Current location:

You are here

Advocacy: White Cane Laws

Primary Tasks

    Secondary Tasks

      White Cane Laws

      On October 15, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued a formal proclamation, declaring October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day.  This proclamation marked a significant change in the rights of blind Americans. In today’s society, a white cane has become a symbol of blindness. With the passage of the white cane laws, the long, white cane represented a blind person’s right to come and go freely on our streets and sidewalks. Today, it warrants a display of courtesy on motorists’ part. The year, 1964, marked an important victory on the part of advocates for the blind, and Iowans were on the frontlines to make sure it came to pass.

      Advocacy only has an impact when it influences the perceptions and actions of the general public. Without an awareness and change in behavior, the changes in legislation that blindness advocates strive to achieve would not be effective.  The unique aspect of the white cane laws is that they mostly focus on awareness.

      Learn more about the development of the long, white cane on this web page.

      Documents related to the white cane laws in Iowa:

      Mrs. Ethel T. Holmes Letter, 1941

      White House Proclamation, 1970

      Newspaper Articles:
      White Cane Safety Day, 1985
      Governor Branstad Proclaims White Cane Safety Day, 1985
      White Cane Observed Across Iowa
      White Cane Safety Day Noted