Google “Dr. Jim Washington”, or “Dr. James Washington”, and you will find nary a trace of this great optometrist’s legacy. A gentleman of the highest order, Jim practiced in New Jersey for many years with the able assistance of his wife Ethelyn. He served as as the second President of the National Optometric Association, and the only place you’ll find him on the Internet is front row, second on your left, in this historical photo on the NOA website.
I am at the annual NOA meeting now in Hilton Head, South Carolina, serving as their keynote speaker at the invitation of their President, Dr. Stephanie Johnson-Brown. In 2008 Jim Washington sent me the outline of a monograph that he had in mind on the need for optometric vision therapy in the African-American community. He asked me to help him with it, and as good as my intentions were, I put it aside until I could give it my full attention. Sadly Jim suffered a stroke in the interim, and his communication skills were impaired. He passed away in 2010 and I promised his wife that I would not forget about my promise to help him get this message out.
It’s here! The monograph arrived yesterday, and is being displayed at the OEP exhibit booth. It will be the next OEP enrollment benefit publication for Clinical Associates, due to mail next month, and will then be for sale through their online store. You can obtain it now for a donation of any amount to the NOA.
The Dedication and Acknowledgements are Jim’s words from 2008 and begins as follows: This book is dedicated to all of those African-American students who did the very best they could but still did not graduate from high school. To all African-Americans who are currently stuck in low-paying jobs because they were not provided with ample opportunities to sustain educational growth …
As you can tell, this book is not for the faint of heart. Jim’s message is powerful, informed, and informative. Neither Ethelyn nor I will profit from Jim’s work and lifelong dream of getting this information out to the public. Our reward will be your assistance in reading it, and in sharing his dream.