A Brief History of TCB

The Tennessee Association of the Blind was formed May 10, 1941. The first chapter was in Nashville and the first president of that chapter was Hulen Walker. Some of the early leaders in this chapter were Floyd Morgan, Jessie Warren, Winfred Oral, and Francis Morton. During this time period, blind people would just use a stick of some sort. One of the first fundraisers was to hand out little white canes in return for donations to the organization. Prior to the 1940s there were no white canes.

The Memphis Association of the Blind was formed in the early 1950s. The first president of this chapter was Hollis Liggett who later became the editor of the "Braille Free Press."

In 1957 the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) passed the Card Amendment, named after George Card, an early leader in the NFB, which gave more power to the president Dr. Jacobus tenBroek. This amendment also gave the president total control of the finances which made him a very autocratic president. In the latter part of the 1950s tenBroek was succeeded by Kenneth Jernigan who was just as autocratic as he had been.

In 1958 at the NFB national convention in Boston, the Illinois affiliate was censured. Soon after this, other affiliates were simply thrown out of the organization if they didn't agree with Jernigan. In the late 50s there were several affiliates kicked out of NFB including the Tennessee affiliate.

During this time Marie Boring and Durward K. McDaniel served on the board of directors of the National Federation of the Blind but the president never called for any board meetings. He pretty much did what he wanted to do. Boring and McDaniel started writing letters to affiliates criticizing the actions of president Jernigan.

In 1959 McDaniel journeyed to Memphis, stayed at the home of Hollis Liggett, and the two of them drew up the plans for the "Braille Free Press” magazine. The Memphis Association of the Blind put up $400 to publish the first edition of the "Braille Free Press." Many of those letters written by Boring and McDaniel were included in this publication. The "Braille Free Press" became the "Braille Forum" in 1961 when at the National NFB convention in Kansas City, a group of people walked out, went across the street to meet and formed the American Council of the Blind.

It was at this time that the Tennessee Council of the Blind was established. LeVern Humphry was one of the early leaders of the Tennessee Council of the Blind. Four chapters had already been established; Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, and Knoxville.

If you want to learn more of the history of the American Council of the Blind, read the book "People of Vision" written by James J. and Marjorie L. Mcgivern.