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








by Mary Main

by Kenneth Jernigan

by James Gashel


by Kenneth Jernigan

by Joyce Scanlan

by James Gashel

by Kenneth Jernigan

by Ellen Robertson

by Anna Marklund


Copyright, National Federation of the Blind, Inc., 1982


At our 1981 national convention in Baltimore, a challenge went out from Alaska to all the other states. Alaska would love to be beaten this year and maintains that any state can beat the state of Alaska in the Associate program.

The challenge is this: The state with the highest number of Associates will receive for its top Associate recruiter a free trip (including plane fare, hotel, and meals) to the Alaska state convention the second weekend in September, 1982. That, of course, means you have to beat the state of Alaska to receive top honors and the free trip.

The winning person and the state will be announced at the 1982 national convention in Minneapolis.


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The National Federation of the Blind strives, in every way that it can, to promote its goals of security, equality, and opportunity for the blind. This includes the awarding of an increasing number of scholarships to blind students. Although (to some extent) all of the states provide aid to college students through their rehabilitation agencies, some do better than others. This year, at its National Convention in Minneapolis in July, the National Federation of the Blind is offering three scholarships: the Howard Brown Rickard Scholarship, $1,200; and two Hermione Grant Calhoun Scholarships, each for $2,500.

In her will Dr. Isabelle Grant left $35,000 to the NFB as a perpetual scholarship fund. The will states: "The interest from said sum shall be used for annual scholarships for blind female students for education at the college level, said fund to be known as the Hermione Grant Calhoun Scholarship." Interest rates being what they are, two very excellent scholarships can be offered at this summer's convention. As has been said, each will be in the amount of $2,500. To be eligible an individual must be female and must be attending (or planning to attend) a college or university.

The Howard Brown Rickard Scholarship, awarded by the National Federation of the Blind, is an annual grant of $1,200 presented at the NFB National Convention. Only students in certain fields of study are eligible because the donor of the scholarship wanted to encourage the blind to enter those fields. The scholarship was established by a bequest of Thomas E. Rickard in honor of his father, Howard Brown Rickard. Any legally blind university student in the professions of law, medicine, engineering, architecture, or the natural sciences, including undergraduates in these fields, is eligible to apply.

To obtain an application form for any of these scholarships, write to Reverend Howard E. May, RFD 2 Clint Eldredge Road, West Willington, Connecticut 06279. The deadline for application is May 1st.

To be eligible for any of these scholarships, an individual must: (a) be recommended by the state affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind where he or she lives, goes to school, or is planning to go to school; and (b) attend the NFB Convention at which the scholarship is to be awarded.

Membership in the Federation is not a prerequisite for eligibility for any of the scholarships, but as has already been noted, applicants must be recommended by an NFB state affiliate.

Application forms are available from Reverend Howard May, at the address already given. The application must be filled out completely and returned to Reverend May by May 1, 1982.

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by Mary Main

(Note: Mary Main is one of the leaders of the NFB of Connecticut. As her writing shows, she is a staunch Federationist. As her writing also shows, she is warm and witty and human. Sometimes we are asked, "What are Federationists like?" Some of them are like Mary Main.)

I was born in Buenos Aires so long ago that I have no memory of the event. My parents were British. My grandfather, my father and, eventually, my husband came to Argentina to work on the British-owned railways. I was educated at the kind of English boarding school that lay more emphasis on deportment than on scholarship. When I asked if I might learn to type I was told that was not a necessary part of the education of a lady. No one suggested that I should go on to college, much less ever have to earn my own living.

When we were first married my husband and I lived in a railway coach on construction-no paved road, no shops, no human habitation of any sort within leagues. I was the most inexperienced of housewives, and cooking on a tiny wood stove in a railway coach that was periodically shunted back and forth was not the easiest introduction to domesticity.

Just before Pearl Harbor we moved to Toronto, and from then on my husband traveled extensively, building roads, dams and so forth. My son was in boarding school and I came to New York. New York was the most stimulating and liberating experience of my life. I took an apartment in the Village and began to write. I was triumphant when I sold my first story to a children's magazine for four dollars, but before long I was selling stories to the slick magazines. I had it made—or so I thought.

It was about this time that an ophthalmologist told me I had Retinitis Pigmentosa. I had no idea what that was and it made very little impression on me. He did not mention the word "blind," and he assured me I would always see well enough to read. I was far more troubled by the prospect of divorce.

In 1950 Doubledays suggested that I might write a biography of Eva Peron—I had written a couple of novels which had deservedly died young. I accepted, having no idea of the difficulties that lay ahead.

When I returned to Buenos Aires I soon realized what I had got myself into. The Perons were at the height of their power and Evita did not permit any inquiry into her past—she had published her own idealized version. The interviews I had with people who had known her in her early days had to be conducted in secret. Had it been known they were discussing her they might well have been arrested and perhaps tortured. I, too, ran some risk and I was very glad to get away. The Woman with the Whip-EVA PERON was first published in 1952 soon after Evita's early death from cancer. It was written under the pseudonym of Maria Flores for the protection of my friends in Argentina.

I could no longer ignore the fact that my field of vision was diminishing. I went to a number of ophthalmologists who warned me it was not safe for me to be out on the street alone, but did not tell me where I might go for help. One day a taxi rounded a corner in front of me and I walked slap into it. This was the second small accident I had had and my doctor called a friend of mine to warn her I might have others if I was not given help. She sent Ed Lever of the Industrial Home for the Blind in Brooklyn to see me. He was the first blind person I had ever talked to, and I was much encouraged, for he assured me I could continue to live independently-all I needed was a guide dog or a white cane. My failing sight had been a secret I had carefully concealed from my acquaintances. To walk out on the street carrying a white cane was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. However, once I had taken the plunge, my white cane gave me a wonderful sense of freedom. I felt I could go anywhere, and everyone was so kind. Now, when I bumped into strangers, instead of yelling at me they apologized and offered to help. I wallowed in their sympathy.

My euphoria did not last. I was often sorry for myself but I was outraged to find that others might pity me. I think this was the most difficult period in the process of going blind, when I did not know whether to regard myself as sighted or blind. I could still read perfectly well. I was reading manuscripts for The Book of the Month Club. My friend, the one who had sent Ed Lever to me, urged me to go to a school for the blind. I refused, partly because I was afraid I might emerge as apathetic as some of the blind I had seen working at the Lighthouse or the Foundation, but largely, I think, because I didn't want to have anything to do with others who were blind. I felt it would cut me off forever from the sighted world.

In 1960 I bought a house in Provincetown where I lived for the next fourteen years. Fortunately I lived alone so that I had to do cooking, cleaning, writing, gardening and all the things I had always done, and gradually I learned to do them without my sight. I had been told by a professional that it would be useless for me to learn Braille at my age, but I decided to learn anyway. Braille and touch typing have turned out to be my most useful tools.

My son and his family were living in Paris and I traveled every year to visit them. My sighted friends were astonished at my independence and told me I was wonderful-and I believed them! I still did not know others who were blind.

As my seventieth birthday approached I felt the need to be near my family. My son had returned to this country and when they bought this house in Stamford, I moved into an apartment at the end of the house. I had hoped to take an active part in the community but the house is isolated among the trees and fields, and there is no way of getting anywhere without a car. It was at this point that I had a letter from Howard May (President of the National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut) suggesting that I might call him if I thought I might be interested in the NFB. I knew nothing of the NFB but at that point I was ready to try anything. Howard's voice was so warm and friendly but when he told me the nearest chapter was in Danbury my heart sank-how could I get there? He suggested I should call the Truehearts who were members. "You'll like them," he said.

I did.

In Danbury I met for the first time with a group of blind people many of whom were much more active and independent than I. I realized how little I knew about the blind: I had not suffered from discrimination and I had never heard of sheltered workshops, and I understood nothing of the discussion. And, anyway, who was this fellow Jernigan? I felt taken down a peg or two and decided the NFB had nothing to offer me, and refused coffee and doughnuts grumpily.

I joined-begrudgingly to be sure, but I joined. I joined because I loved the Truehearts. I joined because, for all my surliness, the people in Danbury had made me feel welcome; and, little by little, in this miscellaneous group of people who had nothing in common but their lack of sight, I began to find a comradeship I had found nowhere else. I felt deprived when I could not get to a meeting. "I wish we had a chapter in Stamford," I told Howard.

"Well, why don't you start one," he said. And that was how the Stamford Area Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut came into being.

Nothing gives a bigger boost to the ego in old age than a little unexpected success. When the musical Evita was first produced in London about three years ago, my book on Evita was republished there in paperback, and has sold remarkably well. The new hardback edition brought out by Dodd Mead here has not done so well, but it did bring a flurry of excitement into my life-newspaper and radio interviews, talks, and an appearance on the Charles Kurault Sunday Morning show-all of which I very much enjoyed. However, I think what has most enlivened my old age is my membership in the NFB. It has given me so many new friends and so many new interests, and it has taught me so much. For one thing it has taught me how really independent the blind can be.

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by Kenneth Jernigan

As Federationists know, Job Opportunities for the Blind (JOB) is a project jointly sponsored by the U. S. Department of Labor and the National Federation of the Blind. At a JOB seminar held in Baltimore late in 1980, I made the following remarks. They were substantially reprinted in the Summer and Fall, 1981, issues of Dialogue magazine.

I believe that whether or not blind persons have ready access to the job market is important not only to blind people who are employed but to those who may be seeking employment. It is important to every segment of the blind population. People who are past the employment years are affected by whether blind persons can get jobs.

To make this clear, all I have to say is this: During the years when a black person in this country could not find employment except in shoeshining or in the very lowest-paid of janitorial jobs, it affected the way society treated every black person—those who were not hunting employment as well as those who were. And so in that sense every blind person has a stake in what happens in our JOB project and in upgrading jobs for blind persons.

Whether or not we believe that as blind persons we really are as good as others—that is, whether we believe we are employable—has something to do with how we look at ourselves—what kind of confidence we will have, how we will expect people to treat us, and what we will expect we can do. I know (and probably you do, too) situations where blind people, men or women, have got themselves engaged to sighted people and the families of the sighted persons have been moved almost to violence, thinking their child had gone mad by wanting to marry a blind person. It's all tied up with jobs. In the past we haven't known blind people who have had jobs that were prestigious in the community. We haven't known blind people who were persons that other people hoped they could be like, and had to come to for favors, and all the other things that make for desirability.

The trouble is that blind people, being part of the culture, have accepted that notion of themselves too often and have, therefore, done much to make it come true. It's a vicious circle.

I know many people who say, "Of course, I believe that as a blind person I am as good as anybody else." Very often they simply don't know what they are saying. Very often they are lying in their teeth, but usually don't know it.

Let me give you an example from my own experience. I went to college. I had, I believe, a rather pleasing personality. We all think we have a pleasant personality, I suppose. But I had some objective evidence. I could use mine to some good effect when I wanted to.

