MARCH, 1982








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."




MARCH 1982


by Kenneth Jernigan



by Scott H. Lewis

by James Gashel


by James Gashel


by Mary Ellen Anderson & Diane McGeorge


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


by Kenneth Jernigan

In 1953 I went to the San Francisco Bay area to work at the California Orientation Center for the Blind. Pretty much I had a free hand at doing whatever I thought would be helpful in assisting our students (or, if you like, trainees) in overcoming the problems of blindness and becoming independent, worthwhile, self-supporting citizens. It seemed to me that blindness itself (the lack of eyesight) was not the primary barrier. It was on that premise that I built my teaching techniques and achieved whatever success I achieved.

I thought then (and I still think) that the real problems of blindness have to do with the attitudes of the sighted towards blind people and (because we are part of the total culture) our own attitudes as blind people toward ourselves—attitudes that we have learned from the larger society in which we live. All of this sounds deceptively simple, but it is not. It is really quite complex. If it is true, almost everything we have done and thought about blindness (every social program, every rehabilitation effort, every book and lecture) needs rethinking and restructuring.

The question was how to get a handle on it—how to do something about it, how to translate it into action and results. To begin with, there were certain techniques which needed to be learned, not just for themselves but as part of the total process. The learning of these techniques (or skills) was a way to get the blind person moving, doing something, and setting goals.

Then, there was the next step: helping the blind person come to believe (emotionally as well as intellectually) that he or she could function on terms of real equality with the sighted. This second step was much harder than the first. It presupposed mastery of techniques, but it recognized that the techniques might not be exactly those used by the sighted. They might be alternative techniques. It will be observed that I use the word "alternative" not "substitute," for "substitute" implies inferiority, and the alternative techniques of blindness need not be inferior, just different. In fact, the concept implies not a single technique but at times an entire system or totally new approach. Some of the individual techniques in the system might be inferior to given sighted techniques, some equal, and some superior; but the system as a whole ( the approach and the method) could be just as effective, just as competitive, and just as satisfying as anything done by the sighted. Revolutionary indeed! In those days (although many people in the field mouthed some of the words) very few believed the philosophy; still fewer articulated it; and almost nobody truly followed it to its logical conclusions, demonstrating that they actually understood.

But there was still a third component of the system—something without which the other two would be incomplete. Even if the blind person mastered the techniques and came to have the belief that he or she could compete on terms of equality with the sighted, he or she might still fail unless public attitudes were taken into account—the effect of those attitudes upon the blind person and the need to do something about changing the attitudes of society at large.

In fact, if the blind person was to become fully integrated into normal society, it was necessary for him or her to look beyond himself or herself and do something to help others. This is a basic component of the well adjusted human being. It is necessary not only to receive but also to give. It is not dependence or independence but interdependence (community with others) which completes the circle.

Thus, we come to the National Federation of the Blind. If the student at the Orientation Center was to become a happy and productive member of society, that student must learn the proper techniques, develop confidence and belief in his or her normality and capacity for full equality, and understand the importance of recognizing and dealing with the mistaken attitudes about blindness—those of the public, and also his or her own. As a part of this process, the student must learn to do something to help others—something which would also help him or her at the same time. The one thing which fits the definition most closely is the National Federation of the Blind.

The Federation encourages the student to move abroad in the land and participate in activities, thus helping develop and utilize the techniques and skills of blindness. It instills belief and confidence by allowing the student to meet those who are doing and achieving: scientists, farmers, teachers, factory workers, homemakers, secretaries, and lawyers. Furthermore, it constantly works to change and improve public attitudes and the attitudes of its own members. Beyond all of this the Federation provides a means whereby the student can do something meaningful to help others—not just himself or herself (although that, too) but others. It provides that best of all mixtures, help for oneself and help for other people—self-advancement and assistance to others, interdependence, and a shared goal. Moreover, the goal is not esoteric or manufactured. It is as important as the lives and destinies of every blind person in the land. Upon its achievement depend the ultimate success and full citizenship of every blind person in the country—not only in this generation but in the years ahead.

For this reason I always taught Federationism as a central core of my classes and work with students at the California Orientation Center. I believe it was a key factor in the success which was achieved. In other words, by the time I left California I was fully convinced that a successful orientation center could not exist (at least, not a fully successful one) unless it worked closely with the National Federation of the Blind and encouraged its students to be part of the movement.

When I went to Iowa in 1958, I took this philosophy with me. It was the cornerstone of the program we built and the national recognition we received. It was a key factor in the full lives which the graduates of that program have led and are leading. In my opinion the abandonment of the close working relationship with the Federation is one of the principal reasons why the Iowa Commission for the Blind has now degenerated into ruin and ineffectiveness. Of course, some say that, although the actual contact with the Federation has been broken, the philosophy is still practiced. The best answer to this argument comes from the scriptures: "Faith without works is dead." Actually, without works any claim to faith is false and meaningless.

One of my students in Iowa was Donovan Cooper. He seemed to have a reasonably good understanding of the philosophy of the Orientation Center and the central role which the National Federation of the Blind necessarily played in it. It may be (time alone will tell) that that understanding was firmly rooted and will continue through a lifetime. It may be that the defection of John Taylor, who was given the trust of carrying on the traditions of the Iowa program and who failed in that job and brought ruin to the Commission, blurred Donovan Cooper's perspective and did permanent damage. Certainly there are more than a few Iowans who fall into that category. It is a testimonial to the strength and truth of the philosophy that so many do not.

In any case Donovan Cooper is a decent and capable individual. After he left the Iowa Commission for the Blind, he secured employment at Drake University in Des Moines. We worked together as colleagues on Federation and other matters.

Then, he accepted a position with the Nebraska agency for the blind. Disturbing rumors (I emphasize rumors) reached me that he was neutralizing out in his Federation activities and talking a great deal about "professionalism," as if the two somehow could be in conflict. His title was "Program Administrator," and he worked with student seminars and other such. He appeared to be less active in the Federation than he had been in Iowa. Some people seem (just as certain blacks did a number of years ago) to go through this immaturity phase before gaining full perspective. In any case perhaps the appearance was more surface than real, more temporary than permanent. Be that as it may, Donovan Cooper has now left Nebraska to move to California. I am not sure what (if any) job he now holds. I hope and believe that his stability, Federationism, and good sense will be the dominant traits in the new life he is building.

In the summer of 1981 (while he was still Program Administrator at the Nebraska Agency) he helped conduct a workshop for students. Among others, Curtis Chong of Minnesota was invited to be a participant. Apparently Curtis' presentation caused Donovan to do soul searching and serious thinking. In any case he followed up the meeting with a letter of explanation and question.

Curtis Chong is about as solid as they come. He may not be flamboyant or ultra-dramatic, but he has his head on straight; and he knows what he thinks. The exchange of letters between Donovan and Curtis puts a great deal into perspective:

Lincoln, Nebraska
August 19, 1981

Dear Curtis:

Thank you for your participation in our third annual Student Workshop. While we had a full program of fine guest speakers, I believe (and the evaluation forms may soon confirm) that your presentation stood out as the most highly regarded presentation of the day. I certainly enjoyed it as it confirmed my own experience in college and in the subsequent world of work. Your message that a working blind person needs to be prepared for a variety of contingencies, with and without specialized technology, is a most important message which I hope those in attendance will take seriously. I only regret that we did not have a greater portion of our clients in attendance. We will have to work on that problem and see what we can do to improve the situation.

We got some press coverage from the reporter who was there. Mike Adams may have already sent you a copy of the article which appeared in the local newspaper. Note that your comments appear at the top of the article. This is yet another indication of their significance.

I also appreciated your questions and comments directed at other guest speakers. Here again, your willingness to share your experience added worthy commentary to preceedings.

There is one matter which deserves clarification before it becomes any more than a nagging thought in the back of my mind. Don't worry. I find no fault with anything you said, nor for that matter with anything I said regarding the attainment of success. But I perceived that your comments were in response to mine and our comments may seem, to some, to conflict. I don't think so. I mentioned, in my introduction some of the things which you have achieved which are generally recognized as symbols of a successful life in America. In your presentation, you countered by saying that while it was true that you had achieved these things in your personal life, you did not consider them success because of the degrading things to which you and virtually all other blind persons are subjected. You are right in calling attention to these problems and to this perspective. As Doctor Jernigan has said, "it depends on how you look at it. Our cup is either half full or half empty." I chose, in this instance, to focus on that portion of our cup which is full while you pointed out that portion which is still empty. I chose to try to motivate the individuals in the room according to some commonly accepted principles of motivation which focus on individual achievement. You properly directed some of their concerns beyond the symbols of individual gratification and to the larger social arena which so dramatically effects our ability to achieve. I emphasize individual attainment and application of talents while you promoted a collective consciousness and a corresponding application of talents to our collective good.

I am glad that you said what you said and I hope that our comments, taken together, will be seen as a comprehensive image of what it takes to succeed as a blind person. We both know the reasons for, and the means by which, improvement in the social status of the blind is necessary. We also know that it takes highly motivated and talented individuals to lead any large scale effort at social change. Together, I hope that we reinforced the collective conscience of the group and thus presented a partial justification for their work; and that we also raised their expectations that, by their work, they can experience their rightful share of the "good life."

Curtis, with your wisdom, skill, and determination to make life better for blind persons and for your family, I think your cup is far fuller than you realize. I am grateful that you could share a portion of its contents with us last Friday.

Donovan Cooper
Program Administrator

Minneapolis, Minnesota
September 8, 1981

Dear Donovan:

I have received your letter dated August 19, 1981, and I thank you for it.

I would first of all like to thank you for asking me to participate in the third annual student workshop. I enjoyed the program immensely. Like you, I feel that such undertakings are of tremendous importance to blind students. Blind students need an opportunity to share information, exchange ideas with other blind people, and to hear from their agency exactly what services they can expect to receive as they become self-supporting and contributing members of society. It is unfortunate that more agencies for the blind do not recognize the value of such workshops.

I would like to take this opportunity to respond to your reference with regard to our cup being either half empty or half full. Let me first emphasize that my remarks with regard to my not perceiving myself as a "successful blind person" were not made as a challenge to anything you might have said earlier on in the program. Rather, they represented an honest attempt on my part to get the students to recognize that success, as we normally perceive it, cannot really be enough for today's average blind person. As long as one of us continues to be discriminated against in employment, as long as one of us has to deal with well-meaning but obstructive airline officials who insist upon trying to take our canes away, and as long as one of us is regarded as a second-class citizen, none of us as blind people (no matter how well-endowed with the traditional trappings of success) is really going to be regarded as an equal in our society. Indeed, if everyone in the National Federation of the Blind whom we regard as "successful" were to be satisfied with just that, the Federation as a movement would not have achieved the stature and the recognition it has today.

Our "cup" as blind people is indeed much fuller than it was in 1940, when a scattering of seven state affiliates brought the National Federation of the Blind into being. For us as blind people not to recognize how far we have come is, to say the least, misguided and irresponsible thinking. On the other hand, the same can be said if we fail to recognize how far we have yet to go on our long road to first-class citizenship and equal status.

It seems to me that an agency for the blind (if it is to be an effective agency which can be supported by the blind) has two broad functions to perform. The first is to help blind people achieve what we would normally refer to as "success"—that is, the acquisition of competitive and gainful employment and a positive philosophy of blindness that will allow a blind person to take his or her rightful place in the community as a first-class citizen. Secondly, it behooves a good agency for the blind to work to raise the consciousness of blind people in order that they will recognize the broad problems confronting the blind and the value of self-organization and collective action to solve these problems. A good agency for the blind, as I see it, makes blind people aware of the sociological and other problems confronting the blind: discrimination, second-class status, stereotypes concerning the blind, and all the rest. In addition, it works to show blind people that the only way to solve these problems is through collective action and self-organization. Inasmuch as the National Federation of the Blind is the only effective organization of the blind in the field, blind people need to become aware of the Federation and what it has to offer as well as what each person can and should contribute to the Federation.

Donovan, I realize that my "cup" is indeed quite full. I have a respectable job and a fine family. Moreover, I believe that I am a normal person who happens to be blind. However, for me, this is not enough. As long as one blind person is thought of by society as inferior, as long as one blind person is refused the right to enter a college or university simply because of blindness, and as long as the blind as a group are not treated as first-class citizens, I have a responsibility as a blind person to work to change what it means to be blind in this country. I recognize full well that I would not have what I have today if it were not for the efforts of thousands of other blind people who gave of their time and energy to improve the status of the blind.

I sincerely enjoyed participating in the student workshop. I plan to see to it that Minnesota conducts a similar workshop in the very near future.

Curtis Chong

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With increasing frequency governmental bodies and the public-at-large are recognizing the value of the organized blind movement in helping the blind achieve better lives. Such an instance occurred recently in Hawaii. The following document is self-explanatory. It gives testimony to the vigor and initiative of our Hawaii affiliate:

Resolution No. 256 81

WHEREAS, the Big Island Federation of the Blind received its initial charter in August 1980 and is now a chapter of the Hawaii Federation of the Blind, an affiliate of the National Federation; and

WHEREAS, it is the intent of these Federations to seek legislation and to promote rules and regulations beneficial to them which can improve upon the public's attitude towards the blind and to provide organizational support outlets for self-introspection, a needed element to properly assist in addressing the concerns of the blind; and

WHEREAS, as a result of the Federations' continuing activities to achieve their goals, social and economic opportunities for the blind has been improving over the past few years at the National and State levels; and

WHEREAS, in the County of Hawaii, such opportunities have been lacking but are expected to get better with the expectation that the Big Island Federation of the Blind will become a viable and effective unit.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE COUNTY OF HAWAII that it commends the Big Island Federation of the Blind for its willingness to undertake this challenge of wanting to attend to the needs of the blind, indeed a most noble endeavor.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Clerk of the County of Hawaii be instructed to remit true copies of this resolution to Ernest Nishijima, President of the Big Island Federation of the Blind; Warren Toyoma, President of the Hawaii Federation of the Blind; and Kenneth Jernigan, President of the National Federation of the Blind, with the Hawaii County Council's endorsement of its worthy goals.

