Helen Keller, 1880-1968: Out of a World of Darkness and also Silence, She Brought Hope to Millions of People

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: I"m Shirley Griffith.

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RAY FREEMAN: And I"m Ray Freemale. Every week we tell around a perboy who was crucial in the history of the United States.

This week we tell about Helen Keller. She was blind and deaf however she came to be a well known writer and also teacher.


SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: The name Helen Keller has had one-of-a-kind meaning for millions of human being in all components of the world. She might not see or hear. Yet Helen Keller had the ability to carry out so a lot with her days and also years. Her success offered others hope. Helen Keller was born June twenty-seventh, eighteen eighty in a small town in northern Alabama. Her father, Arthur Keller, was a captain in the army of the South in the time of the Amerihave the right to Civil War. Her mother was his second wife. She was a lot younger than her husband. Helen was their initially kid.

Until she was a year-and-one-half old, Helen Keller was simply favor any type of other child. She was exceptionally energetic. She began walking and talking at an early stage. Then, nineteen months after she was born, Helen ended up being very sick. It was a strange sickness that made her completely blind and also deaf. The medical professional can not perform anything for her. Her bappropriate, happy civilization now was filled through silence and darkness.


RAY FREEMAN: From that time till she was virtually seven years old, Helen might interact just by making indications through her hands. But she learned exactly how to be active in her silent, dark atmosphere. The young boy had solid desires. She kbrand-new what she wanted to carry out. No one can sheight her from doing it. More and also even more, she wanted to connect via others. Making basic indications via her hands was not sufficient. Somepoint was prepared to explode inside of her bereason she might not make human being understand also her. She screamed and struggled once her mommy tried to manage her.

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: When Helen was six, her father learned about a doctor in Baltimore, Maryland. The physician had actually successfully treated world who were blind. Helen"s paleas took her on the train to Baltimore. But the doctor said he could perform nothing to help Helen. He argued the Kellers obtain a teacher for the blind who can teach Helen to interact. A teacher arrived from the Perkins Institution for the Blind in Boston. Her name was Annie Sullivan.

She herself had actually as soon as been virtually totally blind. But she had regot her sight. At Perkins, she had learned the newest techniques of teaching the blind.

RAY FREEMAN: Annie Sullivan started by teaching Helen that everything had actually a name. The secret to the names was the letters that developed them. The job was long and challenging. Helen had actually to learn how to use her hands and fingers to stop for her. But she was not yet prepared to learn. First, she had actually to be taught how to obey, and also how to manage her anger. Miss Sullivan was quick to understand this. She wrote to friends in Boston about her experiences teaching Helen.


SARAH LONG: “The initially night I arrived I gave Helen a doll. As she felt the doll via one hand also I gradually created the letters, d-o-l-l via my fingers in her other hand also. Helen looked in wonder and also surpclimb as she felt my hand. Then she formed the letters in my hand just as I had done in hers. She was quick to learn, however she was likewise quick in anger. For salso years, no one had taught her self-control. Instead of proceeding to learn, she picked up the doll and also threw it on the floor. She was this means in practically everything she did.

Even at the table, while eating, she did exactly as she pleased. She also put her hands in our plates and also ate our food. The second morning, I would certainly not let her put her hand also on my plate. The family members ended up being troubled and also left the room. I closed the door and ongoing to eat. Helen was on the floor, kicking and also screaming and also trying to pull the chair out from under me.


This continued for fifty percent an hour or so. Then she obtained up from the floor and also pertained to uncover out what I was doing. Suddenly she hit me. Every time she did this I hit her hand also. After a few minutes of this, she went to her area at the table and began to eat through her fingers. I gave her a spoon to eat through. She threw it on the floor. I compelled her to obtain out of her chair to pick the spoon up. At last, after two hours, she sat down and ate choose other human being. I had to teach her to obey.

But it was painful to her family to see their deaf and blind boy puniburned. So I asked them to let me relocate with Helen into a little one-room home adjacent. The first day Helen was ameans from her family members she kicked and also screamed a lot of of the time. That night I could not make her gain into bed. We struggled, but I hosted her dvery own on the bed. Luckily, I was stronger than she. The next morning I meant even more of the very same, however to my surpincrease she was calm, also tranquil.

Two weeks later, she had end up being a gentle son. She was all set to learn. My job currently was pleasant. Helen learned easily. Now I can lead and shape her knowledge. We spent all day together. I created words in her hand, the names of everything we touched. But she had actually no concept what the words supposed.

As time passed, she learned exactly how to sew apparel and make things. Eincredibly day we saw the farm pets and also sought eggs in the chicken homes. All the time, I was busy forming letters and also words in her hand also with my fingers. Then one day, around a month after I arrived, we were walking exterior. Something necessary taken place.

We heard someone pumping water. I put Helen"s hand under the cool water and formed the word w-a-t-e-r in her various other hand also. W-a-t-e-r, w-a-t-e-r. I developed the word aobtain and aobtain in her hand. Helen looked directly up at the skies as if a lost memory or thought of some type was coming back to her.

Suddenly, the whole mystery of language seemed clear to her. I might see that the word w-a-t-e-r intended something wonderful and cool that flowed over her hand. Words became alive for her. It awakened her heart, provided it light and hope. She ran towards the residence. I ran after her. One by one she touched points and asked their name. I told her. She went on asking for names and even more names.”



SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: From that time on Helen left the house each day, searching for things to learn. Each brand-new name carried brand-new thoughts. Everything she touched appeared alive. One day, Helen remembered a doll she had broken. She searched all over for the pieces. She tried to put the pieces together however could not. She interpreted what she had done and was not happy. Miss Sullivan taught Helen many kind of points -- to read and also compose, and also also to usage a typewriter. But the majority of necessary, she taught Helen how to think.

RAY FREEMAN: For the next three years, Helen learned even more and also even more new words. All day Miss Sullivan maintained touching Helen"s hand, spelling words that provided Helen a language. With time, Helen verified she might learn international languperiods. She learned Latin, Greek, French and German. Helen was able to learn many kind of points, not just languages.

She was never before willing to leave a trouble unfiniburned, even challenging troubles in mathematics. One time, Miss Sullivan argued leaving a trouble to resolve till the following day. But Helen wanted to save trying. She sassist, "I think it will make my mind stronger to execute it currently.”

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Helen traveled a lot via her household or alone through Miss Sullivan. In eighteen eighty-eight, Helen, her mom and Miss Sullivan visited Boston, Massachusetts. They visited the Perkins Institution wbelow Miss Sullivan had learned to teach. They continued to be for most of the summer at the house of family friends near the Atlantic Ocean. In Helen"s initially endure through the ocean, she was recorded by a wave and also pulled under the water. Miss Sullivan rescued her. When Helen reextended, she demanded, "Who put salt in the water? "

RAY FREEMAN: Three years after Helen began to connect via her hands, she began to learn to sheight as various other civilization did. She never foracquired these days. Later in life, she wrote: "No deaf kid deserve to ever forobtain the excitement of his initially word. Only one who is deaf deserve to understand the loving method I talked to my dolls, to the stones, to birds and also animals. Only the deaf can understand also just how I felt when my dog obeyed my spoken command also."

Those first days as soon as Helen Keller emerged the capability to talk were wonderful. But they confirmed to be simply the start of her many successes.

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SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: You have been listening to the first part of the story of Helen Keller. It was written by Katherine Clarke. Your narrators were Sarah Long, Ray Freeguy and also Shirley Griffith. Listen aacquire next week at this time to People in America, a regimen in Special English on the Voice of America.