THE BRAILLE MONITOR

MAY, 1978

VOICE OF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND

THE BRAILLE MONITOR

PUBLISHED MONTHLY IN INKPRINT, BRAILLE, AND ON TALKING-BOOK DISCS BY THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND

RALPH SANDERS, President

CORRESPONDENCE FOR THE PRESIDENT SHOULD BE SENT TO:
BOX 4422
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND 21223

NATIONAL OFFICE
218 RANDOLPH HOTEL BUILDING
FOURTH & COURT STREETS
DES MOINES, IOWA 50309

WASHINGTON OFFICE
1346 CONNECTICUT AVENUE, NW., SUITE 212
WASHINGTON, DC. 20036

ADDRESS CHANGES AND SUBSCRIPTION REQUESTS SHOULD BE SENT TO THE NATIONAL OFFICE, WITH THE ENVELOPE MARKED "BRAILLE MONITOR."

ARTICLES AND CORRESPONDENCE FOR THE EDITOR SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE EDITOR AND SENT TO THE WASHINGTON OFFICE.

DONALD McCONNELL, Editor

MONITOR SUBSCRIPTIONS COST THE FEDERATION ABOUT $15 YEARLY. MEMBERS WHO CAN AFFORD TO DO SO ARE INVITED, AND NON-MEMBERS ARE REQUESTED, TO COVER THE SUBSCRIPTION COST. BRAILLE IS AVAILABLE ONLY TO THE DEAF-BLIND AND THOSE WITH A SIMILARLY COMPELLING NEED FOR THAT MEDIUM.

DONATIONS AND SUBSCRIPTION PAYMENTS SHOULD BE MADE PAYABLE TO: THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND, AND SENT TO:

RICHARD EDLUND, Treasurer
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
BOX 11185
KANSAS CITY, KANSAS 66111

If you or a friend would like to remember the National Federation of the Blind in your will, you can do so by employing the following language:

"I give, devise, and bequeath unto National Federation of the Blind, a District of Columbia non-profit 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 National Office for other suggested forms.

THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND IS NOT AN ORGANIZATION SPEAKING FOR THE BLIND—IT IS THE BLIND SPEAKING FOR THEMSELVES.

THE BRAILLE MONITOR

PUBLICATION OF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND

MAY 1978

TABLE OF CONTENTS

KENNETH JERNIGAN RESIGNS AS DIRECTOR OF THE IOWA COMMISSION FOR THE BLIND; JOHN TAYLOR SUCCEEDS HIM

SMEAR CAMPAIGN IN IOWA: ANOTHER ATTACK ON THE ORGANIZED BLIND MOVEMENT

PROJECTS TO FINANCE THE MOVEMENT

MONITOR MINIATURES

RECIPE OF THE MONTH
BY NORMA JOHNSON

THE DEADLINE FOR ARTICLES TO APPEAR IN THE JULY ISSUE IS MAY 10th.

© National Federation of the Blind, Inc., 1978

KENNETH JERNIGAN RESIGNS AS DIRECTOR OF THE IOWA COMMISSION FOR THE BLIND; JOHN TAYLOR SUCCEEDS HIM

On March 10, at a public meeting of the Board of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, Kenneth Jernigan resigned as Director of the Commission. John Taylor, longtime Federationist and presently the Assistant Director of the Commission, was chosen by the board to be the new Director. Dr. Jernigan's resignation will go into effect at least by the end of July and possibly sooner—depending on how quickly duties can be transferred to Mr. Taylor.

News of this event spread quickly around the country, accompanied by a variety of rumors. Many were concerned that the resignation indicated greater seriousness in the health problems that caused Dr. Jernigan to resign from the NFB presidency last July. This is not the case. Dr. Jernigan stepped down last summer on the advice of his doctors who told him that the combined pressures of leading the Federation (in itself a full-time job) and directing an active and complex state agency were taking a serious physical toll on his health. He wanted to share his responsibilities. Since resigning as NFB President, however, it has become increasingly clear that Dr. Jernigan could not curtail his involvement in the national organized blind movement to any significant degree. It was simply not in him to do it. Hence the decision announced in his letter of March 10 to the Commission Board:

"DEAR COLLEAGUES: In April of 1958, I became Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind. During the past twenty years we have worked together to build the best programs for the blind in the nation. It has been a challenge, an enriching experience, and a real joy. Our programs have now been brought to their full maturity, and I feel that the time has come for me to move to a larger national arena.

"For almost a year we have been discussing a date for my resignation. At our January meeting I told you that I thought I would be leaving not later than mid-summer. The time has now come to formalize and finalize that decision. I herewith submit my resignation, the effective date to be not later than the end of July. I will plan to leave as soon as I have assisted whoever is appointed as my successor to understand all of the details of the total Commission operation.

"A number of opportunities are available to me, and I believe the one that I am choosing will be especially rewarding. My service as Director of the Commission has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life, and no small part of that gratification can be attributed to my association with the Commission Board, as well as the staff, the students, and the blind of the entire state. I go with the knowledge that Iowa offers better opportunities to its blind citizens today than any other state in the nation. I go with the knowledge that the blind and the public at large overwhelmingly support our programs. We have pioneered; we have changed public attitudes; and we have helped the blind achieve new goals and dream new dreams. It has been a thoroughly constructive experience and I go with a feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction. I believe that what we have built will endure and that it will be a stepping stone for the future.

"Cordially,

"KENNETH JERNIGAN,
"Director, Iowa Commission for the Blind."

Kenneth Jernigan has always been a builder, a man who dreams of change and wrestles those dreams into reality. The building of Iowa's programs for the blind has occupied 20 years of his career. Starting with a program that was generally recognized as the worst in the nation, he built it into a model. In the course of this, he helped build the Federation in Iowa into a real stronghold of the movement and its philosophy. This work was important not simply because it was a personal or administrative challenge for Kenneth Jernigan (although it was), but because it was a vindication, a proving of the tenets of Federationism. The success was obvious—obvious to the Iowa public, obvious to those in work with the blind around the country, and obvious to the blind. The blind of Iowa were being equipped to assume an independent, active role in society, and society was coming to accept them as normal people who had a fairly unimportant characteristic—the lack of sight. As Harold Russell, Chairman of the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, said in 1968 as he presented a special award from the President of the United States: "If a person must be blind, it is better to be blind in Iowa than anywhere else in the nation or in the world."

There is no question that this 20-year project has had a strong impact on the blind outside of Iowa. For instance, it was largely the success of the Iowa program that has gradually persuaded virtually the entire field of work with the blind that the best administrative setting for services to the blind is a separate and identifiable unit of state government.

The building of what eventually became the largest library for the blind in the world put the Commission in a position to speak with great authority on library services for the blind. This has led to a revolution of attitudes toward such services away from providing light, childlike entertainment for idle hours and toward providing the sort of reading options available to a sighted person in a fair-size community. The eventual goal—that of removing the barriers to printed material in a world ever more dependent on paperwork is some distance away; but the change in emphasis and philosophy that grew up in Iowa have put library services on track elsewhere, particularly at the federal level.

The effectiveness of the rehabilitation and placement program has had the same national impact. There is no sheltered workshop for the blind in Iowa, not out of any opposition to the idea of such workshops when properly run, but because there is no need for any. Blind graduates of the Commission program were prepared for normal jobs in private industry, and they found those jobs, and by and large have done well in them.

Beyond all this, the success experienced by blind Iowans, the liberating effect of the philosophy that it is respectable to be blind, has generated a strong sense of the worth of the movement. Blind Iowans flocked to the NFB, and they have been eager to share their experience with the blind of the rest of the country.

And yet all of these developments finally made it clear to Dr. Jernigan and to others in the movement that the time was coming to leave Iowa. A number of factors in the situation there made it an ideal place for the experiment. But there are limitations built into working in a state agency. For one thing, Iowa is not the nation, and it could never be expected that a state program could directly serve the rest of the country. Through the years employees and students of the Commission have moved away to duplicate what they saw there. Still, with the State of Iowa footing the bills, the Commission had to be mainly a model to the blind of other states; it could not provide direct service to them.

More recently, and particularly after Dr. Jernigan became President of the Federation, the fact that he was a public official made him vulnerable to attack. Federationists are familiar with this pattern it has gone on for some 30 years. When a few of the more regressive agencies have been embarrassed by our charges that they are custodial and unresponsive to our real needs, instead of listening they answer by striking at the personal reputation and livelihood of the NFB President. Jacobus tenBroek came in for these attacks, and now Ralph Sanders is under fire for the same reason. But the major target is Dr. Jernigan. (The most recent of these attacks is even now underway and is discussed in detail in another article in this issue.)

We have become accustomed to having aspersions cast on our motives, our methods, and our sanity. A private citizen can shrug this off his—associates can judge his integrity for themselves; his colleagues in the organization understand the source of the charges. But a public official must not only answer every charge, he must do it in a way that satisfies a public that has no knowledge of the context in which the charges are made and, frankly, no great interest in his explanations.

As the Iowa Commission gained first state-wide and then national visibility, and as Dr. Jernigan gained a reputation as the spokesman for a newly emerging and aggressive minority, the attacks on him have become more intense. He has staved them off so far, but it is an unproductive task and does little to further the movement.

What all of these factors added up to was that the time had come to move on. The Iowa program had been built; there was no place else for it to go. The job now has become protecting what has been built, and protecting it not only against the usual erosion of state reorganization and scarcity of budget funds, but against attacks that come solely because Dr. Jernigan is also a leader in the civil rights movement of the blind.

When Dr. Jernigan announced his resignation, there was speculation in the Iowa press that the phrase "larger national arena" meant that he intended to run for the U.S. Senate. No one in the Federation will mistake his meaning. Although some of the specifics of Dr. Jernigan's life after leaving the Commission are still being considered by him, the broader career he has chosen is the national organized blind movement—the National Federation of the Blind. As he said; "My hands have been somewhat tied as a state official. I now intend to untie them. It's like putting wings on a wildcat."

As to the future of the Commission, it is in excellent hands. John Taylor is well-known in the movement as a worker and a leader. He has excellent credentials—a master's degree in counseling and guidance. He has over 25 years of experience in programs for the blind, almost 20 of them at the Iowa Commission. He has the confidence both of the Commission Board and of the blind of the state.

After the resignation, statements were issued by the governor and by each of the members of the Commission Board. They express the sense of loss at Dr. Jernigan's leaving and the confidence in his successor: The governor's statement and parts of the others read as follows;

"STATEMENT BY GOVERNOR RAY ON THE RESIGNATION OF KENNETH JERNIGAN

"For two decades, Kenneth Jernigan's name has been linked with leadership for the blind—here in Iowa and nationwide. People from across the United States cite the Iowa Commission for the Blind when they talk about government that cares about people.

"Ken is so acutely aware of the needs of our blind citizens and has worked energetically and successfully to help them lead productive and enriching lives. He brought with him a determination to share his positive attitude toward life and his knowledge and experience that sightless people could have meaningful and confident lives. They, too, can work and read and play, and they can have families and contribute to the well-being of others every bit as much as other people, and enjoy it.

