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PERRY SUNDQUIST                                              HAZEL tenBROEK
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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.



















Peggy Pinder made history at the Republican Convention in August tor the political party of her choice and for the blind of this Nation.

Peggy Pinder gave a seconding speech for Senator Robert Dole in his bid for Vice President on the Ford Ticket. Her presentation was well prepared and she read from her Braille notes for the world to see on television. She brought the Federation and its philosophy into the homes of the United States in terms that people will remember.

NBC interviewed Peggy on Tuesday, August 16, in a classic confrontation. She answered impertinent questions (Why should a blind person come as a delegate? How do you know what's going on?) with charm and wit. Peggy then managed a lecture, in reply to other questions, on the whys and wherefores of the National Federation of the Blind. When asked why she was going to law school, Peggy seized the opportunity in her answer to drive home hard the true nature of the handicap of blindness, namely, that it exists mainly in the minds of the sighted.

The Republicans, Peggy believes, will do more to improve conditions for the disabled in a manner which will make the chances for independence through the private sector greater than they would be with the Democrats who are more likely to set up government care-taker programs. Some of her ideas about the proper place of government in the people's lives made their way into the preamble of the Party Platform.

Peggy Pinder has been written about in newspapers and she has been interviewed and has appeared on radio, television, and in national magazines. But Peggy Pinder remembers from whence she comes. She has no hesitation in admitting that she did not arrive at her present position all on her own. She made it quite clear that President Jernigan and the National Federation of the Blind were her guiding and motivating forces.

Peggy Pinder will be remembered as a blind Federationist, as an intelligent person, as an attractive woman who probably did more to advance our cause than we will ever know.  

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It's great to see such a great and fine spirited crowd here this morning. Let me assure you that in the post I hold in Washington working for this organization, it's great to see such a fine and spirited crowd all through the year; because when the call goes out for action in this organization, we've got a group which responds.

Let me talk to you about several areas I've outlined for discussion. This has been a year of tremendous activity in Washington. I want to talk to you about the FAA; about the Library of Congress appropriations; matters related to Social Security including disability insurance; hearings and appeals; some matters related to current SSI legislation; rehabilitation issues, including extention of the Rehabilitation Act and the Oversight Hearings which occurred this year; affirmative action regulations which have been developed; and the affirmative action regulations and the equal rights or nondiscrimination regulations which we discussed yesterday. So you can see, with that kind of an agenda, we have had a pretty busy year. Those matters received attention in the Washington Office and by all of us throughout the country as we carried forth in this work.

First, let me begin with the FAA. I guess that's one issue we've got a couple of resolutions on and it's been a topic of some discussion since some people had problems dealing with the airlines getting here. You will recall that when we met in Chicago last year one Steven Hoad of Maine came to the Convention and reported to us that he had been required to sign a form which waived all of his basic rights: that the airline could put him off at any point; that the airline reserved the right to seat him where they wanted to seat him in the aircraft; and that generally he would have to waive all of his rights of liability in the event of accident or some other kind of tragedy. We said that this was absolutely ridiculous and, on August 26, 1975, we brought it to the attention of the FAA in a public session on the streets in front of the FAA Building at 800 Independence Avenue, Southwest, Washington, D.C., where the blind of several states surrounding the District gathered nearly a hundred strong as we picketed the FAA. I would say that we exacted a number of promises at that meeting among which were that the airlines were going to be told that they had to behave the same way with the blind as with everyone else. However, I would like to read you a bit of correspondence which came out of that. I got a letter a day or two following that session, which was a letter to the Air Transport Association from the FAA. Let me read you my response to that, or part of it: "As is more and more the case with many Federal documents which flow across my desk, my reaction to your letter goes something like this: The government giveth and the government taketh away. On the one hand you say: 'In our notice of Proposed Rule Making . . . issued on July 2, 1974, we proposed regulations that would require the airlines to carry the deaf or the blind, since we do not consider these persons to be handicapped insofar as safety of flight is concerned. We believe these people are capable of safely caring for themselves without assistance.'" I went on in the letter: "Probably I should have expected the next sentence, which reads; "We should very much appreciate it if you would advise your station personnel and flight and cabin crews that the carriage of the blind or the deaf is not prohibited by the Federal Aviation Regulations and that any decision not to carry them rests solely with the particular airline involved.'" I went on to say to him that, "your letter changes nothing and that it is inconsistent with the position you took before the press on Monday. By implication your final sentence suggests that the carriage of blind passengers is optional, at the discretion of the individual airline. I wonder, do the airlines, at their discretion, have the option of refusing to carry black persons, women, American Indians, or employees of the FAA? [Laughter and applause.] You and I both know that they do not." Then I went on to cite Section 404(b) of the Federal Aviation Act which assures that they do not. Then I said in a final sentence: "We anticipate your affirmative response on the issues raised in this letter. The blind people who gathered on the street at 800 Independence Avenue, Southwest, on August 25, 1975, are but a small segment of the total population affected. They were prepared to march once to bring public attention to bear on the problems they face. They are prepared to do so again in greater numbers. Cordially yours." [Applause.]

Well, the FAA went away and thought about it for a while and got back to me in March of this year with something called a Draft Advisory Circular. They decided that perhaps they didn't want to actually issue regulations covering anybody, but they might issue a Draft Advisory Circular. Here's part of my reaction and of this organization to the Draft Advisory Circular: "Lumping the disabled or the handicapped into one Advisory Circular inevitably results in generalizations which create gross misimpressions. The needs of blind travelers are not necessarily those of passengers lacking the use of their lower extremities. But the draft conveys the impression that any problems which may exist are roughly identical. Likewise, the blind must not be burdened by the same restrictions which the FAA proposes to impose on pregnant women. Nonetheless Section 6(a) of the draft, entitled 'Women in Advanced States of Pregnancy and Persons With Limited Endurance,' contains the following observation: 'They should avoid crowds and they should avoid over-exertion. This is important for passengers with any physical disability.'" Well, there you have it. That's the FAA's current thinking. We told them, the NFB told them in a loud voice, in the response on that draft, that they'd better not issue that proposed Advisory Circular; to take the blind out. [Applause.] Well, that's where we are with the FAA. We've got a couple of resolutions coming out of this Convention and we will continue to deal with the problem.

Let me next turn to the Books for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Program of the Library of Congress. Mr. Cylke is here and later in the week will talk with us about the program of the Library of Congress. But I should say to you that the National Federation of the Blind has been very active with respect to this area during the past year. You'll remember that last year at the Convention and during the last several years, we've talked with Mr. Cylke about a number of areas. We've talked to him about more Braille books to be produced by the Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. We've talked to him about the fact that there must not be an effort to create projected books which can be used only by the physically handicapped and not by the blind. And we've also talked to him about the problems which we see coming down the line with respect to multistate centers. During the past year, the Library of Congress again went to Congress as a routine matter for appropriations to operate the Division during fiscal year 1976. The budget request of the library and some of the specifics I think are revealing and say something to you about the impact this organization has. Let me talk to you first in overall terms. The Library of Congress last year requested $15,941,000—a whopping increase over the some $11,000,000 previously. Substantially the Library of Congress got that budget—$15,872,000. I think it's significant that the only organization to testify at the appropriations hearings was the National Federation of the Blind. [Applause.] We supported the budget with some shifts in priorities, and need I tell you that this is the largest single increase that the Library ever got in its entire history? And I think we helped bring it about.

This year, for fiscal year 1977, the Library of Congress, Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, is requesting a total of $22,537,000, another very substantial increase. For that, Mr. Cylke is to be commended, the Library of Congress is to be commended, and I think we might take some commendation because we, again, have gone to the Congress and testified on behalf of that budget to try to see that it's granted. And, again, the National Federation of the Blind was the only organization there. [Applause.] At this point, unless Mr. Cylke knows things that I don't know and can tell you more about it on Friday, the current status is that the House Committee on Appropriations has approved a budget somewhat less than that requested, a total of $20,800,800, or a reduction of $1,736,200 but still a very substantial increase from fiscal 1976. The increase would be, if the House version is approved, $4,895,800. But we've still got to go back to the Congress. It isn't through the House yet and then it has to go to the Senate. We've got to appeal it there and we've got to see that the full $2,637,000 is obtained for our Books for the Blind Program. [Applause.] Let me tell you why I think we have to do that. You remember that I mentioned the projected books and the multistate centers. There are indications that because of our input on the projected book program, because of our concern about that program, the projected books program is a dead issue, a non-issue at the Library of Congress now. The blind again have prevailed. [Applause.] We said the experiment wouldn't work and it didn't.

Now, what about Braille? In terms of Braille, the Library of Congress has been asking for the last few years, the past couple of years, actually, for enough money to produce three hundred Braille titles each year. In 1975 we went to the Congress and asked for enough money to produce more Braille titles. This year, when the Library' of Congress went to the Congress for its appropriation it, too, asked for enough money to produce more Braille titles, a total, if the budget is approved, of 350. Not just 300, but 50 more—350. [Applause.] It isn't enough; it's only a very modest step. And we said to the Congress it ought to be a heck of a lot more. But at the same time, the request should be supported.

We've had discussions with the new Librarian of Congress, Dr. Daniel Boorstin, who came on this year, and has indicated a real interest in moving the Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped forward. He's a supporter of ours and. particularly, I think he's a supporter of more Braille books. [Applause.] In April of this year we held a meeting with the Librarian, a meeting which Mr. Cylke arranged, and sat down to talk about Braille. And he said, "Can't we do something to get more Braille into the hands of blind people?" And he was literally shocked when I said that there were only three hundred books a year now being produced when there are more than forty thousand books provided for sighted persons in inkprint annually. He pledged to do something about it and we are working with him to see that it's done. [Applause.] I think there are good things ahead with respect to this particular program.

Next I want to move to the area of Social Security legislation. Prominent in this area, of course, is our Disability Insurance bill. However, during the year other issues relating to Social Security surfaced and were dealt with by the Federation. But all of them, of course, were considered within the context of the concern to pass the Disability Insurance bill.

This year we implemented a number of strategies in that respect. The first of the issues on Social Security to surface was the problem which arose in connection with delays in the hearings and appeals process under title II and title XVI claims. In both the title II program—the regular Disability Insurance, Retirement and Survivors Insurance—and the title XVI program—that is. Supplemental Security Income-claimants have the right to appeal. There were some differences, however, in time limits and so forth, and some of these differences were causing problems with respect to the handling of appeals. Accordingly, in September and October of 1975, the House Social Security Subcommittee, chaired by Congressman James Burke of Massachusetts, held a series of hearings to develop remedies for the delays in the hearings and appeals process. The Federation, as those of you who read our testimony in the Monitor [December 1975] will recall, testified in those hearings. And I would emphasize that the Federation was the only organization of consumers, blind or otherwise, to testify in these hearings. A number of points were dealt with in our testimony which are consistent with the resolutions which have been adopted by this Convention.

First we argued that to cut down on the delays in the hearings and appeals process, the strategy really had to be to reduce the number of appeals coming to Social Security. One way to do this, of course, would be to implement our suggestion to improve the training program for District Office staff. We pointed out to the subcommittee, for example, that there are differences in the law, both in the title II and in the title XVI programs for the blind as opposed to persons with some other disability and that those differences are sometimes quite significant. For example, we said one condition which other disabled people have to meet under the title XVI program is the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity. There is, in other words, in the title XVI program an SGA test. However, the substantial gainful activity test under title XVI only applies to the disabled, it does not apply to the blind. Any blind person, as long as that person is blind and meets the other income and resources limitations, is eligible for Supplemental Security Income. No substantial gainful activity test is to be applied at all to the blind. Blindness is considered a disability under the title XVI program. Decisions which are rendered on the basis that a claims representative believes that the blind meet a substantial gainful activity test in the SSI program are wrong decisions and cause appeals. That's what we said to the Congress. Secondly we suggested that one means of remedying this problem and cutting down on appeals was to place in the larger offices of Social Security special personnel to handle claims of blind persons; special personnel with specialized training who would understand the differences in the law, and the blind would get a better deal. The law would be administered properly and there would be fewer appeals. Thirdly, we pointed out that one of the conditions which prompts people to appeal is the time factor. When one files a claim for disability benefits he generally waits around for a year, sometimes a year and a half, and sometimes even longer than that. Attempts to learn what is happening on a claim are met with lack of information, with the answer, "call us back in two weeks," with all kinds of other delays and misinformation. This delay and misinformation, the client not knowing what is being done, results in frustration. When at long last a decision is made, the client is less likely to be satisfied with it, he is angry with the system, and is more likely to appeal. Therefore, we suggested that a reporting system be instituted so that once a person has filed a claim for disability insurance benefits, every sixty days he would be notified that, indeed, his claim was being processed and he would be notified as to the status of that processing. We noted that this would certainly speed up the system since there would be a built-in incentive to show claimants that at least something was happening on their cases. Finally, in our testimony on the hearings and appeals issue, we pointed out that the largest problem, that all of what we had previously said was pointing to, was that the law is complex and the complexities in the law themselves create problems in understanding on the part of Social Security personnel, create problems in understanding on the part of claimants. One way to remove these complexities would be to adopt H.R. 281, the Disability Insurance for the Blind bill, introduced by the chairman of the subcommittee and co-sponsored by nearly a majority of the subcommittee and the full Committee on Ways and Means. Finally, we urged that action be taken on the Disability Insurance bill.

