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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 nonprofit corporation, the sum of $___ (or, “___ percent of my net estate”, or “the following stocks and bonds:”) to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons.”

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

















When I became President of the Federation in 1968, two of the key people who formed the team that helped me start my presidency and build for the future were Perry Sundquist and Hazel tenBroek. I asked Perry to serve as editor of the Monitor and Hazel to serve as associate editor, as well as manager of the Berkeley Office. Both accepted the call to serve, and both have been essential ingredients in the success of our publication, a success unparalleled in the history of periodicals for the blind.

With this issue Perry and Hazel cease their editorial relationship with the Monitor but not, of course, their work in the movement or their warm relationship with the President. That is a lifetime involvement.

Beginning with this issue (and you can judge his stature by its quality) we have a new editor. He is Don McConnell, who has been associated for many years with the Federation and the Monitor. He learned his Federationism under Hazel’s tutelage in the Berkeley Office, and the success of the effort can be seen in the finished product. I believe he will do a first-rate job, and I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead. Both to Editor Sundquist and Associate Editor tenBroek we offer thanks for a job competently, perceptively, and lovingly done. To Editor McConnell we say: “The task you undertake is formidable. You are now editor of the most influential publication in the field of work with the blind, but we have confidence that you will bring the Monitor to new heights of excellence. Be aggressive; be sensitive; be resourceful; and never hesitate to tell the truth, regardless of what the cost may seem to be. The rest will follow.”

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DEAR PERRY and HAZEL: There is no way that I could possibly sum up the meaning and importance of the past eight years, so I won’t try. I will simply say that with you, Perry, as editor and you. Hazel, as associate editor, the Braille Monitor has been tremendously effective and important in improving the lives of the blind. During your tenure we have more than doubled our circulation, increased public awareness, brought changes to the agencies, and stimulated the blind to a greater sense of determination and self-realization than ever before in history. Not bad for eight years.

Beyond the organizational accomplishments have been the comradeship and sense of endeavor which our joint labors have created. I have come to appreciate and value my association with each of you more with each passing month and year. We have truly been an editorial team-and a team in spirit as well.

Not that our relationship has been namby-pamby or milktoast—or, for that matter, always smooth and without bumps. Far from it. Perhaps it can best be put into perspective by referring to an exchange of correspondence which occurred between editor and President in mid-1969. I had been President and you, Perry, had been editor for just over a year. We were still in the process of getting the team into high gear. I had been vetoing some of your articles, Perry, and you took me to task. Remember?:


DATE: August 7, 1969
FROM: Perry Sundquist
TO: Kenneth Jernigan (copy to Hazel tenBroek)
RE: Items for the Monitor not approved for publication.

I am unhappy that so many of the items I think suitable for publication in the Monitor are vetoed by you. This has been going on for some time. However, the September issue brings the matter more clearly into focus. The following items, included in my tentative contents, were vetoed:

(1) Incentive Versus Subsistence Welfare
(2) Blind for a Day
(3) Blind Machinist Now Sees Better
(4) Straight Talk to the Blind
(5) Blind Greenhouse Operator Tells How It’s Done
(6) Purr of Engines Replaces Sounds of Coins in Cup
(7) A Blind Girl Looks at Russia
(8) Police Judge Not Stopped by Blindness
(9) Bitter Man Has Reason
(10) Happiness Is—A Hearing Ear Dog
(11) Teaching Breakthrough for the Blind
(12) Blind Pair Handle Three Thousand Phone Calls A Day
(13) Blind Viet Hero Seeks an Answer
(14) A “Sixth Sense” Helps Blind Prosecutor

Certainly my judgment is not infallible as to what will or will not interest our readers. However, for the most part these are human interest stories about blind persons—that is precisely why the press of the country pick them up. If they will interest sighted readers, I think they would be of even more interest to our readers because of the element of blindness.

If such stories motivate, occasionally inspire, readers to start solving their individual problems; if they supply information pertinent to the problems created by blindness; and, above all, if they interest our readers, then I feel they should be used, irrespective of the fact that the individuals concerned are not in the organization.

I am aware, of course, that two or three or even four of these types of stories may appeal to me and not to others—but not fourteen in one issue. However, such being the case, I will plan hereafter to give this type of story to Hazel each month as “fillers,” and if any are to be used, then she can secure permission to reprint.

I am fully conscious of the desirability, even necessity, to keep the contents down to about fifty-five print pages on an average. (The chairman of the Subcommittee on Budget and Finance doesn’t have to be “sold” on this.) The real question is: How much reader interest can be generated per page used?

P. S.

That is what you said to me, Perry, and I didn’t delay my answer:

August 14, 1969.

DEAR PERRY: I have your memo concerning items “vetoed” for inclusion in the Monitor, and I think it requires a straight answer from me. In the first place I would dispute the accuracy of what you say. “Happiness Is—A Hearing Ear Dog” appears in full in the September issue as a Monitor Miniature. The decision to make it a Monitor Miniature (even though it still appears in full) was not mine at all, but Hazel’s. It was done on the basis of her judgement as to overall format and appearance of the magazine.

This brings me to the question of the relationship of the three of us. As I see it, your function is that of editor-that is, working within the policy laid down by the publisher; to write articles; select and reject material; and plan an overall pattern of publication for the months ahead. Your initiation of the series “Meet Our State President and Our State Affiliate” is a good and constructive example of this. You receive articles, correspond with members and affiliates about the Monitor, and stimulate a flow of information. As I see it, my role corresponds to the one ordinarily assumed by the publisher of a newspaper or magazine—that is, I lay down the policy as to the kind of editorial positions we will take. Carrying out this function, I may decide, for instance, that we want to exclude a given type of article or that we want to emphasize a given situation to try to achieve an organizational purpose. From the beginning of time, publishers have also assumed the prerogative (much to the annoyance of editors) of vetoing a given article which they don’t like—often on pure whim if they feel like it. Also, publishers have, since the memory of man, insisted on inserting articles which they have taken a fancy to or which they themselves have written—even if such articles have been possessed of no literary merit at all and have upset the plans and the ulcers of the editor. In this respect I call on you to read the history of the stormy relationship existing between Joseph Pulitzer and a whole series of saintly souls. Editor and publisher should serve as a balance wheel to each other. Each must try (as gently as possible) to keep the other from going off the deep end, from damaging the publication with the more obvious madnesses, and from settling into a dull routine.

This brings me to the function of Hazel. As I see it, she also must serve as a balance wheel. She performs the function of laying out format, doing rewrite and condensation, keeping the publication small enough in size so that the magazine can function with the funds the President can find for its operation, and listening to the complaints and soothing the feelings of the editor and the publisher. In some ways, of course, her job is the most difficult of the three.

Having said all of this, let me now come back to the specifics of the articles. I believe that you, Hazel, and I make a good team. The three of us balance each other quite well. If Hazel had her way (and she usually does not get it), the Monitor would be a learned tome, full of scholarship and dust, disturbed by nobody. If you had your way (and you sometimes get it), the magazine would be a stringing together of popularized human interest stories with a good sprinkling of generalized welfare articles, read by some but not getting across the substantial organizational message. If I followed my natural bent (and I very often don’t), I would make the magazine a solid stream of preachments exhorting people to get in and work in the organization. It would appeal to the hard core and convert some but lose the value of the audiences that both you and Hazel would tend to stimulate.

All of these approaches have their problems, but when you put them together, we have a darned good magazine—the best one I have seen in the field of work with the blind. The fact of the success of our editorial policy and teamwork is to be found in the great organizational upsurge which we are experiencing and in the growing mailing list of the Monitor. I think there is little doubt that our magazine has more influence than any other periodical in the field today and that the enthusiasm for it is continuing to grow.

Yes, some of your articles do get “vetoed.” In the final analysis, the President (corresponding to the publisher) must be able to set the policy and make the decisions. However, the magazine is still heavily imprinted with your stamp, as it should be. Hazel rewrites some of your things to shorten them and puts some of them off till a future issue. Performing her functions of keeping the magazine within the budget and balancing the contents for a given issue, she simply must continue to do this. Sometimes I have important articles which I must insert in the magazine, and this means that something else must be removed. Since the Monitor is a house organ and not a general, human interest dealing newspaper, this must continue to be the case.

But, Perry, I keep coming back to the one principal point: the work you have done as editor during the past year has been invaluable. Your good temper, patience, and even your prejudices have added strength to the publication. Of all of the various vehicles which we now have for advancing our cause, none is as important as the Monitor. This one fact speaks more clearly than anything else I could say as to the effectiveness of the way we now do things and the esteem which the President has for the editor.



Your reply was more than that of editor to publisher or member to President. It was the letter of one colleague to another, of comrade to comrade. It radiated the harmony which has overwhelmingly characterized the relationship of the three of us:

August 20, 1969.

DEAR KEN: Thank you very much for your thoughtful and exceedingly well written letter of August 14, 1969 in which you set forth the guidelines with respect to editing the Monitor.

I have no more problems concerning those guidelines.



Perry and Hazel, I want you to know that I appreciate the support you have given me over the years and the work you have done to make the Monitor what it is, the best publication which the field of work with the blind has ever known. The Monitor may go on to even greater heights, but it will never have a more devoted editorial staff than you have been.

Although you will be leaving the editorial staff of the Monitor, you will not be doing less in the movement. You will continue to work as hard and creatively as ever. It is the only way you would want it; it is also the way the blind of the Nation would want it; and it is certainly the way I would want it. A team we have been, and a team we will continue to be.

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When our National President appointed me editor of the Braille Monitor some eight and a half years ago, it was a brand new job for me. My only qualifications were a thorough grounding in Federationism and some twenty-seven years as Chief of the Division for the Blind in the California State Department of Social Welfare. When I worked for the State I learned something about writing: While with the State I had only one minor problem—that of not being able to drive a car. But when you live in a State a thousand miles long and three hundred miles wide, you learn to take the bus or plane, or drive with some assistant whom you need along for other chores.

While I am formally editor of the Monitor, the fact is that the final product is the work of three persons—the associate editor who makes the kindly editing of the material which I send her and the final decisions by the publisher who is the President of the National Federation of the Blind. It has been a good combination and works out well with three points of view, not just one.

The toughest part of the job is the exercise of judgment as to what to use and what not to use of all the materials which come in from the Press Clipping Bureau covering activities of blind persons around the country as well as the increasing number of articles which are volunteered, mostly by our own readers.

The Braille Monitor is the voice of the National Federation of the Blind, a non-profit organization of blind persons. It is published monthly and has witnessed a phenomenal growth in its circulation over the past few years—not only in the Braille and inkprint editions but in the more recently established recorded version as well.

The ultimate goal of the National Federation of the Blind is the complete integration of the blind into society on a basis of equality. This objective involves the removal of legal, economic, and social discriminations; the education of the public to new concepts concerning blindness; and the achievement by each and every blind person of the right to exercise to the full his individual talents and capacities. It means the right of the blind to work along with their sighted fellows in the professions, common callings, skilled trades, and regular occupations.

In seeking to achieve this goal, the Braille Monitor is of necessity an activist publication. It tries to strengthen the National Federation of the Blind so that the organization can more effectively promote the welfare of all the blind. Some of the approaches are; stories of the National Federation’s state affiliates concerning their conventions, fundraising, and other significant activities; significant legislative and judicial happenings; stories about individual blind persons—their successes and failures; and accounts of the work of the NFB in its ceaseless efforts to advance the cause.

A conscious effort is made to assemble contents for each issue which will interest and instruct not only the blind readers, but our sighted ones as well. Finally, since the NFB—the publisher of the Braille Monitor—is, not an organization speaking for the blind, but rather the blind speaking for themselves, we fight discrimination against the blind wherever it raises its ugly head.

Being editor of the Monitor is a lot of hard work, but it is also a lot of fun.

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Sitting in the midst of the debris that goes along with closing down activities, my mind is flooded with memories. My good friend Perry Sundquist and I could fill pages with recounting beginnings and “do you remember,” and “I remember.” But these are personal details of fun and frustration of little interest except to the participants. In the Federation we must look to the past only for such strength as it gives to go forward with the work we must all do.

I could read you a lecture on how important it is to support the local, state, and National offices with your personal participation and your funds, and ask each of you what you have done for yourselves this month such as bringing in a new member, contacting an old one, getting an interesting item for the chapter program, convincing a friend to join the Pre-Authorized Check (PAC) plan, or joining yourself, but I’ll resist that temptation.

It would be misleading to say that I won’t miss the intellectual stimulation of working with President Jernigan, or the relationships that grew with the wonderful people who worked on the Berkeley Office staff, or the thrill of seeing the Monitor come off the presses each month, or the groans that accompanied the discovery of errors, and the depression that gripped us when the “returned as undeliverable” dropped many Monitors back on our door-step as we called imprecations down on the computer. Of course I will.

But it would be as misleading to say that I am not turning in anticipation to the work I hope to do in finishing the research and writing that Professor tenBroek left to be done and seeing the writing on its way to publication.