"Ken deserves credit for giving hope where there had been dejection, for providing inspiration in place of desperation. He brought light into what otherwise was a dark world for many people. I cannot help but believe he will continue to do that. Ken and his strong leadership will be missed and we wish him well in his new career."

From the statement by Elwyn Hemken, chairman of the Commission Board:

"I am a farmer living near Blairsburg, Iowa. My first acquaintance with the Iowa Commission for the Blind occurred in 1962, at which time I lost my sight and became a student at the Commission Orientation Center in Des Moines. Mr. Jernigan, the Director, spent long hours working with me to inspire confidence and self-belief. I observed him doing the same with other students and clients of the agency. While I was in training at the Commission Orientation Center I began studying to become an insurance agent. Through the Commission Library the necessary manuals and regulations were tape-recorded for me. Before I left the Center I had passed all examinations required to obtain full insurance licensure. I returned to my work as a farmer and began developing an insurance business to supplement my farm income and help offset some of the expenses incident to blindness. In this way I knew that I could do it and make a living for myself and my family.

"In 1968 Governor Harold Hughes appointed me to the Board of the Iowa Commission for the Blind. Subsequently I was reappointed by Governor Robert Ray. I have served continuously since that time and have been chairman for the past several years.

"The Commission Board has repeatedly and unanimously expressed its confidence in the Director, Dr. Kenneth Jernigan. We still have that confidence since we believe he is the most able and dedicated administrator in the field of work with the blind today. . . .

"We have appointed Mr. John Taylor to succeed Dr. Jernigan as Director. We believe that Mr. Taylor will be an able and dedicated administrator, and we respect his judgment and trust his ability. We know that he will continue the work which Dr. Jernigan has pioneered. The Commission will continue to provide quality service to all eligible blind Iowans who desire it. Nevertheless, we see Dr. Jernigan depart with sadness and regret."

From the statement by Mrs. Wayne E. Bonnell, member of the Commission Board:

"The full impact of Mr. Jernigan's resignation as Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind has scarcely been felt by a stunned public. The Commission Board urged his reconsideration but finally, with deep regret and a profound sense of loss, accepted his decision. With insight into its purposes, with understanding of the special needs of the blind (and who but one who is himself blind can fully understand those needs if they are to achieve success and independence such as the sighted enjoy), Mr. Jernigan has with brilliance, empathy, and practical application developed Iowa's program within the framework of the board's policies.

"In pursuance of its legal responsibility, the Commission Board selected Mr. John Taylor to succeed to the duties of the Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind upon the day Mr. Jernigan's resignation becomes effective. Mr. Taylor's credentials are above criticism. He is eminently qualified. The program will continue to develop and progress as he and the dedicated, professional staff direct its course.

"We go forward secure in the knowledge that Mr. Jernigan's directorship has developed a firmly based, effective program and confident that the citizens of Iowa have not only belief in that program but pride in Iowa's accomplishments in the field of service to its blind.

"The vision which motivates Kenneth Jernigan will be a beacon to light the road ahead as we strive to continue to provide meaningful opportunities for the blind."

Dr. Jernigan's resignation, then, is a loss to Iowa. But it is a gain for the nation and for the national movement of which Iowa is an active part. Our opponents will find the movement has just begun to move.

Notice: There will be a gala farewell dinner for Dr. Jernigan in Des Moines, Saturday evening, May 20. This will be an occasion to remember, and Federationists from every state are invited to join the party. For tickets to the dinner, mail a check made out to "Kenneth Jernigan Dinner" to National Federation of the Blind, 524 Fourth Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50309. Hotel arrangements will have to be made separately and individually by those planning to come. Most of us are planning to stay at the Hotel Fort Des Moines. But if that hotel fills up, we recommend making reservations at the Hotel Savery or the Hotel Kirkwood.  

Back to contents

SMEAR CAMPAIGN IN IOWA: ANOTHER ATTACK ON THE ORGANIZED BLIND MOVEMENT

Let us begin by quoting Richard Bleecker, executive director of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC), as he addressed NAC's board of directors last November in Phoenix. He spoke as follows:

"The [executive] committee decided to ask NAC's president to appoint a small group to review NAC's plans for defending itself against these attacks and to recommend possible alternative courses of action. At the meeting last Sunday, the ad hoc group did present its proposals for dealing decisively with these hostile elements, and the proposals were accepted by the executive committee. The proposals include no new policies, they are basically extensions or revisions of existing policies. Briefly, here's what they are: . . . that NAC do more to gather and to share among its constituency publicly available information about those who are seeking to destroy NAC. And that NAC let it be known that it would welcome the assistance of others in putting out to those outside NAC's constituency the various misstatements and violations of ethics and laws by the aggressors."

The context of this statement made clear what Federationists are aware of from bitter experience—that when Mr. Bleecker refers to "hostile elements" and "those who are seeking to destroy NAC," he means the organized blind who have been seeking to reform NAC since its inception. This article describes NAC's policy in action.

NAC has fallen on desperate times. Its credibility in the field has dropped so low, and the demand for its "accreditations" has diminished so steadily, that it has been forced to desperate measures. In a recent press campaign in Iowa, NAC has tried to destroy the nation's most successful program for the blind. It has succeeded in inflicting major damage on the Iowa Commission and those who have worked to build it. NAC—with some help from the American Council of the Blind (ACB) has been willing to sacrifice these programs—or so we conclude on the basis of the words of NAC's own board of directors—on the bare chance that doing so would cripple the organized blind movement and thus relieve the pressure on NAC.

It is a futile tactic, although it is one we know well from 30 years of experience with NAC's parent agency, the American Foundation for the Blind, and its colleague in intrigue, the American Council of the Blind.

The vehicle for this assault on the Iowa program and on Kenneth Jernigan was a series of articles in the Des Moines Register and Tribune during the last five months.

There are only two newspapers in Des Moines—the Register, a morning paper, and the Tribune, published in the afternoon—but in virtually everything but name they are the same. They have the same top management and they share the same writers. Although individual reporters' names usually appear only in one or the other of the papers, the same articles or large parts of them will often appear in both the Register and Tribune.

The purpose of this series of articles—without a doubt—was to undermine the reputation of Kenneth Jernigan and the Iowa Commission, to imply that Dr. Jernigan is guilty of conflict of interest, shady financial dealings, intimidation of clients and staff, megalomania, and paranoia—to name a few of the charges. None of the charges was proved; in fact, many of them had been specifically and publically disproved long before the articles were written. Some of the things charged were not illegal or improper, but they were presented in such a way as to make them appear so. The newspapers moved right on, undaunted by the fact that they could find no evidence to support their allegations and could find no courts or prosecutors willing to pay them serious attention. Finally, they degenerated to personal attacks on Dr. Jernigan and nasty editorials wondering why he resisted their savaging of his reputation.

Were all of these articles simply a routine character assassination (if there is such a thing), or was there something behind it? The answer is found in the articles themselves.

The barrage actually began more than five months ago. In May 1977, the Register and Tribune published four articles attacking a private investment of Dr. Jernigan's—the National Eye Care Association (NECA)—and implying that it involved a conflict of interest and was fraudulent to boot. The use of these articles by NAC is now the basis of a $10 million lawsuit instituted against NAC by NECA. Although Dr. Jernigan is no longer associated with NECA and although his former association with it has nothing to do with the Federation, nor was it improper, we will refrain from commenting on these earlier articles or on the articles published concerning the lawsuit itself.

Two months later, in July 1977, Dr. Jernigan resigned from the NFB presidency. This was a move reported widely in the national press and in the Iowa papers outside of Des Moines. It was not considered of sufficient interest to the Register and Tribune to report—not, that is, until three months later when two articles appeared.

The first was titled "Jernigan's Life Since 'Retirement,'" the second, "Money Woes Told By Blind Federation"; and both were written by a reporter named Jerry Szumski. The first article began as follows:

"Tough and tireless Kenneth Jernigan, 51, director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, says his weekly workload has dropped to seven 15-hour days since July.

"That's when, in a steamy convention hall in New Orleans, Jernigan told the National Federation of the Blind it was in deep financial trouble.

"Then, citing health problems, he resigned from his nine-year Federation presidency and 25-year membership on its board of directors.

"It was 'agony,' he later said, to end 'the most gratifying experience of my life' as 'leader of the organized blind in this country.'

"'President Jernigan was interrupted with shouts of "No!"' reports the official Federation publication, the Braille Monitor.

"But he told the convention he might someday return as president of the Des Moines-based Federation that claims 50,000 members and, the Monitor reports, 'he was interrupted once more, this time by a prolonged and tumultuous ovation.'

"In the speech, [the Register article goes on] figures poured forth in a confusing torrent. But Jernigan assured listeners (the Monitor says there were 1,730) that all would be well in the end.

"Jernigan did not mention that he recently had become president of a new, profit-seeking corporation called the National Eye Care Association, chartered in Illinois and based in Davenport.

"He boasted of an April appearance on NBC's 'Today Show' but didn't tell the convention he had plugged the association on national TV without disclosing that it is a profit company and that he is president."

We mentioned that the Register had not considered Dr. Jernigan's resignation important enough to report at the time it happened; and now it is reported only as the basis for incredible implications. The few factual parts of the article are clearly based mainly on the convention report published in the September 1977 Monitor. Yet we have references to a "steamy convention hall" ("steamy," of course, implying a good deal more than the summer heat of Louisiana). Then we have Dr. Jernigan informing us the Federation is in "deep financial trouble" and immediately resigning. He gives us a "confusing torrent" of figures, but assures us all will be well in the end, not mentioning that he has already found a sharp new deal and that he has used the Federation to launch it.

There is no need to characterize the implications in all this, because Mr. Szumski's other article does it for us. It says: "A Des Moines member of the American Council of the Blind, Noma Hochstatter—who has fought Jernigan in the courts, the legislature, and the governor's office—said she thinks Jernigan 'deserted a sinking ship' when he resigned and may be heading for greener pastures in private enterprise.'

Considering that Mr. Szumski was working not from notes of an event he observed but from the pages of the Monitor, the picture he paints is revealing. Dr. Jernigan's presidential report did not spring our financial troubles on the convention, it summarized a year in which self-financing of the movement has been one of the central concerns of every presidential release, every Monitor, and every state convention. Whether the figures he cited were confusing to listeners (and we don't believe they were), it is hard to see how Mr. Szumski could be confused, since he was writing on the basis of a verbatim printed transcript of the financial report. (He also cites the attendance figure for the banquet, 1,730, rather than the convention registration figure, 1,818, since that was a lower figure; and he characterizes the NFB as the "Des Moines-based Federation that claims 50,000 members." Both of these tactics—questioning our membership figures and implying that the NFB is a small outfit centered mainly in Des Moines—are almost a trademark of NAC and the ACB efforts to discredit us. Here they both are again—and in an article seemingly based on a Monitor article yet.)

