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National Federation of the Blind Convention Richard Ladner

Summary: 1
National Federation of the Blind Convention
Richard Ladner
July 4, 2008
I am honored to speak to you today on the day celebrating the Declaration of Independence.
Those who declared independence in 1776 did so because they knew that they had the
knowledge, resources, and power to make a new nation. It was not easy, but it was
accomplished. In my role as an educator and researcher I stand beside the NFB in its efforts to
empower blind people to find their own destiny, true independence.
To let you know about my background, I was born in 1943 as one of twin boys to deaf parents,
Emil and Mary Ladner. I have an older sister who lives just down the road in Austin and a
younger sister. Both my parents received their college education at Gallaudet University in
Washington, D.C., the only liberal arts college for deaf students anywhere in the world. They
became teachers at the California School for the Deaf, in Berkeley, California where they taught
for a combined 55 years. My parents were active members and leaders in deaf organizations
with missions like the NFB's. From them I learned the importance of education and self-
determination to persons with disabilities. One thing that frustrated my parents is the
"paternalism" that they encountered throughout their lives. Paternalism to them meant the
attitudes of many well-meaning hearing people who thought that they knew what was best for


Source: Anderson, Richard - Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington at Seattle


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences