Kentucky Cardinal

Kentucky Cardinal


November 13, 1926; October 12, 1998

by Tim Cranmer

Kenneth Jernigan lived and died for the organized blind movement in
America. He now belongs to all blind people; to be proud of, as one like
ourselves in blindness.

He belongs to all of us as an icon symbolizing what blind men and women
can be.

His gifts of philosophy and wisdom reflected in his writings will inspire
future generations of blind people.

His numerous tangible gifts are often cited in newspapers and other
public media. I will not enumerate them here, except to say that the National
Center for the Blind is truly spectacular.

This article is prompted by a desire to call attention to what I regard
as his most valued contributions. He gave to all of us the Organized Blind
Movement as we now know it.

Of course I know, as well as you do, that Dr. Jacobus Tenbroek was the
leader that started the National Federation of the Blind and was prevented
from completing the task by his untimely death.

From the small beginning of the organized blind movement in 1940, a
stormy history began to unfold. Local organizations of blind people quickly
formed. Their number steadily grew over the years. These organizations
were loosely associated, sometimes by common names and sometimes by philosophy.
It was the work of Dr. Kenneth Jernigan to make these separate organized
groups into one great organization, one great movement. Thanks to his genius,
the National Federation of the Blind has become one organization with a
presence in all states as chartered chapters. Thanks to him, we have the
history, music, philosophy, traditions and solidarity of a great social

In the early years, little towns, big cities, and about half of the
States had organizations with variable names, disparate structures and
fragmented philosophies. Kenneth Jernigan introduced State Charters to
the movement that were granted, one per state, to organizations that exhibited
a common NFB of State name structure and a constitution that tied it to
the National organization. Through these and many other measures, he legitimized
our slogans "Its respectable to be blind," and "We are not an organization

And so, the greatest gift was bestowed: The movement itself based on
accountable charismatic leadership. And then, he knew, that to survive,
it is essential that the Federation Philosophy be passed on to an acceptable
successor. Some one with the talent, dedication and commitment to lead
for another generation. He groomed Marc Maurer to assume this role. He
spent well over a decade preparing his successor. His wise choice has been
affirmed and reaffirmed as we elected Marc Maurer for seven terms as the
NFB president.

The soundness of the movement is demonstrated by the fact that we have
had seven presidents, and chose to keep only three. These are the great
blind leaders of the 20th century, well known to the readers of this newsletter.

These are but a few of the thoughts that came to mind as I sat and quietly
wept on learning of Kenneth Jernigan's death on the evening of October
12, 1998.

Some of my most cherished memories of Dr. Kenneth Jernigan were formed
at the close of the day. When, on winter evenings, blind visitors from
around the States and foreign countries would gather in the Harbor Room
in the National Center for the Blind as he stacked logs in the giant fireplace
and set them flaming with a torch to the tender. With flickering noisy
fragrant fire as a backdrop, our host would tell of great Federation moments
from the past and visions of future progress for all blind people, with
occasional stories of fine wines, great coffee, fine food, and fellowship
appropriately tossed in.

And, at the end of the work day, on long summer evenings, Dr. Jernigan
would invite all who were at the National Center attending committee meetings
and other Federation business, to join him for a cook out in the back yard
of his home. There, he rolled out the huge iron grill that he had designed,
and went to work building a just-right charcoal bed of hot coals. He personally
placed the steaks, fish, chicken, burgers and franks on the grill, watched
over them and flipped things over at just the right moment. The many Kentuckians
who shared the wonderful evenings will tell you that they never had better
food or more gracious hospitality before or since.

We all know about the great works of Dr. Jernigan as the leader of the
organized blind movement in this country. We have read about these deeds,
and we have personally witnessed many of them. But I, and many other Kentuckians
will remember him most as a wonderfully warm and caring personal friend.


For those of you, who were not able to attend our September state convention
in Owensboro, here are some of the Federation activities which were mentioned
in the Presidential Report given at that time.

