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, President

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Editor                                                                                    Associate Editor
PERRY SUNDQUIST                                                          HAZEL tenBROEK
4651 MEAD AVENUE                                                        2652 SHASTA ROAD
SACRAMENTO, CALIF. 95822                                         BERKELEY, CALIF. 94708






If you or a friend wishes 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, 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."

If your wishes are more complex, you may have your attorney communicate with the Berkeley Office for other suggested forms.























Editor's Note.The following views of the National Federation of the Blind concerning recognition by the Commissioner of Education of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped were presented to the Advisory Committee on Accreditation and Institutional Eligibility on December 5, 1975.

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee. I appear before you today as a representative of the National Federation of the Blind. We are the only national membership organization of the blind having affiliated state and local chapters in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Our membership across this country numbers in excess of fifty thousand.

We are here today to comment on the petition of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) for continued recognition by the U.S. Commissioner of Education. The Council has been on the Commissioner's approved list since August 1971 and we believe that its performance does not justify continued recognition by the Commissioner at this time. Before presenting a detailed analysis of NAC's petition, I must bring to your attention matters concerning the objectivity of the Accreditation and Institutional Eligibility (AIE) staff review of NAC.

On July 1, 1974, the AIE staff director appeared on the program of the Teachers Division of the National Federation of the Blind. Although Mr. Proffitt knew in advance that he was invited for the purpose of discussing the Commissioner's recognition of NAC, he failed to make even the slightest mention of NAC in his presentation of nearly forty minutes, filling the time instead with an academic review of the history and process of accreditation as it functions at the secondary and postsecondary levels.

Our members, most of them professional educators, were naturally not content with such evasiveness, and they undertook to pursue the NAC matter with Mr. Proffitt. Feeling pressed and in need of a defense, Mr. Proffitt countered the challenges with the standard bureaucratic response: "I have never seen any documentation." Of course, this is not so, since we had made previous presentations before this committee and extensive documentation had been furnished. It remains to be seen if Mr. Proffitt will similarly ignore our presentation today.

On March 26, 1975, Mr. Proffitt wrote to Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder and said in part: "Let me assure you in closing that this staff and the Commissioner's Advisory Committee have given careful consideration to the bill of charges which NFB has lodged against NAC. We shall continue to monitor this situation carefully, but we do not presently consider that NFB has proved its case."

Now I ask you to consider with me a moment: Do such statements suggest that an objective, dispassionate review of the facts is likely to occur at the level of staff analysis?

Also consider this: On October 21, 1975, I wrote to the Commissioner, Dr. Bell, in part as follows: "It is my understanding that the Advisory Committee on Accreditation and Institutional Eligibility has scheduled a review of the Commissioner's recognition of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped. . . This letter is my official request to appear before the Advisory Committee to present the views of the National Federation of the Blind."

This is what I said, and I considered it to be a polite request to testify and to present our views and comments. It is indicative, I think, how our request to appear to present views has been couched in loaded terms by the staff. Note this statement on page twenty-four of the staff analysis: "There are three national organizations of blind persons. The American Council of the Blind, . . . the Blind Veterans Association, . . . and the National Federation of the Blind which as indicated in previous parts of this analysis has made various demands on NAC, which NAC will not agree to. Representatives of the NFB have indicated their desire to appear before the Advisory Committee on Accreditation and Institutional Eligibility to protest continuation of NAC's recognition by the Commissioner of Education." (Emphasis added.)

I would ask you to observe the loaded words "demand" and "protest." In truth and in fact, I have not come here today to be characterized as a "protester." If my purpose were to "protest" (as suggested by the staff), I would have done it right, with hundreds of blind picketers, complete with signs and a full complement of the public media. We have demonstrated that we know something about these tactics.

Based upon an evaluation of the extent to which the staff has been responsive to us in the past, I can only conclude that the loaded terminology used in describing our presentation to this committee was deliberately chosen as a further tactic in an effort to discredit our legitimate presentation of views. While characterizing us as protesters and "militant hellraisers" may suit somebody's notions of what must be done to succeed in some silly game, I doubt that such attempts to discredit will meet with much acceptance on this committee.

Since I am on the subject of the staff’s responsiveness to us and its tactics of fair play, I must comment on some of the events surrounding the establishing of this morning's agenda. On November 21, I received a letter [reprinted below] from John Proffitt. This letter stated that NFB's presentation would follow NAC's. On November 26, I was informed that I would be appearing prior to NAC's presentation before the committee. An inquiry from me elicited the response that this seemed to be a more workable procedure which would give the committee a maximum opportunity for a review of the issues. I indicated my refusal to make the desired change and stated my belief that NAC had persuaded the staff to place them after NFB for some presumed strategic advantage in a debate. I said that this was yet another example of the staff’s bias toward NAC, and Mr. Ron Pugsley denied that NAC had requested the change in agenda. Subsequent investigation on my part revealed that on November 25, NAC did, in fact, request that the agenda be altered, and on November 26, the staff did, in fact, make the requested change in accordance with NAC's wishes. The fact that we refused to comply will undoubtedly be used by the staff as a further weapon against us, and we will continue to be seen as unreasonable, demanding "protesters."

Further, it is significant, I think, that Mr. Proffitt's November 21 letter to me omitted information which he provided to Mr. Bleecker in his November 21 letter to him. Specifically, I was informed only of this morning's meeting, and I was not invited to the other sessions, including the subcommittee reviews. Some investigation on my part reveals that Mr. Bleecker was invited to these additional sessions.

Finally, the staff analysis states that the AIE staff made two visits to the NAC headquarters in New York during the summer of 1975. Also there has been extensive correspondence between NAC and the AIE staff over the past several months. All of this activity would, of course, make it appear on the record that a full and objective investigation was in process. However, not once has any representative of the AIE staff requested an opportunity to discuss with us NAC's recognized status and the Commissioner's revised criteria. In our Des Moines headquarters and in our Washington office, we have received not one letter (not even a telephone call) which would indicate that a review was underway and offer us an opportunity to consult and present our views.

In light of all this, I hardly have to speculate with you as to what kind of recommendation will be forthcoming from the AIE staff. Under the circumstances we rather candidly expect a rubberstamping of the past, knowing the biases and having witnessed the performance of the staff during this entire investigation.

This brings me to the specific matter of NAC's placement on the Commissioner's approved list. I first wish to consider with you the reason or reasons for NAC's seeking recognition by the U.S. Commissioner of Education. According to Mr. Proffitt, NAC does have a reason for being on the Commissioner's list based on the position of the Veterans' Administration that "a blind veteran, eligible for vocational rehabilitation . . . could in the alternative qualify for educational training . . . ." Since the Commissioner of Education's recognition of NAC is confined to NAC's accreditation of residential secondary schools for the blind, we undertook to investigate how many such schools or individuals who attend them might qualify for funding from the Veterans" Administration because of NAC's placement on the Commissioner's approved list.

The answer we received is contained in a letter from Dr. Dennis Wyant, past national commander of the Blinded Veterans Association, and now on the staff of the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped. In his letter [reprinted below] Dr. Wyant points out that even the Veterans' s Administration is unaware of any instances where blinded veterans are attending residential secondary schools for the blind.

This testimony calls into question the position that NAC must be placed on the Commissioner's list to accredit educational institutions which serve blinded veterans. Dr. Wyant's statement is a direct contradiction of the staff’s belief that "a small amount of GI Bill benefits are paid to enrollees in NAC-accredited residential schools by virtue of the Commissioner of Education's recognition of NAC . . . ." Thus, there appears to be no valid reason for the Commissioner to offer recognition to NAC, since nobody benefits from such recognition in the first place.

Of course, we should not overlook the political advantage which NAC seeks in the Commissioner's recognition. Although NAC's placement on the approved list is restricted to its accreditation of residential secondary schools, NAC always finds it convenient to mention such recognition as support for its efforts across the board. I should think that the Commissioner of Education would not want his recognition to be used politically as a means of propping up an accrediting organization which is becoming increasingly discredited throughout the field of work with the blind. We urge the committee to make a careful study of the need to recognize NAC and the values which accrue to the blind from such recognition before continuing this practice.

Turning next to the Commissioner's revised criteria, we believe that NAC is not in compliance with substantial portions thereof.

(1) The criteria require that the accrediting agency or association must have adequate financial resources to carry out its operations. A brief examination of NAC's financial statements for fiscal years 1974 and 1975 indicate that NAC has operated at a deficit during both. Furthermore, NAC has recently lost all Federal grants and is even more heavily dependent on foundation contributions than ever before.

NAC's current fiscal condition is probably best demonstrated by the fact that it has curtailed several regular activities. The staff observation of NAC's on-site review of the Oklahoma School for the Blind reveals that NAC failed to assign a regular staff member to the on-site review team and gave as its reason "budgetary constraints." Further, while acknowledging the outdated character of its standards governing educational services, NAC has indicated that funds are not currently available for the needed revisions and updates.

(2) Under the heading of "Responsibility," the criteria require that the "agency or association's accreditation program must take into account the rights, responsibilities, and interests of students, the general public, the academic, professional, or occupational fields involved, and institutions." We believe that NAC has not operated in compliance with this section of the criteria. The staff observation of NAC's on-site review of the Oklahoma School for the Blind reveals the homogeneous nature of the on-site review team—"six out of the seven members had been or currently were holding principalships or other high administrative positions in such residential facilities. There were no sighted or blind members of the team representing the public, consumers of such programs, or members of minority groups." Since the vast majority of blind youngsters are today educated in regular public school programs, it is unthinkable that an accreditation team would omit participation by such professionals. Their views and assessments would add a perspective which is totally ignored under the current operations of NAC. Furthermore, according to Office of Education staff, "NAC accreditation policies, procedures, and instruments do not take into consideration Title VI-B, the Education of the Handicapped Act Amendments of 1974, the most significant legislation currently affecting U.S. Office of Education's policies regarding the education of handicapped children and youth. Beginning in fiscal year 1975 these provisions require states to develop state plans with a full services goal, with priority to the unserved, and with evaluation and placement safeguards insuring due process, mainstreaming, and nondiscriminatory testing and evaluation. Since residential schools for the blind are facilities engaged in the education of handicapped children, the provisions of Title VI-B are applicable and need to be recognized in the policies, procedures, and instruments of their accrediting bodies, particularly if such accrediting bodies are to be sanctioned by the U.S. Office of Education." ("Special Issues To Be Considered by the Advisory Committee on Accreditation and Institutional Eligibility Before Formulating a Recommendation for the Commissioner of Education," Draft CA 9/19/75.)

(3) The criteria further require that the agency or association publish or make public the current accreditation status of institutions or programs and the date of the next currently scheduled review or reconsideration of accreditation. In our judgment NAC's procedures have never complied with this section of the criteria since NAC has steadfastly refused to disclose to the public those agencies or schools which have been denied accreditation.

The investigators of the U.S. General Accounting Office stated NAC's position clearly in their report to the Congress: "According to NAC potential legal problems are involved in disclosing the names of organizations which have applied for NAC accreditation before NAC site visits, if these organizations are subsequently denied accreditation. If the organization is denied accreditation, this fact would become known when NAC publishes its list of accredited organizations. If the organization incurs damages because NAC denied it accreditation, NAC could face court action." The GAO investigators did not approve of this position and stated as follows: "We believe that if the NAC team has serious reservations about an organization's services, the potential clients of the organization should be appraised of such reservations."

I should note that in an effort to comply with the criteria, NAC did disclose to the AIE staff the one residential school which has been denied accreditation, but NAC has never been willing to release such information to the public. It would appear that NAC operates with what can only be described as a double standard in this regard. I ask you, is the Commissioner of Education to approve an accreditation body which apparently operates with such flimsy and flexible principles as not to disclose information to the public while revealing it to those sources from whom it seeks moral and political support?

In our opinion, it is the right of each student to know the accredited status of the residential secondary school he or she attends. We believe that a reasonable interpretation of the revised criteria requires that NAC must disclose those agencies which have been approved as well as those which have been denied. NAC's refusal to provide this information has placed it in substantial violation of the criteria.

(4) In order to comply with the criteria, an agency or association must provide advance notice of proposed or revised standards to all persons, institutions, and organizations significantly affected by its accrediting process, and provide such persons, institutions, and organizations adequate opportunity to comment on such standards prior to their adoption. NAC procedures presently indicate that advance notice of standard promulgation or revision is provided through its publication. The Standard-Bearer, and interested persons, institutions, and organizations are invited to submit comments and suggestions. These comments and suggestions are in turn referred to technical committees, and draft standards are developed for approval by the Commission on Standards. Presumably, board approval constitutes the final action in the standard-setting process. Our position is that NAC is not in compliance with what we take to be the intent of this section of the criteria, since the public, including interested persons, institutions, and organizations, is only asked for its views during an initial comment period.

Even the Federal Government operates under procedures which provide for more meaningful citizen input. Under ordinary circumstances Federal agencies are required to publish in the Federal Register their proposed regulations and to solicit comments based on this specific document. Under the NAC process we are told that at some point there are draft standards available, and they can be purchased if an interested person, institution, or organization can afford to go to the trouble and expense of doing so in order to offer its views. Even so, the process does not insure that the standards will be altered in any way once they have been prepared by the technical committees.

In order to comply with any reasonable interpretation of the intent of these criteria, we believe that NAC should be required to publish and circulate, at no cost, its proposed standards and to provide for a specific comment period. Furthermore, when NAC finally promulgates its final standards, it should explain the thrust of the comments received and if such comments are rejected, NAC must justify its action. Only by following these suggested procedures can NAC truly provide an adequate opportunity to comment on standards prior to their adoption.

(5) The next section of the criteria requires that the agency or association must have written procedures for the review of complaints pertaining to institutional or program quality. Again, we believe that NAC operates substantially outside this particular section of the criteria.

Since the beginning, NAC has never had a formalized procedure for dealing with complaints regarding agencies which it has accredited. Its handling of the Kettner case is an excellent illustration in point. By its own admission to the AIE staff, NAC deferred action in this situation since the agency involved was a party in related litigation and since a complaint had also been filed with the U.S. Department of Labor. How NAC could justify its lack of simultaneous action is beyond comprehension, but it ducked the issues in the Kettner case. After the Labor Department had determined that violations of employment standards had occurred and ordered the accredited agency involved to comply with the letter and spirit of the law, NAC did write a letter to the agency requesting that it comply with NAC standards. This can hardly be described as a vigorous procedure for dealing with complaints.

Perhaps something else is more to the point. NAC's Commission on Accreditation is responsible for dealing with complaints. In a conversation with the chairman of NAC's Commission on Accreditation nearly three months following the filing of the Kettner case complaint, the chairman of NAC's Commission on Accreditation admitted before witnesses that he had never heard of the matter. To his credit he was shocked and dismayed to learn of the situation and even more distressed to find that NAC's staff had failed to bring it to his attention.

