I wish to express my thanks to Anthony D. Cobb and the entire staff at the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore for their indispensable assistance in the tedious process of collecting data, assembling materials, and scanning the manuscript of this book for factual errors.
It is also a particular pleasure to acknowledge the cooperation of the present generation of leaders in the organized blind movement who are too numerous to single out by name but who gave freely and often extensively of their time, memory, and wisdom in the interest not merely of building a historical record that was part of it, of course but of telling a story (as true as it is remarkable) that has never been told before.
The narration of that story, however, is entirely my responsibility. No one in the organized blind movement with whom I have talked tried to tell me how to write it, or sought to influence its point of view. I have had full access to the files of the National Federation of the Blind and free rein in developing my historical reconstruction of salient events. In the writing of that history I have attempted to present the facts (and the drama) in the context of the time in which they occurred, not in the light of later developments. I have done this even though in some instances relationships have evidently somewhat altered in recent years the most notable example being, perhaps, the relationship between the NFB and the American Foundation for the Blind. This is only to say that I have tried not to rewrite history to conform to present attitudes or agendas. To the best of my ability I have sought to tell it as it was and as it must have felt to all those blind Americans who, through half a century of pain and progress, were forming a more perfect union of their own.