Vol. 36, No. 4 April
Barbara Pierce, Editor
Published in inkprint, in Braille,
on cassette and
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The National Federation of the Blind
Marc Maurer, President
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NATIONAL FEDERATION OF
THE BLIND IS NOT
SPEAKING FOR THE BLIND--IT IS THE BLIND SPEAKING FOR THEMSELVES
Vol. 36, No. 4 April 1993
FOR THE MONITOR
by Kenneth Jernigan
HISTORY AND THE BRAILLE MONITOR
by Kenneth Jernigan
THE LESSONS OF 1957
WHO ARE THE BLIND WHO LEAD THE BLIND
by Barbara Walker
by Kenneth Jernigan
Copyright National Federation of the Blind, Inc., 1993[LEAD PHOTO/CAPTION: Kenneth Jernigan and Barbara Pierce stand in the recording studio at the National Center for the Blind, where the BRAILLE MONITOR is recorded each month. They are holding the print and Braille editions of the magazine.]
NEW EDITOR FOR THE MONITOR
by Kenneth Jernigan
The lead article in the December, 1988, Braille Monitor was entitled "Barbara Pierce Joins Monitor Staff." Now, Mrs. Pierce moves from the position of Associate Editor to that of Editor. Some of the things I said in the 1988 article are appropriate to repeat, so this article and that one will have a good deal of overlap.
The Braille Monitor has been in existence for more than thirty-five years. It started, to be exact, in 1957. But if you take into account the All Story Magazine (which you really have to), the history stretches far back beyond that.
The All Story was around when I was a boy at the Tennessee School for the Blind, but at that time it was straight fiction. Somewhere along the line (I'm not sure just when) Dr. Newel Perry of California began writing a "legislative supplement." But as sometimes happens when things compete with the Federation, the supplement grew and the stories diminished so that by and by the name All Story wasn't appropriate. The transition occurred in the mid-fifties, and by 1957 the All Story was gone and the Monitor was in place.
In its thirty-six-year history the Monitor has had quite a variety of geographic locations and editorial configurations. It was edited in Wisconsin, in California, in Iowa, and in the District of Columbia; and of course it is now edited in Baltimore. During one period Dr. tenBroek was the editor. For a four-month hitch in 1960 I was editor. For quite some time Mrs. tenBroek did some of the editing and all of the layout and management. And there have been others--Dr. Floyd Matson, who is now a professor at the University of Hawaii; George Card, who fell by the wayside in the internal struggles of thirty-five years ago; and Perry Sundquist.
At the time we moved our headquarters to Baltimore in 1978, Don McConnell was editing the Monitor. He was located in the Washington office and was doing an excellent job. However, he left Federation employment just before the beginning of 1979 to accept a business opportunity, and I filled in as editor for a few months until we could find somebody else. That few months has now stretched to more than fourteen years, and it is only now that an appropriate successor has been found. Editing the Monitor has been demanding, time-consuming, burdensome, and wonderfully stimulating and rewarding. It has been just plain fun--with, of course, a dollop of work and a modicum of grief thrown in.
But, as I said in the December, 1988, issue, fun or not, we have had so much organizational growth that something has to give. The dynamics of the Federation make it necessary. I have been looking for a long time (more than fourteen years, to be precise) for a new editor--and I think there is no question that Barbara meets the specifications. Beginning with next month's issue, she becomes Editor, and I will revert to my former relationship with the magazine--contributor, advisor, critic, and whatever else President Maurer requests.
Barbara Pierce is, of course, no stranger to Federationists or readers of this publication. She is the president of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio and a long-time leader at the national level. She has been Associate Editor of the Monitor for more than four years, directs our national public relations campaign, and participates prominently in National Convention activities. She is as well versed in Federation philosophy and principles as any of us and will, I think, do an excellent job as Editor. I suppose I don't have to say that, for if I hadn't believed it, I wouldn't have asked her to take the position.
Barbara has an office in her home in Oberlin, Ohio, and makes frequent trips to the National Center for the Blind here in Baltimore. This is the pattern we have established during her time as Associate Editor, and I don't see any reason to change it. In fact, there has been a gradual transition of responsibilities during the past two or three years. Barbara has assumed an ever-increasing share of the work of editing so that the present announcement simply confirms what has already largely happened.
Let me be specific about some of the details of the situation. One of the reasons for formalizing Barbara's position as Editor is to avoid confusion. For many years I have largely written and certainly have read every word we have published in the Monitor. That can no longer be taken for granted. In the future I will work with Barbara and will review some of the articles, but many of them will first come to my attention (just as with you) when I get the finished product. In one sense we now begin a new phase of the Monitor's life, but in another we simply continue what we have had from the beginning.
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Floyd Matson, a one-time Editor of the BRAILLE MONITOR.]
[PHOTO: Group portrait of 1971 NFB Executive Committee. CAPTION: Perry Sundquist edited the MONITOR for a number of years. Pictured here with the 1971 Executive Committee of the National Federation of the Blind, he is standing at the far left.]
[PHOTO: Mrs. tenBroek at microphone. CAPTION: For many years Mrs. tenBroek ran the Federation's Berkeley office, maintained the MONITOR mailing list, and did editing and layout work for the magazine.]
[PHOTO: Kenneth Jernigan seated at his desk. CAPTION: Kenneth Jernigan, pictured here in his office, has edited the BRAILLE MONITOR longer than anyone else.]
CONCERNING HISTORY AND THE BRAILLE MONITOR
by Kenneth Jernigan
If we are to deal successfully with the present and the future, we must understand the past. This is true of nations and organizations, and it is also true of the Braille Monitor. So let me talk about history.
Originally, as many of you know, the Monitor was not the Monitor. It was the All Story Braille Magazine, and merely carried what was called a "Legislative Supplement from the National Federation of the Blind." For much of its existence the All Story was published bi-monthly, and only in Braille. It was not produced by the National Federation of the Blind but by the American Brotherhood for the Blind.
The earliest issue of the All Story that I have in my possession is the one for March, 1949. Until a few years ago, the earliest issue we had here at NFB headquarters was February- March, 1955. Then we found one copy each of March, April, May, June, July, August, September, and October of 1949. The title All Story Magazine was apt and descriptive. For example, here is the contents page from the March, 1949, issue:
Married This Morning
by Irene Kittle Camp
(reprinted from Good Housekeeping magazine)
by Laurence Critchell
(reprinted from Collier's)
by Libbie Block
(reprinted from McCall's)
Legislation for the Blind
by Dr. Newel Perry
I don't know when the American Brotherhood for the Blind started publishing the All Story, but I remember reading it when I was a boy at the Tennessee School for the Blind in the late 1930's. In view of the fact that the 1949 issue is Volume XVII, Number 11, we can make a calculated guess that the first issue was published in 1932 if we assume that every volume represents a year. In the beginning the magazine didn't have the Federation's legislative supplement, and I am not sure when the feature was added.
The February-March, 1955, issue announced a feature that more recent readers of the Monitor may recognize. There were only three items: "Editor's Note," "Who Are The Blind Who Lead The Blind" (special feature), and "Legislation for the Blind" by Dr. Newel Perry.
In 1956, rather than carrying just a legislative supplement, the magazine began to publish general information of interest to the blind. With the May, 1957, issue the All Story "resumed" a monthly publication schedule. We have no record of the publication schedule between October, 1949, and February-March, 1955. Finding the note in the May, 1957, issue regarding the change from bi-monthly to monthly probably explains why we have both an April-May and a May issue for that year. Later in 1957 both the emphasis and the name of the magazine changed. The July issue carried the following announcement:
All Story Gets a New Name
Beginning with the next monthly issue, the name of this magazine will be changed to the Braille Monitor. We have been fortunate to be able to return to a monthly issue. This is made possible by a subvention from the National Federation of the Blind. The Federation News Section has become increasingly popular. Many of our readers have written to request that more space be devoted to this feature. Program and other developments concerning the blind--many of which are of the utmost importance to the blind men and women of this country--have been emerging in profusion. Even with the return to the monthly issue, a major fraction of the space of this magazine must be devoted to the coverage of these developments if our people are to continue to be informed.
It therefore seems only appropriate that we should now change the name of the magazine to one that does not state or imply that all of the contents are stories. Stories will continue to be republished to the extent that space is available.
According to the dictionary a "monitor" is a person who "advises, warns, or cautions." A Braille monitor is one who carries on this function for the blind, and this is the pledge of the editors of this magazine.
That is what the July, 1957, All Story said, and the following month the magazine carried for the first time the title Braille Monitor. While previously the bulk of material had been stories plus a Federation news supplement, the balance now reversed. The newly titled magazine was primarily Federation news and only carried stories as space permitted, which it usually didn't. In fact, the first issue of the Monitor (August, 1957) carried no stories at all.
Although I was living in California in the mid-fifties and participated in policy decisions, my memory of the exact month when we began to publish the print edition of the magazine understandably needed refreshing. My original research indicated that the first print edition was produced in July of 1957. However, it now appears that the first print edition was produced and distributed in January of 1958. An announcement to that effect appeared in both the Braille and print editions for that month (although in slightly different form for each). Here is what the print edition said:
It has at last become possible to issue an ink- print edition of the Braille Monitor. The demand for such a publication has become overwhelming. For the time being, the publication of the print edition will be experimental. Members of the NFB who are now on the mailing list will automatically receive the print edition. Other friends of the Federation and interested persons may have their names placed on the mailing list by writing to NFB headquarters: 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, California.
The costs of offsetting and mailing are high. These costs should be met by the readers. The normal way of doing this would be to charge for subscriptions. On the other hand, all Federation members and friends who do not read Braille and who can read or have read the ink-print edition should have an opportunity to gain firsthand acquaintance with Federation news. All readers who wish to do so should send $3 to Federation headquarters to help meet expenses. If not enough people do so, we may have to discontinue the print edition.
That is what we said in January, 1958--and one of the first things that comes to mind is the change in prices between then and now. As some of you know, there is a bound volume of the print Monitors for July through December of 1957, but these print copies were not done until much later. As I remember it, they were transcribed from Braille around 1970 when we first issued bound volumes of the print edition.
From January of 1958 through December of 1960, the Monitor appeared monthly in both Braille and print. During this time the print edition was published by the Federation, but until January of 1960 (at which time the Federation began doing it) the Braille edition was produced by the American Brotherhood for the Blind. A special issue of the Monitor was published in the spring of 1959. In Braille it was called "A Supplement to the April Issue," and in print it was called "Special Issue: May, 1959." Here is what Dr. tenBroek said as an introduction:
This special edition of the Monitor, devoted to a full account of the internal warfare which threatens to destroy the National Federation of the Blind, is being issued at Federation expense. In the past we have not hesitated to spend Federation funds to fight the external enemies of the organized blind. We should not now hesitate to use Federation money to preserve the organization against an attack from within more serious than any we have yet confronted.
That is what Dr. tenBroek said, and I remember those days with particular clarity. The organization was very nearly destroyed in the struggle to preserve it from its internal opponents. It was a time of soul-searching--a time when each of us had to determine precisely what kind of movement we wanted and how we thought it should function. Because of the internal warfare and the disruption created by the minority faction, the Monitor was forced to cease publication at the end of 1960. It did not appear again until the summer of 1964. Meanwhile, the Blind American (produced by the American Brotherhood for the Blind) started monthly publication in Braille in May of 1961. The inaugural print edition of the Blind American brought together in a single volume the May, June, July, and August issues, which had been produced separately in Braille. From September of 1961 through January of 1964 the Blind American appeared monthly in both Braille and print. It was not issued in February or March of that year. The April, 1964, Blind American announced itself as a quarterly but was never published again. Instead, the Braille Monitor resumed publication on a monthly basis in both Braille and print in August, 1964, and has been produced continuously by the Federation ever since. With our present strength and prospects, I don't foresee a time when the schedule will again be interrupted or curtailed.