Well, October went along, November came, and then we got into December and the House Committee on Ways and Means decided that it had to deal with the appeals problem. It therefore adopted Public Law 94-202 which made certain alterations in the appeals process and tended to streamline it somewhat. Tomorrow, Mr. Trachtenberg, Director of the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals for Social Security, will be here to explain fully the changes in the law and the current appeals process. But briefly, it did this: Public Law 94-202 standardized the appeals time by saying that a claimant for SSI, and a claimant for disability benefits, or retirement benefits, or what have you, would have sixty days to appeal after receiving the decision from Social Security. The time for disability claims had been six months, the time for SSI claims had been thirty days. The second important change made by Public Law 94-202 was to create a common corps of hearing officers. Before this new law there was a corps of SSI hearing officers and then a corps of administrative law judges to handle the disability claims. Public Law 94-202 makes it possible for the same officers and administrative law judges to hear both types of cases. In summary that's what it did and I think the results have been to cut down on the appeals time.

After the opening of the Second Session of the 94th Congress, other issues related to Social Security came to the fore. One of those was the matter of long-range financing of the program, a critical issue to be addressed in the deficit situation which is now being experienced in Social Security. The second of those is another problem which I guess is related, in a sense, to the finance issue: that was the matter of public employees groups pulling out from Social Security. Most workers in America are currently required to participate in Social Security. It's mandatory. But for those persons employed by public groups and by nonprofit organizations, it is not mandatory to participate in Social Security, that is, it isn't mandatory for the group to do so. An individual can't make the choice. It has to be done by a particular group of public employees whether it be the police, the firemen, an entire work force for a city, or a state. I suppose the thing that kicked off the hearings about withdrawal from Social Security was the notice which New York City issued to the Social Security Administration that ninety percent of its people would withdraw from Social Security in 1978. That's a sizeable number of public employees and the reason given was that it was a costly program in which to participate and they may have to withdraw. We were concerned, as the organized blind of this country, for if we're ever going to pass the disability insurance bill and if we're going to maintain a somewhat viable program which we currently have, it's necessary that this program be financed and that the trust fund be maintained in a stable balance. Therefore, once again, we went to the barricades and testified before the Social Security Subcommittee, advocating basically universal coverage for all citizens and arguing that the withdrawal syndrome should not be allowed to prevail. In other words, there ought not to be a run on the Social Security system. A particulary difficult problem, of course, is that even though a group of public employees withdraws in terms of paying into the program, those employees in that group who have gained fully insured status under Social Security are still eligible to draw benefits upon their retirement. As a result you have some people who actually get a windfall benefit, because they haven't been paying in, but at the same time are eligible for benefits. So we expressed our concern and again we called for action regarding disability insurance for the blind.

You can see that we instituted a number of strategies to move forward in that disability insurance area, and I am pleased to be able to tell you that those strategies have indeed worked. That is this: Immediately following the hearings on withdrawal from Social Security which were held in late April, Subcommittee Chairman Burke kept his commitment to us to hold hearings on disability insurance. And that's exactly what occurred. In May and in June of this year the Social Security Subcommittee did, indeed, hold a series of public hearings on various issues regarding the disability insurance program under Social Security. We testified at those hearings on June 11, 1976, [see the August 1976 Monitor] a great day for the blind. Because it was on that day that we made our arguments fully before the Subcommittee on Social Security. In doing so we were pleased and quite honored, in fact, to be joined by two prominent Members of the 94th Congress. In the first place, Senator Vance Hartke, the introducer of our bill in the Senate, that's S.1183, the Disability Insurance for the Blind bill in the Senate, testified on behalf of that bill before the Social Security Subcommittee; and secondly, it was particularly pleasing to have Congressman Phil Burton of California testifying on our behalf before the Social Security Subcommittee in favor of disability insurance for the blind; and he made a strong statement. Incidentally, Congressman Burton is Chairman of the Democratic Caucus in the House and a long-time friend of the Federation. So June 11 was a great day for the blind.

At this juncture, the Social Security Sub-committee hasn't acted to mark up any legislation dealing with disability insurance, or universal coverage, or the financing, or any of the other matters I have been talking about. Hearings on additional financing problems were held in June and are being held in July when the Congress returns from the Independence Day recess and so we may yet be seeing action by the subcommittee fairly soon. At least there are indications that we will. To insure that this will happen, we need to have letters and action from Federationists all across this country. The time is ripe. At present we're in a pretty good position with respect to co-sponsors of our Disability Insurance for the Blind bill. For example, there are thirteen members of the Subcommittee on Social Security. Six of those members have either co-sponsored or introduced identical bills, that is, six including the chairman. Seven have not but there is support among those seven or some of them. Also turning to the full Committee on Ways and Means, nearly a majority of the members have either co-sponsored or introduced identical bills. Currently fifteen members have done this. So that places us in a very good position. Letters, telegrams, personal contacts, and so forth, are needed if we want to pass this bill. We have a good opportunity to do it, but Federationists from the grassroots level must act.

Now, let me take you into another area of Social Security legislation, that is, Supplemental Security Income. A year ago at this time, two bills of importance to the blind were introduced. Congressman James Corman, the acting chairman of the Public Assistance Subcommittee of the Committee on Ways and Means, introduced H.R. 8912, which, if passed, would add a housing allowance for recipients of Supplemental Security Income. The housing allowance would work like this: If a recipient's housing costs including rent, mortgage payments, taxes, utility bills, and so on, exceeded one third of his total income, then a Federal supplement would be added to the basic SSI payment to make up this amount. But the supplement would not exceed fifty dollars. H.R. 8912 would add some to the SSI payments of those who had particularly high housing costs and it would affect a good number of people across the country, and, in fact, many in this room. About a year ago the bill was reported from the Subcommittee on Public Assistance and languished in the full committee. There are indications at this point that H.R. 8912 may not move from the full committee to the Floor of the House and then over to the Senate. Therefore, we should take action once again because this bill will not be reported if we don't. Of course, we can try to have it introduced into the next session of the Congress and we will, but we ought to act now.

At the same time, Congressman Corman introduced H.R. 8911 which would make various changes in the SSI law. When originally introduced, it had some very good provisions in it, such as excluding the value of a home and so on, but it has undergone some rather major amendment on its way through the full Committee on Ways and Means. H.R. 8911 has been reported from the full committee now and is about ready for action by the full House. Currently it looks something like this: First, there is a provision which affects the blind called "presumptive eligibility on the basis of blindness." The program currently permits persons with disabilities other than blindness to receive payments on a presumptively eligible basis while the actual disability determination is going forward. When title XVI was adopted by the Congress, it was originally thought that the blindness determinations would not take so long and there was no reason to include the blind under the presumptively eligible provisions. There are those who say that we were included, that it was a matter of congressional intent that we should be included in this provision but that the Social Security Administration has ruled that there is essentially a difference between disability and blindness and, therefore, the presumptive disability provisions only apply to the disabled. So in H.R. 8911 the Congress is trying to provide a remedy by specifically stating that blind persons may be eligible on a presumptive basis and receive benefits prior to the time that the medical determination of blindness has actually taken place.

As a related matter, another provision of H.R. 8911 would allow persons who are receiving benefits on a presumptive eligibility basis, to receive the full amount of the Federal payment for those benefits. The limitation is currently one hundred dollars a month and H.R. 8911 would raise that to the full amount of the Federal payment. H.R. 8911 also would allow individuals to be considered adults at age eighteen rather than at twenty-one, the current Federal law. This will certainly assist some persons in terms of being considered on the basis of their own income and resources rather than the income and resources of parents or guardians. H.R. 8911 would establish, as well, an outreach program to locate those SSI recipients who are not now receiving Supplemental Security Income but would be eligible to do so and would permit the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare to contract with nonprofit organizations to participate in such an outreach program. H.R. 8911 in another provision would establish a procedure whereby state agencies could be responsible for emergency replacement checks available to SSI recipients whose regular checks are lost, stolen, or undelivered for some reason and would provide that the state agency making such emergency payments would then be reimbursed by the Social Security Administration for the proceeds of that SSI check.

H.R. 8911 would only take a small step toward excluding the consideration of the value of a home and that step would be something like this: Under the current law an SSI recipient may not own a home with a market value greater than $25,000, or $35,000 in Alaska or Hawaii. Of course, we are all aware of the fact that property values all across this country have escalated considerably and the result of this has been to render some persons who previously would have been eligible for SSI payments, ineligible for such payments. That is, if a person had a home of less than $25,000 or $35,000, respectively, when that home was purchased, the inflation in property values might render that person ineligible for SSI payments. To deal with this problem, H.R. 8911 amends the value-of-a-home provisions somewhat by basing the exemption on the purchase price of the home if it was lower than $25,000 or the appraised value at the time of the acquisition of the home. Therefore it takes it off of the strict current market value of the home which, of course, changes as property values increase.

There are a few other provisions to H.R. 8911 but that is just about where we are on it at this point. The bill will be brought up in the House after the July recess. Hopefuly it will be passed and then it will go to the Senate where perhaps there will be hearings. We will appear and discuss changes which should be made in H.R. 8911 consistent with resolutions which have been previously approved by this Convention.

Let us now turn to rehabilitation legislation and first to the extension to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Readers of the Monitor [February 1976] will recall that on December 10, 1975, the Federation presented testimony urging swift extension of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Although there was some disagreement between the Senate and the House concerning how long to extend the Rehabilitation Act, the basic Act itself was extended in time to permit funding authorizations and appropriations to go forward for fiscal year 1977. In fact the extension worked something like this: The life of rehabilitation programs in the country is assured at least through April 15, 1977. However, if by that time the act has not been extended for another year by the Congress, there is an automatic extension feature so that it will automatically run until April 1978. This was a compromise between the House and the Senate but it did result in the extension of the Rehabilitation Act.

Next we move to the matter of oversight hearings to examine the implementation of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. During the year, as a matter of fact, during February, March, April, and May, the Subcommittee on the Handicapped of the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, chaired by Senator Randolph of West Virginia, did hold hearings concerning overseeing the operation of rehabilitation programs and activities including title V of the Rehabilitation Act, affirmative action employment programs, and the nondiscrimination sections of the Rehabilitation Act. Of course, the Federation appeared in those hearings, and, again, readers of the Monitor will be able to find our detailed testimony in the April issue. In brief, we outlined seven areas of concern and urged the committee to move in certain directions. First, we talked about the organizational structure of state agencies and particularly state agencies for the blind. Today, one of the dominant questions in rehabilitation programs across the country is how such programs should be organized at the state level, that is, where in the state government should they be placed. The Rehabilitation Act by and large requires that there be a sole state agency or at least an identifiable unit within a larger agency of government to be responsible for providing rehabilitation services to disabled persons. The Rehabilitation Act also provides that a state, if it wishes to, may designate a separate agency to provide such services to blind persons. The thrust of our testimony regarding this issue was to point out the findings of a recent national study on services for the blind, the Mallas Report, and urge the committee to move in the direction of encouraging the establishment of separate state agencies for the blind. In this connection, we indicated our opposition to any proposals which might be advanced, and which have since then been advanced, which would result in waiving the sole state agency requirement in the Rehabilitation Act.

