "If it wasn't for the high office I hold I would have taken him by the seat of his breeches and the nape of the neck and chucked him out the window."

For all of the above, the Jewish Braille Institute of America is joined in the struggle of the blind to overcome, and to achieve a just and equal status for the blind. It is our firm conviction in assessing the actions and arguments of NAC that they are what La Rochefoucauld meant when he said "hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue." These are the rationalizations of an establishment power group that denies the right of the blind to be a primary voice in setting forth and attaining through their own merits, talents, and abilities the equality, security, and opportunity that are the sesame to the American promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all, the blind no less than the sighted.


Executive Director.

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New York, New York, November 8, 1973.

President, National Federation of the Blind, Des Moines, Iowa.

DEAR MR. JERNIGAN: Since it appears that you had not received the most recent issue of The Standard-Bearer on October 23 when you wrote me, I enclose a copy. The method of requesting time for a presentation to our board is described therein.

Very truly yours,



The Standard-Bearer, Fall 1973.


The winter meeting of the directors of the National Accreditation Council is scheduled for December 12 and 13, 1973, at the Prince George Hotel, New York City.

In accordance with its general policy of openness, the board encourages input by individuals and groups who have a determinable interest in the welfare of blind persons as it may be affected by the National Accreditation Council. Therefore, although the board meetings are not open for general observance by non-board members, every reasonable consideration is given to requests for special-purpose appearances at or presentations to meetings of the directors.

If you have a specific matter which you wish to present to the board, please send a summary with your request to: President, National Accreditation Council, 79 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016. For possible inclusion on the agenda of the 1973 winter meeting, your proposal should reach NAC no later than November 15, 1973.


Des Moines, Iowa, November 15, 1973.

President, National Accreditation
Council for Agencies Serving the
Blind and Visually Handicapped,
New York, New York.

MR. ROBINSON: Your cryptic letter of November 8 received.

Standard-Bearer contained nothing new. Your letter contained nothing new. Two official Federation observers (Mr. John Taylor and Mr. Ralph Sanders) will be present at your meeting in December. Will they be admitted?

National Federation of the Blind.


New York, New York, October 24, 1973.

The Honorable WILLIAM S. COHEN, House of Representatives,
Congress of the United States,
Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. COHEN: Thank you for your letter of October 16, 1973. We appreciate your interest in blind people and we are glad to respond to your queries.

The next meeting of the Board of Directors of the National Accreditation Council will be held at the Hotel Prince George in New York City on December 12 and 13, 1973. Enclosed is a copy of the announcement in our periodical The Standard-Bearer. You will note the statement regarding our openness to persons who wish to bring pertinent matters or questions to the board.

We have had observers at our last two board meetings and have not found this procedure productive of useful input for the revision of our standards (now being undertaken) nor for revisions in our procedures. We believe that the interests of blind persons would be better served if persons at our board meetings came with specific business in hand. Also we must have some way of getting advance notice of how many people we should expect and we believe our policy of openness provides for this.

I should also like to note that our annual meeting, at which major business is discussed, is open to all interested persons and is held in space which we hope will be large enough to accommodate them.

We have no doubt that observers, as they have in the past, would behave with all decorum, were we to invite them to our board meeting. We do doubt, however, the usefulness of inviting observers who have no other purpose except to report to an organization which for six years (while its President was a member duly elected to our board) had full access to all our board meetings, published board minutes verbatim in its periodical. The Braille Monitor, and made no positive use of this information.

Our present board has thirty-two members of whom eleven are blind persons (see the enclosed annotated list of board members). We do not expect that the subject of increased representation on our council of visually handicapped people will be on the next board agenda since the present board was only recently elected. However, our Nominations Committee seeks qualified persons, both blind and sighted, for future board membership and welcomes all suggestions.

We extend to you a most cordial invitation to attend our next board meeting so you may judge for yourself the nature of our activities and the participation of blind persons on the board.

If you would like further information we should be glad to supply it.

All good wishes.


P.S.— Because of your interest in the National Federation of the Blind, we suggest that you obtain the most recent report on NFB prepared by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, 1150 Seventeenth Street, NW., Washington, D.C. 20036. If your office or the Congress holds a membership in the National Information Bureau (established to provide information on organizations that solicit funds from the public) we suggest that you request the Bureau's report on NFB. The address is: 305 East Forty-Fifth Street, New York, New York 10017.


DEAR MR. ROBINSON: We have read your letter to Congressman Cohen; and, as usual, your facts are somewhat confused. So we are writing to set you straight.

You say to Congressman Cohen: "We have had observers at our last two board meetings and have not found this procedure productive of useful input for the revision of our standards (now being undertaken) nor for revisions in our procedures. We believe that the interests of blind persons would be better served if persons at our board meetings came with specific business in hand."

Have you forgotten, Mr. Robinson, that you would not permit the observers to speak but compelled them to remain silent? Have you forgotten that they asked to distribute a brief memorandum to your board and that they were promised that they could do it and that the promise was not kept? Under such circumstances how could they have given you any "input" at all? These blind persons did come with "specific business in hand," but they were denied the right to discuss it or distribute it.

You say to Congressman Cohen (and you have said it many times before) that "your annual meeting" is held in a room large enough to accommodate observers but that your "board meeting" is something else again. You imply that you would really like to roll out the welcome mat for observers at your board meetings but that there just is not enough space.

Ah, Mr. Robinson, how the memory of man does play tricks! Have you forgotten that your annual meetings and your board meetings are customarily held in the same room? Don't you remember that your board meeting last summer in Chicago was held in exactly the same place that you used for your annual meeting the day before?

You also say to Congressman Cohen: "We do doubt, however, the usefulness of inviting observers who have no other purpose except to report to an organization which for six years (while its President was a member duly elected to our board) had full access to all our board meetings, published board minutes in its periodical. The Braille Monitor, and made no positive use of this information."

Surely our observers must have had other motives than just reporting to an organization. Our principal motive with respect to NAC has been to try to reform it, to make it behave democratically, and to get it to function responsibly. We realize, of course, that you may not know these things since you are not a very good listener.

How can you say that the National Federation of the Blind made no positive use of the information we got during the six years our President served as a member of your board? Apparently you do not regard it as "positive" to print and circulate minutes so that the blind may know of your deliberations affecting their lives. This is part of what we have been trying to say to you. The NAC concept of democracy needs updating.

Furthermore, your attitude is sharply at variance with the comments of NAC's first president, Mr. Arthur Brandon. At the 1971 Convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Houston Mr. Brandon said: "Your own Kenneth Jernigan, as you well know, is an influential administrator of a state agency. His special knowledge of management, along with his point of view about you the consumer, adds a significant dimension to the board's deliberations."

You say eleven of your thirty-two members are blind persons and that you do not contemplate discussing increased representation at your next meeting since elections were just held. Have you really missed the point as much as this would imply? You do, indeed, have blind people on your board, but you do not have representatives of the blind. One could hardly say, for instance, that Robert Barnett of the American Foundation for the Blind (admittedly quite blind himself) represents the blind.

Mr. Robinson, your desperate lashings-out and your snide attacks and personal abuse will not meet the issues or solve the problem. You keep telling all who will listen how bad we Federationists are.

Maybe so, but we're not receiving Federal funding and are not attempting to regulate the lives and livelihood of NAC Board members, which is what NAC is trying to do to the blind.

Be all of that as it may, truth and justice have a way of prevailing. So, here's to you, Mr. Robinson.

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I read the article with this title in The Braille Monitor for July, and wished the author could have known the facts which I could add. I decided to rewrite the article with those facts included.

NAC is a prime reason why early retirement was forced upon me at Pilot Dogs, Inc., a school which I founded twenty-six years ago. Before starting this school, I trained five years at a guide-dog school in Michigan. I chose this work when it was the only advanced mobility course taught to blind persons. I think that thirty-two years shows that I like this work and have been steady in it.

