BOX 4422








BOX 11185

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

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

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


















This report of the 1977 annual membership and board meetings of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC), which took place in Phoenix November 14 and 15 , might be subtitled "The NAC Tapes." Two Federation observers at the meetings, Harold Snider and Sue Ammeter, recorded the meetings in their entirety, and those recordings will form the basis of this article.

As in a recent well-known chapter in this nation's history, tape recordings have proved a remarkably powerful means of exposure. One difference between the NAC tapes and those recorded in the oval office of Richard Nixon, however, is that the NAC Board members were aware the tapes were being made. Many Americans will long remember how H. R. Haldeman, appearing before a Senate committee and hoping that the Watergate tapes might never be made public, alleged that President Nixon had concluded his discussion of clemency for the century's most famous burglars with the statement, "But that would be wrong.'' The tapes, of course, contained no such disclaimer; and comedians around the country made a comic routine of this unsurpassed example of wishful thinking.

In order to understand the recorded statements of NAC officials which follow, keep in mind that these gentlemen expected their words to appear in these pages. In fact, Harold Snider was challenged by a NAC staffer as he entered the meeting room with the recording equipment, and he replied that he was a reporter for the Monitor. Hence the NAC Board members adopted a creative and peculiar use of common English words. What we mean by this will become abundantly clear; but as an example, it is the same process by which such terms as "quality services" and "high professional standards" have taken on unusual meanings when they are used by NAC.

The theme of the NAC annual membership meeting, which took place Monday, November 14, was "NAC and Consumers." The first substantive report to the membership was from Otis Stephens, chairman of the Commission on Accreditation. After some introductory remarks and statistics, Mr. Stephens spoke as follows:

"I am particularly pleased that the program for this year's membership meeting focuses on the issue and the principle of consumer involvement. It is a timely topic for several reasons, not least of which is that it provides us with an opportunity to assess the Commission's progress in broadening and strengthening the involvement in NAC of blind and visually handicapped individuals and representatives of organizations of the blind. . . . Several years ago, as you may recall, NAC's membership, at a meeting such as this, voted to endorse the principle of consumer participation. The Commission's response to this challenge was positive and enthusiastic. Many changes were made at that time. Many changes continue to be made with the idea of promoting and broadening as completely as possible participation of blind persons in the accreditation process."

Mr. Stephens went on to expand these remarkable claims: "I would like to outline ten points of policy specifically endorsed and identified which I think reflect our commitment to broad and continuing consumer involvement. The first of these is involvement of consumers at all stages of the accreditation process."

It is obvious that Mr. Stephens is using the words "consumer involvement" in a fairly novel sense, considering that the building in which he was speaking was ringed by over 200 blind consumers protesting NAC's exclusion of their views. Over the years NAC has used various methods to rationalize this exclusion. The sixth of Mr. Stephens' ten points recalls one of the first methods. It read: "Six-the definition of consumer aimed at covering the widest possible scope of blind and visually handicapped persons." Federationists will remember that NAC defined the term "consumer" so widely that it included all of the sighted general public. After all, anyone could lose his sight, and therefore everyone is a potential consumer. At other points, NAC claimed that the agencies it accredits are its "consumers."

But all of these evasions have been set aside in favor of a new evasion. Otis Stephens is a member of the board of directors of the American Council of the Blind. Now we see what a "consumer" is. NAC was founded and is paid for by the American Foundation for the Blind. It is the AFB's creature pure and simple. The American Council of the Blind, for a year now, has depended on AFB money to run its programs. NAC never claims to involve all consumers, nor even representatives of the majority of consumers.

This definition of "consumer" would be found in most dictionaries under "Uncle Tom." Webster's Third New International Dictionary defines an "Uncle Tom" as a "Negro with a humble or submissive attitude or philosophy." As we have become painfully aware, the concept is no longer attached solely to the black rights movement. The Uncle Tom is just as destructive and just as much an object of contempt in the blind rights movement.

Mr. Stephens' report included the statistics on new accreditations during the last year. Being a man who knows how to cushion bad news, he began with the reaccreditations. He reported as follows:

"I am pleased to report that by the end of fiscal year 1977 eight more organizations applied for and received reaccreditation, bringing the total number of agencies that have reaccreditation to 37. In addition four agencies qualified for recognition as accredited members of NAC for the first time; one agency dropped out; and this gave us a net gain of three, which raises our number of accredited agencies to 67."

NAC, then, continues to lose steam. The highest net gain in "accredited" agencies was in 1970, when 16 were added. In fiscal 1975, four were added; in fiscal 1976, five; and this year the net gain was three. Considering that NAC had expenses in this last year of over $300,000, one might wonder where it all went. As we will soon see, NAC has plenty of projects besides "accreditation."

The second of the three major branches of NAC is the Commission on Standards. The report of this Commission was given by its chairman, Wesley Sprague. Mr. Sprague continued the discussion of NAC as the haven of consumerism. Oddly enough, he extended this notion backwards in time. He spoke, in part, as follows:

"Standards designed to encourage meaningful participation have been a special responsibility of the Commission on Standards over the years. By tracing briefly the evolution of these standards, we learn of the progressive changes which NAC has made in discharging its trust to work towards improving the quality of services to blind and visually handicapped persons throughout the country. In 1966 the founders of NAC's first set of standards—in the COMSTAC Report, among other things—called for:

"'(1) An advisory group or committee made up of recipients or potential recipients of agency service who can be of assistance in formulating policies which affect the well-being of the agency's clients. Secondly, the right of appeal by clients who took exception to a staff decision and the protection for the persons served from unauthorized use of his or her name or that of his or her family.'

"These are but a few examples of NAC's early cognizance of the rights and dignity of the persons served by agencies and schools in the field. Admittedly, these consumer references in NAC's early standards were rather modest by today's measure. Nevertheless, they reflected the forefront of thinking some ten years ago."

Thus we are told that not only is NAC a leader in consumerism now, it has always  been in that position—in the very "forefront" of consumerism.

We now come to the third of NAC's major branches; and it is becoming the center of NAC's activities, as will be seen. It is the National Committee for Advancement of Standards, or NCAS. The chairman of this committee, Huntington Harris, reported on its first full year of activity. He spoke as follows:

"I'd like first of all to review the environment in which NCAS was established and why it was established. As NAC grew in the early '70's, it became increasingly apparent to the NAC Board that the use of standards and accreditation was having a significant and positive effect in the stimulation of improvements in services to blind and visually handicapped persons. The number of accredited agencies increased slowly but steadily, and the acceptance of and support for NAC in the field climbed steadily as well. However, it became apparent that there were a number of obstacles to prevent the full realization of our goals in the first decade of NAC's existence, and that many agencies and schools were not moving to apply for accreditation as quickly as had been anticipated. Some of the obstacles are:

"(1) Many agencies felt they couldn't meet the standards. Others were reluctant to be evaluated by peers-as we noted earlier—from outside their organization. And still others didn't fully appreciate how standards and accreditation could help strengthen their own service programs.

"(2) It points up another problem we've encountered. Although there are many people within and outside our field who are familiar with NAC's work and do recognize its value, there are still others, all too many in number, who know very little about NAC. This includes administrators, workers, and consumers in our field. NAC has lacked widespread visibility over the years and the information many people have about NAC has been sketchy."

One almost wonders if Mr. Harris is being ironic here. NAC's problems stem from the fact that its actions have been given too much visibility. But it is Mr. Harris' third and fourth obstacles to NAC's progress that deserve our attention:

"(3) All of us who have been involved in this movement are also familiar with long-standing opposition in some quarters to NAC. Although three impartial official studies of NAC over the last four years—by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, the U.S. General Accounting Office, and the U.S. Office of Education—have shown that NAC was doing a commendable job and which found that opposition charges were lacking in substance. [Note: As Monitor readers will recall, what these studies showed was that NAC was not actually breaking the law.] Opposition has persisted nonetheless, despite NAC's rich tradition of progressive consumer involvement policies, which we heard detailed earlier, which has led to fruitful cooperation with two other organizations of the blind—the American Council of the Blind and the Blinded Veterans Association. The opposition, nonetheless, has continued to level distorted and false charges and make unwarranted attacks against NAC and its accredited agencies and continues to refuse to join with the major organizations in the field to strengthen the accreditation movement, and has, instead, mounted a reform-or-be-destroyed campaign against NAC.

"(4) Finally, some of the incentives built into accreditation in other fields, for example, the use of accreditation as a condition for funding, has not as yet become widespread practice in our field, though it is growing, I believe. Several state vocational rehabilitation agencies, of course, have adopted policies calling upon voluntary agencies from which they purchase services to achieve accreditation within a specific timeframe."

This fourth point is an amazing admission on NAC's part. NAC has claimed—indeed, it has so testified before the U.S. Office of Education—that it does not wish to force agencies to be "accredited" by NAC in order to receive federal or state funds. It has made these claims in the face of hard evidence that it does seek this control (as in the cases of California and of National Industries for the Blind). But here Mr. Harris complains that this failure to so condition public money is an obstacle his committee plans to overcome. To continue with Mr. Harris' report:

"Within this backdrop, a former NAC president, Dan Robinson, appointed a task force to consider this issue and to recommend courses of action to improve NAC's visibility and to stimulate greater use of the standards. This task force, chaired by David Schnair, recommended that NAC's entire advancement of standards effort be beefed up through the establishment of a citizen volunteer committee—the NCAS—and the reassignment of a staff position to this function. The board approved these recommendations and the committee was underway."

Mr. Harris' "citizen volunteer committee" echoes Webster's definition of a "vigilance committee"—"a volunteer committee of citizens for the oversight and protection of an interest." If it is felt that calling the NCAS members vigilantes is an exaggeration, listen to Mr. Harris' description of their activities:

"This committee has also provided on-the-spot, action-oriented assistance to agencies and schools seeking accreditation or reaccreditation who are being unduly attacked or harassed by the negative forces of misguided, counterproductive elements."

It will throw some light on Mr. Harris' statements here to recall the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind. In the summer of 1975, a majority of the workers in the Lighthouse workshop signed union pledge cards. A union representative wrote to the Lighthouse management, asking to negotiate about employment conditions in the shop. The management wrote back that "it is in the best interests of our employees to deal with them directly." There then followed a period of intense pressure on the workers, including the firing of the staff member who had kicked off the organizing campaign. In June of 1976, the National Labor Relations Board ordered a union election to be held, but by this time the workers were so intimidated that the majority in favor of a union had disappeared. After the election, three of the main organizers in the shop were fired.