Next we moved to the area of independent living in rehabilitation. One of the concerns which has increasingly been raised with respect to rehabilitation programs is that agencies for the blind are unable to serve all persons as efficiently as could be the case because there are constraints on the purposes for which money may be spent. There is a good deal of red tape and paper shuffling in trying to provide the services which any particular client needs, regardless of age or vocational objective. To overcome this problem we suggested that funding under the Rehabilitation Act should be available for a whole range of services to be provided by state agencies for the blind including library services, distribution of talking books, sale and distribution of aids and appliances, counseling to blind children and their parents, and so on. This, we said, would overcome the problems of red tape and paper pushing which now plague administrators, particularly administrators of separate state agencies for the blind.

Third, we pointed to the necessity of developing improved placement programs. I think it's no secret to anyone here that very often our agencies are too willing to provide months, and even years, of training but when it comes down to the line of job placement, something happens to prevent it. In this connection we argued that on-the-job training programs should be given a priority in terms of the types of training for which clients should be considered. Not only that, but along with this, there should be a weighted closure system, a system which provides incentives to counselors and staff to assist persons in finding placement in competitive employment rather than placement as unpaid family workers—placement in the home as unemployed individuals.

Consistent with this, and moving forward, we talked with the committee about the continuing problem with respect to sheltered workshops. On this issue, the Federation renewed its call for the minimum wage in sheltered workshops for blind and otherwise disabled individuals. And we also renewed our plea to give such individuals full coverage under the National Labor Relations Act so that the right of the sheltered shop workers to organize would be fully recognized. Fortunately, the National Labor Relations Board itself has now taken jurisdiction in this area and this will be a major breakthrough for the blind of this country. Also another matter concerning sheltered workshops arose. During its testimony at the oversight hearings, the American Foundation for the Blind proposed that accreditation be required of all workshops and facilities seeking Federal funding under the Rehabilitation Act and that such accreditation should be required by 1980. You may not be surprised to learn that the American Foundation was joined in this by the American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities and the American Council of the Blind. A shabby business, indeed, and I think it shows that the Council has truly sold out to the agencies in this field. In any event, we opposed the requirement for accreditation and have indicated that position vigorously. I think it fair to say that we may need to go to the barricades to secure broad acceptance of our position on this issue.

Next, we talked with the committee about the means test in rehabilitation. Present regulations leave it optional with the state with respect to a means test in rehabilitation and many of the states do have some kind of a means test in determining eligibility for rehabilitation services. We argued, of course, that a person's need for rehabilitation services extends not from poverty or any condition of that sort, but more from the existence of a disability or blindness. We asked for the abolition of all means test provisions under the Rehabilitation Act. In this connection we also pointed to a problem area in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which requires that students take advantage of all available grant resources before receiving rehabilitation funds. And what we said was that we could certainly understand the desire to take advantage of all grant resources, but at the same time this provision should not be used to keep people out of training programs, and therefore we wanted the committee to clarify its intent with respect to this issue, stating clearly to the state agencies that this particular provision must not be interpreted in a manner which was so rigid that students would actually be prevented from the advantages of higher education.

We next moved to the area of the client assistance program and talked of client advocacy. For the most part we suggested to the subcommittee that the present client assistance pilot projects tended to duplicate in many respects the work of counselors in terms of informing the client of opportunities and rights, and we called for the replacement of the client assistance program with a formal hearing process similar to that which exists under Social Security, where there are three stages in the hearings and appeals process—first a review or reconsideration: second, a formal hearing; and third, an actual appeals council decision. And, finally, review in the Federal courts. We suggested that a procedure such as this be instituted for rehabilitation cases and that clients be fully informed of their right to appeal any decision made by a counselor or a supervisor.

The final area that we dealt with concerned Section 501, Section 503, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act in which we suggested the implementation of arbitration procedures similar to those in the Randolph-Sheppard Act to assure that blind and otherwise handicapped persons would have the full right of affirmative action under the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act. And we pointed to examples, particularly focusing on Federal employment, where blind applicants had encountered massive job discrimination, and we suggested that the only way to deal with this problem in any consistent and vigorous manner would be to establish arbitration procedures very similar to those which exist under the Randolph-Sheppard Act. I am pleased to report that since the time of our testimony on this issue. Congressman Edward Koch of New York has introduced legislation to require the establishment of arbitration panels and in introducing that legislation he cited problems which we had pointed out, particularly the State Department issue, in his accompanying statement, submitted in the Congressional Record. So that this particular matter is on its way to resolution.

This is a good transition into the final area that I really want to talk about and that is the matter of affirmative action and civil rights legislation. Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provides that government contractors and subcontractors must take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified handicapped individuals. John Read, Assistant Secretary of Labor, and others from the Labor Department were here to talk with us about this. Regulations implementing Section 503 were published and, of course, the National Federation of the Blind participated in the comment and analysis of the Labor Department's proposed regulations. I am pleased to report to you that a number of the changes which we suggested in our detailed comment on the proposed regulations were made. However, at the same time, other changes were not made. For example, we suggested that contractors and subcontractors develop goals and develop timetables which they would use in employing qualified handicapped individuals. Government contractors and subcontractors are required under Executive Order 11246 administered by the Labor Department to perform such activities with respect to employment of women and minorities but Section 503 omits the requirement for goals and timetables. We have a resolution on this which will be coming up later in the Convention, I believe, but we think it is critical to point out that the goals and timetable requirement does not exist in the Affirmative Action Program and consistent with positions taken by this organization previously, we will continue to fight for adoption of such procedures, so that we will be able to compete on terms of equality with other workers, not on terms of second-class participation.

Moving to the civil rights area, various legislation has been introduced to secure the civil rights of blind persons. Congressman Bob Wilson of California and Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island have introduced bills, Wilson's bill is H.R. 1632 and Senator Pell's bill is S. 2478, reprinted in the January Monitor of this year. So far the two civil rights bills are sitting in the Judiciary Committees of the House and the Senate, respectively. If we are going to get action on them we're going to have to do more letter writing, and more telephone calling, and have more contacts with our Members of the Congress. There are various bills introduced to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include physical disability and the same thing prevails with respect to those bills-no action by the Judiciary Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Again, we're going to have to look to Members of Congress who are committed to achieving this kind of civil rights and we're going to have to ask them to advocate for us to get hearings and action by the committees. In the civil rights area, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination against persons who are physically or mentally handicapped. The Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare has been assigned the task of proposing regulations and, in fact, has drafted regulations which were published in the Federal Register of May 17, 1976. Again, the Federation has submitted a detailed comment much of which was responded to by the Director for the Office for Civil Rights, Martin Gerry, when he appeared before this Convention. In July, the Office proposes to publish proposed regulations, and probably in September or October the final Regulations will come down and Section 504 will be on its way at least insofar as the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare is concerned. Now, every other Federal agency, department, and instrumentality is also required to publish regulations which are to be consistent with the regulations published by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, that is, the Secretary of HEW has been directed to take the lead in developing governmentwide standards to implement Section 504. You'll probably be seeing a good deal of material about this in the Monitor in the coming year. Our comment is certainly available for anyone who would like to have it. Much of the thrust of that comment suggests that, again, as with Section 503, Section 504 is being administered in a manner which is different from the administration of other civil rights legislation, specifically, title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the other two major pieces of civil rights legislation at the Federal level, and because of this we again find ourselves in second-class status as we seek to achieve our first-class and equal rights. Consistent with resolutions which have previously been adopted at this Convention, and resolutions which are going to be brought before the body on Friday, this Federation is absolutely committed to the principle of full equality for blind persons and we will fight for it.

Mr. President, I believe that this substantially concludes the Washington Report. I am pleased to have had this opportunity to bring it to you and I look forward to another year of working with all of you in this great national movement of the blind. Thank you very much.

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June 11, 1976

Mr. Chairman, it is with much pleasure that I appear this morning before this distinguished subcommittee to explore with you the possibilities for improvements in the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, and particularly those provisions which govern the conditions of eligibility for blind persons. Your bill, H.R. 281, would, in my judgement, provide a more reasonable and realistic set of eligibility requirements for the blind, thus enabling them to reach their long-sought goals of full productivity and complete self-support. I applaud their efforts, Mr. Chairman, and I express to you my commendation for your introduction of appropriate legislation and for your foresight in planning in scheduling this significant series of hearings to explore the problems which have arisen in the implementation of the Disability Insurance Law.

Mr. Chairman, when I was a member of the California State Legislature I became acquainted with several pioneering leaders of the organized blind who brought to us their well-reasoned proposals for meeting the economic and social needs of their fellow blind and for providing security with dignity and equality of opportunity. I was pleased in those days to sponsor much of this needed legislation, and I have been honored to speak on behalf of the blind here in the Congress on numerous occasions.

I say this is an honor, Mr. Chairman, because I believe that what they are proposing is offered not out of a theory of dependence but from a deep conviction of independence. Mr. Chairman, the blind of this country are asking for and they deserve programs which are designed to assist them in their progress toward bettering themselves, and I think we should eliminate all those provisions of law which presently operate to impede their efforts.

Mr. Chairman, title II of the Social Security Act which authorizes the payment of cash disability insurance benefits to blind persons is the single most significant effort which we have made legislatively to provide an insurance against the economic disadvantages of blindness. Yet, Mr. Chairman, beneficial as this program has been, it still falls short of what it actually ought to do, and, as I understand it, that is the purpose for your proposed legislation. In the first place, your bill would alter the conditions governing eligibility of blind persons by placing the standardized work requirement in the law so that a blind person would earn fully insured status under Social Security after having worked one year and a half. Secondly, your bill would remove the test of substantial gainful activity in recognition of the fact that blindness is, itself, a physical disability usually having serious economic consequences.

I have analyzed this bill, Mr. Chairman, and I believe it squarely meets the most significant economic adversities of blindness and recognizes the realities of life facing those who must live it without sight. Under existing law, it is not enough that a person is disabled by blindness to qualify for disability payments, nor is it enough that he is unable to get a job because he is blind. Rather, a person must be considered physically unable to do a job to become eligible for disability insurance benefits. Thus, many blind persons able to work desiring to work, but unable to get work because they are blind, still are not able to qualify for disability benefit payments.

Largely because of the limited employment opportunities available to the blind, many blind persons are unable presently to work long enough in Social Security-covered employment to meet the existing work requirement. It is a well-known fact that the long-term employment opportunities for the blind are extremely limited—limited not by the nature of blindness itself, but limited by the reluctance or the outright refusal of employers to hire blind persons, however well-trained and qualified they may be. It is also a matter of record that if blind men and women are able to secure work, they are usually hired for short-term jobs, requiring little or no skills, jobs which are being rapidly automated out of existence. Unhappily today the blind as employees are still far too often victims of the old adage "last hired, first fired."

Mr. Chairman, I want to emphasize that this unhappy employment situation facing the blind does not have to be. Blind people can and, when given the chance, are capable, productive workers. The problem is that blind people are not believed to have a productive capacity, and so they find great difficulty securing any kind of job at all. The six-quarters work requirement in the law would be an acknowledgement of the hard fact of life constantly confronting employable, but too often unemployed, blind persons.

The second provision of your bill eliminates the limitation imposed on the earnings of a blind disability insurance beneficiary. In doing this, it would recognize and correct one of the most frustrating features of the present Disability Insurance Program for the Blind. Under existing law, those who are blind and receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are often confronted with the reality that they may lose financially through their efforts at employment. Currently the only true feeling of long-range financial security belongs to those beneficiaries who remain idle rather than productive. Also, a considerable number of employable blind persons are now recipients of title XVI SSI benefits (and many of them are employed at subminimum wages, far below their employability capacity, in sheltered workshops). The minimum financial security provided to such people by the regular receipt of disability insurance payments, would permit them to work their way from public-dependence to self-dependence. In short, H.R. 281 as Federal law would serve in part to reduce the economic disincentives and economic uncertainties faced by each and every blind person who tries to function competitively in a society which is predominately oriented toward the use of sight.

Mr. Chairman, in conclusion, along with you, I do not support this improved Disability Insurance for the Blind bill as a benevolence or a kindness or a form of government charity to blind people. I argue for it, Mr. Chairman, because I believe it is sound financial policy and because it is the right thing to do. The blind of this country refuse to accept helplessness as the normal consequence of blindness but insist and demand the right to work and earn a living—to manage for themselves and to live independent lives. It is my belief, Mr. Chairman, that enactment of H.R. 281 will make this dream a reality and will redound to the benefit of society as a whole.  

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President, Management Services Associates, Austin, Texas

The day is long, the time is late, and accustomed as I am to public speaking, I am going to cut the presentation exactly in half, leave out the humor, and give you the meat of the coconut.

