The Inspiring Story of Helen Keller

Vannessa | 06 - 09 - 2023
Helen Keller

Though underestimated for her deafness and blindness, Helen Keller evolved to become a leading humanitarian, lecturer, and writer. She spoke out for the welfare of the blind and women’s franchise and co-established the American Civil Liberties Union.

Where Was Helen Keller Born?

Helen Keller was born on June 27, 1880, in Tuscumbia, Alabama, U.S. She was the elder of two daughters of Arthur Keller and Katherine Adams Keller. Her father served as a captain in the Confederate Army. On her father’s side, she descended from Colonel Alexander Spotswood, a colonel governor of Virginia. On the mother’s side, she was related to a well-known New England family. As the family lost their wealth during the civil war, they led a modest life.

As a result of a strange illness (probably rubella or scarlet fever), Helen became deaf and blind at the age of 19 months. Growing older she became uncontrollable.  

Which year was Helen Keller born?
  • A. 1880
  • B. 1889
  • C. 1886
  • D. 1882

The Role of Anne Sullivan in Helen Keller’s Education

Helen’s life took a significant turn when Anne Mansfield Sullivan came to Tuscumbia to be her teacher. Anne was a graduate of the Perkins School of Blind. After the awful experience as a ward at the Tewksbury Almshouse in Massachusetts she entered the Perkins at 14.  Anne was 14 years elder than her student Helen. She also suffered from trachoma, an eye disease that left her partially blind. Anne went through numerous botched operations before her eyesight was partially restored. 

According to Anne, the key to reaching Helen is to inculcate her obedience and love. 

Anne began her teaching by manually signing into the child’s hand. By articulating “d-o-ll” into the child’s hand, she taught the child to connect objects with letters.  Helen rapidly learned to form letters correctly in the right order. Water was the first word Helen spoke. 

Helen Keller’s Education and Literary Career

In 1898, Helen enrolled in the Cambridge School for Young Ladies to qualify for Radcliffe College. In 1900 Helen entered Radcliffe and received a Bachelor of Arts degree. Fabulously she was the first person to reach this peak.   

While studying at Radcliffe, Helen began her literary career. Her autobiography The Story of My Life was published in 1903. Today, it has been translated into 50 languages. 

Helen Keller’s Advocacy for Rights

As a socialist, she advocated for workers’ rights and women’s suffrage. Helen was a previous member of the American Civil Liberties Union. In 1924 Helen joined the American Foundation

for the Blind and served for over 40 years. Helen’s principles were purest and longest-lasting.

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