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Thursday, February 16, 2012

National Federation of the Blind Hazel tenBroek Grants for Research on Blindness, Disability Rights and Civil Rights

National Federation of the Blind Hazel tenBroek Grants for Research on Blindness, Disability Rights and Civil Rights

The National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute announces the NFB Hazel tenBroek Research Grant program for 2012-13.

Though sighted, Hazel tenBroek (1911-2005) was a devoted member of the National Federation of the Blind. For many years, she was an unpaid coworker of her husband, NFB founding President Jacobus tenBroek, and after his death she served as Associate Editor of the NFB monthly magazine, the Braille Monitor. Near the end of her life she agreed to donate the Jacobus tenBroek papers to the Jernigan Institute. The tenBroek papers now constitute the centerpiece of the research resources of the Jacobus tenBroek Library.

Purpose: These awards will support projects that (1) require the resources of the Jacobus tenBroek Library and (2) are intended to lead to a product of educational or aesthetic value to the public and/or the academic community. Undergraduate students may apply, but only for work on a senior thesis or capstone project.

Awards: Up to five applicants will win awards of between $500 and $5000. Awards will be based on budgets submitted as part of the application (see below), but will not necessarily match the total proposed budget. In general, the awards will be proportional to the proposed length of residence in the tenBroek Library.

Period of residence: Winners of Hazel tenBroek Research grants are expected to spend at least five days in residence at the Jacobus tenBroek Library, any time between mid-July 2012 and mid-June 2013. The days of residence need not be consecutive. Awardees who come from a distance are invited to stay in Jernigan Institute sleeping rooms at no charge. Grant recipients are not required to stay at the Jernigan Institute, but we will not consider lodging costs in proposal budgets.

Presentation: At the conclusion of their stay, awardees will be expected to make a presentation of 20-30 minutes, followed by a question and answer period with Jernigan Institute staff members.

Acknowledgment and rights: All products of work done on these grants remain the intellectual property of the awardees, but must include an acknowledgment of the 2012-2013 NFB Hazel tenBroek Research Grant program. Should the editors regard the grant-funded work as appropriate for inclusion in the Braille Monitor, tenBroek Library staff will work with the awardee in preparing an article.

Eligibility: All are eligible to apply, regardless of citizenship or age.

Travel and visas: Grantees are responsible for their own travel arrangements and visa arrangements (if needed).

Disability status. All else being equal, preference will be shown, first, to blind applicants, and second, to other disabled applicants.

Topic of project. We are especially interested in projects related to the life and work of Jacobus tenBroek or the history of the National Federation of the Blind. However, we will consider well-conceived projects in other areas.

Published books, periodicals, etc. The Jacobus tenBroek Library, established in 2004, is currently engaged in a large-scale acquisitions program (both retrospective and current). The scope of its published materials—largely in print, but also in talking book, Braille, and digital formats—extends to all facets (except the medical) of blindness and the lives of blind people. We encourage potential applicants to check THE BLIND CAT, our online public-access catalog (, and let us know of books or other publications that are within our scope, that we do not yet own.

Archival and manuscript materials. The most significant single resource of the tenBroek Library is the Professional and Personal Papers of Jacobus tenBroek. Dr. tenBroek (1911-1968) was a towering figure in many areas. The NFB as he built it in the 1940s and 1950s adumbrated many of the features of today’s disability rights movement, most importantly by asserting that blind must speak for themselves as consumers and as a demographic minority that experiences discrimination. A graduate of the University of California School of Law (Boalt Hall), tenBroek earned additional graduate degrees in both law and political science. His scholarly interests centered around constitutional notions of “rights” and he is credited with helping to refine the idea of rights in the post-World War II era. In addition to disability rights, his writings have proved central to civil rights law and welfare rights law. His 1958 book, Prejudice, War, and the Constitution is regarded as the definitive c!
 ritique of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to allow the federal government to relocate Japanese Americans during the World War II.

TenBroek served on the faculty of the University of California from 1942 until his death. As a university professor, he stood strongly in favor of academic freedom, opposing the loyalty oath during the 1950s, and supporting the student Free Speech Movement in 1964. Simultaneously with his social activism and scholarly work tenBroek was a member and, for a period, chairman of the California Social Welfare Board.

The Jacobus tenBroek papers—consisting largely of typed and printed documents, but with a significant portion in grade 3 Braille—is a major primary resource for research on any of his personal and professional interests. A grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission has allowed us to complete basic processing of both the tenBroek papers and the larger institutional archives of the National Federation of the Blind. We have recently made finding aids to these and several smaller collections available through our archival search tool, THE CANE TIP (

Museum collection. The tenBroek Library has an unprocessed collection of objects, including several exhibits on display in public areas of the Jernigan Institute. In storage are a number of mechanical and manual tools for writing in Braille, as well as electronic devices developed for use by the blind in the past half-century. The Jernigan Institute is also home to the International Braille and Technology Center (IBTC), which collects state-of-the-art electronic devices, and the Independence Market, which sells a selection of “low tech” aids and appliances for the blind, including canes, clocks, low-vision aids, and toys. The resources of the IBTC and the Independence Market are available for use by researchers.

Audiovisual collection. The tenBroek Library is also responsible for the NFB’s collection of sound and moving picture recordings dating back to the 1950s. The AV collection includes recordings of NFB events, oral history interviews, broadcast public service announcements, and other NFB archival material. At present there is no public access to the AV inventory, but we will gladly answer questions about this collection.

Photographs. We have more than forty thousand photographs in digital formats. They are entered with descriptive metadata in our photograph database, Photo Showcase. Photo Showcase is not available to outside researchers but, again, we will gladly help researchers locate photographs.

Applications: Applications will be accepted only as e-mail attachments sent to, preferably using Microsoft Word, Microsoft Works word processor, Open Office Writer, or Rich Text Format. All applications must have the following information clearly labeled and in this order:

I. Name and contact information, including relevant affiliations
II. Type of project (undergraduate thesis, graduate thesis, scholarly article or book, popular non-fiction, fiction or poetry, other artistic endeavor). If none of these, please specify what is intended.
III. Title of project
IV. Abstract of no more than five hundred words
V. Description of how the resources of the tenBroek Library will be utilized
VI. Budget. There is no budget form, and applicants should themselves choose the categories of expense they anticipate.

For further information, please contact the tenBroek Library (410-659-9314 x2225 or

Deadline: All applications must be received by 8:00 AM, Eastern Time (GMT -05:00), Monday April 2, 2012. Decisions will be announced within a few weeks.

1 comment:

  1. Great Blog! disability rights? Do they still exist? Not in a case such as my own son Bryce, God Bless The children, even the grown up ones.