Monday, June 29, 2015

Stevie Wonder - Steveland Hardaway Judkins on name later changed to Steveland Hardaway Morris), is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. Blind from infancy, Wonder signed with Motown Records as a pre-adolescent at age twelve, and continues to perform and record for the label to this day.

Stevie Wonder - (born Steveland Hardaway Judkins on May 13, 1950, name later changed to Steveland Hardaway Morris), is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. Blind from infancy, Wonder signed with Motown Records as a pre-adolescent at age twelve, and continues to perform and record for the label to this day. It is thought that he received excessive oxygen in his incubator which led to retinopathy of prematurity, a destructive ocular disorder affecting the retina, characterized by abnormal growth of blood vessels, scarring, and sometimes retinal detachment. A prominent figure in popular music during the latter half of the 20th century , Wonder has recorded more than thirty top ten hits, won 26 Grammy Awards (a record for a solo artist), plus one for lifetime achievement, won an Academy Award for Best Song and been inducted into both the Rock and Roll and Songwriters halls of fame. He has also been awarded the Polar Music Prize.

Blind from infancy, Wonder signed with Motown Records as a pre-adolescent at age twelve, and continues to perform and record for the label to this day. He has nine U.S. number-one hits to his name (on the pop Charts, 20 U.S. R&B number one hits), and album sales totaling more than 150 million units. Wonder has recorded several critically acclaimed albums and hit singles, and writes and produces songs for many of his label mates and outside artists as well. Wonder plays the piano, synthesizer, harmonica, congas, drums, bongos, organ, melodica, and clavinet. In his early career, he was best known for his harmonica work, but today he is better known for his keyboard skills and vocals.
His family moved to Detroit when he was four. Stevie took up piano the same year and had mastered it by age nine. During his childhood, he was active in his church's choir. He also taught himself to play the harmonicaand the drums, and had mastered both by age ten.
In 1961, at the age of 11, Stevie was introduced to Ronnie White of the popular Motown act The Miracles. White brought the boy and his mother to Motown Records. Impressed by the young musician, Motown CEO Berry Gordy signed Morris to Motown's Tamla label with the name "Little Stevie Wonder." He then recorded the minor hit "I Call It Pretty Music, But The Old People Call It The Blues."
At 13, he had a major hit, "Fingertips (Pt. 2)," a 1963 single taken from a live recording of a Motor Town Revue performance, issued on the album, Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius. The song, featuring Wonder on vocals, bongos, and harmonica, with a young Marvin Gaye on drums, was a number-one hit on the US pop and R&B charts and launched Wonder suddenly into the public awareness.
Later dropping the "Little" from his moniker, Wonder went on to have a number of other successes during the mid-1960s, including the smash hit "Uptight (Everything's Alright)," as well as "With a Child's Heart," and "Blowin' in the Wind," a Bob Dylan cover which was one of the first songs to reflect Wonder's social consciousness. He also began to work in the Motown songwriting department, composing songs both for himself and his label-mates, including "Tears of a Clown," a number-one hit by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles.
By 1970 Wonder had scored more major hits, including "I Was Made to Love Her" (1967), "For Once in My Life" (1968), "Shoo-Be-Do-Be-Do-Da-Day" (1968), "My Cherie Amour" (1969), "Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday" (1969) and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" (1970).
On September 14, 1970, at the age of 20, Wonder married Syreeta Wright, a songwriter and former company secretary for Motown. Wonder and Wright divorced 18 months later, but they continued to collaborate on musical projects.
Along with Marvin Gaye, Wonder was one of the few Motown stars to contest the label's factory-like operation methods: artists, songwriters, and producers were usually kept in specialized collectives, and artists had little creative control. When Gaye wrested creative control from Motown in order to release his innovative, socially conscious album What's Going On, Wonder was inspired to seek similar creative freedom from the label. Wonder argued with Motown owner Berry Gordy over creative control a number of times, and finally allowed his Motown contract to expire. He left the label on his twenty-first birthday in 1971. His final album before his departure was Where I'm Coming From, which Gordy had strongly opposed releasing. The album produced one top-10 hit, "If You Really Love Me."

Monday, June 22, 2015

Abraham Nemeth is an American mathematician and inventor. He is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit, Michigan.

