FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Monday, May 11, 2009
Category: 
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

Two Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollars to Go Into Space Today

National Federation of the Blind Launches Program to Sell 50,000 Coins before the Shuttle Returns

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (May 11, 2009): When the space shuttle Atlantis takes off today, it will carry two Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollars. This unique coin commemorates the birth of the inventor of the reading and writing code for the blind and is the first United States coin to contain tactile, readable Braille. At the same time, the National Federation of the Blind will launch a program to sell 50,000 of these limited edition coins to raise funds to advance Braille literacy in the United States before the shuttle returns to earth in eleven days.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “This is an exciting moment because the general public has the chance to buy a piece of history—a coin that not only represents knowledge and empowerment for blind people but that also will visit the Hubble Space Telescope. Just as the Hubble telescope has advanced our knowledge of the universe, purchasing the Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar will advance the cause of equality for the blind.”

Mark Riccobono, executive director of the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, said: “Blind children in America are facing a crisis—only 10 percent of them are learning Braille, leaving 90 percent illiterate. It is imperative that the general public act swiftly to reverse illiteracy among blind children. That is why we are asking everyone to purchase a Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar before Atlantis returns to earth.”

To purchase the Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar, please visit www.usmint.gov or call 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). The proof silver dollar is $41.95 and the uncirculated silver dollar is $33.95. For more information about the National Federation of the Blind and the Braille Readers are Leaders campaign, please visit www.braille.org.