The implication that Dr. Jernigan is hiding his involvement with the National Eye Care Association carries this further. Perhaps Mr. Szumski wasn't aware that a major publicity effort had been undertaken to inform Federationists about this Today Show appearance. But surely he must have heard the "plug" in question (unless he was depending for his information on the same source he used for some of his other background information). To obtain a recording of the Today Show appearance, the Monitor editor had a choice of half a dozen cassettes made of the show by NFB members in Washington, D.C., alone. The "plug" occurred in the closing few seconds of the show and was so rushed that at least this listener didn't understand at the time what Dr. Jernigan was talking about. There was certainly no opportunity to "disclose" anything. Nor does Szumski mention—and if he did not know this, he should have taken the care to find it out—that Dr. Jernigan discussed his intention to invest in NECA widely with leaders of the movement. (This Today Show appearance, by the way, was discussed in the leading paragraph in the earlier Register articles attacking Dr. Jernigan and the National Eye Care Association, so it is not surprising it should appear again here. One of the techniques used throughout this press campaign was to bring up in every new article all of the phony charges of earlier articles and then refer to the whole string of implications as "the scandal" at the Commission.)

Other techniques of the campaign are found in this first article, which went on as follows:

"Will the profit venture lure him to resign as director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, a $29,000-a-year job he says 'takes at least 60 or 70 hours a week' to do right?

"'I don't think that's a likelihood,' he said.

"But he might leave the state job he has held 19 years, he said, if his health deteriorates, if 'somebody else could do better,' if growing government 'red tape' interferes too much with 'helping blind people,' or if 'enemies' harass him too much."

Then, under the subheading "Lists Enemies," the article continues:

"He said those enemies include government agencies that patronize blind clients only to maintain fat bureaucracies; rival blind groups seeking members and money; lawmakers under pressure from vocal minorities fronting for the enemy agencies; and critics in general.

"Current harassers, he said, include Iowa legislators who recently questioned Jernigan about possible conflict of interests between his state job and his roles with the National Federation of the Blind and the National Eye Care Association."

Notice that rather than permit Dr. Jernigan to reply in his own words. Szumski strings together a paraphrase, putting single words or phrases in quotation marks. As any writer's stylebook will tell you, the use of quotation marks in such a case indicates that the words are used in a dubious or unusual sense, such as when the Monitor puts the phrases "quality standards" or "consumer involvement" in quotes when referring to NAC. In this instance, Szumski seems to be saying that these enemies are probably in Dr. Jernigan's head.

See how this technique works: It is stated that Dr. Jernigan might leave Iowa if a number of things happen. These are listed and the list ends with "if his 'enemies' harass him too much."

Then we have a bold subheading "Lists Enemies." This immediately emphasizes a single item in the list (not to mention that it dredges up overtones of Richard Nixon's "enemies list" and at the same time, inevitably, the suggestion of a cover-up). The "list of enemies" ends with the amazing phrase "critics in general." The suggestion is that Dr. Jernigan regards all critics as "enemies" the clear mark of a paranoiac (if you think this is an extreme inference, read on).

Then comes the punch line: Dr. Jernigan will leave if his "enemies harass him too much"; and, so Szumski tells us, "Current harassers include Iowa legislators who recently questioned Jernigan about possible conflict of interests." Once more we have the suggestion that a cover-up is underway.

We are less than half way through the first article (there were 49 more articles before the third week of March 1978), yet look at the wide variety of things that have been imputed to Dr. Jernigan. He has resigned as president of a shifty fundraising outfit (the NFB) after draining it dry and using it to set up his next fraudulent scheme. He is paranoid and uses this paranoia as a smokescreen to escape legitimate inquiries of state legislators.

The article then continues by quoting Dr. Jernigan—a quotation introduced by "In an interview, Jernigan revealed more than legislators learned:" [Unless noted otherwise, emphasis in quotations from these articles is added by the Monitor.] The quote was as follows:

"I hold no paying job in any organization affecting the blind, nor have I.'"

Szumski follows this immediately with the comment: "He formerly was president of a profit company, Fedco Corporation of St. Louis, Missouri, which raised millions of dollars for the Federation with unsolicited mailings of neckties and Christmas cards. Fedco was dissolved last year, and the lucrative mailings have ended after bouts with charity regulators in some states and the national Better Business Bureau (BBB) Council.

"He remains as president of still another organization, the American Brotherhood for the Blind, also based in Des Moines, a nonprofit "service organization' whose mail-order fundraising also has been curbed by charity regulators.

"He wasn't serious when he made the following 'irrevocable' statement to a conflict of interests prober, Senator Earl Willits of Des Moines: 'Before I ever take the first dollar (from the Eye Care Association), I will resign as director of the Commission.'

'"I said that to him just to show him how silly this was,' Jernigan said afterward. 'I don't seriously think anybody thinks it's a conflict of interest.'

'"I think it's a direct conflict," insists Senator Willits. 'What they're obviously doing is using his reputation to sell memberships and make money.'

"Jernigan would benefit as an investor, said Willits.

"The pot is calling the kettle black, said Jernigan, arguing that a lawyer in the legislature, such as Willits, has just as much a conflict because the law firm benefits from public exposure of a member.

"Besides, Jernigan claimed, Willits harasses him because a Willits law partner once handled a suit against Jernigan. He apparently referred to Dan Johnston, who brought the suit before joining a firm with Willits and who is now Polk County attorney."

Here is a whole new string of innuendos, beginning with the implication that Dr. Jernigan lied when he said he receives no pay from his involvements with organizations of the blind and that he had lied to the legislature about NECA.

Because these matters will come up ad nauseum in the rest of the articles (indeed, by the end of March, Szumski had taken to referring to the NFB as "one of several private Jernigan-headed fundraising units"), it will be worth our while to review some recent history. When the Federation raised funds by sending greeting cards and neckties, Fedco was the entity that produced the items sent in the mailings. Dr. Jernigan, then, as President of the Federation, was also naturally the head of Fedco. (The NFB purchase of Fedco was a means of cutting down on the proportion of contributions that would have to be paid for the merchandise mailed. Otherwise, we would have had to buy the ties and cards from an outside firm that would expect to make a profit on the sales.)

When the Federation decided to eliminate the mailing of unordered merchandise as a means of raising funds, Fedco was deliberately drained dry and then dissolved. None of this is news, despite Szumski's tone of expose. It has all been presented extensively in the Monitor and at NFB Conventions, but it is set forth in the Register in the most questionable light.

There are no laws against raising funds by sending merchandise through the mail. The law requires (and when the Federation carried out such mailings it complied with this law) that the appeal letter make plain that those who receive the merchandise are under no obligation to pay for it or even return it. The Better Business Bureau opposes "unordered merchandise" fundraising because a fairly high percentage of the funds contributed must go to pay for the merchandise.

What Szumski calls our "bouts with charity regulators" are as follows: States have only recently begun to pass charitable solicitation regulations. In the past, the general legal consensus was that fundraising carried out through the federal postal system was exempt from state regulation; and on the advice from our lawyers, the Federation did not at first register in the states where such laws were passed. Pennsylvania and later Ohio cited us under their laws. Our lawyers thought we might win the point in court; but in the meantime, so many other states and even cities were passing such laws that it became clear we would end up doing nothing else but arguing the issue in court. Thus, we stopped mail fundraising and began to register in the states, a process now nearly completed.

Beyond this (and it is what makes these newspaper attacks all the more disingenuous), the Federation had ceased mailings of "unordered merchandise" some eleven months before Szumski's articles appeared, and Szumski obviously knew it since he was reporting the "financial trouble" caused by the ending of the mailings.

What does this say, then, about the objectivity of Szumski's reporting. It says a good deal. As became clearer when he began to write articles datelined New York City and filled with quotations from officials of NAC and the Affiliated Leadership League (the organization formed by the AFB, NAC, and the ACB largely to coordinate their attacks on the Federation—or, in the words of AFB director Loyal Apple, because of "a compelling need to unify action ... to discourage negative forces"), it says that Jerry Szumski was willing to write, and the Register to print, any slur or allegation NAC or the ACB cared to make without questioning the bias of the source. He was prepared to ignore evidence before his very eyes—to quote parts of an issue of the Monitor and pretend never to have seen other parts of the same issue. He was willing to discount our answers to the charges, or to misquote us, or (most often of all) let us first hear of the charges on the front page of the Register. In short, whether he knew it or not (and readers will by this time have begun to form their own opinions of his active complicity) Jerry Szumski was from the very start a most pliant mouthpiece for NAC and the American Council of the Blind.

Take this sudden emergence of Iowa State Senator Earl Willits (who in later articles is pictured so sympathetically as the champion of accountability and vigorous legislative oversight that speculation arose about whether he planned to base his reelection campaign on these articles). Senator Willits, for some time past, has been the spokesman for a handful of members of the Iowa Council of the Blind (the ACB affiliate in Iowa). Actually, as Dr. Jernigan is quoted as saying in this article. Senator Willits' connection to the Council is more complicated than that.

Monitor readers will recall the lawsuit instituted in 1972 by 18 members of the Iowa Council of the Blind, charging Dr. Jernigan and the Commission with conflict of interest and misappropriation of state funds and the time of Commission staff members to further the work of the Federation. When depositions were taken from the 18 plaintiffs, an interesting fact emerged. When asked by the Commission's lawyers how they came to be involved in the lawsuit, a number of the plaintiffs answered—in all innocence—that Durward McDaniel (the national representative of the ACB) had called them on the phone and asked if they wouldn't like to sue the Iowa Commission and its Director, Kenneth Jernigan. The Commission's lawyers then decided to depose Mr. McDaniel. By this time, however, he had left the state and he did not return (publicly at least) until the lawsuit was later dismissed. This absence from the state was well advised, since if the charge of "soliciting a lawsuit" were proved against him, McDaniel faced disbarment.

Before the lawsuit was finally dismissed, however, an Iowa district court ruled on the points of law involved. The ruling of the court was as follows:

"The following activities of the Director are matters within the discretion of the Blind Commission and not subject to judicial review. They are:

"(1) The Director may allocate his time to activities in the furtherance of the interests of the blind in such a manner as is acceptable to the Commission;

"(2) The Director may permit employees of the Commission to assist in the organizational activities of any private organization involved in furthering the interests of the blind;

"(3) The Director may serve as national president of the National Federation of the Blind, a private organization whose sole purpose is to further and protect the interests of the blind;

"(4) The Director may travel within and outside the State of Iowa, with the permission of his employer, the Iowa Commission for the Blind, for the purpose of promoting the National Federation of the Blind and its goals;

"(5) The Director may permit his employees to travel within and outside the State of Iowa, with the permission of his employer the Iowa Commission for the Blind, for the purpose of promoting the National Federation of the Blind and its goals.

"The Court has examined the depositions of the plaintiffs and found no acts the plaintiffs contend the defendants did that are unlawful and thus subject to the Court's review."  

