The subject of vision can never be over emphasized. Your ‘picture’ has so
much to do with your future. What are seeing with your mind’s eye?
It is said that the best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen
or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.
The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision, so said
Hellen Keller. Today I begin this series by sharing her story. Please read
Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was an American
author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to
earn a bachelor of arts degree. Her birthplace in West Tuscumbia, Alabama,
is now a museum and sponsors an annual “Helen Keller Day”. Her birthday
on June 27 is commemorated as Helen Keller Day in the U.S. state of
Pennsylvania and was authorized at the federal level by presidential
proclamation by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, the 100th anniversary of
A prolific author, Keller was well-traveled and outspoken in her convictions.
A member of the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of theWorld, she campaigned for women’s suffrage, labour rights, socialism, and other similar causes. She was inducted into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame in 1971 and was one of twelve inaugural inductees to the Alabama
Writers Hall of Fame on June 8, 2015.
In 1904, at the age of 24, Keller graduated from Radcliffe, becoming the first
deaf blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. She maintained a
correspondence with the Austrian philosopher and pedagogue Wilhelm
Jerusalem, who was one of the first to discover her literary talent.
Determined to communicate with others as conventionally as possible, Keller learned to speak, and spent much of her life giving speeches and lectures.
She learned to “hear” people’s speech by reading their lips with her
hands—her sense of touch had become extremely subtle. She became
proficient at using Braille and reading sign language with her hands as well.
Shortly before World War I, with the assistance of the Zoellner Quartet she
determined that by placing her fingertips on a resonant tabletop she could
experience music played close by.
She was thankful for the faculties and abilities that she did possess and
stated that the most productive pleasures she had were curiosity and
Keller went on to become a world-famous speaker and author. She is
remembered as an advocate for people with disabilities, amid numerous
other causes. She was a suffragette, a pacifist, an opponent of Woodrow
Wilson, a radical socialist and a birth control supporter.
At age 22, Keller published her autobiography, The Story of My Life (1903),
with help from Sullivan and Sullivan’s husband, John Macy. It recounts the
story of her life up to age 21 and was written during her time in college.
Keller wrote The World I Live In in 1908, giving readers an insight into how
she felt about the world. Out of the Dark, a series of essays on socialism,
was published in 1913.
When Keller was young, Anne Sullivan introduced her to Phillips Brooks, who introduced her to Christianity, Keller famously saying: “I always knew He was there, but I didn’t know His name!”
Keller suffered a series of strokes in 1961 and spent the last years of her life
at her home.
On September 14, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded her the
Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the United States’ two highest civilian
honours. In 1965 she was elected to the National Women’s Hall of Fame at
the New York World’s Fair.
Keller devoted much of her later life to raising funds for the American
Foundation for the Blind. She died in her sleep on June 1, 1968, at her
home, Arcan Ridge, located in Easton, Connecticut, a few weeks short of her
eighty-eighth birthday. A service was held in her honour at the National
Cathedral in Washington, D.C., she was cremated and her ashes were placed
there next to her constant companions, Anne Sullivan and Polly Thomson.
She was buried at the Washington National Cathedral Washington District of Columbia.
Story Credit: Wikipedia
Again, what can you see? Do check the next post for the sequel