JUNE, 1974


Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2010 with funding from National Federation of the Blind (NFB)




National Offices

Washington Office




Editor Associate                                                                                 Editor

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

JUNE 1974






















Editor's Note.—Mr. Burns is a librarian with the Iowa Commission for the Blind.

The voice means different things to different people. Some remember it as a guide through the maze of Joyce's Ulysses. To some it conjures up visions of adventures still remembered from the tales of Sabatini; to others it brings reminiscences of the cool tranquility of the "Twenty-third Psalm." Older persons might remember it as a voice heard on so many radio soap operas that it might have come to be mistaken for the speech of a member of the family. Slightly younger persons might remember it as the voice of Superman's father; while a yet younger generation might even identify it with Ballantine beer.

The man behind that voice is Alexander Scourby. As an actor in the theater, radio, movies, and television; as a much sought-after narrator; and as a reader of talking books, called by Talking Book Topics "the most popular of all readers," he has been all of those things and more.

Since his professional stage debut in a walk-on role in 1932, Scourby has appeared in several versions of Hamlet and other Shakespearean dramas. Crime and Punishment, Darkness at Noon, Saint Joan, and many other theatrical productions. Of all his acting ventures, legitimate theater has remained his first love.

During the late 1930's and 1940's he played running parts in five radio serial melodramas at once and narrated several programs, prompting him to say in retrospect, "I thought I was going to drop dead as an old man in front of a microphone with a script in my hand without ever doing another thing in the theater. The funny thing is that I outlived radio. It was radio that dropped dead when television came along."

When television came along, Scourby was there. Since the early 1950's he has been working in television as a narrator and an actor. He has narrated NBC-TV's Project 20, several specials, and the travel series produced by the National Geographic Society. He has acted in such notable television programs as Playhouse 90, Circle Theatre, and Studio One, as well as having taken occasional roles in series such as The Defenders and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. He has also become increasingly involved in the making of television commercials, receiving a reported $250,000 in 1968 for these alone.

Since 1952 Scourby has appeared in several motion pictures, including The Silver Chalice, The Big Fisherman Giant, and others. However, preferring the east coast, he has largely eschewed this Hollywood-based medium.

And, above and beyond all of that, he has made talking books, approximately four hundred of them. This activity, certainly the least financially lucrative of his endeavors, has been a constant thread running almost entirely throughout his career, and has been repeatedly characterized by him as "the work that really means something."

From the moment in the fall of 1937 when Scourby, too late to get a job as part of a company recording plays for the blind, auditioned instead to record talking books, it was apparent that he was a "natural." His voice, aptly described by Time as "distinguished, melodic, mellifluous," suggests that he might well be the son of an Oxford don.

Astonishingly enough to anyone who has heard him speak, Scourby was born the son of Greek immigrants in Brooklyn, New York, and attended college in West Virginia. However, no hybrid dialect emerged from this. His one semester stay in West Virginia allowed no drawl to rub off on him, and he avows that his parents and close childhood associates never talked Brooklynese. In fact he says, "I think I really first heard real Brooklyn when I was about twenty years old, walking in Prospect Park, and it frightened me. I never really heard anything quite like it."

Then came the big influence on Scourby's speech as he became an apprentice in Eva Le Gallienne's Civic Repertory Theatre in New York. There he was drilled in "English" English, pointing toward Shakespearean roles.

At about the time he was beginning to record talking books he encountered another influence upon his speech—radio. He quickly realized that soap opera characters, by and large, were not to sound like the Earl of Westmoreland. Scourby says, "So I dirtied it up a little bit, and I began to work in radio."

Thus, to the good fortune of talking book listeners, all of these influences resulted in Scourby becoming a sort of linguistic chameleon. As he says, "I can play it English, I can play it American. I can play it New Yorkese, I can do anything."

In li is thirty-seven years of recording talking books he has done practically everything, but some books have been more memorable than others to him. The first book he recorded, Sabatini's Captain Blood, was naturally a landmark. Though he remembers Paradise Lost, War and Peace, and Crime and Punishment as challenging, Joyce's Ulysses holds a place in his memory as his most difficult, but a most gratifying, book. White's The Once and Future King is "one of the most beautiful talking books I [Scourby] think I have ever recorded." Hemingway was very easy to do because of his terse style, and Scourby deems most contemporary novelists easy because they tend to write in a conversational manner.

Scourby will read old or new books—poetry, history, fiction, anything. He feels that he has been lucky—and personally broadened—to be assigned some of the great books even though he can use only gentle coercion in getting what he wants from new shipments of books from the Library of Congress. No longer does the recording studio, as it did in the late 1930's and 1940's, ask readers for lists of books they would like to do. Yet Scourby, who waited thirty years for an opportunity to do Mann's Magic Mountain, has been satisfied with his assignments.

Scourby 's approach to a book varies according to the book. Some books do not require prior study and can be picked up and read at first sight or by allowing for looking up just a few points. Scourby has found through experience, however, that this is dangerous. He recalls in particular a situation that occurred when books were still being done, not on tape, but directly on wax. Thus if a mistake was made the wax would have to be junked and the reader would start from the beginning. In this particular situation, Scourby was sightreading Saroyan's My Name is Aram, since Saroyan's conversational style was easy to do. However, he kept guffawing at the humorous incidents, requiring several lengthy re-recordings. He also recalls that he was deep into the recording of War and Peace before Tolstoy mentioned that Nicholas Berg spoke in a thick German accent; prior to that Scourby had not been using such an accent for that character, who by then had been well established.

Now Scourby generally reads a book prior to recording it to guard against pitfalls such as these and to establish the mood and general feel of the book. He also often marks key thoughts, minor thoughts within main ones, clauses, et cetera, to facilitate reading. In some cases, such as that of Ulysses, he buys guides to the book, studies far into the night, and records for only an hour or so at a time (three recording sessions per day equalling about eight hours is "normal") to avoid lapses in interpretation due to exhaustion.

Scourby feels that there are several prerequisites a person must have in order to be a good reader. He must possess a pleasant voice—not necessarily a beautiful one, but one that can be listened to for long stretches of time. He must have good speech, that is, speech that is not markedly regional in nature. He must have a certain range, or ability to do dialects. Finally, he must be able to concentrate on phrasing so that the book will be interesting and the message will get through. Anyone who has heard Scourby read will agree that he meets his own prerequisites.

Scourby now is devoting more time to television commercials and narrations. Despite his heavier schedule, at last report he intends to continue to read talking books, though in reduced number. As he says, "This is not a job—I really mean it—to feel that somewhere somebody relies on you to do the best you can, to present a book in which [sic] you think is the manner the author would like to have it presented Recording talking books has been as important in my life's work as anything I've ever done." His many listeners would surely agree with that.

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Editor's Note.—Dr. Compton is assistant professor in the Recreation Education Program of the University of Iowa Mr. Veglahn was coordinator of the Institute on Recreation and Blindness held at the University of Iowa in December 1973.


In an attempt to understand the blind or partially sighted individual, many educators instruct students to read either specific passages in therapeutic recreation textbooks or periodical literature. To supplement the reading, the educator will usually assign an investigative paper; bring a blind person to class; or engage the class in some sort of experience simulating blindness.

Though these approaches to understanding the individual who is blind or visually impaired are credible, they fail to examine the realities of blindness or visual impairment. The outcomes are usually ladened with gross misconceptions and misunderstandings about blind people. In addition, much of the current literature available to the therapeutic recreation student promotes a "medical" approach to blindness by lengthy discussions of the etiological aspects of blindness or visual impairment. The literature also presents administrative viewpoints rather than the "consumer's" viewpoint.

In attempting to gain a better understanding of the blind individual, the recreation student appears to be foiled by his inability to obtain accurate information.

As a result of a blind student's visit to Dr. Compton's therapeutic recreation class at the University of Iowa, a unique approach to understanding the relationship of recreation and blindness materialized.

The Problem: "You just don't understand me!"

During the classroom visit of the blind student it was evident that the recreation students did not understand his life-style, needs, or goals. Many had preconceived notions about what blind people should look and act like.

Several slides depicting the blind student's recreational involvement were shown to the class by a class member. As illustrated by the slides, the blind student was an active participant in many recreational activities including space-ball, basketball, swimming, pool, and a variety of other recreational pursuits. This seemed to astonish the class members who appeared to have a very limited perspective of a blind person's potential. During the question-answer session the blind student made a point of indicating that reading about him, looking at him, or simulating his condition would not provide the class member with a clear understanding of him. He stated, "You just don't understand me!"

Through several discussions with the blind student and Dr. Compton, it was decided that the best way to understand the blind person was to inspect blindness from a consumer's viewpoint.

Pete Veglahn and James Gashel, of the student chapter of the National Federation of the Blind at the University of Iowa, met with Dr. Compton to develop a plan for understanding the blind person. It was decided that a day-long, in-depth institute planned cooperatively by the NFB representatives and therapeutic recreation class members would provide the most unique and meaningful educational experience for ail involved.

The National Federation of the Blind is an organization of blind persons speaking for themselves. The organization is actively engaged in attempts to change the general public's misconceptions about blindness. They also are seeking fair and equal treatment in political, social, and economic aspects of life.

Institute on Recreation and Blindness

Peg Pinder, president of the NFB student chapter at the University of Iowa, greeted the students and faculty of the recreation education department and numerous invited guests. After introductory remarks by Dr. Compton, Jim Gashel, a blind graduate student at the University of Iowa (now Chief of the NFB Washington Office), presented an excellent paper entitled "Blindness—Is It Dysfunctional."

Mr. Gashel presented a consumer's view of blindness which was new to most recreation students. His view, a view shared by many blind individuals, was that blindness, in and of itself, is a characteristic, not a handicap. Blindness, like any other characteristic, can be limiting. The limitations can be determined only after careful examination by the individual of the activity being undertaken. If an activity appears to have limiting requirements, alternative techniques of performing the activity must be considered. In light of such consideration, there are few activities to which blindness presents any major limitations. Mr. Gashel used his own involvement in water-skiing as an example.

Mr. Gashel pointed out that the true limitations of blindness result from public attitudes toward blindness. This statement is supported by Young, who states that, "The image the public has of the visually impaired re-enforces the attitude they have of themselves."1

Mr. Gashel also presented several cases where blind individuals were denied participation in public recreation programs because of the impending "danger" to the blind person. One individual was denied access to woodworking equipment in a recreation center because of the potential danger to him. A group of blind individuals at a county fair were told by the manager of the carnival that they could not ride on the carnival rides, again, because of the danger to them. Another incident cited by Mr. Gashel was even more astonishing It seems that a recent manual for the instruction of blind individuals in swimming indicated that a sponge should be taped to the swimmer's head so as to prevent injury.

Mr. Gashel pointed out that the true limitations of blindness result from public attitudes toward blindness. Mr. Gashel concluded with a suggestion that parks and recreation programs should reflect the concept that blindness is nothing more than a physical nuisance to the blind individual which requires no concession from another person. He indicated that blindness is not a medical problem but a social one and that is where recreation enters

Following a film about blindness entitled "The Blind Guys," the participants broke into several groups for discussion. Each group included several blind individuals and several recreation students. The blind students served as group leaders. Topics covered in the discussion groups included adult recreation programs, recreation programs for children, attitudes toward blindness, and the philosophy of the blind about blindness. The opportunity to ask questions directly of the blind individual in an atmosphere conducive to open conversation was especially valuable.

After adjourning for a dinner prepared by the blind students, the students and faculty reconvened for an evening of informal recreation. A wide variety of activities were engaged in including: chess, card games, bowling, dominoes, scrabble, pool, and some lively discussion. The evening activities provided an opportunity for the students to get to know each other better.


