Songs About Silent Cars & the Library

One of the more unique organizational traits of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is the central role that songs have played in their community.

Since their first song contest in 1969, the NFB has used song for inspiration, to protest against people and organizations believed to be acting against the interests of blind people, and to support the NFB's purpose.

I particularly like the following songs. Links go to the mp3 audio recordings available on the NFB website.

The Hybrid Car Song
Tune: “Surry with the Fringe on Top”
Words by Mary Ellen Gabias
Copyright 2007, National Federation of the Blind

Kids and dogs won’t know when to scurry.
Silent death arrives in a hurry.
All who walk have reason to worry
‘Bout the hybrid car.

We all want to stop the polluting,
Save a lot of gas while commuting.
If they made sound, there’d be no disputing
With the hybrid car.

Saving the planet we all hold dear,
Nobody wants to destroy it.
Please make cars pedestrians can hear
‘Cause we want to be ’round to enjoy it.

We don’t need a noisy vrum-vrumming,
Just a simple audible humming,
So that we can know when you’re coming
In a hybrid car.
Then we all can walk with safety on the street
Without fear that we will accident’lly meet a hybrid car.

The Quiet Car Song
Tune: “Found a Peanut”
Words by Sandy Halverson

1. I was walking down the sidewalk
Thinking of what I would eat
When I got up to the restaurant
And the friends I was to meet.
2. I was so close I could smell it.
Didn’t have to go that far
When my life was quickly altered
By that sneaky quiet car.
3. I approached my destination
When my cane broke at my feet.
Never heard the car approaching–
I was lying in the street.
4. Heard the siren of the ambulance
As it carried me away.
Lost my hunger in the ER.
Guess we’ll meet another day.

The Library Song
Tune: “Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys Are Marching”
Words by Curtis Willoughby

1. At the mailbox I sit thinking of the book I need,
And the library so cold and far away.
And the tears they fill my eyes ‘spite of all that I can do
When I think of what the library will say.

(Refrain:) “Wait, wait, wait, your book’s not in yet.
We’ll try to have it next year without fail.
We are not your corner store. We cannot do any more.
After all, we know just one percent read Braille.”

2. ‘Cause they’re running out of space. “For your book there is no place.
The demand for it, you see, is far too low.
How about a light romance or a novel set in France,
For we mostly serve the elderly, you know.”

3. So at home and on the job I am waiting for the day
When the mailman will come up to my door
With the book that I have sought and not the one they thought
That my profile showed I should be asking for.

For more information on the history of NFB songs and the full text of the songs, read Barbara Pierce's article, "Singing Our Story: Federation History in Song", from the July 2013 issue of the Braille Monitor.

Apply by March 31, 2020 for NFB’s Annual College Scholarships for Blind Students

Logo and slogan of the National Federation of the Blind

Each year, the National Federation of the Blind's annual scholarship program is the largest of its kind in the nation. Every year, they award more than $120,000 to blind scholars across the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico in recognition of their achievements and professional aspirations.

Thanks to generous partners, there are thirty merit-based scholarships currently available, ranging from $3,000 to $12,000. All scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic excellence, community service, and leadership. The finalists are announced every spring. They then attend the national convention in July when the winners of each individual scholarship are selected. Scholarship winners have gone on to succeed in careers ranging from computer science and engineering to civil rights law and international diplomacy.

How to Apply

Apply online or through the mail.

Scholarships Currently Available  Updated


See the Scholarship Program FAQs page for information about completing the application, deadlines, eligibility, and more.  New


The following requirements apply to all applicants.

  • Must be legally blind in both eyes. Fill out and submit the Confirmation of Legal Blindness PDF form.
  • Must be residing in the United States, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico.
  • Must be pursuing or planning to pursue a full-time, post-secondary course of study in a degree program at a U.S. institution in the fall of the year of application (one scholarship may be given to a person employed full-time while attending school part-time).
  • Must participate in the entire NFB National Convention and in all of its scheduled scholarship program activities (finalists will receive assistance to attend the national convention).

NFB/HumanWare STEM Internship

HumanWare is a leading assistive technology company that designs and manufactures products to help blind people participate equally in society. The NFB and HumanWare have collaborated to offer two STEM development internship opportunities. If you are a technically-minded student with aspirations of a career in product testing and/or marketing, you are invited to apply. The internships will take place from approximately June 15 to August 14, 2020. The two winning interns will be required to travel for a few days during the last week of the internship to the HumanWare headquarters in Montreal, Canada.