Early in my freshman year I went to one of my professors and said to him, "I want to do everything that's needed. I don't want any special favors or privileges. I want to compete on terms of equality with the other students here. I really want to be able to perform, and I believe I can. As I have said, I don't want you to give me special favors or privileges. Once in a while there may be a few things that I will need to do a little differently, but I hope there won't be many such things and that they won't be sufficient to make a difference in my overall performance.

"Specifically," I said, "since fitting footnotes onto a sheet of typing constitutes some problem, I would hope that I would be able to omit footnotes from term papers and themes. I shall certainly do all the research involved, and will type the papers myself."

That is what I told my professor. It sounds pretty good. Don't you think? It's a fairly plausible argument. I put all of the right words: "no special favors, no special treatment, no unreasonable privileges." Then, I asked the professor: "Is it all right if I proceed in that manner?"

His answer was blunt and to the point.

"Hell no," he barked. "It's not all right. Look, you have come here telling me that you can compete on terms of equality, and you have made all of this speech about how you want to do it on equal terms with everybody else. You also say you are capable of doing competitive work in college. Now, you either can or you can't.

"I could let you get by without the footnotes, and probably nobody would criticize me for it. But when you are through with my classes and are graduating, you are going to want a recommendation. At that time you'll get your feelings hurt if I say, 'He's not capable of competing on terms of real equality with others, but he can do a good job considering that he's blind.' You won't like it if I say that. Therefore, you are either going to pass my courses in such a way that I can honestly give you good recommendations, or I'll flunk you. Take it either way you want it."

That was one of the finest things that ever happened to me, because I had gone there with a good line prepared to snow the man, and I am not sure that I even knew that I was trying to do it. I typed his papers, by the way, and put the footnotes on them. There was no problem at all in doing it. I am afraid that if he had permitted it I might have taken the easy way out and paid a terrible price for it.

Not all blind persons are as lucky as I was. Too many are faced with people who say to them, "You don't need to do this." Unfortunately too many blind people accept the proffered assistance and (more often than not) never realize the high price they pay for the success they achieve in avoiding whatever it is they get out of or are talked into not doing.

When you are blind how do you manage to do the different things you need to do? Very often we begin by assuming that we need a lot more so-called "accommodation" than we do. Remember: There is no such thing as a free lunch. You pay for everything.

I want to jump forward to a talk that I had with an executive from IBM not long ago. I don't think the blind person involved would mind if I told you, because she and I laughed about it later—but it wasn't funny to her at the time.

We had a blind woman come here to the National Center for three months to work with us on the talking typewriter that IBM has developed. She had tried to get jobs in the past and had had one that hadn't worked out very well. We put her on the talking typewriter, and we all made good speeches. You know the pattern: "This will be a good chance to test out the machine, but also you'll be treated like any other employee."

She had a tendency to go and sit down in other people's offices and talk. She was blind, and everybody had always told her that she was a genius if she could do anything at all—and, of course, we all like to be told we're geniuses, every one of us. We all like to be told that we are wonderful. Often the reason we are told such things is not complimentary, but we don't recognize it. Often the reasoning is something like this: "Considering that you're blind, it's wonderful that you can do what (if you were sighted) would be taken as just an ordinary thing." That's not complimentary.

Anyway, this woman came in one day to Mrs. Walhof (who was her supervisor) and said she had done 50 form letters in a given period of time. She was obviously pleased about it and wanted to be petted for it. But Mrs. Walhof said, "That's not enough. If you think that way, you won't be able to compete on terms of equality. It's not enough."

The woman was crushed. She cried and felt ill-used. Arid so the lady from IBM who was in charge of training came in pretty soon and said to me: "I think you are being a little hard on her. You know, that's really quite good for a secretary. I want to talk to you about her because I think she feels that she's a little hard pressed. Maybe you are expecting too much."

I said, "Look, You stick to handling typewriters, and let me handle training blind people. Part of the problem we as blind people have is directly traceable to people like you. .Without ever meaning to do it, you have kept blind people from getting jobs because of your lousy attitudes." After that kind of hard beginning I softened it down a bit. I had started out with shock tactics on her, but we got to be very good friends. I said to her, "Tell me (and really be honest): If this woman were sighted and a good secretary, would you regard her performance on those letters as satisfactory?"

After some hesitation she said: "Well, no, I guess I wouldn't. But after all, you've got to take into account that she does have extra problems."

"No, I don't have to take that into account," I said. "That's exactly why blind people don't have jobs. A blind typist does not need to perform at less capacity than a sighted typist. You don't believe that a blind person can perform up to capacity; and so, of course, you're having trouble with blind persons getting jobs. It's your own fault."

A couple of weeks later the IBM trainer came back to me, having visited around the country, and said, "I've thought about it a lot, and I want to tell you something. I've been to some other places (these other training sites we have) and the typists there expect me, because I'm sighted, to do everything from carry their coffee to go out and shop for them." She said, "They're not really being expected to perform up to par, and I guess I'd always taken it for granted that they shouldn't be. But I had to do something about it, and this person you have here may really become employable as a result of what you're doing. I was wrong."

"Okay, I'm glad you can see that," I said. "We are going to help the person we are training become able to be a really good secretary."

Then, I got the IBM executive into my office (the one who was in overall charge of the talking typewriter project), and we had a long talk. I had come to know him. We had spent as much as eight or ten hours together, and we could talk frankly.

"You have asked me about your IBM Talking Typewriter," I said to him. And he said, "Yes, because we're having trouble selling it. We're not sure the market is out there."

"I think I could help you learn how to sell more of those typewriters," I said. "I think it's your own fault that you're not selling them."

He asked why.

"Because you haven't learned the lesson that the Gillette Razor people learned so well," I told him. "They wanted to sell blades, but they realized that they had to sell razors, too. Suppose they were selling blades and thought they were good, but they thought their razors were so bad that they were second-rate and inferior. Then the Schick people would have it all over them. They'd beat them in sales every time.

"You people wrote a special manual for blind operators of the Mag Card II typewriter, and it was one of the poorest pieces of business I've ever seen. You had a token blind woman employed at IBM who didn't believe in herself, but you people thought she was a genius because she was able to perform at all, and you had to give her something to occupy her time. What resulted was a manual written up specially for blind people. I don't know whether she wrote it, or whether you had somebody else do it. Maybe you had some more blind people employed. I don't know. Some of my colleagues and I tried the manual, and it didn't work. It assumed that the blind were morons. So we scrapped it and taped your regular manual for the Mag Card Typewriter and used it to train blind people. We got jobs for a lot of them.

"Now, you are going out and trying to sell your talking typewriter, but you don't really believe that blind people can perform on a par with others. How are you going to sell employers on buying talking typewriters to employ people that you don't really believe are employable? That's your problem."

"Well," he said, "I hadn't looked at it like that. I don't know. Maybe that's it, but I just hadn't looked at it that way."

"Let me put the question to you another way," I said. "Do you believe that you are necessarily more fortunate than I simply because you're sighted and I'm blind?"

He said, "Well, yeah, I guess I do."

Then, I said, "Okay. Let's see what it is that you think you have that makes you that way—whether it's the natural wish of every person to feel superior to somebody and the insecurity which all of us have (at least, a little of it) or if it's really that you've got that much on the ball. Let's see what it is you've got.

"Let me tell you the test I use. The world is competitive. It always will be. There isn't any way to make it otherwise. Whether we're under Communism, Fascism, the church, or a so-called democracy—it doesn't matter whether the capitalists run it, or the labor unions. It's competitive. Anybody who tells you otherwise is deceiving you—and probably is doing quite well in the world, as he moves on while you stay behind to meditate on the merits of his philosophy.

"Let's take it on that basis. By competitive I mean this: There are fewer things out there to fill wants than there are wants for those things. Therefore, necessarily whatever it is—whether jobs, honors, loaves of bread, dollars, cars, women, men, liquor, houses, Bibles, whatever—there are always fewer of whatever it is than there are people who want it. Somebody is going to get left out. I'm telling you that I don't think blind people have to get left out any more often than sighted people. I believe there are too many other things involved.

"Let me speak to you. You and I are at least fairly close to the same age. Are you really sure that if you want something in the world and I want it, and you and I both set out to get it with all we can—are you sure you're going to beat me out and get it?"

"Well, no," he said.

I said, "I'm not either. Think about it. I don't know whether you're more fortunate than I or not. You may be. But I doubt it."

He said he hadn't looked at it like that.

"That's one reason I might get whatever it is we are competing for and you might not," I said.

Now, let me leave the IBM typewriter and my conversation with the IBM executive. Let me go back and talk to you about the specifics of jobs. When I was in California at the Orientation Center for the Blind, I talked with people all along about blindness, trying to help blind persons come to realize that they could compete on terms of equality with others. I remember an individual who was an electrician before he became blind. He was 32 years old. He had been an electrician since before he was 20. One Sunday afternoon when he was working in his back yard a grinder blew up and blinded him. We got him at the Orientation Center very shortly afterward.

He came in with a kidding rather shallow kind of bravado, a sort of gaiety. He said he knew that he could learn to perform as a blind person as well as he'd ever performed as a sighted person.

It was obviously phony. It was clear he didn't believe anything of the sort. After he had been there about two or three weeks, he said to me, "I have really been thinking about it, and in a sense I guess blindness may have been a good thing for me, because it caused me to re-evaluate my life and make the changes that I would like to have made all along. I never really was happy as an electrician. I think I'd like to get into another line of work."

"What would you like to do?" I asked.

"Something that would let me get out and travel around," he said.

"Like what?" I asked.

"Maybe I could do piano tuning," he said.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you what that meant. He thought that was what blind people could do, and he was still trying to tell himself that he was a brave fellow, and maybe he really half way convinced himself that's what he wanted to do.

All I said was, "We'll think about it." I changed the subject and began talking to him about the weather, and passed on.

After he had been at the center four or five months, he said to me one day, "You know, I was really phony about that piano tuning. I guess I thought that was all I could do as a blind person. But I've sort of changed my mind. Now, I can see some things that I didn't then. I don't want to be a piano tuner. What I really would like to do is go to college."

"Tell me about it," I said. "Tell me why."

"I think I would like to get into some sort of work helping my fellow blind," he said.

I said, "You know, you are an awful liar."

In these days of civil rights I suppose he could have hailed me up before the courts for having abused him. I might have had truth as a defense. I don't know.

Anyway, his response was: "But how could a blind person be an electrician?"

"I don't know," I said. "I'm not an electrician. I don't know anything about electricians. Let's work on it. You know something about being an electrician, and I know something about blindness. I don't know whether you can be an electrician, but let's try it. Let's see what you can do."

Well, we did. He went back and got a job as a full-time electrician, and he worked at it quite well and satisfactorily. But I might have taken him seriously, or he might have taken himself seriously in those earlier false starts. If he hadn't had some help in becoming deconditioned to what society had taught him to believe, he would have had a different kind of existence.

He taught me a lesson, too, by the way. He said, "You tell me that you believe a blind person ought to have an equal opportunity to be an electrician. Your house has some wiring problems. How about if I come over and work on your house? Are you willing for me to do that?"

I said, "Yes, I guess so if you'll give me some idea about how you propose to do it."

