Good Carolina Mornin’!
Thought it would be nice to start your week off with a short clip of inspiration from the 2017 C. Odell Tyndall Breakfast held June 7. This year’s event was well attended with 80 total attendees including 18 legislators—thanks for your support with identifying those with testimonies and for actively participating. Simply put, without your support in these ways, this event cannot succeed. I am hoping to share more specifics of some of these testimonies, but this clip will be an overview. Greatest inspiration will occur with attending the event directly—plan on attending next year’s event!
A summary of the agenda:
Frances Robinson introduces Stephanie Wells, HR Recruiter of Hickory Spring Manufacturing, who has a long time track record in hiring individuals with disabilities through partnering with NC DVRS. Stephanie mentioned specific examples of successful employee situations and the mutual commitment between management and employees that exists at HSM.
Hope this short clip helps you to capture and live the passion of your profession this week—just like the example C. Odell Tyndall left for us!
Phil Protz & Cheryl Revels
Co - Commissioners
Fantastic Friday To Ye’ Faithful Rehabbers!
As alluded to in Issue #16 of this series, this Issue #17 will explore the brief Civil War history that occurred on Dix Hill. We will also tie the Civil War aftermath to the compassion of the North Carolina Legislature who supported its veterans through the development of a prosthetic limb distribution program after the war to help with the rehabilitation of those who lived through the extremely gruesome events of warfare of that era.
HOSPITAL IN SERVICE TO SOLDIERS
We will begin our story in 1862 when the “Asylum” (Dorothea Dix Hospital) admitted four soldiers because of “war excitement” and two others that suffered “acute and violent mania.” While the hospital had reportedly rejected some civilians because of overcrowding and supply shortages, soldiers were not turned away.
SOLDIERS OF THE CONFEDERACY ENCAMPED ON DIX HILL
According to the map below encountered on display in a small museum downtown, Raleigh, the soldiers of the Confederacy were at one time encamped on Dix Hill prior to their evacuation on the evening of April 12, 1865.
GENERAL WILLIAM T. SHERMAN PAYS A VISIT TO DIX HILL ON HIS MARCH TO THE SEA
As Union General William T. Sherman and his troops ravaged the South on their March to the Sea, their reputation preceded them. North Carolina Governor Zebulon Vance chose to deal directly with Gen. Sherman in an attempt to save the city of Raleigh. A delegation appointed by Vance met the advancing Union troops at the summit of the hill south of Walnut Creek with a white flag of surrender and a request for protection for its noncombatants and public and private property. General Judson Kirkpatrick, a notorious Federal cavalry commander, agreed to protect all that complied and to destroy all that resisted. Union soldiers occupied the city on April 12. The only resistance came from a Confederate Lieutenant from Texas that fired five shots at the Union troops. The ensuing Union troops chased him around the Capitol grounds, caught him on Hillsborough Street, and promptly hung him in Burke Square.
General Sherman arrived that night and occupied the Governor's Mansion. On the morning April 17th, Sherman received a telegram announcing Lincoln's assassination at the hand of thespian John Wilkes Booth. Word spread quickly through the troops surrounding Raleigh. According to a diary entry in one Indiana officer's diary, a mob of two thousand angry Union soldiers charged down from their camp on Dix Hill. Union General John Logan met them at the foot of the hill and threatened to shoot anyone that didn't return to camp. The men turned back. The city of Raleigh was spared from a fiery inferno.
At one time there were 17,000 men encamped on Dix Hill surrounding Dix Hospital. Union soldiers also occupied Spring Hill, which was the plantation home (featured in Issue #16) owned by Theophilus Hunter (also seen on the map above).
The gardens of Dix Hill which were previously used to help feed the patients were decimated by the soldiers and civilians. At the war’s end the hospital’s condition was described as “deplorable” by Governor Jonathan Worth, who subsequently helped restore the hospital. Legislators authorized the expenditure of up to $35,000 from the public treasury to make repairs in 1866.
NC LEGISLATURE HAS COMPASSION ON AMPUTEE VETERANS OF CIVIL WAR
About 75 percent of the operations performed by surgeons during the Civil War were amputations. For those who survived amputation and the resulting infections, the pursuit of artificial limbs was natural. Artificial legs, and to a lesser extent, arms, also helped the amputees get back to work in order to support themselves and their families. The United States government assisted Union amputees after the Civil War, but Confederate veterans were considered the responsibilities of the states. The North Carolina Legislature responded quickly to the needs of its citizens and became the first of the former Confederate states to offer artificial limbs to amputees.
On January 23, 1866, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a resolution asking Governor Jonathan Worth to contract with a manufacturer of artificial limbs to fulfill the needs of the state’s Confederate amputees. Doing so, North Carolina became the first of the former Confederate states to offer artificial limbs to amputees. The state contracted with Jewett’s Patent Leg Company, and a temporary factory was set up in Raleigh. A system was developed so that the amputees encountered no out-of-pocket expenses in visiting Raleigh for prosthetic fittings. Because artificial arms were not considered to be very functional, it was another year before the state offered artificial arms.
