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.




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


(July, 1958)



Old Dominion Joins NFB

Ways and Means Committee Re-examines Social Security

Present Status of the Kennedy-Baring Hearings

Average State A. B. Payments

by Donald C. Capps

by M. A. McCollom

Rhode Island Renaissance

by David Krause

Irving Selis Answers Barnett-Liechty

Trends in Residential School Education

A Clevelander Answers Allen Sherman

World Council Notes

The Perkins Brailler

The Library Controversy

The Helpless Blind

Personnel Shift in AAWB and AFB

Eye Banks

9 Ways to Kill a Chapter

Florida Convention

Noted Blind Lawyer Dies

by william Klontz

Here and There



If the National Federation of the Blind had its own flag, it would now be time to add the 45th star. On June 14 the four Virginia chapters which have organized during the past nine months met in Richmond and the Virginia Federation of the Blind came into formal existence. Delegations from the Tidewater Council of the Blind (Norfolk area), the Potomac Federation of the Blind (Arlington-Alexandria area), the Shenandoah Valley Federation of the Blind (Roanoke area) and the Richmond Area Federation of the Blind assembled at the Richmond Hotel. A constitution was drafted and formally adopted and it was unanimously voted to apply for immediate affiliation with the NFB. It was voted to send the four chapter presidents to the Boston convention. Col. Lewis Watts displayed his usual solicitous interest by having a representative on hand to take down the names of those present. If this was intended as intimidation, however, no one present seemed greatly disturbed.

David Krause, now a member of the Potomac chapter, delivered a ringing address at the banquet. He pointed out the striking analogy which exists between the NFB and the Civil Defense movement, entitling his speech "The NFB Spells Civil Defense." Whereas Civil Defense seeks to protect the home, the job and the citizenship of all Americans, the NFB is working to obtain and secure these things for all the blind--despite M. Robert Barnett's pontifical pronouncement that, because we are not yet perfect, we are not entitled to a job, a home, or the right to be citizens. Another inspiring talk came from Mr. Paul Derring, from the Roanoke area, who is General Secretary of the Y.M.C.A. at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and who was the first blind Virginian to complete a college education. Mr. Derring had served for 30 years on the Virginia Commission for the Blind, during all of which time he consistently tried to protect the interests of rank and file blind people--which he believed could be done effectively without building an autocratic bureaucracy. Out-of-state visitors attending this convention were Ed and Marie Boring, Ralph Caskey and John Fletcher, from North Carolina, and John Taylor and Paul Kirton from the District of Columbia.

The following officers were elected: President, Robert McDonald, Alexandria; 1st Vice-President, Stewart Bowden, Norfolk; 2nd Vice-President, William Hirtz, Richmond; Recording Secretary, Mrs. Robert McDonald, Alexandria; Corresponding Secretary, Miss Lydia Stuples, Richmond; and Treasurer, Bernard Cadd, Roanoke.

The Braille Monitor joins with the 44 previous affiliates in extending a warm and enthusiastic welcome to the Virginia Federation of the Blind. A feature of the convention banquet at Boston will be the presentation of state charters to the organized blind of Virginia and Utah and to the New Jersey Council of Organizations of the Blind, which has become the NFB affiliate in that state during the past year.

back to contents



Although it is very doubtful whether any social security legislation will be adopted during the brief time remaining to this session of Congress (which is expected to adjourn about the end of July), the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives decided to hold hearings on pending legislation in this field. On June 16 Dr. tenBroek flew to Washington to appear before this Committee and to present a strong statement in support of the various social security and public assistance measures, the adoption of which is favored by the NFB. Dr. tenBroek began with a powerful appeal for the adoption of a permanent solution to what we have come to speak of as the Missouri-Pennsylvania situation, through the enactment of the provisions contained in H. R. 12269, H.R. 10915, H. R. 11823 and H.R. 12218. Since it would require upwards of 45 pages of the Braille Monitor to reproduce the entire statement, and since the first section has already been covered at considerable length in recent issues, we shall present here only the second portion, dealing with the King Bill and other measures of the same general tenor.

Many readers will soon be helping to draft and will be appearing in support of bills at the state level dealing with such subjects as abolition of liens and of legally enforced relatives' responsibility, minimum A. B. grants and liberalization of harsh residence laws. They will find some extremely useful and convincing arguments in this second half of Dr. tenBroek's June 16th statement.

Dr. tenBroek told the Committee that implementation of the new self-help and self-care provision which was added to the purpose clause of Title X of 1956 required the enactment of legislation in seven areas. After disposing of the first of these (the Missouri-Pennsylvania situation) he took up, as his second point, increased exemption of earned income:

"(2)... The $50-per-month exemption of earned income has proven to be entirely inadequate (even aside from its steady reduction through inflation) to permit more than a very few blind recipients to gain a firm foothold on the economic ladder. To accomplish the tremendous leap from near-total dependency to complete self-support at a single bound, as the law presently requires, would be beyond the capacity of most citizens whether blind or sighted. The method we propose, for a larger exemption of earned income together with a gradual reduction of aid payments as earnings increase, would facilitate the transition from the relief rolls to complete self-support.

"That such a policy is possible and can be successful is illustrated by a program for the blind which has been in effect in the State of California since 1941. The California Aid to the Partially Self-Supporting Blind Residents Program permits every recipient to retain a maximum monthly grant of $110, plus 50 per cent of all net income above $1,000. The only limitation is that the recipient must have a reasonably adequate plan for self-support, and must give evidence that he is attempting to carry out that plan through a sincere and sustained effort.

"Clear proof of the effectiveness of this program is to be seen in the numbers of recipients who have been enabled to attain self-support and thus to leave the rolls. By mid-1949, eight years after the program was inaugurated, 32 per cent of the total number of recipients (316 out of 933) had become self-supporting, either permanently or for varying periods of time. During the fiscal year ending June 30, 1957, 11.5 percent of all recipients in the program became self-supporting and were enabled to terminate payments. On an annual basis, upwards of 10 percent of recipients of California's Aid to Partially Self-Supporting Blind Residents are achieving self-support either permanently or for substantial periods. It should be noted that, for every recipient of California's Aid to Partially Self-Supporting Blind Residents who achieves permanent self -maintenance, there is an estimated saving of $1,320 per year. Thus, if the 34 persons who left the rolls last year achieve total self-support, it will mean an annual saving to the State of California of almost $45,000 in public assistance.

"(3) Increased property exemptions: We believe that each recipient of aid to the blind should be entitled to possess at least the assessed valuation of $3,000 of real and personal property, plus property in whatever amount used as a home; and that, in the case of an individual who has an approved plan for self-support, such additional amounts of other income and resources as may be necessary to fulfill the plan should be disregarded.

"The retention of modest amounts of property and resources by the blind recipient is a vital factor in encouraging commercial and professional plans for self-support and creating self-confidence and self-reliance, despite the barriers to opportunity which exist for the blind in our society. The instruments and materials of a workshop, the books and equipment of the lawyer and doctor, the merchandise of a commercial enterprise, the animals, tools and machinery of an agricultural venture--none of these may presently be retained in necessary amounts under the law, but all represent potential means in the hands of the sightless individual in his struggle to carve out an independent career.

"Since self-care and self-support have become (by virtue of the 1956 Amendments) recognized needs of individuals which the State may meet under the public assistance program, they also should be treated as needs within the meaning of those provisions of State and Federal public assistance laws dealing with the private income and resources of recipients.. The public assistance titles of the Social Security Act provide that 'the State agency shall, in determining need, take into consideration any other income and resources of an individual claiming aid.' Under this provision, the private income and resources of a recipient, the Federal administrators have held, must be used to meet his needs--that is, those needs which the cash grant will be supplied to meet if the private income and resources so utilized are insufficient. To the traditional list of needs--food, clothing, shelter, medical care, personal incidentals, and recreation--has now been added the attainment of self-support and self-care. Private income and resources, therefore, should be used to meet this newly recognized need. Accordingly, the states should be required to remove the limitations on the amount of real and/or personal property which recipients may own, at least with respect to real and personal property used to attain self-care and self-support. The same is true of income or other resources earned or unearned.

"To permit blind recipients of public assistance to retain and enjoy modest amounts of property while remaining eligible for aid is to preserve a basis of rehabilitation. To enable such persons to utilize their own property and other resources in order to gain self-support and ultimate independence from public aid is only to implement the constructive purposes now written into the law. H. R. 8131 and H. R. 10602 Would accomplish these purposes.

"Moreover, H. R. 8131 and H. R. 10602 further implement the self-support and self-care purpose by prohibiting any public assistance agency from requiring blind recipients to subject their property to liens, or to transfer title to their property to these agencies as a condition of receiving aid. Encumbering their property deprives blind individuals of the right and ability to make active use of such property as a means toward the goal of self-sufficiency and financial independence. The overriding purpose of restoring the blind to useful and productive lives is clearly contradicted if we permit their futures to be mortgaged or their property frozen because they have been compelled to seek assistance in time of need.

"(4) Elimination of legal liability of relatives. We propose that the ability of relatives to contribute to the support of blind aid recipients be disregarded entirely in determining eligibility or the amount of the grant under the public assistance program. The purpose declaration of the 1956 Amendments to the Social Security Act includes this statement: 'To promote the well-being of the Nation by encouraging the States to place greater emphasis on helping to strengthen family life and helping needy families and individuals attain the maximum economic and personal independence of which they are capable.' Thus, alongside the goals of self-support and self-care, the aim of helping to strengthen family life is made a specific purpose of the public assistance program. In contrast to this objective, the effect of enforcing relatives' responsibility--a concept which is itself a holdover from the medieval poor laws--has been to humiliate and demoralize individual recipients and their families alike. While the returns from such enforcement have never been financially significant in reducing expenditures under the program, such enforcement has plainly worked injustice and hardship both upon the aging parents passing out of the productive years of life, and upon their blind sons and daughters still in the productive years of life. Indeed, the general consequence of the practice has been to spread, rather than to relieve poverty--while at the same time disrupting family ties, replacing mutual affection with bitterness, and retarding the development of the healthy family relations which are declared to be a major purpose of the public assistance programs.

"(5) Equal minimum payments. H.R. 8131 and H.R. 10602 provide that, in order to minimize the harsh effects of the means test and promote the purposes of personal rehabilitation and self-support, public assistance be granted on the basis of equal minimum payments to all blind recipients, to be specified by State law and to be employed as a floor of protection against dependency. Thus the minimum might vary from State to State in accordance with local conditions; but it would be derived from the demonstrated needs of the group of recipients rather than from the demonstrated needs of the individual. The special circumstances of the individual would be taken into consideration for grants above the minimum amount. Through the device of the fixed minimum grant the dignity and integrity of the recipient, as well as his right to privacy, are safeguarded; he is no longer subjected to the individualized investigations and discretionary judgments of the social worker, but is regarded as a member of a class, entitled to be treated in a manner prescribed by law.

"... The inescapable tendency of the present practice is toward the gradual assumption of control by social workers over the personal affairs and very lives of the blind. No aspect of the existing law is more oppressive to the recipient or less conducive to his self-direction and self-reliance than this intricate and wasteful system, in which every penny of income must be analyzed and investigated and every resource meticulously assessed before the amount of each month's payment can be determined. The immediate and obvious consequence is that the client soon loses control of his supposedly free consumption choice; less obvious but still more crucial is his gradual loss of self-management and of the indispensable sense of self-control. Under such conditions the personal qualities most essential to the achievement of independence are soon undermined and destroyed.

"The principle of equal minimum payments to all blind recipients, with its provision of a floor of security and a positive stimulus to self-help and independence, has been in effect in California since 1929. In that State any blind person eligible for aid receives a grant of $110 a month or so much thereof as is necessary to bring the sum of his grant and income to $110 a month. The successful practice of nearly 30 years' standing in that State has demonstrated that the payment of fixed minimum grants to which all eligible persons are equally entitled helps to counteract the harshest features of the individualized means test; reduces administrative overhead and simplifies procedures; and, most vital of all, preserves and promotes the moral and psychological well-being of blind recipients and stimulates them toward greater efforts in the direction of independence and self-support.