When all that is said and done, please recall what I said at the Los Angeles Convention: I am retiring only as associate editor. It is impossible for me to retire from the Federation for it runs deep in my blood and my being. I am at your service whenever you think I can perform some useful duty. See you all in New Orleans.

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On November 17 and 18, 1976, a new chapter in the history of the organized blind movement in the United States was written. It was the time of the annual meeting of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped, and it was again the time for the blind to march forward to call public attention to NAC’s unrepresentative character and unethical behavior. In 1972 during our National Convention in Chicago, we pledged to hunt NAC down wherever it might meet and to expose NAC for what it really is—an instrument of control and domination, used and paid for by the American Foundation for the Blind in its continued war against self-expression and self-organization of the blind themselves. Much to NAC’s vexation, we have kept our pledge.

The setting for the 1976 annual meeting of NAC was New York City in midtown Manhattan at the Roosevelt Hotel. On Tuesday, November 16, Federationists from throughout the country began to assemble and to lay plans for what was to be our best NAC demonstration and one of the Federation’s finest hours. By Wednesday noon, November 17, when the crowd hit its peak, nearly thirty states were represented by almost three hundred active Federationists.

Earlier in the week national publicity helped set the stage. On Sunday, November 14, the CBS Evening News carried a three-and-one-half-minute exposé on sheltered workshops for the blind, highlighting the role being played by the National Federation of the Blind in organizing shopworkers across the country. The following day, Monday, November 15, the New York Times broadened the picture for the public by reporting on the developing events at the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and relating them to NAC’s low standards and the custodial attitudes of the AFB. The Chicago Lighthouse is one of the NAC-accredited shops.

On Wednesday noon, November 17, as NAC assembled for its annual membership meeting, we, the blind, picked up our signs and took to the streets. Since the meeting was being held in New York, fifty of us were detailed from the main body of the demonstration, outside the Roosevelt Hotel, to 15 West Sixteenth Street, the headquarters of the American Foundation for the Blind. This battle plan was chosen to dramatize to the public the unholy alliance which exists and has always existed between AFB and NAC. The strategy worked.

With John McCraw (president of the NFB of Maryland) and Dick Edlund (president of the NFB of Kansas and National Treasurer) leading the forces at AFB, the “Fearless Fifty” (as they later became known) advanced on the AFB building and at the stroke of 1:30 p.m. (as the NAC meeting was gaveled to order at the Roosevelt), the entrances of the AFB (including the loading dock) were sealed off, preventing all visitors and staff from entering or leaving the building. Characteristic of past demonstrations, our occupation forces at AFB were nonviolent. We had come to carry a message, and we had come to make it heard. We had not come to engage in name-calling, personal attack, or physical abuse. The “professional,” “ethical” staff at AFB was not, however, able to respond to our legitimate discontent with equal dignity and decorum.

Perhaps what really concerned them most was not the presence of blind people expressing their dissatisfaction with AFB’s behavior so much as it was the intensity of the interest shown by the news media. Representatives of a few radio stations and some newspapers were on hand to cover the demonstration, but the most prominent (and certainly the most irritating to AFB) was the reporter and film crew from the CBS television network. As we have always said, once the public knows what NAC and AFB are up to, it will not tolerate what they are doing to the blind. Apparently AFB knows this, or at least the behavior of several of its staff members would so indicate. For example, Gene Apple, AFB’s executive director, refused to allow CBS to film candid discussions between himself and the NFB leaders, Messrs. McCraw and Edlund. But AFB’s fear of public scrutiny was even more graphically revealed when one of its staff members angrily shoved a CBS cameraman against the wall in an effort to smash his camera. Although damaged, the camera remained operative; the filming continued; and that evening CBS News carried the story nationwide.

As the two-hour occupation of AFB’s premises proceeded. CBS News was not the only victim of verbal and physical abuse by AFB’s staff. The blind and their leaders also came in for a good deal of attack. Some of the comments went like this: “Jernigan must be out of his head!” and “What’s new? We have heard all that b---s---(words used, not letters) before.” The more violent responses by AFB staff included a great deal of pushing and shoving of Federationists. Nadine Jacobson of Minnesota was the victim of a personal assault, including hair-pulling and choking. Other Federationists reported similar instances of physical violence. This is professionalism, AFB style.

As indicated, the occupation of the AFB building and the sealing of the entrances occurred at 1:30 and lasted until 3:30 p.m. The timing was excellent. It seems that many AFB staffers take a long (or at least a late) lunch, so upon their return, they found themselves caught outside the building. All of the normal entrances and exits were blocked. Reports from observers outside the building indicate that a number of visitors and staff seeking to enter turned away while others sought entry through ground-level windows. Later, some question arose as to whether those at the windows were actually trying to get in or could it be that some were in fact attempting to escape?

Midway through the two-hour occupation of AFB, Gene Apple agreed to a private conference with the NFB leaders. The focus of discusssion was a “Statement of Facts and Demands” especially prepared for the occasion. It read:


November 17, 1976.

Since its founding fifty-five years ago, the American Foundation for the Blind has set itself up as the supreme authority on blindness and the blind in the United States. In a concentrated effort, using both its power and its money, the AFB continues to endeavor to maintain a stranglehold over all thought and action in work with the blind. In recent years the principal weapon in the Foundation’s arsenal has been the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC).

NAC is the creation of the AFB and the handmaiden of the AFB. It was created in the image and likeness of the AFB; and through NAC, AFB is attempting to implement a system of oppressive dependency for purposes of its own aggrandizement.

The National Federation of the Blind, the representative voice of the blind of the United States, has long recognized AFB’s self-centered grasping for control: and the blind, reacting to this arbitrary cradle-to-grave domination by AFB, have sought to shake off the shackles of AFB’s custodialism and to plan their own destinies through the democratic process of self-expression and self-organization.

But rather than responding positively to these modern-day initiatives of the blind to move away from a system of custodial care into an era of independence and self-help, AFB has declared war on the blind and sought to punish the blind as though they were naughty children. AFB’s vicious and vindictive warfare has included personal innuendo and attack, name-calling, manipulation of public officials, political payoffs, and character assassination. Recently, this pattern of unprofessional and unethical behavior has intensified to the extent that AFB has sought to use the power of the purse to enforce submission to its will and to further enslave the blind and those who are earnestly trying to help them.

No self-respecting citizen of the United States of America can or should endure such intolerable abuse and mistreatment. Furthermore, the spending of publicly solicited money to coerce the blind constitutes a fraudulent misrepresentation and a breach of the public trust.

Now, therefore, the blind of the United States of America solemnly and purposefully declare their independence from the domineering hand of AFB and demand that the Foundation be truly made accountable and responsible to the blind as a collective body. To accomplish this, the following initial steps must be taken by AFB:

(1) All AFB funding of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped must cease immediately.

(2) The Foundation’s board of directors and executive director must enter into good faith negotiations with representatives of the National Federation of the Blind with the objective being to find a peaceful solution to major differences which exist between the blind and AFB.

(3) All financial support and professional participation in meaningless and trivial research which reinforces traditional stereotypes of the helpless and incompetent blind must cease.

(4) Distribution of AFB publications such as the Step-by-Step Guide and other public information releases that cast the blind in a role of imbecility and thus grossly mislead the public must be stopped.

(5) All maneuvering and political power plays aimed at control of the blind and the denial of their rights must end.

(6) In order to act affirmatively and in good faith, at least a majority of AFB’s board of directors must be elected consumer representatives who are directly accountable to the blind. This demand cannot be met by stacking the board with puppets from AFB’s company union.

Until such time as these initial demands are met, the blind call upon the citizens of the United States of America to join with them in withholding both moral and financial support from the American Foundation for the Blind.

At 3:30 the meeting concluded. As expected, Apple had not budged, but he did reveal much in terms of AFB’s intention to “stonewall” a tactic reminiscent of the Watergate era and the behavior of a recent President, driven from office by the people. Their mission accomplished and their message delivered, the “Fearless Fifty” released the building and commenced to march around it, continuing to protest in a more conventional manner. Chants were chanted, songs were sung, and banners were carried high; while at the Roosevelt NAC was adjourning its meeting, and on the streets Federationists ringed the hotel.

Some things never change at these NAC annual gatherings. The NACsters were as unaware as ever. Nor did they indicate any willingness to change. At the annual meeting they mouthed many of the old and tired phrases, loudly proclaiming that NAC had “turned the corner,” and that NAC was a model of consumer representation which others ought to follow.

The agenda for NAC’s annual membership meeting was identical to past agendas, which have always been distinguished by their lack of substance and their unconcern for the real problems of blindness. The meeting opened at 1:30 p.m. with no more than sixty people present in the room. Of this sixty, at least thirty were NAC Board members, another five were NAC staff, many were Foundation employees, some were volunteers supposedly gathered by NAC to register the hoards of those which it had expected to attend, and two were NFB observers. Where were the NAC-accredited members? A few (a very few) of them (who were not otherwise on the board) were present. Notable among them was Fred McDonald, who, Monitor readers will remember, is director of the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind. As in the past, there were more Federationists on the street than there were NACsters inside NAC.

The meeting was opened with greetings from the mayor, brought to the group by his representative, Eunice Fiorito, who wears three hats—Commissioner of New York City’s Mayor’s Office for the Handicapped, president of the American Coalition of Citizens With Disabilities, and president of the New York State affiliate of the American Council of the Blind. It seems that the mayor had chosen this week to be in Israel. While Mrs. Fiorito welcomed the group and bestowed the mayor's blessings upon them, she could not refrain from advising NAC that the real need in developing opportunities for increased consumer involvement was for training of consumer representatives in how to behave properly on boards and committees to which they might be elected. This is the old philosophy that the people cannot govern themselves, and doubtless NAC needs no encouragement along such lines.

Item two on the agenda was the approval of minutes “as mailed.” As in the past, the minutes were not read aloud. This is NAC's traditional method of dodging meaningful scrutiny by observers, but it also has other pitfalls. For example, the membership unanimously approved the minutes of November 2, 1975, as mailed, even though NAC's meeting had not actually been held on that date. The accurate date was November 12. Long after the minutes had been approved and other business was in progress, someone thought to read the minutes and check the date. The silent observer wonders how many other inaccuracies were approved by NAC “as mailed.”

Item three on the membership agenda was the presidential report. President Rives reviewed for the group NAC's history of ten years of operation. Federationists have heard most of the content of this report in one form or another over the years. A constant thread running through the president’s account of NAC's history and present condition was the pressure upon NAC from outside, and specifically from the National Federation of the Blind. It is shocking that NAC refuses to admit even to itself that the calls for reform have come from a broad base of professional and consumer interest in the field of work with the blind. According to NAC, anyone who objects to its behavior is simply part of the National Federation of the Blind.

At the time of his election, one year ago, Mr. Rives made much of his intent to negotiate with the Federation in an effort to resolve differences. These statements were widely circulated, but no action was forthcoming. At the 1976 membership meeting, Mr. Rives disclosed forever his true colors and his total contempt for anyone who might differ with NAC, holier-than-thou NAC. His actual remarks were:

“And this is something we've learned in the past ten years.... We have over the last ten years been subject to a lot of pressure and a lot of controversy. At our meeting last year the membership asked that we do something about responding, that we be in a position to help agencies that are attacked because they seek accreditation, and I'm glad to report that we've been able to respond to this request of the membership. Now, when an agency lets us know that it has a problem based on attack because it seeks accreditation, we have been able to send knowledgeable people to meet with that agency's board, to meet with the media in the community, and to try to inform those responsible bodies and the community as a whole what NAC's all about, what accreditation is all about.

“Now we have not, in response, picketed; we have not lied; we have not threatened to get somebody's job if they don't get accredited; we have not heaped abuse upon individuals because they don’t want to be accredited. Instead we have tried to show what we stand for through reason and logic. What we stand for are standards developed through consensus, standards applied impartially through an accreditation process. [One cannot resist the temptation to interrupt Mr. Rives' high-sounding pronouncements to remind readers of his conduct as reported in the December 1976 Monitor. If sanctimonious claims could serve as wings, Mr. Rives might fly. Since they cannot, he will have to be content to plod his pedestrian way at a lower level—but back to Mr. Rives. He continued by saying:] If high standards and impartial application can hurt blind people, I’m awfully wrong. We have been able to respond then in several instances, and are in a position to do so in the future to situations where agencies are attacked solely because they wish to become accredited agencies.”

So said Mr. Rives. This is professionalism? This is ethical standard-setting and accreditation? This is a voluntary process? Let the reader be the judge—the words speak for themselves.

The fourth item on the agenda was the report from the treasurer. Set alongside comparable data from prior years, the figures are revealing. The trend of deficit and decline continues. For example, for the year ending June 30, 1976, NAC showed a deficit of $9,876. This is at least the third year in a row during which NAC has gone in the red. But another way to look at NAC’s financial data is to compare the total income figures of the past two fiscal years. For the year ending June 30, 1975, NAC showed total income of $279,161. For the year ending June 30, 1976, NAC’s income totaled $236,471, representing a fifteen percent reduction in total income when compared with that of fiscal year 1975.

