History of the AAF

An older man smiles as he holds a Braille book.The American Brotherhood for the Blind (ABB) was established in 1919 by a member of the Theosophical Society to give help to the blind. The new organization took its name from the Society's belief in the universal brotherhood of all mankind, and since 1919 the ABB has held fast to its belief in the brotherhood of all - that is, that its services are to be provided to all without regard to race, sex, creed, or national origin. Although the American Brotherhood's basic values have not changed since 1919, the American language has. Today, the word - Brotherhood - has come to have in some people's minds insensitive and sexist overtones of exclusion - the very opposite of the founder's original intent of universal service to all, which he wished to convey by choosing the name, American Brotherhood for the Blind.

The Board of Directors of the American Brotherhood for the Blind decided in 1990 to initiate action to restore the original descriptive connotation of the organization's name by adopting the name, - American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults - as its federally registered operating name, or trademark, while still retaining the trademark of American Brotherhood for the Blind. As the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults (AAF) we operate under a name which reflects the language and cultural notions of the times in which we live while at the same time preserving the traditional service values envisioned by the organization's founders over ninety years ago.

Quick Timeline

1919

ABB founded

1961

ABB funds the print/Braille storybook project led by Jean Dyon Norris

1962

Twin Vision® title for print/Braille books is adopted

1964

American Brotherhood for the Blind begins producing Braille calendars

1965

The weekly "Hot-Line for Deaf-Blind" is produced

1990 The International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind (IBTC) is established

1991

The lending library for children/young adult books officially opens with forty-five titles and fifteen volunteer Braille transcribers

1997

The FREE Braille Books for Blind Children program is established

1998

American Action Fund donates books and volunteers to the annual, nationwide NOPBC Braille Book Flea Market (Braille book give-away program)

2000

Establishes the Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship

2007 Establishes the Volunteer Lawyers Program