The seminar supplied a forum for open communication between recreation education students and blind students. By the end of the evening, the recreation education students had attained a level of awareness of the true limitations of blindness which few possess. Inclusion of blind individuals in parks and recreation programs on an equal basis and without a large number of special adaptions appeared both logical and feasible to the recreation education students. In an effort to perpetuate these favorable attitudes, a continuing series of seminars on blindness, its meaning to society and the individual, and its effect on recreation has become a part of the recreation education program.

The opportunity for recreation students to engage in a seminar with special population consumers is a unique way to promote a better understanding of the consumers' recreational needs. The traditional classroom becomes an environment enlivened with relevant activity, from which the students, consumers, and instructor profit.

1. Stein, Thomas A., and H. Douglas Sessons. Recreation and Special Populations. Boston: Holbrook Press Inc., 1973

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

Does a library exist for the convenience of its staff—so they may have a comfortable place to work—plenty of exposure to books—and—ultimately—a more or less cushiony pension? Or does it exist so the reading needs of its community may be satisfied—so its borrowers and potential borrowers can find out the pros and cons of impeaching the President; how to conduct a garage sale; the boundaries of the first ward; how to stop the pollution of the local river; so they will have Aeschylus, Euripides, Sophocles to read—ditto Fanny Hill, Santayana, Proust, The exorcist, and The godfather? These may seem like rhetorical questions, not really worthy of serious consideration, but only too often staff and consumers alike behave as though the library is just for staff—if borrowers have any role at all it is only to tiptoe in, meekly whisper their requests, and meekly tiptoe out—grateful if their requests have been satisfied—not expecting them to be—resigned to disappointment.

Since libraries for blind people are overwhelmingly their only reading source, these blind people—the consumers—should have at least as much input to their libraries as sighted people have in relation to the total spectrum of their reading—their libraries, bookstores, book clubs, magazine stands, et cetera. It is not just fate that all these avenues for the procurement of reading matter reflect demand! "I want"—"I want"—"I want" is the refrain of the sighted person as he seeks the answers to his informational, vocational, recreational reading needs. And if his wants are not met by these sources—they had better watch out— they may cease to exist!

Suppose a sighted person wants voter information—he may well contact the League of Women Voters or a similar organization for it. Suppose he wants to have suggestions for vacation possibilities in his area—he may get some fine pamphlets on the subject from his local Development Commission. What if he wants to know how to eradicate bugs from his tomatoes? His handy County Agricultural Agent will have a booklet to tell him how. His Chamber of Commerce will eagerly give him brochures on the merits of his community. Now, of course, the blind person certainly has the right and capacity to collect all of these valuable booklets too, but he does not have the ability to read them to himself directly—he must choose alternative techniques. An ideal alternative technique—perhaps the best one—is for his library to have these things ready for his request—in Braille or on tape. Another alternative technique obviously is the sighted volunteer reader. If the library has a cadre of readers, the blind person can stroll in and—presto—the information is available to him using his brain and someone else's eyes.

Speaking of volunteers, I heard of one library which had a rule against using volunteer aid. What a rule! This sort of rule is not immutable like gravity, and the librarian might well recruit her borrowers to help get it changed.

Surely the consumers can contribute a considerable resource in all libraries for the blind and physically handicapped. More than one organized group of blind people has procured funding from reluctant governing bodies. The imperative of high quality and quantity of staff can be underscored by them to the library's administrator. The need for satisfactory buildings with satisfactory facilities in convenient and attractive locations can be emphasized. I know of one library where the administrators have deemed it right and proper to construct the building for the library for the blind and physically handicapped in one of the most severely depressed areas in the community, one known to be unsafe—where no other institution was willing to be. This unfortunate building placement meant that a planned joint housing of a first-rate volunteer group with the library will not take place. The dead-end area may be good enough for the blind, but volunteers value their lives, limbs, and handbags. Where were the organized consumers when all this was going on?

Viable, vital advisory committees which truly represent the consumers and whose voices are really heard and recognized should exist. One library I know of has an advisory committee—allegedly of consumers but these consumers are generally ignored, snubbed, or told how excellent their library service is and how lucky they are to have it. As this consumer group develops in awareness will it continue to submit to such treatment?

Increasingly it is recognized that we are in the age of consumerism. The evidence is overwhelming that in all segments of society—blind or sighted—able or disabled—the consumer can and will be heard! So we as staff want to join them—not fight them. We exist to give service and doesn't this mean the service the borrowers (the consumers) want—not the type we think they should want? Perhaps books as we have known them are the heart and core of our libraries but the consumers can help us look beyond—to multi-media books; reading aids such as the Optacon, Visitoner, video viewers; direct informational input from experts such as the HEW information officer considering disability bills; summer reading clubs for children; discussion groups such as great books; sensitivity sessions; transcendental meditation; and on and on. I have already mentioned buildings—what do the consumers say about the meeting rooms they want? How many reading rooms do they say they want and what should they be like and how should they be equipped?

In your library setting is a "friends of the library" organization indicated? How can the consumers help organize and keep it alive?

Is there or should there be a radio talking book service either directly or indirectly connected with the library? How do consumers fit in? Are they featured on the show? Do they participate? Do they have input in what should be aired?

Okay, so what else may the consumer ask for—toys and games to borrow Live creatures such as ducks, chickens, geese, rabbits, kittens, puppies Models of inventions? Art objects? All these represent learning experiences—information input into the cranium—and many of these things are now available to one degree or another from scattered public libraries, but there are only x number of units of service and material one is going to get from any institution and until the Dog who wouldn't be, Holy deadlock, The American way of death. Crime and punishment, For whom the bell tolls, and The loneliness of the long-distance runner and all the other books that all self-respecting libraries should have are all available, The quacking duck and other non-reading impedimenta are doubtful bargains.

In all of this I have not mentioned the day-to-day service—getting the books wanted when they are wanted—I have spoken and written of much about this before.1 I felt a further elaboration on it would be redundant until I received this letter from a library user:

DEAR MRS. GRANNIS: Thank you for your talk in ------------ at our NFB of -------------- convention last fall. I didn't get to talk to you, but I certainly appreciate your views on what library service should be.

Last Labor Day I was out of books to read, had been for a week, arid this means I'd read through the supply which had been sent a considerable time before. It was just another time I had been without reading matter. At times I'd been overloaded. I wrote about that incident as I've done about others, and was promised better service. Before Christmas last year I was on my last book and none had come for some time. I realize that these times are when library assistants like vacations. This time I phoned Mrs. ----------- and got books as she promised. However, I did not get another mailing until late in January. Apparently if I'd not phoned, I'd not have received a mailing from about the last of November until the last of January. It was not mattering how much or little I read.

I asked for mailing upon return of a book, but was told this is impractical. I was moved to six books every two weeks, but many were books I'd already read and I was out or nearly so before new arrived. Then I was moved to three books each week. Now that I've spent time reading longer books, the supply has piled up. Why should I be keeping books, and why should all of us readers be keeping books in waiting?

I guess the letter explains itself. Can you tell me anything helpful in such a case?


________, Public Relations
The _______ of the Blind.

This blind person, this consumer, who desired better library service—wanted me to tell him something helpful I can only repeat—this is what the National Federation of the Blind is all about—the organized consumers!

A Consumer Bill of Rights formulated by a supermarket chain has some application to library services:

I. Right to know the things you want to know to make informed, intelligent buying decisions

A. Does the public have a knowledge of available services?

B. Does the public know how its library measures up to national standards?

C. Are people given assistance in acquiring skills necessary to become independent users of library resources?

II. Right to choice from a full line of brands

A. Book selection—who's doing it?

B. Does the library have a selection policy that's adequate?

C. Is provision made for soliciting public suggestions for purchase?

D. How much response is made to public requests?

E. Does the library automatically offer to go beyond its own resources to locate additional material when it's needed?

III. Right to satisfaction with every purchase

A. How receptive is the library to suggestions or complaints?

B. How much effort is made to insure that the library visitor has a positive experience when using his local library?

IV. Right to be heard in the president's office

A. Are board meetings open to the public and advertised as such?

B. Are the director and the board responsive only to group pressure or do they respect individual expressions of opinion as well?

C. Is the library an effective channel for relaying public concerns to publishers regarding needs for particular formats or subject areas?2

Consumerism is a two way street. Not only should the library staff be ready and eager to respond to and anticipate consumer needs but consumers should be on the alert, constructively, to express their interests and desires. No one is helped by having a general atmosphere of grumble-grumble, mutter-mutter—"The service isn't good but it is better than nothing and there is no way I (or we) can make it better!" Certainly the consumers should work to make their libraries good but also they should be considerate of the libraries and supportive when they are doing the best they can. This doesn't mean settling for second-rate service—crumbs; but it means if you have only crumbs determine where the fault lies—with the farmer, the miller, the baker, the waitress, the restaurant owner, or government red tape. Finally though, when the consumer really expresses what he wants in his library and helps bring his wants to reality he will say "That's my library!" And it will have a totally new dimension in his life.

So whichever side of that check-out desk you are on—whether you are a consumer or consumee—get it all together—and get with it—for good library service!


1. "Philosophical implications of book selection for the blind," Braille Monitor, September, 1968.

"Book Selection, Braille Monitor, February, 1969.

"What should a library for the blind be?" Braille Monitor, October, 1971.

"Which services are reasonable to expect from a library for the blind?", Braille Monitor, January, 1974.

"The right book for the right reader," Braille Monitor, May, 1974.

2. —Consumer Bill of Rights taken from Enough! The revolt of the American consumer, by Doris Faber. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1972, pp. 155-156.

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[Reprinted from the Central Office Bulletin of the Social Security Administration.]

Special coordinators for employment of the handicapped have been named for each bureau and office. According to Dennis Fisher, Division of Personnel, OA, "One of the reasons this step is being taken is because Congress is placing increased emphasis on resolving the problems associated with finding suitable jobs for handicapped individuals." In fact, the recently passed Rehabilitation Act of 1973 establishes an Interagency Committee on Handicapped Employees to monitor employment practices of the Federal Government with regard to this segment of the population.

"The other reason for having a person in each bureau and office working with the program is to help us do an even better job of finding jobs for the handicapped at headquarters," states Division of Personnel member Bob Mullineaux. Bob and Dennis coordinate SSA-wide efforts to employ the handicapped. Bob explained that SSA has a very good record of hiring both the mentally and physically handicapped, but more can be done. "We only have a two-man staff working with this program here at headquarters," comments Bob. "The vastly expanded headquarters staff plus the fact that in some places we have tilled as many jobs as there are now available for handicapped individuals make it necessary for us to find other ways to identify areas where the handicapped can be employed. Dennis and I can get around to just so many places. That's why we need people who are familiar with the workings of their bureaus or offices and who can also speak for top management in all matters relating to the handicapped program."

The coordinator role, of course, isn't a full-time job. Those selected are simply adding new responsibilities to those they already have. The new coordinators are: Fred Young, OACF;* Sharon Mohr, OACT; Donald Glyn, OPA; Lynn Hubin, OPEP; William Hickey, BDI; Jack Goodman, BDOO; Ralph Scott, BDP; Barbara Bernstein, BHI; Toni Reyes, BSSI; Tom Whitlock, BRSI; David Register, BHA; and Bob Ray, ORS. (Members of the personnel staffs in the program centers and regional offices deal with employment of the handicapped in the field.)

Besides their overall duties as SSA coordinators, Dennis Fisher and Bob Mullineaux are acting as coordinators for all of OA except for the Division of Training and Career Development which is being handled by Floyd Davis.

As Bob and Dennis see it, the primary functions of the new coordinators will be to identify suitable jobs for those with various types of handicaps and to resolve problems encountered by the employees who fill these jobs. They'll also assist those who become disabled while working for SSA. In the latter area, they'll either help restructure the employee's present job or try to find a job with tasks more in line with his or her capabilities.

Dennis foresees other tasks for the coordinators, including:

Plans for the first meeting of all headquarters employment-of-the-handicapped coordinators are now being made by Bob and Dennis.

