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The Helen Keller You Never Knew

Updated on January 1, 2018

Everyone learned the story of Helen Keller in school: she was blind and deaf, overcame the obstacles in her life, and went to school and eventually college. However, that is only a small part of her life. Here are some things you may not have learned in school, or elsewhere, about her extraordinary life.

She Enjoyed Music

Helen Keller didn't let her lack of hearing stop her from enjoying music. She “listened” by feeling the vibrations coming through the radio. So moved was she by her first experience, she penned a letter to the New York Symphony Orchestra, whose 1925 performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at Carnegie Hall was broadcast over the radio. In it, she described her surprise at discovering she could feel the rhythm of the music, and her ability to distinguish the different instruments. She also mentioned that she could recognize the difference between the instruments and human voices.

She Met and Was Friends With Many Famous People

Over the course of her life, she befriended Mark Twain, Alexander Graham Bell, and Charlie Chaplain. She also met twelve US presidents, from Grover Cleveland to John F. Kennedy, as well as the queen of England.

She Was an Activist

Far beyond being a motivational speaker, she was also an activist for the causes of the disabled and suffragettes. She co-founded an organization called Helen Keller International in 1915, which works to combat causes of blindness, and to help the already blind. She also co-founded the American Civil Liberties Union, and spoke out against war.

She Was a Writer

Finally, she was a writer. With the help of her teacher and helper, Anne Sullivan, she wrote two autobiographies and published many articles about blindness prevention and education for the blind. Other books that she wrote cover and topics of religion, contemporary social issues, and a biography of Anne Sullivan.

Works Cited

© 2018 Mara-James Canfield


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