We quote this opinion not from court records, but from a letter from Richard E. Haesemeyer, Solicitor General of Iowa, to Senators Rush and Redmond of the Iowa Legislature, dated April 7, 1977. It was written specifically to answer questions raised about conflicts of interest between the Commission and the Federation. In November 1977, James Gashel, Chief of the NFB's Washington Office, quoted this language in full in another letter to Senator Redmond; and copies of that letter were sent to every member of the Iowa Legislature. But even if Jerry Szumski didn't see the opinion in either of those places, he might have checked another source. The opinion was reported very fully in an article titled "Judge Backs Jernigan's Activities as Head of Blind" that appeared November 10, 1972, in the Des Moines Register.

What does all this have to do with these 50 articles or with Senator Willits? The answer to the first question will appear shortly. The answer to the second is that while one of the lawyers for the 18 Council members bringing the suit was Durward McDaniel, another was Daniel Johnston. After Senator Willits graduated from law school in 1974, he joined a law partnership with Mr. Johnston. The Register later quoted Senator Willits as saying: 'I was a freshman in law school when [the case] was brought up. I was not in the partnership until the suit was completed. I've never even seen the court file on it." Although the district court ruled as quoted in 1972, the suit dragged on and was not finally dismissed until early 1976.

What does this mean? It means, for one thing, that Senator Willits was almost certainly at least aware of the suit and the court decision. He was also, almost certainly, aware that many of the Iowa Council members had already trotted up their charges, been defeated in court, and harbored considerable hostility against the Commission and its Director. Finally, it means that Senator Willits' statements about this connection have lacked a good deal in candor.

We have dealt with this article at some length, particularly considering that (as we noted) it was just one of 50 (at least, as of March 21). The reason is that in dealing with one, we have dealt with them all. Although new attackers appear and new charges are drummed up, the matters we have dealt with here are the consistent basis of the attack. But let us move on the others.

The article titled "Money Woes Told By Blind Federation" begins as follows:

"The Des Moines-based National Federation of the Blind, Inc., long headed by Iowa Commission for the Blind Director Kenneth Jernigan, is in financial trouble.

"The reason is that the Federation, hounded by charity regulators in two states, this year stopped mass mailings of unordered ties and Christmas cards in a nationwide solicitation that grossed $3.4 million in 1978.

"Unless the Federation finds a lucrative new mass money-making scheme, Jernigan and other spokesmen said, it must rely on heftier contributions from members, donations from friends, and such things as candy sales and bequests in wills."

Farther down we find: "Philanthropists who consult Better Business Bureaus (BBB) around the country are told the Federation doesn't meet charitable solicitation standards of the national Council of Better Business Bureaus in Washington, D.C."

This is virtually a warning to Register readers. Then farther along yet, we read: "Membership dues to the organization totaled only $1,500 in 1976, according to the BBB Council.

"Edlund [the NFB Treasurer] said members pay either '$2 or $5 a year, depending on the state.' At $2 a person, $1,500 translates into 750 dues-paying members—far fewer than the 50,000 total claimed. President Sanders said many members don't pay dues because they can't afford to."

These paragraphs boggle the mind. We are accused of claiming 50,000 members while our own accounting to the Better Business Bureau proves that we probably have under 1,000. Not only that but the juxtaposition of statements implies that Ralph Sanders was questioned about this discrepancy and all he could come up with was the lame excuse, "many members don't pay dues because they can't afford to"—apparently all 49,000 of them.

A letter from President Sanders was published seven weeks later. It read in part:

"When I talked to Szumski prior to the printing of the article ... I explained that the dues reported on the national financial records reflect S30 per state affiliate fee, regardless of membership within the state organization. . . .

"As a matter of fact, Mr. Szumski's [paraphrase] of my statement is inaccurate. What I said was that membership dues are kept at a minimal level, because so many blind persons do not have much money and we do not want to deny membership on an economic basis."

The editor's note following this letter says: "The story erred in trying to translate dues into membership." Some may find this a lamer explanation than the one credited to President Sanders, particularly since both President Sanders and Dick Edlund say they went into the question of dues and membership figures with Szumski in some detail. The article ends with the following:

"The Federation's headquarters in the Randolph Hotel here, managed by (Deanne] A. Gueblaoui, answers correspondence and mails thousands of informational items in print, recordings, and Braille, Jernigan said.

"Visitors are directed by the hotel clerk up a flight of stairs to an unmarked door or down a hall to an unmarked double door. A reporter and photographer who visited Friday were turned away by Gueblaoui.

"Sanders said no visitors are admitted without prior authority for security reasons, 'We've had our files rifled a few times,' he said."

These paragraphs were printed under a large picture of one of the doors to the NFB headquarters and captioned: "The unmarked entrance to the National Federation of the Blind is in the Randolph Hotel here. Legal actions by several states have made the group change its fundraising activities and threaten its financial stability." The inference intended is clearly: Who can tell what fraudulent activity goes on behind this "unmarked door." Yet the explanation is simple. The offices in the Randolph have no facilities to deal with the public. Behind that door was hundreds of feet of shelving filled with—as Dr. Jernigan explained to Szumski—informational items in print, recordings, and Braille. There is also the subscription list for the Braille Monitor, and—oh yes, we have to admit-a shipping table and postal scales. Behind the "un-marked double door" is a large room and other facilities for holding leadership seminars several times a year. If Szumski wanted to visit a public office of the Federation, he might have tried the Washington office. Or he might have arranged for a tour of the Randolph Hotel offices. But then he could not have implied any wrongdoing.

This article was followed by one on November 14, titled "$10 Million Lawsuit Filed By Eye Firm." It concerned the NECA suit against NAC. One remarkable feature of it is the explanation given to Register readers of NAC, which reads as follows:

"The National Accreditation Council sets standards for member institutions and agencies that operate programs for the blind and conducts inspections to determine compliance with the standards."

The article then quotes NAC president Louis Rives, as follows:

"He said Jernigan and the National Federation of the Blind, which Jernigan headed for many years, 'have constantly strived to prevent [the Council] from exercising its function of establishing high standards of quality of services to the blind.'"

The article then continues at once to report: "The Iowa blind program headed by Jernigan has not sought Council accreditation, but the separately operated Iowa School for the Blind at Vinton is accredited, said Council executive director Richard W. Bleecker.

"Bleecker said Jernigan was a founder of the Council in 1967 but left the board of directors in 1974 after an unsuccessful attempt to get 10 National Federation of the Blind members on the Council's 35-member board."

Compare this unquestioning acceptance of what Rives and Bleecker say about the Federation with the twisting of the statements of Federation leaders. It is the more notable since Bleecker lied (or was misquoted, we must add, considering the reporter) in two respects. Although Dr. Jernigan was a member of the original NAC Board of Directors, it is absurd to say he was a "founder." NAC succeeded COMSTAC (the Commission on Standards and Accreditation). COMSTAC was set up two years earlier (in 1965) by the American Foundation for the Blind. Dr. Jernigan accepted a position on the NAC Board in the hope that he could provide some input to its activities. He resigned when he found that his presence was the merest tokenism and was being used by NAC to claim that the Federation was participating in NAC while in fact it had no voice at all. Beyond this he resigned in 1972, not in 1974, as Szumski quotes Bleecker as stating. It was in 1974 that NAC sent a committee to Des Moines to negotiate an agreement with the NFB about representation on its board. The agreement reached was that NFB would suggest names for 10 board positions. The full NAC Board later rejected this agreement. This is what happened, but it doesn't agree with the notion that Dr. Jernigan found he couldn't dominate NAC. Or as Bleecker himself is quoted as saying: The Federation "has adopted a policy of destroying [the Council] if it can't control it."

The facts don't fit the theory, so the facts get changed and they get printed, and no one at the Register apparently even thought of checking with the people who should know. (Notice also the implication that the Commission might be hostile to NAC because it is not accredited.)

We now come to the question of the use of the articles by NAC, a question that sheds a good deal of light on their purpose. It is one thing to becloud Dr. Jernigan's reputation in Des Moines, but that is a small part of the larger battle going on in the field of work with the blind. As we will see, the editors of the Register consistently discounted the possibility that there could be any broader perspective to what they claimed was simply stern investigative reporting of a local public official. As has already been seen, their position is undercut by the evidence in the articles themselves—by the connection between the local critics making the charges and officials of NAC and the ACB.

Early on in the Register's campaign, an interesting phenomenon came to the surface. We found that almost before the ink was dry on the articles, they were appearing on the desks of agency officials and others around the nation. One very telling instance of this came to our attention. The post of director of the Office for the Blind and Visually Handicapped in the Rehabilitation Services Administration in HEW has been vacant since the death of Douglas MacFarland last summer. After some consideration, Dr. Jernigan submitted his name for the post, on the last day applications were being accepted. The rationale was as follows: We thought it would be impossible for RSA Commissioner Humphreys to choose Dr. Jernigan. As we expected and as actually happened, the news that Dr. Jernigan was applying caused something like terror in AFB-NAC-ACB circles. (Indeed, the American Association of Workers for the Blind immediately launched a letter-writing campaign opposing Dr. Jernigan.)

But also as we expected, Dr. Jernigan's qualifications ensured that Civil Service would report that he was one of the best qualified applicants. Commissioner Humphreys was in a bind. On the one hand he was afraid to anger the powerful forces arrayed under the banner of the AFB; on the other, he had to seek a compromise that would appease the organized blind.

The strategy worked as we expected. Yet the tool used by our opponents for their part of the game was largely these Register articles. One day Dr. Jernigan received a phone call from a perplexed Bob Humphreys. The Commissioner had—without his requesting them—been receiving copies of the articles. He wondered what was involved and whether there was anything behind the multitude of charges. And from that point he began to put back the date for making the appointment, and he began searching for a compromise.

Looking over the sheaf of articles, the one that (judging from its date and content) seems likely to have caused the phone call is the article by Szumski and a James Risser, titled "Jernigan Bid for U.S. Post Told." It was on the front page of the Register for November 22, and the continuation of the article inside the paper was boldly headed "Jernigan Denies Any Conflict of Interests." The content of the article supplies good reason to believe it was generated for just the purpose it fulfilled. It begins as follows:

"Kenneth L. Jernigan, the controversial director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, has applied for a $39, 000-a-year federal post in Washington, D.C., a government official confirmed Monday." Then after a few paragraphs describing the federal job, the article continues as follows:

"In addition to heading the Iowa Commission, Jernigan is involved in profit and nonprofit ventures that have sometimes embroiled him in legal disputes and attracted official scrutiny.

"An Iowa legislative ethics committee is checking possible conflict of interests between Jernigan's official state position and his job as president of the profit-seeking National Eye Care Association, Inc., an Illinois corporation based in Davenport."

Such an article would give any federal official pause, much more one as cautious as Commissioner Humphreys was showing himself to be.