According to NAC it has now developed what it has described to the AIE staff as an "interim written procedure for dealing with complaints." This procedure was described as interim since it had not yet been approved by the board. NAC's board met in mid-November. Observers were present, but their reports do not indicate any substantial discussion or board approval of an interim complaint procedure. Perhaps the board approval of this document was handled in the traditional manner which NAC has used to hide its actions from observers of its meetings—that is, to vote on documents and policy statements "as mailed."

(6) The criteria require that the agency must assure due process in its accrediting procedures by providing for adequate discussion during an on-site visit between the visiting team and the faculty, administrative staff, students, and other appropriate persons. We believe that NAC's practices in conducting on-site reviews are not in compliance with this section of the criteria.

According to the AIE staff analysis, NAC restricted its on-site review activities of the Oklahoma School for the Blind to discussion with key administrative staff, rather than consulting with rank-and-file faculty members and other school personnel. Lately, NAC has adopted procedures which might, on the surface, appear to offer input from students and interested consumers. Usually, such arrangements involve reserving an hour or two (sometimes over lunch) for interviews with such individuals and representatives. While these parties might contribute some valuable perspective to the on-site review, their full participation is severely curtailed since they do not have access to copies of the Self-Study Guide developed by the school's staff, and they are not furnished with copies of the standards or other documents used by the survey team. Not having these materials available for review prior to meeting with the on-site review team places students and consumer representatives at a distinct disadvantage. Such procedures are not in keeping with the criterion which provides for adequate discussion between the visiting team and faculty, administrative staff, students, and other appropriate persons.

(7) The criteria require that an agency must demonstrate its reliability through acceptance throughout the United States of its policies, evaluation methods, and decisions by educators, educational institutions, licensing bodies, practitioners, and employers. We believe that NAC is not in compliance with this criterion.

Today NAC is the focus of a serious controversy which involves all segments of education and rehabilitation services to blind persons. By providing an impressive list of what it regards as supporting organizations, NAC attempts to establish a picture of universal approval and acclaim, with the single exception of the National Federation of the Blind. Anyone who is familiar with the spectrum of organizations in this field knows that NAC's list of supporters is more a product of imagination than reality.

For example, as one of its sponsoring organizations NAC has listed the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind. The attached correspondence between leaders of the NCSAB and Mr. Bleecker indicates that NAC's listing of the NCSAB as a "sponsoring organization" is highly questionable. [See The Monitor for July 1975.] Moreover, at its September 1975 meeting in San Francisco, the entire membership of the NCSAB voted to withhold the payment of its regular annual dues from NAC until such time as NAC was able to reform along the lines suggested in a position paper developed by NCSAB. NAC's resentment of this action is clearly set forth in Mr. Bleecker's letters to the leadership of NCSAB. The exact breadth and depth of the extent to which NAC has been unable to command acceptance throughout the field of work with the blind is best represented by the following list of occurrences:

(a) The Mississippi Agency for the Blind repudiated its NAC accreditation in June 1974;

(b) Mr. Robert Sibley, Executive Director of the Mississippi Industries for the Blind, recently indicated that he will not seek accreditation and wrote a strong letter to the managers of all workshops for the blind in the country urging them to refrain from any association with NAC;

(c) Recently the Southern Conference of Librarians for the Blind and Physically Handicapped passed a resolution in which it was stated that the current NAC standards are totally irrelevant to current library service needs;

(d) Although Recording for the Blind previously received NAC accreditation, that organization is now considering repudiation of that accreditation and has agreed to refrain from using the NAC symbol on its letterhead during the period in which repudiation is being considered;

(e) Although the California Department of Vocational Rehabilitation had previously stated that services to the blind in that State would have to be accredited by NAC by the summer of 1975, that order has been withdrawn and that agency itself is developing relevant standards for the State of California:

(f) The Board of Directors of Blind Industries and Services of Maryland unanimously voted to withdraw from its NAC accreditation, and Dr. Francis Andrews, long-time Superintendent of the Maryland School for the Blind, serves on that board of directors;

(g) When NAC contacted Mr. Burt Risley, Director of the Texas Commission for the Blind, and immediate past president of the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind, in order to secure Mr. Risley ‘s rubber-stamp approval for proposed new standards for orientation and mobility instructors, Mr. Risley responded with a stinging letter in which he pointed out that NAC must cease to concern itself with the self-aggrandizement of professionals in the field and must concentrate on standards which aim at delivering services to blind persons;

(h) When NAC's board absolutely refused to adopt meaningful and significant methods of consumer representation which had been recommended by four members of its own board. Dr. Andrew Adams, Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, cut off all Federal funding of NAC; and

(i) In May of 1975 the Bingham Foundation cut off its funding to NAC.

While all of these circumstances are not specifically drawn from the field of education, I felt that they should be listed since NAC includes a substantial list of supporting organizations which are unrelated to its accreditation of residential secondary schools. The fact is that even NAC cannot separate its functions as an accrediting body for educational institutions as opposed to service agencies. No one who undertakes a serious analysis of NAC's operation will contend that NAC behaves reputably in one area and not so reputably in others. NAC is NAC wherever it may be.

Perhaps more to the point is NAC's ability to command support throughout the universe of residential secondary schools for the blind. NAC lists fifteen schools accredited. A cursory examination of NAC's list indicates that some of these entries are at best deceptive. For example, NAC's recognition by the U.S. Commissioner of Education is limited to its accreditation of residential secondary schools for the blind, yet NAC has listed on its roster of accredited schools the Hadley School for the Blind, presumably passing this one off as a residential secondary school. The Hadley School for the Blind is not a residential school, and we feel that you must be aware of the inappropriateness of this listing, which is obviously done in an effort to build an improved record of NAC's performance. Also NAC includes the Wisconsin School for the Visually Handicapped as one of its accredited residential secondary schools. According to one authority (the American Foundation for the Blind) the Wisconsin School for the Handicapped is not accredited currently. One wonders if NAC is trying to slip one in on us, or are we to question the authoritativeness of AFB, an organization which provides more than fifty percent of NAC's funding.

Even more indicative of the lack of any ground swell of support for NAC in the educational community is the fact that when NAC was originally recognized by the U.S. Commissioner of Education, it had accredited eleven residential secondary schools for the blind, not counting the Hadley School (which as indicated is not a residential secondary school for the blind) and not counting Wisconsin (which according to AFB is not currently accredited), NAC has only added two schools to its list of accredited schools during the past four years. This is ample evidence that NAC's support among professionals in the educational community is waning since during its first four years of operation NAC had accredited eleven residential secondary schools.

(8) The criteria also state that the association's reliability is demonstrated by regular review of its standards, policies, and procedures in order that the evaluative process shall support constructive analysis, emphasize factors of critical importance, and reflect the educational and training needs of the students. We believe that NAC is not in compliance with this section of the criteria. The AIE staff analysis has commented on NAC's failure to review and update the standards regarding educational services. NAC has indicated that while this is a priority consideration, the completion of such review and update will depend on adequate funding. NAC has not sufficiently demonstrated that such funding is an immediate prospect, and NAC's financial statements indicate deficit spending during the past two fiscal years. Before approving NAC for an additional period of time, the Commissioner should be satisfied that NAC will be in a financial position to conduct and support a major review of its standards for educational services.

(9) Under the heading of "Autonomous" the criteria provide that the agency or association shall perform no function that will be inconsistent with an independent judgment of the quality of an educational program or institution. NAC does not, in our judgment, comply with this criterion.

NAC is not now, and never has been, autonomous. NAC has always been supported and controlled by a closed group of professionals in the field. NAC has so far spurned every effort of the organized blind to have a part in its policy-making processes and procedures.

From the beginning NAC has been the offspring of the American Foundation for the Blind, a large private agency located in New York. The Foundation has traditionally substantially paid the bill for NAC, and currently, according to NAC, the Foundation's annual grant amounts to $153,000. During fiscal year 1975 NAC's total receipts amounted to less than $280,000. This means that the American Foundation for the Blind currently provides more than fifty percent of NAC's annual operating budget. This raises substantial questions of autonomy and potential problems of conflict of interest. Under such funding arrangements the blind are not likely to be convinced that NAC has not been bought and controlled by the AFB. We believe that this arrangement constitutes a clear violation of the criteria and we urge that the authority of the criteria be invoked.

Conclusions.—This comment concerning the recognition of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped by the U.S. Commissioner of Education has involved three essential elements:

(1) Our analysis of the objectivity of the AIE staff concerning this recognition;

(2) Our position that no substantial reason exists for NAC to be placed on the Commissioner's list of approved accrediting bodies; and

(3) Our analysis of NAC's non-compliance with the revised criteria which must be met by recognized accrediting organizations.

Regarding the objectivity of the AIE staff, we believe that the evidence will show substantial bias toward continued recognition of NAC, and we are taking this opportunity to ask that any proposed continuation of NAC's recognition be deferred until such time as the Commissioner of Education has had ample opportunity to make a complete investigation and render an impartial judgment.

Regarding the lack of any substantial reason for NAC's being placed on the Commissioner's approved list of accrediting organizations, we contend that the AIE staff’s argument that blinded veterans are assisted in receiving benefits through NAC's being placed on the Commissioner's approved list is fallacious. We believe that NAC's recognition was originally obtained through political maneuvering, and we believe that NAC desires to continue such recognition to suit its needs in an atmosphere of controversy.

Regarding NAC's non-compliance with the revised criteria, we have presented nine areas of potential non-compliance. Frankly, we believe that a reasonable interpretation of the criteria will uphold our analysis, but we also recognize the staff’s internal bias, and we know that the criteria may be interpreted in various ways. For the past four years, Mr. Proffitt and his associates have attempted to argue that our concerns regarding NAC are outside of the purview of the Commissioner's criteria. Using this defensive maneuver, Mr. Proffitt has contended that we have so far failed to document any case for non-recognition of NAC. It remains to be seen if such a position can be upheld in light of our analysis based on the revised criteria. We conclude that NAC cannot meet the test if the criteria are properly and vigorously applied.


Washington, D.C., November 21, 1975.

National Federation of the Blind,
Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. GASHEL: The Commissioner of Education's Advisory Committee on Accreditation and Institutional Eligibility will meet December 3-5, 1975, at the Dulles Marriott Hotel, Dulles International Airport, Washington, D.C. During its meeting, the committee will review the petition by the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped for renewal of recognition as a nationally recognized accrediting agency. An oral presentation before the full committee by representatives of the Council has been scheduled for 10:45-11:15 a.m., Thursday, December 4. An oral presentation by representatives of the Federation has been scheduled for 11:15-11:45 a.m., December 4. Should you desire to have such a presentation, please notify us either by telephone or in writing of the names of those who will appear. We will send you a copy of the agenda shortly.

Sincerely yours,

Director, Accreditation and Institutional Eligibility Staff.

cc: Richard W. Bleecker


Washington. D.C., December 3, 1975.

Washington Representative,
National Federation of the Blind,
Washington, D.C.

DEAR JIM: This morning in our phone conversation you asked me about blinded veterans who might attend secondary level residential schools for the blind. My doctoral dissertation was on the "Job Search for Vietnam Era Blinded Veterans." Every Vietnam Era Blinded Veteran known by the Veterans' Administration was contacted.

There were no blinded veterans attending any type of secondary school at the time of my dissertation (January 1973-June 1974). However, some blinded veterans had completed their G.E.D. following their VA blind rehabilitation training.

In addition to my academic research, I was the National Field Service Director for the Blinded Veterans Association. In that capacity I or a member of my staff made home visits with better than fifty percent of all Vietnam Era Blinded Veterans. We were also in mail contact with eighteen thousand blinded veterans on the compensation or pension rolls. I cannot remember ever meeting or hearing about a blinded veteran attending a secondary level residential school for the blind.

You also asked if the VA had any programs that would give financial support to residential schools for the blind if veterans or their dependents attend one of the schools. From my past experience as a National Service Officer for the Blinded Veterans Association, I can think of no program that would give financial support to the school. I also talked to Jim Mayer, Special Assistant to the Administrator of Veterans Affairs, about the subject. Mayer also concurred that he knows of no such programs.

I hope the above information will assist you. More detailed information on the subject could be obtained from Veterans' Administration.

Yours truly,

Staff Coordinator,
Committee on Disabled Veterans.

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As is its custom, the Executive Committee of the NFB met at the National Headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, over the Thanksgiving Holidays. Most of the members arrived Wednesday, with many of their spouses, to be on hand early Thanksgiving Day to partake of the bountiful hospitality of Anna Katherine and Kenneth Jernigan. It was a fabulous feast.

In and around the Thanksgiving dinner, the Subcommittee on Budget and Finance worked on the proposed NFB budget for the next calendar year.

In dealing in great detail with the problems facing the organization, the Executive Committee met from 11:15 a.m. Friday morning to 9:00 p.m. Friday evening; then on Saturday, from 8:00 in the morning until 6:00 in the evening; and wound up on Sunday morning from 8:00 until noon. Discussion on the many items on the crowded agenda was both far-reaching and in depth.

Having top priority among the members of the committee was our financial situation. The chief problem facing the NFB at this time is brought about by the increasing number of states which are adopting unreasonably strict solicitation laws. This makes it impossible for us to register in those states, even though there is considerable doubt that the individual states can control the United States Postal Service mails. It was abundantly clear to the members of the committee that we must all redouble our efforts to raise funds by other methods over the immediate years ahead, particularly self-financing by the voluntary contributions of our own fifty thousand members. It was pointed out that each of the fifteen thousand copies of The Braille Monitor mailed out each month costs around fifteen dollars a year.

The committee unanimously adopted the recommended budget of the Subcommittee on Budget and Finance for the calendar year 1976.

With the phenomenal growth of the NFB, the President stated that the time has come when it is simply impossible for him to carry the load he has been carrying in the Federation. Consequently, he contemplates appointing an Assistant to the President with executive authority. This has been repeatedly urged on the President by the Executive Committee for the past several years and was warmly welcomed by the committee.

The President announced that the NFB may act as a distributor of the Telesensory Systems, Inc. Calculator. The American Issues Forum Calendars are now available on two 8-1/3 rpm discs and may be had upon request from the National Office. Films of the banquet proceedings for 1974 and 1975 are now available. For details contact the National Office of the Federation.

The 1976 and 1977 National Conventions were discussed. The President was authorized to draft the agenda for the 1976 National Convention and asked for suggestions as to items. He received a great many from the committee members.

Problems in a few of our state affiliates were discussed in detail and tentative solutions worked out.

