Feb. 19, 2013
Date of Birth- June 27, 1880, This time period is important because Helen Keller was successful even though she did not have use of any of the technology that is available today. However, I feel her accomplishments are monumental in any time period.
Place of Birth- Tuscumbia, Alabama on June 27, 1880
Date of death- June 1, 1968
Place of death- Easton, Connecticut
Family and Childhood Information- Arthur H. Keller (father), Kate Adams Keller (mother), Mildred Keller (sister), and Annie Sullivan (teacher, friend and mentor).
Helen Keller was struck blind and deaf at 18 months of age after a severe fever from either Scarlet Fever or Meningitis. At the age of 5, her parents hired a teacher for her. Annie Sullivan, from the Perkins Institute proved to be Helen’s link to the outside world.
What did this person do for a living? - Author, Inspirational speaker, Advocate for people with disabilities
Hobbies and Interests- Reading, writing and sailing
Helen Keller was born to a regular southern family with no indication that her life would be talked about for future generations let alone a life to be admired. Initially she was a very healthy, happy baby and her mother thought she was highly intelligent because she was able to speak at an early age. After she experienced scarlet fever and was rendered blind and deaf, her parents now thought her life was doomed, considering an institutional living arrangement.
This is where I believe God stepped in and her parents listened. She was given a guardian angel, Annie Sullivan. I personally believe that Annie Sullivan is the hero in this story and given little credit accordingly. She came to the aid of a troubled child after having a troubled childhood herself. The fact that she survived without anger and was able to love and care wholly is a tremendous feat. And yet she sacrificed her entire life for Helen and she did it with love and compassion. She took on the role of Helen’s mother, father, friend, teacher, eyes, ears and companion and did so willingly. I find this kind of sacrifice amazing.
Through the determination of Annie, Helen broke through her wall of ignorance and thrived into a highly intelligent young lady who learned to speak well enough to speak in front of large audiences. She learned to read lips by placing her hand lightly on people’s mouths. She became a tremendous author and wrote several wonderful books, such as The Frost King, The World I Live In, Out of the Dark, My Religion, and this one, The Story of My Life.
This book gives insight into the trials she endured to get an education in a sighted world. She talks of how hard she had to study to keep up with her classmates, all the time Annie is sitting right by her side signing in her hand. She managed to graduate high school and college and with honors. Throughout those years, because of her disability I am sure, she had the privilege of meeting many important people including Mark Twain. She considered each of these people friends.
I have often wondered if Helen had a certain religion. From this book I learned that she had a very strong belief in God, but not a strong belief in a religion. When I found this quote I knew the magnitude of her disability. “I always knew He was there, but I didn’t know his name.” I find that amazing that she felt His presence before she ever knew he really existed. For those people who do not believe, I say this little girl can tell you how wrong you are.
I think Helen is an inspiration for everyone, not just the hearing and sighted impaired. Her drive, dedication and determination took her from entering the doors of an institution, to entering the doors into acceptance, admiration and fame. She reached fame and respect not only in her life time, but forever, as long as her story is told. Long after movie stars, athletes, musicians and even some presidents are forgotten, her story will be admired and will bring inspiration to others.