[Ohio-Talk] Happy 75th to the NFB of South Carolina

Richard Payne rchpay7 at gmail.com
Fri Aug 16 10:08:17 UTC 2019

	Happy 75th to the NFB of South Carolina 
Friday, August 9, 2019 
This year, as usual, the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina
will kick off the fall convention season with its state convention, which
starts today in the state's capital city of Columbia.
It's a special convention because the affiliate is celebrating its
seventy-fifth anniversary. Established as the South Carolina Aurora Club of
the Blind in 1944, it became part of the National Federation of the Blind in
1956, the year its longtime president, Dr. Donald C. Capps, attended his
first national convention in San Francisco. The NFB of South Carolina is my
home affiliate, so I am pleased to wish my fellow Federationists in the
Palmetto State a heartfelt happy anniversary.
I joined the NFB of South Carolina in 1989, although I had been aware of its
influence in the state prior to that time. It was the summer before I
started college, which I was spending in the training and work-experience
program run by the South Carolina Commission for the Blind. Some of the
adults responsible for running the program, including its director, Frank
Coppel, who is now the affiliate president, encouraged me and my good friend
Parnell Diggs, himself a future affiliate president, to come to the state
In the spirit of raising expectations, when Parnell and I asked how we would
get there, they gave us directions to get to the convention hotel by bus. I
had never taken a city bus before, and rarely traveled in the big city of
Columbia without being shadowed by an orientation and mobility instructor.
Parnell had misgivings for similar reasons. But working together, we
followed directions and got to the hotel without incident. We were
exhilarated by this taste of independence. I also vividly remember being
impressed by the leadership and eloquence of Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, who spoke
to the meeting of the student division and gave the banquet address in his
capacity as national representative. I joined the student division, and
since that time I have always been a member of a chapter or division of the
It is often said, and bears repeating, that the affiliates
<https://www.nfb.org/about-us/state-affiliates>  are the heart of the
Federation. I count myself lucky to have grown up in the NFB of South
Carolina because its leaders and members modeled for me the Federation's
values and helped me, in countless ways, to become both the blind person and
the Federationist I am today.
Dr. Capps, along with his wife Mrs. Betty Capps, who is sadly no longer with
us, modeled love and respect. His constant encouragement and steadfast
support in all my endeavors, from applying for an NFB scholarship to
attending the Louisiana Center for the Blind to starting my career, were
invaluable. When he needed to teach this young Federationist lessons, which
was often, his instruction was always firm but gentle. He and Mrs. Capps
also modeled inclusion through their tireless work to recruit members and
leaders who reflected our state's diversity, and by making everyone welcome
with graciousness and charm. I don't know how many miles the two of them
drove over the years to find blind people in the most rural and remote
corners of South Carolina, and bring them the Federation's message of hope.
Dr. Capps often said that he would not ask others to do things that he would
not do himself. From him, and my other fellow South Carolina Federationists,
I learned that it takes all kinds of work at all levels to run our
organization. Leadership doesn't just consist of making speeches or running
meetings. It is also selling barbecue tickets, soliciting donations,
preparing food or snacks for a meeting, and more. This work not only builds
our organization but strengthens our fellowship with each other. When we
South Carolinians worked together, we always had fun, too.
I had the opportunity to visit a convention of the South Carolina affiliate
a few years ago, and I can report firsthand that it's still going strong. I
always enjoy catching up with my South Carolina Federation family at
national conventions. Most importantly, I am deeply grateful that an
invitation to join the NFB <https://www.nfb.org/get-involved/join-us>  of
South Carolina was extended to me in 1989, and that I took it. It has
improved my life immeasurably. I hope, in everything I do now, that I am
helping others in the same way.
-Chris Danielsen

Richard Payne,  President
National Federation of the Blind of Ohio
937-396-5573or 937/829/3368
Rchpay7 at gmail.com
The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the
characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the
expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles
between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want;
blindness is not what holds you back

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