Helen Keller is a name that brings hope and inspirations to many people especially to the Americans who celebrate her life every year and to them that the society considers “impaired”. This is a little something about her life.
She was born Helen Adams Keller on 27thJune, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama, USA to Arthur H. Keller; an editor for Tuscumbia North Alabamian for many years and a captain for the Confederate Army, and Kate Adams. She had two siblings namely Mildred Campbell and Phillip Brooks Keller, and two other half-brothers from her father prior marriage; James and William Simpson Keller. The family lived on a homestead, Ivy Green built by her grandfather. One of her ancestors was the first teacher of the deaf in Zurich. At 19 months old, she contracted what the doctors called “an acute congestion of the stomach and brain”, possibly Scarlet Fever or Meningitis which left her both blind and deaf.
In 1886, Helen’s mother, inspired by the story of Laura Bridgman (a successful deaf and blind woman), sent her along with her father to see physician J. Julian Chisholm (an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist) who referred them to Alexander Graham Bell who was working with deaf children at the time. Bell advised that they go to Perkins Institute for the Blind, where Bridgman was educated. Anne Sullivan, a 20-year-old former student (blind) was made her instructor beginning a 49-year relationship. They moved from school to school, institute to institute, place to place. Helen became the first deaf and blind person to attain a Bachelor of Arts. She later learnt to speak and spent most of her life giving speeches and lectures. She was an author of 12 published books and several articles as well as a political activist who campaigned on Women’s suffrage, Labour rights, Socialism and others like these, and a lecturer.
Helen Keller was a member of the Socialist Party of America, Industrial Workers of the World and was inducted into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame in 1971 and Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame on June 8, 2015. She died on June 1, 1968 at age 87 at Connecticut, USA. Her birthplace is now a museum and sponsors the annual Helen Keller’s Day (every June 27) in Pennsylvania, USA authorized by President Jimmy Carter in 1980 (her 100thanniversary of her birth).
THE STORY OF MY LIFE by Helen Keller
BIOGRAPHY OF HELEN KELLER (Wikipedia)
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