During the five years that the state operated the artificial limbs program, 1,550 Confederate veterans contacted the state for help. According to records in the state archives, the total cost of the artificial-limbs program to the state was over $81,000. [Editor's note: this is equivalent to approximately 1.1 million in 2017 dollars]
Currently, the North Carolina Medicaid program and NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services are two programs applying state appropriated matching funds to carry on the tradition of assisting its citizens to live, work and participate within the NC Community through full or partial sponsorship of prosthetic limbs of a much more improved and functional nature. The NC Legislature is to be commended for their continued support of its citizens with disabilities. NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services is pleased to be one of their resources for extending compassionate assistance to those who require these devices for employment purposes.
We hope that through this issue you have learned a few interesting historical facts about the NC DVRS' current storied location for its central office operations. The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services central office team will continue its journey from Dix Hill to new locations as a result of Dix Hill’s recent sale to the City of Raleigh. Unlike General Sherman’s march of destruction to Savannah, NC DVRS will leave a legacy of healing and creative problem solving for North Carolinians with disabilities who require our assistance to regain their footing in life’s important activities.
Happy Carolina Friday Team!
This week’s exploration of the NC Vocational Rehabilitation program heritage really has more to do with the campus where the DVRS Central/State Office currently resides and its history. Many of you may already know that the City of Raleigh has purchased the Dorothea Dix Campus (Dix Hill) and will be relocating tenants from the property, including DVRS Central/State Office sometime during the next 5-8 years. The current plans are to create a mixed use destination park.
NC DVRS CENTRAL / STATE OFFICE PREVIOUS LOCATIONS:
Before we go further into the review of Dix Hill’s history, the following are the previous addresses of the NC DVRS program and approximate related time periods:
NC DVRS was a Division of the Dept. of Public Instruction when it began in 1921. It is thought that the very first office space (birthplace?) for the NC DVRS program was located at 121 West Hargett Street, Raleigh, NC. Am confident that the building has been demolished, but here is a modern street view of that sacred spot in our history:
Interesting fact: About that time (1922 ad) East Carolina University was offering free tuition for anyone who wanted to be a teacher(!):
Circa 1938- May 1959 NC DVRS Central Office was housed in the former Education Building (Now NC Justice Building) 114 West Edenton Street, Raleigh (4th floor)
NC DVRS Central Office was located at the following office addresses all in Raleigh, NC:
June 1959- May 1966 1124 Hillsboro Street, Raleigh, NC
June 1966 - July 1972 305-1/2 West Martin Street, Raleigh, NC
August 1972 – Early 1980’s 620 N. West Street, Raleigh, NC
Early 1980’s – Present 805 Ruggles Drive, Raleigh, N (Haywood Building on Dorothea Dix Campus)
The Haywood Building, current location of NC DVRS Central/State Office, was built as a dormitory facility in 1950 (left wing). The wing protruding forward on the right side of this photo was built circa 1960. It is one of over 100 buildings currently located on 310 remaining acres of the current Dorothea Dix Campus (Dix Hill). Boundaries to the campus are Western Boulevard, Lake Wheeler, and Centennial Drive in Raleigh.
EARLY HISTORY OF DIX HILL
Dorothea Dix Campus was originally Spring Hill Plantation owned by a prominent civic leader and merchant Colonel Theophilus Hunter (Sr.). The plantation was established in the 1790s, and Colonel Hunter is buried adjacent to his former home place. His son, Theophilus Hunter, Jr. inherited the property in 1798 and erected Spring Hill house in 1816. When he died 1840 the plantation comprised 5,000 acres. The state of North Carolina purchased 182 acres from his estate in 1851, which became the core of the Dix Hill property. William Grimes bought Spring Hill in 1872, and upon his death in 1908, his widow sold Spring Hill house and an additional 160 acres to the state, thereby enlarging the grounds of Dix Hospital.
The house shown below is the home built in 1816 by T Hunter Jr., which replaced the home of the Col. T. Hunter (Sr.) which was thought to be built somewhere behind the current structure. This home is still on Dix Hill and now serves as NC State University’s Japan House.
DOROTHEA DIX PLEADS FOR HUMANE TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUALS WITH MENTAL ILLNESS
Who was Dorothea Lynde Dix and why is the campus named after her/her father?
Dorothea Dix (April 4, 1802 – July 18, 1887) was an American activist on behalf of individuals with mental illness who were then referenced as “the indigent insane.” Ms. Dix, through a vigorous program of lobbying state legislatures and Congress, created the first generation of American Mental Illness Treatment Facilities previously referenced as “insane asylums.” During the Civil War (War Between the States), she served as a Superintendent of Army Nurses.
In 1848 North Carolina, Dorothea Dix followed her established pattern of gathering information about local conditions which she then incorporated into a “memorial” for the NC General Assembly. Warned that the Assembly, almost equally divided between Democrats and Whigs, would shy from any legislation which involved spending substantial amounts of money, Ms. Dix nevertheless won the support of several important Democrats led by Representative John W. Ellis who presented her “memorial” to the Assembly and maneuvered it through a select committee to the floor of the House of Commons. There, however, despite appeals to state pride and humanitarian feeling, the bill failed. Ms. Dix had been staying in the Mansion House Hotel in Raleigh during the legislative debate. There she went to the aid of a fellow guest, Mrs. James Dobbins, and nursed her through her final illness. Mrs. Dobbins’s husband was a leading Democrat in the House of Commons, and her dying request of him was to support Ms. Dix’s bill. James Dobbins returned to the House and made an impassioned speech calling for the reconsideration of the bill. The legislation passed the reconsideration vote and on the 29th day of January, 1849, passed its third and final reading and became law. One of the buildings on the Dix Hill campus is named after James Dobbins.
