Helen Keller: Author, Lecturer, Political Activist Essay

Helen Keller: Author, Lecturer, Political Activist Essay

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Helen Keller is one of the most inspirational people in American history. She had to overcome physical disabilities and many other obstacles to live the life that she did. Keller was born on June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Her parents, Arthur Keller and Kate Adams, both served for the Confederates in the Civil War (Thompson, 2003). Like most parents, they were ecstatic when Keller was born. At 18 months old, she was a happy, healthy baby already learning to say her first few words. However, one morning, she woke up with an extremely high fever and had to go to the hospital. The doctor told her parents she had a serious illness know as “acute congestion of the stomach and brain.” This illness caused her to lose her sight and hearing for the rest of her life (Wilkie, 1969). She was unable to communicate with anyone and was shut off from the entire world.

For years, Keller would just hang on to her mother’s skirt to get around and feel of people’s hands to try to find out what they were doing. She learned to do quite a few things this way including milk a cow and knead the dough bread. She learned to recognize people by feeling their face and clothes. By the age of six, Keller had made up 60 different signs to communicate with her family (Keller, 1988). She was a bright child, but she started getting frustrated and angry that she could not talk and began throwing temper tantrums. The family knew they had to do something to help the child, so they began looking for a teacher.

In March of 1886, 21 year old Anne Sullivan arrived at the Keller’s house; she immediately began teaching Keller how to communicate by spelling letters into her hand. A month after Sullivan arrived, Keller had a big breakthrough in c...


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...to the National Statuary Hall Collection (Wilkie, 1992). Keller has even had multiple films made of her life story.

Keller was an author, lecturer, political activist, and an individual that many Americans will never forget. She conquered multiple obstacles and rose above her disabilities to gain international fame. Her dedication allowed her to help other disabled people live fuller lives. The struggles she had to overcome prove to people that if they put their mind to it, they can accomplish anything.


Works Cited

Forrest, Ellen. Helen Keller. Tucson: Learning Page, 2005. Print.

Keller, Helen. The Story of My Life. New York: Bantam Dell, 1988.

Thompson, Gare, and Nancy Harrison. Who Was Helen Keller? New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 2003. Print.

Wilkie, Katharine E. Helen Keller: From Tragedy to Triumph. New York: Bobbs-Merrill Co., Inc., 1969.

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