Who is Helen Keller?
Helen Keller was born a healthy baby girl in Tuscumbia, Alabama in the late 1800’s. She came from a family descending of colonial governors and prominent New England families such as the Hales, Everetts, and Adamses. She was guaranteed a life full of success and following in her family’s footsteps.
Around 19 months old Helen Keller became severely ill with something the doctors called brain fever, more likely known as scarlet fever, leaving her deaf and blind before she even knew how to speak to the outside world. This awful tragedy left her to be a wild child who was quite the hell raiser. Nobody knew how to tame this little girl, especially since she could not see or hear anyone to learn discipline and respect.
A New Life:
In March of 1887, when Helen Keller was just shy of seven years old, a woman came to be her new teacher. Anne Sullivan was a graduate from Perkins School for the Blind who had regained her own sight after several extensive operations. She had a rare understanding of Helen and knew how it felt to not be able to communicate with others. Taming this child would be a miracle all on its own, and that is exactly what Miss Sullivan was there to do.
The “Miracle Worker”:
Anne Sullivan began to teach Helen Keller in simple ways to start out. She would place an object in her hand, and then use sign language to spell the word into her hand as well. Helen caught on quickly but it was obvious that she did not fully understand what the words meant. One day Miss Sullivan took Helen to an outdoor pump and began pouring water into her hand then spelling it out afterwards. Helen suddenly realized that the wet substance in her hand meant water and was finally able to put it all together and realize what different words meant. She learned over 30 words in that single day.
Furthering her Education:
As Helen began to learn more and more she gained an understanding of how to read and write. She told Miss Sullivan that she wanted to be able to speak and to go to college too. In 1898 Helen entered the Cambridge School for Young Ladies and began preparing for Radcliffe College. In 1990, she began at Radcliffe and eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1904. Without Miss Sullivan, Helen Keller would never have accomplished these goals throughout her life.
In the End:
Throughout the rest of her life, Helen received honorary doctoral degrees from Temple University and Harvard University, and also from the Universities of Glasgow, Scotland, Berlin, Germany, Delhi, India, and Witwatersrand in South Africa. Helen Keller died in 1936 with Miss Sullivan right by her side, after a lifetime full of achievements. Without Anne Sullivan, who is known as Helen Keller’s “Miracle Worker” none of her accomplishments would have ever been possible. She was forever grateful for her wonderful teacher who was full of kindness and patience. Helen Keller’s story is a miracle all on its own and just goes to show that anything can be possible with enough effort and determination.