"Equally demonstrative of the feasibility and value of equal minimum payments is the Nevada Aid to the Blind Act, which was passed in 1953. The Nevada law stipulates that 'The individual needs of each person claiming aid to the blind shall be presumed and deemed to be not less than $90 per month.' Moreover, if the actual needs of the recipient exceed that figure, he is entitled to a payment sufficient to meet his particular needs unless he has outside income available to meet them. In this way Nevada establishes a floor of security for every recipient of aid, but imposes no ceiling other than that which is derived from his actual needs.

"These concrete examples of successful execution of the principle of equal minimum payments in State programs of aid to the blind make clear that the principle is administratively feasible and financially sound. But, what is most significant, they demonstrate a constructive alternative to the oppressive system of 'individual need individually determined under the ancient standard of the means test.

"(6) Increased Federal ceiling and share. To assure that aid to the blind payments will more adequately meet the actual financial needs of recipients while they remain in distress, H.R. 8131 and H.R 10602 raise the ceiling on the matching of State funds by the Federal Government from the present maximum of $60 per month to a maximum of $75 per month and change the Federal percentage to 6/7 of the first $35. The bill thus seeks to provide a modest counterbalance to the tremendous advance in the cost of living over recent years. When the Social Security Act was first passed in 1935, the maximum payment to any blind recipient in which the Federal Government would participate was fixed at $50 per month, of which the Federal Government would pay one-half. The maximum amount in which the Federal Government will participate has since been increased by only $10, and the Federal share by only $14, although the cost of living has nearly doubled since 1935 and the standard of living to which the people have become accustomed has sharply risen. Within the last two years alone--since the passage of the 1956 Social Security Amendments, which embodied the most recent increase in Federal participation--the cost of living has risen 5.6 percent. The cost of food in the same period has increased 6.8 percent, and the cost of medical care has gone up 6.7 percent. For persons of fixed income, these figures represent a corresponding loss in purchasing power and consequently in their ability to obtain even the bare necessities of life. The last slight increase from Federal funds--permitting a maximum addition of $4.00 per recipient--has been more than wiped out by the rise in living costs. Many of those who were in need two years ago are today in worse need than ever.

"The consequence of the failure on the part of the Federal Government and the States to keep pace with rising prices has been that even greater poverty and distress have been forced upon the blind men and women who must depend on public assistance. Some states, to be sure, have demonstrated their willingness to meet this challenge at least, in part, by raising their payments substantially above the Federal matching ceiling. But despite the change in the ceiling and the increase in the matching formula brought about in 1956, it is a fact that only 28 states passed on to blind aid recipients $2.95 or more of the possible increase under the amendments--while 11 states passed only $2.00 or more, six states passed on less than $1.50, and four states actually decreased the average amount paid to their needy blind citizens.

"Graphic indication of the inadequacy of present public assistance grants to the blind is contained in the fact that average individual payments dropped over the Nation as a whole by $2.44 between June, 1957, and February, 1958--although food and living costs were continuing their inflationary rise. No less than 30 States made average payments to the blind in February, 1958, which were a dollar or more (often much more) below those made eight months before June, 1957.

"It is evident therefore, that need exists for both the States and the Federal Government to raise the level of aid to the blind throughout the country. Accordingly, we propose that in addition to raising the matching ceiling at least to $75, the Federal percentage should also be substantially increased. By this method, even the States which have the least ability to raise assistance payments without additional Federal participation because they have the smallest taxable resources, will be enabled to meet the actual needs of their blind aid recipients more adequately.

"(7) Elimination of state residence requirements. H.R. 8473 and H.R. 9832 call for the abolition of all length-of-residence requirements in state public assistance programs for the blind as a condition of receiving Federal financial participation.

"The purpose of this proposal is to implement the self-support objective of public assistance for the blind by removing the discriminatory restrictions upon free movement incorporated in the residence requirements of the various states. The motives which impel people to move from one community or one state to another are, of course, many and various. Poli- tics, economics, religion; poverty, misfortune, persecution; war, pestilence, disaster; hope, adventure, the lure of gold, or, uranium; ambition, opportunity--out of these vital and human elements are migrations compounded; and out of these, not to speak of citizenship and government in a democracy, springs the right of free movement. The motives of blind persons in their movement across state borders are no less specific and purposeful: either they result from the search for broader economic and social opportunity or they are impelled simply by reasons of health. Their right to be unrestricted in their movements, in leaving one State in order to take up residence in another, is therefore intimately bound up with the announced purposes of self-support and self-care under the Federal program of public assistance--and, accordingly, the residence barriers presently erected in most state programs of aid are contradictory of these purposes.

"It is not the blind alone who suffer from the discrimination and deprivation worked by state residence requirements for public assistance. A few months ago Senator Proxmire of Wisconsin called attention in a Senate speech to the Wisconsin law--which he termed 'a legally unsound one as well as a morally unjust law' --'which requires a 1-year residence in the state as a condition for several forms of public-assistance aid....This residency requirement was a very substantial factor in the pneumonia death of a 1-year-old baby girl in Milwaukee early this winter.' And the Senator went on to relate the story of a family unable to furnish milk for its two-month-old baby-- in a state producing 8-1/2 billion quarts of milk a year--through failure to meet the residence requirement for public assistance.

"In the famous Edwards case (Edwards v. California, 314 U.S. 160, 1944) in which the United States Supreme Court struck down a state law making it a misdemeanor knowingly to bring into the state an indigent outsider, Justice Jackson wrote that a state cannot be permitted to discriminate among those seeking entrance and residence status on the basis of their property or lack of it. 'Any measure,' said Justice Jackson, 'which would divide our citizenry on the basis of property into one class free to move from state to state and another class that is poverty-bound to the place where it has suffered misfortune, is not only at war with the habit and custom by which our country has expanded, but is also a shortsighted blow at the security of property itself. Property can have no more dangerous, even if unwitting, enemy than one who would make its possession a pretext for unequal or exclusive civil rights....'

"No less relevant to the attempt to restrict the free movement of blind aid recipients through the imposition of state residence requirements are the words of Justice Douglas, also enunciated in the Edwards case. For a state to prohibit in any way the free imigration of persons who are poor, he said, "would permit those who were stigmatized by a state as indigents, paupers, or vagabonds to be relegated to an inferior class of citizenship. It would prevent a citizen, because he was poor, from seeking new horizons in other states. It might thus withhold from large segments of our people that mobility which is basic to any guarantee of freedom of opportunity. The result would be a substantial dilution of the rights of national citizenship, a serious impairment of the principles of equality.'

"The imposition of residence requirements as conditions of eligibility for public assistance, accordingly, constitutes a denial to blind recipients of that right of free movement which is indispensable to opportunity. Now that self-care and self-support have become part of the declared purpose of the Federal program of public assistance, such requirements deprive the recipient of aid of one of the primary and frequently essential means of achieving that goal--namely, the right to follow the path of economic opportunity and personal improvement wherever it may lead. For any state arbitrarily and artificially to block that path is to default its obligation to the declared purpose of the public assistance law and to stifle the hopes of thousands of blind citizens for financial independence and successful integration within society.

"May I conclude by emphasizing that the adoption of H.R. 12269, 8131 and H.R. 8473 will mean that the self-support and self-care provisions written into the law through the 1956 Amendments have at last found definite implementation. It will mean that public assistance for the blind has finally emerged from the medieval heritage of the poor laws--with their niggardly philosophy of the means test, the enforcement of relatives' responsibility, and individual need individually determined--into the modern atmosphere appropriate to a free and prosperous society; a climate in which the needs of dignity and decency, of economic independence and social interdependence, are recognized alongside the primeval need of shelter and subsistence. The outmoded philosophy of aid was the product of an economy of scarcity, and reflected a pessimistic and despairing view of the capacities of the handicapped and needy; the new philosophy, affirmatively embodied in H.R. 8131, is the product of our economy of abundance, and reflects the confident view of the world's most powerful and productive Nation that all of its citizens should be guaranteed a fair opportunity to prove their worth and make their way--in short, to attain the goals of self-care and self-support.

back to contents



In a letter dated June 10, addressed to all those in our organization who are expected to testify, Dr. tenBroek wrote:"...I realize you are all on pins and needles, wanting to know when the hearings will be held. Although a definite date has not yet been fixed, this will let you know what the present situation is. The House Committee on Education and Labor is still dealing with the major bill on science and education. It is to take up that bill again on Thursday the 12th of June. It is not known and cannot be predicted whether the bill will then be reported out or whether additional committee meetings will be necessary. If the bill is reported out, Our hearings might be held in the week beginning the 23rd of June. If it is not, doubtless our hearings will be correspondingly postponed.... We are next in line after the science and education bill, but the committee cannot tell when it will dispose of that bill, nor can they tell how long after we will be asked to appear...."

back to contents



As of January, 1958, the average public assistance payment to the blind in each of the 48 states is shown below. The figure for Connecticut is temporarily high because of retroactive payments.

Connecticut, $114.48; Massachusetts, $111.24; California, $104.60; Washington, $98.25; New York, $96.97; Nevada, $96.12; Minnesota, $92.97; Oklahoma, $86.69; Oregon, $86.45; Wisconsin, $82.53; Iowa, $82.17; Kansas, $78.50; Nebraska, $77.76; New Jersey, $77.46; Michigan, $74.65; Colorado, $74.52; Louisiana, $73.53; Ilinois, $73.12; Rhode Island, $72.76; New Hampshire, $72.73; Utah, $72.73; Delaware, $71.17; Montana, $70.86; North Dakota, $68.10; Wyoming, $67.55; Idaho, $65.86; Indiana, $65.72; Arizona, $64.51; Ohio, $63.63; Pennsylvania, $63.09; Maine, $60. 35; Missouri, $60.00; Forida, $58.24; Maryland, $57.14; New Mexico, $56.18; Vermont, $53.40; Texas, $51.14; Arkansas, $50.84; South Dakota, $49.70; Georgia, $48.04; North Carolina, $46.29; Tennessee, $43.06; South Carolina, $41.95; Virginia, $41.66; Kentucky, $39.86; Mississippi, $38.67; West Virginia, $37.76; and Alabama, $35.57.

The average for the United States is $66.35.

back to contents



by Donald C. Capps

(Ed. Note: The following is made up of selected portions of the presidential address which Mr. Capps delivered at the annual convention of the South Carolina Aurora Club early in May.)

... While the purpose clause of our original constitution spoke of the over-all cause of the blind, which would have actually included the economic status of the blind, very little emphasis had been placed on this important phase of human endeavor. Most of the club's effort had been concentrated on social and spiritual improvements. While we all agree that the advancement of the social and spiritual life of the blind should never be minimized, many of us have come to realize that more emphasis should be placed on promoting the economic welfare of the blind. It was therefore specifically indicated in the revised constitution that the state organization would assist in every honorable way in furthering the economic interest of the blind.

Prior to this time the club had experienced no real opposition from anyone, undoubtedly due to the fact that its principal activities had been of such a nature that no one in a position of responsibility to the blind felt threatened. However, the fact that we had now become a full-grown state organization with additional goals of an economic nature seemed to create unjustified apprehension and actual fear on the part of some who, in the past, hardly realized we even existed--and cared less. This feeling was not lessened when, on May 1, 1956, we became an integral part of the only nation-wide civilian organization of the blind.

Things began to happen fast and we soon found out which individuals had very definite and personal interests which they felt might be jeopardized by participation in our organization. There were some (who had done nothing in the past to support the club) who proclaimed that they would now do everything in their power to retard and interfere with the club's work. Those of you here today, however, and others who had faith and courage and believed in our cause, did not permit this small, intolerant group to carry out their threats. Some of our most active opponents have been those who had not had their policies and practices questioned in all these many years.

