BOX 4422








BOX 11185

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

"I give, devise, and bequeath unto National Federation of the Blind, a District of Columbia non-profit corporation, the sum of $_____ (or "_____ percent of my net estate" or "the following stocks and bonds:_____ ") to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons."

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




















On September 9, 1977, the West Virginia Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (the state licensing agency designated under the Randolph-Sheppard Act to coordinate the vending facilities program in West Virginia) was awarded a contract which permits blind persons to operate the cafeteria at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beckley. This action marked the beginning of better employment opportunities for several blind persons in the state and the end of a year-and-a-half struggle by the organized blind to secure enforcement of the Randolph-Sheppard Act by the state and federal governments. Thus, another chapter of success has been written in the history of the organized blind movement: and one more answer can be given when people ask. Why the National Federation of the Blind.

The battle in West Virginia began in early June 1976. When we entered it (with involvement at both the state and national levels of the Federation) the odds were against us; but this is so often the case with a people's movement when it confronts established bureaucratic structures. We were faced first with a decision by the U.S. Department of the Interior that the food service operation in the newly constructed Mine Health and Safety Academy need not be offered to the West Virginia vending facilities program under the Randolph-Sheppard Act. To buttress this decision, the Office for the Blind in the Rehabilitation Services Administration was consulted: and a "legal opinion," supporting the Interior Department's decision to let a contract outside the Randolph-Sheppard program, was secured. Further, although the state licensing agency was not happy with the decisions of the Department of the Interior and the federal Office for the Blind, state officials were loath to take action in protest, fearing the possibility of damaging future relations with two federal agencies. In sum, we were faced with adverse decisions set in concrete by the two federal agencies most directly involved; and we were further faced with the unwillingness or incapacity of the responsible state agency to act on our behalf.

Details of the position taken by the Office for the Blind and the "legal opinion" rendered by the HEW general counsel are contained in the Braille Monitor for June 1977 in the article entitled "Is the Office for the Blind Really for the Blind?" The challenge facing the organized blind was clear. Despite the mandate of the Randolph-Sheppard Act, the agencies (both state and federal) were not about to enforce it; and the blind (not the agencies) were the ones who would suffer the consequences. Our choice was to lie down and be walked on like rugs or to stand and fight to gain what rightfully belongs to us. We chose to fight. In the short run this was the costlier route. Both the state and national treasuries of the Federation would have to meet certain legal expenses since court action was required. In the long run it was the right route—the only route open to the organized blind.

On July 16, 1976, suit was filed in the federal district court for the southern district of West Virginia at Charleston. The complaint claimed that the Department of the Interior solicited bids for the establishment and operation of a cafeteria at the Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beckley, West Virginia; and that this procedure of soliciting bids is contrary to the Randolph-Sheppard Act which provides that "priority be given blind persons, licensed by a state agency, in the operation of vending facilities on any federal property." We sought the issuance of a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction requiring the Department of the Interior and its outside food service contractor (both named as defendants) to stop carrying out their contract. The court, we said, should also direct the Department of the Interior either to grant priority to blind persons licensed by the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation or to justify their denial of the priority to the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare and request a determination thereon. In other words, we sought full compliance with the law.

It is so often the case that when we seek a remedy through the courts, the final outcome fulfills only part of the orginal objective. In this case, total victory would have meant an immediate termination of the Interior Department's contract with the private food service firm and the assignment of the cafeteria to the state licensing agency. From a broader view, total victory would also have meant a declaration by the court that the Mine Health and Safety Academy cafeteria (and therefore, any similar food service operation on federal property) would be subject to the priority conditions of the Randolph-Sheppard Act.

Another common characteristic of lawsuits is that the very filing of them may engender approaches to compromise. In the West Virginia situation, early agreements were reached which had the prospect of giving us virtually everything we had orginally sought. A primary sticking point in the beginning was the question of who would be the legal contractor for the Mine Health and Safety Academy cafeteria during its first year of operation, given the fact that a contract had already been let to a private corporation, and given the further fact that the West Virginia Society for the Blind (a private agency which had been delegated management authority over the vending facilities program in the state) was uncertain of its ability (or even its desire) to take over the food service in a timely manner, or perhaps at all.

To allow time for the Society to look over the operation, and yet to allow food service to continue at the academy, we agreed that the Interior Department contract (which we said was illegal) would be allowed to run for one year. For its part, the Interior Department agreed to enter into direct and good-faith negotiations with the state licensing agency and the Society, and if possible, to assign the cafeteria contract to the vending facilities program for the blind during the second year of operation. This, of course, left open the question which had been raised by the Office for the Blind and the HEW general counsel—that being the determination that the academy cafeteria was not a vending facility to be assigned under the priority provisions of the Randolph-Sheppard Act. In a sense, the other agreements having been reached, this point became moot.

A few months before the expiration of the one-year contract, Interior Department officials began the process of "direct negotiations" with state officials responsible for the vending facilities program for the blind. This year the process was different. There was no outside bidding. The West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation was the only organization asked to submit a proposal for providing food service after October 1, 1977. The state agency (having been pushed some by our West Virginia affiliate) responded affirmatively to the Interior Department's request for a proposal. The process was very smooth. Agreements were reached, and a contract was signed. What a different picture from a year before when the Interior Department required the state licensing agency to bid along with private food service firms and then let a contract in total disregard of the priority conditions established in the Randolph-Sheppard Act.

The successful settlement of this case will undoubtedly have its impact on the operation of vending facilities programs in nearly every state, and especially those where there are large federal installations. The confrontation over the Mine Health and Safety Academy cafeteria was the first challenge of this kind since the passage of the 1974 Amendments to the Randolph-Sheppard Act. The victory teaches us several lessons.

Regardless of the new obligations under which federal agencies must operate in assigning space for vending facilities and approving their operations, there will be times when federal agencies will be uncooperative to the point of open hostility toward the Randolph-Sheppard program. Despite the new rights given to state licensing agencies which are meant to assist them in dealing with uncooperative federal agencies, the states will not always be willing to exercise their full powers under the new law. And regardless of the congressional mandate that the Department of HEW provide leadership in the Randolph-Sheppard program (and specifically, that the Office for the Blind serve an advocacy role to help expand the vending facilities program), HEW (and especially the Office for the Blind) will continue the practice of aiding and abetting those federal agencies which attempt to find loopholes in the law and thus to avoid opening new business opportunities for blind persons.

Of course, all of the foregoing are predictions and presumptions which we (the organized blind) must make. At the same time, we must act responsibly to see that they do not come true. We have our work cut out for us; and as our experience has shown, the responsibility will largely be ours alone. The litigation in West Virginia was expensive; and it is only one of three lawsuits concerning the Randolph-Sheppard program which we have been carrying. Our ability to bear the burden of overseeing state agencies and the federal bureaucracy depends—as Federationists are well aware—on the contributions of rank-and-file members and our friends and families.

As we shoulder this responsibility (and we shoulder it gladly), it is difficult not to compare what we are doing with the inaction of the Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America, the much vaunted vendors division of the American Council of the Blind. The ACB has no money problems-after all, they now have a direct line to the millions of dollars in the treasury of the American Foundation for the Blind. And yet, as is usually the case when an organization sells out to its natural enemy, this access to unlimited funds has meant that the ACB has lost the freedom to carry out the kind of actions necessary to protect the interests of blind persons. Money is not always strength; and in the case of the ACB-AFB alliance, it is the evidence of a very traditional and pitiful kind of weakness.

Our own ability to continue instituting expensive litigation has been threatened by the loss of our old funding sources. And yet as the blind rally to their own cause, and as we slowly regain financial stability, we gain in spirit and power, for our money comes from our own ranks. As this last year has shown, and next year will show just as strongly, trials make us stronger; they increase our ability to act in the best interests of all the blind.

Finally, the West Virginia case teaches us that we must act because no one will do it for us; and in fact, the very office in the federal government which is supposed to serve as our advocate (the Office for the Blind) will try to block our progress. This, too, will not continue. As the organized blind movement grows in strength and numbers, and as needed personnel changes are made in the Office for the Blind, a new day of leadership and strength will be upon us. As a movement it is our responsibility to act with purpose and determination in order to hasten the dawning of a new era.  

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Any blind person who has ridden on an airplane does not need to be told of the frustrations involved. For years now we have been resisting the special procedures which airlines insist are necessary. For inconsistency, arbitrariness, and pure foolishness, these special rules are unequaled. Even after years of discussion, resolutions, lawsuits, and even picketing of the FAA, every one of the various special rules can still be confronted by blind persons using the airlines. In the last year there has been at least one encounter with each of the following rules:

No more than three or four blind persons may travel on a single plane. Blind persons must notify the airlines 24 hours in advance of the time they wish to fly. No two blind persons may sit in the same row of seats. No blind person may sit in an aisle seat. Blind persons must sit next to the window. Blind persons may not sit in the row of seats containing the over-the-wing emergency exit. Blind persons may not keep their travel canes while on board. Blind persons with guide dogs must sit in bulkhead seats; that is, the first row of seats in a section. Blind persons must board before the other passengers. Blind persons must board after the other passengers.

This list does not include many other rules which have been encountered in recent years, rules made up on the spot by counter or flight personnel and enforced as if they had the force of law behind them. Finally, we would note that there has never been an instance of a delay in evacuation, or of any safety problem whatsoever, caused by the presence of blind persons on an airplane.

These senseless "special rules" have been the subject of a number of Monitor articles, and of course, the basis of convention resolutions and concerted action by the Federation. One of the early results of this activity was an effort by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to set uniform rules for carrying the handicapped on airlines. Proposed regulations were published by the FAA in July 1974, and this was followed by nearly three years of public hearings, the submission of written comments, and prolonged consideration of the matter by the FAA staff. The result—as set forth in an advisory circular published in March 1977, and followed by new regulations which became effective in May—was that the FAA decided the matter was too complex to handle. With some few exceptions, the FAA sent the whole problem back to the private airlines to handle at their own discretion.

On the positive side is the distinction drawn in the advisory circular between categories of the handicapped. A distinction is made between "ambulatory" and "non-ambulatory" handicapped persons, and the most restrictive recommendations apply only to the non-ambulatory, which specifically does not include the blind. The advisory circular contains sections labeled "Attitudes" and "Assisting Disabled Persons" which show the result of the input we gave to the FAA in comments and in the public hearings. For instance, the "Attitudes" section states: "The personality of a handicapped person is usually no different than that of the non-handicapped, especially with respect to pride and competitiveness. Therefore, to provide assistance without inquiring whether or not it is needed, or on the other hand, to ignore a handicapped passenger, can lead to a strained relationship. For example, when a passenger is pushed in a wheelchair to the ticket counter, frequently the agent will address the person pushing the chair rather than the person in the chair."

In the section on assisting blind persons, the advisory circular states: "If it appears appropriate, assistance should be offered. Sometimes the offer will be accepted and sometimes it will not. In any event, let the blind person decide, and act accordingly."