The subject of pending lawsuits, initiated by the NFB in its continous battle to put down discrimination against the blind wherever it raises its ugly head, was exhaustively discussed. Briefly, these are: In Indiana where a school board flatly refused to hire a woman as a teacher merely because she was blind; in Michigan the Munn case proceeds apace; in Ohio the Cleveland Society for the Blind is being pursued for its handling of the vendors which it has licensed and the use of "set aside" funds; in Kentucky the reorganization of Services for the Blind by the Superintendent of Public Instruction is being questioned; in Pennsylvania the mailings and solicitation law pends; in Missouri the lawsuit still continues over the use of the name of "The NFB of Missouri"; and in Illinois there is a pending hearing before the National Labor Relations Board to test if employees in workshops can be unionized. Next year there will probably be other lawsuits in other states, but the basic theme will be the same—to try to end rank discrimination against blind persons.

James Gashel, Chief of our Washington Office, then gave a report on pending legislation in the Congress.

As the members of the Executive Committee headed for the Des Moines airport to literally scatter to the four corners of our country, it was the consensus that this was both one of the hardest-working and most productive sessions ever held.

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On November 11 and 12 two distinct groups converged on Little Rock, Arkansas, for the annual meeting of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC). Far and away the largest, less affluent group was composed of blind men and women from throughout the country who came to demonstrate their opposition to NAC and its standards as they presently impact on work with blind persons. From Connecticut to Oregon, from Minnesota to Louisiana, they came by bus, van, car, and sometimes by plane. Their coming represented a substantial personal sacrifice, but they came because they know NAC hurts blind people.

The other group, far and away the smallest and most affluent, came to participate in NAC's activities as agency representatives and board members. They came from their comfortable positions in the lighthouse administrations; they came from the banks from which NAC hopes to get money; they came out of retirement, from law offices, and from public agencies established to work with the blind. They came to establish standards and accredit themselves. They heaped accolades upon themselves until they were almost smothered. In regular manner and form they flattered NAC and themselves with superlatives such as "noble cause," "superb performance," "outstanding ability," and "heroic effort." They pictured NAC as a righteous, poor, underdog struggling against an enormously wealthy National Federation of the Blind. They referred to the blind and any others who disagree with NAC as "nefarious" groups. Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary defines nefarious to mean "flagrantly wicked or impious: evil; syn., see vicious.''

More than two hundred blind persons who see NAC as a threat to their freedom and opportunity to work and live productively gathered on Wednesday morning, November 12, for the seven-block march to the Camelot Hotel, the site of NAC's annual meeting. With the temperature in the thirties and the forty-mile-an-hour gale, signs were difficult to carry and several were destroyed, but the march was determined and spirited. Throughout the afternoon poster-carrying picketers with dogs and canes marched to and fro in front of the hotel and convention center, distributing literature to passersby, talking to newspaper reporters, and being photographed by newsreel cameras. On the following morning one group of picketers maintained its vigil outside the NAC meeting while two others demonstrated at Arkansas Enterprises for the Blind, a NAC-accredited agency, and at the Arkansas Office for the Blind and Visually Impaired, which is seeking accreditation. All picketers returned to the NAC meeting area for a final expression of opposition to NAC prior to disbanding for the long trip home.

Some picketers remained in Little Rock and attended the NFB of Arkansas State convention on Saturday, November 15. On Friday, the 14th, one group visited Arkansas Enterprises for the Blind and the Arkansas School for the Blind, also NAC-accredited, but was refused permission to visit the Arkansas Lighthouse for the Blind. Apparently the Arkansas Lighthouse for the Blind wanted no part of independent minded blind people who might disagree with the Lighthouse concept of itself.

NAC began with its annual membership meeting shortly after 1:00 Wednesday afternoon. It heard welcoming addresses from Arkansas agencies it accredits and generally commendatory statements from itself and friends. One major item of business during the afternoon involved election of new board members. On the recommendation of its nominating committee, the NAC membership, approximately thirty-two voting members, elected twelve new directors. In addition, two other directors were elected for partial terms created by the resignations of Joseph Jaworski of Texas and Bob Riley of Arkansas.

Near the close of the general membership meeting, Roger Rouse, representing Hadley School for the Blind, posed a statement of concern to the NAC general membership. He focused attention on NAC's failure to answer adequately complaints against it raised by blind persons. He urged a reasonable and satisfactory resolution of the conflict now dividing the blind and work with blind persons.

During the Thursday morning meeting of NAC's board of directors, Owen Pollard, chairman of the Long-Range Planning Committee, reported that on behalf of NAC he had written to the American Foundation for the Blind requesting that it render greater assistance to NAC in fighting the National Federation of the Blind and others who oppose its policies and practices. Mr. Pollard indicated that AFB had not yet officially responded. It is important to note that the request was not for help in fighting the blind but for more help.

During the morning board meeting NAC elected the following officers for the coming year: President, Louis H. Rives, Jr., Little Rock, Arkansas; vice president, Huntington Harris, Leesburg, Virginia; vice president, Howard H. Hanson, Pierre, South Dakota; vice president. Jack W. Birch, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; secretary, John P. McWilliams, Jr., New York, New York; treasurer, Mrs. Claire W. Carlson, New York, New York. Two additional members, William Coppage, Virginia, and Morton Pepper, New York, were elected to constitute NAC's eight-member executive committee which will, in the future, handle a major portion of NAC's business in order to reduce the number of board meetings and perhaps operate in secrecy. During the election process Durward McDaniel, representing the American Council of the Blind, nominated Reese Robrahn as third vice president against Jack Birch, presently in Spain on sabbatical leave. When the votes were counted, Jack Birch received nineteen and Robrahn three. Even NAC, apparently, is not ready for a company union representative on its executive committee.

A number of die-hard NAC Board members completed their terms of office at the close of this meeting and were replaced by new persons. The complete list of NAC Board members is as follows: W. Harold Bleakley, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Joseph E. Champagne, Houston, Texas; Mrs. Joseph Clifford, Scottsdale, Arizona; Samuel J. Cole, Raleigh, North Carolina; William T. Coppage, Richmond, Virginia; J. Kenneth Cozier, Cleveland, Ohio; Dr. John M. Crandell, Jr., Provo. Utah; Mrs. William G. Derouin, Salem, Oregon; Robert G. Eagen, Cincinnati, Ohio; Robert Hampton III, New York, New York: George W. Henderson, Jr., Atlanta. Georgia; Hilliard F. Kirby, Asheville, North Carolina; Roy Kumpe, Little Rock, Arkansas; Joseph J. Larkin, Brooklyn, New York; Miss Elizabeth M. Lennon. Kalamazoo, Michigan; Mrs. Lawrence M. Levine, Cincinnati, Ohio; Donald R. Mandich, Detroit, Michigan; Durward K. McDaniel, Washington, D.C.; Julius D. Morris, New Britain, Connecticut; Morton Pepper, New York, New York; C. Owen Pollard, Augusta, Maine; Reese Robrahn, Washington, D.C.; David L. Schnair, New York, New York; Austin G. Scott, Dallas, Texas; Wesley D. Sprague, New York, New York: Otis H. Stephens, Nashville, Tennessee; George E. Stocking, Miami, Florida; Russell C. Williams, Bethesda, Maryland; Mrs. Helen W. Worden, Providence, Rhode Island.

NAC's treasurer reported an operating loss of approximately $8,000 last year and a budget for the current year of $294,000 with another operating loss. A year ago NAC reported 55 accredited agencies, and this year that number has grown to 58. Effective next year NAC voted to raise its dues for larger agencies from $630 per year to $ 1,000 per year. It did not announce the time and place of its next meeting.

The largest number of blind picketers yet turned out to express their opposition to NAC. The press coverage was comprehensive and substantial. Throughout the NAC meetings there were critical references to the National Federation of the Blind and others who are unwilling to accept NAC's projected role of dominance in programming with blind persons and its consequent control over their lives and livelihoods. The struggle with NAC is not over; it goes on. The stakes are high, and blind persons who fear NAC's undemocratic, self-aggrandizing control of matters related to opportunities for the blind will persist until NAC is reconstituted into a positive, relevant, and democratic force.  

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Sue Ammeter, president of the NFB of Washington State, works as an investigator for the State's Human Rights Commission. At the time of the case discussed below, she held a like position with the City of Seattle.

Last year, the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Company took issue with the Washington State Human Rights Commission in a discrimination case.

One, Robert Clark by name, had had operations on both knees. When he recovered, his doctors declared him able to do strenuous work. Thereupon he applied for a job as brakeman with the railroad company, was refused, and complained to the Human Rights Commission. The matter came before one of the commission's hearing tribunals, of which Sue Ammeter was a proper member. The railroad company ran a film during the hearing which showed in detail the duties and danger involved in the job of railroad brakeman. On the basis of evidence produced at the hearing, the tribunal concluded that there had been discrimination, that Mr. Clark was not handicapped, and awarded him retroactive job-related benefits. The railroad company appealed.

The case went to the State's Superior Court where the judge, in due course, issued Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, and an oral opinion; the latter available to us in the form of a court reporter's transcript.

Among the Findings of Fact of interest to us are the following:

"VIII. One of the members of the hearing tribunal was Sue Ammeter, a person who has been totally blind since birth.

"IX. Sue Ammeter is currently employed as an investigator for the Washington State Human Rights Commission and has held that position since January 2, 1975.

"X. The movie shown by the railroad at the administrative hearing, entitled "Getting Off on the Right Foot," showed in great detail the duties and dangers involved in the job of railroad brakeman and cannot be adequately described by a viewer to a person who has been totally blind since birth."

And from the Conclusion of Law:

"II. A person who is legally blind is not qualified to serve as a fact-finding tribunal member."

In his oral opinion, the judge grants or denies various petitions based on his findings of fact, including one which reads: "The next assignment of error is the commission erred in not granting the petition to remove Sue Ammeter. The Court is going to reserve its oral opinion on this regard until the end of this decision."

When the judge arrives at that point, he introduces that portion of his opinion by saying: "We now come to probably the most controversial part of this decision . . . ." He then goes on to talk about his relations with a number of blind people for all of whom he has high praise. In reciting his admiration for his various blind acquaintances, the judge reveals his prejudice against the blind and handicapped people generally. State Senator Francis Pearson, close friend and colleague for many years, and for whom he has unbounded admiration, he grossly insults by declaring, "As a standard for a blind person, the accomplishment that he has achieved are absolutely phenomenal." [Emphasis added.] Charles Delaittre, for getting through law school, "has the greatest admiration of this Court." Attorney Dennis Barge "is another person that has the very highest regard from this Court for his monumental achievements and accomplishments."

His admiration springs not from what these people have achieved professionally, but from the fact that being blind they did anything at all. They are, thus, "exceptional." His standards of performance for the blind are not the same as for the sighted. The judge's expectations for what they might be able to do, because they were blind, were much lower than they would have been for the sighted and he is, consequently, impressed. But whatever they have achieved, he does not think of them as "normal." The good judge would, of course, be the first to deny the obvious truth of the foregoing which is clear to those who have experienced such "admiration."

"It was on White Cane Day," he says (however ungrammatically), "I heard the arguments on whether or not a blind person should be a proper person to be delegated to be a member of the Washington State Human Rights Commission to be not only a quasi judicial officer but also a person that is required to make findings of fact and from those findings, conclusions of law." The Court notes that the Governor of the State of Washington is about to sign into law legislation which would authorize blind people to serve on juries. He continues: "I have had some anguishing moments in coming to my decision here. . . . Nevertheless, I am sworn to the constitution to uphold the law, and it is my awesome duty to follow that oath." It is difficult to see how his barring blind persons from exercising the rights and responsibilities of citizens is related to upholding the State constitution since the one can hardly be said to follow from the other.

The judge then launches into the meaning of the term "voir dire" which, he says, pertains to the selection of a jury, comes from the French language, and "means to see, and the second part of voir dire means to speak, but the word has become a colloquial for the expression to see the truth. Now, I have said many time in this court that the function of a jury is not to win lawsuits for litigants, but to see and declare the truth." [One could point to a number of inconsistencies in this last statement. In his explanation of the meaning of "voir dire" he differs from the authorities learned in the law. The expression is, indeed, a legal colloquialism (if one can use the word in that manner) and thus does not follow the usual or common meaning but takes the coloring given by legal custom and usage. The legal authorities seem to agree that in the law "voir dire" means "to speak the truth," (Black, Law Dictionary) or "To make true answer to such questions as the court shall demand . . . ." (Blackstone, Commentaries) It should be noted that "voir" is not from the French but from the Latin "verus" meaning "truth."]

The Court continues: "The human senses originally started out as the five senses which included that of seeing. Over the weekend I read a book on psychology on the subject, and I am interested to note that modernly we have now increased the five physical senses to some fifteen physical senses . . . ." He quotes the book at length on the subject of vision which pulls out all the old wives' tales about what happens when making judgments on the basis of the way someone may dress or by observing his facial expressions. After talking about the difficulties of describing anything orally, and ascribing his own inability to do so to the whole population, he winds up by saying, "There is an old proverb that is trite to quote, but it is the proverb that said, 'A picture is worth a thousand words,' and, certainly, it is appropriate to bring it up here." Perhaps it would be worth quoting to him another old proverb: None is o blind as he who will not see.

"It is therefore the judgment of this Court that conclusion of law number five is that a blind person, because of the lack of that physical sense called sight, is not qualified to serve on the Washington State Human Rights Commission as a finding of fact, and I would like to add in conclusion that my friends ... are very much in my mind and it makes this decision all the more agonizing because the blind people have come so far." But not so far that they could be considered by this judge to be the equal of any dolt on the road with two good eyes.

That the judge has limited vision about the handicapped there is no doubt. Here he is faced with a person whom he considers "handicapped" by having had a piece or two of cartilage removed from his knees and dealing with the results of a hearing tribunal one of whose members could not see through her eyes. No doubt the good judge would have had to add another sorry paragraph or two if he had learned that the man seeking the job of brakeman was left-handed because then he couldn't be "Getting Off on the Right Foot." [See Jernigan, "A Left-Handed Dissertation," Braille Monitor, July 1973.]

In the end, the court condemns the blind of his State, along with the otherwise handicapped, to second-class citizenship. With no attempt to hide his shameless condescension, it is no surprise to find him uttering the expected pious "hope that the blind people can find other outlets in our system of justice; that they can participate in such fashion as that they can fulfill not only their personal endeavors but they can fulfill what need our system of jurisprudence has for them.'' [Emphasis added.] One must pause to wonder what crumbs of justice he would parcel out.

How is there to be any hope for the blind to achieve their rights as first-class citizens while such men prate that "It is my highest duty to rule this way . . . ."

Here is a person who sits in judgment upon others. One has a right to expect that justice will be rendered with impartiality and humaneness and without personal prejudice. Perhaps that is too much to expect and for that reason courts of appeal came into existence. In this Bicentennial Year it may be well to observe that the Constitution of these United States begins with the unqualified statement: "We the People of the United States." It does not say "We the able-bodied people of the United States." One might suggest to the judge that he should catch up with the times and begin reading that long line of cases beginning with Edwards against California in 1941 down to the present which recognize that the pursuit of "life, liberty, and property" in this country is not reserved only for men, only for those with property, only for those with white skins; and that the protections and rights of the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments are available to all.

