Vol. 32, No. 8 September
Kenneth Jernigan, Editor
in inkprint, Braille, on talking-book disc,
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of the Blind
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NATIONAL FEDERATION OF
THE BLIND IS NOT
SPEAKING FOR THE BLIND--IT IS THE BLIND SPEAKING FOR THEMSELVES
Vol. 32, No. 8 September 1989
WHO ARE THE BLIND WHO LEAD THE BLIND
DISCOVER DIABETES HORMONE
by Malcolm Ritter, A.P.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT BLINDNESS
by Randy Black
BACK TO THE
by Lauren L. Eckery
by Jan Bailey
HATS OFF TO MARY BRUNOLI
RETIRES AFTER FIFTY YEARS ON THE JOB
by Donald C. Capps
WHAT THE NFB
by Seville Allen
by Claire McCuller
AND A CHALLENGE
by David A. Ticchi
IS IT A FISH
OR A FISHING POLE?
by Sheena Sethi
Copyright National Federation of the Blind, Inc., 1989
The National Federation of the Blind has become by far the most significant force in the affairs of the blind today, and its actions have had an impact on many other groups and programs. The Federation's President, Marc Maurer, radiates confidence and persuasiveness. He says, If I can find twenty people who care about a thing, then we can get it done. And if there are two hundred, two thousand, or twenty thousand well, that's even better. The National Federation of the Blind is a civil rights movement with all that the term implies.
President Maurer says, You can't expect to obtain freedom by having somebody else hand it to you. You have to do the job yourself. The French could not have won the American Revolution for us. That would merely have shifted the governing authority from one colonial power to another. So, too, we the blind are the only ones who can win freedom for the blind, which is both frightening and reassuring. If we don't get out and do what we must, there is no one to blame but ourselves. We have control of the essential elements.
Although there are in the United States at the present time many organizations and agencies for the blind, there is only one National Federation of the blind. This organization was established in 1940 when the blind of seven states Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and California sent delegates to its first convention at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Since that time progress has been rapid and steady. The Federation is recognized by blind men and women throughout the entire country as their primary means of joint expression; and today, with active affiliates in every state and the District of Columbia, it is the primary voice of the nation's blind. To explain this spectacular growth, three questions must be asked and answered: (1) What are the conditions in the general environment of the blind which have impelled them to organize? (2) What are the purpose, the belief, the philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind? (3) Who are its leaders, and what are their qualifications to understand and solve the problems of blindness? Even a brief answer to these questions is instructive.
When the Federation came into being in 1940, the outlook for the blind was certainly not bright. The nation's welfare system was so discouraging to individual initiative that those who were forced to accept public assistance had little hope of ever achieving self-support again, and those who sought competitive employment in regular industry or the professions found most of the doors barred against them. The universal goodwill expressed toward the blind was not the wholesome goodwill of respect felt toward an equal; it was the misguided goodwill of pity felt toward an inferior. In effect the system said to the blind, Sit on the sidelines of life. This game is not for you. If you have creative talents, we are sorry, but we cannot use them. The Federation came into being to combat these expressions of discrimination and to promote new ways of thought concerning blindness, and although great progress has been made toward the achievement of these goals, much still remains to be done. The Federation believes that blind people are essentially normal and that blindness in itself is not a mental or psychological handicap. It can be reduced to the level of a mere physical nuisance. Legal, economic, and social discrimination based upon the false assumption that the blind are somehow different from the sighted must be abolished, and equality of opportunity made available to blind people. Because of their personal experience with blindness, the blind themselves are best qualified to lead the way in solving their own problems, but the general public should be asked to participate in finding solutions. Upon these fundamentals the National Federation of the Blind predicates its philosophy.
As for the leadership of the organization, all of the officers and members of the Board of Directors are blind, and all give generously of their time and resources in promoting the work of the Federation. The Board consists of seventeen elected members, five of whom are the constitutional officers of the organization. These members of the Board of Directors represent a wide cross section of the blind population of the United States. Their backgrounds are different, and their experiences vary widely; but they are drawn together by the common bond of having met blindness individually and successfully in their own lives and by their united desire to see other blind people have the opportunity to do likewise. A profile of the leadership of the organization shows why it is so effective and demonstrates the progress made by blind people during the past half-century for in the story of the lives of these leaders can be found the greatest test of the Federation's philosophy. The cumulative record of their individual achievements is an overwhelming proof, leading to an inescapable conclusion.
DR. JACOBUS tenBROEK
Author, Jurist, Professor, Founder of the National Federation of the Blind
The moving force in the founding of the National Federation of the Blind (and its spiritual and intellectual father) was Jacobus tenBroek. Born in 1911, young tenBroek (the son of a prairie homesteader in Canada) lost the sight of one eye as the result of a bow-and-arrow accident at the age of seven. His remaining eyesight deteriorated until at the age of fourteen he was totally blind. Shortly afterward he and his family traveled to Berkeley so that he could attend the California School for the Blind. Within three years he was an active part of the local organization of the blind.
By 1934 he had joined with Dr. Newel Perry and others to form the California Council of the Blind, which later became the the National Federation of the Blind of California. This organization was a prototype for the nationwide federation that tenBroek would form six years later.
Even a cursory glance at his professional career showed the absurdity of the idea that blindness means incapacity. The same year the Federation was founded (1940) Jacobus tenBroek received his doctorate in jurisprudence from the University of California, completed a year as Brandeis Research Fellow at Harvard Law School, and was appointed to the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School.
Two years later he began his teaching career at the University of California at Berkeley, moving steadily up through the ranks to become full professor in 1953 and chairman of the department of speech in 1955. In 1963 he accepted an appointment as professor of political science.
During this period Professor tenBroek published several books and more than fifty articles and monographs in the fields of welfare, government, and law establishing a reputation as one of the nation's foremost scholars on matters of constitutional law. One of his books, Prejudice, War, and the Constitution , won the Woodrow Wilson Award of the American Political Science Association in 1955 as the best book of the year on government and democracy. Other books are California's Dual System of Family Law (1964), Hope Deferred: Public Welfare and the Blind (1959), and The Antislavery Origins of the Fourteenth Amendment (1951) revised and republished in 1965 as Equal Under Law . In the course of his academic career Professor tenBroek was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Palo Alto and was twice the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation. In 1947 he earned the degree of S.J.D. from Harvard Law School. In addition, he was awarded honorary degrees by two institutions of higher learning. Dr. tenBroek's lifelong companion was his devoted wife Hazel. Together they raised three children and worked inseparably on research, writing, and academic and Federation concerns. Mrs. tenBroek still continues as an active member of the organized blind movement.
In 1950 Dr. tenBroek was made a member of the California State Board of Social Welfare by Governor Earl Warren. Later reappointed to the board three times, he was elected its chairman in 1960 and served in that capacity until 1963. The brilliance of Jacobus tenBroek's career led some skeptics to suggest that his achievements were beyond the reach of what they called the ordinary blind person. What tenBroek recognized in himself was not that he was exceptional, but that he was normal that his blindness had nothing to do with whether he could be a successful husband and father, do scholarly research, write a book, make a speech, guide students engaged in social action movements and causes, or otherwise lead a productive life. In any case, the skeptics' theory has been refuted by the success of the thousands of blind men and women who have put this philosophy of normality to work in their own lives during the past fifty years.
Jacobus tenBroek died of cancer at the age of fifty-six in 1968. His successor, Kenneth Jernigan, in a memorial address, said truly of him: The relationship of this man to the organized blind movement, which he brought into being in the United States and around the world, was such that it would be equally accurate to say that the man was the embodiment of the movement or that the movement was the expression of the man. For tens of thousands of blind Americans over more than a quarter of a century, he was leader, mentor, spokesman, and philosopher. He gave to the organized blind movement the force of his intellect and the shape of his dreams. He made it the symbol of a cause barely imagined before his coming: the cause of self-expression, self-direction, and self- sufficiency on the part of blind people. Step by step, year by year, action by action, he made that cause succeed.
Teacher, Writer, Administrator
Kenneth Jernigan has been a leader in the National Federation of the Blind for more than thirty-five years. He was President (with one brief interruption) from 1968 until July of 1986. Although Jernigan is no longer President of the Federation, he continues to be one of its principal leaders. He works closely with the President, and he continues to be loved and respected by tens of thousands members and non-members of the Federation, both blind and sighted.
Born in 1926, Kenneth Jernigan grew up on a farm in central Tennessee. He received his elementary and secondary education at the school for the blind in Nashville. After high school Jernigan managed a furniture shop in Beech Grove, Tennessee, making all furniture and operating the business.
In the fall of 1945 Jernigan matriculated at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville. Active in campus affairs from the outset, he was soon elected to office in his class and to important positions in other student organizations. Jernigan graduated with honors in 1948 with a B.S. degree in Social Science. In 1949 he received a master's degree in English from Peabody College in Nashville, where he subsequently completed additional graduate study. While at Peabody he was a staff writer for the school newspaper, co-founder of an independent literary magazine, and a member of the Writers Club. In 1949 he received the Captain Charles W. Browne Award, at that time presented annually by the American Foundation for the Blind to the nation's outstanding blind student.
Jernigan then spent four years as a teacher of English at the Tennessee School for the Blind. During this period he became active in the Tennessee Association of the Blind (now the National Federation of the Blind of Tennessee). He was elected to the vice presidency of the organization in 1950 and to the presidency in 1951. In that position he planned the 1952 annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind, which was held in Nashville, and he has been planning national conventions for the Federation ever since. It was in 1952 that Jernigan was first elected to the NFB Board of Directors. In 1953 he was appointed to the faculty of the California Orientation Center for the Blind in Oakland, where he played a major role in developing the best program of its kind then in existence.
From 1958 until 1978, he served as Director of the Iowa State Commission for the Blind. In this capacity he was responsible for administering state programs of rehabilitation, home teaching, home industries, an orientation and adjustment center, and library services for the blind and physically handicapped. The improvements made in services to the blind of Iowa under the Jernigan administration have never before or since been equaled anywhere in the country.
In 1960 the Federation presented Jernigan with its Newel Perry Award for outstanding accomplishment in services for the blind. In 1968 Jernigan was given a Special Citation by the President of the United States. Harold Russell, the chairman of the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, came to Des Moines to present the award. He said: If a person must be blind, it is better to be blind in Iowa than anywhere else in the nation or in the world. This statement, the citation went on to say, sums up the story of the Iowa Commission for the Blind during the Jernigan years and more pertinently of its Director, Kenneth Jernigan. That narrative is much more than a success story. It is the story of high aspiration magnificently accomplished of an impossible dream become reality. Jernigan has received too many honors and awards to enumerate individually, including honorary doctorates from three institutions of higher education. He has also been asked to serve as a special consultant to or member of numerous boards and advisory bodies. The most notable among these are: member of the National Advisory Committee on Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (appointed by the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare), special consultant on Services for the Blind (appointed by the Federal Commissioner of Rehabilitation), advisor on museum programs for blind visitors to the Smithsonian Institution, and special advisor to the White House Conference on Library and Information Services (appointed by President Gerald Ford). Kenneth Jernigan's writings and speeches on blindness are better known and have touched more lives than those of any other individual writing today. On July 23, 1975, he spoke before the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., and his address was broadcast live throughout the nation on National Public Radio. Through the years he has appeared repeatedly on network radio and television interview programs including the Today Show, the Tomorrow Show, and the Larry King Show. In 1978 Jernigan moved to Baltimore to become Executive Director of the American Brotherhood for the Blind and Director of the National Center for the Blind. As President of the National Federation of the Blind at that time, he led the organization through the most impressive period of growth in its history. The creation and development of the National Center for the Blind and the expansion of the NFB into the position of being the most influential voice and force in the affairs of the blind stand as the culmination of Kenneth Jernigan's lifework and a tribute to his brilliance and commitment to the blind of this nation. Jernigan's dynamic wife Mary Ellen is an active member of the Federation. Although sighted, she works with dedication in the movement and is known and loved by thousands of Federationists throughout the country.
Speaking at a convention of the National Federation of the Blind, Jernigan said of the organization and its philosophy (and also of his own philosophy):
As we look ahead, the world holds more hope than gloom for us and, best of all, the future is in our own hands. For the first time in history we can be our own masters and do with our lives what we will; and the sighted (as they learn who we are and what we are) can and will work with us as equals and partners. In other words we are capable of full membership in society, and the sighted are capable of accepting us as such and, for the most part, they want to. .
We want no Uncle Toms no sellouts, no apologists, no rationalizers; but we also want no militant hellraisers or unbudging radicals. One will hurt our cause as much as the other. We must win true equality in society, but we must not dehumanize ourselves in the process; and we must not forget the graces and amenities, the compassions and courtesies which comprise civilization itself and distinguish people from animals and life from existence. Let people call us what they will and say what they please about our motives and our movement. There is only one way for the blind to achieve first-class citizenship and true equality. It must be done through collective action and concerted effort; and that means the National Federation of the Blind. There is no other way, and those who say otherwise are either uninformed or unwilling to face the facts. We are the strongest force in the affairs of the blind today, and we must also recognize the responsibilities of power and the fact that we must build a world that is worth living when the war is over and, for that matter, while we are fighting it. In short, we must use both love and a club, and we must have sense enough to know when to do which long on compassion, short on hatred; and, above all, not using our philosophy as a cop-out for cowardice or inaction or rationalization. We know who we are and what we must do and we will never go back. The public is not against us. Our determination proclaims it; our gains confirm it; our humanity demands it.
Attorney and Executive
Born in 1951, Marc Maurer was the second in a family of six children. His blindness was caused by overexposure to oxygen after his premature birth, but he and his parents were determined that this should not prevent him from living a full and normal life.
He began his education at the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, where he became an avid Braille reader. In the fifth grade he returned home to Boone, Iowa, where he attended parochial schools. During high school (having taken all the courses in the curriculum) he simultaneously took classes at the junior college.
Maurer ran three different businesses before finishing high school: a paper route, a lawn care business, and an enterprise producing and marketing maternity garter belts designed by his mother. This last venture was so successful that his younger brother took over the business when Maurer left home. In the summer of 1969, after graduating from high school, Maurer enrolled as a student at the Orientation and Adjustment Center of the Iowa Commission for the Blind and attended his first convention of the NFB. He was delighted to discover in both places that blind people and what they thought mattered. This was a new phenomenon in his experience, and it changed his life. Kenneth Jernigan was Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind at the time, and Maurer soon grew to admire and respect him. When Maurer expressed an interest in overhauling a car engine, the Commission for the Blind purchased the necessary equipment. Maurer completed that project and actually worked for a time as an automobile mechanic. He believes today that mastering engine repair played an important part in changing his attitudes about blindness. Maurer graduated cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1974. As an undergraduate he took an active part in campus life, including election to the Honor Society. Then he enrolled at the University of Indiana School of Law, where he received his Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1977.
Marc Maurer was elected President of the Student Division of the National Federation of the Blind in 1971 and re-elected in 1973 and 1975. Also in 1971 (at the age of twenty) he was elected Vice President of the National Federation of the Blind of Indiana. He was elected President in 1973 and re- elected in 1975. During law school Maurer worked summers for the office of the Secretary of State of Indiana. After graduation he moved to Toledo, Ohio, to accept a position as the Director of the Senior Legal Assistance Project operated by ABLE (Advocates for Basic Legal Equality).
In 1978 Maurer moved to Washington, D.C., to become an attorney with the Rates and Routes Division in the office of the General Counsel of the Civil Aeronautics Board. Initially he worked on rates cases but soon advanced to dealing with international matters and then to doing research and writing opinions on constitutional issues and Board action. He wrote opinions for the Chairman and made appearances before the full Board to discuss those opinions.
In 1981 he went into private practice in Baltimore, Maryland, where he specialized in civil litigation and property matters. But increasingly he concentrated on representing blind individuals and groups in the courts. He has now become one of the most experienced and knowledgeable attorneys in the country regarding the laws, precedents, and administrative rulings concerning civil rights and discrimination against the blind. He is a member of the Bar in Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, and Maryland; and he is a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. Maurer has always been active in civic and political affairs, having run for public office in Baltimore and having been elected to the board of directors of the Tenants Association in his apartment complex shortly after his arrival. Later he was elected to the board of his community association when he became a home owner. From 1984 until 1986 he served with distinction as President of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland. An important companion in Maurer's activities (and a leader in her own right) is his wife Patricia. The Maurers were married in 1973, and they have two children David Patrick, born March 10, 1984, and Diana Marie, born July 12, 1987. At the 1985 convention in Louisville, Kentucky, Dr. Kenneth Jernigan announced that he would not stand for re-election as President of the National Federation of the Blind the following year, and he recommended Marc Maurer as his successor. In Kansas City in 1986, the convention elected Maurer by resounding acclamation, and he has capably served as President ever since.