The circular also states: "Boarding and deplaning present no difficulty for most blind people. The modem methods of independent mobility have provided them with both the necessary skills and the confidence to handle escalators, steps, ramps, and so on. Most blind passengers prefer to board and deplane along with the other passengers, and they do not require special assistance beyond the boarding areas."

Despite its tone of grudging admission, the language of this circular is fairly positive. But although a number of airlines used this language as the basis for their own procedures, the circular is still "advisory," that is, not legally binding on the airlines. About the FAA regulations themselves, which are legally binding, there is nothing positive to say.

The core of the new regulations is section 121.586, titled appropriately "Authority to refuse transportation." Stripped of some repetition, the section reads as follows:

(a) No certificate holder may refuse transportation to a passenger on the basis that, because the passenger may need the assistance of another person to move expeditiously to an exit in the event of an emergency, his transportation would or might be inimical to safety of night unless—

(1) The certificate holder has established procedures (including reasonable notice requirements) for the carriage of passengers who may need the assistance of another person to move expeditiously to an exit in the event of an emergency; and

(2) At least one of the following conditions exist:

(i) The passenger fails to comply with the notice requirements in the certificate holder's procedures.

(ii) The passenger cannot be carried in accordance with the certificate holder's procedures.

The section goes on to say that these procedures must be filed with the FAA district office charged with inspection of the airline's operations.

In other words, the regulations state that airlines must carry handicapped passengers unless they devise procedures which exclude handicapped passengers. In addition, there is an explicit suggestion that advance notice requirements he included in the procedures; and the obvious implication is that quotas will be instituted. The FAA (in a later part of section 121.586) reserves the right to reject the procedures set up, but apparently only on the ground that they may not be restrictive enough for flight safety.

We responded to these new regulations in two ways. First, in order to have as much input as possible to the formulation of procedures by the airlines, we sent a letter to every member of the Air Transport Association, which includes in its membership the 24 major airlines based in the United States. Second, we wrote a letter to Langhorne Bond, the new Administrator of the FAA, protesting the degree of discretion allowed private airlines in setting up their procedures, and asking for clarification of a number of points.

The letter sent to the airlines reads in part:

"As a result of [the new] regulations, . . . the matter of determining treatment of the blind by airlines has been largely left to the individual airlines themselves. This letter is to give you the views of the blind on this issue, and to request that a decision on it be made after consideration at the highest level in your company. This is a matter of the greatest urgency to us, and we are determined to take as active a part as we can in the development of new procedures for the carriage of the blind.

"Basically, we ask two things: that the blind be left out of such procedures, and that a policy statement be included in the procedures indicating that the blind are to be regarded as normal passengers."

"The public, according to surveys, fears only cancer more than blindness. The condition is regarded as totally incapacitating and as producing total helplessness. Opposed to this notion is the fact that blindness is simply a lack of sight, with no additional disabling complications. It is obvious, given a moment's consideration, that in the event of an airplane crash, an able-bodied blind person who has been informed of the location of the exit, and who will in addition be largely propelled to the exit in the general rush to escape, will not be "handicapped' in any meaningful sense in that escape.

"When there are additional factors related to blindness (blindness due to strokes, for example), the associated condition is the one which must be focused on. For this reason, the State of Iowa has recently specifically prohibited the use of blindness as a category in the sale of insurance. If the airlines wish to protect the evacuation of other passengers from the small number of blind persons who are manifestly non-ambulatory, they should realize that procedures for the actual disabling condition (paralysis, feebleness, etc.) will include any of the blind who may need extraordinary help.

"The rest of the blind are as fit as the general population. A blind college student, a blind lawyer, a blind parent with children to care for, can scramble for an exit with the best of the sighted passengers. This is true (perhaps even more true) even if the plane were to be filled entirely with blind persons. The most odious restriction to be proposed in the area of special procedures for the handicapped is that of quotas of 'unattended' blind persons per single plane." [The letter then recounted our experience with United Airlines, which readers can find in the February and May 1977 Monitors. We then went on:]

"The banning of blind persons from exit aisles seems to be supported by advisory circular section 9(c) which states that "Ambulatory handicapped passengers should be seated in areas in which evacuation would normally occur through a floor-level non-overwing exit." In the first place, we would point out that the advisory circular is recommendatory rather than binding, except where it clearly refers to an FAA requirement. (The storing of travel canes is one such requirement. Unfortunately, these have been categorized with crutches as needing to be stored away from the passenger, even though the circular concedes that they are vital to a blind person's escape once he has reached the ground.)

In the second place, the recommendation is without sense in the case of blind persons. Clearly the optimal position for an able-bodied blind person would be right next to the exit door. The delay contemplated in the evacuation of a paralyzed or feeble passenger with the resulting bottling-up of the other passengers is not a factor for the blind. As noted above, we can scramble with the best when our lives are at stake, and sitting in an exit aisle would mean that locating the exit (not a problem in any case) would not exist. A moment's thought will show this to be true. Conversely, however, we certainly do not suggest that blind persons be restricted to these seats. The FAA recommendation on this results from their broad grouping of all handicaps in a single rule.

"The recommendation that blind persons with guide dogs be seated in the bulkhead seats grows out of another, though more innocent, misconception. The notion is that the dogs will be more comfortable. Apparently this grows from the idea that guide dogs are Great Danes, or at least full-size German Shepherds. In practice, guide dogs are usually of medium stature. They are required to spend much time under chairs or huddled close to their masters (in restaurants, classrooms, meetings, etc.). The dogs are used to this and comfortable with it. Blind persons have had great experience with air travel accompanied by their dogs, and their judgment is that the dog can almost always sit underneath any regular seat easily and unobtrusively. Surely this should be a matter decided on a case-by-case basis, in discussion with the blind traveler, rather than the subject of an inalterable rule. Obviously safety is not a factor in this, and the convenience of the dog is less of a consideration to us that the inconvenience of its master in being quarantined to a single location in the plane. A blind person may wish to sit with his companions, or he may wish to smoke (usually not possible in a bulkhead seat). Or he may be traveling with other blind persons who have dogs, perhaps more than there are available bulkhead seats—which would cause a de facto quota to be imposed. A small matter, you may say, but the indignity of being treated as a ward, with special restrictions which are felt to be unneeded, is not a small matter for the blind."

[Note: When this letter was written, stating in regard to the seating of blind persons with dogs, that "obviously, safety is not a factor in this," we were underestimating the imaginative powers of airline officials. In February of this year, Diane McGeorge wrote to United Airlines, complaining about this bulkhead seating policy. She received a response from Paul Warner, United's Supervisor of Passenger Service, who wrote: "[I]n terms of safety to our other passengers, a dog placed in a row other than the bulkhead row could be more easily jostled or bounced into the aisle during an emergency situation, presenting the danger of a ninety-pound projectile being loose in the cabin. We realize that seeing eye dogs are superbly trained. However, amid the confusion of an emergency, a loose dog would present an added hazard to an already dangerous situation." We immediately dubbed this flight of fancy the "loose dog theory," and surely it represents a sort of record in officious foolishness. It was the more pathetic since, about a week later, Mrs. McGeorge received a letter from another United Airlines official, who apparently wrote without knowledge of Mr. Warner's letter. This official, United's Vice-President of Flight Safety, wrote as follows: "We do not have a regulation which restricts the seating of a blind person with a guide dog to a bulkhead seat."

Returning to our letter to the members of the Air Transport Association, we wrote further:]

"As you formulate procedures for carriage of the blind, we recommend that you consider the experience of Amtrak. It came to our attention in 1974 that Amtrak had instituted a policy of refusing passage to blind persons unless they were escorted by a sighted attendant. Historically, it is of interest that this policy grew out of the so-called 2-for-l ticket policy which permitted the sighted attendant to travel free. Not only does this policy fix in the public mind the notion that a blind person needs a sighted attendant—which is sheer nonsense—but the inevitable result is that an attendant is required for each blind person. (This 2-for-l policy is anathema to the blind.) The Amtrak policy resulted in massive public protest from the blind. Amtrak reconsidered the matter and removed all restrictions for blind travelers. At our behest, the only mention of the blind in their operating procedures was a simple policy statement. We suggest that a similar policy statement be included in your own procedures for carriage of the handicapped:

"Blind persons are accustomed to moving about in public streets and places and will not be considered handicapped for purposes of air travel, and shall be permitted to travel unrestrictedly with or without an attendant or dog.

"We recommend that your procedures also contain the following:

"Blind persons with or without guide dogs shall be permitted to sit anywhere in the aircraft, and their lack of sight shall not be considered an impediment to safety in emergency evacuation, nor an indication of any other disability."

After a discussion of our philosophy of blindness and the degree to which artificial safety restrictions limit our ability to lead normal lives, we concluded as follows:

"We do not feel it is helpful to our image to plead, but we strongly request that this matter be judged at the highest level, and that it be done with the cooperation and input of the blind themselves. It is not difficult to deal with us as a consumer group; we believe we are reasonable and open to compromise. Let me assure you that the rewards of such cooperation and the knowledge of having helped the blind in a way they appreciate and accept are far greater than the rewards which come from imposing 'help' on us. It is in the interest of the blind to make these latter rewards as negative as we humanly can."

As a follow-up to this letter, we sent a brief letter to the same airlines, requesting copies of their procedures for the handicapped. We noted that it was appropriate for us to have the rules since we were required to obey them or stay on the ground. Some of the airlines sent us their procedures, and these ranged from very good to totally unacceptable. Eastern Airlines, for example, had no restrictions for blind passengers, and most of its procedures dealt with how counter personnel could obtain Braille copies of the Reader's Digest. The procedures of Delta Airlines, although they contained advance-notice requirements for other disability groups, specifically stated, "Such advance-notice requirement does not apply to blind passengers." Continental Airlines, on the other hand, stated in its procedures: "Transportation may be refused to handicapped persons who have not provided a full description of their disability or medical condition at least 24 hours prior to departure." The phrase "may be refused" is an extreme of capriciousness. Since there are no specific criteria for this refusal, it seems likely that our ability to fly will depend on the mood of the ticket-counter personnel on any particular day. This sort of broad discretion would seem to be unconstitutional. Jacobus tenBroek, in the article "The Pros and Cons of Preferential Treatment of Blind Persons," discussed the fundamental concepts embodied in the U.S. Constitution. He wrote:

"[T]he doctrine of equality is in effect a command that the government act by established and regular procedures and by uniform rules. It is a command that the purely personal, the arbitrary, capricious, and whimsical, be reduced and eliminated from the exercise of power. It is a command that the rules be fixed and announced in advance in a way which will make them freely and publicly available. It is a requirement of a degree of certainty and predictability in government action and of a system of rights growing out of uniform rules. It is finally an order that administrators as well as legislators act within these confines."

