Helen Keller

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Helen Keller (1880 - 1968) is famous as a blind and deaf person who was able to overcome her handicaps through the devoted work of Anne Sullivan, her teacher and eventual lifelong friend. Her blindness and deafness were caused by an illness early in her childhood. The story of her relationship with Sullivan was recorded in the The Miracle Worker both as a play and later as a motion picture.

Early life

At first attending schools for the deaf and blind, Keller went on to graduate from college with high honors. As Keller learned to live with her handicaps and excel, she went on to speak at events supporting social causes including "rights" for the handicapped and women's "rights". Politically she was on the far left and supported socialism. Early on, she read the works of William Morris, George Bernard Shaw, Arnold Bennett and Karl Marx.[1] She was a supporter of the ideas of Henry George, having read Progress and Poverty in braille.[2][3]

Political Activities and Influences

She was a founding member of the ACLU, and was close personal friends with Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. She also maintained contact with Alexander Graham Bell, Charlie Chaplin, and Mark Twain. Twain especially admired Keller's work. Every president between Grover Cleveland and Lyndon Johnson met with her at least once during their presidency.

Like Alexander Graham Bell and others, Keller supported eugenics.[4]

Anti-war activism

Keller became a radical later in life. She said, "I am not for peace at all hazards. I regret this war (World War I), but I have never regretted the blood of the thousands spilled during the French Revolution".[5][6]


  1. A Wonder Woman at Massey Hall, Toronto Star, January 1914
  2. (1935) Land & Liberty: Monthly Journal for Land Value Taxation and Free Trade, 58. 
  3. (1964) Henry George News, Volumes 27-28. Henry George School of Social Science, 294. 
  4. http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/pdf/10.2105/AJPH.87.11.1767
  5. Why I Became an IWW
  6. Strike Against War