Dated at Hilo, Hawaii, this 1st day of December, 1981.

Introduced by:
Councilwoman, County of Hawaii

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With close to a thousand active members, the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina is one of the strongest state organizations of the blind in the nation. In 1965 South Carolina was one of the states which pioneered in establishing a model commission for the blind law. President Jernigan went to the State to testify before a special study committee which recommended the establishment of the commission, and NFBSC President Donald Capps led the way in persuading the legislature to pass the bill.

In 1978 South Carolina passed a comprehensive Little Randolph-Sheppard Act, one of the best in the nation. The Act provided, among other things, that the blind would be permitted to operate food service facilities in such of the state's technical schools as already had such facilities. Other technical schools would be exempted from the Act. At that time quite a number of the schools (because of the influence of the organized blind) had vending facilities being operated by blind persons.

Then, some of the technical schools with blind food service operations sought to bypass the law. They brought political pressure to bear, and the battle was joined. As detailed in the following newspaper article, the latest confrontation took place in Spartanburg early in December of 1981:

Groups Sue to Protect Blind Food Vendors' Jobs

by Margaret N. O'Shea
Governmental Affairs Staff

Reprinted with permission from The State Tuesday, December 8, 1981

The National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina and the state Commission for the Blind have joined in litigation against Spartanburg Technical College in an effort to protect the jobs of three blind vendors whose concession operations are being closed by the school.

The president and board of Spartanburg Tech have been ordered to appear December 11 in Spartanburg County Court of Common Pleas to show cause why they should not be restrained from discontinuing blind-operated concession stands to establish a hot food service, which the plaintiffs contend the blind could provide.

The Tech board voted in November not to renew a contract with the Commission for the Blind, which has four blind vendors working at the school. The contract expires December 18.

Three of the blind concessionnaires are among plaintiffs in the litigation. They are Pearl Oglesby, Joan White and Garry Williams. The fourth, Gail Martin, has been tentatively offered other employment at Spartanburg Tech after her stand is closed.

The suit contends that Spartanburg Tech is in violation of a state law guaranteeing blind vendors first crack at food concessions in public buildings, including technical schools in which blind-operated vending stands were located at the time the law was enacted in 1978.

Commonly called a "right-to-work law" among the blind, the act covered Spartanburg Tech, the suit contends, because blind vendors have been working there more than 10 years and were in business at the school in 1978.

They were not allowed to bid or compete for hot food operations at the school, the suit claims, nor were they and the Commission for the Blind given an administrative hearing before a decision was made not to renew the contract.

The Federation and Commission are asking first for a temporary injunction that will allow the blind operators to stay on the job until resolution of the case in court. Beyond that, the plaintiffs are seeking a permanent injunction to force Spartanburg Tech to maintain the Commission for the Blind as sole provider of food services on the campus.

The suit also asks the court to enjoin the school president and board "from discriminating against the blind in the future."

The Commission for the Blind unsuccessfully had sought a meeting with the Tech board to negotiate the dispute concerning food services.

The school planned to expand its food service to include hot meals after a student/faculty survey showed that's what the majority wanted.

Maxine R. Bowles, commissioner of the state agency, said the blind could provide what Spartanburg Tech wants with additional equipment and modification of the vending stands.

But Joe D. Gault, president of Spartanburg Tech, said his board didn't agree. A special food service committee studied several different types of concessions, including three run by the blind under auspices of the Commission for the Blind.

The Federation of the Blind entered the suit because of its commitment to jobs for the visually impaired, who have a 70 percent unemployment rate in South Carolina. Federation officials said the Spartanburg TEC action was "callous and unjust" as well as a waste of tax dollars.

Equipment in the stands already located there was purchased by the state Commission for the Blind. Federation officials said additional tax dollars would be required to renovate, staff and operate the food service area.

Hot on the heels of the newspaper article came the Judge's decision. It was not favorable to the blind. The Judge said that the contract between the State Commission for the Blind and Spartanburg Tech allowing the blind to operate a food service facility preceded the enactment of the Little Randolph-Sheppard Act in 1978 and that, therefore, the law could not nullify the contract—which is about the strangest legal logic one would ever hope to find. The Judge also said that either side had the right to cancel the contract; and, finally, he said that while it was clear from the State White Cane Law that the legislature intended to promote employment opportunities for the blind, the law did not contain any mechanism for enforcement.

Perhaps it is a sign of the times that such a ruling could be made, but the reaction of the blind of South Carolina is also a sign of the times. NFBSC President Don Capps and 200 other blind South Carolinians met Saturday, January 9, 1982, with South Carolina Attorney General Daniel McLeod. Mr. McLeod publicly stated that he and his office would work with the Federation to strengthen the law to close the loop holes. Other public officials are also pledging support, and the battle will now be taken to the South Carolina legislature, where the Federation has never lost a battle. As we advance into the decade of the eighties, as budgets tighten and programs for the blind receive closer scrutiny, and as we find ourselves in a new climate of public opinion, we can either lose the gains we have won, or we can surge forward with new vigor. It is not a matter of fate but of determination and commitment. We have always contended that, given equal opportunity, we can hold our own in competition with anybody. If we use the vehicle which we have forged for joint effort and concerted action (the National Federation of the Blind), we will have that equal opportunity, and we can hold our own with anybody. If we do not work together through the Federation, then we have only ourselves to blame for the defeats we will inevitably suffer.

The ultimate test of a theory is whether or not it works. We are more than willing to be judged by that test. Observe the results in South Carolina in the months ahead. The outcome will speak for itself.

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by Scott H. Lewis

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty," said Thomas Jefferson. I was on my fifth—maybe sixth—draft of a letter to the editor. The anger and indignation that I felt made my hand literally tremble, as I struggled to make the letter sound rational. Then I thought to myself, "This is such a little thing, such a little thing to take my time and to waste my efforts."

It was a little thing. It was an illustration in a magazine published for law students by the American Bar Association. The article accompanying the drawing told of a Washington, D.C. attorney who went to court to get monetary damages because an auto accident he had been involved in had resulted in his dog's being blinded. The dog, since losing his sight, said the lawyer, wasn't fun anymore. He got mean when he got blind. The article was all right, I suppose. The illustration is what bothered me. It showed a dog walking on two feet at the heels of his master. The dog wore dark glasses, carried a cane, and held out a tin cup with pencils. It was, as I said, a little thing. An illustration meant to be harmless, humorous and good-natured.

But in that illustration, I saw everything that we in the Federation fight to change: the public attitude concerning the blind. We walk obediently at the heels of our sighted masters. We are somewhat less than equal. We are dependent and of necessity, beggars. We are not whole.

I tried to relate my anger to a friend, a sighted law student who knows little of our organization or struggle. My friend's immediate reaction was that I took the entire thing much too seriously. He said, in essence, that he agreed with the things that we, as blind persons, were trying to accomplish, but felt that I was "too involved—no longer objective."

I thought about that long and hard. And I discovered something about myself that I was pleased to find.

Being a Federationist is not just going to a Saturday afternoon meeting once a month, or reading the Monitor, or working on a chapter project every so often. I am a Federationist as some people are parents or religious, in that I live Federationism. I still enjoy my hobbies and friends and my work, but my heart and soul are in the movement—the struggle of the blind for equality. I may not always agree with other members or my chapter officers, but we do what we must.

I think about that dog with the tin cup and pencils often. To 10,000 prospective attorneys, the illustration subtly enhances a misconception that attacks the dignity of half a million blind persons. Today, that "humorous" stereotype may prevent a lawyer from giving a blind secretary her first chance at a job. Tomorrow another misconception will be printed or broadcast somewhere. What will happen the day after that?

Individually, we can write angry letters, and we will be dismissed as humorless, and irrational, or militant; but together, on the barricades, we can begin to evidence our power, and stem the vicious flow of harmful stereotypes. We can continue to have a positive effect on how society views us. That's why we have a National Federation of the Blind.

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by James Gashel

Extending certain provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is the number one Civil Rights item on the current Congressional agenda. The provisions in question relate to how certain Southern states and political subdivisions must comply with the law in order to protect members of racial and ethnic minorities. In its present form, the Voting Rights Act does not address election and voter registration issues of special concern to blind people or to the disabled generally.

Resolution 81-05, adopted unanimously by the NFB Convention last summer, took note of the pending Congressional action on voting rights and declared that Congress should amend the law to ban voting discrimination against the blind. This discrimination occurs when election officials insist upon entering the polling booth with a blind person, rather than allowing someone of the blind person's own choosing to assist in casting a ballot. We have long said that denying blind people free choice in voting assistance abridges the right to vote by a secret ballot. Many states and local jurisdictions have agreed and enacted laws to assure free choice, but the laws are often ambiguous and little known—even by the blind, not to say the voting officials.

We take our resolutions seriously, so after the Convention we set to work on a substantive piece of legislation and a strategy to get it included in the Voting Rights Act. In its present form, the legislation is straight and to the point, declaring that "no voting qualification or prerequisite to voting or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any state or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of blindness or a visual limitation to the extent that such citizen requires an alternative method of voting." To carry out this mandate, each state and political subdivision is directed to permit blind or visually impaired persons to vote by means of alternative methods. All possible alternative methods are not identified, but there is a minimum requirement to allow each blind person the aid of a freely chosen assistant and to be assisted privately without observation by election officials. The legislation also includes some language to encourage the distribution of election laws, forms and voter registration materials in Braille and/or in recorded form.

Actually, the strategy for enacting the voting rights amendment is far more complex than the substance of the legislation, itself. Senator Howard Metzenbaum, Democrat of Ohio, has agreed to sponsor the voting rights amendment in the Senate. He made this pledge at the NFB of Ohio Convention, where the matter of voting rights for the blind was first brought to his attention, and Senator Metzenbaum has subsequently instructed his staff to work with the Federation. This is being done as the Senate Judiciary Committee begins consideration of S. 895, the Voting Rights Bill introduced in the United States Senate.

But counterpressures are mounting by advocates who would like to have Senator Metzenbaum (or any other Senator for that matter) abandon the idea of amendments which would broaden the protection of the Voting Rights Act. Their plan is to persuade the Senate to adopt a bill identical to one passed earlier in the 97th Congress by the House of Representatives. Advocates of this position want to avoid any amendments which may further complicate the legislative process and threaten the entire voting rights measure in a conference between Senate and House members. These advocates, which include key representatives of civil rights organizations and labor unions, seek only an extension of provisions in the Voting Rights Act otherwise scheduled to expire unless Congress decides to continue them. This simple extension would adequately serve the interests of the racial and ethnic minorities already protected by the present law, so the strategy has been to discourage all Senate amendments in hopes of avoiding unnecessary controversy with the House.

Viewed from a civil rights leader's perspective, this legislative strategy makes a great deal of sense, but from a blind civil rights leader's point of view, the idea that we should go quietly away and forget about voting rights for the blind is nothing short of utter nonsense. Yet, with all due respect to the key civil rights leaders and their organizations, this is exactly what they are asking us to do when they say to the Senate that no additional protection should be added under the Voting Rights Act. If the civil rights of blind persons are important at all, they are important enough to be included in our nation's basic civil rights laws, such as the Voting Rights Act. Why should we accept the notion of sitting back while the pressure is on Congress to act on extending voting rights for others? The blind have no obligation to take a back seat in civil rights matters, so we will press forward vigorously toward the goal of voting rights legislation expressed in Resolution 81-05.

We take our resolutions seriously, for the NFB Convention is the supreme authority of the Federation. Once the Convention has spoken, there is an obligation on all of us to support and stick by the positions which are taken. This is the democratic process of our movement in action.

In this context, consider the current posture of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) on voting rights. The ACB membership has also, by resolution, adopted a position directing the organization to promote voting rights for the blind and handicapped, but what good has it done? This is the question I would ask were I an ACB member. And while I was asking questions. I would also wonder if the independence of ACB has been subverted by membership in coalitions.

These questions and their answers are relevant to the point under discussion, for the plain truth is that the ACB leadership has chosen to put aside the expressed desire of ACB's membership for action on a federal voting rights bill. To be sure, the ACB leaders can tell their members that a bill (H.R. 222) has already been introduced in the Congress to provide for accessible polling and voter registration facilities, but no hearings are scheduled and the bill languishes in committee. Furthermore, similar legislation has been kicking around the Congress for years with little action, except for some hearings in the Senate a few years back. On the other hand, Congressional attention is now focused on the Voting Rights Bill which, according to the best predictions, will likely be enacted later in this session of Congress.

So why would the ACB leaders disregard the expressed will of their members by failing to push for voting rights through the most viable legislative vehicle at hand? And why should we care what they do or what they fail to do? The answers are contained in a word, "coalition." The proponents of coalitions tell us that organizations do not lose their identity when they join permanent coalitions with other groups. This may be true when an organization chooses to join a coalition out of strength, but ACB has chosen the coalition route out of weakness—it has no movement independent of other organizations and agencies. Accordingly, ACB has joined coalition after coalition, and to what end?

Any organization can join coalitions, and by their very nature, coalitions are glad to have any organization join. Benefiting from coalitions, however, is a function of an organization's relative strength as perceived by the others in the coalition. This is precisely where ACB becomes a loser.