How much of this activity was an example of Mr. Harris' "on-the-spot, action-oriented assistance"? It is difficult to say; but at the next NAC meeting, Fred McDonald, the director of the Lighthouse, stood up to "thank Dick [Bleecker] and NAC for what they did to help me in Chicago at a very, very troubled time."

Shortly thereafter, the Lighthouse formed its own "consumer group," drawn from its staff. This group was called-in as cynical a twisting of language as the field has yet produced—the "Independent Blind of Illinois." When the organized blind picketed the Lighthouse, protesting the firing of the pro-union workers, the "Independent Blind" were sent out to counterpicket. The spokesmen for this Lighthouse group were James Kesteloot and Dennis Schreiber.

The next part of NAC's membership meeting was devoted to presentations by non-board members. The two persons who had requested time were James Kesteloot and Dennis Schreiber, who had come to Phoenix to picket in favor of NAC. Note that in Mr. Kesteloot's speech to the NAC Board, he chides the ACB for being too passive in its support of NAC. Note also that he has an admirable understanding of NAC's use of the term "consumer involvement." He says, "I think the member agencies of NAC have a responsibility to generate some consumer involvement in opposition of the NFB pickets that have been harassing NAC over the last four or five years." Here are the remarks of Mr. Kesteloot in their entirety:

"I want to thank NAC for giving us an opportunity to have the floor for a few minutes. I know Arizona, our host, has been, I feel, a very gracious host. However, I feel this meeting should be going on in Des Moines, Iowa, rather than in Arizona. [Note: This sally was greeted by total silence.] That was supposed to be a joke [now there was laughter], but I was really serious about it. I thought I'd get a laugh, but I was serious about that. I think maybe NAC should consider over the next year or two holding its next annual meeting in Des Moines.

"I just wanted to express at least a couple of concerns that I've seen here at the NAC meeting. There was a group from Illinois, called the Independent Blind of Illinois, which I am a member and Dennis Schreiber is a member, who will be speaking in a little bit, who was—we were sitting in the lobby yesterday, sort of greeting NFB as they came to Ramada Inn. And we were greeting also the NAC members that were coming to the Ramada Inn. There was a lot of sort of appreciation on the part of members of NAC, you know, for some support being shown for them. Yet a concern that I have is that, you know, today we were talking about consumer involvement. Well, the first part of this meeting—it seemed almost the whole meeting was consumer involvement. I think the member agencies of NAC have a responsibility to generate some consumer involvement in opposition of the NFB pickets that have been harassing NAC over the last four or five years.

"I think the second concern that I have; and I say this—I don't want to be misinterpreted, because I'm a very conservative person—I'm married ten years, I have three kids, go to church every Sunday—I'm not used to this kind of role-but I want to say something about ACB. I think everybody knows ACB's position as regard to NAC; it's a supporter and all of this. Yet I still see there also a lack of direct consumer involvement to stop the kind of harassment that NAC has had to contend with for the past four or five years. I have a hard time accepting the lack of this kind of involvement to stop the harassment.

"I think there are a couple of ways it could be done. In Illinois, for example, there's an ACB chapter—it calls itself the Illinois Federation of the Blind. It's not NFBI. And about two weeks ago it had its annual convention and a resolution was submitted. The resolution was to invite NAC to hold its next annual meeting in Illinois. And along with that, the second part of the resolution was to have IFB (or the ACB chapter in Illinois) hold its annual convention concurrently with the NAC meeting, so consumers would be in the same building at the same time demonstrating their support for NAC.

"I think what we need over the next couple of years—hopefully over the next year-is to stop the harassment of NAC. It doesn't deserve the harassment and I think we ought to stop it. I think we have an obligation to stop it. And it's my understanding that NAC will probably be in Illinois next year; and I invite you—the member agencies of NAC—to generate some consumer involvement, bring consumers to Illinois to demonstrate their support for NAC publicly.

"At this time I'll turn it over to Dennis. He'll probably talk down here. Dennis is deaf and blind."

In the past, agencies have loaded their blind shopworkers on a bus, driven them somewhere, and handed them signs as they got off the bus. The blind people would not be told where they were going nor what they were demonstrating for. Mr. Kesteloot seems to be encouraging NAC members to continue this degraded custodial practice, and to do it under the guise of "consumer involvement." The notion is also introduced in these remarks—probably an accurate notion—that the only way NAC can enlist the ACB membership to active support is to meet at the same time and in the same building as an ACB state convention.

Dennis Schreiber spoke next, and he had the following to say:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, concerned blind services throughout America. I have a proposition to offer you which is an honorable course of action for all. The Independent Blind of Illinois have been in existence for no more than two months. During that period of time we have had three successful actions in favor of blind services and the maintenance and development of new and old programs. That's another story.

"Of the 110 people back in Illinois that contributed to send our group to Phoenix. We're here to defend the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped. We're also here to fight for our own battle—so that we can go home and tell our kids that we're not monsters, that we believe in and help and enjoy working with the blind of the Chicago metropolitan area and all of the country.

"I am asking you to send telegrams to Governor Robert Ray of Iowa and Acting Governor Blair Lee, State Capitol, protesting the harassment, attempts at intimidation, and an attempt at the complete destruction of the National Accreditation Council. If we can get 100 telegrams on the respective desks of these Governors from all over the country, we will make these Governors wonder what is Kenneth Jernigan and Ralph Sanders trying to do. Ladies and Gentlemen, I invite you to Chicago. Bring yourselves, bring delegation. The fight has just begun. NFB does not speak for me. Thank you."

Dennis Schreiber's insistence that the "Independent Blind of Illinois have been in existence for no more than two months" is about as lucid as the rest of his comments. Eleven months earlier, on December 11, 1976, the Lighthouse sent some of its staff members to picket an NFB chapter meeting. The leaflet they handed out stated: "The Independent Blind of Illinois wishes to announce their opposition to this organization." (For the complete text of this leaflet, see the February 1977 Monitor.) The June 1977 Monitor reprinted a letter written by Dennis Schreiber and dated February 16, 1977, which stated: "A group of 26 Chicago Lighthouse students, workshop employees, staff, and administration went to the Illinois White House Conference [and elected] an alternate slate of delegates proposed by the Independent Blind of Illinois and other concerned handicapped." What is Mr. Schreiber's point in claiming his group is newly organized? There is no particular merit in being new—look at the Affiliated Leadership League.

The business meeting on Monday was followed by a question period. It was during this session that Federationist E. U. Parker, with a few simple questions, solved one of the deepest mysteries about NAC; namely, What relation do NAC accreditations have to the NAC standards? Earlier in the meeting, a document was handed out which was heralded as the consumer's bill of rights. It was part of the revised NAC standards on Function and Structure. In it there are sections labeled "Right to Appeal." These read, in part: "Provision is made for the applicant or person served to discuss the concerns with a supervisor or administrator for purposes of administrative review of the staff action(s) in question. If the applicant or person served takes exception to the results of the administrative review, provision is made for a fair hearing, with proper regard for due process, before an impartial board or hearing officer empowered to make a final written decision."

This document led E. U. Parker to ask the following questions, which were answered by Richard Bleecker, the executive director of NAC, and Wesley Sprague, the chairman of NAC's Commission on Standards. We print the exchange in full:

E. U. Parker: I believe I understand that observers are unmuzzled right now, right?

Louis Rives: Sir?

Mr. Parker: I believe I understand we can speak, right?

Mr. Rives: Yes, sir.

Mr. Parker: Okay. I'd like to ask a couple of questions. I don't have the correspondence handy, and I haven't read all the bill of rights that you just distributed—thank you for that. But did I understand that this is now official policy of NAC; for example, that every agency will have to have an appeals board or an appeals process for dissatisfied clients?

Mr. Rives: Wes, would you like to respond?

Wesley Sprague: This is part of the standard on Function and Structure, and every agency has—when they're reaccredited or accredited—has to abide by the standards of the various sections as pertain to them. And no matter what their primary service picture is, they all have to have function and structure as part of it. Therefore, you're right, Mr. Parker; they must, of course, abide by the rights of consumers as outlined in Function and Structure, pages 6 through 8.

Mr. Parker: Was it with a board appointed—

Richard Bleecker: Excuse me as I may add a postscript to the answer. I want to be complete in responding to Mr. Parker. And I would love nothing more than to concede the correctness. However, I must point out that not every accredited agency is able to meet every standard. And meeting every standard is not a precondition to accreditation. In fact, no accredited agency as yet meets every standard. Accreditation and standards are a direction and it's a process of improvement. To be accredited, the agency must either meet the standards or have an awareness and a commitment to attempt to meet them.

Mr. Sprague: Mr. Parker and Dick, may I add one more thing. When you go through your accreditation process—now, I'm getting into Otis' area here—you in turn are given a report from the on-site review team in which they give you commendations and recommendations. And they come back to you, whatever the year is—2, 3, 4, 5 years thereafter—for reaccreditation. That on-site team looks for those areas of commendation, but also specifically the recommendations. If then, in the first go-round, as Dick suggested, which is absolutely correct—you can't, of course, be 100% pure. In their, however, major recommendation areas, that's to which the on-site—second-time go-round on-site visitation team looks. Thus, if that was a major consideration and recommendation the first time, the next time around they'd better have it that way. [There is a pause as Mr. Sprague consults with someone.] And as I am reminded, once you are accredited or reaccredited, your agency has to annually report to NAC how they are meeting the recommendations that are in that report. So there is an annual report of progress toward the achievement of those. Thus, by reaccreditation time, hopefully all those recommendations have been attended to by the board or the agency that's involved.

Mr. Parker: Do you mean that you're not going to require an appeals board?

Mr. Sprague: We are. These are a requirement. However, standards are dependent upon your agency—oh gracious, hundreds of them, when you stop to think of it. You are not required to pass it by a, b, c, or 90 or 70 or 80 percent. But you are required to—in the on-site recommendation team's review—to come up with major commendations that outweigh the recommendations which are then referred to the Commission on Accreditation. It weighs whether or not you are accredited or reaccredited per the findings of the on-site—the on-site of course looking at what you say you're doing versus what you're really doing as seen by them.

Mr. Parker: Doesn't federal law require an appeals procedure?

Howard Hanson: Under the federal-state laws [in] most states, the public agency is required to have an appeals mechanism which is satisfactory to meet the requirements of the federal government first and the imposed additional requirements if the state so desires.

Mr. Parker: Then will NAC not require that agencies follow the law?