In terms of its overall activity and program service, NAC has attempted to present a picture of constant growth and steady achievement, but the figures belie these assertions. In the year ending June 30, 1975, NAC reported spending $172,671 for program services including standards and accreditation, while for the year ending June 30, 1976, the comparable expenditure was only $165,377—a five percent reduction in the services which NAC tells the public it provides. Let NAC talk of expansion all it wants: the figures tell the tale.

Following the NAC treasurer's report, Helen Worden, chairman of the Commission on Standards, came before the membership. Her report was one of both bad news and good news. She gave the bad news first, which was that NAC's outdated and unused standards on library services for the blind had officially been withdrawn during the past year (after first having been rejected by the library profession). Although NAC's executive director, Richard Bleecker, has previously protested that this action was taken in cooperation with the American Library Association and in the spirit of developing new library standards. Ms. Worden told it all. She said that the standards had been withdrawn because of “lack of interest from the field.” She continued by encouraging NAC's membership to assist in developing renewed interest in library standards, and she said that NAC would be pleased to respond to such interest if it could somehow be generated.

The good news was more in the nature of future plans and projections than of actual productivity. This has always been the case since on paper (in terms of its long-range plans and rolling forecasts) NAC always appears to be on the cutting edge, but when one reviews its actual accomplishments, NAC always takes a back seat. A year ago, at NAC's annual membership and board meeting, the Commission on Standards was delegated the board's authority to revise, approve, and publish the NAC standards dealing with orientation and mobility services. The purpose for this delegation of authority previously held by the board was to allow the standards to “reach the field” prior to the 1976 meeting. The year came and went, but the standards were nowhere to be found. The Commission's report stated that the orientation and mobility standards would be forthcoming by January and that the delay had been occasioned by a “lively response from the field.” Of course, the credibility of these protestations stands in considerable doubt in light of NAC's declining financial picture and the resulting cuts in program services.

In terms of current activity, the commission reported that the standards on rehabilitation teaching services along with those on agency function and structure are currently under review by “technical committees.” The long-range plan is as follows:

Remainder of 1976-77: Begin the revision of the education services standards and codification of additional standards for early childhood programs; complete the revisions of standards for function and structure; complete the revision of standards for rehabilitation teaching; and complete the revision of standards for orientation and mobility services.

Fiscal 1977-78: Revise the standards for rehabilitation centers; initiate development of standards for low-vision services; and initiate development of standards for business enterprises programs.

Fiscal 1978-79: Complete the educational services standards; complete the standards on low-vision services; complete the standards on business enterprises programs; and revise the standards for social services.

This is, indeed, an ambitious plan, but if the past is any indication of the future, the plan is only a plan.

Sixth on the agenda of NAC's annual membership meeting was a report from the Commission on Accreditation chaired by Dr. Otis Stevens. Dr. Stevens reported that during the year ending June 30, 1976, NAC had accredited five additional agencies, bringing the total membership to sixty-three. Those joining the list are: the State Office for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Little Rock, Arkansas (headed by NAC's own president, Lou Rives); the Association for the Blind of Rochester and Monroe County, Rochester, New York; Clovernook Home and School for the Blind, Cincinnati, Ohio; Utah School for the Blind, Ogden, Utah; and the West Virginia School for the Blind, Romney, West Virginia. During the past fiscal year, NAC also re-accredited eighteen agencies and schools, bringing the total now having been re-accredited to twenty-nine.

During the discussion of new accreditations, much was made of the fact that NAC had added five new agencies and that this represented the largest increase in a long time. Again, Mr. Rives’ rhetoric does not match his facts. For example, during the year ending June 30, 1975, four new agencies were added, and, Mr. Rives, five is only one more than four. This can hardly be characterized as a whopping increase, nor can it be called NAC’s best year yet. In its heyday (if NAC ever had a heyday), sixteen agencies were added as new members in the space of one year-1970. So it goes with accreditation.

Item seven was the report by the nominating committee. Before stating its nominations for new board members or those coming back for the second time, the nominating committee listed those persons departing the scene. They were: Morton Pepper, New York City; Dr. John Crandall, Provo, Utah; George Henderson, Atlanta, Georgia; Julius Morris, New Britain, Connecticut; W. Harold Bleakley, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Monitor readers will recall that Mr. Bleakley chaired NAC’s ill-fated committee on liaison with national organizations of the blind. It will also be remembered that the agreement which Mr. Bleakley’s committee reached with the Federation was not accepted by NAC's own board. Now Mr. Bleakley himself is apparently not accepted either. Welcome, brother, we have a growing club.

In proposing this year’s nominees, the committee categorized them as follows: five were members of or suggested by the American Council of the Blind and the Blinded Veterans Association, five were being nominated for second terms, and two were former board members. Thus the twelve nominated were: Dr. Robert Botenberg, San Antonio, Texas; William Coppage, Richmond, Virginia; Howard H. Hanson, Pierre, South Dakota; Raymond A. Kemph, Wayzota, Minnesota; Hilliard F. Kirby, Asheville, North Carolina; Joseph J. Larkin, Brooklyn, New York; John R. Nay, Sausalito, California; Durward K. McDaniel, Washington, D.C.; John P. McWilliams. Jr., Tuxedo Park, New York; Louis H. Rives, Jr., Little Rock, Arkansas; Daniel D. Robinson, Riverside, Connecticut; and Norman R. Robinson, Chicago, Illinois. They were elected by acclamation—no one was nominated from the floor.

The eighth and final item on NAC’s agenda dealt with the formation of a new committee—the National Committee for the Advancement of Standards, chaired by Huntington Harris, a NAC vice-president. The mission of this new committee was set forth in four objectives stated as follows;

(1) “To stimulate interest in standards and accreditation among non-accredited agencies and schools.” This will be done with a personal touch, with an individualized approach to several agencies and schools which can benefit from help and encouragement to use the standards and seek accreditation.

(2) “To work more closely with consumers and their organizations to help them to understand clearly how accreditation can be used with standards of benefit to them, and to encourage their participation in NAC and in the agencies and schools which serve them.”

(3) “To promote the understanding of accreditation among the general public and especially among all those concerned with improving services for blind citizens.”

(4) “To render a special service where it may be needed.” (For elaboration, see President Rives’ remarks reported above.)

Yes indeed, the committee’s objectives do tell it all. Last year NAC’s members cried for help. This year NAC appoints a committee. NAC, can’t you ever learn? When will you stop maneuvering with us and playing games with us? When will you respond to the blind?

Clearly, NAC’s National Committee for the Advancement of Standards was conceived and born of negativism. One might, in fact, refer to it as a kind of goon squad. Some indication of where the interest lies among the NACsters is revealed in that the report of the National Committee for the Advancement of Standards was the only one to receive any discussion from the floor. Howard Hanson kicked it off by expressing his gratitude to NAC for its assistance in keeping his agency (South Dakota Services for the Blind) out of a larger umbrella. He thanked NAC for its supporting letter, but he failed to mention that it was the blind consumers, united and insistent, who saved his agency by appearing in person before the Governor and convincing him to withdraw the reorganizing plan.

Then Fred McDonald, executive director of the Chicago Lighthouse, took the floor. He praised NAC for its help during the past year, stating; “I want to publicly thank Dick and NAC for what they did to help me in Chicago at a very, very troubled time. As you know, I took over there as the new director of the Chicago Lighthouse just a year ago the first of December, and at that time we were under considerable fire from the NFB, and on top of that, from a labor union.” As he continued his statement, Mr. McDonald proceeded to describe how NAC’s executive director Richard Bleecker had attended a Lighthouse Board meeting in an effort to help. He further explained that pickets outside (referring to us) would be taking the demonstration to Chicago on Friday, and he said : “Our friends downstairs, when they arrive in Chicago on Friday, are going to have a greeting committee of about another one hundred blind people that are going to be carrying placards that say. ‘We speak for ourselves. NFB does not speak for the blind people of this country.’ And again the base of this support has come right from Dick’s meeting with our board in Chicago, and this was very, very important help.” Applause.

So it was inside NAC. Actually it was almost painful to watch them trying to put on the best face. The truth is that attendance was down, interest was low, reports lacked substance, and expenses lacked the wherewithal to meet them. NAC is fading—the ship is getting lower in the water. Even NAC’s accredited members can no longer bring themselves to attend its annual meeting. One of the reasons (aside from the fear of having their associations with NAC exposed) might be summed up in the words of Marvin Berkowitz, research director for the American Foundation for the Blind, who said to me in a candid moment: “Boy! These meetings are sure boring.” He explained it was his first, and although he did not say it, his tone reflected the hope that it would be his last. An hour and forty-five minutes after it had started, NAC’s 1976 annual meeting was adjourned.

The evening cocktail party and banquet held November 17 contained little, if anything, new or unexpected except, perhaps, the price of the tickets, which were twenty dollars apiece. It would seem that NAC is trying to use its annual banquet to offset the deficit. By actual count 139 members and guests were present. Of course, there were the usual self-serving proclamations, and there were also many private conversations about what NAC is now calling its “opposition.” In this connection, one NACster was heard to ask: “Do the people outside look as scroungy as they did a year ago? Last year they were sure a grubby bunch, especially with those T-shirts.” The response from a fellow NACster was to the effect that the group was somewhat better dressed this year than last. Three cheers for our side-it has been a good year for the blind.

Peter Salmon, NAC’s former president and one of the principle founders of NAC, was the recipient of the NAC award. Monitor readers will recall that it was Peter Salmon who distinguished himself for his inability to say nothing while trying to say something, and for his lack of grace and charm in facing the reality that silent observers would have to be permitted inside the NAC meetings. For this, Peter finally got his just reward.

Throughout the afternoon membership meeting of NAC and continuing until well after the beginning of NAC’s cocktail party, Federationists marched around the hotel. The crowds of onlookers in midtown Manhattan were thick. More literature about the demonstration was distributed than at any comparable past event. In fact, more than five thousand pieces of literature were placed in the hands of curious New Yorkers. The support from the public was heartwarming. The interest in the protest was obvious.

On Thursday, November 18, the NACsters again assembled, this time for the annual meeting of the thirty-five-member board.

The meeting was originally scheduled for 9:30 a.m., but because a number of the NACsters had to catch early planes, the starting time was set forward to 9:00 sharp. At 8:30, a full half hour before NAC was able to convene, the Federationists hit the streets. In most respects the NAC Board meeting was a replay of the membership meeting held the previous afternoon. The Commission on Standards reported, making only the recommendation that the NAC Board delegate it the authority to approve the standards for rehabilitation teachers and agency function and structure, which, according to the chairman, would be completed during the coming year. The Commission on Accreditation reported, but did not come forth with any recommendations for the board.

Although it has always been the case in the past that NAC’s executive committee (which holds closed meetings) has the real decision-making power, this fact has become even more established as the NAC Board has gone to the concept of holding only one meeting per year. Thus it was not surprising to learn that the executive committee of NAC had held three meetings during the preceding twelve months. As is the custom, the members were asked to approve these minutes “as mailed,” but on this occasion, an objection was raised by one board member since the minutes of the executive committee meeting held October 7, 1976, had not previously been mailed at all. This forced a reading of the October 7 minutes the first time such a thing has happened in the presence of observers. Excerpts from the October 7 minutes follow:


“October 7, 1976, New York City.

“Present: Louis H. Rives, Jr., presiding; Jack W. Birch; William T. Coppage; Howard H. Hanson; Huntington Harris; Morton Pepper; John P. McWilliams, Jr.; Mrs. Helen Worden, ex officio; staff: Ann New and myself [Richard Bleecker]. . . .

Report of the National Committee for the Advancement of Standards.—Huntington Harris, chairman, reported that the committee had been formed to encourage agencies to seek accreditation and to inform all persons interested in quality services for the blind about NAC. He announced that the following members of the committee had accepted special assignments: William T. Coppage—work with state agencies; Robert G. Eagen—public relations; Roy Kumpe—voluntary agencies; Joseph J. Larkin—workshops; David L. Schnair—organizations of blind persons; J. M. Woolly schools. All have been working and already have made progress in stimulating agencies to use the standards.”

Report of the Program Support Committee.—Mr. Pepper reviewed the fundraising goals in terms of the income projections set in June by the finance committee which were as follows: $215,000 from renewals of gifts, membership dues, and miscellaneous support; $35,000 additional from the American Foundation for the Blind; $31,500—the minimum needed to start on school and early childhood standards; $51,000—funds to be raised with Foot System assistance; for a total of $333,000 as we go through the year. He noted that NAC is most grateful to AFB for increasing its support. The education standards seem to be attracting support, and if all NAC’s board and friends continue their gifts and help in getting renewals and other gifts, the $215,000 should be achieved. However, he pointed out that a great deal more needs to be done if NAC is to obtain $51,000 in general revenue. He added that an additional $50,000 minimum would be needed to develop standards for low vision services.

