The National Federation of the Blind is not an organization speaking for the blind--it is the blind speaking for themselves


N. F. B. Headquarters
2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, Calif.





Published monthly in Braille and distributed free to the blind by the American Brotherhood for the Blind, 257 South Spring Street, Los Angeles 12, California.

Ink-print edition produced and distributed by the National Federation of the Blind, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, California. Subscription rate--$3.00 per year.

EDITOR: GEORGE CARD, 605 South Few Street, Madison, Wisconsin.

News items should be addressed to the Editor. Changes of address and subscriptions should be sent to the Berkeley headquarters of the National Federation of the Blind.


Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
National Federation of the Blind (NFB)


(December, 1958)




by Jacobus tenBroek

by Ed Schultz

by Darleen McGraw


by Olivia Mallett






by Jacobus tenBroek






by Mary Jane Hills


by J. Henry Kruse, Jr .





by William E. Wood






By Jacobus tenBroek
President, National Federation of the Blind

Never, have I performed any of the responsibilities of my office as president with more reluctance and regret, or with a heavier heart, than that which I am required to perform now. It is my duty to announce to our membership that George Card has resigned his position as First Vice-President of the National Federation of the Blind.

A man whom all of us know and most of us love, a man who has simply and literally given over his life to the Federation, has felt forced to abandon his post. The basic reason is simple: although he has always been a vigorous fighter for our cause against outsiders, he has no stomach for fratricide.

George's services will not be wholly lost to us as a result of his decision. As reported elsewhere, the Federation will take over publication of the Braille edition of the Braille Monitor. George will now continue his functions as editor of the Braille Monitor and as finance director, and will thus be enabled to carry forward much of his invaluable work and contribution to our common cause as a member of the paid staff of the Federation.

I am sure that all members and friends of our movement will wish to read the formal letter of resignation which I have received from George Card. Following the letter, I have taken the liberty of publishing the speech which I made on the occasion of the George Card Testimonial Breakfast at our New Orleans convention in 1957.

"Dear Chick: I have at last decided to take a step which I have been considering for many months. I have decided to resign my office as First Vice-President of the National Federation of the Blind. I do this for the following reasons:

"1. As a surprising number of Federationists already seem to be aware, I have a most serious health problem, which will become still more serious as time goes on.

"2. Now that the Monitor has become so large and important, it is demanding more and more of my time. I feel it is a part of my job to read all Braille periodicals published in the English-speaking world and to have all ink-print periodicals in our field read to me, so that I can pass on important matters in the columns of the Monitor. Each month the volume of correspondence with Monitor readers and contributors increases. My duties as Chairman of the National White Cane Week Committee require quite an enormous amount of detail and correspondence. As the responsible head of the greeting card office here in Madison, I must answer innumerable letters from the recipients of greeting cards. I have at least as much work as any other President of a state affiliate. These four activities demand so much time that I must cut down somewhere.

"3. Perhaps more important than any of the foregoing, however, is still another consideration. The fact that I have been elected as the second highest officer in the greatest organization of the blind in the world today--that I have been elected five times--has been a source of tremendous satisfaction and pride to me. I have gloried in the confidence which my fellow Federationists have placed in me. The climax of this came at the wonderful testimonial breakfast in New Orleans a little more than a year ago. But since that New Orleans convention things have changed greatly. The ruthless and lacerating attacks made by a small, disgruntled group during the past fifteen months have taken all the joy out of it for me. Watching the organization which I love so much split into warring factions has made me heartsick. I have seen those whom I thought of as my blood brothers turn on me, impugning my motives, ridiculing the principles for which I stand and, in a word, exhibiting a ferocious and unrelenting hostility. They have seemed quite willing, and at times quite eager to destroy what we have so painfully built up together, in order to gain their personal ends.

"As I have stated before, I can go into battle with our traditional enemies with a joyous heart but, if I must engage in a disastrous civil war with former friends and colleagues, I prefer to do so as a private member.

"I do not take this step lightly and I will not deny that it causes me more than a little pain because, in a sense, I am deserting many hundreds of consecrated fellow workers for our cause. As a rank and file member of the Federation, however, I shall continue to do everything I can to forward what most of us still think of as our common objectives." George Card.


An Address Delivered by-
Professor Jacobus tenBroek
President, National Federation of the Blind
At the Annual Convention
Held in New Orleans, July 7, 1957

Movements are built of principles and of men. Movements without principles should not exist. Movements with principles--but without men of energy, intelligence and training to give them life and meaning--cannot exist.

We have spoken much about our principles, comparatively little about our men. Yet the National Federation of the Blind from the very beginning has been fortunate in the number of able and energetic men who have worked devotedly for the cause. Let us speak this morning about some of them....

None of these Federation founders and early leaders or leaders of today has contributed more--and you would be hard put to it to find any who has contributed as much--as that one among our present leaders whom we are honoring at this breakfast meeting this morning. I refer, of course, to George Card.

Who is George Card, and what is his role in our movement? It is easy enough to state his formal position. He has been First Vice-President of the National Federation since 1948; he has been the officer in charge of fund raising since 1949; the organization's delegate to the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind since its formation; and the most indefatigable grass roots organizer the Federation has ever had or may hope to have. These official positions, however, are simpler to enumerate than their content of work is to comprehend. How can we comprehend and judge the creative energy, the painful experiences, the nagging and oppressive responsibilities, the countless frustrations, the maddening obstacles, the ordeal of sweat and tears involved in the effort to supply the financial life-blood of this organization and cause? How can we understand and measure the endless hours on the road, the sleet and snow and heat, the consuming hours of ferreting out the names of the blind in a new community, of proceeding from one blind person to another, of searching for potential local leaders, of gathering people together for organizational meetings, of infusing in them all some elementary conception of the tasks that lie ahead and of the hopes and potentialities of the blind? What can we know and feel of the soul-testing and spirit-bruising calumny and abuse that are heaped upon his motives, his integrity and his purposes by those who patronize and exploit the blind and who deny their right to organize--as well as by more innocent people who out of ignorance and misunderstanding serve unwittingly as the instruments of contradictory purposes? Who can begin to comprehend and assess all this in George Card's function as Federation organizer? Whoever can do so, let him make the effort--and he will know something of the real George Card and of his value to our cause.

The story of George Card is, of course, in part also a story of Darlene Card. In fact, it is hard to see how any person could contribute more to George Card's role than does Darlene. She goes through these organization trips with him and assists in all of the work. In all this she is a model of patience and constructive helpfulness. Her labors in our cause are hardly less than George's....

Who is George Card the personality? He is a man capable of anger--and not always for sufficient reason. He is a grumpy and intolerant fellow with sighted persons who are overly solicitous or helpful without understanding. In fact it can only be said that he acts on the blind man's stereotype of such people. He is a notably bad judge of other men--he has but a single standard for them. If they believe in the Federation and the blind they are upright, intelligent and full of virtue; if they do not, they are sons of the devil and possess nothing but faults.

As I have indicated, George Card has faults, but they are faults not of meanness but of generosity, not of fear, weakness or malice, but of strength, security and courage. We should all have such faults.

As late as 1946, George wrote me: "I doubt if you have ever been aware of my existence because I have never been very vocal." He made this remark although he had been present at all conventions except Wilkes-Barre. Concurring with this judgment of himself in those early days, I once said of him that "he is a man who does not exert himself in oral situations." Yet many of us will remember occasions when his voice and his message have thrilled and uplifted an audience. If any of you have heard a more moving and brilliant presentation than George's Omaha speech on multiple-handicapped blind children, your experience has been different from mine.

few months ago George finally surrendered to the demands of doctors and the pleas of his family and friends, and agreed to take a short vacation out in Arizona. He settled on Arizona for a simple reason: he could do more organizational work on the way. He had an invitation to address the board of our Arizona affiliate on arrival. Well, he did get to Arizona; he did make his talk; and then--but let George tell it himself, in the words of a letter written shortly after:

"At the Board meeting Sunday I got myself into trouble, as usual. The active and able members of our Arizona affiliate have jobs that tie them down. They talked about organizing the other cities of the state, but it was hopeless. Finally I couldn't stand it any longer and volunteered to try to organize Bisbee, Yuma and the Globe-Miami area. So there goes my loafing out the window and Darlene says that she is not speaking to me any more--starting tomorrow. I can lie right down and go to sleep beside any ordinary job but when I see something that needs to be done for the Federation I can't seem to enjoy loafing."

There's a character portrait for you! During the entire three weeks of what was supposed to have been vacation, George ended up taking exactly one day off. There was something that needed to be done for the Federation--and he just couldn't seem to enjoy loafing.

As much as anyone in our organization, George Card deserves credit for the recent phenomenal expansion of the Federation, and for its rapid spread into all the corners of the Union. He has stimulated the creation of new affiliates and chapters throughout the country. He has inspired and reinvigorated established chapters. He has converted White Cane Week into a national symbol and a major endeavor of the organized blind. He has carried the brunt of the Federation's planning and labor in connection with our greeting-card campaigns. He has carried the standard of the American blind, as our delegate to the world organization. He has sold a successful private business--a business which he had built up from a small amount of borrowed capital into the largest of its kind in the state--in order to devote his time entirely to our cause. And at that cause he has labored selflessly and tirelessly, not simply without letup but without even the desire for letup.

These things that George Card has done and is doing do not, however, suggest the deep-moving sincerity of his purpose and personality. They do not convey his simple kindliness, the compassion which animates all his actions and associations. They do not reveal the power, conviction and brilliance of his writing, which convert so many of his factual reports into human documents. They do not illuminate the trained, analytical mind that George has brought to our movement--a mind that would adorn any movement in the land.

George Card embodies in his own character and his own career the unflagging will of the self-organized blind to make their way through all opposition and past all barriers to the goals of integration and independence. In him we have a living testimonial of what the blind can dare, of what they can do, and of what--most important of all--they can be.

The truest characterization of George Card, I believe, is contained in these simple words spoken long ago:

"His life is gentle and the elements so mix'd in him, that nature might stand up and say to all the world, 'This is a man.'"

back to contents



By Ed Schultz

If the success of the annual convention of the Arkansas Federation of the Blind held at the LaFayette Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas, November 7-9, is any criterion, the organized blind movement in Arkansas is looking forward to new goals and a new era of progress. In addition to Arkansas representatives, the convention attracted visitors from Kansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Missouri, California and Washington, D.C. The affair proved not only to be colorful, but interesting and informative, as well as unusual. The Little Rock Chapter went all out to provide both a varied program and unusual features. One of the best features was that the entire convention was paid for without taking one penny from either the chapter treasury or the state federation treasury. Advertising was sold in a twenty-page program. Those who would like to have a copy of the Advertising Program may write to Ed Schultz, 2920 Kellogg Road, Route 3, North Little Rock, Arkansas.

Featured speakers at the banquet were: Tim Seward of Washington, D.C, secretary to Congressman Walter S. Baring of Nevada, who spoke on Federationism and Lionism; Russell Kletzing, Sacramento, California, who represented the NFB, and C. Hamilton Moses, prominent attorney. Dr. Frank Palmer, President of the Morrilton, Chapter, acted as toastmaster.

At the forum sessions, talks were made by: Carl Adams, State Welfare Director; W.B. Lewandoski, Social Security Director; J.M. Wooly, Superintendent of Arkansas School for the Blind; Durward McDaniel, of Oklahoma, who spoke on credit unions; Ed Hill, of Oklahoma, who told of the activities of the Oklahoma League of the Blind; Dr. C. B. Minner, of Oklahoma, who displayed and discussed optical aids; Earley (Cotton) Busby, of Missouri and James Couts of Kansas.

Dr. Ray Penix, 116 West 11th, Little Rock, was elected President. Other officers elected were: Mrs. Christine Taylor, 1st Vice-President; Reverend Dale Townsend, 2nd Vice-President; Mrs. Katie Lee Cooney, Secretary; Dick Nelsen, Treasurer, and O.J. Butler and Mrs. I. M. Routh, Directors.

At the first meeting of the new board, Dr. Frank Palmer was named Legislative Chairman and Ed Schultz was named State Publicity Director. Schultz, who served as Convention Chairman for the 1958 convention, was re-appointed to serve in the same capacity for the 1959 convention, to be held in Little Rock between October 15 and November 15.

One of the big objectives of the AFB for the coming year will be to build new chapters and increase state membership, and to promote the growth of the credit union which was organized in October of this year.

back to contents



By Darleen McGraw

The first annual convention of the Wyoming Association of the Blind was held at the Plains Hotel, Cheyenne, on October 25. The WAB was well pleased with the success of this first attempt. There were twenty-five registered at the day meetings. There were approximately fifty at the banquet.

After opening ceremonies, the first speaker was E. Shuneman, Director of the Department of Welfare. Sterling Peterson explained recent changes in the Social Security law. Frank Kernans, District Governor of the Lions of Eastern Wyoming spoke on Lionism. He expressed the hope that our Association and the Lions could start working together in this state. Dr. S. J. Giovale, surgeon and physician of Cheyenne, spoke on the causes and treatment of blindness. Lieutenant C. Moore, of Cheyenne, spoke on the buzzer system that is used here in Cheyenne, synchronized with the walk lights. Bill Wood, President of the Colorado Federation of the Blind, gave a short talk on Colorado's convention.

The election of officers resulted as follows: President, Darleen McGraw; Vice-President, Sylvester Shimitz; Secretary-Treasurer, Alan O'Kelly; members of the Board of Directors: Marie Maris, Arlene Murphy, Robert Fallin and Mary McDonald.

John Taylor, head of the Washington, D.C. office of the National Federation attended this convention and entered into the discussions. His banquet speech was interesting and informative. Many of the sighted people present seemed deeply impressed by Mr. Taylor's discussion of the problems of blindness.

Jesse Anderson from Ogden, Utah, also attended. Mr. Anderson is on the NFB Board of Directors.