Mr. Hanson: It's not NAC's authority to police the agency; but certainly in your state, if it is not following the law, then you may appeal. If it's not heard, you should let the attorney general know. This is for public agencies. NAC will find out about it—I'm sure we'll find out about it.

Mr. Sprague: Excuse me once again, if I may. I again am trying to make sure that your answers are responded to Tully for the reccord, sir. The standards do provide that an agency meet all applicable statutory requirements. I make that statement without qualification.

Mr. Parker: Are you going to enforce that?

Mr. Sprague: I'm still responding, sir. In addition, the Commission on Standards and the Commission on Accreditation have appeals mechanisms whereby any individual or organization who wishes to do so may either (a) suggest to the Commission on Standards specifically how a given standard should be improved or suggest additional standards or suggest if a given standard has outlived its usefulness and should be deleted. I personally very well know that the Commission will look forward to receiving, sir, your suggestions or those of anyone else for improvement of those standards. Additionally, the Commission on Accreditation appeal process welcomes complaints from any individual or organization alleging a violation by any NAC-accredited agency of any law. And those processes have been in place for a number of years. Thank you.

As we said, this discussion reveals a good deal. Towards the end of it, as E. U. Parker continued his questions, Mr. Sprague seemed to lose his temper, and his use of the word "sir" was filled with angry contempt. But these statements tell the story: NAC-accredited agencies do not need to meet the standards, and no NAC-accredited agency does meet them. All that is necessary is an "awareness" of the standards and a "commitment to attempt to meet them." This should be enough leeway for anyone. Indeed—to imagine the extreme example—an agency could burn crosses on the lawns of its clients and lynch them in the night, and still be accredited if it were "aware" of the standards and promised to try to meet them.

Nor is this so far-fetched. The November 1977 Monitor reported the court decision against the Minneapolis Society for the Blind which found that this NAC-accredited agency had violated its own bylaws and broken state laws in order to exclude blind consumers from participation in its affairs. As the judge stated: "At a time when the evidence clearly reflects the need for active and concerned board leadership, the Society blatantly rejected the services of those who had the greatest knowledge of the feelings of the blind and who had progressed the furthest in overcoming the harsh realities of their handicap." This is one instance that NAC has certainly heard about. After all, Raymond Kempf is a director of both the Minneapolis Society and NAC.

For years now we have pointed out that NAC accreditation is a discretionary process, not an impartial measuring against a set of standards. Now NAC admits it and we have it on tape. Accreditation by NAC does not ensure adherence even to NAC standards, it does not ensure "quality services," it does not mean anything at all.

On Monday evening, NAC held its annual banquet. The speakers were NAC president Lou Rives and Richard Kinney, director of the NAC-accredited Hadley School for the Blind. We reprint the bulk of Mr. Rives' remarks, which were titled "A Matter of Conscience."

"The pressures that are exerted against NAC have not diminished and probably won't diminish. That means, then, that the efforts that we put forth cannot diminish but must increase at a more accelerated pace than the pressures against us increase. We have to build our concept of accreditation, our recognition of what services to blind people mean to verily conclude what it is that blind people want and need. And that means that we have to have input from blind people as to what they want and need. When I speak of what blind people want and need, I mean what blind people want and need and not what any given organization or agency says that blind people want and need!

"There are many reasons for telling blind people what they want and for saying that you speak with their voice. One of the reasons is to appeal to the frustrations that blindness often presents. By saying that "it's not your fault," you make a person who's not achieving much feel a lot better than to think it is his fault. You can delude people, and by deluding them attempt to control their destinies. You can brainwash people into saying what it is you want them to say. You can do this so long as you can delude them into thinking that they don't need services. I think that one of the things to which we address ourselves as the conscience of the field is this deluding concept that has tried to be sold to so many blind persons. That concept is that blindness is a mere inconvenience. Not a serious handicap; it's just a little inconvenience. Coupled with the assertion and the philosophy that blind people don't need to learn to manage their blindness and to cope with the problems of blindness and to make the adjustments that are necessary—they don't need to change; it's up to the sighted public to change to meet the problems of blindness.

"Now, I sincerely believe—and I've been blind as long as most of you—that any blind person who says that is either fooling himself, which is unfortunate, or what is more likely, trying to fool some other blind people in order to get them to follow a given philosophy. Because I believe that any thinking blind person who considers the matter objectively and reasonably knows that blindness is a severe disability because the whole world is predicated on seeing things. And if you can't see those things, it makes a difference. Now, you can manage to learn those problems of blindness. Some blind persons can learn to overcome those problems by themselves; they've got the past and they'll go to the future. But most blind people have got to come a long way. And that kind of help has got to be the best kind of help you can get. It has got to use all the professional skills that we can bring to bear. And it's got to be tempered and shaped to suit the needs of blind persons and it has their informed input into what is good and what is bad and what needs to be done.

"Because I'll tell you this—and I think most blind people know this if they stop to think about it: There's only two ways in which you can make blind people and sighted people absolutely equal. One of them is to restore the sight of all the blind people. And the other one's to pluck the eyes out of all the rest of the world. And neither one of those things is going to happen in our time.

"So that I think our conscience must be directed to assuring that blind people have the facts, make their own decisions freely, without pressure, without wanting to submit to control, recognizing that each one of them also has the responsibility to learn to manage the problems of blindness so that he can adjust in a sighted world. Knocking people off the street with a cane is not the way to have mobility that is acceptable to people who can see. All of our techniques to handle blindness are directed at enabling the blind person to handle himself with convenience, with comfort, with safety, and with dignity in the sighted environment; to learn how to get help when he needs it, to get rid of it when he doesn't need it, and to do it in such a way that blindness is not looked at as a scourge, as a creator of bad dispositions, as a substitute for rudeness, but is looked at as a problem which we can educate the public to understand, but which we must as blind persons educate ourselves to manage in the way that will be most advantageous for us. It's selfish, maybe; but it's true. If you're going to live in a sighted environment, we'd better learn to accept it, and this is what the NAC accreditation program is all about—that blind people have access to those services and that they participate in the formulation of the services and evaluate their delivery.

"If we make our conscience of the field the conscience of serving blind people better, and helping them to overcome those who would delude them, to learn their needs, then our conscience of the field will be a true conscience. Our program will succeed and every blind person will have a better life because we're here. If we don't do that, I hope our conscience bothers us a great deal. Thank you."

Aside from their venom, Mr. Rives' remarks are notable for their basis in the tradition of custodialism and the "tragedy" view of blindness. He uses the technique of twisting our philosophy in order to discredit it. We do believe that blindness can be reduced to an inconvenience. We believe that the stereotypes of blindness held by the sighted world are as much of a problem as the loss of sight. This is not the same as believing—as Mr. Rives claims we do—that "it's up to the sighted public to change to meet the problems of blindness." In the past few months, as institutions reacted with consternation to the requirements of the recent antidiscrimination statutes passed by Congress, the organized blind have led the way in proclaiming that it is access we want, it is ordinary civil rights we seek, not special treatment or adaptation of the sighted world.

Nor is it true—as Mr. Rives states-that we feel that "blind people don't need to learn to manage their blindness and to cope with the problems of blindness." Our philosophy has been stated in many places, but perhaps never so clearly as in Dr. Jernigan's speech "Blindness—Handicap or Characteristic" (published in the June 1974 Monitor). Part of that speech reads: "[I]f blindness is a limitation (and, indeed, it is), it is so in quite the same way as innumerable other characteristics which human flesh is heir to. I believe that blindness has no more importance than any of a hundred other characteristics and that the average blind person is able to perform the average job in the average career or calling, provided (and it is a large proviso) he is given training and opportunity."

It is this "large proviso" Dr. Jernigan mentions that is the true center of the struggle between the organized blind and NAC and its allied agencies. Without positive attitudes and proper training, blindness can be as limiting and tragic as it has ever been thought to be. Dr. Jernigan, in a later part of the same speech, made a distinction between the types of services provided by agencies for the blind. There are, he wrote, "[s]ervices based on the theory that blindness is uniquely different from other characteristics and that it carries with it permanent inferiority and severe limitations upon activity." Opposed to this, he continued, are "[s]ervices aimed at teaching alternative techniques and skills related to blindness" and "[s]ervices aimed at teaching the blind person a new and constructive set of attitudes about blindness—based on the premise that the prevailing social attitudes, assimilated involuntarily by the blind person, are mistaken in content and destructive in effect."

Which of these alternatives does Mr. Rives choose. Look at what he says: "Knocking people off the street with a cane is not the way to have mobility that is acceptable to people who can see. All of our techniques to handle blindness are directed at enabling the blind person to handle himself with dignity in the sighted environment; . . . and to do it in such a way that blindness is not looked at as a scourge, as a creator of bad dispositions, as a substitute for rudeness . . . ."

The NAC image of the adjusted blind person is one we reject: Comfort, safety, and dignity, they tell us, are to be sought above all else. If we occasionally tangle our canes with the legs of passers-by, then we had better stay off the streets. If asking for the rights guaranteed to us under the Constitution as American citizens is seen as rude, then we are to back off and be quiet. We know better than this: There is no comfort in a rocking chair; there is no dignity in second-class citizenship. The delusion is in the minds of the blind persons such as Lou Rives who believe that the friendship of their keepers, their "professional" custodians, is worth more than the progress of their fellow blind. We are to be passive and grateful, and for what? So that there will be convenience and comfort and safety for the "experts" who regard our welfare as their private domain.

The characterization of the Federation is also interesting. Mr. Rives says, "When I speak of what blind people want and need, I mean what blind people want and need and not what any given organization or agency says that blind people want and need"—a remark which was followed by applause. The members of NAC cannot allow themselves to believe that the NFB is the voice of the blind, since that voice opposes them. Therefore, the NFB must be controlled by some shadowy Svengali who "appeal[s] to the frustrations that blindness often presents" and who is "deluding" the blind in an "attempt to control their destinies."

This dictator theory of the Federation has been around for nearly 20 years. Our founder Jacobus tenBroek was the first NFB leader to be labeled a dictator. However, we assume that Mr. Rives refers here to former President Jernigan, or maybe President Sanders. Probably the epithet of "dictator" goes with the NFB presidency. After all, this is certainly what is meant by Mr. Rives and the others—such as the ACB and the Chicago Lighthouse—who echo the charge: Whomever the blind elect to be their spokesman is a tyrant bending the deluded blind to his own ends. These ends are usually implied, as here, to be control of blind people and all the agencies in the country. It is a strange goal our leaders are accused of—you'd think there was money in it. There's plenty of money in directing a Lighthouse or an AFB or a NAC. What there is in being President of the NFB is the certainty of long days and of endless and bitter personal attack from the likes of Lou Rives.

