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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Dedication of AFB Cornerstone, delivered before the American Foundation for the Blind at New York, New York (December 5, 1934)


Dear Mr. Migel and Friends,

Deep emotions stir within me as we lay here the corner-stone of a House of Hope for the blind of America.

The thought comes to me that history is a record of the laying of corner-stones from which new powers have arisen lifting humanity to higher levels of feeling and action. When Charles Dickens wrote "A Christmas Carol," he laid the Corner-stone of Neighborliness;" (sic) for then began the Giving Habit. His book was closely followed by the First Card of Christmas remembrance and cheer.

When Valentin Hauy in 1784 laid the corner-stone of the work for the blind, who dreamed that sightless people everywhere would substitute the hand for the eye, learn to read and write, and acquire higher education and useful citizenship? And now comes the Talking-book, carrying to every blind person the rushing, glowing drama of life.

A warm sense of satisfaction sweeps over me as we lay within this corner-stone the record of what has been done for the blind in the past. Thrilled by a spirit of adventure I look forward to yet more splendid achievements in the future.

The field of activity before us is ever widening; the surprises are so varied, and the subject suggests so many unseen forces at work, on is kept wondering what will happen next.

From the beacon that shall rise upon this Corner-stone of Beginnings, kindled by Mr. M.C. Migel's noble generosity, will radiate beams of light which will penetrate every corner of Dark-land. Myriad-eyed Manhattan will pass this House of the Blind night and morning, desiring things they lack --- wealth, beauty, power, whatnot, and sometimes they will ask themselves, "Would I give my coat and take theirs?" I know the answer, and I pray that they may thank God for the blessing of their sight, and remember that the kinest (sic) way to aid the blind is not to pity them, but to be a Friend to them.

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