To which he said, "I'm a licensed electrician. Would you ask a sighted man to give you that kind of proof?"

I said, "No, I really wouldn't."

"Well, why, then, do you discriminate against me?" he asked.

I had taught him fairly well, I suppose. "Mark up a point for you," I told him. "I don't care how you do it. If you believe you can do it, come and have a whack at it."

When you get a job, much of what happens to you is, of course, determined by whether the job is suitable for you and whether your employer and your colleagues give you an equal chance. But it also has to do with the way you approach it—what you believe you can do. Here are some examples from my own experience:

Once upon a time I sold life insurance—a most interesting occupation. I had a big rate book in print. I don't know how each of you would have tried to deal with it, but I could not always afford to hire somebody to go with me and read it for me. I was trying to make a living, not bean executive. I couldn't put it into Braille. I didn't have enough reader time for that and even if I had, it would have meant carrying around volumes. So that wouldn't have been practical.

I had another problem: The company kept changing the rate book as new policies and procedures came along. So what was I to do?

I could have asked my prospective customers to look up the information I needed, but that wouldn't have worked because the book contained information I didn't want them to have. I wasn't trying to hoodwink them. But if you're a wholesaler, you don't ask the people you're selling to to look in the manufacturer's catalog and see what kind of markup you make. It isn't good psychology. Besides, most of my clients would not efficiently have been able to find what I wanted. But what would have been even worse was that it would have destroyed their confidence in me. They wouldn't have believed that I was competent to handle their insurance business if I had done it that way.

So what did I do? I could have cried about it or said, "Well, that shows a blind person can't be an insurance salesman. Right there it is. I tried, but tell me how I'm going to do it?" People often come to me and say, "Here is this job. Tell me how I'm going to do it."

I can't. I'm not motivated to sit down and spend a day or two of my time trying to figure out something which, if it can be figured out, they ought to be figuring out themselves. If it can't be figured out, why should I spend my time trying to do what can't be done?

I either had to figure this out or stop selling insurance. By the way, when I'd tried to get the insurance job, the first company had said they wouldn't hire me but would let me sell in the name of another established agent and split commissions with him if I wanted to. I said no, I didn't think I'd do that. Then, I went off and found a company that would put me on.

So I tried to discover if there was any way to figure out shortcuts to work with the rate book, a formula. I learned that if I knew the annual premium on a policy, the semiannual premium (if a client preferred to pay it that way) would be 51 percent. The quarterly was 26 percent, and the monthly premium was 10 percent. So right there I saved myself lots of columns. It isn't very hard to figure out 51 percent of something, or 26 percent, or 10 percent. Ten percent is easy—all you have to do is move a decimal.

Then, I started on the other end of it, the hard part. I learned that if I knew what an individual of a given age would be charged for a particular policy, there was a formula by which I could determine what that particular policy would cost an individual of any age. I arbitrarily took age 26, and (knowing the premium on an ordinary life insurance policy for a person of that age) I could figure the semiannual, quarterly, or monthly premium for a person of 50, 60, or any other age. Since we mostly sold fifteen or twenty kinds of policies (there were a few exotic things, but they were not ordinarily sold), I could put all the information I needed (name of policy and annual premium for age 26) on a Braille card or two and put them in my pocket so nobody would even know I was looking at them.

It occurred to me that my competitors might also have such data available. Rate books are rate books. So I thought, "If ours are like that, I wonder what theirs are like." So I lured some of my competitors out to my house to sell me insurance and deduced a number of things about their policies—unraveled the formula and found that they worked.

One lonesome, rainy night I went to see a fellow who was quite well-to-do, a man who could buy (and intended to buy) a relatively large life insurance policy. It was going to make somebody a whopping good commission. There are always fewer things than there are people wanting them, and in this case a lot of us wanted his insurance business—but only one of us was going to get it. And it didn't matter whether you explained it, or called yourself blind, or said, "I can tell you why I didn't do it." Only one thing counted: did you or didn't you? That was the test.

So I went over to see him, and he said he'd been thinking about buying this insurance. I said, "Well, if you do, it will cost you this amount."

"Suppose," he said, "I decided I want to pay it on a semi-annual, twice-a-year, basis?"

"You could do that," I said, "and if you did, it would cost you this amount."

"I've considered buying from this other company," he said.

"Well," I answered, "they're a good company, and if you buy the policy from them, it will cost you this." And I went on to tell him as honestly as I could the advantages and disadvantages of the other company's policy and of mine.

Then, he said, "I'm going to give you my insurance business, because I think you know what you're doing. I had a fellow out here the other night who didn't know a thing. Every time I asked him any question he had to look it up in that little book he had."

Now, I'm as lazy as anybody else. We all have a tendency to that, and there's nothing wrong with being lazy if you properly understand that it means extracting as much as you can for the labor you exert. That's perfectly proper. It's just that a lot of people don't know how to be lazy. If you'll work hard up front, it will allow you more time to do whatever it is you want to do, and you can do it more effectively, and have more time left over to do something else. If I had had sight, the chances are I never would have been motivated to have hunted up all that stuff and reasoned it out. But once I did, it proved to be a tremendous advantage and an asset. Yet, a lot of people would have told me that I was handicapped in selling insurance because I was blind and couldn't read my rate book. And they would have been right—unless I did something about it.

I want to tell you something else. I did a stint teaching school, and I want to tell you some of the methods I used. They are not the only methods a teacher might use, but they worked for me. I taught for a while in a school for the blind, in a day when blind teachers were not highly regarded. The question was: Could I carry my own weight, and (specifically) could I keep discipline?

At the beginning of the first class I made a speech to the students. I said to them, "We are entering on a new relationship." (That sounds nice and bureaucratic, doesn't it?) "We're entering on a new relationship, and we can live at peace, or we can engage in war. If we engage in a peaceful relationship, all of us can live happily. On the other hand, if you choose to go to war with me, I have certain advantages that you do not possess. You may have some that I don't possess—and some that I haven't thought of. But let me tell you what mine are.

"I can give you assignments, or not. I can assign things to you in a minute or two that will give you a great deal of trouble, either to do or find ways of avoiding doing. One day (whether you now know it or not) it will help you if you have nice recommendations written on your reports from me—not a lot, but it will help some.

"But beyond that, if you try to engage in conflict with me, there are times when you will succeed in putting things over on me, because all of the brains didn't come here when I got here. So you'll win sometimes. But on the other side of that is this: All of the brains didn't come here when you came, so you'll lose sometimes, and I will catch you. It remains to be seen, then, whether or not I can make it desirable for you to try to live in peace with me. I choose peace if I can have it, but I will engage in war if I must." I made them that speech and passed on.

I had a student named Johnny Lindenfellow, who was at that time in the seventh or eighth grade. He took every occasion to be as mangy as he knew how, and he was an expert at it. I tried to reason with him; I tried to be good to him; I pleaded with him about the good of the school and humanity; I talked with him about living and letting live. But nothing worked. There was no getting along with him. Nothing made any difference. In fact, whenever I would lay some punishment on him, he seemed to glory in it as being proof that he was a tough customer.

So I changed tactics. One day when he had done something I didn't like, I said, "Johnny, you will please stay after class."

I could feel him expand with pleasure. He knew I wasn't allowed to kill him, that there was some limit as to what I could do.

After class, when we were alone, I said, "Johnny, it's been a long conflict between you and me, and I want to tell you now what I'm going to do. As you know, I teach other English classes in this school. In about two hours I'm going to be teaching an English class, and I'm going to provoke an incident in that class so that somebody misbehaves. It's not difficult to think up some way to get it done. Then, I will say to the student who misbehaves, 'Why can't you be a good little boy like Johnny Lindenfellow?' I will do that over and over and over until I make you the most hated boy in this school. You will fight fifty times every day. I will call you a good little boy to every class I have until the day comes that they will beat you to death. You will fight all of the time."

"You wouldn't do that to me," he protested.

"Oh, but I would!" I said. "It's clear that I can think it up ... I did; I've already told you about it. And I will do it."

He said, "Look, I'd like to get along."

"So would I," I said. "I'm perfectly willing to have it either way, peace or war. You have declared psychological war on me, and I'm no longer prepared to be passive about it. I'm going to pull out all the stops and go to war with you now."

"Look, I want to get along," he reiterated.

"Fine," I said, and he and I became the best of friends and had no more trouble.

That is one way you can maintain discipline. It didn't hurt him. It probably helped him. It certainly helped me.

I discovered another very effective technique, which is translatable beyond school. One day I found a student engaging in an infraction of the rules. I said nothing about it until the next day. Then, in the middle of the class period, I interrupted what I was saying and remarked: "Yesterday, Frances, you violated this rule (and I specified). Your punishment is this." Without another word I returned to the discussion. Nobody said much, but I could hear people thinking about it. In a day or two I caught somebody else doing something, and didn't mention that for two days. The next time I let it go three days—then, a week—then, two weeks—and then, three. Thus , the culprit never knew whether he or she had been detected in crime, and the agony of the suspense cut down on the pleasure considerably. The students never knew whether they had been caught—or when the ax would fall. A lot of times teachers forget that they were once students themselves, and they don't put any ingenuity into the psychological warfare which some students take joy in waging and always win.

We had a rule in my class. If anybody brought anything in and left it there and I found it, that individual had to sit down and punch out a whole sheet of full Braille cells, using a dull stylus and an old slate that wasn't in good alignment. The work had to be done in my presence so that I knew the individual had done it. That was also the rule if a person didn't bring whatever was supposed to be brought to class-book, paper, or whatever.

Once when I was keeping library, the president of the senior class brought me a written book report. I got called away from the library desk. When I left at the end of the period, I forgot to take the report with me. The next day when he came to my English class, the student walked up to my desk and handed the report to me. He said not a word. He just stood there. He had obviously primed all of his fellow students. Everybody simply sat and waited.

"You've got me dead to rights," I said. "Furthermore, you have done something else. You have stripped away all of the things that might have muddied the water. You didn't come and demand that I do anything. You didn't make me a speech. You just brought the evidence and laid it out. Therefore, today in library I will bring the slate and stylus and come and sit at your table. In your presence I will punch each and every dot and present you with the completed page."

I would like to be able to tell you that I deliberately planned that piece of drama—that I knowingly planted the book report and calculatedly forgot it in the hope that he would do what he did. But I didn't. I wasn't sharp enough. However, I hope I learned enough from the experience that I would do it next time—assuming, of course, there ever is a next time. It worked wonders. It made the students feel that I was willing to be flexible, that I wasn't stuffy, that I took seriously the rules which I made, and that I was not above the law. It did a lot of positive things, and if I had had the wisdom to think, I would certainly have staged it, just the way it happened. But I didn't. I simply saw the possibilities in the situation and took advantage of them. Somebody has wisely said that luck is where opportunity and preparation meet.

