Who is Helen Keller, you may ask?. Helen Keller was a blind and deaf author, political activist and lecturer who received critical acclaim for her achievements throughout her career. When Helen Keller was made blind and deaf through fever at the age of 19 months, the prospects for her seemed anything but rosy. Born in 1880, at a time when blind/deaf people were likely to be consigned to the poor house or asylum, she went on to live a fuller and more adventurous life than many before or since.
For her many achievements despite her predicaments and handicaps, we celebrate her today. Check out a few facts about her you never knew;
1. Helen Adams Keller was born a healthy child in Tuscumbia, Alabama, on June 27, 1880 to the family of Kate Adams Keller and Colonel Arthur Keller.
2. At the age of 19 months, Helen became deaf and blind as a result of an unknown illness, perhaps rubella, meningitis or scarlet fever and a result from, she became wild and unruly as she grew from infancy to childhood.
3. Anne Sullivan a graduate of the Perkins Institute for the Blind, herself visually impaired, became Keller’s instructor. It was the beginning of a 49-year-long relationship during which Sullivan evolved into Keller’s governess and eventually her companion.
4. Starting in May 1888, Keller attended the Perkins Institute for the Blind. In 1894, Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan moved to New York to attend the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf, and to learn from Sarah Fuller at the Horace Mann School for the Deaf.
5. In January 22, 1916, Helen Keller and her companion, Anne Sullivan Macy, travelled to the small town of Menomonie in western Wisconsin to deliver a lecture at the Mabel Tainter Memorial Building.
6. 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.
7. Keller met every U.S. President from Grover Cleveland to Lyndon B. Johnson and was friends with many famous figures, including Alexander Graham Bell, Charlie Chaplin and Mark Twain.
8.Keller wrote a total of 12 published books and several articles. One of her earliest pieces of writing, at age 11, was The Frost King (1891). There were allegations that this story had been plagiarised from The Frost Fairies by Margaret Canby.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. A service was held in her honour at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., her body 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.
Indeed she was a woman of Valour worthy to be celebrated. Share with us some of your favourite Helen Keller Quotes below.