Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Great Americans A to Z: Helen Keller

Helen Keller (1880-1968) was an American author, lecturer, and political activist. Helen was the first deaf-blind person to earn a college degree.

Before she was two years old, Helen contracted an illness that left her blind and deaf. She described her life before knowing words as being like a ship “at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut [her] in…and [she] waited with beating heart for something to happen…”

When Helen was six years old, her parents hired Anne Sullivan, a graduate of Perkins Institute for the Death and Blind, to become Helen’s teacher. Anne, who was partially blind herself, taught Helen words—both spelling and meaning.

Helen went on to author many books, essays, and letters. She wrote about her childhood and college experiences, her perception of the world, her political views and religion. She became a speaker who advocated rights for women, the poor, and individuals who were blind and/or deaf. She was also a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award.

Helen inspired many others to pursue higher education, such as Robert Smithdas (1925-still living!) who is the first deaf-blind person to earn a masters degree.

“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” ~Helen Keller

Does Helen Keller inspire you?


  1. Nice post, she was indeed quite a woman. A-Z

  2. She was an inspiration for women everywhere. Visiting from A-Z

  3. My oldest daughter is intrigued by Helen Keller and Anne Frank.

    Good luck with the challenge.

  4. No doubt that she paved the way for many others.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  5. An incredible woman and teacher. Who could not pick her as one of the greatest. Good Choice for H.
    KaTy Did at: Life's Ride As I See It

  6. Yes, definitely! I think individuals who overcome adversity are very inspiring.

    That's a great quote too. It's like she's saying that you can choose action, which involves experiencing life to its fullest, or inaction and go through the passive motions...and she chose to make the best of her situation. Great A to Z pick!

  7. Absolutely! I feel that it's almost impossible to not admire her, given the many great things she did in her life and all she overcame.

    I loved the quote, too.

    Lyre at Lyre's Musings #atozchallenge

  8. She is a miraculous story and tribute to the human spirit! Loved this post. Writer’s Mark

  9. Always amazes me when I read about her. Lucy from Lucy's Reality

  10. Inspires, amazes, humbles. Another great choice, Chontali! :-) Well done :-)

  11. one of the most admirable people I have ever learned about, I'm a little embarrassed to say I haven't read any of her work just about her. It's never to late, and a timely reminder

  12. I read her biography as a kid and thought her story was so amazing and unbelievable. The movie about her with Anne Bancroft, "The Miracle Worker" is really worth seeing.


Chontali Kirk