We feel that these statements by Professor tenBroek are right to the point. Not only do the FAA regulations give the force of law to procedures which are developed at the discretion of the airlines, but there is no clear way to appeal them. As paragraph (c) of section 121.586 states: "Whenever the Administrator finds that revisions in the procedures described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section are necessary in the interest of safety or in the public interest, the [airline] after notification by the Administrator, shall make those revisions in the procedures." As we wrote in our letter to FAA Administrator Langhorne Bond:

"According to section 121.586, the Administrator retains the right to revise the procedures only when 'necessary in the interest of safety or in the public interest.' Both of these areas seem in practice to be discretionary. We have constantly been faced with policies which are based on prejudicial views of the handicapped rather than on safety considerations supported by evidence. The comment which accompanied the amended regulation admitted as much. It stated: 'Although the potential for handicapped passengers delaying aircraft evacuations would appear minimal, a definitive statement in this regard cannot be made due to inadequate documentation of aircraft evacuations with respect to delay, if any, caused by handicapped persons.' We underscore 'if any' because it is our understanding that there has never been an instance of an evacuation delayed by the presence on board of a handicapped passenger, or at least of a blind passenger."

"We wish that the meaning of 'public interest' were more clearly spelled out....We would hope that it means that procedures will be revised by the Administrator to eliminate unfair treatment. For instance, it would be discriminatory for airlines to prescribe certain seats for blind passengers (as many do) without evidence that it is necessary in the case of every blind person for the sake of safety. (Indeed, many airlines follow this policy for our 'convenience,' although they do not hesitate to throw us off the plane if we refuse to comply.) ... We assume, therefore, that 'in the public interest' means 'in order to abide by the Constitution and civil rights laws of the United States."

Although we wrote all this to the FAA, we did not and do not believe that "in the public interest" means any such thing to these officials. In the response the FAA sent to us, the question was ignored.

The question of the availability of the procedures we must follow also goes directly to the heart of the "equality of law" doctrine. We explored this issue at length with the FAA, and in the course of it, allowed the agency to create an absolutely damning record for itself. (We should note that our efforts to document that the procedures are not readily available was solely for the purpose of demonstrating that the FAA regulations are unworkable. Even if the airline procedures were available, we would be no better off; the far more pressing problem is the arbitrary and discriminatory practices embodied in the procedures. Still, it is clear enough that these procedures are not readily available.) As we wrote to Mr. Bond:

"To require passengers to comply with procedures without requiring that the procedures be made known to them is obviously unacceptable. Does the FAA have in mind a method for making such procedures widely known? Please realize that in this age of new awareness about minority rights, it will not do to hope that blind persons would call the airlines in advance to say, 'I plan to travel by air and I'm blind; are there special requirements for me?' Since we know from our experience as blind persons that no special arrangements are actually needed, you would have as much chance of successfully instituting such a policy as if you tried to do the same for blacks or Jews." Again, we are certain that this is precisely the procedure the FAA and the airlines have in mind.

We wrote further to Mr. Bond: "You will note that handicapped passengers may be required to inform the airlines of their handicapping conditions some time in advance of their journey. Yet the Federal Aviation Regulation contains no requirement that airlines publish or make known these 'notice requirements,' although they are required to submit them to the FAA. Therefore, we request that you send us copies of all airline procedures for carriage of the handicapped submitted to the FAA. Logically, this information should be readily available to the public; but if for some reason you feel there must be an official request under the Freedom of Information Act, please advise us of this."

The response to this letter came from J. A. Ferrarese, Acting Director of the FAA's Flight Standards Service, in a letter written for him by one Howard Simcox. Mr. Simcox wrote, in part:

"[W]e are willing to collect and release the documents you request under the procedures contained in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA, 49 CFR Part 7). We recommend, however, that you contact the carriers directly to acquire their procedures for transporting persons who may need evacuation assistance rather than making your request to the FAA under the FOIA… By requesting the procedures directly from the carriers you will obtain the most up-to-date information and avoid the substantial search and duplication fees required under the provisions of the FOIA."

In response to this, we wrote back to Mr. Ferrarese, and said: "We have taken the matter a little further since receiving [your] reply. Although Mr. Simcox says the FAA will 'collect' the procedures, the regulation he refers us to states, in section 7.53(c): 'Each person desiring access to a record that is located in an operating administration . . .must make a written request to that administration at the address set forth in the appendix applicable to that administration.' Under FAR 121.586(b), each airline must submit its procedures to 'the FAA district office charged with the overall inspection of its operations.' There are over 100 commercial passenger airlines operating in the United States. We must, thus, locate the appropriate district office and make a request for each airline to whichever office inspects its operations.

"Further, although Mr. Simcox states that substantial fees are 'required,' we note that under certain circumstances the fees will be reduced or waived altogether. We explored this possibility with the office of the FAA General Counsel. We found that the decision on such a waiver would have to be made individually by the head of each district office involved.

"Mr. Simcox recommends, however, that we not use the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, but that we contact the air carriers directly. Let me tell you that we have requested the procedures directly from the carriers. As a start, we wrote to the members of the Air Transport Association—all of the major passenger airlines. We received no response at all from seven of the airlines (including such major carriers as United and Pan American). Ten airlines sent us their procedures or parts of them. Five others sent us letters containing summaries of the procedures, but declined to send the procedures themselves.

"For instance, one airline wrote: '[W]e have not implemented or submitted any procedures to the FAA at this time.' Another wrote: 'The recent FAA ruling did not require the airlines to change their regulations concerning the acceptance of passengers with disabilities, but does require the air carriers to comply with the following in regards to these passengers:" This letter then summarized the amended [regulations] and stated that the airline had complied with them. Yet another airline wrote: "[W]e have such procedures, but they are being incorporated into the various manuals in such a way that it would be impossible to pull them from the manuals without including a great deal of extraneous material.' The summary which followed stated that passage will not 'automatically' be denied if no advance notice is given."

Finally, after some consideration, we decided to take one further step. On September 14, the day after we sent our reply to J. A. Ferrarese, we filed a formal petition for repeal of the amended FAA regulations. On September 27, we received a letter from C. L. Weaver of the FAA Flight Standards Service, acknowledging both our letters. Mr. Weaver wrote as follows:

"Regarding . . . your September 13 letter to Mr. Ferrarese, and referring to our July 20 letter in which we advised that the Air Transport Association (ATA) has urged all of its member carriers to provide you and other interested parties, upon request, with their procedures; you may wish to again contact the air carriers (if you desire to use this process) to receive copies of the scheduled air carriers' procedures for carrying persons who may need evacuation assistance. It appears your original requests were made prior to our discussion with the ATA and accordingly, did not get appropriate attention. Your petition is being evaluated and you will be advised of the agency's decision as soon as possible."

By this time it was fairly clear that the FAA simply wanted us to go away and leave them alone. We realized that it would take some interest from members of Congress to gain any action, or even any attention to what we were saying. So we began sending copies of our correspondence to the members of the Subcommittees on Aviation in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. In a cover letter to the chairman of the House Committee on Public Works and Transportation (of which the Subcommittee on Aviation is a part), we reflected on what all of our previous correspondence had established.

"Consider," we wrote, "what this means. The NFB is an organization with 50,000 members and a reputation for litigation and public demonstrations. After five months of sustained activity, we have been unable to obtain many of the procedures adopted by the airlines procedures which we must follow or be left on the ground. Think then of the casual blind would-be air traveler. He has a choice of ways to learn the rules which govern him.

"(1) He can locate the FAA district office charged with inspection of the operations of the airline he contemplates using. He must then petition the FAA district administrator for waiver of the substantial search and duplication fees, and then further petition to have the procedures copied and sent to him. (Hopefully, he already possesses a copy of 49 CFR Part 7.) Or

"(2) As Mr. Weaver and Mr. Simcox suggest, he can contact the airline directly. But as we have shown, there is no point in contacting the airline until he has first contacted the FAA and persuaded them to contact the Air Transport Association in order to get the ATA to urge the particular airline to cooperate. This latter route (again, as we have shown) has about a 50-percent chance of success."

As we concluded, "[I]t would be safe to say that the publication of these regulations has marked the real beginning of massive airline discrimination against the blind and has greatly increased the instances of public humiliation of blind travelers. ... All we want is to be amended out of the regulations, and to be treated as what we are: able-bodied citizens who may not see, but who pose no safety threat of any kind to airlines or other passengers."

As of the middle of November, when this article was written, we had heard nothing further from the FAA. On the other hand, we have been receiving encouraging responses from members of Congress, and it appears there may be a congressional hearing held at which the FAA can be asked publicly to account for its actions. As a last resort, we may have to introduce legislation to correct the problem, and again, there are several members of Congress willing to help us do this. But in the meantime, we can try to put this matter into perspective.

In the first place, although prejudicial treatment of the blind by airlines is nothing new, it has undoubtedly increased greatly recently. It seems clear to us that the imagined need for special procedures has not grown out of the airlines' actual experience with blind travelers. Our only problem on airplanes is resisting the custodialism of the night personnel. Partly the special treatment has come because when airline personnel as members of the general public, with the same negative stereotypes) begin to consider what the "handicapped" need, they focus first on the blind. For example, when Eastern Airlines books a blind passenger, they affix a special yellow slip to the ticket. It is labeled a "Passenger Special Service Request," and it is stapled to the ticket even when the blind passenger specifically requests that no special service be provided. On this slip, there are four categories. They are: passenger with children, invalid, sightless, elderly, and other. Presumably all disabilities besides blindness fall into the category of "other." This is the situation we face as blind people, and we are well aware of it. Blindness is considered the greatest handicap of all, the one that most requires special treatment.

But beyond this, there are other factors in this new torrent of protectionism and militant custodialism. At the very time the airlines were developing their procedures in response to the new FAA regulations, the staff of the White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals was arranging transportation for delegates to the Conference. They were sending dossiers on blind people to the airlines so that special arrangements could be made for them. Federationists who had traveled hundreds of times in the course of their business were suddenly being treated as if they were stretcher patients; and why not? This was clearly the way they were regarded by so august a group as the White House Conference.

Another factor is the continuing attempts of the American Council of the Blind to pass legislation allowing the sighted attendants of blind persons to travel free. A major reason for this, according to a statement presented to Congress by several ACB officers, is "to relieve transportation employees of the necessity of assisting blind passengers." As the statement went on to explain: "Generally, airline employees are quite helpful, but the fact remains that the assistance rendered by airline personnel for severely handicapped passengers is requiring an increasing amount of their time. More and more blind and other physically impaired persons (many of them with more than one impairment) are finding it necessary or desirable to travel by air. It is only equitable that handicapped passengers who need or want the assistance of an attendant should be spared the double cost which will continue to be imposed unless this legislation is enacted."

