Byron K. Smith Interview
When Byron Smith was in sixth grade, his mother got a call from his teacher. She said, "Byron is out there on the monkey bars and he's sitting on the top bar and he's not hanging on with his hands." “My mom said, ‘Let him alone. Yes, he may fall. Yes, he may get hurt but as long as he's not being irreverent or grandstanding or behaving poorly, if he's just out there with the guys, shooting marbles in the gravel or climbing the monkey bars, let him go.' That was pretty much the attitude that my family had… do as much of everything with everybody as I could.” Byron recounts how he had attended public school for kindergarten and half of first grade in Bloomington, Indiana, before losing his sight due to eye disease.
In 1951 "Bikey" entered the Indiana State School for the Blind. He learned Braille while attending grades 1 through 5 at the residential school in Indianapolis. With concerted advocacy from his parents and many others, he was permitted to re-enter public school in Bloomington for the 6th grade, the first blind pupil to transfer from the state school. Byron attended University Junior High and High Schools and graduated Indiana University with a degree in radio and television. He shares some stories about how he got into the field of radio. He worked at the University for over 37 years as a reporter, editor, and radio producer.
Byron was active as a member and chairperson of the City of Bloomington’s Council for Community Accessibility and was co-founder of the Handicapped Improvisational Theater, later known as Diversity Theatre. Byron also talks about the work he did with his wife Patsy in audio description. Byron K. Smith was interviewed in 2013. A life-long Bloomington, Indiana resident, he died in 2016.
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