Have I trained safely? In those thirty-two years students have received sore muscles and bumps, but not one has been seriously injured during training. Multiply this record by the number of years each successful student traveled with his dog—because no student ever became a traffic fatality!

In 1948 I entered a class sponsored by the State of Ohio to learn to teach Hoover cane-travel techniques. I became the only person in the world qualified to teach both guide-dog and cane-travel techniques. During the past twenty-five years I have taught clients sent by the Ohio Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Vision Center in Columbus, and I have taught at the Ohio State School for the Blind and at Pilot Dogs, Inc. My record in cane-travel instruction equals my safety record in teaching travel with guide dogs since none of my students was injured in class, and none has become a traffic fatality in all the years they have benefited from my training. My vision is less than 20/200 so how is it possible for NAC to rule that a legally blind person cannot be a good instructor?

Now that I've given you my background, I'll proceed to rewrite Cathy B. Smith's article.

All of us are in favor of maintaining high standards in work, especially in work on behalf of blind persons. We believe that our organizations should be accountable not only to their boards, but also to the blind persons they serve. We have serious objections concerning the way NAC's standards were established, and their methods of evaluating schools and agencies.

The NAC standard which requires a guide-dog trainer to be a male between twenty-one and thirty years of age when he applies for the job, and between sixty-five and seventy-two inches tall ("Mobility," section 3.9.1) is ridiculous. If we accept this discrimination we must be prepared to envision that new requirements might read that an instructor must be black, or white, or Catholic! It is just as ridiculous to ignore a record like mine, and rule that all instructors must have perfect sight. Recently, a man reported that he failed a mobility course at a center whose instructors are sighted. He returned to his home and was given a mobility course by a legally blind person which he passed and benefited from. Somehow, in that case, NAC's standards proved to be a handicap to the blind consumer of services as well as to the instructor who is visually handicapped.

NAC is able to rule that blind persons may or may not do something, strictly on the basis that NAC says that is the way it must be. Blind persons are thus forced into second-class citizenship. Normally a citizen has the right to prove his individual worth.

NAC seems never to tire of congratulating itself for improving the work with blind persons. These standards were established primarily by sighted persons who thought up ways blind persons must be served. As a member of the American Association of Workers for the Blind, I attended some of the workshops held to establish mobility standards. Unfortunately, my participation was only tokenism. I talked, but the bright new mobility instructors fluttered their degrees and did not listen. They insisted that all new mobility instructors be as sighted as they were and they told me "Oh yes, you who have impaired vision but have been teaching successfully, will be allowed to continue under the 'grandfather clause.'" When the COMSTAC rules were printed, it could be seen that this was not true. An instructor must have better vision than is necessary to drive a car. A new instructor with good vision who does not know Braille or essential facts about blind persons, outranks established instructors with impaired vision and proven capability.

I had to stop handling classes at the school which was founded on my work, and where I'd taught safely and successfully for the preceeding twenty-two years. As a second-class employee, I was forced further down the scale to an early and undesired retirement.

NAC is discriminating against legally blind persons in my case, and in others! NAC is discriminating against those it is pledged to help.

A person with a B.A. is authorized to teach Latin, Spanish, math, and biology in public schools, but it takes a master's degree to teach a child from the school for the blind how to cross a street. This rule contributes to the idea, in the mind of the public, and the minds of the teachers too, that blind children are unusually dense and in need of unusual care. NAC rules ignore the fact that many blind persons have become capable travelers through their own abilities and the aid of friends. Often one capable blind traveler has helped another to travel more safely.

Title 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act has proved that teachers' aides—persons with no more than a short training period and on-the-job experience—can be excellent help in teaching school children. Why should it require a master's degree for a person to show blind persons how to put one foot before the other? The professional view is that each newly blinded person must sit safely in the corner at home until a $15,000-per-year mobility instructor can make that person one of his six daily pupils. Certainly the blind person is not encouraged to learn with the aid of family members or blind or sighted friends. No books on these skills are available to blind persons. The professional attitude of NAC is to keep the masses ignorant until special instructors can get to them individually with the light of knowledge.

In the late 1950's the American Foundation for the Blind held a conference where a man with thirty years of experience maintained that an instructor must be fully sighted in order to see what a blind person is doing a block away. I'm legally blind, and can watch students a block away through a small telescope. But I don't do that. Instead, I prefer to be within calling distance of any student who needs watching. Can a sighted instructor a block away do anything when an automobile driver makes a mistake? Can he help the student who tries to cross at the wrong time? Being within voice range means added protection for any student. It is not necessary to be a block from a trainee to have him working entirely alone as far as he is concerned. The instructor need only remain quiet.

Other legally blind persons use their 20/200 vision as well as I do or better. The NAC regulations exclude not only them, but also those persons having vision as good as 20/70—persons usually known as "sighted." Certainly the NFB should go to bat against discrimination against these sighted individuals.

Father Carroll adopted the view that mobility instructors must be sighted, and the goverment did also when it funded programs for instructors at Boston College and Western Michigan University. When I applied for one of these courses, I was refused because of impaired vision in spite of my teaching record. At the behest of Western Michigan, in my opinion, a misleading article appeared in Newsweek, November 23, 1962. It stated that legally blind persons do not make good teachers. The statement was presented as a fact, even though I, and other visually impaired instructors, could present proven records to the contrary. In my case, a guide-dog school with a staff of twelve sighted persons has grown from the training I began and worked four years, alone, to establish. Will NAC accept facts, and change its attitudes toward blind persons?

To paraphrase President Nixon, NAC made a profession out of the mobility needs of blind persons, the peripatologists made the money, the taxpayers are paying the bills, while blind persons are told that they cannot learn from another person with a visual handicap.

Unlike other minorities, blind persons, then, are not to benefit from contributions made by other blind persons of the past and present. The newly blinded person is usually kept unaware of the organized blind movement. In most cases he is kept unaware of the laws which help him and the laws which hinder him.

Nowhere do the NAC standards specify that organizations must not discriminate against blind persons in hiring for positions which can be filled by blind persons. Individually, and through organizations of blind persons, we have been asking the world to end discrimination on the basis of sight: The only criteria must be whether the person can do the job. By its own rules, NAC requires discrimination against blind persons, solely on the basis of sight, and regardless of ability.

Until NAC changes its policies and supports blind persons in positions they have proved themselves capable of filling, it must be opposed by blind individuals and by the National Federation of the Blind.

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The sins one commits in the springtime often return to haunt him in the fall. Thus, Mr. John Proffitt—who is Director, Accreditation and Institutional Eligibility Staff, Bureau of Higher Education, Office of Education, Department of HEW—made a brash commitment last May. He promised that the NFB would be invited to appear before the U.S. Commissioner of Education's Advisory Committee to give testimony as to why NAC's recognition as an accrediting agency should be revoked.

Surely Mr. Proffitt would not make a promise he did not intend to keep, or drag his feet in delay. However, the spring turned to summer, and the dog days faded into September, but no invitation arrived. The leaves turned sere and the ice skimmed over on the creeks and rivulets, but the word did not come. The wind blew chill, and the swallows winged south from Capistrano, but the promise languished. Little children skated on the ponds, puffing out their rosy cheeks in wholesome play; the frost was on the pumpkin, and the fodder in the shock; the water froze in the buckets on the back porches; but the mailbox remained empty. In the lengthening shadows of the dying year men's thoughts turned to Scripture and a passage which said: "A prophet in his own country . . . ."

Then, Congress took a hand. Allegedly the Commissioner's Advisory Committee meets four times a year. At least two meetings should have come and gone. So the Congressmen and the Senators and the GAO asked why and wherefore and when. Had not a promise been given?

As Robert Service once observed, "A promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code."