I'm only saying to you that if you begin by assuming you can't do whatever it is, or that you've got to have this or that special opportunity or career—if you're going to be a crybaby or a grouch or tell people how bad it is that you're blind, then you'll get a lot of sympathy but relatively few jobs and still fewer promotions. You will live as miserable a life as you believe you will live—and all needlessly, except that society has taught you to feel that way, and you haven't been able to break out of the stereotype. Many of us who are blind could get jobs that we don't get, and we don't simply because we have been told by society that we can't perform, and we have believed it. We have fallen into all of the traps of the stereotype: We have been told that we're geniuses for doing the simplest of routine tasks, and we have taken pride in the so-called "compliment." Too often we have sold our potential equality for a trifle: If, for instance, it is raining and luggage is to be loaded into a car, which is right in front of a door and easily accessible, almost nobody would think anything of it if a perfectly healthy blind person waited under shelter while a sighted person said, "Just stand here. I'll load the car." It isn't pleasant to get wet, especially if you have on freshly pressed clothes. I know. I've been there. And there is a temptation, if nobody expects you to do whatever it is, to take advantage of it.

There is also something else: You can become so obnoxiously independent that you are intolerable. If a sighted person is sitting at one end of a table and wants the salt which is at the other end, he or she doesn't insist on getting up and going to get it to prove the ability to walk. The normal sighted person will allow someone near the salt to pass it. But I know blind people who insist that "Nobody's going to touch my arm! Nobody's going to help me! I'm independent." They are so unpleasant and so offensive that people turn away in disgust—or, even worse, pity.

It is a matter of having sense enough to know how to behave to get on in the world. If your motive in standing in that doorway is that since only one person is needed to load the car and that there is no point in everybody getting wet, that's fine. But if your motive is to stand and wait because you're blind, don't complain the next time you don't get equal treatment when the goodies are being passed out. You have behaved as if you can't compete on terms of equality. Now, accept it.

I believe that we as blind people are capable of competing on terms of real equality with others in jobs. I believe that the reason we have not done so in the past is that society has custodialized us and held us down. But I believe also that this has not happened because society has wanted to be vicious or unkind or mean. It is because people have taken for granted that that's the way blind people are, that blind persons can't be expected to do this or that kind of thing.

Furthermore, I believe that since we are part of society, we have accepted the public views about us and have done a great deal to reinforce those views. I believe we must begin to change that. I believe we are beginning to change it, and that's what Job Opportunities for the Blind (JOB) is about.

More and more we have the opportunity for our future to be in our own hands if we will only take advantage of that opportunity and make it so. Not all sighted people have good will toward us, but most do—and most want to be of assistance, once they really know that we can compete on terms of equality and that we want to.' But before we can convince anybody else, we must convince ourselves. We must really believe that we are capable of equality—that we can get along as well as others similarly situated in society. Unless we believe that, how can we expect other people to believe it? To a great extent, the sighted public will treat us like what we believe in our heart of hearts we are.

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by James Gashel

Under a law known as the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 (Public Law 97-35), rehabilitation agencies will now have a direct financial incentive to help certain clients achieve placement in actual jobs. The law changes dramatically the conditions for federal financing of rehabilitation services for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries. It does not, however, modify the primary mechanism for federal financing of rehabilitation services, under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

The lion's share of the federal money which state rehabilitation agencies (including state agencies for the blind) receive is distributed on a formula grant basis. States are entitled to this federal money as long as they fulfill certain requirements of the Rehabilitation Act and the regulations issued by the federal government. Federal rehabilitation money must be matched by state money—that is, each state must bear at least 20% of the cost for rehabilitation services. This is the arrangement under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act. Specifically, the funds are received under Section 110 of the Act.

But this formula grant system is not the only way for the federal government to pay for rehabilitation services. Another means is through the Beneficiary Rehabilitation Program, which, since 1965, has made payments to state rehabilitation agencies from the Social Security Disability Insurance trust fund. More recently, beginning in 1974, a portion of the money appropriated for Supplemental Security Income has also been paid to state rehabilitation agencies for providing services to SSI recipients. These SSDI and SSI funds for rehabilitation have been paid to the state agencies, with no matching state money required. The funds could be used to pay for any vocational rehabilitation service and to cover the costs for administering the state agency.

Using Social Security and SSI money in this fashion was viewed as a wise investment, and state agencies encouraged this by arguing that payments for rehabilitation services would result in a reduction in the number of beneficiaries on the monthly benefit rolls. The theory, however, did not prove to be valid—agencies were not being successful in moving SSDI and SSI beneficiaries into employment. According to a recent audit by the United States General Accounting Office, the SSI portion of the Beneficiary Rehabilitation Program was "not even marginally successful." So Congress has tightened the law in hopes that the state rehabilitation agencies can be encouraged to improve their performance.

The new law emphasizes job placement by withholding federal funding for rehabilitation services which do not result in successful employment for SSDI and/or SSI beneficiaries. "Success" is defined by whether or not a beneficiary goes to work for at least nine consecutive months. The work must also be substantial-that is, a blind person must earn at least $500 per month. When this success is achieved, the Social Security Administration will pay the entire tab for the rehabilitation services (including state agency administrative costs) which contributed to the achievement of successful employment. The law also provides that rehabilitation agencies may receive payments in advance, although the Reagan Administration seems reluctant to do this during the current federal fiscal year. While this policy will result in forcing state agencies to use other funds for providing rehabilitation services to SSDI and SSI beneficiaries, reimbursement will still be available when success is achieved.

As might be expected, this new federal reimbursement system under the beneficiary rehabilitation program is causing agency directors around the country to engage in a great deal of hand-wringing and even open resentment. As one director recently put it: "Now the Feds will only buy our successes, not our failures." What an attitude! After all, the Social Security and SSI money was made available for rehabilitation in the first place, because these same state agency directors told Congress that rehabilitation services would mean employment, and employment would mean a reduction in the number of beneficiaries. So Congress took them at their word and gave the money freely. But the promise that rehabilitation would result in successful employment has not been kept, so the federal government has reconsidered its willingness to pay for whatever may be called rehabilitation service, regardless of results. After all, this is not a novel approach. It is exactly what the federal government or a private business would do in dealing with any other contractor. If you pay somebody to build an airplane and the airplane either doesn't get built or (having been built) won't fly, you don't pay for it. This will mean a new way of life for the state agencies. It can bring about better, more relevant, and more cost-effective services. It can also mean more jobs. This is the positive side, but it remains to be seen whether the state agencies will be willing to respond to this new federal success-directed incentive. Those agencies which do respond by providing high-quality services that are aimed at successful job placements will continue to reap the benefits of their good work. The key word is "success"—statistics on paper and promises are not enough.

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(Note: We reported in detail in the November, 1981, Monitor on the situation at the Arkansas Lighthouse for the Blind. The National Labor Relations Board has now reacted to the intimidation and coercive tactics of the Arkansas Lighthouse management by filing unfair labor practices against the Lighthouse. The following article appeared in the October 3, 1981, Arkansas Gazette.)

Gerard Fleischut, director of the Memphis regional office of the National Labor Relations Board, has issued an unfair labor practices complaint against the Arkansas Lighthouse for the Blind stemming from a union election in July.

Fleischut issued the complaint in response to charges filed by Teamsters union Local 878 and scheduled a hearing for May 17, 1982, in Little Rock before an administrative law judge.

The Lighthouse is a nonprofit organization that provides jobs for the blind and other workers making belts, helmet liners, stenographer pads and other items under government contracts. The 52 eligible employees rejected, by a vote of 28 to 24, the proposal that the Teamsters represent them in negotiations.

The union filed objections, saying that the Lighthouse had "so polluted the atmosphere surrounding the July 10, 1981, election that the bargaining unit employees could not have exercised a free and untrammeled choice." Philip Lyon, an attorney for the Lighthouse, has appealed a preliminary complaint on the objections to the full National Labor Relations Board.

In August, the union local filed specific unfair labor practices charges. It accused Lighthouse officials of intimidating employees by threatening to close the facility if the union won the election, saying it wouldn't negotiate with the union even if it won, offering salary increases to employees before the vote, and trying to get workers to revoke their union memberships, among other things.

Melva Harmon, the union's attorney, said Friday that she would file an unfair practice charge against the Lighthouse Monday for the firing of Stan Partridge, a cutter in the paper department. He was one of five members of the union organizing committee. Harmon said her investigation convinced her that Partridge was fired as retribution for his union activities although the Lighthouse said it was because he used "abusive language" toward another employee.

Numerous other Lighthouse employees have been laid off since the election, and Harmon said she was investigating whether these came about through retaliation for union activities or were legitimate because short-term government contracts had expired.

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by Kenneth Jernigan

It is important to recognize the significance of a particular event, but it is even more important to recognize the significance of the pattern which that event implies. Pattern recognition, in the language of computers and sophisticated systems is one of the most valuable skills that a person may acquire.

If we apply "pattern recognition" to events concerning the blind, we find interesting trends. Forty years ago very few blind people were knowledgeable about the laws affecting them (even when such laws existed, and mostly they didn't). Moreover, the blind had been schooled by society to keep their opinions to themselves—or not to have any.

Even twenty years ago (or ten), the average blind person throughout the country was not likely to be overly concerned with the implications and subtleties of day to day life situations as they affected his or her civil rights and responsibilities. The pattern today is quite different. Literally hundreds and thousands of blind Americans all over the nation are "feeling their oats" and expressing their opinions.

It is a heady business, this matter of freedom. It leads to all kinds of diversity of opinion: to views that are thoughtful and sound, and sometimes to expressions that are strident and unreasonable. It leads to error, insight, half truth, oversimplification, precision of analysis, hasty conclusions, and well thought out positions.

But the pattern itself (the overall fact of its shape and existence) is wonderfully positive and filled with promise for the future. For the first time in history the blind are truly coming into their own and experiencing self-recognition and fulfillment.

The evidence of this new pattern is everywhere present. It can be seen in the attitudes and behavior of individuals and in the thrust and direction of the local chapters and state affiliates of our movement. It can also be seen in the letters (the hundreds and thousands of them) that cross my desk on a continuing basis. I want to share two of those letters with you. They are typical of what is happening to the blind.

The first of the letters is from Gertrude Ward of Pennsylvania. She is a senior citizen, outspoken and vocal, with opinions on almost everything. And she never hesitates to express her opinions. She has a lifetime of experience, mixed with sincerity and a touch (but only a touch) of acid. She knows what she thinks, and she intends for others to know it, too.

It goes without saying that I think she misunderstands some of my views and some of those of the Federation, but I suspect she would return the compliment—and do it with vigor. In fact, I have had numerous sharp exchanges with her, and I hope to have many more. On a number of things I think she is absolutely wrong, and on others I think she doesn't have her facts straight, but I think she is thoroughly sincere and ruggedly honest. Moreover, the fact of her expression and the freedom she feels to do it are the strongest possible indicators of how far we have come as a people and how valuable the NFB has been (and continues to be) as a movement. The criticisms made by Gertrude Ward (even when they are wrong or based on faulty information) are not the insidious manifestations of destructiveness and attempted subversion which we have sometimes witnessed but the growing pains of liberty and full citizenship. More power to her, and to her probings and scoldings and compliments and questions and concerns. They are the healthy ebullience of a vital organization, alive and expanding.