Medical Secretary and Agency Director
Diane McGeorge was born in 1932 and grew up in Nebraska. She was blinded by meningitis at age two. She says that she was slightly educated at the Nebraska School for the Blind. Upon graduating she learned that no blind person regardless of how well-qualified has an easy time in the job market. She enrolled in a Denver business college to learn typing and transcribing before going on to the University of Colorado to train as a medical secretary, her profession for a number of years, with time away to raise her family.
McGeorge spent eight years as a full-time homemaker and mother, including stints as den mother, Sunday school teacher, and PTA officer. Throughout these years she was a passive member of the Federation. She served on committees and prepared refreshments, but she did not consider that she had any part in the struggle of the blind against discrimination. Her husband Ray was much more active in the Federation. She ignored or overlooked the instances when she had been turned down by landlords or barred from restaurants because of her dog guide, describing her actions as looking on the bright side.
However, McGeorge attended the 1973 NFB convention in New York City and discovered for herself the power and commitment that derive from shared experience and determination to alter the status quo. From that moment her life began to change. This is the way she tells it:
One bitterly cold day in December, Ray and I stopped at a run-down coffee shop. It was the only warm place available, or we wouldn't have set foot in it. We did so, however, and when we did, the proprietor told us we couldn't bring my dog in. I was so furious I almost burst into tears. I walked out, but I thought and thought about that experience and I said, deep in my heart, that nobody was ever going to make me feel that way again. I had been a coward to let it happen.
About six months later we attempted to go to a movie, and the manager said we couldn't bring the dog into the theater. I was well-acquainted with Colorado's White Cane Law, so we had what turned out to be a two-hour battle over the issue. I came away from there not feeling cowardly or guilty or as if I were not quite as good as the manager because he could see and I couldn't.
In 1976 Diane McGeorge assumed the state presidency of the NFB of Colorado, and she has been returned to office in every election since. Under her leadership the NFB of Colorado has become one of the strongest state affiliates in the Federation. Recently the NFB of Colorado took a giant step forward in serving the blind of the state. In January of 1988 the Colorado Center for the Blind with Diane McGeorge as Executive Director opened its doors for business. Four students enrolled initially, and the numbers have been growing ever since. These students learn the skills of blindness from teachers who believe in the fundamental competence of the blind. But even more important, they learn positive attitudes about blindness. In 1977 McGeorge was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind, and in 1984 she was chosen as the organization's First Vice President. In 1982 Diane and Ray McGeorge were presented with the Jacobus tenBroek Award for their work in improving the lives of the blind of the nation. McGeorge says of her life since 1973, These years have been more stimulating and rewarding than any previous period in my life. I don't wish to imply that I was unhappy prior to my becoming active in the Federation quite the contrary. I was busy, and the things I was doing were important. But they were not as important as the Federation's agenda. Each thing the NFB does affects tens of thousands of people. Part of what I have learned is that what I do matters.
I suppose, she says, it is a commentary on the way I used to feel about myself; but until the last few years, it never occurred to me that anyone could do what I am now doing let alone that I could. I would have been astonished to learn that thousands of blind people could and would work together to make real changes that affect all of us profoundly.
Attorney, City Councilman, Politician
Born in 1953 and raised in Grinnell, Iowa, Peggy Pinder attended regular schools until the middle of the ninth grade. When her eye condition was diagnosed as irreversible decline into total blindness, her father cried for the first and only time in her life at least, as far as she knows.
Pinder then spent what she characterizes as two and a half unhappy years at the Iowa school for the blind. Academically she learned nothing that she had not already been taught in public schools. The students were discouraged from learning to use the white cane and were never allowed off campus unless they were accompanied by a sighted person. But most soul-destroying of all, the students were discouraged from aspiring to success or from setting themselves challenging goals. Pinder resisted the stifling atmosphere and drew down upon herself the wrath of the school administration, which refused to permit her to complete high school there, forcing her to go back to public school.
Knowing that she was not prepared to make this transition, she and her parents sought help from Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, then Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind. Pinder enrolled at the Orientation and Adjustment Center, where she mastered the skills of blindness and explored for the first time the healthy and positive philosophy of blindness that has subsequently directed her life.
Pinder went on to Iowa's Cornell College, where she achieved an excellent academic record and edited the Cornellian , the school newspaper. She then completed law school at Yale University, receiving her J.D. Degree in 1979.
After graduation from law school, Pinder passed the Iowa Bar in January, 1980. She then began a difficult job search. Although her academic standing at Yale was better than that of most of her classmates, she did not receive a single job offer as a result of the intensive interviewing she had done during her final year of law school. Virtually all Yale-trained attorneys leave the university with offers in hand. The inference was inescapable: employers were discriminating against Pinder because of her blindness. She eventually was hired as Assistant County Attorney for Woodbury County in Sioux City, Iowa, where she prosecuted defendants on behalf of the people.
Pinder's lifetime interest in helping to improve the world around her has been expressed in politics as well as in Federation activity. In 1976 she was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Kansas City. During the Convention she appeared on national television and in a national news magazine, taking the occasion to acquaint the public with the philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind and the real needs of blind people. At the end of the convention, she was chosen to second the nomination of Senator Robert Dole to be the candidate of the Republican Party for the Vice Presidency of the United States. In 1986 she completed a campaign for the Iowa State Senate in District 27 (East-Central Iowa) on the Republican ticket. She won the Primary and campaigned hard in a district eighty by thirty miles in size and containing about 60,000 residents, a distinct minority of whom are Republican. From April through November she made hundreds of public appearances and managed an efficient campaign. Like many candidates, Pinder was not elected in her first bid for public office, but she made a very strong showing and is often asked when she will run again. Her interest in participating in her community continues today through her service on the Grinnell City Council and in other community organizations.
Pinder's work in the National Federation of the Blind has been as impressive as her professional career. She held office in the NFB Student Divisions in Iowa and Connecticut, and then served as President of the national Student Division from 1977 to 1979. In 1981 she was elected President of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa, an office which she continues to hold. Pinder was first elected to serve on the NFB Board of Directors in 1977, and in 1984 she was elected Second Vice President. For the past several years Pinder, a 1976 winner herself, has chaired the Scholarship Committee of the National Federation of the Blind. Every year approximately twenty- five scholarships, ranging in value from $1,800 to $10,000, are presented to the best blind college students in the nation.
Teacher and Agency Director
Joyce Scanlan was born in Fargo, North Dakota, in 1939. She received her elementary and secondary education at the North Dakota School for the Blind. Having a strong love of reading and theater, she went on to earn a B.A. in English and History and a master's degree in English at the University of North Dakota. For the next five years she taught these subjects, along with social studies and Latin, in high schools in North Dakota and Montana. Then glaucoma took the rest of her vision, and Scanlan lost her self-confidence. She says, I quickly fled from the job because I had never known a blind teacher in a public school, and I had had such a struggle those last few weeks in the classroom that I was positive no blind person could ever teach sighted children.
She had trouble finding another job, but as she points out, her own attitudes were as bad as those of her prospective employers. She told a counselor who visited her in the hospital: I've never seen a blind person amount to anything yet, so there's no reason to think I can.
In 1970 the National Federation of the Blind convention was in Minneapolis, and Scanlan attended the meeting of the NFB Teachers Division. She says: I met many teachers there who were blind. In fact, I met blind people from all over the country who were engaged in a great variety of occupations. I learned what the NFB was all about and realized what blind people working together could do. At that convention she also met Tom Scanlan, whom she married four years later.
Joyce Scanlan became active in the NFB in Minnesota. In 1971 she organized a statewide student division. In 1972 she was elected vice president of the NFB of Minnesota and president in 1973. That same year she was appointed to a newly created Minnesota Council on Disabilities the only representative of a consumer organization on the Commission. Until 1988 she served on the advisory council to State Services for the Blind, a body established in large measure because of the work of the NFB of Minnesota. The most exciting undertaking of the NFB of Minnesota, however, has been the establishment of its own rehabilitation center for the adult blind, with Joyce Scanlan serving as its executive director. BLIND, Inc. (Blindness: Learning In New Dimensions) admitted its first class, consisting of two students, in January of 1988. This center is establishing a new standard for rehabilitation services in the Midwest. It is easy to understand why the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota enjoys both respect and prestige. It is also easy to understand why Joyce Scanlan is regarded as able, tough, and determined. Scanlan was elected to the NFB Board of Directors in 1974 and has continued to serve in that capacity ever since. In 1988 she was elected Secretary of the organization. She says: The Federation has made a great difference in my life. I still try to spend time attending the theater and reading, but I want to give as much time as possible to working in the NFB. I wish I had known about it before 1970. I want to be sure every blind person I ever meet hears all about the Federation. If I have any skill as a teacher, I'll use it to benefit the Federation.
Teacher and Wrestling Coach
Allen Harris of Dearborn, Michigan, was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind in 1981. In 1985 he became Secretary, and in 1988 he was elected Treasurer. He says, I take some satisfaction in many of the things I have accomplished in my life, but nothing has given me more pleasure and reward than my work in the Federation. Harris may well take satisfaction in his accomplishments. Blind since birth in 1945, he completed high school at the Michigan School for the Blind in Lansing. He says of this period, The two most valuable things I learned in high school were wrestling and typing. Although I could have used some other things, these two skills have served me well ever since. Allen Harris was a championship wrestler throughout high school and college. He was also a champion debater at Wayne State University and graduated magna cum laude in 1967. Harris then began looking for a teaching position and enrolled in graduate school. At that time high school teachers were much in demand. He sent out 167 applications and went to 96 interviews without receiving a single job offer. After a year of futile search Harris was depressed, and his friends were outraged. One friend went to a meeting of the school board of the Dearborn Public School System. She spoke openly about the blind applicant for a teaching position who was so well qualified, yet was being ignored by scores of school districts. The tactic worked. Officials of the school district said that they were unaware of Harris's candidacy although he had submitted an application. He was called for an interview and hired to teach social studies. In addition to a full-time teaching schedule, he coached high school wrestling, as well as swimming and wrestling for boys from age five to fourteen. He has coached at least six high school wrestling teams that have won league championships and one high school state championship team. His age group swimming teams have won five state conference championships, and his age group wrestling teams have won six. Harris also worked for several years in the administration of the age group program, and the Dearborn teams continued to excel. In 1982 Allen Harris became a social studies teacher at Edsel Ford High School in Dearborn. He became head of the social studies department in 1984. Because of limited time, he gave up the head coaching job and now works only with ninth graders, who have not lost since he has been their coach. In 1985 Harris was selected by the National Council of Social Studies as one of two outstanding teachers of social studies in the state of Michigan. Harris says that he was aware of some Federation materials at the time he was looking for his first teaching position and that he found them helpful, but his real knowledge of and involvement in the Federation began in 1969 when an organizing team came to his door to pay a visit. They told him there was to be a state convention of the Federation that weekend in Lansing and that he should go. He did, and he was elected secretary of the NFB of Michigan. He served as president of the Detroit chapter of the NFB from 1970 to 1975 and has been the president of the NFB of Michigan since 1976.
During the years of Allen Harris's presidency, services to the blind in Michigan have been consolidated into a single and separate commission for the blind, a major victory indeed. In 1983 Harris was appointed by the governor to the board of the Michigan Commission for the Blind, and he was reappointed in 1985 and 1988. He serves as Vice Chairman of the Board.
STEPHEN O. BENSON
Teacher, Rehabilitation Specialist, and Administrator
President of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois, Stephen O. Benson was born in Kewanee, Illinois, in 1941. Blind from birth, he attended the Chicago Public Schools using large print books through the first four grades. He was not excited about attending Braille classes the next year, but he did so and for the first time in his life learned to read well. He also began to learn the other skills of blindness, which he found more efficient than using sight. In high school Benson was barred from taking physical education although he would have liked to do so. He found this prohibition disturbing and nonsensical since he was permitted to take the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) course, swimming in the same pool that the physical education classes used. In fact, in Boy Scouts he was able to earn his swimming merit badge and took life saving. Benson found ROTC a positive experience and enjoyed scouting, but he never could understand why regular physical education classes were off limits.
In 1965 Benson graduated from De Paul University with a major in English and a minor in education. Before he decided to specialize in English, he had intended to major in psychology. The state rehabilitation agency for the blind threatened to cut off financial assistance to him because of his change in plans. According to the experts, blind people could not teach in public schools, and as a result, the rehabilitation officials refused to finance such an absurd major. Benson remembers that his attitude at the time was I dare you to try to stop me! and the government agency backed down. After graduation he prepared himself for the usually difficult task of job-hunting. Surprisingly, he found employment rather quickly, however, as a tenth-grade teacher of honors English at Gordon Technical High School in Chicago. But teaching was not satisfying to Benson. In 1968 he sold insurance while looking for another job. He took one in 1969 with the Veterans Administration Hospital in Hines, Illinois, teaching Braille and techniques of daily living. His title was Rehabilitation Specialist. He continued to work at Hines Blind Rehabilitation Center, Veterans Administration Hospital, until 1983. In 1984 he became assistant director of the Guild for the Blind in Chicago. Benson married Margaret (Peggy) Gull in 1984. They have one child, Patrick Owen, born in 1985.
Benson first joined the National Federation of the Blind in 1968 when a new affiliate was being formed in Illinois. He was immediately elected to the state board of directors. From 1974 to 1978 he served as President of the Chicago chapter, after which he became President of the NFB of Illinois, a post which he has held ever since. He was first elected to the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind in 1982.
Benson has received many honors and appointments. In 1963 and '64 he was president of Lambda Tau Lambda fraternity. From 1976 to 1981 he served on the governing board of the State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in Illinois. He has served on the Advisory Board of the Illinois State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and on the Advisory Board to the Attorney General's Advocacy for the Handicapped Division. Although I have had good blindness skills for many years, Benson says, my involvement in the NFB has imbued me with confidence and perspective on life and blindness that have focused my activities and energized my efforts on my own behalf as well as for other blind people.
CHARLES S. BROWN
Attorney and Federal Official
With a Bachelor's Degree from Harvard and a law degree from Northwestern, Charles Brown should have found the job market both exciting and receptive in 1970, a year of expanded economy and bright prospects, but this was not the case. He had impressive credentials and good grades, but he didn't. He was blind. It was not the first time he had observed adverse and extraordinary treatment of the blind, but it was the first time he had personally faced such serious discrimination. It took him an entire year and more than a hundred interviews before he found a job.
In 1971 Brown became a staff attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and he has received regular promotions ever since. Today he is Counsel for Special Legal Services in the Office of the Solicitor at DOL. The Department has presented Brown with achievement awards five times in 1979, 1985, twice in 1986, and 1987. In 1982 he was presented with the Distinguished Career Service Award, one of DOL's highest honors often presented at the time of retirement. But Attorney Brown was chosen for this honor after only eleven years of service.
Born blind in 1944 with congenital cataracts, Charlie Brown entered a family that expected success from its members, and he met the expectation. He attended Perkins School for the Blind until the eighth grade. Brown then attended Wellesley Senior High School in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and graduated in 1963, going immediately on to Harvard. When he applied to Northwestern Law School, questions were raised about blindness. He answered them satisfactorily and believes he was one of the first blind law students ever to study there.
During summer jobs in 1966, 1967, and 1968 at agencies serving the blind in Chicago, Brown learned firsthand of the abuses of the sheltered workshop system for the blind in this country. It was also at that time that he met Dr. Kenneth Jernigan and made his initial contact with the National Federation of the Blind. Jernigan was speaking at a national conference, which (among other things) was considering ways of improving methods of instruction and increasing the availability of Braille. After the meeting Brown talked with Jernigan and began to subscribe to the Braille Monitor , the Federation's magazine. It was not until 1973, however, when Brown received a personal invitation from a chapter member in Northern Virginia, that he went to a Federation meeting.
Through a chapter in Northern Virginia Brown officially joined the Federation in 1974 and later that year was elected to office. In 1978 he became president of the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia and has been re-elected to that position for successive two-year terms ever since. He was first elected to the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind in 1984.
Brown has always taken an active part in the life of the United Church of Christ. He teaches Sunday school and serves energetically on committees at the Rock Spring Congregational Church and has served generously at the Church's national level. In 1979 he was elected a corporate member of the United Church Board of Homeland Ministries (the body that oversees the missions work of the United Church of Christ). Within two years he was named Chairman of the prestigious Policy and Planning Committee and a member of the Executive Committee, both positions that he filled with distinction for four years.
Brown met his wife Jacqueline during law school, and the couple now has two sons, Richard (born in 1974) and Stephen (born in 1978). Brown says: I used to believe that one had to overcome blindness in order to be successful, but I have come to realize that it is respectable to be blind. Our challenge as Federationists is to persuade society of this truth.