All we can say to this is that even if both tickets were free, the cost would be too high. It goes to the old saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch. If you want to get favors from the airlines on the basis that blind people are severely handicapped and require a great deal of attention from airline personnel (and that in addition, many of us have other impairments), you must not be surprised if those personnel smother you with their attentions, and to protect themselves, put quotas on your numbers. You must not be surprised if they refuse to give you jobs in their companies, and if the businessmen traveling with you regard you as objects of helplessness and pity. And finally, if the gaining of such degraded bargains is the center of your activity as an organization, you must not be surprised if the blind who have some self-esteem and some hopes for first-class citizenship regard your activities as one of the barriers to be overcome.

To close this discussion, we relate one more development. We finally received a letter from Pan American Airways in response to our letter of April 29. The letter contained the following: "After extensive review on the question of aircraft evacuation in an emergency, our Flight Operations Department has concluded that blind persons who are unaccompanied by escort/traveling companion or guide dog must be limited in numbers (varying by type of aircraft/exits) for the safety of all concerned."  

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Isabelle L. D. Grant, successful career woman, attractive widow, dedicated educator, devoted parent, was in full stride, in the mid-1940's, in what seemed the obvious course of her career. She was a vice-principal at Belvedere Junior High School in Los Angeles, and with her educational background, could look forward to advancement with some certainty.

Dr. Grant's academic record was impeccable: master's degree with honors, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, 1917; diploma, University of Paris, 1931; diploma, University of Madrid, Spain, 1937; doctor of philosophy, University of Southern California, 1940. The degrees were accompanied by a full panoply of honor fraternities, including Phi Beta Kappa, and a whole heap of proper credentials.

Extracurricular activities were pursued with intensity. Wherever Dr. Grant perceived a weakness in the school program, she created a group to provide a remedy: community-school action committees, parent-teacher associations, teacher study groups to improve instruction, a grade-counselor plan for the guidance of students, and on and on.

All the training and work was but the honing of her spirit for a quite different path to career fulfillment. In the mid-1940's, her doctors told Dr. Grant that she had incipient glaucoma which should be treated. But being ill was at the bottom of her list of priorities, and she chose to ignore the warnings. When the disease became acute enough to interfere with her activities, the inevitability of blindness was brought forcefully to her attention, and she took positive action. She turned to the medical world for help. When the efforts of the doctors and the expenditures of considerable time and money ended in the predictable failure, Dr. Grant went for aid to the only agency she then knew the Braille Institute of America.

At the agency she was greeted by a functionary who asked a number of irrelevant questions, handed her a heavy, crook-handled length of wood, and told her to return on the morrow when he would attempt to instruct her in its proper use. Dr. Grant found the whole interview most disheartening. When she returned to the care of the friend who had driven her, she was ready to give way to the rejection she felt, and to quit. The driver, however, had another idea. She knew a blind man with a zest for living who did many things most people thought required sight. Dr. Grant must meet him immediately. They drove to his home without more ado. The driver left her impatient passenger in the car, walked up to the house, and knocked on the door.

It was James Garfield, long-time Federationist, who opened it. He was told that there was a blind woman in the car who was distressed and didn't know where to go for help. He invited Dr. Grant to come in. After listening to her tale of woe, Jim gave her a lecture. "You have hit bottom," he said, "and there is nowhere to go but up. Don't feel sorry for yourself because that won't do you any good or get you any place. You don't have to worry about being a blind beggar, because they have been ruled off the streets by the work of the organized blind, and there is financial help from public authorities." And so on.

On her way home, Dr. Grant is reported to have said to her driver, in characteristic language: "If that little whippersnapper can do it, I can." Thus began a lifelong friendship. Mr. Garfield became her mentor, booster, and general supporter. He urged her to return to the Braille Institute for two reasons: one, for the purpose of learning to read and write Braille; the other, to attend meetings of the Los Angeles County Club of Adult Blind, which met there and of which he was president. At these meetings, Dr. Grant came in contact with people who were blind, who believed in the National Federation of the Blind and its philosophy. She was firmly set and moving along new tracks.

Armed with alternative techniques which she was acquiring as fast as she could, Dr. Grant continued her teaching and administrative duties. However, early in 1949, the school administrators indicated that they were aware of her situation, and despite her demonstrated ability to continue, they had decided that she could no longer perform to their satisfaction. They undertook to persuade her to take a disability retirement. Dr. Grant had wondered what she could or should expect after working 22 years in the school system. Now she knew. The knowledge was decidedly not to her liking. Nor was she inclined to bow her head and disappear quietly. Dr. Grant called on the Federation for help.

There then began a bitter struggle between the Los Angeles Board of Education and the National Federation of the Blind at both the state and national level. Dr. Newel Perry, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, James Garfield, and a host of other Federationists were joined by many of Dr. Grant's professional colleagues, in the battle to keep Dr. Grant from forced retirement. Their efforts brought a partial but significant victory. Dr. Grant did not accept a disability dismissal but remained on the payroll of the Los Angeles County School System. However, she did not keep her position—the position for which she had been trained but which she was not allowed to hold because of her blindness.

The contest to keep Dr. Grant in the school system lasted until she retired. Her difficulties were to lead the National Federation of the Blind into other clashes with that school district as other blind people either entered the system as students or attempted to become teachers.

The school administrators, heir to all the misconceptions about blindness, congratulated themselves on their generosity when, in February of 1949, they removed Dr. Grant as vice-principal and placed her in the Department of the Blind and Partially Seeing—in a resource room. And there, the administration did all it could to make her life miserable. She was shifted from school to school and program to program. Her better students were usually removed from her class when, with her encouragement, they made strides toward normality. There was always a sighted adult present in the classroom. If not, the doors to the room were locked in order to '"provide for the safety" of the students.

Typically, in 1954, she wrote to Dr. tenBroek: "The first week of school has gone by and I am wondering if I am handling this situation adequately. ... I have five students as expected. The two best [from last term] were transferred to the new class in Marshall High School. The two students and their parents were dissatisfied, but not wishing to jeopardize the situation of their children, did nothing about it. I mean the parents did nothing. The students called me to say that they did not get the programs they desired, getting Driver Education in lieu of Life Science II. ... I listened to the story but told the students to try again for their Life Science. I added that, as we were in different schools, I could not interfere. This may be a trivial matter in the larger picture of things, but it is a repetition of the old hat that 'anything' goes for blind students.

"I am looking forward to Fresno and the state convention to get a word with you about a positive interpretation of the situation, for to me it is nauseating."

In April of 1955, she wrote: "The decision is that I am to be transferred to the Belmont High School; that I am to continue working with the severely retarded pupils of whom there will be either four or at most five. A room is to be set up for me with a partition dividing it in two, and a sighted teacher is to be placed in the other half of the room. That's the story. I think that I must have turned white, for the thought passed through my mind of the blind teacher in a glass cage, with a sighted teacher looking on and after her. It is the most ridiculous situation imaginable—ludicrous, insulting to the individual, and degrading. It is medievalism outstripped!

"The only redeeming feature in this sordid outlook is that the pupils I have with me are getting along very well. But that is not setting up a program for the secondary school blind children here. [Our pending bills in the legislature] are the beginning of the answer."

Correspondence and meetings continued apace as part of everyone's very busy schedule. In June of 1955, Dr. tenBroek wrote: "Your situation certainly is going from bad to worse. There can be little doubt that if the lines of present development are carried out, you will be pushed into a worse and worse position and eventually canceled out entirely. I see no remedy for it except for the Council to try to shake a person loose to go to work on the education board, taking the members one by one. The great problem is how to shake a man loose for the time required to do that job." (The California Council of the Blind (CCB) did follow through on the suggestion to try to persuade the members of the board to change their thinking, and a number of CCB leaders participated in this activity with some success.)

In September of 1955, after Dr. Grant's move to Belmont, the picture was just as bleak. As she wrote to Dr. tenBroek: "The new principal of the Belmont High School telephoned me, asking howing I planned to get to school, saying that she was interested in the education of blind children, knew nothing about the program, though she did know something about the education of deaf children. She further said that there would be no partition put up in the room as, if this were done, there would be neither light nor ventilation on one side of the room. I asked if another teacher were to be there, but she did not answer my question, and I got little satisfaction from the somewhat hurried conversation on her part. However, I did take the opportunity of referring to the separation of the retarded children from the mentally normal ones, and about the California Council of the Blind being interested in our program to the extent of having the president and other members come to see her to discuss the setup. She made no response to my observations but returned to the point that the room was very small and would not hold the materials that I had tagged to be brought from Polytechnic to Belmont."

Later in the month, Dr. Grant wrote: "My own situation is just ludicrous, although the principal, faculty, and the school are all exceedingly pleasant. The substitute teacher who sits in my room fills out program cards or puts books up on the shelves. She was told by the principal that there is a law in the city which forbids blind pupils to be without a sighted teacher in the room with them. I would think that to employ the substitute in special education without a credential for more than ten days is illegal. With regard to readers, I have one each period from the regular school. They are fine students—such a relief from the foreign students and mentally retarded ones I used to have at Poly. These students are receiving credits for their reading . . . ."

During the summer of 1955, it was discovered that the Department of Education was about to establish a new position: Consultant in Education of the Visually Handicapped. Dr. Grant was urged to take the examination, set for the fall, though rumor had it that the job was going to someone else. Dr. Grant applied. She prepared herself with her usual vigor. As she wrote: "I have done almost everything in my power to go well prepared to this test. I have had my reader daily for weeks now. I got the very latest publications. I gathered and studied everything I could get on federal and state laws regarding the education of blind children."

In December, in reply to a query from Professor tenBroek, she wrote: "You asked for a few notes about the examination. I was so disappointed, for very little of what I prepared was in the test. They asked for a lot of statistics. One question was, 'Who is Robert Barnett?' And we were offered four choices, two of which were 'President of the American Foundation for the Blind' or 'Executive Director of the American Foundation.' A list of makes of Braille machines contained the AFB as one of the choices. Other people closely allied with the Foundation were also listed to be identified. The Foundation was listed as a proper answer at least ten times."

The solutions to several of the dilemmas Dr. Grant faced as a blind teacher came as the result of campaigns which the CCB had been carrying on since early after its founding in 1934. The early members and leadership had growing concern on a number of subjects in addition to those connected with financial grants to blind persons. There were problems surrounding the growing number of graduates who were having difficulty entering teaching on a professional level. The plight of teachers already on the job was not improving. And the education of blind children was at a virtual standstill at the point where it had begun some generations before. Solutions to these problems were basic in the idea of forming an organization. One has only to look back to Dr. Newel Perry's exertions to enter the teaching profession and to the problems faced by that new generation he was raising to enter the field.

From the beginning of the organization's existence, proposals were introduced at every session of the state legislature, seeking remedial action on one or more of the problems facing the blind—including those in the teaching and education fields. In 1941 the first of a series of fundamental changes was written into the School Code (now the Education Code) as the result of proposals by the NFB's California affiliate. The new section read: "No person otherwise qualified shall be denied the right to receive credentials from the State Board of Education on the ground that he is totally or partially blind."