We have already discussed the substance behind the Register's statements (or lack of it). The "legal disputes" were the ACB lawsuit (in which the court ruled that Dr. Jernigan was blameless) and the NECA lawsuit (which accused not Dr. Jernigan but NAC). The "official scrutiny" probably refers to Senator Willits—certainly no official inquiry was underway. The statement that "An Iowa legislative ethics committee is checking possible conflict of interests" was a plain falsehood. A committee of the Iowa Senate was considering a law governing gifts to state officials from lobbyists. (It was the Criminal Code and Public Officials Subcommittee of the senate.) A wide variety of state officials were invited to testify on the proposed legislation, Dr. Jernigan among them. After Dr. Jernigan's testimony Senator Willits asked the sort of insinuating questions being touted by the Register. Dr. Jernigan replied in kind—this was the exchange on conflict of interests reported earlier, in which Dr. Jernigan pointed out the his "conflict" was no different than Senator Willits' own—in short, that there was none. The implication in the Register article is that a special committee had been convened to investigate Dr. Jernigan. The implication was a lie, but it was well suited to NAC's purpose. It was perfect for wide circulation the country where those who read it could have no way of knowing what had really happened.

During December 1977 articles continued to appear, attacking the Federation, the American Brotherhood for the Blind, and Dr. Jernigan. They mainly rehashed the fundraising non-issues we have already discussed. On December 18, Michael Gartner, editor of the Register and the Tribune, published a lengthy editorial titled "'Lou Grant' Tells It Like It Isn't In Real Newsroom." The editorial began on the front page, and the continuation inside the paper was headed "Register 'Gunning' Neither Jernigan Nor O'Brien." Part of the editorial read as follows:

"Some friends and readers think our newspaper is out to get Kenneth Jernigan ....

"The Jernigan backers rightly or wrongly look upon the head of the Iowa Commission for the Blind as almost a messiah. And they were therefore quite upset recently when reporter Jerry Szumski took a long look at Mr. Jernigan and some of his activities. A lot of people said a lot of things that weren't necessarily complimentary to Mr. Jernigan and the National Federation of the Blind, and so his followers made the illogical jump to conclude that it is the newspaper, not the sources, saying those things. That's silly. But I'll tell you this: Kenneth Jernigan has a lot of friends in this state. And they all know my phone number."

This was the beginning of two new elements that gradually became central to the campaign: In the absence of any substantiation of the charges raised in the articles, the Register began to prolong the issue by commenting editorially. The paper also began to make an issue of the fact that blind people in Iowa and friends of the blind reacted angrily to the character assassination going on. Before long, the newspaper would imply that any protest about the articles was coming from those manipulated by Dr. Jernigan, while any attacks on him must be coming from upright, totally independent sources. This, of course, is the Svengali theory of the Federation that has been used by the ACB and NAC for years. Only Kenneth Jernigan is against them—the rest of us are his pawns. Ironically enough, it is the reason our opponents seek to meet our criticisms by trying to destroy our leaders. In a sense, the fact that the Register raises this issue at all is a further link to NAC and the ACB. In this editorial we find the charge beginning to surface. Dr. Jernigan does not simply have the respect of those who know him, he is their "messiah."

The campaign continued on into 1978. One of the most interesting and telling episodes occurred on January 10, when a letter appeared in the Register. It was from Wesley D. Sprague, who identified himself as the excutive director of the New York Association for the Blind. Of course he is also the chairman of NAC's Commission on Standards, although this was not noted in the paper. His letter read as follows:

"My sincere congratulations to [Register reporter Jerry Szumski] for his concerted efforts to 'set the record straight' about the National Federation of the Blind and some of its representatives. ... It is good to read articles which tend to positively assist those in need, namely, the blind and visually impaired persons of this country.

"Change is always difficult, but those who work with and for the disadvantaged have difficulty enough effecting change for the better without the negativism of those who truly do not have the best interests of the disadvantaged (blind and visually impaired) in mind."

It is amusing that even Mr. Sprague felt the need to put the words "set the record straight" in quotes, as if aware that something quite different was actually underway. But more telling yet is what Sprague cites as the reason for his praise: "It is good to read articles which tend to positively assist those in need . . . ." What is telling is the light this sheds on NAC. NAC has convinced itself that attacks on Kenneth Jernigan personally and on the Federation are positive assistance to the blind.

Most suggestive of all, of course, is that an official of NAC was so closely watching this Register campaign.

Early in February, the Register began making an issue of the nomination of a new member of the board of the Commission, Jeannette Eyerly. The issue was created by Senator Willits and Senator Bob Rush, but the Register took the ball and ran with it. The irony in the situation was that everyone agreed that Mrs. Eyerly was a fine person—independent, outspoken. But they pretended concern that she would be subject to Dr. Jernigan's evil control. An added irony was that Mrs. Eyerly is the wife of Frank Eyerly, who was editor of the Register during the period when the Des Moines Register gained a national reputation. But perhaps this was part of the trouble. Since Frank Eyerly's retirement both the Register and Tribune have been slipping in both reputation and circulation. (The owner of another newspaper in the state suggested that the cause was the lesser quality of its present top management-an explanation that this writer has no difficulty accepting.) In the last eight years the circulation of the Register has declined nearly 20%, while that of the Tribune has declined nearly 30% in the same period. The whole flap about Mrs. Eyerly was a minor shot in the campaign, but as with the others, it was constantly referred to in subsequent articles as part of "the scandal."

Later in February, one of the most interesting articles appeared. Titled "Most Blind Fund-Raisers Fail in Ratings," it was written by Jerry Szumski, from—of all places—New York City. It purports to be a concerned look at the whole field of blind charities. The first sentence reads:

"Only two of 32 national organizations soliciting money on behalf of the blind meet all standards of two major charity rating agencies—the National Information Bureau and the Council of Better Business Bureaus."

But the next sentence brings the familiar line: "Neither of two Des Moines-based fundraising groups—the National Federation of the Blind and the American Brotherhood for the Blind—satisfies either charity rating agency."

There is then paragraph after paragraph of warnings from NIB and BBB officials, all to the effect that contributors ought to realize how little of their money will reach the blind. The article even notes that the AFB and the ACB don't meet all of the NIB and BBB standards. But since only two of the many agencies listed are well known in Des Moines (and since these two are picked right out of the list and put near the front of the article), the result is once again a warning to stay clear of the NFB and ABB, not to mention Kenneth Jernigan.

Far more notable, however, is what the article indicates about Szumski's sources of information. The article begins on the front page but it continues inside the paper with the much larger headline "Agencies See Flaws in Blind Charities." There we read:

"Fundraising ethics so concern some officials of programs for the blind that one said during a recent meeting here, 'If we don't police ourselves, somebody else will.'" The article then devotes 25 column inches to an insinuating discussion of the finances of the Federation and the ABB (who would expect anything else or believe for a minute that this was not the purpose of the article). Then we find this:

"One group of leaders of blind programs is considering a code of ethics for fundraising, incorporating standards of the National Information Bureau and Better Business Bureau.

"The group, board members of the Affiliated Leadership League of and for the Blind of America, met here recently but took no final action on the proposed code."

Later we read: "At the ALL ethics meeting, Jesse Rosten, director of the Minneapolis Society for the Blind, said, 'If we don't police ourselves, somebody else will.'"

So Jerry Szumski is in New York. And while he is there, he just happens to report the activities of the Affiliate Leadership League. (The concept of an "ALL ethics meeting" goes beyond the realm of irony.) Jesse Rosten's comment also causes some wonder. Who will police him if he doesn't police himself? Why, the courts of the State of Minnesota will do so. Mr. Szumski doesn't mention that the Federation brought suit against Rosten's agency, the Minneapolis Society, and that the court found it had juggled its charter and employed other illegal means specifically to exclude participation by the organized blind. He doesn't mention that Kenneth Jernigan traveled to Minnesota to testify in that suit, or that the first question the Society's lawyer asked him was whether he had come on state time to testify. Mr. Jernigan replied: "I'm glad you asked me that." He said he knew the issue would arise, and that he was there on vacation time. None of this comes up in the Szumski article, although of course the NECA lawsuit is described once again.

Another point in the article deserves attention. Mr. Szumski quotes an official of the National Information Bureau, a William White. Under the heading "Unusual Ratio," Szumski writes: "The [NFB] statements for the first half of 1977 show fundraising expenses of $899 bringing in $249,181 in solicited contributions as part of 'public support' totaling $367,416.

"'It just doesn't seem real,' White said of the low ratio of fundraising cost to income.

"White summed up: 'If they're going to meet our standards, they're going to have to clarify that accounting so that we can understand it.'"

Once again we have Szumski reporting a slur on the NFB that he knows to be false. Why do we say he knows this? Because he discussed in print the presidential report given at our 1977 Convention which explained this seeming oddity in financial accounts—that although a final mailing was made in 1976, many of the donations made in response to the mailing came in in 1977. Perhaps he will reply that in discussing that report he termed it "confusing." Yet in another article he appeared to understand it fairly well. He wrote: "Jernigan told the Federation in a July convention swan-song that necktie and card mailings had netted $800,000 to $900,000 a year at one time, but that this year's net income from all sources would only be about $350,000, including $250,000 left from last year's final mailings."

Mr. Szumski could have cleared up Mr. White's confusion for him; but then he couldn't have quoted his saying "It just doesn't seem real." There is a good deal about Jerry Szumski that doesn't seem real—for example, his objectivity as a reporter. These statements, by the way, were published under a 4x6 inch picture of Kenneth Jernigan, in case any slow reader had missed the target of this article on questionable fundraising practices.

In late February, the Register began focusing on Dr. Jernigan's personality—his power and the terrible reign of fear at the Commission and in the legislature. In a way, it was an admission that none of the previous questions had turned out to have any factual basis. This new fusillade began with an editorial by James Flansburg, the Register's political writer. A February 19 editorial titled "Gentlemen, The Lady's Not for Rubber-Stamping" begins:

"I've been acquainted with Kenneth Jernigan since 1958, when he became director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind and drove it from being nothing more than lip service into what quite probably is the best program in the country." Notice the pious praise of the Commission. As the attacks caused more and more public outrage in Des Moines at the damage being inflicted on the Commission, all of the attackers began prefacing their charges with such statements. "The Commission is great, but-' Then we get to Flansburg's "but." He says, later on:

"This is a dreadful thing to have to say, but it's a true feeling: I advise any reporter dealing with Jernigan or his people to have witnesses present at all times and to take every conceivable precaution to avoid what the cops call the old badger game.

"Jernigan plays to win, he plays for keeps, he understands the lesson of history that says power recognizes no rules."

Running short of phony charges, the Register is now depending on the "true feelings" of editorial writers.

This new tactic was carried further in early March with an article titled "'Atmosphere of Paranoia' at Iowa Blind Unit: Willits." The lead paragraph read:

"State Senator Earl Willits (Democrat, Des Moines) says he has stumbled across an 'atmosphere of paranoia, distrust, and dictatorship' in the Iowa Commission for the Blind."

Mr. Willits then raised a whole passel of new charges-employees' personal mail is opened (it happened once, by mistake; it was not routine practice, an investigation showed); the Commission is outside of the merit system—the state equivalent of civil service—so employees are at Dr. Jernigan's mercy (this is true; the employees support it, or so a secret ballot found, and on the eve of Dr. Jernigan's resignation the legislature defeated by 3 to 1 an amendment to change the situation), and employees donate work to the Federation (again, this is true but legal and laudable).