As a result of her influence, a legislative commission was created to establish and locate a suitable site for a state-supported institution to treat individuals with mental illness.
In 1851 the commission declared:
“. . . after carefully examining the whole country in the vicinity of Raleigh, we chose a location west of the city and about one mile distant, which in our opinion was best adapted to that purpose . . . This location has a commanding view of the city and is believed to be perfectly healthy. The grounds are beautifully undulating and susceptible of improvement.”
The state hired the nationally renowned architect Alexander Jackson Davis a principal in the New York-based firm of Town and Davis, to design a modern facility to accommodate the new hospital. This architect had previously designed a similar facility in Staunton, Virginia, but the Legislature did not wish to spend as much as the Virginia project had cost. Note: the facility in Staunton, which retained more of its original architectural features was being converted to historical multi-family dwelling last time I had visited Staunton.
For the next seven years, construction of the new Dix-inspired hospital advanced slowly on a hill overlooking Raleigh, and it was not until 1856 that the facility was ready to admit its first patients, which were admitted February 22, 1856. The cost of the structure, was approximately $185,000 and the cost to operate the hospital was approximately $30,000 per year. Dorothea Dix refused to allow the hospital to be named after herself, although she did permit the site on which it was built to be called Dix Hill in honor of her father. One hundred years after the first patient was admitted, the General Assembly voted to change the name of Dix Hill Asylum to Dorothea Dix Hospital.
Dorothea Dix Hospital no longer serves as a hospital as a new Central Regional Hospital in Butner, NC replaced it over a period of time in the mid-2000’s. The building now serves as office space for portions of DHHS operations.
Below is a progression of photos beginning with early photos/renderings (circa 1860’s) to more recent ones:
Below is a circa. 1900 photo view of the central pavilion of Dorothea Dix Hospital. It featured a dramatic entrance and skylight-topped rotunda. The pavilion was demolished in the early 1950s, and replaced by the modernist-styled McBride administration building.
Below is another view of architect Davis’ central pavilion, as it appeared in the 1940s.
Below we see a broad view of the central pavilion and the east wing of the hospital. All of the architectural embellishments of Davis’ original design were removed in the 1950s.
Below: a current photo of what were the male and female dormitories.
NEXT ISSUE: CIVIL WAR ACTIVITY ON DIX HILL (and other related Dix Hill topics)
Thanks for joining us for this edition of our exploration of our rich VR History and our vanishing ties with historic Dix Hill.
Until next time, fellow rehabbers, you are strongly encouraged to make your own history like the great Dorothea Dix did through your commitment to serving North Carolinians who truly need your help and an extra touch of care and compassion. Capture and live the passion of your profession!
Your Rich VR Heritage Issue #15: Mary E. Switzer—Rehabilitation Services Commissioner and Leader of Excellence
Happy Carolina Friday Team!
This issue, dedicated to three of NC DVRS’ women leaders who very recently retired*, will honor Mary E. Switzer, one of the truly outstanding women pioneering leaders in the field of rehabilitation.
Miss Switzer, through her demonstrated leadership capabilities, forged her own pathway in what was generally regarded to have been a challenging environment for aspiring professional women. It was the post-WWII era, one during which the national and state rehabilitation programs were predominantly managed by men, even though the war had presented the opportunity for women to fully demonstrate their capabilities in diverse situations. In 1950, Mary E. Switzer became director of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in the US Department of Health Education and Welfare (where the national VR program resided in contrast with US Dept of Education where it resides today). In 1967, Mary became the first administrator of the Social and Rehabilitation Service. She retired in 1970 as the highest ranking female official in the federal government and became vice-president of the World Rehabilitation Fund until her death a year later. If you visit the Department of Education in Washington DC, you will notice the building, which was built in 1940 and renamed in her honor in 1972.
The November-December 1971 REACH issue featured a short tribute to Miss Switzer, who, according to previous REACH issues took a strong interest in the North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation program. We have scoured the issues to identify related material within this VR Heritage issue to honor a great pioneer in the national rehabilitation program’s development during an era of unmatched growth and commitment.
The Vocational Rehabilitation Manual of the Federal Security Agency Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (for State Directors) within the NC DVRS archives contains several typed memos signed by Miss Switzer. The first entry within that manual was the one shown below from March 8, 1951 addressing the topic of their recent replacement of numerical occupational codes with an alphabetical 3-digit arrangement that was to correspond to the then-current Dictionary of Occupational Titles, revised March 1949:
Over the span of her career, the NC DVRS publication REACH would routinely contain words of encouragement and Holiday greetings from the national leader. Below are some of the examples of her morale-boosting words of inspiration from the November-December 1955 REACH:
Another snippet of encouragement from the RSA Commissioner of the era (Jan-Feb 1968 REACH):
Miss Switzer made a visit to some of the Western regional facilities according to this July-August 1965 REACH entry:
One final example of Miss Switzer’s inspirational leadership commending NCDVRS’ job well done in the September- October 1965 REACH:
Through this issue, we hope that you have become aware of and inspired by one of the early great national woman leaders within the rehabilitation arena. Today the representation of women leaders is very strong within the Rehabilitation Services Administration and across the national team of vocational rehabilitation program directors, including our very own pedigree of strong women directors from our past, present, and future. Will one of you among the next generation of leaders arise to accept the rewards and challenges of strategically leading and inspiring your team and co-workers? There are never too many individuals demonstrating strong leadership in the many ways that are needed within such a dynamic human service intensive field as ours.