The NAC Board Meeting

The NAC Board meeting took place Tuesday, November 15. At this meeting a number of plans were discussed which directly relate to the organized blind. We reported earlier that the newest of the three so-called "standing committees" of NAC—the National Committee for Advancement of Standards—is by stages becoming the center of NAC activities. This is an understandable development, particularly since the dwindling interest shown by agencies in NAC accreditations leaves the NAC staff with more and more time on their hands. The increased emphasis on "advancement of standards" was first discussed by Huntington Harris, chairman of the NCAS. He had two recommendations for the board.

First, he recommended that the National Committee be made a commission, which would make it equal with the other two NAC commissions—the Commission on Accreditation and the Commission on Standards. Mr. Harris called this "simply a matter of terminological exactitude," but it also indicates that standards and accreditation have been joined in importance by war on the blind. Concerning his second recommendation, Mr. Harris spoke as follows:

"The other suggestion is that—and this too is only a suggestion—is that, at your pleasure, at the president's pleasure, additional members be assigned to the group—the commission or committee, however it ends up being called-who are not necessarily members of the NAC Board, but who by reason of their particular competence in a particular field would be willing to undertake a particular assignment—maybe for a short time, maybe for a longer time. In short, we are looking for an expansion of the membership of the commission and increasing thereby its effectiveness."

The next references to "advancement of standards" came in the report on long-range planning for the years 1979-1983, made by Owen Pollard. His report underlined the intention to expand this effort, and it also provided more indications of what the "advancement" will consist of. Mr. Pollard spoke as follows:

"Within the advancement of standards function, two major functional components have been identified for the first time. In previous plans, the three principle components of the function were (a) work with organizations eligible to apply for accreditation; (b) work with consumers and organizations of the blind; and (c) work with the public and organizations not eligible to apply for accreditation.

"The proposed revisions are intended to emphasize the importance of working with individuals and organizations outside the field as well as those within the field of work with the blind. Thus, instead of identifying one functional component for working with the general public and organizations not eligible to apply for accreditation, two separate components are proposed: 1.3 work with individuals and organizations within the field of work with the blind, and 1.4—work with the public in general and individuals and organizations outside of the field of work with the blind."

One wonders why all this emphasis on organizations outside the field of work with the blind. No other accrediting body in any other field has taken on the task of persuading the general public of the values of its accreditation. What good will it do NAC to proselytize housewives or farmers? or PTA's? or newsmen? The answer is made plain by the next report, made by NAC executive director Richard Bleecker. After some introductory remarks, Mr. Bleecker spoke as follows:

"Some of the speakers who have addressed you have suggested that as support for NAC grows, resistance and opposition to it also will increase. It is possible that individuals and groups may strike against NAC if they see their vested interests threatened by NAC's calls for openness, accountability, and genuine participation. We all hope, however, that this will not happen; and I would not predict it. I would not want to find myself making a self-fulfilling prophecy. But we must be ready for such attacks if they come, and we will be ready. We must accept the obligation to communicate the facts about NAC to combat distortions of the truth, to assist in protecting individuals and agencies from unjustified harassment. We must do all these things—and even more if needed.

"We must do these things not only for NAC. It's not enough to do these things in behalf of the agencies and consumers we serve. We must do these because we truly believe in full equality and opportunity for every citizen. NAC's goals and values honor and respect each individual. The country was founded with reverence for the dignity of the individual and with due regard for protection of individual rights. I believe the ultimate judgment of NAC's contribution to our field, to our society, and to the country will come not simply from how many agencies have achieved accreditation. Rather, that judgment will be based upon how diligently we seek to bring dignity and meaning and opportunity to the lives of all people, and how firm and effective is our resolve to stand up to any forces which would seek to rob blind people of their identities and deny them their rights.

"Regarding this very issue, the executive committee met recently—last Sunday, November 13. There has not been time to prepare the minutes from that meeting, so Mr. Rives has asked me to share with you the actions taken by the committee. Since the actions of the executive committee are subject to the review of the board, you may well wish to exercise this prerogative following my report.

"Before getting into the actions taken, I just want to also report to you that during the meeting of the executive committee, a number of individuals identifying themselves as members of the National Federation of the Blind sought admission to the meeting. Their request was denied. They did request again that they be admitted, and that request was presented to the executive committee which, in considering the request, reaffirmed its policy that meetings of the executive committee are not open to general public observation. And now to the actions taken by the executive committee.

"As you know from the minutes approved earlier this morning, the executive committee, at its September 13 meeting, took a close look at how NAC's policies for consumer involvement have been applied and the beneficial results that have been achieved and are anticipated. These comprehensive activities to enlist consumer participation at all levels of NAC and in accredited agencies have been reviewed so many times already at yesterday's meeting I will not dwell upon them further here. But the committee, on September 13, as you noted in your minutes, also discussed the continuing campaign to dominate NAC and destroy the process by which objective standards of quality and accountability are impartially developed and applied. The committee noted in particular that this fanatical assault has been aimed against four primary targets: NAC's sources of financial support, NAC's position as a recognized accrediting agency, against agencies seeking accreditation, and against accredited agencies themselves.

"The committee decided to ask NAC's president to appoint a small group to review NAC's plans for defending itself against these attacks and to recommend possible alternative courses of action. At the meeting last Sunday, the ad hoc group did present its proposals for dealing decisively with these hostile elements, and the proposals were accepted by the executive committee. The proposals include no new policies; they are basically extensions or revisions of existing policies. Briefly, here's what they are:

"First, that NAC continue to stress the value of consumer involvement and to implement its own comprehensive policies and practices in this area, as well as continuing to carefully consider all legitimate criticisms and seek to remove causes of legitimate complaint.

"Next, that NAC increase, if possible, the special help its provides through the National Committee (or Commission) for the Advancement of Standards to agencies that have been pressured because of their commitment to accreditation. And that more be done to help these agencies in advance to prepare for the possibility of such attacks. The committee recognized that additional funds would be needed to carry out this activity thoroughly.

"Next, that NAC continue to work with all major leaders and organizations so that NAC may remain a channel for the best thinking in the field. But also that NAC do more to assist these friends in interpreting the values of accreditation in their local communities and among their professional and consumer associations.

"Next, that additional funds be sought to enable the National Committee (or Commission) to go forward with an expanded public education program to tell the story of NAC and what it means to blind people, to the field, and the general public.

"Next, that NAC do more to gather and to share among its constituency publicly available information about those who are seeking to destroy NAC. And that NAC let it be known that it would welcome the assistance of others in putting out to those outside NAC's constituency the various misstatements and violations of ethics and laws by the aggressors.

"Briefly, these are the recommendations that were proposed and accepted by the executive committee on Sunday. If these recommendations are vigorously implemented and fully supported, they should go a long way toward extending the knowledge and use of NAC and decisively defending NAC from any aggressive opponent."

Once you understand NAC's code, Mr. Bleecker could hardly have spoken more plainly. "[T]he ultimate judgment of NAC's contribution to our field, our society, and to the country will come not simply from how many agencies have achieved accreditation," he says. "Rather, that judgment will be based upon . . . how firm and effective is our resolve to stand up to any forces which would seek to rob blind people of their identities and deny them their rights." And after all that has been reported, even a child could figure out that these "forces," these "hostile elements," these "misguided counterproductive elements" are the organized blind.

Nor do we need to stretch our imaginations to understand NAC's intention to "gather and to share among its constituency publicly available information about those who are seeking to destroy NAC." It is the same thing as Dennis Schreiber's suggestion that NAC members go after the jobs of Dr. Jernigan and President Sanders by sending telegrams to the Governors of Iowa and Maryland. And as Mr. Bleecker states, the policy is already in effect. When an Iowa newspaper recently implied that Dr. Jernigan had bled the Federation dry and then resigned to move on to greener pastures, copies of the article were seen the next day on the desks of state agency directors and of federal officials in Washington.

Also already in effect is the policy that "NAC let it be known that it would welcome the assistance of others in putting out to those outside NAC's constituency the various misstatements and violations of ethics and laws by the aggressors." In practice, this has meant that the recent restrictive state laws about mailing of unordered merchandise (a fundraising method we ceased using over a year ago) will be exploited to imply that the Federation is one jump ahead of the sheriff or that it is really a criminal conspiracy. The most recent example of this occurred in the November All-o-grams, the newsletter of the Affiliated Leadership League, although it is misleading to imply that this is the "assistance of others." ALL is NAC and ACB and the AFB. As if to emphasize this relationship, the same issue of the All-o-grams noted that henceforth the newsletter would be distributed as an addendum to the Braille Forum.

Yet unpleasant as it is, if NAC believes that as the result of such tactics the blind will cease criticism of actions which limit our lives, then NAC has misassessed the determination of the organized blind. There is too much at stake to give up. We do not take such personal attacks lightly, but we have committed our lives and our energies to ensuring that future generations of blind persons are not oppressed and limited the way many of us have been, and this is a commitment we will keep at any cost. There will not be peace in the field until NAC and its supporters realize that this struggle is not simply a game about semantics and credentials, but an unshakable resolve by the blind that the age-old blight of custodialism and second-class status shall come to an end.

There is little else to report about the board meeting. Officers for 1978 were elected. Louis Rives was elected to another two-year term as NAC president. William T. Coppage, director of the Virginia Commission for the Visually Handicapped, was elected a vice-president. Also elected vice-presidents were Morton Pepper and Reese Robrahn, former president of the American Council of the Blind and the director of research and governmental affairs in its Washington office. Patty Clifford of Scottsdale, Arizona, was reelected secretary; and John McWilliams of New York was reelected treasurer. Huntington Harris, Jack Birch, and Claire Carlson retired from the board, and Robert Bottenberg resigned. Added to the board were Robert J. Crouse, executive director of the NAC-accredited Altanta Area Services for the Blind; Armand Leco, a director of the NAC-accredited Rhode Island Association for the Blind; and Robert T. McLean, president of the Louisiana ACB affiliate and executive board member of the Affiliated Leadership League.