Abraham Nemeth -(born October 16, 1918) is an American mathematician and inventor. He is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit, Michigan. Though his employers were sometimes reluctant to hire him knowing that he was blind, his reputation grew as it became apparent that he was a capable mathematician and teacher. He developed the Nemeth Braille Code for Mathematics and Science Notation in 1952. Nemeth Code has gone through 4 revisions since its initial development and continues in wide use today. Dr. Nemeth is also responsible for the rules of MathSpeak, a system for orally communicating mathematical text. Dr. Nemeth is an active member of the National Federation of the Blind. He has written several short stories and made speeches for the NFB about his life as a blind mathematician. Dr. Nemeth was born in New York City on the Lower East Side of Manhattan into a large family of Hungarian Jewish immigrants who spoke Yiddish. He is blind from birth.
He attended public schools at first but did most of his primary and secondary education at the Jewish Guild for the Blind school in Yonkers, New York. His undergraduate studies were at Brooklyn College where he studied psychology. He earned a Master of Arts degree in Psychology from Columbia University.
Dr. Nemeth studied mathematics and physics at Brooklyn College. He did not major in mathematics because his academic advisors discouraged him. However, tired of what he felt were unfulfilling jobs at agencies of the blind, and with the encouragement of his wife, he decided to continue his education in mathematics.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Richard H. Bernstein -is an American lawyer, practicing at The Law Offices of Sam Bernstein.

Richard H. Bernstein (born November 9, 1974) is an American lawyer and current Michigan Supreme Court Justice, who, until 2014, was practicing at The Law Offices of Sam Bernstein, located in Farmington Hills, Michigan until his election to the Michigan Supreme Court. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Michigan and served on the Wayne State University Board of Governors for one eight-year term, including two years as vice chair and two more as chair, until deciding not to seek re-election in 2010 for a second term beginning in 2011. In November 2014, Bernstein was elected to serve an 8-year term on the Michigan Supreme Court. Bernstein has been classified as legally blind since birth, as a result of retinitis pigmentsBernstein attended Andover High School in the Bloomfield Hills School District of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.[9] In 1996, he received his Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude from the University of Michigan, where he was Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Kappa Phi and student body president of the College of Literature, Science and Arts.
For the ability to enter Northwestern University School of Law, Bernstein fought the Law School Admissions Council against the "visual bias" of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), claiming the test discriminates against the blind because of its requirements for interpreting visual material.  He argued the test was no barometer of success in law school. Four universities agreed: Northwestern University, the University of Virginia, the University of Wisconsin and Vanderbilt University. At the time he was admitted, he was the only blind person in the law school.
To complete his studies, Bernstein would memorize lectures and have notes read to him to memorize. For tests, he memorized test questions and entire fact patterns (the basis for the questions), some of which would be as long as 5 pages. The fact patterns would be repeatedly read to him until he committed the entire question to memory and could then provide an answer. He reportedly worked seven days a week for 13 hours each day. He received his juris doctor degree from Northwestern University School of Law in 1999.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Surdas - (Sant Kavi Surdas) A 15th century blind saint, poet and musician, known for his devotional songs dedicated to Lord Krishna, Surdas is a very important person in Indian history.

Surdas - (Sant Kavi Surdas)  was a 15th-century blind saint, poet and musician, known for his devotional songs dedicated to Lord Krishna. Surdas is said to have written and composed a hundred thousand songs in his magnum opus the 'Sur Sagar' (Ocean of Melody), out of which only about 8,000 are extant. He is considered a saguna bhakti poet and so also known as Sant Surdas, a name which literally means the "servant of melody". His most famous work was charan kamal bando hari rai. There is some disagreement regarding the exact birth date of Surdas, some scholars believing it to be 1478 AD, with others claiming it to be 1479 AD. It is the same in the case of the year of his death; it is considered to be either 1581 AD or 1584 AD. According to the limited authentic life history of Surdas, it is said that he was born in 1478/79 in the village of Runakta,Mathura although some say it was Runkta near Agra. He started praising Lord Krishna when he was young. Surdas was born blind and because of this, he was neglected by his family. As a result, he left his home at the age of six. He lived in Braj (or Bhraj), near Mathura.

Surdas attains fame

Surdas' lilting music and fine poetry attracted much praise. As his fame spread far and wide, the Mughal emperor Akbar (1542–1605) became his patron. Surdas spent the last years of his life in Braj, and lived on the donations which he received in return for his bhajan singing and lecturing on religious topics, until he died in CE 1584.
Surdas also attained fame for his purity of devotion towards Lord Krishna. In one incident, Surdas falls into a well and is rescued by Lord Krishna when he calls him for help. Radha asks Krishna why he helped Surdas, to which Krishna replies it is for Surdas' devotion. Krishna also warns Radha not to go near him. She, however, does go near him, but Surdas, recognizing the divine sounds, pulls her anklets off. Radha tells him who she is but Surdas refuses to return her anklets stating that he cannot believe her as he is blind. Krishna gives Surdas vision and allows him to ask for a boon. Surdas returns the anklets saying he has already got what he wanted (the blessings of Krishna) and asks Krishna to make him blind again as he does not want to see anything else in the world after seeing Krishna. Radha is moved by his devotion and Krishna grants his wish by making him blind again thus giving him everlasting fame.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Johanna "Anne" Mansfield Sullivan Macy also known as Annie Sullivan, was an American teacher best known as the instructor and companion of Helen Keller.

