Helen Keller

Helen Adams Keller was an American author, disability rights advocate, political activist, and lecturer. she authored 13 books, wrote countless articles, and devoted her life to social reform.

Helen Adams Keller was born a healthy child in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Her parents were Kate Adams Keller and Arthur Keller, the captain of the Confederate army Colonel. The family lost most of its wealth during the Civil War and lived modestly.

At the age of 19 months, Helen became deaf and blind as a result of an unknown illness, perhaps rubella or scarlet fever. She learned to read (in several languages) and even speak, eventually graduating with honors from Radcliffe College in 1904, where as a student, she wrote The Story of My Life.

An active and effective suffragist, pacifist, and socialist (the latter association earned her an FBI file), she lectured on behalf of disabled people everywhere. She also helped start several foundations that continue to improve the lives of the deaf and blind worldwide.

As a young girl Keller was obstinate, prone to fits of violence, and seething with rage at her inability to express herself. She was examined by Alexander Graham Bell at the age of 6. As a result, he sent to her a 20-year-old teacher, Anne Sullivan (Macy), from the Perkins Institution for the Blind in Boston, which Bell’s son-in-law directed.

This event of her life Keller declares "the most important day I remember in all my life." Sullivan remained with Keller from March 1887 until her own death in October 1936.

Keller's childhood training with Sullivan was described in William Gibson's play The Miracle Worker (1959), which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1960 and was later made into a movie (1962) that won two Oscars.
years of life: 27 June 1880 1 June 1968


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