The Radical Lives of Helen Keller (The History of Disability)

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She was also a feminist who supported birth control and was against capital punishment. In a piece for the Manchester Advertiser in she said that instead giving women the vote first the system needed to be changed. She also stated how unimportant males having the vote was in a system so corrupt and unrepresentative. With passion she shows this is true. She discusses how the American government at the time were more interested in imperial capitalist concerns in places like Hawaii than their security.

She says that the workers are controlled and made to fight in a terrible cycle. Keller advocated for female contraception and birth controlling with the belief it would enfranchise women in their lives, help them plan their family and help end suffering caused by poverty.

Review: Keller by Nielsen

After the deployment of nuclear weapons in WW2 Keller visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki in to speak out against nuclear weapons. Throughout her life Keller also fought for disabled rights and support. She helped aid blind soldiers after WW1 through the permanent blind war relief fund and til the end of her life travelled the world as a representative for disabled peoples.

She never forgot that her own success was due to her class privilege and used her position to help millions without this benefit. Her Miracle work. Keller spoke out about how she was treated for some of her beliefs in a letter. However when she stood up against poverty, sexism, racism and more things were different. In conclusion the incredible array of causes Keller stood up for somewhat ahead of her time should be something we all know about her.

These beliefs led to her being watched by the FBI most of her life and experiencing times when she was shunned severely ,but keller lived her life campaigning for these things till her last day. Keller like many woman historical figures has been sanitized and erased. A disabled women who is so multifaceted is a peculiar thing even now in media.

Her entire life work matters as much as her overcoming of the difficulties caused by her condition. This is one of the many reasons Keller matters so much and why you should admire her even now. Become a member. Sign in. Get started. Jessica Secmezsoy-Urquhart Follow. Write the first response. Discover Medium.

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She was a young woman from Scotland who had no experience with deaf or blind people. She progressed to working as a secretary as well, and eventually became a constant companion to Keller. Keller moved to Forest Hills, Queens , together with Sullivan and Macy, and used the house as a base for her efforts on behalf of the American Foundation for the Blind.

Anne Sullivan died in after a coma as a result of coronary thrombosis , [30] : with Keller holding her hand. They traveled worldwide and raised funds for the blind. Thomson had a stroke in from which she never fully recovered, and died in Winnie Corbally, a nurse whom they originally hired to care for Thomson in , stayed on after her death and was Keller's companion for the rest of her life.


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Anti-war and civil rights movements. Keller went on to become a world-famous speaker and author. She is remembered as an advocate for people with disabilities , amid numerous other causes. The deaf community was widely impacted by her. She traveled to twenty-five different countries giving motivational speeches about Deaf people's conditions.

In she and George A. This organization is devoted to research in vision, health and nutrition. Keller traveled to over 40 countries with Sullivan, making several trips to Japan and becoming a favorite of the Japanese people. Keller met every U. President from Grover Cleveland to Lyndon B.

Keller and Twain were both considered political radicals allied with leftist politics and, as a consequence, their political views have been forgotten or glossed over in American high school textbooks and the popular mind. Keller was a member of the Socialist Party and actively campaigned and wrote in support of the working class from to Many of her speeches and writings were about women's right to vote and the impacts of war; in addition, she supported causes that opposed military intervention. When the Rockefeller-owned press refused to print her articles, she protested until her work was finally published.

Debs in each of his campaigns for the presidency.

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Before reading Progress and Poverty , Helen Keller was already a socialist who believed that Georgism was a good step in the right direction. Keller claimed that newspaper columnists who had praised her courage and intelligence before she expressed her socialist views now called attention to her disabilities. The editor of the Brooklyn Eagle wrote that her "mistakes sprung out of the manifest limitations of her development. At that time the compliments he paid me were so generous that I blush to remember them. But now that I have come out for socialism he reminds me and the public that I am blind and deaf and especially liable to error.

I must have shrunk in intelligence during the years since I met him. Oh, ridiculous Brooklyn Eagle!