I say this even though there have been occasional glitches, some rather sizable. In late 1976 our fund-raising was in trouble, and we were considering how to manage and where to cut. Details were given in the February, 1977, Monitor. The first two articles talked about the interruption of our mail campaigns, and the third was a special letter from me to the readers of the Braille edition. In the second article I said in part:
I will immediately do everything that I can to find new sources of income and to cut expenditures. Cuts will not be easy, and they will not be pleasant; but they must be made.
I am writing a special letter to the readers of the Braille edition of the Monitor to ask that as many as possible shift to talking book. It costs three or four times as much to send the magazine in Braille as on record. We will try to continue to make the Braille issue available to deaf-blind readers and to others who have a justifiable reason for wanting it. In the circumstances mere personal preference for Braille will not be enough.
We will skip the April, 1977, issue of the Monitor entirely--all formats: Braille, print, and talking book. This will save money, and it will give us time to see what response we get. Whether we will have to begin publishing the Monitor on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis will be a matter for future determination.
This is what I said in February of 1977, and it explains why we had a March-April issue that year, the first interruption of our monthly schedule in twelve years. The response from Monitor readers was immediate and gratifying. Contributions increased, and in less than two years we resumed our mail campaigns.
We continued to publish the Monitor and never strictly enforced the limitation on Braille, but it was not a happy situation. It was not until 1985 that we could fully return to normal. In the February issue for that year I made the announcement, saying in part:
Several years ago we found it necessary to limit the number of Braille copies of the Monitor produced and circulated each month. This was done in the interest of economy. We are now in a position to revert to our former practice of providing Braille copies of the Monitor to those who want them....
There are definite advantages to having the magazine in Braille for those who want and can use that medium. Moreover, we want to do all that we can to encourage the use and availability of Braille. This is why we helped establish the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB).
The production of the Monitor takes a sizable chunk of our resources, but it is one of the best expenditures we make. Most people (friend and foe alike) recognize the fact that the Monitor is the most influential publication in the affairs of the blind today. It informs, encourages, synthesizes, and calls to action.
The Monitor is (and will continue to be) an indispensable element in our march to freedom. Let us see that it is widely distributed, read with care, and thoroughly discussed and understood. The words which appear at the beginning of the Monitor each month are not simply a slogan. They are a reminder and a reaffirmation: "The National Federation of the Blind is not an organization speaking for the blind--it is the blind speaking for themselves."
The first recorded edition of the Braille Monitor was not, as many believe, produced in the late '60's. It was brought out in the '50's. As has already been noted, the April-May, 1957, issue marked a definite change in the magazine's history. One of those changes was the inauguration of the Monitor on tape.
From April-May, 1957, through March, 1958, I did the reading. After I moved to Iowa to become director of the state commission for the blind (April, 1958) the Monitor was first recorded by the women of the Jewish Temple Sisterhood and then (sometime during the fall of that year) by the inmates of the state penitentiary at Fort Madison, Iowa. One of the women from the Jewish Temple Sisterhood who did the reading was Dorothy Kirsner, the chairman of the Iowa Commission for the Blind. The recorded Monitor continued through December of 1960, at which time it was stopped, as were the Braille and print editions. I had forgotten some of the details and called them to mind only after listening to selections from some of those early tapes.
Everything (the recording, the duplicating, and the finished product) was done on open reel tape. As I remember it, we did not have duplicators but simply produced each tape from reel to reel at standard speed. It was a slow process, but the labor pool was sizable with a lot of surplus time. We had established a Braille and recording project at the state prison, and the production of the recorded Monitor was one of the results.
As to the duplication during 1957 and early '58 when I was still in California, there is some indication that at least part of it was done by inmates at San Quentin. But a major portion of it was done by one of the unsung heroes of our movement, a man named Victor Torey. Most Federationists have never heard of Victor Torey, but he deserves remembering. He was sighted and, to the best of my knowledge, had no blind family members. Nevertheless, he moved from Phoenix, Arizona, to the San Francisco Bay Area for the sole purpose of volunteering his time to do recording for us. Day after day, hour after hour he duplicated open reel tapes by patching two recorders together, and he did it without one penny of compensation. It was Victor Torey who produced the hundreds of open reel tapes that we distributed after the New Orleans convention in 1957.
The first professionally recorded edition of the Braille Monitor was produced in July of 1968. As a number of you will remember, it was a memorial issue honoring Dr. Jacobus tenBroek-- our founder, first president, and long-time leader. Dr. tenBroek died March 27, 1968, and the recordings entitled "Jacobus tenBroek: The Man and the Movement" were ready in time for the 1968 national convention in Des Moines. What many Federationists do not know is that these recordings were approaching completion at the time of Dr. tenBroek's death and that I finished the final portion of the work only an hour or so after I was told that he had died.
The early recorded issues of the Monitor were produced at the American Printing House for the Blind on ten-inch 16-2/3 hard discs. Three changes occurred with the December, 1970, issue. Larry McKeever was the reader for the first time; the records changed from ten to twelve inches in diameter; and we moved production from the American Printing House for the Blind to a commercial firm in Arizona.
With the December, 1972, issue we shifted from 16-2/3 rpm to 8-1/3 but continued to use a twelve-inch hard disc. In February of 1974 we switched to nine-inch flexible discs, still recording at 8-1/3 rpm as we do today. With the introduction of flexible discs, we moved back to the American Printing House for the Blind, but we shifted to Eva-Tone the very next month and have stayed there ever since. From March, 1974, through May, 1978, we used eight-inch flexible discs but changed back to nine-inch flexible discs in June of 1978.
In January, 1987, we began issuing the Monitor on four-track 15/16 ips cassettes, but we went back to August of 1985 and put the Monitor on cassette from that date forward. With the February-March, 1988, issue we started recording the Monitor in our own studios at the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore, and Jim Shelby succeeded Larry McKeever as reader. Ronald B. Meyer, the present reader, began in June of 1989. The cassette issue was first duplicated by a commercial firm in Washington, D.C., but is now produced at the American Printing House for the Blind.
When we started recording the Monitor in 1968, we were producing only a little over a thousand copies. Today the number is more than 15,000 per month. Because of the cost differential, almost half of the Federationists who read the Monitor in recorded form still use flexible discs, but the shift from disc to cassette continues at an accelerating pace. The time may come in the not-too-distant future when we move entirely from disc to cassette--but not yet. Today (with Braille, print, disc, and cassette editions) we are producing more than 30,000 copies of the Monitor each month--not to mention what we distribute through the NFB's computer bulletin board.
A small number of Braille, disc, and print back issues are available from January, 1971, to present--but as already noted, only issues from August, 1985, to present are available on cassette. While we have a few copies of older issues (that is, prior to January, 1971), we would be glad to have more if any of you are willing to dispose of them. Bound yearly volumes of the Monitor are available in print. The first of these covers July through December of 1957 and, as already mentioned, was transcribed from Braille. It and the volumes from 1958 through 1974 are hardbound. The volumes from 1975 to present are softbound. As long as they last, bound copies of the Monitor may be purchased by contacting the Materials Center at the National Center for the Blind.
To make research practical, we produce a Monitor index. While the index is published only in print, the entries refer both to Braille and print page numbers. The first volume, covering 1957-1973, is hardbound in three parts. Years 1974, 1975, 1976, and 1977 are published in separate volumes. The index for 1978 through 1984 is in one volume. Everything after 1975 is softbound. Everything before that date is hardbound. We are in the process of developing and refining a new computerized Monitor index. There are gaps in some of the years during the 1980's, but we hope to be up-to-date in the not-too-distant future.
There is a final tidbit of information I want to give you. The column titled "Monitor Miniatures" was originally called "Here and There." From 1961 through mid-1964 (when the Monitor was in eclipse and the Blind American was being published) the column was called "Brothers and Others." When we resumed publication of the Monitor in 1964, we adopted the name "Monitor Miniatures"--and have kept it ever since.
One more thing: The Monitor is a dynamic organism, always changing. With this issue, for instance, we begin tone indexing the cassette edition. We plan to tone index all future recorded issues.
In providing all of these details I realize that I may have given you more information than you want, but at least you now have in one place as much of it as I can remember. The Monitor is our principal means of communication, both internally and externally--and I think it is worthwhile for us to know its history.
THE LESSONS OF 1957
From the Editor: Since we are talking about history in this issue, I thought it might be worthwhile to give you a sample of what the Monitor was like thirty-six years ago. The April-May, 1957, issue marked a transition. It overlapped with May--and after that, the magazine was printed on a monthly basis. Of course, it was still called the All Story in April of 1957, but that would change within a few months.
During the '50's the Federation experienced tremendous growth. When I became a national board member in 1952, our total annual budget was around $15,000. Two years later it was ten times that much. This was the result of our mail campaign, which started in late 1952. With money came the ability to do intensive organizing, and this brought new affiliates--nine in one year, 1956. It meant more communications, more plans, and more activities. It meant the coming to vigor of a viable, determined, competently led national organization--an organization not just in name but in fact.
But it also meant something else. The governmental and private agencies doing work with the blind took alarm and became frightened. Before this time, they had virtually had the blindness field to themselves. Now, they saw a new force beginning to build, and they didn't like it.
As the blind organized and joined the Federation, the more repressive agencies tried to stop them. They used intimidation, scare tactics, and whatever else came to hand. Those agencies that welcomed the new trend and wanted to have partnership were in the minority.
As the battle intensified, the National Federation of the Blind decided to ask Congress to enact legislation to protect their right to organize and have a voice in programs affecting them. Companion bills were introduced--in the Senate by John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts and in the House by Walter Baring of Nevada. The agencies reacted with fury. There were congressional hearings throughout the country, and there were inevitable reprisals against vulnerable blind persons. The right to organize bills were never passed, but their objectives were achieved, the proof of which is the current size and strength of the National Federation of the Blind.
By the fall of 1957 the battle for the right to organize was fully joined, but in the spring of that year we were still in the preliminary stages. Here is how part of it was reported:
All Story Braille
Secretary Folsom Rebukes Agency Attack On Blind Organization
The North Carolina Federation of the Blind has recently announced publicly its success in securing from Secretary Marion Folsom of the federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare a ruling that the release of confidential information from the files of the North Carolina Commission for the Blind was "not proper." At the same time, Secretary Folsom stated that special action had been taken by his department to require specific protections to guard against misuse of confidential information. The action taken by the federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare revealed that a severe rebuke had been administered to the state agency for its improper use of its records. Every blind person in the United States who has ever had any relationship with a state agency serving the blind will applaud this action of the federal department.
The Background Facts are Briefly These:
Early in 1956 two members of the North Carolina Federation approached an attorney in their city to discuss with him the possibility of becoming the legal counsel and representative of the organization. While learning about the composition and program of the organization, the attorney expressed particular interest in improving the state's vending stand system. He later wrote a letter of inquiry about the vending stand program to the chairman of the state Commission for the Blind, who thereupon requested that a reply be made by Mr. H. A. (Pete) Wood, the Commission's executive head.
Mr. Wood called upon the attorney in his office, and after an extended interview left with the attorney a long letter signed by himself attacking the North Carolina Federation of the Blind. Enclosed with the letter was a file of documents purporting to substantiate the attack. The entire file of documents was later given over into the hands of the two blind persons who had originally approached the attorney. To their immense surprise these persons, both of them former clients of the Commission, found among the documents official summaries of the case histories of one of them and of the wife of the other. The case summaries appeared over the official signature of Mrs. Madeline McCrary in her capacity as Chief of Rehabilitation Services for the Commission, and bore a date in December, 1955. They contained detailed information of a highly personal nature about the individuals and their families.