The second letter I want to call to your attention is in the same vein as the first. Unlike the letter from Gertrude Ward, it does not turn inward to criticize the organization, but it demands to be heard and insists upon respect. In effect, it says to anyone who cares to contest it: "Yes, I am blind but I have as much right to first-class treatment as you do. You may be sighted or highly educated or rich and powerful, but you stand no taller in today's society than I do. Why? Because I intend to make it that way. I intend to speak for myself and have my rights. I don't demand special treatment, but I do demand equal treatment. The two are not the same. They are sometimes confused, but there is all the difference in the world."

The author of this second letter is William T. Roberts, President of the Ohio Falls Chapter of the NFB of Indiana. Like Gertrude Ward, he reads his Braille Monitor. He knows about rights and appeals and courts and such like. He also knows about responsibility and dignity and human values.

As much as anything else, these two letters tell the story of the value of the National Federation of the Blind—the "put downs," the organized effort, the self-awareness, the painful struggle to climb the stairs of freedom, the long road which lies ahead, the pride of self-worth, the confidence which comes from the realization of organizational strength, the hope and the pain and the belief, the spirit to venture, and the wonderful feeling of moving ahead to a better tomorrow. This is the National Federation of the Blind. Let our "pattern recognition" be certain. Let our rememberings and our dreams and our plans be that of a people whose time for a place in the sun has come.

Here are the two letters:

Dunmore, Pennsylvania
September 25, 1981

Dear Mr. Jernigan:

It sounds like a "who done it," except that it scares me as no fiction could. What does? Your report on the break-ins and the paper riffling, etc. I hope you have taken extra precautions against such things; for while I don't always agree with you, I know you are doing what you think is right according to your knowledge and experience. But I do wish NFB people would stop deliberately antagonizing certain people. Why couldn't Mike Hingson (see September, 1981, Braille Monitor) go along with the airline officials! Then, after he got to his destination, he could have brought charges against them. This way he would not have been harmed. A little discretion does pay. What Mike and other guide dog users cannot understand is that it isn't the blind that are being segregated on planes and in restaurants—it is the dogs.

There has been so much opposition to bringing guide dogs into eating places lately that the sighted majority may have a law passed against their use in certain places if the blind don't use more discretion in their use. Besides, dogs are different sizes, and they have different temperaments.

There is no way of predicting how a dog will react to a plane crash if it is injured. I heard that when Gayle Burlingame died (see article by Harold Bleakley in May, 1981, Braille Monitor), his guide dog wouldn't let anyone take away the corpse. This dog was almost the size of a wolf. I saw the dog once in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Could a dog that size lay under the seat on a plane? If a blind person chooses to use a guide dog, that is his business, but he has no right to force that dog on other people who do not want it. And any blind person who uses an animal for a guide will have to accept special arrangements for the animal. This is not segregation of the blind, but rather the animal for the protection of the public.

They did not refuse Mike Hingson a seat on the plane, but required that he and his dog sit in a certain place. You may win your case against the airline, but it may spur the public on to outlaw the dogs in certain places. The public has the right to protection, too. Some blind people think only of their own comfort.

Regarding blind teachers: It is a shame and a crying disgrace that children are not taught by their parents to respect their teachers, whether they like the teachers or not. On the other hand, children (by nature) respect only a person who has the upper hand. I think an assertive personality is required for a good teacher. You have to let the students know from the beginning who is the boss in the school room. I felt so angry after reading about the way that blind teacher was treated in Pittsburgh (see Braille Monitor, September, 1981) that I would have liked to have thrashed her students within an inch of their lives. That is the only language that brats like that can understand.

The schools will have to crack down on them, or there will be no teachers left, or schools either. It would be a good idea to inspect students at the door of the school for weapons, drugs, etc., and to allow criminally inclined students to be expelled. In other words we need a little more of the old fashioned discipline instead of all this mealy-mouthed permissiveness. Even animals discipline their young.

If children know you will discipline them, you seldom have to carry out your threat. My children behaved in school and were never disciplined, because they minded their teachers. No, they were not angels, nor were they hoodlums either.

When I was a small child, my father taught me to print and to do other things before I went to school. My sister, who can see, showed me how to sign my name in longhand on checks when the need arose, and I have been doing it ever since. But I know a person with sight could do better than I. Not that they do better than I in every case, but they should be able to make their lines meet better, etc.

Since it is not the parent who teaches the child in school, I do not think they should have the right to decide where their child should go to school. Some parents overestimate their child's ability. It must be terrible for a teacher in the public school to be confronted with a mentally retarded child, or one that has been shielded so much that it is unable to cope with dressing, etc., even if the child has a right mind.

When I went blind at the age of five, my parents encouraged me to go ahead and do most things just as I had before, and they showed me how to do new things. I think my father's experience of four years in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection, along with his experience as a policeman, gave him confidence in the abilities of the blind. My mother was also encouraging.

There are mothers with sight who are not worthy of the name, so I suppose it follows that some blind mothers are in the same boat. Don't authorities need legal grounds for taking children from the parents? Blindness in itself should not constitute legal grounds. Have you ever noticed that some blind people want to have children but do not want to take care of them. The children are just a symbol of their so-called attempt at "normalcy."

Yes, there are all kinds of blind people, and they are not all "independent," etc. You make no allowances for them. It is true that with proper training more blind people could be independent, but there will always be some who (for one reason or another) can never reach complete independence. And that is where you and I part company—because you do not take this into consideration.

How can a deaf-blind person travel if he cannot communicate? The public as a whole cannot understand sign language, and a blind man cannot read lips. This idea of the deaf-blind traveling alone sounds loony. The hard of hearing blind could travel alone with some help. Some deaf-blind people cannot even talk plain.

As you said, NFB has made mistakes but, need it keep on making the same mistakes? I'm glad you have started giving resolutions at the national convention more time and thought. I would like you to make copies of this letter and send it to the different chapters. It will do them good. They need to hear another point of view.

Gertrude Ward

P.S. Ask J. Gashel what a gold card signifies in SSI? What cities in this state have chapters?

New Albany, Indiana
September 20, 1981

U. S. Post Office

Dear Mr. Allen:

Since the summer of 1977 your branch of the post office has been disrupting library service to me.

They have refused to bring my books to me, one such time being when I called it to the attention of former post master Elseworth Hartley in the summer of 1977.

I had to insist that he issue a written order to the foreman of letter carriers that all matter addressed to me (under Public Law 89-522) be delivered to my address of 205 Wainwright Drive.

However, when material was subsequently delivered to me the carrier on route #16 swore at me. The same carrier does not now handle route #16.

Once again, in the fall and winter of 1979-80 the Worldwide Church of God (which distributes The World Tomorrow program to hundreds of radio stations, spends thousands of dollars in postage, and also runs a program under Public Law 89-522) reported to me that they were losing so many tapes that they were going to discontinue the program.

I returned what I had on hand to them and explained that some letter carriers and some clerks did not want to handle materials under said law.

Fanning out from the Pasadena, California post office, with the use of inspectors, they were able to stop the disruption of delivery of their tapes.

Once again, in June of 1981, there was another disruption.

One of your clerks wrote across a magazine "subscriber deceased."

A publication of the Davis Publishing Company, The Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, was returned by your branch and that started a chain action that resulted in the discontinuing of all library services to this address.

I have assumed in the past that said disruptions were due to some misunderstanding or human error, but due to such repeated practices it is clear to me that this is spite action.

Therefore, I am sending copies of this letter to the Louisville Post Office, to the Cincinnati Post Office, to the Davis Publishing Company, to Congressman Lee Hamilton, to the Committee on Postal Affairs of the House and Senate, to the librarian Kurt Cylke of the Library of Congress—Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, and to the Baltimore, Md. office of the National Federation of the Blind.

I hope that matters can be resolved so as not to wind up in Federal Court, but if not then so be it.

Respectfully yours,
William Roberts

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by Joyce Scanlan

(Note: The following article is reprinted from the Minnesota Bulletin, the publication of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota. As Federationists know, Joyce Scanlan is not only a member of the National Board but also President of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota.)

Along with several others, I attended the 1981 convention of the NFB of Iowa the weekend of May 23-25, 1981, in Des Moines. Federationists all around the country have been very concerned about our affiliate in Iowa. The 1980 NFBI Convention (which I attended) was extremely tense. It has seemed clear that the Iowa Commission Director, John Taylor, was exercising tight control on the NFBI President, Sylvester Nemmers; and problems blind persons were having with the state agency were not being dealt with. Blind Iowans were finding themselves totally without an advocate in resolving problems. Orientation Center students lacked support and encouragement; vendors found the licensing agency siding with the building administrators, rather than with the blind vendors when conflicts arose. Mr. Taylor took a "keep a low profile" and "don't rock the boat" approach. He so manipulated the Federation in Iowa that it ceased to function as a viable organization of blind people.

This problem is not of recent origin. Late in 1979 I spoke with Sylvester regarding the possibility that he was not fulfilling his responsibility as president of a consumer organization. In Minnesota we had recently carried out a successful campaign to secure Board seats with the Minneapolis Society for the Blind. We knew that it was essential to maintain a very recognizable separation between the service-providing agency and the consumer advocacy group. The Federation must be in a strong position to serve as monitor and advocate; blind persons must know that the Federation is independent, not the hand-maiden of an agency. At that time Sylvester said to me, "My job is to support Mr. Taylor and to protect his job." Then, at the 1980 Iowa Convention, we saw Mr. Taylor and his Commission staff railroading elections and making every effort to "run the show." Sylvester went along with this and participated in it. During this last year, Sylvester and his primarily Commission staff supporters have become more and more isolated from the grassroots blind population in Iowa and from the national body of the Federation.

As for Mr. Taylor, he has become a typical agency head; we've seen it in Minnesota for years. Perhaps people can't change the way they naturally are, but we've witnessed the pattern of behavior: strictly bureaucratic, ignore the people aspect, take no political risks, "hold the line," and do all you can to keep the blind people under control. Mr. Taylor appeared no longer to be taking input from blind people.

This has not been a pleasant situation for anyone. Blind Federationists in Iowa put up a fight as best they could, but (with their president against them) it was difficult. Thus, it was necessary for the National Board of the Federation to take action. A resolution removing Sylvester from office and directing the reorganization of the affiliate was adopted on May 18 and presented in Iowa at the state convention.

Immediately after the resolution was read at the opening of the Iowa Convention, the separation became obvious; Sylvester, Commission staff people, vendors, and current Orientation Center students left to hold their own meetings. The broad cross section of blind persons, including some vendors and a few Commission staff people, remained with the Federation. There was an atmosphere of hope throughout the convention after the Federation was once again in the hands of blind persons who would make certain it functioned as a true people's movement.

Dr. Jernigan was present at the convention and delivered the banquet address. He had spent 20 years building programs for the blind in Iowa, and this whole situation could not have been easy for him. Yet, he moved forward without anger or bitterness. There was no confrontation. The Iowa problem was resolved in as peaceful a manner as anyone could want. The National Federation of the Blind as a movement has certainly matured, and scenes such as we saw in California and Washington a few years ago will (hopefully) never again be experienced among us.