*Note.—OACF is probably OACT, Office of the Actuary. The other offices mentioned in this paragraph are, as far as we could ascertain: OPA—Office of Public Affairs; OPEP—Office of Program Evaluation and Planning; BDI—Bureau of Disability Insurance; BDOO—Bureau of District Office Operations; BDP—Bureau of Data Processing; BHI—Bureau of Health Insurance; BSSI—Bureau of Supplemental Security Income; BRSI—Bureau of Retirement and Survivors Insurance; BHA—Bureau of Hearings and Appeals; ORS—Office of Research and Statistics.

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It has been wisely observed that philosophy bakes no bread. It has, with equal wisdom, been observed that without a philosophy no bread is baked. Let me talk to you then of philosophy—my philosophy concerning blindness—and, in a broader sense, my philosophy concerning handicaps in general.

One prominent authority recently said, "Loss of sight is a dying. When, in the full current of his sighted life, blindness comes on a man, it is the end, the death, of that sighted life ... It is superficial, if not naive, to think of blindness as a blow to the eyes only, to sight only. It is a destructive blow to the self-image of a man ... a blow almost to his being itself."

This is one view, a view held by a substantial number of people in the world today. But it is not the only view. In my opinion it is not the correct view. What is blindness? Is it a "dying?"

No one is likely to disagree with me if I say that blindness, first of all, is a characteristic. But a great many people will disagree when I go on to say that blindness is only a characteristic. It is nothing more or less than that. It is nothing more special, or more peculiar, or more terrible than that suggests. When we understand the nature of blindness as a characteristic—a normal characteristic like hundreds of others with which each of us must live—we shall better understand the real need to be met by services to the blind, as well as the false needs which should not be met.

By definition a characteristic—any characteristic—is a limitation. A white house, for example, is a limited house; it cannot be green or blue or red; it is limited to being white. Likewise every characteristic—those we regard as strengths as well as those we regard as weaknesses—is a limitation. Each one freezes us to some extent into a mold; each restricts to some degree the range of possibility, of flexibility, and very often of opportunity as well.

Blindness is such a limitation. Are blind people more limited than others?

Let us make a simple comparison. Take a sighted person with an average mind (something not too hard to locate); take a blind person with a superior mind (something not impossible to locate)—and then make all the other characteristics of these two persons equal (something which certainly is impossible). Now, which of the two is more limited? It depends, of course, entirely on what you wish them to do. If you are choosing up sides for baseball, then the blind man is more limited—that is, he is "handicapped." If you are seeking someone to teach history or science or to figure out your income tax, then the sighted person is more limited or "handicapped."

Many human characteristics are obvious limitations; others are not so obvious. Poverty (the lack of material means) is one of the most obvious. Ignorance (the lack of knowledge or education) is another. Old age (the lack of youth and vigor) is yet another. Blindness (the lack of eyesight) is still another. In all these cases the limitations are apparent, or seem to be. But let us look at some other common characteristics which do not seem limiting. Take the very opposite of old age—youth. Is age a limitation in the case of a youth of twenty? Indeed it is, for a person who is twenty will not be considered for most responsible positions, especially supervisory and leadership positions. He may be entirely mature, fully capable, in every way the best qualified applicant for the job. Even so, his age will bar him from employment; he will be classified as too green and immature to handle the responsibility. And even if he were to land the position, others on the job would almost certainly resent being supervised by one so young. The characteristic of being twenty is definitely a limitation.

The same holds true for any other age. Take age fifty, which many regard as the prime of life. The man of fifty does not have the physical vigor he possessed at twenty; and, indeed, most companies will not start a new employee at that age. The Bell Telephone System, for example, has a general prohibition against hiring anyone over the age of thirty-five. But it is interesting to note that the United States Constitution has a prohibition against having anyone under thirty-five running for President. The moral is plain: any age carries its built-in limitations.

Let us take another unlikely handicap—not that of ignorance, but its exact opposite. Can it be said that education is ever a handicap? The answer is definitely yes. In the agency which I head I would not hire Albert Einstein under any circumstances if he were today alive and available. His fame (other people would continually flock to the agency and prevent us from doing our work) and his intelligence (he would be bored to madness by the routine of most of our jobs) would both be too severe as limitations.

Here is an actual case in point. Some time ago a vacancy occurred on the library staff at the Iowa Commission for the Blind. Someone was needed to perform certain clerical duties and take charge of shelving and checking talking book records. After all applicants had been screened, the final choice came down to two. Applicant A had a college degree, was seemingly alert, and clearly of more than average intelligence. Applicant B had a high school diploma (no college), was of average intelligence, and possessed only moderate initiative. I hired applicant B. Why? Because I suspected that applicant A would regard the work as beneath him, would soon become bored with its undemanding assignments, and would leave as soon as something better came along. I would then have to find and train another employee. On the other hand I felt that applicant B would consider the work interesting and even challenging, that he was thoroughly capable of handling the job. and that he would be not only an excellent but a permanent employee. In fact, he has worked out extremely well.

In other words, in that situation the characteristic of education—the possession of a college degree—was a limitation and a handicap. Even above average intelligence was a limitation: and so was a high level of initiative. There is a familiar bureaucratic label for this unusual disadvantage: it is the term "overqualified." Even the overqualified, it appears, can be underprivileged.

This should be enough to make the point—which is that if blindness is a limitation (and, indeed, it is), it is so in quite the same way as innumerable other characteristics which human flesh is heir to.

I believe that blindness has no more importance than any of a hundred other characteristics and that the average blind person is able to perform the average job in the average career or calling, provided (and it is a large proviso) he is given training and opportunity.

Often when I have advanced this proposition, I have been met with the response, "But you can't look at it that way. Just consider what you might have done if you had been sighted and still had all the other capacities you now possess."

"Not so," I reply. "We do not compete against what we might have been, but only against other people as they are, with their handicaps and limitations." If we are going down that track, why not ask me what I might have done if I had been born with Rockefeller's money, the brains of Einstein, the physique of the young Joe Louis, and the persuasive abilities of Franklin Roosevelt? (And do I need to remind anyone, in passing, that FDR was severely handicapped physically?) I wonder if anyone ever said to him:

"Mr. President, just consider what you might have done if you had not had polio!"

Others have said to me, "But I formerly had my sight, so I know what I am missing."

To which one might reply, "And I was formerly twenty, so I know what I am missing." Our characteristics are constantly changing, and we are forever acquiring new experiences, limitations, and assets. We do not compete against what we formerly are.

In a recent issue of a well-known professional journal in the field of work with the blind, a blinded veteran who is now a college professor, puts forward a notion of blindness radically different from this. He sets the limitations of blindness apart from all others and makes them unique. Having done this, he can say that all other human characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses, belong in one category—and that with regard to them the blind and the sighted individual are just about equal. But the blind person also has the additional and unique limitation of his blindness. Therefore, there is really nothing he can do quite as well as the sighted person, and he can continue to hold his job only because there are charity and goodness in the world.

What this blind professor does not observe is that the same distinction he has made regarding blindness could be made with equal plausibility with respect to any of a dozen—perhaps a hundred—other characteristics. For example, suppose we distinguish intelligence from all other traits as uniquely different. Then the man with above one hundred twenty-five IQ is just about the same as the man with below one hundred twenty-five IQ—except for intelligence. Therefore, the college professor with less than one hundred twenty-five IQ cannot really do anything as well as the man with more than one hundred twenty-five IQ—and can continue to hold his job only because there are charity and goodness in the world.

"Are we going to assume," says this blind professor, "that all blind people are so wonderful in all other areas that they easily make up for any limitations imposed by loss of sight? I think not." But why, one asks, single out the particular characteristic of blindness? We might just as well specify some other. For instance, are we going to assume that all people with less than one hundred twenty-five IQ are so wonderful in all other areas that they easily make up for any limitations imposed by lack of intelligence? I think not.

This consideration brings us to the problem of terminology and semantics—and therewith to the heart of the matter of blindness as a handicap. The assumption that the limitation of blindness is so much more severe than others that it warrants being singled out for special definition is built into the very warp and woof of our language and psychology. Blindness conjures up a condition of unrelieved disaster—something much more terrible and dramatic than other limitations. Moreover, blindness is a conspicuously visible limitation; and there are not so many blind people around that there is any danger of becoming accustomed to it or taking it for granted. If all of those in our midst who possess an IQ under one hundred twenty-five exhibited, say, green stripes on their faces, I suspect that they would begin to be regarded as inferior to the non-striped—and that there would be immediate and tremendous discrimination.

When someone says to a blind person, “You do things so well that I forget you are blind—I simply think of you as being like anybody else," is that really a compliment? Suppose one of us went to France, and someone said:

"You do things so well that I forget you are an American and simply think of you as being like anyone else"—would it be a compliment? Of course, the blind person must not wear a chip on his shoulder or allow himself to become angry or emotionally upset. He should be courteous, and he should accept the statement as the compliment it is meant to be. But he should understand that it is really not complimentary. In reality it says:

"It is normal for blind people to be inferior and limited, different and much less able than the rest of us. Of course, you are still a blind person and still much more limited than I, but you have compensated for it so well that I almost forget that you are inferior to me."

The social attitudes about blindness are all pervasive. Not only do they affect the sighted but also the blind as well. This is one of the most troublesome problems which we have to face. Public attitudes about the blind too often become the attitudes of the blind. The blind tend to see themselves as others see them. They too often accept the public view of their limitations and thereby do much to make those limitations a reality.

Several years ago Dr. Jacob Freid, at that time a young teacher of sociology and now head of the Jewish Braille Institute of America, performed an interesting experiment. He gave a test in photograph identification to Negro and white students at the university where he was teaching. There was one photograph of a Negro woman in a living room of a home of culture—well furnished with paintings, sculpture, books, and flowers. Asked to identify the person in the photograph, the students said she was a "cleaning woman," "housekeeper," "cook," "laundress," "servant," "domestic," and "mammy." The revealing insight is that the Negro students made the same identifications as the white students. The woman was Mary McLeod Bethune, the most famous Negro woman of her time, founder and president of Bethune-Cookman College, who held a top post during Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration, and a person of brilliance and prestige in the world of higher education. What this incident tells us is that education, like nature, abhors a vacuum, and that when members of a minority group do not have correct and complete information about themselves, they accept the stereotypes of the majority group even when they are false and unjust. Even today, in the midst of the great civil rights debate and protest, one wonders how many Negroes would make the traditional and stereotyped identification of the photograph.

Similarly with the blind the public image is everywhere dominant. This is the explanation for the attitude of those blind persons who are ashamed to carry a white cane or who try to bluff sight which they do not possess. Although great progress is now being made, there are still many people (sighted as well as blind) who believe that blindness is not altogether respectable.

The blind person must devise alternative techniques to do many things which he would do with sight if he had normal vision. It will be observed that I say alternative not substitute techniques, for the word substitute connotes inferiority, and the alternative techniques employed by the blind person need not be inferior to visual techniques. In fact, some are superior. Of course, some are inferior, and some are equal.

In this connection it is interesting to consider the matter of flying. In comparison with the birds man begins at a disadvantage. He cannot fly. He has no wings. He is "handicapped." But he sees the birds flying, and he longs to do likewise. He cannot use the "normal," bird-like method, so he begins to devise alternative techniques. In his jet airplanes he now flies higher, farther, and faster than any bird which has ever existed. If he had possessed wings, the airplane would probably never have been devised, and the inferior wing-flapping method would still be in general use.

This matter of our irrational images and stereotypes with regard to blindness was brought sharply home to me some time ago during the course of a rehabilitation conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. I found myself engaged in a discussion with a well-known leader in the field of work with the blind who holds quite different views from those I have been advancing. The error in my argument about blindness as a characteristic, he advised me, was that blindness is not in the range of "normal" characteristics; and, therefore, its limitations are radically different from those of other characteristics falling within the normal range. If a normal characteristic is simply one possessed by the majority in a group, then it is not normal to have a black skin in America or, for that matter, a white skin in the world at large.