Last year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the birth of the National
Federation of the Blind of Kentucky, and this year we are celebrating the
50th anniversary of our having received a Charter of Affiliation with the
National Federation of the Blind. This charter was presented in 1948 at
the Lord Baltimore Hotel in the city which now houses our National Center
for the Blind. Kentucky was the twenty-seventh state to seek affiliation
with the National Federation of the Blind.

We experienced an extremely busy legislative year. Because of the efforts
of many of you, the Kentucky Department for the Blind got one hundred thousand
dollars added to its budget. Also, the Kentucky Use Law will continue to
list the Kentucky Industries for the Blind Inc. as a source for state agency
purchasing--even after KIB becomes private nonprofit. We almost secured
the passage of our Information Technology Access Bill, and we appreciate
the hard work of Pamela Wallace, our Legislative Chairperson.

During the last Kentucky legislative session, a bill was signed into
law which gives recognition to the Kentucky School for the Blind as an
educational resource center. I was pleased to represent our organization
at the signing of this bill.

Nine Kentuckians were among the approximately 500 Federationists who
attended the Washington seminar this year. Two members of our newly organized
student division, Tonia Boyd and Michelle Lauer, participated in this special
event. We have been successful in getting one of our Kentucky senators
and three of our representatives to sign on as co-sponsors of the Social
Security Linkage Bill. Such accomplishments require a great deal of letter
writing and telephoning on the part of committed individuals, and it is
apparent that NFBK has been an active organization.

Federationists have always been proud of our national scholarship program,
which is among the largest and best in the country. Kentucky has had a
number of NFB scholarship winners over the past few years, and I interviewed
and wrote letters this year for six Kentucky applicants.

While at the national convention in Dallas this summer, we learned that
our Randolph-Sheppard program for blind vendors is once again in jeopardy
nationwide. It appeared that the Department of Defense planned to take
over the vending locations in military facilities. The Kentucky Department
for the Blind, which is the licensing agency for blind vendors in our state,
was unable to bid on an available location at Fort Knox. Our NFBK Board
of Directors met shortly after the convention to determine what steps should
be taken by our organization. We recommended that an arbitration and injunction
should be sought in the Fort Knox matter to allow time for appropriate
negotiations. When this failed, Charles Allen, Chairman of the state vendors'
committee, met with Secretary Allen Rose on behalf of Kentucky blind vendors.
Shortly thereafter, it seemed appropriate to reinforce the strong feelings
about this issue which existed among the blind community and NFBK in particular.
Lloyd Agnew, Chairman of the Advisory Council for DFB, Pam Wallace, Kentucky
ADA networking administrator, and I as NFBK President, met with Secretary
Rose to emphasize the importance of this matter and to demonstrate support
of our Kentucky vendors. There are nearly four thousand blind vendors nationwide.
The Federation is committed to the support of this worthwhile program in
every way possible.

While working with the student division during this past year, I have
become more convinced that we are witnessing the emerging of a strong fourth
generation of Federationists. This group of capable young adults have created
an effective means of networking among themselves. Their President, Tonia
Boyd, has maintained contact with the members of that division, and she
has attended national and other state conventions to learn about the activities
of student divisions around the country. Certainly, this group gives us
cause to feel good about the future of our organization.

I must commend our Murray Chapter for their efforts in placing Kernel
Books and other Federation materials in libraries throughout several counties
in their area. Many of you have either heard or read Dr. Jernigan's accounts
of the magnitude of public education which has been provided by the Kernel
books. Our public schools and county libraries should have these books
available for loan. This is the best means we have of educating the public
about blindness and familiarizing Kentuckians with the name of the National
Federation of the Blind. Keep in mind that our Community Outreach office
is making telephone calls all over the state and mailing out literature
regarding blindness related issues. Each of us can have a part in the public
education process by placing NFB literature wherever possible.

