Who was Helen Keller?

Helen Adams Keller was an American author, lecturer and political activist born in June 27th, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama, United States, who is remembered as the first deaf-mute person to receive a degree. His birthday is commemorated in the US state of Pennsylvania as Hellen Keller Day. She was outspoken and well traveled, and was also a member of the workers of the industry of the world and of the Socialist Party of America. Keller was an active activist for antimilitarism, labor rights, women’s suffrage, socialism and many other similar causes. In 1971 it was included in the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame, while in 2015 it was one of 12 to be included in the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame. Keller became a witness to the world that deaf-blind people are able to learn to communicate and could do things that hearing people could do. Keller is an idol for many people around the world, both deaf and blind.

Early life

Keller had two brothers and two half-brothers. His father Arthur Keller had worked for Tuscumbia North Alabamian as editor. One of his paternal ancestors was the first teacher of the deaf in Switzerland. When she was born, Keller could see and hear, but she contracted an illness when she was 19 months old and made her deaf and blind. At the time the disease was identified as “acute congestion of the stomach and brain”, but if it was thought to be either meningitis or scarlet fever. At the age of seven, he learned to live with his disabilities because he could communicate with his family using more than sixty signage. Hellen’s family contacted the Perkins School for the Blind, and its director asked a former student of the school, Anne Sullivan, a visually impaired person, to be Keller’s instructor. In 1887,


Hellen attended the Cambridge School for Young Ladies in preparation for admission to Radcliffe College in 1900. She graduated at the age of 24 from the institution as the first blind and deaf person to acquire a degree in literature. Hellen learned and became a skilled speaker and was able to listen by reading people’s lips with his hands. He began his writing career while working at Radcliffe. In 1903, he published his autobiography, “The story of my life”, “The world I live in” and series of socialism “Out of the dark” was published in 1913.

More contributions

For people with disabilities, Hellen is defined as their lawyer. He was a socialist and also supported birth control. She was a co-founder of Hellen Keller International, an organization that deals with nutrition, vision and health. He also contributed to the founding of The American Civil Liberties Union. From 1909 to 1921 he wrote in support and campaigned for the working class since he was a member of the Socialist Party. He has traveled to more than 40 countries giving motivational speeches to the deaf. She met all the presidents of the United States between Grover Cleveland and Lyndon Johnson, and was a close friend of eminent personalities such as Charlie Chaplin, Mark Twain and Alexander Graham Bell.

The challenges

Hellen Keller faced many challenges starting from his disabilities to listen or talk that made communication difficult. He had to study in preparation for college, where Ann Sullivan was not of much help since he could not translate the exams and had to be translated into Braille. Anne also had to translate Hellen’s books and interpret her lessons because they were not in Braille.

Death and inheritance

Hellen spent most of his last days at his home after suffering a series of heart attacks in 1961. He died peacefully while sleeping at his home in June 1st, 1968 in Connecticut only a few weeks on his 88th birthday. She is remembered for her courage despite all the hardships she faced. Hellen Keller International (HKI), the leading non-profit organization in the world that he founded in 1915, is proud to carry on his legacy as someone who cared about the disabled and people challenged in society. In 1964, Keller received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and thus becoming one of the two recipients of the highest civil awards in the country by President Johnson, and was also elected to the National Women’s Hall of Fame of 1965. Keller was honored posthumously in several countries of the world.

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