What was life like before the organized blind movement?

“A blind person might enter a restaurant and be refused service. Hotel management made on the spot decisions as to whether they would register a blind person or not. Public transportation might refuse to allow a blind person to travel alone. Landlords would find ways of turning away blind applicants for rentals.”
— Carl Jarvis
Berl Colley offers snapshots of the organized blind movement in Washington State from the 1930s to the 21st Century.
Washington State Dept. of Services for the Blind ranks as one of the top agencies in the United States. Carl Jarvis shares how the blind community fought to get a separate agency and then almost lost it. He emphasizes the role of the State Rehab Council in maintaining accountability. We are charged to keep “eternal vigilance.”
Imagine your family gathered round a receiver listening to grocery ads. During the Great Depression volunteers made that possible (and much more) in what became the Evergreen Radio Reading Service.
The Lighthouse for the Blind is one of Seattle’s oldest nonprofits and got its start as a social club.
Students come from all over the United States, Guam, the American Virgin Islands, Australia, Belize, Canada, Ethiopia, Finland, Iceland, India, Israel, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Switzerland, and Trinidad to study at the School of Piano Technology for the Blind.
Innovation and the spirit of volunteerism combine to make The Washington Talking Book and Braille Library one of the most dynamic libraries in the U.S. serving people who cannot use standard print.

Oral histories

“Exciting stuff.” Today Carl Jarvis and his wife run Peninsula Rehabilitation Services working with older blind people. But did you know he once had his own photography studio?
When people asked where she was born former WCB president Julie Lynch would reply, “In South Dakota, between the barn and the chicken coop.”
Frank Cuta was blinded at age 16 in a dynamite accident. After seven months of rehab, he was able to graduate from high school on time. Frank went on to become an electrical engineer.
“I wasn’t so much born as launched.” For the delivery, Sarah McSparren’s parents took their boat from Bainbridge Island to reach Seattle. Her mom walked from the waterfront to the hospital. Sarah served as WCB president in the 1970s.
Probably the only blind refrigeration mechanic around, Tim Schneebeck worked to make sure guide dogs were allowed in the Space Needle.