To apply, check the checkbox on the first page of the online application that says, "Yes, I would like to complete an additional application for the 2020 HumanWare internship."

Scholarships Currently Available

Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship ($12,000)
This scholarship is given yearly by the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, a nonprofit organization that works to assist blind people and distributes Twin Vision® books. Dr. Kenneth Jernigan is viewed by our field as the most important figure in the 20th century in the lives of blind people. The Action Fund wishes to keep fresh and current in the 21st century the understandings he brought to the field and thus has endowed this scholarship dedicated to his memory and to the continuation of the work he began.
Charles and Melva T. Owen Memorial Scholarship ($10,000)
First established by Charles Owen in loving memory of his blind wife, this award is now endowed by his last will and testament to honor the memory of both. In founding the scholarship, Charles Owen wrote: “There shall be no limitation as to field of study, except that it shall be directed toward attaining financial independence.”
Oracle Scholarship for Excellence in Computer Science ($8,000)
Oracle seeks to hire the best and brightest talent to build its products. Oracle recognizes the significant impact that its products and technologies can have on people with disabilities. This scholarship is for a student in the field of computer science, computer engineering, user experience, or related field.
Oracle Scholarship for Excellence in a STEM Field ($8,000)
This scholarship awards academic excellence and leadership in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. Oracle wishes to promote excellence and funds this scholarship based on Oracle's understanding of its impact on disabled employees and customers throughout the globe.
JAWS for Windows Scholarship ($5,000)
This scholarship is funded by the developers of the JAWS screen reader, part of Vispero. JAWS, Job Access with Speech, has been committed to expanding the opportunities of both education and employment for the blind with both speech and Braille since the late 1980s. In establishing this award Vispero said, "On behalf of all the individuals responsible for the development and support of this product over the years, we are honored to establish this scholarship for students recognized by the Federation."
NFB STEM Scholarship ($5,000)
This scholarship is awarded to a student studying in a STEM or related field, and is supported by contributions from the NFB's Science and Engineering and Computer Science divisions. The Science and Engineering Division is a group of blind students, professionals, and individuals committed to the success of the blind in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or a related field. Members of the Computer Science Division work together to develop strategies that enable blind people to use computers more efficiently and competitively. The Science and Engineering and Computer Science Divisions wish to encourage the success of blind STEM students in their chosen field of study.
Pearson Scholarship ($5,000)
The Pearson award is funded by Pearson Education and is given to a student who plans a career in education. For Pearson, learning is a neverending road of discovery.
Mimi and Marvin Sandler Scholarship ($5,000)
The Mimi and Marvin Sandler award is funded by longtime friends of the Federation, Mr. and Mrs. Sandler. Marvin Sandler served as president of Independent Living Aids for more than thirty years. His wife and he wish to further academic excellence by sponsoring this award.
Charles and Betty Allen Scholarship ($3,000)
This scholarship is given by a longtime leader in the National Federation of the Blind of Kentucky. Betty and her late husband Charles began this scholarship prior to his passing to support young people in attaining higher education. Charlie, who was extremely successful, left school at an early age to care for his family, but retained a strong belief in education.
Adrienne Asch Memorial Scholarship ($3,000)
The Adrienne Asch Memorial Scholarship is given in loving memory of Dr. Adrienne Asch, a consummate scholar and a longtime member of our Scholarship Committee.
Edith R. and Alvin J. Domroe Foundation Scholarship ($3,000)
The Edith R. and Alvin J. Domroe Foundation supports college scholarships and has funded this scholarship to encourage academic excellence.
Jeannette C. Eyerly Scholarship ($3,000)
Mrs. Eyerly authored twenty books and numerous short stories. Her book Seeing Summer positively portrayed a blind girl and her friend who escape kidnappers together. Mrs. Eyerly was a steadfast supporter of the National Federation of the Blind. She served on the Iowa Commission for the Blind while we worked to develop the first truly effective training center in the United States.
Charles and Melva T. Owen Memorial Scholarship ($3,000)
First established by Charles Owen in loving memory of his blind wife, this award is now endowed by his last will and testament to honor the memory of both. In founding the scholarship, Charles Owen wrote, “There shall be no limitation as to field of study, except that it shall be directed toward attaining financial independence.”
E. U. and Gene Parker Scholarship ($3,000)
This scholarship honors two longtime leaders of the National Federation of the Blind whose participation stood for strong principles and strong support of the Federation’s work.
NFB Scholarships (Sixteen $3,000 Scholarships)
These scholarships are funded by the collective membership of the Federation. They honor achievement by blind scholars who exhibit leadership potential.