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Interview with Stuart Levenson, June 28, 2018

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:22 - Education

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Partial Transcript: So tell me a little bit about yourself.

Segment Synopsis: Levenson describes his educational experience in Savannah where he attended school until 12th grade. He mentions his two years at Armstrong State College--now part of Georgia Southern University--before he attended Oglethrorpe University in Atlanta from 1963 to 1967. Levenson describes his connection to Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services (GLASS) where he participated in the talking book program. He describes the difficulty of being visually impaired in the "mainstream" education system and his refusal to attend the school for blind and deaf in Macon. He talks about the difficulty of adjusting to the increased workload of college and how he had to hire readers to read his textbooks and other materials.

Keywords: Charles Ellis Elementary School; GLASS; community college; eye doctor; minister; public school

00:07:36 - Finding a job with the Social Security Administration

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Partial Transcript: What happened once you graduated from college?

Segment Synopsis: Levenson talks about the three years he spent at graduate school at Georgia State University before he dropped out. He describes the difficulty of finding a job as a visually impaired person. He talks about finally locating a job with a program for the blind at the Social Security Administration where he worked for 36 years. He describes adjusting to the increased responsibility and pace of work.

Keywords: Georgia Department of Rehabilitation Services; National Commissioner; Richard Rich; college degree; diploma; job applications; vocational rehabilitation

00:15:12 - Impact of Technology

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Partial Transcript: How do you feel your work experience was different as someone who is partially sighted?

Segment Synopsis: Levenson describes the difficulty using typewriters to fill out forms. He talks about initially using monitors or "dumb terminals" before the Social Security Administration switched personal computers. He talks about using the Job Access With Speech (JAWS) computer program that reads the text on the computer screen out loud. He describes his love of email as "the most wonderful thing God ever created" because it enables him to communicate with friends across the world. He also talks about his frequent use of the telephone with an anecdote about locating a gift for a friend in Honolulu by calling gift shops in Hawaii.

Keywords: Humuhumunukunukuapua'a fish; communication; computer literacy; directory assistance; flat rate long-distance; international; spellcheck

00:21:48 - Support group / Challenges / Technology change

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Partial Transcript: Tell me more about your friend circle.

Segment Synopsis: Levenson talks about his friends as his support group that keeps him sane. He describes his childhood friends and his adult friendships--some over 50 years. Levenson says that the two hardest things about being visually impaired are relying on others for transportation and shopping. Levenson describes changes in his lifetime and the increased accommodations for the visually impaired through technology.

Keywords: Harley Davidson; Lenox Square; MARTA; Uber; birthdays; internet; motorcycles; neighbors; one-room schoolhouse; online shopping; private school; public school; radio; television