The Council has joined the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), a coalition of civil rights and labor organizations dedicated to the advancement of equal rights and equal opportunities. LCCR promotes the interests of its members, and presumably the Council hoped to advance its positions by combining with the other LCCR member organizations.

Then, we come to voting rights. You would think this would be a natural for the LCCR/ACB coalition, but not so. Understandably most of the civil rights organizations are interested only in a simple extension of the expiring voting rights provisions as described earlier. But in the case of ACB, there is the membership's expressed directive to promote protective voting rights legislation for the blind and handicapped. By now it is well established that the ACB leaders have chosen to disregard the wishes of their members in favor of their alliance with the other LCCR organizations. ACB's announcement that there would be no push for an amendment to the Voting Rights Act is proof enough that, in this case, the coalition's broader interests have swamped the more specialized interests of the blind.

ACB is not a power in the legislative process, and there is no immediate prospect that it will ever become one. I think I know why. We commend LCCR for taking a forthright stand behind the type of voting rights bill which will best serve the affected racial and ethnic minorities currently protected under the law enacted in 1965. We respect LCCR as a power legislatively, and there is no doubt why it has become one. Without saying so directly, the members of LCCR have expressed the view that their cause is not our cause. They are right. While we can always hope for some help from others, we should not expect them to lead the way in championing our cause—especially, if we are too weak and too lacking in determination to do for ourselves. How many times have the women's organizations, the black organizations, the Hispanic organizations, the coalitions for the disabled, or the American Civil Liberties Union ever gone to bat with a full-fledged fight to pass a single piece of legislation specifically designed to help the blind? Not a single time—at least, not that I remember. We are not saying that they should but only that they should understand what coalition means. These organizations have their own causes, and they are often worthy causes; but we, too have a cause.

Of course, we can always hope that others will not seek to block us in our efforts, or otherwise try to undermine our cause. We must always realize that the primary burden of gaining equal rights for the blind will fall to us.

We have no hostility for other civil rights organizations who competently seek to promote the interests which they represent. These groups have helped to make measurable gains for all minorities, but we should not expect that they will battle for our rights or work on our behalf. Conversely, we should never be persuaded to abandon our own cause when another organization feels that our objectives happen to conflict with its present interests. We do not invest our own energies and substance in a movement which will simply leave us in the lurch because someone may object to our goals or the strategy we have chosen to achieve them.

ACB's decision to put aside the interests of the blind and its own membership's vote is conclusive evidence that coalition politics is an ill-conceived and threatening game when an organization seeks the help of others simply because it is too weak to help itself and thinks to gain prestige by being listed as part of a larger coalition. Whether we succeed or fail in our current efforts to amend the Voting Rights Act in ways which will be helpful to the blind, we will know at least that we fought the battle. Unlike the Council, we did not cower or turn away. In the long run this is the only responsible and workable strategy and, furthermore, it is the only true way to earn respect and success as a movement.

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For at least a decade the blind of Minnesota have been seeking to bring about reform at the Minneapolis Society for the Blind, which has solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars from the public and which holds itself out to that public as only interested in providing "quality" services to the blind. After the Society was found by the courts to be in violation of its own By-Laws and Charter of Incorporation, it was ordered to open its membership and hold new elections.

These elections (accompanied, as they were, by questionable attempts to secure proxies from throughout the country by the custodial agencies in the field of work with the blind of the nation) were a power play involving vast sums of money. Even with all of the spending and organized publicity, the agencies were not able to win an unmixed victory. The proxies gathered by the blind had to be turned over to the Society several days before the official counting was to take place, but the Society refused to submit its proxies for similar inspection. By the Minneapolis Society's own admission the blind gathered more than 13,000 proxies for the election. Even though the Society was doing the counting and the blind were denied access to the ballots for months, and even though it was too expensive to track down all of the alleged proxies of the Society to verify their authenticity, the Society only claimed about 25,000 votes.

Thus, when the Minneapolis Society for the Blind met in November of 1979 to choose its Board of Directors, the blind were able to elect eight of them. However, it was clear from the very beginning that the Society was not acting in good faith. The representatives of the blind (the members of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota) were subjected to abuse and harassment. They were denied the right to have access to financial records and other data customarily available to members of a corporate board. They were not allowed to present items for discussion on the agenda. In other words they were treated like the second-class citizens which the bosses of the Minneapolis Society for the Blind regard the blind to be.

Feeling that the only way that the problem might be solved would be to bring it forcefully to the attention of the public, the eight NFB representatives on the Society's Board resigned in December of 1981 and issued a press release. It remains to be seen whether the officials at the Minneapolis Society for the Blind can ever be brought to behave responsibly and in the best interests of the blind—or, for that matter, whether they have the slightest interest in doing so:

Press Release
December 15, 1981


MINNEAPOLIS—Eight members of the board of directors of the Minneapolis Society for the Blind today announced that they will not seek reelection when their terms expire at the end of 1981 but will leave the organization and call for an independent audit of the Society's finances. The departing board members cite as their reasons for leaving financial mismanagement and refusal of the Society to comply with its own bylaws for making financial and other operating information available to the board.

The departing board members are Curtis Chong, Nadine Jacobson, Janet Lee, Tom Scanlan, Roger Drewicke, and Mary Hartle of Minneapolis; Marie Whitteker of St. Paul, Minn.; and Carol delFavero of Eagle Lake, Minn. All eight persons are blind and were seated on the Society board following a court-ordered election two years ago. Judge Richard J. Kantorowicz ordered the election in a ruling on a suit brought by six blind persons against the Society for excluding them from membership.

Scanlan says that his decision to leave the Society board is "a last resort which I chose only after exhausting all other legal means of seeking reform from within the Society." Scanlan and the other departing board members say that they have appealed several times to the Attorney General's office and other state agencies to get the Society to provide them with routine reports as well as other information. According to Scanlan, "The problem is that the Society falls into a gray area. The state registers all such charitable organizations and requires them to file regular audits. But no state agency will take the initiative to see that these organizations follow their own rules."

The Minneapolis Society for the Blind offers rehabilitation and counseling services to blind persons. In most cases, these services are paid for with state and federal funds administered through the Minnesota Department of Public Welfare State Services for the Blind. The Society also receives United Way funds and makes a profit on its own sheltered workshop, where blind and other handicapped people perform light manufacturing and assembly work.

Hartle explains that when blind people went to court to gain seats on the Society's board. "We thought we would have an opportunity to help set policy and direction for the Society rehabilitation programs. We thought the board made these basic decisions as required by the Minnesota Non-profit Corporation Act and the Society's own Articles of Incorporation." She adds that, "What we found instead was that we were denied access to information normally available to board members and excluded from decision-making processes."

According to Chong, "The central issue in our decision to resign is self-determination and independence. We as blind people have a court-upheld right to participate in the decisions of this publicly-funded institution which is designed to serve us."

Until the findings of an independent audit of the Society's management and finances are made public, the eight departing board members say they will encourage blind people to seek rehabilitation services at other institutions elsewhere in the state.

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by James Gashel

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia has handed down its ruling on an appeal by the State of Georgia to overturn a decision which was reached through arbitration in favor of Jessie Nash. Thus, the latest chapter in our five-year struggle is now written. (See Braille Monitors for July, 1977; August, 1978; November, 1980; and November, 1981.)

The three-member arbitration panel, originally convened by the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (now the Secretary of Education), found that the State of Georgia violated the Randolph-Sheppard Act by failing to object when the United States Marine Corps cancelled its agreement with the State of Georgia for a vending facility which was operated by Mrs. Nash. The arbitration panel ordered the state to use its powers and rights to recover the lost vending facility for Mrs. Nash and to pay her the income she lost due to the state's lack of action. Georgia appealed.

The court ruling affirms the arbitration finding that Georgia violated the Randolph-Sheppard Act and orders the state to institute proceedings against the Marine Corps to recover the vending facility for Mrs. Nash. Furthermore, the state is directed to negotiate with Mrs. Nash to determine the amount of backpay due her as ordered by the arbitration panel. The court declined to hold Georgia liable for some of the original attorney's fees which had to be paid in this case but held open the possibility of ordering Georgia to pay the costs (including attorney's fees for Mrs. Nash) of the latest appeal.

This decision strongly affirms our position that state agencies for the blind are under an obligation to protect the rights of blind vendors against unlawful actions of federal agencies in the Randolph-Sheppard Program. A provision of the Randolph-Sheppard Act permits state agencies to contest violations of the law by federal agencies. Thus, when the Marine Corps announced that the vending facility being operated by Jessie Nash was going to be removed from the Randolph-Sheppard Program, the State of Georgia could have tried to block the move. However, the state did not choose to do so. The court has now declared that an appeal should have been made and that the state's failure to do so was, itself, a violation of the Randolph-Sheppard Act.

In arguments made before the court, the Assistant Attorney General for the State of Georgia contended that appealing the Marine Corps' termination of the vending facility was completely optional with the state. According to his argument, there was no possibility that the state might be obliged to protect a blind vendor, even if the Marine Corps was breaking the law.

Intervening in this litigation on behalf of Mrs. Nash, the National Federation of the Blind argued the opposite point. State agencies are obliged, we said, to defend blind vendors against the harm of federal agency violations. The court agreed and left no doubt that there is a state agency obligation.

Here is the precise language of the ruling: "The Court does not read the panel's decision as holding that the State agency has a nondiscretionary duty to file a complaint whenever a blind vendor so requests; neither does the Court find that to be a proper reading of the Act. However, the Court finds the Act to impose an obligation upon the State agency to protect the licensed blind vendor's 'priority' granted by the Act. After a review of the record, the Court UPHOLDS the panel's finding that the State agency violated Section 107d-1(b) (a section of the Randolph-Sheppard Act) in failing to file a complaint with the Secretary (of Education)."

To remedy the state's violation of the law, the Court has ordered Georgia to ask the Secretary of Education to convene an arbitration panel which will determine whether the Marine Corps violated the Randolph-Sheppard Act by removing the vending facility in question from the program. Thus, we get one step closer to the day when Jessie Nash can reassume operation of the vending facility illegally taken from her in 1977. It has been a long, hard, and expensive struggle, even to get to this point. Now the state agency's obligation to protect Mrs. Nash is affirmed, but it was critical to win this point, both for Jessie Nash and for all blind vendors. Even if nothing else is ever established in this case (and it is clear that there is more, much more to come) we have begun to build a legal precedent which states that the agencies cannot disregard the wishes of blind vendors who are being harmed by federal agency violations of the law.

The cost, not only in terms of money, has been heavy to all concerned—the State of Georgia, the federal government, the National Federation of the Blind, and especially, Jessie Nash. And before we are through with it all, the costs will be much higher. Still, we will fight on. We did not choose the course which has been thrust upon us, except as we chose to organize for common action. The agencies, both state and federal, have adopted their own self-interested posture against Mrs. Nash, despite their legislative mandates to serve the blind. In the final analysis, however, Jessie Nash had only her fellow blind as advocates, not the agencies, the councils, the foundations, the ALLs, or the NACs. None of them had the courage, commitment, or desire to step forward on her behalf, and a few even maneuvered behind the scenes to see what they could do to help us lose.

Let no one be in doubt as to who truly represents the blind. We represent ourselves through our own organization, the National Federation of the Blind, independent of the agencies. Jessie Nash is one of us and throughout this entire ordeal she has stood as tall as anyone. To all of us she says: "God bless you. Without the Federation, I know I would not have a chance. When these agencies in Georgia came on the attack, they were not truly after me as an individual; they were against all of us as independent blind people. They figure they can manipulate us and make us do what they want, but they are wrong. Where would we be without the Federation, and where would I be without the love and support of all of you in our movement? I know the answers to these questions, and so does anyone else who knows of our long, long struggle. Lord knows, the agencies are also learning these answers too, for we know who we are, and we will never go back."

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The first printing of this document occurred in 1954. Since that time it has gone through many editions and revisions. It is a capsulized picture of the organized blind movement and its elected leaders. Through the years many of those leaders have changed, and the Federation has altered to meet new conditions. In one respect, however, there has been no change at all. The National Federation of the Blind serves the same purpose today which brought it into being in 1940. It provides a means whereby the blind of the nation can come together to consider common problems and take concerted action. It is the voice of the nation's blind. The present edition is being written early in 1982. There will doubtless be many more to come, for the organized blind movement is stronger and more vital today than it has ever been.

In the summer of 1940, a handful of blind men and women from seven states met in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, to inaugurate a new and unique organization. That meeting was the beginning of the National Federation of the Blind, the first nationwide organization of the blind themselves—a federation truly of the blind, by the blind, and for the blind. The blind of the nation—long immobilized in the protective custody of almshouses and special agencies for the blind were at last on the move, on their own.

The moving force behind that meeting in Wilkes-Barre was Jacobus tenBroek, a 29-year-old blind man from Berkeley, California. Born in 1911 the son of a prairie homesteader in Canada, young tenBroek lost the sight of one eye as the result of a bow-and-arrow accident at the age of seven. His remaining vision deteriorated until at the age of 14 he was totally blind. Jacobus tenBroek traveled to Berkeley to attend the California School for the Blind. Within three years he was an active part of local blind organizations.

By 1934 he had joined with Dr. Newel Perry and others to form the California Council of the Blind (now the National Federation of the Blind Western Division). This organization was a prototype for the National Federation, formed six years later.

The impetus behind the new movement was a new understanding of blindness and the real problem of being blind. The problem was not the lack of sight; basic techniques like Braille and cane travel enabled the blind to participate in the major activities of life. The real problem was the age-old image of the blind as helpless, simple creatures—unable to care for themselves, much less hold responsible jobs or take a normal part in community life.