DONALD C. CAPPS
Insurance Executive and Civic Leader
Few more compelling examples of personal independence and social contribution can be found among either sighted or blind Americans than Donald C. Capps of Columbia, South Carolina. Since the inception of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina in 1956, he has served nine two-year terms as president and presently holds that office. Capps was elected to the second vice presidency of the National Federation of the Blind in 1959 and served in that capacity until 1968. In that year he was elected First Vice President and served with distinction in that position until 1984 when, for health reasons, he asked that his name not be placed in nomination. In 1985 Capps (restored in health) was again enthusiastically and unanimously elected to membership on the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind. Born in 1928, Capps was educated at the South Carolina School for the Blind and later in public schools. Following his graduation from high school he enrolled in Draughon's Business College in Columbia and, upon receiving his diploma, joined the Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company of Columbia as a claims examiner trainee. By the time of his retirement, he had risen to the position of Staff Manager of the Claims Department.
Capps first became interested in the organized blind movement in 1953 and by the following year had been elected president of the Columbia Chapter of the Aurora Club of the Blind (now the NFB of South Carolina), which he headed for two years before assuming the presidency of the state organization. Under Capps's energetic leadership the NFB of South Carolina has successfully backed twenty-three pieces of legislation concerning the blind in the state, including establishment of a separate agency serving the blind. Capps edits the Palmetto Blind , the quarterly publication of the NFB of South Carolina, articles from which are frequently reprinted in national journals for the blind. In 1960 Capps directed a campaign which led to construction of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina's $250,000 education and recreation center, which was expanded in 1970, and again in 1978. He now serves as a member of its Board of Trustees. In this role he has been instrumental in establishing full-time daily operation of the Federation Center. In addition, Capps has served for more than thirty years as the successful fundraising chairman of the Columbia Chapter. In 1963 Capps was appointed to the Governor's Committee on the Employment of the Physically Handicapped. In December, 1972, the Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company presented Capps with an award for twenty-five years of efficient, faithful, and loyal service in his managerial capacity. In 1984 Don Capps retired from the Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company after thirty-eight years of service. In 1965 Donald Capps was honored as Handicapped Man of the Year, both by his city of Columbia and by his state. In 1967 he was appointed to the Governor's Statewide Planning Committee on Rehabilitation Needs of the Disabled. Capps was elected president of the Rotary Club of Forest Acres of Columbia in 1974. In 1977 he was elected Vice Chairman of the South Carolina Commission for the Blind Consumer Advisory Committee. Also in 1977, at the annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind, Don Capps received the highest honor that can be bestowed by the organized blind movement, the Jacobus tenBroek Award. Honor and recognition continue to come to Donald Capps. In 1981 he was appointed by the Governor of South Carolina to membership on the Board of Commissioners of the South Carolina School for the Blind, a body on which he now serves as Vice Chairman. In September, 1988, Donald Capps was a member of the NFB delegation to the Second General Assembly of the World Blind Union held in Madrid, Spain.
Betty Capps has been an active Federationist as long as her husband has. The Cappses have two grown children, Craig and Beth, and two grandchildren. Although Donald Capps has retired from business, he continues to be as active and effective as ever in the Federation, exemplifying leadership and confidence. His ongoing dedication to the National Federation of the Blind provides inspiration and encouragement to his many colleagues and friends within and outside the Federation.
Businessman and Community Leader
The President of the National Federation of the Blind of Texas is Glenn Crosby of Houston. He was first elected to that position in 1968 and served until 1970. He was again elected in 1978. Crosby is a successful restaurant owner and manager, having opened his first snack bar in 1968. During the past twenty years he has owned food service businesses at five separate locations, usually two or three at a time. He has served on the school board of All Saints Elementary Catholic School, been a director of the Houston Heights Little League, and been active in several city and county political campaigns.
On April 15, 1989, Glenn Crosby and Norma Beathard were married. Norma is the capable President of the National Federation of the Blind of Houston.
Born in 1945, Glenn Crosby was blinded at the age of three by an accident. He was educated at the Texas School for the Blind. He says that there were so many restrictive rules at that school that the students learned to defy them. It was the only way to survive, he says. We learned (for better or worse) to take risks when we were still young.
The only dating permitted was expeditions to school socials. Students could leave the campus only in groups and only on Saturday afternoons twice a month unless they had specific parental permission for additional trips. Crosby graduated in 1963. The preceding year half the senior class was not graduated because they had left campus a few days before the ceremony for a celebration. The message to the Class of '63 was perhaps not what school officials had intended. The students did not forego their party; they merely took pains to insure that they were not caught. Crosby's assessment of the school's curriculum is that the classes were not bad but that the courses that would have allowed admission to the best colleges and universities were not available.
He earned state championships in wrestling and was offered the opportunity to compete for the Olympics in 1964. Crosby believes that blindness was the reason he was not offered a wrestling scholarship at a prestigious school.
Poor as his education was, Crosby is grateful that he was among the relative handful of blind Texans who were educated at all at the time. Many blind youngsters were sent to the school for the blind as teenagers to learn a trade if they could, and most of these people are now employed in the state's thirteen sheltered workshops, frequently earning painfully low wages. It is not hard to understand why Glenn Crosby devotes a large part of his time and energy to the National Federation of the Blind the consumer organization working to improve the lives and prospects of blind people.
Crosby's first job was with the Poverty Program. The only blind people he knew who earned a decent living worked in food service under the Randolph-Shepherd Program. His parents had been in business and had done some fast food service. Crosby did not want a business run by the state commission for the blind. He believed that he had had enough experience with state bureaucracy at the School for the Blind. Besides, he had learned to take risks young. Crosby does not doubt today that he made the right decision.
If I had not seen it for myself, it would be hard for me to believe that the blind have made as much progress as we have since I have been a part of the Federation a little more than twenty years. There are still thousands of blind people in Texas (and I am sure even more throughout the country) who have never had much of an education or much constructive help. The quality of their lives is poor. One day at a time I try to do my part to help improve the quality of life for all of us who are blind.
ROBERT M. ESCHBACH
Clergyman, Social Worker, and Administrator
In 1932 Robert Eschbach was born in the Philippines, the son of missionary parents. He spent much of his childhood traveling around the world, returning to the United States in 1941 to settle in Michigan. Two years later he lost his sight. He attended public school in Detroit before entering the Ohio State School for the Blind in the ninth grade. He graduated from Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio, with majors in theoretical music and English; and in 1958 he received a Master of Divinity degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.
The Reverend Eschbach served for nine years in the parish ministry. Then, in 1966, he accepted a fellowship in the Division of Religion and Psychology at the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas. The experience persuaded him to begin a career in social work, and he remained in Topeka to earn an M.S.W. degree at the University of Kansas before returning to Dayton in 1969. Eschbach then accepted a job as a therapist at the Eastway Community Mental Health Center in Dayton. His responsibilities were gradually increased until he became community services director. When the character and scope of the agency changed, Eschbach decided to return to the ministry. He and his wife Pat served two churches before he was appointed in 1985 to the position of assistant director of the Ohio Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired.
Bob Eschbach became acquainted with the Federation in 1969 when he was invited to join the Dayton Chapter. He immediately concluded that he had discovered an entirely new way of approaching blindness. He became progressively more involved and committed in his local chapter, and in 1972 he attended the NFB convention in Chicago. It was his first exposure to the national movement, and he returned to Dayton feeling he had discovered the place where he wanted to be. He served as president of the NFB of Ohio from 1973 until 1984. During those years the state affiliate made great strides in unity and achieving progress for the blind. Bob Eschbach has served as a member of the NFB Board of Directors since 1974. He has chaired several committees and currently is President of the National Association of Dog Guide Users, the dog guide division of the NFB.
Other appointments include: member of the Consumer Advisory Council to Rehabilitation Services Administration of the State of Ohio; member of the Task Force on Disabilities for the Ohio West Conference of the United Methodist Church; and member of the Disabilities Task Force for the Ohio Council of Churches. Bob Eschbach is also an active member in Lions International, and he and his wife Pat have each participated in the Columbus, Ohio, Area Leadership Program. In 1982 Eschbach chaired the Citizens With Disabilities for Celeste Campaign for Governor. Eschbach says: The National Federation of the Blind is an important part of my life. Being part of an organization which is concerned about what happens to blind people has demonstrated to me the way service ought to be given and responsibilities shared. It is an easy and natural follow- through to my personal faith.
Teacher and Agency Director
Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1946, Joanne Ziehan Fernandes moved with her parents to Webster City, Iowa, when she was seven. When she was 3, doctors had discovered that she had Retinitis Pigmentosa. She remembers everyone's attitude toward her poor eyesight. No one regarded her as blind, but everyone knew her eye condition could lead to blindness, a fact which friends and family did not want to confront. The whispers taught Fernandes that this being blind was a dreadful thing. She learned to pretend she could see to avoid the pity that would follow if she could not. And she learned to avoid thinking about blindness. It was too awful. Never once can Fernandes remember discussing blindness with a teacher or friend at school. She never met a single blind person. All she knew was that she did not want to be blind or think about it. Being blind wasn't respectable.
After Fernandes graduated from high school, she enrolled in a junior college. At that time the Iowa Commission for the Blind conducted a career day for blind students, which she attended. For the first time she met blind people. They were confident and capable. She decided that at the end of her second year of junior college she would take time out to attend the Orientation and Adjustment Center. Those nine months she describes as the most exciting time of my life. I found freedom, and it wasn't always easy.
In 1969 Joanne Fernandes graduated with honor from Iowa State University, where she received a B.S. in Elementary Education. During one quarter she was selected as a Merrill Palmer Scholar to do advanced work in education in Detroit, Michigan. For the next four years, Fernandes taught elementary school (second and fourth grades) in the Ames, Iowa, public school system. In 1971 she received a Master's degree in Guidance and Counseling. During this time Fernandes helped to organize the North Central Iowa Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind, and she served for several years as its president. From 1977 to 1979 she was first vice president of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa.
In 1973, Fernandes had stopped teaching to begin a family. She is now the mother of 5 children ages 5 to 15. In 1979 she and her husband moved to Louisiana, and here she continued her Federation work. In 1981, Fernandes led the formation of a new NFB chapter in her hometown of Ruston, Louisiana, and forty people attended the first meeting. It was the eighth chapter in the state. Today in Louisiana there are twenty-one chapters. Joanne Fernandes was elected President of the NFB of Louisiana in 1983 and has been elected for successive two-year terms ever since. In 1985, Governor Edwin Edwards recommended to the State Legislature that money be appropriated directly to the NFB of Louisiana for a training center for blind adults, and the prestige and reputation of the organization were such that the legislature responded affirmatively.
The Louisiana Center for the Blind opened in October of 1985 with Joanne Fernandes as its director, and the program which has been built is rapidly coming to be recognized throughout the nation as a model. More than a hundred students have now enrolled in the program, and they graduate ready for competition in the mainstream of society and they graduate not only believing but knowing that it is respectable to be blind.
Homemaker, Girl Scout Administrator, and Community Volunteer
In 1938 Priscilla Pacheco Ferris was born in Dighton, Massachusetts. From the time she was a small child, she knew she had weak eyesight, but she and her family did not know that the condition, Retinitis Pigmentosa, would deteriorate into total blindness. During her early school years Ferris used print, but three years later, when her brother (who had the same eye condition) entered school, the staff refused to teach two blind children. So the Pacheco youngsters enrolled in the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts. When Ferris entered Perkins, she was beginning the fourth grade, and she was expected to learn Braille immediately even though she could still read large print. She remembers that it took her about a month. She didn't feel put upon; it was simply a challenge. Today she recalls this when she must deal with debates about whether a blind child should read Braille or print. Teach both, Ferris says unequivocally. Low-vision children were not too stupid to learn both when I was a kid, and things haven't changed that much since. After high school graduation in 1956, Priscilla Pacheco worked in a curtain factory for a year. She would have liked to go to college but did not have the money. Then she worked for five years in a cookie factory, doing whatever needed to be done, including assembly line work, packaging, and packing. She married Jack Ferris in 1961, and in 1963 she resigned to begin a family. The Ferrises now have two grown daughters.
In 1977, Priscilla Ferris finally had an opportunity to attend business school, where she earned a degree and graduated with distinction. Then she found a job as secretary for the Fall River Public Schools. By the time funding cuts eliminated her position, she was too busy with community activities and work for the Federation to look for another job. Ferris led her first Girl Scout troop while working at the cookie factory in the 1950's. From that time until her own daughters were in Scouts she led troops from time to time. In 1974 she began fourteen years as town Administrator for the Girl Scouts in Somerset, Massachusetts, a job in which she was responsible for the entire scouting program for the city. She quips that, not only can she light a fire in the rain, raise a tent in a storm, and dig a latrine almost anywhere, but she can teach anyone else to. In 1986 she was elected to the Board of Directors of the Girl Scout Council of Plymouth Bay, and she has recently been elected to another three-year term. Ferris's contribution to scouting was recognized by the Council when it presented her with an award as the Outstanding Adult in 1986.
Ferris first heard of the National Federation of the Blind when a new chapter was formed in her area in 1961. She was mildly interested, but she did not join the Federation until 1974, shortly before losing the remainder of her eyesight. In 1976 Ferris was elected president of the Greater Fall River Chapter of the NFB of Massachusetts. She has been re-elected president every year from that time until the present.
In 1977, Ferris was elected second vice president of the NFB of Massachusetts and in 1981 first vice president. In 1985, she was elected President of the National Federation of the Blind of Massachusetts, and she has been re-elected for succeeding two-year terms ever since. She was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind in July of 1987.
In Huntsville, Alabama, the pastor of Lakeside United Methodist Church is the Reverend Frank Lee. Lakeside claims one of the best-educated congregations of United Methodist churches in Alabama. The Reverend Lee has experienced far more discrimination and misunderstanding within the church and outside it because of his blindness than because of his race. When he first became an ordained minister ready for assignment to a church, the conference leadership planned that he would be a conference evangelist serving without salary. He objected because the church to which he hoped to be assigned was being left without a minister. There was no escaping the conclusion that the conference leaders believed a blind person could not handle the responsibilities of a church pastor. Church members in all but one of the churches to which the Reverend Lee has been assigned have also objected at first to having a blind minister, but Lee has always won their love and respect in short order.
In the United Methodist Church in the mid-seventies it was not customary for the pastor to request a particular church. Rather, the conference bishop and district superintendents conferred with local churches to make assignments. The Reverend Lee found that he must depart from this practice and make the request. As a young minister, he had to challenge the decisions of his super-iors, something not calculated ordinarily to gain their confidence and respect, but it was necessary. Winning the trust and affection of church leaders and parishioners has taken time, but Lee has done it.
Frank Lee was born in Semmes, Alabama, in 1942. Soon afterward, his family moved to Dothan. He found himself in the middle of a farm family of fifteen children. When he was six, one eye was injured in an accident. The medicine available to the Lees at the time could not prevent infection from spreading to the other eye, causing total blindness within a few months. Lee feels fortunate that his family learned about the school for the blind in Talladega, and he went there a year later. He remembers crying when he had to leave home and return to school. He also remembers that it was the only way for him to get an education. The academic curriculum was quite good. Lee participated in many sports, including baseball and volleyball, as well as singing in the choir from elementary through high school.
The school Lee attended was the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, which consisted of four separate schools: the white deaf, the white blind, the black deaf, and the black blind. The campus for the black blind was very small, and it was separated from all the others. Frank Lee remembers things that were exciting opportunities to him at the time. In 1952 he was the first child in his part of the school to use the Perkins Braille Writer. In 1962 he was in the third class to graduate from the black blind school. Prior to 1959 there were so few black blind high school students that they took courses in a public school in Talladega, receiving high school diplomas there. While most schools for the blind in the 1950's and early 1960's were just getting a good start at integrating blind youngsters into public school classes, Lee's school was just getting enough blind students to offer a complete high school curriculum. Integration of the races was still almost a decade away. Between 1962 and 1966 Frank Lee spent twenty-one months operating a vending facility under the Randolph-Sheppard program, but he wanted to go to college. He had earned good grades, but not until 1966 could he convince the state rehabilitation agency for the blind to help him. In 1970 he earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Talladega College. During these years Lee worked periodically as a camp counselor and in vending facilities. He was also active in church work. He had been singing in church choirs for years, and in 1962 he preached his first sermon. In 1973 he completed studies at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. He also studied at Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, New York.
In 1976 Frank Lee married Frankie Boyd, whom he met in college. Lee joined the National Federation of the Blind in 1982 and was elected Treasurer of the NFB of Alabama in 1985. In 1986 he was elected to the National Board of Directors and re-elected in 1988.