So the long-awaited invitation from Mr. Proffitt came—albeit with attempted restrictions and conditions and limitations and hedgings; but it came. The NFB President replied and packed his bags for Washington, remembering vividly a proverb which the late Bill Taylor, a blind Philadelphia lawyer, was fond of quoting: "When supping with the devil, use a long spoon."


Washington, D.C., October 30, 1973.

President, National Federation of the Blind,
Des Moines, Iowa.

DEAR MR. JERNIGAN: This will follow up my letter of May 10 in which I indicated that the grievances against the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped which have been brought to the attention of the U.S. Office of Education by your organization will be placed before the U.S. Commissioner of Education's Advisory Committee on Accreditation and Institutional Eligibility.

Your organization is invited to make a one-half-hour oral presentation before the Commissioner's Advisory Committee on December 10. I again stress that the U.S. Office of Education's recognition is limited to the NAC's accreditation program for residential schools for the blind and request that your presentation confine itself to the activities of NAC as they apply to this area. You will want to review the Criteria for Recognition of Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agencies and address your presentation solely to the Council's compliance with the criteria within the limitations of its scope of recognition. We shall greatly appreciate receiving in advance any information or documentation you will be providing as a supplement to the material contained in your letter of April 26 to Commissioner Ottina.

Please let me know at your earliest convenience whether or not you wish to appear before the December meeting of the Advisory Committee. I shall be pleased to answer any questions you may have.

Sincerely yours,

JOHN R. PROFFITT, Director, Accreditation
and Institutional Eligibility Staff,
Bureau of Higher Education.


Des Moines, Iowa, November 5, 1973.

Mr. JOHN R. PROFFITT, Director, Accreditation
and Institutional Eligibility Staff,
Bureau of Higher Education,
Office of Education,
Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare,
Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. PROFFITT: This will reply to and thank you for your letter of October 30, 1973, in which you invite the National Federation of the Blind to make a thirty-minute oral presentation concerning NAC before the U.S. Commissioner of Education's Advisory Committee on Accreditation and Institutional Eligibility on December 10. We will be pleased to make the presentation. In your letter you say:

I again stress that the U.S. Office of Education's recognition is limited to the NAC's accreditation program for residential schools for the blind and request that your presentation confine itself to the activities of NAC as they apply to this area. You will want to review the Criteria for Recognition of Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agencies and address your presentation solely to the Council's compliance with the criteria within the limitations of its scope of recognition.

I am not exactly sure what this means. We have charged (and have sent documentation to prove the charge) that NAC operates undemocratically and not in the best interests of the blind—that it holds closed board meetings and does so in the "name of openness," that it has individual blind people but not consumer representatives on its board—and that its total operation is harmful to the best interests of the blind. If it operates undemocratically, it does so for children as well as for adults. You are quite thoroughly familiar with NAC since you were a member of the so-called "independent" review team which studied it. Presumably you received our documentation in your capacity as a member of the team. You also received it directly from me in your capacity as Director, Accreditation and Institutional Eligibility Staff, Bureau of Higher Education. The documentation speaks for itself and speaks clearly.

In our opinion, NAC (as presently structured) is unfit to accredit any agency—school, workshop, or anything else. Please let me know the exact time and place of the meeting.

Very truly yours,

National Federation of the Blind.

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Washington, D.C., November 7, 1973.

National Federation of the Blind,
Des Moines, Iowa.

DEAR MR. JERNIGAN: Knowing of your great interest, I have enclosed a copy of a letter which I recently sent to the Social and Rehabilitation Service Office of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, regarding the operations of NAC.

Any comments you may have will be appreciated.

With best wishes,


Member of Congress.



Washington, D.C., October 19, 1973.

Mr. JAMES S. DWIGHT, Administrator,
Social and Rehabilitation Service,
Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare,
Washington, D. C.

DEAR MR. DWIGHT: Several of my constituents have brought to my attention some disturbing policies and practices of the National Accreditation Council of Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC).

They contend that the NAC's accrediting process has established inadequate standards, and, unfortunately, accredited some repressive organizations. Particularly disconcerting to me is documentation that the NAC has approved "sweatshops" where the blind work for below-minimum-wage pay. Consequently questions are repeatedly being raised by blind and sighted alike regarding the continued funding of NAC by HEW. In short, why has HEW supported an organization that is not sufficiently represented by blind people, and which has continually impeded the progress of the very community it is designed to serve—the blind?

I commend the Social and Rehabilitation Service for instituting a study last year to investigate many of the allegations concerning NAC. But, unfortunately, some members of the investigating team, most notably Dr. Richard Wilson, have raised some serious objections to the conclusions reached justifying HEW's support of NAC. I ask you, therefore, to commission another investigation which would establish beyond a doubt whether NAC should receive Federal monies. I call upon you to seek out all the facts about NAC in its relationship with the blind before providing them with any additional revenues.

I will appreciate receiving your assessment of the apparently rather undemocratic and regressive actions of this organization with regard to the blind, and your views on appropriate remedies.

Thank you for your assistance.

With best regards, I am,


Member of Congress.


Washington, D.C., October 24, 1973.

Mr. JOHN OTTINA, Commissioner of Education,
Office of Education, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. OTTINA: Recently several of my constituents who are members of the National Federation of the Blind visited my office and urged me to support their efforts to deny the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped both Federal money and recognition by the Federal Government as a bona fide accrediting agency for the blind.

After reviewing the materials provided by these constituents and the materials provided by the NAC and the Council of Better Business Bureaus, I have concluded that the complaint of the Federationists is justified and urge you to stop the transfer of Federal funds to the NAC forthwith.

In view of the fact that the NFB is the single largest organization of the blind in the Nation, the attitude of the NAC toward the NFB is in direct violation of the "maximum feasible participation of beneficiaries of programs intended for their benefit" provision of the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act.

I would appreciate your immediate attention to this matter and a reply indicating that you have withdrawn Federal funds from the NAC.


Member of Congress.

[Congressman Landgrebe is a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor.]

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[Reprinted from the Minnesota Bulletin, publication of the NFB of Minnesota. Joyce Hoffa is president of this affiliate.]

We of the National Federation of the Blind contend that with the proper training and opportunity, the average blind person can do the average job in the average place of business. But without the proper training, there is little point in further discussion of the above statement.

In Minnesota blind people have been operating at a decided disadvantage. For blind persons—other than children in school—there has been one agency where training in the basic skills such as cane travel and Braille can be obtained. But what actually has been taught under this program? Techniques galore! We were all taught the correct position of the right little finger in gripping the shaft of the cane; we were all shown how to fry eggs in cut-out tuna fish cans; we were taught how to sweep the floor in bare feet.

And then there were all those indoor protective techniques.

With these special techniques we also learned a few other matters of questionable value. We learned that we must try hard not to be blind, because blindness isn't respectable. We learned that there are many places where a blind person can't travel because it's dangerous without a sighted guide or an instructor to follow us. We learned that only if we are exceptional can we hope to find jobs in competitive employment. If we are good with our hands, maybe they will give us a job in the sheltered shop. We learned that most of the blind people who are trained at the rehabilitation center return to what they were doing before coming—nothing.

We learned that blindness is a hopeless tragedy which we must learn to live with. Any blind person who thinks that he can accept his tragedy as anything but that, should be confined to an insane asylum. Parts of the above statements could be placed in quotes, but we must not indulge in "willification."

We are not saying that "techniques" are not important or necessary. What is far more important than technique is a positive philosophy. We can learn all the techniques in the world on how to use a white cane, but if we never come to believe that we actually can apply those techniques and travel independently wherever we want to go, the techniques have absolutely no worth.

Many blind persons in this area have asked the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota if we can't initiate a program to offer cane travel, Braille, and other courses, with both the techniques and the constructive philosophy of Federationism. The NFB is a social action movement rather than a rehabilitation agency; however, the purpose of the National Federation of the Blind is to bring about the complete integration of the blind into society on an equal basis with all other citizens. Therefore, if we are going to fulfill our purpose, we will confront this unmet need and provide proper training for those persons wishing it.