First let me say that I found this meeting very refreshing because, after have labored in the vineyard of trying to achieve governmental reform in human resources program areas for twenty-eight years, I thought there were few fighters left in the United States. [Applause.]

The research data that unfolded after an eighteen months' study of all fifty state programs for the blind, those of the District of Columbia, and two territories, is at best demoralizing. I regret that I must bring you some conclusions today which you are going to find disruptive. It will confirm some of your worst suspicions, but I believe that you have the personal courage not to be defeated by them. I know I have not. Considering the fact that the study was done a year ago and I see very little tangible progress to implement some of its most serious findings, I think all of us have a job cut out for us to do when we leave this meeting.

In general, state agencies for the blind are in a state of fluidity and instability which is almost classic in proportion. Of the fifty states and those territory programs which I enumerated, there are four programs which we list as superior; eight would fit in a good category; and going from that point, downgrading to very poor rather sharply, are thirty-eight state programs. Twelve state programs are in such a state of deterioration that it's remarkable that any services are provided to the blind of those states. And certainly if one were to become blind in any of those states tomorrow, the quality of services would be something less than humane. While all of us can be very critical of the Federal Government, and while there are many deficiencies of leadership as well as program, we must admit that without the leadership they have and the funding which they provide, over half our states would have no programs of any significance at all for the blind today. So you have to take the good with the bad and I don't think you can expect more than they are able to give. Sometimes perhaps that is our greatest deficiency.

Now why do I say that the programs are in a state of fluidity and instability? Well, basically we find this pattern: In the last ten years twenty-five states have changed their pattern of organization. In other words, half of our states have gone through some systematic change. Seventy-two percent of these changes took place in the last five years. As a matter of fact, in the last ten years alone, fourteen state agency programs for services to the blind moved into umbrella-type agencies. In 1975, just in that year, ten states made some type of change which we consider fundamental in their organizational pattern. To show you some of the results of this: In the nine-month period just before the study was completed, nine state directors of services to the blind lost their jobs and five of the positions remained open for more than six months. And, as a matter of fact, three of them remained open even when our study was being concluded, the instability was so great in those states. Now in itself, this would show the instability and fluidity, but many other problems needed to be looked at.

For example we knew that there were four classic patterns of organization in the various states. For example you had a separate agency of government, such as a commission, in ten states; you had a multiagency configuration, where a group of some-what similar type of agencies were jammed together to make an umbrella-type agency, and that existed in twenty states; then you had fifteen states that had their rehabilitation for the blind in a welfare or education agency whose thrust, of course, was not at all in the rehabilitation field; and then you had eight states which had their services in a rehabilitation agency, but where the rehabilitation function was provided mostly for nonblind persons. So you had these four patterns, and we looked at them very carefully. Now we didn't do a bicycle piece of research. We had the courage and the audacity to go out and talk to clients themselves; not only clients currently in the program but those who had gone through the program during the last five years. We also questionnaired several hundred clients, but we found, as we knew in the beginning, questionnaires are worthless. When you sit down in a man or a lady's home and talk to them for several hours, you begin to get a real feel for the service deficiency that characterized what we're trying to do for the blind in the United States. The deficiencies are very real. When you've heard for the three- or four-hundredth time, "I really appreciate what is being done, but the one thing I really want is some type of employment where I can be my own independent, self-sufficient person, but the agency is not able to do this," you begin to realize that we have some serious and fundamental problems that are not being met.

In looking at those four different types of organizational patterns, we were trying to decipher if there is any pattern superior to any other and much to our surprise we found that the separate agency of government, in all instances, rated superior or good, [applause] while the weakest programs tended to be those in umbrella-type agencies, with education-welfare hauling very close thereto [applause].

Now, to yourselves, since you're non-researchers, that conclusion would probably have been sufficient. But being a researcher, and realizing that when you find a conclusion that absolute, where the data is so loaded in one direction, you're close to something far more significant than just the conclusion. We spent a good deal of our own resources to go much deeper and therein lies, perhaps, the greatest importance of the whole study. It wasn't that we were able to identify fluidity or lack of program competence, or lack of personnel competence, because of the loss of so many competent people, or the instabilities or the changes, but what we were able to identify is that a principle of public administration, that we had assumed to be true for at least seventy-five years, that was initiated back at the turn of the century and became the base for all of public welfare programming in the United States, is fallacious. There is no reason to believe there is any factual legitimacy behind the principle we have assumed. Now the principle is called the economy of scale. Since most of you in this room have never studied public administration, you won't recognize what I mean when I say economy of scale, but basically what it is, is the jamming together of similar functions to achieve economy, efficiency, and more service for fewer dollars. How many times have you heard that motto: more efficiency, more economy, we'll get more service for the dollar; it's a political truism that often precedes the jamming together into an umbrella-type agency or some other type of reorganization of services to the blind and many other types of human resource services in addition. Economy of scale actually originated because, in the early days, public administrators found that if you cleaned a million gallons of water rather than a thousand, you could lower the unit cost for every gallon of water. Or if you had one tax-collecting system, rather than fifteen or twenty, the costs of collecting every tax dollar were less. Or if you had one garbage-collection system, you could collect more pounds of garbage for fewer dollars. When the welfare programs of the 1930's began to grow, and grow and grow, the assumption was made that the same principle would be operative in human resource programs. And all of us in the field of public administration made that fatal assumption. We now know that it is not a true assumption. We now know that economy of scale will not work with human service programs. [Applause.] We now know, scientifically, the reasons why American public welfare programs in general are failing. Is it not interesting that we have yet to have any attention in the Federal bureaucracy paid to this conclusion. I personally have gone and sat down with the President, a close personal friend, and discussed it with him. We have yet to find any interest on the part of the Federal bureaucracy who this year will spend something in the excess of $100 billion for welfare programs, on this critical issue. Perhaps all of us fighting together will call it to their attention more violently. [Applause.]

Now, where is the importance to you? Well, to put it very briefly, the importance lies in these areas: First of all, the field itself is in a state of extreme conflict. You could see today that tangible problems exist, and tangible solutions to those problems apparently are not coming down through duly constituted lines of authority and responsibility. We must, if we must, band together, with not only groups who are interested in programs and services to the blind, but we must band together with all of those individuals who have a handicapping condition or an interest therein and mount a program which, for the first time in the history of our country, becomes client-oriented. I served for three years on the President's Committee on Mental Retardation, and every time I went to Washington and completed a cycle of meetings, I said to myself, "What did I do today, what did we as a committee do today, that had any impact on any mentally retarded person anywhere in the United States?" When I got a successive line of zeros, I became rather disheartened. I tried all the techniques I knew, but I didn't find that Washington was going to provide the leadership. So I did what I think you will have to do. I moved back to my own locale and I started doing some things on my own. And I think the excellence of programming is not going to come out of a mind in Washington that is surrounded by a bunch of professional prostitutes that advise them. [Applause.] I think the leadership, the understanding, the dynamic programming, and the comprehensive type of service that we all know we must have is going to come from grass roots and it is going to be politically forced on those in our statehouses that are not responsive to good programming and in our Federal Congress and, of course, in the Federal bureaucracy.

The one side of our study that concerns me the most, because I have founded twenty-one companies that created 2,800 jobs, so I know a bit about the free enterprise system, is that I find a deepening and widening lag between where rehabilitation services are cutting off and where the creation of jobs is beginning. Now I am convinced in my own mind that this lag is so serious and fatal, that if we should continue on existing trends, that within five years the lag could be so wide that it might not be possible to humanely or economically be able to bring the two together as modern technology becomes more complex and more complex. I am also convinced that the dynamics of leadership in Washington do not lend themselves to the solution of this problem. I think the dynamics of leadership in groups like this as well as in the American free enterprise system, in industry, if you will, when brought together, can work on this problem. I hope that if any casual good comes from our study, it will be in the next year in setting up some really aggressive, effective, and specific committees to work on this whole problem of occupation. I believe that you are going to find in the near future some reports released out of Washington which will show that the average wage in the sheltered workshops in the last five years increased by thirty cents an hour. Big deal. The average wage of our employees in our industrial plants in the last five years almost doubled. Now, I don't have the time to tell you about all the experiments we have done in other areas of handicapping conditions that prove that handicapped people are not only employable but in many instances are far superior as a labor force. You know that and I know that. There are not enough industrialists who know it and there aren't enough people sitting in Washington who are willing to carry the message. Now, I am very much encouraged by the White House Conference on the Handicapped that is coming up. I've had occasion now to be briefed on what they're trying to do. I think they really need your support. This might the key forum you need to get some of your ideas across. At least it's the best forum we've had and it deserves some impartial consideration. Dr. Jernigan, in the next year I think this group has the responsibility to join with those of us who have the responsibility of creating jobs in the business world, to try to figure out how we can upgrade employment. Eighty to ninety percent of the blind of this Nation are not unemployed but they're grossly underemployed. But this has to be corrected, I feel. [Applause.]

My final conclusion is that I stand ready to battle with you knowing that you're not going to win a popularity contest. Thank you very much. [Cheers and applause.]  

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Director, Bureau of Hearings and Appeals, and Chairman, Appeals Council, Social Security Administration

May I say how happy I am to be given the opportunity to inform you about the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals, and the hearings and appeals process within BHA. While perhaps there are more exciting and provocative topics, I doubt that for a Social Security claimant trying to prosecute his claim against the Social Security Administration, and who has twice been turned down at the lower levels, that anything could be more relevant and. perhaps, more important than what the hearings and appeals process in the Social Security Administration, and, indeed, the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals is all about.

The Social Security Act specifically provides that an individual has a right to a hearing and judicial review if he does not agree with the determination or decision made on his claim. The responsibility for such hearings and review of decisions emanating from such hearings has been assigned to the bureau's administrative law judges, whom I'll refer to as ALJ's, and to the Appeals Council, respectively.

BHA, the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals, is a component of the Social Security Administration. However, the decisional authority of the ALJ's and the Appeals Council stems from a direct delegation of authority by the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. This direct delegation, which bypasses the Commissioner of Social Security, provides for complete decisional independence, totally separate from any other adjudicatory body in the Social Security Administration. The right of hearing has been in the Social Security Act since the inception of its monthly benefit program in January 1940 and increasingly has been proven to be a valuable substantive right.

The public has, in our opinion, more confidence in the administration of the Social Security program knowing that its determinations and decisions are subject to an independent hearing process and judicial scrutiny. Our hearings and appeals processes are in accord with the Administrative Procedure Act. This act is designed to protect the public from arbitrary and capricious adjudications by governmental agencies. To the extent possible, the proceedings are kept informal. We constantly consider that, in the main, we are dealing with the rights of individuals who have had very little occasion to be party to any formal proceedings, particularly those involving the Federal Government. In my opinion, our procedures are quite fair but that is not to say that they are perfect. They are continually reviewed to make them even more responsive to the needs of the people we serve.

Our system of justice was reinforced by the majority opinion of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Richardson v. Peraleis which noted that the Administrative Procedure Act was modeled upon the Social Security Act and held, in general, that the hearing practices of the bureau do provide the level of due process required by the law.

BHA is facing greater challenges than ever before. I guess you would call it growing pains. Amendments through the years have broadened the coverage and benefits to which individuals may become entitled under programs administered by Social Security. With this program expansion and the general public awareness of the right to challenge governmental decisions, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of hearing requests filed and processed each year. For example: in fiscal year 1972, the bureau processed 61,000 requests for hearings. By comparison, in fiscal year 1975, we processed 121,000 cases, a ninety-eight percent increase. In fiscal year 1976, we processed over 150,000 cases.

The bureau has about four thousand employees including more than six hundred administrative law judges and an Appeals Council of seventeen members. I might note that we employ more than half of the entire administrative law judge corps of the Federal Government.

At this point I would like to give some background preparatory to my discussion of the administrative hearings and appeals process in Social Security. To begin, as I noted earlier, the claimants coming before an ALJ generally have had very little experience with administrative procedures. Often they are not capable either emotionally, physically, or educationally to present their cases. Our administrative law judges are expected to assist these claimants. We are dealing with social legislation and we must conduct ourselves with understanding. John Galsworthy once said that as important as it is that people should get justice, it is even more important that they should be made to feel, and thus believe, that they are getting it.

While our proceedings are not adversary, the administrative law judges must conduct these proceedings in such a manner as to produce a complete record on which to base a sound decision, and the claimant must walk out of that hearing room with the full realization that he has received a fair and impartial hearing. In the field of disability particularly, with the varying personality and background of each claimant, this indeed is a difficult job. In about sixty percent of the cases, the claimant is not represented. Of course, in the vast majority of cases, and particularly in disability cases, the government is not represented either. However, in all cases, it is the responsibility of the ALJ to see that the claimant's rights are fully protected. . . .

