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This collection contains correspondence of Jacobus tenBroek, founder of the National Federation of the Blind

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Jacobus tenBroekCollection Location: The National Federation of the Blind, Baltimore, Maryland

Collection Overview: Jacobus tenBroek (1911-1968) was a constitutional law scholar and a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Blind from the age of seven, he founded the National Federation of the Blind in 1940, the first national membership organization of blind people in America. He also served as president of the American Brotherhood for the Blind and the International Federation of the Blind, and served as chairman of the California State Social Welfare Board (1960-1963). Dr. tenBroek received law degrees from Berkeley's law school at Bolt Hall and Harvard Law, and his legal scholarship in the area of the 14th amendment played a role in the Supreme Court's decision to invalidate the separate but equal doctrine in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. His 1966 California Law Review article The Right to Live in the World: The Disabled in the Law of Torts stands as a seminal article in the field of American disability law.

This exhibit mainly focuses upon tenBroek's life outside of his work with the NFB and the organized blind movement, including his post-secondary education, initial struggles to find work as a blind man, teaching career, family life, and research projects. These specially selected records span the years 1938-1967 and provide a unique glimpse at his personality, sense of humor, and intelligence. Some materials also touch on the events of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley in the mid-1960s.

For further information, please visit:

Finding Aid, The Jacobus tenBroek Personal Papers, 1924-1997, undated

The Cane Tip (Archon web portal)

Jacobus tenBroek Library

National Federation of the Blind

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