Now, just a word about our future. Although much has been achieved,
there is still much to be done. Newsline must become a reality in Kentucky.
This program is up and running in several states and now provides seven
national newspapers which can be accessed simply and quickly through the
use of a telephone. The information technology Access Bill must be passed
in the next legislative session. Most of the positions available to blind
job seekers are those requiring some computer skills. We will need to do
everything in our power to see that blind individuals have access to the
training and opportunity which will place them on an even playing field
with their sighted peers.

We must devote time and energy to the task of insuring quality education
for the many blind and visually impaired students who are just beginning
to dream about employment and independence. Increasingly, their parents
and teachers are looking to us for information about alternative skills.
More and more parents are advocating for their children, and we must strive
to give them whatever assistance we can muster. This will mean that youngsters
with visual disabilities can receive a better foundation on which to build
a future of happiness and independence.


The National Federation of the Blind has two documents which are kept
up-to-date for distribution. They are: "What Is the National Federation
of the Blind" and "Who Are the Blind Who Lead the Blind." Both were written
by Dr. Kenneth Jernigan and were first released for distribution at the
1954 national convention which was held in Louisville. Also, that was the
first national convention attended by our own Dr. T. V. Cranmer.

Kentucky hosted the NFB national convention again in 1966, and it was
headquartered at the old Kentucky Hotel. Mary Ellen Jernigan attended her
first NFB convention at that time. When our affiliate hosted the convention
in 1985, she proudly announced that she was enjoying her twentieth convention
in the city and state where she started on the convention trail.


The National Federation of the Blind of Kentucky now has a Parents of
Blind Children Division. It was established and got off to a good start
at our 1998 state convention held at the Executive Inn in Owensboro. Parents
are the best advocates for their children, and this new organization will
lead the way in efforts to provide a better future for blind and visually
impaired students throughout the Commonwealth. The officers who will be
leading this new NFBK division are: Maria Jones, President; Nancy Meehan,
Vice-President; and Carol Dahmke, Secretary/Treasurer.

This new parents group has many exciting plans for future endeavors.
Membership in this organization is open to all of Kentucky's parents and
educators of blind and visually impaired children, as well as others who
share this special interest. For information about the Kentucky Parents
of Blind Children Organization, write to Maria Jones, 3827 Chevy Chase
Road, Louisville, KY 40218; or call (502) 456-4806.


The Charles McDowell Comprehensive Rehabilitation Center has recently
undergone a program facelift, which will mean improved service for Kentucky's
blind and visually impaired citizens. This is the result of long hours
and several months of planning on the part of the Kentucky Department for
the Blind.

The Strategies for Success plan, which the Center followed, allowed
staff members to make position choices based on their education and experience.
New classes dealing with such matters as home maintenance, health issues,
resources for visual aids, and self-advocacy were added to the curriculum
and help to stimulate the interest of consumers. A new group class in success
building enjoys growing popularity among participants in the Center program.

Jane Lyons, Director of the McDowell Center, is excited about the results
of this facelift. Staff morale is better, and consumers are happier. Consequently,
the future looks brighter for the Center as it strives to improve opportunities
for independence and employment for blind and visually impaired residents
of the Commonwealth.

Visitors are welcome at the Charles McDowell Center, 8412 Westport Road
in Louisville. Tour arrangements can be made by calling 327-6010. Those
living outside the Louisville area can contact the Center by calling 1-800-346-2115.


Once again this year, Kentucky had a National Federation of the Blind
scholarship winner. She is Nhu Nguyen, a graduate of the University of
Louisville, who is attending law school at Vanderbilt University. Nhu serves
as Treasurer for the Kentucky Association of Blind Students. She was presented
with a $3,000 scholarship at the banquet during the national convention
in Dallas, Texas. You may recall that she won the first $1,000 Emerson
Foulke Memorial Scholarship at our state convention last year. This scholarship
was established by the Kentucky affiliate in 1997 to honor the life and
work of Dr. Emerson Foulke, a distinguished blind educator and researcher.