Wood's conduct was immediately reported to both the North Carolina Federation and the National Federation of the Blind. The disclosure was promptly protested by the individuals concerned in letters addressed to Secretary Folsom and both senators from North Carolina, and these were supported by letters from the state and the national organizations. During the succeeding few months a thorough investigation was carried on by the Federal Office of Vocational Rehabilitation at the direction of Secretary Folsom. The facts were thoroughly proved that Mr. Wood had used the confidential records of the Commission to further his purpose to discredit the state Federation of the Blind.
In mid-October, Secretary Folsom wrote both North Carolina senators about this use of confidential data and in both letters stated that "its release was not proper" under either the state or the federal regulations. Similar letters were sent to the North Carolina Federation, to the National Federation, and to the individuals. All of these letters stated further:
"In order to prevent such a situation arising again, we have requested and have received written assurance from the Commission to the effect that no confidential information concerning vocational rehabilitation clients will be released except with the client's consent, other than in those situations where the release is clearly authorized by the state agency's regulations, without first obtaining advice from the appropriate state legal official that the disclosure in question would be authorized under the state's regulations, or, where compliance with a federal regulation is in question, from this office....
"We have directed our Regional Representative to work further with the North Carolina Commission for the Blind to assure that its policies concerning the protection of the confidentiality of rehabilitation records and the procedures for carrying out such policies will prevent a recurrence of this type of situation."
This rebuke administered by Secretary Folsom to Mr. Wood has particular significance at this time.
All of us who are working to build strong and effective organizations of the blind devoted to enabling the blind to achieve self-determination, self-help, and freedom from the bonds of patronizing assistance know well that there is an element, in some states a powerful element, among old-style agency workers that is now determined to strike out against self-organization of the blind, and especially to strike out against the National Federation and its affiliated organizations. These agency people are now making a desperate stand to stop the recent swift growth of the National Federation of the Blind. In their eagerness to succeed, they are using every resource that comes to hand.
Funds that have been appropriated or donated by the public to help the blind are now being diverted by these people to fight the blind. Organizations that have been built up over years to disseminate good will toward the blind are now being used by these people to disseminate ill will toward the blind. Agencies that have been supported by the public in the past because they have promoted the education, economic independence, and welfare of the blind are now being used by these people to deny to the blind one of the first fruits of these advantages--self- determination and self-organization.
Obviously this use of these funds and these agencies to fight self-organization of the blind is regrettable and should be ended. It is regrettable because it is threatening to destroy the future usefulness of agencies that in the past have contributed largely to the advancement and welfare of the blind. It should be ended because it constitutes a gross misappropriation of public funds and public welfare services.
The action of Secretary Folsom in rebuking the conduct of H. A. Wood is a timely warning to these people. In this case, Wood was found to be exercising the power inherent in his office to discredit blind persons working for the self-organization of the blind. Whether or not his actions violated the "confidence" of the Commission files was not emphasized by the Secretary. The Secretary did emphatically determine that Mr. Wood's actions in using these files to discredit the movement of the blind toward self-organization was clearly not consistent with his public office, and clearly not proper.
This ruling of the Secretary affords to each agency the occasion to re-evaluate the part it has played in the past, and will play in the future, in the movement toward self-organization and self-determination of the blind. The Secretary's decision that it is not proper for an agency to engage in actions designed to resist self-organization of the blind is a correct decision and a necessary decision. But more than this is needed. Each agency should now seize this occasion to reshape its program to assist, encourage, and provide a maximum of opportunity for the self-organization and self-determination of the blind. The example provided and the principles adopted by one of the established agencies point the way: "... to apply in principle and in programmatic implementation the proposition that this agency is the representative of the visually handicapped, subject to their wishes, needs, and decisions, and committed to their struggle for full opportunity, recognition, and equal treatment, socially and economically."
All Story Braille
Agency Attack Upon the Federation
One of the most flagrant attacks yet made by the agencies upon the National Federation of the Blind took place recently in Houston, Texas. The incident also involved a brazen threat to the livelihood of a blind vendor and an obvious effort at intimidation of the blind men and women of Texas.
The attack was contained in a letter by Lon Alsup, Executive Secretary-Director of the Texas State Commission for the Blind, addressed to the president of the Houston chapter of the Texas Federation of the Blind. The letter was read before a Houston chapter meeting on November 2, 1956, which was preparing to act upon recommendations of a special committee appointed to investigate the desirability of affiliation with the NFB. The letter was unsolicited by the chapter and was timed to arrive while the meeting was in progress.
The letter warned the Houston group that "If you want to wreck the work for the blind in this state, then you follow the recommendations as outlined by Mr. Moody, one of our stand operators." Thomas F. Moody, chairman of the investigating committee, was one of five members who submitted a unanimous recommendation for NFB affiliation, along with a strongly favorable report on NFB activities.
The threat to Moody--and to any others who might express similar independence in the future--was contained in Alsup's assertion that "I want everyone to know that if Mr. Moody does not like the way the stand program is being operated in this state, there are thousands of other blind people who would give everything to have the stand which he has and would never gripe because they have to pay a small agency fee."
Alsup was, however, quick to cover his iron hand with a velvet glove by declaring that "Mr. Moody is my friend" and that "This letter is not to be construed by any blind person in this state to mean that this agency would deny any service to any blind person because he belongs to the National Federation for the Blind."
The depth of his friendliness was suggested by Alsup in a statement which bluntly impugned the committee chairman's motives in expressing approval of the NFB: "The only reason that he is vitally interested is for the sole purpose of getting absolute control of the equipment which is in his stand and not have any supervisory assistance from this agency."
A clear indication of what many blind people have long suspected--that some public agencies supposedly concerned with the welfare of the blind spend time and money warring upon the blind and subverting their attempts at organization--was set forth in the Alsup letter:
"Last week in Denver, while attending the National Rehabilitation Association meeting, the Council of Executives of Agencies for the Blind went on record against the practices and policies used by the National Federation, and established a committee within its organization to supply information to any state where there was an attempt to organize the state in behalf of the National Federation for the Blind."
Moreover, according to Alsup, "It was definitely proved at this meeting that the policies used by the National Federation for the Blind had retarded the work of the blind for at least twenty-five years." But the Alsup letter, despite this sweeping denunciation, failed to specify a single instance of such negative policies, or to provide any other documentation of the charges made.
The familiar bogey of "outside interference," with its suggestion of alien and sinister forces at work, was raised by Alsup with the exclamation that "We do not need any national organization to tell Texas how to run its program" and advising Houston members to limit the expression of their discontent to a committee of the state legislature: "... and again I reiterate we do not need people from out of state coming down here and telling us how to run our program."
The Alsup letter throughout referred to the NFB as "the National Federation for the Blind" and repeated in various phraseology the declaration that "In the interest of the blind of this state, I want every member of your organization to know that I do not in any manner endorse the National Federation and its policies."
The Alsup letter constitutes a frontal attack by an agency for the blind upon the right of the blind to organize for purposes of self-improvement and the improvement of programs concerning them. In view of the importance of the Alsup letter it is set forth here in full:
State Commission for the
Land Office Building
Lon Alsup, Executive Secretary-Director
October 26, 1956
Mr. W. T. Keith, Jr., President
Houston Chapter of the
Texas Federation for the Blind
Dear Mr. Keith:
Information has recently come to me to the effect that a meeting is to be called by the Houston chapter of the Texas Federation for the Blind for Friday evening, November 2nd, for the purpose of voting on the question as to whether or not the local chapter would affiliate with the National Federation for the Blind.
In the interest of the blind of this state,I want every member of your organization to know that I do not in any manner endorse the National Federation and its policies. Last week in Denver, while attending the National Rehabilitation Association meeting, the Council of Executives of Agencies for the Blind went on record against the practices and policies used by the National Federation, and established a committee within its organization to supply information to any state where there was an attempt to organize the state in behalf of the National Federation for the Blind.
I want everyone to know that I wholeheartedly approve of the action taken by this national organization of executive directors. It was definitely proved at this meeting that the policies used by the National Federation for the Blind had retarded the work of the blind for at least twenty-five years. We do not need any national organization to tell Texas how to run its program. If you want to investigate the work for the blind in this state or have it done, then I suggest that you write to the legislative chairman of the Interim Committee of the State Legislature requesting them to make an investigation of the work for the blind in this state, if in your opinion you think that all programs are not being administered satisfactorily. This legislative committee of the State Legislature has the authority to act on matters of this kind, and again I reiterate, we do not need people from out of state coming down here and telling us how to run our program.
If you want to wreck the work for the blind in this state, then you follow the recommendations as outlined by Mr. Moody, one of our stand operators. I have seen some of the letters which he has written to the various states, and his statement says, "At present the Houston Federation is independent of NFB. We are, however, considering the possibility of affiliation with that organization." Mr. Moody is my friend, but nevertheless, I do not concur in his thinking--and the only reason that he is vitally interested is for the sole purpose of getting absolute control of the equipment which is in his stand, and not have any supervisory assistance from this agency.
Mr. Moody has a right to his opinion, but I want everyone to know that if Mr. Moody does not like the way the stand program is being operated in this state, there are thousands of other blind people who would give everything to have the stand which he has and would never gripe because they have to pay a small agency fee.
This letter is not to be construed by any blind person in this state to mean that this agency would deny any service to any blind person because he belongs to the National Federation for the Blind. We intend to give the service that is needed to any blind person, if he is eligible, but that does not mean that this agency is in favor in any manner of the practices and policies of the National Federation for the Blind, because we are not.
S. Lon Alsup
That is how we reported what was happening in North Carolina and Texas in 1957, and it was illustrative of what was occurring all over the country. We were engaged in a war for our right to organize and be heard, and the stakes were as high as our independence and self-respect--and ultimately our ability to make a living and stand on our own. It happened thirty-six years ago, and today we live in a different world--but not totally different. Many of the agencies now work with us, and none would dare make such public attacks--but oppression takes many forms. Let us consider our roots; let us be diligent in the present; and let us prepare for the future. It couldn't happen again--or could it?
WHO ARE THE BLIND WHO LEAD THE BLIND
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, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico--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, and 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 good will expressed toward the blind was not the wholesome good will of respect felt toward equals; it was the misguided goodwill of pity felt toward inferiors. 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. 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 must be 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 testimonial to the soundness of the Federation's philosophy. The cumulative record of their individual achievements is an overwhelming proof, leading to an inescapable conclusion.
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Jacobus tenBroek.] [PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Hazel tenBroek.]
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 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 shows 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), The Antislavery Origins of the Fourteenth Amendment (1951)-- revised and republished in 1965 as Equal Under Law, and The Law of the Poor (edited in 1966).
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."
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Kenneth and Mary Ellen Jernigan.]
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). In July of 1990 Jernigan received an award for distinguished service from the President of the United States.
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 hell-raisers 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 in 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.
[PHOTO: Marc Maurer at
podium. CAPTION: Marc Maurer.]
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Patricia Maurer.]
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 Dianna 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.
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Joyce and Tom Scanlan.]
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, and in 1992 she was elected First Vice President. 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."
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Peggy Pinder.]
Attorney, Political Activist, and Community Leader
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 has continued 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.
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Ramona Walhof.]
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. In 1992 she was elected Secretary of the National Federation of the Blind.
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Allen Harris.]
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. In 1992 Harris received the prestigious Blind Educator of the Year Award from the National Federation of the Blind.
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Steve and Peg Benson.]
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 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. Today he serves in the press office of the Chicago Public Library.
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."
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION:
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Jacqueline Brown.]
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. Even though he had impressive credentials and good grades, his job search was difficult. 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, and he received regular promotions as long as he was there. In April of 1991 he left his position of Counsel for Special Legal Services in the Office of the Solicitor at the Department of Labor to become Assistant General Counsel at the National Science Foundation. The Department of Labor 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 the Department of Labor'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."