The case has been appealed, and the NFB has filed an amicus brief.  

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Washington, D.C., November 13, 1975.

National Federation of the Blind,
Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. GASHEL: From your letter of October 7 it is clear that our representatives at the September meeting in Congressman Dodd's office had indeed misunderstood you and Mr. Rabby concerning the two proposals contained in your letter.

Our representatives did, of course, take note of your proposal that the Department hire members of your organization as consultants, and they promised you an answer to that proposal. They also promised an answer to the proposal that we advertise for blind officers as we do for minorities and women. However, they had not understood that the holding of further meetings was conditional on our responses.

We are not able to give a positive answer to either of your proposals. Concerning the request that we advertise for blind persons to fill positions overseas, we will obviously have to adapt any possible recruitment program to the findings about the possibilities for employment which are to be the subject of our discussions. Concerning the request that we employ members of your organization in order to provide equal numbers in our forthcoming meetings, this proposal poses conflict-of-interest problems which we should take great care to avoid in the interest both of the Department and of your Federation. The fact is that we have substantive differences of view which need to be thoroughly discussed. We stand ready to hold such discussions with you at any mutually convenient time.

Sincerely yours.

Director of Personnel.


Washington. D.C., December 18, 1975.

Director of Personnel,
Department of State,
Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. APPLING: This will respond to your letter of November 13, 1975. Your letter contains nothing new, but clarifies much—much, that is, that I suspected all along.

Perhaps your letter is more revealing than you realize, or in the alternative, perhaps you have simply been trying to hoodwink us for several months. Anyway, it has not worked.

When our round of correspondence opened on June 27, 1975, you let off by trying to put the most positive face on your approach to employing the blind. Your letter reads in part: "I think I made clear our willingness to employ qualified blind persons for positions in the Foreign Service or the Civil Service in Washington and to seek to identify positions overseas in which they might serve without the requirement for worldwide availability." You will recall that it is precisely this "willingness" which you articulated to me during our meeting of June 26. You and the others described this as a "new approach." You and others from the Department of State have used this same phrase (with only slight modifications to fit the context) when you have stated your position to various Members of the Congress.

If you will review my letter of September 15, 1975, you will find that both Mr. Rabby and I commended the Department of State for what we regarded as a change in policy. We obviously believed (on good faith) that the change was, in fact, real, and so have many Members of the Congress. It was on the basis of this belief that we asked you to publicize the change, indicating to one and all your "willingness to employ qualified blind persons for positions in the Foreign Service or the Civil Service in Washington and to seek to identify positions overseas in which they might serve without the requirement for worldwide availability."

I was, therefore, astonished to read the following statement in your letter of November 13: "Concerning the request that we advertise for blind persons to fill positions overseas, we will obviously have to adapt any possible recruitment program to the findings about the possibilities for employment which are to be the subject of our discussions." Mr. Appling, if you are willing to employ qualified blind persons for positions in the Foreign Service or the Civil Service in Washington, then why are you unwilling to recruit them? If, on the other hand, you are unwilling to recruit blind persons for positions overseas as you indicated in your letter of November 13, then why would you tell us on June 27 that you are willing to "employ qualified blind persons for positions in the Foreign Service or the Civil Service in Washington and to seek to identify positions overseas in which they might serve without the requirement for worldwide availability."

Were you, on June 27, willing to employ blind persons, or were you playing some word game? Either you are willing or you are not willing. Your letter of June 27 states that you are, while your letter of November 13 states that you are not—at least, not yet. Consider, why would you advise me and several Members of the Congress of your "willingness to employ blind persons," while, at the same time, turning this "willingness" into an empty gesture by refusing to honor the commitment. Is this another example of shuttle diplomacy—keeping your policies flexible to respond to the situation?

Your letter of November 13 is revealing in yet another way. In it you speak of "conflict of interest." Your exact words are "concerning your request that we employ members of your organization in order to provide equal numbers in our forthcoming meetings, this proposal poses conflict-of-interest problems which we should take great care to avoid in the interest both of the Department and of your Federation." Up until this time I had been under the impression that our interests were identical and that we were "seeking to identify opportunities." Where did I get such an impression? I got it from you and from reading your letters.

Again I refer you to your June 27 letter to me in which you state: "It was helpful to have the viewpoints of the Federation and to have the benefit of your knowledge and experience in an area which you understand so much better than most of us." Later in the same letter you continued with the same tone, saying: "I thank you for your willingness to continue our conversation so that I might better understand the blind employee and that you might gain a fuller knowledge of the work of the Foreign Service."

Again, Mr. Appling, I took you at your word, thinking you meant what you said and said what you meant. Suddenly, when we talk about equal numbers for our meetings and suggest that you employ us as consultants, all of your expressions of gratitude and appreciation for contributing our "knowledge and experience" are replaced by charges of conflict of interest.

Alas, you have told us more about your perception of our respective interests than you were man enough to tell us on June 27. If there is a conflict (as you state in your letter of November 13), then it was apparently not "helpful" to have the viewpoints of the Federation and to have the "benefit" of our "knowledge and experience" in an area which (by your own admission) we understand so much better than most of you. Under the circumstances, one wonders why we should want to have any future conversations with you at all.

The record of our correspondence and contact over the past several months is open and available for all to read. Each of us may want to reflect upon it as we consider the views of our Nation's Founding Fathers during this Bicentennial Year. In April we wrote to Dr. Kissinger, stating our objections to the Department's policy with respect to employment of the blind and asking that a personnel official from the Department attend our annual Convention to explain the reasons for the restrictive practices. In May we received an answer from a medical officer with a set of medical standards attached. When we argued that this approach was not responsive to the points we raised in April, we were advised that these standards were applicable and that our Washington representative might stop by to discuss them with medical personnel. We were also informed that no State Department official would be available to meet with us at our annual Convention.

This is where matters stood in June. Then came a letter from Senator Sparkman, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In his letter Senator Sparkman requested that someone attend our Convention and he talked of constitutional rights. This correspondence occasioned a telephone call from you to me late on the afternoon of June 24. During that conversation you will recall that I asked you specifically if you intended to come to our Convention (held in Chicago the following week) and you responded that you were still considering it. On that basis (hoping that you would attend the Convention) I did meet with you on June 26. At that meeting it became clear that you would not attend our Convention, and this was confirmed in your letter of June 27.

On August 4 I responded to your letter of June 27, and set forth the conditions which we felt should prevail for our future conversations. You will recall that these conditions were:

(1) That we would host the meeting here in our Washington offices or that alternatively that we agree upon another spot, not at the Department of State;

(2) That we arrive at an agreement to insure that the Federation would have representation at the meetings equal to that of the Department of State; and

(3) That medical staff are not appropriate participants for the discussion of what is strictly a personnel policy matter.

Mr. Appling, we have tried to be as flexible and reasonable in dealing with you as is humanly possible. On the contrary, you have stonewalled, and you have acted abused whenever we have suggested that the blind have certain equal rights in this matter, too. On the issue of meeting in a location other than the State Department, you have indicated your complete refusal to accept our invitation to serve as host. On the issue of numbers of respective participants, you have indicated that you must have a staff of advisors, and while you recognize that it is difficult for us to cover the expenses of an equivalent staff, you have refused to work out any arrangement to accommodate us. On the issue of the participation of medical personnel, you remain adamant that you must have such advisors. When we agreed to this with the proviso that you agree to pay the costs so that we could have an equivalent staff available, you speak of conflict of interest. In other words, our future meetings will either be structured your way, or they will not be structured at all.

In closing your November 13, 1975, letter, you say: "The fact is that we have substantive differences of view which need to be thoroughly discussed. We stand ready to hold such discussions with you at any mutually convenient time." I think you are right. We do have substantive differences, and they do need to be thoroughly discussed. Based, however, on your record of responsiveness during this stage of working out the preliminaries for such discussions, I wonder what you think we can gain from the conversations themselves. If you are going to stonewall (as you have during this phase), then why meet? There are, as you know, other ways to make the State Department respond affirmatively.

In my letter of August 28 I invited you to take the affirmative step of arranging a meeting with us under the terms set forth in my letter of August 4. This you have now refused to do. Very well, but we are still looking for some affirmative action on your part. Without such action, I do not see how we have a basis for discussion at all.

Since you rejected my earlier invitation to show a good faith step toward affirmative action, let me now offer you another alternative. Returning to your letter of June 27, you will recall that you expressed your "willingness to employ qualified blind persons in the Foreign Service or in the Civil Service in Washington …" As I said before, if this willingness is real, then you ought to be willing to make it so by publicizing it. I now ask you to do so, and to do it in a manner similar to that which you are using to recruit women and minorities. If you work at it, I am sure that you could issue a suitable press release which would indicate your desire to recruit blind persons for positions available in the Foreign Service or the Civil Service in Washington. This is what you implied you were willing to do in your June 27 letter, and we are asking you only to do what you said you would do.

Your acceptance of this single condition (a mere show of good faith) can provide the basis for a future meeting. Your rejection of this alternative will indicate that there is probably no basis for a meeting at all. If you feel it is necessary, I would be pleased to work with someone on the specific language for your announcement, and we would undertake to give it suitable publicity. This is all we are asking you to do, and we feel it is in keeping with your commitment on June 27. Surely this is not too difficult or complicated to understand.

I do feel sure that you will be able to accept this alternative and that we can, therefore, go forward to meet with you to expand our relationship. I look forward to what I hope will be a positive response.

Cordially yours,

Chief, Washington Office.

cc: Senator John Sparkman
Senator Mike Mansfield
Cc: Senator Frank Church
Senator Stuart Symington
Senator Claiborne Pell
Senator Gale McGee
Senator George McGovern
Senator Hubert Humphrey
Senator Dick Clark
Senator Joseph Biden
Senator Clifford Case
Senator Jacob Javits
Senator Hugh Scott
Senator James Pearson
Senator Charles Percy
Senator Robert Griffin
Senator Howard Baker
Congressman Christopher Dodd
Alex Kucherov, U.S. News and World Report
Lee Thornton, C.B.S. News
Stuart Litle, Scripps Howard Newspapers

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[Reprinted by courtesy of the Boise, Idaho Statesman.]

I was thrust into blindness for half a day so I might at least partly understand the unseeing world.

Guiding me through my blindness was a blind man, Ray Halverson of the Idaho Commission for the Blind, creating the situation of the blind leading the blind. Halverson taught me that although being blind is a nuisance, blind people can function normally and easily in almost all aspects of life.

As the blindfold was slipped over my eyes, I realized how unprepared we are to function without sight. At first, I felt quite insecure not knowing which wall I was facing, nor being able to perceive obstacles in my path.

Ray gave me a cane which would become my "eyes." I was taught to sweep the cane in front of me to distinguish obstacles, curbs, walls, steps, and sidewalks. Ray and I walked easily across streets and intersections, over curbs, and up steps. It is certainly more difficult to travel without sight than with, but the blind can travel a lot faster and much easier than people might assume.

At first, you fear walking about quickly because you are not confident and you expect to walk into a tree; but your fears are soon dispelled as the cane proves to be a good instrument of perception.

Being blind makes the world of appearance seem less important. The persons you know or meet are voices rather than faces. A person seems beautiful if he or she has a friendly, pleasant voice.

Direction is conceived differently when you're blind. When walking parallel to a street, direction is gained through listening to the sounds of the cars, or by the path of the sidewalk. You cannot see the direction in which you are traveling, and so you must find some other bearings.

Little things, such as pouring a cup of coffee, must be done in a different fashion by the blind, but they can be done. When you pour coffee, you direct the nozzle of the percolator over the cup and pour until the coffee touches the edge of a finger draped slightly over the edge.

There are special watches for the blind. These timepieces have a stud which releases the crystal. The blind person can then feel with his fingers the hands of the watch. The numbers are in Braille.

"Some people believe that if they lose their sight, their lives will be tragic," Halverson said. "But blindness is just a characteristic people learn to adapt to. You shouldn't play up the limitations of blind people."

I was taught to run a drill while blind. "Blind persons can operate machines as safely, efficiently, and quickly as their sighted peers," Halverson said.

The prejudices of society against blind people are major obstacles to overcome, Halverson said. "People want to look at the blind person as being less than normal, or being a super-guy. They expect the blind to dress like beggars or be unusually superior like the blind character on the TV show 'Longstreet' with James Franciscus."

Halverson said he walked into a restaurant once with a seeing friend. The waitress came over and asked his friend what he wanted to order. Instead of asking Halverson what he wanted to order, she said to his friend, "What would your companion like?" Blind people are often treated as though they were deaf, or in some strange condition unrelated to their blindness, he said.

According to Kenneth Jernigan, President of the National Federation of the Blind, blind persons are discriminated against in a variety of ways. He said some blind people have been refused passage on airlines without guides, and insurance rates have been raised for blind persons. The most important area of discrimination against the blind involves jobs. Employers sometimes don't hire the blind because of ridiculous misconceptions such as that they can't climb stairs, Halverson said.

The Idaho Commission for the Blind, 342 West Washington, works to train and encourage blind people to be independent, Halverson said. It is a State agency and provides its services free.

"Training at our orientation and adjustment center usually lasts from six to eight months, depending upon the individual's progress," he said. "We average about ten students at a time here, but they come in on a staggered basis."

Halverson stressed that blindness, as defined by law, is not necessarily complete blindness. "We define blindness as a person whose eyesight is less than 20/200. Some people who are considered blind have just the center of their eye blocked out. "he said.

A misconception about the blind is that their senses other than sight become super-developed, Halverson said. "A blind person might use hearing instead of seeing to compensate on certain occasions, but that does not mean that he hears or experiences anything the seeing person does not. The ultra-sensitive blind man concept is a myth," he said.

My brief experience with blindness has given me a two-fold awareness. I appreciate my eyesight much more. I think of all the colors, paintings, faces, and movies I would miss. I also appreciate better the blind person, who is a normal person with a disadvantage but neither more nor less than an average person.

Loss of sight is not loss of the world, Halverson said, and I agree. When I was "blind," I felt like a normal person and was annoyed at the thought that someone might baby me simply because I couldn't see.

"The blind person will adapt to the world," Halverson said. "The world does not have to adapt to him."  

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The Howard Brown Rickard Scholarship, administered by the National Federation of the Blind, is to be awarded each year to legally blind university students studying for a professional degree as specified below. Scholarships vary from year to year as to number and amount. Payments will be made, one-half at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters, or one-third at the beginning of each of three quarters.

This scholarship was established by a bequest of Thomas E. Rickard in honor of his father, Howard Brown Rickard.


Any legally blind university student in the professions of LAW, MEDICINE, ENGINEERING, ARCHITECTURE, and the NATURAL SCIENCES, including undergraduates in these fields, is eligible to apply.