*This issue is written in honor of three great women NC DVRS leaders who retired this past week with distinguished careers, just as Mary E. Switzer did. Connie Barnette, retiring as Director of WorkSource West DVRS training facility; Georgia Gulledge, retiring as Manager of the Charlotte Unit; and Lynn Furr, retiring as a Quality Development Specialist and former Independent Living Services manager and mentor. We all will definitely miss and be impacted by the loss of their significant experience and unique contributions.
Happy Carolina Friday, Team!
For this edition of the VR Heritage tour, we rifled through some of the documents in the “VR Vault” and found something that we felt would be of interest to you—a 20 page document entitled “Orientation Program for Rehabilitation Counselors.” Dated December, 1966. This particular copy belonged to Fred Hughes, who was assistant regional director in the western region when he retired approximately 1999.
Some interesting notations from our review:
In honor of the excellent work and passion that our Specialist for Transition Services Stephanie Hanes is demonstrating to take the NC DVRS Transition Services to new heights, our final submission for this edition is to share an article from the September-October 1966 edition of REACH touting the NC DVRS Transition Program and partnership with NC Department of Public Instruction that existed even then.
Once again, we hope you have gained additional perspective and respect for those who served our fellow North Carolinians before us and left us timeless pragmatic wisdom that largely still applies to our business. Let’s see just how much we can accomplish together to give those that follow us something to remember us by as we successfully temper and apply these timeless principles to this new era of rehabilitation with all of the additional tools and resources available to us!
Happy Friday, DVRS Team Supreme!
In recognition of February being Black History Month, this week’s edition pays special tribute to just a few of the many African Americans that NC DVRS has served or who have served as important team members in our Division’s quest to improve the lives of all North Carolinians with disabilities that request our assistance with empowering them toward a better destiny.
Most of these success stories come from the chronicles of our archived REACH publications spanning from 1953 through 1972. We will conclude our brief today with a more recent celebration of one of several success stories presented at last year’s NCRA C. Odell Tyndall Memorial Legislative Breakfast. Remember to mark your calendars for June 7, 2017 7:00 a.m. for this year’s event. We will be putting together a program soon and inviting you and our NC Legislators to attend and celebrate your work early that morning in the Legislative Cafeteria, downtown Raleigh—look for it!
The first success story featured in this edition comes from the May-June 1954 REACH publication:
Now….the rest of the story: Apparently, Clifford, the multi-talented individual he was, applied his talents with lasting zeal as a folk artist in Elkin, NC. There is a longstanding Clifford Morrison Memorial Art Competition and show and scholarship in his honor, as per these links:
September 1, 2017 is the next annual event.
Yet another example of the VR Return on Investment—an investment long ago continues to give dividends as scholarships going on to help educate other young artists!
Our next amazing success story comes to us from the Nov-Dec 1966:
The Rest of the Story: Amazingly, thanks to historians who had the vision and took the effort to record this oral history, it does exist!
If you wish to click on the link below, Mr. Hinton tells his story about his accident with the sawmill about 4:50 into the recording here. He also discusses his rehabilitation of going to school and describes his counselor, and talks about tearing up when he recalls the inspiration he received by others (possibly referencing his counselor). Class president of his school. He later majored in Mathematics and Chemistry in college. The record indicates that he was a Health Services worker, but indicated in the recording that he taught Physics at an institution in Auburn, NY. Later he learned about prosthetics and orthotics at Duke and then taught about this health science at NYU. Amazingly, he beat the New York City discriminatory practices against teachers with disabilities—very interesting story, including funny enough-- political maneuvering. Worth listening to! Another VR investment paying forward multiples in returns!
The next story celebrates one of our VR educators in the May-June 1969:
Unfortunately, Mr. Harring is no longer with us, as per below:
Aug. 4, 1927-Feb. 24, 2011
James Lloyd Herring, 83, of 110 Glenn Drive, passed away Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011, at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville.
Another more recent success story from the central part of the state, as presented at the 2016 NCRA C. O’Dell Tyndall Memorial Legislative Breakfast:
S. K., a gentleman who received services from the Division tells his story about how DVRS and his rehabilitation counselor Vickie Winters was there for him. It was a time when he could no longer perform his computer IT work until he received assistance with orthopedic physical restoration and therapy services and additional certifications to help him increase his marketable skills in network storage, which was more suitable to suit his physical requirements and in higher demand. S. K. has since become successfully employed with a major employer and provider of cloud computing services within North Carolina. Congratulations to S.K. and to Vickie Winters! Don’t miss the upcoming 2017 event scheduled for June 7, 2017, where you are bound to hear of current success stories presented in person.