Rehabilitation Instructor and Outreach Educator
Born in 1934, Betty Niceley was largely raised by her grandparents, who managed a series of country stores in Kentucky. She remembers three of these, each one larger than the one before. The family lived beside the stores, doing whatever needed to be done. It was all part of the family lifestyle stocking shelves, filling orders, cashiering and it was good experience for a blind child who might have had trouble finding work elsewhere. At the age of nine, Betty Niceley left home to attend the Kentucky School for the Blind in Louisville. There she believes she got a reasonably good education. However, she transferred back home to Bell County High School, where she graduated. Her senior class chose her queen and the person most likely to succeed. Niceley attended Georgetown College in central Kentucky where she received a Bachelor's degree in English and a secondary teaching certificate. It was at this time that she met her husband Charles. The Niceleys now have a daughter and two grandsons. Her first real job after graduating from college was with the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville. She did public relations and development work as well as filling in wherever Braille expertise, poise, or common sense were needed. After thirteen years at the Printing House, she changed jobs and began teaching Braille at the Rehabilitation Center operated by the Kentucky Department for the Blind. When the state's Independent Living Center opened in the fall of 1980, she joined the staff and again found herself doing whatever needed to be done. She teaches people of all ages Braille, techniques of daily living, and rudimentary travel skills. She also does virtually all the outreach education for groups who need instruction about blindness and dealing with blind people. Betty Niceley first joined the Federation in 1968, although she had known about it for a long time without, as she puts it, finding the time to get involved. Then, she joined and it was not long before her commitment and performance were such that she was elected Secretary of the National Federation of the Blind of Kentucky. At about this time she was also President of the Greater Louisville Chapter, a position she held until 1975. Niceley has served as President of the National Federation of the Blind of Kentucky since 1979.
In 1977 the State of Kentucky created a separate Department for the Blind, responsible directly to the Governor. Niceley points to this as one of the NFB of Kentucky's many accomplishments of which she is especially proud. When my poor vision worsened and I became totally blind in my senior year of college, I had little trouble adjusting. I had learned to read and write Braille as a child and kept up both skills. That is one of the reasons I have been so excited about the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB). Betty Niceley was elected its first president, a position which she still holds. She was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind in 1985 and re-elected in 1987 and 1989.
Teacher, Administrator, and Government Official
Fred Schroeder, the youngest member of the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind, was born in 1957 in Lima, Peru. His parents decided that he and his brother (six years older) would have better opportunities growing up in the United States, so they took steps to make it happen. By the time he was two, Fred had been adopted by Florence Schroeder of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
When he was seven, Schroeder developed an obscure little-known disorder known as Stephens-Johnson's Syndrome, which caused a gradual deterioration of eyesight and other serious physical problems. By the time he was sixteen, he was totally blind. In order to do his school work during junior high and high school, he used a combination of taped materials, live readers, and simply not doing homework. He was able to take extra courses during these years and still maintain above-average grades. In spite of worsening eyesight, he resisted the idea of learning to read and write Braille. By the time he was a senior in high school, however, he had changed his mind and taught himself to read and write it. He used Braille constantly throughout college. Schroeder received a bachelor's degree in psychology in 1977 from San Francisco State UniversIty. In 1978 he earned a master's in elementary education and qualified for a California teaching certificate. He had then just turned twenty-one. By 1977 Fred Schroeder had attended several conventions of the National Federation of the Blind of California, and in that year he was elected president of the Student Division in that state. He attended his first national convention in Baltimore during July of 1978. While there, he was offered a job as travel instructor at the Orientation and Adjustment Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. Initially Schroeder turned the job down, preferring to teach children. By the time he received his master's in August, however, he had decided to take the job and move to Nebraska, where he worked for two years. During this time he met Cathlene Nusser, a leader in the NFB of Nebraska, and the two were married in January of 1981.
Also during these Nebraska years, Schroeder took course work at San Francisco State University to strengthen his credentials as an instructor in orientation and mobility. In September of 1980 Schroeder moved back to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he became an itinerant teacher of blind children for the Albuquerque Public Schools. He worked for a year in this job before being promoted to the position of Coordinator of Low-Incidence Programs for the Albuquerque Public School System, a job he held with distinction for five years. In 1986 he was appointed director of the newly-established New Mexico Commission for the Blind. In that position he has earned a nationwide reputation as one of the most dynamic and innovative administrators in the field of work with the blind. Schroeder has completed course work for a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of New Mexico. He is currently writing his dissertation on teacher evaluation. Schroeder has served his community and state in a number of positions. He was a member of the Braille Authority of North America from 1982 to 1986 and served as Vice Chairman during part of that time. He served on the governing board of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf in New Mexico beginning in 1984. Schroeder represented the Braille Authority of North America and the National Federation of the Blind at the International Conference on English Literary Braille in London, England, in 1988. Since 1987 he has served on the New Mexico Governor's Committee on Concerns of the Handicapped.
In 1980 Schroeder was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind of New Mexico and in 1982 became the president of the organization, a position he held until 1986. In 1984 Schroeder was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind. From 1983 to 1989 he served as president of the National Association of Blind Educators. Schroeder remembers: In 1978 I was getting a master's degree in the education of blind children, a field in which there was a nationwide shortage. After thirty-five or forty interviews, I didn't have a single job offer. I had to deal first-hand with the very real fact of discrimination against the blind. It is hard to keep an experience like that from eroding your self-confidence. It makes you question whether as a blind person you can compete in society, whether you can get past people's expectations and prejudices to show them what you can really do. The National Federation of the Blind makes the difference. It provides a way for blind people to give each other moral support, encouragement, and meaningful information. It helps people who are coming along to have advantages we didn't and in the very act of encouraging and supporting others, we sustain and nurture our own morale and self-belief.
Business Woman and Public Relations Executive
Born in 1944, Ramona Willoughby Walhof was the second in a family of three blind children, but the word blind was never used when they were small, especially by the ophthalmologists. Nevertheless, even the large print books ordered for the children by the schools did not make reading possible. In the competitive world of the classroom the truth could not be avoided they were blind. So they were packed up and taken more than two hundred miles away from home to enroll in the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School. Walhof remembers that her parents found facing this alternative easier than struggling with a public school system that could not find a way to teach three bright youngsters who could not see print. A school for the blind was better than a school that didn't educate.
Walhof remembers learning to lie about what she could see. She didn't think of it as telling falsehoods, but she says, It made adults happy when they thought I could see things, and at school (even though it was supposedly a school for the blind) one had privileges and responsibilities to the same degree one had usable eyesight. During the summer following second grade Walhof commandeered her brother's Braille slate and stylus and taught herself to write Braille because the school considered her too young to learn it. She was taught to read using Braille, but she understood from the beginning that reading print (if only she could have managed to decipher it) was better.
In 1962 Ramona Willoughby graduated from high school, valedictorian of her class, but she says with an extremely limited education and very little experience. Between high school and college, she took a short course of training at the Iowa Commission for the Blind Orientation and Adjustment Center. It was then that she met Kenneth Jernigan, the Commission's Director. She refused to learn much about the NFB although she now says, The Federation had already begun to have a profound influence on my life. She found college difficult, she says, because her academic background was so weak. Nevertheless, Walhof graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in 1967 with a degree in Russian language.
In 1968 Ramona Willoughby married Chuck Walhof of Boise, Idaho. During the next several years she was busy. She and her husband had two children, and she taught two sessions of Headstart and one course in college Russian. She also managed two vending facilities. After the death of her husband in 1972 she returned to Des Moines, Iowa, first as a teacher and then as an assistant director at the Orientation and Adjustment Center of the Iowa Commission for the Blind.
In 1979 Walhof moved to Baltimore, Maryland, to take a position at the National Center for the Blind as the Assistant Director of the Job Opportunities for the Blind Program, operated jointly by the NFB and the U.S. Department of Labor. In 1982 she returned to Idaho to assume the position of Director of the state Commission for the Blind. Her reputation for innovative approaches and dynamic forthrightness soon reached far beyond the borders of Idaho. In 1984 the blind of the state recognized her achievements by giving her an award in public ceremonies.
Later that year she left government employment to go into private business. Today she operates extensive multi-state public relations and community outreach programs for the blind and other groups. Ramona Walhof has written widely on topics relating to blindness, including the following books: Beginning Braille for Adults, (a teaching manual); Questions Kids Ask about Blindness; A Handbook for Senior Citizens: Rights, Resources, and Responsibilities; and Technical Assistance Guide for Employers.
In 1988 Walhof became president of the National Federation of the Blind of Idaho and was also elected to membership on the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind.
Senior Programmer Analyst and Electronics Technologist
Gary Wunder was born three months prematurely in 1955, the oldest of four children. His family lived in Kansas City, Missouri, and Wunder remembers that since he was blind from birth, he managed to persuade everyone in his family except his father to do precisely what he wanted. It would be many years before Wunder could appreciate his father's instinctive understanding that Gary had to learn to do things for himself.
Wunder tells with amusement the story of his dawning awareness of his blindness. When he was two, his home had sliding glass doors separating the living room from the patio. When those doors were closed, he could not hear and therefore did not know what was happening on the other side and assumed that no one else could either. One day he found several soft drink bottles on the patio and broke them. His father then opened the doors and asked if he had broken the bottles. Gary said he had not and that he did not know how they had been broken. His father then astonished him by saying that both his parents had watched him break the bottles and that his mother was now crying because she had thought surely her baby couldn't tell a lie. Gary's response was to say, Well, she knows better now.
Wunder attended grades one through five at a Kansas City public school. When he was ten, a boy who attended the Missouri School for the Blind persuaded him that he was missing real life by staying at home. At the school, his friend told him kids rode trains and buses. They could bowl and swim and didn't have to listen to parents. As a result, Wunder did some persuading at home and was on hand for sixth grade and some necessary but painful lessons about that real world.
At the close of seventh grade Wunder returned to public schools, having learned several vitally important lessons: He knew the basics of using a white cane; he recognized that his father's demands on him had sprung from strong love and eagerness for his son to succeed; and he understood that people beyond his own family had worth and deserved his respect. But he had also learned that the school for the blind was not the promised land, and he was delighted to be once more in public schools for eighth grade and high school. He was elected to the National Honor Society his senior year but struggled with the mechanics of getting his work done. Braille was not readily available, and readers were hard to recruit without the money to pay them. Wunder planned to attend the University of Missouri at Kansas City in order to live with his grandmother, but after a taste of freedom at the orientation center in Columbia, Missouri, the summer before college he decided to enroll at the University's Columbia campus, where everyone walked everywhere and where he could contrive as many as three or four dates an evening if he hurried from place to place.
Wunder enjoys recounting the adventure which persuaded him that a blind person should always carry a white cane: I was having dinner with a young woman who lived near me, so I had not brought my cane, figuring that I wouldn't need it. To my consternation and her distress, my plate of liver and onions slid into my lap. She asked if I wanted her to walk me home so that I could change. I was already so embarrassed that I assured her I would be right back and that I did not need her assistance. The busiest intersection in Columbia lay between me and clean slacks, and after I successfully survived that street crossing, I swore that I would never again be caught without my cane. Wunder decided to major in political science and philosophy because he felt compelled to avoid the science and math that he loved but feared to take. During his sophomore year he met a professor from Central Missouri State University who suggested that he was ducking the challenge. Together they explored the question of whether or not a blind person could follow schematics and read volt-meters. The answers seemed to be yes, so Wunder transferred to Central Missouri State, where he graduated in 1977 with a degree in electronics technology. He had done well with the courses, but he did not see how he could run a repair shop with its responsibility for mastering hundreds of schematics for appliances. He could teach electronics, but the professors from whom he had learned the most were those who had firsthand experience. He didn't want to be the theory-only kind of teacher.
Wunder looked for interim jobs after graduation while he tried to decide what to do, and he discovered the hard way that blind job-seekers have to be better than the competition in order to be considered at all. He vowed to become so well-trained at doing something that would-be employers could not ignore him. Wunder enrolled in a ten- month course in computer programming offered by the Extension Division of the University of Missouri. No blind person had ever entered the program before, but Wunder completed it successfully and was hired immediately (in the fall of 1978) by the Pathology Department of the University of Missouri Hospital and Clinics in Columbia. Years and promotions later, Wunder is successfully working at the hospital and is now a Senior Programmer Analyst in the Information Services Department.
Wunder first learned about the National Federation of the Blind the summer before his senior year of high school. He says, In the beginning I thought this talk about discrimination was a pretty good racket. No one did those things to me, and I assumed that all this Federation talk about jobs' being denied and parents' having children taken away from them was an effective way of raising funds. I didn't realize that my father's name and reputation in my hometown were protecting me from the worst of real life. So far I had gotten what I wanted, including a motorcycle to ride on our farm and my own horse. It was some time before I recognized that these talented and committed blind people whom I was getting to know in the Federation were trying to teach me about the world that I was going to inherit. They frightened me a little, but more and more I wanted to be like them.
In late 1973 (several months after Wunder started college in Columbia, Missouri, a Federation organizing team arrived to establish a new chapter, and he took an active part in the preparations. Wunder was elected President, and when he transferred to Central Missouri State two years later, he organized a chapter in Warrensburg. In 1977 Wunder was elected First Vice President of the NFB of Missouri, and in 1979 he became President. Except for one two-year term, he has continued in that post ever since. Wunder was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind in 1985. Wunder is a devoted family man. He is married to the former Sue Micich, who was at the time of their marriage President of the NFB of Wisconsin.
Looking back reflectively over the years of his involvement with and commitment to the Federation, Wunder says: Of all I learned from my parents about honor, responsibility, and the necessity to be competent, what I could never get from them was a sense of where blind people fit in a world composed mostly of sighted people. Friends and loved ones had always told me how wonderful I was (wonderful for a blind person, that is), but until I came to know members of the National Federation of the Blind, no one had the experience or knowledge to say how I could expect to measure up alongside the sighted. The NFB was the first place where I didn't get a round of applause for performing the routine activities of life. If I wanted my Federation colleagues' recognition and admiration, I had to merit this attention. It sounds contradictory, but while I was learning that I wouldn't be applauded for insignificant accomplishments, I was also learning that I didn't have to possess special compensatory senses or talents to make my way in the world. When you think that your only opportunity for success lies in being a musician, when you know that your only musical talent is in listening, and when you suddenly find that you are capable of doing the average job in the average place of business, your sense of freedom, hope, and possibility know no bounds.
by Malcolm Ritter (AP)
The following article is reprinted from the Spring, 1989, edition of The Voice of the Diabetic, the publication of the Diabetics Division of the National Federation of the Blind. It first appeared in the December 17, 1988, edition of The News-Leader of Springfield, Missouri.
Scientists say they have isolated a hormone that may play a key role in causing the most common form of diabetes, a step that might lead to new treatments.
The hormone appears to be responsible for the obesity, reduced insulin secretion and reduced effectiveness of insulin observed in Type II diabetes, said researcher Garth Cooper. Currently, obesity is considered a major contributor to the disease rather than a symptom of it.
Cooper, a New Zealand biochemist, is working with researchers at Oxford University. He said the substance, which the researchers named amylin, is normally undetectable but was found in high levels in the pancreases of diabetics.
The work is a very important finding if amylin truly blocks insulin and appears in abnormal amounts in diabetics, said F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, an authority on Type II diabetes. Scientists already knew of another pancreatic hormone that blocks insulin, but it is not found in abnormal levels in diabetics, said Pi-Sunyer, director of the endocrinology, diabetes and nutrition division at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York.
Insulin normally controls the level of blood sugar. In Type II diabetes, also called non-insulin-dependent diabetes, the body's insulin is not effective and blood-sugar levels rise too high. Complications can include kidney disease, blindness, and gangrene, which can require a leg and foot amputation. Type II diabetes afflicts the vast majority of the nation's estimated 11 million diabetics, according to the American Diabetes Association. It often can be controlled through diet and exercise.
The amylin research opens the door to the scientific study of the disease at a level that wasn't possible before, and potentially the mechanisms that we uncover may be very wide ranging, Cooper said.
He said researchers hope to develop substances that block amylin's secretion or action, opening the possibility of treatment. He also said researchers hope to develop a test to detect diabetes very early in its development.
by Randy Black
From the Editor: Randy Black, who is the supervisor of the registrar's information desk at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, is president of the Dane County chapter and a member of the board of directors of the National Federation of the Blind of Wisconsin. He frequently gives presentations to public school students in the lower elementary grades to teach them about blindness. The following article recently appeared in Education Forward, a publication of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
Americans fear blindness more than any other disability. This isn't surprising; for thousands of years, blindness has been associated with helplessness, darkness, and begging. Blindness has been thought of as a punishment for sin. Promoting a positive attitude about blindness is one of the goals of the National Federation of the Blind. The philosophy of this organization is simple: It's respectable to be blind. With proper training in alternative techniques such as using Braille, and cane and dog guides, the average blind person can work and live in society as an equal with the sighted. Educating children about blindness is one way to combat the negative attitudes many people have about this condition. Discrimination against the blind will end only when children learn to think of blindness positively. I spoke to Arlene Pullara's second-grade class at Glenn Stephens Elementary School in Madison early in 1988. Her students were full of questions, and the presentation went well. I was invited back to talk about blindness to each of the school's K-5 classes on December 10.