Elections in Iowa brought Peggy Pinder to the presidency. She is a strong leader but even more important, she is totally free of any Commission domination. She will not have the conflict a vendor might have had. We look forward to working with Peggy, and we pledge to her our support and assistance as we all work to rebuild our Iowa affiliate.

The pattern of an agency for the blind dominating and manipulating certain blind persons is one with which the blind of Minnesota are familiar. We have had to be strong to resist it, but we have learned to fight it effectively with the help of the Federation throughout the country. Three years ago I never would have believed there could be a problem with agency domination and manipulation of the blind in Iowa. Yet, that is what was attempted. It failed. The 1981 convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa was a good convention of a strong affiliate, and those of us from Minnesota who were there were proud to be a part of it.

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by James Gashel

Almost four years ago, President Jernigan handed the reins of the Iowa Commission for the Blind over to John Taylor. This came after two decades of unchecked progress and harmony in the state. But events since have transformed Iowa from a land of hope and promise for the blind to a battleground of war making against the blind and those who still try to serve them. To tell what happened would take a book length article. How could the most exemplary Commission for the Blind in our country now become an unmasked instrument of suppression? There are many answers and theories advanced in response to this often asked question, but the fact of the Iowa Commission's transformation into a hum-drum, typically bureaucratic, and hostile agency is not a matter for doubt or speculation. Nor is there any doubt as to the Commission's new found posture of custodialism over the blind, coupled with its repeated attempts to dominate and control the organized and outspoken blind.

The case of David Dillon exemplifies the Commission's change from a people-oriented, service-motivated agency to an unresponsive, uncaring, and domineering bureaucracy. But even worse, this case shows the tactics of suppression which have been used with brutal force to quiet any dissent or protest from outside or from within the agency. David Dillon was a client, but he believes in the right of the blind to organize without being controlled by an agency. He has paid a price for this belief, but he has not lost courage nor the will to fight. In fact, his determination to be free from agency control is even stronger because of his experience. Here are the details.

On November 10, 1980, David Dillon applied to the Iowa Commission for the Blind for vocational rehabilitation services, after his job at a Des Moines area radio station ended. Dillon had been a newscaster for several months. In the course of his work he had covered stories involving the Iowa Commission for the Blind, and, on some occasions, the reports were critical of the Commission's administration, singling out, for special mention, the Director, John Taylor, and his assistant, Anthony Cobb. Thus, Dillon's newsreporting had apparently become a sore-point with the Commission hierarchy. This is a fair conclusion from what occurred on the afternoon of November 10, 1980, as David Dillon described in his own words.

November 13, 1980

Mr. Nolden Gentry, Chairman
Iowa Commission for the Blind
Des Moines, Iowa

Dear Mr. Gentry:

On November 10, I discussed with you an anonymous phone call I received the evening of November 6. As you will recall from the transcript of that conversation which I provided to you, my caller speculated whether I would receive services from the Iowa Commission for the Blind, now that I had been laid off from KCBC. The caller observed that the Commission had cause not to love me—because of my political beliefs as a member of the National Federation of the Blind.

On November 10, you assured me that if I needed Commission rehabilitation services, I would receive these on the same basis as other Iowans, regardless of my political views. You indicated this was a long-standing Commission policy and that you would make certain it was implemented.

As events have since unfolded, the urgency of Board action on this matter has become acute.

On the afternoon of Monday, November 10, at 1:30 p.m., I came to the Commission and applied for vocational rehabilitation services. The Director of Field Operations, David Quick, assigned me to a counselor, Mike Hicklin. Mr. Hicklin was very courteous and highly professional in taking my application and discussing vocational options and agency services.

I told Mr. Hicklin that I had one very immediate need. I had received no severance pay at the time of my layoff, and expected to have to wait three weeks to begin receiving unemployment benefits. My wife is also out of work, and is receiving benefits at $100 per week. Because we would need my last paycheck and her benefits to live on until my Job Insurance payments began, and because the layoff had been unexpected, I told Mr. Hicklin I would need financial help to pay the November rent of $275.

Mr. Hicklin asked if I would be eligible for SSI, but, in view of my wife's benefits, concluded that I was not. I asked him if the Commission's Gift and Bequest Fund, which I knew to have a balance of $92,000, could be used to help with my rent.

Mr. Hicklin said he would find out. A few minutes later, he told me that these funds were controlled by the Commission Director, John Taylor. I asked Mr. Hicklin if he would go with me to discuss the matter with Mr. Taylor. Mr. Hicklin was agreeable to this.

We both entered the Director's office at approximately 4 p.m. I explained the situation to Mr. Taylor. I asked Mr. Taylor for funding of one month's rent ($275) from the Gift and Bequest account.

Mr. Taylor said there were some problems with going that route. He stated that the Gift and Bequest Fund had never before been used to pay rent, but had been allocated for other emergencies, such as medical expenses. He contended there were policies and guidelines associated with the Fund, and if these were widely stretched, the Comptroller's office might refuse to issue a warrant for the payment. He also said it would take time to get the money—perhaps ten to fourteen days.

Mr. Taylor said he knew a faster way to get at least some of the money, by a personal approach to Lions Clubs in the area. He thought he could raise $200, and asked me if I could get by on that. While I hoped that it might be possible to get the full rent of $275, I told Mr. Taylor that the $200 would indeed help.

But I asked him if we might consider using Gift and Bequest instead of the Lions' money. I explained that my landlord could be persuaded to be patient if he knew the rent would come at a definite time. I expressed concern that we not draw down Lions' resources which might be needed on a crisis basis to meet overall needs of the program. I also preferred not to be a recipient of private charity if state funds were available through the Gift and Bequest account.

Mr. Taylor said that I should let him use his judgment about where to get the money, and that my main concern should be whether I receive the needed funds.

I told Mr. Taylor that I would accept his decision in the matter, and would appreciate the help. I added that I had only wanted to spare Lions' funds if this were possible.

Mr. Taylor said he thought he could arrange for $200 by Tuesday afternoon, and asked me to check back.

I thanked Mr. Taylor for his help, and expected to leave shortly with my family for a church dinner.

At this point the tone and purpose of the meeting changed dramatically. Mr. Taylor said he wanted to offer me what he termed some vocational advice. He said that while I had many "competences" as a writer, that my work tended to suffer when my emotions became involved, and that I should strive harder to be objective, or at least to present the outward appearance of objectivity. He made reference to a number of articles of mine, including pieces on the "Last Hurrah" of the Hotel Commodore and alleged deterioration of services at the Iowa Commission for the Blind. Mr. Taylor added that my tendency to be emotional in my writing could hinder my career and said that many other Des Moines news reporters had told him that I "got wild" when I covered issues relating to the Iowa Commission for the Blind.

I told Mr. Taylor that I was concerned that negative statements about me may have been articulated to other reporters by the Commission Director and Deputy Director. Mr. Taylor replied that this was only a belief on my part, and indicated I had no facts to back it up.

Then Mr. Taylor turned to examples of alleged "Falsehoods" in my writing. He cited an instance in a June, 1980, Planet article, where I had said that a Commission van was used to transport clients favorable to John Taylor to the State Convention of the NFBI.

I told Mr. Taylor that sources I had found generally reliable said at the time it was a Commission van, but I admitted I should have confirmed this. I indicated that I took Mr. Taylor's word that it was a private van, and would allow there had been a mistake. But I stressed that this had been in no way deliberate, and I told Mr. Taylor that I stood behind the central thesis of my article, that there had been undue agency involvement and intervention in the NFBI State Convention which had secured, under great pressure, the re-election of Mr. Taylor's ally, Sylvester Nemmers, to the Iowa NFB presidency.

Conversation was directed by Mr. Taylor to other NFB topics. He said that the way the Orientation Alumni meeting was handled made him no longer certain he wanted to be a Federationist. I replied that I believed he had tried to get control at that meeting, and asked Mr. Taylor whether he thought it appropriate for his ally, Sylvester Nemmers, repeatedly to call me a liar on the floor of the August Des Moines Chapter meeting.

Mr. Taylor said that if one looks up the meaning of liar or lie in the dictionary, it refers to the telling of falsehoods, and had I not done that?

I told Mr. Taylor that I had never knowingly done that, and that he well knew the difference between a mistake and a lie. I asked him whether he considered me a liar, and, if he did so, would he indicate this plainly. Mr. Taylor demurred about the actual use of the word "liar," but a dozen times repeated the word "Falsehood," in regard to my written work, with a machine gun staccato cadence.

He also criticized me for expressing my views that clients were getting hurt in the Orientation program at Emmetsburg, and suggested that only the Commission staff had the facts to make judgments about that.

The entire discussion about "Falsehoods" occurred after our main business had been transacted, and persisted for the better part of an hour in an effort to manipulate me and force my submission.

Since the purpose for my visit had long since been accomplished, I only stayed to listen to Mr. Taylor's remarks out of respect for his office as Commission Director and out of courtesy to him as a person, but I finally told Mr. Taylor that I thought he had gone too far. True, I needed the rent money, but I told Mr. Taylor I should not have to get it at the cost of my integrity. I told Mr. Taylor that if the funds were to be purchased at the price of my dignity, I should have to refuse them. Mr. Taylor said he would go ahead and get the money, and it would be up to me whether to take it or not. Mr. Hicklin and I then left. Mr. Hicklin had sat with me through the whole two hour proceeding.

As we all went outside into the hall, I told John Taylor that my integrity mattered to me. He replied that to get money it did not make any difference whether I had integrity or not, but only whether I had need.

I missed my church dinner, for it was now past 6:30 p.m. Later Monday evening, I found out that Jim Gashel, the Washington, D.C. representative of the National Federation of the Blind, was in Des Moines. I contacted Mr. Gashel and told him what had transpired and asked him to represent me in dealing with Mr. Taylor.

On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Gashel and I spent fifteen minutes with Mr. Taylor. Mr. Taylor said that $200 of Lions money would be sent to my landlard. Mr. Gashel asked on my behalf that the Commission help with the entire rent, including the remaining $75. Mr. Gashel noted the $92,000 in the Gift and Bequest account. He also said it had been past Commission policy to help with short-term cash needs of clients. Mr. Taylor said he would have a reply to that request by Thursday afternoon.

Mr. Taylor refrained from disparagement while Mr. Gashel was in the office.

It is true that Commission services were provided, and I acknowledge this. But it is also true that I had to suffer repeated demeaning statements and attacks on my integrity in the process. I felt intensely degraded and cheapened by this entire experience with Mr. Taylor. The price of receiving services appears to be humiliation and condemnation.