Another legislative success was recorded in 1953 with the addition of a section to the Education Code which provided that "no person may be employed to teach in special classes for the blind who does not have a valid credential." That took care of one of Dr. Grant's great concerns. The attempt to obtain help for students in the way of field services was less successful. A bill was sponsored by the CCB in 1953 which would have created the position of field service teacher for high school students attending schools independently in their home communities. Patterned after an existing provision in the Education Code for a field worker to visit and aid graduates and former pupils of the California School for the Blind, the field service teacher could have been of assistance to the teachers as well as the students. But the bill was vigorously opposed by the State Department of Education and was lost.

The CCB tried another tack. It took advantage of the expertise among its members to study and produce reports of a professional caliber. Pursuant to resolutions adopted in 1953, the CCB set up two special committees. Dr. Kingsley Price, Professor of Philosophy and Educational Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and sometime Berkeleyan, coordinated and wrote the report of a distinguished group of blind citizens who served with him on the Committee on the Education of Blind Children. The others were Russell Kletzing, attorney in Sacramento; Leslie Schlingheyde, attorney in Modesto; Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, professor at the University of California; and Bonifacio Yturbide, attorney in San Francisco. At the same time, Dr. Kenneth Jernigan chaired and reported for another able committee of blind practitioners and laymen, including students, on the subject of the Blind in the Teaching Profession. While not a member per se of these committees. Dr. Grant took a lively interest and participated in their work.

Both committees reported regularly on their progress to the CCB conventions and gave final papers at the October 1954 gathering. These reports were published in early 1955. They had an impact on what occurred in these fields, though the reports were studiously never mentioned by the so-called "professionals" in the field of work with the blind. Undeterred, the California Council proceeded to arrange for public conferences on these subjects.

The conference on the Education of Blind Children took place on the University of California Berkeley campus. It was scheduled a few weeks after a conference on the same subject put together by the special education people at San Francisco State. The difference in the topics discussed at the two conferences tells the tale. San Francisco State listed as subjects for discussion the following: "how to meet the needs of the blind child in the art program"; "how to meet the needs of the blind child in the physical education program"; how to meet the needs of the blind child in the music program"; "what use do you make of case records"; "how to help the child develop independence without yourself curtailing that independence"; "how do you meet the needs of the partially blind child who may use some print."

The topics at the conference held by the organized blind were the following: "techniques used in education of blind children, including the use of aids and appliances and techniques for teaching such subjects as Braille typewriting"; "travel competence"; "emotional problems and their solutions—of the children, of teachers and administrators, and effective techniques of counseling"; "education of teachers of the visually handicapped"; "special credentials"; "should education for the blind be directed toward vocational skills or overall background"; "social problems of blind students"; "ways of increasing the integration of the blind student into society." Blind professionals from around the country were on the agenda; and the people from the conference at San Francisco State were invited to participate, along with representatives from the State Department of Education and the University of California.

The CCB's Educational Policy Committee, which grew out of the earlier study committees, also prepared reports on implementation of the policies which had been developed. These were translated into legislation which culminated in the adoption by the legislature, a decade later, of a statute forbidding discrimination against the blind in the teaching profession.

Dr. Grant was involved in as many activities concerning the education of the blind and especially blind children as she could squeeze into any one day. She gave much of her attention to her studies until she received her credential in special education in 1954. But meanwhile, she attended meetings of blind students, local chapters, and professional meetings up and down the state, across the country, and anywhere else. When she needed advice, she would get on the train or plane and come to the Bay Area for conferences and consultation with Dr. tenBroek, Dr. Jernigan, and others located there. She spent many hours in the tenBroek living room, talking, drinking endless cups of tea, and enjoying watching Dr. tenBroek consume the English toffee which she supplied.

Dr. Grant's main interest in her professional life centered in students and improving methods of education. Blindness meant that she turned her energies to blind students, especially those with whom she came in contact during her work hours, whether they were under her immediate tutelage or not. A 1956 exchange is illustrative. On October 28 of that year, Dr. Grant wrote to Dr. tenBroek: "I am sorry to report that one of our very fine young high school students, Robert Acosta—a duly qualified candidate for student body president of the Marshall High School—has been removed from the list by authority of the principal and faculty of the school, because of blindness. They maintained that he would not be able to appear when called upon at any hour of the day or night when needed, as his transportation would be difficult. Robert's mother is disappointed with the decision and went to the school about it. Robert is perfectly able to attend to his transportation.

Dr. tenBroek commented a few days later: "The Robert Acosta story is frightful," and he urged everyone to protest. A month later, Dr. Grant reported again: "The boy received permission from the principal of the school to run for student body president. The election is on December 7. I was able to get a copy of the letter which the principal wrote the father. It is typical of the attitude toward the blind who want to go a little beyond the ordinary line of achievement. The principal did his level best to dissuade the boy from running, and furthermore, tried to influence the father toward that end, too." Dr. Grant enclosed a copy of the letter which the principal wanted Bob Acosta's father to sign. It read: "I understand fully the demands which will be made upon my son if he is elected student body president of John Marshall High School, and I agree to see that he is in attendance wherever and whenever his duties demand." Professor tenBroek could only reply that he found these actions of the principal nothing short of disgusting and an obvious attempt to confirm his original misconceptions.

On December 12 came the bad news: "Bob Acosta lost the election. We wanted him to win in spite of the heavy odds against him. We learned that the principal had told the present student body president to tell Bob not to run. Instead, the fellow encouraged him, telling Bob that by his qualifications, his speaking ability, his grades, his personality, he was far ahead of the other candidates. But though all of this was true, Bob had the principal and a large number of the teachers against him. Some of the teachers came to Bob's resource teacher and tried to get her to stop Bob from running. This she did, but Bob ran in spite of her, too. Well, he lost. Bob's reaction is that, though he was crushed by his defeat, only now has he realized what blind people are up against when they try to fend for themselves. He declares that he is, nevertheless, going to fight his way to where he wants to go. After March he will be 18 and eligible for membership in the student group, for which he says he is very happy. He sees that organization is his hope. Regarding his travel ability, he could go to Timbuktu if necessary. He's a fine type of youngster."

After learning the results of the December election, Dr. tenBroek consoled Dr. Grant: "Our luck certainly played out in the Acosta case. Too bad that he did not win the election over the obstacles and then go ahead to demonstrate that he could carry off the job. In any event, something is salvaged if, out of this experience, he has learned what he is up against in life and has been taught the invaluable lesson of the necessity for organization among the blind."

In that letter, Dr. tenBroek brought to attention another of Dr. Grant's attributes. He wrote: "You are a wonderful correspondent. You keep the letters coming if there is news. If we could get other people around the country to do likewise, we would be much better informed than we are and in a better situation for the dissemination of information and for the formulation of Federation policies."

Dr. Grant's interest in education for the blind grew as she met successful blind people in this country and elsewhere. It became obvious that training and education—and self-help organizations—were the roads to salvation for the blind. She attended a meeting in Oslo, Norway, in 1957 on the Education of Blind Youth and came home imbued with the crusader's zeal to spread the benefits of training and organizing. Dr. Grant decided that it was time to take her sabbatical leave since regulations required that she teach for at least two years after returning, and her normal retirement date was fast approaching. Urged by this and spurred by her curiosity and desire to help, she determined to travel. Pakistan, she concluded, would be her major goal and as many other of the surrounding nations as she could manage.

Typewriter, brailler, paper, stylus and slate strapped about her, one hand free for her white cane, lugging the rest of her baggage as best she might. Dr. Grant took off on a plane Pakistan-bound, though she was so exhilarated that she might easily have carried herself away. She was in Pakistan for six months—September 1959 to February 1960 and turned the thoughts of the blind of that country away from their despair and custodialism toward self-governance.

There she found Dr. Fatima Shah, a well-educated, highly placed physician who had lost her sight in 1957 and who—as is common among the sighted—regarded blindness as just one step better than being dead. The greatest shock to Dr. Shah, however, was the realization that "others had given her up and regarded her blindness as termination of her active life." With Dr. Grant urging her on, Dr. Shah discovered that her life and her training need only be redirected. She helped to found the Pakistan Association of the Blind. That organization has grown in size and influence. Dr. Shah, its first president, is now the president of the International Federation of the Blind.

Dr. Grant did travel to other countries surrounding the subcontinent and made frequent stops on her road to and returning from those places. She made hundreds of contacts with blind people. When she returned to the United States and her teaching duties, it was with the determination to travel again as soon as she could to find out more about the blind and especially about blind children. She kept up a flow of correspondence with those she had met, exhorting them to take action. Appalled at the absence of the barest means of communicating and learning, Dr. Grant began her own recycling projects. She scrounged slates, styluses, paper, watches, Braille books, typewriters. Braille writers, and anything else she thought might be useful, and sent them off to anyone in those far and foreign parts who could write and ask. Though the NFB organized fundraising and the gathering and mailing of books and materials on a regular basis, Dr. Grant continued her personal projects along these lines.

Now Dr. Grant—along with Onvia Ticer Tillinghast, a blind teacher in a sighted class—decided it was time for teachers, prospective teachers, and students to organize in order to concentrate on their particular problems. They set up a conference on this in 1960. Conferences have been held every year since, with greater numbers and growing influence. Out of this developed the NFB of California Teachers Division.

Dr. Grant was looking forward to her retirement and more travel. That event occurred at the end of the school year in June 1962. The occasion was marked by many events and the bestowing of many honors. The greatest of these was a Fulbright Fellowship. This was supplemented by a grant from the National Federation of the Blind, and Dr. Grant once again made travel plans. Main target—Africa.

She started her travels by accompanying the tenBroeks to a meeting of the executive committee of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, in Hanover. Germany. The NFB wanted to talk with those worthies about how the NFB representation in WCWB was being exploited and outright denied in something other than an above-board fashion. The NFB spokesmen were given a very chilly reception, were otherwise gratutitously insulted, and were not permitted to attend the committee's sessions though the NFB was, at the least, a dues-paying member.

Dr. Grant and Dr. tenBroek sat having tea and toast in a small neighborhood guest-house after the sessions had adjourned and bemoaned the domination of a worldwide organization dealing with the blind by the American Foundation for the Blind and other agencies. Dr. tenBroek had been in contact with some of the leaders of organizations of the blind in Europe. As he and Dr. Grant talked, it became obvious that if the blind were to be properly represented and were to govern their own affairs, sooner or later they would have to organize on something larger than national scope.

Dr. Grant made her way east. She developed a technique for finding blind people and for managing to see ministers high in the governing ranks of many countries—not infrequently, the heads of state. To all of them she talked of organization, of teaching, of training. Sometimes Dr. Grant had to stamp her foot or shake a finger in anger when discussing the conditions of the blind with these plenipotentiaries, but those actions were rarely taken amiss. Occasionally these officials caught her fervor for the necessity of educating blind youth to get them out of the deep and unending poverty that was their lot. In some countries she was permitted to conduct seminars for teachers of the blind on proper methods of instruction. In other countries, she was able to persuade governments to institute educational programs or other measures for the rehabilitation and training of the large blind populations, especially the young. In all countries she encouraged the blind to organize for their own improvement after the model of the National Federation of the Blind.

