Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Hairston chronicles journey to greatness in midst of blindness
By Cora Jackson-Fossett (Religion Editor)
Published March 9, 2016
Ever Lee Hairston (photo courtesy of

Ever Lee Hairston (photo courtesy of

March is Women’s History Month

People with sight often take it for granted. Ever Lee Hairston did too, until her vision began to fade at an early age. Confronted with total blindness at the age of 29, she took steps to succeed in life despite her handicap.

Hairston chronicles her journey and ascension to an executive position in the Department of Health and Human Services Division in New Jersey in the book, “Blind Ambition:  One Woman’s Journey To Greatness Despite Her Blindness.”


The author, who now lives in Los Angeles, will share excerpts of her story on Sunday, March 20, at 8 a.m. and 11:15 a.m., at Second Baptist Church, 2412 Griffith Avenue in Los Angeles. Also, a book signing will be held following each service.

“Ever Lee beat the odds, even in the midst of setbacks and defeats,” said her friend, Jolaine Harkless, who added that Hairston wrote that she faced challenges before she lost her sight. Born to sharecropping parents and raised on a southern plantation, Hairston recalled that she suffered disappointments that caused low self-confidence and self-esteem.

As a youth, she noticed her eyesight was slowly deteriorating; however she kept it a secret. Hairston went on to graduate from North Carolina Central University, then married and had a child. Still, her world was changing and life got harder for her to manage, especially after her marriage fell apart.

“Facing total blindness, with a failed marriage, a child to raise alone and uncertainty about future employment, Ever Lee changed her attitude and changed her life,” as stated on the book’s jacket cover. “She attended the Louisiana Center for the Blind and began integrating blindness skills into her everyday life.”

Hairston’s commitment to excel resulted in her appointment as program director of New Jersey’s Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program. In addition, she became a mentor, motivational speaker and tireless advocate for the blind.

Currently, Hairston serves on the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind and as first vice-president of the National Federation of the Blind of California.


“Ever Lee’s story will inspire anyone facing hardships or seemingly impossible obstacles in their life,” noted Harkless. “We urge everyone to come and meet this dynamic woman at the book signing.”

The event is sponsored by the Memorial and Historical Commission of Second Baptist Church. Cathy Woodruff is the Commission president and the Rev. Dr. William S. Epps is the senior pastor.

For information, call the church at (213) 748-0318.

Categories: Religion
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