[tabi] White Cane Safety Day

  • From: "Tinetta Cooper" <lilheart@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 1 Oct 2010 11:41:25 -0400

          I am forwarding this interesting message regarding White Cane Safety 
Day.  The Tallahassee NFB chapter and partner (Tallahassee Lions Club) will 
participate in a demonstration of white cane use at the intersection of 
Thomasville and Capitol Circle on October 15.  The time is 2-4pm and we will 
meet in the Publix parking lot.  Anyone interested may join us for this 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Dwight Sayer 
To: Mary Clark 
Cc: nfbf-leaders@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Sent: Friday, October 01, 2010 11:08 AM
Subject: [NFBF-Leaders] Gubenitorial Proclamation Should Be Requested!!


White Cane Safety Day: A Symbol of Independence
by Marc Maurer

In February of 1978 a young blind lady said, "I encounter people all of the 
time who bless me, extol my independence, call me brave and courageous, and 
thoroughly miss the boat as to what the real significance of the white cane is."

The National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled on the 6th day of 
July, 1963, called upon the governors of the fifty states to proclaim October 
15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day in each of our fifty states. On 
October 6, 1964, a joint resolution of the Congress, HR 753, was signed into 
law authorizing the President of the United States to proclaim October 15 of 
each year as "White Cane Safety Day." This resolution said: "Resolved by the 
Senate and House of Representatives., that the President is hereby authorized 
to issue annually a proclamation designating October 15 as White Cane Safety 
Day and calling upon the people of the United States to observe such a day with 
appropriate ceremonies and activities."

Within hours of the passage of the congressional joint resolution authorizing 
the President to proclaim October 15 as White Cane Safety Day, then President 
Lyndon B. Johnson recognized the importance of the white cane as a staff of 
independence for blind people. In the first Presidential White Cane 
Proclamation President Johnson commended the blind for the growing spirit of 
independence and the increased determination to be self-reliant that the 
organized blind had shown. The Presidential proclamation said:

The white cane in our society has become one of the symbols of a blind person's 
ability to come and go on his own. Its use has promoted courtesy and special 
consideration to the blind on our streets and highways. To make our people more 
fully aware of the meaning of the white cane and of the need for motorists to 
exercise special care for the blind persons who carry it Congress, by a joint 
resolution approved as of October 6, 1964, has authorized the President to 
proclaim October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day.

Now, therefore, I, Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the United States of America 
do hereby proclaim October 15, 1964 as White Cane Safety Day.

With those stirring words President Johnson issued the first White Cane 
Proclamation which was the culmination of a long and serious effort on the part 
of the National Federation of the Blind to gain recognition for the growing 
independence and self-sufficiency of blind people in America, and also to gain 
recognition of the white cane as the symbol of that independence and that 

The first of the state laws regarding the right of blind people to travel 
independently with the white cane was passed in 1930. In 1966, Dr. Jacobus 
tenBroek, the founder of the National Federation of the Blind, drafted the 
model White Cane Law. This model act--which has become known as the Civil 
Rights Bill for the Blind, the Disabled, and the Otherwise Physically 
Handicapped--contains a provision designating October 15 as White Cane Safety 
Day. Today there is a variant of the White Cane Law on the statute books of 
every state in the nation.

From 1963 (and even before) when the National Federation of the Blind sought to 
have White Cane Safety Day proclaimed as a recognition of the rights of blind 
persons, to 1978 when a blind pedestrian met with misunderstanding regarding 
the true meaning of the white cane, is but a short time in the life of a 
movement. In 1963, a comparatively small number of blind people had achieved 
sufficient independence to travel alone on the busy highways of our nation. In 
1978 that number has not simply increased but multiplied a hundredfold. The 
process began in the beginning of the organized blind movement and continues 
today. There was a time when it was unusual to see a blind person on the 
street, to find a blind person working in an office, or to see a blind person 
operating machinery in a factory. This is still all too uncommon. But it 
happens more often and the symbol of this independence is the white cane. The 
blind are able to go, to move, to be, and to compete with all others in 
society. The means by which this is done is that simple tool, the white cane. 
With the growing use of the white cane is an added element--the wish and the 
will to be free--the unquenchable spirit and the inextinguishable determination 
to be independent. With these our lives are changed, and the prospects for 
blind people become bright. That is what White Cane Safety Day is all about. 
That is what we do in the National Federation of the Blind

Model White Cane Law

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