If there is any group of people which should work closely together and co-ordinate their efforts, it is the blind of our state and nation. The blind, contrary to the beliefs of many of the sighted public, are just as heterogeneous a group as any other, with varying philosophies, attitudes and interests. As a result, it is almost impossible, just as it would be in any other group, to gain the support and goodwill of all, regardless of the organization's aims and objectives. Our club has had to struggle for every inch of progress. We have had many challenges but unparallelled dedication to our club was more than a match for these challenges. The only financial support the club has had has been received from the National Federation of the Blind and from the fund-raising projects of the chapters and state organization; namely, benefit suppers and White Cane Week. Our members worked hard for every dime received. No financial help has been received from private or governmental agencies, nor have we sought financial assistance from the 150 Lions Clubs of the state.

Our White Cane Week, which is a part of National White Cane Week, has drawn criticism from certain quarters, but these critics feel no reluctance in accepting their salaries and expenses from the taxpayers for services to the blind--which have been considerably below par in many instances. Let us take a close look at our White Cane Week. Is it not true that this is the greatest single public education effort that has ever been made by the blind of this state? The White Cane Week letters fairly and accurately portray blindness as it really is. The letters are honest in every respect. Every dime received will be put to good use. As a result of last year's White Cane Week, which was, of course, our first, we have been able to establish a small fund to be used in making interest-free business loans to any blind person needing them. As soon as possible we hope to establish enterprises which will afford business opportunities to the blind. I ask you, are these not worthy purposes? In addition, White Cane Week has made the work of the organization itself known in every county of the state.

We feel that the blind of the state should know what we are trying to do in their behalf. Undoubtedly there are those who do not want it known that only approximately 20 percent of the employable blind are gainfully employed, that certain positions are being held by sighted people which should be held by capable blind persons, that we are near the bottom of the list of all the states providing aid to the needy blind, that some blind employees are receiving submarginal wages while the sighted are the only ones who make a good living out of the program, and that some blind are treated as though they were a necessary evil rather than human beings with the rights and privileges that God intended man to have. Those of us who frankly tell the public these things do not remain in the good graces of certain individuals. We want to point out that there are many dedicated workers for the blind in South Carolina, in both state and private programs, and we are grateful to them for their efforts in our behalf. But there are also agency employees in this state who are more concerned with their own interest than with the interest of the blind whom they are paid to serve.

There are those who sit back and offer nothing but criticism and rebuke the efforts of the club as well as attack the integrity of its leaders. When approached they offer nothing constructive. There have been some who have indicated that they would participate under certain conditions, but invariably the conditions called for radical and extreme measures which would wreck the club and fail to achieve more security and happiness for the blind. If these individuals are really sincere and wish to be of service to their fellow blind, every opportunity will be given them as the doors of our organization will always be open for those wishing to join hands with us in working sincerely and diligently for one another. Word has come from time to time that there are those who would join the club except that they do not like some particular member or officer. If this type of reasoning is justifiable then would it not be just as reasonable to deny such a person membership in an organization simply because one of its members does not like him? I seriously doubt if any of us belongs to an organization, even the church itself, in which there isn't at least one individual of whom we are not very fond. Personal and individual differences will always exist but they should not be allowed to prevent us from participating in a concerted effort in behalf of the blind. It is a matter of organizational and collective effort and not of individual likes and dislikes.

As a state organization we are still in our infancy and it has been extremely difficult for us to gain a place for ourselves. This is partly because certain other groups have been established for years and have had considerable financial support. There are even those who feel there is no room for us, but surely there is enough work to keep us all busy. There have been charges that it is the intention of our organization to tear down or destroy programs already in existence. I believe it is safe to say that our organization has many individuals who are eager, willing and capable of making substantial contributions to any program designed to help the blind. It has been extremely discouraging that the efforts and talents of our organization have been obviously and openly rejected.

With regard to our club's efforts in behalf of the blind of this state, the following is an excerpt from a letter received--not from a member of our organization but from an individual who happens to be blind himself and who has probably done more from a financial stand-point to help blind persons than anyone else, certainly in this part of the country if not in the entire country. I quote: "I was somewhat disappointed that you did not write more fully concerning various matters having to do with your good work. I noted with much regret that you appeared discouraged about some developments in connection with your work among the blind and I hasten to remind you that the accomplishments of the N.F.B. in South Carolina have been quite remarkable considering the brief period of your operation. You have no cause at all to be crestfallen over the status of your group although there may be many barriers between your position and the ultimate goal.... You have established at least one business which is earning its operator a livelihood--and you had a good success in your first fund-raising program. Naturally there will be many dissensions along with discouraging outcomes, but nothing worthwhile is done overnight in this line of service, so do not allow yourself to become discouraged. Stick to the job and time will bring success. There is plenty of work for us all to do. When differences of opinion arise between workers in the field, as they are sure to do, remain calm and hold fast to your beliefs and purposes. Be understanding and confident of success and all will work out in due time."

This letter, of course, was a source of great comfort and provided me with renewed courage in the work of our club.

I would also like to quote from another letter written by one of my dearest friends who has been a member of the Aurora Club for years: "Your patient efforts, and the heavy responsibility that you have assumed in the interest of all blind is so commendable I have no way of expressing and passing on to you the sincere and humble thanks we owe to you. As I have tried to let you know without saying all I feel, we have needed new blood in the working aims of the blind of this state and you have more than filled the gap that has been widening over the years. In many ways it will be a thankless task but I know that your goal has been set and I know you will keep pushing ahead. More power to you'. I know you were hurt badly by recent flareups but one must always go forward despite these unpleasant things that come up. Your reward will come in realizing an accomplishment which cannot come about in a month, or even a year, but with determination and faith your effort will not be in vain."

I have never received a letter from anyone which was as reassuring and for which I was more grateful. Similar letters have been received, some from congressmen, praising the good work of our organization, but the above two stand out more than any of the others.

We hope that those blind individuals outside of the club are grateful for our legislative efforts, as the double exemption law will help far more blind individuals outside the club than within the club. The improvement in the state concession stand law, as recently reported to you, certainly should provide greater job opportunity. Our club probably spent $25.00 in getting the double exemption bill passed, but as soon as 1959, the bill will save the blind taxpayers of this state an estimated $5,000. Everyone, I believe, will agree that this was a good investment.

The club will continue to strive for future legislative benefits, as we earnestly feel that many of our economic problems can be at least alleviated by making them known to our legislators. In addition, the club will without question continue to do as much public education about blindness as possible, for many of our difficulties lie in the misunderstanding on the part of the sighted public concerning our abilities and talents, physical impairments or deviation from physical normality have in the past and will in the future continue to evoke idle curiosity and non-acceptance by those having no such impairment, unless we do something to inform them. I do not subscribe to the philosophy that no blind person has a right to a home, a job and the right to be a citizen until he has achieved perfection. We are only a cross-section of the general population, with a quite typical spread of faults and virtues....

Once again let me repeat that none of us is blind through choice, but we should not permit this one disability to prevent us from utilizing our other talents. The world received unforgettable contributions from individuals like Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, Helen Keller, Fanny Crosby, and John Milton. Although perfection is an impossible goal, we must nevertheless strive to live up to, as nearly as possible, the standards that society has laid down for those who have not been deprived of sight.

In closing, we are grateful to the National Federation of the Blind for the financial assistance given us. Without this assistance there would have been no one representing this state at the San Francisco or New Orleans conventions, no White Cane Week, no voice in national affairs affecting the blind, no funds to have state board meetings, and probably not enough funds to secure sufficient office supplies to write letters to blind persons all over the state. In addition our organization would not have received national publicity and recognition in the Braille Monitor, which is, of course, the monthly publication and voice of the N. F. B.

back to contents



by M. A. McCollom

(Ed. Note--Mr. McCollom is a rehabilitation counselor in Kansas. He has appeared on the programs of our last two national conventions. I can give wholehearted personal endorsement to the Fiberglass cane described below and I have no compunctions in publicizing it in the Braille Monitor because there is no private profit involved in its sale.)

... It is recognized that independent leaders have, from time to time, improved upon the old crooked stick by developing various types of canes which glow, or fold, or weigh less than the familiar "dog killer." However, the bargain basement purchases by purveyors of white canes to the blind have perpetuated a show of clumsy and unattractive "clubs" on the streets, often minus much of the original finish.

... While walking is a form of locomotion usually acquired early in life, foot travel takes on an entirely new aspect when one becomes partially or totally deprived of sight. Since the eyes can no longer carry the responsibility for guidance, greater dependence must be placed upon other natural and sometimes artificial sensory aids if one is to get about safely.

Quoting directly from Mr. Hoover's article in The New Outlook for November, 1946, "Foot Travel at Valley Forge"--"Since these natural and artificial aids are used in specialized ways, it can be safely assumed that they must be learned. We know that their use can be taught."

In Mr. Hoover's well planned organization, the methods and techniques which were employed were applied to a cross section extensive enough to prove their success. Herein, it would not be fair to Mr. Hoover to attempt to relate his methods and techniques which accomplished in days what otherwise might not have been done in years; however, the following information on the use of the long cane is in order:

"Grip the cane in the right or left hand with the forefinger extending down the top side toward the tip of the cane. For outdoor use, drop the arm to the side with the tip of the cane extended forward. When the left foot is put forward, swing the tip of the cane to the right. When the right foot goes forward, swing the tip of the cane to the left. This will serve to scan an area slightly more than one step ahead. Continued practice will develop an easy wrist motion if the cane is light and wieldy. For indoor travel, lower the grip down the handle and hold the cane slanted across the body with the wrist 12 to 18 inches in front of the chest. The crook should be turned outward This will offer protection from sharp or hard obstacles such as file cabinets and half-open doors. The long cane is primarily a bumper rather than a probe. If correctly employed, it will often turn the user away from the offending block and affords advance warning at steps. It will enable the traveler to avoid many of the hazards which often escape detection by shorter canes."

What has happened in the 15 or more years since the introduction of a scientific approach to foot travel? For one thing, the long cane is rapidly coming to the front but the Hoover technique has not completely taken over in its use. Rehabilitation centers have set up their own foot-travel programs and much of the original data have not been fully interpreted. Many old-timers are becoming aware of the advantages in the use of the long cane. Even some residential schools are offering forms of cane travel more or less patterned after the "Hoover technique." At least one orientation center has established a cane length midway between the elbow and the shoulder. Others say it should reach to the sternum. One advocates a 58 inch cane.

A Fiberglas "Lifetime Cane," recently developed by SITE, Inc., has been scientifically designed to meet most of the problems in the field. It is well adapted to the requirements of the long cane user. Many state agencies and rehabilitation centers prefer it. This cane is light, resilient, and very tough. It is easy to keep white and it is relatively inexpensive, since the parts are all derived from standard materials. SITE has tried to do to the cane itself what Hoover did for its use.

In the interest of cane travel, SITE has developed and tested a lifetime cane. The tapered stem is lighter and fifty times as tough as wood, The Fiberglas material is white all the way through. It can be cleaned with soap and water or sandpaper. It is almost impossible to scuff, chip or break. The handle is made of aluminum tubing covered with tinted plastic with a mild sanitary scent; available in curved handle, or straight handle with beaded chain. The tip is a hardened steel glider, cushioned on rubber for long life and less clatter. To shorten cane to desired length, remove the tip, which is a push fit, cut off the stem with a hacksaw and replace the tip. SITE, 2117 Moundview Drive, Topeka, Kansas, is a non-profit agency primarily interested in research; therefore, we are able to supply the canes at three dollars, including postage, or at $30.00 a dozen f.o.b. Topeka. Extra tips are twenty cents each or a kit of five with sandpaper and polishing cloth for a dollar. Allow two weeks for shipping.

back to contents



On May 16, 17 and 18 the dynamic David Krause made a second visit to our Rhode Island affiliate and a portion of his report to Dr. tenBroek is reproduced below:

"I am happy to report that the Rhode Island Federation is in a much improved condition from what I found on my visit there in February. They have been successful in attracting into the organization eight or ten new members, all of whom seem to be extremely capable people with much to offer. Elena Landi, the young woman I was able to sell on joining when I was there previously, seems to have been a real spark to the organization.