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Donald and Betty Capps.]
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 eleven 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, a position which he still holds.
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-six 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 fund-raising 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. In October of 1992 Capps was a member of the NFB delegation to the Third General Assembly of the World Blind Union, held in Cairo, Egypt.
Betty Capps has been an active Federationist as long as her husband has. The Cappses have two grown children, Craig and Beth, and three 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.
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Glenn and Norma Crosby.]
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-Sheppard 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."
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Priscilla and Jack Ferris.]
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.
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Sam and Vanessa Gleese.]
Businessman and Ordained Minister
In 1947 Vicksburg, Mississippi, was not an ideal place for a black child to be born with congenital cataracts. For years no one even noticed that little Sam Gleese had difficulty seeing, least of all Sam himself. He simply assumed that everyone else saw things with the hazy imprecision that he did.
One day, when he was in the second grade, the teacher in the segregated school he attended sent a note home, asking his mother to come to school for a conference. To the Gleese family's astonishment she told them that he had significant difficulty seeing to read and do board work. By the fourth grade the bouts of surgery had begun. Glasses (which Sam hated and forgot to wear most of the time) were prescribed. But none of this effort enabled young Sam to glimpse much of what his friends could see. Then, in 1962 when he was fifteen, Sam underwent surgery that gave him enough vision to show him by comparison just how little he had seen until that time.
He graduated from high school in 1966 and enrolled that fall at Jackson State College, where he majored in business administration. Looking back, Sam is sure that he was legally blind throughout these years, but he never considered that he might have anything in common with the blind students he saw on campus. His struggle was always to see, and that made him sighted. Occasionally he was forced to deal with his difficulty in reading, particularly when a fellow student or teacher pointed out what he seemed to be missing, but for the most part he denied his situation and resented those who tried to make him face his problem.
After graduation in 1970, Sam joined a management training program conducted by K-Mart. Everyone agreed that he was excellent on the floor and dealing with employees, but, though he did not realize it, he was extremely unreliable in doing paperwork. He consistently put information on the wrong line. His supervisor confronted him with the problem and told him he had vision trouble. Sam hotly denied it, but within the year he was out of the program.
During the following years Gleese applied repeatedly for jobs that would use his business training. When he supplied information about his medical history and his vision, would-be employers lost interest. Finally in late 1972 he got a job as assistant night stock clerk with a grocery chain. He had a wife to support--he and Vanessa Smith had married in August of 1970-- and he needed whatever job he could find. Gradually he worked his way up to assistant frozen food manager in the chain, though it wasn't easy.
Then in 1979 his retinas detached, and within a few weeks late in the year he had become almost totally blind. For a month or two he was profoundly depressed. His wife, however, refused to give up on him or his situation. Gradually Gleese began to realize that she was right. He could still provide for his family and find meaningful work to do. He just had to master the alternative methods used by blind people. Early in 1980 he enrolled in an adult training center in Jackson, where he learned Braille, cane travel, and daily living skills. He is still remembered in the program for the speed with which he completed his training. By the following summer he was working as a volunteer counselor at the center, and in the fall, with the help of the state vocational rehabilitation agency, he and his wife Vanessa were working in their own tax preparation business.
It was difficult, however, to maintain a sufficient income year round, and the Gleeses had a daughter Nicole, born in 1976, to think about. In 1983 Sam decided to try taking a job making mops in the area sheltered workshop for the blind. He worked there for two years until a staff member pointed out that he could do better for himself in the state's Randolph-Sheppard Vending Program, which had finally been opened to African Americans in 1980-81.
In January of 1985 Sam Gleese was assigned the worst vending stand in the state of Mississippi. Because of his degree in business administration, his phenomenal record in personal rehabilitation, and his work history in the grocery business, officials decided that he needed no training but could learn the program in his own location. He spent two years in that facility, mastering the business and improving his techniques. Then he moved to a better location for a further two years. He now operates a small lunch and snack facility in the federal building in Jackson, Mississippi, while he waits for a better location to come along. In 1992 he bid on an excellent facility and appealed the decision which awarded it to another vendor. Though the appeal decision which eventually came down did not help him directly, it did correct unfair practices that had plagued many vendors in Mississippi for years.
Gleese has always been active in the Missionary Baptist Church. From 1973 to 1990 he taught the adult Sunday school class in his own church, and in 1980 he became a Deacon. In the fall of 1991 Gleese began attending night classes at Mississippi Baptist Seminary part-time, and he expects to graduate in 1994. He was ordained to the ministry in November of 1992 and now teaches the church's new members and heads its scouting program.
Sam Gleese first heard about the National Federation of the Blind in the early 1980's and attended his first national convention in 1983. He reports that from that moment on he has been a committed Federationist. Vanessa has worked steadily beside him through the years as he has struggled to improve the lives of Mississippi's blind citizens. He became president of one of the state's three chapters in 1985, and the following year he was elected for a two-year term as state president. In 1990 he was returned to the affiliate's presidency, where he continues to serve. But now under his leadership, there are seven chapters and another soon to be organized.
In 1992 Gleese was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind. He has dedicated his life to educating the public, blind and sighted alike, about the abilities of blind people. According to him, too many people in Mississippi believe, as he did for so many years, that blind people can do nothing and belong in rocking chairs and back rooms. Sam Gleese is making a difference everywhere he puts his hand.
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION:
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Frankie Lee.]
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 superiors, 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 has been re-elected for successive two-year terms ever since.
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Diane McGeorge.] [PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Ray McGeorge.]
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 served in that office until she decided to step down in September of 1991. Under her leadership the NFB of Colorado became 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, an honor and responsibility which she continues to hold. From 1984 to 1992 she served 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."
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Betty and Charles Niceley.]
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 as 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 taught Braille, techniques of daily living, and rudimentary travel skills to people of all ages. She also did virtually all the outreach education for groups who need instruction about blindness and dealing with blind people. She now works as information specialist for the Kentucky Department for the Blind.
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 has been re-elected for successive two-year terms ever since.
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Fred and Cathy Schroeder.]
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 a 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, however, he resisted the idea of learning to read and write Braille. But by the time he was a senior in high school, 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. With only a two-year respite, he has been a member of the Braille Authority of North America since 1982, serving as vice chairman for a term. He has also 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 and was elected to serve as vice chairman during the first year of his second six-year term as a member of that body. In 1991 he became the first president of the newly established International Council on English Braille.
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 firsthand 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 the 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."
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Joanne and Harold Wilson.]
Teacher and Agency Director
Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1946, Joanne Ziehan Wilson 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 Wilson 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 Wilson 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 Wilson 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 Wilson 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 Wilson 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 Wilson 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 Wilson had stopped teaching to begin a family. She is now the mother of 5 children ages 5 to 15. In 1979 she and her family moved to Louisiana, and here she continued her Federation work. In 1981 Wilson 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 Wilson 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 Wilson as its director, and the program which she has built is rapidly coming to be recognized throughout the nation as a model of excellence. Well over two hundred students have now enrolled in the program, and they graduate ready for competition in the mainstream of society and convinced that it is respectable to be blind. In the spring of 1991 Joanne, who had been divorced from her first husband for a number of years, married Harold Wilson, a quiet man who shares his wife's dedication to improving the lives of blind people everywhere.
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Gary Wunder.] [PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Sue Wunder.]
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."
If you or a friend would like to remember the National Federation of the Blind in your will, you can do so by employing the following language:
"I give, devise, and bequeath unto National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230, a District of Columbia nonprofit corporation, the sum of $_____ (or "_____ percent of my net estate" or "The following stocks and bonds: _____") to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons."
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Barbara Walker]
by Barbara Walker
From the Editor: In the National Federation of the Blind there are three simple sentences which we have repeated among ourselves and to others so often that they have become more than words and more than slogans. Barbara Walker's story, "Baby-Sitting," is a graphic demonstration of the truth of those three sentences. Read her story. At the end of it you'll find the three sentences I'm talking about. Incidentally, Barbara Walker is one of the finest people I know.
As I hung up the phone, I thought to myself, "I bet Sue has no idea what she has just done." To her it was probably just another routine thing to do. But as I told my husband about it, I felt the warmth that true acceptance brings flowing through me and giving a spark to my comments.
"Jim," I said, "Sue just called and suggested that we have our school parent-teacher conferences back to back so I can watch Eric during hers and she can watch Marsha and John during ours. She asked if I would arrange it since she's real busy at work during Larry's free time."
It was a routine call about a routine matter for parents. So what was I so thrilled about? It was the first time anyone had talked to me about watching their children without commenting in some way or expressing some apprehension about my blindness. Sue did tell me later that people had asked her about how she could trust me to watch Eric. She had told them that all she knew was that my children seemed fine and well cared for to her and whenever she wanted to know specifically how I did things she asked.
Unfortunately, Sue is still an exception in this and many other everyday circumstances for the blind. But people like her help people like me deal with the more typical approaches we face, such as that with Chong.
Chong, like Sue and several others, had been providing rides for my children to and from pre-school. Occasionally, she would invite my children to play with hers after school and then bring them home. They enjoyed it, and as they got to know Jenny and Bryan better, wanted to have them to our house. The first couple of times I asked Chong about it, the reasons they couldn't seemed plausible. But by the third time, it seemed that perhaps reasons were becoming excuses. My children began wondering aloud why Chong's children couldn't play at our house. At one point, Marsha said she thought Jenny was disappointed about not coming. I thought about blind friends who had talked about this kind of thing. Now it was happening to me. Perhaps we were all paranoid and jumping to conclusions. I thought of Sue and decided we weren't.
The next time I talked to Chong, I said that my children loved to play at her house, but they were wondering why they could never play with Jenny and Bryan at ours. I talked about Jenny's apparent disappointment. Then I took the plunge and asked if my blindness had anything to do with it. She said shyly, "No, not really." I said that if it felt uncomfortable to her, I would be glad to explain how I do things or answer questions. I told her I am used to doing that. She said she didn't have any questions, and we arranged for a time for them to come.
On the day that they were to come, she called and said that Bryan was sleeping late and she would prefer not to wake him. I said we weren't on a schedule that would make their coming later a problem. I was relieved when she agreed to that.
When they arrived, I explained to them in their mother's presence that I was going to put bells on their shirts so I would be able to hear where they were going. I also explained my rule about answering when I call their name unless we were playing hide and seek�something which is only done with everyone knowing before the game starts.
From the time their mother left until she returned, three-year-old Jenny asked almost nonstop questions about my blindness. She wanted to know how I kept track of things, how I got food, how I knew where I was going, how I read stories, how I knew what color things were, how I picked out my clothes, how I washed myself and my children, how I knew who people were, etc. When I changed her two-year-old brother's diaper, she watched with keen interest as I cleaned him and snapped up his clothes. The children all had a good time.
When Chong came to get Jenny and Bryan, I told her what a good time we had all had. I said Jenny had asked a lot of questions and had been very interested in how I do things. I then told her what Jenny had asked and how I had answered. She listened intently, occasionally adding a comment or question of her own. As they prepared to leave, Jenny, who had been in the other room with my daughter during most of Chong's and my conversation, talked excitedly to her mother about my ways of doing things, most of which were just like hers.
I had the distinct impression that Chong and Jenny had wondered to each other about things before coming to our house. Both the bubbly three-year-old and the reserved mother seemed pleased about learning new things, and our relationship thereafter was much more relaxed and comfortable.
Since that time, I have had many opportunities to supervise other people's children. Sometimes the parent or parents have been immediately receptive to trade-offs such as the one Sue initiated with me. Sometimes it has taken direct conversations or recommendations from others to help parents feel comfortable about my watching their children. There continue to be a few who just won't do it.
