Facts, information and articles about Helen Keller, a Famous Woman In History

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Accomplishments: activist for rights for the physically handicapped

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Helen Keller summary: Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama on June 27th, 1880. She was a healthy child until an illness and a severe fever left her both blind and deaf. Helen’s childhood was turbulent, as she was quite intelligent but her handicaps made her unable to communicate, causing her to become frustrated and resulting in frequent tantrums. When Helen was seven, after many years and attempts to get help for Helen, help arrived in the form of Anne Sullivan, a young teacher who had herself been blind and attended Perkins Institute for the Blind. Anne had partial vision due to numerous operations on her eyes, and she became Helen’s teacher. Anne first taught Helen sign language, and when Helen realized the true meanings of words, her thirst for knowledge accelerated.

In 1890, Helen attended the Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Boston, Massachusetts, where she took speech classes. She continued her education, studying both general academics and communication, at a school for the deaf in New York City. She went on to a college preparatory school, and her plight to learn despite her physical handicaps led to her meeting famous people, including Mark Twain. A wealthy friend of Twain paid for Helen to attend Radcliffe College, where, with Ann Sullivan at her side to help interpret for her, she graduated with honors in 1904.

During her time at Radcliffe, an editor and Anne’s future husband, John Macy, helped Helen write her first book, which was a story of her life. After completing her education, with Anne continuing to mentor her, Helen began lecturing and sharing the story of her life with others, with the hope of opening up more options for people with disabilities. She spoke about rights for others as well, including women. She founded or co-founded numerous foundations, including the American Civil Liberties Union and several foundations for the blind. Helen received numerous awards throughout her lifetime as a result of her tireless endeavors, including the Medal of Honor in 1965. Helen died at the age of 87 in 1968.