NFB Songs

One of the more unique organizational traits of the National Federation of the Blind is the central role that songs have played in the community that is the Federation. The first NFB song contest was held in 1969, which resulted in the adoption of the Federation’s first official song, “The Battle Hymn of the NFB,” better known to many as, “Glory, Glory Federation.”

In the years since then, members of the NFB have utilized song for a variety of situations and for many reasons, but the three main sources for inspiration have been to protest against people and organizations believed to be acting against the interests of blind people, to define and vocalize Federation philosophy, and to celebrate what became known as “the organized blind movement.” Song topics have included ineffective, inept, and custodial rehabilitation; mismanagement of services for the blind by the government and various agencies; the dangers of quiet cars; the battle with airlines to hold onto canes and sit in exit-rows; and the struggle against the National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services (NAC).

For more information on the history of NFB songs, please see Barbara Pierce’s article, “Singing Our Story: Federation History in Song,” from the July 2013 issue of the Braille Monitor.

Glory, Glory Federation: Songs of the NFB

Recorded by the Pennsylvania Affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind in the 1970s.

  1. Battle Hymn of the N.F.B. (Josephine Huff and Floyd S. Field, 1969)
  2. A Federation Song (College Students Association of Iowa City, 1969)
  3. The Library Song (Doris Willoughby, 1978)
  4. The Rehab Song (Liberty Alliance of the Blind, Inc.)
  5. The Bureau Song (Liberty Alliance of the Blind, Inc.)
  6. The Old P.B.A. (Liberty Alliance of the Blind, Inc.)
  7. Bringing in the Thieves (Liberty Alliance of the Blind, Inc.)
  8. Where Have All the Losers Gone
  9. United N.F.B. (Marcia Mendelson, 1969)
  10. Old MacDonald Had a Shop (Pattie Jacobson)
  11. Blind Workshop Blues (Liberty Alliance of the Blind, Inc.)
  12. Helping, Helping! (Liberty Alliance of the Blind, Inc.)
  13. Don’t Fly Hostile Skys (Liberty Alliance of the Blind, Inc.)
  14. Don’t Take Our Long White Canes (Liberty Alliance of the Blind, Inc.)
  15. We Shall March Together (James Omvig, 1969)
  16. Big Old Blind Uncle Tom Pig (Liberty Alliance of the Blind, Inc.)
  17. Workin’ In the Workshop (Liberty Alliance of the Blind, Inc.)
  18. We’re the N.F.B. (Liberty Alliance of the Blind, Inc.)

NFB Songs Old and New

Recorded by the Cane Raisers, 1998
Sligo Creek Chapter, National Federation of the Blind of Maryland

  1. Battle Hymn of the NFB (Glory, Glory Federation) (Josephine Huff and Floyd S. Field, 1969)
  2. A Federation Song (College Students Association of Iowa City, 1969)
  3. Stair to a Star (Hal Bleakley and Jim Omvig)
  4. I’ve Been Working in the Workshop (Liberty Alliance of the Blind, Inc.)
  5. Bringing in the Thieves (Liberty Alliance of the Blind, Inc.)
  6. Blind Workshop Blues (Liberty Alliance of the Blind, Inc., also credited to Arthur Segal)
  7. The Library Song (Doris Willoughby, 1978)
  8. Amazing Grace (Ted Young)
  9. The Rehab Song (Liberty Alliance of the Blind, Inc.)
  10. The Bureau Song (Liberty Alliance of the Blind, Inc., also credited to Ted Young)
  11. A Technology Song (Debbie Brown)
  12. The State Department Song (Paul and Mary Ellen Gabias)
  13. We Shall March Together (James Omvig, 1969)
  14. We’re Changing What it Means to be Blind (Betty Niceley)
  15. Helping, Helping! (Ted Young)
  16. The White Cane Freedom March (Members of the Sligo Creek Chapter)
  17. The Traffic Signal Song (Ted Young)
  18. Don’t Walk 
  19. I Broke My Neck in San Francisco
  20. The United Airlines Song
  21. Let’s Go Out to the Airport (Mary Ellen Thompson, Sandy Halverson, Christine Boone, and Mike Hingson)
  22. Ode to the Code (The Sligo Creek Digital Communications Consortium)
  23. Happy Home for the Blind (Students at the Louisiana Center for the Blind)
  24. We Shall Not be Moved
  25. When the Blind Go Marching In (Harold Snider and Members of the Sligo Creek Chapter)

Other songs