Finally, the board accepted the invitation of James Kesteloot of the "Independent Blind of Illinois" to hold its next meeting in Chicago, where, presumably, NAC hopes to hide behind the protection of the Chicago Lighthouse. We wonder whether NAC hasn't overestimated the support it will receive from the Lighthouse. The June 1977 Monitor printed a letter written by Dennis Schreiber and distributed around the country. That letter said, in closing: "I would like to propose a series of national demonstrations with a positive viewpoint, combining advocacy and protest. Can a formidable force of blind and sighted people be mobilized to demonstrate at the NFB National Convention in New Orleans the Fourth of July? Can there be a substantial counter-force mobilized to meet the NFB on the streets at the next annual meeting of the National Accreditation Council of Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped?"

The answer to both questions turned out to be "No." What sort of crew will Mr. Schreiber be able to assemble in Chicago? One thing is certain-the blind of the nation will be there.

What conclusions can be drawn from all we have reported of NAC's meetings? We can conclude that, no matter where it meets, NAC is on the run. Despite the board members' plaintive statements that NAC lacks visibility, it is well enough known to have virtually dried up the call for its "accreditation."

We can also conclude that NAC does not intend to change the policies which have brought about its ruin. Instead it has decided to pretend it has changed its policies, or more accurately, that its policies have always been changed. Take, for instance, two remarks-one by Louis Rives and one by Richard Bleecker. Mr. Rives' remark was as follows: "NAC is committed to consumer involvement. Our board consists of at least one-third of its members are recommended by consumer organizations or members of consumer organizations. . . . Consumerism is a vital part of what is America today. And it's here to stay, and it's a good thing that it is."

Mr. Bleecker's remark was this: "It is possible that individuals and groups may strike against NAC if they see their vested interests threatened by NAC's calls for openness, accountability, and genuine participation."

All of this leads this writer to think of Winston Smith, the confused hero of George Orwell's novel 1984. If we change the word "democracy" to "consumerism," and "Party" to "NAC," a passage from that book makes a fine summary of it all:

"[Winston's] mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget . . . ."

Winston Smith is ripe for accreditation.  

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On Sunday, November 13, 1977, over 200 Federationists from all parts of the country arrived in Phoenix to demonstrate at the annual membership and board meetings of the National Accreditation Council. We were led on the barricades by NFB President Ralph Sanders.

NAC was meeting in a Ramada Inn on the outskirts of Phoenix, very likely hoping to minimize public exposure of the intensity of protest its meetings inspire among the very people it claims to help. On Sunday night a small group of Federationists tried to attend the secret NAC executive committee meeting, but were turned away.

At the Ramada Inn as well were three members of the so-called "Independent Blind of Illinois" led by two staff members of the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, James Kesteloot and Dennis Schreiber. The IBL members were in marked contrast to the orderly demonstrators of the NFB. They made a point of pushing their way through our picket lines and shoving as many of us as possible. Not that we were daunted by this—they do much worse in the Lighthouse. At night, the IBL pickets ran through the halls of the motel, pushing Dennis Schreiber in a wheelchair and shouting "NFB don't speak for me."

Early Monday morning, we began picketing outside the Ramada Inn. Buses took groups of NFB members to Patriot Square in downtown Phoenix, where we handed out leaflets and talked to members of the news media. News coverage of our efforts was excellent.

At the motel itself, we demonstrated in front of the building and in a courtyard outside the room where the NAC meetings were going on. That evening, we posted four members on each side of the door to the banquet room, and they maintained a silent vigil as the NACsters filed by and on in to hear Lou Rives.

The weather was fine throughout, and spirits were high as we continued our protests on through Tuesday.

The weather in New York City that same Monday was freezing cold, with high winds, but the spirit was just as high as about 120 Federationists from the eastern part of the country gathered outside NAC headquarters on Madison Avenue to demonstrate. We had come from states from Maine to Michigan, from Maryland to Tennessee. Despite the icy winds, Federationists began picketing at 10:30 a.m. and kept steadily at it until 1:30 p.m., when we adjourned to the Jewish Braille Institute of America for lunch. We were back on the streets at 4:00 p.m., to spread the word about NAC to New Yorkers on their way home from work.

At our last several demonstrations, NAC has imitated the FBI by sending out a staff member to photograph picketers. Not to be outdone, an NFB member took some fine pictures of a NACster taking pictures of Federationists.

It was encouraging to see the number of new faces at these demonstrations. Just as these protests spread the word about NAC to the public, so word is spreading through the blind community, and more of us turn out each time. If NAC is still around next year at this time, it's on to Chicago!  

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Note: The following article is reprinted, with permission, from the December 1, 1977, issue of the Jackson, Mississippi, Capital Reporter. The agency discussed is accredited by NAC. Its director is James Carballo. Monitor readers will remember NAC's attempt in 1976 to take over the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind (NCSAB). A rump meeting of the NAC supporters in NCSAB was held, with the active participation of NAC executive director Richard Bleecker. The group declared itself to be the authentic NCSAB and then declared the office of president-elect vacant. The man they chose to occupy the post was Mr. Carballo. This sham continued until a Mississippi court intervened, at the request of the real NCSAB. Did all of this activity, or did the NAC accreditation of the agency, help the blind of Mississippi? This article tells the story.

A yet-unpublished [Department of Health, Education, and Welfare] audit of the Mississippi vocational rehabilitation agency for the blind shows shocking failures of the agency to place blind persons in competitive jobs, and the use of ineligible state matching funds to secure $2.2 million in federal funds in 1975 and 1976. The audit, a copy of which was secured by the Capital Reporter, reveals that out of 138 blind rehabilitation clients randomly selected by the HEW auditors, only one had finally been placed in a job in the competitive market. Even then, the audit showed, the one blind person had to take a job as a clerk, whereas she was trained to be a special education teacher.

Out of 526 blind persons the state agency had shown as rehabilitated in fiscal 1976, the audit shows, almost 85 percent were making less than $2.50 an hour and most were making less than the minimum wage.

The state agency, according to the audit, violated federal regulations by using Social Security trust funds. Supplemental Security Income funds, income derived in part from use of federal funds, income from vending stands operated by the blind, and "contributions" from vendors paid in part with federal funds to match federal funds.

"We believe in excess of 45 percent of federal basic support funds, about $2.2 million, was obtained by the state agency in this manner during fiscal years in 1975 and 1976," said the audit. Officials of the state agency contended that the amounts questioned represented income earned by the agency or contributions made freely by the vendors involved. But the HEW auditors said: "In our opinion, none of the funds derived . . . were eligible for the state agency's use in matching expenditures."

The Reporter learned representatives of the involved state agencies, along with staffers from the Legislative PEER committee and state auditor Hamp King's office, have been briefed on the findings of the HEW auditors, a study which took some two years to complete.

While the audit does not state that any civil or criminal action may be forthcoming as a result of the violations in securing federal rehabilitation service funds, it has recommended that a "financial adjustment" be made which could mean the state legislature may be called on to provide substantial additional state funds. As part of its findings, the HEW audit unit charged that the state blind rehabilitation agency had used a total of $1.3 million in federal funds beyond the fiscal year for which they were allotted. The audit said funds were spent during fiscal years 1976, 1975, and 1974 and charged to funds retained from prior fiscal years.

"The chief fiscal officer for the state agency advised us that he followed this practice to prevent the state agency from losing federal funds," the audit commented.

The audit said it has also asked a legal opinion from the HEW regional attorney about the propriety of the Mississippi blind agency's using funds derived from operation of concession stands equipped and supplied with federal funds to match a portion of the cost of constructing the Addie McBryde Rehabilitation Center at the University Medical Center. Under federal regulations, said the audit, the funds derived from sales activities of the Center should have been used to reduce expenditures and "were not eligible for use as state matching funds."

Out of the 138 randomly selected clients in the Mississippi blind rehabilitation program, the HEW auditors found that only 38 had completed their rehabilitation. Most of those had either returned to their old jobs, went back to being a homemaker, or were unemployed. Four had placed themselves in jobs without assistance from the state agency. Only one of the rehabilitated clients in the checklist, HEW found, had been placed in the competitive labor market by the state agency.

This person was provided college tuition and received a degree with highest honors in October 1975 as a special education teacher. However, said the audit, she was not placed by the agency in a job until May 27, 1976, when she was employed as a clerk. Later, the blind agency changed her vocational objective from special education teacher to that of clerk and closed the case, according to the HEW report.

Its study of the Mississippi blind rehabilitation program, said the HEW report, "showed that the state agency had not provided vocational services to most clients and had not played an active role in placing clients in the competitive labor market . . . ." The federal audit called for a "more aggressive role" by the Mississippi agency to promote and expand employment opportunities in placing clients in the public and private sector as required by the Congress in providing the federal rehabilitation service funds.

The audit found wide discrepancies in what the state agency had reported on the training records of workers in the state blind [vending] stand program. Fifteen blind stand trainees who had been listed as having trained in the federally funded program were contacted by the auditors.

"A comparison of duties employees said they performed with contract provisions relating to training and with the training duties shown in the job description for a canteen instructor shows considerable variance in the nature and extent of training provided and indicated in the job description," said the federal audit.

Because county health authorities require anyone preparing or distributing food to obtain health certificates, HEW had checked into the records of the 15 trainees and found no evidence showed they had obtained health cards. . . .

[Note: Following this article, the Capital Reporter printed a quarter-page cartoon. It showed a blind man in bedraggled clothes on the street sitting cross-legged against the wall of a building. Around his neck is a sign with the word "Blind." In his hand he holds a tin cup filled with pencils. The caption reads: "My swell new job."]  

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[This article about Federationist Stanley Beauregard appeared in the Burlington (Vermont) Free Press and is reprinted with the newspaper's permission.]

Stanley Beauregard was one of St. Albans' envied boys of summer in 1941. At nine years of age he routinely rubbed shoulders with the awesome and accomplished men who played ball for the hometown Giants of the old Northern League. He was the team's batboy, a job that most any kid would sacrifice a year of movie matinees to possess. But it led to something more than fond memories for the young Beauregard because of an on-the-field mishap that changed his life.

Beauregard was standing near the backstop fence when a batter lifted a pop foul. The catcher tore after the ball with his eyes to the sky and not on the boy who stood in his path. He crashed into Beauregard and they both struck the fence. The youth seemed to recover normally from a resulting head injury, but six months later his vision began to blur. It was the beginning of progressive blindness.

The boy would doubtless have been forgiven by others if he had retreated from the challenges of everyday life as his eyesight deteriorated. It's doubtful, however, that he would have forgiven himself. He learned how to type as a high school student at Bellows Free Academy, then went to work as a reporter for the St. Albans Messenger. By the time he left the paper several years later, Beauregard was its acting editor.