The field of work with the blind at that time was dominated by this negative view of blindness. The blind were thought to require cradle-to-grave institutional or near-institutional care. They were taught simple trades or persuaded to sit at home in idleness. Those who dared to set their sights higher were often actively discouraged.

Part of the problem, tenBroek felt, was that the blind themselves had never been consulted about their own capacities or needs. There had always been professional custodians, the well-meaning but overly protective sighted keepers. As he later said:

"Only the blind themselves can be fully aware of their own problems. Only the blind themselves can feel an unremitting motivation to secure their rights and further their welfare. Only the blind themselves can know the full significance and impelling urgency of the ideal of integration. . . . The right to participate fully in the community as equal partners and their share in the democratic process is denied if the blind permit others to speak for them and to plan for them."

When the sighted led the blind—that is, during most of history—they led us to safe shelters and idle, useless lives. But when the blind began to lead themselves, things began to change quickly. For one thing, the blind flocked to the new philosophy and to the Federation. Today—more than 40 years later—the NFB includes over 50,000 individuals, and it continues to grow. Since more than half of all blind people are past 60 years of age, and many are not well enough to take an active role in an organization such as the Federation, the membership of the NFB comprises a high percentage of the active blind persons in our society.

Working together for more than four decades, we have changed what it means to be blind. We are employed in all the regular professions and callings; we live normally, in our own homes, raising our own families. Most of our rights as citizens are now specifically guaranteed by state and federal laws. Service programs for the blind now are much more clearly directed to active participation in life rather than to custody; although, they can and must continue to be improved along lines designed by the blind themselves. Our experience is that when the blind lead the blind, we move forward.

Who are the blind who lead the blind? We have already mentioned one of the most distinguished—Jacobus tenBroek, founder of the Federation and president of it with only one interruption until his death in 1968. His career showed the absurdity of the idea that blindness means incapacity. The same year the Federation was founded. Jacobus tenBroek received his doctorate in jurisprudence from the University of California, completed a year as Brandeis Research Fellow at Harvard Law School, and was appointed to the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School.

Two years later he began his teaching career at the University of California at Berkeley, moving steadily up through the ranks to become a full professor inl953 and chairman of the Department of Speech in 1955. In 1963 he accepted an appointment as professor of political science.

During this period Professor tenBroek published several books and more than 50 articles and monographs in the fields of welfare, government, and law—establishing a reputation as one of the nation's foremost scholars on matters of constitutional law. One of his books, Prejudice, War, and the Constitution, won the Woodrow Wilson Award of the American Political Science Association in 1955 as the best book on government and democracy. Other books are California's Dual System of Family Law (1964), Hope Deferred: Public Welfare and the Blind (1959), and The Antislavery Origins of the Fourteenth Amendment (1951)—revised and republished in 1965 as Equal Under Law.

In the course of his academic career, Professor tenBroek was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, at Palo Alto, and was twice the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation. In 1947 he earned the degree of S.J.D. from Harvard Law School. He was awarded honorary degrees by Parsons College in Iowa and Findlay College in Ohio.

In 1950 Dr. tenBroek was made a member of the California State Board of Social Welfare by Governor Earl Warren. Later reappointed to the board three times, he was elected its chairman in 1960 and served in that capacity until 1963.

The brilliance of Jacobus tenBroek's career led some skeptics to suggest that his achievements were beyond the reach of what they called the "ordinary blind person." What tenBroek recognized in himself was not that he was exceptional, but that he was normal—that his blindness had nothing to do with whether he could lead a full career.

In any case, the skeptics were refuted by the success of the thousands of blind people who put this philosophy of normality to work in their own lives. If the walls of skepticism based on stereotype could be breached, the blind could live normal, active lives—pulling their own weight and contributing their talents.

Jacobus tenBroek died of cancer at the age of 56, in 1968. His successor, Kenneth Jernigan, in a memorial address, said truly of him: "The relationship of this man to the organized blind movement, which he brought into being in the United States and around the world, was such that it would be equally accurate to say that the man was the embodiment of the movement or that the movement was the expression of the man.

"For tens of thousands of blind Americans, over more than a quarter of a century, he was leader, mentor, spokesman, and philosopher. He gave to the organized blind movement the force of his intellect and the shape of his dreams. He made it the symbol of a cause barely imagined before his coming: the cause of self-expression, self-direction, and self-sufficiency on the part of blind people. Step by step, year by year, action by action, he made that cause succeed."

This eulogy was delivered by the man who took up the presidency at tenBroek's death, and during the following years, has led the Federation to the point where it is today—by far the most influential and positive influence in the lives of the blind throughout the country.

Kenneth Jernigan, President

The presidency of the National Federation of the Blind has become the most influential position in work with the blind that exists anywhere in the country. Although no President of the Federation has ever received a salary, the office carries with it heavy demands, grave responsibilities, and incredible challenge. Dr. Kenneth Jernigan has been a leader in the Federation for more than 30 years. He has been President (with one brief interruption) since 1968. He has never flinched at the responsibility, and he has never hesitated to meet the challenge. This is what he said to the 2,500 delegates gathered at the 1979 Annual Convention of the NFB:

"I wish to conclude this Presidential Report by saying to you that I have always felt that my presidency and this administration rest firmly in the grass roots of this movement, and not in any other place. I have never hesitated to go to the people. Now who are the people? I regard the delegates at this convention as the people. We are the people and we will settle what the Federation will do in its structure, in its functions, and in its goals. I would say one thing more: I have told you that at any time a vote of confidence in this administration should be called for, I am prepared for that vote to be put. It will not take a two-thirds vote. If a majority of states should ever feel that there should be a change in presidency or a change in administration, then this president and this administration will step aside and will not sulk, will not quit the movement, will not cause problems, will not cease contributing financially, but will follow whoever is elected. I have said to you also that as far as I am concerned, there is an understanding, a bond between the members of this organization and the presidency. That bond is this: I believe that you did not elect me to be simply a do-nothing president. I believe that you would as soon, perhaps sooner, put me out as president for not acting as for acting, even if the action should not be always with the best judgment. You might put me out for that, too, but you certainly would put me out if I saw challenges and did not act when action was called for. I believe that I have an obligation to put on the line my reputation, my livelihood, my strength—whatever I have. And I think the membership has an obligation (as long as I am president and as long as I do that) when the clenches come, to support me and stand with me in the battle. I believe that you have the right to remove me at any time as president—but that as long as I am president then I must be able to speak with the united voice of this organization. I have promised you in the past and I tell you again that, as long as I am president, I intend to lead this movement. I intend to lead it in the way that I believe the average member of this movement wants me to lead it. To the best of my ability, I'm going to try to do as president what I believe you want me to do, and I'm not going to be deterred from that by threats from within or without. That is my pledge to you, and what I request from you. I believe we win solve the problems we face today as we have solved the problems we have faced in the past, and I believe we will go on to a bigger, a stronger, a better Federation than we have ever known. I believe we are only on the threshold of progress."

The Federation has loved and supported Dr. Jernigan for this type of leadership and he has demonstrated the ability to make it work.

Born in 1926, Kenneth Jernigan grew up on a farm in central Tennessee. He received his elementary and secondary education at the school for the blind in Nashville. Academic courses, chair caning, and broom making were taught side by side at the school, as they were at most schools for blind children until recently. And attitudes were taught in other ways. No one ever said it in words, but the children at the school were told hundreds or thousands of times that to be blind was to be inferior: unworthy and unable. Kenneth Jernigan felt the sting of these attitudes, but his experience with blindness did not confirm what others said and thought about it. As a child at home and at school, he often felt that his energies and abilities were stifled, but he never felt bitterness or alienation. At a young age, he determined that (when he became an adult) he would be independent and successful. It didn't take long for Kenneth Jernigan to reach these goals, and he has succeeded beyond anything that could have been expected or hoped for.

Jernigan went to work immediately after graduating from high school, as the manager of a furniture shop in Beech Grove, Tennessee, making all the furniture and operating the business. In the fall of 1945 he enrolled for a college career at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville. Active in campus affairs from the outset, he was soon elected to office in his class organization and to important positions in other student clubs. In 1948, at the South-eastern Conference of Pi Kappa Delta held at the University of South Carolina, Jernigan won first prize in extemporaneous speaking and original oratory. He also received from Pi Kappa Delta the award of Special Distinction for his outstanding record during three years of inter-collegiate debate.

Jernigan graduated from Tennessee Technological University in 1948 with a B.S. degree in Social Science. In 1949 he received a master's degree in English from Peabody College in Nashville, where he subsequently completed an additional year of graduate study. While at Peabody he was a staff writer for the school newspaper, cofounder of an independent literary magazine, and a member of the Writer's Club. In 1949 he received the Captain Charles W. Browne Award, presented by the American Foundation for the Blind each year to the nation's outstanding blind student.

Following his collegiate career, Jernigan spent four years as a teacher of English at the Tennessee School for the Blind. During this period he became interested in organizational work with the blind, starting with membership in the Nashville chapter of the Tennessee Association for the Blind (now the NFB of Tennessee). He was elected to the Vice-Presidency of the state affiliate in 1950, and to the Presidency in 1951. In 1952 the NFB held its national convention in Nashville, and Jernigan (as he helped plan the convention) received his first in-depth knowledge of the organization and Dr. tenBroek. It was his first national convention, and he is frank to say that the organization turned out to have more to offer than he had hoped. It was in 1952 that Dr. Jernigan was first elected to the NFB board of Directors.

In 1953 he was appointed to the faculty of the State Orientation Center for the Adult Blind in Oakland, California, where he played a major role in developing the best program of its kind then in existence. From 1958 until 1978, Kenneth Jernigan was employed as Director of the Iowa State Commission for the Blind. In this capacity he was responsible for administering State programs of rehabilitation, home teaching, home industries, an orientation and adjustment center, library services for the blind and physically handicapped, and various other services to the blind.

When Jernigan accepted this position, services for the blind of Iowa were ranked dead last in the country among all state rehabilitation programs for the blind. Improvements began immediately, and they were sweeping. Two years later in 1960 the Federation presented Jernigan with its Newel Perry Award for outstanding accomplishment in services for the blind. By that time Jernigan had succeeded in quadrupling the number of blind Iowans being rehabilitated each year and had drastically increased the number of blind persons in the state enrolled in colleges, universities, trade schools, and other institutions of learning. He had established an orientation and adjustment center for the blind which was to become the model for the nation and had inaugurated what was to become the largest and most effective library for the blind in the world. By 1968 services for the blind in Iowa had reached a level never before achieved anywhere in the world. In that year Dr. Jernigan was given a Special Citation by Lyndon B. Johnson, the President of the United States. Harold Russell, the Chairman of the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, came to Des Moines to present the award. He said: "If a person must be blind, it is better to be blind in Iowa than anywhere else in the nation or in the world. This statement sums up the story of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, and more pertinently, of its Director, Kenneth Jernigan. That narrative is much more than a success story. It is the story of high aspiration magnificently accomplished—of an impossible dream become reality."

Other awards and honors received by Dr. Jernigan are numerous. In 1967 he was presented the Francis Joseph Campbell Award by the American Library Association for outstanding accomplishments for providing library services to the blind. Dr. Jernigan has been recognized with three honorary doctorate degrees: Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, presented him with a Doctor of Humanities degree in 1968; Seton Hall University in Newark, New Jersey, presented him a Doctor of Law degree in 1974; and Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, presented him with a Doctor of Humanities degree in 1975. Dr. Jernigan has also been asked to serve on numerous advisory boards and planning committees. In 1972 he became a member of the National Advisory Committee on Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (appointed by the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare); in 1975 he was named by the Federal Commissioner of Rehabilitation as a Special Consultant on Services for the Blind; in 1976 he was made an Advisor on museum programs for blind visitors to the Smithsonian Institution, and was appointed a Special Advisor to the White House Conference on the Handicapped; and in 1977 he was named by the President of the United States to be an Advisor for the White House Conference on Library and Information Services.

On July 23, 1975, Dr. Jernigan spoke before the National Press Club in Washington, D. C. The address was broadcast live throughout the nation on national public radio. In the fall of 1975 Tennessee Technological University established a Distinguished Alumni Award and Dr. Jernigan was the first recipient. In the spring of 1975 he appeared on the "Tomorrow" television show, and twice during the decade of the seventies he appeared on the "Today Show."

Dr. Jernigan's writings and speeches on blindness are better known and have touched more lives than any others in the country.

During the early and mid-1970’s the programs of the Iowa State Commission for the Blind excelled services provided by any agency in work with the blind before or since. Dr. Jernigan's dual capacity as President of the National Federation of the Blind and Director of the most imaginative and effective service agency for the blind in the country placed him in a position to provide unique and unparalleled leadership in affairs of the blind.

In 1978 Dr. Jernigan moved to Baltimore to become Executive Director of the American Brotherhood for the Blind and Director of the National Center for the Blind. When he left his position as Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, public officials in Iowa and the blind from across the nation came to a farewell dinner in his honor. More than a thousand people were in attendance. It was a time of remembering progress, recognizing new levels of accomplishment, and planning for the future.

Iowa's Governor, Robert D. Ray, said: "Ken deserves credit for giving hope where there had been dejection, for providing inspiration in place of desperation. He brought light into what otherwise was a dark world for many people. I cannot help but believe he will continue to do that. Ken and his strong leadership will be missed and we wish him well in his new career."

