Helen Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was an American author, political activist, and lecturer.
She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.
The story of Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan, was made famous by Keller‘s autobiography, The Story of My Life, and its adaptations for film and stage, The Miracle Worker.
Keller wrote a total of 12 published books and several articles.
She is remembered as an advocate for people with disabilities, amid numerous other causes. The deaf community was widely impacted by her. She traveled to twenty-five different countries giving motivational speeches about Deaf people’s conditions.
She was inducted into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame in 1971 and was one of twelve inaugural inductees to the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame on June 8, 2015.
I began my studies with eagerness. Before me I saw a new world opening in beauty and light, and I felt within me the capacity to know all things.
In the wonderland of Mind I should be as free as another [with sight and hearing].
Its people, scenery, manners, joys, and tragedies should be living tangible interpreters of the real world.
The lecture halls seemed filled with the spirit of the great and wise, and I thought the professors were the embodiment of wisdom…
But I soon discovered that college was not quite the romantic lyceum I had imagined.
Many of the dreams that had delighted my young inexperience became beautifully less and „faded into the light of common day.“
Gradually I began to find that there were disadvantages in going to college. The one I felt and still feel most is lack of time.
I used to have time to think, to reflect, my mind and I. We would sit together of an evening and listen to the inner melodies of the spirit, which one hears only in leisure moments when the words of some loved poet touch a deep, sweet chord in the soul that until then had been silent.
But in college there is no time to commune with one’s thoughts. One goes to college to learn, it seems, not to think.
When one enters the portals of learning, one leaves the dearest pleasures – solitude, books and imagination – outside with the whispering pines.
I suppose I ought to find some comfort in the thought that I am laying up treasures for future enjoyment, but I am improvident enough to prefer present joy to hoarding riches against a rainy day.
The Story of My Life