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Socially blind and deaf, it defends an intolerable system, a system that is the cause of much of the physical blindness and deafness which we are trying to prevent. Keller joined the Industrial Workers of the World the IWW, known as the Wobblies in , [34] saying that parliamentary socialism was "sinking in the political bog". She wrote for the IWW between and In Why I Became an IWW , [39] Keller explained that her motivation for activism came in part from her concern about blindness and other disabilities:.

I was appointed on a commission to investigate the conditions of the blind. For the first time I, who had thought blindness a misfortune beyond human control, found that too much of it was traceable to wrong industrial conditions, often caused by the selfishness and greed of employers. And the social evil contributed its share. I found that poverty drove women to a life of shame that ended in blindness.

Film Helen Keller

The last sentence refers to prostitution and syphilis , the former a frequent cause of the latter, and the latter a leading cause of blindness. In the same interview, Keller also cited the strike of textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts for instigating her support of socialism. Keller supported eugenics. In she wrote in favor of refusing life-saving medical procedures to infants with severe mental impairments or physical deformities, stating that their lives were not worthwhile and they would likely become criminals. One of her earliest pieces of writing, at age 11, was The Frost King There were allegations that this story had been plagiarized from The Frost Fairies by Margaret Canby.

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An investigation into the matter revealed that Keller may have experienced a case of cryptomnesia , which was that she had Canby's story read to her but forgot about it, while the memory remained in her subconscious. It recounts the story of her life up to age 21 and was written during her time in college. Keller wrote The World I Live In in , giving readers an insight into how she felt about the world. Her spiritual autobiography, My Religion , [48] was published in and then in extensively revised and re-issued under the title Light in My Darkness.

It advocates the teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg , the Christian theologian and mystic who gave a spiritual interpretation of the teachings of the Bible and who claimed that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ had already taken place. But in Swedenborg's teaching it [Divine Providence] is shown to be the government of God's Love and Wisdom and the creation of uses. Since His Life cannot be less in one being than another, or His Love manifested less fully in one thing than another, His Providence must needs be universal He has provided religion of some kind everywhere, and it does not matter to what race or creed anyone belongs if he is faithful to his ideals of right living.

Keller visited 35 countries from to In she went to New Zealand and visited deaf schools in Christchurch and Auckland.

Helen Keller

Keller suffered a series of strokes in and spent the last years of her life at her home. On September 14, , President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom , one of the United States' two highest civilian honors. Keller devoted much of her later life to raising funds for the American Foundation for the Blind. She died in her sleep on June 1, , at her home, Arcan Ridge, located in Easton, Connecticut , a few weeks short of her eighty-eighth birthday.

A service was held in her honor at the National Cathedral in Washington, D. Keller's life has been interpreted many times. She appeared in a silent film , Deliverance , which told her story in a melodramatic, allegorical style. The various dramas each describe the relationship between Keller and Sullivan, depicting how the teacher led her from a state of almost feral wildness into education, activism, and intellectual celebrity. The common title of the cycle echoes Mark Twain 's description of Sullivan as a "miracle worker.


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He adapted it for a Broadway production in and an Oscar-winning feature film in , starring Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke. It was remade for television in and None of the early movies hint at the social activism that would become the hallmark of Keller's later life, although a Disney version produced in states in the credits that she became an activist for social equality.

The Bollywood movie Black was largely based on Keller's story, from her childhood to her graduation. The film focuses on the role played by Emanuel Swedenborg 's spiritual theology in her life and how it inspired Keller's triumph over her triple disabilities of blindness, deafness and a severe speech impediment. On March 6, , the New England Historic Genealogical Society announced that a staff member had discovered a rare photograph showing Helen and Anne, which, although previously published, had escaped widespread attention.

Video footage showing Helen Keller learning to mimic speech sounds also exists. A byfoot 3. A preschool for the deaf and hard of hearing in Mysore , India, was originally named after Helen Keller by its founder, K. In , Alabama honored its native daughter on its state quarter. A stamp was issued in by the United States Postal Service depicting Keller and Sullivan, to mark the centennial of Keller's birth.

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