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for the Blind

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Letter to President Truman from Helen Keller (February 12, 1948, copy)

Transcription of Letter

[Letterhead]
AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR THE BLIND, INC.
15 WEST 16TH STREET
NEW YORK 11, N.Y.
Telephone: CHELSEA 3-2821
[End of Letterhead]

COPY FOR YOUR INFORMATION

February 12, 1948

President Harry S. Truman,

Washington, D. C.

Dear Mr. President:

As a worker of almost a lifetime for one disabled group--the blind--I earnestly ask you to consider well the implications of the General Order in "Exhibit C" of the "Planning Committee" in your Committee on National Employ the Physically Handicapped.

The Transfer to a Division of Services for the Handicapped in the United States Department of Labor of all responsibility for the planning and indeed the real control of all Federal activities for the disabled would bear grievous consequences to the blind as well as to other hindered groups. The only satisfactory results in the work for the blind are obtained by State agencies, both public and private, that have a warm personal interest in them. Only such agencies have a chance to live in the midst of the blind, to approach them as individuals, study their problems which vary with each degree of blindness and give them the training essential to their usefulness. Under a Division of Services for the Handicapped in the United States Department of Labor these friendly helpful agencies would be greatly curtailed or disappear, and true rehabilitation--fitting the blind to become productive and reasonably happy members of the community--would be defeated.

Fervently I beg you, Mr. President, not to sign an Executive Order authorizing the transfer of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation of the Federal Security, and other public and private services to a Division of Services for the Handicapped in the United States Department of Labor, but rather to look upon the blind as human beings having the right to direct their own lives and serve society in ways best suited to their capabilities.

With cordial greetings, I am,

Sincerely yours,

Helen Keller

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