The 1998 NFBK Emerson Foulke Memorial Scholarship of $1,000 was presented
at the banquet during our state convention to Melanie Crowe. She is a graduate
student at Murray State University and is working on a masters degree in
Human Services. Melanie serves as Second Vice-President of the Student
Division and has demonstrated significant leadership ability. We wish her
well in all her endeavors.

Also at our 1998 state convention, The Henderson Chapter awarded a five-hundred-dollar
scholarship n memory of Mrs. John Steel who died during the past year.
The recipient was Ronnie Brock, a student at Eastern Kentucky University
in Richmond. Ronnie is a junior there, and he is pursuing an education
degree. Certainly, our best wishes go with him.


NOTE: This article appeared in the November/December issue of "In Touch,"
the newsletter of the American Printing House for the Blind.

It would be hard to find anyone working at APH who hasn't met Denise
and Dennis Franklin, and been touched by their warm hospitality. They work
together at the "heart" of operations, affectionately referred to by some
as the "APH food court."

It was the Kentucky School for the Blind that initially brought Denise
and Dennis together, although they did not attend at the same time. According
to Denise, "He's much older than I am." They met at a KSB reunion and have
been married since 1973, recently celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary
with a trip to Hawaii.

Dennis has been in the food service business for 25 years, working with
the Business Enterprise Program of the Kentucky Department for the Blind.
He has managed the APH cafeteria since 1994. Denise began working with
Dennis in 1995. Dennis had lost his part-time help, and the Braille Service
Center at which Denise worked had closed. They both enjoy working at APH,
citing a strong sense of cooperation with management as a major factor.

The Franklins both enjoy traveling, and found it difficult to return
to "reality" following their trip to Hawaii. In her spare time, Denise
loves to read, particularly romance novels, and she writes poetry. She
"specializes" in writing amusing poems for friends and family on special
occasions, taking every opportunity she can to make people laugh. Denise
has been active in a bowling league for 24 years. Dennis also enjoys reading,
but prefers nonfiction. He is an avid reader of our own "Newsweek"
and "Reader's Digest" magazines.

The Franklins' "pride and joy" is daughter Kim. A graduate of Western
Kentucky University, Kim is now working and planning to attend graduate
school. She is 22 and lives in Bowling Green. Most of you probably have
noticed that Denise and Dennis are rather fond of UK football and basketball.

APH President Tuck Tinsley says about the Franklins, "They make a great
team, and I'm proud of the way they have transformed the cafeteria into
a pleasant place to spend time. They have a customer service attitude--look
at the variety of food items they offer--and the music. Whether you're
looking for a snack or a smile, Dennis and Denise will do their best."


by Jenny Tyree, President

Web Site Address:

I would like to update everyone on the great things the Computer Users
Division has been doing. Our web page is growing by leaps and bounds. There
is a great deal of activity, and our site has received many hits from all
over the world. We should be proud to know that it is helping individuals
who are blind or visually impaired. At this time we are developing a Parent's
of Blind Children page, as well as an NFBK chapter page, for general information.
Our web site has both fun and facts related to technology.

I would like to formally thank all my board members for putting this
page together. They are: David Raynes, First Vice-President; Kevin Pearl,
Second Vice-President; John Glisson, Secretary; and Glenn White, Treasurer.
Without their creativity, dedication, and hard work, Kentucky would not
have the ability to link up with others around the country to promote the
use of assistive technology. Thanks to all for creating this great Web

Those who prefer e-mail to web browsing can join our listserv:
For more information about this, contact Kevin Pearl:

We welcome any comments or suggestions; so feel free to send them to or to


Some exciting plans are afoot in the Kentucky Division of the National
Association to Promote the Use of Braille. The new officers, which were
elected at the state convention in Owensboro, are looking forward to a
productive year. Those elected were: Lora Felty, President; Tonia Boyd,
First Vice-President; Pam Wallace, Second Vice-President; Phyllis Bogard,
Secretary; and Rebecca Murrell, Treasurer.