While anyone may apply for the award, in order to be considered he must:

(a) be sponsored by the State affiliate where he is going to school or in the state where he makes his home, and if there be no such affiliate he must secure sponsorship in a manner deemed appropriate by the chairman of the scholarship committee.

(b) attend the NFB Convention at which the scholarship is to be awarded.


Fill out completely the attached application and mail to the Reverend Howard May, Chairman, Rickard Scholarship Committee, R.F.D. 1, West Willington, Connecticut 06279, by June 1, 1976.  


Applicant's Full Name___________________________________ Age___ Sex___


City____________________________________________________ Phone_________
                                    State                                                  Zip Code

Home Address (Permanent) ________________________________________________

City______________________ State____________ Zip Code______ Phone_________

High School Attended______________________________________ City___________

College Now Attending_____________________________________ City___________

Number of Units Completed by End of Present Term_____________________________

Colleges Previously Attended: (indicate the year you attended college and total number of units completed at each college.)

___________________________________From________ To_______ Units_________

___________________________________From_________ To_______ Units________

Major Subject____________________________________________________________

List name and amount of any scholarships you have received or are receiving:


Attach the following:

(1) Transcripts from all colleges attended. (If you are entering college, attach high school transcript.)

(2) A statement of 250 words of your reason for applying for this scholarship and how it will assist you to achieve a professional goal including, if you wish, information about your financial situation. Please include information about your visual acuity indicating whether you are partially or totally blind.

(3) Recommendation of sponsoring NFB affiliate.

_______________                                         __________________________________
Date                                                                Signature

Make sure all spaces are filled in and mail application by June 1, 1976 to:
Reverend Howard May, Chairman
Rickard Scholarship Committee
R.F.D. 1
West Willington, Connecticut 06279

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Editor's Note.—On December 10, 1975, the NFB presented the following testimony before the Select Subcommittee on Education, Committee on Education and Labor, U.S. House of Representatives and the Subcommittee on the Handicapped, Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, U.S. Senate.

Mr. Chairman, my name is James Gashel. I serve as Chief of the Washington Office of the National Federation of the Blind.

As you and the members of this committee are aware, Mr. Chairman, our Federation is a nationwide membership organization of the blind. In fact, we are the only membership organization of blind persons having affiliates in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Our membership exceeds fifty thousand. The National Federation of the Blind was originally conceived and organized over thirty-five years ago, and we have collectively mounted a sustained effort to achieve security, equality, and opportunity for all of the blind.

Today, Mr. Chairman, we are here to ask that these subcommittees, along with the Congress as a whole, move forward expeditiously to extend the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended. No single piece of Federal legislation has as much potential for emancipating the blind from the bondage of dependency as does the Rehabilitation Act.

Of course, this law, like so many others, does have its weaknesses which permit the spirit and intent of the rehabilitation programs established by the Congress to be abused. Problems do exist in this field, and by our supporting statements here today we do not wish to leave the implication that all is entirely as it should be.

As concerned citizens and consumers of services to the blind, we are outraged that the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) still attempts to exercise its self-appointed authority to control public and private rehabilitation facilities participating in Federal financial assistance under this Act. This regrettable condition is well known to many Members of the Congress, and they have frequently brought necessary pressures to bear.

There are, also, other problems and abuses. Despite all of the eloquent rhetoric concerning the "civil rights of the disabled," the blind, who find themselves relegated to employment in sheltered workshop facilities, are still regarded as second-class workers in the labor force. Recently under questioning before the National Labor Relations Board, witnesses from the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind admitted that their facility has two classes of workers—those who are sighted and those who are blind. According to the Lighthouse officials, the sighted workers are paid the minimum wage and have all available fringe benefits, while the blind have none of these. Add into it all the fact that the Lighthouse is vigorously attempting to block the efforts of its blind workers to organize, and you get a picture which is reminiscent of the days when organized labor was in its formative stages. Incidentally, the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind is accredited by NAC.

The undemocratic and high-handed functioning of NAC and the abuses of the blind workers at the Chicago Lighthouse are definitely not alone as problem areas in this field. It is not, however, appropriate for us to consider the details of these and other issues before these subcommittees this morning. We simply take this opportunity to call them to your attention and to express our legitimate concern.

This brings me to the matter of extension of the Act itself. Even accounting for the divergencies in effective administration of vocational rehabilitation services (which divergencies are due primarily to differences among the states with respect to program policy and philosophy), thousands of blind individuals are receiving needed assistance, living better lives, and hoping for brighter futures. It is this Act, the Rehabilitation Act, which offers this assistance and provides this hope.

During these hearings others have gone into great detail about the specific levels of authorized funding and the length of time for which such authorizations should be extended. By contrast, I thought you might appreciate hearing something this morning about the human aspect involved, since this program is indeed designed to serve severely handicapped individuals.

Here are some excerpts from letters which have recently crossed my desk:

A Michigan mother writes: "My forty-one-year-old son has diabetes and is blind in his left eye. He had eye surgery in April for a detached retina in his right eye. So far he has blurred vision in that eye and possibly another operation. Can you do anything for him?"

In subsequent correspondence I referred her son to the appropriate rehabilitation agency from which he is now getting the assistance he requires.

Next an interested citizen contacted me as follows: "The best blind man that I know is very much like an uncle to me. . . . For twenty-five years Roy worked in the sheltered broom shop on Confederate Avenue. When the shop changed hands, he and about fifteen other workers were sent out unmercifully. Roy and his family lived with an extremely small income for about six months. Now Roy is drawing a little government compensation and sells home-care products door to door. Is it possible that the Federation could investigate . . . ? It seems that the push for the blind here is very nil."

Another concerned wife writes on behalf of her husband: "My husband . . . has recently lost the sight in one eye to diabetic retinopathy and has lost most of the sight in the other eye due to hemorrhages in the eye. He is thirty years old and has had diabetes for nineteen years. He is presently employed by the Clemson University Extension Services as the Associate County Agriculture Agent. He has been under the care of ophthalmologists. . . . They have advised us that he is to be considered legally blind and that this could be a permanent situation. . . . Any information you could provide for us would be greatly appreciated."

When I responded to her, I explained the value of rehabilitation services and referred her husband to the appropriate agency for the blind. Among other things I explained that there should be no reason why her husband could not continue in his employment with the University. Whether he is able to do so will, of course, depend heavily on his successful rehabilitation.

Finally, a blind individual ready, willing, and able to work wrote to me saying: "I graduated from the Overbrook School for the Blind in 1969. Ever since then I have always wanted to work in a darkroom. I was told that in our state, this is run by a computer. How I got interested in this type of work, I read up on it, and we had career day. I'd go anywhere if I could get a job in this field."

These people with their problems and needs for rehabilitation are but a cross-section of those who cry out for assistance. They are joined by thousands of others-blind persons who are seeking opportunities through higher education, blind persons who are attending vocation training schools, those who are just becoming blind and do not know where to turn, and those who have been blind for a long time but have not had an opportunity to prove themselves. One young woman summed it up this way in her recent letter: "I realize times are tough, and jobs are scarce for us all, but I also think you realize the extra difficulty a blind person encounters in seeking employment. It is for this reason that I sincerely hope that you will take a personal interest in my problem and do all you can for me."

I am trying, and so are others—she needs our help.

By way of contrast, let me now introduce you to some of the blind individuals who have been the happy beneficiaries of successful vocational rehabilitation:

Gail Adams, a high school graduate and blind since birth, is an assembler of television antennas. In her work she utilizes various tools including an air-driven screwdriver, wrench, and drill press. She is employed, and she is earning her own way.

Suzanne Mains is an assistant director of nursing education at a major community hospital. She is also blind. Her responsibilities include curriculum coordination and planning, supervising faculty and determining admission policies, and planning the in-service education program for the hospital staff. She is also an instructor of adult psychiatric nursing.

Edward Keninger, blind since childhood, is in charge of heating, air-conditioning, and electrical and mechanical equipment in a state-owned building. His responsibilities include monitoring of the heating and air-conditioning systems, making of minor adjustments when needed, and general maintenance and light repair when indicated.

Finally, Dr. Robert Celander is a professor of biochemistry and chairman of the biochemistry department at a college of osteopathic medicine and surgery. He teaches biochemistry to medical students, administers his department, consults with his staff, and plans and schedules courses. His academic area of interest is hematological research.

These and thousands of other blind individuals have benefited personally from effective programs of vocational rehabilitation. Their accomplishments as employed, tax-paying citizens demonstrate the validity of our position that given proper training and opportunity, the average blind person can do the average job in the average place of business and do it as well as his sighted neighbor.

Mr. Chairman, I wish to conclude this statement by urging, in the strongest terms possible, that swift action be taken both by the House and by the Senate to extend the basic rehabilitation programs which are of invaluable assistance to so many blind citizens.

We wish also to have you recognize the efforts of the current Commissioner, Dr. Andrew S. Adams, to make the programs of the Rehabilitation Services Administration more responsive and in tune with the needs of handicapped individuals. Since Dr. Adams has been serving as Commissioner, the voice of the consumer has been heard and heeded more than ever before. We believe that this approach is entirely in keeping with the desire of the Congress to provide avenues through which those who receive service may speak and get action. We commend the Commissioner for his results in this regard, and we know that you will want to do likewise. Along with others we recognize that the Rehabilitation Services Administration has its full complement of problems and weaknesses. Unlike some others, however, it is our position that any difficulties which do exist are more attributable to traditional philosophies and bureacratic red tape than they are to any alleged inadequacies of the Commissioner who comes to his job during a period of change and transition with a refreshingly open approach.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, the position of the National Federation of the Blind is that a two-year extension of the basic programs authorized by the Rehabilitation Act is appropriate at this time. We are supported in this request by most of the other groups who have testified. Also we support modest increases in the authorized funding levels for the basic Federal/state vocational rehabilitation program, and we recommend that $760 million be authorized for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1977, and $800 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1978.  

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New York, New York, October 17, 1975.

President, New York State Chapter,
National Federation of the Blind,
Brooklyn, New York.

DEAR RITA: We regret that you will be unable to attend the planning meeting on training generic staff in the areas of aging and blindness to be held at the Foundation on Tuesday, October 28 at 2:30 p.m. We are informing you of the date and place in the event you are able to come.

It is unfortunate that you couldn't attend the previous meeting on SSI held several months ago, since your expertise could have been most helpful. This is equally true for the upcoming planning meeting on October 28.

We do hope that we can get together on other issues that vitally affect blind persons.

With kindest personal regards,


Regional Consultant-Region I.

P. S. Enclosed is an invitation being mailed to participants who have expressed interest in attending.

P.P.S. I do hope that you can attend the other planning meeting on travel in the inner city as per our discussion, to be held at the Lighthouse on November 21, 1975.


Brooklyn, New York, October 22, 1975.

Regional Consultant-Region I,
American Foundation for the Blind.
New York, New York.

DEAR MR. KLEINMAN: I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for appearing at the annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind of New York State, and do hope that the Foundation will actively seek remedy to the questions we posed.

With regard to your letter of October 17, 1975, I can only repeat what I have told you on the telephone; that is, that the Federation will not engage in any activities with the Foundation while the Foundation continues in its support of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC).

The Foundation's moral and financial commitment to NAC in and of itself clearly indicates that the Foundation is not truly ready to face the real problems of the blind and blindness. Having seminars, panels, meetings, and the like can only be seen as a means to cover up the stereotype, degrading and pathetic attitudes on the part of those who are supposedly serving and representing the blind.

We in the Federation believe strongly in consumer participation and representation but only on that level which makes for meaningful, sincere, and productive exchange and flow of ideas. We see tokenism as a thing of the past.

I regret not that I cannot join with you on October 28th, but do regret the regressive role the Foundation has played in some of its procedures, policies, and publications.

Sincerely yours,

President, NFB of New York State.

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On Saturday, December 20, 1975, a crowd of eighty-eight Federationists and their guests gathered at a restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee, for a gala Christmas dinner. In a dining room cheerfully decorated with Christmas flowers and candles, jubilant Tennesseans warmly welcomed one of their State's well-known native sons, Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, who was in the State for a brief visit with his father.

There were many guests of distinction, including the Reverend Horace Bass, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Human Services, and Representative Clifford Allen, U.S. Congressman for the Fifth Congressional District in Tennessee. The highlight of the evening was, of course, Dr. Jernigan's address.

In an atmosphere less formal because he was among home folks, Dr. Jernigan spoke with such warmth and conviction that he brought the crowd to their feet, and he endeared himself to everyone present, reviving enthusiasm for the NFB movement in Tennessee. One Federationist was heard saying as he left the room, "I would follow that man straight into hell."

Dr. Jernigan reviewed American history and the history of change, pointing out the implications of historical fact and change for minority groups such as the blind people of America. He also reviewed his experiences as a student at the Tennessee School for the Blind, indicating that the blind people of Tennessee had things better now than when he was growing up here. Dr. Jernigan concluded his remarks by saying:

Finally, I want to address myself to the active members of the NFB—to the blind, and to our sighted brothers who make our cause their cause. To the active Federationists I say this, we are not helpless and we are not children. We know our problems and we know how to solve them. The challenge which faces us is clear, and the means of meeting that challenge are equally clear. If we fail in courage or nerve or dedication, we have only ourselves to blame. But, of course, we will not fail.

Congressman Clifford Allen responded to Dr. Jernigan's address by referring to him as a genius. He pledged his support to the NFB nationally as well as locally.

Dr. Jernigan's address was carried by two local TV stations on their evening news programs. One of the local commentators introduced Dr. Jernigan as the man who had been labeled the Number One Blind American.

The evening was a joyous occasion. Federationists went away singing Christmas carols and rededicating themselves to the cause of Federationism in the coming New Year. The dinner was the Capitol City Chapter's way of saying, "We love you, Mr. President! You are always welcome home to Tennessee."  

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[Reprinted from The Gamecock, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, November 17, 1975. Steve Valk is Gamecock staff writer.]

The greatest obstacles that blind students must overcome are not necessarily physical, but rather mental attitudes on the part of the sighted public that lead to erroneous myths and discrimination.

"There're two philosophies concerning blindness," said Suzanne Bridges, president of the student division of the Aurora Club of the Blind. "One philosophy is the kind that implicates the idea of the blind as somehow inferior or different than normal people," she said. "The other that most blind people have is that we are normal people with what can best be characterized as a physical nuisance."

Bridges said the media "have traditionally characterized the blind in these stereotyped roles of dependency." One example of this was a headline in Carolinatype, the University's in-house newspaper, which read: "Center Aids Blind Students On Journey Through College." Bridges said. "I have never really considered it a journey. A lot of things concerning blind people are melodramatized."

"There are a lot of stereotype myths about the blind that we'd like to get rid of," she added. "An article came out recently that stated that the blind were unable to appreciate sexual practices as much, because they've not had light coming into the eyes to stimulate the hormones."

Another myth is that the blind have special powers. "I don't have a sixth sense. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't have one."