Beauregard said he committed events he was covering to memory and typed out the stories when he returned to the office. As editor he would mentally compose headlines and page layouts which were then assembled by a makeup man. He did his job so efficiently that Richard Gallagher, former general manager of the Messenger and currently news director of WCAX-TV, worked with him "several weeks before I realized he had a vision impairment."

"He was very self-sufficient," said Gallagher, "the kind of a guy who refused any sympathy. One thing that he had going for him was that he was a St. Albans boy; he knew the political arrangements and where to get the news. He was a first-rate reporter who treated the news in an evenhanded manner."

In 1961 Beauregard was nominated for the St. Albans postmaster job by the city Democratic committee. Because of his handicap, said Beauregard, he had a "hell of a time" getting the job. The Postal Inspection Service refused to approve the appointment because Beauregard didn't meet the documented physical requirements. The Civil Service medical office also balked, but Beauregard was successful in getting waivers. Eventually he was selected from among more than 25 applicants.

Now 44, Beauregard is in his 16th year as the city's postmaster. He was recently named "Outstanding Postal Handicapped Employee of the Year" for the Northeast Region which includes New England, part of New York, and Puerto Rico.

Beauregard says he was able to compensate for loss of vision because of a "hell of a memory. It served me well over the years. You make do with what you've got."

James Roche, the assistant postmaster who has worked with Beauregard since 1961, calls his boss' memory "fantastic."

"For example ''said Roche, "we get a semi-weekly postal bulletin from Washington that I or Bob St. Pierre (superintendent of mails) or his wife will read to him. Of course, after a while we'll forget what we read, but Stan will remember something in the bulletin that was read to him six months ago."

Roche said Beauregard has memorized the entire layout of the Main Street office and "unless someone has moved a wastebasket or something," he can move as easily through the building as a person with sight.

Beauregard, a soft-spoken man, is reluctant to discuss his adjustment to blindness, answering most questions: "You do what you gotta do."

Beauregard has an associate degree in management from Community College of Vermont and is a member of the Federation of the Blind of Vermont, an organization involved in improving conditions and opportunities for the blind. During the past year Beauregard helped organize a campaign that resulted in the Public Service Board ruling that blind customers are exempt from a three-call limit on free directory assistance phone calls.

Beauregard said he decided to fight for causes affecting other blind persons partly because he would have been denied his current job if President John Kennedy hadn't issued an Executive Order in 1961 authorizing reading assistance for blind federal employees.

"That cleared the way for my employment," he said. "I knew groups like the NFB (National Federation of the Blind) were pushing for things like that. So there're things I can do for other people."

Beauregard regularly walks to work from his home two blocks away, where he lives with his wife, Jackie, and their six children. He organizes his work day with the aid of a tape recorder and heavy cards which he perforates with a Braille device.

He plans to eventually go back to school and work toward a bachelor's degree.

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The blind who hinder the blind are those content to live in the second-class citizenship they were born to. Oh yes, they would like to be first-class citizens, but only if the station is given to them. To have to break the lifelong habit of non-participation, to have to shoulder the same responsibilities that their sighted brothers and sisters shoulder as a matter of course is too much discomfort for these blind people who prefer the easier life of exclusion. But by choosing this path, these irresponsible blind people make the lives of the rest of us harder—by slowing our progress toward equality with the weight of their sloth. Just how much harder can be shown through the experience of Jim Nelson.

Jim Nelson is the immediate past president of the Richmond Area Federation of the Blind. He has been a member of the organized blind movement since 1958, when the NFB of Virginia was organized. Jim, a medical transcriber at the Medical College of Virginia, has been active at all levels of the Federation, and he continues to render us great service.

Last August, Jim received notification of possible jury duty for the period starting September 5 and ending the last day of the same month. The questionnaire which accompanied the notice did not mention blindness, but it did have questions regarding any medical reasons which would excuse the recipient from jury duty. Being the good Federationist he is, Jim did not volunteer any information about his blindness—which is total—because it would not prevent him from serving as a capable juror.

On September 6, Donald Billups, the jury officer for the circuit court of the City of Richmond, phoned Jim, directing him to report for possible service on September 8.

When Jim appeared in Billups' office, Billups was not there, but Mrs. Kelly Donner, Billups' secretary, was and she was startled to see a blind man reporting for jury duty. Mrs. Donner told Jim that the case for which he had been called had been canceled, and Billups had not been able to reach Jim on the phone. Another juror was in the office, and she was informed that the case had been canceled, but she was also instructed when to appear again. Jim, however, had yet to be given his instructions.

Mrs. Donner left the office to call Billups. When she returned she managed to say, with great uneasiness, "Well, you know how you are."

To this strange expostulation, Jim understandably responded, "What do you mean, how I am?"

Mrs. Donner stammered some more and managed only to indicate the degree of her discomfort. Jim, grasping the import of the so-far disjointed dialogue, volunteered, "You mean I'm blind."

After Mrs. Donner affirmed that that was indeed what she had meant, Jim assured her there was nothing to be embarrassed about.

"Well," Mrs. Donner resumed, "we just want you to know that you won't have to come back, and we will excuse you for the rest of your term. But you will be paid $12 for coming today."

Now Jim, as one would expect of a good Federationist, replied that he did not want to be excused; he wanted to fulfill his responsibility. Mrs. Donner became firmer, saying that Billups had instructed her to tell Jim that he could not serve as a juror. The court was not set up for a person like Jim Nelson.

"Do you mean," Jim asked, "that I am the first blind person to submit for jury duty?"

Billups' secretary assured him that this was correct. Now it was Jim's turn to be startled. Jim listened to all of the reasons advanced by Mrs. Donner why blind people could not function as jurors: they couldn't see facial expressions; they couldn't observe people's appearance; they couldn't see exhibits; and so on and so on. Jim attempted to respond to each of the objections, explaining that blind people could indeed function as jurors. An attorney, who happended to enter the scene at this point, supported Jim in his argument.

In response to a direct question from Jim, the jury officer's secretary said. Yes, it was contrary to the law for a blind person to act as a juror. Jim expressed doubt about the existence of such a law. Mrs. Donner assured Jim that, while she could not read the portion of the law to him just then, the law did exist.

As one of Jim's services to the Federation, he has worked in the field of legislation and therefore knows well the laws affecting the blind adopted by the Virginia General Assembly. Jim is also meticulous, and to be sure there could be no misunderstanding, he posed this question: "Do you mean there is a statute passed by the General Assembly?"

In answer to Jim's stalwart denial that there was such a law on the books, Mrs. Donner suggested he confirm her assertion with the court clerk. There being nothing more to say, Jim left the office and went to see Edward G. Kidd, court clerk.

Edward Kidd and Jim Nelson had for years belonged to the same congregation, and, in fact, Jim had already talked to the court clerk before appearing at the office of the jury officer. Jim had asked Kidd what might happen when he reported for jury duty; but since Jim was the first blind person to actually report for jury duty, Kidd could not predict what would happen.

When Jim reached Kidd's office, the two reviewed the list of exclusions from jury service, and as Jim had known, they found none relating to blindness. Kidd suggested that Jim next meet with the judge who was then approving jurors.

The two men went to the courtroom where the Honorable J. Randolph Tucker, Jr., was presiding. As soon as the judge was free, Kidd approached the bench and, after several moments, returned. He told Jim that Judge Tucker had directed that Jim's name be retained on the roster. Kidd volunteered to notify the jury officer of the judge's directive. Jim then went to his own office to finish out the workday.

On September 14, Billups phoned Jim, requesting that he appear on Friday, September 16, for possible selection. Jim was there and answered the rollcall just as the other jurors did. Jim was given a badge, as the others were. And just as were the others, Jim was assigned a courtroom to which he was to report.

When he arrived at the courtroom, Jim took his place in the jury box and was sworn in with the others. The Honorable Marvin F. Cole briefly related the case to be heard. Then he asked the parties involved if they had any questions to raise regarding the jury. There were none.

"Mr. Nelson," Judge Cole said, "I believe you have some visual difficulty, do you not?"

"Yes, I am totally blind," Jim answered.

"I will excuse you from this case since it involves contracts and material that must be read," the judge replied. At this point, Jim had to make a rapid decision. Should he insist on remaining and risk a direct confrontation with the presiding judge, who could and probably would summarily dismiss him? or should he leave then and seek to meet with the judge later, in private. Jim opted not to endanger the ground he had already captured by publicly arguing with the judge. He left the courtroom.

The following Tuesday, September 20, Jim met with Judge Cole.

"Before I could say more than a very few words," Jim later recounted, "the judge broke in."

"Now Mr. Nelson," he said, "I did not intend to bar you from all cases, just that particular one, since I knew there was material that had to be read."

Jim said that, while he did not believe he had been barred from all cases, he wondered whether he should have been excused from this particular one. If there was material to be read, he reasoned aloud, it would have saved the time of the entire jury if only one juror read the material aloud to the others, rather than having each juror read it personally-a solution which would also be of great benefit to the blind juror among them. Or if that seemed too novel, another solution open to a blind juror confronted with print material would be to have one of the jurors read to the blind person individually.

"Well, I know blind people are capable," Judge Cole said. "In fact, some are lawyers. But in this case, I thought there would be a problem because we don't furnish a reader, and I don't know that even the jury reads the material."

"In which case," Jim was quick to point out, "I would certainly be equal to them." Jim went on to say that he recalled a study made several years ago which indicated that it was possible to learn more about people by listening to their voices than by looking at their expressions, because people do not realize how much they reveal about themselves through their voices. As a result, they do not exert themselves to cover up the emotions revealed there.

The judge conceded that Jim's point was well taken, and he admitted that this discussion would enable him to consider the service of blind people as jurors in a new light. Judge Cole noted also that Jim was the first blind person he had met who wanted to serve as a juror. Again Jim was surprised to hear that he was unique.

Jim's term ended with September. He did not receive a third phone call. Jim called Billups to find out why he was not asked to report and was told that his name had not come up again. Billups said that so many cases had been settled out of court in the closing days of Jim's term that it had not been necessary to call for more jurors. Billups said further that the presiding judges had not disqualified Jim and that he himself had not disqualified Jim either. Jim believes this. But why was Jim Nelson the first blind person to want to be a juror? He put that question to Billups: Was it possible that blind people had never before received summonses? or had they disqualified themselves?

"Well," Billups answered, "I would say that about six times a month, a brother, sister, or relative of a blind person will call and ask to have them excused because they are blind."

"Why don't they call for themselves?" Jim asked.

"I just do not know, Mr. Nelson," came the reply.