Check back here on our Events page for the announcements and also be on the lookout for email invitations!
We hope this week’s tribute has again provided you yet another expanded perspective on who we are and the worthwhile work we do for all North Carolinians with disabilities who request our hand in elevating them to higher ground. Further, we hope this may also spark your interest in pursuing the knowledge that history has in store, beckoning for you to discover, just as we have in preparing this brief for your enjoyment.
Your Rich VR Heritage Brief #12: VR Valentines Edition - VR's Spark leads to a Sparkling Enterprise Thriving Today
Happy Friday Team VR!
Valentine’s day often summons thoughts of love, (com)passion, chocolates-- and jewelry. Today’s special edition has most of those elements as presented through the story of two of NC DVR’s past success stories that are inter-related. If you wish to round this out and enhance your reading pleasure, consider partaking in the pleasure of savoring some chocolate. One rehabilitant’s success created a platform to allow re-investing in the success of another. This individual was also honored by the Governor of North Carolina at some point in this progression. Another important point is the lasting power that the investment that NC DVRS made in a young gentleman, Lloyd Collier Sr., who at least sent him to Spencer School of Watchmaking in Spencer, NC. According to the linked article, this school was heavily utilized by NC DVRS at some point in its past.
Lloyd Collier Sr., whose story is featured below, used the Spark provided by VR to ignite his sparkling legacy in jewelry that continues today as a successful jewelry store in Whiteville, NC with $1.8 Million in annual revenue (14 employees). One of those career employees for 56 years was his son, Lloyd Collier Jr., who recently passed away March 16, 2016.
We wish to point out that according to the article below, Lloyd Collier Sr. was a youth who successfully transitioned into employment through effective introduction to VR services—not a new concept at all but something we continually strive to improve!
Lloyd Collier Sr.’s story is followed by another great presentation about another individual named Cedric who became employed by Mr. Collier, who had compassion on his fellow rehabilitant and loaned him $500 at some point to become self-sufficient through the establishment of another jewelry operation in Elizabethtown, NC. I could not determine that this jewelry store remains in business. Probably transferred ownership years ago.
Lloyd Collier’s Success Story from REACH July-August 1954 edition:
Lloyd Collier’s Recognition by Governor Hodges featured in Nov-Dec 1955 REACH Issue:
The following success story from the March-April 1956 REACH issue is of a gentleman Cedric, who also became self-sufficient as a benefactor of VR services, then Lloyd’s success and friendship: VR’s “spark” lights a spreading fire of success.
This concludes this special Valentine’s edition. Don’t forget to remember your loved ones, and perhaps renew your love of this profession. We hope this has provoked some introspection and an important reminder that you/your team and its (com)passion are the true basis of the “VR Spark” that can ignite a legacy of success!
Your Rich VR Heritage Brief #11: The Quest of Individuals With Disabilities-- Gains made but Goals Not Yet Achieved
Happy Friday!—where’d the week go?!?
This week’s brief will tie in the history of the national disability rights efforts with some highlights of the efforts that NC DVRS (and NCRA) have made toward addressing architectural and employment barriers. I simply am not doing this topic justice within this brief, so a more exhaustive review of the NC efforts will most likely surface in future briefs.
I want to thank several of those who share an appreciation of our history for sending an incredible link that presents history of the ADA and disability rights movement. If you were not fortunate enough to have been notified of this, I saved it here to share with you. It was featured from this Google Search launch site:
An interesting note is that it begins with featuring highlights of the life of yet another heroic individual, Ed Roberts, who was a polio survivor and heroic like others featured in these briefs. Against all odds, he survived, became educated following advocating for improved disability services at UC Berkley and formed a historic and nationally impactful Center for Independent Living.
I believe our former director Linda Harrington had spent an early period of her career at the same center. I do wish to point out that even in the presentation near the end, there is a NC DVRS and NCATP connection. There is a photo of one of the individuals that our agency has assisted and has been featured in NCATP’s award-winning video called “An Accessible Life—A Short Film.” The film was featured at the GREAT conference in Greenville a few years ago.
She and her parents are very active in the community and were also recently assisting with this past year’s Santa’s Hackers event. She has taken an interest in advocacy and participated in a Washington, DC internship with some of the disability advocacy legends. This apparently is a photograph that captured that moment. Maybe she will boldly carry on “the quest!”
Returning to NCDVR’s heritage and longstanding tradition of advocating for physical access and equal access to employment opportunities, I have discovered the following notable items featured next. I learned that NCRA had a committee to address architectural barriers, when very few property owners even thought their properties might happen to exclude some important members of society. NCRA currently has a commission to address client’s rights and access. Many of the projects have been financial support for increasing access to recreational opportunities or improving other resources used heavily by individuals with disabilities. May the past work of Grady and others inspire us as we move forward over the course of “the quest.”
From a 1972 NC DVRS REACH issue:
Also from a Nov-Dec 1972 REACH issue--there is additional documentation of NC DVRS’ advocacy work for improved building codes and architectural barrier removal. For additional documentation of the respectful work of our predecessors, please review the tribute to John Dalrymple: Independent Living Crusader in Brief #8. Individuals who physically could not access government and community resources, their homes or communities at large could not begin to consider accessing employment opportunities. DVRS counselors and staff did whatever it took to be the “voice of the voiceless” of that era.