"Oh, we're supposed to be great piano players," said Shelia Byrd, another blind student. "Well, that leaves me out," Glenn McCoy said as he laughed.

Bridges said a lot of people have this Mr. Magoo image of the blind. "Because he can't see he blunders his way through life."

"A blind professor went into a bar to get a drink and the bartender wouldn't serve him because he didn't think blind people could hold their liquor," she said.

The public attitude that blind persons are helpless cripples has led to discrimination in jobs, housing, travel, and recreation facilities, Bridges said.

"The important issue is, 'How can we re-educate people as to what we can do?'" Bridges said.

The South Carolina Commission for the Blind helps place blind persons in jobs. "Out of the 247 cases that were closed out with the commission this past year, one third of those cases were employed gainfully, and the other two thirds were working under the minimum wage or not working at all."

"This is the kind of thing that we're trying to change as a blind movement," she added.

In the last few years, laws have been passed that prohibit discrimination solely on the basis of blindness, according to Bridges. However, many discriminatory practices are continued because the blind person doesn't know his rights under the law, she said.

Bridges said that misunderstandings about the blind often lead to humorous incidents that become rather annoying after awhile. She said that often, when a blind person goes to a restaurant with a sighted person, the waitress will ask the sighted person, "What does he want?"

Byrd said that another annoyance is people who talk twice as loud to blind persons because they think the blind are hard of hearing.

"One time, somebody asked me what you're supposed to say to a blind person, as if there was something 'special' that you have to say," Byrd said. "You can say the same thing to a blind person that you would say to any other person."

The American Foundation for the Blind published a book that Bridges says is particularly dehumanizing, titled "A Step-by-Step Guide to Personal Management for Blind Persons." The book outlines procedures for such things as clapping hands, using spray deodorants, and lighting cigarettes.

USC has offered the blind students special privileges such as taking them through registration early and special seating at athletic events. However, Bridges said these sort of privileges are not necessary and only contribute further to the philosophy that blind students are limited and need special compensation because they are sightless.

"We'll never get equality as long as we're getting special privileges," Byrd said.

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Editor's Note.—Blind Americans, native or foreign born, have influenced the general social warp and woof of American history sometimes weaving large spans and sometimes adding small but bright threads; but each life lived leaves its mark. One whose activities affects the lives of all blind people in this country today was Dr. Newel Perry. It seems appropriate to dip into our recent past in the effort to discover whence we came. The following address, "Newel Perry: Teacher of Youth and Leader of Men," is an address by Professor Jacobus tenBroek delivered at the Memorial Convocation for Dr. Perry at the California School for the Blind in Berkeley, California, on March 25, 1961. In this paper are summed the lives of both men, the roots and reason of our social movement, expressed with affection and admiration in terms of poetic eloquence.



I come before you today—indeed we are all gathered here—to discharge a public duty and to honor a private debt. Newel Perry was a public figure. To us, he was also a personal friend. We can appraise his public contribution. We can only acknowledge our private obligation and personal attachment. We can detail his public record, define his influential role, itemize his accomplishments, recount his deeds, enumerate his statutes, specify his doctrines, disentangle the elements of his social philosophy, identify the general and the institutional fruits of his life's work, analyze and psychoanalyze the personality traits that made him a leader. Upon the life we shared, we can only dwell in memory, sifting through the loose meshes of the mind the hours, the days, the nights, the months, the years of our common experience; the fears, the travails, the aspirations, the laughter that were ours together.

We were his students, his family, his intimates, his comrades on a thousand battlefronts of a social movement. We slept in his house, ate at his table, learned geometry at his desk, walked the streets interminably by his side, moved forward on the strength of his optimism and confidence.

The boundless devotion to him of his wife Lillie (to whom he was married from 1912 until her death in 1935) spilled over onto us to balm our institution-starved spirits, to lighten with gentle affection the bewilderment of our eccentricity and the unnatural confinement of our segregation. Upon a later generation of us, after the death of Lillie, the same bounty was conferred in her turn by his sister Emma Burnham, who lived with Doctor during the last twenty-one years of his life.

As a forward youngster of twelve, who made so bold as to address him as "Doc," I was once thrown out of a class by Doctor with such a lecture as still rings in my ears. As a somewhat older youngster, still forward but now also bored by the slow pace and the unimaginative techniques of high school, I was expelled by him altogether for incorrigible recalcitrance. Eventually, despite these unpromising beginnings, I did graduate from high school. With plenty of ambition but no money, I prepared to enter the University. At that point I was denied state aid to the blind, a program then newly instituted as a result of Doctor's efforts in sponsoring a constitutional amendment and a comprehensive statute. The reason was not that my need was not great. It was that I intended to pursue a higher education while I was being supported by the state. That was too much for the administrative officials. Almost without discussion. Doctor immediately filled the gap. Just as Warring Wilkinson had earlier done for him, he supplied me with tuition and living expenses out of his own pocket for a semester while we all fought to reverse the decision of the state aid officials.

It was ever thus with Doctor. The key to his great influence with blind students was, first of all, the fact that he was blind and therefore understood their problems; and second, that he believed in them and made his faith manifest. He provided the only sure foundation of true rapport: knowledge on our part that he was genuinely interested in our welfare.

Aside from these immediate personal benefactions, there were three habits of life-one might almost say three elements of personality-which I formed out of his teaching and example when I was an adolescent in his charge. First: an attitude towards my blindness, a conception that it is basically unimportant in the important affairs of life. A physical nuisance, yes! A topic of unembarrassed conversation, a subject of loud questions by small children in the street as you pass, certainly. But not something which shapes one's nature, which determines his career, which affects his usefulness or happiness. Second: a basic assumption that sighted people generally have boundless good will towards the blind and an utterly false conception of the consequences of blindness. It is their misconception about its nature which creates the social and economic handicap of blindness. Third: public activity as a rule of life, a sense of responsibility to exert personal effort to improve the lot of others. While I was still a lad in my teens, I was attending meetings and doing work that Doctor assigned me in the blind movement. He was a social reformer. He made me one too. Through participation with him, these attitudes and practices became habits of my life. So deeply instilled were they that they have remained ever after an almost automatic behavorial pattern—potent and often governing factors in my outlook and activity. Mature reflection in later years could only confirm through reason what his influence had so surely wrought in my youth.

It is altogether fitting that we should hold this memorial convocation at the California School for the Blind. It was here that Newel Perry came in 1883 as a ten-year-old boy—penniless, blind, his father dead, his home dissolved. Two years earlier, he had lost his sight and nearly his life as the result of a case of poison oak which caused his eyeballs to swell until they burst and which held him in a coma for a month. It was here at the School that Warring Wilkinson first met and took an interest in him, laying the basis for future years of intimate relationship and mutual endeavor. Warring Wilkinson was the first principal of the California State School for the Deaf and the Blind. He served in that capacity for forty-four years, from 1865 to 1909. With his characteristic interest in his charges, he soon saw young Newel's full potentiality. He sent him from here to Berkeley High School to complete his secondary education. It was he who overcame the numerous obstacles to this arrangement, so fruitful in its understanding of education and of the needs of the blind. Newel continued to live here at the School while he attended the University of California from 1892 to 1896. Again admission had to be secured over strong resistance. Again Wilkinson was the pathfinder; Newel his willing and anxious instrument. Wilkinson's role in Newel's life as a youth can hardly be overestimated: father, teacher, guide, supporter-in Newel's own words, "dear Governor."

As this institution was not only the school but the home of his boyhood and the foundation of his manhood, so sixteen years later, in 1912, at the age of thirty-nine. Newel Perry returned here to take up his permanent career as a teacher. He remained in that post until 1947—a third of a century. It was here that his life's work was accomplished. It was from this place as a base that he organized and conducted a movement for social reform. It was here that many of us first met him as his students. It was here that his impact upon us first made itself felt. It was here that our lifelong association with him began. How often in these halls have we heard his footsteps? How often in this chamber, his voice? The sound of those footsteps and that voice have now gone from the world as a physical reality. How often hereafter will they continue to sound in the halls and chambers of our lives!

In the years between departure from the School in 1896 and return to it in 1912, Newel Perry devoted himself to further education and to the search for an academic job. He took graduate work at the University of California, meanwhile serving successively as an unpaid teaching fellow, a paid assistant, and finally as an Instructor in the Department of Mathematics. In 1900, following a general custom of that day, he went to Europe to continue his studies. He did this for a time at the University of Zurich in Switzerland and then at the University of Munich in Germany. From the latter he secured the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics, with Highest Honors, in 1901. He lingered in Europe for a time traveling and writing an article on a mathematical topic which was published in a learned journal. He then returned to the United States in 1902, landing in New York where he was to remain until 1912. He had about eighty dollars in capital, a first-class and highly specialized education, and all the physical, mental, and personal prerequisites for a productive career, save one, visual acuity.

During this period, he supported himself precariously as a private coach of university mathematics students. He applied himself, also, to the search for a university position. He had begun the process by mail from Europe even before he secured his Ph.D. He now continued the process on the ground in New York. He displayed the most relentless energy. He employed every imaginable technique. He wrote letters in profusion. In 1905, he wrote to five hundred institutions of every size and character. He distributed his dissertation and published article. He haunted meetings of mathematicians. He visited his friends in the profession. He enlisted the aid of his teachers. He called on everybody and anybody having the remotest connection with his goal.

Everywhere, the outcome was the same. Only the form varied. Some expressed astonishment at what he had accomplished. Some expressed interest. One of these seemed genuine—he had a blind brother-in-law who, he said, was a whiz at math. Some showed indifference, now and then masked behind polite phrases. Some said there were no vacancies. Some said his application would be filed for future reference. One said for what—ironically, "as an encouragement to men who labor under disadvantages and who may learn from it how much may be accomplished through resolution and industry." Some averred that he probably could succeed in teaching at somebody else's college. Many said outright that they believed a blind man could not teach mathematics.

Many of these rejections were, of course, perfectly proper. Many were not. Their authors candidly gave the reason as blindness.

We know about this period of Newel Perry's life from reports of contemporaries or near contemporaries such as Hugh Buckingham, a student at the School from 1896 to 1900 during Doctor's absence, who has prepared a manuscript about Doctor's boyhood and youth. We know about it from what Doctor told many of us in later years. But we know about it in all its poignancy, desolation, and bleakness, from Newel Perry's own intimate accounts written at the time to his old mentor and true friend, Warring Wilkinson. These accounts, with copies of many of the letters of rejection, have been preserved by the Wilkinson family through the intervening years. In the last two weeks, they have been opened to my inspection by Wilkinson's granddaughter. Florence Richardson Wyckoff, who is here with us today.

I have dwelt on this period and these experiences for several reasons. They reflect, they accurately portray, a phase of all of our lives as blind people. In fact, thirty-five years later,  I personally received identical letters from many of these same institutions. It was almost as if a secretary had been set to copying Doctor's file, only changing the signatures and the name of the addressee. Yet great progress has been made. Many of us are now teaching at colleges and universities around the country and filling many other jobs hitherto closed to us.

Doctor Perry's reaction to this decade of defeat and privation was remarkable. He did not break. He did not resign. He did not even become embittered. Discouragement, frustration, a sense of wrong and injustice, certainly these; but never collapse. He was not licked. We see in these bitter years of hunger and rejection the source of true knowledge about the real problems of the blind and an ineradicable determination to do something about them. Here was a mainspring of social reform, an ever-flowing motivation to redirect public attitudes and actions toward the blind. To this was added the thrust of an active and restless disposition and the wit to perceive remedies and adapt them to the need.

Out of these elements of mind, personality, and experience were compounded the public career of Newel Perry; and out of these elements also were constructed the programs the initiation of which made that career publicly significant.

First of all, the distress of poverty must be relieved. The necessities of life must be available. The minimum essentials must be assured. So much in some way had been provided in the Anglo-American system for three centuries before Newel Perry faced near starvation and economic exclusion in New York City. The Elizabethan poor laws did it in one way. County direct relief, instituted in California in 1901, did it in another. The almshouse and the county hospital and poor farm did it in still other ways. At the very minimum, it had to be done better. It should be done by a system of cash grants, adequate in amount to maintain standards of decency and health, receivable upon fixed and uniform standards of eligibility, made generally applicable by state participation and control, and expendable by the recipient through a free exercise of self-management and consumption choice. To bring this about, however, prohibitions in the state constitution would have to be removed by the arduous process of a people's amendment, an organic statute would have to be lobbied through the state legislature, faithful administration would somehow have to be secured. Year by year and session by session into the indefinite future, the myriad minor corrections and major improvements made necessary by time and disclosed by experience would have to be worked through the legislature and the administration. And so indeed it came to pass in California.

Secondly, much more had to be done than merely relieve the distress of poverty. Security is a necessity. As an unmixed blessing, however, it is a stultifying concept. An indispensable ingredient of any welfare system is opportunity. One of the objects of public aid must be to stimulate and enable people to become independent of it. Accordingly, their initiative must not be hemmed in. The means of productive activity must not be withdrawn or denied. Independence of action and self-reliance must be encouraged. Legal liability of relatives must be relaxed so as not to spread poverty, increase dependence, and disrupt family life. Economic resources, reasonable amounts of real and personal property must be devotable to plans for self-support instead of being required to be consumed in meeting daily needs. Incentive to earn must be constructed out of retention of the benefits of earning. And this too presently came to pass in California. The new system took cognizance of the need of the blind for adjustments on the social and psychological as well as the physical level. It permitted and encouraged them to strive to render themselves self-supporting. It applied the democratic principle of individual dignity to an underprivileged class of American citizens. It guaranteed them a fair measure of independence and self-respect in the conduct of their lives. The California system, the Newel Perry system, was thus far in advance of its time. It is still envied and emulated throughout the Nation.

Thirdly, the reintegration of the blind into society on a basis of full and equal membership could only be achieved if they had a chance to earn their daily bread as others do in the community. Accordingly, action must be taken to eliminate restrictive barriers and legal discriminations. The main channels of opportunity must be swept clear of artificial and irrational obstructions. The public service, private employment, the common callings, the ordinary trades and occupations, the professions must be rescued from arbitrary exclusions based on blindness when blindness is not a factor bearing on competence and performance. Doctor was a prime mover in securing legal, constitutional, and other provisions which: protect the right of the blind to enter a number of professions; forbid arbitrary discriminations against us in the state civil service and in secondary teaching; enable blind college students to pursue their studies with the aid of sighted readers hired by the state; bring the blind in an ever-increasing stream into the colleges and universities of the state and thence into the higher callings.

These achievements—legal, social, economic, and political—have been the fruits at once of Doctor Perry's leadership and of the collective self-organization of the blind which that leadership engendered. More than any other person, it was Doctor who implanted and nurtured among the blind of California the sense of common cause, the spirit of collaborative effort in seeking solutions to our problems. More than any other person, it was he who taught us that the blind can and must lead the blind and the sighted, too, when dealing with the problems of the blind. More than any other person, it was he who made us aware that to go on unorganized was to remain disorganized, that only through concerted action can the blind hope to convert and enlist the power of government and to defeat the thoughtless tyranny of public prejudice and opportune ignorance.

