Helen Keller’s life is one of immense challenges and trials. She lost her sight and hearing, but through it all she kept going. Helen’s story is one of inspiration and perseverance, going on where others would fail. Her legacy challenges all of us to strive no matter what our circumstances are. Helen Keller will never be forgotten, as she will ever remain a symbol of self-control, courage, and steadfastness. Helen Keller helped co-found American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Helen Keller International (HKI), one organization to help the needy, another to protect people’s rights. Her legacy influenced both groups, especially HKI. Helen’s life was full of ups and downs as told in ‘The Story of My Life.’ She faced plagiarism and sometimes loneliness. But the worst thing she faced was blindness and being deaf. Through it all, Helen worked hard and therefore, was rewarded well. Any other person can do that, despite how hindered they are.
Helen Keller’s early life was cruel. She may have seen and heard for some time, but “became deaf and blind at 19 months” (“American Foundation For The Blind”). This unfortunate event was most likely caused by scarlet fever or meningitis. Despite this Helen’s early life wasn’t as bad as one would think. She soon could communicate via hand signs, though they were all made up, so not all could understand. But sometimes Helen flew into fits, meaning daily, when others didn’t give her what she wants. After the fits of anger, she would collapse into periods of great depression. This quality would soon change; the day her teacher arrived, and when Helen started to work for understanding and develop self-control.
Any person who is blind would most likely seek knowledge, especially one who was practically blind from birth. Helen Keller was no exception, and her long trek for knowledge began when her teacher arrived. In her own words, “The most important day I remember in all my life is the one on which my teacher… came to me” (Keller 15). Her teacher’s name was Anne Sullivan, and she would remain with Helen for the rest of her life. The teaching process was rough in the beginning as “…my stupidity would…exhaust the patience of Job” (Keller 51). But the breakthrough came when Anne put Helen’s hand in some water and spelled out the word ‘water’ in Helen’s other hand. Helen understood the connection and then began to learn all about the world around her, the world in which she would one day influence via a travail and dedication.
In 1904, Helen Keller graduated with high honors, which was an amazing milestone for her. Helen had done something no one had done before, she, a deaf and blind person, graduated from college! In her own words: “…I had passed the borderland of grammar” (Keller 60). Helen went on to co-found ACLU and HKI, both organizations are still thriving today. She also called on numerous presidents and received countless awards and medals.
Rewards like those are only granted to those who toil hard. Helen Keller worked hard and achieved great things. At an early age she suffered greatly and often flew into fits. All blind people strive for knowledge, Helen was the same. Helen was the first blind and deaf person to graduate from college. Helen left a legacy too, which challenges all men and women to strive no matter how torn-down or disabled they are. Conclusively and evidently, those who work hard, are rewarded well.
- “Helen Keller: Our Champion.” Edited by AFB Staff, Vision Rehabilitation Services for Older People Who Are Visually Impaired – American Foundation for the Blind, AFB, www.afb.org/info/about-us/helen-keller/12.
- Keller, Helen. The Story Of My Life. Digi Reads. Pages 15,46,51,60
- “Helen Keller’s Life and Legacy.” Edited by HKI Staff, Helen Keller International, HKI, www.hki.org/helen-kellers-life-and-legacy#.XFmuNRlKi-w.