Durward Kenneth McDaniel was born in Oklahoma on November 27, 1915, and attended school there. He lost his sight on September 20, 1930, as a result of an oil field gas explosion. He later attended the School for the Blind in Muskogee, Oklahoma (1936 – 1938), graduating with a high school diploma, then went on to the University of Oklahoma for a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and a Bachelor of Law degree in 1944. His college education was temporarily interrupted in 1942, when he served for a year as office manager of a small institution. While practicing law in Oklahoma City, he became active in the Oklahoma State Association for the Blind, which had been organized in 1919. He served a term as its vice president, and was then elected president.
McDaniel was ACB’s founding father. He established ACB’s first national office in Washington, D.C. in April 1968, and served as ACB’s first national representative from 1968 to 1981.
More information: https://acb.org/angel-mcdaniel-durward
Wisconsin native George Card was active in the movement of the organized blind since its earliest days in the 1940s. Unlike many of his friends and colleagues, he did not completely lose his sight until adulthood. When he was 6, a playmate accidentally shot him, destroying the sight in one eye; the other eye was blinded as a result of an automobile accident when he was 33.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Card then graduated from the university’s School of Law with highest honors and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society. His varied careers included county supervisor, small businessman, lawyer, and manager of an automatic machine merchandising and wholesale firm. He was also active in local politics and community affairs.
In 1940 he became an active member of the National Federation of the Blind, but later joined the American Council of the Blind, traveling the country organizing its state affiliates. He was editor of the NFB’s “Braille Monitor,” and later was associate editor of the Braille Forum, for which he wrote the popular column “Here and There.” Card’s leadership roles included that of executive secretary of the Wisconsin Council of the Blind, member of the ACB Board of Directors, and delegate to the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind. In 1968 he was the first recipient of ACB’s George Card Award.
(from “People of Vision”)
Robert S. Bray
Robert S. Bray was the chief of the Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress — the precursor to NLS. Bray headed the organization from 1957 to 1972, overseeing the program through its transition from a network of 28 cooperating libraries to more than 100 upon his retirement. Readership increased under his direction from around 58,000 to more than 300,000. Bray received many awards for his contributions to librarianship, especially in the area of serving the blind community
(Information courtesy of the Library of Congress.)
James R. Olsen
Jim Olsen was ACB’s first hired financial manager and later ACB’s Chief Financial Officer. He also served as one of the founders, Chief Financial Officer, and Executive Director of the American Council of the Blind Enterprises and Services, the most significant financial contributor to ACB each year.
Jim lost his vision due to Type 1 diabetes. For some time, he became totally blind due to its complications. However, in the mid-1970s, laser surgeries allowed him to recover significant vision, although he remained legally blind. Jim never forgot his period of total blindness and remained sensitive to the needs of all visually impaired people.
With the loss of his vision, Jim also lost his job as an accountant. When he came back to work, it was our great fortune that he came to the American Council of the Blind, first as its volunteer treasurer, and later as our Chief Financial Officer.
Jim served ACB for over 27 years in many capacities and remains the longest-serving employee in our history. His vision of ACB and his belief in what ACB could become remained a hallmark of who Jim was and how he carried himself within our organization. His honesty, integrity and belief never wavered in the good times and the not-so-good.
More information: https://acb.org/angel/olsen_j
Margarine G. Beaman
Margarine Beaman has been a volunteer at ACB’s conventions for several decades. She was the volunteer coordinator for many years, sponsorship and advertising, and now concentrates on hotel accessibility and airport assistance. She labels hotel floors, vending machines, soda machines, etc. with large print and braille. Margarine is like the Energizer Bunny - nearly always in motion, guiding somebody to a seat in the convention hall, or rounding up a cadre of volunteers at the airport to greet incoming ACB members.
Margarine first became involved with ACB in the 1980s. “I first got involved with ACB in 1982
when we did the accessibility for the national convention. We put up Braille elevator numbers, Braille on vending machines, guest room doors, restroom signage, restaurant menus, etc. Now I proofread new signage for hotels hosting ACB conventions. If it has 30 floors, I walk every floor and every stairwell. I did that for many years for ACB until 2020. Did you know that we find that about 10 percent of Braille signs are incorrect?”
Margarine also makes quilts, Swiss cheese, strawberry nut bread (a favorite at ACB auctions), cookies, cream puffs, and jelly rolls. She loves to bake! She grew up on a farm, milking cows, shearing sheep, separating the cream from the milk, and driving the tractor. In high school she played the trumpet and French horn, and played in a dance band when she moved to Austin. She has two sons, three foster kids, 11 grandkids and 24 great-grandkids at present. She is currently renovating her over-100-year-old farmhouse. Her husband, Bob, passed away in 2013.
(Information from “The BVA Bulletin,” spring 2021, “The Busy Beaman: Our BVA Jewell from Texas,” by Sila Miller. https://bva.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Spring-2021-BVA-Bulletin-Email-Version-PDF.pdf)