“It was moved by Mr. Harris and seconded by Mr. McWilliams that the executive committee recommend to the board an expression to the American Foundation for the Blind of NAC’s full appreciation of AFB’s continuing and increased support, and the motion carried.

“Mr. Pepper then reported briefly on the cooperative efforts with the Foot System. NAC’s staff and Dwight Fickus, the senior staff member of Foot, are working closely together, and relations with the Foot System are being monitored by a small staff committee. In the discussion which followed, several points were made. Since Foot was retained, no funds traceable to Foot efforts have been received. In most cases contacts for the gifts that have been received were initiated before Foot was employed. This indicates the long lead time in fundraising. Several Foot-initiated appeals are pending and may bring results later on. Mr. Fickus recently reaffirmed Foot’s belief that it should be possible to raise $100,000 in new money before the end of a year. It was the consensus that six months is not long enough to judge the effectiveness of the arrangement with Foot. NAC should probably continue the arrangement for a year. The executive committee recommended, however, that the small board staff monitoring committee should sit down with Edward Foot, president of the Foot System, and Mr. Fickus to determine more specifically how the Foot System expects to raise the funds. The monitoring committee should also request regular progress reports from Foot—perhaps for six months, nine months, and a year.

“There was also a discussion of the importance of continuity in NAC’s fundraising and the need to consider once more the employment of a full-time staff fundraiser as soon as NAC’s income permits. It was moved by Mr. Pepper and seconded by Mr. McWilliams that the executive director should be authorized to search for a full-time fundraising person when, in his judgment and after appropriate consultation, he deems it financially feasible to employ such a person. The motion carried.

Report of the Finance Committee.—Mr. McWilliams reported in the absence of Mrs. Claire Carlson, chairman of the finance committee. NAC’s investment practices and policies were reviewed by the finance committee, and it was agreed the modest size of NAC’s reserve does not permit investment in stocks or bonds at this time. The reserve should be kept safe and available in the event [it may be] needed, while earning the best rate of interest available under the prevailing market conditions. It was moved by Mr. Pepper and seconded by Mr. Hanson that the executive committee reaffirm its approval of NAC’s existing financial management policy, and the motion carried. Mr. McWilliams noted that NAC had closed its fiscal year on June 30 with a deficit of under $10,000, and a change in accounting for sale of materials has been made.

“He reported that the finance committee had recommended that the gift of Mr. Cozier be used to help build NAC’s reserve by the establishment of a special J. Kenneth Cozier Fund to honor Mr. Cozier for his long and dedicated efforts to achieve the betterment of services to all blind people through NAC. He noted Mr. Cozier had given his permission for the establishment of such a fund. It was, therefore, moved by Mr. McWilliams and seconded by Mr. Pepper that Mr. Cozier’s generous gift be used to establish the J. Kenneth Cozier Fund as a special fund in NAC’s reserve. The motion carried unanimously. In response to a query, it was explained that next month’s financial report will show the Cozier Fund as received and placed in the reserve. The education grants which are to be spread over a two-year period are to be deferred. These funds are to be reflected as income as project expenses are incurred.

Report of the Executive Director.—Dr. Bleecker recalled that the executive committee at its previous meeting had authorized him to make a change in NAC’s legal counsel if that should seem desirable. The change has now been made from Milbank, Tweed, Hadley, and McCloy to Uppum, Meeker, and Whitehorn. Stanley S. Whitehorn, the partner who will be working closely with NAC, is perhaps the leading authority on the tax law of nonprofit organizations and is author of the standard legal text on the subject. He is also a specialist in other legal matters pertaining to nonprofit organizations and is counsel to many such agencies. NAC’s association with Milbank, Tweed has been extremely pleasant and helpful. However, at this time it was felt that a change could result in some financial savings, and that a firm with substantial experience in the nonprofit field would be highly appropriate for NAC.

“Dr. Bleecker next brought to the executive committee’s attention an invitation brought by Wesley Sprague on behalf of the American Association of Workers for the Blind for NAC to become an organizational member of AAWB at the minimum annual dues of one hundred dollars. If NAC were to join, it would be listed along with other organizations that are members of AAWB. In a discussion as to whether this might set a precedent, it was pointed out that there are very few organizations that NAC might join in this way. It has joined ALL, the Affiliate Leadership League of and for the Blind of America, and is a member of the Council of Specialized Accrediting Agencies, the Association for Education of the Visually Handicapped, and on the President’s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped. The President’s Committee is an appointment and does not involve dues. Its invitation has been handled on its merits. It does not seem likely that there would be more than one or two others at most. Dr. Birch stated that he would be happy to underwrite the cost of NAC’s annual AAWB dues personally. It was moved by Dr. Birch and seconded by Mr. McWilliams that NAC accept the invitation to become an organizational member of AAWB, and the motion carried. On behalf of the entire committee, President Rives thanked Dr. Birch formally and accepted his generous offer.

“Dr. Bleecker described plans for the various meetings to be held November 17 and 18, especially the plans for the awards dinner at which Dr. Peter J. Salmon would receive the NAC award. He then introduced Ms. Ann Barber, the new staff associate, to the committee members. Mr. Rives thanked Dr. Bleecker for his work, pointing out that to Dr. Bleecker NAC was not just a job but a mission. . . . Mr. Rives then summarized the current situation regarding the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind. At this point the meeting recessed for lunch.”

NAC will doubtless not be happy that we are printing the minutes of its super-secret executive committee meeting. Following the reading of the minutes, nominations were accepted for the coming year for the executive committee, NAC’s only policy-making body. The nominees, all of whom were later elected by acclamation, were: as vice-presidents—Huntington Harris, Leesburg, Virginia; Howard Hanson, Pierre, South Dakota; and Jack Birch, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; secretary, Mrs. Joseph Clifford, Scottsdale, Arizona; treasurer—John P. McWilliams, Jr., New York City; and board members at large—William Coppage, Richmond, Virginia; and Mrs. Lawrence Levine. Cincinnati, Ohio. Lou Rives, NAC’s president, did not have to stand for re-election this year, nor did the other executive committee members, who were not named. In fact, NAC is so secretive about its executive committee that we cannot determine whether or not it has any other members except Mr. Rives and those listed above. Where are all the “consumer representatives”? NAC boasts loudly about consumer input, but even its hand-picked minions from the American Council of the Blind have failed to gain representation on the executive committee, or so it would appear.

Immediately following the election of NAC’s executive committee, a controversy arose as to the appropriate body within NAC which would have the authority for approving standards in the future. Helen Worden, chairman of NAC’s Commission on Standards, argued that the commission should approve and issue standards since the NAC Board (which has always had this authority) now only meets annually. Some objected to this proposal, saying that the full board should retain the power to approve or disapprove standards. Then, various alternatives were proposed, discussed, and discarded. In the final analysis, the predictable solution was agreed upon—NAC’s executive committee will now be the ultimate standard-issuing body, soliciting a vote, of course, from the board members, but reserving the right to make any changes deemed appropriate. It would seem that the board is losing the last vestiges of power.

Other discussions and reports at the November 17 NAC Board meeting included a report of the program support committee and a treasurer’s report. Perhaps the most startling disclosure was NAC’s budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1977. That budget totals $333,000—nearly $100,000 higher than NAC’s annual income for the year ending June 30, 1976. Of course, we all know the extent to which NAC’s projections are matched by performance. For example, for the year ending June 30, 1976, NAC had budgeted $294,000, while it actually experienced nearly a $58,000 shortfall. Remarks made by both the treasurer and the chairman of the program support committee revealed the increasing role being played by the American Foundation for the Blind, although the exact amount of AFB’s financial contribution to NAC for the current fiscal year was not disclosed even to the board itself. It is obviously well over fifty percent and probably approaches sixty percent or more. This relationship was clearly an embarrassment, although as NAC’s new treasurer explained to me. “We do need money.” Clearly, NAC is in a bind.

The final item on the board meeting agenda concerned the scheduling and timing of future board meetings. Some felt that two meetings would be appropriate, while others held out for one. In the end, the matter could not be resolved, so (as one might imagine) it was left to the executive committee to determine when, where, and presumably if the board would ever meet again.

So it was for another NAC Board meeting. Mr. Berkowitz was right—the meetings are dull. Even the NAC Board members themselves have ceased to pay attention to the proceedings. For example, as the gavel was about to fall, closing the meeting for another year, Morton Pepper shouted: “Stop! We haven’t held the election.” Someone pointed out to him that the officers had been installed a full hour earlier, and that all had been elected by acclamation. It was ever thus with NAC.

As a postscript to this article, the following information is offered for whatever it may be worth: On November 30, 1976, a congressional office called NAC headquarters to ask for the exact amounts of money the American Foundation for the Blind is pumping into NAC. The NAC official who responded to the inquiry admitted that the Foundation gave NAC $153,000 for fiscal 1976. He made the further admission that the Foundation is giving $188,000 for fiscal 1977. This, of course, constitutes the major portion of the NAC budget—independent NAC, impartial NAC, ethical NAC, professional NAC. How much can you buy for $188,000? Quite a bit if you know the right people and have the knack.

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Editor’s Note.—The day after the NAC annual meeting (and the NFB annual protest demonstration), Dr. Jacob Freid, NFB board member and Executive Director of the Jewish Braille Institute of America, sent to the Monitor copies of the articles which appeared in New York newspapers, along with the following report. Portions of the articles are reprinted after Dr. Freid’s report.

Since I have been in attendance at every confrontation with NAC in the New York area, I thought my observations on the latest set-to might be helpful.

First let me say that I believe it to have been the most successful of all of our confrontations with them. I base this judgment on the very effective public relations this time. The coverage was better and of a higher quality than any we have had heretofore. On Wednesday, November 17, there was a very good exposure on Walter Cronkite’s CBS News program. The time slot in the eastern part of the United States for Cronkite is 7:00 to 7:30 p.m., and it has a vast audience, the largest of all the daily evening news programs. It showed the massive number of pickets as they girded the Hotel Roosevelt at Forty-fifth and Madison Avenue and particularly the group sit-down at the American Foundation for the Blind at 15 West Sixteenth Street.

In the New York Post late edition of Wednesday night there was a photograph of the confrontation at the Foundation with a caption, “Push Comes to Shove.”

Yesterday there was an excellent news story in the Post, a copy of which I am enclosing for your information. Also, Channel 9, WOR-TV, covered the picket line, and on the evening news of NBC, Channel 4, last night there was also coverage.

The NFB was terrific. We had almost three hundred coming in from everywhere and the esprit de corps and morale is as great as it ever was. I pointed out to the New York Times reporter that my own national agency sided with NFB on this issue, and in fact our vice-president, Dr. Edwin Lewinson, was at that very moment sitting down with his seeing-eye dog at the AFB, and a member of our executive board, Rami Rabby of Chicago, was walking outside the hotel; and the first boy born blind in Jewish history to be accepted for rabbinical training, Michael Levy of Asbury Park, New Jersey, was also picketing.

I think Martin Schneider did a very capable job and Ralph was outstanding as the generalissimo of the operation, most ably supported by Jim Gashel and Dick Edlund. I took them all out to lunch yesterday and we felt good about what had occurred.

The picture mentioned in Dr. Freid’s report appeared in the New York Post November 17 and occupied about one quarter of the front page of this tabloid newspaper. It shows several women Federationists (the picture is a closeup shot) carrying signs reading “AFB Must Answer to the Blind.” Two of the women are being shoved by a man whose shirtsleeves identify him as an AFB staff member (the Federationists wear winter coats). He pushes one woman with his shoulders and has the backs of his hands raised toward another woman who seems to be reeling from another push. The picture has this caption, with the first four words in bold type to serve as a headline: “Push comes to shove at protest at head-quarters of the American Foundation for the Blind at 15 West Sixteenth Street today. The protesters, members of the National Federation of the Blind, claim the Foundation controls ‘all thought and action’ in work with the blind.”

The New York Post followed this up the next day with an article entitled “Blind Try To Gain Bigger Say Over Their Lives,” by reporter Hope MacLeod. The core of the Post report is reprinted below:

“They were chanting, placard-waving pickets, not unusual in this town. What made passersby do double takes was that many were carefully tapping canes ahead of them or were led by guide dogs as they paraded on Sixteenth Street near Union Square.

“Some fifty members of the National Federation of the Blind from throughout the country were protesting in front of the American Foundation for the Blind.

“Another 250 Federation members were encamped at the Roosevelt Hotel to demonstrate against an annual meeting of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped.

“‘We’ve been going at this for four years,’ said Larry Streeter of Pocatello, Idaho, picketing at the AFB office at 15 West Sixteenth Street yesterday. ‘This place,’ said another picket, Mark Nemmers of Des Moines, Iowa, ‘tries to control every facet of our lives.’

“Richard Edlund of Kansas City, Kansas, Federation Treasurer, said that the American Foundation for the Blind ‘is quite wealthy and spends quite a bit of funds’ for the National Accreditation Council which ‘we of the organized blind feel is doing damage.’