"This means that every blind person of your experience has disqualified himself. All but myself."

"That is true, Mr. Nelson."

After reflecting on these statements, Jim confesses that if it were not for the Federation and its philosophy, he too would probably have disqualified himself.

But Jim does know Federationism and he does live Federationism, and the blind people of Richmond have taken a stand through the actions and words of Jim Nelson. And because of what Jim Nelson said and did, the blind of Richmond stand a better chance of serving on future juries. Yet there are those irresponsible blind people who will disqualify themselves because it is the easy way out. One wonders how many of these disqualifications it will take to wipe away all the advances we made through Jim Nelson's actions. Well, one thing is sure: If the advances are wiped away, there will be more Federationists, more Jim Nelsons, to work to regain the ground.  

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[Reprinted, with permission, from the May 1977 issue of Money magazine.]

Note: This article is part of a regular feature in Money magazine, called "One Man's Finances." A typical person in some station of life is profiled. Then a panel of advisors is convened to discuss the subject's finances. In this case, two of the three panelists will be very familiar to Federationists. Parts of the article dealing solely with finance have been omitted. Rami Rabby, needless to say, is the Second Vice-President of the National Federation of the Blind.

Rami Rabby swims, rides a tandem bike along the shores of Lake Michigan, and walks around Chicago more than most people. He types and plays chess. For seven years, until March, he commuted from his apartment in downtown Chicago to a job as a management consultant at Hewitt Associates in surburban Deerfield. He travels about the United States and goes abroad once in a while. He is a political activist and he has lots of friends. In short, Rabby leads a complete life.

"Being blind is not a big deal if you have the right attitude and you get the right training," he says. Rabby, 34, has no patience with traditional agencies for the blind, which, he feels, "tend to regard blindness as an all-encompassing disability that requires very special treatment by people who have learned about it in specialized graduate studies." He believes a blind person can function as independently as a sighted person in most cases.

Rabby's biggest handicap is the attitude of others. The reluctance of employers to hire the blind or to give them real responsibility has prevented him until now from enjoying the success that a bright young man with a master's degree in business administration might normally expect.

Blindness costs him in other ways too. He spent $1,780 in 1976 to hire people to read to him at home and at the office. He contributed $600 last year to the National Federation of the Blind and spent another $1,180 traveling on NFB business. The NFB is an activist organization of blind people who reject older agencies such as the American Foundation for the Blind and some of the lighthouses for the blind that run sheltered workshops in many cities.

When he is on familiar territory, Rabby moves at a fast clip, making it difficult for a sighted companion to keep up with him. On unfamiliar ground he takes a companion's arm or moves more carefully, feeling ahead of him with a 61-inch hollow fiberglass cane that is both light and sturdy. By stopping to ask for directions once in a while, he can go almost anywhere on foot. He frequently walks two miles to an appointment in Chicago. "Wind and ice are my big enemies," he says.

Avraham (shortened to Rami) Rabby was born in Israel. He was near-sighted from birth and at six lost the sight of one eye because of a detached retina. At eight the sight in the other eye failed for the same reason. "When you're young like that, you take it in stride," he says. "It's not as traumatic as going blind when you are grown up."

Rabby spent 15 years in England, most of it on scholarships at an institution quaintly named the Worcester College for the Blind Sons of Gentlemen. He admires the British method of educating the blind, especially the way it builds confidence by emphasizing sports. He maintains the blind can compete on an equal footing with the sighted in such sports as wrestling and rowing. At Worcester, he became a good swimmer and a formidable chess player. Rabby can manage two chess opponents simultaneously, keeping all the positions and moves in his head. One result of this mind-stretching is an excellent memory. He has a mental directory of more than 100 telephone numbers.

Worcester College taught him the special skills the blind need, especially reading and writing in Braille. He also learned to use a Braille typewriter, on which he can punch out about 60 words a minute. From Worcester College he went on to Oxford University, where he rowed and played chess for Jesus College and won "upper second class honors" in French and Spanish, meaning that he graduated in the top quarter of his class.

In 1966, after Oxford, Rabby went to work for the Ford Motor Company of Britain as a trainee in personnel. It quickly became obvious to him that he needed a business education and that the place to get it was the United States. With characteristic confidence and enterprise, he got himself a Fulbright scholarship and applied to the Harvard Business School. They turned him down because, they said, a blind man could not follow their case-study method. Instead, he won a scholarship to the University of Chicago business school.

Arriving by ship in New York, where he knew no one, Rabby got himself and his luggage to a YMCA, but they wouldn't let him stay. According to the manager, they had no insurance to cover a blind person. The YMHA did take him in, though, and he spent the next two weeks exploring New York. He then took a train to Chicago and was immediately thrown into the sweatbox of an American business college. "The reading was overwhelming," he says. Volunteers read to him four hours a day and he got other material on tape.

He did well enough to collect "mostly B's, some A's, and a couple of C's," he says. At the same time, he took up a cause that still occupies a major part of his life—and budget: the militant demand for equal treatment for the blind. Within 11 months of arriving in the United States he had established the Illinois affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind and was the affiliate's first president.

When he graduated from Chicago in 1969 he talked to 130 companies without getting a single offer. "My classmates were getting half a dozen offers each," Rabby recalls. "You get pretty desperate after 130 interviews."

An offer finally came from Hewitt Associates, a leading firm of management consultants. The late Edwin Hewitt, then chairman of the company, thought the handicapped could be productive and he took a shine to Rabby.

The company, however, argued that Rabby would require extra secretarial and clerical help and therefore should be paid $250 less than the $1,100 a month that was then the normal starting salary for an M.B.A. Rabby says that in fact he used no more office help than anyone else. Sometimes the secretary he shared read urgent papers to him, but most of the reading was done by two people who came to his office. One was a volunteer and the other he paid $2.50 an hour out of his own pocket.

Rabby's progress at Hewitt was sluggish. At first he had a dead-end job as research assistant to the chief executive. But four years ago Hewitt created a salary administration unit and Rabby joined it.

Salary administration involves defining and comparing all the jobs in a company, determining the skills and responsibilities demanded in each position, finding out what other companies pay for the same work, setting a salary range for each job, and establishing a review and raise system.

Rabby has become expert in this work, particularly in the job and title structure of banks. "The trouble with banks is that they don't have functional titles," says Rabby. "They're all vice-presidents or second vice-presidents. Some have a lot of responsibility and others don't."

Hewitt Associates is a secure place to work. Nevertheless, the salary handicap that Rabby began with persisted. His most recent raise brought him up to $22,000 a year, which he thought was about $7,000 less than he should be making seven years out of business school. Because of Rabby's blindness, Hewitt was reluctant to send him out to find new business. Only marginal sales jobs were assigned to him.

"Clients don't know how to deal with him," says Robert Istnick, head of Hewitt's salary administration unit; "it creates additional strain." In one instance, Rabby was taken off an assignment when the clients complained they couldn't establish "eyeball to eyeball" contact. Many clients, Istnick adds, were at first so busy being "amazed at all the things he could do that they overlooked the fact that he is a very able and intelligent consultant."

Rabby's apartment is hardly more than a second office. He has equipped it with the machines he needs for his work: Braille typewriters, an ordinary typewriter, and various recording machines. His weekends and evenings are busy. He is on the national Executive Committee of the NFB and edits the Illinois NFB newsletter. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Braille Institute of America, and he serves on the Illinois Governor's Committee on the Handicapped. At the end of May he will be a delegate to the 1977 White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals. Twice in the past year he has marched in picket lines in New York and Chicago to protest the policies of the American Foundation for the Blind and the Chicago Lighthouse.

Rabby says he agreed to participate in the preparation of this article "to point up the fact that the problems I have encountered are symptomatic of the collective problems of blind people in society." Rabby, of course, has had problems of his own. He was frustrated at Hewitt. He has been handling his money inattentively. He makes large contributions to the NFB, but is careless about taxes, savings, and investments. "If it weren't for the NFB, I'd be rich," he says.

Money invited three panelists to meet with Rabby and discuss his situation. The three: Ruth Adler, a vice-president in the Chevy Chase, Maryland, office of A. G. Edwards & Sons, a brokerage firm; Kenneth Jernigan, Director of the Iowa State Commission for the Blind and National President of the NFB; and A. A. (Bob) Mallas, president of Management Services Associates, Inc., of Austin. Jernigan is himself blind. Mallas, a consultant and entrepreneur, has employed the handicapped in his businesses and recently completed a 50-state study of services for the blind, most of which he found to be extremely poor. The panel met in Washington because Jernigan, Mallas, and Rabby all happened to be there at the same time for hearings of the Senate Subcommittee on the Handicapped.

As the discussion opened, Rabby got the group to look into his future.

Rami Rabby: When I think of what I'll be doing in 10 years' time, I basically see three alternatives. One possibility is for me to be a director of some rehabilitation program. A second possibility is for me to have some kind of executive-level position in the personnel administration field, either in private industry or the public sector. The third possibility is going into industry to have some kind of position that would specifically concentrate on affecting the large-scale productive employment of handicapped persons.

Kenneth Jernigan: I am reluctant to see every blind person who shows ability steered back into work with the blind. It is as if you retooled to make tools to make tools. Ultimately, you've got to make whatever the tools were for the purpose of making.

Ruth Adler: What are your chances for advancement?

Rabby: In order to become a partner at Hewitt Associates, you have to work at the job much more than 40 hours a week-which is what I devote to it, because I see a very significant other part of my life as my work with the National Federation of the Blind. Perhaps that is the reason that my salary is $22,000 and not higher.

Bob Mallas: I would say definitely, in all consulting firms, if you're not a workaholic, if you aren't willing to work at least 60 to 80 to 100 hours a week, there's no possible chance you'd ever get into senior ranks. Am I safe in assuming you'd be putting 60 to 80 hours a week into your professional work if it were giving you the satisfaction you really wanted?

Rabby: I don't think so. I would always be spending much more time on my extracurricular activities than anyone that I see in my firm doing.

Jernigan: What kind of security do you have at Hewitt Associates if you should decide to stay right where you are until retirement age?

Rabby: Oh, I have security. I would say—I ought to revise that. I have been warned by people that my behavior outside the firm is likely to affect my success within the firm. As a matter of fact, when we had a demonstration recently outside the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, some of the people who organized a counter-demonstration against us told me that they were going to picket Hewitt Associates. [The NFB contended that the Lighthouse had laid off some blind workers who had been trying to unionize the workshop.]

Ruth Adler: Do you think you'd have a problem relocating?