We were greatly honored by the presence at our banquet of Wyoming's Governor, Milward Simpson. The Governor's wife and mother were with him. The Boy Scouts were on hand to aid those in attendance at both the day and evening sessions. The banquet was followed by a dance. The banquet received good coverage from the press.

back to contents



WHEREAS, constant progress by medical science results in the saving of many children whose lives in the past would have been lost, but who nevertheless are faced with multiple handicaps, including blindness; and

WHEREAS, it is generally agreed by the well informed that there is now and will be in the future an ever-increasing need for institutions and programs to properly educate and train such multiple handicapped children; and

WHEREAS, the Institute of Logopedics, Dr. Martin F. Palmer, Director, located at Wichita, Kansas, is an established institution with established programs for such handicapped children, including speech, hearing and cerebral palsy, with classroom facilities and facilities for residential accommodation of both students and parents; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Martin F. Palmer, Director of the Institute of Logopedics, has indicated a willingness and desire to extend the facilities and program of the Institute to include multiple handicapped blind children; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind on July 7, 1958, by official action of its convention voted to extend financial assistance in an undetermined sum to the Hope School located at Springfield, Illinois, which is in an experimental stage, having only 6 students, notwithstanding the fact that the officers of this Association have during the past three years sought to gain the interest and support of the National Federation of the Blind in the establishment of a program for the multiple handicapped blind children at the Institute of Logopedics;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Kansas Association for the Blind, Inc. in convention assembled at Wichita, Kansas this 27th and 28th day of September, 1958 that this convention hereby calls upon the National Federation of the Blind to reconsider its action in this regard and avail itself of the opportunity to also support an institution which is already a going concern; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this convention re-affirms and renews its efforts to enlist the interest and support of organizations and agencies, both private and public, to the end of the establishment of a program for the education, training and treatment of the multiple handicapped blind at the Institute of Logopedics.

back to contents



By Olivia Mallett

The Arizona State Association of the Blind held its annual convention in Yuma the 24th, 25th and 26th of October.

The most important business was the discussion of the urgent need for a NFB survey of Blind Services in Arizona, and legislation which is of prime importance to the blind.

Highlight of the convention was a speech at the banquet on Saturday evening by NFB President, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek. He kindled anew the determination to put every effort forth to show that the blind can live a productive life.

The Nicholas J. Zeiser Award, given each year for outstanding service to the blind, was awarded to Richard Stotera of Tucson. Stotera is President of the Pima County Club of the Blind. He is acting counselor for the Arizona Blind Services and has done commendable work in the rehabilitation field.

The Association picked Miami, Arizona as its 1959 convention site. Officers for the ensuing year are: Joseph Abel of Tucson, blind switchboard operator at Douglas Aircraft Company, who was re-elected President for his third consecutive term; Leslie Webb of Yuma was elected First Vice-President; Henry Rush of Prescott, Second Vice- President; Richard Stotera of Tucson, Secretary, and Faye Langdon of Douglas, Treasurer.

back to contents



For the benefit of any who may still wonder what our President does with his time, there follows a brief resume of his travels for the Federation over a period of no more than three months--to be precise, from the middle of August to the middle of November (the date of this writing).

Needless to say, in addition to his services for the Federation, President tenBroek pursues his own active career as professor and chairman of his department at the University of California, as a member of the California State Board of Social Welfare, and as a productive author of scholarly books and monographs.

The standard presidential schedule called for departure by plane from San Francisco Airport late Friday evening, frequently with one or more stops en route for reason of bad weather or plane change--generally involving an all-night flight followed by one or two days of speeches and conferences, capped by another all-day or all-night flight back to Berkeley on Sunday.

On Friday, August 15, to start with, President tenBroek enplaned for West Virginia to attend the convention of our state affiliate at Clarksburg. On the weekend of August 29 he flew to Nashville for the Tennessee state convention. On September 5, he was on his way to the convention of the Washington state affiliate at Everett. The following weekend (September 13-14) was spent in Portland, Oregon at (you guessed it) the state affiliate convention.

September 19 was the date of departure by plane for Las Vegas, where the Nevada Federation held its convention. On September 27 the President was on another plane bound for the Missouri convention at St. Louis.

The following weekend he had to cancel a trip to Ohio Wesleyan College and to the Louisiana Federation convention because of pressing university business. But this lapse was more than compensated for the next week, when he flew first to the Colorado convention at Denver (October 10 and 11), followed that up with a side trip to Phoenix, Arizona for the regional conference of the American Public Welfare Association (October 13 through 15)--and then rushed across the country to Manchester, New Hampshire, on October 16 for the Manchester Institute of Arts and Sciences. The next day, October 17, he attended the annual meeting of the Springfield, Massachusetts, Association of the Blind, and the day following found him in Trenton, New Jersey, for the convention of the New Jersey Council of the Blind.

In short, within the space of one week (October 10 to 18), the NFB president personally attended and actively participated in no less than five important conferences across the land--and all of them with direct bearing upon the work and welfare of the National Federation of the Blind.

The next weekend (October 25) took him by plane to Yuma, Arizona for the state affiliate convention. On October 31 he went to Los Angeles for the California Council convention and the meeting of the American Brotherhood for the Blind. On November 8 he left San Francisco again for Mobile, Alabama, and another state convention. And, finally, on November 14 he enplaned for the St. Louis, Missouri, meeting of the Federation's Executive Committee.

Those are the bare statistics of arrival and departure. Only veteran air travelers will be able to read between the lines the physical wear and emotional exhaustion of the long nights in the air, the interminable delays in terminals and waiting rooms, the fatigue at the end of "the long voyage home"--to be resolved in a few hours' sleep before recommencing the career of a professor on Monday morning.

A typical weekend--that of November 8--may suggest something of the character of all the other weekends during this three-month period (not to mention most of the other months of the year). President tenBroek wound up his classes Friday afternoon, left home shortly after 10 P.M. for the hour-long drive to San Francisco Airport, and caught an 11:35 plane to Dallas. In Dallas he deplaned and boarded another aircraft bound for New Orleans. At the New Orleans terminal he waited three hours for a flight to Mobile--and ultimately arrived at his destination after 13 hours in the air and in airports. But this, as it turned out, was the easy half of the excursion. On the return trip our chief executive was forced to sit in the New Orleans terminal literally all night--seven and one-half hours, to be exact--before a cold Louisiana fog lifted enough for planes to become airbound and for the NFB president to reach home barely in time for another Federation conference.

Perhaps it is unnecessary to add, in closing, that these travels are only part of the president's work. In addition to his academic career, state board meetings and family life, he attends to all the other business of his office: the making of administrative decisions, the answering of a voluminous and incessant correspondence, the drafting of speeches and Monitor articles, the supervision of the staff of national headquarters--and anything else that might, and usually does, turn up during the week.

back to contents



Despite the fact that he is a busy stand operator, with a large and still growing family, and has numerous administrative duties connected with his presidency of the Pennsylvania Federation and his active participation in the Blind Merchants Guild, Frank Lugiano is rapidly turning his big state into one of the most thoroughly organized of all NFB affiliates--largely through his own unaided efforts. He spends almost every weekend, (like the NFB president), dashing about his domain, organizing new chapters and strengthening existing ones. He writes: "During the last few weeks we organized the Oil City Chapter in Venango County, also the West Philadelphia Chapter, which held its first meeting Tuesday evening, October 28. John Taylor was with me at this meeting...Our first meeting in Philadelphia was held in the Overbrook School for the Blind and some half dozen teachers of the School are members. This is a tremendous stride forward. Miss Mae Davidow, a very brilliant girl and a teacher at the School, is its first President. Mrs. Augusta Hoffman is Vice-President, our own Rita Drill is Secretary and John Boyle is Treasurer... We had better than forty at this first meeting, which was not advertised. I have also set up a committee in Williamsport, Lycoming County, which I visited last September 27....I have received an invitation to go to Lancaster on Thursday, November 20.... This central Pennsylvania area is very important.... It is my ambition to organize the entire state...."

back to contents



Writing in the October New Outlook, Herbert Rusalem examines a book by Donald Griffin, "Echolocation of the Blind." Mr. Rusalem points out once more how the loss of mobility constitutes one of the major limitations of blindness, isolating the blind person from his environment, separating him from sources of employment, recreation and stimulation. Only in the last generation has there been a real acceptance of the concept that large numbers of blind people are capable of mastering the techniques of independent travel. The development of the guide dog and of the long-cane methods have been major breakthroughs. We all hope for a breakthrough in the area of electronics guidance.

Still another avenue of development may have been waiting in the wings for more than a century. It will require the approach of fundamental pure research concerning the nature of man and of animals and of how they perceive the world around them. "Millions of years ago, bats solved the problem of obstacle perception in the dark and the solution they found may have some relevance for blind persons."

When flying in the dark, bats emit short, sharp, staccato squeaks and are able to interpret the pattern of echoes so as to enable them to fly through a maze of fine wires without any collisions. The squeaks are too high-pitched for the ears of man to hear them but they have been recorded and reduced to audible frequencies. Theoretically, at least, a prosthetic device could be built which would enable man to make use of this method. "Even if man were able to take a few faltering steps in the direction which bats have taken, it would be of inestimable value to blind persons."... If all the information carried by an ideally suitable sound could be perceived and analyzed correctly by a blind person, it would present as clear a picture of the environment as that obtained by a person with 10/200 vision, with the greatest perceptual efficiency coming from large objects and those nearest the subject.

"The difficulties to be overcome are admittedly many and the problems to be solved are immensely complex. Long, patient and probably costly research is required. One aspect of this basic research would relate to sound fields; another would concern the functioning of human beings.... In the area of mobility we have been largely playing it by ear; our research has tended to be restricted to matters of immediate importance. Yet the natural sciences have discovered that the ultimate welfare of mankind may be best served by diverting funds and effort into fields of research which promise no immediate gains but which may advance the frontiers of knowledge."

back to contents



In a great majority of cases where the question arises as to whether or not a blind person can do a particular job, the 'yes' or 'no' answer is predicated upon sighted people's appraisal of the physical limitations inherent in blindness. Or some blind person may calculate his own chances for success on a particular job on the performance ability of some other blind person who worked at the same or a similar job.... Probably, the most important question a blind person can ask himself in trying to determine his chances for success at a particular job is: How much do I really want to do that job? The answer to this will, of course, depend upon how much faith he has in his own abilities, how hard he is willing to work in equipping himself to do the job, and how much determination he possesses.... The question should never be: Can a blind person do this or that job; what should be asked is: How well can this particular blind person succeed in doing that particular job? Occasionally the answer to be given will have to be negative; but at least when the question is asked in this way, the decision reached will have been arrived at on the basis of one person's qualifications rather than on the unrealistic basis of a group judgment of personal qualifications.

back to contents



From Bombsight (a publication of Naval Avionics): "K. Roger Smith of Warsaw, Indiana, is progressing rapidly as one of the company's top electrical engineers. K. Roger Smith is totally blind. Electrical engineering is not considered as a field filled with great employment potential for blind people, but Smith pursued his studies toward such a profession with great perseverance. Today he is fully occupied with engineering aspects of The Naval Avionics infrared fire control project.

"Although he displayed a remarkable aptitude for things scientific during his years in the Indiana School for the Blind, he entered Manchester College with plans for majoring in speech. His speech courses led him to employment in radio stations in the Manchester area as an announcer. However, working at the radio station brought him to a decision to follow electrical engineering. He was given an opportunity to work as an engineer for the station, and he performed well even though it would normally be considered a difficult task for a blind individual.

"Following this he changed his goal from speech to physics at Manchester and was later graduated with an A. B. degree. Although electrical engineering with all of its facts, figures, diagrams, equations and theorems presented many obstacles, Smith entered Purdue University in quest of an M.A. degree. Professors and instructors there worked closely with him and he was examined frequently to determine whether or not he was absorbing the necessary elements of his intricate profession.

"He makes wide use of electrical transcribing and recording devices and maintains a voluminous amount of data in his head, in Braille and on magnetic tape. His success in this chosen profession serves to indicate dramatically the almost unlimited potential of blind people everywhere."

From a Tampa, Florida newspaper: "Every day Merle O. Barnd goes to work at the Florida Industrial Commission offices at 315 Jackson Street where he supervises the operation of the entire unemployment claims compensation department. It's quite a job coping with hundreds of employers and employees. Barnd has a staff of 12 and it's up to him to direct their work. He's got to be able to give spot answers to any number of technical questions. Naturally the work entails a ream of correspondence, all of which Barnd takes in his stride. In fact he's got a very smooth-running office.

"And this is no small feat when you consider that Barnd is totally blind! One of the continuing campaigns of the Florida State Employment Service is to induce employers to hire handicapped persons. Barnd is one of the best arguments they have on that score.

"The man has an uncanny memory. Every day his mail is read to him and he dictates the answers. Said an official in the office: 'Once something is read to him you can call him back a month later and he'll tell you all about it.' He handles the majority of the phone calls which pour into the office from employees and claimants. And in his brain is stored all the law which he is required to have at ready command. He knows the technical points forwards and backwards, I listened to him while he talked on the phone to an employer about a case and he reached into that retentive memory for minute details and facts, although he took the call without having any data supplied to him in advance. He looks at you when he talks with you and time after time he has carried on conversations with people who later walked away and never realized his condition.

"What Barnd is doing is certainly the most persuasive evidence the employment service can advance in its effort to get employers to hire the handicapped."

back to contents



By Jacobus tenBroek

(An Address Delivered at the Western Regional Conference of the American Public Welfare Association, October 13, 1958, Phoenix, Arizona).

Perhaps no single subject in the large and expanding province of social welfare has received more attention or stirred more controversy in recent years than the perpetually vexed question of the proper relationship between the agency worker and the recipient of services. This is, of course, a healthy and constructive concern; for no aspect of welfare is more fundamental or far-reaching. The client-worker relationship is both procedural and substantive in character, both immediately practical and theoretically profound. It has to do alike with human rights and professional responsibilities, with psychological conceptions and legal formulations, with rigorous scientific method and elusive moral valuation.