Whether or not the claimant is represented, the ALJ is responsible for establishing an adequate and complete record on which he can render his decision with proper findings of facts and conclusions of law. To put it plainly, he must see that every person appearing before him who is entitled to benefits receives them and, conversely, that those not entitled to them not be allowed benefits. This is not an easy task and requires special talent, training, and temperament. I believe our ALJ's meet these standards and also possess a high degree of sophistication and professionalism. Administrative law judges are appointed from the Civil Service Register under the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act. To be appointed, administrative law judges are required to have at least seven years of practice as an attorney, including in that seven-year period extensive trial practice or experience in administrative law. So we are not taking people just out of law school. These people had to pay their dues and had to perform rather well in the past before they could become administrative law judges. The ALJ's in BHA are located in over 154 offices throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. It has been the bureau's policy for many years to decentralize our ALJ staff so as to be more immediately responsive to those requiring our services. We endeavor to hold hearings within seventy-five miles of the plaintiff’s home and, where health or special circumstances require, hearings are held in individuals' homes or in institutions if they cannot meet us elsewhere.

I would now like to give you a brief run-down of our procedures. I think I could probably have picked some sexier topic to discuss, but as I indicated earlier. I think it is important to know how the system works. Upon request for hearing, all documentary evidence with respect to the appeal is sent to the hearing officer who serves the claimant's area. Now, this is very important. The administrative law judge has had no connection, directly or indirectly, with the claim prior to the receipt of the request for hearing and he cannot be intimidated in any way by anybody in terms of exercising his full judicial responsibility on that particular claim, or on any claim. We do not have pleadings, and a request for hearing, filed within the prescribed time, brings the case before the ALJ for what we in the law call a de novo hearing. A notice of hearing is filed at least ten days prior to the date of hearing. This, of course, is mailed to the claimant and, if he has a representative, to the representative. It specifically advises the claimant of the general and specific issues on which evidence will be taken, of his right to present testimony, and documentary evidence, and to suggest findings of fact, conclusions of law, and to present oral or written arguments. Even though he has already been advised of his right to representation, the notice of hearing again specifically calls his attention to this right. The representative need not be an attorney and individuals within your own organization can represent claimants at hearings. If you wish to become more involved in this activity, we will be glad to provide you with guidance.

At the hearing, the ALJ generally opens with a statement summarizing what has occurred up to that time and restates the issues which are to be decided. In advance of the hearing the ALJ will have compiled all documentary evidence and jurisdictional papers. These are offered to the claimant for examination and, after consideration of any objections, are entered into evidence. Of course, the claimant or the representative has the right to inspect documents prior to the hearing. The oral hearing is reported verbatim and all testimony is taken under oath or affirmation. The parties have the right to examine all witnesses, to submit additional evidence, and to raise objections or arguments. In these informal administrative hearings, the rules of evidence, normally followed in judicial proceedings, are not followed. Any evidence that is relevant and not cumulative or redundant is allowed in the record. As I noted earlier, the ALJ has the responsibility for the adequacy of that record. Therefore, he may request the submission of additional evidence on his own or otherwise secure evidence to obtain a complete record on which a sound decision can be based.

At present, more than eighty-five percent of the hearing requests which are filed concern disability issues. As you know, both the Social Security and the Supplemental Security Income programs provide for benefits to the disabled and to blind individuals who meet the statutory test of blindness. It should be noted that even though an individual with a slight impairment does not meet the statutory definition of blindness, impaired vision will be considered along with any other impairment in determining whether the person is disabled.

Disability determinations are as difficult and elusive as any adjudications in the Federal system. The legal complexity and economic impact of these decisions are equal to or greater than those of ALJ's in any of the other Federal agencies. As stated by one Federal District Court judge a number of years ago, "To particularize that a certain human being with individualistic impairment and limitations may or may not have employment opportunity in a certain area may require an elite group of soothsayers superbly trained to probe the many intangibles." Probably what the judge meant in referring to the elusiveness and complicated nature of a determination under disability relates to the fact that the finding of disability combines elements of medicine, accounting, the availability of jobs, and the uniqueness of each individual. A determination that an individual is under a disability is a legal conclusion—not a medical diagnosis, sociological theory, or philosophical premise. In a disability hearing, the ALJ may arrange for a medical consultative examination which is usually accomplished through and with the assistance of the state agency that works with the Social Security Administration in the implementation of the program, or he may secure other medical evidence which could have a bearing on the case. The claimant is given an opportunity to comment on the evidence before it is made an exhibit and to submit rebuttal evidence. In addition, the ALJ can call a specialist or certified medical advisor to give expert medical testimony at the hearing; or a vocational expert to provide information as to whether there are jobs in the national economy in sufficient number which an individual with the claimant's residual capacity and transferable skills might perform. That's a mouthful but that is what is required in order to have a complete record and have complete findings under the ALJ's decision, as the law requires. In the notice of hearing, the plaintiff and his representative are informed when expert witnesses are to appear and, of course, are afforded opportunity to examine these witnesses at the hearing. Now away from disability and back to the process itself, if I may.

The entire resources of the Social Security Administration are available to the ALJ to assist in securing needed evidence, and beyond that, the ALJ has subpoena power which he may exercise when the circumstances dictate. When the ALJ is satisfied with the completed record, he issues a written decision which affirms, reverses, or modifies the prior determination. He has no powers of equity. A copy of the decision is mailed to the claimant and his representative with the notice of the right to request, within sixty days, the Appeals Council to review the ALJ's decision. The Appeals Council may review a request by a claimant, where he or she is not satisfied with the ALJ's decision, or the Appeals Council may on its own motion decide to look at a case even where the claimant has not filed a request for review. These are the most important things for this audience, for if you are not happy with the ALJ's decision, the Appeals Council will make a thorough review of that record and may grant review, may send the case back to the ALJ for additional evidence, may take it on their own to render a decision, and, in a good number of cases where there is an appeal from an ALJ's decision, the claimant winds up being successful. Oftentimes it's due to additional evidence that's brought into the case that wasn't available when the ALJ had the case. So much for the Appeals Council.

I thought that no presentation could be complete if it didn't provide some useful hints should you ever be presenting a case before an ALJ. May I suggest the following: (1) Obtain from your local Social Security Office the reasons for the unfavorable determination and the applicable provision of law. (2) If you are unable to fully understand the reasons and the provisions of the law involved, get someone to represent you. Obtain an attorney or some other knowledgeable individual. (3) Obtain all the evidence available to support your claim. (4) If you are having any difficulty in securing evidence, your local Social Security Office and the ALJ will be glad to assist. (5) Submit any additional evidence early. The ALJ may be able to rule in your favor without holding a hearing. (6) Be sure to carefully study the notice of hearing which will state the issues to be decided and on which the evidence will be taken. (7) Prior to the hearing, you will be given an opportunity to examine the documents in your file. Make sure that you do examine those documents and make certain that the information contained therein is correct. (8) Make arrangements to have any witnesses available who can testify as to the facts in your case. You can have your physician testify, and, if not available, make sure that he or she has submitted a full report on your condition, bearing in mind that all impairments may be considered in deciding whether you are disabled. Remember that the ALJ looks at the total person. Next, if you do not understand a question at the hearing, ask the ALJ to clarify it. He or she will be glad to do so and answer all questions fully. And lastly, make certain that all your contentions are known to the ALJ.

In conclusion, we in the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals are ever mindful of the important role assigned to the administrative proceedings by the Congress, the Social Security Administration, and the judicial authorities. We shall continue to work unceasingly to achieve excellence in meeting our challenges and obligations to ensure full and equal justice in the administrative process.

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On June 28, 1976, we the blind of America, solely through the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind, reached another monumental milestone in our quest for security, equality, and opportunity. On that date the National Labor Relations Board reversed long-standing policy and decided to take jurisdiction over sheltered workshops for the blind in this Nation in the case of the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind (225NLRBN0.46). [For background information on this matter see the Braille Monitor for June 1976.] The controlling sentence in the Board's decision is as follows: "The sole basis for asserting jurisdiction over charitable organizations will now be identical with those which are not charitable."

To give some background and to demonstrate the importance of this decision, let me describe briefly the function of the National Labor Relations Board and the problem which sheltered shop employees have had because of previous Board action. Under the National Labor Relations Act, employees in our country have the federally protected right to organize and to select a union to act as bargaining representative with whatever employer might be involved. The Board plays two roles in the protection of the rights of employees to organize: (1) It conducts secret ballot elections among employees so that they can decide whether or not they wish to be represented for purposes of collective bargaining. If the union wins the election the employer is under a legal duty to bargain "in good faith" with the union over wages, hours, and working conditions, etc. (2) If the employer engages in what are called unfair labor practices, the Board will investigate the charge and. if it finds that the allegations are true, will order the employer to right the wrong. For instance, the most common example of an unfair labor practice would be for an employer to fire the persons most heavily involved in the employees' unionizing effort. Such conduct on the part of an employer is flatly illegal. If the Board finds proof that an employee is fired for his or her union activity, the Board will order the employer to hire the employee back to his or her former position, and will also order the employer to pay back wages which have been lost. Another example of an unfair labor practice is for an employer to pretend to bargain when, in fact, the employer is in no sense bargaining "in good faith." Again, in this situation, the Board will order the employer honestly to bargain and to reach an agreement which is fair to all.

So what does all this have to do with the blind and why was the June 28 date such a milestone in the history of our movement? It all boils down to this. While the rights described above together with the Federal protection involved have been available to most Americans for many years, these rights and protections have not been available to blind persons who find themselves employed in sheltered workshops. In 1960, the blind of California who were then employed in sheltered workshops attempted to unionize, and asked the National Labor Relations Board to conduct an election so that the employees could decide whether or not they wished to have union representation. The Board was hoodwinked and flimflammed. It was told that the sheltered workshops in question were really not employers but rather were rehabilitation centers. It was told (and the Board believed it) that the employees were really not employees but rather were clients who were in training for jobs in competitive employment. Therefore, the Board decided not to assert jurisdiction over the California or any other sheltered workshop in the country. Pushing to one side the legal jargon, what that 1960 decision meant was that sheltered shop employees in our country had no rights. They could not unionize; they could not bargain for better wages and working conditions; they could not seek to improve their conditions through collective bargaining. In short, they have been at the mercy of shop management and have had to be happy with whatever management would be willing to give. Federationists know all too well what this has meant for blind persons who have had no opportunity to work at jobs other than those in sheltered shops. It has meant pay at rates less than the Federal minimum wage. It has often meant no paid vacations, no paid sick leave, no paid holidays, no unemployment insurance benefits or workmen's compensation benefits. In short, it has meant an absolute exploitation of sheltered shop employees. It has meant that shop employees have been expected to be grateful for what little handouts there were, and that if they didn't like it, no recourse was available. This deplorable situation has been made even worse by reason of the fact that, in general, in those states where sheltered shops are particularly oppressive, the rehabilitation agencies for the blind are also extremely poor and have done virtually nothing to provide meaningful training so that blind persons would have the opportunity to work at meaningful, rewarding jobs in regular, competitive employment.

As a result of the new Board decision, all of this can now be changed. I suspect that I do not need to discuss in this article the merits of self-organization. Federationists are fully aware of the value of collective action as evidenced by the successes which we have achieved as a movement. The same rationale applies when employees of a particular employer join together for the purpose of achieving the strength and power which can be generated by numbers.

Putting it another way, we now have the same rights as other employees in our country to unionize. No longer must we be willing to settle for the meager handouts of sheltered shop management. No longer can we be forced to tolerate oppression. If we choose to do so, we can join together; we can ask the National Labor Relations Board to conduct an election so that we can select professional bargaining representatives; we can win those elections, and shop management personnel will be required to negotiate with us so that we can have some say in what kinds of wages and working conditions we will have. In other words, we can now have some voice in what life will be like for us. We can demand reasonable wages! We can demand reasonable working conditions! We can demand reasonable paid vacations! We can demand reasonable paid sick leave! We can demand reasonable fringe benefits! We can demand that reasonable grievance procedures be established! We can force management to sit down with us to discuss our needs! In short, we can demand the rights and privileges which are ours as full-fledged, first-class citizens, and the Federal Government through the National Labor Relations Board will protect those rights!