In each of the classes, I began by asking the children what they thought blindness was like. The most interesting concept came from a little boy who said blindness was being up in space without any gravity. Most of the children had very similar ideas about blindness. Some said being blind was like having your eyes glued shut without ever being able to open them. Others said it means always having to to ask other people to do things for you. A few felt blindness meant never knowing what other people looked like. Nearly all the children felt being blind meant a lack of awareness about your environment.
None of these ideas was surprising; many adults have the same fears and misconceptions. People of all ages commonly think that blindness means darkness, and this was the standard response from the children at Glenn Stephens. I told them that many blind people have some residual sight and that only a small portion of the visually-impaired population is totally blind. The true test of blindness is not always the amount of vision a person has, but whether the individual must use alternative techniques to accomplish a task.
Visual aids make any talk more interesting, and I made sure I had plenty to show. To demonstrate the concept of Braille, I used a six-hole muffin tin. The response of sighted people to the idea of blind people reading those tiny bumps of Braille is almost always the same they are amazed that blind people can read the dots with their fingers.
When I discuss independent travel, my dog guide Ivan is the best visual aid available. Children are fascinated by dogs, and they are curious about how Ivan can get me from place to place even though I can't see where he's taking me. It's essential children understand that Ivan doesn't have a little map inside his head that determines where we're going; I have to give the correct commands, and we have to work as a team or else we won't get to our destination.
I'm never quite sure what questions children will ask, and they always have a few surprises. At Glenn Stephens, one child asked how I knew what kind of breakfast cereal I ate. Another asked how I learned to tie my shoes. I've already been asked how I know what day of the week it is.
Some might find these questions cute, and I always respond to a child's curiosity. But these are the same kinds of questions adults will ask about blindness. A friend once remarked how well I poured soda from a pitcher into a cup. A news director at a Milwaukee radio station asked if I was afraid of getting lost in a newsroom the size of a small apartment living room. And more than a few people have asked how I know which bus I'm riding or how Ivan knows when a stoplight turns green. The point I try to make when answering these questions is that blindness doesn't prevent a person from thinking clearly and coherently. Sight is a nice sense to have; treasure it. But sight in and of itself doesn't make tying shoes or pouring soda into a glass any more or less difficult these tasks are done with your hands.
What did I accomplish by speaking to the students of Glenn Stephens Elementary School? I think I helped to dispel some of the myths and fears about blindness. I also think I helped to break up a portion of the circle of discrimination blind people face every day.
Part of my pay came in the form of some wonderful thank-you notes from the students and teachers of Glenn Stephens School. On one, the student cleverly tried to approximate Braille words with drops of dried glue. Another note had a silhouette of a dog cut out of felt. Two notes in particular touched me. One said the class better understands blindness now. The other said I had taught [them] a lot about being blind. If I'm to believe the children at Glenn Stephens, today's youngsters understand that it's respectable to be blind. If they do, the blind of tomorrow will learn about discrimination from history textbooks, not from their daily encounter with the sighted.
by Lauren L. Eckery
As Monitor readers know, Lauren Eckery is a thoughtful and dedicated Federationist, who often writes with wit and insight for News from Blind Nebraskans, the newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska. She and her husband Jerry participate fully in the life of their community, always making efforts to educate the public about the abilities of blind people. The latest chapter in their adventures is reprinted here from the Winter-Spring, 1989 edition of the Nebraska newsletter:
Many of us who venture frequently from the comfortable and safe surroundings of our own homes find discrimination running rampant, sometimes in the most unlikely circumstances. Take for example eating out. When I have recounted some of my experiences to others, including some who are blind, they think that I am exaggerating, fabricating, or being paranoid in short, they make any explanation that will allow them to duck the poignancy and the reality of the situation. They cannot recognize that these incidents often occur because of other people's less-than-positive attitudes toward blindness. Many of the blind people I know either do not eat out or else go with those who are sighted and therefore are much less likely to have such experiences. They say, That's never happened to me. You and Jerry must have done something to bring it on. What are some of the things which have happened to us in the past several years in our attempts to eat in various restaurants? Sharing our adventures may comfort other people who have had similar experiences. I trust that they will amuse and educate those who have not.
We are often seated at a table near the door on the assumption, I suppose, that this is easier for us. It has happened so often that now we state our preference for a secluded table the minute we suspect that we are being led to a table near the entrance. One restaurant actually refused to serve us because we don't have a table near the door. They would seat us nowhere else, so we gave them no business. On some occasions, we have been led to a particular table because so-and-so (another blind person) likes it it's their favorite, so we'll give it to you. These folks, like many others, have a hard time understanding that we prefer to decide for ourselves where we will sit. In another restaurant we were told that we could not be served because they didn't have menus in Braille. We tried to explain that we usually handle this by having someone read the menu to us, but they wouldn't have it! We have also had the opposite experience. Our requests to Braille the menus have been met defensively because After all, you don't need the menu in Braille. We would be glad to read it to you. Often we are confronted with the assumption that we are merely children. The waiter speaks too loudly, tries to decide for us what we want to order, asks a sighted person with us what we want, warns us that the food is hot when the plate is brought to the table, and insists (despite our protests) on describing the location of the food on the plate. On one occasion a server handed the print menu to our daughter Lynden when she was only two years old, expecting her to read it to us. We have had people suggest that we not order a certain item because it cannot be eaten with the hands.
Then there's the charity problem. Several times we have been approached by the waiter, informing us that our meal has been paid for by a gentleman across the way who admires you. We do not like to accept such a gift because to us it connotes pity. To make matters worse, we rarely are able to explain our position to the charitable person because he has already left the restaurant. We have tried to instruct the management of favorite restaurants not to allow this charity, only to be told that so-and-so, who is blind, eats there often and apparently appreciates other people's generosity more than we do. If we are accompanied by a sighted friend, the server automatically assumes that he or she will pay the bill. Once, when I was a graduate student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, a student friend and I went to lunch together. She had asked if blind people were ever treated rudely in restaurants. I replied that she would probably find out firsthand. I warned her not to be surprised if she were asked what I wanted to order. This did indeed occur, and my friend roared with laughter, and said, Ask her! How do I know what she wants! Later, we were giggling over the question of whether the waiter would give the check to her or to me. I was paying the bill that day. In our jocularity, we made a bet of a dessert that the check would be given to her. Indeed, the check came to her, and she laughed again. I pulled out my bills and was paying the check, when my friend quite suddenly became quiet. When the waiter walked away out of earshot, she said, Lauren, you should have seen the look of shock on his face. First he looked like he felt sorry for you. Then he looked at me sternly like, 'Is this some kind of game?' Then he looked at you with the longest stare of disbelief as you held and held and held your hand out with the money. She suddenly realized that this was no laughing matter; it was something I deal with every day. She had heard me talk about discrimination several times in class and had thought she understood what I was saying. But it was on this day that she actually witnessed it first-hand. After this experience, she began to recognize many acts of discrimination toward me some so subtle that she hadn't noticed them before, and others so blatant that previously she would have looked away in order to avoid them.
These incidents do not occur every time we go out to eat. Many people have been very reasonable and gracious with us and make it obvious that they want our business. We usually return to their establishments. But recently we had what seems to me to be the epitome of bizarre restaurant experiences, and it all occurred in twenty minutes' time. Jerry and I (without Lynden) walked into a restaurant in Benson, a section of Omaha. First they panicked because the floor was not level, and they were afraid we might fall (the tables were on slightly elevated terraces). Then we waited for a long time while in the kitchen the staff discussed what to do with us. Finally a waitress came to our table, asking What are we hungry for today? The use of the word we in this case was certainly inappropriate. This question is asked of us often, and it is difficult for some people to understand that we cannot tell them what we want until we know what they have. This waitress did not like the idea of reading the menu, since that would take too long. Do you want a burger? she asked. (Well, that was one clue. They had burgers!) When we concluded that they didn't have time to serve us, another young woman bounded across the room yelling, I'll take care of you! I'll take care of you! Don't leave! She read the menu to us and started to decide for us what we wanted. We made our own choices, in spite of her efforts to control the situation. She brought our drink glasses only half filled, probably on the assumption that we would spill them if they were full. She placed mine where it belonged without incident, but when she brought Jerry's, she made a big scene about where she was going to put it. She grabbed his hand to show him where the glass was, and when he tried to get free, the glass slid to the edge of the table. She yelled, You're gonna spill it! You're gonna spill it! I'm trying to show you where it is, but you won't let me! Other patrons (thank goodness, not many) were, of course, fascinated by this exchange. We were becoming embarrassed and outraged and were rapidly losing our appetites. The young woman began telling us that she was glad she was not blind but that she wanted to help those who were and that she would do anything we wanted her to. She mentioned a relative or friend who was blind and could not get around by himself and assured us that she was always glad to help him. We have heard this kind of story often. It was interesting that she never raised the question of how we got to the restaurant by ourselves.
When we were told that our order was number four and that it would be almost half an hour before it would be ready, we had had it! We got up to settle our bill and leave, but our waitress insisted on paying for our drinks for all the trouble. She had finally realized that she was not handling things well and that we were very uncomfortable. We tried to explain that blind people are not helpless, to which she replied that she had never said we were helpless, and that we shouldn't take things so personally just let people help us. We put our money on the table and stepped off the incline as the woman yelled, Don't fall! We probably escaped far faster than she expected two blind people to move.
We had shopped in this part of Omaha before and had visited the restaurant U.S. Potato on several occasions. The owners had initially been uptight and overprotective of us but had listened when we explained about our blindness. They eventually welcomed us and remembered what we liked but always reread the menu so that we could make our own choices. This restaurant was a block and a half away from the one we had just fled, so we knew we had an alternative.
To our relief we did have a fine lunch at U.S. Potato, where we received the kind of treatment we expect at a restaurant. We told the owners about our recent experience, hoping they would understand how much we appreciated their business and good food. We were back to the real potato, and it was wonderful!
by Jan Bailey
The following remarks were made at the parents' seminar conducted May 19, 1989, in conjunction with the convention of the National Federation of the Blind of South Dakota. Jan Bailey is one of the leaders of the NFB of Minnesota and works as a counselor for the rehabilitation agency in that state. As you will note, she also has remarkable parents. It is not difficult to understand why Jan Bailey has grown up to be such a well-adjusted, sensible person. Her parents certainly deserve much credit for employing practical good sense and acting on their conviction that their little daughter was, when all was said and done, a normal child. Meet Mr. and Mrs. Bailey as the South Dakota parents and teachers did. Here is the tribute their daughter paid to them:
I am the fourth of nine children, and prior to my birth, my parents had very little knowledge about or exposure to blind people. I once asked my mother how she learned that I was blind. She told me that she took me for a check-up when I was four or five months old and mentioned to the doctor that I did not appear to look at things. He examined my eyes and told her that I was blind. Afterward, my mother got on the streetcar to go home and suddenly began to panic. She wondered what she would do. For a split second she considered putting me down on the seat and leaving me there. Then, she remembered a blind man she had known. He had led a very normal life. He was married, had children, and held a job. She decided that if that was possible for him, then it would be possible for me.
This anecdote illustrates my belief that it is desperately important for parents of blind children to have contact with capable blind adults. We can be role models for your children and can help you as that blind man helped my mother. The National Federation of the Blind is an excellent resource for parents because our membership is made up of thousands of blind people who are leading normal lives.
Like many parents, mine went from doctor to doctor trying to have my sight restored. Part of the problem was that all of the facts about my blindness were not known at that time. The experts did not all recognize that my blindness was caused by receiving too much oxygen in the incubator. Finally, when I was about a year old, my parents took me to a renowned specialist in Salt Lake City, Utah. The doctor examined me and then told my parents, Quit going to doctors. There is nothing that can be done for your daughter's eyes. She will always be blind. Take her home and treat her just like the rest of your children. To the best of their ability, they did just that. One of the first discoveries my parents made was that I was afraid of a number of things. I disliked anything fuzzy, I did not like loud noises, and I was terrified of the grass. My mother just kept exposing me to fuzzy objects, and one good thing came out of the phobia before I was cured of it. I had developed a habit of throwing my empty bottle out of the crib every night. Since they were made of glass, each night the bottle broke. My mother decided to remedy this situation by wrapping my bottle in a diaper and putting rubber bands around it, but I would have nothing to do with it. I was now afraid of my fuzzy bottle, and I never drank from one again. My mother, however, was persistent and kept exposing me to soft, fuzzy objects, and I soon outgrew that fear.
Since that time I have met a number of blind children with phobias, and I often find that their parents give in, removing the feared objects from their vicinity. My mother theorized that some of my fears developed because I did not see others around me handling objects. She also concluded that when I went to new places and heard noises I had never heard before, I was frightened because I couldn't associate the sound with anything I recognized. She kept exposing me to the things I was afraid of, explaining them and making me touch as many of them as possible. Her theory was that most babies and small children are attracted by what they see. They want what they observe others using. She made a point of taking me everywhere and making me do things. She says I would have been perfectly content to sit in a corner and play, but she would not allow me to do so. She, my father, or one of my brothers or sisters would make me play with them. Once my father had accepted my blindness, he decided to order some literature about blind children. He received a book in the mail that said: Put your blind child in a cardboard box in a dark room. Your blind child is very fragile. Let your child explore the box and then the room. My father threw that book away and told my mother that if that was what the experts had to say on the subject, he figured he could manage on his own. He said common sense told him that was the worst piece of advice he had ever received.
When I was two years old, I suddenly stopped talking. I had spoken a few words, but then I quit. After several days, my father said that he'd had enough. He went over to the high chair where I was sitting, picked me up, and sat me down hard. Say Mama, he said. I said it. Then he picked me up again and sat me down hard and said, Say Dada. I said it, and from then on I had no more difficulty talking.
At around the same time, my father told me that he was going to show me where things were in the house. He said that I could not be running into them and that I must learn my way around. He took me through all of the rooms and showed me where everything was. Then he said, Now, when I tell you `Keep your eyes open,' you'll know that I mean to keep your feelers working and your smeller working and your ears working. It would sound funny if I said that, so you'll know what I mean when I tell you to keep your eyes open. A short time later I came running into the dining room from the kitchen where I had been playing. I hit my forehead hard on the dining room table, fell down, and began to cry. My mother jumped up to comfort me, but my father told her to let him handle it. He went over, picked me up, gave me a swat on my back end, and said Now, don't you remember, I showed you where that table was. You can't be running into things. Next time, keep your eyes open. My mother told him she thought he was being too hard on me, but he said I had to learn. I soon stopped crying and went back to playing. A few minutes later, I came running into the dining room again. My father said that you could hardly have put a hair between my forehead and that table before I swerved. I never ran into the table again.
As I mentioned earlier, I was terrified of the grass when I was a young child. Each time my mother went out to hang clothes, she took me with her and put me down on the lawn. I always crawled over onto the cement or gravel, preferring that to the grass. Eventually my father told my mother that he was going to do something about the situation. He took me out to the back yard and proceeded to roll me around on the grass. I began to scream, and the neighbors came running. They told him that he was cruel, but he ignored them. He took me back into the house and told my mother not to say anything more about the grass. I pouted for a few days before coming to my mother one day and asking for my hat and coat. That meant I wanted to go outside to play. She helped me to put on my things and watched me as I went out. I went over to the grass and cautiously extended my toe and touched it. I waited for a second and then explored it with my foot. Soon I was rolling around on the lawn and after that had no fear of grass. When I was quite young, I remember hearing my mother tell someone that one day she had gone to the store with my father, my brother and sisters, and me. A woman was giving out samples of cheese and crackers. She asked if we would like some, and my mother said we would. The woman proceeded to give us each a cracker. When my turn came, my mother told her that I was blind and just to put the cracker into my hand. The woman began lamenting about how awful it was. My mother simply said, You don't have to feel sorry for her; just give her the cracker. As young as I was when I first heard this anecdote, it still told me that my parents did not want others to pity me and that they wanted me to be treated like everyone else. My father has often told me that when I was small, I had some rather strange ideas. One day I handed him a chicken bone from which I had eaten all the meat and asked him to put some more chicken on it. Another day I asked him to lift me up so I could touch the sky. On such occasions he tried to explain the true nature of things so that I would not continue to have misconceptions about my surroundings. He did have quite a time, though, making me understand that I couldn't touch the sky, because he always made a point of letting me touch things in order for me to learn about them.