Dr. Grant's expressed goal was an international student division organized to feed trained people into new national organizations of the blind. Every country had some sort of agency for the blind, but only in Europe, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand were there organizations of the blind which were independent of the agencies. She saw the students as the future leaders of those oppressed millions of blind people in other countries, who would lead them out of their bondage of poverty to the independence which was every man's birthright.

The leaders of the Federation, however, felt the time was ripe to create an international unit more comprehensive than a student division. With Dr. Grant's enthusiastic participation, plans were set afoot for the formation of a worldwide organization. The 1964 NFB Convention in Phoenix was the convention, as it turned out, of the International Federation of the Blind. One whole day was devoted to the presentations of foreign dignitaries. Representatives of seven countries were present, and a number of others sent papers about conditions and programs in their nations. As reported in the 1964 Convention Roundup:

"The visitors came to Phoenix with varying points of view on programs for the blind, from countries with widely divergent needs of the blind, and in different stages of readiness for world organization of the blind. To a man, however, they recognized the need for organization of the blind themselves on a world basis, the necessary major features of such an organization, the common aspirations of the blind everywhere for independence and integration, the common goals to be achieved by organization, and the common functions to be performed."

Preliminary meetings were held at Phoenix and later in New York. All saw their dreams brought to fruition when, with a constitution drawn by Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, and under the leadership of Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, the International Federation of the Blind became a reality. Professor tenBroek's banquet address, "The Parliament of Man: the Federation of the World," set forth the problems and the solutions.

But the fitting climax to that Convention, and to these early years of Isabelle Grant's involvement with the organized blind movement in the United States and around the world, was the conferral upon her of the Newel Perry Award by NFB President Russell Kletzing. In presenting the award, President Kletzing made the following remarks, which serve as a fitting summation of the career of a most courageous and far-seeing woman:

"If we of the National Federation honor Isabelle tonight, it is because she has been doing us honor for many years. To blind people everywhere she has become the gracious and dynamic symbol of Federationism—of voluntary self-organization and self-advancement. We have long since dubbed Isabelle our ambassador without portfolio; and indeed she needs no portfolio, since she carries the message and spirit of our movement in her heart and expresses it in her work.

"Isabelle Grant is of course more than that more than our ambassador and chief missionary overseas. In her own right she is a leader of the blind, a skillful educator, a tireless promoter, and an astonishing example of the triumph of mind and will over physical limitation. Everyone here knows of her fabled travels around the world, accompanied only by her faithful, understanding, and sustaining companion-a white cane named 'Oscar.' And we all know what these travels have been like: not the leisurely excursion of a tourist but the hard road of the crusader-seeking not ease but hardship, and concentrating in particular upon those newly emerging, poverty-stricken lands whose teeming populations of blind people are both the largest and neediest in the world.

"Nor do I need to dwell at length upon the social miracles achieved by Dr. Grant over the past six years for the blind of Pakistan. She has inspired them with faith, a faith once undreamed of, in their powers and their collective future. She has stimulated their voluntary organization and worked with them to build a strong foundation of Federationism. She has pushed, prodded, and pestered the government of Pakistan into sponsoring a full-fledged revolution in its attitudes surrounding the education of blind children and the training of teachers for them."

"But no list of specifics can convey the full scope of this gentlewoman's teaching. By her deeds, by her words, and by her enlightened example, Dr. Grant has truly educated us all."  

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The quality of person holding the job of Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration in the Department of HEW has been high recently. We were more than pleased with the responsiveness of Commissioner Andrew Adams, who went beyond simply being open to our input and was a real friend to the blind. When the change in Administrations put his job on the block, we mounted a campaign for his reappointment—showing that we stick by our friends. We tried mightily, but it was just not to be. A new HEW Secretary wanted his own man, and there was little we could do about it.

But as it turned out, it is clear that our efforts were noticed in HEW. The man who was appointed RSA Commissioner is a man with a long history of advocating the rights of consumers, and he is a man who has already showed himself to be aware of and friendly to the organized blind. He is Robert Humphreys, who was formerly Special Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Human Resources and chief legislative advisor to Senator Jennings Randolph. We look forward to working closely with Mr. Humphreys and to positive achievements in rehabilitation at the federal level.

In his work with the Committee on Human Resources, Mr. Humphreys has already been part of measures which have benefited the blind consumer. He was closely involved in the development of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and even more closely involved in the 1974 amendments to the act which included the Randolph-Sheppard Act amendments. These amendments guaranteed to vendors the right to a hearing and to more equitable distribution of vending machine income. Mr. Humphreys is clearly familiar with the federal programs which are important to us. Beyond this, he is familiar with the concept that consumers have rights, particularly the right to provide input to programs which affect their lives.

As it happens, we have already had a chance as an organization to become acquainted with Mr. Humphreys. Last July, when a spot opened up on our Convention program, Mr. Humphreys, with almost no notice, put aside other commitments and flew to New Orleans to appear on a panel on the future of rehabilitation services. He gave a positive talk about the improvements which need to be made. In particular he supported the comprehensive services legislation introduced by the Federation last winter. He ended his talk by saying: "Older people who are disabled don't want or need a vocational goal, but they do need adjustment and other services. Many younger disabled people may not have an immediate prospect for gainful employment but may very well develop one after the provision of VR services."

Later, during the question period which followed, he supported the concept of the separate state agency for the blind. He said: "[A]s long as there are special conditions and special needs for particular disability groups, there are going to have to be identifiable, clear-cut responsibilities for those groups." At a later point in the session, he said, concerning another matter of prime importance to us: "On the local level, I think there has to be a lot of re-education of rehabilitation counselors; and if that re-education is not satisfactory, then they ought to be removed." Finally, he stated, with regard to the numbers game played by state agencies to boost their statistics on closures: "It is most clear to me that a closure is not a rehabilitation."

Although Mr. Humphreys has been officially in office for only a few weeks, he has already promised us that he will investigate the cozy relationship between the federal Office for the Blind and the General Services Administration, a relationship which—according to a GSA official—has produced an agreement that could keep blind people out of federal locations for the next 15 years. If this is the kind of real advocacy Mr. Humphreys will provide for us, there is every reason to look for steady improvement in RSA in the years ahead. If so, Bob Humphreys will have the wholehearted support of the organized blind movement.  

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Dialogue magazine has never been one to hide its light under a bushel—or, for that matter, even a bucket or a cup. In almost every issue Editor Don Nold informs us that Dialogue is the only publication in the world which speaks "objectively" about problems of the blind. Every other magazine has a particular point of view, or an ax to grind, or something or other.

The Spring, 1977, issue of Dialogue was no exception. Mr. Nold wrote an article entitled "It's Time to Face the Issues." As usual, he made his customary modest statement about objectivity early on. He said it this way: "For several years Dialogue has been reporting the activities of these various agencies and organizations in an objective way through articles and interviews giving all sides the right to voice their respective opinions." Mr. Nold went on to prove his claim of "objectivity" by commenting on the National Federation of the Blind. Among other things, he said this:

"Credibility. What then, if anything, is wrong with the tactics used by the National Federation of the Blind? From observation over the years, it seems to center on their lack of credibility. . . . Too many times the leaders of the NFB have distorted facts, used half-truths, and consistently complained about other agencies' closed-door practices that they use within their organization. Their leaders insist that all agencies serving the blind make all their operations open and available for inspection at all levels. Yet they deny the same to others who ask that privilege of them."

Mr. Nold goes on to say: "This writer has long contended that NFB does not have 50,000 members. When asked if NFB could certify 50,000 members, James Gashel, head of the NFB's Washington Office, said: 'I'm certifying it to you right now. We say we have them, and we have them.' Mr. Gashel is an attorney and knows very well that to certify a membership an independent organization must be engaged to examine all records, contact names on the list for verification, and conduct a complete audit of membership."

This is not all of Mr. Nold's "objective" commentary. He goes on to say this: "The National Federation permits no opposition from its membership, and its leadership is as autocratic as any dictatorship in history." This is hardly temperate or "objective" language, nor is the following statement: "In 1961 when a group of members opposed the practices of its national leaders on several counts, those who opposed the leadership withdrew to form the American Council of the Blind, although NFB records indicate they were expelled."

This is strange language, indeed, from one who keeps telling us how "objective" and disinterested he is. I believe that Mr. Nold has never attended a single NFB Convention in his life. Yet, he presumes to make his dogmatic pronouncement as if he knew all about it. I, on the other hand, have attended NFB Conventions-every one of them since 1952. I was there, for instance, in 1961; and I can tell Mr. Nold that the states in question were expelled. There are recordings to prove it.

Thinking that finally enough is enough, Donald McConnell (editor of the Braille Monitor) responded to Mr. Nold in the Fall, 1977, issue of Dialogue Mr. McConnell pointed out that "In 1961 Mr. Nold's wife was an officer of the Kansas NFB affiliate, which was expelled and later became part of the ACB." Mr. McConnell went on to say this: "The fact that Mr. Nold publishes this one-sided picture and does not mention his personal stake in the ACB viewpoint will give readers some idea of the objectivity of Dialogue's reporting."

Mr. Nold tried to prove his "objectivity" by allowing Mr. McConnell's article to appear in Dialogue, but he showed his true colors by the way he did it. He followed Mr. McConnell's article with a point-by-point denial and counterattack. Then, just for good measure, he threw in an "unsolicited" response to his earlier editorial from Dr. Richard Bleecker, NAC's executive director. Dr. Bleecker's comments about the NFB were hardly what one would call friendly. Some of Mr. Nold's attempted responses would be laughable if they did not border on the pathetic. For instance, he says this: "I met my wife in 1963, two years after ACB was founded, and while she followed the Kansas delegation into affiliation with ACB, she took no active part in the controversy. Even if she had, this in no way had anything to do with my editorial, which was written without her consent or knowledge. To drag her into this is not only totally irrelevant, but in extremely poor taste."

Well, Mr. Nold, you may not like the way it tastes; but facts are facts—besides all of which, you started it in the first place, telling us how "objective" you are and how you have no axes to grind. You may not have met your wife until two years after 1961, but I met her before that time. I was at that 1961 Convention; and I observed firsthand what occurred. I believe it is a distortion of the truth to imply that your wife was merely a passive observer who "followed the Kansas delegation into affiliation with ACB" and "took no active part in the controversy." Mr. Nold, let's be "objective." Let's examine the facts. You have not attended NFB Conventions. You have attended several ACB conventions and appeared on their program. Your wife was part of the group expelled from NFB. She was a state officer. Over the years you have written articles about NFB and ACB, but you have never disclosed these facts. Can you honestly say this makes you appear to be "objective"? How does it happen that you have repeatedly gone to ACB conventions but have somehow just never found the opportunity to come to a Convention of the Federation?