"In addition to membership improvement, I found that they have been active in the fields of publicity and legislation. The spot announcements which I wrote for them on employment of blind workers have been getting statewide airing over almost all of the radio stations. The voting bill, which John and Earl helped them draft, was introduced late in the session of the Legislature. Nevertheless, they were able to get it passed by the House, but unfortunately the Senate ran out of time before they could consider it. However, Representative Berk, the sponsor of the Bill, feels sure it will go through next session. Mr. Berk, incidentally, was in attendance at the Eleventh Anniversary Banquet on Sunday, and I think the R.I.F.B. has a valuable ally in this man. He spoke only two minutes, but it was ample time to realize that he has a genuine desire to help the organization; and what is more important, he understands our philosophy and he agrees. He assured me after hearing my address at the banquet, that he would do everything in his power to push any and all legislation that the R.I.F.B. wants introduced.

"On Saturday afternoon I assisted the Committee which is in the process of writing a new constitution. I feel that this was quite profitable as I think I was able to show them places where they were writing provisions which would hamstring the organization and accomplish no real purpose. I was able to get them to reverse their stand on the limitation of terms of officers. There now will be no limitation on terms. From now on all officers will be elected by the general assembly, instead of only the president, as is now the case. I got them to strike out the requirement that a person must be a member for a year before holding office. Any member in good standing will now be eligible for election to office. This, of course, will give them a chance to use any of their able new people when the election comes up in September. All in all, I think they will now have a good solid constitution, but one which is flexible enough for effective leadership and organization progress.

"The banquet itself was very successful. About one hundred persons, mostly members, were present. The group showed their approval with a three to five minute standing ovation at the completion of my talk, and from conversations with them individually afterwards, I think I ignited a spark that will keep the organization headed in the right direction and that will lead to expansion of the activities of the past few months.

"Other signs of the re-awakening of the organization are these: At least 25 of their members are planning to attend the Boston convention. They are now looking for larger quarters for their offices inasmuch as present facilities are proving inadequate for their increased attendance at meetings. In addition, they have dispensed with their policy of not holding meetings during the summer and are going to continue with regular monthly meetings from here on out."

back to contents



(This is the ninth in a series of articles written for a St. Louis newspaper by Jack and Alma Murphey and David Krause. David Krause is the author of this installment.)

What does a blind person want and hope for in a sighted friend? To answer this frequently asked question, let me relate a personal experience.

During my first two years in the university I had a very intelligent and extremely capable young lady employed as a reader in the French courses I was taking. One day, after almost two years of studying together and attending classes together, this young lady quite casually opened her purse, pulled out a snapshot and handed it to me with the comment, "You've never seen a picture of my husband, have you?" In mere seconds she realized what she had done; that she had handed a totally blind person a photograph to look at! Her first reaction, of course, was one of embarrassment, and she began to apologize. I interrupted before she could get a good start, explaining--"Please don't apologize, for whether you realize it or not, you have just paid me an extremely high compliment." And so she had. For, if after almost two years of daily contact, she could innocently hand me a photograph to look at, then, indeed, I had been successful in getting her to think of me merely as a person--not as a blind person.

And quite frankly, I think that is what most blind people want in the way of a sighted friend; someone who is capable of making a mistake similar to that of my French reader. If you can actually forget while in the company of a blind person that that person is blind, then, truly you are capable of treating him as you would any sighted friend. And that, in the final analysis, is what all blind persons want a sighted friend to be; a friend who enjoys being in his company because he genuinely likes him as a person, not because he feels sorry for him as a blind person, not because he feels he is doing a good deed by devoting his time and attention to making a little brighter the life of a poor, lonely blind person. In short, a blind person really wants friendship, not charity. And there is a great difference. Charity is a one-way street, where one gives and the other receives; friendship is a two-way street, where both parties give and both parties receive. Let me illustrate my point. Say that your next door neighbor is a blind person. If you are constantly doing little favors for him but you never think of requesting favors in return, then you are giving charity, not friendship. When a blind couple double--dates with you and your wife, do you feel an obligation to pick up the check? Do you flatly refuse any attempt on the part of the blind people to pay their share? If so, and unless you are one of those rare individuals who always picks up the check with your sighted friends too, then you are not giving your blind associates a fair shake. Again, it is simply a case of charity, not real friendship. To be sure, I know there are some blind people who are quite happy if a sighted friend will always pick up the check, but after all, how many sighted people do you also know who are chronic "freeloaders?" That such blind people do exist simply lends further support to the thesis of all these articles--blind people are merely people who do not see. They are no more alike than sighted people are alike; and they are no more different than sighted people are different.

So, if you consider yourself a sighted friend to a blind person, test yourself on the points made above, making sure that what you think is friendship is not mere charity. And when the day comes that you catch yourself forgetting that this individual is blind and find yourself thinking of him as a person, not as a blind person--then indeed your relationship with him has become a true, bona fide friendship.

back to contents



(Ed. Note: Mr. Selis is Executive Director of the Associated Blind of New York City and is not now a member of the NFB. He has not always supported NFB programs--which makes his comments below all the more significant and interesting.)

What about the Kennedy bill? Let's talk straight from the shoulder.

Ever since the introduction in June, 1957, of the Kennedy bill, S-2411,... much has been said and written pro and con with regard to this piece of legislation. This article is confined to an examination of two items which have recently appeared in The New Outlook for the Blind: one in the January 1958 issue under the caption "Hindsight" by M. Robert Barnett, Executive Director of the American Foundation for the Blind; and the other in the March 1958 issue, entitled "Editorially Speaking," by Howard M. Liechty, Editor.

We of the Associated Blind feel that we can make a definite contribution to this discussion by setting the record straight concerning several issues involved in this controversy, in the light of twenty years' experience as an organization of the blind, as well as more than thirty years of contact with agencies for the blind, by some of its present leadership.

In his article Mr. Liechty states that "the anti-agency animus has been nurtured over the past several years in increasing amplitude..." and that the campaign conducted in behalf of the Kennedy bill "presages little long-term good for the 'rank and file' blind people in this country." Anyone conversant with the hard-won benefits achieved by the blind down through history and which the "rank and file" blind people enjoy today should remember that many of the benefits have been accompanied by "animus" and bitterness resulting from the difference in views of goals between the blind and the agencies. Can we so soon forget the opposition encountered by Louis Braille; the obstinate refusal of "authorities" to accept the Braille system, which was overwhelmingly favored by the blind; and the opposition of agencies to the Barden-LaFollette Act of 1943, dealing with vocational rehabilitation service because they felt their control over clients would be usurped by the federal government? In fact, whatever grave concern, misgivings and alarm Mr. Liechty feels about the blind seeking the right to be heard, to organize, to be consulted and represented in matters directly affecting their welfare, have always in the past been stumbling blocks in the path of the blind to realize any measure of social or economic betterment. Any change advocated by the blind to gradually remove the stigma of social outcast, ward, perpetual dependency, and in their place to assume and exercise the privileges of self-expression and self-determination, was resisted by the powers-that-be.

Furthermore, Mr. Liechty takes the position, however unrealistic and illogical it may be, that if the roles were transposed between client and social worker, or agency administrator, things would not be different because of human nature being what it is; and because blind people constitute a favored minority, the custodial-paternalistic relationship is inherent in such a system. It would seem, therefore, that Mr. Liechty agrees that the situation is not what it should be. Then, too, one can only appraise the situation as it exists and not conjecture about what it would be like if the shoe were on the other foot. And certainly two wrongs never make a right. The history and development of social consciousness has proven that what has been dogmatically recorded as "human nature" has frequently been modified through the efforts of such enlightened individuals or groups who in the interest of those they serve are willing to re-define and re-examine their attitudes, prejudice, and outmoded practice. Through the Kennedy bill the organized blind merely desire the opportunity to be heard, to be consulted, and to be represented in the formulation and administration of policies in which they have a vital stake. They have no wish to overturn the social worker-client relationship nor do they condemn all administrators or agencies for the blind.

As for the opinion and views expressed by Mr. Barnett, he seems to feel that the blind have already too many organizations and that they need no additional legislation such as the Kennedy bill to safeguard their right to organize.

Doubtless there are many organizations of the blind but how many of them are in the nature of get-together clubs or recreational in character, and do not concern themselves with social and economic problems or legislative questions involving their welfare?

Moreover, how many of these organizations are set up within the framework of agencies for the blind which tolerate them as harmless and insignificant since the very existence of the members, so-called, are subject to and dependent upon them for assistance in varying degrees.

The constitution of the United States is not a self-executing document; it requires legislation from time to time to implement and enforce its various provisions and principles. The Kennedy bill seeks to carry out the intent and spirit of the rights of free speech, petition and assembly to the organized blind so that they may be "able to formulate democratically and voice effectively their views on the programs that our national government and our state governments are financing for their aid and rehabilitation."

As to the area in which organizations may function, it is the opinion of Mr. Barnett that "the only time organizations of any kindred group of people encounter opposition and hostility is when their concerted demands upon the community begin to show signs of unreasonably self-serving goals which have doubtful value in the healthy development of the entire community.

Does Mr. Barnett by this statement mean that when the organizations of blind people cross the boundaries beyond good fellowship activities and recreational programs and become interested in social, economic or legislative matters that their "concerted demands upon the entire community begin to show signs of unreasonably self-serving goals which have doubtful value in the healthy development of the entire community?"

If Mr. Barnett feels that these "self-serving goals" are unreasonable and have "doubtful value in the healthy development of the entire community," then he must also feel that organized labor, the farmer cooperative and veterans organizations which are so much a part of our national picture, have been an unhealthy development in our nation's progress.

In further analyzing this bill, Mr. Barnett asserts that the real issue is "that administrators of federally-financed programs of aid or service to the blind shall seek and abide by the guidance of representatives of organizations of the blind in the execution of their work." Nowhere in the Kennedy bill do we find the words "seek and abide by" nor can we gather such an interpretation. In our opinion the bill does recommend that appropriate steps be taken to encourage agencies "to consult with authorized representatives of organizations of the blind in the formulation, administration and execution of any state programs for the aid and rehabilitation of the blind to which federal funds are contributed." The leadership of the organized blind merely desires the same rights accorded to them as are accorded to the leadership of the agencies for the blind.

Further continuing his opposition to the bill, Mr. Barnett claims that this bill would make it possible for the "domination of some blind persons or of one blind organization which I do not believe to be truly representative of the views and hopes of the great majority of persons who are blind."

By the same token how does the organization which Mr. Barnett heads know by what scientific method or rule of thumb it represents the views and hopes of the "great majority of blind persons?" The organization to which we think he refers has a dues-paying membership with voting rights while his organization is conducted upon an agency-client-service basis and has been "speaking for the blind" for many years.

If his position, that an organization should represent the "great majority" be a valid one, then we must conclude that the AFL-CIO, with only fifteen million members, is of no benefit to the remaining fifty million workers in the United States....

back to contents



Writing in the International Journal for the Education of the Blind, Paul C. Mitchell, Assistant Principal of the New York Institute for the Education of the Blind, terms the past ten years the "Golden Decade" in the progress of residential schools for the blind. More advancement has been made in this period, he points out, than in the half-century immediately preceding it. This gratifying progress has come about in every area, including the physical means for carrying on an educational and training program, modernization of the program itself, and the provisions made for personality development. Just as important has been the professional advancement of the educators themselves.