My perspective on this is that we, through our everyday lives, are making progress. I am glad there are people like Sue to provide a balance for those who won't accept our lives for what they are. Sue and others like her give substance to our acceptance of ourselves as part of the mainstream of society. I also appreciate those like Chong who are willing to listen and change their minds about us. Without them, the progress we're making would not be possible.
Most of all, I applaud children for their willingness to ask questions and remind us that change is occurring through them. As they expect us to take charge, we find it more possible to do so. As they challenge us to live what we say, we reach to do that, too. As we in the National Federation of the Blind share our experiences with each other and with the rest of society, we will find encouragement and the strength to continue to educate ourselves so that the success of acceptance will breed success. It is a privilege to be a part of the process.
As we in the National Federation of the Blind have learned so well, the real problem of blindness is not the loss of eyesight. The real problem is the misunderstanding and lack of information which exist. If a blind person has proper training and opportunity, blindness can be reduced to the level of a physical nuisance.
by Kenneth Jernigan
During the latter part of February I was in the Midwest looking for convention sites for 1994 and 1995, and the trip was extremely successful. But before I get to that, I want to say a few things about the upcoming 1993 convention in Dallas.
In the first place I hope you have made your hotel reservations. This promises to be one of the very best conventions we have ever had, and if you haven't made reservations yet, please do it as soon as possible. Contact the DFW Hyatt at: Hyatt Regency DFW, Post Office Box 619014, International Parkway, Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, Texas 75261, or call (214) 453-1234.
As to travel arrangements, you should contact Singer Travel by calling their toll-free number, 1 (800) 248-3929. Singer is our official travel agency, and we have made arrangements with both Northwest and Continental for special rates. The discounts will be substantial, and the Federation will also benefit if you use Singer. If you live in a city where neither Continental nor Northwest flies or is convenient, Singer will work with you to get the best possible rates and discounts. Please do not contact the airlines directly. Call Singer.
Those of you who attended the 1990 convention in Dallas will remember that the hotel staff was one of the friendliest we have ever had. The DFW Hyatt is truly a luxury hotel, and the NFB of Texas plans to show us what real Texas hospitality is like. This year (as we did in 1990) we will go to Bear Creek for an outdoor barbecue. There will be tours throughout the Dallas area, and there will be exciting program agenda items. Don't miss it.
As to 1994, I know you will be pleased. We are going to the Westin Renaissance Center in Detroit. The only way to describe the hotel and adjoining facilities is to use the word spectacular. The main hotel tower is seventy-three stories high, with a revolving restaurant on top. There are almost twenty other restaurants in the facility--McDonald's, Shoney's, and a variety of others, both fast food and upscale. The Renaissance Center, which is in the same complex as the hotel, has a complete shopping area--women's stores, men's stores, children's stores, book stores, gift shops, and almost every other kind you can think of. As usual, our rates are good: singles, $38; doubles and twins, $43; triples, $45; and quads, $47.
In 1995 we are returning to Chicago. We will be meeting at the Chicago Hilton and Towers, which was formerly the Conrad Hilton. Originally the hotel had 3,000 rooms, but after a renovation of 180 million dollars, it has about half that many, with the elevators and infrastructure that were planned for 3,000. There are fourteen high-speed elevators in a single bank, as well as other facilities in proportion. Steve Benson says that Chicago in '95 will be even better than Chicago in 1988, and Allen Harris reminds us that the last time we held a convention in Detroit was in 1962. He says that Michigan will make us want to come back every year.
Meanwhile, however, it's Dallas in '93, and Glenn Crosby says, "Y'all come!"
From the Associate Editor: Every year's National Convention is an absolutely unique event. The agenda items, the exhibits, the new friends and business acquaintances: all these give each convention its own character and significance. Some activities lend a luster to the convention in part because they do take place every year and provide helpful fixed points in the whirl of events. In this category are the meetings of the Resolutions Committee and the Board of Directors, the annual banquet, and many seminars and workshops of the various divisions and committees. Here is a partial list of activities during the convention being planned by a number of Federation groups. Presidents of divisions and committee chairs have provided the information. The pre-convention agenda will list the locations of all events taking place before convention registration on Sunday, July 4. The convention agenda will contain listings of all events taking place after that time.
Convention Art Display
A new feature to enrich the 1993 NFB National Convention will be a display of the work of blind artists. The NFB Artists' Exhibit will be held Wednesday afternoon and evening, July 7, for interested Federationists and the public at large.
If you are an artist interested in exhibiting your work, you are invited to contact Mrs. Janet Bixby, 208 West Boscawen Street, Winchester, Virginia 22601; phone (703) 722-4712, as soon as possible. Your work may be exhibited for sale or not, as you choose. It must be original--that is, no kits or work from patterns. Please indicate what kind of work you do and make an estimate of the amount of space you would like to have. You will receive additional information about our plans as they are completed.
If you are interested in art, remember to look for the NFB Artists' Exhibit in the Hyatt Regency Hotel at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Based on the artists who have already agreed to show their work, we know this exhibit will be an exciting and interesting experience.
Blind Industrial Workers of America
The BIWA will conduct its annual meeting from 1:00-5:00 p.m. on Monday, July 5. Everyone who works in a sheltered workshop for the blind or who is interested in sheltered shop issues is cordially invited to attend this meeting. Membership in the division costs $3, and board members will be selling drawing tickets at $1 apiece in order to raise money for the division's programs.
Braille 'n Speak Seminar
The National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science will again be sponsoring a Braille 'n Speak seminar at this year's convention of the National Federation of the Blind. The seminar will be held Saturday afternoon, July 3, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., somewhere in the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Deane Blazie, president of Blazie Engineering, will be conducting the seminar. People who have attended Blazie's Braille 'n Speak presentations in the past will tell you that the seminars are lively, exciting, informative, and totally worthwhile for Braille 'n Speak beginners and even for people who don't own a Braille 'n Speak yet. If you haven't taken the plunge and purchased your very own Braille 'n Speak, feel free to attend the seminar and find out about this popular electronic note-taker and information-storage device. Deane Blazie assures me that there will be Braille 'n Speaks aplenty available for folks to try.
For more information contact Curtis Chong, President of the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science, 3530 Dupont Avenue North, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55412; Phone: (612) 521- 3202.
General Child Care Information
As usual, child care will be available during the 1993 convention. The volunteer director of child-care services is Mary Willows. Mrs. Willows is an experienced educator, the mother of two children, and a long-time leader in the National Federation of the Blind of California. This volunteer job is a major undertaking. It takes a tremendous amount of time from many Federation parents who care deeply about making the NFB Convention an enjoyable and enriching experience for every member of the family who attends.
Child care is provided not only during the parent seminar on Saturday, July 3, 1993, but during the convention sessions, the banquet, and other special meeting times as resources allow. Parents are asked to make these donations for child care: $50 for the week (including the banquet) for the first child and $25 for each additional child; or, if you do not need the full week of day care, $10 per child per day, and $10 per child for the banquet night. Parents who cannot contribute the suggested donation should contact Mary Willows to discuss what donation they are able to make. Mary will be available in the child care room before and after sessions, or you may contact her in advance at 3934 Kern Court, Pleasanton, California 94588; (510) 462-8557. Since the suggested donation does not cover all expenses, other donations from individuals and groups are much appreciated.
Committee on the Concerns of the Deaf-Blind
At 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 4, the NFB Committee on the Concerns of the Deaf-Blind will conduct a seminar on technology for deaf-blind people. We hope that as many deaf-blind people and their friends as possible will take part in this program. If you are deaf-blind and plan to attend this seminar, please contact me before May 1. My contact information is Boyd C. Wolfe, 944 W. Main Street, Apt. 1010, Mesa, Arizona 85201; phone (602) 890- 8061, voice. Please call evenings or weekends using your state relay service so that my wife Connie, who is hearing, can take your calls. We plan to have the texts of the formal seminar presentations available in Braille for your convenience, but we must have an accurate count beforehand. Deaf-blind convention delegates should be prepared to tell us Sunday evening which meetings they plan to attend and for which they will require interpreters or guides. Those interested in trying their hand at interpreting can also give us their names at this time. If you will be unable to attend the Sunday evening meeting, please contact either Brenda Mueller or Connie Ryan in the hotel with the necessary information early in the convention.
On Wednesday evening, July 7, the Committee will hold its annual meeting. Everyone is welcome to both the seminar and this meeting. We hope to see as many of you as possible in Dallas.
The Diabetics Division meeting will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, July 5. This year, in addition to a guest speaker, we hope to break into a number of discussion groups. The precise nature of these is yet to be determined, but plan to come and take part.
Guide Dog Division
The Division meeting of the National Association of Guide Dog Users will be held on Saturday, July 3, 1993, from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. This year's meeting will be chock full of information and a source of lively discussion. The directors of our three NFB training centers, Diane McGeorge, Joyce Scanlan, and Joanne Wilson, will talk to us about their past and present experiences with guide dog users as students at the centers. They will explore with us how the guide dog can be integrated into their training programs.
A representative from Seeing Eye and Brad Scott, the director of training at Leader Dogs, will present their schools' philosophy of rehabilitation, incorporating the ownership issue into their discussion. Several schools are changing their policy with respect to ownership, and you will want to hear the reasons for these changes. Representatives from several states with divisions or committees of guide dog users will present reports of their activities since last summer. We will also discuss ways to abolish the Hawaii quarantine for guide dogs. Did you know that a round-trip charter flight for 100 people from Seattle to Hawaii would only cost $530 per person? Come to the meeting. Let's talk about it. Let's beat this quarantine. We can do it.
There will also be a three-hour evening seminar in which you can discuss issues about the guide dog and its impact on your life. We will discuss training, maintenance, transfer, school selection, philosophy, and other related issues. This is an important seminar for those who are thinking of getting a guide dog or who want more information about how to use a guide dog. The date of this evening seminar is yet to be announced.
The officers of the division have been working to insure that the hotel relief area for the dogs will be as convenient and clean as possible this year. Instead of relying on hotel personnel to maintain this space, we have made arrangements to hire outside workers to keep it clean. This should result in a more pleasant facility for owners and dogs alike; but, as you would expect, the new arrangement will cost a good deal. For this reason we have decided to ask each dog owner to pay $25 for use of the relief area. This fee is payable at division activities early in the week. In addition, for your convenience several members of the division will circulate throughout the week to collect your fee and give you your sticker, indicating that you have done your part. If you cannot pay the fee, please contact Paul Gabias as soon as possible to work out another arrangement. He can be reached at 475 Fleming Road, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada V1X 3Z4; phone (604) 862-2352.
Human Services Division
The '93 convention of the National Federation of the Blind will once again include the annual meeting of the NFB Human Services Division. This division has been established to serve as a forum for Federationists working or studying in professions dedicated to human service. This includes counselors, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, advocacy and medical professionals, as well as human resources professionals and administrators of service-related occupations. We encourage students pursuing careers in these areas to attend, and we provide a lower dues structure for students and unemployed professionals.
This year's program will once again explore many issues relevant to human services workers. The following are a few topics the program will focus on: the Americans with Disabilities Act, making sure blind people are fairly represented in seminars, task forces, and consulting efforts; a job panel of successful blind human services workers; psychological and career testing issues for the blind, a discussion of limitations and usage; and effective counseling for blind individuals considering human services occupations.
As you can see, we will have a full and varied agenda. Along with the annual meeting this year, the division will be selling a stress management tape especially prepared by the division to assist all of us to manage the stress that demanding lives produce. Look for this low-calorie way you can contribute to the activities of the division. See you at convention.