Rabby: I think I would have less of a problem than I did finding my present position.

Jernigan: You might have more difficulty in getting a job than you might think. Here's the point at which discrimination against blind people impacts the hardest. No matter what the experience, no matter what the background, no matter how well he may be liked in the community, it's extremely difficult even now for a blind person to get a good position.

[Jernigan said that a sighted person tends to think that the blind can work at anything except the job that the sighted person himself works at. Mrs. Adler suggested that Rabby get a job with the federal government, but the other two panelists disagreed vehemently with her.]

Mallas: There is no way that he could survive one year in federal employment. You see, this fellow is dedicated to change, and there's no way the traditional bureaucracy will tolerate this type of person.

Mallas: I think the first thing Ruth and I spotted is that Rami here is not interested in money. He's not motivated by it, really, and he's never going to show the prudent concerns that one should show in protecting what he has and increasing it. This means that he has to spend some time and judgment to find a person who can do these things.

Jernigan: We've run into one of the phenomena of our times, you know; here is a man who is content.

Ruth Adler: And we're trying to disturb him.

Jernigan: Well, with notable lack of success. I don't really think we've disturbed him at all. He's happy with his job but he'd be happy to have another one. He's happy with his security but thinks he might be able to establish new security. He likes the balance between the work he does and the social action cause he's engaged in. He's a man much to be envied.

Within two weeks of the panel meeting, all the speculation about his professional future was suddenly settled. Months before, a friend had spotted an ad in the New York Times for a personnel job that seemed to fit Rabby's qualifications. The company was identified only as a large international bank. From the way the ad was worded, Rabby figured that it must have been placed by Citibank or Chase Manhattan, and he wrote to them both. Chase turned him down. But at Citibank the application found its way to vice-president Janet Robinson. "He had just an outstanding resume," she says. "You respond to the look of a resume and this one was beautifully laid out. When you find out that it comes from a blind person you are really impressed. He has so much experience in salary planning and human resource development that we knew we could use him somewhere." Citibank offered him what he calls a "spectacular job."

Rabby's duties will include projects to improve Citibank's personnel operations and to help set up a plan for hiring the handicapped. Under the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, companies with federal contracts are required to take affirmative action to hire the handicapped and to make what are called reasonable accommodations for them. "The handicapped are the next minority," says Rabby.

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"An Emerging Minority on the Move" was the theme of the ninth annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois, held in Springfield September 9-11. Federationists from six states gathered Friday evening for committee meetings and socializing. On Saturday morning, NFB President Ralph Sanders delivered the keynote address. The convention responded with pledges of $2,850 in less than 15 minutes. A panel discussion on employment opportunities featured Peter Grunwald, piano technician; Carmen Sepada, cafeteria manager; James Chappell, hospital housekeeper; Mary Jo Seller, taxi dispatcher; and Dale Wolthoff, IRS teleservice specialist. The rest of the day was occupied by guest speakers.

Saturday evening's banquet featured a stirring address by President Sanders and a surprise visit by Senator Robert Dole of Kansas, who spoke of his respect for the NFB. Charters were presented to the NFBI Student Chapter, the NFBI Corn Belt Chapter, and the NFBI Ferris Wheel Chapter. The John W. Myers scholarship was awarded to Oscar Nieves of Chicago.

Saturday began with state president Allen Schaefer's report, "A Calendar of Progress." Karen Odean of Rockford was elected NFBI secretary. Our three new board members are Mrs. Roberta Chappell of Jacksonville, and Michael Cramer and Steve Hastalis, both of Chicago. Seven resolutions set forth Federation policies on issues ranging from the deplorable condition of public transportation in the Jacksonville-Springfield area to the Disability Insurance for the Blind bill. Several resolutions called for the rejection of NAC and its so-called "standards" by state agencies serving the blind.  

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The 24th annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Massachusetts was held the weekend of October 28-30 in Chicopee. The official registration count was 194, with 273 attending the banquet on Saturday evening. Special guests were NFB Treasurer and Mrs. Richard Edlund and NFB Second Vice-President Rami Rabby, representing the national organization.

This year's convention theme was "Still Going, Still Growing, with Youth and Experience." On Saturday morning, William H. Burke gave his presidential report. He announced that after serving for four and a half years, he would not be a candidate for re-election as NFBM president. The rest of the morning was taken up with the keynote address, delivered by Manuel J. Rubin, a past president of NFBM.

Saturday afternoon's session featured a panel entitled "why youth and experience working together can make a more powerful, effective NFBM." "Youth" was represented by Priscilla Ferris, president of the Fall River Chapter and editor of our state newsletter, and Larry Gamliel, chairman of the student group. Representing "experience" were Priscilla Shepard, charter member of the Brockton Chapter; Irving MacShawson, charter member and president of the Worcester Chapter; and Anita O'Shea, second vice-president of NFBM.

The NFB of Massachusetts, which was founded the same year as the National Federation of the Blind, is approaching its 40th birthday, and we discussed the possibility of inviting the NFB Convention to the commonwealth in commemoration of the two birthdays which will occur in 1980—that of NFBM and NFB.

The banquet featured a fine speech by Dick Edlund. The Jacobus tenBroek Award was presented to Florence Burke, wife of our state president, in honor of her outstanding service to the organization. We now boast 17 chapters, in addition to the Student Division.

The following officers were elected: Albert A. Evans, president; Philip Oliver, first vice-president; Priscilla Ferris, second vice-president; Rosamond Critchley, recording secretary; Cecile Paice, corresponding secretary; Edward Murphy, treasurer; Elizabeth Wood, legislative officer; and Thomas Cotter, sergeant at arms. William Burke was invited to serve on the board as president emeritus.  

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Note: Mrs. Silva is vice-president of the San Joaquin County Chapter of the NFB of California.



1/3 cup butter
2 teaspoons baking powder  
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt  
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup milk
1-1/2 cup flour
3 or 4 fresh peaches  

Cream butter, gradually adding sugar and eggs. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; and add to butter alternately with milk. Put in buttered, shallow, 8-inch square cake pan. Slice peaches and cover cake well with them. Sprinkle with cinnamon and dot with butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Canned peaches can also be used in this recipe.  

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At the New Orleans Convention this summer, several Federationists met to discuss how the blind could take a more active role in improving public transportation and making it more responsive to our needs. The group agreed on the following four goals: (1) Encouraging and supporting local transit service improvements; (2) Encouraging Federationists to seek positions on hoards and advisory committees; (3) Sharing information and advising on particular transit projects as they relate to the blind; and (4) Making known specific job openings and encouraging interested blind persons to pursue them. Those interested in helping achieve these goals should contact Steve Hastalis, 520 West Stratford Place, Apartment 307, Chicago, Illinois 60657, or Mike Cramer, 5415 North Sheridan Road, Apartment 1009, Chicago, Illinois 60640.

The NFB of Illinois student division will hold a Conference of Blind Students March 3-5 at the Ramada Inn, Route 9 and Market Street, Bloomington, Illinois 61701. Room rates are $16 for a single, $20 for a double, $22 for a triple, and $24 for a quad. Registration will be free. For further information, contact Bob Simonson, 5 Haverhill on Auburn, Rolling Meadows, Illinois 60008; phone: (312) 397-3157.

The NFB Black Hills Chapter, in Rapid City, South Dakota, has been organized with the help of Minnesotans Joyce Scanlan and Eric Smith. Its president is Karen S. Mayry. The chapter's 17 members range in age from 16 to 85, and everyone is enthusiastic and willing to participate.

There is a new NFB chapter in Conway, Arkansas, called the NFB of Conway. Its president is John Becton.

The following letter is from D. Curtis Willoughby, president of the NFB in Computer Science:

DEAR MONITOR READERS: You will recall that during the presentation by Telesensory Systems, Inc., (TSI) at the NFB Convention, a number of serious concerns were expressed about TSI's Optacon promotion and marketing policies. Geoffrey Nelson of TSI spoke to me afterwards, and the gist of his remarks are repeated in the following letter:

"DEAR MR. WILLOUGHBY: It was a pleasure to meet you recently in New Orleans. I appreciated your candid comments regarding TSI's occasional tendency to 'oversell' its products. Such an approach is inconsistent with our corporate intent, and we would greatly appreciate your calling my attention to specific incidents should they occur in the future. It is our position that all TSI personnel should fairly and accurately represent the capabilities and limitations of our products, and in general, we advocate conservatism in our approach.

"We also discussed the possibility that TSI might sometimes adopt a position on various issues in conflict with the Federation. As I pointed out, if this occurs, in most cases it is probably out of ignorance; and we would appreciate your informing us of such discrepancies if they should happen in the future. Thanks again.

"Director of Program Operations."

I told Mr. Nelson some of our concerns about past TSI advertising and policies and said I would bring future concerns to his attention for corrective action. If any of you find instances where TSI marketing activities are inconsistent with the goals and objectives of the NFB, please write to me or another Federation officer, giving specific details. I will refer the items I receive to Mr. Nelson.

(Curtis Willoughby's address is Building 7, Apartment 5, Hillside Gardens, Hillside Avenue, Rockaway, New Jersey 07866.)

The following letter is from Joanne Fernandes, chairperson of the Cultural Exchange and International Program Committee (CEIP):

DEAR MONITOR READER: Due to financial difficulties, the sending of the Monitor free of charge to persons and groups in other countries has been discontinued. As chairperson of the CEIP Committee, I have heard from many persons in other countries who deeply desire to receive the Monitor. They tell me of the great amount of knowledge, philosophy, techniques, and inspiration the magazine has given them in the past. They are moving forward in starting and strengthening their own organizations of the blind.

At the meeting of our committee in New Orleans, this problem was much discussed, and a feasible solution emerged. We have undertaken the recycling of back issues of the Monitor. At present we are interested in redistributing only Braille issues, not print or recorded copies. Braille can be sent as free matter for the blind. Print cannot be, and very few persons abroad have machines to play the talking-book edition.

If you wish to collect back issues of the Monitor, by all means do so. But if you would like to participate in this project, send Braille back issues to: Donald Reynolds at 4 Parkside Drive, Davis, California 95616. Mr. Reynolds, an associate of the late Dr. Isabelle Grant, has agreed to undertake the redistribution. The blind of the world will greatly appreciate your cooperation.  

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

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

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

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

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

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


Name of depositor as shown on bank records ___________________________________________________________________________
Acct. No.____________________

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

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

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


To bank named on the reverse side:

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

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


BY: ______________________________________

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