It is not normal to have red hair or be over six feet tall. If, on the other hand, a normal characteristic is simply what this authority or someone else defines as being normal, then we have a circular argument—one that gets us nowhere.

In this same discussion I put forward the theory that a man who was sighted and of average means and who had all other characteristics in common with a blind man of considerable wealth would be less mobile than the blind man. I had been arguing that there were alternative techniques (not substitute) for doing those things which one would do with sight if he had normal vision. The authority I have already mentioned, as well as several others, had been contending that there was no real, adequate substitute for sight in traveling about. I told the story of a wealthy blind man I know who goes to Hawaii or some other place every year and who hires sighted attendants and is much more mobile than any sighted person I know of ordinary means. After all of the discussion and the fact that I thought I had conveyed some understanding of what I was saying, a participant in the conference said—as if he thought he was really making a telling point, "Wouldn't you admit that the wealthy man in question would be even more mobile if he had his sight?”

Which brings us to the subject of services to the blind and more exactly of their proper scope and direction. There are, as I see it, four basic types of services now being provided for blind persons by public and private agencies and volunteer groups in this country today. They are:

1. Services based on the theory that blindness is uniquely different from other characteristics and that it carries with it permanent inferiority and severe limitations upon activity.

2. Services aimed at teaching the blind person a new and constructive set of attitudes about blindness—based on the premise that the prevailing social attitudes, assimilated involuntarily by the blind person, are mistaken in content and destructive in effect.

3. Services aimed at teaching alternative techniques and skills related to blindness.

4. Services not specifically related to blindness but to other characteristics (such as old age and lack of education), which are nevertheless labeled as "services to the blind" and included under the generous umbrella of the service program.

An illustration of the assumptions underlying the first of these four types of services is the statement quoted earlier which begins, "Loss of sight is a dying." At the Little Rock conference already mentioned the man who made this statement elaborated on the tragic metaphor by pointing out that "the eye is a sexual symbol" and that, accordingly, the man who has not eyes is not a "whole man." He cited the play Oedipus Rex as proof of his contention that the eye is a sexual symbol. I believe that this misses the whole point of the classic tragedy. Like many moderns, the Greeks considered the severest possible punishment to be the loss of sight. Oedipus committed a mortal sin (unknowingly he had killed his father and married his mother); therefore, his punishment must be correspondingly great. But that is just what his self-imposed blindness was—a punishment, not a sex symbol.

But this view not only misses the point of Oedipus Rex—it misses the point of blindness. And in so doing it misses the point of services intended to aid the blind. For according to this view what the blind person needs most desperately is the help of a psychiatrist—of the kind so prominently in evidence at several of the orientation and adjustment centers for the blind throughout the country. According to this view what the blind person needs most is not travel training but therapy. He will be taught to accept his limitations as insurmountable and his difference from others as unbridgeable. He will be encouraged to adjust to his painful station as a second-class citizen—and discouraged from any thought of breaking and entering the first-class compartment. Moreover, all of this will be done in the name of teaching him "independence" and a "realistic" approach to his blindness.

The two competing types of services for the blind—categories one and two on my list of four types—with their underlying conflict of philosophy may perhaps be clarified by a rather fanciful analogy. All of us recall the case of the Jews in Nazi Germany. Suddenly, in the 1930's, the German Jew was told by his society that he was a "handicapped" person—that he was inferior to other Germans simply by virtue of being a Jew. Given this social fact, what sort of adjustment services might we have offered to the victim of Jewishness? I suggest that there are two alternatives—matching categories one and two of my list of services.

First, since he has been a "normal" individual until quite recently, it is, of course, quite a shock (or "trauma," as modern lingo has it) for him to learn that he is permanently and constitutionally inferior to others and can engage only in a limited range of activities. He will, therefore, require a psychiatrist to give him counseling and therapy and to reconcile him to his lot. He must "adjust" to his handicap and "learn to live" with the fact that he is not a "whole man." If he is realistic, he may even manage to be happy. He can be taken to an adjustment center or put into a workshop, where he may learn a variety of simple crafts and curious occupations suitable to Jews. Again, it should be noted that all of this will be done in the name of teaching him how to live "independently" as a Jew. That is one form of adjustment training: category one of the four types of services outlined earlier.

On the other hand, if there are those around who reject the premise that Jewishness equals inferiority, another sort of "adjustment" service may be under-taken. We might begin by firing the psychiatrist. His services will be available in his own private office, for Jews as for other members of the public, whenever they develop emotional or mental troubles. We will not want the psychiatrist because the Nazi psychiatrist likely has the same misconceptions about Jews as the rest of his society. We might continue then by scrapping the "Jew trades"—the menial routines which offer no competition to the normal world outside. We will take the emphasis off of resignation or of fun and games. We will not work to make the Jew happy in his isolation and servitude, but rather to make him discontent with them. We will make of him not a conformist but a rebel.

And so it is with the blind. There are vast differences in the services offered by various agencies and volunteer groups doing work with the blind throughout the country today. At the Little Rock conference this came up repeatedly. When a blind person comes to a training center, what kind of tests do you give him, and why? In Iowa and some other centers the contention is that he is a responsible individual and that the emphasis should be on his knowing what he can do. Some of the centers represented at the Little Rock conference contended that he needed psychiatric help and counseling (regardless of the circumstances and merely by virtue of his blindness) and that the emphasis should be on the center personnel's knowing what he can do. I asked them whether they thought services in a center were more like those given by a hospital or like those given by a law school. In a hospital the person is a "patient." (This is, by the way, a term coming to be used more and more in rehabilitation today.) The doctors decide whether the patient needs an operation and what medication he should have. In reality the "patient" makes few of his own decisions. Will the doctor "let" him do this or that? In a law school, on the other hand, the "student" assumes responsibility for getting to his own classes and organizing his own work. He plans his own career seeking advice to the extent that he feels the need for it. If he plans unwisely, he pays the price for it, but it is his life. This does not mean that he does not need the services of the law school. He probably will become friends with the professors and will discuss legal matters with them and socialize with them. From some he will seek counsel and advice concerning personal matters. More and more he will come to be treated as a colleague. Not so the "patient." What does he know of drugs and medications? Some of the centers represented at the Little Rock conference were shocked that we at the Iowa Commission for the Blind "socialize" with our students and have them to our homes. They believed that this threatened what they took to be the "professional relationship."

Our society has so steeped itself in false notions concerning blindness that it is most difficult for people to understand the concept of blindness as a characteristic and for them to understand the services needed by the blind. As a matter of fact, in one way or another, the whole point of all I have been saying is just this: blindness is neither a dying nor a psychological crippling—it need not cause a disintegration of personality—and the stereotype which underlies this view is no less destructive when it presents itself in the garb of modern science than it was when it appeared in the ancient raiment of superstition and witchcraft.

Throughout the world, but especially in this country, we are today in the midst of a vast transition with respect to our attitudes about blindness and the whole concept of what handicaps are. We are reassessing and reshaping our ideas. In this process the professionals in the field cannot play a lone hand. It is a cardinal principle of our free society that the citizen public will hold the balance of decision. In my opinion, it is fortunate that this is so, for professionals can become limited in their thinking and committed to outworn programs and ideas.

The general public must be the balance staff, the ultimate weigher of values and setter of standards. In order that the public may perform this function with reason and wisdom, it is the duty of each of us to see that the new ideas receive the broadest possible dissemination. But even more important, we must examine ourselves to see that our own minds are free from prejudices and preconception.

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According to charts released by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare on March 22, 1974, the following thirty-five states have supplemented the Federal grants under the Supplemental Security Income program of $140 a month for an individual and $210 a month for a couple in independent living arrangements, to provide flat grants to those recipients transferred from Aid to the Blind as follows:

*Alabama $140 $250
Alaska 185 285
Arkansas 140 220
*California 265 530
*Colorado 165 330
Connecticut 238 286
*Delaware 150 248
Hawaii 165 248
Idaho 192 234
Illinois 175 218
*Indiana 144 288
*Iowa 148 231
Kansas 203 242
Maine 140 260
*Massachusetts 267 534
Michigan 160 240
Minnesota 178 258
*Missouri 140 220
Nebraska 207 280
*Nevada 215 430
New Hampshire 173 228
New Jersey 182 250
New York 207 295
*Ohio 140 218
Oklahoma 155 240
*Oregon 183 248
Pennsylvania 150 225
Rhode Island 171 267
*South Carolina 140 220
South Dakota 190 230
*Utah 140 262
Vermont 204 259
Virginia 152 210
Washington 170 243
Wisconsin 216 329

Of the thirty-five states supplementing the SSI payments, grants to blind persons and the disabled were higher than grants to the aged in thirteen states (marked with asterisks). Since the average grant for the United States as a whole for Aid to the Blind in October 1973 was only $112.37, it can be seen what great progress has been made as a result of the Supplemental Security Income program.

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During the month of September at the request of Norm Peters, a young college student, I contacted Marcia Finseth, Librarian for the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Seattle, asking if she had any place where she could hire this very worthy applicant. Marcia Finseth stated that she knew Norm Peters and thought very highly of him and that he would make an excellent employee; however, unfortunately, there were no positions open at that time. When I asked if she would notify me when a position became available, she assured me that she would.

On December 6, I inadvertently overheard a statement that one of the employees of the Library for the Blind was resigning and that they were looking for a replacement. I immediately went to Marcia Finseth to request that Norm Peters be considered for this position and was given many reasons why a blind person could not, or should not, be hired. For each reason that was given why a blind person could not do the job, I offered a possible solution and finally, reluctantly, she agreed to interview Norm Peters.

Knowing from past experience that it is far easier to find fault with a single candidate whom, for one reason or another, one does not wish to hire, I felt it advisable to offer additional applicants for the position. I therefore contacted the Seattle Community College, which has a program for training blind people for various vocations, and advised them of the position opening. I also advised Sue Ammeter, president of the University Association of the Blind, whose group was having a meeting that evening, of the position opening, and as a result, three additional well qualified individuals made applications for the job.

At this time a suggestion was made that perhaps Ms. Finseth would be more amenable toward hiring a blind person if instructions came from her superior, and I therefore called Mr. Youngs, head of the Seattle Library. Mr. Youngs appeared to be as much opposed to hiring a blind person as was Ms. Finseth and advised that the union rules under which they operate require that every position be offered first to union members now working in the Library before being offered to an outsider. I advised Mr. Youngs that I would be happy to discuss this situation with the head of the union. I was convinced that the union would understand that since we did not seek employment for a blind person directly in the Main Library, this abitrarily made it impossible for a blind person to be employed at the Library for the Blind where, by all rights, a blind person should be employed. Mr. Youngs stated that he was afraid that he would get into a great deal of trouble with the union. At this point I advised Mr. Youngs of the law against discrimination, H.B. 445, passed during the last legislative session. I pointed out that there could be more trouble from violation of this law than there would be from making an agreement with the union regarding the employment of a blind person.

Norm Peters if they had a vacancy, and since, in most cases, under the present disability insurance law it is impractical for a blind person to take part-time work, we must insist on a full-time position. I also advised her of the Telephone Pioneers' agreement to do all needed brailling for the blind person in this new job and to give any required on-the-job training.

Since this discussion did not result in the hoped-for approval by the head of the Library for the hiring of a blind person, I felt that further action was needed. I contacted Jean Enerson, who runs the "King Call for Action" show on KING-TV, and told her of the situation. She requested that I come to the studio for an interview the next afternoon. The interview was aired the following Monday on the 5:30 news broadcast.

