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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

90 Years of AFB


1921

AFB is founded with the support of philanthropist M. C. Migel.


1924

Helen Keller begins her 44-year tenure at AFB.


1932

AFB develops Talking Books and Talking Book machines. These long-playing records, played on special machines, were made available free of charge. For many of the thousands of Americans with vision loss, a wealth of literature and knowledge was readily available for the first time in their lives.


1938

AFB plays the leading role in the passage of the Wagner O'Day Act, which radically improves employment opportunities for people with vision loss. This law required the federal purchase of blind-made products and led to the creation of the National Industries for the Blind.


1945

AFB sets up a "model shop" to research and develop aids and appliances for those with visual impairments.


1945

Following World War II, the Veterans Administration requests AFB to help set up its rehabilitation program for blinded soldiers. M. C. Migel, AFB's President and CEO, gave what was at that time a large donation of $10,000 toward the establishment of the Blinded Veterans Association.


1952

AFB creates the Tellatouch, a machine that resembles a typewriter, enabling sighted and deaf-blind individuals to communicate with each other.


1959

AFB develops and begins offering early childhood services and workshops to help train special education teachers and professionals.


1966-67

The federal government and AFB team up to sponsor the initial development of management and program standards for agencies and schools serving those with vision loss throughout the country. These efforts led to the creation of the National Accreditation Council (NAC), which administered the program of accreditation and standards-development for the field.


1975

AFB presses national leaders to pass the Education of All Handicapped Children Act, which provides equal educational opportunities for children who are blind or visually impaired. This issue arose again 19 years later, when AFB led the advocacy effort to ensure children with visual impairments receive their textbooks and classroom materials on time and in braille, large print, and electronic formats.


1985

AFB establishes the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI), the first organization for parents of children with visual impairments. This paved the way for FamilyConnect®,a new website introduced in 2008.


1986

AFB establishes the National Technology Center at its New York headquarters. It was renamed AFB Tech in 2002 and relocated to a larger facility in Huntington, West Virginia.


1990

AFB is instrumental in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This landmark civil rights law gave Americans with disabilities more public access and greater protections against discrimination.


1996

AFB launches its accessible website, afb.org.


1999

AFB opens the National Literacy Center in Atlanta, Georgia, which plays a major role in the advancement of braille literacy.


2002

AFB fights to ensure that people with vision loss can vote independently and privately. Great progress was made with the passage of the Help America Vote Act.


2006

AFB opens its Center on Vision Loss in Dallas, Texas, to help provide information to older Americans with low vision.


2010

AFB leads the way for passage of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, which requires television programs, smart phones, and other modern communications technologies to be accessible.


2011

AFB gives professionals in the vision loss field the tools they need to stay on top of cutting-edge research, adaptive technology, and best practices. AFB has, to date, published over 500 books and other titles about blindness and visual impairment.


Today, the American Foundation for the Blind helps the 25 million Americans with vision loss achieve their full potential.

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