Banquet Speeches

The highlight of the National Federation of the Blind's annual convention is the banquet speech. Most often, the current president delivers this major address, although there have been a few exceptions.  

Mark A. Riccobono | Marc Maurer | Kenneth JerniganJacobus tenBroek 

Standing ovation after the 2017 banquet speech delivered by President Mark A. Riccobono.

Speeches are available as text or audio files, or both. Some of the more recent speeches may be viewed in video format. We have included some additional landmark speeches below that are not banquet speeches but are equally important. 

Mark A. Riccobono

President Mark Riccobono (2014-present) delivering the banquet speech.Mark A. Riccobono was elected to succeed Marc Maurer as President of the National Federation of the Blind at the 2014 National Convention in Orlando, Florida. Mark had served as Executive Director of the Jernigan Institute prior to the election.

Marc Maurer

Immediate Past President Marc Maurer (1986-2014) delivering the banquet speech.Delegates to the 1986 NFB convention elected Marc Maurer to succeed Kenneth Jernigan as NFB President. Dr. Maurer's work as leader of the organized blind has reflected his own confidence, independence, maturity, joy, and love. In short, he has displayed great leadership. To better understand the core themes of his administration, read or listen to any one of his thoughtful speeches.

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Kenneth Jernigan

Past President Kenneth Jernigan (1968-1986) delivering the banquet speech.As Marc Maurer stated in 1986, Kenneth Jernigan "combined hard decision-making with great compassion. Dr. Jernigan's Presidency [was] characterized by imagination, enthusiasm, love for others, and the drive for success. And there [were] other things: We never lose because we never quit." Dr. Jernigan's speeches exude these powerful sentiments.  Read or listen to just one speech and you will understand why the organized blind movement continues to be inspired by Jernigan's words.

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Jacobus tenBroek

Let me offer an ancient and wise proverb: "If you give a person a fish, you can feed him or her for a day. If you teach that same person how to fish, you can feed him or her for a lifetime."

No individual in the history of the National Federation of the Blind has taught more blind people how to fish, worked harder, loved more, or given more generously of time, talent, energy, or resources than Dr. Jacobus tenBroek.

         --Marc Maurer, July 3, 1986, at the banquet of the national convention (Kansas City, Missouri)

Jacobus tenBroek--black and white portrait.Jacobus tenBroek, our founding President, began the time-honored tradition of great orators in the Federation. His speeches paved the way for so many who have followed--not only in time, but in spirit, in heart, and in strength.

Additional Information

If you would like to order any of these items, please contact the Independence Market for availability. You may contact us by email at [email protected] or by phone at 410-659-9314, extension 2216. For additional information, please refer to our Independence Market Literature Order Procedure.