It must be understood, of course, that what we are discussing will not simply happen automatically or by accident. We will need to go to the barricades and take affirmative action in organizing. Sometimes, there will be risks. For example, Mr. Dick Mohill, the leading organizer in the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind case, was fired because of his union activity. We have now filed an unfair labor practice complaint in Dick's behalf, so be assured that this wrong will be righted and that the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind will regret the day that it took the action which it so foolishly decided to take. It took people with guts and courage like Dick Mohill, Rami Rabby, Charles Ivory, and Ed Disch, the organizer for Local 5050 of the Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO people who were willing to lay it on the line to help bring about our victory.

What is needed is shop employees who have the courage to organize fellow workers so that we can take advantage of the Board's authority and make working conditions tolerable in sheltered workshops. The Communications Workers of America, the union which worked with us in the organizing of the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, has indicated a willingness to work with us for the organization of any shop any place in the country. There are, of course, other fine unions which would most likely work with us particularly since we have now made the dramatic breakthrough which we have made. I mention the Communications Workers only because we know that they meant it when they said that they would work with us. Officials of the Communications Workers of America have provided me with a list of all of its organizers throughout the country. If you are interested, contact me and I shall furnish you with the name of the representative in your area.

Again, the Federation has worked tirelessly for this change in the law for many years. We have worked both through the National Labor Relations Board and by introducing bills into the United States Congress which would have specifically included sheltered workshops under the coverage of the National Labor Relations Board. The potential effect of this revolutionary Board decision upon the lives of thousands of blind Americans is mind-boggling. For the first time in our history we have the opportunity, if we take advantage of it, to make sheltered workshops decent places in which to work. (It must be understood that the Board generally does not have jurisdiction over governmental agencies and, therefore, this decision might not affect state-owned workshops. Each case will be handled on an individualized basis. If the shop is state-owned, but functions essentially as a private shop, the chances are the Board will assert jurisdiction. For example, if it has a private board of directors, has subcontracts with private enterprise, and does not regard its employees as "state employees," the Board would most likely take the case. Further, many states now have state labor boards which generally take all cases which the National Labor Relations Board refuses to take.)

This revolutionary breakthrough for the blind can all be summed up in a name the National Federation of the Blind! No one else cared. No one else took action. No one else stood up to be counted. No one else went to the barricades.

Where was NAC during the time of this struggle? Presumably sitting peacefully in its ivory tower with business as usual—hurting blind people. You will recall from my June article that NAC has accredited the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and that it cares not that the Lighthouse's employees have been treated as mere slaves. NAC, one is tempted to wonder how long your conscience will permit you to do the things which you do or, perhaps more accurately, how long you will continue to refuse to do the things which you ought to do but which you will not do.

What of the American Council of the Blind? Again, such meager business as it conducts is as usual—nothing. ACB, what have you done recently to improve the conditions of the blind in this country? We know, of course, that by your support of NAC, the American Foundation for the Blind, and other repressive agencies, you have hurt many of us. One wonders when you will decide to help.

And what of the National Federation of the Blind? As Dr. Jernigan recently put it, "We know who we are and we will never go back!" Our tremendous victory in this case has moved us another step closer to full-fledged, first-class citizenship for the blind of this Nation. Our Federation is the only viable force in the country today which can bring about our ultimate goal. We are alive, vibrant, and on the move. This victory should inspire us all to work a little harder to achieve other milestones. Working together through the National Federation of the Blind, the future is ours!

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Monitor readers will recall that on June 28, 1976, the Federation reached another milestone in its history when the National Labor Relations Board decided to take jurisdiction over sheltered workshops in this country. As was indicated in the previous article, this meant that for the first time in our history blind persons employed in sheltered workshops would have the right to select a union to represent them for purposes of collective bargaining. Put in more practical terms, this meant that shop employees would have some say as to the kinds of wages, hours, and working conditions under which they would work.

The next step in the process was a secret ballot election conducted by agents of the National Labor Relations Board so that the Chicago Lighthouse employees could vote as to whether or not they wished to be represented by a union. On July 28 that election was held. The union was voted down, 68 to 50.

I suppose that there are at least two reasons why the election went the way that it did. First, if you will recall, the Lighthouse fired the leading organizer during the course of its anti-union campaign. This action on the part of the Lighthouse obviously frightened many employees. Several people came to Dick Mohill and asked, "If they can do this to you, what will they do to us?"

Secondly, I am sure that some employees have been put down for so long that they are simply willing to accept whatever the Lighthouse hands out and did not really believe that unionism would help them to achieve better benefits if, indeed, they believe that they deserve better benefits at all.

So where do we go from here? So far as the leaders of the union movement in Chicago are concerned, they are not disheartened or discouraged. They intend to continue with their effort so that the next time there is an election they will win. (Under National Labor Relations Board rules, an election may not be held for another twelve months.)

The rest of us must have that same kind of courage and faith. Now that we have persuaded the National Labor Relations Board to take jurisdiction over sheltered workshops, we must take advantage of that Federal protection and work to organize shops throughout this Nation, so that employees will have far better wages and working conditions than they have had in the past. In other words, we should not let the outcome of the Chicago election shift us from our course. Rather, we must redouble our efforts and continue to stimulate shop employees to work for better lives and livelihoods. I suppose, if one wants to be philosophical about it, that we might well have expected to lose our first election since the whole concept of unionism in the shops is so new to us.

Therefore, even though this first election was lost, I do not regard our cup as being half empty. Rather, by reason of our having established the new National Labor Relations Board policy, I regard our cup as being half full. We must now fill it all the way by working with all that is in us to the end that, in future elections, we will not be frightened or coerced into giving up our rights, but will win those elections so that sheltered shop employees may live decent lives which are filled with self-respect and dignity.

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Before this National Federation of the Blind came into being, the dictum from the Gospel according to St. Matthew prevailed: that "if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." This was literally taken to be the "Gospel truth." Several of Kenneth Jernigan's inspired addresses revealed the influence of this canard in the crucial areas of literature and history which have so prejudicially influenced attitudes to the blind into harmful, discriminatory, and bigoted stereotypes through the ages.

But that was B.C.—"Before Chick"—and now A. J.—"After Jernigan"—the miracle of change for the better is taking place in erasing this libel. Certainly in the quarter century since this speaker began to march to the beat of this historic movement, he has witnessed a virtual miracle occur in the betterment of the cause of the blind.

Our leaders and you, our Convention delegates from all fifty states, are the living proof that the blind do lead the blind. We know that each of us has to realize his own potentialities and cope with the special circumstances of our own life. In a more fundamental sense the blind who lead the blind stress the goal each of us is striving to achieve together—that the good of each, the good human life requires liberty, equality, opportunity, and security to engage in what Jefferson wished for each of us-the successful pursuit of happiness.

The blind who lead the blind understand that the happy or good life is essentially the same for all human beings. What is really good for any human being is really good for all other human beings; so if happiness consists in a life enriched by all the things that are really good for a man, happiness is the same for all men and women.

We here are the living testimony to the NFB-achieved miracle that the blind do lead the blind—that we don't need or want an American Foundation for the blind Blind to lead the blind; that we don't need or want a National Accreditation Council for the Blind to lead the blind; that we do have a National Federation of the Blind and by the Blind to lead the blind.

This is where we are in Los Angeles on July 6, 1976, in the day when the blind lead the blind: As Mayor Bradley told us this morning, David Hartman became the first blind person in 104 years to graduate from an American medical school when he received his medical degree from Temple Unversity this June 2. Hartman, who is twenty-six, was blinded by glaucoma when he was eight. He will practice psychiatry and rehabilitative medicine. After compiling straight A records in high school and college, Hartman was rejected by nine medical schools. But the tenth took him, and now he is the first blind person to receive a medical degree.

This is indicative of the new era that is dawning under the able leadership of the blind who lead the blind.

Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein were men whose probings into new frontiers changed the attitudes and beliefs of mankind toward the past from which he came, toward himself and toward the space and time in which he and the globe on which he dwelled existed in relation to the vast orbital, nebular universe.

Darwin attacked man's need for ego afflatus out of which he had created God in man's image. Man was not the creation painted in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel masterpiece as coming to life out of the inert clay at the touch of the Almighty's fingertip. Instead, blasphemed Darwin the heretic, he had evoluted through the aeons from the primeval slime to an arboreal habitat as a primate—an ape from whom man had descended to earth, learned to stand erect, to walk, and to become humanoid.

Freud stormed the bastions of man's rationality and facade to reveal the hidden terra incognita of the disguised and repressed inner being of his libido, id, and ego which, like the iceberg, was nine-tenths concealed beneath his surface in the subconscious, with its fears and passions and schizoid irrationalities and nightmares.

Einstein shattered the Ptolemaic universe already battered by Copernicus, with his theory establishing the interrelation of mass and energy. He completely revised existing concepts of fundamental universal laws and paved the way for the atomic age. Against skeptics, the orthodox church and entrenched beliefs this trinity of explorers into the uncharted seas of knowledge prevailed with the truth of their brilliant insights put forward with unflagging and courageous perseverance against the storms and diatribes of the outraged defenders of the establishment.

Since these men, our individual sense of frontier has been drawing inward until today the greatest voyages are not the astronauts rocketing to the moon, but those of self-discovery for enlightenment, personal growth, self-understanding and self-appreciation of the potential regardless of our degree of sight to fulfill one's self through proper training and education and to realize one's hopes and aspirations.

Like these three, our own immortals, Jacobus tenBroek and Kenneth Jernigan were brilliant and iconoclastic searchers for truth whose new insights and revolutionary views concerning the blind person and his world brought counterattacks and ostracism from the paternalistic, patronizing establishment lords of things-as-they-are. Out of their knowledge and keen-honed intellects they preached a doctrine of self-understanding, self-help, self-organization, and self-fufillment that was a scathing indictment of the benevolent despotism and feudalism that maintained the blind as indentured servants and wards whose obeisance to the status quo was their necessary passport for service. It is no wonder that these blind men who led the blind and who challenged as frauds those who proclaimed themselves the monopolists of the only Sinaitic Revelation, and their NFB movement were an anathema to be exorcised and excommunicated, by the AFB-NAC establishment and their sycophant, Judas lackey, the American Council of the Blind.

The first of this famous Chick-Ken duo who hatched the NFB movement of the blind who lead the blind, Chick tenBroek, became the prophet of a new revelation of the blind as normal individuals who cannot see, but with the right to fulfillment of their talents, aspirations, and personalities. Chick pointed the way to self-discovery, and fought for equality of education, training, and employment opportunity to achieve the potential of which the normal blind man was capable. He realized that only through the instrument of a democratic movement in which the blind led the blind could they storm the imprisoning fortresses that girded the country of the blind so that they could leave the captivity of their feudal serfdoms, and cross the frontier to freedom and the chance to share the American dream of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Chick is gone but his spirit marches on with us here today. His Joshua is Kenneth Jernigan, and today the struggle still persists on new battlefields. We still have to put on our warpaint and go out to do battle: for a white cane law here, for proper vending stand and sheltered workshop conditions there, for the right to teach somewhere else against all attempts to homogenize us, to set standards for us rather than with us and et cetera, et cetera and et cetera, as the King of Siam said to Anna.

Today we are embattled on this field of who justifiably and democratically accredits whom. With the knowledge of how far we have progressed from what we were, with the promise that we can scale the heights though the climb be hard and wearisome and beset by obstacles to be overcome, we shall be alchemists of the present under our peerless blind leader of the blind. Dr. Jernigan, the fighter who has taken the torch from Chick tenBroek's hands, knowing that we are part of the process that is turning the base metal of the pejorative "blind" to the golden image of a man who like all normal men can be a citizen who is master of his soul and his life, and a contributing member to a better life for himself, his community, his nation, and all mankind.

Here and now the blind who lead the blind pledge that the American tricentennial shall see freedom, equality, security, and opportunity for the blind as a goal attained. Here today as we begin this third century of our Nation's existence, the blind who lead the blind declare that a blind person can be an equal citizen in society provided we overcome the critical problem facing the blind in our time—the attitude of the sighted majority who control the pass—ways to equality of training, opportunity, employment, and first-class citizenship in our society. So long as this battle is not won the blind will remain among the most disadvantaged, discriminated-against minorirty group in our society.