The NFB of Minnesota has hired a home teacher, Mrs. Sharon Grostephan, who is now available to teach cane travel, Braille, and such other courses as may be necessary. Mrs. Grostephan is highly qualified for this position. She has a bachelor's degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and has had six years of experience in the field of work with the blind at the Iowa Commission for the Blind, and the Maryland and New Mexico agencies for the blind. She has worked with blind persons of all ages. As part of her training, Mrs. Grostephan had to prove that she could operate as a blind person by functioning under a blindfold for several months. Her most significant qualification, we believe, is her firm belief in blind people and their right to achieve equality in society.

We already have a list of prospective students for the home teaching course. Many of those who have already contacted us have been through other sessions in mobility but have never gained the self-confidence to travel. Some of our students have been refused training by what was formerly the only rehab agency set up to provide it.

It is important to emphasize that the NFB of Minnesota is not funded to undertake this project. Governmental agencies are funded to provide rehabilitative services to blind persons. But as long as government, for whatever reason, does not make services—relevant and constructive services—available, the responsibility falls upon our shoulders.

This course is designed to meet individual needs, so feel free to call and inquire about information you want.

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We must never forget or underrate the value of publicity. As Federationists know, I appeared on the "Today" television show during the time of our national Convention in New York. Among other things, I talked about the discriminations we face in purchasing insurance on terms of equality with others. It is estimated that the "Today Show" has a viewing audience of close to thirty million. I have received many letters in response to the comments I made. One of the most interesting came from Mr. Herbert S. Denenberg, Insurance Commissioner for the State of Pennsylvania. Mr. Denenberg has a reputation for fairness and decisive action. His correspondence proves that the reputation is well deserved. It also proves the necessity for continuing public education about blindness. When the public becomes aware and understands, more often than not it gives us solid support:

Harrisburg, Penna., July 18, 1973.

National Federation of the Blind,
Des Moines, Iowa.

DEAR SIR: I understand your members are having insurance problems. Please let me know if I can be of help. It would certainly be improper of a company to refuse to issue a blind person airline-trip transit insurance, an example which I was told you related.

Looking forward to hearing from you, I am,




August 16, 1973.

Mr. HERBERT S. DENENBERG, Commissioner,
Insurance Department
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

DEAR MR. DENENBERG: I have your letter of July 18, and I thank you for writing to me. Some insurance companies sell insurance to blind people on equal terms with others. Some insurance companies sell insurance to us but charge us a higher rate. Some insurance companies will not sell insurance to us at all.

To give you an idea of the problem we face, I herewith send you an article entitled: "Blindness — Discrimination, Hostility, and Progress." You will see that it deals with a number of different kinds of discrimination, including insurance. I do not know what your practice is in Pennsylvania, but I would hope that you could issue a ruling forbidding insurance companies to classify blind persons for the purpose of issuing insurance policies unless it can be shown there is actuarial data to substantiate the classification. This could be a tremendous service to blind people and it would also be an act of justice and fairness. We do not want to be able to purchase insurance on terms of equality with others if there is evidence to show that we are greater risks but we do not wish to be deprived of coverage or have to pay a higher price for it simply because somebody believes we constitute a greater risk.

I thank you for writing to me, and I would very much appreciate your reactions, both to what I have said and to the enclosed article.

Very truly yours,

National Federation of the Blind.


Harrisburg, Penna., October 10, 1973.

National Federation of the Blind,
Des Moines, Iowa.

DEAR DR. JERNIGAN: I have read your article describing underwriting criteria, sales practices, and coverage limitations encountered by the blind. You suggest that blind people should not be subjected to arbitrary classification as undesirable risks where no evidence exists of a relationship between blindness and legitimate insurance considerations such as life expectancy, incidence of accidents, and other factors. I share your concern and I have already had my staff initiate a review of several life- and accident- and health-underwriting guides. Wherever an unfair situation regarding a disabled is discovered, they will take the necessary steps to correct it.

I strongly urge that any handicapped Pennsylvanian who has insurance problems contact my Policyholder's Services Division, either in Pittsburgh, Erie, Philadelphia, or Harrisburg. In addition, my circuit rider, who regularly visits outlying towns, will be available to receive their complaints.

Thank you for writing.



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[Copyright 1973, by The New York Times Company. Reprinted with permission.]

A Canadian author, who was blinded in a tank accident in Italy during World War II, appealed to countries throughout the world yesterday to give aspiring blind authors a fair chance so that we do not have to feel that no matter what we do we have lost the race before we start."

John Windsor was speaking at a ceremony to open the tenth International Literary Braille Competition, open to writers in every country.

He asked the audience of diplomats assembled at a reception at the Jewish Braille Institute of America to make this unusual contest known to the blind in their countries in order to provide the kind of opportunity he had when he entered and subsequently won one of the prizes in the contest in 1958. That was one of his first creative writing efforts, and he has since published four books and countless articles.

The last international literary contest, in 1958, drew 729 entries in the fields of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from thirty-nine countries in twenty-seven different languages. However, the cost of having the typed manuscripts translated into English so that the judges could read them cost more than twenty thousand dollars. Because of this the Braille Institute has been unable to have a contest since the one in 1958, and yesterday the diplomats were asked to get in touch with universities in their countries to ask them to supply translators for the blind.

The deadline is December 30, and all entries will be screened by Jacob Freid, editor of the institute's Jewish Braille Review, 110 East Thirtieth Street, which sponsors the contest.

About fifty entries in each category are expected to be sent to this year's judges, who include Joyce Carol Oates, Chaim Potok, and Santha Rama Rau. About five thousand dollars in prizes will be awarded.

The competition, first held in 1941, with Eleanor Roosevelt as one of the sponsors, has been praised for the high quality of its entries. It is run in the same spirit as the Braille magazine, which is directed toward blind people with intellectual and literary interests. It contains both original articles and reprints from magazines such as Harper's, Atlantic, Commentary, and the Saturday Review.

Like everything else from the Jewish Braille Institute of America, the magazine is free. (The institute, which has a budget of $400,000 a year, survives on contributions.) Each month, 2,800 copies are printed, but recipients forward their copies on so that each issue goes to at least three people.

Mr. Windsor, blinded at the age of twenty-three, took up several careers before he entered the contest. Finally, after failing at farming, he began to try writing—though with little success.

But then he entered the ninth International Braille Competition with a story about Chinese exploration in Canada and won a prize. This gave such a boost to his morale that he turned professional.

"What we want," he said, "is fair opportunity in competition with the sighted to make the best use of such talents and crafts as we may possess."

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The National Federation of the Blind of Texas held its annual convention in Fort Worth, in the Blackstone Hotel, on the weekend of October 5, 6, and 7.

You would have thought that there were a thousand people gathered in the hospitality room that Friday night, considering the noise we were making—laughing, talking, getting acquainted, and discussing coming Federation business; but in reality, there were fewer than a hundred present. But the trend was set and it was one of the best conventions that we have ever had.

We began our business meeting Saturday morning with the Reverend John Sohas, of the Zion Lutheran Church, conducting our devotional.

After the devotional, we had a "get acquainted" session, which gave our visitors a chance to introduce themselves, and our people to know who was present and from where they came. We were welcomed to the city of Fort Worth by the city treasurer. The meeting then began in earnest with three speakers. The first speaker was Bob Gonzales from the regional office of Social Security in Dallas. He gave us the latest in social security changes and told us what they will mean in regard to blind people. Then we heard from Charles Rakey, from the Texas State Commission for the Blind, who gave us a very enlightening view of what the Commission is doing for us in Texas. Next we heard from the Assistant Director of the State Commission for the Blind, Charles Haney. Mr. Haney conducted a very interesting question-and-answer period after his speech, in which he said that the State Commission is very anxious to cooperate with our organization, and invited us to call the Commission and discuss our problems with him or other executives who are in charge.