On Friday morning I contacted Norm Christianson of the Telephone Pioneers and asked if the Pioneers would be willing and able to do whatever brailling would be needed to establish a blind person in this position. I was assured that the Pioneers would be pleased to do this, and that they would also be happy to give any on-the-job training needed to get the blind person started.

I called Ms. Finseth to advise her of the upcoming television interview and to see if she would agree at that time to hire a blind person for the present vacancy. She wanted to know if I would accept a part-time job for a blind person instead of a full-time job. I replied to her that since, to my knowledge, no blind person has ever been employed in the Library for the Blind, and since the present opening was a full-time position, and since she had indicated last September that she would be willing to hire

At the close of the broadcast of the television interview, Jean Enerson suggested that any blind person who wanted a job in the Library should make a direct application to Marcia Finseth, and gave her telephone number. She also stated that she, Jean Enerson, would be very interested in seeing whether a blind or a sighted person was hired for this position.

As a result of the broadcast, at least six additional people made formal applications for the job, and at least one other, to my knowledge, applied by telephone but was told that the job could not be handled by a blind person and thus was discouraged from making a formal application.

On Thursday, December 13, at a meeting of the Legislative Committee of the NFB of Washington, the situation was discussed and it was decided that if a sighted person were hired, I was to contact the Human Rights Commission and file a complaint. That night Jean Enerson, on her 11:00 p.m. show, announced that a sighted person had been hired for the job. On Friday, December 14, I filed an official complaint with the Human Rights Commission.

Several days later I was asked by a personal friend, who represents the Library, for a discussion on this matter. She said that she felt the brailling required to hire a blind person would be so extensive that it could not be completed for some time, and we should not press for the employment of a blind person until the brailling is completed. I asked what period of time she thought would be required—whether a week or a month would be needed. Her reply was that it would take at least a year. I replied that this would be completely unacceptable, that I would consider something like a week or a month, but under no circumstances would I consider postponing the hiring of a blind person for a year or more. The basic reason given for this extended period of time was the need for brailling labels for all books now in circulation and for new books as they come in The required brailling consists of four digits brailled on each book. She felt that the only time this could be done would be during the regular working hours of the Library and that the Telephone Pioneers would not be able to volunteer much time during working hours. Therefore the work would be extended over a long period of time. I suggested that the Library staff should be willing to volunteer some time on weekends to do the work, or that I would be happy to donate my time to help on weekends.

On January 4, 1974, I asked Ms. Finseth what brailling had been accomplished to date and was advised that none had been, but that they had requested volunteer help and hoped to get started at it soon. One month had passed since my discussion with the Library representative, and not one book had been brailled to make it possible or a blind person to work in the Library.

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Reprinted by courtesy of the Pittsburgh (Penna.) Press

Editor's Note The event of inauguration and passage of time now make Mr. Fuge mayor rather than mayor-elect.

A blind couple will lead Clairton's official family when attorney Lloyd H. Fuge takes over as mayor January 7.

Democrat Fuge, 44, was blinded at age 14 while conducting a chemical experiment that exploded in his face.

His wife of fifteen years, Dorothy, 44, was stricken with blindness after a siege of spinal meningitis when she was a toddler.

Among the proudest inaugural day onlookers will be their two sighted daughters, La-Donna Helaine, 13, and Marlena Jean, 10.

Being sightless is not such a handicap for a couple who taunt tradition and consider thirteen their lucky number.

It's been thirteen years since Lloyd has held public office; he was elected by a 1300-vote margin; they were married on the thirteenth; he began law practice on the thirteenth.

Son of a steelworker in the town he now leads, Lloyd entered the Western Pennsylvania School for the Blind after his accident.

There he was "counseled and steered" into law by another blind attorney, County Commissioner Leonard Staisey.

Dorothy and Lloyd feel they met at the school, but it didn't blossom into a romance until they were formally introduced at a dance in 1957.

En route to his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Lloyd's grades were so good he earned enough scholarships to practically pay his own way.

While a normal academic load is fifteen credits, he took as many as twenty-six credits a term and graduated summa cum laude.

Shortly after hanging out his shingle, Lloyd's first venture into politics led to a seat on city council. It was then he and Dorothy, a secretary in Pitt's medical complex, decided to get married.

The couple set up housekeeping in a second-floor apartment across the street from his law office, alone and en route to a normal existence.

Fuge admits to one frustration in those early years: He would have liked to pursue a career in philosophy and writing but practical matters came first, including raising a family.

In 1961 the Republicans swept city hall and as an ex-councilman Fuge found himself still a sought-after political figure. He was [a] campaign manager in Governor David L. Lawrence's race for the state house.

He lost in bids for mayor in the 1965 and 1969 primaries and settled for the party chairmanship in 1970.

Meanwhile, Dorothy was busy rearing their two infant daughters, keeping track of their whereabouts by tying bells onto their shoes.

In community activities she became president of the city's Women's Club; vice-president of the Democratic Women's Guild and secretary-treasurer of the Abbington Book Review Club.

The mayor-elect advises he has no further ambitions in politics than to extract his city "from its state of distress."

Problems include a dwindling population (down to 15,000), rebuilding rundown areas, simmering racial troubles, and the city's economy.

Mrs. Fuge has found the campaign trails a challenge, especially when opposing forces belabored her with digs like: "Who is going to show your husband what to do if he gets elected?"

At first "that kind of thing distressed me," the sightless mother said.

And she doesn't relish the next four years, adding: "It'll be like a four-year divorce. Lloyd won't be home much. I know what's expected of him … and he'll do it."

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Editor's Note.—Following is a letter from the Idaho Commission for the Blind to the legislators of the Forty-second Idaho Legislature, which gives the background story of the great efforts made by all of the blind of Idaho to retain the independence of their Commission. This long and arduous struggle had a happy ending when, on February 22, 1974, the Governor of Idaho signed House Bill 400, placing the Idaho Commission for the Blind under the Governor.

The constitutional requirement to reduce State government to a maximum of twenty agencies from the approximately 260 existing departments, agencies, commissions, and boards, although a tremendous task, will effect economies and efficiencies only if the functions and activities of those agencies or departments brought together are similar and complementary to each other.

In the identification of similar functions and activities, it is necessary to separate those which sound alike from those which are alike, and functions which are unique must remain separate to be effective. Our uniqueness is established both by the nature of blindness and our relationship to blind persons. Blindness is believed by the public to have a catastrophic and devastating impact upon the life of an individual. The experience of blind persons themselves demonstrates that the belief of tragedy is a greater impediment to productivity and independence than is the blindness itself. An agency serving the blind, to be effective, must recognize the truth of this postulate and must utilize the knowledge and experience gained by blind persons themselves to establish program direction and policy. Only in this way can an agency be responsive to the real needs of the blind, and a Commission having full authority is the only known agency structure meeting these requirements. The philosophical basis for program and structure is logical and reasonable. If logic and reason are combined with demonstrated success, then the solution of retaining the Commission for the Blind as a separate agency is compelling.

In the first five full years of the Commission for the Blind, an average of more than twenty persons each year have returned to productive lives. Last year (fiscal year 1973) the thirty-two individuals returning to gainful employment is more than twice the average achieved when services to the blind were a small part of a large agency. Since 1967, the Aid to the Blind roll—the number of blind persons receiving financial assistance—has decreased thirteen percent. The significance of this reduction is perhaps best illustrated by reviewing the financial impact of twelve persons who were receiving public financial support prior to returning to productive lives. These twelve persons are part of the thirty-two such persons identified earlier as rehabilitated last year. The total monthly public assistance payments to these twelve individuals equaled $1,949. As a result of our services, employment, and greater independence, the monthly financial assistance total was reduced to $733, thereby generating a savings of $1,216 each month. In addition, the first month's earnings of these individuals totals $2,824. Since more than half of these persons no longer receive public assistance of any kind, demonstrating the savings in this way does not take into account the saving to the State in medical cost, the implication for administrative cost, and the taxes generated by increased productivity. Finally, there is no adequate measurement of the value to the family or the community when the individual resumes his normal productive role.

Utah, Montana, California, and Oregon have visited Idaho's program to gain information upon which improvements in programs serving the blind in their states have been based. Mr. Hopkins now serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the National Federation of the Blind, a position to which he has twice been elected.

The effectiveness of the Commission program has been recognized by the ongoing administrative and legislative support of our program and by the development of the comprehensive orientation center in Boise serving the whole State. Our Idaho program has received national recognition. Dr. Jernigan, President of the National Federation of the Blind, the largest organization of blind persons in the world, has commended our program for its excellence. Our Director was selected to serve as one of a five-member team to evaluate programs serving the blind of Hawaii by the President of the National Federation of the Blind at the behest of the Senate of the State of Hawaii. Mr. Hopkins has testified as an expert witness on programs serving the blind at the invitation of Legislative Committees of Oregon, Washington, and New Mexico. Officials of the states of

The success of the services of the Idaho Commission for the Blind, measured both by the impact upon the lives of blind persons in Idaho and by the national recognition resulting from the effectiveness of our program, serves to affirm the correctness of our philosophy and our structure as a separate Commission responsive to blind people.

The Report of the Legislative Executive Reorganization Commission, which recommends placement of the Idaho Commission for the Blind under the Office of the Governor with its existing composition, duties, and responsibilities intact, is the one proposal which is best calculated to most effectively meet the real needs of blind persons and has the full support of the Idaho Commission for the Blind.

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New York, New York, April 12, 1974.

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

DEAR DR. JERNIGAN: I have reviewed with our executive committee your letter of February 13 to me, together with your letter of March 11 to Geraldine Scholl, and the letter of February 12 from Hall, McNicol, Marett & Hamilton, attorneys, on your behalf to me.

We have referred your counsel's letter to our counsel who have been in touch with Mr. Hamilton. We regret that in your letter to Dr. Scholl you have withdrawn your previous acceptance of our invitation to NFB to participate in the review and revision of successive sets of NAC standards unless certain preconditions involving other matters are met.

Our executive committee, however, has again affirmed our desire to maintain meaningful cooperation with all organizations concerned with services for blind and visually handicapped people. It has asked me to write to you expressing this desire for cooperation and requesting a preliminary meeting of one or two of the top executives of each of our respective organizations to work out objectives and a recommended agenda for a meeting of NFB and NAC officers. The purpose of the planning meeting, of course, would be to lay the basis for the subsequent officers' meeting so that such a meeting might be fruitful.

Past experience has convinced us that such planning is of the utmost importance. It is essential to make the most careful preparation so that future meetings may have a better chance of success than our prior meetings have had.

I look forward to hearing from you so that a mutually satisfactory time and place for the preliminary meeting may be arranged.

Very truly yours,


P.S. Thank you for your invitation of March 25. This might well be a matter for discussion at the planning meeting also.


Des Moines, Iowa, April 19, 1974.

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

DEAR MR. ROBINSON: I have your letter of April 12, 1974, and it seems to me that it continues the pattern of delay and unwillingness to face issues which has been at the root of our problem all along. On numerous occasions in the past the leaders of the organized blind have asked the leaders of NAC to sit down with them to discuss differences. The latest of these requests was contained in my letter to you dated February 13, 1974. You responded ten days later by telling me that you would think about the matter and talk with members of your executive committee about it. In the circumstances this response was, to say the least, remarkable. I had sent you a similar request in January, as well as several others last year. Surely there was nothing new or novel about the February 13 request.

After a delay of two months, you have now sent me a letter informing me or two of the NAC leaders would be willing to get together with one or two of the Federation leaders to plan a possible meeting to discuss issues. The issues we wish to discuss have been outlined in great detail in my letters to you and other NAC leaders during the past many months. Particularly, I refer you to my letter of April 24, 1973, to Dr. Peter Salmon, who was then president of NAC. We wish to discuss the structure of NAC, the method of its operation, and its viability as an organization. We feel that NAC must either be reformed or abolished. You may not agree with us, but we feel (and a great number of the Members of Congress feel) that you have the responsibility at least to hear our point of view and discuss it with us Under the circumstances it is hard to see what could be accomplished by getting together to discuss whether we should get together to discuss the issues Using this approach, NAC could delay forever. We could, for instance, get together to discuss whether we should get together to discuss whether we should get together to discuss whether we should get together, ad infinitum.

