article by Chloe’ Foster
Helen Adams Keller was the first deaf-blind person to earn her Bachelor of Arts degree. She was born June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Her parents were Kate Adams Keller and Colonel Arthur Keller. Helen’s father was a captain for the Confederate army during the Civil War. They lost most of their wealth in the civil war and lived modestly. After the war, her father edited the local newspaper and he was appointed a marshal in North Alabama.
At the age of 19 months, Helen became deaf and blind as a result of an unknown illness. Helen Keller suffered from a fever and was left deaf, blind, and unable to speak. The doctors had no means of of naming or even describing what was happening to young Helen. There is speculation that she had something related to Scarlet Disease or meningitis. Anne Sullivan helped Helen Keller speak at the age of ten years old.
Anne Sullivan was the person who assisted Helen in achieving her college degree. Anne stood by her starting when Helen Keller was only seven years old. Anne was only fourteen years older than Helen Keller. Anne’s biggest goal for Helen was love and obedience. Anne did achieve that and so much more with Helen. Because they were so close, there was accusations that Helen Keller was plagiarizing Anne Sullivan. Many people, including Mark Twain, wrote a letter to Helen Keller saying she was plagiarizing.
The story of Anne and Helen’s friendship has inspired millions. And Helen Keller’s struggles and accomplishments reach out far beyond inspiring women. Helen continues to inspire people with disabilities with her life’s example and writings.