Main Conent

Kenneth Jernigan’s cane, 1980s

cane disability history america

The white cane is a mobility device and a powerful symbol of independence. First passed in the 1930s, white cane ordinances protected visually impaired pedestrians. This gold-headed cane belonged to Kenneth Jernigan, president of the National Federation of the Blind from 1968 to 1986. The NFB was founded in 1940 by activists who themselves were blind or had low vision.