Friday, February 1, 2008

Blog #2-Helen Keller

Helen Keller
-Mandie Kohlenberg
Helen Keller was born June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama to Captain Arthur H. Keller and Kate Adams Keller. She was born with no disabilities, but at nineteen months an illness described as “an acute congestion of the stomach and brain,” which could have possibly been scarlet fever or meningitis. The illness did not last long, but it left her deaf and blind. She created a sign language with six-year old Martha Washington and by age seven she had over sixty home signs to communicate with her family. Her first word was “water.”
A little after the age of ten, Helen learned Braille and used it to read, not only English, but also French, German, Greek, and Latin. At age twenty-four, she graduated from college, becoming the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Helen suffered a serious of strokes in 1961 and she died, in her sleep, June 1, 1968 at Arcan Ridge, Westpoint, Connecticut at the age of 87. It was only 26 days until her 88th birthday.
The biggest accomplishment she had was accomplishing so many things being blind and deaf that people with no disabilities accomplished the same. She campaigned for women’s right to vote and supported women’s education and birth control. From Helen Keller’s writings: “One gentleman said to me, “I do not approve of college women, because they lose all respect for their men.” She definitely thought differently, obviously. She said Radcliffe College gave America’s women, for the first time, educational opportunities that were equal to those of men. Helen Keller also stated, “I am tempted to think that the perplexed businessman might discover a possible solution of his troubles if he would just spend a few days in his wife’s kitchen.” And, “If they are unable to accomplish their task of the economic system, we women shall have to send them into the kitchen for a few lessons in common-sense economics.”
She also wrote in The Ladies Home Journal about the prevention of blindness. She says, “I am making a plead that the blind may see, the deaf may hear, and the idiot may have a mind. In a word, I plead that the American women may be the mother of a great race.” She also wrote twelve books and numerous articles. She received an honor in 1999, being listed in Gallup’s Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century. In 2003, Alabama honored her on its state quarter. The Helen Keller Hospital is also dedicated to her.
Helen Keller is famous for being deaf and blind and still accomplishing so much in life. I have heard of her many times during my life. Helen Keller stood up for what she believed in and fought for women’s rights, rather it be voting or the right to birth control. I believe seeing someone with such disabilities accomplish so much in life, and fight for women, makes others believe more in them selves and what they could and should do., including myself.
Resources that have been helpful in finding this information for me were the books, “The Story of my Life” by Helen Keller, and “Helen Keller-A Life” by Dorothy Herrmann. Also the following websites:,, and www.afborg/mylife/ .
-Mandie Kohlenberg

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