Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • June-July 2024 • Circulation 5000


Helen Keller: A Life of Advocacy

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”-Helen Keller (June 27, 1880-June 1, 1968), American author, disability rights advocate, and lecturer.

Helen Keller, a legendary advocate for disability rights, was born and died in the same month: June (of course, in different years).

She lost her sight and hearing as an infant. This was attributed to an unknown illness at the time, but is believed to have been either rubella, scarlet fever, encephalitis, or meningitis.

Keller was non-verbal until age seven, when she met a remarkable teacher, Anne Sullivan, who taught her language, reading, and writing.

She then went on to graduate from Radcliffe College at Harvard University and became the first deaf-blind person in the United States to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Keller spent her lifetime lecturing, penning 14 books and hundreds of articles. She not only advocated for disability rights, but also other social justice causes such as world peace and women’s right to vote.

An example of strength, determination, and courage, she is heralded as one of the most notable humans in history.

As a disability advocate myself who was also born in June, I cherish Helen Keller as an inspiration and someone who worked to make the world a better place.

Ian is a columnist with the paper. He lives in the area.

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