Helen Keller is an American icon, symbolizing what it means to persevere. With grit and resolve, she stood defiant in the face of tremendous obstacles. And she emerged in triumph. June 27 is her day, celebrated annually since 1980.
Born in 1880, Helen Adams Keller had not even reached the age of 2 before she lost the use of her eyes and ears. In those days, no one had much of an explanation. They only knew that she had caught a sudden fever and that her world had grown dark and silent when the fever broke.
She spent the next several years struggling with her disabilities. She often lashed out in violent tantrums. She was wild and unruly, some said. And she could only communicate ideas through the use of a crude sign language she’d developed with the daughter of the family cook.
But her world opened up in 1887 when she was introduced to teacher Anne Sullivan. At the age of 6—and after some struggle—Keller began to learn words through a system of finger spelling. The two communicated by using this technique to spell words out on each other’s hands. Sullivan’s story was dramatized in the 1962 movie “The Miracle Worker.”
When Keller was 10, she had learned enough to attend the Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Boston. By her early twenties, she had mastered several other forms of communication and even wrote a book, “The Story of My Life.” When she was 24, she graduated with honors from Radcliffe College—the sister school of Harvard University.
Keller went on to become a renowned activist and educator. She fought for the blind, and she fought for people with other types of disabilities, too. She championed women’s right to vote, pacifism and a number of other political viewpoints of the era. She wanted to make the world a better place. And her courageous journey of 88 years inspired many to listen.
At Infinite Energy, we’re inspired by the life of Helen Keller. She’s a symbol of strength. And she serves as a model for what access to educational opportunities can bring to our world. We thank her for what she brought to us all.