We are making some exciting plans for a Braille Institute to be held
in the spring of 1999. Our Braille Division will be one of the sponsors
of this special event, and we will be working with the Office of Special
Education which is providing funding for the Institute. It is our hope
to involve several agencies and organizations in the planning of this worthwhile

Also, we are anticipating a significant growth in the distribution of
"The World Under My Fingers." This is a wonderful little book written by
and about blind individuals and their experiences with Braille.


by Tonia Boyd, President

If you joined us in Owensboro for our 1998 State Convention, you probably
spotted a college student every time you turned around. That's because
we were there in full force. We had more than twenty students from ten
Kentucky colleges and universities in attendance this year for our second
annual Student Luncheon. Since this was the first convention for many of
us and the first time others of us had seen each other since last year's
convention; we spent much of the weekend getting to know each other, catching
up, and sharing college experiences with one another.

After taking care of business at our Luncheon on Saturday, we discussed
our goals for the Student Division in 1999. Our highest hope is to raise
enough money to send several students, who have never been before, to the
National Convention in Atlanta next summer. Before adjourning we elected
our new officers for the upcoming year which are as follows--President,
Tonia Boyd of the University of Louisville; First Vice President, Nick
Drake of Centre College; Second Vice President, Melanie Crowe of Murray
State University; Secretary, Michelle Lauer, a graduate of the University
of Kentucky; and Treasurer, Nhu Nguyen of Vanderbilt University. We were
glad to note that our own Glenn White of the University of Louisville was
elected Treasurer of the Computer User's Division.

On Saturday evening at the banquet, we helped two of our students celebrate
their winning of scholarships. Melanie Crowe of Murray State University
was the recipient of the Second Annual Emerson Foulke Memorial Scholarship
in the amount of one thousand dollars. Ronnie Brock of Eastern Kentucky
University was the recipient of a five hundred dollar scholarship given
by the Henderson Chapter. Also during the banquet, we raffled off an adorable
Cookie Monster stuffed animal which Denise Placido won. This proved to
be a very successful fund raiser. So we'd like to give Mr. Jim Lepping,
who donated Cookie Monster to the student division, a great big "Thank

Since the convention we have found some time between writing research
papers and studying for exams to sell the APH Insights calendars; and we
are planning a Walk-a-thon to be held either next spring or summer. Thanks
to the help of Kevin Pearl, we now have a listserv which you can find at
"". We are very grateful to Glenn White for setting
up a web page: He
has worked very hard to make continual updates and improvements to the
web page. Both the listserv and the web page allow us to keep in touch
more often and they also give us another opportunity to make other college
students aware of our Student Division.

While many of us from Louisville were taking a short break from our
studies during the Thanksgiving Holiday; we gathered at KSB for a night
of fun and fellowship. After going out to dinner, we played games and sat
up most of the night talking and laughing and catching up with friends.
We're all very much looking forward to getting together at President Niceley's
house one evening during the Christmas break.

Now that December is upon us, we're all pretty stressed out trying to
study for finals. Most of all we are quite eager for the semester to be
over and to return home to spend time with our families, to enjoy Mom's
cooking and to sleep in our beds for a little while. Before we look up
again though we'll all be back at school with our noses buried in the books
again. So for now, we'd like to wish everyone across the Bluegrass State
a Happy Holiday Season and a most prosperous New Year!


Betty J. Niceley, President - Louisville

Tim Cranmer, First Vice-President - Louisville

Jenny Tyree, Second Vice-President - Louisville

John W. Glisson, Secretary - Murray

Kenneth W. Jones, Treasurer - Louisville

Lloyd Agnew, President, NFB of Henderson County - Henderson

Charles L. Allen, President, NFB of Frankfort - Frankfort

Jim Conner, President, NFB of Northern KY - Covington

John W. Glisson, President, NFB of Murray - Murray

Cathy Jackson, President, NFB of Greater Louisville - Louisville

Ron Milliman, President, NFB of South Central KY - Bowling Green

Pamela H. Wallace, President, NFB of Lexington - Lexington