“He said his organization feels that the NAC, which accredits agencies for the blind, ‘is not strict enough, not doing a thing to upgrade blind agencies.’ The demonstration, he said, was in part to have the AFB stop supporting NAC financially.

“Foundation executive director Loyal E. Apple, after a one-hour meeting with Edlund and another NFB leader, John McCraw of Baltimore, said the men left a ‘resolution’ which he would not disclose pending study.

“‘They wanted to discuss with me our position on NAC; . . . they are asking that we stop funding the accreditation system of 440 agencies and schools for the blind around the country,’

“Apple added, it puzzles and saddens me considerably because it is factionalism paraded before the American people.’

“At the height of yesterday’s demonstration, a customer who had been shopping inside the AFB’s store called police to help her get through the pickets, who had blocked the main door for a time.

“The AFB is a private, nonprofit agency established in 1921 to do research, collect and disseminate information, and give advice and counsel on ‘matters that improve and strengthen services to blind persons.’ Its funds come from direct mail solicitations to the general public, as well as legacies, grants, private foundations, the Federal Government, and investment income.

“NAC is described as an independent, nonprofit organization that carries out a program for agencies for the blind similar to the accreditation programs for schools, universities, and hospitals....”

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“I want to publicly thank Dick [Bleecker] and NAC for what they did to help me in Chicago at a very, very troubled time. As you know, I took over there as the new director of the Chicago Lighthouse just a year ago the first of December, and at that time we were under considerable fire from the NFB, and on top of that, from a labor union.” [Part of the statement made by Fred McDonald at the NAC annual meeting, November 18, 1976.]

Monitor readers are familiar with Mr. McDonald’s troubles. Past issues have followed the efforts of shopworkers at the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind to form a union. We have traced the story from the finding of a union and a union official willing to help in the effort, through the signing of pledge cards by three quarters of the shopworkers authorizing the Communications Workers of America (CWA) to represent them. We printed the letters exchanged as Edward Disch of the CWA tried to arrange a meeting to begin bargaining for less brutal employment conditions at the shops and was told by Edward Silber, president of the Lighthouse Board of Directors, that “it is in the best interests of our employees to deal with them directly and not through a third party.”

This position by the Lighthouse (and only recently has it become clear what was meant by dealing with the employees directly) was upheld by the Chicago Regional Office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), but appealed by the NFB. On June 28, 1976, the Central Office of the NLRB in Washington, D.C., rejected the earlier decision and ordered an election at the Lighthouse. In so doing they also discarded the longstanding NLRB policy that shopworkers are rehabilitation clients and do not deserve the protection of labor laws.

Faced with the NLRB order to hold an election, the management of the Lighthouse began intensive pressure on its workers to vote against a union. The shopworkers were told that a union would force the management to fire slower workers (and these “slower workers” were told who they were); the Lighthouse would have to hire sighted workers; it would have to close the shops altogether. Richard Mohill, one of the leaders of the organizing effort, was fired. The workers got the message—that to vote for the union was to court unemployment in no uncertain terms. Also, it is virtually certain that the Lighthouse hired additional workers just at this time for the purpose of upsetting the election, perhaps hiring as many as eighteen of them. The vote rejected the union 68-50. Later Dick Mohill was persuaded (undoubtedly because of fear of reprisal) to accept his dismissal despite our certainty that the NLRB would eventually declare his firing an unfair labor practice.

The Lighthouse management was convinced it had won. The management appeared to feel they had been given a mandate, that their right to a free hand within the shops had been affirmed. Specifically, they now focused on three of their employees: Mary Lou Winter, who had been first a worker in the shop and then an aide in another Lighthouse program, and who says of herself, “I was, without question, one of the three primary leaders inside the Lighthouse who were endeavoring to organize the workers”; Charles Ivory, janitor at the Lighthouse and, in his words, “one of the principal organizers inside the Lighthouse”; and Mosro Howard, also a janitor, who states, “It is fair to say that I was leading the effort to organize insofar as the Seventy-fourth Street facility was concerned.”

The Lighthouse decided their shops would do better without these three. They were fired, with no notice, for “budgetary” reasons. The firings were masked by an announced layoff of some other workers. The total number of these other layoffs was never made clear. It ranged from nine to twenty-three, and the latter number may include the layoffs of the workers who had been hired and retained long enough to tip the union election—this is our suspicion. But no number of additional layoffs could disguise the actual motive behind these firings.

The new developments—the details of the firings and the Federation reaction—can best be told by reproducing the documents involved. First are the affidavits of the three who were fired (there are two from Mary Lou Winter-the first taken before she learned of her firing). With these is the affidavit of Robert Simonson, who witnessed some of the events. The letter of dismissal sent to Charles Ivory, citing financial reasons, is printed, for contrast, with a letter sent out by the Lighthouse some months earlier recruiting new workers to handle “a substantial number of new contracts.” These are followed by a press release by the NFB of Illinois, a New York Times article reporting the demonstrations held by the blind in response to the firings, and an account of the picketing sent by the Federationists involved. [Several places in the documents improper Lighthouse interference in the State White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals is mentioned. The kind of agency manipulation described appears not to be an isolated event but part of a pattern developing with these conferences around the country. This will be examined in a later issue of the Monitor.]


November 12, 1976.

In 1968 I became a client at the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, 1850 West Roosevelt Road, Chicago. Illinois. I was assigned to the Lighthouse workshop and my duties were varied, ranging from assembly and packaging to bagging and supplying. Although, because of my production rate, I was normally paid approximately two dollars per hour, I was not entitled to any fringe benefits, including sick leave, workman’s compensation, or health insurance. My work in the Lighthouse shop extended from July 1968 through June 1975 with only four months of employment outside the Lighthouse during this time period. During this same period, there were several months during which I was not working at the Lighthouse due to periodic layoffs.

In June of 1975 I became a service aide in the Eleanor Palmer Development Center for Deaf, Blind, Multiply Handicapped Preschool Children. This center is a regular part of the Lighthouse operations and is housed on the Lighthouse premises. I am currently still holding the position of service aide under the supervision of Miss Jeannine Moran. My salary is $2.50 per hour. In the order of responsibility, my supervisor, Miss Jeannine Moran, reports to Mr. Milton Samuelson, director of professional services at the Lighthouse.

Shortly after I became a client at the Lighthouse, the Illinois affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind was formed, and I was one of its charter members. Although I have held membership in the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois since 1968, I was not actively involved until mid-1974. My increased involvement in the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois began as I realized that the system of control at the Lighthouse was stubbornly resistant to any change of policies and attitudes.

In July of 1975, I, along with others, was encouraged by the possibility for union organizing at the Lighthouse. I was, without question, one of the three primary leaders inside the Lighthouse who were endeavoring to organize the workers. My attitudes in support of the workers’ right to organize were and are known to virtually everyone at the Lighthouse including my supervisor, Miss Moran, and Mr. Milton Samuelson.

Following the vote on the matter of unionization at the Lighthouse, which was defeated, the atmosphere among key employees and supervisory personnel was jubilant-there was actually dancing and singing in the halls. I have heard, although no one said this to me directly, that supervisors were bragging that they had kept the union out, and that no way could a union ever get in the Lighthouse.

During the intervening weeks since the vote on organizing, pressures appeared to subside until October 18, the day following the Illinois White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals. During the week previous to the White House Conference, it was my impression that key officials at the Lighthouse were planning strategy to secure votes for their delegates attending the conference and running for election as delegates to the national conference. Closed-door sessions and private meetings were held throughout the week, but I was invited to none of these. In fact, none of those who favored the union organizing at the Lighthouse were invited to take part in these strategy sessions. On Friday, October 15 (the day before the conference), a general meeting was called for all to attend. Dennis Schreiber ran the meeting. He was campaigning to be elected as a delegate to the national White House Conference, and he clearly had the backing of the Lighthouse administration, including Mr. Frederick McDonald, Lighthouse director; Milton Samuelson; and his brother Bob (also an employee of the Lighthouse). Dennis Schreiber is employed at the Lighthouse as coordinator for services to the handicapped. Mr. Schreiber along with other key Lighthouse officials was among the most vehemently opposed to labor organizing. During the meeting Mr. Schreiber viciously attacked the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois charging that the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois was attempting to “manipulate” all facets of the lives of blind people in the State. He bragged that the union organizing had been defeated at the Lighthouse. Immediately following these statements, Mr. Schreiber disclosed that two thousand dollars was being made available for campaign expenses of candidates being supported by the Lighthouse.

During the conference itself, Lighthouse officials were everywhere present. Their conduct during the voting session is an indication of the nature of the efforts to dominate. The Lighthouse had prepared and distributed a written slate of its candidates-Dennis Schreiber headed the list. None of the candidates on the Lighthouse list were among those of us who favored union organizing. Nor were they participants (nor card-carrying members) of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois. It wasn’t long until I noticed that my supervisor at the Lighthouse (Miss Moran) had conveniently found a spot immediately across the aisle. As I looked around I noticed that Christine Montgomery, a secretary at the Lighthouse, was seated directly behind me. Thus both Miss Moran and Miss Montgomery could see me mark my ballot. Under the circumstances, I thought it best to move to another part of the room, so I excused myself from my friends, moving to a seat beside the State president of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois, Allen Schaefer. This was a considerable distance from my previous location. At this point, I again noticed Lighthouse staff moving to my vicinity. The first to attract my attention was Jim Kesteloot, a placement counselor at the Lighthouse. I also noticed that my supervisor. Miss Moran, had moved to a seat in line so that she might possibly see over my shoulder. During the election, I voted my conscience. I did not vote for any of the candidates on the slate which had been given me by Lighthouse officials.

On Monday, October 18, at approximately 10:30 a.m., I was summoned to Mr. Milton Samuelson’s office. No explanation was given me for this unscheduled meeting. When I arrived I found the following people present: Dennis Schreiber, Milton Samuelson, Fred McDonald, and Miss Jeannine Moran. Mr. Samuelson seemed to be the spokesman. He began by making critical remarks concerning my behavior at the White House Conference. Specifically, Mr. Samuelson and the others were unhappy with me because I had not supported the Lighthouse slate of candidates and particularly Mr. Schreiber. Mr. Samuelson demanded that I apologize to Mr. Schreiber and that I do it in writing. I refused, saying that I had voted my beliefs and that I had every right to do so. Mr. Samuelson told me that I must consider the Lighthouse’s reputation and the services that “we are all trying to provide.” He said that I should consider these matters seriously in order for me to maintain acceptable job performance. He concluded by saying that we must all “work together“—that we must all be “‘loyal to the Lighthouse.” Repeatedly during the session Mr. Schreiber droned, “Milt, make her apologize; Milt, make her apologize.” Mr. Samuelson replied: “Don’t worry, everything will be all right.”

On Tuesday, October 19, I wrote a letter to Dennis Schreiber, but it was in no sense an apology for my voting. I wrote it to keep them off my back in hopes that things would simmer down. The letter was general. I talked about “supporting the good of all blind people.”

On Wednesday, October 20, at approximately 3:00 p.m., the most recent incident occurred. At that time I was reading an inkprint copy of the September issue of the Braille Monitor, the monthly publication of the National Federation of the Blind. The September issue contains a number of articles of interest to me and others at the Lighthouse, including discussions of our efforts to join the union and the decision of the National Labor Relations Board. The Monitor had been on my shelf along with other personal belongings, and my supervisor, along with other Lighthouse officials, knew of the contents of the September issue. While I was reading the Monitor, my supervisor, Miss Moran, approached me from behind. I did not notice her. All of a sudden, without any warning whatsoever, she grabbed the magazine from my hand and said in a loud voice, “I don’t want to see you reading this here again! It’s not the kind of thing you read around here. You’ll be in a lot of trouble if you keep doing this.” Then she tore the magazine in two and threw it in the trash, while telling me to go to her office and think about what I had done. And then she told me that I had the wrong attitude.

Since October 20 and to the present, my supervisor, Miss Moran, and others at the Lighthouse have taken to encouraging me to look for another job. In fact, never in my memory of my associations there, have any of them been so insistent that I go elsewhere. They have given me time off with pay whenever I wanted it. On Thursday, November 11, my supervisor, Miss Moran, candidly said, “I am encouraging you very strongly to look for employment elsewhere, and I will do what I can to help you. But I want you to be aware of the fact that we are really tightening our belts and I want you to understand that this is coming from the top.” In view of these circumstances, it is my distinct impression that I am about to be forced out.



November 14, 1976.

On Friday, November 12, 1976, at 3:30 p.m. I telephoned my supervisor, Miss Jeannine Moran, to report in on my efforts to secure employment in accordance with her urging of November 11. During the conversation, she said to me: “I have some bad news to tell you. There is a letter on my desk from Milton Samuelson which states that we have no choice but to let you go at this time. This is for economic reasons. Along with this letter you will receive two weeks’ pay.” Although she did the decent thing by expressing her regrets, it is my feeling that Miss Moran and those above her are glad to have me out, principally because of my efforts to organize workers of the Lighthouse. Miss Moran told me that I was the only one to be released in the preschool department for deaf, blind, and multiply handicapped children. To my knowledge, at least two other service aides (Marie Morgan and Elodia Corezales) have less seniority than I do.



