Aundrea Arellano

Written by Aundrea Arellano

Published: 06 Jun 2024


Helen Keller's life is a testament to human resilience and determination. Born in 1880, she lost her sight and hearing at just 19 months old due to an illness. Despite these challenges, she became an author, political activist, and lecturer. Did you know Helen Keller was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree? Her story continues to inspire millions around the world. From her groundbreaking work with her teacher Anne Sullivan to her advocacy for people with disabilities, Keller's achievements are nothing short of extraordinary. Let's delve into 28 amazing facts about this remarkable woman.

Table of Contents

Early Life and Education

Helen Keller's journey from a young girl unable to see or hear to a world-renowned author and activist is nothing short of inspiring. Here are some fascinating facts about her early life and education.

  1. Helen Keller was born on June 27, 1880, in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Her family lived on a homestead called Ivy Green.

  2. At 19 months old, Helen contracted an illness, possibly scarlet fever or meningitis, which left her both deaf and blind.

  3. Despite her disabilities, Helen developed a limited method of communication with her friend Martha Washington, the daughter of the family cook.

  4. Helen's parents sought help from Alexander Graham Bell, who was working with deaf children at the time. He recommended they contact the Perkins Institute for the Blind.

  5. Anne Sullivan, a former student of Perkins, became Helen's instructor in 1887. Anne's teaching methods were revolutionary and included spelling words into Helen's hand.

  6. Helen's breakthrough came when she connected the concept of "water" with the finger-spelled letters W-A-T-E-R while Anne held her hand under a water pump.

Academic Achievements

Helen Keller's academic journey was marked by numerous milestones that showcased her determination and intellect.

  1. Helen attended the Perkins Institute for the Blind, where she learned Braille and began her formal education.

  2. She later attended the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf in New York City to improve her communication skills.

  3. Helen entered The Cambridge School for Young Ladies in 1896, preparing for college.

  4. In 1900, Helen became the first deaf-blind person to enroll at Radcliffe College, the women's counterpart to Harvard University.

  5. Helen graduated cum laude from Radcliffe in 1904, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree. She was the first deaf-blind person to achieve this feat.

Literary Contributions

Helen Keller's literary works have inspired millions around the world. Her writings reflect her experiences and her advocacy for people with disabilities.

  1. Helen's first book, "The Story of My Life," was published in 1903. It details her early life, education, and relationship with Anne Sullivan.

  2. She wrote a total of 12 published books and numerous articles throughout her life.

  3. "The World I Live In," published in 1908, provides insight into how Helen perceived the world through her other senses.

  4. Helen's autobiography, "Midstream: My Later Life," published in 1929, covers her life after college and her work as an activist.

  5. Helen's book "Out of the Dark," published in 1913, includes essays on socialism and her political views.

Advocacy and Activism

Helen Keller was a tireless advocate for people with disabilities and a prominent political activist. Her efforts have left a lasting impact on society.

  1. Helen joined the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) in 1924, working for the organization for over 40 years.

  2. She traveled to 35 countries on five continents, advocating for the rights of people with disabilities.

  3. Helen was a member of the Socialist Party of America and supported various labor rights causes.

  4. She co-founded the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 1920, advocating for civil rights and liberties.

  5. Helen received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964, one of the United States' highest civilian honors.

Personal Life and Legacy

Helen Keller's personal life and legacy continue to inspire and influence people worldwide. Her story is a testament to the power of perseverance and the human spirit.

  1. Helen maintained a close relationship with Anne Sullivan, who remained her teacher and companion until Anne's death in 1936.

  2. After Anne's passing, Polly Thomson, another aide, became Helen's primary companion.

  3. Helen was friends with many notable figures, including Mark Twain, who admired her intellect and determination.

  4. She was an advocate for women's suffrage, pacifism, and birth control, often speaking out on these issues.

  5. Helen's life story has been adapted into various plays and films, most notably "The Miracle Worker," which has won several awards.

  6. The Helen Keller Archives, maintained by the American Foundation for the Blind, house a vast collection of her letters, photographs, and artifacts.

  7. Helen Keller passed away on June 1, 1968, at the age of 87. Her legacy lives on through the many organizations and causes she supported.

Helen Keller's Legacy Lives On

Helen Keller's life story is nothing short of inspirational. Overcoming deafness and blindness, she became a symbol of perseverance and advocacy. Her achievements in education, literature, and human rights continue to inspire millions. Keller's dedication to improving the lives of those with disabilities has left a lasting impact on society. Her work with the American Foundation for the Blind and her efforts in promoting Braille literacy have transformed countless lives. Helen Keller's legacy reminds us that with determination and support, anything is possible. Her story encourages us to break barriers and advocate for a more inclusive world. Let's carry forward her spirit of resilience and compassion, ensuring her message of hope and empowerment continues to resonate for generations to come.

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