As we have come to expect, it was Dr. Jernigan himself who best understood what was really happening. This is what he said at the farewell dinner on May 20, 1978: "All of the things we have accomplished in Iowa we can now use as a spring board for what can be accomplished in other states. . . . The Iowa experience has to be considered one of the real milestones in the progress of the blind of this country. And that is so not because of one man (not because of me). It is so because in this state we have brought together a cooperative effort on the part of the blind, a dedicated staff, a responsible officialdom, and a concerned citizenry."

In 1977 Dr. Jernigan temporarily left the Presidency of the Federation for reasons of health. He was unanimously re-elected in 1978. Appropriately that convention was held in Baltimore, the location of the National Federation of the Blind.

Building this new Federation Headquarters (a reservoir of information on blindness, a supplier of special aids and appliances, a growing computerized data base, a place for coordinating and administering legislative and legal activities for the blind, a facility for gathering together leaders of the blind in seminars for study and planning, and all the other things that enhance the effectiveness of a national movement) has turned out to be even more meaningful and effective than anything previously accomplished in work with the blind. Members and friends are proud of it. Agencies and the public-at-large respect it. In partnership with the Department of Labor, the NFB operates the Job Opportunities for the Blind program as an integral part of the work at the National Center for the Blind. The American Brotherhood for the Blind also headquarters at the National Center. Its services (Twin Vision books, scholarships, assistance to the older blind and the deaf-blind, Braille calendars, and a broad range of other activities) complement the other work at the Center. New technology, new ideas, new methods, new literature, new challenges, and new opportunities amalgamate to make the National Center for the Blind the new Mecca in the field. And directing the growth and development of it all is Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, the President of the National Federation of the Blind—the one person in the country with the experience, the ability, the support, and the determination to bring the dream to reality.

Donald C. Capps, First Vice President

Few more compelling examples of personal independence and social contribution could be found among blind Americans than that of the NFB's First Vice President, Donald C. Capps of Columbia, South Carolina. Since the inception of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina in 1956, he has served seven two-year terms as president of the organization and presently holds that office. Capps was elected to the Second Vice Presidency of the NFB in 1959 and re-elected for two-year terms in 1960, 1962, 1964, and 1966. In 1968 he was elected First Vice President and has been re-elected every two years since that time.

Born in 1928, Capps did not become legally blind until 1953, although he possessed a congenital eye defect. He was educated at the South Carolina School for the Blind and later in public schools. Following his graduation from high school, he enrolled in Draughon's Business College in Columbia; and upon receiving his diploma, joined the Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company of Columbia as a claims examiner trainee. He has risen to his present position of Staff Manager of the Claims Department.

Capps first became interested in the organized blind movement in 1953, and by the following year had been elected president of the Columbia Chapter of the Aurora Club of the Blind (now the NFB of South Carolina) which he headed for two years before assuming the leadership of the State organization. The extent of his contribution may be measured by the success of the NFB of South Carolina's programs to improve services for the blind in that State since it began in 1956. The organization has been responsible for remarkable increases in the State's appropriation for cash assistance to the needy blind—advances which were won over the strenuous opposition of State public welfare officials. Among other improvements, the NFB of South Carolina under Capps' leadership has achieved an extra exemption on State income tax and amendments to the South Carolina vending facility law making the priority of the blind in employment mandatory rather than merely permissive, abolishing the so-called "set-aside"—a percentage of the vending facility operator's income previously appropriated by the State, and (more recently) adoption of a model State Vending Facility Bill.

A truly major accomplishment was the successful uphill struggle of the South Carolina affiliate under Capps' leadership to bring about the establishment of an independent State Commission for the Blind, which became a reality in 1966. During his service as president, eighteen pieces of legislation affecting the blind have been passed in South Carolina including the Model White Cane Law, which is generally recognized as the "civil rights act" for the blind.

Capps' energies as a leader have not been confined to the performance of his official duties, productive and time-consuming as they are. Among other activities, he is editor of the Palmetto Blind, the quarterly publication of the NFB of South Carolina, whose articles are frequently reprinted in national journals for the blind. In 1960, Capps directed a campaign which led to construction of the Columbia Chapter's $250,000 education and recreation center, which was expanded in 1970, and again in 1978. He now serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. In this role, he has been instrumental in setting up a full-time daily operation of the Federation Center. In addition, Capps has served for twenty-seven years as the very successful fundraising chairman of the Columbia Chapter.

The role which he has played in the organized blind movement of his State, as well as of the Nation, is aptly symbolized by the "Donald C. Capps Award," a cash grant presented annually to an outstanding blind South Carolinian. The Capps Award was created in 1961 by Ways and Means for the Blind of Augusta, Georgia, whose president was Hubert E. Smith. In 1963 Capps was appointed to the Governor's Committee on the Employment of the Physically Handicapped.

In December, 1972, Capps was honored by the Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company with the presentation of an award for "twenty-five years efficient, faithful, and loyal service" in his managerial capacity. At a special Christmas Luncheon signalizing the event, the firm's president, Mr. Gayle O. Averyt, read a citation which stated in part:

Don has done a superior and faithful job for the company, in spite of the vision handicap which he has overcome in remarkable fashion, and which he has never allowed to circumscribe his life, family, and community activities, or efficiency in performance of his very responsible job. We take a reflected glory in Don Capps—and are extremely proud of the tremendous contribution which he has made in this State, and over the whole country, toward the progress and betterment of his fellows.

In 1965, Donald Capps was doubly honored as Handicapped Man of the Year, both by his City of Columbia and by his State. In 1967, he was appointed to the Governor's Statewide Planning Committee on Rehabilitation Needs of the Disabled. Capps was elected president of the Rotary Club of Forest Acres of Columbia in 1974. In 1977, Capps was elected Vice Chairman of the South Carolina Commission for the Blind Consumer Advisory Committee.

Also, in 1977 at the annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind, Don Capps received the highest honor that can be bestowed by the organized blind movement, the Jacobus tenBroek Award. At this time he received a plaque which reads:

In recognition of dedicated service, the National Federation of the Blind bestows its Jacobus tenBroek Award upon Donald C. Capps. Front-line soldier in the movement, he exemplifies the best in us. His life symbolizes courage, devotion, competence, and purpose. We call him our colleague with respect; we call him our friend with love.

This award is a result of the constant and dedicated work of the man, his wife Betty, and his two children (Craig and Beth) who are now adults and are living outside of South Carolina.

Honor and recognition continue to come to Donald Capps. In 1981 he was appointed by the Governor of South Carolina to membership on the Board of Commissioners of the South Carolina School for the Blind.

Rami Rabby, Second Vice President

Avraham (Rami) Rabby was born in 1942 in Tel-Aviv, Israel. He lost his sight at the age of eight, and two years later was sent to England to attend residential schools for the blind, first Wavertree School for the Blind in Liverpool, and later Worcester College for the Blind. (This typical British boarding school was originally named by its founders "Worcester College for the Blind Sons of Gentlemen.") From Worcester College he went on to Oxford University, where he studied French and Spanish at Jesus College and where he graduated in the top quarter of his class.

Rami Rabby was recruited by the Ford Motor Company of Britain into its Management Training Program but, after one year, decided to seek an academic qualification in Business Administration. In 1967, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to travel to the United States and study for a master's degree in Business Administration at the Graduate School of Business of the University of Chicago. He received his MBA degree in 1969. Despite Mr. Rabby 's impressive education, the nearly universal skepticism about the abilities of blind persons more than overcame any advantage he might have had in the job market. He was interviewed by 130 companies before receiving a job offer.

Rami Rabby was hired by Hewitt Associates, a national firm of consultants and actuaries working in the fields of compensation, employee benefits, communication, and other personnel-related functions. He became an account executive in the firm's salary administration consulting group.

In May, 1977, Mr. Rabby left Chicago to become project manager in the corporate personnel relations group of Citibank, in New York. There he had responsibility for improving coordination between the various personnel activities, such as recruitment, training, compensation, and manpower planning. He also directed the bank's affirmative action program for the handicapped. In August, 1979, he was promoted to a position as Compensation Officer in Citibank's Compensation Division.

Rami Rabby first began to be interested in organizations of the blind when he was in England. But only when he came to the United States and got to know Kenneth Jernigan did he realize, as he later wrote, "that here was an organization whose philosophy and thinking were in tune with mine. On my first night in this country, I was refused accommodation at the Grand Central YMCA in New York. The manager said his insurance company would never cover him for the added risk my blindness would undoubtedly pose. That experience was one of the reasons why, in March, 1968, after I had settled down in Chicago, I contacted Dr. Jernigan and went to visit him in Des Moines. I took a liking to him immediately, and in July of that year, I attended my first NFB Convention.

"It was during that Convention that we made our plans to establish the NFB affiliate in Illinois, which we did just one month later and only eleven months after I arrived in this country. The work of setting up the affiliate, now that I look back over it, was perhaps the single most exhilarating event of my life. I look back on it now with tremendous satisfaction. I was the president of the affiliate for its first two years and then continued as legislative chairman and newsletter editor until I left Illinois. I have been president of the New York City Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind and am now legislative chairman of the NFB of New York."

Mr. Rabby has been a strong force in the International Federation of the Blind (IFB)—the extension of the NFB inaugurated by Dr. tenBroek in the late 1960's to spread the new concept of blindness around the world. Mr. Rabby was chairman of the NFB committee devoted to international programs; and in 1974 and 1979 he was the NFB delegate to the Quinquennial Convention of the International Federation of the Blind in West Berlin and Antwerp, respectively. At both of these conventions, he was elected a member of the IFB Executive Committee, and currently serves as a member of a joint working group of the International Federation of the Blind and the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind.

Since 1971, Mr. Rabby has served as a trustee of the Jewish Braille Institute of America. In 1976, he was appointed to the Illinois Governor's Committee on the Handicapped and was named an Outstanding Young Man of America by the Jaycees. He also served as program chairman for the Illinois State White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals and was elected a delegate to the national White House Conference in May, 1977. More important, in 1976 he was elected to the NFB Board of Directors, and in 1977 he was elected Second Vice President of the National Federation of the Blind. Since 1977, he has also served as chairman of the NFB Resolutions Committee.

In 1980 Rami Rabby decided to go into business for himself. He now works as a Consultant on Human Resources Development. He contracts to provide assistance to business organizations in the design, development, and implementation of affirmative action programs, and wage and salary administration policy and procedures. He is the author of a book, Locating, Recruiting, and Hiring the Disabled published by Pilot Books in 1981.

Lawrence (Muzzy) Marcelino, Secretary

A sentence in the official history of the National Federation of the Blind of California reads: "It would be difficult indeed to find a person with more public spirit, more unselfish dedication and zeal for the cause of the blind than Muzzy Marcelino." This is no understatement about a man who has been active in the organized blind movement almost all of his life.

Muzzy was born in California in 1913 and attended the California School for the Blind in Berkeley. He met and was strongly influenced by Dr. Newel Perry, who was also the teacher of Jacobus tenBroek. Muzzy went to meetings of the alumni association of the school for the blind, and he wrote letters supporting bills in the state legislature.

During his college years Muzzy found the meetings of the local NFB chapter dull and the membership too old and passive for his taste. But one day tenBroek caught him on campus and upbraided him for staying away from meetings. Muzzy enjoyed the episode and promised to reform. He did so, bringing in new members and making the chapter move.

Much of Muzzy Marcelino's work as a member of the Alameda County Club of Adult Blind had to do with the Aid to the Blind law. He was familiar with the law for two reasons. First, he was a recipient of aid to the blind; and second, during his last semester at the school for the blind, he had attended a small class given after school hours by Dr. Perry. Dr. Perry made the group memorize the entire law, section by section, comma by comma. They memorized the law and argued about the meaning of every phrase and clause.

In 1942 Marcelino moved to San Diego to take a job as a social worker in the county welfare department. He became active in the San Diego Braille Club (the local chapter of the NFB) and led a campaign to abolish a vision requirement for home teachers. The discriminatory requirement was finally discarded by the state personnel board.

Muzzy Marcelino's attendance at the semiannual conventions of the NFB of California began in 1943; he has sat in on the resolutions committee meetings, taking an active part in drafting resolutions; he has frequently chaired the committee. In the early 1960's Muzzy was first elected a board member and later Secretary of the state affiliate. He then became Second Vice President, First Vice President, and finally in 1976, President of the NFB of California.

After leaving the San Diego welfare job, Muzzy Marcelino spent a year as a rehabilitation and education aide for the U.S. War Department at Dibble Hospital in San Mateo, followed by a year as a training officer for the Veterans Administration. He then worked for 12 years for the state department of education as a rehabilitation counselor for the blind. Since 1961 Muzzy has been employed as a Broker and Investment Counselor by Putnam Financial Services of San Francisco.

One of Muzzy Marcelino's greatest contributions has been in the field of legislation. Since 1960 he has been a leading spokesman for the blind in Sacramento. He has drafted and guided through the legislature many amendments liberalizing the state's welfare programs for the blind. In 1969 Lawrence Marcelino was the first recipient of the NFB of California's Jacobus tenBroek Award, presented to recognize devotion and service to the interests of the blind.

Muzzy Marcelino holds positions in a number of organizations where he is able to work for improvements that will benefit the blind. He is a member of the Revolving Loan Fund for the Blind of the California State Department of Social Services, a member of the Executive Committee of the Para Transit Coordinating Council of the City and County of San Francisco, and a member of the Rehabilitation Advisory Committee of the California State Department of Rehabilitation.

Lawrence Marcelino was elected Secretary of the National Federation of the Blind in 1970 and has held that post ever since.

