Who was Helen Keller?

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Helen Adams Keller was born on June 27,1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. After 19th months from she was deaf and blind. Keller's teacher, Ann Sullivan, helped her make tremendous progress with her ability to communicate, and Keller went to college, graduating in 1904.Helen Keller was the first blind deaf person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. She was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. In 1920, Keller helped found the ACLU, during her lifetime. Helen Keller received lot of honor in recognitions of her accomplishment.

Early Life of Helen Keller:

Helen Keller was the first of two daughters born to Arthur H. Keller and Katherine Adams Keller. She also had two older stepbrothers. Keller's father had proudly served as an officer in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. The Keller family were not particularly wealthy, neither were they poor, the patriarch Arthur Keller was an officer in the Confederate Army during the Civil War and after the war ended, he took up a job as an editor of the weekly local newspaper, the North Alabamian. The family's primary source of livelihood was their cotton plantation. Keller was born sense of hearing and blind, Keller started speaking when she was just six months old. And She started walking at the age of one. She had four siblings; two full siblings, Mildred Campbell (Keller) Tyson and Phillip Brooks Keller, and two older half-brothers from her father's prior marriage, James McDonald Keller and William Simpson Keller.

Loss of sight and hearing:

In 1882, Keller contracted an illnesscalled "brain fever" by the family doctorthat produced a high body temperature. The true nature of the illness remains a mystery today, though some experts believe it might have been scarlet fever or meningitis. Within a few days after the fever broke, Keller's mother noticed that her daughter didn't show any reaction when the dinner bell was rung, or when a hand was waved in front of her face. Keller had lost both her sight and hearing. She was just 19 months old. As Keller was growing into childhood, she developed a limited method of communication with her companion, Martha Washington, the young daughter of the family cook. The two had created a type of sign language, and by the time Keller was 7, they had invented more than 60 signs to communicate with each other. But Keller had become very wild and unruly during this time. She would kick and scream when angry, and giggle uncontrollably when she felt happy. She tormented Martha and inflicted raging tantrums on her parents.

Education with Ann Sullivan:

In 1886, Keller's mother came across a travelogue by Charles Dickens, American Notes. She read about another blind and deaf person, Laura Bridgman, and dispatched Keller and her father Baltimore Maryland to see a specialist Dr. J. Julian Chisolm. After took Keller exam , Chisolm recommended that she see Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, who was working with deaf children at the time. Bell met with Keller and her parents, and suggested that they travel to the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston, Massachusetts. There, the family met with the school's director, Michael Anagrams. He suggested Helen work with one of the institute's most recent graduates, Anne Sullivan. And so began a 49-year relationship between teacher and pupil. On March 3, 1887, Sullivan went to Keller's home in Alabama and for work. She began by teaching six year-old Helen finger spelling, starting with the word "doll," to help Keller understand the gift of a doll she had brought along.

First of all, Keller was curious, then defiant, refusing to cooperate with Sullivan's instruction. When Keller did cooperate, Sullivan could tell that she wasn't making the connection between the objects and the letters spelled out in her hand. Sullivan kept working at it, forcing Helen to go through the regimen. As Keller's frustration grew, the tantrums increased. Sullivan demanded that she and Keller be isolated from the rest of the family for a time, so that Keller could concentrate only on Sullivan's instruction. They moved to a cottage on the plantation. Sullivan taught Keller the word "water"; she helped her make the connection between the object and the letters by taking Keller out to the water pump, and placing Keller's hand under the spout. While Sullivan moved the lever to flush cool water over Keller's hand, she spelled out the word w-a-t-e-r on Helen's other hand. Keller understood and repeated the word in Sullivan's hand. She then pounded the ground, demanding to know its "letter name." Sullivan followed her, spelling out the word into her hand. Keller moved to other objects with Sullivan in tow. End of the night Helen Keller learned 30 words.