Once I wanted to touch an elephant at the zoo. My father persuaded the zoo keeper to let me go into the cage and touch it. He didn't want to give me preferential treatment, so he persuaded the poor keeper to let my brothers and sisters go in also. When I was quite young, a woman from the welfare department who had learned I was blind came to visit my mother. She showed my mother a large wooden shoe and some pieces of cloth with buttons, buttonholes, and snaps on them. She tried to persuade my mother that she needed to purchase these things to teach me to tie my shoes, button my dress, and snap snaps. My mother told her that first, she didn't have the money to buy those things, and second, she didn't see any need for them. She said that when I needed to learn these things, she would teach me using my own clothing. When I was ready to go to kindergarten, I announced that I wanted to learn how to zip my jacket. I told her that I didn't want to have to ask the teacher to do it for me. I was to go to kindergarten at noon, and I pestered her all morning until I finally learned how to zip that jacket. In the first grade I began to learn to read. I was very anxious to master this skill because I had heard some talking books, and I wanted to read just like the readers on the records. One day, however, I came home from school in tears and told my parents that my teacher had said that I would not be allowed to check out library books while in first grade. My father could not understand this and so decided to phone the principal. Neither the principal nor the superintendent would overrule my teacher. So, my father called her directly. He tried calmly to persuade her that I should be allowed to check out library books. Finally in exasperation, he said, Do you have any children?
No, said the teacher.
Well, he retorted, I have six of them, and I know that when children are anxious to learn, you shouldn't discourage them. But the teacher wouldn't be moved, so my father told me to go and talk to the librarian. She asked me if I knew what a little white lie was. I told her I didn't. She said that it was a lie that wouldn't hurt anyone. She then told me to tuck a book under my coat and bring it back when I was finished reading it, and she would give me another one. I secretly read library books all during first grade.
Then there was the matter of my walking to school. I announced one day when I was six or seven years old that I thought I should be allowed to walk to school since my brothers and sisters could. Moreover, I wanted to walk by myself. I did not have a cane; back then children didn't use them. My father said that he would show me the way to school, and I could go by myself. After a couple of weeks, I again announced one morning at breakfast that I wanted to walk to school by myself. My father replied that I had been doing so. No, I haven't, I said. You've been following me. He admitted that he had been, but he promised that that morning he would not. I could walk to school all by myself. That night, I came home in tears and told my parents that the superintendent had come out to meet me at the driveway of the school when he saw that my father was not following me. That was not the end of it. A few days later my father got a phone call. Mr. Bailey, the superintendent said, You are causing a problem in our school. You are allowing your daughter to walk to school by herself. She has told the other students about it, and now they want to do the same thing. I should point out here that I was attending the Washington School for the Blind in Vancouver, Washington, but I was a day student. There were many other day students in town, and it was their parents who had complained. My father refused to comply with the request. He told the superintendent to tell those parents that they could raise their children the way they wanted to, and he would raise his the way he wanted.
At the age of seven or eight, I told my father I wanted to roller skate. He told me that he would take me out and put a pair of skates on me and take them off again, once. If I could get them back on, I could go skating. I don't suppose he thought I would be able to do it, but we went out and sat on the steps. He showed me one time how to clamp the skates on, how to use a skate key, and how to buckle the straps. After he removed the skates, I put them back on myself. Then he told me I had some boundaries. I could go around the block. If I wanted to roller skate, I had to stay within my boundaries. I skated for hours. That night, the neighbors complained about it. They told my father that it was dangerous and that I would hurt myself. They said it wasn't safe for me to go skating around the block by myself. Again, my father ignored their advice. He told them that if I hurt myself too many times, I would give up roller skating. I did fall down repeatedly. In fact that first day, my legs were bleeding badly when I was through, but I persisted and soon rarely fell. I also rode my tricycle around the block another thing the neighbors didn't approve of. Soon, however, I wanted a bicycle. I worked hard to master the skill, but I soon tired of falling off and gave it up. I guess my father's theory was right. When I hurt myself enough, I made my own choices about what I would and could do.
At age ten or eleven, I became a Campfire Girl. Each year after that my sister and I went door to door selling candy. She went down one block, and I went down another. One year we sold enough candy to earn a campship, which meant that since both of us planned to attend, our parents would have to pay half the cost for each of us. After we had successfully sold all of the candy, my Campfire leader told my parents that I would not be allowed to attend camp because I was blind. They pointed out that my sister could use the whole campship. My father would have none of it. He told the Campfire officials that if I was good enough to sell their candy, then I was good enough to go to their camp. He suggested that they let me come to their camp, and if I caused any problems, he would come and pick me up. I went off to camp and had a great time.
When I was twelve or thirteen years old, I told my mother I wanted her to teach me how to iron. She said that I could not do so because I might burn myself. I recognized that she believed my blindness prevented my learning. This made me angry. I went to my father and tried to get him to intervene, but this time he sided with my mother. One day when they had gone downtown, leaving my older sister in charge, I saw my opportunity. I told her that if she would show me how to iron, I would press all of her clothes. When my parents returned home, there I was, ironing. They never said another word about it.
We moved to Minnesota when I was twelve. There I attended the Minnesota Braille and Sight Saving School until I was a sophomore. That year I took half of my classes at the public high school. The next year I told my parents that I wanted to go to public school. Since we lived in Faribault, where the Braille School was located, the public school denied me entrance. They did admit a partially sighted student. However, they said that I would not be able to read the books in their library, and that I would use all of my energy trying to find my way around the school. I would be too tired to study. I had gone to Minneapolis the summer after my sophomore year to a rehabilitation center to learn how to use a cane. So I took a day off, returned by bus to Faribault by myself, and went to call on the Superintendent to plead my case. He refused to see me. The school district took the position that since the schools for the deaf and blind were in Faribault, they did not have to let disabled students attend public schools. This was before the passage of Public Law 94-142. I wrote to my state senator and representative, my United States senator, and to the governor of the state. But they all wrote back to say that they were sorry but my problem was out of their jurisdiction. Since my parents had very little extra money, they could not afford to hire a lawyer. I wish I had known then about the National Federation of the Blind. When I was going through that struggle, I felt very alone. I didn't know that other blind people had similar problems.
My parents heard that a Catholic school in Faribault (Bethelehem Academy) had enrolled deaf students since the public schools would not admit them either. My father and I went to Bethelehem Academy and persuaded the principal to admit me. My parents had eight children at the time and did not have the two hundred dollars for my tuition. That summer my mother went to work in the corn canning plant to earn enough for my tuition and uniform, and in the fall I entered Bethelehem Academy, where I was on the honor roll.
During my sophomore year in college I came home and told my parents that I wanted to move off campus into an apartment with a friend. They said that they would not allow me to do so, and despite my many arguments, they did not relent. When I returned to school, I wrote them a letter reminding them that they had always taught me to be independent and giving them many reasons why I felt they should let me move into an apartment. My mother wrote back and said that anyone who could think up that many arguments and present them so eloquently should win the point. They relented and let me move in with my friend. When I graduated from college, my rehabilitation counselor encouraged me to go to graduate school to become one myself. I resisted doing this because I wanted to get a job in social work, for which I had been trained. I think in the back of my mind I also wanted to know for a certainty that I could compete in something other than work with the blind. Five years later I left Las Vegas where I had been working in a nursing home as a social worker and returned to Minnesota. I heard about a job opening in the Rochester district office of Minnesota State Services for the Blind, applied for it, and was hired. I decided to take that job because I knew that there are many blind people who have not had good opportunities and I wanted to have a hand in making some changes in the rehabilitation system.
I realize that I was fortunate to have the parents I had, who taught me early in life that they had high expectations for me and that I could live a normal and productive life. That is my hope for you today: that you will have high expectations for your children and that you will let them know you believe they can succeed.
Mary Brunoli retired March 31, 1989, from her vending facility in the Hartford, Connecticut, State Office Building. Pleasant and interesting as this fact may be to her and her friends, this piece of news would not ordinarily find its way into the pages of the Braille Monitor. But Mary has conducted business at one vending stand for longer than any other vendor in the state of Connecticut, and perhaps longer than any other vendor in the country. However, (see next article in this issue) she does not hold the record for the longest unbroken service as a vendor. Until April 1, 1989, Mary Brunoli opened her stand every day for forty-seven and a half years! She took vacations our national conventions wouldn't be the same without her and she missed work a total of four days because of illness. There are not many people anywhere who have compiled such an impressive record of faithful service. Here is what the newspaper and the Governor of Connecticut had to say on the occasion of her retirement:
Office of the Governor
March 30, 1989
It is indeed a high privilege for me to extend my best wishes to you on the occasion of your retirement.
As the first vending facility operator for the Board of Education and Services for the Blind, at the number 1 station, for 47 and one half years, you have served the people of Connecticut with dedication and courtesy. You have made a tremendous contribution to the people of our State but more importantly, as a role model and mentor to our blind citizens throughout the State and nation. Your outstanding record of performance and dedication and the quality of your work certainly reflect the highest standards of professionalism.
You can take great pride in having played a significant role in State government. I join with our many friends and associates in wishing you continued good health and reward in the years ahead.
With all good wishes to you and your family, I remain
William A. O'Neill
From the March 29, 1989, edition of The Hartford Courant:
Up Her Long Stand
Candy, Notions Vendor to Retire After 47 Years
by Charles F.J. Morse
Mary Brunoli of Hartford is one of the state's sweet historic landmarks. She has never seen Connecticut but has served it with cheer and grace from a corner pocket of the State Office Building on Capitol Avenue. For 47 ½ years she has offered a 7-by-18-foot oasis of candy, razor blades, batteries, cough drops, cigarettes, and whatnot on the massive building's lower floor.
This vending facility is Mary's Canderia, the hand-drawn sign on the wall behind her proclaims with a dash of wit. There are Tootsie Rolls at 2 cents apiece. She's sold lottery tickets to two $10,000 winners and offered pork rinds years ahead of George Bush.
When she began in September 1941, the candy stand was a way to meet the world, to gain confidence. Brunoli remembers that as a shy, 26-year-old woman fresh out of the Connecticut School for the Blind now Oak Hill School she was called mousy. The pay was $8 a week.
In the years since then, she thinks she missed as many as four or five days of work, not counting vacations. I just felt people depended on me being there, she said earlier this month, behind the landmark smile and the dark glasses with the perky white frames.
Friday will be her last day of work. She will retire to work on her Braille; to play again on the piano her beloved Chopin; to give more time to the National Federation of the Blind and even more to her church, the Church of the Immaculate Conception on Park Street, where she is a proud and articulate lector. She also plans to work on The Wedding of the Pencil and the Pen, a musical she wrote and calls an operatina. In addition to the piano, she plays the organ and accordion. At home, her day begins with public radio, from Morning Pro Musica on. At work the radio beat is a little less classical. She has heard a lot at her job it has lasted through the terms of 12 governors, from Robert A. Hurley to William A. O'Neill but she never became a talker on the job, not even with the scores of state commissioners she greeted as customers. Yet she is known for tossing bon mots. To those who might be calorie-conscious, she's likely to tout a candy bar: High in cal, high in morale. When the business is quick service, there just isn't time for long conversations. But she has heard the changes in lifestyles reflected in the language and attitudes of the many state workers she regards as friends. She is troubled by so much complaining and denigrating. She still remembers a young woman's voice, in all seriousness, asking for a drop dead card. Brunoli's challenges included trying to dispel the stereotypes of blindness. She remembers her sister telling her how much she hated to walk down the church aisle with her Because people always stare at you.
She lives by herself, occasionally walks to work, reads a great deal and cheerfully volunteers her many talents. She'll have more time for that come Monday, the day she misses perhaps her sixth day in nearly half a century of service to the state.
by Donald C. Capps
It never rains but it pours. We received the information about Mary Brunoli's retirement and, knowing nothing to the contrary, presumed that it marked the close of the longest career in the nation's vending programs. (See the preceding story in this issue of the Monitor.) Then the May, 1989, edition of The Palmetto Blind, the publication of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina, arrived. It announced Anderson Bishop's retirement after fifty years of service as a vendor. It seemed appropriate to reprint this tribute as well as that to Mary Brunoli. The blind of the nation join with the blind of South Carolina in congratulating Mr. Bishop. Here is what Don Capps wrote:
During the presidency of one of the nation's greatest leaders, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, an employment opportunity for America's blind came into being. In 1936 the Randolph-Sheppard Act was adopted by Congress, providing for vending facility operation in certain governmental installations. This program has provided employment for literally thousands of blind Americans for more than a half century.
In the 1930s under the jurisdiction of the South Carolina Department of Public Welfare Division for the Blind, a vending facility program was established. Anderson Bishop of Cayce, South Carolina, was one of the first participants in the new program. Shortly after graduation from the South Carolina School for the Blind, Anderson went to work in January 1939 as a vending facility operator in the old Chicora College Building in Columbia, where the South Carolina Department of Public Welfare was housed. In 1940 Anderson became the operator of the vending facility located in the old Standard Oil Building on Gervais Street in Columbia and remained at that location for 17 years until 1957. For the next 32 years, between 1957 and 1989, Anderson was the operator of the vending facility in the Veterans Administration Regional Office in Columbia. Thus, Anderson's service in the vending facility program spanned fifty years 1939-1989.
In March, after fifty years on the job, Anderson called it quits, retiring with many pleasant memories and a lifetime of independence matched by very few. He was honored at luncheons given by employees at the Veterans Administration Regional Office as well as by fellow blind vendors. Anderson was paid high tribute by the City of Columbia when he was presented with a Key to the City by City Councilman and Mayor pro tem, the Honorable William Outz. Possessing a very pleasant personality, Anderson has made many friends throughout his long career. Both sighted and blind persons have worked with him and enjoyed their association. Bishop, as he is affectionately called by his many friends, is a charter member of the Aurora Club of the Blind. He joined the organization when it was established in Columbia in 1947 and subsequently served as president.
In 1987 Anderson participated in the Fortieth Anniversary banquet of the Aurora Club, now operating as the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina. In 1964 the Aurora Club sponsored legislation which abolished the Division for the Blind's practice of imposing set-aside charges upon all vending facility operators. Anderson has been particularly grateful for this legislation because he believes the 1964 law saved him more than $25,000. He and his very fine wife, Genevieve, have been blessed with three children, all of whom have been successful, undoubtedly as a result of loving and caring parents. Annette McAlister is a teacher in Asheville, N.C. Mary Caldwell is a pharmacist in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Benjamin is a Navy chaplain and is stationed in Newport, Rhode Island. Anderson is also a proud grandfather. Although on the job every day for fifty years, Anderson has always found time for his church. For more than forty years he has been attending Cayce United Methodist Church. He taught Sunday School for several years.
Highly respected by members of his church, Anderson was elected to the Board of Stewards for several terms. He served as Chairman of the Board of Stewards for two terms. While Anderson does not have any specific hobbies, he is interested in sports and is an avid Gamecock fan. The National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina salutes Anderson Bishop, not only for fifty years of successful employment, but for being a gentleman and an outstanding citizen. Enjoy your retirement, Anderson you deserve it.
by Seville Allen
Seville Allen is one of the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia. Writing in the March, 1989, NFB of Virginia Newsletter, she says this:
Many of us are looking forward to attending our state convention in Lynchburg March 31 through April 2. Each time we meet we have the opportunity to renew old acquaintances, make new ones, and work to improve our lives as blind people. As I prepare for this convention, I stop and think about why I spend time doing Federation work. The answer didn't take much thought. It is obvious to me that my work contributes to making more opportunities for me and other blind people. I joined the Federation almost exactly fourteen years ago.
When I joined, I had thoughts of helping them. Looking back, I didn't see myself as one of them. I had the image of myself as better than other blind people. I was an exception after all, that's what I had been told for the first thirty years of my life. The Federation taught me otherwise. I have been treated as a second-class citizen both before and after I joined the Federation. But after fourteen years of being a Federationist, I know that it is respectable to be blind. And that is the key to success, whether working to achieve equality as a blind person through Federation work or pursuing other life ambitions. Before I knew the Federation, I was constantly confused about who I was and what I was doing. While I was dissatisfied with my life, everyone around me told me that I should be happy because I was doing well. Then I felt selfish and remained dissatisfied for several years.
In 1974 I let myself be talked into attending a Potomac Chapter, NFB meeting, although at the time I figured I could find something better to do. Much to my surprise, I found competent blind people speaking about issues I had thought about. These folks had families, jobs, and had direction in their lives. Sighted people in the group didn't tell them what to do and did not treat them like children. I liked what I saw and became part of the organization in 1975. Since that time I have learned that, not only is blindness just a characteristic that is inconvenient for example, when a personal letter comes in the mail the day after a scheduled reader but I learned that it is unacceptable for others to set our limitations based on their perceptions of the capabilities of blind persons.
by Claire McCuller
Claire McCuller is currently a student at the Louisiana Center for the Blind, the training center for blind adults run by the National Federation of the Blind of Louisiana. She is a talented and sensitive elementary school teacher. When she began to lose her sight, her common sense told her that there were ways to combat her blindness. Here is her description of her struggle to find the answers she was seeking. It is reprinted from the January, 1989, issue of The Pathfinder, the newsletter of the NFB of Louisiana.