Each of our three speakers for the morning held a question-and-answer period, after which with the giving of a few more door prizes we adjourned until the afternoon. Because of the interest in our question-and-answer sessions of the morning, after reconvening, Mr. Rakey and Mr. Haney consented to continue with this until all of us were completely satisfied. This took up most of the afternoon. The remaining time was taken up by a speech from Ralph Sanders, member of the NFB Executive Committee, in which he brought us up on the very latest concerning NAC. Three resolutions were read and passed, two concerning NAC, and one concerning the Lighthouse in Houston which has been accredited by NAC.

Our banquet Saturday night was well attended; the food was good, and the service was excellent. Ralph Sanders gave the banquet speech, and it was well received by all. He said that we face one of the greatest challenges that blind people have ever faced; and that the forces that oppose us are greater than they have ever been; but that we will win.

The Fort Worth chapter, which has just been established, received its charter at the banquet.

After the banquet there was a dance, with music by a local band, and the evening was complete.

Sunday morning, October 7, we began our business meeting at 9:15 a.m. We had a Convention report by Walter Musler, our delegate to the NFB Convention in New York. Next, we heard from Jim Nyman concerning legislation, some of which has passed and some which is pending. He said that we were successful in getting some revisions in our Model White Cane Law. Formerly, if a blind person was hit by a driver, the driver was not liable if the blind person did not have his cane extended straight out in front of him.

We decided to send Dick Roberts, our State president, to help with the NFB efforts in Washington, D.C., to contact Congressmen concerning NAC. We then elected a delegate to attend the national Convention in Chicago next year. Dick Roberts was chosen to perform this service. Corpus Christi was chosen as the site of our convention next year. Two new board members were elected. They were Lidia West from Fort Worth and Don Welch from Dallas.

After a few closing remarks by our president, we adjourned.

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The eighth annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Maine was held at the Holiday Inn in Auburn, Maine, on Saturday, October 13, 1973.

The convention convened at 10:00 a.m., with State President Harold Miller presiding. The invocation was delivered by Stephen Collins. The members then repeated the Lord's Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

The business of the convention then got under way. The report of the 1972 convention was given by the secretary, Marjorie McMullin, followed by a report from the treasurer, Helen Collins.

Following the president's report was the election of the following officers: Natalie Matthews of Augusta, president; George Call of Troy, vice-president; Marian Wood worth of Fairfield, secretary; and Sheldon Braley of Augusta, treasurer. Two new board members were elected for a three-year term and a two-year term respectively: George Roderick of Augusta and Walter McMullin of Hampden Highlands. Rose Johnson of South Portland, a board member, has one more year left to serve in that term. The meeting adjourned for lunch at noon.

President Miller introduced the afternoon speakers after calling the meeting to order. Marjorie Await, adult education specialist for the blind from the Division of Eye Care, gave a most interesting talk on her work with the blind. Mrs. Await teaches her students homemaking, cooking, sewing, Braille, labeling, et cetera.

Robert Joseph, executive director of the Lewiston-Auburn Resource Center for the Blind Children, was next on the program. His talk regarding his work at the Center was equally interesting. He stressed independence of the child as well as education.

John Taylor from Des Moines, Iowa, was the representative from the National Federation of the Blind. He spoke on the effects of governmental reorganization and stressed the importance of keeping a separate, identifiable unit to serve the blind.

Helen Collins spoke on recently passed legislation. She also reported on the New England Conference of the NFB.

There were fifty-four people registered and fifty-two banquet tickets were sold. It was voted to hold the 1974 convention in Waterville next fall, exact time and place to be determined closer to the event. With this announcement President Miller declared the meeting adjourned.

The banquet speaker was John Taylor, who spoke on the blind and the changing world today. He spoke eloquently and covered many changes affecting the blind, two of which were: governmental reorganization and the National Accreditation Council in its present structure.

Franklin VanVliet from Bow, New Hampshire, Treasurer of the NFB, spoke on problems confronting the blind, and their solutions.

Natalie Matthews, the newly-elected president, thanked the various committees that helped make the convention a success. She took the opportunity to thank Mrs. Franklin VanVliet and Armand Scott from Middleton, Massachusetts, for assisting Mr. Collings with the counting of the ballots.

The final event of the evening was the installing of the officers by Minetta Scott of Middleton, Massachusetts.

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The main theme of the 1973 convention was unity, both in word and in action.

The thirty-eighth annual convention of the Pennsylvania Federation of the Blind was called to order on Saturday morning, October 13, by the president. Dr. Mae Davidow. We convened and resided at the Holiday Inn Town, in Harrisburg. The sessions continued through Sunday morning.

The Reverend William Hopson pronounced the opening invocation. We were welcomed by Mayor Swensen.

We were honored to have with us Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, our national NFB President. His contribution to the sessions was excellent, even though he had fallen victim to the flu. President Jernigan welcomed Ralph Beistline, Director of the State Bureau for the Visually Handicapped.

Secretary William Murray then called the roll of the delegates. The turnout was almost perfect. The president's report touched upon the recent fundraising dinner in Philadelphia. With regard to agencies for the blind, she stated that we as consumers should and will have more to say, and that the image of the blind is changing.

The all-important business of elections then followed. The victorious candidates were as follows: president, Mae Davidow; first vice-president, William Corey; second vice-president, Oliver Kaufman; third vice-president, Robert Morgenstern; treasurer, Evelyn Pickens; chaplain, William Hopson; secretary, William Murray; attorney, Robert Schumack; editor of We The Blind, Dorothy Digirolamo. The following were elected to serve on the board: Kenneth Jones, Nathan Jones, and Charles Morgenstern. The slate of candidates had been presented by Nello Digirolamo, chairman of the Nominating Committee.

Following the lunch break, we listened to the regional reports. Apparently the one item on everybody's agenda, from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, was H.R. 1. We were told that in the Philadelphia area there are meetings attended by the chapter presidents and delegates. We were also told of a subregional meeting in the Pittsburgh area. The central region expressed concern over the plight of the libraries.

Charles Morgenstern gave us his impressions of the national Convention. He called our attention to one of the most practical and exciting points of interest—the materials room, where aids and appliances were on display. He expressed enthusiasm over the special-interest-group meetings where one could discuss the particular thing that was important to him. According to Chuck, the banquet was the highlight of the Convention.

We then listened to a talk by Dr. Jernigan. He reminded us that the Federation has passed beyond the stage of infancy. This is evidenced when a Federationist refers to the national organization as we instead of they. The forty-six states within the National Federation form one single movement. This is in keeping with the theme of harmony. He told us about certain blind individuals who have been discriminated against and the serious efforts of the Federation to help them realize their rights as human beings. This often calls for legal pressure. Dr. Jernigan also urged our support in eliminating the unfair practices of NAC.

With regard to SSI, Bob Morgenstern assured us that the financial status of those who are now receiving Federal-state pensions will remain unchanged; that the white medical card is still in question; and that there will be no food stamps for those on the new program.

Like the national Convention, we also had a display of aids and appliances. This was provided by Science for the Blind—a most worthy project headed by Tom Benham. Professor Benham gave us a verbal preview of what he had in store for us. The one outstanding item on display was the Visualtek, a closed-circuit television unit, which makes it possible for many persons with very poor eyesight to read printed material for the first time.

The serious business of the afternoon concluded with the secretary's reading of the minutes of the 1972 convention.

The Sunday morning session commenced with the treasurer's report. In the absence of Ed Pickens, who had served us faithfully in this capacity for many years, Evelyn Pickens gave the report.

Committee reports were next in line. The budget chairman, Bill Corey, told us that our friends overseas are interested in eyeglasses and folding canes. He also said that a commission bill is underway.

Lillian Bell, speaking for the Public Relations Committee, brought us some interesting accounts relating to the committee's attempts to educate the public about blindness. Her committee has appeared before nurses, the police, and other groups.

