#EDoriginal: A never-seen-before ED exclusive column where an incident is reported as if it happened yesterday in newspaper style.
On 27th June 1880, Helen Keller, one of the most memorable woman in history was born. Born in Tuscumbia Alabama, Helen Keller suffered from either scarlet fever or meningitis when she was just 19 months old.
She lost her eyesight and hearing power due to the illness. Her life wasn’t an easy one. Fighting numerous struggles, Keller inspired the world and is still a guiding light to many.
To commemorate her work, 27th June is celebrated as Helen Keller Day in the United States.
Graham Bell Connection
Did you know that Alexandra Graham Bell, the man who invented the telephone was connected to Helen Keller?
Helen Keller was referred to the Perkins Institute for the Blind, in Boston by Bell himself. Here she met 20-year-old Anne Sullivan who herself was visually impaired.
She became Keller’s instructor and thus began a 49-year-long relationship during which Sullivan evolved into Keller’s governess and eventually her companion.
Determined that she wanted to communicate like everyone else, Helen learned to speak. She became equally proficient in reading braille and sign language by touching gestures with her hands.
Helen Keller became the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor’s degree when she graduated from The Radcliffe College. It was here that she met her admirer Mark Twain, another great author of this time.
Keller gave numerous lectures at various events most famous being the Mabel Tainter Memorial Building lecture.
As an author, she wrote over 12 books and various articles. She also wrote Anne Sullivan’s biography. She became Chief Adviser to ‘The American Foundation for the Blind’.
For all the efforts she had put in to make lives easier for differently abled, Helen was inducted into the Alabama Hall of Fame in 1971.
Keller and Sullivan were subjects of Pulitzer Prize-winning play, The Miracle Worker, by William Gibson, which opened in New York in 1959 and became a successful Hollywood film in 1962.
Helen Keller inspired Robert Smithdas to complete her graduation and she became the second deaf-blind person to graduate from the same college as Helen Keller.
Although a responsible citizen of the society, Helen Keller was under the FBI radar as she was a devout Socialist with radical left-wing ideas.
She returned some time later. Keller never revealed much about the elopement and why she came back home.
Helen Keller’s inability never acted as a roadblock in her life. Instead, it was her visual inability that encouraged her to reach out to more people and help them.
Apart from her social work, Keller campaigned for women’s suffrage, labor rights, socialism, and anti-militarism.
Helen Keller was a crusader. Her foundation has been actively working in various parts of the world to rehabilitate not just visually impaired but people who have been ousted from the society because of their physical or mental shortcomings.
Her impact as an educator, social worker, and political activist has been enormous. She was responsible for many advances that were made in public services to accommodate and help the handicapped.
We celebrate 136th birthday of this impeccable lady today. Here’s to hoping that the world imbibes some of the qualities and start treating everyone the same.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.