From the Nov-Dec 1972 REACH issue:
Also the Ed Roberts-ADA presentation highlights the accessibility of the campus of UC-Berkley during that era. Notably, North Carolina and NC DVRS were also on that cutting edge with their approach to improving campuses and campus facilities for those with the most significant physical disabilities. Many of our counselors from Laurinburg office (Denise Mckoy, Bill Gurkin) and Lumberton UM (Sandra Britt) (and I who served the students there technologically) can attest to the wonderful opportunities that these students had to participate in a university education at St. Andrews College. It had a national draw for such students at its peak period. Here is a historical snippet featuring the initial excitement of this offering:
The wonderful change in this educational setting accessibility improvement we recognize as greatly improved is partially the result of the Americans with Disabilities Act Title II which helped reinforce the legal requirements that schools, universities were to be architecturally and programmatically accessible. Disability services departments are currently common and well developed on campuses, which has made our work in that area less challenging. This part of “the quest” has made considerable strides. As a gage--remember our gentleman “The Judge” from Brief #9 who had to overturn the UNC-CH decision denying him admission to their undergraduate academic program due to his blindness?
What appears to be that difficult, slippery part of the hill climb to achieve the zenith of “the quest” is the EMPLOYMENT COMPONENT. Again, representatives and former directors (Claude Myer) is shown beside NC Governor Scott of the era promoting the employment of individuals with disabilities. This was the pre-ADA era—NC DVRS again being the “voice of the voiceless” of the era.
Further, even when the ADA was passed in 1990, DVRS counselors (and engineers) became knowledgeable and advocated for the newly granted employment rights of their consumers and also served as a valuable resource and educator to businesses and employers both from an employment rights standpoint and an architectural barrier removal standpoint. We are to be commended for rising to meet the needs and represent those who may be disadvantaged through the lack of understanding of disability in general, capabilities of individuals with disabilities, and how their employment positively impacts the workforce and economy. Since largely, but not completely, “the quest” to increase access to employment has been successful, OUR CHARGE TODAY (reinforced by the WIOA) IS TO CONTINUE TO ADDRESS EDUCATING EMPLOYERS AND ADVOCATING FOR QUALITY EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES WITHIN COMPETITIVE INTEGRATED ENVIRONMENTS!
It is our hope that this week’s edition has again provided a helpful perspective of where we are in “the quest” and what our important role is in addressing what appears to be one of the remaining barriers individuals with disabilities face—EMPLOYMENT. Thank you for choosing to serve with us as we address this challenge together!
We all made it to Friday! For this edition—we will begin with something very real in our VR past, present, and future— we rehabbers are passionate about our work and our play – it is the perfect balance of giving something and receiving something that sustains us over a long course of time. I trust many of you like me can’t wait for the next opportunity for some fun VR times—hope to at least catch you at the NCRA conference and make our own history and fun times.
To begin with, to ”earn” our fun during this brief, we will focus on some of the serious sides of our rehab past—success stories and interesting changes and muses of the era.
We always focus first on “The Client” who is why we exist as a committed body of unique people who value serving those who need our assistance more than self-serving. As published in the March-April REACH Issue of 1955:
One of the CLIENTS who through skillful counseling and intervention became successful (from the July-August 1955 REACH):
I later discovered what I believe to be “the rest of the story” which may be the same individual based on description and vocation:
NOW FOR THE FUN: Several of you may remember Forrest Teague—long time Eastern Regional Director—he is featured in the following article where CLIENTS from what is now Work Source East voted on “Miss VR” and had the pleasure of crowning. I believe I remember working with a Phyllis McLeod—do any of you? Which of you fine VR ladies would clients vote for today based on the criteria within the article?
More Recent Photos of Staff Enjoying Time Together “it’s good it’s good it’s good”(Clark Giswald and Cousin Eddie/ Mac Britt)
The Duck Dynasty Clan from Boone at one of our past NCRA Costume Events:
Tie Cutting Ceremonies for SECC Fundraising in recent years (Kenny Gibbs, John Marens, and Director Elizabeth Bishop) 2014
CLIENTS NEED FUN TOO:
Note the cover and article from the January-February 1972 REACH featuring a new concept: Wheelchair Basketball! The sport is very much thriving today and NCRA has worked with a few of these programs in recent years to help them raise funds for equipment. See Bridge II Sports http://www.bridge2sports.org/ for the latest update and testimonial how sports enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities. There are many sports such as waterskiing, skydiving, snow boarding/skiing as well as biking, swimming and all other varieties
FINALLY—OUR “DO YOU REMEMBER?” SECTION for THOSE WHO JUST MIGHT REMEMBER THESE FORMER REHABERS:
Hal Collins (1972) : From the Fayetteville Area. Retired about 10 years ago and served as S.Central Assistant Regional Director under Jim Wade:
Joan Cockrell (1972): Worked Many Years with Freya Brannon and some with Melinda Remaley as part of the Training and Staff Development in the Central Office
Dennis Crumpler (Rehab Eng Technician) (1972) I worked side by side with Dennis for about 5 or more years until his retirement. I credit him for giving me a great welcome to North Carolina and filling me in on intricate details of fine NC Barbeque and NASCAR. He literally grew up in one of the houses here on Dorothea Dix campus and also grew up with NASCAR when it was pretty much all dirt track.