The continuous ferment among social workers on this issue undoubtedly reflects parallel cleavages and conflicts in other fields of social science, pure or applied--fields such as psychology and psycho-therapy, sociology and sociometry, group dynamics, general semantics, human relations, public administration, political theory, and educational philosophy. These inter-and intra-disciplinary disputes have, of course, a variety of contents and discontents; but if there is a common thread which runs through all of them it is the classic antinomy of liberty and authority--the ancient problem of reconciling the rights and needs of the individual with the demands of public order, social security, and the general welfare.

Everyone who works in the welfare field--or in any of the social sciences, for that matter--is careful to make the standard obeisance to the dignity and rights of the client, and generally to affirm the libertarian values of the democratic creed. But it will not be news to members of this audience that there have been, and there are, more than a few currents of thought and action in social casework which operate to exaggerate the weakness and dependency of clients while exalting the power and the glory of the professional practitioner of the social worker's art. To name just a few: There is a tendency, not only to take responsibility for the "whole" client, but to take whole responsibility for him. There is the tendency to become "aggressive"-- and to brag about it--in tracking down potential clients and administering services, however unwelcome they may be. There is a tendency to regard all those subject to depriving circumstances as innately inferior if not incompetent. There is the tendency to perpetuate custodial and protective practices for groups of clients demonstrably capable of rehabilitation and release.

This list of negative and authoritarian procedures might be extended a good deal farther; but it is perhaps sufficient to underline the obvious point that the homage paid to democracy by some workers and administrators may be little more than a formal ritual betrayed by contrary assumptions and practices of a distinctly anti-democratic nature.

It is not, however, my purpose to rehearse or rehash any of the familiar theoretical disputes which have a bearing upon the relationship between welfare agencies and their clients. The field of social work is, after all, pre-eminently one of action--and it is with the fruits of theory in practical execution that we are all primarily concerned.

Over recent years it has become increasingly evident--and our discussion here today is further positive testimony-- that the numbers of groups and individuals in the welfare field have grown restive within the confines of traditional practice and have sought to strike new balances and find new common denominators in the agency-client relationship. I should like to call your attention to one such effort, which is currently the center of very warm controversy and which holds the promise of bringing about a wholly fresh and radically different approach to the relations of agency and client. This effort is embodied in a piece of pending national legislation known as the Kennedy-Baring Bill--the provisions of which are incorporated in some 60 bills already introduced into Congress and likely to be the subject of committee hearings early next year. Although the measure deals explicitly with the rights of blind persons as citizens and welfare clients, the democratic principle which it expresses has, as I hope to demonstrate, much broader application. (Even if its significance were limited solely to this category of recipients, however, it would be important for social workers in all areas to recognize and ponder the political and professional issues which it poses).

The Kennedy-Baring Bill has as its stated purpose "to protect the right of blind persons to self-expression through organizations of the blind". More specifically, the measure is designed (1) to provide for systematic consultation with organizations of the blind themselves by officials responsible for the administration of programs for the blind supported by federal funds, and (2) to prevent such officials from interfering with the right of blind people to form or join associations of their own choosing.

In short, this legislation seeks to safeguard blind persons in their exercise of three elementary rights of citizenship: the right to organize, the right to speak for themselves, and the right to be heard.

It should be apparent even from this brief description that the Kennedy-Baring Bill carries implications of the greatest significance for the agency-client relationship in the field of work for the blind--and indirectly for the broader field of welfare. The explicit extension to one specified clientele group of the "right to organize" presages modifications in the interaction of agency and client which may quite possibly be as far-reaching in their own way as the changes in labor- management relations long since ushered in by the advent of trade unions and the principle of collective bargaining.

I would not wish to press the labor parallel too far. The blind are certainly not a single socio-economic class, and their voluntary associations are not trade unions. Some of their most important problems, however, such as those which arise from the programs of vending stands and sheltered workshops, do bring together blind clients and social agencies in a direct confrontation of employer and employee. I shall have more to say about these economic relations later on; for the moment, the crucial point is that the Kennedy-Baring Bill promises to introduce into the traditional agency-client relationship, at least with respect to the blind, something very like the principle of collective bargaining; or, to put it another way, it seeks to introduce a novel element of mutuality and equality by virtue of which advice and counsel would no longer flow all one way--from agency to client--but would become a genuinely reciprocal exchange: a transaction among equals to which both sides would contribute and from which each may derive instruction and advantage.

The right to organize, which this legislation seeks to safeguard in the case of the blind, is sufficiently well entrenched as a democratic principle to need little justification today. Freedom of association and assembly is enshrined alongside freedom of speech and expression among the guarantees of the First and Fourteenth Amendments; more-over, it has been reinforced, beyond danger of effective assault, by a long succession of historic events and judicial decisions. As recently as June 30 of this year, the United States Supreme Court declared that "Effective advocacy of both public and private points of view, particularly controversial ones, is undeniably enhanced by group association, as this Court has more than once recognized by remarking upon the close nexus between the freedoms of speech and assembly. It is beyond debate that freedom to engage in association for the advancement of beliefs and ideas is an inseparable aspect of the 'liberty' assured by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which embraces freedom of speech."

It may be, however, that what I have referred to as the "right to be heard"--which may be expressed in constitutional terms as the right of petition, in administrative terms as the right of consultation, and in quasi-judicial terms as the right of appeal in a fair hearing process--is not quite so self-evident. At the level of the caseworker and of the fair-hearing appeal, this right is predominantly but not exclusively an individual right; at the constitutional, congressional and administrative levels, it is predominantly (but not exclusively) a right which in practice can only be exercised collectively. Because this "right to be heard" is less a part of our common language and accepted belief than the right to speak and the right to organize, let me take a moment to spell out what I take to be its indispensable function in the governmental process.

Despite its somewhat less than universal recognition, few principles of democratic government and public administration are in fact more firmly established or more widely practiced than this principle of the right to be heard-- taken to mean the right of citizen groups sharing a common interest to be consulted in the formulation and execution of programs directly affecting them. The literature of public administration is replete with affirmations of the principle. A typical comment is that of Avery Leiserson: "There are always either formal or informal relationships between group organizations and official bureaucracies. Furthermore, it is perfectly clear that in the sense of the right to be heard, to be consulted, and to be informed in advance of the tentative basis of emerging policy determination, group participation is a fundamental feature of democratic legislation and administration." Another well-known authority, David B. Truman, has pointed out that the fundamental "rules of the game" which operate to preserve the public interest in the democratic process "prescribe that individuals and groups likely to be affected should be consulted before governmental action is taken." Indeed, he continues, "Not only is the requirement of consultation likely to be more or less automatically observed by administrative agencies in order to maximize support; the obligation is frequently explicitly written into particular authorizing statutes or into laws of general application, such as the Administrative Procedures Act of 1946."

The principle of group representation and consultation finds its most direct expression in the structure of government whenever an agency is created to serve a particular category of citizens or to promote the welfare of a group sharing common needs and interests. These are the so-called "clientele agencies", of which probably the best-known examples are the Veterans Administration, and the Office of Indian Affairs. Moreover, even where public agencies are organized along functional rather than clientele lines, as Professor Leiserson has noted, "a function may be so defined that, in effect, it is restricted to a major industrial or economic group." (Examples of this would be the Federal Reserve System, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Inter-State Commerce Commission).

In a broader sense, at least three of the major departments of the federal government may be classified as "clientele departments": namely, those of Agriculture, Labor, and Commerce. The main point concerning all such agencies and departments is that they have institutionalized the principle of direct consultation with those citizen groups primarily affected by their work. It should be emphasized that this principle of direct consultation is wholly distinct from other devices which may from time to time be adopted by the agency to obtain the opinion of the broader public or of interested non-clientele groups such as scholarly or professional societies. Thus the principle of client consultation within the Department of Agriculture, for example, means consulting regularly and systematically with organized groups of farmers--although the Department may also seek the advice of academic specialists or other non-farm experts. Similarly, the Departments of Labor and of Commerce have respectively developed both formal and informal methods of consultation with labor unions and trade associations, chambers of commerce and other business groups. In short, the principle of consultation--the right to be heard--means consultation first and foremost with the particular groups directly affected--not with external individuals or agencies, in or out of government, however closely associated or professionally knowledgeable.

It is no longer a live issue whether administrative agencies should be delegated the power to make rules binding upon the groups affected by them; they have and should have the power. The issue today is rather that of rendering bureaucracy responsible and democratic. It is in this area of democratizing public administration that the role of consultation is most significant. For this function is not, and in the nature of things cannot be, adequately discharged by the formal processes of legislative oversight, executive supervision, and judicial review--which at best can only erect over-all standards of regulation and make intermittent checks upon performance, or, in the case of the courts, review what has happened in the light of a negative power.

The direct responsiveness which is owed by administrative agencies to the client groups primarily affected by their policies has been convincingly shown in a widely cited article by Professors Arthur A. Maass and Laurence I. Radway of Harvard University. A major precept in their assessment of administrative responsibility is that "an administrative agency should be responsible to (private) groups so far as necessary to equalize opportunities for safeguarding interests, to acquire specialized knowledge, and to secure consent for its own program. This growing tendency for interest groups to participate in the formulation and execution of policy, irrespective of legislative provision, can be supported on at least three grounds: first, that such group representation is desirable to equalize opportunities for protecting and promoting respective interests; second, that the preparation of detailed regulations on complicated matters requires exact knowledge which even the best-informed official may not possess and which interest groups can supply; third, that group participation in policy decisions makes possible the winning of consent for the agency's program."

In fine, the principle of consultation--the right of citizen groups to be heard--is no less serviceable to the democratic process than its companion rights of speech and association. After all, no degree of organization and no amount of speech are of any avail if no one is listening. The right to be heard is no more than the power of effective speech in matters of direct and vital concern--the right of access to the agencies of representative government.

To many in this audience the foregoing discussion of the right to be heard may seem to be only a superfluous demonstration of the obvious. But it is not, I can assure you, always so regarded; and the right itself is often deliberately disregarded in the formal relations between welfare agencies, both in and out of government, and their various client groups. There is not now, and there has never been, any regularized or systematic consultation with representative organizations of the blind by those agencies of the federal government--notably the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Social Security Administration--charged with the provision of services to the blind. To be sure, these federal agencies do indeed consult regularly and systematically with professional agencies and with state welfare officers, and usually take the position that client groups should do their consulting on the state level, since it is the state agencies which collect and disburse federal funds. But aside from the fact that these funds are for the benefit of clients rather than administrators, it is obvious that policy for these programs is made in Washington and that it is in Washington no less than in the states and counties, that group consultation can have policy significance and fruitful results. Nor is the absence of consultative machinery noticeably improved with respect to other groups of the physically handicapped, or for that matter with respect to most categories of aid recipients (the organized veterans representing, of course, the most formidable and rule-proving exception). When we turn from public programs to the private agencies, the degree of recognition given to the right of clients to be consulted in the formulation of policy is still more conspicuous by its rarity. Here the rule would almost seem to be: Clients should be overseen but not heard.

That wisecrack may in fact contain more truth than humor. I have described the principle of consultation as a democratic right of citizens; but the working relationship of the welfare agency and the client of services is not often thought of as a democratic process in which rights exist on both sides of the table. The analogies most commonly used among social workers are those of the religious confessional, the psychiatric interview, or the medical consultation. More than a few professionals blandly accept without much struggle of conscience what they take to be the inherent and inescapable authoritarianism of the agency-client relationship. Witness, for example, this comment by the editor of a national journal for workers with the blind:

"Principally the concern about agency-client relationships has centered on the custodial-paternalistic tendency in service to blind people, which is to an extent an inherent natural concomitant of any program in which society provides a service for its minority of less favored members, be the minority based on blindness or any other cause or condition. ... The problem of the custodialism and paternalism has been reduced, to the extent that its inherent nature permits, by those of society's agencies which are in the forefront of progress.... Still, to expect society to be completely free of all suggestion of difference between the beneficiary of service and the rest of society is probably visionary, given human nature as it is."

However remarkable that statement may seem to you, it is very far from exceptional in the field of work for the blind. It was the American Association of Workers for the Blind which issued a convention resolution opposing the Kennedy-Baring Bill--with its protection of the right to organize and the right to be heard--as embodying "a completely unsound and retrogressive concept of the responsibilities and privileges of blind persons as citizens". And it was the same Association which declared, in the first sentence of its Code of Ethics: "The operations of all agencies for the blind entail a high degree of responsibility because of the element of public trusteeship and protection of the blind involved in services to the blind." It was the executive director of the largest national agency for the blind who proclaimed not long ago that "A job, a home, and the right to be a citizen, will come to the blind in that generation when each and every blind person is a living advertisement of his ability and capacity to accept the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship". And it was the head of another large private agency who wrote these candid words, only a few years ago: "The fact that so few workers or organizations are doing anything appreciable to (help in the adjustment of blind people) cannot be explained entirely on the ground that they are not in the vanguard of social thinking. It is rather because they are realistic enough to recognize that the rank and file of blind people have neither the exceptional urge for independence nor the personal qualifications necessary to satisfactory adjustment in the sighted world."

Such judgments as these could be, I assure you, almost indefinitely extended. What they reflect is an attitude of moral and intellectual superiority (if not of superciliousness) on the part of those administering services to a presumptively inferior (if not incompetent) clientele. The attitude clearly suggests, in the words of a shrewd observer, "that those who need the services of the state in any social matter are sick and can only be made well through the help of a class of trained, objective, neurosis-free officials. In this only the social worker or the psychiatrist is effective."