November 14, 1976.

I first became a “client” of the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind. 1850 West Roosevelt Road, Chicago, Illinois, on August 12, 1972. I was assigned the duties of janitor in the Lighthouse facilities at the above address, working a forty-hour week. I was paid $1.75 per hour with no fringe benefits including no sick leave, no personal leave, no hospitalization insurance, etc. Following an on-the-job injury (in approximately March 1973) I was converted to the status of “employee.” This came about as a result of my protest to Lighthouse management that my surgery (a hernia operation) was not covered by hospitalization insurance which the Lighthouse carries on employees but not on clients. When I was converted to employee status, I began receiving $2.03 per hour and I became entitled to all available fringe benefits. This was the first time I had ever received a pay raise. Since I became an employee, I have received four raises reaching a salary of $3.00 per hour.

When I originally went to the Lighthouse in 1972, I had been a professional mover for Allied Van Lines. My final salary there was $4.26 per hour. It was my intention, originally, to work at the Lighthouse for a short period of time and then to move into private industry once again. Especially this was so when I realized the low pay at the Lighthouse. As time passed, though, I came to feel that many of the workers at the Lighthouse needed someone to provide encouragement so that they might move out of the sheltered environment into regular employment. I hoped I could provide this stimulation. In this connection, I became a member of the Lighthouse Advisory Committee. In 1974 I got an opportunity to speak at the annual Lighthouse dinner. On that occasion I aimed my remarks at management and at the Lighthouse Board of Directors itself. I attempted to impress upon them the necessity to find a director who would be his own man, not catering to the board of directors’ whims, and I suggested that they consider Dick Mohill, a blind teacher at the Lighthouse. I also impressed upon the board of directors and management that the Lighthouse manufacture their own products, mainly raincoats, picnic baskets, brooms; and I offered my services to market these items. But this effort to broaden their horizons fell on deaf ears.

The one person who did listen to me was Dick Mohill. It was about this time that he and I, along with others, began talking with Ed Disch, a union organizer for Local 5050 of Communications Workers of America. We realized that if we were going to change things at the Lighthouse, we would have to take the route of organized labor. I was enthused and excited to think that there might be a possibility for the workers to speak for themselves and to break out of their second-class status.

During the later part of 1975 and until the present, I endeavored to convince other workers—both clients and employees—that the union was the right way to go. Many of them were afraid. It is my judgment that they have been intimidated by management. Clients have told me that management has said to them that if the union comes in Skillcraft would move out and there would be no more jobs. Prior to the election supervisors on the line in the Lighthouse were telling workers to vote “no,” because if the union came in. the slow workers would be the first to go.

On July 28, we voted and the vote was not in favor of the union. Management became hysterically happy. There was great laughter and joy because they had “licked the union.” This went on a day or two following the defeat. Since I was one of the principal organizers inside the Lighthouse, I became subject to some very intensive pressure both before and after the election. Prior to the election, my privileges to use the telephone for business purposes were taken away from me without notice. Milton Samuelson, director of professional services at the Lighthouse, stated to me that my immediate supervisor, Ed Green, told him that I was abusing the phone privilege, but I confronted both of them and Ed Green told me emphatically that he had never made such a statement to Milton Samuelson and my phone privileges were restored. After the election my phone privileges were again taken away permanently. Also, after the election I began to have difficulty getting advance pay which was due to me. Always in the past I was able to make a request of my supervisor for advance paychecks, and I never had any difficulty having them approved and not once was I ever turned down. After the election, I was turned down the first time I requested advance pay, and I have been turned down every time since.

Another type of pressure brought to bear on me after the election was refusal to grant me small loans in connection with private business activities which I have engaged in throughout the time I have been employed at the Lighthouse. As a part of its rehabilitation assistance to me, the Lighthouse loaned me money on at least six different occasions to assist me in business ventures. These loans were small and totaled approximately six hundred dollars. They were all repaid without delay. They were short-term and temporary. I never had any trouble getting these loans approved prior to the election of July 28. After the election one loan request for one hundred dollars was approved. On September 29, I was interviewed by CBS Television News for a feature story concerning union organizing in sheltered workshops for the blind. Other key union organizers in the Lighthouse were also interviewed by CBS. On Monday, October 4, I requested another loan, but I was flatly denied. On that occasion I brought the matter to the attention of Mr. Fred McDonald, Lighthouse director. His response was bitter and angry. He said, “You went on television last night all over the Nation destroying this place and you come and ask us for a favor. If you were half a man, you would leave this place.”

On Friday, November 12, my services at the Lighthouse were terminated. This was done abruptly and without notice. They didn’t even have the courage to tell me in person. I received a note with my regular paycheck and severance pay. I was shocked. The reason given was a cutback in personnel, but as recently as six weeks ago management was advertising for blind people to come and work at the Lighthouse. When I discussed my firing with Mr. Horace Jones, manager of payroll at the Lighthouse, I asked him if there were janitors at the Seventy-fourth Street facility operated by the Lighthouse. He told me there were two. At least one of these, to my knowledge, has only been a janitor for one year. Clearly, I have seniority and should have been retained. In view of all of the circumstances and incidents which occurred surrounding our effort to bring the union into the Lighthouse, it is my belief that they got rid of me because of my role in this effort to bring the blind the right to organize.



November 14, 1976.

On October 19, 1967, I became employed as a janitor at the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, 1850 West Roosevelt Road, Chicago, Illinois. My beginning salary was $1.45 per hour. I worked at the main Lighthouse facility at the above address until March 1975. At that point I was transferred to the Lighthouse facility at 1717 West Seventy-fourth Street, Chicago. Since the beginning in 1967, I have worked full-time (forty hours per week). Each year since 1967 I did receive annual pay raises, and periodically, other raises were granted to me after I complained to management. Throughout my employment at the Lighthouse my supervisor has been Ed Green.

In July of 1975 I became interested in the possibility that we might be able to form a union at the Lighthouse and join the Communications Workers of America Local 5050. I saw the union as providing the best possibility for improving low pay and other conditions at the Lighthouse. I participated actively in obtaining pledges from “employees” and “clients” at the Seventy-fourth Street facility. I was one of the principal union organizers inside the Lighthouse, and this was known to management. It is fair to say that I was leading the effort to organize insofar as the Seventy-fourth Street facility was concerned.

In December 1975, I was transferred, without warning or explanation, to the Lighthouse headquarters on Roosevelt Road. It was my impression that the reason for this transfer was my organizing work, although it was alleged that I was not performing my duties adequately. I know differently, since I was singlehandedly keeping up the large Seventy-fourth Street facility, and doing it as well as I had always done. They had always been satisfied with me in the past. Never did I have a poor evaluation before December 1975.

The move to Roosevelt Road did not stop me from participating in union organizing efforts. After the National Labor Relations Board decision to order an election at the Chicago Lighthouse, management conducted an intense campaign among “clients” and employees to get us to vote no. Since I have been at the Lighthouse for many years, I have a number of friends among the workers. They gave me regular reports on what their supervisors were saying. Dempsey Anderson reported to me that Allen Smith (a supervisor on the Sintex line) told him that if he voted “yes” for the union, he would be out of a job because he was too slow. Ernest Findley (one of the “clients” at the Seventy-fourth Street facility) told me that supervisors began watching him closely and, among other things, timing his washroom breaks. He reported the same kind of statements from management, that Skillcraft would pull out if the union came in. At least forty other “clients” gave me similar reports. The pattern of intimidation was the same in every case—“vote no if you want a job.” I personally received pressure not to vote yes for the union. Allen Smith talked with me at some length, stating that “if the union comes in here, most of these blind people won’t have jobs. We will have to give them to the sighted.”

On July 28 the election was held and the majority vote went against organizing the union at this time. During the election process itself, Bob Samuelson (a counselor at the Lighthouse who did not favor the union coming in) was talking with people in the voting line. I brought this to the attention of election officials, and Samuelson was ordered to leave the area. Another tactic used by Lighthouse management was to call back workers who they felt would be supportive just so they could vote no in the election. I believe this happened in at least sixteen to eighteen cases. These people were hired immediately prior to the election and let go approximately two weeks thereafter. When the votes were counted and the decision was “no,” there was great joy on the part of management.

On Friday, November 12, without any warning whatsoever, I was let go as an employee at the Lighthouse. Nobody discussed my termination with me. I received only a written notice in my pay envelope along with two weeks’ severance pay. I was shocked. I had not been told of any negative evaluation of my performance. There was no indication whatsoever that I was not doing my work properly. Everything seemed normal until Friday when I got the notice. I had, at the time, nine years of service. Other janitors have less, but to my knowledge they were not fired. Management’s decision to let me go was so swift that my supervisor, Ed Green, was also unaware of the action. When I told him that I was being released, he said: “You know why this happened; don’t take it lying down. This happened because you were participating in forming a union here; try to do something about it.” Clearly, he felt that the decision to fire me was wrong, and he was surprised to learn of it from me.



November 14, 1976.

I am a blind person and a member of the Chicago Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois. I joined the organization in April 1976.

On October 16, 1976, I participated in the Illinois White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals held at the McCormick Inn, Chicago, Illinois. During the meeting on Saturday, October 16, I was aware that a rather sizable contingent of officials from the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, 1850 West Roosevelt Road, Chicago, Illinois, was present. I was also aware these officials were conducting an intensive campaign to elect Dennis Schreiber (coordinator of services to the handicapped at the Lighthouse) as one of the blind delegates to the national White House Conference. I was further aware that this campaign involved an effort to prevent any representative from the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois from being elected as a national delegate. In fact, Mr. Fred McDonald, executive director of the Lighthouse, made this very clear in a public statement at the banquet the evening of October 16.

Following the banquet, I heard that Lighthouse officials were meeting in a room on the twenty-third floor at the McCormick Inn. Realizing that any plans which they might make would affect me as a blind person, I went to the twenty-third floor and entered what appeared to be a semi-private strategy session. I say “semi-private” since it seemed that all were welcome except anyone from the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois. I was not known to the group, so in the beginning they did not challenge my presence.

After about five minutes one of the Lighthouse officials began to question me openly. He asked me to state my name and who I represented. I told him my name, and I stated that I was not representing anyone. They seemed to be suspicious and asked me how I knew about the White House Conference. I was vague and somewhat unresponsive. Then they let me alone.

The discussion at the meeting centered around strategy planning and a way to block the established voting procedure at the conference. The fear was expressed by Fred McDonald that Rami Rabby had control and that he was in “cahoots” with the steering committee for the conference. I remember him saying that it was “rigged.” Those dominating the discussion were the two Samuelsons (Milton and Bob) and Fred McDonald. Dennis Schreiber (the candidate) could not get a word in edgewise. They continued to assure him that they could handle things; everything would be all right. Their tone of voice was angry and bitter.

The following day, October 17, an incident occurred which proved to me that the Lighthouse officials are not concerned for the best interests of the blind. On the morning of October 17, I was standing in the hallway along with Mike Kramer (another member of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois, Chicago Chapter). We were discussing the Lighthouse meeting which I had attended the previous evening. All of a sudden, I noticed, as I looked around, that we were being observed by one of the Samuelsons. He approached us and said: “You don’t mind if I listen to your conversation like you listened to ours last night?” Both of us told him we didn’t mind; we had nothing to hide. To my surprise, he did not accept our invitation to listen in, stating angrily instead: “If you ever try that again, fellow, I’ll throw you out on your ass!”

This was the extent of my involvement with the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind at the Illinois White House Conference. Before this time I have never had any previous contact with officials of the Lighthouse. Because of the boorish behavior of Mr. Samuelson, I do not wish to have any more.


November 12, 1976.

CHARLES IVORY: This is to inform you that your services at Chicago Lighthouse are being terminated effective November 12, because of widespread personnel cuts being made throughout the agency.

These cuts have been made because of budgetary deficiencies in current income and that income projected for the coming months.

In addition to your regular accrued pay, you will be receiving today a check for two weeks’ notice, plus whatever vacation pay you might have accumulated.

We regret that these cuts had to be made but the board of directors and the Lighthouse management committee concurred in the decision that they had to be made to bring our operating expenses closer to actual income.

We hope you will have success in finding a new position and will do whatever we can to help.





We are anticipating a large number of jobs available in the Lighthouse workshop, both at Roosevelt Road and Seventy-fourth Street, starting in June and July. We are anxious to line up a roster of visually impaired persons seeking such work.

The new Lighthouse sales manager is now seeking and already has found a substantial number of new contracts for the workshop, in addition to the anticipated Skilcraft work which will be starting up in June.

One of our most important goals at the Lighthouse is to provide a full twelve-month schedule of work and we therefore are anxious to know just how much work persons currently on our list want. That will tell us how much we must expand our current available-worker list from other sources.