I repeat that Mr. Nold's responses to Mr. McConnell would be laughable if they did not border on the pathetic. In his article Mr. McConnell had the following comments about Mr. Nold's statement that Mr. Gashel is an attorney: "Although it is irrelevant to whether we have 50,000 members, Mr. Gashel is not an attorney and has never claimed to be. It is no excuse for Mr. Nold to say that he didn't know this. He is a reporter and can be expected to verify his own statements. We would put this misstatement against his claim that the NFB distorts facts and uses half-truths."

In other words, Mr. McConnell caught Mr. Nold flat-footed. Under the circumstances the most graceful thing Mr. Nold could have done would have been to smile and admit it. But no! He couldn't bring himself to do it. He tried to wiggle out of it in one of the most bizarre attempts at logic I have ever seen. Here is what he said:

"In questioning whether NFB had 50,000 members, I quoted James Gashel's comment that 'I'm certifying it to you now.' First of all, I did not identify him as an attorney at law; I said attorney. Let me quote from a dictionary the definition of attorney: 'Any person legally empowered to act as agent for or in behalf of another.' Mr. Gashel is legally empowered to act for NFB in its Washington Office, so he is in that sense an attorney."

Come, come, Mr. Nold! It won't do. It isn't cute, and it isn't believable. I invite any fair-minded person to read your earlier statement about Mr. Gashel and see whether it can be taken in the context you suggest. You said this: "Mr. Gashel is an attorney and knows very well that to certify a membership an independent organization must be engaged to examine all records . . . ." Your statement implies that this is a legal matter and that because Mr. Gashel in an "attorney," he would certainly know the specialized meaning of the word "certify." If you only meant that he was an "attorney" in the sense of being an agent or representative, why would this give him any special knowledge about the legalities of certification?

If I am sitting in my office and someone tells me that four attorneys are outside to see me, I will reasonably conclude that I am going to meet with a delegation of lawyers. If (when I go out to see them) I find an insurance agent, the postman, the milkman, and a typewriter salesman, I will think somebody is trying to put me on if I am told that all four are attorneys because they are "agents" for their respective employers. Furthermore, I will not think that the milkman has any particular knowledge about what it means to "certify" simply because he is an "agent" for the milk company—unless, of course, we are speaking of "certified milk." In the sense of the Nold definition almost everybody I know is an attorney. The world is swarming with them.

Regardless of all this, the Spring and Fall, 1977, issues of Dialogue have rendered a real service. They have laid to rest, once and for all, the matter of Mr. Nold's and Dialogue's "objectivity." Mr. Nold is about as objective as most other people. He writes from his own particular point of view and that of his publication. He has his own particular values and beliefs. I am prepared to accept the fact that he tries to be fair and honest—at least, in the context of his prejudices and biases. There are a number of other people and publications in the field that are just as "objective," or just as "unobjective"—depending on where you start and how you see it.

I believe that the Braille Monitor is objective, but I have no doubt that the American Foundation for the Blind sees it differently. The Foundation doubtless thinks its publication is a model of propriety and fair-mindedness, but quite a number of us don't see it that way. That is what it's all about, and why freedom of the press is such a good thing and such a precious right.

Say on, Mr. Nold. By all means, do it. Speak your beliefs, and say your say: but please stop telling us you are the only one in the whole field who is "objective." You aren't, and we all know it—I suspect that even you know it. On the whole you are really not all that bad as an editor. You lean a little toward the ACB at times, but you have a touchy temper, and so you scold at them now and again. As a matter of fact, this is one of your characteristics (a not altogether unpleasant characteristic, incidentally). You like to scold at everybody—not too much, just a little to tickle your vanity and show us that you are "objective" and fair-minded about it all. More power to you, but take a page from the title of your own column in Dialogue: "It's a Nold Story."

(Incidentally, Mr. Nold, I am sending you a copy of this. Would you care to print it, just to show your readers how "objective" you are? If you do print it, will you try to nullify its effect by surrounding it with your answers, along with an "unsolicited" article or two from Dr. Bleecker? Well, have at it. Print it—or don't print it. Answer it—or don't answer it. As the common saying goes, omphaloskepsis is rarely taken for insouciance.)

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In November, the U.S. Senate completed its version of Social Security legislation for this year. The Senate bill contains our Disability Insurance for the Blind amendments, which were offered by Senator Birch Bayh. Senators DeConcini and Humphrey also were especially helpful in achieving this. As you read this, the conferees from the House and Senate will be meeting to create a compromise bill. Federationists should take every step possible to secure acceptance of the Bayh amendment in the final legislation. Tell your Congressmen and Senators to support the Bayh amendment to H.R. 9346, the Social Security Act Amendments of 1977. It is vital to act now.

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We began this year in the gravest financial trouble. The source of funding which sustained the Federation for 37 years had come to an end; and although we received some carry-over money in the first months of this year, we were faced with almost certain bankruptcy. It was a prospect which filled the regressive agencies and "professionals" who oppose our movement with glee. They discussed it at their conferences and published it in their journals. But they did not count on the loyalty of the nation's blind to the movement they had created. As the year comes to a close, the response of Federationists has been such that we can say confidently that the National Federation of the Blind will not be silenced by a lack of funds.

To give you an idea of where we stand after ten months of effort, we print a list of the 25 states which had contributed the most in terms of both Pre-Authorized Check (PAC) Plan pledges and other donations as of October 31. These other donations are funds given by members, their families, and friends—in other words, money which is directly attributable to the support of Federationists. Here then are the top twenty-five states and the amounts contributed, omitting pennies:

Colorado—$31,019; Iowa—$26,548; California—$l9,013; Virginia—$15,473: Maryland—$8,956; Washington—$8,467; Massachusetts—$7,353; Minnesota—$6,318; Illinois—$4,718; Ohio—$4,530; Missouri—$4,137; New York—$3,981; Nebraska—$53,219; South Carolina—$3,005; Texas—$2,836; Hawaii-$2,790; Idaho—$2,696; Indiana—$2,619; Mississippi—$2,459; Oregon—$2,338; District of Columbia—$2,230; Florida—$2,052; Michigan—$1,906; Kansas—$l,859; and North Carolina—$l,819.

The number one position of Colorado is partly explained by a resolution passed at their recent convention. It reads:

"Whereas the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado was given $14,200 on May 23, 1977, through the generosity of the David H. Krohn estate; and

"Whereas these funds are not needed by the NFB of Colorado, but they are needed in our national treasury:

"Be it resolved this 17th day of September 1977 in this City of Denver that the $14,200 gift from the David H. Krohn estate be transferred from the treasury of the NFB of Colorado to the treasury of the National Federation of the Blind."

The following are the figures for the PAC Plan as of the end of October, this time for the top ten states. The first figure is the number of people in the state who belong to the PAC Plan; the second is their combined monthly pledges, again omitting pennies.

Iowa (94) $1,964; California (81) $1,053; Maryland (37) $925; Colorado (32) $564; Washington (28) $514; Minnesota (23) $350; New York (16) $323; Missouri (26) $319; Illinois (12) $305; and Virginia (17) $276. The total PAC pledges of all the states, as of October 31 was $9,832.75 per month.

From these figures, it is obvious that Federationists are responding at a heartening rate. It is also obvious that we have a long way to go if our activities are not be greatly curtailed. The relatively small number of people who, through the PAC Plan, are virtually supporting the movement will also indicate that a single person can do much. We urge the thousands of members who are not on the PAC Plan to look into their hearts and see whether they really wish to be carried on the backs of the rest. Next year, there will be no residue from last year's mailings, and the need for aggressive NFB action is far from diminishing.

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Over the past few months a number of states have sent in convention reports to the Monitor, but lack of space has prevented them from appearing in the magazine. Since conventions continue to occur and since space in the Monitor continues to be scarce, we have excerpted the reports and print them here, in the last issue of 1977, in order to clear the decks for news of the year of affiliate activity coming up.

The 1977 convention of the NFB of Nebraska was held in Lincoln the weekend of May 13-15. It was the largest Nebraska convention yet, with about 80 people present. The meeting began with a legislative dinner. State Senator Harold Moyland was presented an award for his help in the passage of a voting rights bill—a major recent achievement of the affiliate. The blind of Nebraska have also been actively trying to move library services away from the state library and into the state agency for the blind. Monitor readers will remember that the library fought back tooth and nail and with little regard for the propriety of its tactics. Continuing this policy of active non-cooperation, the library refused to send a representative to the convention, although the library was only four blocks away.

There was a lively panel discussion on the question of whether state employment application forms should contain questions about disability. A representative from the state civil service system was present, he said, "not to make friends, but to tell it like it is." By this he meant that blind people should be teachers and counselors or work in other professions where they don't have to move around. President Barbara Beach asked the panelists to consider the question, "Why is it that most people are not asked to justify a characteristic, while we are?"

Officers elected at the convention were: Dick Zlab, second vice-president; Bill Pfeiffer, treasurer; and as board members, Louise Naggatz and Bernice Falk.

The NFB of Minnesota held its 1977 convention the weekend of May 20-22 in Minneapolis. More than 100 Federationists attended. The first evening was devoted to a discussion of the problems of blind senior citizens. The next day, an official of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank described the bank's efforts to offer equal opportunity to the disabled. She indicated a preference for dealing directly with the disabled applicant, rather than letting a rehabilitation counselor act as intermediary.

Library services are an issue in Minnesota as well as Nebraska. The Regional Library for the Blind, currently being transfered to the State Department of Education, is opposed to being brought under the state agency for the blind—a move which is being sought by the NFB of Minnesota. Stanley Potter, Director of State Services for the Blind, reported that he would favor a merger of the library with his agency. He also discussed proposed legislation which would establish two huge conglomerate agencies in the state, and consequently, weaken services to the blind.

The enthusiasm of our Minnesota Federationists can be judged by the fact that they pledged well over $500 to the Jacobus tenBroek Memorial Endowment Fund. This will be raised to 51,000 by the state organization.

The NFB of Utah held its annual convention on June 4. During a morning panel discussion, Don Perry, Director of the Division of the Visually Handicapped, talked about efforts to make his Division functional. This separate unit for blind services was created during the last year. When Mr. Perry was asked if the Division would seek NAC accreditation, he replied, "No, we don't need NAC."

The afternoon session ended with elections. Joan Bills was elected vice-president and Linda Holliday was elected secretary.

The 32nd annual convention of the Montana Association for the Blind was held in Bozeman July 15-18. One hundred forty-six persons were on hand for the banquet Saturday evening.

Last spring the MAB was successful in beating back a legislative plan to combine visual services with those for all other disability groups in the rehabilitation program. During the banquet, the Yellowstone River Chapter (in Glendive) received its charter, making it the tenth local affiliate of the organization. On Sunday, the following were elected to two-year terms: Jim Sibert, president; Tony Persha, first vice-president; and board members Alonzo Port and Delos Kelley.

