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This  is  the "Whozit" logo of the National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina. The "Whozit" is a stylized figure of a person using a mobility cane. The head of the figure is a yellow-orange crescent-shape, the right arm is red and holds a light gray cane, the left shoulder and right leg are violet, and the left leg is light blue.

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Happy Birthday Louis!

January 4, 2009 was the bicentennial of the birth of Louis Braille, the inventor of our written form of language. The blind use braille as our method of reading and writing on paper. Even though it is a proven fact that blind people who read braille are more successful and employable, only about ten percent of America’s blind population read and write braille. It is believed an effort must be made to improve braille literacy in order to improve the position of the blind in our society.

In 2006, Congress passed and President Bush signed Public Law 109-247: The Louis Braille Bicentennial Braille Literacy Commemorative Coin Act. This legislation authorized the minting of 400,000 commemorative coins in 2009 to mark the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille. The Congress recognized in the legislation that: “The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) the nation’s oldest membership organization consisting of blind members, is a champion of the Braille code, of Braille literacy for all blind people and of the memory of Louis Braille.” The NFB is in the forefront of the braille coin effort which has a component to improve braille literacy.

On March 26, 2009, the US Mint will begin selling these commemorative coins. They will probably sell for around $45. They will be silver dollars. The other coin to be released in 2009 is the Abraham Lincoln coin, which will be released first. The sales of the Braille coins will stop at the end of 2009.

One of the unique features of the law is that $10 from the sale of each braille coin will be set aside to be used to improve braille literacy in the United States. Every dollar raised for braille literacy by coin sales must be matched in order to be used for literacy. If all braille coins are sold and all money set aside is matched, 8 million dollars can be used to improve braille literacy in the US. Although sales of the coin will end on December 31, 2009, efforts to raise matching funds will continue into the future.

The NFB has established some goals for the braille coin literacy effort. They are:

A special website has been created for the effort. Point your browser to and learn more.

Here in North Carolina, the Braille Literacy Council (BLC) is spearheading the effort. The NFB of NC is a founding member of the BLC. The BLC is a grassroots organization with members all across NC committed to braille literacy. Visit the BLC website at for more details.

If you have questions, contact Gary Ray, President of the NFB of NC at (828) 505-0299.

Building a future for the blind.

Sharon Weddington (704) 302-7308

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