Let me say again that most, if not all, practitioners and theorists in the casework field are unquestionably devout in their liturgical affirmations of democratic values and sincere in their professional commitment to "client self-determination". But it is difficult to escape the impression that in recent years more and more categories of welfare recipients have been proclaimed incompetent to lead their own lives. Those potential clients who resist the offer of services may be put down, ipso facto, as "unstable defectives". Unwed mothers may be collectively dismissed as "unable, if not incapable of making their own independent decisions without casework services". The parents of problem children may be considered "too close" to the problem to evaluate it rationally; while the children of public assistance clients come to be classified as "wards of the community".

However indefinite or inconclusive these custodial attitudes may be held to be in the over-all field of casework, there is no mistaking their prevalence--if not their predominance--in the special field of work for the blind. Here there are certain factors, not present to the same degree elsewhere, which function to reinforce the authoritarian bias among agency workers. The first of these is simply the physical fact of blindness which is regarded almost universally as qualitatively different and far more crippling in its consequences than the run of physical disabilities or social disadvantages. "All visible deformities", to quote the blunt words of an agency psychiatrist, "require special study. Blindness is a visible deformity and all blind persons follow a pattern of dependency. "It would be hard to speak plainer--or crueler--than that. Naturally it follows, for those who accept this line of reasoning, that blind people must be closely supervised and protected, not only in the specific area of need in which they may seek aid but in most aspects of their lives-- of an agency administrator: "After he is once trained and placed, the average disabled person can fend for himself. In the case of the blind, it has been found necessary to set up a special state service agency which will supply them not only rehabilitation training but other services for the rest of their lives.... (The agencies) keep in constant contact with them as long as they live."

There is yet an additional factor in public welfare provisions for the blind which operates to perpetuate this custodial philosophy. It arises from the peculiar set of institutions and services which has been established for their benefit-- particularly the federal-state vending-stand program and the hundred or so sheltered workshops across the country operated especially for the blind. The issue of agency control versus client freedom--the antinomy of liberty and authority--is nowhere more clearly focused, as it seems to me, than in these two special provinces of social welfare.

The sheltered workshops constitute an arena of conflict in which the interests of blind persons as employees and the interests of the agencies as management confront each other over the workbench. (Nor is this conflict merely latent; for something over two months last Summer, seven blind employees of a sheltered workshop in Texas carried on a strike against the shop management, maintaining a daily picket of the establishment and evoking the services of a special community committee to mediate the dispute). The interests of the work-shop managers are intimately involved with such things as certificates of exemption from minimum-wage standards and from workmen's compensation laws, together with authority to retain in their shops (for reasons of efficiency) blind persons fully capable and deserving of release into competitive employment. It goes without saying that work-shop administrators are opposed to independent organization by their blind employees, to collective bargaining, and to the whole set of established perquisites (seniority, pension plans, and the rest) elsewhere enjoyed as a matter of course by organized labor. Here is paternalism of a very familiar kind--albeit one that should by now have disappeared from the civilized world.

No less obvious, and no less anachronistic, is the manifestation of this custodial philosophy in the operation of the public vending-stand program under the Randolph-Sheppard Act. In all but a few states the program is administered under a strict system of agency control in which the blind vending-stand operators are in every sense employees of the enterprise--which functions, incidentally, very much like a commercial chain store in compelling all operators to contribute from their own earnings to support the operators of stands in unprofitable locations. The agency-control system is fervently opposed by organizations of the blind themselves, who have long sought (and in a few states have achieved) a system which permits operators to become independent owners of their businesses through the purchase of stands and equipment from the licensing agency. The rationale of the agency preference for tight and permanent control has been expressed by one prominent administrator in these straightforward terms: "The operation of the vending-stand program, we feel, necessitates maintaining a close control by the Federal Government through the licensing agency with respect to both equipment and stock, as well as the actual supervision of the operation of each individual stand. It is therefore our belief that the program would fail if the blind stand managers were permitted to operate without such control."

In such specialized areas of welfare as those of the sheltered workshops and vending stands for the blind, the existing conflict of interests between agency and client is plainly demonstrable and irrefutable. That definite vested interests in the maintenance of controls over the lives and livelihood of these client-employees have developed on the part of the agency managers is equally undeniable. But even in these extreme and agitated areas, the introduction of the principle of consultation--the right of the affected interests to be heard in the formulation of policy--can do much to reconcile the polarized interests and to make possible a more democratic perspective in which both client and administrator will participate as equal partners in a joint enterprise of mutual advantage and clear public service.

The principle of group consultation has primary applicability to the administrative process, in private welfare as in public policy--although it carries important implications as well for the individualized relationship of client and caseworker. Through systematic enforcement of this principle, welfare clients may be expected to perform increasingly a positive, rather than a merely negative and receptive, role in their dealings with the agency. The sharp dichotomy of interest and viewpoint which so often divides the two sides of the process; the invidious connotations which still persevere in the classic relationship of mendicant and almsgiver; the unilateral flow of counsel and advice over the administrator's desks--all these may be substantially reduced if not ultimately resolved by judicious and progressive application to the field of social welfare of that trinity of constitutional and human rights; the right to organize, the right to speak, and the right to be heard.

back to contents



An article appearing in the current issue of The Asian Blind entitled "The Psychology of the Blind," by Shri R. M. Alpaiwala, President, National Association for the Blind, India, contains some most interesting conclusions and is representative of a certain school of thought. Here are a few excerpts:

"...Is the psychology of the blind different from the psychology of the sighted? It is, and yet it is not....Like a commander scanning the situation through the apertures of his observation tower, the mind observes the world through the five senses. It perceives the sensations received from the five senses, relates them to one another, and produces a 'concept'....Let but one sense, say the master sense of sight, be lacking, and the whole concept is widely changed.... With the blind, the sense of touch serves to substitute for the sense of sight and such a substitution makes a vital difference in their psychology. The concept of a blind individual is often partial and his knowledge second hand and incomplete. This partial concept sometimes makes his psychic reactions different.... Touch is but a poor substitute for sight....

"... It is found that the I.Q. of a normal blind child can be the same as of a normal sighted child. But the average I. Q. of a group of the blind is likely to be lower than the I.Q. of a similar group of the sighted. While blindness per se does not affect the mind or mentality of the individual, there are several diseases causing blindness which do affect the mind or the mentality of the individual. There are, on the other hand, cases like that of Milton where the mind, freed from its other involvements, soars to a much higher and nobler level in blindness....

"The handicaps of blindness affect the reactions of a blind man to his environments and these, sometimes, produce a change in his disposition and temperament, his habits, his outlook, his approach, in fact, in his whole life.... The world of light is denied to the blind. They live in perpetual darkness. The condition favors dullness and depression. Every movement in darkness is in the unknown. Inaction brings about sloth....Sloth ends often in beggary--where self-respect gradually disappears--and the incentive to movements are of a lowly, sensual type....

"The remedy for all these depressing conditions and for others is healthy encouragement and incentives; and so we find in institutions for the blind and in periodical literature for the blind a generous appreciation and praise for the achievements of the blind....

"...In social contacts, the blind person is often awkward, slow and somewhat ill-at-ease, and feeling 'inferior' in 'social competence'. He has awkward mannerisms and he is generally treated by the sighted with irritability or impatience, condescension or pity and, above all, lack of understanding. These social contacts become a strain causing fatigue and resulting in despair. In these and many other situations the blind child or adult feels himself, inferior to others and gradually develops an inferiority complex, leading him on to undesirable introspection, daydreaming and self-centeredness. A different type of influence produces a superiority complex in the blind person. His handicap leads him to be over-indulged, over-esteemed and unduly praised. This attitude gives him an idea of superiority. It makes him dominating, agressive and sometimes callous.

"... There must be sympathetic understanding of their psychology, of their weaknesses and defects, arising from the wrong treatment they receive, and a genuine desire on the part of the sighted to work for and create an environment for a harmonious and healthy development of the sensitive nature of the blind."

back to contents



Washington, D.C., October 10, 1958

"To broaden Federal employment opportunities for the blind, the Civil Service Commission has decided to liberalize physical requirements for telephone-operator positions in Government, C.S.C. announced today....Until now, the physical standards for telephone-operator positions have required vision in at least one eye. In the course of its study of telephone-operator positions, the Commission found that many blind persons can do the work satisfactorily with the use of Braille attachments to switchboards, and that such attachments can be obtained for one-position (80-plug) and two-position (160-plug) switchboards. After observing blind operators use such equipment, representatives of C.S.C. ( Medical Division concluded that physical requirements for telephone-operator positions in Government should be liberalized. General Se vices Administration has agreed to make the attachment available without cost to blind operators employed in Government."

back to contents



Washington, D.C., October 10, 1958

"Dear Mr. Taylor: ... The progress which has been made by the National Federation of the Blind in furthering employment opportunities for individuals with impaired vision is indeed commendable. You and your associates have every right to feel proud. It is the Bell System's desire to assist in this program in any way we can.

"Since our last discussion, I have reviewed with our commercial sales people the procedures which might be established to expedite the furnishing of Braille attachments where required. Consideration is being given to the issuance of a general letter to all Bell operating companies covering the importance of the Federation's program and the need for prompt establishment of service where conditions warrant. In this connection, I appreciate your giving me authority to reproduce Dr. Jacobus tenBroek's memorandum and to transmit it to the operating companies, if this procedure seems desirable....

"The next to the last paragraph of Dr. tenBroek's memorandum, regarding Braille attachments now being available in two weeks after placement of orders, concerns me somewhat. As you will recall, Mr. Schofield and I did bring out that only a few Braille attachments have been made during the last several years and under current conditions the supply interval might be from 22 to 26 weeks. We have this supply matter under review with the Western Electric Company to determine the extent to which a limited number of Braille attachments might be carried in stock for prompt delivery. In this respect, it would be most helpful if you could furnish me a picture of requirements for say the next 12 to 18 months...." R. H. Hartsough, Jr., Executive Assistant, American Telephone and Telegraph Co.

"Dear Mr. Hartsough: ...After a sufficient number of blind applicants have attained eligibility on a Civil Service register, the need for Braille attachments will be governed largely by our success in convincing appointing officers that blind persons can efficiently perform the function of a PBX switchboard operator. The interest in this change of policy on the part of the Civil Service Commission is both widespread and intensive and, at the present time, I hope that you will be able to make and complete the necessary arrangements for having approximately 50 Braille attachments available...The need could be substantially greater but I believe that it will not likely be much less than that figure. If stockpiling 50 Braille attachments should create a problem, either in terms of the investment or the storage problem, the National Federation will be interested in participating in a solution of the situation.

"The availability of the Braille attachment within a two week period is an important factor and its success and the success of this undertaking depend to a good extent upon it. The appointing officer will be extremely reluctant to consider and appoint blind telephone switchboard operators if they must wait for four to five months in order to secure the equipment. Certainly it is desirable to arrive at a satisfactory solution for this problem and I feel sure that we may count on your doing everything possible to expedite the solution" John N. Taylor.

back to contents



The current issue of The Florida White Cane contains so much material of general interest that I am giving it the status of a Monitor feature this month and I urge all of you to read what follows.


By Buelah Holly Flynn

The other night I was quite surprised by a loud rapping on the door. When I opened it I heard the words, "We are Marian and Robert McDonald from the Virginia Federation." The word Federation was the password for an immediate invitation to enter, A wonderful evening of chatter and laughter followed, and two more lasting friendships were formed. For centuries sighted people have wandered throughout the world, making friendships wherever they went by the mentioning of a lodge or club. The blind, on the other hand, since we did not have a national organization, were usually pretty much alone when traveling into new areas. This beginning to know about other blind people throughout the country is one of the good by-products of the National Federation of the Blind. The word Federation means more than the fact that a person is blind. It means that here is another person with the same interests and who is working for the same cause, and by sharing our mutual ideas we can help to make that cause grow even stronger.

"Harry E. Simmons, Executive Director, Florida Council for the Blind, has issued a communication addressed to all staff members, which informs them that he has never attempted to dictate their association with outside organizations. He concludes: 'I, therefore, do not dictate to them what their personal attitude shall be toward any organization and it is their personal right to praise or criticize as they see fit. They are under no orders from this office to approve or disapprove of any organization.'"

The White Cane editor has this comment: "Now that the administration has made this policy all would be well if his Agency would take the necessary follow-up action establishing a policy declaring that it would be a violation of professional ethics, and sufficient cause for dismissal for members of the Agency staff to use the prestige of their office or the authority of their position to prevent others from joining organizations of their choice."

"R. L. Thompson points out that the press was critical because the general public displayed an apathetic attitude toward a public hearing held by the Interim Legislative Welfare Committee, at which vital public assistance policies were discussed. That same press, however, had failed to give any sort of adequate notice to the public that such a hearing was scheduled. Even though the committee chairman, Mr. Beck, had promised that the Federation would be notified of each hearing scheduled, we received no notice of this hearing. Despite this, the Federation had eleven people present and at the time we made a count there were only forty people in the room, including the six welfare officers and members of the district and state welfare boards. Hulin Fletcher made headlines with his statement that 'welfare made bums out of able and ambitious people.' Mrs. Mildred Welch, confined to a wheelchair, came from Orlando, arriving late in the session, but was not allowed to testify on her own case. Larry Thompson and Bob Graves appeared in support of several of the Federation's legislative goals."

"The College Park Lions Club of Orlando devotes about six hours twice a month to the transportation of Federation members to their local meetings. The Lions own their own bus and Lion John D. Welch does the driving....He feels that this is one way of doing his share in furthering Lionism, which is dedicated to helping the blind.

"...The highlight of our business sessions was the arrival of Paul Kirton, Administrative Assistant with the National Federation of the Blind. Paul lectured, taught, explained, discussed and practically-fought out all the problems confronting the blind of Florida, and pointed out the way our goals can best be achieved. Thanks, Paul. I only wish our strength and endurance could have matched yours...."

