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Helen Keller Day is on June 27 and it celebrates the life and achievements of Helen Keller, a woman who overcame blindness and deafness and became infamous in the process. Anne Sullivan was Keller’s teacher and she received acclaim in her own right. When Sullivan was just five years of age, she suffered from trachoma, an eye disease that impaired her vision. She had to learn the manual alphabet and faced adversity herself because of it. She was called a miracle worker for helping teach her pupil how to read and write when no one thought she would learn.
History of Helen Keller Day
Helen Keller was born June 27, 1880, in Tuscumbia, Alabama, but things turned bad quickly. At nineteen months, she suffered from a form of bacterial meningitis, which left her unable to see, hear, or speak. The family sought the advice of Alexander Graham Bell, a famous scientist and inventor known for inventing the first telephone, who advised them to apply to the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston.
They followed Bell’s advice and in 1887, Keller was taught by Anne Sullivan, a young teacher who had suffered vision impairment herself. Sullivan used “touch teaching” techniques and her skilled guidance calmed the seemingly uncontrollable Keller. Keller learned how to read and write in Braille thanks to Sullivan’s own experiences that gave her a deeper understanding of her student’s struggles. Keller also used hand signals of the deaf-mute, which she understood by touch.
Keller would go on to become an author. In 1902, her book, “The Story of my Life” was published and loved by many who took her story to heart. She graduated from Radcliffe College and graduated with honors in 1904, making her the first blind and deaf woman to graduate from college. Thanks to Sullivan’s assistance and became a public speaker, requiring the assistance of an interpreter to make herself understood. People were inspired by her resounding spirit to surpass the expectations placed on her because of her disabilities, and it led to advances in public services of the handicapped.
Helen Keller was a fundraiser for the American Foundation for the Blind and an advocate for racial and sexual equality. Sullivan and Keller became a lifelong duo and from 1920 to 1924, they formed a vaudeville act to entertain, raise money, and educate the public. On June 1, 1968, Keller died in Easton, Connecticut, at age 87, but her legacy of civil service and a resilient spirit is everlasting. The presidential proclamation of Helen Keller Day was made in 2006, as well as many notable international organizations that help the blind and deaf.
Helen Keller Day timeline
Helen Keller is taught by Anne Sullivan and learns how to read and write by using "touch teaching" techniques.
Keller's book "The Story of My Life" was published and she becomes the first blind and deaf woman to graduate college and does so with honors.
Helen Keller dies at the age of 87 and leaves a long-lasting legacy of overcoming the civil service.
Helen Keller Day FAQs
What was Helen Keller’s first word?
Keller’s first word was “water” after Anne Sullivan spelled out the word on her hand as she had her hands underwater.
Did Helen Keller ever marry?
Helen Keller had love in her life and she suffered heartbreak, but she never married.
What was Helen Keller’s IQ?
Helen Keller had an IQ of 160.
How To Celebrate Helen Keller Day
Read her book
Helen Keller’s life is a fascinating example of strength and fortitude. Spend the day reading “The Story of My Life” and learn how she did the impossible in her own words. It’s impossible not to be inspired.
Sometimes a good way to understand how hard it is for others is by stepping into someone else’s shoes. There are free online websites with materials and resources that you can use to practice reading Braille, which will help you come to better understand the determination it takes to do it.
Donations in her honor
Helen Keller was devoted to raising funds for the American Foundation for the Blind. Her birthday is the perfect time to donate and sign their petitions to help those living with disabilities. They're a non-profit organization that helps those with blindness and low vision with educational information, employment opportunities, and more.
5 Interesting Facts About Helen Keller Day
It’s believed now that scarlet fever was the illness that caused Helen Keller’s disabilities.
She received secondary educational opportunities at Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Boston, and Wright-Humanson School for the Deaf in Manhattan.
In 1936, Keller received the Theodore Roosevelt Distinguished Service Medal.
An honor to be nominated
Helen Keller was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.
Helen Keller met Famous author Mark Twain at fourteen and they remained friends until he died 16 years later.
Why Helen Keller Day Is Important
We can do anything
Helen Keller Day reminds us that anything is possible if we work hard for it. Keller had everything going against her, and many doubted that someone like her could rise to the level that she did. Instead, she exceeded those expectations and inspired the world.
The blind and deaf need us
This day is a call to action for those who face blindness and deafness today. They have so much potential and with fundraising efforts and strong numbers for petitions, we can help bring about change that will better improve their lives.
Helen Keller has improved the world
Helen Keller’s determination has made the world better. People with disabilities are often forgotten about, but Keller was thrust into the spotlight. She moved people with her story and made great changes for those who faced disabilities with a recognizable story that improved the public’s understanding of blindness and deafness.
Helen Keller Day dates