Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, in 1880. When she was only nineteen months old, she contracted a fever that left her blind and deaf. When she was almost seven years old, her parents engaged Anne Mansfield Sullivan to be her tutor. With dedication, patience, courage, and love, Anne was able to evoke and help develop the child's enormous intelligence. Helen quickly learned to read and write, and she began to speak by the age of ten. When she was twenty, she entered Radcliffe College—with Anne at her side to spell textbooks, letter by letter, into her hand. Four years later, Helen graduated magna cum laude.
After graduation, Helen began her life's work of helping blind and deaf-blind people. She appeared before state and national legislatures and international forums, traveled around the world to lecture and to visit areas with a high incidence of blindness, and wrote numerous books and articles. She met every U.S. president from Grover Cleveland to Lyndon Johnson and played a major role in focusing the world's attention on the problems of the blind and the need for preventive measures.
Helen won numerous honors, including honorary university degrees, the Lions Humanitarian Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and election to the Women's Hall of Fame. She died in 1968.
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