"At a state Agency meeting on August 3, Mr. Simmons announced that there were now 73 stands and proceeded to read the earnings of the top thirty....Since there was no mention as to the number of employees at these stands it would be difficult to say whether these figures represented the earnings of one person, or were shared....I asked if we might hear the earnings of the lowest fifteen. It would seem to me that the Council board, a group which is interested in promoting the well-being of the blind, would be far more interested in the earnings of the low stands than in the high ones, because the problems of the blind are far greater in the low income brackets. I may have been misjudging Mr. Simmons' motives but I had the feeling that he would prefer to present to the board only figures which made for favorable comment. Mr. Simmons' publicity man stated that, after investigation, he had found that stand operators earned on an average a higher income than people engaged in the building trades. I feel sure that the man who earned only $6.00 last December would not feel that his salary compared favorably with that of a brick mason. The most recent statistics released by the Council stated that average earnings of stand operators were $120.00 per month. It was not stated whether this was gross, net or take-home pay. At best, does it really compare with a mason's earnings? I was also informed several years ago that only about ten percent of the operators were married and that in those cases it was necessary for the wife to have employment outside the home. Is this truly constructive social employment?"

"A Peoria couple, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Knight, were here on a week's vacation at the May K. Houck Foundation. Mr. Knight is an active member of the NFB. This man has done a remarkable job at the St. Francis Hospital in Peoria; so good, in fact, that the hospital has employed two more blind people in the medical records. Richard made the statement that he would very much like to visit our local hospital to see how the medical records, etc., were handled. I made an appointment with the Administrator, Mr. Don Laurent. Mr. Knight made such a good impression on Don that he said he would definitely consider employing a blind person or persons for this type of work. I got in touch with I knew she had aspirations along these lines. She called Mr. Laurent and he was very enthusiastic about the idea of giving her an opportunity to try out on the job and, if successful, he said he would employ other blind people for this work. I felt very good about this as the Council has been trying to get an opening in the hospital and it took the Federation to open the door...."

back to contents



The following are excerpts from a letter written by Mr. Walter P. Jones, President of the Sarasota Chapter of the Florida Federation, to Dr. tenBroek:

"...On November 1st, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Wiley of Peoria, Illinois, took over the management of the four motels of the May K. Houck Foundation. There are thirty-two units here available for the blind and handicapped. Mr. Wiley, who has been blind since he was four, succeeds a former professional motel manager. Carl was an instructor and placement officer for the State of Illinois for thirty-eight years, teaching the blind to operate switchboards. He retired recently and came to Florida, but he is the kind that has to keep busy. Mrs. Wiley, Canna, who is sighted, assists him in meeting and making welcome the guests, both blind and sighted. Carl is a member of the National Federation of the Blind, Peoria Chapter, and has been active in it for many years.

"...While the May K. Houck Foundation is best known as a vacation spot for the blind, its most important objective is the broadening of opportunities for employment of the blind. Mr. Frank Moffett, the Trustee, is exploring all means to this end. By the way, since you printed a paragraph in the Monitor last month, there has been an increase in the number of applications for reservations from blind people wishing to spend a vacation at the May K. Houck Foundation."

Readers may be somewhat surprised at Mr. Jones' reference to employment opportunities because we have hitherto thought of this project only as a vacation spot. Early in October, however, Mr. Moffett had written to Dr. tenBroek and suggested that Mr. Wiley's long experience in teaching the switchboard operation to blind persons in Illinois would qualify him to instruct blind visitors to the Sarasota camp. Dr. tenBroek replied, in part:

"... I am most interested in the plan of the May K. Houck Foundation to devote a substantial portion of its resources and facilities to the broadening of employment opportunities for the blind. This is a crying need and a most worthwhile venture. Moreover, I would say that your plan for providing training opportunities for switchboard operation has in it some good possibilities. Illinois has pioneered this field and has shown its sustained values.

"You may know that the National Federation has for years been working with the Civil Service Commission of the United States to open up the field of switchboards to blind persons. Those years of effort have now been brought to culmination with an announcement by the Civil Service Commission that one-or two-position switchboards in the federal service are opened up to the blind. In the course of reaching this conclusion, the Federation and the Civil Service Commission relied heavily upon Illinois experience and upon a series of tests with blind operators.

"...Providing free motel facilities and free instruction will, of course be a great help to blind persons who do not live too far away. Transportation costs will present an obstacle to many blind people who might otherwise wish to take advantage of these opportunities. This observation relates to the number of persons who may find it possible to receive your training.

"A second consideration might also be mentioned in connection with the training itself. Certainly after the initial stages of training, some actual on-the-job training would be highly desirable. It is one thing to operate a switchboard in a practice situation and another to meet the demands of operation in the situation of ordinary employment--or at least these two things may be different. Would it be possible for you to work out arrangements in the neighborhood of your facility for actually putting the blind trainees in an on-the-job situation for a period of a month or two? Even more than that have you considered the possibility of trying to work out in the community actual employment opportunities for blind switchboard operators that would bring them up to the one-year experience requirement of the Federal Government?

"From the foregoing you can see that on the whole I am enthusiastic about your idea and think that it has distinct possibilities for much greater development than suggested in the plan as you have set it forth."

back to contents



By Mary Jane Hills

Bright and early Friday morning, October 17, five of the six officers of the Empire State Association of the Blind gathered at the Powers Hotel, in Rochester, to plan the agenda for the meeting of the Board of Directors to be held that evening. In the afternoon a highly productive legislative meeting was held and a few hours later a very successful and well-attended Board meeting took place. The Board voted to revoke the charter of the New Rochelle Chapter, because it was two years delinquent in payment of its dues and has shown insufficient interest. It is a near certainty that we shall have a new chapter in the same area within a month.

For those who came to mix a little pleasure with business, the Rochester Chapter hosted an informal reception.

At 10:00 A.M. Saturday, the convention had its official beginning, running until shortly after 2:00 P.M. Sunday. At the Saturday morning session, when the roll was called, nine out of twelve chapters were represented. A resolution was passed creating an endowment fund to be administered by a rotating committee of three, said committee being responsible to the Board of Directors. We then heard from Ray Dinsmore on the subject "Laws of New York State Affecting the Blind." Mrs. Eleanor Franke discussed "Improved Workshops for the Blind." The proposed constitution was read to the assembly with discussion postponed until Sunday morning. An informal luncheon followed after which we were entertained by a professional group of seven musicians. The Marimba Masters. They were excellent.

Our Saturday afternoon session attracted much interest and we were fortunate in obtaining a great deal of good publicity. In addition to the delegates and other ESAB members, there were approximately 25 spectators at this session. The theme for the afternoon meeting was: "The Pros and Cons of Residential arid Integrated Education of a Blind Child." We had 20-minute addresses delivered by Dr. Anthony J. Palone, Chief, Bureau for Handicapped Children, State Education Department; Dr.Eber L. Palmer, Superintendent, New York State School for the Blind; Mrs. Elizabeth Yule, Director of the Integrated Nursery School, formerly in operation at the Rochester Association for the Blind; Mr. Harry Spar, Assistant Director, Industrial Home for the Blind; and Mr. John Haffey, a blind man who spent equal time under both types of educational facilities. Following these speeches, Peter Roidl moderated a panel discussion, after which questions came from the floor. No one interested in educational opportunities for the blind child of today could fail to have gained from this discussion.

We were fortunate to have many distinguished guests at our banquet--Dr. and Mrs. Palmer, Dr. and Mrs. Pelone, Mr. and Mrs. John Haffey, Reverend and Mrs. Driftmeyer, Mr. Spar, Assemblyman JohnE. Johnson, of LeRoy, Mr. Alphonse Casetti, the Democratic candidate for Congress from the 38th District, and, last but not least, John Taylor. A charter of affiliation was granted to the Utica Chapter, the Mohawk Valley Council of the Blind. Assemblyman Johnson promised support for our education bill. The highlight of our banquet was John Taylor's address "Ends and Means of Organizations of the Blind."

Sunday morning the business meeting was held with many major decisions reached. The proposed state constitution was accepted. Those chapters wishing to carry on White Cane Week campaigns were given the green light. As we intend to push the same legislation as last year, the same resolution on welfare was introduced under a new number. Other resolutions passed were: one commending the Rochester Association for the Blind on its progress; one thanking the press and radio for excellent coverage; one pointing up the cooperation between Lions Clubs of the state and our chapters and urging greater cooperation in the future; one in recognition of the fact that Dr. Palmer recently received an honorary degree; one seeking legislation defining a blind-made product, making it mandatory for state institutions to purchase these items, setting up rules for licensing salesmen to sell these products door-to-door, (so as to protect the public from misrepresentation) and providing that no one shall be denied the right to sell these products solely on the basis of his blindness. A resolution was adopted endorsing the residential school but urging parents of blind children to look into the advantages of both residential and public schools before deciding where to educate a child. A resolution was introduced by the Buffalo Chapter and unanimously passed to instruct our delegate at the 1959 NFB convention to invite the Federation to Buffalo in either 1961 or 1962. A resolution providing that it shall be mandatory for our official delegate at national conventions to poll his delegation before casting the state's vote, was adopted.

This was not an election year.

back to contents



The Tenth Anniversary of the founding of the Greater Springfield Association of the Blind, Inc., was observed with a banquet held on Friday evening, October 17, 1958, in the Sheraton-Kimball Hotel, Springfield, Massachusetts. It was as great an event as any state convention we have ever attended. Close to 150 were present.

Miss Anita O'Shea, Toastmistress, first introduced Newton Ottone, founder and president of the chapter. She spoke in glowing terms of his leadership and how, through his tireless efforts, the organization has accomplished so much. Mr. Ottone spoke of the ten years of progress of the organization, and presented a silver dish to Mrs Clara Theilig, a member of the sighted Helping Hand Committee, for her ten years of service with the group. He then called upon Charles Little, of Boston, to tell of the growth of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts. This was followed by the introduction of dignitaries: John Mungovan, Director of the Massachusetts Division of the Blind; John Pierce Lynch, former Representative; William Webb, of the Better Business Bureau; John Nagle, President of the ABM; Warren Sears, District Governor of the Lions Clubs; Reverend John Power, Pastor of Our Lady of Hope Church and, most gratifying to everyone, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, President of the National Federation of the Blind, who delivered the feature address of the evening. He touched on many vital points and his off-the-cuff humor provoked much laughter. He paid John F. Mungovan a high tribute for his work as agency director of Massachusetts.

Amongst the other guests were four from the New Hampshire Federation, two from the Worcester Chapter, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Corbiel of the Holyoke Chapter and George Tierney of the Westfield Chapter. Ten Lions Clubs were represented by their Kings and Chairmen of Sight Conservation Committees. The state agency was also represented by two field workers.

back to contents



By J. Henry Kruse, Jr.

The first statewide convention of the New Jersey Council of Organizations of the Blind since it became an NFB affiliate was held on October 18, at the Stacy Trent Hotel in the state capital of Trenton. The rooms, facilities, services and meals were all that could be desired.

The theme of this first New Jersey convention was, "Organization of the Blind on Local, State, and National Levels." Mr. George E. Burck, President of the State Council, expounded this theme in his interesting keynote address. Mr. Burck outlined the history of the organized blind in New Jersey in general and the history and legislative achievements of the State Council in particular. Continuing this same theme, the president of each of the Council's nine-member organizations was requested to present a brief exposition of the purposes and program of his organization.

The afternoon session was led off by Mr. George F. Meyer, Executive Director of the New Jersey State Commission for the Blind, who outlined the services and policies of the state agency for the blind. He was followed by his assistant, Mr. Joseph Cohn, who spoke on the organization of the entire New Jersey Department of Institutions and Agencies.

Next came an inspiring paper by Dr. Herbert Greenberg, sociologist and Executive Director of the Mayor's Commission on Human Relations of the City of Elizabeth. Dr. Greenberg, himself blind since childhood, spoke about the psychological blocks in the minds of sighted individuals which make it difficult for them to employ the blind, and he likened these blocks to racial and religious prejudices." We hope that this lecture may be made available to the organized blind.

Next on the schedule of speakers were several dignitaries from New Jersey Lions Clubs who described their organization's work with the blind. The convention then heard from Mr, William Baum, Executive Director of the Delaware Valley Eye Bank, who described progress in the field of ocular transplants

Next the convention considered and adopted 16 resolutions--supporting the NFB program of legislation at the national level, urging improvements in training and placements of blind persons, calling upon the Braille and Talking Book libraries for better service, deploring the fact that there is still widespread mendicancy among the blind and boosting the Braille Monitor.

At the end of the afternoon session, the officers of the State Council were all unanimously reelected by acclamation. They are: President, George E. Burck, 18 Burlington Avenue, Leonardo; First Vice-President, John Braddock, Paterson; Second Vice-President, Milford Force, Neshanic; and Secretary-Treasurer, J. Henry Kruse, Jr., Chatham.

At the convention banquet, the toastmaster introduced various dignitaries. A visitor from the Maryland Brotherhood of the Blind spoke briefly, as did Mr. Raymond Male, President of the New Jersey Civil Service Commission. Mr. Male brought the personal greetings of New Jersey's Governor Meyner, who was unable to attend. The highlight of the banquet and of the entire convention was, of course, the inspiring and unforgettable address by our National President, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, who honored New Jersey with his presence, though there were two other NFB state conventions that same day. At 5:30 the next morning, the convention chairman and the secretary arose to escort Dr. tenBroek to the New York International Airport where he just barely caught his plane.

The persons and organizations who contributed so much to make this convention possible are too numerous to mention here. Especially noteworthy, however, were the efforts of the convention chairman, Milford Force, and the local chairman, Norbert Cifelli. This convention was deemed by all who participated to have been an unqualified success. It did much to strengthen and unify the movement of the organized blind in New Jersey. Over two hundred people attended and there were 189 at the banquet.

back to contents



"Dear Mr. Card:... I am now receiving the Monitor in tape form. I enjoy and appreciate the Monitor very much. I think you do a fine job as editor. If all of our members would conscientiously read the Monitor each month, it would be the best one thing that ever happened to the National Federation of the Blind." T. F. Moody, Houston, Texas.