Newel Perry was a teacher: a teacher of subject matter and a teacher of men. He taught his specialty of mathematics and taught it very well indeed; but he taught his pupils even better. To be sure, not all the students who came his way during his thirty-five years on this campus were wholly inspired by him. His personality was vigorous and his standards rigorous. But for many of us who attended the School during those three-and-a-half decades it was Doctor Perry who furnished the impetus and incentive, the goad and the goal, that would light our later lives and nourish our careers. Our bond with him was not broken when our schooldays ended. We went on to become his comrades and colleagues in the cause which was always his true vocation.

Newel Perry was, in short, both a teacher of youth and a leader of men. These two roles were not, however, quite separate. For the secret of his success in both of them lay in this: that his teaching was a kind of leadership, and his leadership a kind of teaching. In his pedagogical method as well as his social purpose Doctor was thoroughly Socratic. His classroom manner was essentially that of the Platonic dialogue: dialectical, inquiring, insistently logical, and incessantly prodding.

In this Socratic combination also lies, I think, the secret of Doctor's success as the leader of a social movement. Just as in the classroom he taught his students by leading them, so as the pioneer of the organized blind movement he led his followers by teaching them. His power, like that of all leaders, rested in the last analysis upon persuasion. His triumphs, however, were not the product of oratorical or literary skill, although he had a notable gift for trenchant and incisive phrasing, the epigrammatic thrust which distills the essence of a complex issue. His persuasive power was not that of the demagogue but of the pedagogue. And it was not only his followers who learned from him. He educated the blind people of the state to an awareness of their capabilities as individuals and of their powers as a group. He educated the legislators in the State Capitol by dint of dogged, relentless, well-nigh incorrigible campaigns of persuasion carried on year after year and decade after decade. He educated the general public by his preachment and his example to regard the blind not in the traditional terms of charity and custody but in the realistic terms of normality and equality.

And most of all, in his role as leader, Newel Perry educated, indoctrinated, and persuaded a distinguished group of cohorts to join him in carrying on the struggle and carrying out its goals. Those whom Doctor gathered around him were other blind men and women, mostly former students, whose special talents and professional positions uniquely supplemented his.

Raymond Henderson: by profession an attorney, self-taught, by preoccupation a reformer, with poetry in his soul and literature in his stylus. Born in 1881, he attended this School from 1889 through high school and continued to live here until his graduation from the University of California in 1904. He practiced his profession in Bakersfield, California, from his admission to the Bar until his death in 1945. Raymond came to the organized blind movement in his maturity from a long background of experience in other causes. He brought to it a notable array of personal abilities, a high degree of professional skill, a fine spirit of humanity and the enrichment of wide and intensive activity.

Leslie Schlingheyde: also by profession an attorney, gentle and religious by disposition, practical rather than reflective in frame of mind, with a brilliant academic record and a liberal outlook. He was born in 1893. attended this School from 1906 to 1913, and thus came under Doctor's influence in the year of his graduation. He received a J.D. from the Law School of the University of California in 1920 and from that time until his death in 1957 practiced his profession in Modesto, California, and served the blind movement all over the state.

It was Raymond Henderson and Leslie Schlingheyde who were primarily responsible for handling cases in court, for preparing innumerable legal briefs and arguments, for drafting projected bills and constitutional amendments, for continuous legal counsel during the insurgent and formative years. They were in a real sense the legal arm of the organized blind movement.

Ernest Crowley: again by profession an attorney but distinguished for his service in another arena. He kept a law office open in Fairfield-Suisun from the time of his graduation from the University of California Law School in 1923 until his death in 1952. To him, however, the law was only a necessary and not a particularly attractive means of earning a living His law office was a cover for his real love and active life-the practice of politics. He was born in 1896 and attended this School from 1910 to 1916. He was thus under Doctor's tutelage as a student for four years. His significant contribution was made as a member of the state legislature from 1928 to 1952. It was he who introduced and skillfully maneuvered through to passage the memorable bills which are now the statutory landmarks of our movement. In a very real sense, he was the legislative spokesman and arm of the movement.

Perry Sundquist: social worker and public administrator by profession, bringing to his work a sympathetic personality, an unshakable faith in blind people and skillful management of administrative techniques and devices. He was born in 1904 and attended this School from 1918 to 1922. For exactly twenty years now he has been Chief of the Division for the Blind in the State Department of Social Welfare. During those two decades he has translated the principles of the organized blind movement into concrete administrative action, from legislative parchment into practical reality. Under his direction programs for the blind have multiplied and prospered, services have been expanded and their benefits spread. Most important of all, the working philosophy of the movement has been transformed into a working practice. In a very real sense, he has been the effective administrative arm of the movement.

Through the years this little band grew in numbers and evolved in formal structure. It formed the nucleus of the California Council for the Blind, which came into being in 1934 with Doctor Perry as its first president. For nineteen productive years, until his retirement in 1953 at the age of eighty, Doctor forged and shaped the Council on the anvil of his own will into an instrument larger and more formidable but essentially similar to the informal group from which it originated.

Doctor's social vision in the field of blind welfare outdistanced his time and placed him in the advance guard of thought and planning. His liberality on these matters gains, rather than loses, in significance when it is placed alongside his broader attitudes towards politics and human affairs; for in matters unrelated to the blind. Doctor was fully an heir of the nineteenth century, conservative, even reactionary, by nature, often inflexible and not without a touch of old-fashioned nationalist imperialism. When it came to the cause to which he was most committed, he was far less a Victorian than a Utopian-less a standpatter than a restless progressive in search of new horizons.

How shall we sum up a man's life? How capture the essential quality of a human career? How convey the inward meaning, the imponderable and intangible qualities of will and heart and spirit? There are the "vital statistics." But they are more statistical than vital. All that they can tell us of a man is that he was born, he lived, he loved, he died. For Newel Perry we must amend the litany at least this much: he lived, and he brought new life to many; he loved, and he was beloved; he died, and he will not be forgotten.

On the day following the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Walter Lippmann wrote some words about him which might also stand as an epitaph to the leader and comrade whom we honor today: "The man must die in his appointed time. He must carry away with him the magic of his presence and that personal mastery of affairs which no man, however gifted by nature, can acquire except in the relentless struggle with evil and blind chance. Then comes the proof of whether his work will endure, and the test of how well he led his people. . . . The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on."

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Over one hundred enthusiastic Federationists gathered in Tacoma at the Doric Motor Hotel on the weekend of October 9-12. The convention was hosted by the Pierce County Association of the Blind. The convention's recurrent theme emphasized the challenge and progress of the past year.

Thursday evening's board meeting was well attended and highlighted by reports from all officers and committee chairpersons emphasizing our growth during the preceding year. A new affiliate, NFBW, Eastside Chapter, was accepted as our fifteenth affiliate.

Friday's session was devoted to discussion and passage of revised bylaws adapted from the Model Constitution for State Affiliates. These bylaws allow full membership to sighted persons, the creation of a board of directors, and provide that all members who attend the convention shall be able to vote.

The remainder of the day was spent in various activities including a tour of the old city hall, a Nominations Committee meeting, as well as a Resolutions Committee meeting.

Many hardy Federationists rose early on Saturday morning to attend a Ways and Means seminar which dealt with innovative fundraising ideas.

The first order of business on Saturday was a presidential report given by Sue Ammeter. She emphasized the many accomplishments of our organization during the past year including: the passage of legislation which will permit blind persons to serve on juries; our participation in the decision of Community Services for the Blind of Seattle to abolish their Magoo publicity campaign due to its failure to attract support for the agency.

Programs for the blind have taken a more responsive and progressive direction with the hiring of Ken Hopkins as Chief of State Services for the Blind. Sharon Hammer is the new Librarian at the Washington Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Al Fisher is the new director of the community-based Lilac Blind Foundation in Spokane.

President Ammeter stated that the past year had been one of progress and challenge for the Federation in Washington State. The members were urged to continue to work for the strengthening of the NFBW.

Ralph Sanders, NFB Second Vice President, brought the convention up to date on many of our national activities. Ralph was a great help to us during the convention and was always ready and willing to lend a hand where needed.

Mr. Winslow Whitman, Assistant Attorney General to the Washington State Human Rights Commission, spoke to us about the legislation which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of disability. Mr. Whitman informed us that one case, Clark v. Milwaukee Railroad, has been sent to a public hearing. This case involved a man who had been denied employment as a brakeman with the railroad because of a previous knee injury. The hearing panel, one of whose members was a blind person, found in favor of Mr. Clark. The case was appealed to the King County Superior Court and the judge ruled that, "The law against discrimination is void due to a lack of definition;" and "A person who is legally blind is not qualified to serve as a fact-finding tribunal member."

We passed a resolution pledging to support and work with the commission in its efforts to legally overrule such a negative and harmful judicial decision.

The remainder of the morning was devoted to a presentation of Title XX; a presentation from the Governor's Committee on the Employment of the Handicapped; and a demonstration of the talking calculator.

The afternoon session began with a most interesting and informative panel. Participants included Dr. Roy Brothers, Sharon Hammer, and Ken Hopkins. They discussed new directions in programs for the blind, and many questions were directed to them.

Elections were held and the results were as follows: president. Sue Ammeter; first vice president, Ed Foscue; second vice president, Maria Bradford; secretary, Alco Canfield; treasurer, Gary Ernest. Board members elected to two-year-terms were Ralph Solberg, Carl Jarvis,Pete Zevenbergen, and Peggy Osborne. Sue Ammeter will be the delegate and Ed Foscue the alternate delegate to the national Convention.

The new NFB film "The Blind: An Emerging Minority" was then shown.

Ed Foscue served as master of ceremonies for the banquet. Charters were presented to the new affiliate, NFBW, Eastside Chapter, and to the NFB of Whatcom County which changed its name. Awards were presented to the legislators who were of invaluable assistance to us in our efforts to support the jury bill.

Ralph Sanders eloquently addressed the gathering and stressed the need for us to be vigilant as an organization to ensure that the blind of our State receive quality services. Following the banquet, everyone enjoyed an evening of hospitality provided by the host affiliate.

Sunday morning was given to final convention business. We are pleased to report that we more than tripled the amount given to the Bank Draft Pledge Plan. Resolutions were read and adopted: Among these was a resolution expressing our support of Dr. Adams; another in which we pledged continued efforts to establish a State commission; one which expressed our opposition and efforts to end insurance discrimination in Washington State; another stating our opposition to the provision that the Lighthouse for the Blind must be accredited by NAC in order to sell to the State.

We were pleased to have many out-of-state guests share in our convention. Many students from the Idaho Commission for the Blind were present. Three persons attended from Oregon. Many thanks are due to Ralph Sanders as well.

The convention adjourned with a real sense of accomplishment and a feeling of renewed spirit and dedication to the achievement of much during the coming year. The 1976 convention will be held in Spokane, and the 1977 convention will be held in Yakima.

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Planning any NFB convention always carries with it a certain type of thrill and excitement. This year, enthusiasm was heightened because it was the first time the NFB of Michigan would be going to the City of Owosso. The Shiawasee County Chapter, one of our newest chapters, hosted the 1975 convention; and a fine host they were.

On Friday night, President Ruby Gamer and the State board welcomed all Federationists to the convention. We were also very proud to have as special guests the First Vice President of the NFB, Donald Capps, and his wife, Betty. All Federationists present extended a special welcome to our three newest chapters: Isabella County, Jackson, and Pontiac.

The Saturday morning session began with a discussion of the Radio Talking Book. Aspects of consumer participation by the organized blind movement were discussed. The Michigan Civil Service was then reviewed, and it was pointed out that although progress is being made, the blind are still being placed on a separate register with an automatic score of seventy.

The panel on State and rehabilitation services proved to be one of the most interesting. Certain concepts concerning the rehabilitation of the blind were discussed with Paul Glatz, Supervisor of the Michigan Rehabilitation Center for the Blind (MRCB), and Harold Payne, Director of the Michigan Division of Services for the Blind. Federationists also discussed with Mr. Glatz the relationship between the MRCB and Western Michigan University, which certifies professionals in work with the blind. When asked about NAC, the Director of the Michigan Division of Services for the Blind expressed the view that at this time his agency could see no advantage to be gained through accreditation in providing services to blind people. This position was applauded and encouraged by the convention. The morning session ended with the pledging of funds and the raising of about eight hundred dollars.

A luncheon was held to acquaint the local Lions Club with us and our movement. Our film "The Blind: An Emerging Minority" was shown and was inspiring to all. The Lions expressed interest in working with us and this would be beneficial since much public education is needed concerning blindness and the blind.

Featured at the afternoon session was a panel discussion on the subject of special education. The panel consisted of Federationists Allen Harris, Geer Wilcox, and John Halverson: along with Dr. Ensign of the Michigan Department of Education; Dr. Bryant, Superintendent of the Michigan School for the Blind; and Dr. Thompson, past Superintendent of MSB. Representation by the organized blind on a committee concerned with the education of blind children was discussed with Dr. Ensign. A resolution was adopted strongly urging the Michigan School for the Blind not to seek re-accreditation from NAC. This resolution followed a discussion of the NFB's participation on the school's advisory council.

Legislation was of particular importance this year because the Civil Rights Bill concerning equal treatment of blind persons was an issue not only important to us—it was also under consideration by the State Legislature. Senator Ottobacher advised us on what we could do to insure the bill's passage. His feelings were also shared by another legislative representative—from Senator Kilde's office—and John Spaniola from the House of Representatives. Federationists pledged to double their efforts to pass the bill.

The Saturday night banquet fulfilled everyone's expectations of what an NFB banquet should be. President Ruby Gamer presented charters to our three newest chapters, Isabella, Jackson, and Pontiac. Donald Capps' banquet address sparked enthusiasm and rededication in all of us. He spoke to us about unity of the blind and how actions affecting blind persons because of attitudes toward blindness are felt by all of us. The address was received with enthusiasm and everyone spontaneously broke into a chorus of "Glory, Glory, Federation."

Sunday morning was devoted to in-house business. Resolutions and amendments to the constitution were voted on. Four board positions were up for election. Jim Palmer from Grand Haven was reelected, and the three newly elected members are John Halverson from Ann Arbor, John Mullin from Lansing, and Carolyn Cooper from Detroit.

It was decided that the 1976 convention would be held in Grand Rapids. All of those who worked before and during this convention to make it what it was deserve special thanks. With all the new places and people that we are coming into contact with, the NFB is indeed growing in Michigan.