Dorothy Digirolamo informed us that We The Blind will be coming out on a quarterly basis henceforth. It was suggested that each chapter should have a regular correspondent to the publication.

In response to President Jernigan's appeal for support of the NAC fund, it was agreed, in the form of a motion, that a special fund be set aside to be known as the National Federation Support Fund.

Since many of our people are now on State blind pensions, Ted Young called for prompt action on behalf of their well-being. Ted suggested that we conduct a telephone service throughout the various regions of the State for the purpose of encouraging and assisting these recipients to transfer to SSI before it is too late. In fact, plans had already been laid for such telephone contacts by the PER committee.

Of course Frank Lugiano is still in there pitching. He promised that he would be on the hill the following Tuesday, at which time our old friend H.R. 386 might be brought to the floor.

The proceedings came to a close at high noon, October 14. In response to an invitation from our friends in Pittsburgh, we shall all be heading west in 1974 for another PFB convention.

In the course of the banquet on Saturday evening, the theme of unity was brought to a crescendo when the Liberty Chapter was formally reinstated by the president.

A charter was granted to our newest affiliate, the Blue Juniata chapter, represented by Carl Shoemaker. Both Carl and the Juniata hold a sentimental significance for those of us who enjoy going to Beacon Lodge. The presence of Frances Shoemaker also added a special touch to the occasion.

Dr. Jernigan, whose eloquence left nothing to be desired, in spite of the flu, gave out with another one of those deeply moving speeches. He pointed out the problems of a number of blind individuals whose rights have been impeded by an unenlightened public. It is impossible to listen to these incidents without being moved. But it is also reassuring to know that many of these tragedies have a happy ending when the Federation gets involved.

Two pioneers of the Pennsylvania Federation of the Blind—Evelyn Pickens and Frank Lugiano—were presented with plaques in recognition of their many years of selfless devotion to the welfare of the blind.

There was also a note of sadness in the atmosphere since Ed Pickens could not be with us because of illness.

It was estimated that two hundred people attended the banquet.

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The annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Rhode Island was held Friday evening, October 12, 1973, at the "1025 Club" in Johnston, Rhode Island. All agree that this year's convention was the best one ever. One hundred and twenty members and guests were in attendance.

Our list of elected officers remains the same: Kenneth Brackett, president; H. Don Levesque, first vice-president; Richard Gaffney, second vice-president; Mary Jane Fry, secretary; Richard Perreault, treasurer.

The invocation was given by the Reverend Gerard Sabourin. Two new two-year board members were then installed: Edmond Beck, and Walter Janas.

Our guest speaker, a member of the NFB of Rhode Island, was Mary Ann Masterson. She is a student majoring in political science at Providence College. Miss Masterson's address was very interesting and informative. She stressed her own belief that one who is blind should not allow blindness to stand in the way of his being successful at whatever career or occupation he may choose. Mary Ann pointed out that having parents, such as her own, who will encourage their blind child to be independent, can be a great asset. Miss Masterson stated that skill in mobility is of absolute necessity to the blind person who wishes to become self-reliant.

In concluding, Mary Ann stated that the NFB has been a primary reason for the blind coming forward to take their places as equal and first-class citizens of this country. The blind themselves are the NFB and are the strength and force of this vital organization. Over the years, the influence of the NFB has spread, improving the lives of thousands of blind persons. After her address, Mary Ann was presented with an NFB pendant, given by all members as a token of appreciation. The pendant was presented to her by the Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island, Joseph Garrahee. Mr. Garrahee praised the local NFB affiliate for its work in securing the passing of an antidiscrimination section to the existing State employment law. He has also offered to assist us, in any way that he can, in future efforts to improve legislation on behalf of the blind of our State.

Also present at the convention was Helen Worden, an executive of the Rhode Island Association for the Blind, a private agency serving the blind of Rhode Island.

Musical entertainment was provided, and the 1973 State convention ended with the drawing of three prizes. All look forward to the next year's convention when we expect the presence of a new student division.

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The twenty-seventh annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio officially got under way at 1:00 p.m. Friday afternoon, October 19, 1973, at the Stratford Ramada Inn, Dayton, Ohio. The president, Edna Fillinger, gaveled the meeting to order. We were duly proud to have all twenty-three of the Ohio affiliates represented this year. The host affiliates were the Dayton Council and the Montgomery County Association of the Blind. At each session of the convention, the drawing of door prizes added lots of excitement.

After the usual preliminaries, the keynote speaker, Mr. Robert Eschbach, president of the Dayton Council of the Blind, was introduced. He spoke in furtherance of the convention theme—"The National Federation of the Blind: The Image-Makers."

We were pleased to have present Don Capps, First Vice-President of the National Federation of the Blind, and his wife Betty. We also were happy to have with us Milton Klein, a new appointee to the Rehabilitation Services Commission. Among the first items of business were the officers' reports.

We listened with much interest to a panel of exhibitors of aids and appliances, chaired by Carl Foley. The first panelist was John Beard from Palo Alto, California. He is with Telesensory Systems and explained the Optacon. The next exhibitor was Jim Rogers, from Boston, who explained the laser cane. A film was shown demonstrating the Stereotoner, which is a reading device. Plenty of time was allowed for questions and answers after each panelist. These items, along with many more, were on display in the exhibition area.

Prior to the convention, on Friday morning, the following special-interest groups met: the Ohio Blind Vendors, the Student Division, members-at-large, and chapter presidents. Time was set aside for groups which wished to hold further meetings. The Nominating Committee and the alumni of the State School for the Blind also met.

As an added attraction this year, there were two tours offered to those interested. On Friday morning a tour visited the Wright-Patterson Air Force Museum. A second group toured the Art Institute and the Museum of Natural History.

On Friday evening, from 9:00 p.m. until midnight, there was dancing and hospitality in the Pavilion Room.

Saturday morning's session started at 9:00 a.m. and was mostly devoted to committee reports. We listened to Dennis Wyant, regional supervisor of the Blinded Veterans Association, and national field director in Washington, D.C.

Next, Shirley Stowe, secretary of the NFB of Ohio, reported on the business transacted at the executive board meeting which took place Thursday, October 18, just prior to the convention.

We were then privileged to hear Don Capps, First Vice-President of the National Federation of the Blind. He informed us of the recent developments in national projects of the Federation.

At the Saturday afternoon session we heard a panel discussion on library services in the State of Ohio, led by Florence Grannis, from the Iowa Commission for the Blind. There were also three panelists from library services in Ohio. They were Katherine Prescott, Regional Librarian, Cleveland Public Library; Donna Kemme, Regional Librarian, Cincinnati Public Library; and Elizabeth Wilson, Supervisor of the Talking Book Division, from the Bureau of Services for the Blind, Columbus, Ohio. An informal interchange between audience and panelists followed.

Our annual banquet was held in the spacious Pavilion Room of the hotel on Saturday evening. One of the events that Ohioans anticipate at our banquet each year is the presentation of awards. The first award was presented to Leda Haley, as sighted person of the year. She works with the multihandicapped children in the Akron area. The affiliate award went to the Student Chapter of the NFB of Ohio. Don Capps delivered a very informative and inspirational address.

On Sunday morning, church services were held in the hotel and services were conducted in memory of members who passed away during the last year.

At the outset of our final session, there was a moment of silent prayer for William Dressell who held executive office for the fourteen years before his death.

