“At a plain, black well-pump in the small southern town of Tuscumbia, Alabama, one of the world’s great miracles took place. It began one bright, spring day in 1887. Puffy white clouds floated overhead on a background of blue, while birds fluttered through oaks and maples and flowers burst forth from the fertile soil in an array of colors—all unheard and unseen by a pretty girl of seven.”
Helen Keller was just 19 months old when she was struck with a severe illness that rendered her blind and deaf for the rest of her life. was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. A prolific author, Keller was well-traveled and outspoken in her convictions. A member of the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World, she campaigned for women’s suffrage, labor rights, socialism, and other similar causes.
Here is a brief and deeply inspiring story of Hellen Keller and how she conquered the ties of her disabilities, and how she had a clear, broader vision despite being blind.
Keller’s life was 10 fold times harder than that of an ordinary human being. She could not see, she could not hear and as a result, she could not speak. But did that make her any less capable? Not all. Every step she took, every ounce of effort she put into trying to do simple things which were heavy tasks for her, we find inspiration, we find in there the definition of perseverance(meaning: The act of keeping on trying without giving up, no matter how hard the task got).
Helen did not know what water was until she was seven. Standing at the totally blind and deaf Helen Keller’s side was a young woman, Anne Sullivan. Miss Sullivan was steadily pumping cool water into one of the girl’s hands while repeatedly tapping out an alphabet code of five letters in the other—first slowly, then rapidly. The scene was repeated again and again as young Helen painstakingly struggled to break her world of silence. Suddenly the signals crossed Helen’s consciousness with a meaning. She knew that “w-a-t-e-r” meant the cool something flowing over her hand. Darkness began to melt from her mind like so much ice left out on the sunny March day. By nightfall, Helen had learned 30 words.
At the age of six, the half-wild, deaf and blind girl was taken by her parents to see Dr. Alexander Graham Bell. Because of her visit, Helen was united with her teacher Anne Mansfield Sullivan on March 3, 1887. After Helen’s miraculous breakthrough at the simple well-pump, she proved so gifted that she soon learned the fingertip alphabet and shortly afterward to write. By the end of August, in six short months, she knew 625 words.
By age 10, Helen had mastered Braille as well as the manual alphabet and even learned to use the typewriter. By the time she was 16, Helen could speak well enough to go to preparatory school and to college. In 1904 she was graduated “cum laude” from Radcliffe College. The teacher stayed with her through those years, interpreting lectures and class discussions to her.
While still a student at Radcliffe, Helen began a writing career that was to continue throughout her life. In 1903, her autobiography, The Story of My Life, was published. Her autobiography has been translated into 50 languages and remains in print to this day. Helen’s other published works include Optimism, an essay; The World I Live In; The Song of the Stone Wall, and many more. In addition, she was a frequent contributor to magazines and newspapers. The Helen Keller Archives contain over 475 speeches and essays that she wrote on topics such as faith, blindness prevention, birth control, the rise of fascism in Europe, and atomic energy. Helen used a braille typewriter to prepare her manuscripts and then copied them on a regular typewriter.
Helen Keller died on June 1, 1968, at Arcan Ridge, a few weeks short of her 88th birthday. By then, she was a huge political activist in English and had already become famous across the world for her writing and teaching. She guest lectured in many countries across 5 continents. Although she had immense help from her teacher, “The Miracle Worker” as she is called, Anne Mansfield Sullivan, the greatness she achieved with the little she had is ever inspirational. We all hve whatever we want in life. If we made use of our resources like Hellen Keller did, where would we be? Think about it.