Would you please telephone Marjorie Miller at the Lighthouse and let her know if you want to be placed on this list for recall to work (telephone 666-1331). If you are not interested in workshop employment but you know a visually impaired worker who is, please ask that person to call the Lighthouse. Thank you.




Three blind employees who had actively campaigned for organizing a local of the Communications Workers of America, in the sheltered workshop of the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, in July 1976, were fired on Friday, November 12, by Lighthouse management. The union organizing drive and the election that followed were the first in the country’s history in which the National Labor Relations Board had taken jurisdiction in a case involving a sheltered workshop. The three fired employees—Charles Ivory, Mosro Howard, and Mary Lou Winter—had been among the leaders of the union organizing campaign.

Rami Rabby, spokesman for the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois which had provided the legal brief in the case before the National Labor Relations Board, charged, Saturday, the Lighthouse’s claim that the three employees had been let go for economic reasons was patently false: within the last three months, Rabby said, the Lighthouse has been advertising for more employees in a “full employment” drive. And why specifically these three employees, Rabby asked. These are just the kind of oppressive tactics which the very worst of the country’s agencies for the blind use against their employees, many of whom have nowhere else to turn for employment, Rabby said.

Ed Disch of the Communications Workers of America is planning to file unfair labor practice charges against the Lighthouse on November 15.

The National Federation of the Blind of Illinois will meet at 1:30 Saturday, November 13 at 25 West Jackson to discuss the recent firings.


[Copyright 1976 by The New York Times Company. Reprinted by permission.]

CHICAGO, November 14,—A labor dispute at the Lighthouse for the Blind here has renewed a longstanding conflict between that organization and a “maverick” group based in Des Moines, Iowa, called the National Federation of the Blind.

Three blind employees at the Lighthouse workshop here were discharged Friday for what officials of the organization termed “economic reasons.” However, Federation officials contend that the three were dismissed because they were leaders in a move to unionize the workshop.

Frederick McDonald, executive director of the Lighthouse, called the Federation “a minority group of zealots” and insisted that the three employees were dismissed for the same “economic reasons” that nine others were let go.

Kenneth Jernigan, President of the Federation, said that the three workers would file unfair labor practice charges against the Lighthouse with the National Labor Relations Board tomorrow. The Federation has a membership of 50,000 of the Nation’s 400,000 blind.

Mr. Jernigan contends that the Lighthouse is forcing blind employees to work under “sweatshop conditions” for less than the minimum Federal wage of $2.30 an hour. He has further accused the agency of resorting to “intimidation” to thwart efforts by the Communications Workers of America to set up a collective bargaining unit for custodians and workshop employees.

Mr. McDonald has denounced these charges as groundless, noting that the Labor Department exempted the Lighthouse from paying the minimum wage to employees in its workshop.

The Federation, Mr. Jernigan said, intends to make the Chicago Lighthouse a test case in a nationwide effort to organize every workshop into a bargaining unit. He said that Federation members would picket the Lighthouse Friday to protest the dismissals of Mary Lou Winter, a 25-year-old aide in the preschool program, and two custodians, Mosro Howard and Charles Ivory.

Mr. Jernigan said that Federation members in New York City also would picket the national headquarters of the American Foundation for the Blind at 15 West Sixteenth Street on Wednesday and Thursday, as well as the Roosevelt Hotel, where the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped would be holding board meetings Wednesday and Thursday.

“For years, management for the agencies for the blind have had their own way,” complained Avraham Rabby, a blind leader of the Federation’s Chicago office. “They feel they should have the final say on what’s good for blind people. It’s a plantation mentality and the blind have decided enough is enough.”

Mr. McDonald, the Lighthouse director, expressed fears about the economic impact of unionization. “If every sheltered workshop in the country were forced to pay the minimum wage and full benefits, I predict ninety percent of the workshops would have to close,” he said.

He said that the Lighthouse already is financially pinched, facing a first-quarter deficit of $165,000, and that the agency has had to lay off twenty-three workers [and] staff members since September.

Philosophical differences are at the root of the rivalry between the Federation and groups such as the Lighthouse and the American Foundation for the Blind.

“I’m a blind guy but I believe I can have as good a life as you can,” said James Omvig, an aide to Mr. Jernigan. . . .

By Monday, November 15, the decision had been made to tie the NFB’s New York demonstration against NAC to the firing of the Chicago Lighthouse employees, and to stage a similar demonstration outside the headquarters of the Lighthouse, on Friday, November 19. Messages of comradeship and support for the fired employees were received from all across the Nation.

While Charles Ivory, Mosro Howard, and Mary Lou Winter were filing their unfair labor practice charges, on Monday, November 15, with the assistance of Ed Disch, the CWA representative, and under the spotlight of TV cameras from Chicago’s NBC affiliate, Fred McDonald was packing his bags for his flight to New York to attend the annual membership meeting of NAC. At the same time, Jim Kesteloot, one of his subordinates and the person in charge of securing contracts for the sheltered workshop, was scurrying around Chicago. He was attempting to persuade the superintendents of the Illinois Visually Handicapped Institute and Community Services for the Visually Handicapped to lend their agencies’ support in every way possible to the Chicago Lighthouse in its hour of need. He wanted them to join a counter-demonstration to that of the NFB on Friday, November 19. So, if no new contracts were secured during the week of November 15 to 19, perhaps Jim Kesteloot can tell us why not.

Word of the counter-demonstration spread like wildfire around the blind community, causing many who might otherwise have remained at home to come out for the cause and join the NFB.

Friday, November 19, drew near. Under Steve Benson’s direction, the Essex Inn was secured as the NFB’s headquarters, while a second press release was distributed, alerting the media to the Friday demonstration.

From north and south, from east and west, we came. From Mississippi and Minnesota, from California and Maryland, from Idaho and from Texas, from Iowa and from Michigan. We came by plane, by bus, by car, and by truck. From wherever in the country Lighthouses and societies for the blind exist that are similar to the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind. We converged upon Chicago. Those who could not afford to come sent their pennies to the fund which had been established in the NFB treasury to support the three fired employees, who had laid their necks on the line for their colleagues throughout the Nation.

On the morning of Friday, November 19, the spirit at the Essex Inn was at an unprecedented high. The first contingent of twenty-five Federationists, fully equipped with canes and dogs, set out at 6:50 a.m., down Michigan Avenue, onto the Roosevelt Avenue bus, and off at the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, in order to meet the shop employees as they arrived at work. This move surprised Lighthouse management which promptly called the Chicago Police Department. Could we honestly expect anything else from an agency administration for whom the crack of an authoritarian whip is what comes naturally? The police did come, saw that blind citizens were exercising their constitutional right to freedom of assembly, and left. Well, what next, Mr. McDonald? Would you believe coffee and doughnuts? Yes, Lighthouse management actually offered us coffee and doughnuts. (Where was the money for these found, Mr. McDonald?) We refused.

At the same time, CBS Weekend TV News, which had filmed extensive footage at both the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and the District of Columbia-based Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind at the end of September, was spurred into airing the story in its afternoon newscast on Sunday, November 14. The clash of philosophies between the National Federation of the Blind and the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind was clearly in evidence in the CBS piece.

At 8:30 and 9:00 a.m., the second and third NFB contingents arrived at the scene of the Lighthouse, complete with some one hundred signs. At approximately the same time reporters and cameramen from three local TV stations, two radio stations, and one newspaper also arrived. The counter-demonstration of the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind was composed of some sheltered workshop clients and a large number of professional staff, and numbered about a third the number of Federationists on hand.

Administrators and staff from other agencies for the blind stayed well clear of any direct involvement in the counter-demonstration, although Tom Murphy, superintendent of the Illinois Visually Handicapped Institute, a NAC-accredited agency, and Wells Mori, administrator of Services to the Adult Blind in the Department of Children and Family Services, did arrive to observe the goings-on.

The chanting and marching continued until 1:30 p.m. Several times during the demonstration the Chicago Lighthouse made vain attempts to crowd us off the sidewalk, only to find themselves outflanked and surrounded by Federationists, and drowned in a sea of NFB signs.

In private conversations with individual workshop clients and lowly members of the Chicago Lighthouse staff, we found ourselves constantly dispelling the notion (fed to them by the Lighthouse management) that the NFB aims to close down the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind. Fred McDonald ventured onto the sidewalk and suggested to Rami Rabby that an arbitration board of citizens be established to find a compromise between the NFB and Lighthouse positions. When the issue in dispute is first-class citizenship, Mr. McDonald may be willing to compromise: we are not.

On our way back to a debriefing session at the Essex Inn, we made one stop, one block away from the Chicago Lighthouse, at the NAC-accredited Illinois Visually Handicapped Institute. Standing outside IVHLs windows, we serenaded the panicked staff with a rendition of “Old McDonald Had A Shop” and with the NFB’s version of the McDonald’s Hamburger commercial. Then, lo and behold, the police were there again! When will they ever learn?

This was a situation which could not be ignored by the Federation. Mary Lou Winter is asked, as an adult citizen under no legal sentence, to accept having her choice of reading censored and her property, the Braille Monitor, destroyed; and it is done in such a way as to insult every Federationist. Equally we could not let the firings pass, because what these three did was no more than any Federationist might be asked to do. Around the country Federation chapters began collecting money to support the three until they can be reinstated by the NLRB. The very night of the firings, the Des Moines chapter raised $143—two weeks’ salary for Mary Lou Winter. Three days later we filed a complaint charging the Lighthouse with unfair labor practices.

Hardly needing comment is the Lighthouse contention that the union organizers were fired in a standard way; or as Milton Samuelson was quoted in the Chicago Tribune. “We have laid off twenty-three people in the last couple of months, and it has nothing to do with union activities.” This is the kind of “truth” which depends for its success on the ability of the “truth-teller” to ignore objections-no real care is taken to deceive the hearer: Milton Samuelson tells Mary Lou Winter that her refusal to support the Lighthouse slate at the State White House Conference makes her unable to maintain acceptable job performance. She is then fired, not for opposing the Lighthouse slate but because of “budgetary deficiencies.” Charles Ivory is told by the Lighthouse director, “You went on television . . . destroying this place and you come and ask us for a favor. If you were half a man, you would leave this place.” Was Charles Ivory fired for organizing activities? No, he was fired “because of widespread personnel cuts being made throughout the agency” (just a “budgetary” adjustment).

There was even less attempt to mask the truth from Mosro Howard: “You know why this happened,” says Howard’s supervisor; “don’t take it lying down. This happened because you were participating in forming a union here . . . .”

Such twisted logic as this can be gotten away with only if there is no recourse. And never before has there been a recourse; always the Lighthouse officials have been allowed to have their way with their employees. No more. The complaints have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board and they were accepted, for all the world as if blind workers were normal people with ordinary labor rights. Further (and even more important), the NFB is now in the field and on the move. The press has been alerted, and the pickets have taken to the streets. This is a new day for the blind. We know who we are, and we will never go back.

In the letter sent to Mr. Ivory, he is told that he is being terminated because of “budgetary deficiencies.” This takes us close to the truth, if backhandedly. A “budgetary deficiency,” according to any normal interpretation of those words, means a deficiency in the budget, a budget being a setting-up of financial priorities. The Lighthouse, to go further with this, cannot afford the expense of equitable and humane working conditions which would result from the exercising of rights under the labor laws. It can, however, afford a number of other expenses to which it has clearly assigned higher priority:

(1) It can afford two thousand dollars to launch a campaign to upset the State White House Conference which had been in the planning for months with no interest shown by the Lighthouse; now, suddenly, it had a slate worth fighting and spending for. (2) Although strapped for the expense of work manhours, the Lighthouse could afford to send forty to fifty of its employees out on the streets as a far-from-spontaneous counter-demonstration—thus in effect hiring strike-breakers. (3) The Lighthouse cannot find enough money to pay Mary Lou Winter a subsistence wage, but it can find enough money to hire Fred McDonald, its executive director, at a high salary—reportedly $30,000 a year or more. Instead of firing the workers, consideration might have been given to whittling a bit from the salary of Mr. McDonald. (4) And finally (although this list could continue), the Lighthouse can afford the expense of NAC re-accreditation.

Can NAC, then, afford to re-accredit the Lighthouse. Well, as the recent pattern of NAC accreditations begins to emerge around the country, we see that NAC accreditation of the Chicago Lighthouse is entirely appropriate. The NFB has repeatedly said that NAC hurts the blind, that NAC seems to accredit the worst of the agencies, the most regressive and substandard ones. The pattern becomes clear here: Agencies such as the Chicago Lighthouse have since the beginning of human charity been holding themselves up to the public as sacrosanct. And the public—and the blind—have bought it. The blind now ask them for something they feel unable to give—treatment as equals and the dignity of ordinary working conditions. We go to the media and ask again. And the agencies—not all, but the worst of them-panic. “Custodial? Regressive? Destructive of human potential?” they cry; “Not at all. Why, we are accredited by the National Accreditation Council. We are for standards and quality services; our accreditation is proof of this.” So that in fact NAC accreditation has become a means of maintaining public credibility for the sub-standard agencies (the good ones don’t need and don’t want it); it is cosmetic. It is a means of legitimizing the exploitation of blind persons.