Richard Edlund, Treasurer

Richard Edlund preaches Federationism every chance he gets—as the newspapers of Kansas attest. In one article he is quoted as saying: "Any loss of one of the body's senses is naturally going to create a problem. But it is little more than that if a person has some training and the right attitude." In another interview he said: "We maintain that blind people can be just as competitive as anyone else if they have the proper training. All we're saying is give the blind the same chance as the sighted person." Or at another point in that interview: "We've got to change public attitudes. Today if a blind person is very successful, he's labeled an exception in the blind community. If the public would only give us a chance to prove ourselves, we could make cases like this the accepted rule."

Dick Edlund knows whereof he speaks. Born in 1924, he was blinded at the age of 16 as the result of a blasting cap accident, and he soon learned to hold his own and do his share. As he later told a reporter: "My parents let me know that just because I was blind I wouldn't get any special treatment. I had to get back to work and take my place in the family." After high school, Dick Edlund wanted to become a lawyer. A counselor told him it would be impossible because he was blind. He has had varied jobs—including owning and managing an airport. He successfully took courses in engine repair and has taught the skills to other blind persons. For more than 30 years he has owned and operated a hardware store outside of Kansas City.

Dick Edlund is an energetic leader of the organized blind in Kansas. He is president of the NFB of Kansas. Whether it is the right of the blind to serve as jurors, to enter a restaurant with a guide dog, to be foster parents, Dick Edlund and the NFB of Kansas are at work on the problem. He was instrumental in passing the state's White Cane Law.

Dick Edlund is chairman of the Kansas City Human Relations Commission and a member of the Kansas Committee on Employment of the Handicapped. He has been active in a project to create employer advisory boards for community colleges—a project that acquaints local employers with the abilities of blind students. Dick Edlund is also active in politics. In 1974 he ran for the office of public administrator of Wyandotte County, Kansas; and for twelve years he has been campaign manager for one of the state's leading legislators. Other affiliations include member of Delaware Lodge Number 96 of the Masonic Lodge, member of the Abdallah Shrine, and past president of the Wyandotte County Kiwanis Club.

In short, Dick Edlund is a man who practices what he preaches. In recognition of this, the Federation elected him its National Treasurer in 1974, and he has served in this position ever since.

Elizabeth Bowen

In 1969, the state of Florida had a separate agency to provide services to the blind. However, this was when governmental reorganization was becoming popular; and in that year, the agency for the blind was swept up as part of a Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, which was itself part of a huge Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (DHRS). In 1969 there was no strong organization of the blind in Florida to raise a cry.

In 1975 the legislature considered a new and even more sweeping reorganization of DHRS. This one would decentralize all of its varied services to 11 regional offices. Beyond this there would be hundreds of "one-stop service centers" throughout the state. No matter what your business with the Department—be it welfare, medical services, or rehabilitation—you would be helped by a single person, a "generalist" in all programs. This step would have destroyed programs for the blind. The needs of the blind are so different from the needs of those with other groups that it is hard for them to obtain meaningful service even within a general rehabilitation agency. Yet under the proposed set-up, blind people would have been forced to depend on generalists not necessarily trained in rehabilitation at all.

But in 1975 there was a strong organization of the blind in Florida—the NFB of Florida. The Federation spearheaded a move to salvage services for the blind. Large numbers of blind people became involved, and several salvaging plans were tried. At one point an amendment was introduced to move ah rehabilitation services out of DHRS and put them in the Department of Education. As part of the large program, services for the blind would go along. This tactic was not successful, but the point was eventually achieved: Florida now has a separate agency for services to the blind, and it is located not in DHRS but in the Department of Education.

Other rehabilitation programs were not so kicky. They were reorganized and decentralized around the state. One result was that the federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare declared Florida was no longer eligible for federal rehabilitation funds, and the matter has been in court ever since. The agency for the blind, however, is not involved; and although it leaves much to be desired, it is better than it would have been had the organized blind not been there to intervene.

The spokeswoman for the NFB of Florida and one of the individuals responsible for the affiliate's emergence as a united organization is Elizabeth (Beth) Bowen, the President of the organization.

She is a soft-spoken woman, the mother of four children and the wife of James Bowen, who is also blind and a strong Federationist. Born in 1940, Beth was educated at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, then at Stetson University and the University of Florida. She has worked as a medical secretary for the last seventeen years.

Beth Bowen has been president of the NFB of Florida since 1971. She has been a member of the NFB Executive Committee since 1976 and has served on a number of national committees. Outside the Federation she has been a PTA officer and a member of the Jaycettes. She is active in politics—a Democratic Committeewoman in Duval County and an active campaign worker. In 1981 Mrs. Bowen was appointed by President Reagan to serve as a member of the Selective Service Board for Duval County.

Beth Bowen's commitment to the movement comes from her experience as a blind person. As she says: "The discriminations I experienced while growing up were never really blatant. They were many small, unintentional things which—experienced over many years—made me feel certain I could never be quite as much of a person as those who had sight. All my failures were excused, and my accomplishments explained by the fact that I was blind. Deep inside I knew this was unfair; but through years of conditioning I also knew that if I spoke out no one would really understand.

"Then I learned of the National Federation of the Blind. I learned that many blind people feel as I do and are trying to do something about it. I learned that together we could accomplish what no one of us could do alone.

"My only regret is that I did not know about the Federation sooner. It is my hope that through our efforts no blind person will ever again be made to feel inferior because of blindness."

Robert M. Eschbach

Robert Eschbach was born of missionary parents in 1932 in the Philippine Islands. He spent much of his childhood traveling around the world, returning to the United States in 1941 to settle in Michigan. Two years later Bob lost his sight.

At first he attended public school in Detroit, but went on to the Ohio School for the Blind for high school. He graduated from Otterbein College, in Westerville, Ohio, with a degree in theoretical music and English; and in 1958, received a Master of Divinity degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton.

Bob Eschbach served for nine years in the parish ministry. Then, in 1966, he accepted a fellowship at the Menninger Foundation, in Topeka, Kansas. The experience persuaded Bob to move into the field of social work, and he remained in Kansas to earn a master's degree in social work at the University of Kansas before returning to Dayton in 1969. Bob accepted a job as a therapist at the Eastway Community Mental Health Center in Dayton. His responsibilities were gradually increased until he was made Community Services Director.

After a great deal of deliberation, Bob decided to return to the pastorate of the United Methodist Church. He is now serving the Hilltonia United Methodist Church in Columbus, Ohio. Reverend Eschbach and his wife Pat have two grown children: Mary, age 21, and Fred, age 19.

Bob Eschbach became acquainted with the Federation in 1969 when he was invited to join the Dayton Chapter. He felt he had discovered a new dimension to the experience of blind persons. He constantly became more involved and committed until 1972 when he attended the NFB National Convention in Chicago. It was his first exposure to the national movement, and Reverend Eschbach returned to Dayton feeling he had discovered where he wanted to be. He was elected president of the NFB of Ohio in 1973. During the past few years the state affiliate has made great strides in unity and in achieving legislation for the blind. Bob Eschbach has served as a member of the NFB Board of Directors since 1974. He has chaired several committees and currently is Chairperson of the NFB Dog Guide Committee.

Other appointments include: Member of the consumer Advisory Council to Rehabilitation Services Administration of the State of Ohio; member of Taskforce on Disabilities for the Ohio West Conference of the United Methodist Church; and member of the Disabilities Taskforce for the Ohio Council of Churches. Reverend Eschbach is also an active member of the Lions Clubs.

He says of his experience with the Federation: "The Federation has meant a great deal to me. Being a part of an organization which is concerned about what happens to people (particularly blind people) has demonstrated to me the way service ought to be given and responsibilities shared. It is an easy and natural follow-through to my personal Christian experience. I find being a part of the Federation reflects the opportunity of Christian discipleship. But, as is true with any worthwhile involvement, I have received much more than I have been able to give."'

Sterling N. France

For Sterling France, blindness has been both a barrier and a motivator. He says that he never felt blindness prevented him from doing the things he wanted to do, but that others had different ideas. As a boy in the forties and fifties and a young man in the early sixties he, along with the rest of the country, gave more attention to his problems as a black than as a blind person. He knew what it meant to be a member of a minority when he was growing up. Only later did he come to understand that blind persons constitute a minority, just as blacks do, and that attitudinal barriers are just as real for the blind as for blacks. From World War II through the sixties a great deal of change occurred regarding what it means to be black in this country. Progress continues today, but it is more subtle, for the greatest barriers have been crossed successfully. Changes for blind persons became more rapid in the seventies and the momentum is still growing. To live through and participate in all of this has been exciting, stimulating, and sometimes painful for Sterling France. He has never shrunk from any of it. He plunged into the thick of the fight to improve conditions for both the blacks and the blind, and he has played an important part in the advances made by both minorities. It has been a rich and productive life, and he looks forward to continued progress.

Sterling France is now the owner and manager of the France Piano business which sells, tunes, repairs, and reconditions pianos in Horseheads, New York. This business attracts customers from several towns nearby. It has been built by hard work and good management over a period of nearly a decade and a half. Mr. France is one of the leading businessmen in the community, and a look at his activities clearly demonstrates why.

Sterling France was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1941. He attended public schools, graduating from the Carver Vocational Technical High School in 1958. For the next few years Mr. France played with a band in the Baltimore area and considered entertainment as a possible career. After his marriage he made a change. He said, "As my family grew, I decided it wasn't fair to them for me to be away from home most evenings and weekends." Therefore, Mr. France took up piano tuning and repair. He first joined the National Federation of the Blind in Baltimore in the early sixties. By 1964 he had been elected president of the Baltimore chapter, and he held this office for the next two years. In 1966, however, Mr. France and his family moved to Horseheads, New York, where he believed business opportunities would be better. The France's have not regretted this move.

Although there was no chapter of the Federation located near Horseheads, Sterling France was active in the Federation again by the early seventies. In 1975 he was elected First Vice President of the NFB of New York, and in 1977 he became President, continuing in that office until the fall of 1981. Sterling France was elected to the NFB Board of Directors in 1979 and reelected in 1981. He serves on a number of committees in New York and nationally. Under his leadership the NFB of New York has grown in strength and influence. France now serves as First Vice President of the NFB of New York, and he continues to be one of the key leaders in the state.

Sterling France has a keen interest in the political process and a desire to change conditions for the blind and for blacks in American society. His life and activities demonstrate this, and he anticipates that he will be able to continue and increase his work for these minority groups.

Sterling France first joined the NAACP in Baltimore shortly after graduation from high school. To the present time he continues to be active in this organization, also. In 1976 he was elected to the Executive Board of the Elmira, New York, chapter of the NAACP, and he still holds that position. He is currently chairman of the Political Action Committee.

He has also been appointed to the following positions: member of the New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped Advisory Committee; member of the Taskforce on Transportation of the Disabled in New York State; member of the Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee Advisory Council for the Disabled; member of the Child Development Health Care Advisory Committee of Chemung County; member of the United Community Services, Inc.; and member of the Citizens' Goals for Chemung County.

Sterling and his wife Loretta have four children.

Norman Gardner

Dr. Norman Gardner was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind in 1979. He first joined the Federation in 1974. Discovery of the organization was one of the most meaningful events in his life. Dr. Gardner later said:

"I was 31 years old with four children, a Ph.D., and a job. If anyone had told me I had not adjusted well to my handicap (I didn't regard myself as blind), I would have been offended. The truth is, however, that I had been playing blindman’s bluff all my life. As I look back on it, I know that a large part of my waking hours were spent trying to avoid having my blindness discovered. I wanted to be 'normal.' I sometimes took material into the men's room to read it. I didn't want others to see that I had to hold it very close to my eyes. I discovered a system for memorizing large amounts of information (such as my class rolls of over one hundred students) in order to impress others and to convince myself that I could do things I thought persons with my 'handicap' ought to be able to do.

"When I heard about a meeting of blind students on the campus of Boise State University, I thought I might be able to help them out. They needed a faculty advisor. I went and was delighted and surprised to find several intelligent, articulate blind individuals. I began to learn about the Federation. In the past when I had been treated unfairly because of blindness, it had seemed reasonable to me. These students were saying that discrimination against the blind was unreasonable and (even better) we can change it. I realize that the trail has been blazed. The NFB had helped me, even if I hadn't known what it was doing. It was high time I got into the traces and helped to pull."

In 1975 (less than a year after his first contact with the Federation) Norman Gardner was elected president of the NFB of Idaho and has been re-elected to that position every two years since that time. Also in 1975, Dr. Gardner was appointed by the Governor of Idaho to serve on the Board of the Idaho Commission for the Blind. He has been reappointed to that position twice. Dr. Gardner was first elected to the NFB Board of Directors in 1979.

Born in 1943, Norman Gardner grew up in Utah as one of seven children in his family, six boys and a younger sister. He and two brothers were affected by macular degeneration. They had limited vision from early childhood and it diminished gradually as they grew older. Family and friends were uncertain about this eye condition, since playing ball seemed to be little problem, but reading was nearly impossible. Were these kids avoiding homework or could they really not see? The former was perhaps more acceptable to parents than the latter. Nevertheless, Norman and his brothers depended on other family members and friends to get school work done. Norman enjoyed books and learning, but he said, "At an early age reading for myself became more work than it was worth." Still, he graduated from high school valedictorian of his class. After one year of college, Norman went to Mexico representing the Mormon Church on a mission. Returning from Mexico, he began his second year of college and came face to face with problems because of his inability to see to read. He says, "I was on the verge of dropping out of college because I was unwilling to get C's. I well remember the day I went to the library and mentioned to a librarian my problem. She gave me the incredible news that there was a room in the library where students who couldn't see could go and have material read to them." Norman Gardner completed his bachelor's degree cum laude in Spanish in two and a half years at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and then continued for a master's in business administration. He was employed for several years in business and continued studying for his Ph.D. in business administration, which he received from the University of Utah in 1974. It was then that he accepted a position as Professor of Finance and Statistics in the school of business at Boise State University where he has continued to work ever since with increasing responsibilities. Dr. Gardner has led students and teachers in study tours to Mexico during recent summers.