In your letter you say: "It is essential to make the most careful preparation so that future meetings may have a better chance of success than our prior meetings have had" Mr. Robinson, whether it be basic principle or minor technicality, we never seem to find any common ground for agreement with NAC. In other words, as I search my memory, I can (with the single Dr. Salmon and me for a few minutes last year at a crowded luncheon table in the presence of six or eight onlookers) recall no "prior meetings." We have repeatedly asked, and NAC has just as repeatedly refused.

I now say it to you again. We would like to meet with you to talk about common problems. We would not like to have a meeting to discuss whether we should have a meeting; we would not like to set up a formal agenda; we would not like to play games or technicalities; and we would not like to delay month after month. All we are asking is that you come to the conference

Incidentally, in the postscript to your letter you say concerning my invitation to NAC to speak at the Convention of the National Federation of the Blind in July in Chicago: "Thank you for your invitation of March 25. This might well be a matter for discussion at the planning meeting also."

Mr. Robinson, July will be upon us soon. As I am sure you know, the agenda must be finalized and printed. I assume that you do not wish to send a representative to speak at our Convention but that you are reluctant to say it and that you are, therefore, trying to evade and equivocate until the time runs out so that you can avoid the issue altogether. I shall proceed on this assumption and assume that you have declined our invitation unless you tell me to the contrary with some alacrity. I repeat that we want you to come, that we feel NAC has an obligation to come, that we will listen respectfully to what you have to say, that we will expect you to listen to what we have to say, and that we think it will be productive. However, if you will not, then you will not. As I say, I shall assume that you have declined my invitation unless I hear from you very soon to the contrary.

One more thing: You say:

We have referred your counsel's letter to our counsel who have been in touch with Mr. Hamilton We regret that in your letter to Dr. Scholl you have withdrawn your previous acceptance of our invitation to NFB to participate in the review and revision of successive sets of NAC standards unless certain preconditions involving other matters are met.

My letter simply does not do what you say that it does. Please refer to my letter to Dr. Scholl dated March 11, 1974.

Mr. Robinson, I hope that you will reconsider your attempt to avoid meeting with us to discuss issues and your evasion of our request to attend our Convention this summer. If you will let us, we would like to find a solution to problems. In other words I urge you to do what you say in your letter that you and your executive committee want to do. I refer to your statement which reads: "Our executive committee, however, has again affirmed our desire to maintain meaningful cooperation with all organizations concerned with services for blind and visually handicapped people Mr. Robinson, if I do not hear from you very soon, I shall interpret your silence as a response.

Very truly yours,

President, National Federation of the Blind


New York, New York, April 26, 1974.

DEAR DR. JERNIGAN: Our April 12 letter was a good faith effort to explore the possibility of establishing such communication lines between NAC and NFB that productive discussions might be forthcoming in the near future. As our request was made in order to build a constructive and cooperative relationship, your rejection of our proposal for a preliminary meeting of top executives of our respective organizations was deeply disappointing to us.

We have at no time accused you of bad faith in connection with any suggestions or requests on your part. It does not advance the cause that both our organizations seek to serve when you gratuitously attribute ulterior motives to our sincere effort to provide a workable means for resolving any difficulties we may have. We regret that you have thereby made it inappropriate, if not impossible, for NAC to participate in the NFB Convention which will be held in Chicago in July. We hope it may be appropriate on another such occasion in the future.

We still believe that in order to serve a useful purpose a meeting of NFB and NAC officers must be carefully planned. We hope that NFB will reconsider its position concerning our proposal, which we are ready to fulfill at the earliest opportunity.

Very truly yours,



Des Moines, Iowa, April 29, 1974.

DEAR MR. ROBINSON: This will reply to your letter of April 26, 1974. I now propose to you that a meeting be held between the president of NAC and not more than four other people, who may be chosen by NAC in any way that it pleases, and the President of the National Federation of the Blind and not more than four other people, who shall be chosen by the Federation in whatever manner it pleases, at the earliest possible time to discuss problems of mutual concern. I propose that this meeting occur in Chicago and that it not be hampered unduly by parliamentary nicety or formality of agenda. I would propose that the meeting discuss substantive issues and that it not simply be a meeting to plan an agenda for some future meeting. However, we would be willing (if this is the only way we can get NAC to the conference table) to compromise. We would be willing to spend half the time discussing substantive issues and the other half discussing a proposed agenda for a future meeting.

I am sorry that you have rejected our invitation to speak at the Convention of the National Federation of the Blind in July, but I can understand your reluctance to come face to face with several thousand representatives of the Nation's blind. I hope the time may come when you will regard such an appearance as an opportunity, not a threat. The Convention delegates will, of course, be informed of your rejection of the invitation and of your reasons.

I request that you respond to the proposal for a meeting contained in this letter. I hope that your response will be affirmative.

Very truly yours,

President, National Federation of the Blind.

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Washington, D.C., March 11, 1974.

Washington, D.C.
Kansas City, Missouri.

DEAR GWEN AND GEORGE: Thank you for your recent letter which I delayed responding to pending a visit from Mr. and Mrs. James Gashel of the National Federation of the Blind about whom you wrote. It was good to hear from you.

My work as chairman of the Select Committee on Committees prevented my seeing Mrs. Gashel when she came to my office but my Administrative Assistant had a most pleasant visit with her in late February. At the request of Mrs. Gashel, I have contacted the president of the National Accreditation Council, Mr. Daniel Robinson, to convey the concerns of the Federation and to request a report on the Council's response to these concerns

In the meantime, you may be interested in the enclosed copy of the February 19, 1974, letter from Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, Mr. Caspar W. Weinberger, in response to my latest inquiry regarding the NAC. You know, too, that I will continue to support improvements in social security disability insurance benefits.

With best wishes,




House of Representatives,
Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. BOLLING: Thank you for your letter of December 12 on behalf of three constituents who are members of the Missouri Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), and the enclosure of a resolution regarding the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) Please accept my apology for the delay in responding.

We have received similar resolutions and complaints from the National Federation of the Blind and its state chapters since August 1972. We have made a sincere and sustained effort since that time to be responsive to the complaints and to bring the two organizations together for a resolution of their problems.

NAC receives a portion of its funds from the Social and Rehabilitation Service (SRS) under a research and demonstration grant. In order to review questions raised by NFB, as well as to follow the usual procedure for monitoring grantees, SRS authorized a special study of NAC last March The team was composed of experts from outside of SRS. For your information, I am enclosing a copy of their report. I am also enclosing a copy of a Fact Sheet developed by SRS staff to respond to recent inquiries. These accreditation procedures are clearly described and indicate that this is a voluntary process. This Department has no requirement that organizations be accredited in order to obtain Federal support.

There is an additional issue set forth in the Missouri NFB resolution which is not addressed by our Fact Sheet. This issue deals with the admission of observers to all NAC Board meetings. An SRS staff member attended the semiannual meeting of the NAC Board in New York, December 12-13, 1973. NFB members attended both the dinner meeting and the full board meeting. A member of Congressman Brademas' staff also attended. One of the items on the agenda was the unanimous adoption of the attached resolution which clearly states that all interested observers who wish to do so may attend NAC Board meetings.

I appreciate your interest in disabled persons and hope that the foregoing provides the information you need to respond to your constituents.




Washington, D.C., April 3, 1974.

Secretary, Health, Education, and Welfare,
Washington, D.C.

DEAR SECRETARY WEINBERGER: In your letter of February 19, 1974, to Congressman Boiling you make a very interesting statement. You say:

One of the items on the agenda was the unanimous adoption of the attached resolution which clearly states that all interested observers who wish to do so may attend NAC Board meetings.

Bolstered by your letter, we shall have something over a hundred observers present to attend the NAC Board meeting in May in Cincinnati. If the NAC officials should say that we are not entitled to have these observers attend their meeting, we shall reply by giving your letter to the press and saying that we do not believe the Secretary of HEW would misrepresent to a Congressman or be so careless as to misstate the facts. We thank you for clarifying the NAC intention.

Very truly yours,

Chief, Washington Office, National Federation of the Blind.

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Editor's Note The following is correspondence between the NFB President and Alexander Handel, executive director of NAC.

New York, New York, April 8, 1974.

DEAR MR. JERNIGAN: In accordance with your letter of January 16, 1974, to Mr. Daniel Robinson, we shall expect a representative of the National Federation of the Blind as an observer at our next Board meeting, Friday, May 31, 1974. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. in Room 215 at the Flagship Inn (Barkley House) at the Greater Cincinnati Airport.

I also request that Mr. Taylor be given copies of any materials which are distributed to board members during the meeting. Further, I ask that Mr. Taylor be permitted ten minutes to discuss with members of the board matters of concern to the organized blind.

Very truly yours,

President, National Federation of the Blind.


New York, New York, April 26, 1974.

The enclosed postcard is for your convenience in letting us have the name of your observer.




Des Moines, Iowa, April 22, 1974.

DEAR MR. HANDEL: This will reply to your letter of April 8, 1974. Mr. John Taylor will attend the NAC Board meeting as an official observer representing the National Federation of the Blind. In order that Mr. Taylor's attendance may be meaningful and not simply a gesture, I request that you send to me for study and transmission to him a copy of all documents which will have been sent to NAC Board members prior to the meeting.


DEAR MR. JERNIGAN: Thank you for notifying us that the National Federation of the Blind's observer at our May 31 board of directors meeting will be Mr. John Taylor.

Presently, there is no provision for furnishing to observers copies of reports to be considered by the board. You will be interested to learn, however, that this matter, as well as the distribution of minutes of board meetings, is scheduled for review at the May 31 meeting.

Mr. Taylor will be allotted ten minutes on the agenda to present his report on matters of concern to NFB.



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San Francisco, California, April 24, 1974.

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

DEAR PRESIDENT JERNIGAN: The San Francisco Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of California would like to take this opportunity to express its sincere gratitude and appreciation for your innovative program of news releases on cassette. We believe this program will produce most interesting and enormous results in the motivation necessary to cause each individual Federationist listening to your message to act in nothing short of a positive manner.

Hearing your voice at our monthly meetings, and learning of the latest bills and issues to be undertaken by the NFB, increases immediate participation by all members on a State level, on the local level, and most important on the individual level.

It is no longer necessary for us to hear portions of a release when we might have the opportunity for someone to read it to us, but now have the means to hear what is presently occurring from none other than the National Federation of the Blind President himself.

During our discussion of whether or not we wanted to hear your entire release at the meeting following its arrival, we unanimously decided that the information gained was too valuable to pass up, and that we were most interested in knowing of what pressing issues needed immediate attention. The Braille Monitor is an exclusive source of information for us; however, by the time it is written, printed in its various forms, and delivered to us it may be too late for us to act when letter writing and the like must be done quickly.

We again want to thank you for this new idea of communicating with every individual, at least by reaching every local chapter, and thus have unanimously voted to send the NFB Treasurer, Franklin VanVliet, a check from the NFB of California, San Francisco Chapter, in the amount of twenty-five dollars to enable you to continue this valuable new service to Federationists. We appreciate your efforts to bring about the best communication possible between yourself and each local chapter and individual.


Corresponding Secretary, NFB of California, San Francisco Chapter.

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The National Federation of the Blind in Missouri held its annual convention April 12-14 at the Bon Foey Inn in Kirksville, Missouri. On Friday evening a lovely hospitality room was provided by the host chapter, and necessary business meetings were held by official committees.