Last year I was privileged to read Dr. Jernigan's keynote address to the first World Conference of the Jewish Blind in Jerusalem, Israel. We also showed our NFB film at that historic meeting. Golda Meir was so impressed by this conference that she asked to see me. I told her that "unlike the Abu Rudeis oil fields, the blind of Israel are a rich natural resource which you don't have to give back to the Arabs."

The blind who lead the blind have made a commitment to a comprehensive program of positive and creative life for the properly educated and trained blind in a democratic society. They know that this great movement offers us an opportunity to serve the blind in a fiduciary capacity to the best of our talents, knowledge, professional training, and experience.

We meet together in a time of ferment, innovation, and experiment on the frontiers of social action, civil rights, public education, and intercommunity relations between the blind and the sighted world in general and personnel directors and business and industrial leaders who command the gateways to employment in particular. Obviously we will experience frustrations, disagreements, and setbacks. But we know from the achievements of the blind under the leadership of the blind that we will continue to make significant contributions to equality, security, and employment opportunities for the blind.

The fact is that it is the blind who lead the blind who developed a program of legislation, social action, and public education. The blind who lead the blind proved through the actions of the NFB that legislation and litigation are sharp tools in the battle against discrimination. Legal action, however, has only an indirect bearing upon the reduction of personal prejudice. It cannot influence thoughts or instill subjective tolerance. The law is intended only to control the overt expression of intolerance in the denial of proper employment, education, public accommodations, and housing opportunities. But outward action as our psychological and sociological findings determine has an eventual effect upon inner habits of thought and feeling: for this reason legislative action has been one of the major moves in reducing, not only public discrimination, but private prejudice as well.

We have made our most progress in this area of legislation which has opened up primarily civil service and teaching opportunities for the properly educated and trained blind.

The other major area on which we are just making inroads is public education. This is necessary to create a positive aura to overcome the latent subconscious prejudice of the majority culture. Proper public education provides a positive framework against which personnel directors and employers are willing to open opportunities. It is in this area which the blind who lead the blind feel is among the most important positive paths for us to follow. A survey made by a committee on public education showed that the incidence of employment for the blind was in direct correlation to the success of the public education programs in these communities. That is why it has become a cliche that if you are blind it is best to be blind in Iowa.

The blind who lead the blind demand equal acceptance and participation in society. They declare that blindness is not essentially a severe handicap: that blind people are normal human beings: that blindness in itself is only a physical lack which can be met and mastered, not an impairment of mental powers or psychological stability. Therefore, all arbitrary barriers and discriminations—legal, economic, and social—based on the false assumption that the blind are somehow different from those with sight must be abolished in favor of equality of opportunity for all who are blind.

In summation we ask what is it that the blind essentially want from society and those in the seats of power? We declare that the blind want the recognition that we have the ability and the right to be equals and partners in determining the agency and government policies that concern us because they control our destiny and the quality and shape of our lives and position in society.

Therefore the blind who lead the blind want the sighted world to have a respect for life, and the lives of the blind: to have a sense of the rights of the blind: to operate as partners with the blind in all decisions without secrecy and with decency and integrity; to join as equals with the blind and with an equal concern in formulating together the best program and standards possible for the blind.

We declare that we cannot, we will not accept anything less.

Under the blind leaders who do lead the blind the day will come when, following our Joshua, Dr. Jernigan, we will blow our trumpets until the walls of Jericho built against us will crumble into dust. This will be done, and so for the battles won and for those ahead that we will win, I salute you Dr. Kenneth Jernigan and you the delegates of this great assemblage who are the blind who lead the blind as front-line soldiers in the victory ahead in the liberation war for humanity.  

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William Henry Churchman, a renowned leader in the education of the blind of the United States during the nineteenth century, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, November 23, 1818. The son of Micajah and Eliza Churchman, he was of Quaker parentage. As a boy, Churchman was widely read and was a faithful student of languages and mathematics. His failing eyesight, at the age of fifteen, was attributed to overuse.

When eighteen years old. Churchman, now totally blind, entered the new School for the Blind in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was a student of music and mathematics. Within three years, Churchman had graduated from the Philadelphia school, later known as the Overbrook School for the Blind, and was teaching music in Pennsylvania.

In 1840, Churchman was appointed as teacher of music and mathematics at the Institution for the Blind at Columbus, Ohio. Four years later, when Churchman was only twenty-six years old, he was given full charge as principal of the newly established Institution for the Blind at Nashville, Tennessee. Here he remained only a short time as Churchman was instrumental in founding the Indiana Institution for the Education of the Blind at Indianapolis. To prove the need for this school, he searched out the blind youth in need of education. Churchman then addressed the legislature requesting the establishment of a school for the blind and that this school be placed under the Department of Public Education. Indiana became the first state to recognize a school for the blind within the structure of the Department of Education, thus making it a model for other states. Churchman was appointed superintendent of the school and as superintendent he designed the buildings, assembled its students, and organized its curriculum.

Churchman resigned from the Indianapolis school in 1853, and in 1854 established a seminary for young ladies in La Porte, Indiana, but after it had been in successful operation for a little over a year, the buildings were destroyed by fire. Shortly after this, he became superintendent of the Wisconsin Institution for the Blind at Janesville.

Churchman returned to the Indiana Institution for the Blind in 1861, where he remained as superintendent until 1879. In 1866, he assisted in the organizing of the New York State Institution for the Blind. He was president of the American Association of Instructors of the Blind (AAIB) for many years.

William Henry Churchman, who was married to Mary Marshall, was well known for his strength of character, his cheerful manner, and a keen sense of humor. He died May 18, 1882.


Francis Joseph Campbell was born in Winchester, Franklin County. Tennessee, on October 9, 1832. He was the son of James and Melinda C. (Robinson) Campbell. His father was a farmer. While at play one day at about the age of four, a thorn pierced young Joseph's eyeball which resulted in total blindness. He learned to help his father about the farm, but did not go to school until the age of twelve, when he was sent to the newly established Institution for the Blind at Nashville. When Joseph entered this school, he was unable to tell one tune from another, was told he had no ear for music, and was discouraged from studying the piano. At his insistence, Joseph was allowed to study music and after just fifteen months of study, won a first prize for playing the piano. During a part of his stay at the institution, young Joseph was influenced by William H. Churchman. At eighteen, he was appointed as teacher of music at the Tennessee State Institution for the Blind. While holding this position, he studied music at Nashville University.

Later, Campbell, an abolitionist, left his home State of Tennessee and moved north to Massachusetts. He was the organist of the Swedenborgian Church in Newtonville, and taught music to the children of prominent families. He subsequently entered the Normal School at Bridgwater, where he studied current teaching methods. In 1856, Campbell married Mary F. Bond of Bridgewater. Upon completion of his studies at Bridgewater, Mr. Campbell went to teach music at the Wisconsin Institution for the Blind.

Mr. Campbell returned to Tennessee but was boycotted for being an abolitionist. Because of this, he returned to Massachusetts and was appointed Professor of Music at the Perkins Institute for the Blind in South Boston. Here he remained for the next eleven years as director of the music department under Dr. Howe.

In 1870, Campbell took a leave of absence from Perkins to study music in the conservatories of Leipzig and Berlin. On his return home, Campbell stopped in London where he became keenly aware of the need for educational opportunities for the blind of England. He made the acquaintance of Dr. T. R. Armitage, a blind, wealthy English gentleman. Dr. Armitage had founded the British and Foreign Association for Promoting the Education of the Blind. Mr. Campbell expressed interest in opening a select school for the blind and Dr. Armitage favored Campbell's suggestion and pledged to contribute one-third of the initial cost of opening the school if Mr. Campbell could raise the remainder. Mr. Campbell accomplished this feat and opened an experimental school for blind youth, March 1, 1872. Dr. Armitage and Mr. Campbell went on to obtain the patronage of the nobility of England and established the Royal Normal College and Academy of Music for the Blind at Mount Street, Westow, Upper Norwood, London. The school encompassed a preparatory and grammar school, a high school, a technical school, and an academy of music which soon gained world renown. Gymnastics was an important part of the curriculum of the school, the students learning dancing, military drill, swimming, skating, rowing, cycling, and other sports. The training in each of the five schools was directed toward preparing the blind person for self-support. After several years, Mr. Campbell was successful in placing eighty to ninety percent of his graduates in self-sustaining employment. Campbell is credited with changing the whole concept of the education of the blind in England and Scotland. In recognition of this, the University of Glasgow conferred upon him the honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Following the death of Campbell's first wife in 1873, he married Sophia Faulkner in 1875. She was an American trained teacher who had come from Perkins Institute for the Blind to be the lady principal of the college.

After climbing Mont Blanc in 1880, Campbell became a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He also climbed the Jungfrau and the Eiger and was the first blind man to climb the Matterhorn.

In 1909, King Edward VII knighted Campbell in recognition of his services on behalf of the blind. Sir Francis Joseph Campbell died June 30, 1914, at the age of eighty-one.

In 1965, the American Library Association Roundtable on Library Services to the Blind established the Francis Joseph Campbell Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Advancement of the Blind. Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, President of the National Federation of the Blind, was the 1967 recipient of this citation and medal.  

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The thirty-first annual convention of the Montana Association for the Blind got under way on the Montana State University campus in Bozeman on Friday evening, July 16, 1976. This year's conclave was co-hosted by our Bozeman and Park County Chapters. The meeting was preceded by an afternoon session of the Board of Directors, which resumed after convention adjournment Sunday noon.

During the Friday evening session Bozeman Mayor James Vullmer welcomed us to the city and a local men's quartet provided musical entertainment. MAB President James Sibert brought us up to date on the year's activities and accomplishments; and Alma Jacobs, State Librarian, read several short selections from her favorite authors.

A number of committee and other reports were given on Saturday morning, including reports from several members who recently attended the national Convention in Los Angeles. Charles Vanderzee, outgoing calendar chairman, turned over a final check to the MAB treasurer, bringing receipts for 1976 calendar sales to an all-time high of $9,818.50. Other fundraising activities have also been quite successful. The secretary reported that at election time in mid-June our total active membership stood at 201 and several new members have joined since that time.

Later in the morning we heard from Don Lee, Regional Representative for the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, bringing us up to date on plans for the regional and state meetings on the White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals; Sharon Cromeenes, Visual Services Administrator; and Dr. Rosemary Zion, the talented and very knowledgeable Chief Counselor for the State Human Rights Commission. It was Dr. Zion who drafted our White Cane legislation for the 1975 legislature and her later testimony during committee hearings certainly helped to secure passage of all its provisions. We were pleasantly surprised to learn from Dr. Zion that the last legislative assembly rewrote the law pertaining to jury duty and it now states that any registered voter is eligible for jury duty. We found we could discard our plans for introducing remedial legislation on this subject in the next legislature.

During the afternoon session our speakers were Robert Whitstock, Seeing Eye, Inc.; Dr. Bruce Fishburn, a prominent Billings ophthalmologist; and Joyce Scanlan, member of the NFB Executive Committee.

One hundred five members and friends were on hand for the Saturday evening banquet, always a highlight of the convention. The recipient of our Dorothy C. Bridgman Award this year was Charles Vanderzee, immediate past president of the Association, and very capable calendar chairman for the past ten years. Our guest speaker for the occasion was NFB's Joyce Scanlan, who told us of her own personal experiences in pointing up the need for an organization such as the National Federation of the Blind. Dancing at the Eagles rounded out the day's activities.

The final session convened on Sunday morning following the memorial service. All nine chapters reported on their year's activities, several business matters were disposed of, election results were announced, and newly elected officers installed. Keith Denton, Lakeside, was elected second vice president; Charles Martin, Livingston, and Luella McVeda, Lewistown, were reelected representatives-all for two-year terms.

Hold-over officers are Jim Sibert, president, Great Falls: Tony Persha, first vice president. Red Lodge; John Ford, representative, Missoula; and Delos Kelley, representative, Billings.

Only one resolution was introduced and adopted this year. It called on the Board of Directors, Legislative, and Library Committees and the general membership to work toward the adoption of the Library's budget which includes funding for a volunteer coordinator.

In action just prior to adjournment the following contributions were authorized: $75 to the Jacobus tenBroek Memorial Endowment Fund for 1977, $150 to the Braille Monitor, $25 to Good Cheer Magazine for the Deaf-Blind, and $25 to the CEIP Committee. The convention instructed the Board of Directors to investigate the possibility of state-level supplemental assistance to recipients of Federal SSI: and if necessary, to prepare and support such legislation in the next legislature. The convention also urged full membership participation on all levels in the forthcoming White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals.