As a blind Iowan I feel I have a legitimate right to services which are normally provided by the Commission within its legal responsibilities which are mandated under Federal and State rules and regulations. Further, from time to time, (and currently), the services which I require involve personal assistance with finding and retaining employment; these are services which I have a right to expect as do other blind persons. Under the circumstances, and with specific reference to Mr. Taylor's behavior toward me on Monday, November 10, I feel I am entitled to an explanation of Commission policy in response to the following questions: (1) Is humiliation and condemnation of my political views in conformance with policies of the Commission? Please cite specific Board adopted policies, if any, which have been enunciated on this point and provide a copy of the relevant portion of Commission minutes or other documents which set forth such policies. (2) What are the guidelines and procedures for disbursements from the Gift and Bequest Fund administered by the Commission? Please provide a copy of the guidelines, if any, along with the date of their enactment. (3) Has the Gift and Bequest Fund been used in the past to pay rent for blind individuals in need of this assistance on a short-term basis, and does any policy of the Commission preclude using the fund for this purpose?

We have come to a regrettable condition in Iowa if the powers and resources of the state's vocational rehabilitation agency are to be used to deprive citizens of their freedom of conscience and personal worth. I urge that this situation be addressed on the agenda of the November 17th Commission Board meeting and be remedied at once.

My family has roots in Iowa, and my ideals were formed in this land of boundless horizons and infinite belief in the dignity of men and women. I will not allow any state agency to fetter my spirit or shackle my conscience. I will not be reduced to second-class citizenship through agency pressure or intimidation.

Sincerely yours,
David Dillon

It is not reported whether Commission Chairman Gentry ever responded to this letter, or more specifically, to the questions raised at the end of it. But, on November 17, 1980, the Dillon matter went before the entire Commission Board, since John Taylor had declined to provide Mr. Dillon with the additional $75.00 he needed to meet his November rent. The outcome of that meeting and an account of some background events surrounding the incident appeared in the Des Moines Register on Tuesday morning, November 18. As usual, the Register article is not wholly accurate—for example, in its characterization of the Federation as an "agency." Given the Register's record of bias, it is more than fair to conclude that there was an attempt being made to suggest some impropriety or outside meddling on the part of the Federation in Iowa affairs. Even so, the remainder of the article, with only slight exceptions, is an overall accurate account of what occurred at the Commission meeting held the previous day in Des Moines. Here is the article from the Register.

Blind agencies argue over Taylor, fund

by Roger Moore
Register Staff Writer

Bickering between state and national agencies serving the blind erupted again Monday with charges that the Iowa Commission for the Blind's director uses his control over state funds to punish his critics.

James Gashel, director of governmental affairs for the National Federation of the Blind, said that John Taylor, head of Iowa's blind agency, refused adequate state aid to a man who is legally blind and is a former area radio reporter and frequent critic of Taylor.

Taylor immediately denied the charge and said he would make a full report to the commission over the incident involving former reporter David Dillon.

According to accounts offered by Gashel, Dillon and Taylor, Dillon had approached Taylor for state aid to meet his November rent payment.

Dillon, who routinely covered commission affairs for KCBC Radio, said he lost his job on October 31 and needed $275 to pay the November rent on an apartment he and his wife share at 685 Twentieth Street.

At the commission's regular meeting on Monday, Gashel said that Taylor lectured Dillon about allegedly biased and inaccurate reporting and offered to find him only $200.

Gashel said Dillon had asked that the money come from a $94,000 gift and bequest fund the agency keeps. But he said Taylor told Dillon it would take too long to get the money from the fund and he didn't believe Dillon was eligible for that money.

"But we checked the records of that fund," Gashel said, noting that there are no written guidelines controlling the fund and that previously money had been granted from it in as short a period as four days.

Ultimately Taylor secured a $200 gift from a private charitable organization and had the check sent directly to Dillon's landlord.

Taylor conceded that he had a brief conversation with Dillon about the accuracy of his news reports. But he said his comments were offered in the sense of vocational rehabilitation, a state program for the blind which he had suggested Dillon take part in.

He also said the $200 figure was agreed upon by both him and Dillon. He said Dillon's wife was drawing about $100 a week in unemployment, making it possible for the couple to pay the remaining $75 of the rent.

Nolden Gentry, commission chairman, and Commissioner Richard Crawford told Taylor he should attempt to find the additional $75 needed by Dillon and also should propose a set of guidelines for the bequest fund.

"The guidelines are needed so Mr. Taylor, or any other director, can have the protection that decisions are made on a rational basis, rather than as has been charged today," Gentry said.

Dillon has a $70,618 lawsuit pending in Polk Country District Court against the Blind Commission's cafeteria operator, who named a ground turkey sandwich after him.

The court action was taken after Marilyn Johnson, head of the cafeteria at the Commission offices at Fourth Street and Keosauqua Way, created a bologna and turkey sandwich, calling it the "Baltimore."

The petition says the sandwich was intended to slight the National Federation of the Blind, which is based in Baltimore and of winch Dillon is a member.

Some members of the Iowa chapter of the federation have been feuding with the commission's administration. Kenneth Jernigan, a former director of the state commission, resigned in 1977 and moved to Baltimore during a controversy involving his ties with the national group.

Dillon, the suit contends, objected to the name of the sandwich, and soon afterward a "Dillon" sandwich appeared on the menu.

Although the Des Moines Register is not likely ever to write any article about the Federation without innuendo and bias, the piece just quoted is (with a few notable exceptions) fairly straightforward and accurate. In fact, by Des Moines Register standards it is a model of truth and objectivity. Of course, Dr. Jernigan did not leave Iowa in 1977 but in 1978, and the "controversy" mentioned in the article was largely created by the Register itself. However, as has been said, by Register standards, the article is exemplary.

In passing, it will be noted that Commission Chairman Gentry and member Crawford instructed Taylor to make an effort to find Dillon the additional $75.00. This was a gentle way of reversing Taylor's original decision to deny Dillon the full amount that he needed. Under the Taylor plan, Dillon was to be paid $200.00 in the form of a charitable contribution from the Urbandale Lions' Club. This was done in mid-November by way of a check paid directly from the Lions to Mr. Dillon's landlord. A few days later, subsequent to the Commission's reversal of Taylor's decision, Mr. Dillon received the additional $75.00 which came in the form of John Taylor's personal check. It is only a matter of conjecture as to whether Taylor took the money from his own pocket as yet another form of charity and a further means of demeaning Mr. Dillon, or whether he got the money from the Lions or some other group and only pretended to give it himself to humiliate and embarrass. We do not know and can only speculate. What we do know, however, is that it took a formal protest and a public airing of Mr. Dillon's personal affairs in order for him to obtain a type of assistance which the Commission has had a long-standing practice of providing for people in circumstances similar to his. In fact, although the Des Moines Register did not report it, we placed before the Commission the indisputable evidence that Taylor was using favoritism in dispersing from the agency's Gift and Bequest Fund. For example, only a month before Mr. Dillon's request for assistance from the Fund to pay his rent, another blind person received the exact same service, with no hassle and no public protest. Yet, Mr. Taylor had tried to explain to Mr. Dillon that the "guidelines" for the Gift and Bequest Fund would not permit him to dispense money to help blind people pay their rent. The evidence was plainly on the record and it could not be ignored. Mr. Taylor had been caught red handed, and he knew it. Maybe this had something to do with the personal check of $75.00 he sent to Mr. Dillon pursuant to the Board's directive. Who can say for sure?

But if life as a client of the Commission has become at times almost like a nightmare, imagine what it must be to work there on a daily basis, especially knowing what the agency formerly was, what it has now become, and what it is doing to violate all of the ideals and traditions which built it, as well as the harm it is doing to the lives of the blind of the state—the very people who were principally responsible for building it, who cherished and loved it, and who now grieve for its dishonor and shame and betrayal of ideals.

There are widespread fear and discontent among the staff—a staff which has a proud tradition of independence, service, and human dignity. The Commission administration has ground the staff down to the point that most of them are docile and outwardly supportive of John Taylor most of the time, but resentment constantly seethes just beneath the surface. There is an atmosphere of tension, factionalism, and hatred.

A number of the women on the staff have brought a lawsuit against the Taylor administration, alleging that women and minority groups are discriminated against in hiring and promotions. The record would seem to support their claims.

Elsie Grove (who is a Federation member and who has refused to follow the Taylor line and turn against all that the Commission has stood for through the years) has been subjected to harassment and abuse. When she found her supervisor violating announced Commission policy and blew the whistle on him, she was "transferred" to another department of the agency. The "transfer" was not a transfer at all but clearly a demotion. In an illegally held closed meeting her appeal was discussed in violation of state law, and an attempted cover-up has been underway ever since. Mrs. Grove first tried to get justice through an administrative appeal, but when (as could have been expected) that failed, she took the matter to court. The case is now pending. In the atmosphere of repression and abuse which now prevails at the Commission, it might have been expected that no staff member would dare come forward at the administrative hearing to testify in Mrs. Grove's behalf. It is significant that some did.

Among other things, Mrs. Grove is asking the court to require the Taylor forces to provide a tape which they have in their possession of the illegally held closed meeting at which the Grove matter was admittedly discussed. As in another famous case, the concealed tape recording may ultimately play a key part in the full exposure and the fall of those who are responsible. The more stubbornly they refuse to let the tape be heard, the more one has to wonder what they have to hide and what the tape of the closed meeting really contains.

Reporting on matters such as these is not a pleasant assignment for the Monitor. Nonetheless, there is an obligation to do so, since for so many years we looked to the Iowa Commission for the Blind as the model agency in this country. In several ways, although it was an agency housed within the executive branch of the government of the state of Iowa, the Commission was a partner with us in building better services for the blind on a national scale. This was not merely because President Jernigan was our leader, as well as being Director of the Commission in Iowa for twenty years. The citizens of Iowa, the governor, and the legislature took pride in leading the nation in the improvement of conditions for the blind. Throughout the agency, itself, there was a proud feeling, as well as an atmosphere of harmony. Working at the Commission for the Blind in Iowa was truly regarded as an honor by most and seen as part of a total effort to give hope to the blind of the entire country.

Now all of that has come to an abrupt and unhappy ending. This is a tragedy for the blind everywhere. All of us had a serious stake in the Commission's success in Iowa, yet despite our determined efforts to salvage the program from ruin, it has come crashing down amid a crisis of leadership in the agency which no one would ever have predicted three years ago.

The building still stands at 4th and Keosauqua Way in Des Moines, but the agency which lived there and helped to lead the way as a model for programs for the blind for the nation and the world is dead. Agencies which truly help the blind are built on love and compassion—not hatred and bitterness. And leaders of those agencies do not try to dominate or control the blind; but rather, work as partners and equals with us. Above all, such agency directors treat the blind with respect and dignity, not wanting to demean or belittle. This philosophy was the essential framework supporting what some had come to call the "miracle of Iowa. But now the philosophy is gone, for the leaders who were handed the reins did not have the courage or capacity to keep the trust which they were given by the rest of us. What more can one say—we mourn the passing of this agency. But any agency can be rebuilt—all we need are the people, the will, and the tools to do it.

The Taylor era in Iowa is close to its end. This is as certain as the dissension, the hate, and the repression which he has created. It can only be hoped that he will not take the Commission and all of its service programs with him to destruction. He is obviously a bitter, insecure, disappointed, and frightened man. When the test came, he failed to meet it. Instead of blame, one can only feel sorrow at his posturing, his shame, his pretensions, his lashing out, his betrayal of the blind of the nation, and his total inability to cope.