"Dear Editor... Despite a well-established trend favoring Talking Books over Braille, we cannot ignore the more extensive usage that Braille books can be put to when compared with Talking Books. Effective studying is not only favored by the careful examination of Braille, but Braille can be used in more places and in different surroundings where Talking Book usage might be awkward or impossible. Who can carry Talking Book record cases or even portable players and expect to use them while traveling by train or plane or auto? Even tape machines would not suffice. Who can use anything but Braille books in the isolated vacation spot where, again, access to electricity is not easy? Braille reading is a possibility indoors or out, fair weather and foul, daytime and night, country or town.

"A final point of research strengthens my conviction that Braille reading should not be allowed to recede before the advances of the Talking Book. Studies by educators of elementary school blind children as reported in The New Outlook For The Blind back in the early 1940's, showed that while Talking Books were sometimes more effective in teaching social studies and geography--spelling, arithmetic and written communication demanded use of Braille and other touch methods in order to develop these basic skills adequately." H. G. Burns, Los Angeles, California.

"Dear Mr. Card: In reading the October issue of the Monitor, I came across the letter from Abed, in Jordan. As he seems to be of determined nature, I am inclined to give him all of my support. Of course, I am not in a position to aid him too much financially myself but I shall try to see what I can do to promote some additional funds for his education." Leon Duff, Portland, Oregon.

"Dear Mr. Card:... Many things have taken place since your visit here about 18 months ago. At that time I was very cautious about my affiliations, and I moved into the organization with some skepticism; however, I was willing to be shown. After attending the 1957 ASAB convention I was sold all the way.... I am looking forward to attending the National Convention in Santa Fe next June, as I feel that I can get an even greater insight into the movement.

"At our convention this year,' Dr. tenBroek delivered his talk, 'The Blind and the Right to Self- expression'. It was taped by a local radio station, and the entire speech was aired as a public service feature (40 minutes). When they were finished, they gave us the tape, which we plan to make available to any audience with a willing ear (clubs, etc.).

"I am starting something here that I understand you did in your state--trying to stamp out blind begging, I am starting with a resolution passed by ASAB. My next step (locally) is to take this to the city council and the local newspaper. I have discussed the whole thing with our chief of police and he is willing to enforce our ordinance against begging, (which is already on the books), but as he explains it, public sentiment is roused when a 'poor blind man' is run off the street by an officer. I hope that by virtue of our backing he will have the power he needs. We are also seeking state legislation on the same thing...." Leslie Webb, Yuma, Arizona.

"My dear Mr. Card:... I'm a hearing-blind person but I have an unusually warm spot in my heart for the deaf-blind and have a great many among them who are very dear friends.... It is in connection with Skylark that I'm writing you. I understand that the NFB is helping .to finance its publication. I'm wondering if everyone realized just what a special need this magazine fills.... I know that my motive in writing short stories for it, despite my very full and busy life, was my realization that Skylark met needs no other Braille magazine does. So little of gaiety and heartwarming laughter is to be found in the run-of-the-mill Braille magazines. If ever anybody needs to have their lives lightened and to have amusement brought into them, it is those in the 'Silent Dark'. If ever there was a forgotten minority, it is the deaf-blind--even among the hearing-blind. This is why I find the participation of the NFB in financing the Skylark a really laudable thing. More power to you and to our organization.... I'm really proud of us and of your part in motivating this assistance...." Winifred Bills, Paw Paw, Michigan.

"Dear Mr. Card: I thought that your talk at the OCB convention here in Canton was very fine and to the point. I think that conventions help greatly to break down isolation among blind people. Too many of them can't read and are like the world was in the pre-Gutenburg days when there was very little written material.

"I think some of those who sponsor homes for the blind make two mistakes. Segregation of the sexes' and the separate homes is un-natural and deprives residents of the wholesome companionship of members of the opposite sex. A number of happy marriages have resulted from the other plan. In the second place, the imposition of residence requirements goes counter to our philosophy. It seems all wrong to reject an applicant who has not established the required residence when there is an opening of which he could just as well be given the advantage.

"I always look forward to the coming of the next Monitor because it gives a much more complete picture of the status of the blind than any periodical has ever done before...." George A. Holben, Canton, Ohio.

back to contents



From the Washington White Cane: "There are many instances of successful husband and wife team enterprises in which one or both partners are blind. Lyle Von Erichsen supplies an interesting example: Mr. and Mrs. Clair Seagrave of Spokane operate their own advertising agency via telephone from their own home. The six hundred page Spokane telephone directory was transcribed into Braille for them as a project of The Father Palmer Memorial Braille Service. The establishment of a telephone advertising agency was their own idea, Mrs. Seagrave handles the Braille telephone directory end of the business and Clair does the talking and advertising, because he's the salesman and public relations half of their business team.... On an average morning they make from 75 to 80 phone calls."

back to contents



As announced in the August issue, Darlene and I journeyed to Colombo, the capital city of Ceylon, to attend a meeting of the Executive Committee of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, August 18-23. Afterwards we continued on westward and eventually reached our starting point. Dr. tenBroek insists this does not prove the world is spherical because, as he points out, the same result could have been achieved if the world were shaped like a saucer.

I have received a number of requests from Monitor readers that I give at least some account of our round-the-world trip in these pages, I find it impossible to condense such an account enough so that it can be encompassed in one article and I feel it is not sufficiently important to serialize. The meeting itself, however, must be reported.

Colombo is a typical oriental city, with a beautiful residential section for the wealthy and dreadful slums in the native quarter. It is only a short distance North of the equator and would be very hot except for the ocean breeze, which is as steady as a great electric fan. The Mt. Lavinia Hotel, where we were quartered and where the sessions of the committee were held, seemed strangely familiar to Darlene. This was explained when we learned that the premises had been used for many of the scenes in the prize-winning picture, "The Bridge on the River Kwai".

The following committee members were in attendance: Col. E. A. Baker, President, Canada; Prof. P. Bentivoglio, V.P., Italy; Prof. Dr. Carl Strehl, V. P., Germany; E. T. Boulter, M. Robert Barnett and George Card, U.S.; H. Amblard, France; Dr. C. W. Bennett, Australia; J. C. Colligan and E. H. Getliff, United Kingdom; K. Dassanaike, Ceylon; Dr. M. Nour, Egypt; Capt. J. H. M. Desai, India; F. G. Tingen, The Netherlands; T. Torii, Japan, and Sir.Clutha Mackenzie, New Zealand.

the preliminary ceremonies were finished and the minutes of the 1956 London meeting were approved, the first order of business was the transfer of the Ceylon membership to a new organization.

Next an application from East Germany was considered. After much discussion, an amended draft of a rejection letter was approved. The East German organization was told that Germany was already represented on the Council and that, if they wished to do so, they might apply to the existing German affiliate for proportional representation on the German delegation. The general feeling seemed to be that, if an application were received from Red China, a very different problem would be presented.

At the request of the Egyptian affiliate, the membership of that country was officially transferred to the United Arab Republic.

Next came the treasurer's report, which showed none too healthy a balance. In view of this report, it was agreed that the Committee would recommend an amendment to the Council constitution, to be considered at the full Assembly meeting in Rome next year. At present the Executive Committee is required to meet every two years. The amendment will provide that the Committee will meet once between the five year meetings of the Assembly and again just before the full Assembly meets, but at the same place, so as to avoid additional traveling expense. At a later time it was agreed that the traveling expenses of all delegates to the interim meeting of the Committee would be paid in full, and that maintenance for both members and the sighted guides of the blind members would be paid. (I regard this arrangement as somewhat inequitable as the blind members are placed at a distinct disadvantage, having to pay the traveling expenses of their guide. No matter how skillful a traveler one may be, present conditions make it out of the question for a blind delegate to travel alone into foreign parts. Very long and complicated forms must be filled out again and again in the course of a foreign trip and, in addition, the language barrier is quite a formidable one. If I am sent to the Rome meeting next year I shall propose a more equitable formula.)

The most important business to come before these Executive Committee meetings is made up of the progress reports of the various working committees. These reports are circulated beforehand and the delegates are expected to come prepared to discuss them without using the time of the Committee for another reading.

Mr. Amblard reported for the Louis Braille Memorial Museum Committee. He recommended that a curator be hired and that the museum at Coupvray, the birthplace of Louis Braille, be kept open for tourists and other visitors. He estimated the annual cost to be $3,000 and it was eventually voted to appropriate this amount. Mr. Amblard's committee also recommended that an illustrated booklet be published and offered for sale to the public at the Louis Braille Museum. The cost of this publication will be about $4,000 and half of this amount is expected to be realized almost immediately from readily obtainable orders. The balance will be recovered during a longer period through the sale of booklets to individuals. England, Australia, Canada, and the American Foundation all stated that their organizations would make out-right grants to the Louis Braille Memorial and interest-free loans to the publication project and, in addition, would give the readers of their respective Braille publications opportunity to contribute. They pointed out that every literate blind person alive today owes a heavy debt to Louis Braille. I stated that I had no authority to commit my organization but that I had no doubt the NFB would assume its share of financial responsibility for this World Council project.

Sir Clutha Mackenzie, Chairman of the Braille Committee, reported on international developments. There had been some controversy in Latin America between Portuguese and Spanish-speaking countries. He discussed the new International Manual of Braille Music Notation, which was made available some months ago. Some of the continental European countries have raised certain objections and an attempt will be made to satisfy them through negotiations.

E.H. Getliffe, Chairman of the Education Committee, discussed the 1957 Oslo meeting of the International Conference of Educators of Blind Youth. Only World Council members are eligible to participate in the I.C.E.B.Y. Sir Clutha Mackenzie supplemented the report with some additional details concerning rural education in the emergent countries of south and southeast Asia.

The Technical Appliances Committee reported that its survey of various types of reading machines for the blind did not indicate a practical early usability. It was suggested to the Committee that it turn its attention during the next year to various forms of recording and to electronic travel aids.

Captain Desai, reporting for the Prevention of Blindness Committee, recommended that the World Council "urge the United Nations and the World Health Organization to cooperate by the creation of ophthalmological research stations throughout underdeveloped areas. Sir Clutha felt that the greatest need was to develop a means of taking simple remedies for simple eye diseases into the villages whose residents usually resisted traveling to nearby towns for attention. The President reminded the Committee that the causes of blindness vary substantially from region to region. He hoped that all concerned would stress the economic as well as social advantages to be gained from programs of prevention in their discussions with governments."

In leading the discussion on the report of the Rural Activities Committee Sir Clutha stated that the Uganda Center with which he had been associated had operated under ideal conditions as the country's agricultural pattern was built around the small holding. With minor exceptions, all the processes of cultivating Uganda's major crops had proved suitable for blind workers. Even those not entirely suitable could be handled with a minimum of assistance from sighted family members.

The Chairman of the Committee on Professional and Urban Employment, Joe Klunk, was not present. It seemed to me that the discussion of his written report was not very productive. His report had consisted only of a questionnaire which he had sent to all member countries, together with the rather unsatisfactory answers he had received.

During the discussion of the report of the Committee on Services to the Deaf-Blind, considerable stress was laid on the meetings held in the United States in 1957. "Several members expressed the view that recommendations contained in the report would be of major significance in the development of international procedure for communication with the deaf-blind. It was also suggested that W.C.W.B. member countries be encouraged to contact the Post Office and telephone authorities in their respective countries in order to obtain their assistance in such matters as installing special dialing systems for deaf-blind clients, as had been introduced in the Netherlands to assist Dr. Van Der Mey. Several members urged that national committees and organizations working with the blind should make more strenuous efforts to locate deaf-blind people, as it was felt that statistics on the number of such doubly handicapped persons were generally incomplete, particularly in respect to those in the older age groups."

Next came reports dealing with the various regional sub-organizations, especially the one comprising east and southeast Asian countries. The delegate representing the United Arab Republic proposed that the countries of the Near East should form another regional group. There was also some talk about a Scandinavian group and a continental European group. At this point Professor Bentivoglio and Mr. Amblard expressed apprehension that this matter of regional sub-organizations might be getting out of hand, and that, if it proceeded far enough, the whole character of the World Council might be altered. Mr. Barnett, who had at first spoken in favor of a Near East regional group, admitted that perhaps the Council had made a mistake in permitting the formation of any regional groups. No definitive action was taken on the Near East proposal.

The committee in charge of plans for the 1959 meeting of the full Assembly at Rome recommended that only a limited number of topics be taken up at that meeting, but that these should be thoroughly explored. He proposed that the general theme of the Assembly should be "Employment of the Blind." Within the general theme many related subjects could be discussed. Provision should be made for studying the needs in advanced as well as less developed areas and the employment of the intellectual blind as well as those to be placed in commerce, industry, agriculture and crafts. He further recommended that papers should be circulated in advance, with short verbal summaries being given in discussion in language groups. In the discussion which followed, several members heartily endorsed the idea of a single theme conference. Mr, Barnett recommended that the program committee be strict in refusing to include additional papers and he hoped that some compromise might be worked out concerning language discussion groups, feeling that fuller discussion between representatives from different regions could be highly beneficial. The report of this sub-committee was adopted. It provided for nine program sessions, each dealing with a specific aspect of training and employment for advanced and emergent countries, e.g.; home working and allied schemes; workshops for the blind; rural employment in the emergent and in the established countries; qualifications of placement officers; the placement of the blind in industry, commerce, and the professions; rehabilitation and training of the blind with a view to employment. A speaker would be named for each session, whose paper would be circulated in advance. Withdrawal to language discussion groups would occur, the leaders of such groups reporting to the full Assembly at the close of each session. Provision had been made for two sessions at which the reports of standing and consultative committees would be received and discussed; one session was set aside for discussion and adoption of resolutions and one for general Council business, including election of officers and Executive Committee.