Johanna "Anne" Mansfield Sullivan Macy - (April 14, 1866 - October 20, 1936), also known as Annie
Sullivan, was an American teacher best known as the instructor and companion of Helen KellerWhen Anne was six her mother, Alice, died; and when she was eight her father, Thomas, left, after which Anne was sent to an almshouse. In 1880 Anne was sent to the Perkins School for the Blind. Anne Sullivan is an integral character in The Miracle Worker, by William Gibson, originally produced for television, where she was portrayed by Teresa Wright. The play then moved to Broadway, and was later produced as a 1962 feature film. Both the Broadway play and 1962 film featured Anne Bancroft in the Anne Sullivan role. Patty Duke, who played Helen Keller in the 1962 film version, later played Anne Sullivan in a 1979 television remake. Alison Elliott recently portrayed her in a 2000 television movie. Alison Pill played Annie Sullivan on Broadway in the 2010 revival of The Miracle Worker, with Abigail Breslin as Helen Keller. Both Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke won Academy Awards for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress for their roles as Sullivan and Keller in the 1962 film version. She contracted trachoma, a highly infectious eye infection, when she was eight years old which left her blind and without reading or writing skills.

 She received her education as a student of the Perkins School for the Blind where upon graduation she became a teacher to Helen. Due to Anne losing her sight at such a young age she had no skills in reading, writing, or sewing and the only work she could find was as a housemaid; however, this position was unsuccessful. Another blind resident staying at the Tewksbury almshouse told her of schools for the blind. During an 1880 inspection of the almshouse, she convinced an inspector to allow her to leave and enroll in the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston, where she began her studies on October 7, 1880. Although her rough manners made her first years at Perkins humiliating for her, she managed to connect with a few teachers and made progress with her learning. While there, she befriended and learned the manual alphabet from Laura Bridgman, a graduate of Perkins and the first blind and deaf person to be educated there. Also while there, she had a series of eye operations that significantly improved her vision. In June 1886, she graduated from there at age 20 as the valedictorian of her class. She stated “Fellow-graduates: duty bids us go forth into active life. Let us go cheerfully, hopefully, and earnestly, and set ourselves to find our especial part. When we have found it, willingly and faithfully perform it."[2]The summer following Anne's graduation, the director of the Perkins Institution, Michael Anagnos, was contacted by Arthur Keller, who was in search of a teacher for his 7-year-old blind and deaf daughter, Helen. Michael immediately recommended Anne for this position and she began her work on March 3, 1887 at the Kellers' home in Tuscumbia, Alabama. As soon as she arrived there, she argued with Helen's parents about the Civil War and over the fact that they used to own slaves. However she also quickly connected with Helen. It was the beginning of a 49-year relationship: Anne evolved from teacher to governess and finally to companion and friend.
Anne's teachings to Helen involved a very strict schedule with constant introduction of new vocabulary words; however, Anne quickly changed her teachings after seeing they did not suit Helen.[2] Instead, she began to teach her vocabulary based on her own interests, where she spelled each word out into Helen's palm; within six months this method proved to be working when Helen had learned 575 words, some multiplication tables, as well as the Braille system. Anne strongly encouraged Helen's parents to send her to the Perkins School where she could have an appropriate teaching. When they agreed, Anne took Helen to Boston in 1888 and stayed with her there. Anne continued to teach her bright protégée, who soon became famous for her remarkable progress. With the help of Michael Anagnos, Helen became a public symbol for the school, helping to increase its funding and donations and making it the most famous and sought-after school for the blind in the country. However, an accusation of plagiarism against Helen was very upsetting to Anne: she left and never returned, but did remain influential to the school.[2] Anne remained a close companion to Helen and continued to assist in her education, which ultimately included a degree from Radcliffe College.In 1932 Helen and Anne were each awarded honorary fellowships from the Educational Institute of Scotland. They also were awarded honorary degrees from Temple University. In 1955 Anne was awarded an honorary degree from Harvard University., and in 1956 the director's cottage at the Perkins School was named the Keller-Macy Cottage. Anne had been seriously visually impaired for almost all of her life, but by 1935 she was completely blind in both eyes. On October 15, 1936, she suffered a coronary thrombosis, fell into a coma, and then died five days later on October 20 at age 70, in Forest Hills, Queens, New York. She died with Helen holding her hand. Helen described Anne's last month as being very agitated, but during the last week was said to return to her normal generous self Sullivan was cremated and her ashes were interred in a memorial at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. She was the first woman to be recognized for her achievements in this way. When Helen died in 1968, her ashes were placed in the Washington National Cathedral next to those of Anne.