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by Kenneth Jernigan

On the weekend of November 7, 1981, I had another visual proof of our growing strength and momentum. It was the tenth anniversary of the reorganization and revitalization of the Connecticut affiliate, and I went to join the celebration. Junerose Killian had arranged a busy schedule for Friday morning, November 6, so I arrived the night before.

We started in New Haven at 8:30 Friday morning with a thirty-minute interview on Connecticut Public Radio. Then, it was a fast drive to Hartford for a news conference on the steps of the state Capitol. After that, it was lunch with a reporter from the Hartford Courant. Next, we went to Vernon, which is fifteen miles out of Hartford and the place where the convention was to be held. Early Friday evening we drove back to Hartford for a two-hour talk show and interview which Jackie Billey had arranged on WTIC, one of New England's most powerful radio stations. We had calls from Massachusetts, as well as from Connecticut.

Friday, November 6, was quite a day for the blind of Connecticut, and we had much to celebrate. At the Capitol in Hartford I was presented with a proclamation from the Governor declaring November to be National Federation of the Blind Month in Connecticut. As Federationists will remember, the Governor of Washington proclaimed June to be National Federation of the Blind Month in that state, and the Governor of Maryland followed suit by proclaiming July to be National Federation of the Blind Month in that state. Now, it has happened in Connecticut. The proclamation reads:


By His Excellency William A. O 'Neill,
Governor: an

Official Statement

Through the years, many organizations have developed programs to promote self-sufficiency and pride among blind persons.

The National Federation of the Blind has long been committed to this concern. Today, the Federation is represented by 50,000 members nationwide who continue to work to secure equal rights and opportunities for the blind.

The Connecticut affiliate to the National Federation of the Blind, now in its tenth year, stands at the forefront in meeting the needs of our blind people. Its members offer services such as mobility training courses, vocational rehabilitation, public education and counseling.

In an effort to aid in the self-sufficiency of the blind, the National Federation of the Blind in Connecticut helps to obtain employment for the blind through JOB, its "Job Opportunities for the Blind" program.

In addition, the Federation is an advocate for equal rights of the blind under state law: the rights of employment, to rent or purchase housing, to travel on public thoroughfares and conveyances, and to obtain access to public places.

Included in this record of accomplishment is the important role the Federation played in the enactment of the White Cane Law in 1973. The white cane has become an easily-identifiable instrument helping the visually impaired to find a safe and clear path, and it alerts pedestrians and drivers to the approach of a blind person.

This year, the National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut will hold its annual convention in conjunction with its 10th Anniversary. Connecticut welcomes the National President, Kenneth Jernigan, who will be participating in the statewide convention.

In tribute to the dedicated members of the National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut, and in recognition of then-vital and worthwhile work, I am pleased to designate November, 1981 as National Federation of the Blind Month in Connecticut.

William A. O'Neill

No other group in our field has (to the best of my belief and knowledge) ever had the governor of a state set aside a month to honor and recognize its accomplishments. Yet, in 1981 three governors saw fit to pay such tribute to the Federation. The actions speak for themselves, and the Connecticut proclamation hangs proudly on the wall at the National Headquarters in Baltimore.

On Saturday, November 7, the convention was in session, and Reverend Howard May presided with dignity and wit. A delegation was present from Rhode Island. They were led by Ed Beck, the energetic President of the Rhode Island affiliate.

The Saturday night banquet was attended by something over a hundred people, and it underscored the vigor and enthusiasm of the Connecticut affiliate. PAC Plan pledges were increased by almost $100.00 per month, and there was all of the hope and optimism for the future which one expects to find at the banquet of a Federation affiliate.

On Sunday morning there was a Board meeting, and it was as upbeat as the rest of the weekend. Plans were made for increased funding, membership recruitment, and general activity.

I came away from the convention feeling tremendously uplifted and stimulated. The Federation is in good hands in Connecticut, and I think there is little doubt that the organization will grow and prosper. There is a great deal of both leadership and ability: Jim Ahearn, the unassuming but solid First Vice President; Mary Main, who is younger at 78 than most people at 48; Bruce Woodward, the competent Treasurer; George Eltgroth, the common sense lawyer who was elected to the state board during the convention; Mary Brunoli, warm and generous; Sally Prentice, vibrant and alert; Junerose Killian, as persistent and determined as they come; Jackie Billey, quiet and filled with purpose and understanding; and Reverend May and Joyce Lebowitz and Ben Snow and Keith Perrin and so many others that I cannot possibly mention them all—and, therefore, probably should not have mentioned any. The overall impression of the NFB of Connecticut is unity, purpose, and determination to improve the lives of the blind.

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by Ellen Robertson

The annual convention of the New York state affiliate was held in Elmira, New York on October 9, 10, and 11. Our hosts were the members of our Chemung County Chapter. This year we celebrated our twenty-fifth anniversary.

Our convention began on Friday evening, October 9, with our Board meeting to be followed by a delightful night of hospitality hosted by Chemung County.

We started our general session on Saturday morning, highlighted by a report from Jim Gashel, our national representative, which covered the work that NFB is doing in Washington, D.C. and around the country in various court cases.

On Saturday afternoon we had a chance to talk at length with the Director of the Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped in our state about several concerns we have had about the Commission over the last year. We also discussed potential problems that may arise due to future budget cuts.

On Saturday evening we had a great banquet which was in the form of a birthday party for our affiliate. Mr. Gashel, our guest speaker, gave a great speech and joined in the celebration.

We held elections of state officers on Sunday morning. Our officers are as follows:

President: David Stayer
First Vice President: Sterling France
Second Vice President: Orpha Farr
Secretary: Ellen Robertson
Treasurer: Betty Bator

On Sunday afternoon we spoke with representatives of our state library about some of the problems that we are encountering with library service. We also enjoyed hearing from some of our own members on how the affiliate got started and some of the history of the affiliate that has preceded us. We also discussed future goals of the affiliate and of the blind in general. The convention gave us a chance to look toward the future as well as to learn something about where we came from.

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by Anna Marklund

(Note: Anna Marklund is an active member of the National Federation of the Blind of South Dakota. She lives twelve miles outside of Rapid City, and she is 80 years old; but this does not stop her from getting to chapter meetings. She submits the following two recipes and sends with them her best wishes for the new year to all Federationists throughout the country.)


½ pound fresh mushrooms
½ cup soft margarine
10 slices bread, crusts trimmed off
8 oz. mild cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2½ cups milk
8 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dry mustard
4 drops Worcestershire sauce
8 oz. cooked bulk sausage (ham or bacon pieces may be substituted)

Day Before: Grease 3 qt. casserole dish, butter both sides of bread. Place in dish. Sprinkle on cheese. Pour milk over all. Refrigerate several hours. Combine eggs, spices, and meat. Pour over cheese and milk mixture. Refrigerate covered overnight. Top with sliced mushrooms just before baking. Bake at 375 degrees for one hour, covered. Bake uncovered 15 minutes.

This recipe serves 10. Good for a brunch.


This may be made in four layers or three. May add or omit the chocolate layer.

First Layer:
1 stick margarine
1 cup flour
½ cup crushed nuts

Cut margarine into flour. Add nuts. Pat into 9 inch by 13 inch greased pan or 2 eight inch square pans. Bake 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Oven cool.

Second Layer:
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup powered sugar
10 oz. carton cool whip or package dream whip and milk made as per directions

Soften cheese. Cream the cream cheese and powdered sugar until very smooth. Fold in cool whip. Spread on cooled crust.

Third Layer:
2 small boxes instant chocolate fudge pudding
3 cups milk

Mix as per directions on pudding box. Spread over second layer.

Fourth Layer:
2 small boxes instant pistachio pudding
3 cups milk

Mix as per directions on box. Spread over third layer. Top with nuts or cool whip and chill.

NOTE: I have made half of this recipe with a small package of cream cheese and small cool whip in 8" square pan. This may also be frozen and eaten in a semi-frozen state.

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Protracted Illness:

Russell Thompson is a long-time Federationist and has attended many national conventions. For quite some time he has been battling a serious muscular disease. He and his wife Gail live at: 2427 Edison Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48206. Russ would be pleased to have cards or letters from Federationists throughout the country.

From Richard Brocks:

I have a TSI Game Center that is less than one year old. It is complete with all cables, instruction manuals and headphones. I am asking $700.00 including UPS shipping. I also have a TSI Speech Plus Talking Calculator for $250.00 It is still under warranty. Please contact me at: 15806 Fern way Road, Shaker Heights, OH 44120; (216) 752-0355.

Student Division, Massachusetts:

The Student Division of the National Federation of the Blind of Massachusetts announces the results of its election of officers held on October 18, 1981. Jalil Mortazavi of Avington, Massachusetts was elected as president. Karen Glazbrook, of Quincy was elected as vice president. Paul Burkhardt from Leominster is the new secretary, and Vicky Crowley, from Watertown, is serving as treasurer.

From the October, 1981, Month's News, the official publication of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois:


In light of the serious questions we have raised about accountability and the total lack of authority of the alleged Illinois Bureau for the Blind, a speech about Reaganomics and the state of the state could be construed as ducking the issue. Our problem with the Department is not that it refuses to spend bucks on the blind; it is that the Department insists on passing the buck whenever we ask for clear policy decisions. The blind may not like it, but we can live with cuts in funding for our services. We will not meekly tolerate fragmented decision making and a Bureau which seems to have been created to placate the consumer, frustrate the professional, and hoodwink the legislature.

From the NFB of Illinois:


The 1981 Illinois General Assembly passed H.B. 874, a bill which exempts handicapped students from competency tests required of the nonhandicapped. Instead, the handicapped student must fulfill the terms of his individualized education program which is developed each year. The Federation opposes the concept embodied in H.B. 874. We sent a resolution to that effect (81-08) to Governor Thompson, who replied that our views would be taken into account. The bill was signed and will become effective next year.

From the NFB of Illinois:

Ten riders braved torrential downpours to take part in the Prairie State bike-a-thon on Saturday, September 26. All ten completed the twenty-four mile course and brought in a combined total of $1,500 for the Federation. White Cane Safety Day results were truly gratifying. Our Chicago Chapter distributed five thousand literature packets at Union Station. Seven of the thirteen Sangamon Valley members worked on the Springfield Mall during the lunch hour. By the time they were through, one thousand people had heard about the NFB. Our newest Sangamon Valley members, Bob and Phyllis Pipes, drove from Decatur to take part.

From Allen Schaefer, Mazon, Illinois:

Again this year our NFBI Prairie State Chapter and the Mazon State Bank cooperated in a White Cane Safety Day commercial. This commercial was broadcast all day October 13 on WCSJ AM and FM. You may keep the enclosed cassette as another example of how the NFB and a commercial institution can team up to proclaim our message far and wide. "Sammy Bear" is the bank mascot and spokesman. We have our NFBI state accounts at the Mazon State Bank and they have grown to be loyal supporters of our movement. We work at it every day, and it is paying off.

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