But why go on? To detail and answer every petty charge the Register and Tribune published would take a book. By the time this present article was written, many more had appeared, and none of them had any basis whatever (or alternatively, they were absolutely true, but blameless). There were attacks on the last name policy at the Commission (staff members call each other Mr. Smith or Mrs. Jones, although first names are used between counselors and clients). The University of Iowa law school has the same policy (or at least it did until recently). The dress code came under fire (women staff members wear skirted suits or dresses). It was charged that the chairman of the Commission board sold insurance to the Commission and some vending operators. This is true—he gets $35 worth of business a year from the Commission and sells insurance to some of the vendors who attended the Orientation Center at the same time he did.

The most absurd article of all was a long (23 column inches) discussion titled "Media See a Change in Compliance by Blind." The article discussed the fact that members of the media had been informed of a Commission Board meeting to be held March 10. The reporter Jerry Szumski—made this a major investigative effort:

'"It's kind of a funny thing,' the [radio] station's news director. Chuck Seel, said later. 'Last night one of the station employees took a call from a Mrs. Omvig notifying us of a Blind Commission board meeting at 9 a.m. Friday.' . . .

"Several reporters or news directors were interviewed Thursday, and all but one said the same thing. The exception was Associated Press reporter William Eberline, who said he recalls the Commission sending meeting notices by postcard to the AP two or three years ago. . . .

"City editors of the Des Moines Register and Tribune said they have not received notices of Commission meetings."

This was followed by speculation that the Commission had been violating the open meetings law. Even the governor was questioned:

"'I assume they are [in compliance with the law],' Ray responded, adding he had never 'heard any criticism.'"

The absurdity was that the meeting in question was the one at which Dr. Jernigan submitted his resignation as Director. The article indicates the degree to which the Register had come to grab at any excuse, no matter how silly, to publish a story, and how meaningless the charge could be.

At the Commission meeting the next morning, Deputy Commission Director Mary Ellen Anderson, read a lengthy analysis of the Register and Tribune articles, complete with debunking evidence and scathing sarcasm. She dared the Register to print it. The paper took up the challenge, but omitted the supporting evidence. They introduced it by saying the report was what Mrs. Anderson "called an analysis."

Here is part of the report: "It will be most interesting to see whether Mr. Szumski and his employers will find criticism of themselves as newsworthy as they have found criticism of the Commission for the Blind.

"Will they find a front page headline as sensational as '"Atmosphere of Paranoia" at Iowa Blind Unit: Willits'? I suggest, for instance, 'Register Has Power to Make or Destroy Any Human Being in This State and Doesn't Hesitate To Use It: Anderson.' Such a headline might then be followed by these lead sentences: Deputy Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind Mary Ellen Anderson says she has stumbled across a 'deliberate campaign by the Des Moines Register and Tribune to destroy the personal reputation and career of Kenneth Jernigan.' Anderson said that a former reporter (whose name she must withhold because of the obvious possible reprisals on the former Register and Tribune employee) had indicated to her that it was common knowledge and a subject of much internal boasting and jest at the Register and Tribune that the paper had and did not hesitate to exercise the power to make or destroy any human being within the borders. . . . For instance, she continued, it has been reported to me that at a recent national meeting of officials of programs for the blind one such official bragged that he had been the college roommate of an individual in top echelons of the Register staff and that he had regularly been 'feeding him the dirt on Jernigan' and had assurances that at the proper time it would be used."

"Although the headline and lead sentences I have proposed," Mrs. Anderson continued, "are as true as those that they parody, I doubt that the Register and Tribune will have either the courage or the integrity to print them—at least not as a straight news item and not without so much editorializing and submerging within counter-attack that the impact is lost."

Even after the resignation of Dr. Jernigan the campaign continued unabated. Now a number of the attacks were against John Taylor saying he would be just more of the same. Of course, the Register reporters were just reporting—reporting every complaint from an Iowa Council member as if it came from an oracle. A routine change-of-administration audit by the state auditor was headlined "State to Audit Blind Commission After Jernigan Leaves By July." On March 21, Szumski turned up with a new scandal (based on a letter from a former Commission employee to Senator Willits). But the new "scandal" was the old non-scandal—that Commission employees devote some time to Federation activities. The courts said it was fine; the solicitor general approved: the Register had tried to make a big deal of it for months. Yet here it was again on the front page.

By this time Szumski treated the Federation as if it were totally discredited. He wrote: "the National Federation, one of several private Jernigan-headed fundraising units." Later he referred to us as "a controversial national mass-mail money-raising organization."

Is the Federation discredited? It seems to us that the outfit lacking credibility at the moment is the Des Moines Register. In an editorial by James Flansburg published March 14, he wrote: "Which raises the question here in the soulless school of journalism about what Ken Jernigan and his spokesmen and women are up to. When people do that, says the general rule, they're trying to divert attention away from something by throwing up all sorts of issues and charges so that people either are intimidated or are confused into losing their ordinary judgment."

Would it be too much to suggest that this is about what the Register and Tribune have been up to for the last five months? Not one of their allegations was proved, none of their exposes turned up anything illegal or even improper. But there is no question at all that the majority of their readers—those who had no first-hand experience with the Commission or the Federation—were "confused into losing their ordinary judgment." The citizens of Des Moines now believe that Kenneth Jernigan is a crook: they believe the Commission is a little concentration camp, the Federation a shifty fundraising scheme. Nothing the papers can print now will make any difference—the public has given up reading these articles long ago. Even if they had tried to follow the trail of insinuations at first, the sheer number and variety of them would put off most readers. They would simply note the headlines—which became progressively more defamatory—and shake their heads, sorry that a former source of pride to the state had turned out to be a rotten apple.

And seemingly rotten to the core—for what was Dr. Jernigan not accused of, at least by implication?

On the one hand, the Federation, the Brotherhood, and NECA are pictured as crass and crooked money-making schemes. The Commission is pictured as a source of free manpower for the other organizations when it is not a means of forcing people to contribute to them. Meanwhile there are the blind people who regard Dr. Jernigan as a messiah. These, it is implied, he uses to exert a sinister control over the governor and the legislature—to strike back at those who try to expose his secret frauds. Then there are the poor Commission staff members, who when they are not being forced to work long hours and give money to the Federation, are having their mail opened or having weird personnel practices imposed on them. And at the same time, Dr. Jernigan is also somehow involved in a megalomaniacal scheme to destroy services for the blind all over the country.

It's quite a picture. The man must be fairly complex.

But perhaps there's an explanation for all these contradictions. Maybe Kenneth Jernigan is what he has been thought to be all along. Perhaps the Federation really is the largest organization of the blind in the world. Perhaps it is the voice of the blind and the forefront of the civil rights movement of the handicapped. Perhaps the American Brotherhood for the Blind really is a widely respected service agency known throughout the country for its Braille and other services. Perhaps both of these organizations raise money in an ethical manner. Perhaps Dr. Jernigan really did serve both of them without receiving a penny of pay. And perhaps the Iowa Commission for the Blind really is the most respected state program for the blind in the country—the model for other states and other countries. Perhaps the employees work long hours and participate in the Federation because they believe in its work and gain satisfaction from their part in it. And finally, perhaps the blind of Iowa and their friends have turned on the Register and Tribune not because they see their idol being exposed but because they recognize a systematic and callous campaign of trial by the press and character assassination.

Some of us—some 50,000 of us—inside and outside of Iowa even understand what is going on. We may not know why the Register and Tribune took part so willingly, but we know what is going on. We have a good deal of experience with this kind of attack. Besides, Mr. Flansburg helped us understand it.

Some of us have seen an article that appeared in the December 1977 issue of the Braille Forum, the magazine published by the American Council of the Blind and underwritten by the American Foundation for the Blind. We read this magazine because it is also the voice of the National Accreditation Council and the Affiliated Leadership League, and it is a matter of elementary self-defense for us to keep an eye on what these organizations are up to.

In that issue was an article titled "The Barricade Syndrome'—A Blueprint for Execution." The word "barricades," of course, is inseparably associated with the Federation since Dr. Jernigan's banquet speeches delivered at NFB Conventions have for some years ended with the phrase "Will you join me on the barricades." So we looked at this article with some interest. It began:

"Saul D. Alinsky, in his book, Rules for Radicals, enunciates certain rules of power tactics, reprinted below, which everyone in our field of interest would do well to consider and deal with intelligently in the interest of visually impaired persons. Which is worse: the syndrome or 'neutrality'? What should the treatment be? What is the remedy? What is your diagnosis?"

Then we turn to Mr. Flansburg's editorial of March 6, 1978. Part of it reads:

"Another standard practice in public affairs is to rage at the heavens whenever anyone asks about your operations, about the malevolent, but nameless, enemies who are trying to destroy your program and all of its works.

"Iowa Blind Commission Director Kenneth Jernigan uses this tactic whenever a legislator who isn't regarded as friendly tries to find out what's going on in Jernigan's operation. He did it again last week, and so it's time to pose some questions: Who is out to destroy the program? How are they trying to do it? Why do they want to do such things? When and where?

"Name them. Give us book, chapter, and verse. I, for one, would like to know if I've ever met any of these people. And it doesn't wash to say that you've got to keep the names confidential. Why would you want to protect the names of those who are trying to destroy all of your good works?"

This is high-sounding indignation. One might almost believe Mr. Flansburg is genuinely confused. But he immediately goes on:

"A recommendation for those who are trying to follow the Blind Commission story and understand it. Read the rules and power uses recommended in Saul Alinsky's book, Rules for Radicals."

Without this snide postscript and without the examples of deliberate falsification we have pointed out in the Szumski articles, it might be possible to excuse the Register and Tribune of anything but unprofessional conduct—of being fed by biased sources and failing to check out their charges. We might put it all down to an attempt to build a story to staunch the flow of readers away from their pages. With these examples, however, whatever the Register and Tribune may claim, it is not good faith.

In the meantime, though. Dr. Jernigan is leaving Iowa. The NACsters will say he was forced out. The answer to this, if an answer is needed, is that we can prove it was his intention to leave long before the Register and Tribune began their attacks. In fact, these attacks delayed his leaving—he felt he should stay to deal with them. It became clear, however, that the end was nowhere in sight. Beyond this, it was clear that those who were sincerely interested in listening to his response were satisfied, while the public, which had stopped paying close attention, would require another 20 years to convince.

The damage to the Commission and to Dr. Jernigan's public image in Iowa has been done. As we indicated at the beginning of this article, however, a job lies ahead for Federationists around the country. These articles are being used by NAC and the ACB, and will, no doubt, continue to be as long as they are useful to defame us. (As we have also indicated, we believe this was the real purpose for generating the articles, whatever other motives may have been involved.) For this reason, we need to broaden the perspective.