Job Opportunities for the Blind
Whether you are a blind person looking for a job or a professional person assisting blind job seekers, it will be worth your time and money to attend the 1993 NFB Convention, July 3 through 10 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. High on your list of must-do activities will be those offered by the Job Opportunities for the Blind (JOB) program. In addition to a national job seminar and authoritative information on the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, there are recruiters looking to hire qualified applicants with a disability, introductions to successful blind persons in fields that interest you, and free networking breakfasts. Through JOB you can connect with the combined knowledge of thousands of blind persons in thousands of different jobs. Here are some specifics for 1993:
The 1993 JOB National Seminar will be held on Saturday, July 3, 1993, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., in the hotel. This will be an exciting three hours of blind persons' talking about their jobs and how they got them. Come for practical tips from those who know best because they've been there.
This year as last, recruiters from federal agencies and from private firms have plans to visit the seminar. Some recruiters have said they will be available later in the week at the JOB Table in the Exhibit Hall, so bring your updated resume.
JOB has hosted very successful networking breakfasts every morning of convention for the last four years. All breakfasts begin at 7:00 a.m. and are BYOB (Buy Your Own Breakfast). There are two kinds. Miss Rovig chairs the general JOB networking breakfasts. To give everyone a chance to interact, they are limited to no more than eight persons. JOB applicants and volunteers are invited to call Miss Rovig to reserve a chair.
Last year the specific-interest breakfasts had so many participants that it became difficult to network. Therefore they will now be held in a separate area of the restaurant with participants selecting food from the breakfast buffet. Each table will be limited to six to eight persons. Our breakfast chairpersons will assist with introductions and make a list of the participants who wish to be included so that continued networking will be easier, once we all are back home. Call Miss Rovig at (800) 638-7518 or the chairperson of your breakfast to reserve a seat. Here are the four specific-interest breakfasts for 1993:
The FOURTH ANNUAL JOB BLIND LAWYERS' BREAKFAST will meet on Sunday, July 4. Mr. Bennett Prows of Seattle, a lawyer working for the Office of Civil Rights, will chair. His home phone number is (206) 823-6380.
A JOB BREAKFAST FOR BLIND PERSONS IN MEDICAL FIELDS will meet Monday, July 5. Bob Hartt of Virginia will chair. He is an experienced medical group administrator. If you are in any field connected with medicine or medical care or if you would like to be, you will enjoy networking at this new special breakfast. His phone number is (804) 741-9989.
A JOB BREAKFAST FOR BLIND INSURANCE AGENTS will meet on Tuesday, July 6. Jeff Pearcy of Louisiana will chair. He is a certified independent insurance agent and annuity writer. If you have been, are now, or would like to become an insurance agent, you will find this new special-interest breakfast a must-do event. His phone number is (512) 453-3956.
The SECOND ANNUAL JOB BREAKFAST FOR BLIND ARTISTS AND CRAFTSPEOPLE will meet on Wednesday, July 7. Mr. Steve Handschu, a professional sculptor from Detroit, will chair. His home phone number is (313) 842-1804.
Inspired by the JOB Program, John Miller, a telecommunications engineer from California, will chair the SECOND ANNUAL BLIND ENGINEERS BREAKFAST on Monday, July 5. If you have questions about this event, contact Mr. Miller at (619) 587- 3975. Reservations are not needed for this breakfast.
Job Opportunities for the Blind is a joint program of the National Federation of the Blind and the U.S. Department of Labor. The national seminar and all other JOB services are free. Questions? Breakfast reservations? Free JOB Sample Packet? (Free copies of the 1992 National JOB Seminar on 2-track cassette are still available.) Contact JOB at (800) 638-7518 or write JOB, c/o NFB, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230.
"The Organized Communicator: Your Best Defense Against Stress" is the title of a three-hour workshop to be conducted by the Merchants Division on Saturday, July 3, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This is a practical workshop emphasizing strategies for dealing with time, people, and problems. The registration fee is $20 a person, payable at the door. The workshop leader is Dr. Betsy Zaborowski, President of the NFB Human Services Division and a practicing psychologist.
Monday afternoon the Merchants Division will hold its annual meeting. As usual the group will discuss issues of interest to independent business people. Make plans to join us.
[PHOTO: Group listens to young woman play piano and sing. CAPTION: Spirits are high and competition is tough at the musical showcase of talent.]
The Composition and Musical Showcase of Talent
Again this year at the annual Showcase of Talent (July 6), we plan to focus on musical composition. We must have at least three to five entrants to make it competitive. Compositions will be first on the program. There will be a $100 and a $75 prize for the two best submissions.
Following the compositions we will conduct the popular musical Showcase of Talent. Because of the fact that our NFB family has another big event on the night of our showcase and because of the number of contestants, we must have a tight game plan. Talent offerings must be kept to five minutes, so we will ask that introductions be sufficient without long conversations or emotional pleas. Just talent, please! Also electronic music may be used in the background, but singing in unison with a recorded vocalist does not show the talent of the member and must be ruled out.
There are getting to be so many performers that we would like to screen our talent. Please send cassettes of your planned performance and a self-addressed stamped envelope before June 15 to Mary Brunoli, 31 Sherbrooke Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106; (203) 522-0206. If selected, you will be first on the showcase part of the program. There will be a $100 and a $75 prize for the talent showcase part of the program. There will also be a youth division for contestants under the age of thirteen, for which a $25 first prize will be awarded.
Sunday, July 4, will be the date of the music division meeting, including, we hope, a presentation by a professional singer and composer. We will also have a presentation by a representative from the music department of the National Library Service.
National Association of Blind Educators
At 1:00 p.m. Monday, July 5, the National Association of Blind Educators will hold its annual meeting during the fifty- third Convention of the National Federation of the Blind. Again this year we will begin with small group discussions. Educators will have a chance to talk to other blind educators with the same subject interests. Then blind educators from all levels of teaching will share their experiences. The rights and responsibilities of blind educators will also be addressed. One of our very successful teachers, Mary Willows, will share her experiences working in an itinerant program for multi-handicapped blind students. Of course, we will again have the greatest interviewer ever, Fred Schroeder, fire the usual questions about how the blind can teach the sighted as any other educator does.
Our agenda will be packed with useful information for anyone in or thinking of entering the field of education. Everyone is welcome. Come and partake of the best lessons ever.
National Association of Blind Lawyers
On Monday, July 5, the National Association of Blind Lawyers (NABL) will hold its annual meeting and conference as a part of the 1993 Convention of the National Federation of the Blind. The agenda for this conference will include informative presentations and discussions of interest to practicing attorneys, law students, paralegals, and other legal professionals. For the past three years the NABL conference has been approved by state bar associations for credit toward continuing education at bar. The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act has raised critical questions about how the rights of blind and disabled persons may be protected under this law. If you are currently a member of NABL, you will want to attend our 1993 conference. If you are not, you are invited to attend the conference and to join the Association. NABL membership is open to all those interested in the legal profession, including blind lawyers, judges, law students, paralegals, legal assistants, and legal secretaries. Membership in NABL includes a subscription to the American Bar Association Journal, which is reproduced on cassette by the National Federation of the Blind. NABL dues are $10 per year for practitioners and $5 per year for students. Dues for 1993 may be sent to Sharon Gold, President, National Association of Blind Lawyers, 5982 South Land Park Drive, Sacramento, California 95822.
National Association to Promote the Use of Braille
You all come! The NAPUB meeting, which is scheduled to take place at 8:00 p.m., Monday evening, July 5, is guaranteed to make you glad you were in attendance. Believe me when I say that it promises a good agenda, lots of fun, and an opportunity to work with some of the most enthusiastic and capable people in our movement--Oh, I forgot to tell you that this meeting always holds some surprises. See you there!
National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science
The 1993 meeting of the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science will be held at the National Federation of the Blind convention in Dallas. The NFB in Computer Science meeting will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday, July 5, 1993. The exact room for the meeting will be listed in your convention agenda. Here is a brief look at some of the program items being planned for the meeting:
1. A discussion of optical character recognition (OCR) technology. As reading machines become ever more popular, it seems appropriate to discuss the underlying concepts involved in optical character recognition technology with the principal vendors of that technology in the field of blindness. These include Xerox Imaging Systems and Arkenstone.
2. A discussion of electronic bulletin boards and networks. Bulletin boards and electronic networks are growing in popularity. Many of them are particularly useful to blind people. It seems appropriate, therefore, to put together a panel of individuals who can speak knowledgeably on this subject.
3. Access to the Windows platform. As of this writing, there is at least one company (Syntha-Voice Computers, Inc. of Canada) which markets a software package that is supposed to enable blind computer users to access programs running under the Windows platform. There are many aspects of this software (and any other similar software that may be developed by other vendors) that are worthy of in-depth technical discussion.
Of course, we will continue to discuss IBM's Screen Reader for OS/2, and we will have another technical interchange to facilitate sharing of technical knowledge and information. Other topics of technical interest may be added to the program as we get closer to the time of the meeting. Look forward to an exciting and highly technical meeting--a chance for you techies to talk shop. For more information contact Curtis Chong, President of the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science, 3530 Dupont Avenue North, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55412; Phone: (612) 521-3202. See you all in Dallas!
[PHOTO: Group listens to demonstration of talking computer. CAPTION: David Andrews, systems operator for NFB NET, demonstrates how to access the computer bulletin board for a roomful of eager Federationists.]
NFB NET Training Seminar
If you lie awake at night wondering what ZMODEM is, if you don't know what a QWK packet is, or if you just want to learn how to use your modem or to upload or download files, then come to the NFB NET training seminar, which will be held as part of the 1993 NFB National Convention in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday, July 3. The seminar will take place from 9:00 a.m. until noon and from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The exact location will be announced in the Pre-Convention Agenda, available in Dallas.
The morning session is for beginners, and topics to be covered will include the basics of telecommunications, how to call NFB NET, how to register, navigating around the system, and leaving and receiving messages. The afternoon session is for more advanced users and those who attended the morning session. Topics to be covered include uploading and downloading files, locating files, getting the Braille Monitor and other NFB publications, changing your parameters on NFB NET, using off-line readers, and more. There may also be time to discuss other on-line services and bulletin boards which feature things of interest to blind computer users.
Attend the second annual NFB NET Training Seminar and learn how to be among the first to get the Braille Monitor each month, and find out about all the late-breaking news that is regularly available to NFB NET callers. The seminar will feature explanations and real live examples by NFB NET's Systems Operator, David Andrews. All you need to bring is something to take notes with and your questions. See you on the third of July.
[PHOTO: Blind child pets stuffed leopard. CAPTION: Kids look forward to children's activities during the parents seminar each year at National Convention.]
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Claudell Stocker instructs parents and others in the use of the slate and stylus.]
Parents of Blind Children Division
Activities especially for parents of blind children will begin this year on Saturday, July 3, with an all-day seminar. The theme of this year's seminar is "Meeting the Needs of the Blind Youngster." Registration for the seminar will begin at 8:00 a.m., and the seminar will start at 9:00 a.m. A general session with speakers and panels will take place in the morning, and concurrent workshops will be conducted in the afternoon after the lunch break. The afternoon workshops will adjourn at 5:00 p.m.
The afternoon workshop topics will include Developing an Appropriate Individualized Education Program (IEP); Networking Support for Parents and Professionals of the Blind Multiply Handicapped Child; The Needs of the Deaf-Blind Child; Promoting Good Travel Skills (Mobility); Integrating Braille into the Classroom and Everyday Life; Teaching Daily Living Skills: Who, When, and How?; Alternative Techniques for the Junior, Middle, and High School Blind Student; Teaching Responsibility: When and How Should Blind Children Take Charge of their Own Education and Daily Living Needs?
There is no registration fee this year for the Parents Seminar. For those who want it, a packet of literature and materials will be available for a fee of $5.00.