We welcomed Federationists from all over—all the way from Washington, California, South Dakota, Florida, and Alabama. From start to finish there were frequent drawings for door prizes consisting mostly of that green stuff that seems to be so popular nowadays. It was a busy, exciting weekend and from almost every point of view, this was a great convention.

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The National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina held its annual convention in Rock Hill the weekend of August 13, 14, and 15 at the Holiday Inn. Thirteen chapters and the Student Division were represented. It was the largest gathering of the blind in South Carolina to date: 295 persons attended the Saturday evening banquet. During the Friday evening hospitality hour a surprise visit was made by Congressman Kenneth Holland, Democrat, who briefly addressed the large gathering. Congressman Holland intermingled with the group and made it a point to get acquainted with all of the delegates. He promised to co-sponsor the Disability Insurance for the Blind bill upon his return to Washington.

The first official session Saturday morning was addressed by several persons in work with the blind. These included Mr. N. F. Walker, Superintendent of the South Carolina School for the Blind; Mr. James Johnson, Director of the State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped; and Mr. Herman Johnson of the Social Security Administration. The President's Report was also given by Reba B. Hancock of Columbia. The convention was also brought up to date by Donald Capps concerning the illegal release to the American Council of the Blind of the names and addresses of BEP managers by Commissioner Henry F. Watts of the Commission for the Blind. The general counsel's office of HEW in both Atlanta and Washington have ruled that Mr. Watts' action was not in conformity with the Federal laws. The Saturday morning session was followed by a delightful luncheon sponsored by the host chapter. Rock Hill.

During the afternoon session the convention heard from a number of blind persons covering their different careers which provided information and inspiration to all. This group included Mrs. Lois Boltin Tucker, who is a receptionist-PBX switchboard operator, Seibels-Bruce & Company; Ray Flowers, a psychologist-counselor for the State Correctional Institute; Bill Haney who operates Haney's Music Company; Hilda Graham, a darkroom technician at the VA Hospital in Columbia; Ronnie Logan, who is in manufacturing; Carey Burris, an instructor at Clemson University; Mrs. Earlene Gardner, English teacher, Aiken Technologic College; W. P. Stogner, parts manager, automobile dealership; Odell Austin, merchant, owning and operating several businesses; Marlene Black, stenographer. Liberty Life Insurance Company. The balance of the afternoon was set aside for the Student Division which sponsored a pageant featuring all male participants. Jimmie Smith of Anderson was crowned as queen. It turned out to be an excellent fundraising project for the Student Division and provided much laughter and merriment for the delegates. New officers of the Student Division are: president, Shelia Byrd; vice president. Susie Bridges; secretary, Glenn McCoy; and treasurer, John Otis Bosler.

The highlight of the convention was the Saturday evening banquet. The banquet hall would not accommodate the record-breaking 295 persons with the overflow having to use an adjacent dining room. The keynote banquet speaker was Senator Hyman Rubin of Columbia who has successfully guided several pieces of legislation through the General Assembly for the State's blind. Also addressing the banquet was Mr. Allan C. Mustard, Chairman of the Board of the South Carolina Commission for the Blind. Mr. Mustard was the recipient of the organization's Service Award which is the highest honor the blind of this State can bestow upon a sighted person for meritorious service. Three scholarship awards including the Dr. Samuel M. Lawton Memorial Scholarship were presented to Evelyn Easier of Anderson, Glenn McCoy of Sumter, and Shelia Byrd of Columbia. The Ellen B. Mack Home Award of five hundred dollars was presented to Mildred Kirkland of Charleston. Bob Bell of the Laurens Chapter was the recipient of the annual Donald C. Capps Award sponsored by Ways & Means for the Blind of Augusta, Georgia. Charters were presented by President Hancock to three new chapters-Aiken, Laurens, and Lancaster. Special guests included Representative Robert McFadden of Rock Hill who was one of the nine-member legislative study committee which ultimately voted 9-0 in 1965 to sponsor a separate agency for the blind. Both Senator Rubin and Representative McFadden told the large group that they were committed to the organization's programs for the blind.

The Sunday morning session got under way with a devotional and memorial service under the direction of Marshall Tucker. This final session of the convention was taken up primarily with business matters. Donald Capps gave a legislative report including plans to reintroduce the vending facility bill which was enthusiastically supported by the convention. He also urged the convention to provide greater support to the national organization through the PAC plan. Also during his presentation the convention was challenged to a goal of having one hundred members at the 1977 national Convention. This was followed by an appeal for membership support of a New Orleans Fund with delegates responding spontaneously with more than $1300 in contributions. It was an exciting moment.

All chapters and the Student Division reported growth and progress on all fronts. Several important resolutions were adopted. The convention enthusiastically adopted a resolution changing the operating name of the State organization to the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina. Another resolution adopted by the convention calls for the compilation of a manual containing Federal and state laws as well as an outline of services available to the blind in the State. Resolutions were also adopted calling for a special counselor to assist blind college students and commending the Board of the South Carolina Commission for the Blind for having taken action calling for twenty percent of the staff of the Commission to be blind. The convention also went on record authorizing and directing the State officers and board to continue to work with the Board of the Commission for the Blind to seek improved administrative leadership, and if this fails, to take the matter to the news media and to the public.

Four of the five officers were reelected. These included president, Reba B. Hancock; first vice president, Donald C. Capps; secretary, Robert Oglesby; and treasurer, James R. Sims. Elected to second vice president was Bob Bell of Laurens. New board members include Mrs. Earlene Gardner of Aiken; Mr. Claude Singley of Laurens; Mrs. Robert McAteer of Lancaster; and Mrs. Patricia Tuck of Greenville. The 1977 convention will be held in Columbia.

The convention was pleased to have several out-of-state Federationists including Hazel Staley, president of the National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina, and her husband Bob. One of the more important sidelights of the convention was the formation of the South Carolina Blind Vendors Association. The new group has twenty charter members. Affiliated with the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina, the new organization's officers are: president, Jack Drawdy of Branchville; first vice president, Frances Messer of Rock Hill; second vice president, John Raybourne of Charleston; secretary, Gayle Martin of Spartanburg; and treasurer, McDonald Hancock of Columbia. The South Carolina Blind Vendors Association is the first organization of its type in the State and it is expected to play a key role in the vending facility field including legislation in this area. This twentieth annual convention put it all together-the largest attendance ever-good program items-important legislative leaders—the creation of the South Carolina Blind Vendors Association, and last but not least, there was unprecedented enthusiasm and a spirit of total commitment and dedication to the goals of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina and the national organization.  

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Editor's Note.—Gail Snider is married to Harold Snider, enthusiastic Federationist who works for the Smithsonian Institution.  



2 cups plain flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick good quality margarine
water to mix
8 ounces mild bulk sausagemeat
a little milk to glaze


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut up the margarine and cut it into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add water, a teaspoonful at a time, stirring with a round-bladed knife until mixture sticks together. When it has become a firm dough, knead it lightly, and shape it into a rough rectangle. Roll out the dough thinly into a long rectangle, and cut it lengthwise into two long strips.

Divide the sausagemeat into two equal pieces and dust with flour. With the hands, form the sausagemeat into two long rolls, the length of the pastry strips, and lay one roll down along the of center of each strip. Brush down the edges of the pastry with a little milk, fold one long edge over the sausagemeat, and fold over the opposite edge, taking care to press the edges well together, and seal them with small horizontal cuts made with a round-bladed knife. Brush the length of the two long rolls with milk, then cut each into slices about one-and-a-half to two inches wide.  

Place on a cookie sheet and bake for fifteen minutes. Then, to ensure that meat is thoroughly cooked without pastry becoming overcooked, lower the heat to 350 degrees, and cook for a further fifteen minutes.  

Some people prefer sausage rolls made with flaky pastry, in which case you would need four ounces of frozen flaky pastry, left to thaw at room temperature for about two hours. Make and slice the rolls as above, but cook at 350 degrees only and bake for forty-five minutes.  

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Chapters Report Elections

The Frankfort (Kentucky) Federation of the Blind has elected new officers: president, Jerry L. Grimes; vice president, Paul Dobson: secretary, T. V. Cranmer; and treasurer, Joyce Branham.

Newly elected officers of the National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska are: President, Miss Barbara Beach of Lincoln; first vice president, Richard Parker of Omaha; second vice president, Richard Zlab of Omaha; secretary, Mrs. Laurie Beach Eckery of Omaha; and treasurer, Bill Pfeiffer of Omaha. Board members are Miss Marsha Bangert of Lincoln; John Cheadle of Lincoln, Doran Oltman of Roseland, and complying with a recent amendment to our State constitution, Ralph Doug of Grand Island, most recent former State president.

Hazel Staley writes: "I am delighted to be able to announce that on August 12 we organized our eighth chapter, the Wilson Federation of the Blind, Wilson, North Carolina. Leslie and Judy Watson, who were already members-at-large, did an awful lot of background work. Then Bob and I spent two days in the county. We held our organizational meeting on Thursday evening, August 12, at the Watson home. There were seventeen new members and four who were already members, making a total of twenty-one. The following officers were elected: president, Mrs. May Budesheim; vice president, Mrs. Alma Lewis; secretary, Mr. Leslie Watson; treasurer, Mr. Wray Tomlinson; board members, Mr. Jennings Moore and Mrs. Hattie Edwards. Mrs. Budesheim is a former president of the Ashland, Kentucky, chapter. We are very happy to have her in North Carolina and we believe that her background and experience will be a valuable asset to our Wilson chapter. There is a tremendous amount of enthusiasm in this chapter. It may well become one of our strongest."

The Greater Springfield (Massachusetts) Association of the Blind elected the following officers: president, Joseph Piela; vice president, Catherine McGovern: secretary, Margaret Judd; treasurer, Helen Rowell; members at large, John Grant and Anita O'Shea; delegate to the NFB of Massachusetts Executive Board, Janet Andrews.

The Worcester Chapter, NFB of Massachusetts, elected the following officers: president, Irving MacShawson: first vice president, Edward Murphy; second vice president, Marguerite Marston; recording secretary, Rosamond Critchley; corresponding secretary, Dorothy Bailey; financial secretary, Esther Kniffin; treasurer. Florence Burke; sergeant at arms, Wilfred Wheeler; members at large, Connie Theriault and Mildred Lord; delegate to NFB of Massachusetts Executive Board, Roger Beaudry.

The Greater Lawrence (Massachusetts) Association of the Blind elected the following officers: president, Victor W. Jedrey; vice president, Shaban Numan; recording secretary, Josephine Benoit; corresponding secretary, Domenic Fiato; financial secretary, Marie Fiato: sighted secretary, Lorraine Demers; treasurer, Paul Lasonde; sergeant at arms, Cecile Aubin; member at large to State Executive Board, Victor W. Jedrey; members to chapter executive board, Mario Sapienza and Frank Frangipane. Trustees are Domenic Fiato (three years), Mario Sapienza (two years), and Frank Frangipane (one year). Public relations, Victor Jedrey.

The National Federation of the Blind of Terre Haute, Indiana held its annual election on September 1, 1976. The results were as follows: president, James Lewis, who is also president of the NFB Blind Lawyers Division; vice president, Mae Ettea Williams; secretary, Mary Quille: treasurer, Debbie Lewis.

James Lewis writes: "The National Federation of the Blind of Orange County, Indiana, was born on August 29, 1976, in the small town of West Baden, population 1500. In fact, the entire county has only 15,000 people. Who says you can't have a chapter in a rural area. A state organizing team was greeted by ten intelligent young blind people. There was a lively discussion of library services, discrimination against the blind in employment, the mythical image of the blind, and many other problems. After the team described the NFB and what we are doing about these problems, the entire group decided to join and payed their dues. A constitution was proposed and voted on section by section after due debate. The election brought contest for all six offices, and not a single person declined nomination. The results were as follows: president, John Altmeyer; vice president, Chester Cox; secretary, Gary Niher; treasurer, Pam Altmeyer; delegate to the State convention, Berry Cooper; State director, John Altmeyer. The new chapter hopes to attend our upcoming State convention in its entirety. Two of the new members come to us from the NFB of Alabama. The NFB of Orange County is our eleventh chapter in the State and will surely be one of our finest. The intelligence, determination, and vitality of these new Federationists will make an enormous contribution to our struggle for equality, security, and opportunity. We are all proud to have them on our team.'" The chapter will meet the second Sunday of each month.

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