For one thing, those whose responsibility it is to oversee the Commission were not convinced by the attacks. We have already published Governor Ray's statement, which indicated that. Also, on March 20, the governor announced that he would appoint a committee to "get the air cleared." As reported in the Register, Ray "repeated the statement: I don't consider this an investigation.'

"I see this as a way to answer questions that have flowed out from different sources, or, perhaps, from the same source,' Ray said.

"He said that in a preliminary investigation conducted by his staff, 'things keep checking out favorably to Ken Jernigan and the blind commission.'"

Then there are the statements by the board members of the Commission, parts of which have already been quoted. Here are other portions. Mrs. Bonnell stated:

"For almost twenty years, since the very first formulation of a positive program, Kenneth Jernigan has served as the Director. He has been both 'architect' and 'builder' and these years have seen Iowa's program for the blind develop from a negative concept into one acknowledged to be the most innovative, resourceful, and effective in the nation, and indeed, one acclaimed throughout the world. It has enjoyed universal approval from Iowa's governors, legislators, legal departments, and from the public. The efficacy of opportunities for development and independence through the Commission program is attested by the successful adaptations of our blind citizens to the demands of a predominently sighted world. Almost no one quarrels with this assessment.

"As one views the successes and established reputation of the program and examines the high regard of persons in all walks of life for the accomplishments of Mr. Jernigan, the recent criticism by one newspaper is astounding. Mr. Jernigan has been given high honor by the President of the United States; he has received numerous honorary degrees from universities and countless numbers of awards from organizations—federal, state, and local. His administrative abilities are widely recognized and the love and respect given him by his associates, staff, and students are measureless."

Board member Jeannette Eyerly stated: "In the dozens of times I have been in and out of the [Commission] building I have never met with anything other than complete candor and openness from Mr. Jernigan. Moreover, I have been impressed by a fervor, zeal, dedication, and selfishlessness on the part of the entire Commission staff. That is, I believe, rarely to be found in public offices.

"Because this happy situation must be attributed to Mr. Jernigan himself, each time he mentioned resigning—I heard it when I first came on the board last July—I and the other two members of the Commission met the proposition with firm 'nos.' Even later, after we realized it was his sincere wish to terminate his directorship of the Commission, we tried to dissuade him.

"And that was the course we pursued until we realized that his decision was irrevocable. Then and only then did we regretfully accept his resignation.

"I would like to make it part of the public record that as a Commission member I have always been fully informed of programs and practices and have been in complete accord with them."

And finally, from the statement of Elwyn Hemken, chairman of the board:

"For somewhat more than a year Dr. Jernigan has discussed with the board his intention of resigning as Director. We have insisted that he not do this. Apparently out-of-state detractors of the organized blind movement have made contact with a small group of Iowa legislators and with the Des Moines Register and Tribune, Iowa's largest newspaper. Perhaps Dr. Jernigan's vigorous leadership of the blind of the nation made such a move of reaction inevitable.

"In any case, the newspaper has recently engaged in some of the most vicious and defamatory smear tactics I have ever seen. This has centered on Dr. Jernigan personally and has attempted to defame his personal and professional reputation. The charges have been totally false and without foundation. They have in no way diminished the Commission's confidence in and respect for Dr. Jernigan. We urged him not to resign. We urged him to reconsider the decision and stay on as Director. We accepted the resignation with regret, and only because he made it clear that we had no alternative. We believe his loss will be a severe blow to our programs."

Perhaps the NACsters will say that the board members and the governor are under Dr. Jernigan's control. Then listen to Senator Willits, as reported in the Register on March 18:

"Willits said he also is uneasy about the impression that Jernigan was forced from office by the controversy.

"I don't think that's the case,' he said. 'I don't think there has been anything that would warrant his resignation.'"

To those with some experience of journalism, however, the most telling fact of all is that the Register and Tribune carried on their campaign virtually alone. After the first few attacks produced no substantiation and the malicious nature of the campaign became obvious, other papers in the state left the whole thing strictly alone. One paper, the Waterloo Courier, entered the fray from quite a different point of view. A column by the Courier's Bill Severin, published March 6, was titled "Get Another Target" and read as follows:

"There appears to be a well-organized campaign, possibly originating out-of-state, to discredit the rehabilitation program for the blind that has been developed by Kenneth Jernigan, director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind.

"The allegations against Jernigan are hard to understand. The training program for people without sight, and most especially for the newly blind, has received national recognition as one of the best in the country.

"Possibly the criticism stems from two different philosophies regarding the place blind people should have in our society.

"There are organized groups that hold the view that the blind are hopelessly handicapped. They believe those who cannot see need be relegated to rather passive roles of making baskets or rug-weaving while being protected by what amounts to custodial care.

"Jernigan, blind himself . . . since birth, will have none of that. He holds the view that loss of sight is no more than a physical nuisance that can be overcome with proper training.

"To this end, he has developed a program at the orientation center in Des Moines providing instruction for blind adults in the skills of blindness.

"Courses include Braille, travel, home management such as cooking, cleaning, shopping and sewing, shop work with regular industrial machinery, typing, and personal grooming.

"There are other courses in attitudes and techniques that bring to the student a true understanding of blindness—that it need not mean helplessness.

"Evidence of the success of his program can be seen all across Iowa. Blind persons are actually working as full-time electricians, machinists, farmers, lawyers, scientists, teachers, salesmen, and in many other crafts and professions.

"For those who are unable to attend the orientation center in Des Moines, rehabilitation teachers trained in the Jernigan program provide instruction in the home community.

"I won't embarrass them by mentioning their names, but right here in Waterloo we have a number of blind people who are productive workers enjoying full-time employment. I am sure they find this much more satisfying than being consigned to rocking away their lives in virtual protective custody.

"Apparently, there are a few legislators who have concluded they could further their political ambitions by attacking Jernigan and his program.

"I would hope they would seek out a better target in their unseemly efforts to grab headlines."

What has been reported here should help put the press campaign in perspective that despite its virulence and scope, it is nothing more than an indication of how far our opponents are willing to go in carrying out the policies adopted by the NAC Board. They are willing to go as far as they can. This does not trouble us. The NACsters are defending their high salaries and traditional perquisites, their few blind followers are clinging desperately to the security of their chains. As they have time and again, the NAC-ACB-AFB conspirers have grossly mis-assessed the determination of the blind to overcome such opposition. We have moldered for thousands of years. We will never go back, and we will never give up.

But there is another perspective that must be kept in mind even as we work to bring these deeds home to their authors. It is that no matter what has been done to the Iowa program in recent months, and no matter what may happen in the future, the good it has accomplished cannot be undone. Therefore, we end this article with a letter written by Mrs. Revanne Duckett, a former student at the Commission and now a staff member. It was sent to Senator Willits on March 7, and it indicates this broader perspective as eloquently as anything can.

"DEAR SENATOR WILLITS: In 1958 the Iowa Commission for the Blind was ranked 48th among the 48 states; today the Iowa Commission for the Blind is a world leader in work with the blind. This did not happen by chance. It did not happen because the Commission staff was an 8:00-to-4:00, "lock your desk and forget it' organization.

"I was working at the Commission in 1958. I was 20 years old, withdrawn, ashamed of being blind, and frightened of the future. I was hired at a substandard wage with the understanding that since I was blind I would have to prove myself, and that then we would talk of an increase. Time passed. I took care of case dictation, state and federal forms, and correspondence for the field consultant, home teacher, employment placement specialist, and the chief of rehabilitation. I also took care of phone answering and reception duties for our area and handled some of the correspondence of the director. One day when I took some correspondence to the director for his signature, I got up my courage and timidly asked, 'Do you think we may be able to talk about my salary one of these days?'

"'You must remember that we need to take into consideration your blindness, but perhaps one of these days we will be able to talk.' As I turned away, he said, 'Just a minute, Revanne. From now on please add the postscript "This letter was typed by a blind transcriber" to all correspondence.' Those words burned deep. It did not matter that I could do the work. That just didn't count: I was blind and was not to be judged on performance. The fury of impotent rage mingled with the humiliation of that damning phrase and all that it implied. This letter was typed by a blind transcriber.'

"One more blind person had come face to face with the bleak reality that the real limitations of blindness were not the blindness itself but society's attitude toward blindness. One more blind person had to face that devastating image of a future as a vague shadow on the outskirts of society, shrouded in shame, fear, despair, and self-hatred.

"The prophecy of my future was not to be fulfilled because halfway across the continent there was a young man who had a dream. This young man not only dared to dream but cared enough to try to make that dream become a reality. When he was called, he left California—then the mecca in the world of work with the blind. He left California and the security of a well-paying job to become director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind that 48th-ranked, bottom-of the-heap organization. When he was in college, his greatest desire was that of becoming a lawyer, but he was told: 'You can't do that! You're blind!' He went on to become a successful teacher. The law profession was deprived of a brilliant lawyer, but the blind of the world were given a dynamic leader. That young Kenneth Jernigan could have become a bitter, destructive force, but he believed in himself and in others like him. He believed that each blind person deserved the opportunity to be judged on his own merits, not by what society thought about his blindness; and he chose to dedicate his life to that end.

"Mr. Jernigan came to Iowa, and he talked with that 20-year-old girl at the Commission. Supper was forgotten as he sat on the corner of her desk in the empty office and shared his dream with her. Her image of that shadowy figure on the outskirts of society faded as he talked of blind people leading independent, productive, self-respecting lives. He forced me to hold a white cane—that symbol of all I despised within myself—and led me to the realization that it could serve as my badge of independence if I could only believe. We walked together. I trusted him, and he had faith in me. From then and there it was forward: attending the new orientation center, on to a college degree, a successful teaching career, and finally marriage and a family.

"Seventeen years later I sat at my husband's bedside.  'The cancer has spread. You have perhaps two months to live. With chemotherapy and radiation we may be able to retard its progress, but there is nothing else we can do." The door closed and when it was possible to break the stark silence with words, my husband said quietly. 'Thank God, you can handle it. I know you'll do whatever needs to be done.' He was not talking to that vague shadow on the outskirts of society. He was talking to his wife, the mother of his three sons, the former teacher who did volunteer work in the local school system, and a respected member of the community.

"Can you ask why we love and respect the man who has become our leader? Can you feel the anguish of that young girl as she strove to believe in his dream and ached with the knowledge that he might be crushed by life's harsh realities? Is there any doubt that we need to work together in the National Federation of the Blind to ensure that those who would dash that dream to bits may never succeed?

"Mr. Jernigan has said, 'They tell us that there is no discrimination that the blind are not a minority. But we know who we are, and we will never go back.' I say, we not only know who we are and we will never go back, but we know where we've been and will not allow others to be doomed to that hell.

"Sincerely,

"(Mrs.) REVANNE DUCKETT."

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PROJECTS TO FINANCE THE FEDERATION

It has been a little over a year since the Federation began the project of financing our movement ourselves. The response has been gratifying-it has shown that this movement means enough to us so that we are willing to work to support it. At this point, from Pre-Authorized Check Plan pledges and contributions directly generated by members and affiliates, we have reached a level where we are providing 30 percent of our budget from these sources.