NAC knows this. But who believes they will do anything about it. They reply: These workshops are legal; they pay less than the legal minimum wage, but they have secured certificates of exemption from the Government to do so. But times change, attitudes change, and interpretations of laws and the laws themselves change. What was pussy-footing last year may this year be blatant support of unfair labor practices.

Why do we meet this opposition to our organizing efforts? In the minds of shop administrators who view themselves as custodians of the helpless, the justification is clear. Mr. McDonald expressed this view well in talking to a reporter from Health Labor Relations Reports. The following appeared in the November 29, 1976, issue: “[McDonald] said the NFB had misled the union into accepting the notion that blind workers can produce and earn like anyone else. Yet, he added, at the Lighthouse, blind workers do not produce a fraction of the work of whic which normal workers are capable.” Later in the article, he is quoted directly: “‘If sheltered workshops were forced to pay the minimum wage and full fringes for all clients, it would put about ninety-five percent of them out of work,’ he said.”

Perhaps this should give us pause: these are serious charges. Yet they disappear when they are looked at with any knowledge. What more can be said to a man who tries to convince media representatives that “blind workers do not produce a fraction of the work of which normal workers are capable”? And to his claim that we aim to shut the shops and end the jobs of ninety-five percent of the shopworkers—well, that has been heard before. As James Omvig, our attorney in the successful NLRB appeal, pointed out, “When I was employed by the National Labor Relations Board, every employer with whom I ever dealt as he was being organized said that he would be driven out of business. However, none ever closed its doors.”

And yet what would be the effect of granting to blind shopworkers the rights of normal laborers? There is no question but that the economics of sheltered shops would have to be radically restructured. Certainly the common system of collecting money from the public by means of appeals degrading to the blind in order to support agencies and foundations whose policies are set by boards of directors largely made up of dim cousins of major contributors and which open up a number of terminal, underpaid jobs in which the workers have the rights of serfs—this kind of set-up may be threatened by the NLRB decision. The effect will certainly be to force some of the realities of the marketplace into shops existing to prepare blind people for jobs in that market-place.

Still, what the NLRB decision signifies is that society is coming to affirm that the rights of its citizens are to be the same regardless of their physical condition. That blind persons often cannot find work through regular channels is not a good enough reason to allow work conditions to be arranged for them which evade safe-guards for laborers built up over the last century. This is the will of American society as expressed in its laws. Many governmental systems allow what we believe are human rights to be suspended for a variety of reasons-a favorite being that the society cannot economically afford democratic decisions about rights. That is not so here and it is no longer so for the blind.

The blind are taking their case to the public. Look, we are saying; see who we are and what we can do, and look closely at what the shops do and why they say they need to do it. We said this repeatedly, and finally to some effect. The National Labor Relations Board stated last June: “[W]e will no longer decline jurisdiction over a nonprofit organization such as this merely on the basis of its charitable function or worthy purpose. . . . The sole basis for asserting jurisdiction over charitable organizations will now be identical with those which are not charitable.”

Basically, then, when we try to spur workers in sheltered shops to form unions, we do no more than inform the workers of their affirmed rights. And our appeal and brief to the NLRB was no more than a request for consistent application of the laws. The NFB is not, as Fred McDonald claimed at the Illinois White House Conference, “pledged to the destruction of services to the blind.” Far from it. It is precisely because of our efforts that services to the blind will be able to survive and become ever more meaningful to society and to the blind themselves, the people for whom they were established in the first place. Not that we deny the honor of being Mr. McDonald’s target. We don’t admit, but rather claim, the deed. It was just what we meant to do, and we are hurrying to spread the word to shops around the Nation. In some places we know we will encounter shops whose operations meet the high quality, professional standards of the National Accreditation Council. And what will be our reception at these shops? For an answer let us return to Mr. McDonald’s statement at the NAC annual meeting:

“Our friends downstairs, when they arrive in Chicago on Friday, are going to have a greeting committee of about another one hundred blind people that are going to be carrying placards that say, ‘We speak for ourselves. NFB does not speak for the blind people of this country.’ And again the base of this support has come right from Dick [Bleecker]’s meeting with our board in Chicago, and this was very, very important help.”

There are still blind people who ask, “Why the National Federation of the Blind?” The answer can be found in the behavior of NAC and Fred McDonald. When the pickets marched on the cold streets of Chicago in November, when Mary Lou Winter’s Monitor was torn from her hands and she was later fired, when Charles Ivory and Mosro Howard were dismissed without notice because (even though blind) they dared exercise the rights of free human beings, we were all affected. Each of us walked with those pickets and suffered with the ones who were fired. The need is great, and the time is now. As long as a single blind person is exploited, not one of us can be truly free. We know who we are, and we will never go back.  

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The Kentucky Federation of the Blind held its final State convention in Louisville on September 10-11, 1976. No, the Kentucky Federation of the Blind is far from going out of business. We have become the NFB of Kentucky!

Charles Allen was elected president for a third term. Mike Bell, Sibyl Martin, and Pat Vice were elected first, second, and third vice-presidents. Esther Risch and Joan Page are recording and corresponding secretaries. Jack Duncanson is our new treasurer, and our chaplain is Bob Whitehead.

The convention heard from Will Evans, Superintendent of the Kentucky School for the Blind, talking about new programs at the school. Dr. Carson Y. Nolan, new vice-president and general manager of the American Printing House for the Blind, traced the history of APH under his predecessor, F. E. Davis.

The convention had two messages from James Omvig, the NFB national representative. He talked about NAC-tracking as well as new and pending legislation concerning the blind; and as banquet speaker he brought us a stirring message about attitudes toward the blind. Each year we have three special awards for outstanding effort in behalf of the blind. This year’s Harold Reagan Award went to David Murrell. Lieutenant Governor Thelma Stovall received the Robert Whitehead Award. The Susan B. Rarick Award was conferred on President Charles Allen.

Next year’s convention, which will be held at Lexington, will be the first of the National Federation of the Blind of Kentucky.

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The 1976 convention of the NFB of Colorado was held in Denver on September 17, 18, and 19. Things got off to a lively start on Friday night with a hospitality room, a State board meeting, and meetings of the resolutions and nominating committees. On Saturday morning, James Gashel, who represented our National Office, spoke to us about the impact of Social Security on the blind. Because of this we have set as a major priority the passage of the disability insurance bill. He urged every Federationist to become familiar with this legislation and to contact our congressmen.

Next was a panel discussion involving Federationists James Gashel and Homer Page and the two State co-directors of the Governor’s Conference on Handicapped Individuals. We stressed that a major problem facing the blind is that we are a minority among the disabled, and when service delivery systems are lumped together, the blind get lost in the shuffle. In participating in the White House Conference, the NFB must not give up its unique identity.

Our next speaker was Glen Crawford, Director of the Colorado Department of Rehabilitation, who knows how we feel about umbrella agencies and supports us. He said the reason such agencies are set up is that officials believe it saves money and increases services. He supports giving the present Division for the Blind more freedom and more staff in the future.

Two seminars were held on Saturday afternoon. One dealt with how to build and strengthen a local affiliate; and the other dealt with knowing your rights as a vending facility operator, and how to implement a better program. We had a lively banquet and dance Saturday evening. Jim Gashel was the banquet speaker, and his speech was the highlight of the convention.

The first order of business on Sunday morning was elections. We elected Diane McGeorge president, and Sandy Kelly recording secretary. Five resolutions were adopted unanimously during the convention; among them ones dealing with the establishing of a commission for the blind, and the most efficient way to implement a merger of the State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped with a separate agency for the blind. Many doorprizes were drawn throughout the convention. We promoted the PAC plan and the Edlund letters, and we did receive newspaper, radio, and TV coverage. It was felt that our convention was the largest, most interesting, liveliest, and noisiest ever. Look out, Iowa!

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Federationists gathered at Indianapolis, September 24 through 26, 1976, for the annual convention of the NFB of Indiana. Friday evening commenced with the bang of the gavel for our “action auction,” at which we raised three hundred dollars for our trip to the New Orleans Convention. At the board meeting following the auction, a new chapter—the NFB of Orange County—was admitted to our ranks.

On Saturday morning, Senator Vance Hartke received the Dinsmore Award for distinguished service to the blind of the State of Indiana. Barny McEwen, Director of the Indiana State Library Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, reported that the new addition to the library for the blind is almost complete. Circulation of books and materials has almost doubled within the last year, and the library is actively pursuing a program to identify eligible users for its services.

Peg Inlow and Lois Sitler of the Indianapolis Public Schools Special Education Department described the program for the visually impaired. It appears that totally blind students are not being educated in this program and that, regardless of need. Braille is unavailable. The morning session ended with a discussion of hearings and appeals in the Social Security Administration. According to John Castelli, Chief Administrative Law Judge of the Indianapolis Social Security Office, quite often the decision of the disability determination unit will be reversed at the hearings stage. If you think you have a legitimate complaint, don’t give up.

Our Director of Rehabilitation for the Blind, Fred Silver, appeared opposite NFB of Indiana President Marc Maurer to discuss the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of rehabilitation for the blind in Indiana. A resolution condemning the deplorable lack of service provided by the agency for the blind and calling for adoption of the Indiana Commission for the Blind bill was passed by the convention unanimously.

The banquet was the largest ever in our history. NFB Treasurer Dick Edlund delivered a thoughtful address directed toward the need of the blind for separate agencies to serve them and the need for cooperation between organizations of and agencies for the blind.

Sunday morning James Alley, Indiana director for the White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals, participated in a discussion of the goals and purposes of the conference. Before the convention closed later that morning, we had adopted a new constitution and had passed fifteen resolutions on subjects as divergent as the conflict of interest of Ron Workman, vice-chairman of the Indiana Rehabilitation Services Board, and the need for passage of the disability insurance bill.

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The sixth annual convention of the NFB of Rhode Island was held Saturday, October 9, 1976, at the Holiday Inn in downtown Providence. The day began with an open business meeting. All of the following officers were re-elected for two-year terms: president, H. Don Levesque; first vice-president, Edmund Beck; second vice-president, Richard Gaffney; secretary, Mary Jane Fry; treasurer, Stephen Garabedian; and board members, Louis DeFelice and Fred Flori. Present at this meeting were several members of the NFB of Massachusetts, two librarians from the State library serving the blind, and local TV reporters and cameramen. The convention was given excellent coverage on two local TV stations.

State Senator William Castro was the first of five guest speakers. He assured us of his support for NFB-sponsored bills. The next to speak was Dr. Mary Mulvey, Director of Adult Education for the Department of Education. Her topic was health care for the elderly and handicapped. NFB representative James Omvig brought the latest news from the National Office. He stated that efforts still continue for the reform of NAC, the ending of discrimination against blind teachers, and for the unionizing of the workshops. He also urged members to support the NFB through the PAC plan.

Dr. Robert Carolan, executive director of the Rhode Island Association for the Blind, expressed his view that blindness is a major tragedy that cannot be reduced to the level of a mere nuisance. Finally, Lyman D’Andrea, Administrator of State Services for the Blind, discussed his agency. He also praised NAC accreditation, with some qualification. Both Dr. Carolan and Mr. D’Andrea found that many of their statements brought strong opposition from the audience.

A panel discussed “Opportunities in Employment.” Describing the kinds of work they do and the obstacles which had to be overcome were: Lucille DeChaine, Mary Jane Fry, William Ralston, and Steven Garabedian.

The day ended with the banquet. Steve Garabedian received a plaque for his work during the past year. James Omvig spoke about the degrading image of the blind in cartoons, among other things. New officers were installed, and this successful convention ended with an evening of dancing and socializing.

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1 cup canned pears, drained & diced
1 cup canned peaches, drained & diced
1 cup pineapple chunks, drained
1 cup white cherries, pitted & drained
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Mix all these together and chill overnight.

Ingredients for Fruit Dressing

1/3 cup peach juice
1/3 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup cherry juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 eggs

Mix sugar and flour; stir in the juices; heat not quite to the boiling point. Beat the eggs and add to them and mix in a little of the hot liquid. Add this mixture to the rest of the hot liquid and simmer slowly until thickened. Chill overnight. This may be used over the salad as is, or it may be mixed with whipped cream.

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The October 15, 1976, issue of Vital Speeches of the Day is distinguished by the appearance of President Jernigan’s banquet address to the 1976 NFB Convention. The speech, “Blindness: Of Visions and Vultures,” is appropriately placed in this magazine whose motto is “the best thought of the best minds on current national questions.”

Monitor subscribers are reminded that the Berkeley Office of the Federation is a part of history as of the New Year, and that all changes of address should be sent to: The Braille Monitor, 218 Randolph Hotel Building, Fourth and Court Streets, Des Moines, Iowa. Articles for the Monitor should also be sent to this address. The deadline for articles to be printed in the March issue is January 20.

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