In 1890, Keller began speech classes at the Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Boston. She would toil for 25 years to learn to speak so that others could understand her. From 1894 to 1896, she attended the Wright-Huma son School for the Deaf in New York City. There, she worked on improving her communication skills and studied regular academic subjects. This time, Keller became determined to attend college. In 1896, she attended the Cambridge School for Young Ladies, a preparatory school for women. As her story became known to the general public, Keller began to meet famous and influential people. One of them was the writer Mark Twain, who was very impressed with her. They became friends. Twain introduced her to his friend Henry H. Rogers, a Standard Oil executive. There are people all over the world who are scared and feel is no hope for them, when Helen went to college even, she was blind and deaf. In the fall of 1900, Helen Keller became the first deaf and blind person to go to college. She went to Radcliffe College, and Radcliffe was very hard at that time. And in class, while other students could take notes during classes, Helen had to remember everything Ann wrote in her hand. When people found out that Helen was to enter Radcliffe, there was a lot of talks Everyone from Radcliffe college thought it was miss Sullivan, not Helen. Because she was accompanied by Sullivan, who sat by her side to interpret lectures and texts. Yes, it's hard to believe that a blind and deaf girl who was graduated with honors at Radcliffe. When Helen wrote a book about her friends. Her teacher Dr.Copeland felt that Helen should stop trying to write like all other girls. Helen wrote about enjoying a spring day, the way any young person might. Her writing is among the best I have ever seen in my classes. A teacher wanted her to write a story about her instead of others. Then, With the help of Sullivan and Sullivan's future husband, John Macy, Keller wrote her first book, The Story of My Life. It covered her transformation from childhood to 21-year-old college student. Keller graduated, cum laude, from Radcliffe in 1904, at the age of 24. And she certainly began writing attracted the attention of the editors of a national magazine. Then magazine started asking her to write a series of stories, and they offered her $3000 in 1901, the average yearly salary in the United States was about $700, so this was a huge amount of money.

Social Activism:

Keller set up to learn more about the world and how she could help improve the lives of others. Even she blind and deaf still she cares about the world and other people. Blind and deaf cannot stop her with her loves. The news spread all over the England magazine and she became like an celebrity type people. Keller started work on behalf of others living with disabilities. First of the 20th century, she started talking about the social and political issues, including women suffrage, pacifism and birth control. She was testifying before the congress and strongly advocating to improve the welfare of blind and deaf people. In 1915, along with renowned city planner George Kessler, she co-founded Helen Keller International to combat the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition. In 1920, she helped found the American Civil Liberties Union.

In 1921, the American Federation for the Blind was established, Keller had an effective national outlet for her efforts. Helen Keller became a member in 1924, and participated in many campaigns to raise awareness, money and support for the blind. She also joined other organizations dedicated to helping those less fortunate, including the Permanent Blind War Relief Fund (later called the American Braille Press).

After Helen Keller graduated from college, Keller became a member of the Socialist Party, most likely due in part to her friendship with John Macy. Between 1909 and 1921, she wrote several articles about socialism and supported Eugene Debs, a Socialist Party presidential candidate. Her series of essays on socialism, entitled "Out of the Dark," described her views on socialism and world affairs.

During her first experiences public prejudice about her disabilities. For most of her life, the press had been caring supportive of her, praising her courage and intelligence. But after she expressed her socialist views, some criticized her by calling attention to her disabilities. One newspaper, the Brooklyn Eagle, wrote that her "mistakes sprung out of the manifest limitations of her development."

Life and death:

Helen Keller dedicated her entire life striving to improve the life of disabled people. Her works gained her international prominence and as a result, she was vastly awarded for her achievements. In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson honored her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her endeavors took her to over 35 countries. She has streets in France, Spain, and Israel named after her. Keller suffered a series of stroke in 1961 and on June 1, 1968. On a warm summer evening in 1968, Keller died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 87. In her final days, Helen knew she was dying. But she was not afraid.

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Who was Helen Keller?. (2019, Nov 15). Retrieved April 18, 2024 , from

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