Professor Bentivoglio, Chairman of the Local Arrangements Committee, reported that arrangements had been made for a press conference on the morning of July, 20 and meetings of committees that afternoon. Full Assembly meetings would commence on the following day. It was agreed that the W.C.W.B. would be prepared "to allocate up to $2,000 for simultaneous interpretation service, which would be provided for English, French, Spanish, Italian and German, any required balance to be obtained from Italian sources." (In Paris, 1954, the U.N. provided this simultaneous translation without charge. Next year it will cost us $50 a day for each language.)

It was decided that a meeting of the Executive Committee would be held in Rome on Saturday, July 18, 1959.

All quoted portions from the foregoing are from the official Minutes of the Colombo meeting, which have just been circulated. The Committee sessions lasted from Sunday, August 18, until the following Friday. After adjournment, we were all taken to the beautiful city of Kandy, in the high, cool tea country, and we were all entertained as guests in the homes of Kandy residents during the weekend. Darlene and I hit the jackpot, being assigned to the home of a college president on the top of the highest hill, where we were entertained royally.

Saturday afternoon I rode my elephant bare-backed--and Darlene has a picture to prove it. When the news of this exploit reached Wisconsin, there was some talk of throwing me out of the Democratic party.

back to contents



There is no question but that the effects of the recession were distinctly evident when it came to White Cane Week receipts earlier this year. Only one of the major participating states showed a big increase over former years. California, benefiting by the hard work of Tom Long, George Fogarty and others, reaped a handsome profit from a statewide automobile raffle. The Buffalo, New York Chapter showed a small profit, where the year before they had sustained a disastrous loss. Illinois used an appeal letter which, though clever, did not impel those who received it to make contributions. It also tried to economize by not using the illustrated folder or Braille insert. The mailing in this state resulted in a rather heavy loss. Missouri and Wisconsin felt the recession in their big mailings. Washington state had the best returns in several years. Alabama and Tennessee did as well as could be expected, though not quite as well as they had hoped. Some states, which have developed their own methods of fund-raising, preferred to send in contributions rather than to participate on a percentage basis.

In terms of the NFB's share the final standings for this year are as follows: Michigan, (Muskegon Chapter), $19.79; Connecticut, $70.00, (a contribution); Wyoming, $75.00, (a contribution); Nebraska, $100.00, (a contribution); Kansas, $102.15; Colorado, $144.00; South Carolina, $150.00; Texas, $176.79; Nevada, $177.73; Minnesota, $200.00, (a contribution); Vermont, $237.32; Kentucky, $250.00, (a contribution); Arizona, $260.65; Iowa, $291.05; West Virginia, $304.85; Florida, $440.08; Louisiana, $446. 78; Alabama, $509.41; Tennessee, $572.96; Ohio, $675.00, (a contribution); Washington state, $1000.00, (a contribution); Missouri, $1489.92; Massachusetts, $2125.41; California, $5074.33; Wisconsin, $7848.38; net receipts from National mailing, $3988.97; total gross receipts, $26730.57; minus balance on loans and materials not yet paid for, $4209.14, minus office overhead, $833.95; total net receipts, $21687.48. Arkansas, Oklahoma and Oregon, which have appeared on the honor list from time to time in other years are missing this time.

back to contents



By William E. Wood

The fourth annual convention of the Colorado Federation of the Blind was held October 11, at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Denver, Colorado.

One of the highlights of the convention was the talk given by United States Senator Gordon Allott. He was shocked to learn that there were objections to the blind organizing themselves into groups for the purpose of improving the economic and social welfare of the blind as a whole. He pointed out that the blind, a minority group in society, are citizens and have the right to organize guaranteed by the Constitution as well as any other group of citizens. He further stated that the interest of this minority group, or any other group, can only be protected by a strong, forceful organization, made up of individuals who know through their own experience the kind of legislation which would be beneficial to them.

Mr. James Douglass gave a very complete report on the activities of Recordings for the Blind, Inc. Denver has a recording studio where volunteer readers make tapes of requested material. The requests have generally been limited to the needs of college students or individuals doing specialized work. The tapes then are sent to the New York headquarters of Recordings for the Blind where they are reproduced on disc records.

Mr. George Cavender, President, Colorado Labor Council of AFL-CIO, emphasized the fact that only through a strong and aggressive organization of the blind, working diligently, can the blind of Colorado and the nation accomplish beneficial changes in the programs affecting their lives.

Mr. Guy Justis, State Director of Public Welfare, talked about the unique medical care program which Colorado has for welfare recipients. The plan is a cooperative arrangement between Colorado Hospital and Medical Service (Blue Cross and Blue Shield) and the State Welfare Department. Each blind aid recipient is notified by the social worker that he is covered by hospital and medical care and told how to obtain this additional assistance.

Several state legislators and their wives were guests at the banquet.

Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, President of the National Federation of the Blind, was our guest speaker. He delivered a stirring address, "The Blind and the Right to Self-Expression," in which he gave in-numerable instances of the prejudices and rejections of individuals simply because they are blind.

back to contents



(Editor's note: Mr. John Jarvis, who came to the Boston convention as a guest and who delivered such an interesting talk, has written a report of his trip here, which appeared in the September issue of The New Beacon, official publication of the Royal National Institute for the Blind in Great Britain.)

"From the 4th to the 7th of July I enjoyed the unique and memorable distinction of attending one of the annual conventions of the National Federation of the Blind in the United States. To one who is barely accustomed to the speed with which things happen over there, it seems almost incredible that an organization which was founded as recently as 1940 by a handful of blind people from a few of the states should in 18 years have become a body with affiliated organizations in 45 states, amounting to a total of 40,000 members, but this is what we have in 1958, and the convention displayed all the characteristics of drive and vigor which one would expect from such a lusty teenager. My journey matched up to the requirements of this day and age. I was able to kiss my wife good-by after breakfast as if I were off to a normal day at the office, but I was already in Boston when the time came to eat a late dinner and could have been there earlier if airline timetables had not obliged me to spend about an hour oh the ground in Scotland and about three hours in Montreal. Even on the return trip, with five hours of clock-time lost, it was still possible to drink my midmorning coffee in Boston and be back in London for breakfast, and my usual office routine the following morning.

"On my arrival in the New World there was almost another Boston Tea Party, for the United States Customs officer who met me was so interested in the special paper I intended to use for making Braille notes at the convention that I made a quick decision to dump it in the harbor rather than suffer the ignominy of taxation without representation; but he relented when he saw that I was carrying only-two or three pounds of the stuff, and it is now covered with the notes, on some of which I am basing this article.

"I never did get to know just how many members of the Federation were present at the convention, but seven or eight hundred would be a fair guess. There were people from all walks of life and the president, a distinguished professor from the University of California, bent over backwards to see that the manual workers from workshops and open industry, the men in charge of kiosks [vending-stand operators] and the dictaphone typists should have as easy access to the floor as the lawyers, teachers and other professional people. This was democracy at its best. Another nice example of fair shares was that the invocations, consisting of a prayer for the success of each day's deliberation, were pronounced by a representative of a different denomination each morning. With such treatment in store, it is small wonder that two of the members had hitchhiked all the way up from Florida, complete with guide dogs. Their exploit was not intended to get press coverage, but they received it when their guide dogs were refused admission to the exclusive Harvard Club.

"The theme of the convention was the relationship between consumer organizations of the federation type and agencies for the blind, and for the past year there has been no more live issue in American blind welfare circles. My own part in the proceedings consisted of a 30 minute survey of these relations under the contrasting conditions as they exist in different countries. The head of the state agency for the blind in Massachusetts described them in his setting and showed us a pattern of cooperation which could well be emulated elsewhere. But it was Father Thomas Carroll, Director of the Catholic Guild for the Blind in Boston, who really made us sit up and take notice. For him these problems are matters of individual responsibility, and he soon had us thinking about them in philosophical, not to say theological terms.

"My notes always become inadequate in direct proportion to my interest in the way the speaker treats his subject, but I hope that a future issue of The New Beacon may contain the essense of Father Carroll's challenging statement.

"This year, I am told, the internal problems of the Federation loomed a good deal larger than usual. I sat through two such sessions, and although ignorant of much of the politics, found them most stimulating. One was devoted to a debate on a resolution deploring the action of one of the Federation's state affiliates in having published criticism of national policy and particularly of what was alleged to be insufficient limitation of the president's powers. I know very few presidents who would have handled this delicate situation with such scrupulous fairness, especially if they themselves had been subjected to the brunt of the attack. He eventually won the day, for the motion of censure on his critics was adopted; but on the following day a constitutional amendment was adopted, setting more precise limits than in the past to the powers and duties of the convention, of its Executive Committee and of the President himself.

"These were not the teething problems of an infant, but the healthy growing pains of an adolescent, and between their spasms there was much evidence of mature, adult thinking such as is often lacking in similar organizations in Great Britain.

"The convention had time to listen to useful, factual statements on the work of the Jewish Braille Institute and the John Milton Society by their chief executive officers, and to adopt a long series of resolutions on many aspects of blind welfare.

"At the Saturday evening banquet, I found myself next to a United States Congressman. When he had courteously deboned my chicken for me, I promised that I would try to secure the services of a British Member of Parliament for the benefit of any blind American who may be called upon to attend a similar function in London. (M. P.'s, please copy.)

"There was also a four hour coach tour of Boston and its environs, and our driver generously invited me to give my version of some of the guidebook patter when he discovered that I was English and that much of what he had to say was concerned with British defeats in the War of Independence. I declined his offer of equal time on the coach microphone, except to say that I was quite happy with the outcome, for I had always regarded the United States as one of our most successful experiments in colonialism, and my second visit had confirmed this view."

back to contents



Ray Parsons, who has attended many national conventions and was very active in organizing our Wyoming affiliate, has resigned his position as Home Teacher in that state to accept a similar situation in Missouri. This will be a severe loss to the Wyoming Federation of the Blind but our Missouri affiliate will be most happy to get back such a loyal and energetic Federationist.

The Saginaw Committee for the Blind, 808 Hancock Street, Saginaw, Michigan, has requested the Monitor to publicize the new Taylor Folding Cane, which it is offering for sale. The handles are oxidized and the cane is covered with red and white plastic tape. Straight or crooked handles can be obtained. Length up to 48 inches. The cane is light and sturdy. It is held together by rubber tubing which is affixed to the tip and to the plug at the handle end. All labor is performed by blind persons and all profits go to the home for the aged blind in Saginaw. Price $3 postpaid.

From the October New Outlook: "At present, the experiments in the 8 1/3 RPM speed (recordings) look so promising that it seems probable that 16 2/3 RPM will be bypassed entirely.... Basic credit union literature in Braille is in preparation, the Credit Union National Association reports."

A new and potentially very active and important chapter was welcomed by the Empire State Association of the Blind at its annual convention in October. It is the Mohawk Association of the Blind, comprised of members from the Utica area. Its president is Mr. Anthony Polaro, 515 Bacon Street, Utica. I spent most of a day with Mr. Polaro in 1956 and was very favorably impressed. The organization of this chapter came about as the result of the energy and perseverance of the state's organization Recruitment Committee consisting of Wilbur Webb, of Syracuse, and Donald Hills, of Rochester.

Although I have found no references to the matter in United States Braille publications, a lively controversy is raging in the English Braille press over the refusal of surgery by the famous blind musician, George Shearing. Mr. Shearing, it is reported, was assured that an operation would, in all likelihood, give him usable sight. Those who defend his rejection of the operation point out that the restoration of sight in adulthood to one who has been born blind brings with it a most trying and difficult period of adjustment, which is never entirely successful. The coordination with other senses, which takes place during infancy and early childhood for those born with sight, can not be completely achieved after adolescence. Some of his defenders also claim that restoration of sight could jeopardize his professional musical career, but this is hotly denied by others, who insist that his genius is so great that he would continue to be accepted on his merits, with or without sight. The claim is made by still others that no blind person has a moral right to reject the precious gift of sight under any circumstances.

From the Iowa Bulletin: "Our President, Harold Reeves, appointed the following as members of the Advisory Committee for the coming year: Dr. H. F. Schluntz, of Keystone; Hubert Smock, of Iowa City and Mrs. Mabel Moore, of Cedar Rapids....Superintendent Overbeay, of the Vinton School, invited our Association to have an 'Association Day' at the School some time in the Spring. This invitation was accepted and we are also going to issue a brochure describing the activities of our Association. These will be furnished to the Iowa Commission for the Blind for distribution to interested blind people, with a view of increasing our membership...."

The Augusta Chapter was accepted into the Georgia Federation of the Blind on August 2, 1958, at the state convention in Atlanta, Georgia. The Augusta Chapter has the following officers: President, Edward Barber, 212 Magnolia Avenue; Vice-President, Gregory P. Sullivan; Secretary-Treasurer, Mrs. Ann Barber.

From the Richmond News Leader: "A Richmond organization observes its first anniversary next month. Originated to promote the social, economic and educational welfare of its members, the group stresses its right to self-expression.... It is active and does not hesitate to encourage legislation which it considers favorable. This group, which resembles so many others, is unusual in this respect-none of the members can see. It is the Richmond Federation of the Blind." (Sent us by Herbert Mendel, who says: "We are here to stay.")

For the second successive year, a contribution by the Wisconsin Council of the Blind from its White Cane Week receipts made an Institute for the Parents of Pre-School Blind Children financially possible in August. During these past two years, the Council contributed $2100 toward the 1957-1958 institutes. While we feel the money has been well spent, we also feel that this is probably a state responsibility and we hope the legislature will see fit to include an appropriate item in the 1959-60 budget.