He met and married his wife Maggie during undergraduate school, and the Gardners now have six children ranging in age from four to fifteen. The Gardners are active members of the Mormon Church, and Dr. Gardner has held various positions of leadership in his ward.

Allen Harris

Allen Harris of Dearborn, Michigan, was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind in 1981. At that time he said, "I take some satisfaction in many of the things I have accomplished in my life, but nothing has given me more pleasure and reward than my work in the Federation."

Allen Harris may well take satisfaction in his accomplishments. Blind since his birth in 1945, he completed high school at the Michigan School for the Blind in Lansing. He says of this period, "The two most valuable things I learned in high school were wrestling and typing. Although I could have used some other things, these two skills have served me well ever since." Allen Harris was a championship wrestler throughout high school and college. He was also a champion debator in college and graduated magna cum laude.

After graduation with honors from Wayne State University in 1967, Allen Harris began looking for a teaching position, and he enrolled in graduate school. At that time high school teachers were still in demand. He sent out 167 applications and went on 96 interviews, but there was no job offer. After a year of futile search, Mr. Harris was depressed, and his friends were outraged. One friend went to a meeting of the school board of the Dearborn Public School System. She spoke publicly and openly about the blind applicant for a teaching position who was so well qualified and, yet, was being ignored by scores of school districts.

The tactic worked. Officials of the school district said they were unaware of Mr. Harris, although he had sent in an application. He was called for an interview and hired to teach social studies. And fortune was with the school that hired this man. In addition to a full-time teaching schedule, Allen Harris coaches high school wrestling, as well as swimming and wrestling for boys from age 5 to 14. His coaching record is most impressive. He has coached six high school wrestling teams that won league championships, and one of his teams won the state championship.

His age group swimming teams have won five State Conference championships, and his age group wrestling teams have won six State Conference championships. For the last two years Mr. Harris has been working in the administration of the age group after school program, and the Dearborn teams continue to excel.

Allen Harris says that he was aware of some Federation materials at the time he was looking for his first teaching position, and he found them helpful. But his real knowledge and involvement in the Federation began in 1969 when an organizing team came to his door to pay a visit. They told him there was to be a state convention of the Federation that weekend in Lansing and that he ought to go. Allen Harris did go, and he was elected Secretary of the NFB of Michigan. He served as President of the Detroit Chapter of the NFB from 1970 to 1975 and has been President of the NFB of Michigan since 1976.

Under the presidency of Allen Harris, services to the blind in Michigan were consolidated into a single and separate commission for the blind, a major victory indeed. Also under his leadership, the NFB of Michigan recommended two other pieces of legislation to the legislature which have been passed. One of these laws requires that the State of Michigan will provide an automatic cost of living increase for Supplemental Security Income for blind persons in that state. The other makes it possible for a blind individual in Michigan to take the person of his or her choice into the voting booth without red tape or special paperwork.

After eleven years of teaching social studies at Dearborn High School, Mr. Harris applied for and received a transfer to Fordson High School where he is currently teaching and coaching. He and his wife Sue have three young children, ages eight, six, and one.

Diane McGeorge

Diane McGeorge was born in 1932 and grew up in Nebraska. She was blinded by meningitis at the age of two. As she wrote later: "Dr. Jernigan has said that we are programmed to feel inferior; and until we deal with that, we don't deal with the real issue of blindness. I always had a loving family; my mother was one of the most positive people in the world. She always told me I could do anything I wanted to. So I never thought that she felt I was inferior. I didn't stop to deal with the fact that she never let me go anywhere by myself—someone was always available to go with me. There were other things, but this one stands out in my mind. She taught me many more things than do most parents of blind children, and she gave me a feeling of pride in myself as an individual. But we never discussed my blindness as it should have been discussed."

As Diane puts it, she was "slightly educated" at the Nebraska School for the Blind. The lack of challenge at the school left Diane, on graduation, feeling she had brilliant talents that would win her any job she wanted. She soon learned that no blind person—regardless of how well qualified—has an easy time in the job market. She enrolled in a business college in Denver to learn typing and transcribing. She then went on to the University of Colorado to take the training to become a medical secretary, a profession she has followed ever since, except for some time taken out to raise a family. In 1979 she was promoted to the position of Computerized Word Processor Technologist at the University of Colorado Health and Science Center.

Diane left her job when her second child was due, and she spent eight years as a full-time homemaker and mother. She took part in all of the activities of raising a family. She says, "I'll never forget my two years as den mother for Cub Scouts. Did you ever make shoe scrapers out of bottle tops? I taught Sunday School for a good number of years. My class of three-year-olds made clay candle holders for Christmas presents, and we were all proud of them. I was active in PTA and was volunteered for any number of positions and projects."

All during this time, Diane McGeorge had been a member of the Federation, but a passive one. Her husband, Ray, was much more active than she, though she was willing to serve refreshments at meetings or handle other tasks. She says her attitude bordered on being: "Some of you people just go out and look for trouble. I don't have any trouble and I don't know what all this talk about discrimination means; I never get discriminated against." She continues: "All the time I was thinking I was some kind of super blind person: I can get a job; I can live wherever I want to. We had bought a house right after we were married, and I managed to forget the times I had tried to rent an apartment and been turned down. I also managed to rationalize the times we had been refused admission to restaurants because of my dog guide. I would get angry and say I wouldn't eat in their restaurants anyway; there were lots of others; who cares?

"I had never come to grips with the fact that I was really hiding from the unpleasant issues in life. It was easier to be 'super blind person,' a member of the PTA, the choir, etc. I was in the Federation, but I really felt no deep commitment or involvement.

"I suppose I was one of several Federationists in Colorado who gained a new perspective in our movement during the Judy Miller case. I first knew Judy when she was in junior high school. She and other blind teenagers in the Denver Public Schools were not permitted to take cooking classes, and the best solution we could think of at the time was that I and other blind women would teach them Home Ec in our homes during the summer. That was in the 1960's. We wouldn't do it quite that way anymore. It didn't occur to us that we, the Federation, could and should insist that the school must provide instruction to those blind kids in Home Ec and other classes. I never dreamed that in a few short years we would be suing that same Denver Public School District for unfairly refusing to hire Judy Miller because of blindness. But we did. By the seventies the Federation was different, and the Judy Miller case changed us all even more. We succeeded in forcing the schools to change the policy. More than that, the case established the precedent that the School District gets positive benefits from hiring the blind. In a very literal sense, that case brought home to me what the Federation really is. I was beginning to understand what could be done for blind persons by the Federation, and I wanted to be truly involved in this sort of accomplishment."

Diane McGeorge went to the National Convention in 1973 (her first in several years), and she marched down the streets of New York City with more than one thousand other blind Americans to tell the world how the Federation felt about the American Foundation for the Blind and National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC). She said, "I felt the power of our movement and the thrill of being a part of it. The Federation had added a new and special dimension to my life, and it has lasted to the present time."

Mrs. McGeorge's participation in the Federation affected her in other ways. "One day in December, when it was bitter cold, Ray and I stopped at a coffee shop to have coffee. It was the only warm place available and probably not fit to walk into. We did, though, and when we did, the proprietor told us we couldn't bring the dog in. I was so furious I nearly burst into tears, and I walked out of there. I thought and thought about that; and I said, deep in my heart, that nobody was ever going to make me feel that way again; I had been a coward to let it happen.

"I never said this to anybody—it was just something that went on inside me. About six months later we were at a movie—or I should say, we had planned to go to a movie. The manager said we couldn't bring the dog into the theatre. We have a White Cane Law in Colorado, and I was well acquainted with it. We had what turned out to be a two-hour battle over that issue, but I came away from there not feeling cowardly or guilty or as if I were not quite as good as the manager because he could see and I couldn't. It took me a long time to deal with the basic issues of blindness. I never began doing it until I really started learning what the NFB is about."

In 1976 Diane McGeorge assumed the state presidency of the NFB of Colorado upon the resignation of Judy Miller, who moved out of the state. At first she felt that she was in over her head: "I knew nothing about legislation, about how to get a bill passed. The first time I went to the legislature, I was terrified."

Under her leadership the NFB of Colorado has become one of the strongest affiliates in the Federation. "I have learned a tremendous amount about administration, fundraising, giving speeches, and meeting legislators since 1976." And the leadership of Diane McGeorge is not limited to Colorado. "One of the proudest days of my life," she says, "was when I was elected by the NFB Convention in 1977 to be a member of our National Board of Directors."

Diane McGeorge has become well-known to NFB Conventioneers as the head of the door prize committee, a position she has handled with charm and enthusiasm for several years. She also serves as Chairperson of the Committee on Women's Issues. Diane and her dog, Pony, travel widely throughout the Federation representing the National Office at state conventions, helping on organizing work, and solving problems that develop. She says, "The last eight to ten years of my life have been more stimulating and rewarding than any period before that. I don't wish to imply that I was unhappy prior to that time. Quite the contrary. I was busy, and the things I was doing were important. But they were not as important as the things the Federation is doing. Every activity of the Federation affects tens of thousands of people. It is a lot of responsibility to represent the Federation, and we can never have too many people to do the work. Part of what I have learned is that what I do matters.

"I suppose it is a commentary on the way I used to feel about myself. Until the last few years, it just never occurred to me that anyone could do what I am now doing, let alone that I could do it and that there would be a lot of other blind people who could and would work together to make real changes that would affect every single blind person in the country, and affect them a lot. I hope and believe that I am able to make meaningful contributions in the NFB. There is one thing I am sure of. However much I do I am receiving more from the Federation than I am able to give."

Peggy Pinder

Peggy Pinder, the youngest member of the NFB Board, is one of the best known. Born in 1953 and raised in Grinnell, a small town in eastern Iowa, Peggy attended regular schools until the middle of the ninth grade.

"My family is from the well-nourished, well-educated middle class of the Midwest, all bound to do well in our own right with B.A.'s, good pay, and happiness stamped on our birth certificates. Until blindness. When my condition was diagnosed as irreversible decline into total blindness, my father cried for the first and only time in my life. My family tried to act as if nothing had changed, as if I possessed the same birthright; but it all seemed to be pretense—until I met Dr. Jernigan.

"Two and a half unhappy years at the Iowa School for the Blind had started me living the lie society imposes on many blind people: We were assured that the blind are normal and capable, but we were expected to achieve little academically (I learned nothing in the five semesters at the school for the blind that I had not learned in public school previously); we were expected to have no mobility (we were not allowed off the campus except in the company of sighted people); and we were expected to have limited vocational goals (there was no encouragement to identify and develop talents nor any system to build pride and confidence by getting to know successful working blind persons)."

Peggy reacted to the stifling atmosphere and drew down the wrath of the school administration, which insisted that she go back to public school. This was when she went to the Commission for the Blind and met Kenneth Jernigan. The school had not taught her the skills necessary to live independently as a blind person, and she came to the Commission to get them. As she says:

"My first meetings with Dr. Jernigan were intellectual and emotional battles. I had met a man of intelligence and wisdom, successful in his chosen profession, and blind. He had achieved the success I desperately wanted, and he was not living with the limited expectations I had been taught to expect. The prospect of taking my life in my own hands was exhilarating and frightening. He had thought deeply about the meaning society puts on blindness and found it hollow. He presented me the chance to do the same.

"He also showed me that blind people, whatever their positions, are perceived first and foremost as blind. We must work to change our image, individually and collectively."

Miss Pinder went on to Iowa's Cornell College, where she achieved an excellent academic record and edited the Cornellian, the school newspaper. She then completed law school at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

After graduation from law school. Miss Pinder passed the Iowa Bar in January, 1980. She said, "Then began the job search. At Yale, I had already gained some experience in job-hunting—experience of a very particular kind. People from throughout the country come to Yale to recruit Yale law students. Students choose firms or agencies which interest them and schedule interviews. I interviewed as heavily as anyone, but I got not one, single job offer. Every other student in my class had offers, and my record was good."

In 1976 Peggy Pinder was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Kansas City. So far as we know, she was the first blind person ever to be a delegate to the National Convention of either political party. During the Convention she appeared on national television and in a national news magazine—on all these occasions, she spread the word about NFB philosophy and the real problems of blind people. Finally, she was chosen to second the nomination of Senator Robert Dole to be the candidate of the Republican party for the Vice-Presidency of the United States. This brought Miss Pinder on television into most of the homes of America. Also in 1976 Peggy Pinder was chosen by the Federation to receive the Howard Brown Rickard Scholarship which was presented at the NFB Convention in Los Angeles. She held office in the NFB Student Divisions in Iowa and Connecticut, and served as president of the National Student Division from 1977 to 1979. Miss Pinder was first elected to serve on the NFB Board of Directors in 1977. In 1981 she was elected President of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa.

Peggy Pinder is now employed as Assistant County Attorney for Woodbury County and works in Sioux City, Iowa. She says, "I prosecute defendants on behalf of the people of my county."