My journey into blindness began in 1979 when I was diagnosed as having Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). The diagnosis itself was somewhat difficult to obtain. After I had repeatedly asked my ophthalmologist for an explanation of my inability to see things in my apartment that I knew were there, he finally asked me, How many fingers am I holding up? When I answered that I couldn't see his hand, much less his fingers, my journey began. After tests, consultations, and large expenditures of money, I knew for certain that I was going to be blind though no one could tell me exactly when or how rapidly my loss of eyesight would occur. Furthermore, those people who consented to discuss the problem with me could not (or would not) tell me about options or advise me about what I should do next.
A friend told me that there were agencies in the area that worked with the blind and suggested that I might receive support and services from them. I made the necessary contacts, and one afternoon a counselor came to see me. The first thing he told me was that all blind people were retarded. In a few carefully chosen words (that I shall not repeat in this article) I told him that someone had messed up profoundly since I had just received my master's degree in educational administration. The meeting was quickly terminated. Apparently wishing to make amends, the counselor called inviting me to come in and review the career file available in his office.
On my arrival he suggested that I review the information about appropriate jobs available in the area. He especially advised me to look at the employment file card entitled Baker's Assistant. Another meeting was quickly terminated. Even at this time I recognized that, as my sight worsened, I would eventually need to learn new skills and have to make changes in my life. I wanted someone to tell me what those changes should be and how to implement them. Unfortunately it seemed that, no matter where I turned, no one was able to give me the information that I was seeking.
For the next eight years I continued in my search for an intelligent solution and a rational approach to my problems. Along the way I wrote letters to people who were supposed to know about rehabilitation and blindness, and I gathered and read information about as many different options as I could. My journey was mostly along dead-end paths. The two through streets I did find were an RP Research Center in Houston, Texas, and Dr. Charles Garcia, through whom I received accurate information about my eye disease and extremely blunt advice about what I could and could not expect in the future. As a finalist in Louisiana's Elementary Teacher of the Year contest, I had the pleasure of appearing on local television with my students.
One of the questions the reporter asked me was What are your goals and plans for the future? I responded that because of the progression of my eye disease, I did not know how much longer I could remain in the regular classroom. Enter Joanne Fernandes, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Louisiana, and the staff at the Louisiana Center for the Blind. I received information from the Center after the broadcast of my television interview. And I immediately wrote a letter to Mrs. Fernandes, who serves as Director of the Center, expressing eight years' worth of uncertainty and frustration. She then called me at home. After talking to her, I realized that my journey into blindness had not come to a dead end; rather, it was about to take me to a smooth highway leading to useful information and intelligent solutions.
At the time of this writing I have been at the Center in Ruston, Louisiana, for two months. In this short time I have begun my study of Braille and computers and have become a more accurate typist. I am gradually overcoming my fear of travel under sleep shades using a white cane. I have been introduced to the National Federation of the Blind and have adopted its philosophy as my own. However, perhaps the best education I have received at the Center has come from my observation of successful blind individuals associated with the Center. As I return to my teaching career this coming fall, my renewed self-confidence is allowing me to pursue new challenges in the field of education. I have decided to teach seventh and eighth grade gifted students in a new school rather than the fourth graders I have been teaching. My journey into blindness has not been without its bumps and detours, but now I can say that through my own persistence and curiosity and through the support I have received from the NFB at the Louisiana Center for the Blind, my journey continues in a positive direction.
by David A. Ticchi
The following remarks were delivered as the keynote address at the state convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Massachusetts in October, 1986. David Ticchi is one of the leaders of the NFB of Massachusetts.
When I thought about what remarks I would make this morning, I remembered the words of a high school speech teacher on the subject of speaking in public. She said, Don't have any theme in your presentation which could not fit on a bumper sticker. It seems to me that there is some wisdom in that statement, and so I have entitled my remarks A Compliment and a Challenge. I begin with the compliment directed to our national founders and our national leadership. Before 1940, despite the problems facing the blind of this nation, there was no National Federation of the Blind. The organized blind movement, which Dr. tenBroek and others started in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in 1940, has had an impact on the lives of all blind people, whether they realize it or not.
So certainly a compliment is due to Dr. tenBroek, to the others gathered at Wilkes-Barre, and to the national leadership we have been blessed with over the years. Dr. Jernigan, who is here with us today, is to be commended for his leadership and for his unselfish work on behalf of the blind. I would also like to offer a compliment to the founders of the NFB of Massachusetts and to their predecessors, the Associated Blind of Massachusetts. Without their commitment and effort we would not be here today. In 1975 I didn't know anything about the organized blind movement. In fact, I didn't know much about the blindness system.
As a result of research I did while studying for my doctorate, I became aware of both the NFB and the ACB. Knowing very little about either organization, I decided to attend both national conventions, and I began to read Federation literature and to discuss it with Federationists. After thinking about the issues, I joined the National Federation of the Blind. It was apparent to me that the NFB had a philosophy, a body of literature, and a history of accomplishment. Through the concerted action of its leaders and members, its programs and divisions, the NFB had become the most potent and most purposeful force in work with the blind. That is why I joined the Federation, and that is why I began my address today by paying compliments.
The people of the first and second generations of the Federation have given us a heritage of growth and achievement. The NFB is an increasingly vital movement in this country as Dr. Jernigan has often said, and he has often reminded us of the challenges which lie ahead. There are still difficulties facing us which have confronted us for years, and as we proceed and make progress, we continue to encounter new problems. What precisely is our most compelling challenge?
I see it as education . Why education? Our goal is to have every blind person in this nation be treated as a first-class citizen and to be integrated into every aspect of life in his or her community. As Federationists we believe that the greatest problem facing blind people is not the lack of sight, but the attitudes of the sighted public and, as a result the attitudes which we the blind hold about ourselves. The work of changing attitudes has an educational and cognitive dimension. We must provide people with information so that policies, strategies, decisions, and programs will have the proper leadership, direction, and acceptance. But education of whom? To begin with, education of ourselves. We have often said that unless we as Federationists take the responsibility to do our work as a consumer group, who will? Indeed, would it even be reasonable to expect anyone else to do it? Certainly not! If we are to be an effective consumer advocacy organization, we have to do it ourselves. Is there another consumer group or in fact any organization in the blindness field that has such a clearly delineated philosophy and such a body of literature as the NFB does? Absolutely not! I encourage, I urge you to read NFB literature and ACB and agency publications if you can locate them. Think about and compare them.
Our literature has a point of view, a perspective, a consistent philosophy. It covers a wide variety of subjects, ranging from jobs to resources for parents and educators of the blind to the pros and cons of preferential treatment. Our literature has substance, and that is one of the reasons why this organization has succeeded. Each of us should read it. After all, it is one thing to point to its existence; but it is quite another to read, to discuss, and to reflect upon it to live it. How many of us can honestly say that we read the Braille Monitor every month? We may subscribe, but do we read? We all know that the NFB was founded in 1940 and that in the early 1960's a splinter broke away to organize the American Council of the Blind. But how many of us know the history of that schism, documented in The Man and the Movement? Wider forms of education are also critically important education of the general public, of families with blind members; of the parents of blind children; of educators of the blind; of administrators, teachers, and counselors; of public officials and the media. If we are going to change society's attitudes, we must provide the right kind of information. As individual members of the Federation, it is our responsibility to know and understand that information and to be able to articulate and discuss it. If we are going to work with the public, we must know what we are talking about! In other words, not only is it necessary to educate the public to recognize the rights and the capacities of the blind, it is our responsibility to do so.
How do we meet this challenge? The pieces are in place. We have a philosophy which works and an ample body of literature. Within our organization we have a growing number of divisions and committees, truly representative of our membership and of society at large.
I doubt that there is any secret about what we have to do. The key to our success is work. We must regard it as very, very serious business. It is vital because it affects not only our lives and the lives of all blind people, but also the lives of future generations of the blind.
As you consider this work, I ask you to think about it this way:
we have often said that the blind represent a cross section of the whole of society, a subgroup that includes a full range of personalities, intelligence, motivations, talents, skills, and interests. In this room this morning there are excellent writers, musicians, and scientists. There are teachers and successful business people, people with good public speaking and organizational skills. There is a tremendous amount of valuable ability and experience right here.
We must each consider how we as individuals can contribute to our organization. How often do you hear people ask, What can I do? Well, there is plenty to do and ample talent with which to do it.
We each need to find our niche.
I am not suggesting that everyone must spend X number of hours a week or a month solely dedicated to the NFB. We all have lives beyond the Federation. These lives and community activities can help us strengthen our own organization. We cannot segregate ourselves and live our lives in a vacuum. We have to strike a balance.
But I believe we should treat our Federation time and business as an occupation. Treat your Federation responsibilities like a job in which you are required to invest quality time and full effort. We all know it is much easier not to. After all, we are not being paid, at least not in a monetary way. On a cold winter day it is much easier to sit at home than to attend a board or chapter meeting. However, each of us is needed when Federation gatherings take place. Each of us has a unique contribution to make. But not all our work goes on at board or chapter meetings. In fact most of our work takes place as a part of our daily lives and requires a great deal of self-discipline. Yes, we have work to do, but we are willing to do it because we have dreams. Like Martin Luther King, we blind people have dreams, for ourselves and for others:
- That the parents of blind children will have the same expectations for them as for their sighted children.
- That blind parents will no longer have to fight for the custody of their children, and that if they choose to adopt, they will be able to do so, just like anyone else.
- That employers in this country will regard blind people as a valuable human resource and afford us equal opportunity to reduce our 70% unemployment rate.
- That the blind who are employed will not have to fight for the minimum wage or against under-employment.
- That public officials won't speak of the blind in emotional, sentimental, and stereotypical terms, but that they will work for constructive legislation and enforce policies which will improve the quality of our lives.
- That educators, both public and private, will recognize that blind students are not fundamentally different from other students.
- That blind students, who will of course have different needs and use different learning techniques, will be able, with proper training and opportunity, to compete on terms of equality with their sighted peers.
- That the business sector of our society will regard us as paying customers, so that we may travel freely, dine in restaurants, shop at stores, and use banks without being pitied or condescended to.
- That the blindness system will be truly responsive to the needs of consumers.
- Finally, that blind people will be fully integrated into society on terms of equality.
These dreams can and will come true.
I would like to conclude by suggesting that all of us think about our participation in the Federation and reassess and reconfirm our commitment to the organization. Think about your niche; think about what you can do to make the NFB better. This is the final part of the challenge: to commit ourselves to do our part of the work to the best of our ability.
We are all leaders in our own way, every single one of us. In an essay on Franklin D. Roosevelt, Walter Lippmann said, The true test of any leader is that he leave behind a man with the will and conviction to carry on. Dr. tenBroek and the others at Wilkes-Barre did that. Dr. Jernigan has done that. The founders of the NFB of Massachusetts have done that. Each of us, too, can leave behind someone with the will and the conviction to carry on.
by Sheena Sethi
Arlene (Sheena) Sethi was a 1987 NFB scholarship winner. Here are her reflections on a subject which is often controversial:
A poor man sat at the edge of a lake, hungry and weak. He wore nothing but a torn shirt with a ragged pair of jeans and an old greasy baseball cap. Another man, sitting nearby, whistled some old tunes while fishing. Beside him lay a container full of fish which he had caught during the course of the day. As dusk approached, the fisherman became weary and began to gather his things in order to go home and cook a fresh hot meal. He noticed the poor man staring hungrily at his container, and so he offered him some of his catch. The poor man looked at him with those sad, hungry eyes.
The words that came to his lips in response to this offer were: Give me a fish and I will eat for a day; but if you give me a fishing pole, I will be full for a lifetime. These wise words of the poor man came to me this past winter when I attempted to lock my window. No matter how hard I tried, I was unable to lock it, and my apartment became steadily colder. In order to solve this problem, I asked a next-door neighbor to teach me how to lock the window. Her response to my request was to go over to the window and lock it. You might say I have a very kind neighbor; but I, like the poor man, was a little offended. I asked to be taught how to lock the window in order that I would be able to do it in the future. The locking of the window by my neighbor was the giving of a fish. If she had taught me how to lock the window, she would have been giving me something more beneficial, a fishing pole.
The difference between a fish and a fishing pole is very significant. A fish is a handout, which is demeaning because it supports a belief that the receiver of the fish is not as capable as the giver of the fish. A fishing pole on the other hand is a tool by which the disadvantaged individual is given an opportunity to become equal to the rest of society. With a fishing pole, an individual becomes more self-confident and, as a result, self-reliant.
The wise words of the poor man can also be applied to issues pertaining to those who are blind. For centuries the blind have received free fish, which helped them survive for a day or two but never permitted them to become productive or independent. For example, the blind were placed under the wardship of society and cared for like children rather than taught skills that would make them independent. Finally, a few decades ago things began to change. The blind learned to insist on fishing poles or tools with which the same opportunities became available. While the poor man demanded a fishing pole, the blind demanded education and training by which they could become equal to others in society. The poor man would be able to fish for his own food like the fisherman; the blind person became skilled in the games that sighted people play.
Blind people across the country may send Braille, large print, or taped letters to anyone (sighted or blind) without paying postage. Other specialized materials for the blind may also be sent free. A sighted person, on the other hand, may not send the same material postage free to a blind person or another sighted person. To use the free postage privilege all the blind person has to do is write Free Matter for the Blind on a parcel, and the parcel will be delivered to any destination free of charge. One might consider this gift from the federal postal service as being helpful to blind people. I see this service as an offer of fish, a handout to the blind community. Accepting this fish or free postage has not helped the blind man or woman, because it only reinforces society's notion that blind people are less than self-sufficient. This handout is demeaning to the blind; it reinforces a belief that the blind are second-class and inferior. Accepting this handout does not improve the confidence or in any way increase the capabilities of blind individuals.
On the other hand, when the blind accept Free Matter for the Blind in the case of library materials and aids, it is not a handout, or a fish. Instead, it is a fishing pole because it provides the blind with the same tools that sighted people use to better themselves. It is only fair that the blind be able to use these same resources at the same price (nothing) in order to educate themselves. With the same access to education as the sighted, blind individuals gain self-confidence in their own capabilities. Using Free Matter for the Blind for educational materials enables the blind to become as independent as the sighted.
When Free Matter for the Blind is used as a freebie or for free postage, it is not something which helps the blind. It only hinders their progress. When Free Matter for the Blind is used for library materials and aids, it promotes the advancement of the blind and, therefore, is an opportunity by which the blind can compete with the sighted. Blind people must be careful as to what kind of services are fish and which are fishing poles, which are freebies and which are helpful tools. It is only with helpful tools that blind people can begin to compete with the sighted and demand first-class citizenship.
First person: With respect to the first Miniature in the July, 1989, Monitor, are you really sure you got it? Second person: Well, at first I thought I did, and I'm good at riddles and crossword puzzlesbut the more I think about it, the more I'm puzzled. It just doesn't make sense. First person: Since you say you are good at riddles and crossword puzzles, let's treat it like a puzzle. I'll give you some clues:
1) The pun is double, and the key is the pronunciation, not the spelling. After all, you can't make a flower , but you can make flour .
2) What relates to the mouth? You could say vocal , but that isn't it. Why don't you just read the Miniature again? 3) You need to read the rest of the July, 1989, Monitor to get the context. It all fits together.
by Gail Bryant
1 cup chopped apples
1 cup chopped dates
2 cups chopped raisins
2 cups water
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons soda
1 cup Crisco
6 tablespoons liquid or dry sweetener
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups chopped nuts
Method: Boil or microwave first four ingredients for three minutes, making sure that dish placed in microwave is covered. Remove from heat. Add Crisco, sweetener, and vanilla. Cool thoroughly and add rest of ingredients. Cool in refrigerator. Drop by teaspoonful onto ungreased sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for twelve to fifteen minutes.
DIABETIC CARROT BREAD
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup quick-cooking rolled oatmeal
½ cup bran cereal
½ cup (1 stick) margarine
½ teaspoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon baking soda
(equal to 1 cup sugar,
depending on brand)
1 cup shredded raw carrots
(use strained baby carrots,
such as Gerber, to avoid grating)
½ cup chopped nuts
Method: Combine flour, bran, oats, and soda. Set aside. In large mixing bowl add margarine and sweetener and beat well. Add eggs, milk, vanilla, orange peel, and mix well. Stir in carrots. Add flour mixture one-third at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in nuts. Bake in eight- by four- by two-inch loaf pan at 350 degrees for fifty-five to sixty minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Freezes well. Makes 18 slices. Exchanges: ½ bread, ½ vegetable, 1-1/2 fat. Note: Although the taste tester for The Voice enjoys this recipe, Monitor readers may sample it first, since it has not appeared in The Voice .