The Minnesota Bulletin records the holding of a special meeting of the Minnesota Organization of the Blind in September, at which time the Building Committee was given the go-ahead on extensive remodeling plans for the Home which is operated by the MOB. In October the MOB celebrated its 29th birthday with a gala program, with a distinguished out-of-state speaker.

We have received a sufficient number of orders for the Monitor-version of the twelve articles by Jack and Alma Murphey and David Krause which we have called "Misconceptions." We are charging 50 cents each for these reprints, to cover a part of the cost. They make excellent local publicity items.

From the Missouri Monthly Report: "...As had been anticipated, the convention gave a big boost to the credit union. It now boasts of 40 members and $800 in deposits. Furthermore, the first application for a loan has been received. It is gratifying to realize that this potent instrument of mutual assistance is working for us at last...."

From a clipping sent me by Miss Stella Babigian, of Massachusetts: "The blind son of a South Boston shoemaker pulled the upset of a quarter century in Arlington last night. Gregory B. Khachadoorian, 34, in his second try for public office, defeated the man who, for 26 years, has been known in Arlington and the State House as "Mr. Republican.' Despite his handicap, Greg went through Arlington High School, graduating as an honor student. He was on the Dean's List for four years at Boston University School of Business and received his degree from Boston University Law School, graduating in 1956 at the top of his class. He said last night, 'I talked to some 8000 persons during the campaign. I think I rang every doorbell in town.'" (Those who were in Boston last July will remember that Greg was in charge of social activities and of the guided tour.)

A few days before the election a testimonial banquet was given in Greg's honor in Arlington. Despite the bad weather over 225 attended. United States Senator Leverett Saltonstall was guest speaker.

News of the election of other blind candidates is beginning to come in. In Wisconsin, Reino Perala was re-elected to the Assembly in a landslide vote in Douglas County, John Kostuck had no opposition in Portage County and Arthur Treutel' was elected for the first time from Wood County. Thus we now have three blind Assemblymen. Bob Mahoney was re-elected to the Michigan Assembly from Detroit. Laverne Roberts, successful blind attorney of Lansing, Michigan, was elected to a four-year term as Circuit Court Commissioner. All these are active Federationists.

Those who send in contributions to the Braille Monitor in typing are urgently requested to use double-space, whenever possible. From the Asian Blind: "Some of the employed in Ceylon have just formed themselves into the All-Ceylon Blind Union."

The Nevada News Bulletin reports that the only Brailler as yet available to the integrated class of blind students in Las Vegas is the one which was used by Marion Keele, founder of the Nevada Federation of the Blind. More Perkins Braillers are on order.... At a recent Nevada Lions barbecue, a note of humor was injected when a door was given away as a door prize.

Blind bowlers of Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia, conduct an annual bowling match, the site alternating between the two cities.

The South Dakota Visually Handicapped Views is now sponsored by our affiliate in that state. For the past few years it had been sponsored by the Sioux Falls Lions. Agnes Zachte continues as Editor. She reports that on September 27, at the invitation of the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce, the SDAB Interim Committee (Board of Directors), and the PTA of the South Dakota School for the Blind, visited Aberdeen to inspect a possible site for the School when it is removed from its present location in the tiny, out-of-the-way village of Gary. Both groups adopted resolutions favoring the choice of Aberdeen.... "The District Office here in Sioux Falls needed a paint job so the Director, two counselors, and the secretary of the Sioux Falls office did it. I walked in on them last Friday afternoon when they were in the midst of it and I hastened to leave. They had a look in their eye which I interpreted to mean 'If you stick around here, you are going to work.'"

From the South Carolina Newsletter: "...applied to the state agency for financial assistance in order to take Braille switchboard training but was told that, where a blind person is already employed, the rules and regulations prevent assistance in other type training. We cannot help but feel that any rules or regulations which prevent an individual from improving his economic status are entirely wrong and should be revised. Such rules and regulations certainly stifle incentive and initiative for more advanced training and skill. The SCACB is extremely happy that...allowed the organization to be of financial assistance to her in taking this switchboard training. We will also make every effort to secure switchboard employment for her when she has completed the training.... Our organization has been granted an opportunity to appear before the Budget and Control Board of South Carolina to discuss public assistance to the blind. This Board as a rule only grants hearings to state agencies or state institutions. We believe this is the first time that the blind themselves have made a concerted effort to secure increases for the 1800 blind recipients of public assistance.... The Columbia Chapter now has a bowling team and so much interest has been shown that we expect to have a league with about 30 members. This will be the first organized blind bowling in South Carolina.... For the first time in nearly 5 years, it now appears that I shall be prevented from attending a regular monthly meeting of the Columbia Chapter. I have been very fortunate in being able to attend each monthly meeting of the chapter during the past five years despite minor illness, and even becoming the father of two children. I have never permitted flimsy excuses and reasons to prevent my attending these meetings. The Governor of West Virginia has requested the NFB to send a survey team into West Virginia and I have been requested to serve on this survey team. While I shall be physically absent, in spirit and heart I will be present.... It really doesn't matter whether the Division for the Blind operates under the Department of Public Welfare or as a Commission. The thing which really matters is whether or not the personnel of the agency or commission put forth a maximum effort in behalf of the blind clients...." (Donald Capps, Editor.)

The October issue of the Horizon reports the latest official employment figures for the blind of England and Wales. Despite a slight drop since a year ago, (due to the general industrial slowdown), the total number employed was approximately 11 percent of the total blind population--which is practically twice as good a showing as in the United States. The breakdown of this report shows there were 642 Braille switchboard operators and 468 shorthand-typists and clerks. The registered blind population over there is 96,000, as against our 340,000; it is clear that we would have almost four times as many in these two categories of employment of the blind if an effort had been put forward here comparable to that in Britain... "It is claimed that Mr. Alvan Bell, a blind gardener, who lost his sight owing to war service, can identify 78 roses by their scent.... A new 'Talking Newspaper', which is comprised of long-playing records of news and opinion, has recently appeared in The Netherlands. It is issued by The Netherlands Institute for the Blind, which already has a library of 180 recorded books....At the annual meeting of the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind, Mr. J. F. Wilson, the Director, estimated that two-thirds of all blindness in the Commonwealth, which affects almost three million people, is preventable.... The setting up of confectionery and tobacco kiosks to provide employment for blind persons is being recommended by Croydon Welfare Committee. If the plan is approved the Council will lend 2000 pounds to each blind person wishing to open a kiosk." (Editor's Note--Stand operation is the one area in which Great Britain is far behind the United States but I was told in London in September that plans are on foot in several parts of England to inaugurate programs with independent blind operators.)

The Canadian Council of the Blind held its 14th annual convention in Kitchener, Ontario, August 18-21, with representatives present from all nine provinces. Hugh Lacey, First Vice-President, received the gold medal award of the year for distinguished service to the blind. The Council resolved to continue its legislative effort, in cooperation with the CNIB, to secure a "cost of blindness" allowance for all blind Canadians over 18, free of the means test.

From the American Foundation Annual Report: "Since the welfare of blind persons often is met through legislation at national or state levels, we'll attempt to provide for legislators the benefit of our observations about the best governmental programs without regard to our own private interest."

From The Lion, November, 1958: "Top event at the annual family picnic of the Norfolk, Virginia Lions Club was a hotly contested horseshoe match with everyone pulling for the team of Martin and Bowden.... James J. Martin, Jr., an advertising salesman for Norfolk newspapers, lost his sight just four years ago, but this hasn't dampened his enthusiasm for his club activities and he was presented with the Lion of the Year Award at the picnic. His horseshoe pitching partner, Stewart T. Bowden, is also a very active member and the first blind teacher in the Virginia public school system."

From Pan-American Airlines has just come a scroll, inscribed as follows: "KNOW ALL PEOPLES that George Card, once earthbound and time-laden, is now declared a subject of the Realm of the Sun and of the Heavens, with the freedom of our Sacred Eagle.... That with the speed of Our Winged Chariot this subject did fly the Pacific skies over the International Dateline, which mortals designed to mark off in the limit of days Our Eternal Course through the skies.... That by so crossing this divider of days, the Today of mortals at once becomes Tomorrow and all is confusion.... That this subject is commanded to hold ever close this Celestial Decree so that in the final accounting of earthly days, the balance will stand true forever more....Done by the stayed Hand of Time at 0943 Greenwich Time... this 3rd Day of August in the Year of Our Lord 1958 aloft the Pan American Clipper Tradewind. Attested G.W. Allaman, Captain and Emissary Plenipotentiary."

From the Washington White Cane: "A group of inmates at California's minimum security prison in Chino are spending much of their spare time recording text books for blind college students. There are twenty convicts working on the project. Prisoners spend an average of thirty evening and week-end hours a week recording the books. The inmates agreed that besides furnishing material for blind college students, the work placed them in contact with interesting books which they otherwise might not have read."

And again: "Twenty-four vending stands operated in public and private buildings grossed a record $200,299.06 during the past 12 months. The operators netted $50,136.10 or one-fourth of the total sales--an increase of $9000 over the previous fiscal year...."

In discussing the safety factor in the employment of blind persons at the last national convention of the BVA, Kenneth W. Bryan pointed out that, in the Seattle sub-contract shop, under conditions almost completely duplicating private industry, there had been only one reportable accident in eight years--and that was a sighted foreman.

From Viewpoint, (Oklahoma): "...For many a newly blind person, the discovery that he can write his own letters--using a guide board to keep his lines parallel--is a major step in adjusting himself to his handicap....Guide dogs are wonderfully helpful, but only 5 out of every 100 blind persons can use them. The others are too old, too young, too weak, or temperamentally unsuited to handle a strong, highly-trained dog."

From Editor & Publisher, October 18, 1958: "Development of a new device with which the blind can read ordinary printed material was reported this week by the Veterans Administration, The portable unit, called an 'aural reading machine' was designed and is being evaluated by the Battell Memorial Institute of Columbus, Ohio, under Veterans Administration contract. At the present stage of development of the reader, the sounds it produces do not resemble those of speech but are patterns of musical tones similar to chords played on an organ. By interpreting these tones, trained users ultimately should attain a reading speed of from 15 to 30 words per minute. Advantage of the machine over Braille is that the blind user can read material in normal print."

From the Vermont Newsletter: "The Vermont Council of the Blind was incorporated under the laws of Vermont July 11, 1958, as a non-profit organization."

From the October New Outlook: In an hour-long broadcast which the AFB released this fall, Robert Trout said: "I suppose the whole history of the blind, over the centuries, might be summed up in these four steps: 'Where can we put them?', then, 'What can we do for them?' More recently, 'What can they do for themselves?', and, the latest stage, 'What can they do for others?'"

The Hadley Correspondence School, for the Blind, 700 Elm Street, Winnetka, Illinois, has requested the Monitor to announce that it is anxious to learn whether there are enough blind persons in this country who would be interested in recorded college courses. Heretofore these have been offered in Braille. The service is free. If interested, tell Hadley whether you would prefer disc or tape recordings.

From the October Ziegler: "Dr. Claire Owens, blind osteopath of Exeter, Nebraska, was signally honored by her local district of the Federated Women's Clubs when she was named the 'Pioneer Woman of 1958."' (Dr. Owens is the only blind woman ever to be elected to the legislature of her state. She served two terms.)

From the same issue: "Joseph Malillo, blind lawyer of Newark, New Jersey, has received the Rutgers University Award for his contributions to civic life and for his interest in his Rutgers alma mater. Joe also received the 1958 Service Award from the Newark Lions, in recognition of his outstanding work for the blind." (Mr. Malillo has been the president of his local organization of the blind and first vice-president of the New Jersey Council of Organizations of the Blind.)

Frank Lugiano, President of the Pennsylvania Federation, writes: "...A new baby boy came to us on October 23, making six boys and one girl...."

On November 13 Paul Kirton interrupted his part of the survey work in West Virginia to fly to Minneapolis, where he appeared as co-counsel in the case of a member of our Minnesota affiliate who had been denied public assistance as a result of a questionable decision.

Sir Ian Frasier, renowned blind author and one of the founders of world-famous St. Dunstan's, has been raised to the peerage and is now Baron Frasier of Lonsdale.

The November New Outlook contains an article by Arthur C. Murr, of the United States Civil Service Commission, dealing with the Co-ordinator Program. It should be read in its entirety but here are a couple of significant statements: "...When a referral or certification of a handicapped applicant is made by the Civil Service Commission, the co-ordinator is obligated to see that the applicant is given full consideration for any vacant positions for which he is qualified. But the area in which co-ordinators make their most important contribution is in the development, through a continuing internal educational effort, of broad understanding and acceptance of the program by management, line supervisors and employees.... The Commission believes that co-ordinators can make the greatest gains for the program by concentrating on the orientation of line supervisors...."

From the New Beacon: "It has now been realized that blind persons can make extremely good computer operators, and a training scheme has been started in Canada."

We have just received a copy of the first issue of the Virginia Federation of the Blind Newsletter. Virginia thus becomes the 31st state to adopt the highly commendable policy of keeping its members informed through a publication of its own. The first issue begins thus: "The purpose of this letter is to keep everyone informed as to the activities of each local chapter; to acquaint new members and friends with our work, our problems, and our dreams; to make new friends, and eventually members, we hope; and to draw us all into a closer bond." The Richmond Chapter reports that it now has four times as many members as this time last year.

At the St. Louis meeting of the Executive Committee last weekend, Walter McDonald told me that a sixth chapter has been welcomed by the Georgia Federation. This one is in Savannah. The other five are in Atlanta, Bainbridge, Augusta, Macon and Griffin.

Several readers of our October issue became so interested in the career of Abed Rabboh Budair, the brilliant and courageous Arab boy who is fighting to obtain a professional education against such great odds, that they have sent me personal contributions to be forwarded. Two weeks ago I received word from him that he has obtained a small scholarship and has entered the law school of a university in Syria. These contributions will be a tremendous boost for his morale and will make his road just that much easier.

back to top