The National Federation of the Blind

Picture of Blind men working on boxes for Elizabeth Arden cosmetics at the Lighthouse, an institution for the blind in New York City 1944Blind workers were not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which set standards for safety and pay. Historian Felicia Kornbluh explores the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) 's efforts to organize visually impaired people during the 1950s to fight for their rights.

The NFB was created in the 1940s, becoming the first national organization in U.S. history led exclusively by blind men and women. In those years, the NFB contended that people who were blind needed to have a seat at the table when it came to crafting and implementing policies and programs that concerned blind people. Until the NFB came into the picture, self-styled professionals (not blind or visually impaired) acted as advocates for the sight-loss community.

Many organizations were resistant to having blind people helping to draft public policy when it came to their wellbeing. The head of the National Rehabilitation Association argued, "blind people like other handicapped people sometimes have unreasonable ambitions."'

Eventually, the NFB's work would be taken up in the late 1960s by the disability rights movement as a whole. The organization's efforts had a hand in the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

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"How Blind Activists Fought for Blind Workers"

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