This is encouraging news, but the fact is that there are no other sources of income, and 70 percent of our minimum operating funds are still to be raised. We are now dipping into a very meager reserve to keep going at full steam; but this dependence on reserves cannot go on even for another year. At all levels of the movement, we must turn our attention to raising what we need about $500.000 above what we are contributing now.

The Executive Committee and state leaders of the Federation have been considering this problem carefully over the last months. There are a number of new fundraising projects that have been developed, but their success depends on the activity of every NFB member—individually and as chapters. This article will introduce you to two of these new projects. Others will be described in later issues.

Before we move to these new projects, it should be pointed out that the Pre-Authorized Check Plan (the PAC Plan) is still very much alive and growing. Even though a small percentage of our members belong to this plan, it alone provides about 15 percent of the budget. In the long run, the PAC Plan is the single best means of self-financing. If enough members join (even at the level of the average PAC pledge, which is $15 a month), we can turn our energies to other projects. The advantage of the PAC Plan is that it continues to supply funds without constant activity. Every member of the movement should become part of this plan.

The Associates Program

A major new initiative is the Associates Program. It is not a new concept-almost every public television and radio station in the country supports itself by this means-but it is one of the best means of funding. Like the PAC Plan, every cent that is contributed goes directly to our programs.

The program depends on our ability to persuade our friends and others to become associates of the NFB. There are six levels of associates: The regular Associate has contributed $10. The Contributing Associate has contributed $25. The Supporting Associate has contributed $50. Those in these three categories will receive wallet-size cards.

Beyond this, there is the Sponsoring Associate, who has contributed $100; and the Sustaining Associate, who has contributed $500. Finally there are Members of the President's Club, who have contributed $1,000. Sponsoring and Sustaining Associates and Members of the President's Club will receive certificates from the NFB.

It should not be difficult to convince people to become associates. For most of us, the Federation has been the most important factor in our lives. If we share this feeling with those we know and meet, we can convince them to help us support our movement. All contributions, of course, are tax-deductible.

In this issue of the Monitor are two tear-out Associates Program forms. Each form has two parts. The top of the form has places for the name and address of the Associate, a place to indicate what kind of Associate the person is (Supporting, Sustaining, etc.), and a place for the name of the NFB member who enlisted the Associate. Your name here should be typed or printed. This part of the form should be sent with the Associate's check to Richard Edlund, Treasurer. National Federation of the Blind, Box 11185, Kansas City, Kansas 66111.

The bottom of the form is a receipt to be filled out, signed by the NFB member, and given to the Associate for his or her records.

If every person who receives the Monitor enlists two Associates, we will have raised very nearly what we need for this year. Future issues of the Monitor will contain more forms. (As usual, of course, there is a PAC Plan form with instructions at the end of the inkprint issue.)

The Candle Program

We have made arrangements with Mississippi Industries for the Blind to sell candles produced in their factories. (All of the workers at MIB receive well above the minimum wage, and they participate in management policy decisions.) This is a project mainly to be carried out by chapters, like the candy project.

There are two types of candles, both of them in glasses. The first type of candles are in smooth glasses. They come in four colors red, blue, green, and amber. They are packed in kits of four-one candle of each color. Each candle will cost the chapter $1.20, and we recommend that they be sold for $2 each.

There are 4 kits (16 candles) in a case, and if you order 12 cases, MIB will pay the shipping costs. You can also order a case of candles all of the same color. If you do this, there are 12 candles to a case, and you must order 15 cases before MIB will pay for the shipping.

The other type of candle is in a glass with a beaded texture and a picture on it. Once again, there are four different pictures, and a kit contains 4 candles, each with a different picture. Each beaded candle will cost the chapter $1.75, and we recommend that they be sold for $3 each.

For the beaded candles, there are also 4 kits (16 candles) in a case, and if you order 12 cases, MIB will pay shipping costs. If you want cases of candles all with the same picture, they come 12 to the case, and you must order 15 cases before MIB will pay for the shipping.

It is possible to order fewer candles than the quantities discussed, but if you do, you pay for the shipping costs. You may also order candles on consignment, but you have to pay the shipping costs on any candles you return to MIB.

Order these candles by writing to Mississippi Industries for the Blind, 2501 North West Street - P.O. Drawer 4417, Jackson. Mississippi 39216, or call (601) 453-7375.

This can be a real money maker for the Federation. We urge every chapter to take part. Of course, we also urge every member to join the PAC Plan and to enlist Associates. If we work together, we will finance this movement. Future issues of the Monitor will introduce other projects for self-financing, but don't wait for them. Let's arrive in Baltimore this summer with our funding problems solved. It will make us invulnerable and free us to turn our attention to our long-range goals the integration of the blind into society on a basis of equality with the sighted. It is a goal worth working for. 

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MONITOR MINIATURES

Partly as a result of the lawsuit pursued by the Federation, the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of HEW is hiring large numbers of new employees. The jobs will be located mainly in HEW regional offices and they will deal with equal opportunity issues concerning sex, race, and handicap. Those interested in such jobs should immediately contact James Gashel in the NFB Washington Office; phone (202) 785-2974.

Arlene Gashel’s recipe for Cheese Souffle printed in last month's Monitor was incomplete. The list of ingredients should have included six eggs.

The convention of the NFB of Arizona will take place Saturday, June 3, at the Santa Rita Hotel in downtown Tucson. There will be a board meeting the night before. All Federationists are invited to attend. State president Jim Carlock reports that a Commission bill is progressing steadily in the state legislature, and although there are hurdles ahead yet, the prospects are good.

The 1978 convention of the NFB of Rhode Island will take place September 30 at the Providence Holiday Inn.

Below is a registration form for the NFB Convention this July 2 through 7. Use it if you have not already made your reservation. Details about room rates appeared in the April Monitor

PRE-AUTHORIZED CHECK PLAN (Instructions on back of the card)

I hereby authorize the National Federation of the Blind to draw a check to its own order in the amount of $_____ on the_____ day of each month payable to its own order. This authorization will remain in effect until revoked by me in writing and until such notice is actually received.

X _______________________________________________
Bank signature of donor (both signatures if two are necessary)

_________________________________________________
 Address

We understand that your bank has agreed to cooperate in our pre-authorized check plan on behalf of your depositor. Attached is your client’s signed authorization to honor such checks drawn by us.

Customer’s account and your bank transit numbers will be MICR-printed on checks per usual specifications before they are deposited. Our Indemnification Agreement is on the reverse side of the signed authorization.

__________________________
                 Date

AUTHORIZATION TO HONOR CHECKS DRAWN BY NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND

Name of depositor as shown on bank records _____________________________________ Acct. No.______________________
Name of bank and branch, if any, and Address of branch where account is maintained ________________________________________________________

For my benefit and convenience, I hereby request and authorize you to pay and charge to my account checks drawn on my account by the National Federation of the Blind to its own order. This authorization will remain in effect until revoked by me in writing, and until you actually receive such notice I agree that you should be fully protected in honoring any such check. In consideration of your compliance with such request and authorization, I agree that your treatment of each check, and your rights in respect to it shall be the same as if it were signed personally by me and that if any such check be dishonored, whether with or without cause, you shall be under no liability whatsoever. The National Federation of the Blind is instructed to forward this authorization to you.

X____________________________________________________________________
Bank signature of customer (both signatures if two are necessary)

NFB PRE-AUTHORIZED CHECK PLAN. This is a way for you to contribute a set amount to the NFB each month. The amount you pledge will be drawn from your account automatically. On the other side of this card, fill in the amount you want to give each month and the day of the month you want it to be drawn from your account. Sign the card in two places, where the X's are. The rest will be filled in by the NFB Treasurer. Enclose a voided check with the card, and mail it to Richard Edlund, Treasurer, National Federation of the Blind, Box 11185, Kansas City, Kansas 66111. Your bank will send you receipts for your contributions with your regular bank statements. You can increase (or decrease) your monthly payments by filling out a new PAC Plan card and mailing it to the Treasurer. Also, more PAG Plan cards are available from the Treasurer.

INDEMNIFICATION AGREEMENT

To bank named on the reverse side:

In consideration of your compliance with the request and authorization of the depositor named on the reverse side, the NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND will refund to you any amount erroneously paid by you to The National Federation of the Blind on any such check if claim for the amount of such erroneous payment is made by you within twelve months from the date of the check on which such erroneous payment was made.

Authorized in a resolution adopted by the Board Members of the National Federation of the Blind on November 28, 1974.

THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND

BY: ______________________________________
                                 Treasurer

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND 1978 BALTIMORE CONVENTION

Date of Arrival____________ a.m. □  p.m. □ Date of Departure______________

Name____________________________________________________________
                                            (Name of Registrant)
Address__________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
                                         City, State, and ZIP Code

TYPE OF ROOM                                 HOTEL                     1st Choice                   2nd Choice
Single   □ Triple □                             Lord Baltimore                □                                 □
Double □ Quad   □                             Baltimore Hilton              □                                 □
Twin □                                                 Holiday Inn                      □                                 □

Mail completed form with $10 deposit to: Baltimore Convention, Box 4422, Baltimore, Maryland 21223. 

ASSOCIATES PROGRAM of the NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND

The National Federation of the Blind has chapters in all fifty states and in almost every local community in the nation. The Federation has more than 50,000 members and is working to help the blind have full and meaningful lives. It is not financed by the government but depends for support on contributions from its Members, its Friends, and ASSOCIATES.

I support the National Federation of the Blind and wish to make a tax-deductible contribution for the year __________ by participating in the ASSOCIATES program as indicated:

□ Associate - $10                                        □ Sponsoring Associate - $100
□ Contributing Associate - $25                 □ Sustaining Associate $500
□ Supporting Associate - $50                    □ Member of the President's Club - $1,000

Name _______________________________________________________________

Address _____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________

Telephone______________________     Date_______________________________

Local representative of the National Federation of the Blind: _____________________

This application (and accompanying check made payable to: National Federation of the Blind) should be sent to: Richard Edlund, Treasurer, National Federation of the Blind, Box 11185, Kansas City, Kansas 66111.

ASSOCIATES PROGRAM - RECEIPT

Received of ______________________________ the amount of ____________ dollars.

Date ____________    _________________________________________________________
                                    Signature of local representative of the National Federation of the Blind

(All contributions to the National Federation of the Blind are tax-deductible.)

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RECIPE OF THE MONTH

by NORMA JOHNSON  

Note: Norma Johnson is a member of the Black Hills Chapter, NFB of South Dakota.

MOCK CHOW MEIN  

Ingredients  

1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon soy sauce 
1 medium-size can chow mein noodles
1 can chicken-rice soup 
1 package frozen vegetables
1 can cream-of-mushroom soup 
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 can (soup can) water  

Brown the hamburger and celery. Mix the other ingredients in a casserole. Add  the hamburger and celery. Bake for one hour at 375 degrees. Serves 6 to 8. 

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