by Ellen Ringlein
The National Federation of the Blind Independence Market is the conduit through which our organization distributes our empowering literature to our members, friends, and the general public. As a service we also operate a blindness products store, which sells mostly low-tech items, designed to enhance the everyday independence of blind people.
This month we want to highlight some publications we had been selling, but which now are available free of charge while supplies last. The items below will be of particular interest to those who want to learn more about the history of the National Federation of the Blind.
Jacobus tenBroek: The Man and the Movement edited by Kenneth Jernigan
Jacobus tenBroek was our organization's founder and first leader who played an instrumental role in shaping the NFB's philosophy on blindness. Upon his death in 1968, then-President Kenneth Jernigan compiled the collection of recordings of some of the memorable addresses and occasions in the life of Dr. tenBroek and the National Federation of the Blind which tell the story of the establishment and growth of the organized blind movement. Dr. Jernigan's introductory remarks give historical context to the speeches and other materials chosen. The Man and the Movement was reissued in 1990 in print and Braille for the NFB's fiftieth anniversary. Available in Braille (one volume) and print.
Walking Alone and Marching Together: A History of the Organized Blind Movement in the United States, 1940-1990 by Floyd Matson
This comprehensive volume, published upon the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the NFB, focuses upon the actions and aspirations of the organized blind themselves. We follow the progress of the movement from its historical origins, through the early years and "civil war," renewed harmony, and then explosive growth. In the process the reader is introduced to a remarkable group of leaders at the national, state, and chapter levels who contributed mightily to the evolution of the NFB, making it into a genuine people's movement. The book includes many key speeches, which have shaped the NFB's philosophy on blindness. Available in Braille (eleven volumes) and print.
Kenneth Jernigan: The Master, the Mission, the Movement edited by Marc Maurer
Kenneth Jernigan was our second great leader who played a key role in shaping our movement as well as redefining what successful rehabilitation looks like for blind people. After his death in 1998, this compilation of some of his writings with an editorial introduction and notes on the text was published the following year. It includes speeches such as “Blindness: Handicap or Characteristic” and “The Nature of Independence,” which we still consider to be fundamental expressions of NFB philosophy. Other speeches and articles address the changing role of the NFB and the blindness field. The book also includes excerpts from many Kernel Books, a series Dr. Jernigan created and initially edited, in which individual blind people write about their experiences of living with blindness without sentimentality, breaking down the misconceptions surrounding blindness. Available in Braille (two volumes) and print.
NFB Songbook (1991 Edition)
One of the more unique organizational traits of the National Federation of the Blind is the central role that songs have played in the community that is the Federation. Since 1969 members of the NFB have used the power and emotion of song for a variety of situations and for many reasons, but the three main sources for inspiration have been to protest against people and organizations believed to be acting against the interests of blind people, to define and vocalize Federation philosophy, and to celebrate what became known as “the organized blind movement.” Song topics have included ineffective, inept, and custodial rehabilitation; mismanagement of services for the blind by the government and various agencies; the battle with airlines to hold onto canes and sit in exit-rows; and the struggle against the National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services (NAC). Reviewing our songs is another way to look at NFB history. The booklet of lyrics is available in Braille (one small volume) and print.
To request free Braille or print copies of the above books, please contact the Independence Market. Please note that you will be asked to cover the cost of shipping the print versions of these titles; they are not eligible for free matter shipping because the font is smaller than fourteen-point.
For more information about the products and literature available from the Independence Market, visit us online at https://archive.nfb.org/independence-market. Our catalog and supplement are available for download as MSWord and BRF files. You may also request a catalog in Braille or in print by contacting us using email at [email protected] or by phone at 410-659-9314, extension 2216, Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern time. Our staff will be glad to assist.