IW 2006: Congress Authorizes Coin for Braille

Posted by Mike Merritt in Independence Week on

Looks like I’m doubling up today, since I forgot to post one yesterday.

Congress recently authorized the U.S. to create a silver dollar to commemorate Louis Braille, the creator of the Braille alphabet. I think that’s a good way to celebrate a man who single-handedly revolutionized reading and writing for the blind.

An earlier system of raised letters was used by the school which Braille attended. However, the system used (paper against wire) prevented the reader from also being able to write. In 1821, Charles Barbier, a Captain in Napoleon’s army, visited Braille’s school, and met Braille. He had created a system of reading and writing that allowed soldiers to communicate silently and without light. His system used 12 dots and Braille found the system difficult to use because the fingertip could not read the dots without moving, so he changed the system to use six dots instead.

So, I hope you enjoyed the brief history lesson…thanks, Wikipedia! Interestingly, the bill was co-written by one of my state’s senators, Christopher Dodd.

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