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The eighteenth annual convention of the New Jersey Council of the Blind was held October 24-26, 1975, at the Empress Motel, Asbury Park, New Jersey. The executive committee meeting, open to all, was held at 8:00 p.m. Friday evening. Everyone who went to the hospitality room had a good time. There were snacks, beverages, and prizes to help keep the evening lively. Several "fifty-fifty" drawings were held throughout the convention by the Ladies Auxiliary of the New Jersey Blind Men's Association, and over two hundred dollars was received by the Council from their efforts. We were fortunate and pleased to have with us for the entire convention Rita Chernow, president of the NFB of New York State and of the New York City Chapter; Marjorie Fiorino, president of the Mid-Hudson Chapter in New York; Shirley Trexler of Pennsylvania; and Art Segal, president of the NFB Blind Merchants Division. All spoke during the Saturday and Sunday sessions.

Following the invocation Saturday morning, Mayor Kramer of Asbury Park, through a representative, extended greetings and best wishes, and welcomed us to Asbury Park. Council President Myles Crosby opened the session with the rollcall and delegates from all thirteen chapters were present. During the earlier part of this year, a committee had drafted a number of proposed Council Constitution amendments, which went to the local chapters for action. Perhaps the most significant and important of these proposed amendments was the one dealing with the name change, but it was defeated. All other constitutional amendments were acted upon favorably at the Sunday morning business meeting.

President Crosby then reported on the Council's activities throughout the past year. These included our fundraising antique-car photo sale, the aforementioned constitutional revisions, the fact that the Division of Motor Vehicles could not or would not cooperate with us in issuing non-driver drivers licenses, the Annual Forum between the organized blind and the Commission for the Blind, and the Governor's signing of the White Cane Safety Day Proclamation. The Council was also instrumental in reinstating two part-time employees at our regional library. Their employment had been terminated because of budgetary cuts. Thus we are still able to continue receiving good library service.

The afternoon session opened with an update regarding NFB activities throughout the country by James Gashel. He summarized the upcoming legislative efforts to liberalize the SSI program, discussed the new rehab and Randolph-Sheppard Amendments, and stressed the importance and necessity of a unified effort through letters and personal contacts. He outlined various plans to fund the Federation and emphasized the value of hearing President Jernigan's cassette releases at local chapter meetings.

We then heard from the Honorable Harrison A. Williams, Jr., United States Senator from New Jersey, the Honorable Herbert H. Buehler, New Jersey State Senator, and Arthur Segal, president of the NFB Blind Merchants Division. Senator Williams spoke with fervor on the problems of the handicapped, stating that he has worked and would continue working for legislation which would better our lives. He expressed familiarity with and support of our Disability Insurance for the Blind bill. Senator Buehler agreed to work with us in revising the wording of a proposed State Use Law and expressed his willingness and interest in introducing it. Art Segal then reviewed the Randolph-Sheppard Amendments, and a panel discussion ensued concerning the implementation and development of these by the states.

Our banquet attendance was probably the largest ever—one hundred sixty. Everyone enjoyed our toastmaster, Ted Brown of WNEW Radio in New York. His humor and wit and the prizes he personally donated added much to the enjoyment and excitement of the occasion.

Jim Gashel spoke about the various philosophies of blindness, as expressed in literature by the "professionals." Ted Brown's comment at the end of Jim's address was to the effect that this talk should be telecast or broadcast. Jim informed him of contacts by the Federation with National Public Radio. Jim's address gave us much to think about and reminded us of how educating the public about blindness should continue to be one of our important priorities. Following the banquet, there was dancing to the music of Ed Gruning and his orchestra.

Sunday's session was devoted to a business meeting. We heard from our out-of-state neighbors, learned that the Blind Merchants of New Jersey was reorganized to be known as New Jersey Federation of Blind Business Enterprises, and that Myles Crosby would not seek the Council presidency for another term. Our new president is Helen (Mrs. Walter) Hart of Mantua, New Jersey. Other officers are: first vice president. Ward Biondi of Lincroft; second vice president, Barry Wood of North Bergen; secretary, Betty (Mrs. Joseph) Worthington of Westmont; and treasurer, Paul Halaye of Englishtown. Because the hour grew late, Mrs. Hart requested time to choose her executive committee, editor of the Chronicle, and candidates for other important duties. During a telephone conversation with President Hart following the meeting, she requested that we mention that one of her goals will be to try to effect the Council's name change.

Of interest is the fact that, with the exception of our treasurer, all officers are new in terms of leadership in the Council but have had experience in their local chapters. They are young, energetic, seem eager and willing to work, and we hope and believe that the coming year will be one of progress and achievement. Good luck to our new officers and executive committee. Let's all work with them, together, in a spirit of unity, to succeed in the hard work ahead for all of us.

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Note.—The nice thing about this pie is that it is easy to make, and it makes its own crust.


¼ cup cocoa
1 stick margarine, melted
¼ cup flour
2 unbeaten eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla


Mix ingredients. Grease and Hour the bottom of an 8- or 9-inch pie pan. (The 8-inch pan makes a thicker pie.) Butter the sides of the pan. Pour mixture into pan and bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve while hot.  

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We want every person who would like to read The Monitor to have it, but we do not wish to waste our resources. Also, we are finding it increasingly difficult to fund our programs. Therefore, we make the following request:

If you wish to continue receiving The Monitor, and if you can afford to do so, please help with the cost of your subscription. It costs almost fifteen dollars for each copy per year to publish the inkprint and recorded editions of The Monitor and somewhat more than twenty-five dollars per year for each copy of the Braille edition. However, we are standardizing on a flat fifteen dollars per year for each subscription in all editions.

If you now receive the Braille edition and would be equally content with the recorded edition, it would result in a savings to the organization. Some people receive two editions and might manage equally well with one. Obviously, we should be notified if The Monitor is now being received and is not wanted.

If you wish to make any of these changes, please contact the Berkeley Office, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708. Donations and payments should be sent to Richard Edlund, Treasurer, National Federation of the Blind, P.O. Box 11185, Kansas City, Kansas 66111.

Participation in the American Royal parade has become an annual publicity activity for the Kansas City Chapter of the Missouri affiliate of the NFB. This year three other Missouri chapters and three from the NFB of Kansas joined us in this effort. For the fifth year, members participated in designing and constructing a float and in marching in the parade.

This marked the fiftieth annual Royal parade, and the fifth year of participation by the NFB. The theme for our entry this year was "Portraits of First-Class Citizens." Poster-sized photographs of area blind persons engaged in many activities which the public often believes are not possible for the blind were on the float. Many banners and signs carried by our members proclaimed Federation philosophy.

We received a good response along the parade route from a crowd estimated at two hundred thousand. Television coverage was very good. The camera got several good close-up shots of the float and the signs, and there was about ninety seconds of narration. It ended with the reading of one of the signs: "When the blind lead the blind, we don't fall in the ditch—we progress." Some of the area newspapers also carried a picture of the NFB in Missouri's president, John Dower.

Media Projects for the Blind has announced that it will shortly begin publication of a new Braille magazine for women. Miss Lynne Koral is editor-in-chief of the magazine, which will focus on women's issues and activities and also provide selections from current women's literature. Interviews with leading women and a continuing dialogue with its readers will be featured. The subscription rate is four dollars per year. You are invited to write for a sample issue. Please address all inquiries to: Media Projects for the Blind, c/o Miss Lynne Koral, 60 East Twelfth Street, New York, New York 10003.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has officially launched its Project for the Handicapped in Science. The purpose of this initial project is to identify and explore barriers obstructing the entry and full participation of physically disabled persons to education and employment opportunities in science. Specifically, the project will seek to examine and evaluate ways in which the scientific professional associations and organizations of and for the handicapped can contribute to equal opportunities in science careers.

The AAAS needs the expert consultation of handicapped individuals who have experienced difficulties in education or in placement because of their handicap. If you are a disabled scientist, please write to Martha Redden, Director, Project on the Handicapped in Science, Office of Opportunities in Science, AAAS, 1776 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C. 20036.

Three persons—two blind and one partially blind- were struck and injured by a car one night in December in Watertown, Iowa. They are Henry and Eleanor Fitzpatrick and Aline Bourgoin. All three received serious injuries. However, since the blind are not considered, yet, as responsible persons, the police took no legal action against the driver of the car.

Rami Rabby received the following letter from John L. Dennis, Deputy Chief of the External Resources Division for Motion Pictures and Television, of the United States Information Agency: "The reviewing process is now complete and Mr. William Shepard is handling final details of arranging with your group to acquire prints of the film "The Blind: An Emerging Minority." As you no doubt already know, Mr. Shepard has been working with Ms. Mary Anderson. We appreciate all the help that has been given. We feel sure that your film will make an important contribution to the work of the United States Information Agency in telling the leaders of other countries about Americans, all Americans."

The following was sent to Lawrence Marcelino, chairman of the tenBroek Endowment Fund, by Georgia Myers, a member of the committee from Maryland. "October 24-26, 1975, the NFB of Maryland had their convention in Hagerstown. It was truly great. I chanced off an afghan and we made seventy-six dollars from it which you will find enclosed. This was with the help of Grace Davis and Ruth Twigg and all of the members of the convention.

"Ralph Sanders was at the convention. I gave him an afghan and challenged him to beat the Maryland tenBroek Memorial Endowment Fund Afghan Raffle. His State convention was held November 14-16. Muzzy, this is not a great deal of money, but this might help to get all members of the NFB to donate to the tenBroek Fund.

Also, maybe other members will understand it better and will be more willing to give. If you know of any other states that would like to challenge Maryland's raffle, please let me know. Maybe someone in the other states will donate an afghan or something to be raffled off. This way you are getting to people that can't attend the national Convention to donate money to the tenBroek Fund. This is where we are losing a lot of money."

Officers for 1977 in the National Federation of the Blind in Missouri, Kansas City Chapter, are as follows: president, Jana Sims; vice president, Willa Patterson; recording secretary, Margaret Horn; corresponding secretary. Bob Shobe; treasurer, George Rittgers; members at large, Anna Marie Talton and Don Romig.

November 18, 1975, was really a good day for Mr. and Mrs. Louis' Bongiorno of Pennsylvania. That was the date on which an SSI Hearing Officer handed down a decision which gave them twenty-one months' worth of retroactive SSI and SSP payments. Mr. Bongiorno wrote to President Jernigan: "Another victory for the Federation. I believe this will help all blind people. I would like you to put this in The Braille Monitor to let the people in Pennsylvania know that there are many mistakes in SSI. We are thankful for your help and concern in this matter."

Maria Bradford writes: "The membership of the NFB of Yakima County [Washington] is saddened to announce the death of our president, Pat Schneider. She died Sunday, October 26, after a serious illness. Pat was able to turn our chapter into a stronger force during her term as president by fostering the involvement of the entire affiliate. She and her family were active in writing many letters to the State Legislature and to the Congress. In short, Pat was a fine Federationist and worked to lead us to a place on top of the barricades. I feel fortunate to have been able to tell Pat of the passage of our new bylaws and the tremendous unity during our convention."

Want to know where your money goes and why you should contribute regularly each month to the NFB through the PAC plan? One of the many reasons is the following from the November issue of the Indiana affiliate's "Watchword": In June of 1975, Linda Garshwiler applied for a teaching position with the Marion Public Schools. In August she received a call about three days before the beginning of classes asking that she come to Marion for an interview. Later the same day, she received a second phone call informing her that the interview had been cancelled. She was told her application had been reviewed and she had a vision problem. Linda is blind. But her lack of sight does not detract from her ability to teach. The school system contended she would have difficulty with discipline. Linda offered to explain how she had handled discipline problems during her student teaching experience, but was denied this opportunity. Finally, the school system stated Linda would not be granted an interview. But they would have her application on file if a position they felt she could handle should become available.

As far as the National Federation of the Blind is concerned, the denial of an opportunity to teach based solely on blindness and not on the ability to do the job is discriminatory. Members of the NFB of Fort Wayne contacted our State president and discussed Linda's problem.

The National Federation of the Blind and Linda Garshwiler have hired an attorney to file suit against the Marion Public School System. In this lawsuit we will be seeking to establish the right of a blind teacher to teach in the public schools based on the ability of the person to teach. This suit should have far-reaching implications for blind persons in all of the professional areas. By the time you receive this letter, the suit should be filed in the Federal District Court. At this writing our lawyer is working with President Jernigan on background material to support the lawsuit. 

Only disabled persons having moderate to severe disabilities will receive vocational rehabilitation services from the State Department of Rehabilitation at the present time, it has been announced by the new State Director of Rehabilitation in California, Edward V. Roberts. "The severely disabled will have the highest priority," he said. This category includes the blind, deaf, quadriplegics, persons suffering from severe cases of orthopedic, epileptic, cardiac, circulatory, respiratory, and mental impairment, and multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy. Roberts, who is a quadriplegic himself, intends to build a strong and imaginative program for the disabled in California which will be a national model. "The time has come," he said, "for disabled people to be recognized for their strengths—strengths that come from overcoming a severe disability and becoming independent." This action stops the practice of "creaming" whereby only those persons with less severe disabilities are helped. "This resulted in high statistics about the number of rehabilitations achieved. Consequently severely disabled people were excluded from service because their cases were considered more difficult and costly. All of this has changed," the Director decreed.

In 1935 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the historic Social Security Act. At that time the Great Depression had thrown millions out of work. Old people and children were underfed. Even so, the Act was highly controversial. After the Roosevelt landslide in the 1936 Presidential election, the U.S. Supreme Court held the Act constitutional. The High Court does watch the elections in exercising its self-assigned power of judicial review of acts of Congress. Today, forty years later, more than $100 billion dollars a year is spent under the Social Security Act. Some 32 million Americans receive checks every month. It has provided a firm hedge against the recurrent cycles of boom and recession in our country. Wilbur Cohen, who was HEW Secretary in the Johnson administration, has rightly called the Social Security Act the greatest success story in American social legislation. How right he is!

Charles Biebl, 6910 Bank Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21221, writes that he would like to have pen pals from around the world. Correspondence should be in Braille, on cassette, or on open reel tape. He will try to be as prompt as he can in replying because at this writing he is working. His hobbies are reading, writing letters, making friends, and taping to people. He is a member of the Greater Baltimore Chapter of the NFB.

Steve Wonder, the 26-year-old blind recording artist, who won ten Grammys in two years, will receive $13 million in seven years under a new record contract.

John Veneman, a moderate Republican from California, has worked in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare for several years. It is reported that he is now drafting new welfare legislation for the White House. Veneman, who has become a top aide to the Vice President, has long been a proponent of a nationally guaranteed income system. Former HEW Secretary Caspar Weinberger also left President Ford a plan for a national cash grant system for needy persons.

It seems to be increasingly popular these days to be critical of any problems encountered in the country's present welfare system—but with over eight million Americans now out of work, the only way that jobs can be substituted for aid payments is for the Federal Government to become the employer of last resort, and that would cost even more money than is now being spent on welfare. Let's be at least honest about this whole business.

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