Without adequate housing and equipment, no educational program can be at its best. The following have been reported during December, 1957, by request, as having taken place in recent years: The Arkansas School is presently constructing a boys' dormitory, a swimming pool and a superintendent's residence. The Illinois Braille and Sight Saving School completed a new assembly wing to the main building, installed a new elevator in the main building and remodeled on a considerable scale. Many of the buildings were re-wired and re-decorated, inside and out. Fluorescent lighting fixtures were installed. The Indiana School has remodeled one building for a new home-making course. The Kentucky School has added five new buildings to its campus, including a gymnasium and two new dormitories. In addition, new kindergarten rooms have been added. The New York School at Batavia has completed a new school administration building, involving a cost of nearly two million dollars, and has developed completely new metal-working shops, a new ceramics shop with a large modern electric kiln, and the renovation and modernization of all the buildings on its campus. The Kansas School has constructed a $500,000 building providing recreation facilities, dining room, dormitory for 12 students and administrative space. Other dormitories have been completely remodeled, and all classrooms and laboratories have been re-lighted and re-furnished. This year the Kansas School is constructing a new hospital. Minnesota reports that in February, 1957, the School started using its new Activities Building/ (gymnasium and social center), and next spring will build a new library-museum. In New York City the Lavelle School for the Blind has added two new wings to buildings, including nursey, kindergarten, three new classrooms, infirmary, music room, museum, gymnasium and library. Lavelle enlarged its playground facilities so that children may be divided according to age level and have ample space for safe play. Louisiana has several new buildings, just completed. Mississippi has spent $1,300,000 on building new plants and buying new equipment. Many classrooms have been remodeled by the North Carolina School and new ones added. Improved and redecorated living areas for the students have been provided. The Ohio School probably tops the list with its new multi-million dollar plant, located on a beautiful and spacious site which was formerly a golf course. Oregon added a fine new building only five years ago and has also replaced its kitchen-dining room area, its gymnasium, its infirmary and its administrative building during the past two years. Utah occupied a new $500,000 building in 1954 and the campus has been newly landscaped. To date the Western Pennsylvania School has spent approximately $2,500,000 during the past few years on modernization of buildings, construction of a new nursey and kindergarten and of a new junior-senior high school. All of this, together with reconstructing the upper campus, involving new athletic areas, and the landscaping of the grounds, has been a part of the nationally famous "greater Pittsburgh" program. West Virginia's greatest improvement of recent date has been the new swimming pool, which is a feature of the new physical education building. Wisconsin completed a new girls' dormitory last year.

"Keeping pace with the physical development of campuses and plants has been the progress of the educational program. Again listing the schools in alphabetical order and mentioning only a few, the Arkansas School takes pride in announcing special teachers for retarded children, and a full-time librarian. Illinois began a travel-training program in 1948 and a special class for slow learners. In 1957 a department for deaf-blind children was opened. In the Kentucky School special emphasis has been placed on certain vocational subjects, such as switchboard operation and piano tuning. Mississippi has a 4-H beef project and an orchard project with peach, apple, pear, plum and apricot trees. This is indicative of the present trend toward using resources at hand in the training for effective living in rural areas. The New York School at Batavia has instituted a department for the special handling of the educational problems of the slow-learners. Batavia has expanded handicraft work from kindergarten through all the grades. North Carolina reports a marked expansion in all business and commercial courses. Typing is begun in the third grade and continued all the way. Mr. Mitchell quotes Dr. Edward Waterhouse, of Perkins, who said recently: 'There probably is not a single department which has not experienced some kind of growth or re-orientation in the past ten years.' "

But more important than any of the foregoing, Mr. Mitchell insists, have been the strides taken to insure personality development of the pupil. He feels that much of the credit for this must go to Dr. Hayes, the father of our present testing and evaluation program for visually handicapped children. Most of our residential schools now maintain testing and guidance clinics. Mechanical and aptitude tests, beginning in the early grades, are designed to aid the advisors and teachers in directing the pupil into avenues of endeavor best suited to his personality and possible achievements. This, coupled with I.Q. tests, achievement tests, academic grades, medical records, reports from teachers, together with pupil interviews, is assembled to give as complete an evaluation as may be possible. The purpose is to know the pupil, to explore his abilities and limitations, to the end that he may be given maximum help. The value of the expert and informed counseling that can result is almost incalculable and is something which has largely come into existence during this "Golden Decade."

Another article of considerable interest in the same issue of the International Journal is one by Mrs. Natalie Barraga, a teacher at the Texas School for the Blind, entitled "Social Opportunities Available to Students in Residential Schools." She begins with a quotation from Zachary: "The child's personality develops through interaction with his surroundings, physical and social." Leading educators are recognizing that segregation of the child from his family and community may have a sad effect upon him unless the residential school provides a fully rounded program. The schools must provide lifelike experiences, and only when graduating students are secure in their knowledge of real-life situations can educators feel that they have fulfilled their responsibilities and given the student an adequate preparation for life beyond the campus.

Trends in broader social contacts for boys and girls in residential schools began as early as 1910 when one or two of the superintendents first spoke of mixed classes for boys and girls. A few years later the more liberal school administrators began permitting boys and girls to attend church together in the local communities, and even to invite sighted friends to attend social events within the residential schools. In 1939 came a suggestion that at least some boys and girls might be permitted to attend public school classes while still in residence at the schools. Throughout the 1940's there was a general relaxation of the stern rules against socialization, both within the school and as between the students and townspeople. A more democratic way of life crept in. There were still a few conservative die-hards among the school administrators who stubbornly clung to the old order of things but their number steadily declined.

By the beginning of the present decade, the need for more practical training in areas of social living was being stressed in practically all of the more liberal and advanced schools. In 1956 a study was begun to determine the nature and extent of the social opportunities afforded students in residential schools for the blind. In order to obtain information for this study, a quetionnaire was prepared and mailed to the superintendents of all 46 residential schools in the U.S. Of these, 37 came back--only one not entirely completed. On the basis of this data, the following information was obtained:

(1) Twenty-four had designated directors of social activities.

(2) No relation existed between the number of students enrolled and the existence of a social director.

(3) The same number of men and women served as directors of social activities.

(4) Only eight schools had full-time social directors.

(5) Three-fourths of the social directors were sighted.

(6) The students themselves participated in the planning of social activities in three-fourths of the schools.

(7) There were organized student social committees in two-thirds of the schools, usually manned by junior and senior high school, students.

(8) Two-thirds of the schools had Student Councils which actively participated in social planning.

(9) Seven of the eight "dual schools" reported that social activities of blind and deaf students were separate.

(10) Less than half of the schools had separate facilities devoted exclusively to recreation and social activities. One-fourth had swimming pools and another fourth used public school and "Y" pools.

(11) Fifteen schools sponsored weekly parties; eleven bi-monthly and eleven others monthly.

(12) The most popular type of social activities for older students were: picnics, game parties, hikes, social and square dancing, theater parties, concerts, swimming, bowling, hayrides and camp-outs. Social activities for younger students were, for the most part, limited to picnics, game parties, hikes and theater parties.

(13) Sighted boys and girls from the community could be included in social events in four-fifths of the schools.

(14) Church services for all students were conducted on the campuses of one-fourth of the schools, one-sixth conducted such services for primary students only. Two-thirds of the schools reported that all students attended church services in the local community, another one-fourth reported that some students attended.

(15) Almost half the schools reported that some students were attending some classes in local public schools. One school reported all high school students enrolled in public school classes and one other that all junior and senior students were in public school classes. The selection of students for attendance in public school classes was based on a variety of factors--scholarship, emotional maturity, general ability and the desire of the student.

(16) Off-campus dating was permitted by two-thirds of the schools but some made parental permission a prerequisite and a few insisted on chaperones.

(17) Dating on the campus was permitted by more than nine-tenths of the schools.

(18) Casual social integration of boys and girls in attendance at residential schools was permitted by seven-eighths of the schools.

back to contents



(Ed. Note: Mr. Sherman, who is Executive Director of the Cleveland Society for the Blind, and who was a speaker at our San Francisco convention in 1956, stated his reasons for opposing the Kennedy Bill in a recent issue of the New Outlook for the Blind. The following has been received from Mr. Roy Searles, Chairman, Public Relations Committee, Mutual Federation of the Blind, Cleveland, Ohio.)

"Mr. Sherman begins his comments by saying: 'I am assuming that cooperation in our field is desirable and important.'

''Of course cooperation between the blind and those agencies who work for the blind (both public and private) is both desirable and important. Along with cooperation goes consultation. Cooperation is a two way street. The opinions of blind people expressed singly would probably result in as many opinions as there were people expressing them. Hence the necessity for organizations where these different opinions can be brought forth and formulated into a group opinion--crystalized so to speak. The opinions and attitudes can then be threshed out which would help both the blind and the workers.

"Sherman goes on to say: 'Furthermore, the Kennedy bill does not define "organizations of the blind" in any way, which, from a practical standpoint, is a serious weakness.'

"Since when do organizations of the blind need defining any more than organizations of labor, business, doctors, lawyers and, of course, social and case workers--professional workers for the blind? That they have organized along the line of their interests is enough to indicate that they are bona fide organizations. To attempt further definition would be to 'guild the lily.' Mr. Sherman says that for years the workers for the blind have been seeking first class citizenship for the blind,-- seeking acceptance in full for blind people.

"Not long ago I was told by a staff member of the Cleveland Society for the Blind that you can not work with the blind, you can only work for them. Is it seeking first class citizenship, acceptance in full, to have blind people exempted from the protection of the Wagner Labor Act? I mean those blind people who work in the sheltered workshops and the blind employees in the vending stand program. 'We have come to think of blind people as people.' If this be true, if the blind people of Cleveland feel that way, then why should they not feel that they can organize on the economic front? Why should they feel that if they do there will be reprisals? That they will lose their jobs? Yes, there have been some good results where there has been a really sincere effort on the part of the services to the blind here in this area, demonstrating that blind people are not different from others. More--much more--remains to be done....

I wonder that Mr. Sherman and the rest of his professionals have not heard of the legal principle known as proper classification. We desire the passage of the Kennedy bill but not because we want preferential treatment based upon the claim of incapacity or abnormality or inferiority. Special privilege, paternalism, custodialism-- in short all the safeguards of state socialism--surround us, but we do not have much freedom.

"The laws eliminating child labor reflect a certain 'preference' for children. Would Mr. Sherman say that children are set apart into a special group? Would he say that they are given more than an opportunity for an education equal to that enjoyed by children whose families are financially better off? Passage of the Kennedy bill, S. 2411, would not confer a privileged status upon blind people; rather, it seeks to restore an equal status which has been lost. I would suggest that Mr. Sherman read Dr. tenBroek's article entitled 'A Preference for Equality' in the March, 1958 issue, of the Monitor. It should be very much worthwhile reading for all those 'professionals' who can learn and still want to learn. Mr. Sherman says that he is opposed to the Kennedy bill for many other practical and philosophical reasons. Again I would suggest that he read Mr. Walter McDonald's article 'Checks and Balances' in the March, 1958, issue of the Monitor. Evidently Mr. Sherman feels that there are times when there is a conflict of interests between the blind and those, or at least some of those agencies, who serve the blind. So do we. Hence we feel the necessity for Congress to enact legislation which will protect the right of the blind to organize, speak, and be heard. The controlled vending stand program of the Cleveland Society for the Blind does not have as its eventual goal the independence of all or any of the stand operators. Is this seeking first class citizenship? Are the vending stand operators consulted when their commissions are lowered? Does Mr. Sherman feel that from a practical standpoint his agency would lose some of its power to determine the destinies of some of the blind people who must come to the society for its services? Yes, no doubt there are many practical reasons why Mr. Sherman is opposed to the Kennedy bill. Philosophically, the society must rationalize a good bit of the time between what is best for the Society and what is best for the blind individually.