About her experience with the organized blind movement, Peggy says: "The self-awareness I have achieved through my association with the Federation has made me aware of my rights and capabilities. It has allowed me to set my own goals for my life and to resist the lowered expectations that teachers and colleagues have tried to hedge me in with. But I also know that alone I cannot stand against some restrictions—restrictions that must be resisted in the legislatures and courts. I was very young when I joined the Federation, but I have been a member for more than ten years, and I have watched and participated in exciting changes in the organization. The membership has grown substantially. We who are in the Federation and others have come to understand more fully that the NFB is the true blind community, the only effective voice of the blind. It seems to me that we are beginning the decade of the eighties with the kind of strength the blind have never had, and that can only mean that we are able to bring about real improvements in the quality of life for blind people. The strength is partly our knowing who we are as a community and partly that others know it, too. It gives me real pride and hope to know that we have built with our own hands what we now are, and I look forward to the future with confidence."

Ralph Sanders

Ralph Sanders was born in 1945 on a farm in Grant County, Arkansas. He lost his sight at the age of seven as the result of a shotgun blast—an accident that almost cost him his life. He later told a reporter: "Following my return home to the farm, I think I felt trapped by my blindness. I was discouraged from going out and playing, so I stayed inside with my mother, listening to the soap operas on the radio and daydreaming a lot. In fairness to my family, I should add that after they adjusted to my blindness, I was encouraged to go out and play and to resume many of my chores."

Ralph Sanders was sent to attend the Arkansas School for the Blind. He later said about this: "The academic education I received was more than adequate. There were very few students so we got a lot of individual attention. I had little trouble competing academically in college. Socially, however, residential schools are quite a different matter. I was not at all prepared for the adjustment I had to make to college life. Your social transactions are framed in an environment totally foreign to the experiences of most people as they grow up."

Sanders went on to attend California State University at Northridge, where he became editor of the campus newspaper and was involved in campus organizations and politics. He received a B.A. in journalism in 1969. About this period he says: "I rebelled against the idea of being around other blind people or being compared with them. I made the mistake that many blind people make. I felt I was better than other blind persons.

"In 1967, through association with members of the National Federation of the Blind, I began to accept a new image of blindness. I learned that blind people were successful in a variety of fields. I came to realize that success as a blind person is a factor of opportunity and not blindness. I have been terribly lucky. I had a lot of friends and a wonderful family who encouraged me to be successful. What might be termed my activist attitude stems from my commitment to do what I can to give other blind people the same opportunities I had."

Ralph Sanders went on to earn a master's degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in 1970. Then he returned to Arkansas to work on public relations for Winthrop Rockefeller's campaign to be re-elected Governor. Of this episode in his life he says: "My experience with the Rockefeller organization was satisfying. There were those on the staff who had difficulty accepting me as a blind person, but for the most part I was well accepted and expected to perform on a basis of ability. Governor Rockefeller, I believe, genuinely looked upon me as just another member of his staff. That's how the blind want to be accepted. If we succeed or fail, we want to do it on our merits and not on a basis of some preconceived notion about our performance as a handicapped person. After the campaign was over, and Rockefeller was not re-elected, I was terminated like most of the staff, as I should have been."

Sanders formed a partnership with another member of the Rockefeller staff. They operated a public relations and advertising business in Little Rock. In 1971, Ralph Sanders was elected President of the NFB of Arkansas. In 1973, he was elected to the NFB Executive Committee, and he became NFB Second Vice-President in 1974.

In 1975 Ralph Sanders was named President of Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM), which provides services to the adult blind of Maryland. At that time, BISM was racked by scandal and mismanagement. In the years since, it has become a model program for the blind in many areas. The sheltered workshops run by BISM were changed to duplicate the conditions of normal private industry, including payment of at least the regular minimum wage to all workers, and the freedom to organize.

In 1977, when Dr. Jernigan resigned from the Presidency of the Federation for reasons of health, Ralph Sanders was elected to the position. He performed the duties of the office with skill and dedication. In 1978, Dr. Jernigan was again available for the Presidency. Mr. Sanders joined with the convention in its unanimous re-election of Dr. Jernigan as President, but he continues to serve on the Board of Directors and plays a leading role in the movement.

Joyce Scanlan

Joyce Scanlan was born in Fargo, North Dakota in 1939. She received her elementary and secondary education at the North Dakota School for the Blind. Having a strong love of reading and theater, Joyce went on to earn a B.A. in English and history, and a master's degree in history, at the University of North Dakota. Joyce taught these subjects, along with social studies, in high schools in the state for the next five years.

Although she always had limited vision due to a congenital eye defect, and although her early education took place at a school for the blind, Joyce still believed her ability to function depended on her remaining sight. When glaucoma took the rest of her vision after five successful years of teaching, she lost her self-confidence. She says; "I quickly fled from the job because I had never known a blind teacher in a public school, and I had had such a struggle those last few weeks in the classroom that I was positive no blind person could ever teach sighted children."

She had trouble finding another job; but as she points out, her own attitudes were as bad as those of the employers she applied to. She told a counselor who visited her in the hospital; "I never saw a blind person amount to anything yet, so there's no reason to think I can."

In 1970 the NFB Convention was in Minneapolis, and Joyce attended the meeting of the NFB Teachers Division. She says: "I met many teachers there who were blind. In fact, I met blind persons from all over the country who were engaged in a great variety of occupations. I learned how discrimination was being faced. But most of all, I learned what the NFB was all about and realized what blind people working together can do." At that Convention, Joyce also met Tom Scanlan, whom she married four years later.

Joyce became active in the NFB in Minnesota. In 1971 she organized a statewide student division. In 1972 she was elected Vice-President of the NFB of Minnesota, and in 1973 she was elected President. That same year she was appointed to a newly created Minnesota Commission for the Handicapped-the only representative of a consumer organization on the Commission. The affiliate under her leadership has worked to keep state services for the blind located in a separate unit of government. It also successfully sued the Minneapolis Society for the Blind when that agency changed its by-laws to exclude blind members.

The battle with the Minneapolis Society for the Blind has continued to be an important one for the Federation. The court decided that the Society must hold a new election for Board members, and that election occurred in the fall of 1979. The blind succeeded in getting eight Federationists elected to the Board of Directors of the Minneapolis Society for the Blind. Joyce Scanlan and other Federationists in Minnesota continue to monitor services of that agency and others. "Progress seems slow at times, but looking back we recognize that the Minneapolis Society is much more responsive to us than it was in the seventies. And we know that other agencies throughout the country are watching to see if the blind will be successful in making the Society do what we believe is really good for us."

Joyce Scanlan was elected to the NFB Board of Directors in 1974 and has continued to serve in this capacity ever since. She says of her experience with the NFB: "The Federation has made a great difference in my life. I still try to spend time on the theater and reading, but I want to give as much time as possible to working in the NFB. I wish I had known about it before 1970. I want to be sure that every blind person I ever know hears all about the Federation. If I have any skill as a teacher, I'll use it in the Federation."

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by Mary Ellen Anderson & Diane McGeorge


by Mary Ellen Anderson

2 tablespoons or 2 packages of active dry yeast
2 cups of lukewarm water
2 teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons of honey
¼ cup of vegetable oil
5 to 6 cups white flour

Dissolve yeast in water and add all ingredients except the flour. Add flour gradually and stir well after addition until dough is well blended but quite sticky. Turn on to a well floured surface and knead thoroughly. Pat dough into a rectangle about one-fourth inch thick. Spread with about one cup of very soft butter. Sprinkle with one cup grated Parmesan cheese. Then sprinkle with two tablespoons of caraway seeds. Roll dough up as you would for a jelly roll. Divide into two large loaves or three smaller loaves. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. This bread is delicious toasted or served heated.


by Diane McGeorge

2 cups lukewarm water
2 packages of active dry yeast
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of rosemary
2 teaspoons of dill seed
1 package of dry spaghetti sauce mix
1 teaspoon of salt
4 to 4½ cups of flour

Dissolve yeast in the water. Add all ingredients except the flour to the yeast mixture. Stir well. Blend in two and one-half cups of the flour. Continue adding flour gradually until the dough is a consistency that does not stick to your hands when kneading. Knead the dough thoroughly. Place in a warm place and let rise until double in bulk. Punch the dough down. Form into a long loaf about 15 inches as you would for French bread. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 425 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes. You may divide the dough into two smaller loaves and bake in a regular size loaf pan, and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. If you wish the bread to have a softer crust, wrap the loaf in foil as soon as you remove it from the pans. The crust will stay crisp if you do not wrap it until it is cool. To serve, I slice the bread and butter it, wrap in foil and heat in a 350 degree oven about 15 to 25 minutes. This bread is delicious toasted as well.

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From Dottie Neely:

Early in the winter the Salem, Oregon, Chapter conducted a skate-a-thon. "We had 23 skaters with a total of $629.06 in pledges. We got much good press and media coverage. Next year we look forward to an even better event."

From Boyd C. Wolfe, Sunset Trailer Park, Route 9W, Newburgh, New York 12550:


I would appreciate very much hearing from you if you have encountered or are encountering any problems while at the Center. Please write, in Braille if possible, giving details and information. No anonymous correspondence accepted. However, names will be kept confidential if so desired.

From Iowa:

NFBI President, Peggy Pinder, was in a car accident January 3 on her way back to Sioux City after visiting her parents over the holidays. She suffered a back injury and numerous bruises. She was hospitalized for more than a week, but at the time of this writing she is recovering at her parents' home in Grinnell. She wishes to thank Federationists who sent flowers, cards, and messages. She said that the warmth and care of Federationists made the whole thing less of an ordeal than it might have been.

From Donald C. Capps, reprinted from the Palmetto Blind, the publication of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina:

Former Governor Robert E. McNair conceived the idea of a capital complex during his administration between 1965 and 1971. The capital complex was dedicated in honor of former Governor McNair on Friday, October 30, 1981 with the unveiling of a marker honoring him. Many dignitaries and political leaders were on hand for this historical occasion. A luncheon followed at the Carolina Colliseum attended by many dignitaries and friends of the McNair family. It was my honor to be invited to and be present for both the unveiling of the marker and the luncheon. In closely following all of the activities it soon became apparent to me that I had been invited to represent the blind of the state.

St. Louis Chapter:

June Smith, Corresponding Secretary of our St. Louis, Missouri, Chapter informs us that the following people have been elected to the Executive Board of Directors of the St. Louis Chapter for 1982: John Dower, President; Larry Ledford, Vice President; Linda Skroski, Recording Secretary; June Smith, Corresponding Secretary; Marguerette Bholey, Treasurer; and Loretta Benevidex, Member-at-large.

Eastern Orange Chapter, New York:

Lucy Carpenter, President of our new Eastern Orange County Chapter, writes:

The Eastern Orange County Chapter, National Federation of the Blind of New York State, Inc. is now officially certified. We received our charter in October. We are growing by leaps and bounds. We have a membership of twenty-one . . . . We are doing everything we can in order to make the chapter much in evidence in the community. We are well received.

The Mutual Federation of the Blind, NFB of Ohio:

The 1982 officers are: Annette Anderson, President; Walter Rix, Vice President; Betty Kendall, Secretary; John Knall, Treasurer; three-year Board members: Brenda Bleakmore and Cecile Daniels; and one-year Board member: Ethel Card.

From Loretta Jones, NFB of New Mexico:

We are pleased to announce that the following have been elected to serve as officers of the National Federation of the Blind of Las Cruces during the 1982 calendar year: Lee A. Jones, President; Karen Arellano, Vice President; Loretta Jones, Secretary-Treasurer; and Board Members Richard Andazola and Henry Madrid.

Salt Lake City, Utah:

Results of recent elections in the Salt Lake City Chapter: Al Hicks, President; Wendy Bybee. First Vice President; Linda Holladay, Second Vice President; Mary Hale, Secretary; and Michael Taylor, Treasurer.

Marc Maurer:

In the January 3, 1982, issue of Grit (a news and feature-type magazine with nationwide circulation) an article appears entitled "Lawyer Lacks Sight—Not Spunk." The article is a feature concerning Marc Maurer. It talks of his law practice in Baltimore, his experience of growing up as a child, his training and background, and his involvement in the National Federation of the Blind.

President Jernigan has surgery:

President Jernigan entered Sinai Hospital in Baltimore January 13, 1982, for surgery to repair a double hernia. The surgery was performed January 14, and within a few hours President Jernigan was walking about and beginning to deal with Federation business. He left the hospital Monday, January 18, and is now back on his regular schedule. He says: "An operation is never a pleasant thing, but in my case there was a positive side to it. The reaching out to me from Federationists from throughout the country was the sort of thing that cannot help warming the heart and raising the spirit. Even though I could not personally answer every call or card, I want all of you to know that I am deeply moved and grateful for the expressions of love which I received from you and for the concern which I know was felt by Federationists all over the nation. I am fully recovered and glad to have the surgery behind me."

From TSI:

In a news release dated January 6, 1982, Telesensory Systems, Inc. said:

"Telesensory Systems, Inc. (TSI) of Palo Alto, California, announced today that it has entered into a major contract with Western Electric Company. The contract, valued at over $2 million, is for production of special terminals that enable blind persons to independently handle telephone operator stations, called TSPS consoles. The TSPS consoles are used by telephone operators at Bell operating companies throughout the U.S.

"The TIPS (TSPS Information Processing System) uses a special dynamic Braille display and announces various information and cues that a sighted operator would otherwise perceive visually. The concept for TIPS has been developed at TSI over the past four years. AT&T sponsored the development of a prototype system which was used successfully during a six-month field evaluation at Pacific Telephone in Sacramento last year."

From Iowa:

NFBI member, Suzanne Mains has been Director of Nursing Education at Mercy Hospital for several years. Recently she was elected president of the Iowa League of Nurses. In addition, Miss Mains was chosen Nurse of the Year by the Central Iowa Chapter of the Iowa Nurses Association. Suzanne Mains has been blind since 1973.

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