The major part of this session was devoted to resolutions. Resolutions were passed: (1) Dealing with blind persons being denied jobs solely on the grounds of blindness; (2) supporting S.B. 18—a pass-along in welfare; (3) supporting the minimum wage for sheltered-shop workers in Ohio; (4) seeking the addition of consumer representatives on the interagency coordinating committee—four representatives of the clientele of the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation and four representatives of the clientele of the Bureau of Services for the Blind—and that agency attendance at these meetings be mandatory; (5) supporting S.B. 100—the Little-Randolph-Sheppard Act. This will be beneficial in securing more vending stand locations; (6) requesting that the talking-book-machine distribution be turned over to the outreach department of the libraries through the State Library Board; (7) requesting that no State funds be spent for accreditation by NAC; (8) authorizing the officers to (a) enter into a dialogue with agencies currently accredited by NAC, for the purpose of urging them to reject the accreditation, and (b) to share information and encourage agencies to avoid being accredited by NAC; (9) authorizing the officers to take steps to develop a screening committee for the purpose of selecting a nominee to the national slate of officers of the NFB; (10) accepting the report of the Student Chapter on the Bureau of Services for the Blind as an official report of the NFB of Ohio, and directing that it be used whenever and wherever possible to inform students, to help improve their services; (11) directing the president to set up a special study committee to evaluate the policies and procedures used by the Bureau of Services for the Blind to deliver services to the blind, and directing that this committee and the officers seek the cooperation of Bureau officials; (12) supporting funding for the construction of an Olympic-size swimming pool at the State School for the Blind; (13) urging the State School for the Blind, and other schools conducting day classes for the blind, to put a much greater emphasis on learning Braille skills; and (14) supporting the installation of audible traffic signals in urban centers of Ohio.

The following people were elected officers and executive committee members: president, Robert Eschbach, Dayton; first vice-president, Thomas Matthews, Columbus; second vice-president, Charles Burton, Cleveland; secretary, John Knall, Lakewood; treasurer, Ivan Garwood, North Baltimore; two-year terms on the executive committee, Edna Fillinger and Helen Johnson; one-year terms, Stanley Doran and Raymond Creech.

Our 1974 convention will be held in Canton, Ohio, in conjunction with the celebration by the Philomatheon Society for the Blind of their golden anniversary. The convention will be held in Columbus in 1975, in Cleveland in 1976, and in Youngstown in 1977. We believe in planning for the future. We certainly felt that this was a very profitable convention and that it gave us much food for thought and action.

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On the afternoon of August 31, 1973, Chicago's Palmer House was the site of some frenzied activity as final preparations were made for the 1973 convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois. John (Bill) Myers, our president, and Camille Myers, our secretary, would not be attending this year's activities—due to Bill's imminent major surgery—so the duties they would ordinarily have assumed had to be reassigned. Under the direction of Norman Bolton and Rami Rabby, and with the assistance of other board members and some volunteers, the events of the convention moved very smoothly.

At 8:00 p.m., August 31, Vice-President Norman Bolton called the convention to order. After the welcoming of Federationists from Minnesota, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Iowa, the first panel of the convention was introduced.

The panel, moderated by Steve Benson, featured Dan Lee, of Visualtek, who spoke about closed-circuit television as a reading aid for those with severely impaired vision, and Harvey Lauer and Mr. J. Whitehead, of the Veterans Administration, who spoke about research and development of reading devices and mobility devices.

The Saturday afternoon session featured a panel on library services in Illinois, with Ellen Zabel of the Illinois Regional Library and Florence Grannis of the Iowa Regional Library as speakers. This panel, again moderated by Steve Benson, aroused the greatest response of any of the three panel discussions because Mrs. Zabel has been involved in expanding the system of subregional libraries in Illinois. Mrs. Grannis stated the NFB position on subregional libraries and on library service in general with the clarity and vigor with which all Federationists have become familiar.

The final panel discussion concerned new employment opportunities and featured John McGuire of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Ashby Smith of the Illinois State Employment Service, James Kesteloot, placement counselor of the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, and John Taylor, Deputy Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind. This panel discussion, ably moderated by Rami Rabby, stimulated questions and discussion of the most serious nature.

Throughout the convention—and certainly at the banquet—John Taylor provided information and insights that contributed mightily to the success of this year's convention. In his banquet remarks he traced the history of services to the blind in this country and made some projections for the future. He emphasized that what happens in the way of improving services will be determined in large measure by the blind themselves through the organized blind movement. The alternative is programs designed and implemented by those who, as we have already witnessed, would rather shape our destiny for us than allow us to determine it for ourselves.

The National Federation of the Blind of Illinois presented two service awards in 1973. One was presented to Alexander Skrzypek, who served faithfully as the Illinois Regional Librarian for many years. The second award was given to the Blind Service Association, a volunteer reader service and otherwise philanthropic organization, for its many, many years of fine service to persons who are blind.

The business sessions on Saturday and on Sunday morning gave attention to financial affairs, committee reports, a report on the national Convention in New York and the election of two board members. Rami Rabby of Chicago was reelected to the board, and Allen Schaefer of Mazon, Illinois, was elected to his first term.

The Illinois affiliate is looking forward to welcoming the largest NFB Convention in history at the Palmer House next July.

This writer is very happy to report that our president, Bill Myers, is well on the road to recovery from surgery.

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The NFB of Georgia held its first annual State convention Saturday, September 29, 1973, in Atlanta, Georgia. This convention was a rousing success. Concerned blind from all across the State met to conduct the business of the NFB of Georgia.

Even though the first business session was not scheduled to begin until 10:00, many of those attending arrived early to talk over coffee. Approximately twenty-five members and a number of guests took part in the day's activities. Among the guests were Mr. and Mrs. Don Capps and Carl Sandstedt. Mr. Capps was the representative of the National Federation and our luncheon speaker. Mr. Sandstedt, the head of the Georgia Library for the Blind, spoke to us about the Library and its plans. Both speakers were excellent and were well received.

Several resolutions and two amendments to the constitution were adopted. The two amendments raised the State dues to two dollars per year and expanded the board of directors by an additional two members. The resolutions included: (1) instructions to the president to establish certain standing committees; (2) our intention to begin a regular publication of the NFBG; and (3) a statement of support for the Georgia Library for the Blind.

A number of new officers were elected. Anderson Frazer was elected to serve the remaining year of the president's term of office. President Webb resigned due to illness. Aline Harrell of Barnesville was elected to replace Mr. Frazer as first vice-president.

Three new board members were elected. They are: Janet Clary of Augusta, Donna Teston of Savannah, and Georgia Wolfe of Bainbridge.

Delegates to the national Convention of the National Federation of the Blind were also elected. They are: delegate, Anderson Frazer; alternates, Judy Herndon of Macon, and Mariline Colson of Savannah.

The mailing address of the National Federation of the Blind of Georgia: 2616 Warm Springs Road, Columbus, Georgia 31904.

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Students continue to recognize the value of the organized blind movement, and to rally to the Federation. In Lexington, Kentucky, on Saturday, November 10, 1973, several blind students held the first meeting of the Student Chapter of the Kentucky Federation of the Blind. Before the meeting, Patricia Maurer, second vice-president of the NFB Teachers Division, had spent about a week talking with the students, getting them interested in the NFB, and explaining what the organization would do for them. Her efforts were a tremendous success, as the discussion in the five-hour meeting made clear. In the short time between Pat's contact and the meeting, the students had read much of the NFB literature, and they asked pertinent questions concerning existing programs and what could be done to improve them. One of the major interests of the students was NAC. What was the background of NAC, they asked, and what is currently happening to change the stranglehold that NAC is securing on programs for the blind, and on the lives of blind people? The officers of the newly formed chapter agreed that NAC would receive more extensive treatment in a subsequent meeting. A seminar is being planned which will be devoted exclusively to NAC. The officers are working on this with Pat and Marc Maurer (Marc is president of the NFB Student Division).

The election of officers gave Earl Moore the presidency. Earl is a dynamic blind person with experience in politics which he plans to bring to the NFB. He was wildly excited by the prospect of an NFB student chapter, and although he had never heard of the NFB before, he said "Dr. Jernigan makes me feel like a schnook for not joining years ago." Earl is already an enthusiastic, dedicated Federationist.