"As for Mr. Sherman cooperating with, consulting with the leaders of the blind, well, I have not seen much of it and I am not able to find those who have. Yes, if there is a real, honest, sincere desire to cooperate between the agencies and the blind, with good wholesome consultation, then there can be good team play and a very great deal of good can be accomplished in all areas."

back to contents



(Ed. Note: The following is taken from the semi-annual newsletter issued by the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind.)

"Members will be pleased to learn that our Treasurer, Mr. Henri Amblard, has been elected to succeed Commandant Izsac as President of the French Union of the War Blind.

"All friends of the Col. E. A. Baker family have been greatly cheered to learn that good progress towards complete recovery is being made by Mrs. Baker, who was hospitalized for a lengthy period as a result of an automobile accident last year.

"We are happy to announce that an old friend and pioneer in blind welfare, Mr. Ernst Jorgensen, has accepted our President's invitation to serve as Chairman of the Council's Committee on Prevention of Blindness which appointment had been relinquished by Mr. Mitat Enc of Turkey by reason of his two-year course of study in the U.S.A.

"In order to fill the seat on the W.C.W.B. Executive Committee which became vacant through the death of Mr. Alfred Allen, members of the United States, Canada and Mexico elected Mr. Peter J. Salmon of the U.S.A. by postal ballot as the new representative of the North American region....

"The International Conference of Blind Esperantists held its XXVIIth Congress in Lyon (France) from July 30 to August 3, 1957. It was attended by representatives of fifteen nations....

"The International Association for the Prevention of Blindness will hold a meeting in Brussels from Sept. 8 to 15, 1958. The International Organization against Trachoma will hold its General Assembly in Brussels during the same period....

"The W.C.W.B. Technical Committee met at Oslo, August 9, 1957.... The following subjects were discussed: reading machines, radio transmission of Braille, a signaling device for typewriters, a device for the deaf-blind and Talking Books.... Mr. Ingalls, European and Middle East Director of the A.F.O.B., joined the Committee to report on the developments in the new Paris studio for copying recorded tapes for use in European countries. Great Britain was studying the possibility of changing over to multi-track (18 tracks to 1/2") tape recording machines giving up to 22 hours of playing time. Research was reported in the U.S.A. on multi-track tapes with recorders being used to supplement discs, but the main recordings would continue to be done on discs, increasing the number of grooves per record and decreasing the number of r.p.m's, if necessary as low as eight.

"Arrangements are well under way for the meeting of the Executive Committee which will be held in Mount Lavinia, Ceylon, from August 18 to 22 of this year....

"... Among current activities of direct concern to the welfare of the blind, the United Nations is extending technical and financial support to the Uganda Demonstration Project for resettlement of the rural blind. Special consultants in the area of home teaching of the blind have been engaged for service in Syria and Lebanon, each to be joined later by a senior consultant who will supervise the introduction of rehabilitation services for blind children and adults. A short term survey is now being conducted by a UN expert in Bolivia to plan procedures, possibly involving additional UN aid, for the improvement and expansion of that country's services for the physically handicapped, including the blind....

"Current International Labor Office service projects of value to the blind include the provision of vocational consultants to the governments of Brazil and Ceylon. UN approval of the government of India's request for the services of a technician to supervise the modernization and expansion of its plant for production of technical appliances for the blind has been granted and a suitable expert is now being sought. This project is designed to provide a means for countries throughout Asia to obtain devices suited to their needs and at reasonable prices.

"A Seminar on the rehabilitation of the disabled for Asia and the Far East took place in Solo, Indonesia, from August 26 to September 7, 1957....

"Mr. John Wilson, Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind, is at present on an extensive tour which will include visits to Pakistan, India, Ceylon, Singapore, Malaya, Sarawak, Brunei, North Borneo, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Canada and the U.S.A. During his tour, Mr. Wilson will have talks with government officials, heads of blind schools and blind welfare organizations. (Mr. Wilson is the president of the British National Federation of the Blind.)

"Members may be interested to note the following extract from a letter which appeared in the New Beacon on Nov. 25 last: '... We, in Holland, would like to try to increase the individual contact between blind people by exchanging tape-recordings and thus conducting a "spoken pen-friendship." If any readers should be interested in articles on tape, perhaps they would kindly send details to the address below, of their name and address, make of their sound recorder, speed, and also the language they would like to use (e.g. French, German or English) 'signed H. Reek, Jacon van Offwegenlaan 45, Rijswijk (Z. H.), Holland.

"... The Edison Prize, which is awarded annually in the U.S.A. to a North American subject who has made an invention connected with radio, was awarded in 1957 to Robert W. Gunderson, a blind electro-technician, who has invented 30 different kinds of electronic instruments. He collaborated with the Congressional Library of the U.S.A. in the preparation of Braille texts on electronics and he directs the Electronics Review.

"The Paris Office of the American Foundation for Overseas Blind has forged ahead with its scheme for providing duplication of recorded tapes for Talking Books and tapes have been duplicated and sent to distributing libraries in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and Yugoslavia. Approximately six million feet of recorded tapes were processed and distributed in 1957 and supplied at very low cost.

Italy--"The new law passed on July 14, 1957, concerning compulsory employment of blind telephone operators, provides that all public administrations and offices, governmental concerns and private employers, must employ for each office furnished with a central telephone switchboard which needs more than one operator, a qualified blind person...."

Japan--"Our member, Mr. Iwahashi, reports that the number of blind radio amateurs is increasing rapidly in Japan, but so far the blind are not allowed to hold amateur radio licenses, though a number have already built suitable equipment and are ready to take the necessary examination. The Japanese Ministry of Communications is, however, likely to amend its regulations.... He also reports that an Eye Bank has been established by the Japan Red Cross Society and as many as 118 hospitals all over Japan are cooperating in this program. Already 152 persons have registered since October.... '

New Zealand--"It is reported from New Zealand that an important advance in Social Security legislation affecting blind people has recently been introduced in that country. Amendments were made in Sept., 1957, to the provisions of the law concerning the amount of income allowed to social security beneficiaries without reduction of benefit. This increase, together with additional increases in the special incentive allowance granted to blind workers, (which is limited to personal earnings), brings the total allowable income of blind beneficiaries up to 12 pounds ($33.60) a week without any reduction in their benefit. Basic pensions, including those of the blind, were also increased."

Poland--"A comprehensive and interesting report on their activity was received from the Polish Union of the Blind. Special measures introduced in 1957 were: (1) exemption from tax on salaries for all blind workers; (2) reduction in income tax for all blind persons' co-operatives (varying between 30 and 70 percent according to output); (3) extension to the blind and their families of therapeutic and hospital services on the same basis as for sighted insured persons; (4) free treatment provided for the blind in sanatoria under a Ministry of Health scheme and (5) special grants to students to enable them to pay for readers.... Representatives of the blind have participated in meetings with psychologists, teachers of social work and the Polish Ophthalmological Society...."

Rumania--"A report received from Rumania states that there are an estimated 15,000 blind persons in that country. There are six state schools for the blind--two nursery, two primary and two professional. In the latter, instruction is given to each trainee in at least two trades.... Training is also provided in electrical work, music and telephony. After completing their course, those blind students able to absorb higher education may go on to university and qualify as teachers, (law, philosophy, arts). The Rumanian Association of the Blind is responsible for placement. It also publishes a monthly Braille magazine and sponsors a yearly sports competition for the blind."

Spain--"In its magazine Once, the Spanish National Organization of the Blind reports the introduction of training courses for the blind in wirework, woodwork, locksmith and electrical work. A government grant was received for the purchase of the necessary tools...."

United Kingdom--"The British Ministry of Works recently acquired Rushton Hall, a large mansion of historic interest, and is putting it into good repair and converting it for use by the R.N.I.B. as a school for blind children with additional handicaps...." (This is in addition to the world famous Condover Hall School for multiply handicapped blind children. The United Kingdom is the only country in the world which has made a genuine effort to solve the problem posed by these unfortunate youngsters. Else-where, including the United States, this problem has been largely ignored.)

back to contents



I believe all of us who are lucky enough to possess a Perkins Brailler prize it very highly because of its consistently good performance. I know of a good many NFB members who are waiting impatiently to receive one. In the April New Outlook, Edward Waterhouse has a most informative statement concerning the future of the Brailler.

It was originally estimated that there might possibly be a market for 2,000 of these machines and the Howe Press made its plans on the basis of this theoretical market. Up to the present time 8,000 Perkins Braillers have been manufactured and delivered. The manufacturer has steadily refused to grant priorities, despite a great deal of pressure. Six radio and television network requests for Braillers to be given away as prizes have been refused--at the cost of a considerable loss of good will. Mr. Waterhouse estimates that it will take about one year to fill the orders now on file.

There is, however, one hopeful aspect of this situation. The Board of Directors of the Howe Press has just voted $100,000 to expand its facilities for producing the Brailler and this will eventually make possible a doubling of its output.

back to contents



"Dear George: ... I would like to make a comment on the articles concerning the libraries for the blind. Anyone who has had experience with them knows that there is much room for improvement in service. We in Iowa are served by the library in Jacksonville, III., and complaints come in constantly about poor service. But I do not feel the type of criticism piled on by our friends from California is going to help the situation. We must not work to destroy what we have but to improve it by adding more units and improving the staff workers. I believe in fighting wrong, and will always be in the front line, but to condemn the library system in such an unfair manner without offering concrete suggestions for improvement, is destructive criticism.

"It was a welcome relief to read the comments by Frank Wilmot of Montrose, Michigan. I cannot agree with him as to the excellent service, but I like his approach.

"As to the choice of books, we must maintain a standard of decency in books to be published by tax money. ... I think those who choose the books for publication in Braille and for Talking Books should be praised, not condemned, for using a standard of decency in their choices. Naturally-some good material has been omitted or overlooked, and if proper measures are adopted this can be corrected. Public libraries should not carry any book that is not fit to be read in full on a radio program. Maybe I am a little radical on this subject, but I hate to hear any of our people try to lower the standards of our reading just for their own selfish satisfaction.... I don't expect you to publish all of this, but please make some statement under my name that will show that someone believes in a high moral standard of reading material in our libraries. Very truly yours, William Klontz." (Waterloo, Iowa)

"Dear George: The article in the Monitor, 'A Man Without A Library', by B. V. Yturbide, is a skilled analysis of the present situation which we blind, who would like library service either in Braille or Talking Books, face. I am not on a regular library for the blind reader's list, since when I was on such a list I got a constant flow of bulky volumes I valued only as junk. I found that I was spending a lot of time and energy unwrapping these volumes to find out just what was inside and rewrapping them and sending them back when I felt strong enough to carry a load to the post office. Finally, since I never found a title I wanted, I didn't even bother unwrapping the volumes but simply mailed them back to the library for the blind and at the same time protested to the library that they had no right to keep burdening me with these volumes and keep my name on their list of readers without my permission. Finally, I was able to convince them I knew what was best for myself. So I feel that Mr. Yturbide's point was well taken when he stated that books for the blind, just like books for the sighted in libraries, should be selected carefully and the minority group of readers should have its share of titles as well as the majority group of readers.... Certainly there is a lot of room for improvements in library service for the blind and I hope that the National Federation will insist that the inadequacies, for which there is no excuse, as pointed out by Mr. Yturbide, be promptly corrected. Very sincerely yours, R. L. Thompson." (Tampa, Florida)

"Dear George: ... I was especially pleased with the article by B. V. Yturbide, 'A Man Without A Library'. It is a criticism which many of us have had in mind for many years and which has become articulate for the first time. How many times have I looked for those books in our lists? This constitutes an intellectual 'Emancipation Proclamation'. It interests me because it illustrates that the N.F.B. is not just interested in the economic and political revival of the blind man, but his spiritual survival as well. It brings up the issue of the integration of the blind intellectual. With so many going to college these days, post graduation without sources of reading can amount to mental starvation.... Sincerely, Sandford Allerton." (Kalamazoo, Michigan)

"Dear George: ... I was glad you published those two articles about the selection of Braille and Talking Books. I tend to go along with Burns. Since American history is my special interest, and there is really pretty good coverage, the seriousness of the problem generally had never occurred to me. Since reading those articles I have observed more carefully the material available in other fields and was especially impressed with the odd sort of stuff which is carried under the heading 'literature'. This is just another illustration of how often a discussion proves useful in drawing one's attention to a situation of which he was theretofore unaware. Twenty-five years ago the United States adopted the British Braille, and we were assured that we would benefit from the exchange of books between the two countries; yet scarcely any English books or records are available. I have heard rumors that the American Printing House has maintained some sort of 'protectionist' scheme to exclude foreign books. I know for certain that there has been duplication in printing the Bible here when the plates already were available in England. We might follow through on this phase and at least enlarge the number of books. Sincerely, Bill Taylor, Jr." (Media, Pa.)