I hope you have enjoyed this week’s nod to us as a hard working fun-loving group of people we pride ourselves to be.
Your Rich VR Heritage BRIEF #9: A Story of Trains and Great Gains in the NC Vocational Rehabilitation System
Happy Carolina Friday! While doing my Wed evening perusing of the REACH publication library looking for the best material to share with you I, ran across an interesting story that starts with trains and ends with a HUGE gain in NC Vocational Rehabilitation System. I know of several train fans in the audience (Richard Palmer, VR Engineer (Hickory) and Train Engineer (Spencer), and Mike Lindsay (QDS Winston Salem) and me to name those that immediately come to mind.
So the story begins with the Virginia-Carolina Railway, as per Wikipedia, which was an interstate railroad in operating 1887-1977 in southwestern Virginia and northwestern North Carolina. It ran from Abingdon in Washington County, Virginia to Todd in Ashe County, North Carolina. The line charted a complicated course through the mountains of the area, crossing the Blue Ridge not far from Mount Rogers. I ran across a book that covers this topic and the initial part of the story, “The “Virginia Creeper”: Remembering the Virginia-Carolina Railway,” by Doug McGuinn. A graphic of the book with a train is shown immediately below:.
For this special edition, I have retyped various portions from this book and the September-October 1955 issue of the REACH Voc Rehab Services Internal publication and will explain why later from a technical and accessibility standpoint. This portion of the story is from the book above.
“SAM” One particular day in 1913, between Todd and Fleetwood, the crews set their dynamite and charges in two holes. When set off, one of the charges fired as planned, but not the other. After some delay waiting for the second charge to go off and nothing happening, a foreman for the railroad by the name of Sam Cathey went to investigate. Just as he stopped over the hole, the dynamite discharged, leaving Sam blind and part of his face blown off. It was reported that he was blown some sixty feet from the original blast site.
Not one to be dependent on others because of his blindness, Sam set out to make a new life for himself. He mastered reading Braille and enrolled in the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill. After much dedication and work, he not only received a law degree, but later went on to become a judge of the City Court in Asheville, N.C.”
Retyped from the 1955 REACH issue:
“With bowed head, the lone figure of a man standing in a vast pastureland atop a fertile plateau near Asheville, North Carolina, turned his back upon the setting sun to face eastward. He looked downward to the rolling slopes of the foothills, across the Piedmont sections, in to the wide stretches of the peach belt and outward to the sea. And looking thus across the great Tarhelia, he saw what no human eye may see.
In solemn reverence he stood there, standing before a background of his grazing cattle dwarfed by jagged peaks of the Blue Ridge. He faced the sky now overcast by a deep shade of fiery red from the last rays of the sun.
But this man…blind…could see none of these beautiful aspects of his ranch. He smiled, stretched his arms outward as if to embrace the entire world and thanked his God.
He sensed that cotton-like clouds were passing rapidly overhead. They reminded him of his memories, recollections of the seven thousand and more persons to whom he had restored eyesight. Laughter of children rang like music in the ear of his mind, hundreds of children who have been snatched from long, useless lives of idleness without eyesight. And there was the gladdening warmth, too, of other mature voices. These voices belong to one-fifth and more of all blind persons now employed in this United States and who live in North Carolina. Yes, twenty percent of all employed blind persons in the entire country live in North Carolina.
He thought of the North Carolina State Commission for the Blind of which he has been Chairman since 1935. Then he remembered the Asheville Municipal Court of which he has been judge since 1931. Reminded of some unfinished business, he walked resolutely toward the outer fringe of the pasture back to the people who love him and call him Sam.
Yes—and he loves his people too. Judge Sam M. Cathey has already become traditional. To the thousands of visually handicapped citizens of this State, he has become a symbol of a dream come true. Actually, he lives in the hearts and minds of even those who have not yet met him. He has searched the innermost, darkest recess of misfortune among the visually handicapped and has dared defy all who challenge the thought that a blind person is not capable of work and of earning his own living. Sam has proved that in his giant strides toward his own personal success.
Eyesight was lost to him in 1912 on a construction job when dynamite exploded. Sam remembers that it took him about three years to adjust to his handicap of blindness before enrolling in the State School for the Blind at Raleigh. He remembers, too that there was no State Commission for the Blind to assist him in his adjustment. And worse still, upon his graduation, he found that blind persons were denied admission into the University of North Carolina. This situation struck the spark. He resolved then and there to establish precedent. He would open new trails. By example of accomplishment, he would prove that blindness need not be considered a bar to professional training.
First, he broke through opposition at the State University. He is the first visually handicapped man to graduate from the Institution with Phi Beta Kappa [honor society that originated at the College of William and Mary Dec 5, 1776] honors and a LLB Degree.
One of his fellow students at the University recalls that the self-same faculty members who had so reluctantly accepted Sam as a student at the University later came to him for counsel when establishing a system of student government on the campus. In those days, there was much to be hoped for in the matter of self-discipline of students. That was nearly thirty-five years ago. Students of that time can recognize to this day influences of Judge Cathey in the present honor system and student government.
