Future Reflections Fall 1990, Vol. 9 No. 3

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A History of the Organized Blind Movement in the United States

Written by Floyd Matson
Published by the National Federation of the Blind, ©1990


This book tells a story --as true as it is dramatic --that has never been told before. It is a story of the epochal struggle and ultimate triumph of a singular American social movement, that of the organized blind, which evolved over the space of half a century from a small vanguard of visionary men and women into a nationwide community of fifty thousand members -- recognized throughout the world as a major force in the field of blindness and civil rights.

Unlike previous histories of blindness and the blind, which have dealt almost entirely with the work of benefactors and agencies for the blind, this magisterial study by a distinguised cultural historian --Floyd Matson -- breaks new ground in focusing upon the actions and aspirations of the organized blind themselves. It follows the progress of the movement from its historical origins in the remote past to the pioneering adventure of its founding in 1940, then through the early years of lonely struggle for the right of the blind to organize (indelibly associated with the name of John F. Kennedy). Then we see the turmoil of "civil war," followed by renewed harmony and explosive growth in both size and stature -- as symbolized by the establishment of the multi-faceted National Center for the Blind.

"A landmark publication? Absolutely! 1 recommend this text for all university or high school level teachers or libraries concerned with American history, postwar politics, social studies, minority rights, affirmative action philosophy, or 'the handicapped'."
Allen Harris
Chairman, Social Studies Department and
Chairman, Curriculum Council, Edsel
Ford High School, Dearborn, Michigan

"...A fascinating story of the rise of one segment of American society to first-class citizenship based on its own grassroots efforts."
John Halverson
Program Division Director,
Federal Office for Civil Rights, Region VII

"Eye care professionals, researchers, and rehabiliation specialists serving individuals facing vision loss will gain essential insight and perspective...."
Eileen Rivera
Administrative Director,
Wilmer Vision Research and Rehabilitation Center,
Johns Hopkins University

"This book is an important tool for training professionals who work with minority groups or disabled persons. Every educator who has responsibility for designing and implementing programs to bring minority groups or disabled students into the mainstream should know this story, and no teacher of the disabled should enter a classroom without understanding the aspirations of the blind told in this book."
Homer Page, Ph.D.
Professor of Education
Graduate School of Education,
University of Colorado at Boulder

The author: Floyd Matson has lectured and written widely in the fields of minority rights, social thought, and political action. He is the author or editor of eleven books and is the co-author with Jacobus tenBroek of Hope Deferred: Public Welfare and the Blind (1959). He also collaborated with tenBroek on the awardwinning Prejudice, War, and the Constitution (1954), detailing the constitutional implications of the evacuation of Japanese Americans from the West Coast during World War II. Professor Matson teaches American Studies at the University of Hawaii.

The book is $30.00 plus $3.00 for shipping and handling. To order you may use credit card, institutional purchase order, or check made payable in full to:

Publishing Department National Federation of the Blind
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
Telephone (301) 659-9314

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