The vice-president is Franklin Collins, a longtime Federationist. Frank worked hard with the National Student Division to get the Kentucky chapter going, and he brings his years of involvement to the chapter to help Earl in the presidency. Treasurer is Stephen Emmons. Stephen is a sharp and quick-thinking Federationist and should contribute much to the rapid growth of the Kentucky chapter.

The discussion at this first meeting was some of the liveliest NFB talk ever heard. Members were truly excited by the prospect of what the NFB can do in Kentucky and across the Nation. With this kind of a beginning the Student Chapter of the Kentucky Federation of the Blind cannot fail to grow and grow. We have certainly not heard the last of this spirited group and we welcome them to the movement.

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[Alice Fornia is president of the San Francisco Chapter, NFB of California.]


1 cup sliced celery
1 can mandarin orange segments (chilled)
1/2 to 3/4 pound shrimp (I prefer the small
San Francisco Bay variety)


Combine celery, mandarin oranges, and shrimp, and keep refrigerated till ready to serve.

For the dressing use proportions of the following ingredients to suit your own taste: mayonnaise, thinned slightly with liquid from canned mandarin oranges; add ground ginger and orange peel, if desired.

Serve in individual salad bowls, or on lettuce leaves if serving on salad plates.



[Dick Edlund is president of the NFB of Kansas.]


2 cups bread crumbs
3 eggs
salt, pepper, and sage (to taste)
1/4 cup milk
1 can popcorn (unpopped)
1 stick butter (1/4 lb.)


Bake the stuffed turkey at 325°. It is done when popcorn blows the tail end off the turkey.

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Justice does not always prevail. A convicted murderer in Japan was hanged before he finished brailling Dostoevski's Crime and Punishment. He spent thirteen years on death row and during that time transcribed 850 books into Braille.


The Twin Vision Publishing Division of the American Brotherhood for the Blind has just come out with another in its Great Documents Series, the Declaration of Independence. The front cover has a picture of the Liberty Bell with the inscription written thereon: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof-By order of the Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania for the State House in the City of Philadelphia." The new publication has sight-saving print with raised illustrations. It includes, as a preface, a brief outline of the steps leading up to the issuance of the Declaration, beginning with "the shot heard 'round the world" at Lexington, Massachusetts on April 19, 1775, and ending with its adoption of the Declaration on July 4, 1776.


Speaking to the inaugural session of the Fifth Pan-American Congress of the Blind, held in Miami on October 22, 1973, Dr. Richard Kinney, executive director of the Hadley School for the Blind, said that the goal is to build a new world "in which a blind person can do anything which a sighted person can do except see, a world in which a deaf-blind person can do anything a blind person can do except hear." Dr. Kinney asserted that "men have always created reality out of their dreams." The new world he envisages "is not one man's dream, but a hemisphere's dream, a planet's dream."


The Administrator of the Oregon Commission for the Blind says the Commission no longer establishes conventional vending stands. The Commission emphasizes snack bars which offer hot lunches—including salads of every kind, desserts, and drinks—in other words, meals like those offered in a restaurant. The Commission does not establish cafeterias, for the following reasons: (1) A snack bar which seats 75 to 80 persons costs approximately $20,000 to $25,000 while a cafeteria which seats 100 persons costs $40,000 to $50,000. Why invest twice as much money to employ only one blind person but several more sighted people? (2) Cafeterias net an average of 22% of the gross for their operators, while snack bars net an average of 35% of the gross. With a limited amount of dollar value available, do we want the blind operator to earn 22% or 35%? (3) State buildings in Oregon generally are not large enough to justify establishing large cafeterias. In the last two years there have been no leases or contracts negotiated for the few large cafeterias in the State, although the agency is planning to bid for these when available, for a blind person, since it will not be necessary to expend large sums for the equipment.

Ohio State University is now more accessible to blind students. The 3,680-acre OSU campus, including its buildings, walkways, and hazardous areas, has been reproduced on ten-by-twelve-inch molded plastic sheets for use by visually handicapped students. All labeling of the maps is in Braille.


Congratulations to the NFB of Florida! After many months of careful deliberation and planning, an ambition is now a reality: The first issue of the NFB of Florida Newsletter is off the press. The president cautions that any publication is only as worthwhile as the material it publishes. As an NFB member, she goes on, this is your paper and thus your responsibility to see that it fulfills the purpose for which it was created. President Elizabeth Bowen says that if all will do their part, the NFB of Florida can always successfully "speak for itself."


The City of Detroit, Michigan, recently adopted an amendment to the City's antidiscrimination ordinances, to protect physically handicapped persons from discrimination in employment and housing. This is certainly a step in the right direction, Michigan!


Charles Biehl, 6910 Bank Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21224, writes that if any readers wish a free Braille Bible in grade-two Braille, they should write to him. It is the King James version. The individuals making requests will first receive the New Testament, at the rate of one volume at a time. Then they will receive the Old Testament at the same rate.

Those wishing a copy of the Old Testament will have to wait until it is published. Mr. Biehl will accept requests in Braille, and on cassette and reel tape, but not in print.


A seven-percent social security increase, effective upon enactment, was approved by the Senate Finance Committee. It was offered by Senator Church of Idaho and co-sponsored by fifty-six other Senators. Later, an eleven-percent boost was voted by the House Ways and Means Committee. It does look as though some substantial increase in social security benefits will come out of the Congress by year's end.


Three pamphlets from the Social Security Administration have been produced in Braille for distribution through cooperating libraries. The pamphlets are: "Estimating Your Social Security Retirement Check," BR-2218; "Disability Benefits for Blind People," BR-2219; and "Your Medicare Handbook," BR-2220. The book number for each should be used when requesting copies from the library which sends the reader his Braille books. This item appeared in the Braille Book Review.

The Knights of Pythias have taken another step forward in helping people. Amerac Lodge Number 807, of Forest Hills, New York, has taken the initiative by creating a committee to help the blind and handicapped. Isidore Kelsch, of 415 Beverly Road, Brooklyn, New York 11218, was appointed chairman. He has started to gather evidence of discrimination against the handicapped, especially the blind. He would like everyone who has such information to send it to him.


With the beginning of the new national Supplemental Security Income Plan (SSI) on January 1, 1974, it is estimated that there will be 5.3 million aged, blind, and disabled nationally who will be new applicants or converted cases from state to Federal rolls. A total of 1.7 million will be blind and disabled and 3.6 million will be aged. The new program will add about 2.2 million new recipients to the rolls and will increase the benefits of 1.3 million persons now on the rolls. The great increase in the number of persons covered by the Supplemental Security Income program is due to several factors: a more liberal definition of disability than is found presently in many states; the fact that the minimum-age requirements for Aid to the Blind and Aid to the Disabled are removed; the elimination of both lien provisions and responsibility-of-relatives provisions which have often been a deterrent to persons who would otherwise apply; and the fact that the floor to aid, which is $130 plus $20 a month of exempt income from any source, is higher than the assistance standards in many of our states.


The NFB Teachers Division and NFB of Minnesota will sponsor a Midwest Conference of Blind Teachers on Saturday, February 9, in Minneapolis at the Hotel Radisson. Registration will be six dollars, which includes lunch. A tentative agenda and further information may be obtained by writing to Joyce Hoffa, president, NFB of Minnesota, 1605 Eustis Street, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108.


The New York Times (October 20, 1973) reported that University City, Missouri, has instituted a free bus service for elderly residents of this St. Louis suburb. The program is sponsored by the Older Adult Community Action Program of University City; its purpose is to encourage senior citizens to participate in general community life. The specific target of the program are persons who are unable to bear the expense of owning cars because they receive fixed incomes. The program has been so successful that the city council has agreed to buy another bus, and St. Louis has requested Federal funds to finance a fleet of minibuses to provide transportation to the elderly in that city.

A similar service operates in the suburbs of San Jose, California. Privately run, this service supports itself from advertising posted in the minibus. Again, support for this has been so strong that the operator plans to add a second bus and route to the service.

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