The Saturday session opened with prayer, followed by a "Welcome to Kirksville" speech by the City Manager. After the rollcall, John Dower, State president, went immediately into those matters most pressing for our people in tins area, namely the Supplemental Security Income program. Mr. Higgins, a very charming man and a representative of the local Social Security Office, spoke to the assembly on the new SSI program. He stated that Social Security is now working on individual cases and trying to clear up the confusion Mr. Higgins appeared to make every effort to answer questions from the floor. Some delegates told of receiving checks from both SSI and the welfare office for the full amounts normally paid by only one of the agencies, and stated they had been told by the welfare office to cash the checks and use the money. Other delegates told of receiving no check at all from either agency, and of their fruitless efforts to straighten out the matter. Others told of receiving checks and being told to turn them back.

John Taylor, from the Iowa Commission for the Blind and representing the NFB National Office, spoke on the difference between a commission for the blind and a bureau for the blind. He pointed out that at one time Missouri had a commission for the blind. Mr. Taylor was followed by Charles Freeman, Chief of the Missouri Bureau for the Blind. Mr. Freeman stated that he would be glad to have the bureau changed to a commission. "A rose by any other name . . ." he said, which is true, but a cabbage is still a cabbage even if you call it a rose. The difference between an independent commission with its director reporting directly to the Governor is a different thing from a bureau within an umbrella agency, with the bureau chief reporting to an agency official. Mr. Freeman also seemed amused by the confusion in the new SSI program, and indicated that the Social Security Administration had bit off more than it could chew. He apologized, however, and noted that Social Security had given them several thousand dollars to set up their new program, and that, since part of this money could be used for transportation, they had come to Kirksville in the Governor's plane. Mr. Freeman was accompanied to the convention by Mr. Pruce, head of the Missouri stand program, and Mr. Harshburger, also employed in the administration of State programs for the blind. These two gentlemen had not been expected, but everyone was glad to have them and anxious to ask questions. However, there was no time for this because they had to pick up the Governor, or get his plane to Joplin, or something like that. Many people left the Saturday session of the convention feeling that we were involved in a "chaos created for purpose."

At the Saturday night banquet, John Taylor was the principal speaker The St. Louis Chapter of the NFBM made a four-hundred-dollar contribution to the State affiliate. Michael Noonan, a graduating student from the Missouri School for the Blind, received the five-hundred-dollar scholarship given by the NFB in Missouri. The tenBroek Award, given to a sighted person for notable service to the blind, was received by Elizabeth Carpenter, now retired. Ms. Carpenter was for many years a very loved teacher at the Missouri School for the Blind. Many of her former pupils were at the banquet, some now with gray in their hair, but all happy to visit again with their former teacher.

Our new Kenneth Jernigan Award was announced by President John Dower. The award is a silver dog tag on a chain, on the order of those worn by soldiers. On one side is the inscription, "The Kenneth Jernigan Award for notable service to one's fellow blind." On the other side is the name of the State, the year, and the name of the recipient. This first Jernigan Award was presented by John Taylor to George Rittgers, for his many years of service on the barricades.

The Sunday morning session was filled with unfinished business which included the election of Roger Dinwiddie as second vice-president and Wayne Anderson as member at large. This was not an election year in Missouri, but these men were elected to fill vacancies caused by resignations. All other officers remain the same.

All of us extend our thanks to the entire Kirksville Chapter and to its president, Cheryl Lewis, for a really wonderful convention. A very special thanks goes to the Kirksville Lions Club for furnishing transportation, and to the Kirksville Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for their work as guides. And we extend our appreciation to the businessmen and citizens of Kirksville who contributed to the success of the 1974 NFB in Missouri Convention.

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Morgan City, Louisiana, May 1, 1974.

Editor, The Braille Monitor,
Sacramento, California.

DEAR PERRY: How do I present this to you to make you realize how great our second State convention was? Sure thing, I am going to give you all the particulars, but there is much much more to it than that: the intangible feeling of togetherness, of oneness—those were as important, if not more important, than the statistics.

Less than three years ago, many intelligent blind people in Louisiana said it could not be done when approached about organizing an NFB affiliate. Yet at our second convention, held April 27 and 28 in Lafayette, Louisiana, we had five chapters represented, the number we have in the State; we had 114 registered for the convention, and eighty-five at the banquet to hear Jim Gashel do a bang-up job in the speech-making department.

As you know, Jim Gashel is our new Washington representative, and take it from me, the Washington Office is alive and doing well. Let's not forget Arlene Gashel, who not only shares the workload, but is a heck of a lot prettier than Jim.

But, back to the State convention: We amended our State constitution so that all chapters are assured representation on the board, and we established a cassette presidential release system, similar to that used by President Jemigan. Our Model White Cane Law will have been voted on in the State legislature by the time you read this, and Senator Carl Bauer tells me he expects ho difficulty in its passage. Also, we have a bill, backed by several organizations in the State, blind and sighted, for identification of nondrivers. This will be in the form of a nondriving license issued by the drivers' license bureau, and will carry a photograph of the holder. This too has an excellent chance for passage. Our legislature goes into session on May 13, 1974.

Four board members were elected this year. They are Hank LaBonne, New Orleans; Joyce Vaughn Baton Rouge Alfred Blakes Monroe and Barbara Fisher Alexandria

The town of Lafayette did itself proud in making us welcome: the mayor made Jim Gashel and me Honorary Cajuns and presented us with keys to the city, and many city dignitaries helped to make us welcome. State Senator Mouton addressed our gathering and pledged his support for the pending legislation. He urged members to keep the NFB strong, pointing out that only through working together could we solve our problems.

TV and newspaper coverage were good; and, well, the Lafayette Chapter was a superb host, this is about the size of it.

No, I see I cannot tell you in words how great the convention was. But to those of you who have handled conventions, those of you who, after all of it is over and you have returned home, and you have that good, warm feeling, and you say, "It was something else, wasn't it?"—you know what I mean.

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Reprinted, with permission, from the Chicago Daily News.

In the course of my life, which hasn't been that long, I have been approached by people, who out of curiosity, the desire to learn, or for lack of nothing better to do, query into my life as it is because I am blind. Here follow some of the responses to the multitude of questions I have been asked.

Forgive the triteness of most of the following, because the things listed below are the very same things you do. They are things we all do to get through the business of life. Just because I do these things differently than you might do them does not mean I can't or don't do them.

Before I had my two children, I went to high school and college. This involved taking buses and elevated trains (in college) back and forth, in good weather and bad (even in the 22-inch snowstorm we had). I did it. I traveled back and forth to school just as you did.

True, I used a cane, and sometimes I groped, which is a thing you wouldn't do, because you see. I had to grope sometimes because there was no way to get where I was going.

I, like most other blind students, took notes in Braille. I, like those same students, typed any assignments that were to be handed in. High school and college teachers do not read Braille, nor do they let blind students off the hook because they're blind. Passing or failing grades are handed out with the same criteria they were handed out to you—your output and your test scores.

In college, my books were mostly recorded on tape. Some material had to be read to me. No allowances were made for me because a French book might not have been in Braille. Midterm time for me came at the same time as for anyone else, and the expectations were the same for me as for everyone else.

I graduated from De Paul with a B.A. in English. I graduated with honors. A little more studying at some time might have converted a C to a B or a B to an A, any of which would have graduated me with high honors.

Now I run a household. I admit that as a child and as a young woman, housekeeping was not my "bag." I avoided it at all costs. Now I do it because it must be done. I scrub my floors on my knees, mop my floors, polish my furniture, wash, dry, and iron my clothes, fold diapers, cook (and get burned), and so on and so on.

I do not claim to be spotless in my housekeeping. I do the best I can, and if I miss a spot while washing my floor or vacuuming my rug, it isn't because I desire to do so, it's because I don't see it.

Sometimes I feel bad about things like that, but then I pull myself up by the bootstraps and realize that I did my best and that's what counts. If you came in to my house, you'd probably find toys, food, spilled liquids, or a million other things around at some time or another. I won't excuse it.

My two-and-a-half-year-old daughter is not a maid, a saint, or a scholar. She's like your two-and-a-half-year-old, bratty, messy, tantrum-prone, but most of all, a lovable, touchy, learning child. She isn't endowed with the ability to pick up everything in the house so poor Mommy won't trip over her things. She'd probably laugh if I did so. I don't know about all of the bits of papers she has left strewn about, but I will not worry about that. Eventually somebody will come in my home and find those papers. And if those papers bother that person enough, he'll pick them up.

I'd like to tell you now that I've never dropped either of my children at any time. I can tell when they're wet, when their bottles were or are empty, when they need baths, when they need love.

I know I have left much unsaid. I despair at that, and I despair because so many of you will read and doubt, or read and wish to make me a saint. I, and the blind like me, are not saints, nor are we idiots. We deserve to live our lives just as you that see do, without questions, reprimands, utterances of disbelief. I know most people are simply interested and curious about blindness, which they know so little about, and this article hardly skimmed the fat off the top. Yet open your eyes as readers, and open your minds as intelligent human beings. Blindness can be beautiful if you let it be so.

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Editor's Note.—Betty Capps is the wife of NFB First Vice-President Don Capps.



1 cup mandarin orange slices
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup sour cream
1 cup angel-flake coconut
1 cup miniature marshmallows


Mix together. May be served as salad or dessert Parfait glasses—cherry on top—cookie on side



1/2 lb. grated New York State cheese
1/2 lb. butter or oleo
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
2 cups plain flour
2 cups Rice Krispies


Blend the cheese and butter. Add the rest of the ingredients. Drop from spoon small, bite-size pieces onto a cookie sheet.

Dough will be stiff Bake 18 minutes at 325° Makes eighty. These can be made ahead of time and frozen. Thaw at room temperature



3 cups Graham crackers, crushed
1 1/2 cups nuts
1 cup condensed milk
2/3 stick butter or oleo
12 oz. chocolate chips


Melt butter and chocolate together. Add Graham crackers, nuts, and milk. Butter pan lightly and press in pan. Set for about 6 hours before cutting. These do not have to be kept in the ice box.

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Attention all blind lawyers and law students: Professor Douglas Whaley of the University of North Carolina Law School will address the Blind Lawyers Division at our national Convention. His topic will be "Consumers Rights and Remedies." Professor Whaley is considered one of the foremost experts in this new, exploding area of law. His remarks will be practice-oriented. All of those interested in the Blind Lawyers Division are urged to attend. The above announcement comes from the president of the NFB Lawyers Division, James A. Lewis.

Remember the Endowment Fund.—The Endowment Fund Committee of the National Federation of the Blind asks all Federationists throughout the land to remember the Dr. Jacobus tenBroek Memorial Fund. At the national Convention in Chicago in July, the traditional honor rollcall of states will be held at which time affiliates will announce their contributions or pledges to the Endowment Fund. We hope that these contributions and pledges will exceed those of previous years. A collection will also be gathered from those present.

A bar exam in the Ladies Room? Yes, that's exactly what happened to Federationist Jack Rivers, of Alabama. That turned out to be the only "private place" where he could have the exam read to him and type the answers.

The National Society for the Prevention of Blindness has an enviable sixty-five-year history. Its pioneering contributions have been important in reducing blindness by prevention. It has played a big role in eliminating trachoma, in helping to stem blindness from retrolental fibroplasia in premature infants, in pushing research to combat blindness from diabetic retinopathy, and working to prevent blindness in industry, the home, and elsewhere. Now, to encourage early eye care in children, the NFPB has developed a Home Eye Test so that parents can give their children a rough screening. The Society's slogan is that half of all blindness is preventable. It estimates that there are 475,000 blind persons in our Nation today. An estimated 44,000 Americans lose their eyesight each year. Cataract is still the leading cause of blindness, with glaucoma second.