PEACH COBBLER DESSERT FOR DIABETICS
½ tablespoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon plus ¾ teaspoon
½ cup water (or juice from peaches if you use canned) 4 cups fresh sliced peaches (if peeled)
(or 2 16-ounce cans sliced peaches
if water packed)
1 cup packaged Bisquick
½ cup light cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon peel
Method: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine cornstarch, one tablespoon sweetener, salt, and water in 1- ½ quart casserole. Stir in peaches in medium mixing bowl, mix Bisquick, cream, vanilla, ¾ teaspoon liquid sweetener, and lemon peel until smooth. Carefully spread over peaches. Bake forty minutes uncovered or until golden brown. Peaches should be bubbly and tender. Makes 8 servings. Exchanges: 1 bread, 1 fruit, 1 fat.
Hazel Staley, President of the National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina, writes: The Triad Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina was organized on May 6, 1989. The significance of Triad is that it is located in an area where there are three major cities. The following officers were elected and will serve until November: President, Debra Harris;
Secretary, Mary Horne; Treasurer, Angie Stewart. The chapter meets the first Saturday afternoon of each month. We welcome this group into our affiliate.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement: My name is Kim Cole, and I am a Federationist and transcendental meditator. I would like to correspond with other Federationists who are involved in TM and those who wish to know more about it. TM is a simple relaxation technique which helps to develop one's full mental potential. Please write me at: Kim Cole, MIU Box 1136, Fairfield, Iowa 52556. Letters may be in Braille.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement: For sale:
A two-year-old, little used TSI VersaBraille II with disk drives, software disks, and manuals. It is in excellent working condition.
A printer is available at extra cost if desired. Unit will be shipped at our expense. Price: $2,695. Contact: Jeanie or P. C. Wood, 8103 Viola Street, Springfield, Virginia 22152; (703) 569-6676.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement: The latest edition of the Option Central catalog is available in all formats. Large print is free, Braille costs $1, and the cassette version also costs $1 (or it is free if a blank C-60 cassette is supplied. The catalog includes: greeting cards, housewares, cassettes, Braille paper, writing products, cribbage boards, and talking products. To obtain a catalog contact: Option Central, Fred Sanderson, Proprietor, 1604 Carroll Avenue, Green Bay, Wisconsin 54304; (414) 498- 9699.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
ANNOUNCING: Lifeskills: A Can-Do Program for Living With Blindness This book, written by an experienced teacher of blind adults, will give those new to blindness, and professionals working with them, a positive approach to a new way of living. The author, who has been blind since infancy, believes fervently that there are very few things a blind person cannot do safely and efficiently. Learn how to grill meats over flaming charcoal, how to light a pilot light, mark a thermostat, apply make-up, test home-made candy for doneness, turn a sizzling, broiled steak. Topics are arranged alphabetically from abacus to writing (print). A miscellaneous section covers material that does not fit easily into other sections. Topics include baking, frying, laundering, labeling clothing, identifying money and managing bank accounts, typing, cleaning, travel basically all of those things we all do on a day- to-day basis. There is an updated resource guide and a bibliography at the back of the book.
Besides being a how-to manual, this book addresses some of the negative information in recent books and articles written by and about blind people. Those new to blindness need to know that they can cut up their meat when eating at a restaurant, travel about their community without waiting for a sighted guide and can live independently and work competitively, for a full and happy life. Lifeskills is available on four-track cassettes and in print for $19.95 with a $3 shipping charge for the print only. The price includes at least three biannual updates of resources and information, sent to you in the same format as your original order. The cassette edition is tone-indexed; the print is packaged in a loose-leaf binder so that new information sheets can be easily added. Send check or money order to: Janiece Betker, 1886 29th Ave. N.W., New Brighton, Minnesota 55112;
Phone: (612) 639-1435. Agency purchase orders accepted, payment net 30 days.
**Blind Without Glasses is Not Blind:
The following news story, which was widely circulated throughout Minnesota in early June of 1989, has interesting implications:
Court: Blind Without Glasses is Not Disabled
Associated Press. ST. PAUL A person who is considered legally blind without corrective lenses is not a disabled person and entitled to employment protection under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, the state Supreme Court has ruled. The high court, in a 5-2 ruling to be filed June 2 rejected the contention of the state Human Rights Department that Allan Tervo was discriminated against by Hennepin County because he was denied a position as a detention deputy on the basis of his faulty vision.
According to court documents, Tervo has uncorrected distant vision of 20-200 and corrected vision of 20-15. However, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Department requires uncorrected vision of 20-100 in each eye for deputies.
Tervo was among 30 finalists for the deputy position from a field of 900 applicants before he was notified that he was eliminated....
**Ski for Light:
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
The fifteenth annual international Ski for Light week will be held from Sunday to Sunday, February 25 to March 4, 1990, near Brainerd, Minnesota. The organization is especially interested in reaching blind people who have not yet attended a Ski for Light week. The program consists of one-to-one instruction by experienced cross-country skiers, optional clinics and seminars, and a variety of social and cultural activities. Participants do not need to be athletes or skiers, merely people interested in learning to cross- country ski. The cost for the week is $425 (double occupancy), which includes room, board, ground transportation to and from the airport, and a registration fee. Air fare to the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport is the responsibility of the individual. A limited number of stipends will be available for first-time participants. For more information contact: Alan Schlank, Selection Coordinator, 4019 North River Street, Arlington, Virginia 22207; or telephone him at (703) 538-4713 before 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
The American Printing House for the Blind has asked us to carry the following announcement:
The Annual Report of the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is now available in an audio version. APH is offering its fiscal year 1988 report on a single cassette recorded on four tracks at 15/16 inches per second. The cassette is free of charge. The APH Annual Report is published each year after the annual meeting of ex officio trustees. It incorporates reports on the proceedings of the annual meeting, detailed information on the registration of students eligible under the federal quota program, and extensive financial information, including the official accountant's statements. To receive either an audio or a print copy of APH's Annual Report , please write or call APH Consumer Information Services at: American Printing House for the Blind, 1839 Frankfort Avenue, Post Office Box 6085, Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085; phone (502) 895-2405.
Floyd Matson, Treasurer of the National Federation of the Blind of Hawaii and long-time leader of the Federation, reports that on May 13, 1989, at the convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Hawaii, the following people were elected: Ricky Melchor, President; Nani Fife, First Vice President; Gail Hall, Second Vice President; Francine McLaine, Secretary; and Floyd Matson, Treasurer.
Dr. Matson is no stranger to Federationists. He has been involved in the Federation for over thirty years. He and Dr. tenBroek worked together on many publications and dozens of Federation projects.
**South Dakota Convention:
Karen Mayry, President of the National Federation of the Blind of South Dakota, reports that the 1989 state convention held May 19 and 20 was a resounding success. Jan Bailey, one of the leaders of the NFB of Minnesota, and Barbara Pierce, Associate Editor of the Braille Monitor and this year's National Representative, took an active part in a day-long seminar for parents and educators of blind children on Friday. James Knoechne, age 7, and Rory Hoffman, age 11, received awards from the South Dakota affiliate in this year's Braille Readers are Leaders Contest. NFB members, state officials, four state library representatives, and Congressman Tim Johnson gathered on Saturday to discuss vendors' issues, library services, legislative changes, and NFB concerns. The affiliate presented two $500 scholarships to outstanding college students.
J. Kenneth McGill, External Affairs Officer at the Social Security Administration in Baltimore, writes as follows:
The Family Support Act of 1988 requires that 1989 tax returns show the Social Security numbers (SSNs) of claimed dependents who are age two or older. This law amended the Tax Report Act of 1986, which required that tax returns show the SSN of any claimed dependent age five or older.
Under the new law we estimate that at least half the children age two through four (over 2.7 million) will need Social Security numbers. We are seeking your assistance and cooperation in advising parents whose children do not yet have SSNs that they should apply for the numbers as early as possible and well before the end of the year to avoid any worry about this matter when they file their tax returns next year. Parents will be pleased to know they can utilize the telephone and the mail to obtain an SSN for their child. The phone number is listed in your telephone book under Social Security Administration. There is no need to visit an office to obtain an SSN for anyone under eighteen.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
VersaBraille Classic for sale. Two adapters, overlay tape, microphone, earphone, Braille and print manuals. Asking price:
$1,200 or best offer. Also for sale a Smith Corona large print typewriter with cartridges. Contact: Isaac Obie, 55 Waverly Avenue, Apt. 210, Watertown, Massachusetts 02172; (617) 923-3050.
**Action from Braille Action:
We have been asked to carry the following announcement: The Braille Action Lab has for sale Braille copies of many texts which are usually found only in print. These include technical manuals, appliance manuals, cookbooks, songbooks, and paperbacks. Please contact us about your Brailling needs. Send for a free catalog to: Braille Action Lab, 358 Life Sciences Building, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky 40292; phone (502) 588-8258.
Dr. Charles Hallenbeck, one of the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of Kansas, writes as follows: This announcement from KANSYS, Inc., 1016 Ohio, Lawrence, Kansas 66044 A software product in preparation at KANSYS, Inc., called MOBILITY is a text-adventure game based on cane travel techniques and dog guide practices. It is our collective experience that mobility is not only possible but can even be enjoyable. The challenge of blind mobility in a game format provides a welcome change for ZORK and for DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS fans and spreads the word that it is okay to be blind. Write for more information or call Dave at (919) 843-0351 or Chuck or Cindy at (913) 842-4016.
Hazel Staley, President of the National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina, writes as follows: I am delighted to announce that we have a new chapter, the Furniture City National Federation of the Blind, in High Point, North Carolina. It was organized on May 23, 1989, with sixteen charter members. Its officers are: President, Bettye J. Austin; Vice President, James Lilly; Secretary, Mary Clyburn;
Treasurer, Mary Weeks; and Board Members Daniel David and Wesley Whitsett. In the organizational meeting these people asked some very intelligent questions and expressed genuine interest in working in our movement. I believe this chapter will be a great asset to our state and national organization. I am grateful to Dottie Neely, our state membership co-chairman, for her help in getting this group together.
**Canadian Braille Authority:
We recently received a press release which said in part: The Canadian Braille Authority was created May 29, 1989, in response to the demands of teachers, producers, and consumers of Braille to ensure consistency in the production of Braille from coast to coast in both official languages. Until now there has been no formal, unified Canadian authority on the use of Braille, although there has been general acceptance of codes and standards. The Canadian Braille Authority will serve as a guide for people teaching and producing Braille and will, as a result, ensure that blind people across Canada will be learning and reading standard Braille in both French and English. The Canadian Braille Authority is an independent group, chaired by Arnold Jones, Superintendent of the Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority. The members of the Canadian Braille Authority include Braille educators, consumers, and producers, including the Canadian Council of the Blind, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, and L'Institut Nazareth et Louis Braille.
The Summer, 1989, Voice of the Diabetic (the publication of the Diabetics Division of the National Federation of the Blind, says that researchers in California have found a new way to prevent diabetes in mice. First, the animals' white blood cells are incubated with cyclosporine and the immune hormone interleukin 2, then treated cells are injected back into the animals. The treatment may work, because it fosters the growth of suppressor cells, which call off the attack against the pancreas. After further study, the two plan to test the treatment on children in the early stages of Type I diabetes. Liming Hao, M.D., and Kevin Lafferty, Ph.D., of the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes in Denver have uncovered evidence that, in diabetic mice, the pancreas itself may be responsible for provoking the immune assault on insulin-making cells that result in Type I diabetes. Scientists crossed non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice with a strain of non-diabetic mice, then transplanted fetal pancreases from each of the parent strains into their offspring. The pancreases from the non-diabetic mice developed normally while the pancreases from the NOD mice were stunted in growth and often contained cyst-like malformations. The researchers plan to study the genetics of the NOD mice for clues to the pancreatic abnormality.
**New Job With Pride:
Having a job is a good feeling. Roger Eggerss, a member of the NFB of Iowa, can speak from firsthand experience. He has a job, and he is proud of it. In a letter to the Editor he says:
Please publish the following announcement in the Braille Monitor. I found a job. I'll be a telemarketer for a company called Pioneer Tele Technology (PTT), which is in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, near Sioux City. I'll be selling MCI long distance services over the telephone. I took the test and scored 96 out of 100. I'm looking forward to the job. Thank you very much for publishing this announcement.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement: For Sale:
Optacon, purchased in 1978 but in excellent condition. Price $700 or best offer. Contact in any form at any time: Ms. Pat Smolak, 77 Linwel Road, Unit 65, St. Catharines, Ontario, CANADA L2N 6R1; phone 416-646-3996.
**Progressive Step in Montana:
The following item is taken from the June-July, 1989, Montana Observer, the publication of our Montana affiliate:
For the first time since 1947 the organization's annual convention was not held on the Montana State University campus in Bozeman. Nobody was sure what would happen if we went to another location, but last fall it was time to make a decision, and the Board of Directors chose Great Falls since it has the largest chapter and had more willing hands ready to go to work. May 26-28 was the date. Several times throughout the weekend people were asked to comment on the time and place of this year's meeting. No one offered any criticism whatever; and, quite the contrary, there seemed to be unanimous support for moving the convention from city to city in the future. As a result, the Capital City Chapter in Helena will host the 1990 convention, and Billings was tentatively selected for 1991.
Comment by the Monitor Editor: The reason for the connection with Montana State University is that our Montana affiliate holds a six-week orientation program there each summer. I have attended Montana conventions, and the serious business of the state organization has tended to be upstaged by the details of the training program and the social activities. Even the annual banquets have often concentrated on local color instead of a Federation focus. The decision to have the convention move to different parts of the state is a sign of progress and shifting emphasis.
Sandy Sanborn writes: The National Federation of the Blind of Maine held its annual convention in South Portland on May 20, 1989. NFB Secretary Joyce Scanlan was the national representative. A principal focus of the day's program was the discussion with Gary Nichols, director of the Maine State Library. That institution has closed its regional library sections and centralized all operations in Augusta, and there were concerns about the program's remaining effective and responsive to the blind reader. Major emphasis was given to Braille literacy through speeches and a workshop. We feel strongly that there is no substitute for reading and writing Braille. There was also a demonstration of the Kurzweil Reading Machine and other technology. We discussed the bill we caused to be introduced in the legislature to have blind children educated like all other children by the Department of Education. In Maine the Division of Eye Care of the Department of Human Services still controls the education of blind children (or, sometimes, lack thereof).
The following people were elected: Pat Estes, President; Connie LaBlond, Vice President; Sandy Sanborn, Secretary; and Mike Jacuabois, Treasurer. In addition to the officers, those on the Board are: Jeanne Hume, Robert McInitch and Roger Cusson.
Gertrude Van Tassel Ward writes to say: I would like to hear from people in other parts of the United States, especially Virginia, Kentucky, and Georgia. If you wish to correspond with her, the address is: Mrs. Gertrude Van Tassel Ward, 1801 Hamilton Terrace, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania 18411. Correspondence should be sent in Braille.
On June 12, 1989, the Greater Brockton Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Massachusetts elected officers for two-year terms: Donna Silba, President; David Holden, Vice President; Alice Maynard, Secretary; Dorothy Doyle, Treasurer;
Peter Passalaqua, Sergeant-At-Arms; and Linda Hayward and Mary Szczerba, Lay Members.
We have been informed that NFB of Wisconsin board member Bob Raisbeck has been appointed to serve on the Advisory Committee of Wausau, Wisconsin's Visually Impaired Persons program at North Central Technical College. The purpose and responsibility of this committee is to advise the coordinator and staff on issues affecting the program and the state's blind community. At the present time both a committee and a subcommittee have been appointed to address the problem of student housing for the program.
**Fifty Years a Federationist:
From the President: Mabel Nading was for a great many years the Braille teacher in Iowa under the leadership of Dr. Jernigan. Recently I received a letter from her. I found it particularly moving, because Mabel helped teach me the spirit and the fortitude that are so much a part of the movement. She has been a member in the Federation since before we came to organize in 1940. Here is her letter:
Des Moines, Iowa
June 1, 1989
Enclosed is a check for fifty dollars, one dollar for each of the fifty years that I have been a member of the organized movement. On June 6, 1939, I joined the Iowa Association of the Blind. The dues were twenty-five cents a year. I just happened to have a quarter in my pocket when Miss Bess Arthaud, the treasurer, asked me to join. So I joined; but as for being a Federationist, I was not.
When I married Gene I belonged to an organization man with roots in the union labor movement. So my interest began to grow. In probably 1952 Mr. Archibald came to the state convention. I had a long discussion with him and, in light of what happened with him in the future, it was strange that I came out of that discussion a Federationist. I still am one. I attended my first convention in 1946 in St. Louis. The next convention was in 1953 in Milwaukee, and after that I never missed a year until bronchial asthma caught me in 1982. Now I don't respond well to tension, crowds, and smoke; but I could not let this fiftieth anniversary go by without doing something. Put the money to use wherever it is needed. Of course, I knew you would do that. Special love to Patricia, David, and Diana.