June 30, 2005 Library of Congress Publishes Biography of Blind Activist Jacobus tenBroek

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Jane Caulton (202) 707-0521

“Blind Justice: Jacobus tenBroek and the Vision of Equality,” the first full-length biography of the champion of equal opportunities for blind people and founder of the National Federation of the Blind, was recently published by the Library of Congress’ National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) and the Friends of Libraries for Blind and Physically Handicapped Individuals in North America.

Floyd Matson, tenBroek’s friend and collaborator, is the author of “Blind Justice.” The book recounts how tenBroek, who was blind since age 7, fought for and received a university teaching position and became a pioneer in organizing the blind community to claim constitutional rights.

“Individually, we are scattered, ineffective and inarticulate. Collectively, we are the masters of our own future and the successful guardian of our own common interests,” tenBroek stated in his 1940 keynote address to the inaugural convention of the National Federation of the Blind.

NLS Director Frank Kurt Cylke said, “The Library of Congress is pleased to publish this biography of the man who built the case for the constitutional rights of many minority groups in America—including, but not limited to, the blind community.”

In the foreword of “Blind Justice,” Cylke wrote, “To attain progress, individuals with common needs and shared goals must organize. And for the blind of America to progress, they too must organize. This salient assessment—and the ability to transform this assessment into action—was one of Jacobus tenBroek’s greatest contributions to the blind community.”

Marc Maurer, president of the Friends of Libraries and of the National Federation of the Blind, said in the book’s preface, “TenBroek’s voice is one that expanded human potential by a faith in those who would otherwise have been rejected. He is a champion among the founders of freedom.”

Print copies are available in both hardcover for $30 (stock number 030-000-00293-8) and paperback for $26 (030-000-00292-0) from the Government Printing Office (GPO). To order, visit www.gpoaccess.gov or call toll free (866) 512-1800. Orders also can be sent to: Contact Center, GPO, 732 North Capitol St., Washington, DC, 20401. The book is available for blind and physically handicapped readers from the NLS collection in braille and on audiocassette.

NLS administers the free program that makes available recorded and braille books and magazines, music scores in braille and large print and specifically designed playback equipment to residents of the United States who are unable to read or use standard print materials because of visual or physical impairment.

NLS administers the program nationally while direct service to eligible individuals and institutions is the responsibility of cooperating libraries in various states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. Service is also extended to eligible American citizens residing abroad.


PR 05-144
ISSN 0731-3527