Helen Keller, born June 27, 1880 in Alabama, was not afraid to face whatever challenges came her way. At just 18 months old, she contracted an illness that produced a high body temperature, which resulted in her losing both her sight and hearing. As a child, Keller was very wild and unruly, often throwing temper tantrums.
She was able to develop 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 invented more than 60 signs to communicate with each other. Looking for answers and inspiration, her mother discovered Anne Sullivan, a recent graduate at Perkins Institute for the Blind. In March 1887, Sullivan went to work with Keller and so began a 49-year relationship between teacher and pupil. Helen Keller is a great example of how determination and hard work can allow someone to overcome great hardships. Here are just a few of her many accomplishments:• In 1904, she became the first deaf-blind person to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree.
• In 1921, Keller joined the American Foundation for the Blind and worked for the organization for over 40 years.
• Over the course of her life, Keller wrote 12 published books and several articles. She saw herself as a writer above all else.
• Keller received many honors including, the Theodore Roosevelt Distinguished Service Medal (1936), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1964), honorary doctoral degrees from Temple University and Harvard University, and she was elected to the Women’s Hall of Fame (1965).
Helen Keller, an American folk heroine, is a symbol of courage in the face of overwhelming odds. She also continues to inspire people all over the world with her accomplishments.
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