From the Minutes of the national meeting of the Executive Council of the Blind Professional Association of America, Inc.: "Dr. Rudich... explained that he teaches French and the humanities at Wesleyan College in Middletown, Conn., and that the Talking Books had helped him immeasurably but that the quality of the books had declined although the lower quality of books have been issued at the same expense. He wondered whether he was alone in that opinion. William Taylor, Esq., pointed out that there had been an article in the Monitor expressing a similar thought. Dr. Konefsky stated that the same objection may be raised concerning Braille books..... The Library of Congress is putting 'junk' into Braille...."

back to contents



A member of our Oregon affiliate writes that, in the opinion of many, Mrs. Hettie Hopkins, of Salem, is the most outstanding blind person in that state. Thirteen years age she was the victim of an explosion which not only destroyed her sight but resulted in very severe disfigurement. This last has been partially overcome through many painful operations involving plastic surgery. She has achieved her tremendous comeback without help from the state rehabilitation agency, which pronounced her "unfeasible". She is an active member of the chapter at Salem, Oregon, and an ardent Federationist. The following item is taken from the Salem, Oregon, Statesman:

"Today Mrs. Hettie Hopkins is one of the most respected and successful business women in Salem. "When she was first plunged into a world of darkness, Hettie put her faith in God and fought back against tremendous odds. She attended the adjustment center for the blind in Portland. In 1950, she began taking calls for the Girl Scouts. This was the beginning of a new life and occupation for Hettie which resulted in the Hopkins Answering Service.

"In the course of this work Hettie soon began hearing and answering requests for jobs. This sideline activity grew into the Capital Employment Agency. Hettie operates her two businesses with the aid of Mrs. Thelma Watilo who devotes most of her time to the employment agency. The Hopkins Answering Service is a 24-hour activity which now functions through 17 separate telephones. The blind business woman, who has a small couch near the phones, is constantly on the job. Watching Hettie, who has an unbelievable will to succeed, answer the phones without ever picking up the wrong one, is an unforgettable experience. 'I tell by the tone of the bell', says the little woman. She knows all her clients, their numbers, and the numbers of their usual hangouts, by memory.

"Because of her obvious limitations, Pacific Telephone Company is installing a special answering device which will eliminate the many telephones and enable Hettie to increase her service beyond the maximum 17 clients. 'The new equipment will mean a great deal to me', according to the cheerful Hettie who doesn't mind competition because 'everybody has to make a living and I am just thankful for what I can do.'"

back to contents



In April the Board of Directors of the American Association of Workers for the Blind elected Hulen C. Walker to the new post of Executive Director of that organization. His duties will be somewhat similar to those which Alfred Allen performed under the title of Secretary General. Following his election Mr. Walker resigned as President of the AAWB and as Legislative Analyst and Chief of the Washington Office of the American Foundation for the Blind. He assumed his new office on June 1. H. A. Wood, of Raleigh, N.C., automatically succeeded Mr. Walker as AAWB President, since Mr. Wood had held the office of First Vice-President. Mr. Irvin P. Schloss, of the Blinded Veterans Association, succeeds Mr. Walker as Legislative Analyst and Chief of the Washington Office of the AFB. Mr. Schloss, it will be remembered, had much to do with persuading the BVA to go on record in opposition to the Kennedy Bill and it seems entirely appropriate that he should now be added to the AFB payroll.

back to contents



This office receives many inquiries from sighted persons, (mostly recipients of our greeting cards), inquiring as to how and where they may donate their eyes after death. We have been attempting to collect as many addresses as possible. Usually the donor must request an application form and fill it out. Some states require that such a form be signed also by the nearest of kin. The corneal transplant operation has now been perfected to the point where there is a high percentage of success and the vitreous fluid is often useful in cases of detached retina. Many Monitor readers may receive similar inquiries; therefore the names and addresses of those eye banks of which we know are published below:

Boston Eye Bank, 243 Charles St., Boston 14, Mass.

Cincinnati Eye bank for Sight Restoration, Inc., Cincinnati General Hospital, 3120 Burnet Ave., Room 207, Cincinnati 29, Ohio.

Dallas Eye Bank, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas 19, Texas.

Eye Bank for Restoring Sight, Inc., c/o North Carolina Baptist Hospital, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Good Samaritan Eye-Bank, 1015 N.W. 22nd Ave., Portland 10, Oregon.

Illinois Eye Bank, c/o Illinois Society for the Prevention of Blindness, 203 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago 1, 111.

Michigan Eye Collection Center, University Hospital, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Milwaukee Eye Bank, c/o Milwaukee Blood Center, Ind., 763 N. 18th St., Milwaukee 1, Wisconsin.

Texas Medical Center Eye Bank, Houston, Texas.

Louisville Lions Eye Bank, University of Louisville, School of Medicine, 101 W. Chestnut, Louisville, Kentucky.

The Stanford Eye Bank, 2398 Sacramento St., San Francisco 15, California.

University of California Eye Bank, University of California Medical Center, San Francisco 22, California.

Estelle Doheney Eye Foundation Laboratory, St. Vincent's Hospital, 2131 West 3rd St., Los Angeles 5, California.

Iowa Lions Eye Bank, University Hospitals, Iowa City, Iowa.

Mrs. A. Carl Competello, Exec. Director, Eye Bank for Sight Restoration, 210 E. 64th St., New York, N.Y.

back to contents



From The Dorcas Club Informer, February, 1958, via the Kentucky Cardinal: "(1) Don't attend meetings. (2) Don't accept any office or job; it's easier to criticize. (3) Never approve anything your officers or committees do, or give them credit for any ideas. Look for hidden motives. (4) Don't bother recruiting members. (5) Insist that notices be sent to you, but don't pay any attention to them when you get them. (6) Don't waste any courtesy at a meeting. (7) When you don't like what's going on, say so. But never offer any constructive suggestions. (8) Devote most of your time to talking. Let someone else do the work. (9) Don't co-operate with any officer or committee. Make them co-operate with you."

back to contents



The sixth annual convention of the Florida Federation of the Blind was held at the Hillsborough Hotel in Tampa, May 30-June 1. About 100 were registered and Durward McDaniel, of Oklahoma, was a principal speaker. Congressman Sidney Herlong also spoke, restating his conviction that his right to organize bill, along with that of his close friend, Walter Baring, should be passed. Another featured speaker was Frank Pierce, business agent of the Carpenters' Union of Broward County. Twenty-six Fiberglas canes, manufactured by Site, Inc., were given away, compliments of the FFB. The following slate of officers was elected: President, A. H. Drake, (re-elected); 1st Vice-President, R. L. Thompson, (re-elected); 2nd Vice-President, Jack Ray, (replacing William Scrimgeour). Mr. Ray is a Miami masseur. Secretary, Mr. Claude Ray, (replacing Mr. Robert Graves). Claude Ray is from Lakeland and is a worm farmer. Treasurer, Charles Talbott, (re-elected).

back to contents



We have just received word of the passing of Frank Marion Mobley at his home in Colorado Springs on January 2. In addition to an extensive law practice, Mr. Mobley had served in the Colorado Legislature and as a member of the Trustees of the Colorado College. A portion of a resolution adopted by the El Paso County Bar Association follows:

"WHEREAS, Frank Mobley did for many years serve the interests of the legal profession as well as devoting a large share of his time and talents to the general interests of the community; and... WHEREAS, his recent death is a great and irreparable loss to his fellow lawyers, his multitude of friends and his community generally,

"NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED... that the death of Frank Mobley leaves a vacancy in the ranks of this Association and in this community that cannot be filled; BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the services rendered by Frank Mobley and the inspiration he has been to his fellow man constitutes a service to all with whom he has come in contact.

back to contents



by William Klontz

The Iowa Association of the Blind has just concluded its 1958 convention which was held at the School for the Blind in Vinton, Iowa. The attendance was larger than any previous year, and the program featured addresses by the governor of Iowa and Kenneth Jernigan, our new Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind. Mr. Harold Reeves of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was elected President of the Association for the next two years.

The following motion was passed unanimously at the opening session of the convention: "It was moved and seconded that the Iowa delegation to the NFB convention to be held in Boston, Mass., July 4 through 7, be instructed to vote for and work for the George Card Amendment to the Federation Constitution. The motion carried unanimously."

It was the opinion of everyone present that limiting the executive powers of our national president would not be in the best interest of our organized movement. We sincerely hope that many other states will take similar action so that an expression of the mind of the rank and file of the blind of the nation will be evident at the Boston convention.

back to contents



We are happy to comply with the request from the New York Guild for the Jewish Blind to publish the following notice: "The library of the New York Guild for the Jewish Blind,1880 Broadway, New York 23, N.Y., wishes to invite Braille readers throughout the United States to take advantage of its outstanding collection of hand-transcribed books. The titles encompass a broad range of adult and juvenile fiction and non-fiction, as well as textbooks from grammar school through college levels which generally are not available through other Braille libraries. A catalogue in Braille will be furnished upon request and borrowers may send in their selections in either Braille or in ink-print. The Guild's library will be happy to be of service to you."

From a letter to Dr. tenBroek, written by a blind stand operator: "The more I read about you and the more of the articles I read written by you the more I want to belong to the N.F.B. Up to now I have been afraid of losing my stand.... Please, sir, I am not wanting a grand place or a big income; I only want to make my small amount in peace; the threats and false accusations from the impudent supervisor from the Commission is getting me down. I am going to join the NFB... and if I lose my stand I know some way will be found. I want to join not for a sanctuary but to work for all of us. I want to be useful; something I haven't been up to now. A word of advice from an extremely busy man as yourself would mean very much to me."

The Library of Congress reports that of the 60,000 blind persons to whom it supplies services, only 10,000 read Braille and the rest ask for Talking Books exclusively. Mrs. Pauline Bollenbacher, who heads the work of selecting the books to be reproduced, was asked if she had much complaint about the language in current novels."... We try to give our clients the best of current literature. The complaints are mostly from women, I am sorry to say, and mostly from the Biblebelt. If there is profanity, they complain about obscenity. They always use the wrong word. In North Dakota they seem to be against humor. Right now, the complaints are about a book that will be a surprise to you. It is A. B. Gutrie's 'These Thousand Hills.' I don't understand how our frontiersmen became saints. One man wrote us that he was sure the pioneers who settled the West did not use such bad language or have such evil thoughts."

From the Reno Evening Gazette: "White Cane Week, May 15 to 22, was kicked off in Nevada Wednesday at a luncheon in the Mapes Hotel when George Fogarty declared that popular misconceptions concerning the blind must be overcome and abolished. These erroneous ideas limit the blind both socially and economically, he said. He pointed out the financial economy which results from helping the blind to help themselves. State aid to maintain a blind person costs about $1,500 a year, much of which is drained off in administrative costs, Fogarty said. It's much cheaper and more feasible to spend the $1,500 to rehabilitate the individual and put him back in his place in society. Fogarty is a guidance counselor of the California School for the Blind at Berkeley and White Cane Week Chairman for the California Council of the Blind. Others at the head table were: Gov. Charles H. Russell; Mrs. Charles Russell; Bishop William F. Lewis; George A. Magers, Chief of the Nevada Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind; George Fogarty; Mrs. Katherine Callahan, President of the Nevada Federation of the Blind and G. Russell Maki, local White Cane Week Chairman.

