The Blind as Industrial Workers

James Bordlfy
1918 The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science  
Before I set forth our plans for the training of the blind, I want to say a few words about the social aspects of the blind question. There are many types of handicaps which result in economic and social troubles but I think I can aptly term the blind as the Ishmaelites of this century. They have been driven out of community life, out of industry, prevented from owning their own homes and maintaining them, and for decades they have cried out for a chance and the answer has always been &dquo
more » ... ways been &dquo Charity.&dquo What could be more conducive to idleness, to melancholy and to despair than to know that your brother must be your keeper? I speak with some intimate knowledge of the blind when I say that they are swayed by the same emotions, stung by the same criticisms, elevated by the same praise, won by the same influence as are the seeing. Therefore, in our dealing with them and their handicaps we should be guided by the same standard that we set for the seeing. As it is now, when a man loses his sight he finds-himself adrift in an unknown and unchartered sea and until of his own wit he can find his bearings he is lost. Now, this has not been the result of any intention on the part of society. It is simply one of our horrible social mistakes. Great Britain, France and Italy, at the very beginning of the war, horrified by the number of blind soldiers, began to take inventory of the possibilities of occupations for these soldiers and to start training centers where they could salvage such human wrecks. The results of these experiments-because experiments they were-have been most beneficial industrially for the blind. Now, our battle cry is exactly the same as that of our Allies-freedom for nations and liberty for individuals-and like them we are going to leave no stone unturned to see that the men who have given so much for us shall be given at least an opportunity for employment without the stigma of charity. The work of re-educating and rehabilitating the blind is probably one of the most difficulty phases of the reconstruction problem that we have to face. In the at MICHIGAN STATE UNIV LIBRARIES on June 11, 2015 ann.sagepub.com Downloaded from
doi:10.1177/000271621808000116 fatcat:mil6ctuxbrcavk3tkv4qz6o26a