The NFB of South Carolina held its annual convention in Columbia the weekend of August 5-7, with 14 chapters represented. Over 300 persons attended the Saturday night banquet. Continuing growth of the affiliate was shown by the presentation of a charter to the newly formed Conway Chapter.

The student division presented a panel which reviewed its problems with the South Carolina Commission and its director, Henry Watts. NFB First Vice-President Don Capps announced his lawsuit against Mr. Watts, who, in an interview which was printed on the front page of a major newspaper, used gutter language to characterize Mr. Capps. The January issue of the Monitor will report the affiliate's progress in seeking reform of the Commission.

New board members elected include Mike Sutton, Cary Burriss, Ray Holcombe, Louise Bristow, Shelia Compton, Ronnie Logan, Joe Gulledge, and Ollie Heyward.

The NFB of North Carolina held its eighth annual convention September 23-25 in Charlotte. Earl Jennings reported on a bill passed by the general assembly which creates a consumer-advocacy committee. This replaces the former Blind Advisory Committee the members of which were appointed by the Governor. The new committee is comprised of the presidents and vice-presidents of state organizations of the blind, the chairman of the vending stand committee, and the directors of two other groups. All agencies, schools, commissions, boards, and other entities involved in work with the blind must report to this committee before implementing major policy changes. Another bill passed this year spells out specifically the rights of guide dog users. This bill was submitted by the attorney general as a result of the correspondence between state president Hazel Staley and the manager of an apartment building. The correspondence appeared in the June 1977 issue of the Monitor.

At the banquet Saturday night, a charter was presented to the newest North Carolina chapter, the Port City Federation of the Blind in Wilmington. Three board members were elected this year: Paul Ellis, Roland Brantley, and Billy Bethea.

The NFB of New York State held its convention October 7-10 in Rochester. It was attended by over 100 members. On Sunday morning, the convention elected officers for the next two years. The new slate was presented by Judge Gilbert Ramirez. Officers elected were Sterling France, president; Suzi Spigle, first vice-president; David Walker, second vice-president; Lucy Carpenter, secretary; and Rita Chernow, treasurer.

During the past year, the New York affiliate was enriched by the addition of two new chapters-the Chemung Chapter and the Greater Middletown Chapter. The chapter presidents, Donna Greedy and Rose Mazzini respectively, proudly received their charters.

"The blind: It's up to us" was the theme of the 31st annual convention of the NFB of Ohio, held October 13-16 in Youngstown. President Robert Eschbach reviewed the two leadership seminars held during the last year, which illustrated the various aspects of leadership. President Eschbach summarized by saying, "Leadership is only as strong as the members of an organization allow it to be."

Cooper Sontag, newly appointed Rehabilitation Services Commission Director, said he would neither oppose nor endorse the formation of a commission for the blind, but he did promise to enter into dialogue with the Federation. The creation of a commission which would provide comprehensive services for blind persons of all ages is a major project for the year ahead. A resolution was passed commending the Youngstown Society for the Blind, which chose to be accredited by CARF (the Council on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) rather than by NAC.

The Clark County Council of the Blind, in Springfield, became the 21st chapter of the state affiliate. Mary Lou Cahill and Bruce Powelson were elected to two-year terms on the NFB of Ohio executive committee.  

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[Reprinted, with permission, from the Cincinnati Enquirer of September 4, 1977.]

Teamsters Local 100 is attempting to organize certain employees of the Cincinnati Association for the Blind, including more than 60 in the Association's sheltered workshop, in what the union hopes will be a precedent-setting campaign.

Last week the local filed what is called an "intervening position" with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), asking the group to direct an election in which the employees could decide whether they wished to be represented by the Teamsters. The NLRB hearing officer listened to testimony from both union and management sides, ordered briefs to be filed within a week or so, and referred the case to the board's Cincinnati regional director, Emil Farkas.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) originally asked for an election among the employees. The CWA, at last week's hearing, withdrew in favor of the Teamsters.

Many of those in the sheltered workshop, which does packaging for commercial enterprises and the federal government, not only are legally blind, but also have other disabilities. They are paid less than the minimum wage, under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor.

The company maintains they are "clients," and as such are not subject to union organizing as a group. The union maintains they are employees, are paid as employees, have taxes withheld as employees, and are subject to organizing. It presented the NLRB a number of cards signed by the employees signifying a desire to be represented by the union.

Ken Watson, organizer for Teamsters 100, said that nowhere in the country are employees of organizations such as the Association represented by the Teamsters (one organization in Wisconsin is represented by the Machinists Union, he said).

"We have been told by our international headquarters that if the campaign is successful here, it will become a national campaign," Watson said.

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Note: Mrs. Nichols is a member of the Baltimore Chapter, NFB of Maryland.  



4 cups fresh cranberries
2 oranges
2 apples, pared and cored
2 cups sugar  

Put the cranberries and apples through a food chopper or a blender. Put the oranges through the chopper with or without skins. Add the sugar and mix well. Chill in the refrigerator before serving. This makes about one quart of relish.

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From the October Newsline, publication of the NFB of Washington, comes the following report of the initial activities of the new Washington Commission for the Blind: "In its first meeting as a body on October 10, 1977, the Commission Board elected as temporary chairman Edward S. Foscue .... Giving impetus to the positive changes in services to the blind we have all worked so long for, the Commission appointed Kenneth N. Hopkins, 41, as Director of the programs established by the Commission. NFBW strongly supports this appointment. Indeed, Ken has earned such a level of national respect in this field that we have heard of no other name even remotely considered for this position.

Newsweek magazine, on October 10, carried an article on a bill passed by the California Legislature as a result of the efforts of the NFB of California. As will be clear, the Newsweek report as well depended on input from various members of the Federation. It read, in part: "Now, California has passed a law, effective next January 1, that removes the blind from the category of those who are too 'incompetent, infirm, or decrepit' to become jurors. Blind lawyers, blind prosecutors, and even blind judges serve in U.S. courts, and they see no reason why the blind cannot handle jury duty. 'In every encounter, 100 times a day, everyone tries to determine the truth,' says New York State Judge Gilbert Ramirez, who is blind. 'We apply our own standards for deciphering the truth.' . . . Leaders of organizations for the blind contend that the reluctance to seat blind jurors stems from the same old-fashioned prejudice that once kept women and blacks off juries."

On August 26, the Broward County Chapter of the NFB of Florida was organized with 38 enthusiastic members. Pamela Drake of Fort Lauderdale was elected president. Plans for fundraising and other projects have already been started, and we can expect great things from this chapter in the future.

As a result of this year's National Convention held in the romantic city of New Orleans, two Florida Federationists have decided to change their style of life. In August Marian Burke of Miami married John McNally of New York. And in November Eddie Moritz of Jacksonville married Barbara Hirsh of Philadelphia. Both couples will reside in Florida.

Carl Miller, vice-president of the Prairie State Chapter of the NFB of Illinois, has been elected president of the American Austin-Bantam Car Club. This club has members in every state and in several foreign countries. Carl has been active in antique car clubs for 25 years. When he lost his sight in 1970, instead of losing interest, he accelerated his activities and has restored four cars since that time. He has served as president of two local antique car clubs—one of which he founded. Carl is employed as a supervisor with the Illinois Public Aid.

The Rice Council of America has published Braille and large-type editions of their new consumer leaflet "Easy 'N Thrifty Recipes For Two." Fourteen recipes are included in the booklet—ranging from classic rice salad to pork chops with cumin rice and creamy rice pudding. For a free copy in Braille, large type, or regular print, write to the Rice Council of America, P.O. Box 22802, Houston, Texas 77027. Be sure to specify which edition you want to receive.

In a Monitor Miniature which appeared in the November 1976 issue, it was reported that the Encyclopedia of Textiles by editors of American Fabrics Magazine was available on cassette. The Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress informs us that neither the Division nor any other agency or volunteer group has produced this title.

We remind readers that pocket-size Braille calendars for 1978, bound with plastic bindings, are available free from the American Brotherhood for the Blind, 18440 Oxnard Street, Tarzana, California 91356. Each month is on a separate page, with major holidays noted.

A large selection of books on all aspects of pre-natal and post-natal child care is available in Braille, tape, and large type from the La Leche League International, 9616 Minneapolis Avenue, Franklin Park, Illinois 60131. A list of the available materials will be supplied in Braille for $1.50. 

NFB PRE-AUTHORIZED CHECK PLAN. This is a way for you to contribute a set amount to the NFB each month. The amount you pledge will be drawn from your account automatically. On the other side of this card, fill in the amount you want to give each month and the day of the month you want it to be drawn from your account. Sign the card in two places, where the X's are. The rest will be filled in by the NFB Treasurer. Enclose a voided check with the card, and mail it to Richard Edlund, Treasurer, National Federation of the Blind, Box 11185, Kansas City, Kansas 66111. Your bank will send you receipts for your contributions with your regular bank statements. You can increase (or decrease) your monthly payments by filling out a new PAC Plan card and mailing it to the Treasurer. Also, more PAG Plan cards are available from the Treasurer.

PRE-AUTHORIZED CHECK PLAN (Instructions on back of the card)

I hereby authorize the National Federation of the Blind to draw a check to its own order in the amount of $_____ on the_____ day of each month payable to its own order. This authorization will remain in effect until revoked by me in writing and until such notice is actually received.

X _______________________________________________
Bank signature of donor (both signatures if two are necessary)


We understand that your bank has agreed to cooperate in our pre-authorized check plan on behalf of your depositor. Attached is your client’s signed authorization to honor such checks drawn by us.

Customer’s account and your bank transit numbers will be MICR-printed on checks per usual specifications before they are deposited. Our Indemnification Agreement is on the reverse side of the signed authorization.



Name of depositor as shown on bank records______________________________________
Acct. No._________

Name of bank and branch, if any, and Address of branch where account is maintained _____________________________________________________

For my benefit and convenience, I hereby request and authorize you to pay and charge to my account checks drawn on my account by the National Federation of the Blind to its own order. This authorization will remain in effect until revoked by me in writing, and until you actually receive such notice I agree that you should be fully protected in honoring any such check. In consideration of your compliance with such request and authorization, I agree that your treatment of each check, and your rights in respect to it shall be the same as if it were signed personally by me and that if any such check be dishonored, whether with or without cause, you shall be under no liability whatsoever. The National Federation of the Blind is instructed to forward this authorization to you.

Bank signature of customer (both signatures if two are necessary)


To bank named on the reverse side:

In consideration of your compliance with the request and authorization of the depositor named on the reverse side, the NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND will refund to you any amount erroneously paid by you to The National Federation of the Blind on any such check if claim for the amount of such erroneous payment is made by you within twelve months from the date of the check on which such erroneous payment was made.

Authorized in a resolution adopted by the Board Members of the National Federation of the Blind on November 28, 1974.


BY: ______________________________________

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