Also on the day of the parent seminar (Saturday, July 3) the Parents of Blind Children Division will sponsor a program of organized fun and learning experiences for children ages five to twelve. (We encourage older youth to attend the parents seminar with their parents or to take part in other NFB workshops on that day�such as the half-day Job Opportunities for the Blind (JOB) Seminar.) This year the children's program will be organized and led by Mrs. Carla McQuillan. President of the National Federation of the Blind of Oregon, Carla is an experienced educator with impressive credentials as a teacher, administrator, and independent day care provider. This year's program will be a day trip to a nearby dude ranch which features, among other things, a huge petting zoo; a playground; hiking areas; and, for the older children, opportunities for horseback riding and demonstrations of how to groom and care for horses. The grooming portion of the program will be conducted by volunteer Federationists who work with horses either professionally or as a hobby.
Since the number of children who can be accommodated for this trip is limited by space available on the bus and by the ratio of volunteer workers to children, we urge you to pre- register your children for the Saturday, July 3, day-trip. Children will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact Carla McQuillan if you have any questions about the day-trip, if you want more information about pre- registration, or if you have a child with special needs. Her contact information is 52 North 65th Street, Springfield, Oregon 97478; phone (503) 726-6924. The fee for the trip is $12 for children ages 5 to 8 and $16 for children ages 9 to 12. This fee includes the cost of transportation, entrance to the dude ranch, and lunch.
The parent seminar on Saturday is not the only activity of interest to parents or the only chance to meet other parents. Saturday evening, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., the NFB Parent and Student Divisions will co-sponsor a Hospitality Night for parents. Everyone (including children) is invited to this informal event. Toys will be available for young children, and older youth will have a chance to mingle with each other and with slightly older college students, members of the NFB Student Division.
The NFB Parents of Blind Children Division Annual Meeting will be held on Monday afternoon, July 5. At this meeting we get an opportunity to meet and hear from our parent groups from all over the country. We discuss local and national projects (such as our annual Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest), elect officers, listen to a presentation from the 1993 Distinguished Educator of Blind Children award winner, accept committee reports, and discuss activities of our state and regional parent divisions and chapters.
The following day, Tuesday, July 6, Claudell Stocker will once again conduct a special three-hour introductory Braille workshop for parents who want to learn Braille. She conducted this workshop at our convention last year, and it was one of the most sought-after, successful seminars of the convention! If you have been considering learning Braille or struggling to learn it on your own but not making much progress, you will not want to miss this workshop! It will be an intensive, hands-on learning experience. The goal is for everyone to leave the workshop able to read and write some Braille. Space will be limited to twenty- five persons, so be sure to register right away!
Public Employees Division
The annual meeting of the National Federation of the Blind Public Employees Division will be held at 1:00 p.m. Monday, July 5. We are planning an exciting, informative program. A representative from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will discuss large changes in the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity program. New regulations effective October 1, 1992, are expected to expedite the EEO process for federal job applicants and employees.
On July 26, 1992, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act became effective. This provides antidiscrimination protection for disabled state and local employees. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the state human rights agencies both have jurisdiction. We will discuss how this law may help you as a state or local employee.
See you in Dallas.
Public Relations Workshop
The Public Relations Committee will conduct a workshop again this year for anyone interested in learning more about competently publicizing the National Federation of the Blind or representing the organization more effectively in the media. The workshop will take place from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, July 3, and everyone is welcome. If you have assigned responsibility in this important area of the Federation's work, you should try hard to take part in this event.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Julaine Arient-Rollman demonstrates a kick at the self-defense workshop conducted during the 1992 convention.]
With so much news about crime coming at us through the media, most people are really concerned about what to do if they find themselves about to become victims of purse-snatchers or other assorted hoodlums. Last year's self-defense seminar was designed to meet that need for practical knowledge, and it was such a tremendous success that we have decided to offer it again at this year's convention in Dallas. We've expanded it, in fact, to a full day, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 3.
Once again for only $15.00 you will learn about how to take total charge of your physical body--self-defense, body shaping, and maintaining that shape through weight management. You will learn basic proven self-defense techniques from Federationist Julaine Arient-Rollman and her assistants. You will discover how many calories your food should provide per day to lose, maintain, or gain weight. In short, you will learn how to acquire the security and positive image which come from being fit and confident about your body and how to use it to discourage those who would harm it.
If this is the sort of seminar you have talked about but have put off taking, here is your chance. All you need to do is:
1. Pre-register by sending your name, telephone number, and a check for $ 15.00 payable to Marie Cobb to her at 202 South Augusta Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21229. Space is limited in this seminar (the only one we are offering this year), so register as soon as possible.
2. Wear workout clothes like sweats or jeans to the seminar (hard cups for the gentlemen are required, obtainable from local sporting goods stores at a modest price).
3. Bring note-taking materials.
Both men and women of all ages are welcome. Last year we had a wonderful time, made some new friends, and acquired a great deal of practical knowledge which may serve us well. Your fifteen-dollar fee also buys lunch. See you in Dallas!
Social Security Seminar
On Wednesday afternoon, July 7, there will be an outreach seminar on Social Security and Supplemental Security Income: What Applicants, Advocates, and Recipients Should Know. The purpose of this seminar, which will be conducted jointly by the National Federation of the Blind and the Social Security Administration, is to provide information on Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for the blind. Seminar presenters will be Sharon Gold, President of the National Federation of the Blind of California, and J. Kenneth McGill, Special Assistant to the Associate Commissioner for Disability, Office of Disability, Social Security Administration.
[PHOTO: Winners grab their poker chips during a card game at Monte Carlo Night at the 1992 NFB convention. CAPTION: Everyone has fun in Monte Carlo whether they're on the Riviera or at the National Federation of the Blind convention.]
Student Division Activities
The annual seminar conducted by the National Association of Blind Students (NABS) will take place this year on Sunday evening, July 4. The agenda will be packed with important, interesting, and amusing items. Get there early for registration and to be sure of getting a seat. For the past several years we have had standing room only by the time the gavel comes down.
Wednesday evening, July 7, from 8:00 p.m. to midnight the division will again sponsor our Monte Carlo Night. If you have attended this wonderful evening before, you know what fun it is. If you haven't, be sure that you don't make the same mistake this year. Consult your convention agenda for the locations of both these memorable events.
NABS will be staffing a table in the Exhibit Area this year. We will have division literature to nourish your mind, no-spill plastic cold-drink bottles for sale to sustain your body, and tickets for our NABS drawing to uplift your spirit. Come be a part of the most dynamic organization of blind students in the world--just ask us!
The Writers' Division of the National Federation of the Blind has a busy schedule planned for the 1993 convention in Dallas. Here is an outline of those activities.
At 1:15 to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, July 3, the authors' workshop will feature book authors telling their stories about what it's like to write a book. One best-selling author has already been scheduled, and others are pending. At least two persons will be featured. A small admission fee will be charged. The author who has already agreed to present is William Deer, a private investigator.
Book Auction: In addition, the Division is currently obtaining autographed books from authors. These books will be offered for sale at auction at a time to be announced. Three authors whose works will be available are Stephen King, Rosalyn Carter, and James Dickey. Jerry Whittle of Louisiana is coordinating the acquisition of books. A list of the books available will be provided at the Associate Committee table at convention unless a person desires to make a sealed bid, in which case they are encouraged to contact Tom Stevens at 1203 Fairview Road, Columbia, Missouri 65203; or by phone until one week prior to convention, (314) 445-6091, evenings.
This month's recipes come from Illinois. They are hearty, delicious dishes which Steve Benson, President of the NFB of Illinois, assures us are favorites in the affiliate. Here they are:
ZESTY PUMPKIN SOUP
by Peg Benson
Peg Benson is Steve's wife and an active Federationist in her own right. Steve testifies that this soup is delicious.
1/4 cup butter
1 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1 3/4 cups (16-ounce can) Libby's solid pack pumpkin
1 cup half-and-half
sour cream and chives, optional
Method: In large saucepan melt butter and saute onion and garlic until soft. Add curry powder, salt, coriander, and red pepper. Cook 1 minute. Add broth and boil gently, uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in pumpkin and half-and-half and cook 5 minutes more. Pour into blender container and cover. Blend until creamy. Serve warm or reheat to desired temperature. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and chopped chives, if desired.
SPAGHETTI A LA ROSIE MCCREARY
by Cathy Randall
Cathy Randall is the first vice president of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois. She says that this is her very favorite recipe for spaghetti.
2 onions, finely chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/8 pound (or less) butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 large can mushrooms
1 teaspoon sugar
1 #2 can tomatoes
1/2 pound Merck cheese
1 can ripe olives, may substitute green instead
3/4 pound spaghetti pasta, cooked according to package directions
Method: Brown onions and pepper in butter. Add flour and juice from mushrooms, stirring to keep the flour from lumping. Add sugar and tomatoes. To this mixture, add cheese. When sauce thickens to the consistency of white sauce, add mushrooms (the sauce may be a little thinner than the usual white sauce). Slice a can of ripe olives and stir them into sauce. Place the sauce and the cooked spaghetti in casserole dish in alternating layers, beginning with spaghetti and ending with sauce. Bake uncovered until heated through, about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. This sauce can be frozen and thawed another day for mixing with other pasta.
by Cathy Randall
1 French bread loaf, sliced three-quarters of the way through
4 ounces butter or margarine
finely chopped garlic or garlic powder, optional
1 large brown paper bag
Method: Warm butter to room temperature (do not melt in microwave). If you wish, add garlic to taste. Apply butter generously to both sides of each slice of bread. Place loaf in brown bag on a cookie sheet. Fold open end of bag under loaf to close and place in a pre-heated 400-degree oven for 10 minutes. Make sure bag does not touch oven heating coils. When ready, this bread is crusty on the outside and buttery soft on the inside. It is excellent with the spaghetti recipe just given.
by Elizabeth Browne
Dr. Elizabeth Browne is a member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Chapter of the NFB of Illinois. She is also a frequent contributor to the Braille Monitor. Steve Benson says that the following recipe is spectacular. Actually, what he said is that "It just won't stop!"
1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced into 1/3-inch rounds
2 sweet peppers (green or red) cored and sliced in rings
1 pound fresh mushrooms, stemmed, washed, and sliced
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and halved
1 12-ounce can prepared Italian sauce, with or without meat
1 cup coarsely shredded pizza cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, and 1/2 cup Italian-style bread
crumbs blended together to coat eggplant slices
Olive oil (for frying eggplant)
Method: Dip eggplant slices, one at a time, into the beaten eggs, then coat each slice in the mixture of bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. When oil (just enough to cover bottom of frying pan) is very hot, cook each slice of eggplant quickly, about a minute on each side. Place fried eggplant on warm platter to await layering. In large casserole, place several spoonfuls of sauce on bottom, then eggplant, followed by pepper rings, pizza cheese, sauce, mushrooms, grated cheese, and drained artichoke hearts until all ingredients are layered. Add any remaining sauce and top with a dusting of grated cheese, and cover. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.
The fragrance (for it is truly perfume more delightful than incense to the gods) will bring strangers in from the out-of- doors. Serve with tossed green salad, including endive and spinach, and fresh, crusty Italian bread or rolls. Cool Italian lemon ice and espresso will attempt to calm your palate after this culinary experience.
TURKEY TETRAZINI ALMANDINE
by Pam Gillmore
Pam Gillmore is an active member of the Chicago Chapter of the NFB of Illinois.
1 8-ounce package thin spaghetti or egg noodles
3/4 cup slivered almonds, slightly toasted
1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sherry
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of black pepper
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups cooked turkey or chicken, diced
Method: Cook spaghetti in boiling, salted water until just tender. Combine soup with milk and sherry. Season with nutmeg and pepper. Put half of spaghetti into a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with half the cheese then half the chicken or turkey. Sprinkle half the mushrooms over the meat layer. Pour half the soup mixture on top and sprinkle half the almonds over the surface. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Bake covered in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Remove cover and bake 5 minutes longer. Serves 6.