UPI reports that the U.S. Customs Service has published a Braille edition of its "customs hints for returning U.S. residents." It offers guidance on exemptions, duty allowances, and related regulations. It may be obtained from your Regional Library or from the Library of Congress, Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

A unanimous decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court has held that welfare payments to a woman and her child may not be reduced merely because a man is living in the household. The court ruled that the amount of welfare aid should be cut only if the additional adult in the home is contributing to the upkeep of the family. The court said: "The cost of living remains the same for the welfare assistance recipients as when they alone comprise the household, but the benefits received are less and not enough to meet it. Consequently, the dependent child—the primary object of the program—suffers."

Edna L. Dagwell reported that the elections of the Potomac Federation of the Blind of our Virginia affiliate had the following results: Alan Schlank, president; Inez Wine, first vice-president; Bill Pettit, second vice-president; Mary Lee West, recording secretary; Sylvia Johnson, corresponding secretary; Marion McDonald, treasurer; Arlene Gashel, Milton Perry, Carl Schmitt, board members; and Jeanie Wood will serve as State board member.

A recent edition of The Hadley Focus, publication of the Hadley School for the Blind, of Winnetka, Illinois, carried an article describing a Braille speed-reading course at Brigham Young University, and mentions the possibility of developing a correspondence Braille speed-reading course.

Bus driver Richard Burrus of AC Transit District (serving the area to the east of San Francisco Bay) realized how difficult it must be for blind people to ride public transportation without a timetable. This awareness came when he began the bus route which runs near the California State Orientation Center for the Blind. Some inquiries and a short time later, the Braille bus schedules were available. The Richmond, California, Independent reports that some seven hundred of these schedules have now been distributed. AC Transit directors not only enthusiastically endorsed the project but agreed to pay any expenses connected with it. This will be a continuing project, since timetables change constantly, and Burrus has committed himself to keeping the schedules up to date.

A communication from Aspen Blind Outdoor Leisure Development described Aspen BOLD, started four years ago by Jean Eymore, a senior ski instructor and member of the Mountain Rescue Squad before he became blind from diabetes. BOLD has made the skiing experience available to over one hundred visually handicapped persons. Heretofore, BOLD has been a locally supported program staffed totally with volunteers. Last summer it was decided to expand the organization nationally. Regional clubs are being set up in many cities across the country. The organization wishes to advise the visually handicapped that they would be welcome in Aspen (the address is Box 3204, Aspen, Colorado 81611), should they wish to try skiing. More importantly, the organization is in the midst of lauching the national program and feels that this effort should be something the blind themselves participate in. Jack E. Schuss is the executive director.

The sixth grade social studies class at St. Thomas School in Minneapolis has a blind teacher who, when asked about disciple said: "I hope to keep the students busy enough to keep them from having the time to act up. I'm not here to win popularity contests. I hope they act as they do because they respect me, rather than fear me." He does not deny having problems: "I have discipline problems—every teacher does. I have no more and no less than others. I hope, and I think I do, handle them well myself." The teacher is Todd Kelly and his career as a blind teacher was given a fine write-up in the Minneapolis Sun Newspapers by reporter Carol Bannerman.

Dr. Charles Buell, who was athletic director at the California School for the Blind in Berkeley for twenty years, was given the William G. Anderson Award at the national convention of the American Association of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. The award, one of the highest given by the Association, is given to persons who have contributed significantly to physical education and recreation. Buell himself has always had limited vision.

Joseph Carolluzzi may be blind, but he has a fine sense of smell and great timing. The firemen couldn't find the fire, but Mr. Carolluzzi could smell the smoke, and saved the life of a neighbor whose sleeping body was dragged from a smoldering mattress which burst into flames as the firemen arrived. Mr. Carolluzzi lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The Philomatheon Society of the Blind, 2810 Tuscarawas Street West, Canton, Ohio 44708, is an affiliate of the NFB of Ohio. As a part of its celebration of its Golden Anniversary, the Society is publishing a cookbook in both Braille and large print. Volume one consists of large print recipes including Christmas recipes, cake mixes, frosting mixes, and quick main dishes. In addition to these recipes, the Braille volumes also include salads, casseroles, vegetables, breads, puddings, and pie fillings. All copies are bound with hard yellow covers. For those interested, write to the Philomatheon Society at the address given above.

As reported in the Modesto (Calif.) Bee, blind Steve Gokey, who attends Modesto Junior College, "feels" the plant cell neurons and nuclei in the basic biology class, by way of raised illustrations. They were designed by Frank LaConte, who is an art student. The models will become part of the biology department's permanent library.

The Fifth International Deaf-Blind Seminar will take place at the Condover Hall School in Shrewsbury, England, from July 26 to August 1, 1974. The theme for the conference this year is "Theories Into Practice," and many areas such as recent developments, educational typhlology, language, communications, special programs, the severely handicapped deaf- blind child, preparation for leaving school, and others will be included.

The Reverend Frank Anderson leads an active and growing congregation of the Newport (Minn.) Lutheran Church, despite his blindness.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has bestowed on Roy Zuvers the award called "The Outstanding Handicapped Federal Employee of the Year." Roy is a computer programmer in the Stabilization Systems Section of the Department. He began his Federal career in 1969. Previously, Roy worked as a machinist, darkroom technician, and salesman. Roy's present work involves millions of data inputs from nearly three thousand state and county offices throughout the country. Roy is blind.

Two Federationists in Florida made news. The story was about Duval County's first totally blind secondary school teacher, Linda Starks; and the article, which appeared in the University of North Florida's daily, The Halyard, carried the by-line of Shirley Corbin, wife of Judge Lou Corbin. Linda Starks is on the board of the State affiliate.

E. B. Whitten, executive director of the National Rehabilitation Association, has just announced his intention to retire, effective at the close of this calendar year. Mr. Whitten is in good physical and mental health and still finds his job challenging. However, he feels that there comes a time when one has to decide on this important step. Good luck.

Bicycle repair has become a new career for a number of blind people, especially in the Portland, Oregon, area where they are training for this rapidly expanding field. Several blind people actively engaged in the business are Charles Parks, Don Haikkila, and Bill Morgan, who were trained by veteran repairman Larry O'Hara.

Harvey Webb, president of the NFB of Louisiana, advises that voters in his State who are either blind or physically handicapped haven't been allowed to vote absentee since 1944, because of a long-standing Attorney General's opinion. However, recently, through the efforts of the NFB of Louisiana and the help of Governor Edwin Edwards, the present Attorney General has revised the opinion, saying that the law "grants the right to vote absentee to all registered voters and that blind and handicapped persons who meet the requirements for voting absentee may vote absentee to the same extent that any other voter may do so." Good work, Harvey, and Alabama!

Gene Darnell, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, was recently written up in the Asbury Park, New Jersey, Press as a blind person with plenty of what it takes to make it in this world. He is a sixteen-year-old junior at Allentown High and has a 3-6 win-loss record in varsity wrestling. Gene Darnell is blind, and has only one leg.

It has been estimated that there are now about two hundred blind persons in the United States working as computer programmers at good salaries.

"Cross now" lights which guide the sighted in Beckly, West Virginia, now guide the blind through busy intersections. The Common Council announced, through Police Chief Thomas Currett, that warning bells have been installed at two of the town's busiest crossroads.

John Dower, president of the NFB of Missouri, reports that his organization has established a new chapter in Columbia. Since Columbia is the home of the Missouri University and Stephens College, it is expected that there will be new members for the NFB Student Division.

The blind students at Downey High School in Stanislaus County, California, and at other high schools in the district, enjoy archery, swimming, basketball, and bicycling along with sighted students. The blind people in this district participate fully in the regular academic and physical education programs. The program was brought to attention in a recent write-up in the Modesto (Calif.) Bee.

The Braille and Talking Book Department of the Cleveland Public Library (325 Superior Avenue Northeast, Cleveland, Ohio 44114) anounces a new and unique service If one is blind and is operating a business, seeking orders from other blind persons, his name and product information deserves to be better known among the blind of the United States. The first steps in preparing a national registry of blind mail-order business persons are now being taken as a special project. Anyone interested should write to the Cleveland Public Library, giving the following information: name of blind owner, name of business, complete address including ZIP code, and a short description of the merchandise or services offered for sale. Such listings would include, but are not restricted to, selling greeting cards, gummed labels, taping supplies, and phonograph records; repairing Braille writers; custom knitting and crocheting to order; et cetera.

Susye Mezick is a senior therapist at the Maryland School for the Blind, in Baltimore. Orlando Wootten, in writing Miss Mezick's story for the Salisbury, Maryland, Daily and Sunday Times, caught the spirit of his subject's determination to succeed. Miss Mezick is the only active blind physical therapist in the State of Maryland. This field, which is gaining popularity among many blind students, is not open to them in some states. It is good to report that Maryland has an open register. Miss Mezick specializes in work with the multihandicapped.

The Twin Vision Publishing Division of the American Brotherhood for the Blind, 18440 Oxnard Street, Tarzana, California 91356, wishes to know of any blind child or youth who would like to have an endless supply of interesting and informative reading materials for his enjoyment and education. This also applies to blind persons who would like to read conventional print picture books to and with a sighted child. The Free Lending Library of Twin Vision serves such persons in the entire United States and Canada. The staff is interested in sending the type of books requested by the reader on his application. Twin Vision books combine pages of print and Braille so that blind and sighted can read together.

The Boston University Alumni News recently ran a full-page story on one of its more prominent and successful graduates. Norman N. Pike, who is blind, graduated from Boston University Law School in 1937. His practice has been so successful that he recently helped to establish the Norman Neal Pike Scholarship and Loan Fund with a gift of $750,000.

The NFB of Central Minnesota held a special meeting in January to fill offices left vacant by resignations. The officers of the affiliate are now: Tom Anderson, president; Gayle Gruber, first vice president; Elmo Reiniccious, second vice-president; Priscilla Dipple, secretary; and Lanore Ruhoff, treasurer.

The March 1974 Observer, publication of the Montana Association for the Blind, reports new officers for two of its local affiliates. New president of the Yellowstone Chapter, in Billings, Montana, is Doris Northcut. Other officers of the chapter are Rosita Fry, vice-president; Doris Farmer, secretary; Mary Kelley, corresponding secretary; Bob Behm, treasurer. Erma Todd was reelected to another year as president of the Bozeman Chapter. Other officers are Charles Vanderzee, vice-president; Velma Woirhaye, secretary; Ann Vanderzee, treasurer.

Today's Education, the journal of the National Education Association, is now being recorded by the National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephens Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02115. Write to Lou Dennis at the above address if you wish to receive this new edition. The journal will be provided free of charge to blind teachers.

The Albuquerque Chapter of the NFB of New Mexico met February 7 of this year and elected new officers. The new president is Frutoso Garcia. Other new officers are Peggy Dickson, vice-president; and John Caldwell, treasurer. This information was transmitted by chapter secretary Helen Hesse.

The Wall Street Journal for Thursday, April 4, 1974, notes that Rosoffs Restaurant, in New York City, will introduce Braille menus as of May 1.

NFB First Vice-President Donald Capps writes about a membership drive held Easter weekend in Greenville, South Carolina Fourteen or fifteen members joined the Greenville Chapter at a membership banquet held April 12. The new officers of the Greenville Chapter are Robert R. Bell, president; Floyd Martin, vice-president; Edna Jones, secretary; Lavada Tyler, treasurer; and Jean Rowley, social director.

The Nights of Expression, a blind entertainment singing group, is looking for a vocalist and a guitar player. They prefer someone with musical background. The group is located in Boston, Massachusetts. Anyone interested in this opportunity should write to James Finley, Box 103, Roxbury, Massachusetts 02119, or call (617) 296-1808.

Mabel Conder, secretary of the Queen City Federation of the Blind, in Charlotte, North Carolina, recently wrote to the NFB President as follows: "I would like to take this opportunity to tell you how much we appreciate the President's newsletters on cassette. It has proven very beneficial to our chapter." The letter also sends word of the new president of the chapter, Ralph Thompson, of Raleigh.

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