Linda Neville: While visiting Katherine Pettit at the Hindman Settlement School in the summer of 1908, Linda Neville noticed that an unusually large percentage of area residents suffered with eye problems. Some children did not attend school because they could not see the printed page; mothers with weepy eyes dripped on their babies as they nursed at the breast; and many highlanders of every age, their eyes covered with rags, groped their ways or were led by others.
The condition was trachoma, a highly contagious form of conjunctivitis. Nevilleapproached the Kentucky Medical Association and a State Board of Health investigation led to treatment. Neville encouraged eye specialists to go to Appalachia and provide free care to those in need. She organized, planned, and publicized eye clinics and supplied medical teams with anesthesia and medications.
For half a century Linda Neville spent most of her time and money crusading for the eradication of trachoma and other causes of blindness.
-Nancy Disher Baird, Kentucky History Librarian, Library Special Collections, Western Kentucky University
Visit the Kentucky Department for the Blind’s Web site.
View a clip from "My Name is Linda" written by Vaughn McBride, 1992, used with permission of Prevent Blindness America, Kentucky Division.
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