SWEET AND SPICY PICKLES
by Linda and Don Hert
Don Hert is the President of the Quincy Chapter of the NFB of Illinois.
1 quart or 48 ounces of dill pickles, drained and sliced
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
5 cinnamon sticks, broken
Method: Combine all ingredients in jar and screw down lid. Turn jar upside-down and back again often until pickles form their own liquid. Refrigerate jar, turning it occasionally. Eat pickles next day.
by Linda and Don Hert
Ingredients for brine:
1 quart vinegar
3 quarts water
1 cup canning salt
Medium cucumbers, sliced, whole, or spears
8 heads of fresh dill
24 cloves of garlic
32 to 40 black pepper corns
8 teaspoons alum
Method: In each of 8 quart jars pack cucumbers, 1 head dill, 3 cloves garlic, 4-5 black peppercorns, and 1 teaspoon alum. Bring brine ingredients to a boil. Pour boiling liquid into jars until the contents are covered. Seal jars with sterilized canning lids. The recipe makes 8 quarts. Let stand for at least sixty days before sampling.
CORN BAKED CASSEROLE
by Mary Jo and Carol Seiler
Both Mary Jo and Carol are active Federationists, and Mary Jo is a member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois affiliate.
1 package Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 8-ounce can whole kernel corn
1 stick margarine or butter, melted
1 8-ounce can cream-style corn
1 8-ounce carton sour cream
Method: Mix all ingredients well. Pour into a 2-quart casserole dish and bake at 325 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes.
During this year's National Convention in Texas, dialysis will be available. Individuals requiring dialysis must have a transient-patient packet and a physician's statement filled out prior to treatment. Patients should have their dialysis units contact the desired location in Dallas for instruction on what must be done. A mandatory prepayment of twenty percent (approximately $35) must be paid before each dialysis treatment. This amount is not covered by Medicare.
Please schedule dialysis treatments early since space is limited. Dialysis locations require at least a thirty-day advance notification and serve on a first come first serve basis. Following are two locations close to the convention hotel:
1. Irving Dialysis Center: c/o Irving Community Hospital, 2845 West Airport Freeway, Suite 120, Irving, Texas 75062; phone: (214) 258-0880. The unit is open six days a week (Monday- Saturday). Patients are billed a physician's capitation of $20 per day. This location is about ten minutes from the hotel, right off the south entrance of the airport.
2. Dialysis Center HEB: 2700 Tibets Drive, Suite 203, Bedford, Texas 76201; telephone: (817) 354-8811. For scheduling contact the Director of Nursing. This location is open three days a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) and is about fifteen minutes from the hotel, right off the south entrance of the airport.
If your dialysis unit cannot confirm a space for you, contact Ed Bryant for assistance: 811 Cherry Street, Suite 309, Columbia, Missouri 65201; telephone: (314) 875-8911.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
I am interested in selling a V-Tek Voyager XL projector/reader with monitor. This unit is in new condition. The sale price is $1,500 or best offer. If interested, contact Dennis Robbins at (717) 569-8615.
We recently received the following letter from Ollie Cantos: I am sorry to report the death of two charter members of the North Central Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Louisiana, Pappa Frank Golden and Della Killgore, both of whom died recently at the age of ninety. For years they served the Federation loyally and faithfully. Indeed, the blind of Louisiana and the nation are much better off because of their work.
Mary Jane Fry, Secretary of the National Federation of the Blind of Rhode Island, reports that at the October 24, 1992, State Convention the following were elected: Barry Humphries, President; Grayce Grout, Vice President; Mary Jane Fry, Secretary; and Raymond Gauvin, Treasurer. Edmund Beck, Howard Applegate, and Richard Gaffney were elected as board members to serve two-year terms. Cathy Gaffney was elected to serve on the board for a one-year term.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
For sale, an IBM-compatible 286AT with 640K onboard memory, two floppy drives, 40Mb hard drive, a 101-key keyboard, and VISTA, a computer magnification system from Telesensory Systems, Inc. Manuals are included. All set up and ready to run. Price $995, or best offer. For more information contact John A. Chilelli, 112 Nordmere Drive, Edinboro, Pennsylvania 16412; phone (814) 734-1271.
**Braille Digital Clock Calendar Available for Assembly:
Radio disk jockeys and other professionals who need accurate knowledge of the time should find the following item of interest:
The Kentucky Department for the Blind has developed a digital Braille clock calendar. It displays the date or time on a 6-cell refreshable Braille display. The time is displayed in hours, minutes, and seconds. The cost of parts for this clock is approximately $600.
To obtain plans for the digital Braille clock calendar or to discuss having this instrument custom-built, you may contact Mr. Wayne D. Thompson, Electrical Engineer, Kentucky Department for the Blind, 427 Versailles Road, Frankfort, KY 40601; telephone (502) 564-4754 or Fax (502) 564-3976.
**Easier Access to NFB NET:
David Andrews, Director of the International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind, has provided the following information:
As many of you know, the National Federation of the Blind established a computer bulletin board system (BBS) over a year and a half ago. This is a special computer system which allows people with computers and modems to use them to exchange files and messages with us here at the National Center for the Blind.
NFB NET contains many files of interest to blind computer users, such as demos of Braille-translation software and screen- review programs. There are also informational files listing sources of adaptive technology and more. NFB NET now has over 700 registered users. In addition to file exchange, NFB NET also provides its users with the ability to ask questions and exchange information with other users through messages posted on the BBS. These messages are divided into areas by their topics. There are message areas concerning computers and technology, hobbies, cooking, Star Trek--just for fun, and a wide variety of other subjects. At the time NFB NET was founded, we established two areas specific to blindness. They are called NFB Talk and Blind Talk. They have also been carried by over twenty-five other BBS's around the country.
NFB NET belongs to a worldwide network, a collection of bulletin boards, called Fidonet. Fidonet has over 20,000 member BBS's around the world with over ten thousand in North America alone. Many of the message areas carried by NFB NET come from the Fidonet network. Once a message area (called an Echo in Fidonet jargon) becomes a part of the network, it is said to be on the "backbone." This means that it is easily available to all ten thousand plus BBS's in North America. All they have to do is request it from their normal Echo source. Our Echos, NFB Talk and Blind Talk, have reached the point where we have been able to get them added as a part of the Fidonet backbone. So now they are readily available to all Fidonet BBS's in North America.
Here is some specific information about our Echos. NFB Talk is for the dissemination of news and information about the NFB and its activities. It is also intended for the discussion of NFB's philosophy of blindness and topics of specific interest to members of the National Federation of the Blind and our friends as they relate to the NFB, our policies, activities, and philosophy.
Blind Talk is for the discussion of general topics of interest to blind and visually impaired persons, our friends and relatives, and anyone else who is interested. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, computers and adaptive access technology, Braille and Braille literacy, cane travel, guide dogs, alternative techniques of blindness, etc. This Echo is intended to promote the positive philosophy of blindness developed and promoted by the National Federation of the Blind. Blind Talk also provides access to the International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind, the world's largest demonstration and evaluation center for computer technology used by blind persons.
If you use a computer and a modem and you regularly access a bulletin board that is a part of the Fidonet network, please ask your Systems Operator (SysOp) to pick up NFB Talk and Blind Talk. This is a great way for you to keep up with what is happening here at the National Center for the Blind and with other Federationists around the country as well as opening up another avenue for spreading the word about the National Federation of the Blind and our activities. Please ask your local Fidonet BBS's to pick up NFB Talk and Blind Talk today. SysOps who have questions or problems should contact David Andrews at Fidonet 1:261/1125.
Finally, for those who want to learn more about NFB NET specifically and BBS's in general, the NFB NET Training Seminar will be repeated again this year at the 1993 national convention in Dallas. It will be held on Saturday, July 3rd. There will be a three-hour morning session for beginners and a three-hour afternoon session for advanced users. Happy modeming!
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
Xerox Kurzweil Personal Reader, which features both hand and automatic scanner, nine high-quality Decktalk male and female voices. Contrast control allows dot matrix print recognition. Includes Braille and cassette instructions. Asking $5500. Price includes free delivery anywhere in the U.S. If interested, contact Karl Smith at (801) 967-5655.
**Wish to Find:
We have been asked to carry the following request:
Does anyone have a Tactile Speech Indicator (TSI) that is not being used, or does anyone know where one can be purchased? This is not a TTY. It is attached to the phone so that callers can signal deaf-blind people by vibration. Contact Elizabeth Kendall, 13817 Cedar Road, South Euclid, Ohio 44118.
On January 20, 1993, the New York City Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of New York elected the following officers to serve two-year terms: Carl Jacobsen, President; Ray Wayne, First Vice President; Vivian Yacu, Second Vice President; Tracy Carcione, Secretary; and Gerald Carcione, Treasurer. Elected to serve as board members were Harold Wenning, Gilda Finazzo, Gary Grassman, and Edwin White. Will Messing was elected state board delegate and Vivian Yacu alternate delegate.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
Kurzweil Personal Reader, Model 30 with hand-held and book- edge scanner. Documentation in large print, Braille, and cassette. Software gives access to a variety of documents, including items produced on dot matrix printers. Asking $4,000 or best offer. Those interested may contact Alan Clive, 143 Fleetwood Terrace, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910; or call (202) 646-3957 (day) or (301) 589-7145 (evening).
We recently received the following communication:
On Saturday, February 13, 1993, the National Federation of the Blind of Texas organized a new chapter. The name of our new chapter is the National Federation of the Blind Brownsville Chapter, and we are proud to say that it consists of twenty-five members from Brownsville and Matamoros, Mexico. There was much local interest in our organizing effort outside the blindness community, and several members of the press took the opportunity to come and learn more about our organization. We learned much from our friends on the southern side of the border about conditions for the blind in Mexico, and now they want to be a part of our Brownsville Chapter in an effort to learn how they might improve the conditions which they told us about. We are glad to have them as members, and we think they have come to the right organization for guidance in changing what it means to be blind in Mexico. As part of our organizing effort in Brownsville, we elected officers. They are as follows: Mario Medellin, President; Ernestina Notargiacomo, Vice President; Gracella Medellin, Secretary; Richard Sammons, Treasurer; and Javier Guerrero, Board Member. We are proud of our new chapter, and we believe that we have made a positive step in changing the lives of blind people in the Texas Valley and Mexico.
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Betsy Zaborowski.]
Dr. Betsy Zaborowski, a licenced psychologist practicing in Baltimore and president of the Human Services Divison of the National Federation of the Blind, was recently appointed to a three-year term on the Committee on Disability Issues in Psychology of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Zaborowski is one of six appointees to this committee, which deals with all issues related to persons with disabilities within the American Psychological Association.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
Arkenstone, Inc., the Sunnyvale, California, maker of PC- Based and stand-alone print reading products, has introduced two new products over the past nine months. Consequently, they are now offering a series of upgrades, trade-ins, and discounted purchases to existing customers as well as to educational institutions and nonprofit agencies.
For individual users there are discounts and possible upgrades or trade-ins on existing TrueScan-based systems. These deals may also be available to owners of TrueScan-based OsCar systems from Telesensory and DocuRead Expert systems from Adhoc Reading Systems. Educational institutions and nonprofit agencies are able to purchase an Open Book Deluxe, a stand-alone reading machine, normally priced at $5,995 for $3,000.
Arkenstone expects these offers to be available through the end of April at least, depending on demand. For more specific information call Arkenstone at (800) 444-4443.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
I have for sale a new Braille writer, asking $350. Also two Braille carrying cases, asking $30 each. Please contact Wanda Story at P.O. Box 8701, San Jose, California 95155; or call (510) 278-6525.