On May 13, Albert Gonzales, President of the New Mexico Federation of the Blind, was elected to the office of County Commissioner.

On May 24, a new chapter of the Michigan Council of the Blind came into existence in Detroit. It should have a great future. Detroit was the last of the great American cities in which we had no official organization, although many individuals had become members-at-large in the Michigan Council. Those elected as officers were: President, Mr. Clayton Walker; Vice-President, Mr. Anthony Tamer; Secretary, Mr. Ray Wuenschel and Treasurer, Mr. Russell Florao.

Because of a shortage of state funds,188 recipients of aid to the blind in Texas were transferred from this program to old age assistance. The average OAA payment in Texas is $47.13; the average AB is $51.14.

From Listen, Feb.,1958: "Bud Hoag of Camp Crook, S.D., has been granted a license to hunt deer although he is blind. State legal officials okayed the license after Hoag's wife explained she sights the gun for her husband and he pulls the trigger."

The New Mexico Federation of the Blind has a paid-up membership of 146, reporting a 30 percent growth in the past year. From the New Mexico Federation of the Blind Bulletin: "A shower for two brides, Maria Alvarez, now Mrs. Clarence Briggs, and Eugenia Baca, now Mrs. Pat Salazar, followed our Board meeting April 13. Mrs. Virginia Gonzales and Pauline Gomez were hostesses. Wedding bells for the Pat Salazars rang at Socorro April 26. Continental and United Airlines transported the couple to Salt Lake City." (Both bridegrooms involved in the foregoing item have been delegates at NFB national conventions.)

From the Colorado News Bulletin: "Two items in the list of closures recently reported by the Division of Rehabilitation are intriguing: (1) Two housewives placed--no salary. Just what is meant by employment at no wage? Are we to assume that the Division of Rehabilitation taking note of two marriages in the past year is claiming the brides as being placed in matrimonial bliss through its efforts? (2) The office of Justice of the Peace is an elective office. An explanation from the Division of Rehabilitation as to how it was able to place a person as Justice of the Peace would be interesting to hear.... (3) Henry Taylor was unanimously elected First High Priest of the newly formed Englewood Chapter of the Royal Arch Masons. Mr. Taylor served as President of the United Workers for the Blind of Colorado from 1949 until 1955. During this period he also served for five years on the Executive Board of the National Federation of the Blind.... (4) News notes for your Bulletin are always welcome at your Federation office. What's new with you? Have you moved to a new address? If your creditors already know about it, then you might as well let your friends know too.... While Colorado delayed, Iowa recognized outstanding executive ability and appointed Mr. Kenneth Jernigan Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind. His leadership might have been available for this state...."

From the Lions magazine (June,1958): "Definition of an optimist-- a man who marries at 89 and begins looking around for a home near a school."

From a Clyde Ross letter: "In Vandercook's broadcast Friday evening, Jan.17th, he mentioned that, as the President's budget is being unfolded, Congress notes that he had proposed a cut in Aid to the Blind and many other assistance programs. It is time now for the OCB and agency heads to work together and bombard Congress with letters on this subject. Is it necessary to squeeze the already impoverished blind (and other categories) to develop a suitable defense program? From those who have the least he would take part of what they have."

From a BVA release, May 27: "The Blinded Veterans Association today presented its 'Employer of the Year' Award in the large company category to the Fafnir Bearing Company of New Britain, Conn.... In making the presentation, Mr. John E. Mattingly, national president of the BVA, pointed out that the company's blind employees work alongside sighted employees performing similar operations at the plant. For example, two of the blind workers are employed as ball bearing inspectors; two are employed as operators of degreasing machines; and one is employed as a packer. Fafnir has employed blind workers for many years, and the employment record of those currently with the company ranges from two to sixteen years. They have the same opportunity for promotion as non-disabled workers.... The company's sole criterion for hiring blind workers is ability to do the job...."

From the Vermont Newsletter: "In spite of the fact that we seem to be in a mild business slump, our White Cane Week campaign for funds is doing very well.... The spring meeting of the Board of Directors of the Vermont Council of the Blind was held May 18 at the Bardwell Hotel in Rutland. Among other things the following action was taken by the Board: ... The President was instructed to investigate the Vermont minimum wage law which went into effect recently, setting the minimum wage to be paid hourly to handicapped persons 10 cents lower than to other persons. It was felt that this is discriminatory and it could allow for exploitation of the handicapped by some unscrupulous employers. We know that a well-adjusted, well-trained handicapped employee is as good an employee and can compete on equal terms with his fellow-employees.... We shall endeavor to acquaint the public with the provisions of the White Cane Law through the press and other means in the very near future.... We have received an announcement that the Division of Services for the Blind is opening a sheltered workshop for the blind in Barre...."

The fifth annual convention of the W. Va. Federation of the Blind will be held at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel on August 16 and 17 in Clarksburg, W. Va. The highlight of the convention will be the banquet, at which time Cecil H. Underwood, Governor of West Virginia, and Dr. Jacobus tenBroek will deliver the principal addresses.

A New York reader has called my attention to the fact that, in the article entitled "Another State Publication," there was an inference conveyed that there had been no previous publications by the Empire State Association of the Blind. As a matter of fact, however, no less than eight news bulletins, under the extremely able editorship of Mr. Jack Karp, had been circulated to the members of that organization.

In addressing the recent convention of the Iowa Association of the Blind, Governor Loveless said, in part: "Iowa's current program is not one which justifies pride or self-satisfaction.... Iowa ranks 48th among the states in putting blind people back into competitive occupations and normal channels of living. For a state that prides itself on being the nation's number one food producer and on having the lowest proportion of illiteracy of any of the states, this is a bad and deplorable situation."

The 1958 convention of the Oregon Council of the Blind will be held at the Washington Hotel in Portland, September 13-14. Dr. tenBroek will be the principal speaker.

Kenneth Jernigan was the principal out-of-state speaker at an Awards Dinner in Milwaukee on May 3, at which the President of the Wisconsin Council of the Blind was honored. Kenneth described some of the harrowing experiences met with during the Colorado and Arkansas surveys. He pointed out some of the evils of "localitis" and urged that state delegates to national conventions be selected on the basis of their ability to contribute to the convention proceeding--not on their ability to bring home good reports or as a reward for services. Approximately 250 were in attendance.

From the December Popular Mechanics, the following item appeared under the caption, Artist with a Lathe: "Bill Frank, of Chicago, who lost his sight in an industrial accident ten years ago, turns out beautiful wood objects of art in his basement workshop."

Mr. C. Robert Graves, of Lakeland, Florida, Editor of the Florida White Cane, has just announced that he will be a candidate for Congress this fall. The announcement was received with great enthusiasm at the recent convention of the Florida Federation of the Blind.

From the Missouri Monthly Report: "On May 22nd, the organizational meeting of the Credit Union was held and the group was formed with 21 charter members.... Vernon Sucher, of Ste. Genevieve, was honored at the banquet of the Alumni Association of the Missouri School for the Blind on May 25, having been chosen Alumnus of the Year by that organization. This honor is conferred upon those who, in the opinion of the Board of the Alumni Association, have been successful in carving out a place for themselves in society, and a better choice could not have been made. Vernon graduated 25 years ago and has achieved outstanding success in retail business. He and Mrs. Sucher are very active in the Ozark chapter.

From the New York Eyecatcher: "Peter Roidl (state president) has become part owner of a private business venture, the General Crate and Box Suppliers Company, specializing in making and rebuilding crates and boxes for produce shipping. Custom made export boxes, industrial skids and pallets will be made to order. Orders have already been received and full production is planned for somewhere around May 1. When the operation becomes sufficiently developed, they plan to hire as many handicapped people as possible.... The Buffalo, Syracuse, Brooklyn and Rochester chapters have each contributed $75 to their state treasury. The money came from local fund-raising efforts.... Members of the Jamestown chapter scored an important triumph when, as a result of an investigation which they were able to set in motion, distribution of surplus food was extended to residents of Chautauqua County who are either on welfare or in low income brackets.... The 40th anniversary meeting of the Alumni Association of the Batavia School will open on June 26 and run through June 28.

From the Ohio Bulletin; "Marie Shaffer returned from the Alumni meeting of the Illinois Braille and Sight Saving School with the report that Chicago parents who have blind children no longer have the right to choose between the State School for the Blind and the day schools of Chicago. The children are compelled to go to the day schools, even though there are many examples of the blind children not being accepted by either students or teachers. In Ohio, let's keep this choice available.... The White Cane Club of Springfield has been very active. It has organized its own glee club and the first program was to be presented in May.... John Chambers is now working in Cleveland. He assembles automatic transmissions for automobiles. John is Second Vice-President of the Ohio Council of the Blind...."

The Pennsylvania Federation has felt compelled to reduce the size of its publication, We The Blind, from a full-size magazine to a tabloid form. The publication has been operating at a heavy loss and it was felt that the money saved could be put to much better use. The current issue contains a warm welcome to the new Lehigh Valley and Scranton chapters, reporting that Josephine Cordaro has been chosen president of the latter. It also reports the election of Miss Susan Kramer as president of the big Pittsburgh chapter. There have been such big turnouts at recent meetings of the Delaware County chapter that it now seems probable two chapters in this area will be formed this coming fall.

Paul Kirton, who has been doing organization work in Virginia most of the past month, has also found time to call on a number of members of Congress from his home state of Texas and to represent the NFB at the 1958 convention of the Pennsylvania Blind Merchants Guild, which was held at Wilkes-Barre on May 16-17. The Guild reports that "he rendered invaluable service" and expresses gratitude to the NFB for making him available. Burord Dilbeck of Philadelphia was elected president of the Guild.

From the Kentucky Cardinal: "In March the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County announced it would have to stop the free service to blind persons in Kentucky and Tennessee unless it received some financial assistance from these states. 'Kentucky will carry its share of the expense--it has been cleared through the Governor's office,' F. E. Davis, Superintendent of the American Printing House for the Blind, said yesterday. While the Library of Congress distributes the books to the regional libraries, it does not contribute to the cost of circulation. The payroll for the service has been divided three ways and Kentucky will pay $6,000 annually, Davis said. Davis said he understood Tennessee has also arranged to carry its share of the cost.... The Kentucky Federation of the Blind supported the fine work of the Governor's Committee on the Employment of the Physically Handicapped in Kentucky by furnishing the first three prizes in the state Poster Contest this spring.... At the March meeting of the Kentucky Association of Blind Vending Stand Operators, Ernest Bourne was re-elected as president. Lewis Cain was re-elected president of the Louisville Association of the Blind at its meeting in April...."

After almost two weeks of intensive organization work in the Roanoke, Virginia area, by Paul Kirton, a fourth chapter was added on May 30 to the steadily growing Virginia Federation of the Blind which will be our 45th affiliate by the time this issue reaches its readers. The name "Shenandoah Valley Federation of the Blind" was selected and a constitution was adopted. The following officers were elected: President, Bernard Cadd; First Vice-President, Gordon Overstreet; Second Vice-President, John Holland; Recording Secretary, Mrs. Mary Forbes; Corresponding Secretary, Miss Bonnie Coleman; and Treasurer, Earl Jewell. Paul writes: "It has the greatest possibility of community support of any chapter in the state."

The New Outlook announces that the 1958 Shotwell Award will go to Francis P. Ierardi, former Editor of the Weekly News, and the Alfred Allen Memorial Award to Marian Held, of the New York Lighthouse.

The Alumni Association of the Perkins School for the Blind has just elected Gregory B. Khachadoorian to the Executive Board of that famous institution. Mr. Khachadoorian is Second Vice-President of the Greater Boston chapter of the ABM and has been very active in legislative affairs.

back to top