This pioneer in work for the blind initiated the first social legislation for the adult blind in North Carolina. He found to his amazement that there were no provisions for text books in Braille, a system of fingertip reading for the blind. He wrote a bill which was enacted into law. This law provides tuition and expenses of blind students in state colleges and allows additional funds to be spent for reader service.
Having thus opened the way for the college training of blind persons in North Carolina, Sam surveyed other general conditions. Employment opportunities for the blind were nil. Except for the school for the juvenile blind, there were no organized groups doing anything. Blind children were being educated through high school and were being returned home to survive as best they could. Sam recognized that money spent educating blind children was well used as far as it went. But an agency for the adult blind was sorely needed, an agency with the needed funds and skill to see that these children did find remunerative employment and useful citizenship.
In 1920, Sam Cathey established his practice of law in Asheville. During the next three years, he launched what was virtually a one-man campaign, championing the cause of the blind. His vigorous insistence that blindness is no employment handicap evoked surprise and admiration among citizens of Asheville, who elected him solicitor of the Asheville Municipal Court in 1927. It was here that Cathey learned to judge human character by the human voice and through analysis of what people say. Somehow, he has found it possible to penetrate behind the raw, seamy side of life and to plainly see the fabric that is a man himself. Viewing the needs and aches of the human heart, he has averted what might have been many broken homes. This insight has enabled him to establish a record in the area of crime prevention. The people living in Asheville wanted Sam for Judge of the Municipal Court in 1931. And they have never ceased to want him at the expiration of every four-year-term since. Those who know him best have come to know him as “Judge.”
In 1934, Judge Cathey encouraged a group of citizens from all sections of the State to meet and plan for the creation of a state agency for the adult blind. These people, representing the civic, fraternal, social, educational and religious organizations of North Carolina, were inspired by this dynamic figure who had so completely defeated the severest of physical handicaps. In September, 1937, they met at Statesville to organize the North Carolina State Association for the Blind. The following January, proposed legislation to create a State Commission for the Blind was enacted into law.
Soon afterward, J.C.B. Ehringhaus, then Governor of the State, was visited by a group of blind citizens who urged the appointment of Judge Cathey to the Board of the newly created agency for the blind. At the first meeting of the Board of Directors, Cathey was chosen by the Board to act as Chairman. Originally appointed to serve a term of three years, Judge Cathey has been re-appointed by succeeding Governors to serve for four additional five-year terms. And during the past 19 years he has served the State Commission for the Blind without remuneration and has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the original North Carolina State Association for the Blind.
Remembering those dark, bleak days in 1912 immediately following the accident that left him blind, he turned his attention to the need for a social adjustment center for the adult blind. In 1947, he appeared before the Joint Appropriations Committee of the General Assembly, asking that this provision be made. At considerable financial sacrifice to himself and with neglect of his law practice, he attended many committee meetings and hearings prior to and after the creation of the first Rehabilitation Canter for the Blind in the United States. The quivering, sensitive bewilderment of the newly blind is transformed into an asset, the Rehabilitation Center being the gateway to their social and economic independence.
This Rehabilitation Center is an indispensable tool in the vocational rehabilitation of the blind. It has been the means of bringing the level of employed blind persons in North Carolina to such a new “high” that the present twenty per cent of employed blind persons living in the state will be exceeded. Training methods established under Cathey’s direction at the Rehabilitation center for the Blind have attracted people from all sections of the United States, from Egypt, France, South America, and other countries.
Along the way up, Judge Cathey has identified himself with numerous organizations in order to expand his effort and plant seeds of suggestion among as many people in the State as possible. He is a past President and member of the Asheville Lions Club. He has come as high as a 32nd –degree Mason. He has served as exalted ruler of the Elks. He is a past Governor of the Moose in North Carolina. He has served as a member of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles and of the Red Men of the World. He has contributed much as a member of the Buncombe County and State Bar Associations.
Those who have observed his long record of never ending services to his fellow-men, wonder how he has managed to accomplish so much good in so short a time. But the Judge devotes little time to the past and all that he has done—rather he likes to dream of the many other things to be done so that the blind may have equal opportunities to live, work, and enjoy life. Some say the forward progress of the blind is impossible but the cattleman of Western North Carolina quickly remember the other things that were impossible but became possible with dogged determination, hard work, and a goal. He smiles as he muses on the successes of the past and the dreams of the future which will be realized with the continued interest and help of thousands of persons across the great State of North Carolina.
Note: Judge Samuel Murston Cathey was born February 9, 1894 in Henderson, NC and died February 12, 1970 in Buncombe, NC. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=41016759&PIpi=80727494
Additional note: This special edition will be shared with Division of Services for the Blind and to keep the document as accessible as possible for screen readers, the body of the text has been typed out instead of using scans of graphics which screen readers cannot decipher well.
Finally, I will conclude this “Brief” with a concise statement from the July-August 1955 issue:
“A man can live thirty days with no food,
seven days with no water,
five minutes with no air,
but no time at all without HOPE.”
The proficient Rehabilitation Counselor inspires HOPE.
I HOPE this has inspired you to continue your proficiency in first inspiring HOPE to those who need it, then ACTING to change their status in life just as Judge Cathey did for himself and all the individuals who lived their lives more fully realized.