Deaf And Blind American Author: Among her many accomplishments were authorship, advocacy for disabled people’s rights, political activism, and lectureship. She was born in West Tuscumbia, Alabama, and lost her sight and hearing at the age of nineteen months as a result of a medical condition.
She then relied primarily on home signs until the age of seven, when she met her first teacher and lifelong companion Anne Sullivan, who introduced her to the world of language, including reading and writing. Sullivan’s first lessons consisted of spelling words on Keller’s hand to show her the names of objects in her immediate environment.
It was through the Tadoma approach that she also learned how to communicate and understand other people’s speech. She attended Radcliffe College of Harvard University after receiving an education at both specialized and mainstream institutions. She was the first deafblind person to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree from the university.
Working for the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) from 1924 to 1968, she traveled extensively throughout the United States and to 35 countries around the world, campaigning for those who have lost their vision.
A prolific author, Keller wrote 14 books and hundreds of speeches and essays on topics ranging from animals to Mahatma Gandhi. He was also a prolific speaker.
Keller advocated for people with disabilities, women’s suffrage, labor rights, and international peace, among other causes.
In 1909, she became a member of the Socialist Party of America. She was a supporter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union. When her book How I Became a Socialist was set on fire by Nazi youth in 1933, she responded by writing an open letter to the Student Body of Germany, in which she condemned censorship and bigotry.
In Keller’s 1903 autobiography, The Story of My Life, and its many adaptations for cinema and theatre, including The Miracle Worker, the story of Keller and Sullivan became well-known worldwide.
Her birthplace has been transformed into a museum, which hosts an annual “Helen Keller Day.” On June 27, Pennsylvania celebrates Helen Keller Day, and in the centennial year of her birth, President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation recognizing the importance of Helen Keller’s contributions to the world.
She was inducted into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame in 1971 and was one of twelve first inductees into the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame on June 8, 2015, both of which were held in Birmingham.
Keller was born on June 27, 1880, in the Alabama town of Tuscumbia. Helen’s family lived on Ivy Green, a property that Helen’s grandpa had built many years before she was born. Four siblings were born to her father’s previous marriage: two full siblings, Mildred Campbell (Keller) Tyson, and Phillip Brooks Keller, and two older half-brothers from her father’s first marriage, James McDonald Keller and William Simpson Keller.
Her father, Arthur Henley Keller (1836–1896), was a long-time editor of the Tuscumbia North Alabamian newspaper and had served as a captain in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. Before the conflict, the family was a member of the slaveholding aristocracy, but they were demoted subsequently.