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Helen Keller: A Thirst for Learning
Part 2: Worldwide Renown

She learned 30 words that day and hundreds more in the months that followed. The more she learned, the faster she learned. Helen understood the Braille language by the time she was 10. It took her a full six years to conquer her next goal, learning to speak, but she did it.

Helen even went to school, progressing all the way through college and receiving a diploma from Radcliffe College in 1904. Through it all, the "Miracle Worker" was at her side.

As an adult, Helen shared her story and her inspiration with others. She eventually visited 25 countries, telling of her victories over disabilities. She met many famous people, including 12 U.S. presidents and the King and Queen of England. Helen and Sullivan lent their likenesses and stories to Hollywood, which responded with a movie titled Deliverance. (Another, more famous, movie would follow some years later, this one titled The Miracle Worker.)

Helen was also a writer. She publisher her autobiography, The Story of My Life, in 1903, when she was 23. She wrote other books, including The World I Live In, The Song of the Stone Wall, and Light in My Darkness.

Helen and Sullivan made a great many public appearances, speaking on behalf of and raising money for many charitable organizations, including the American Foundation for the Blind. Sullivan died in 1936. Helen and her new teacher, Polly Thomson, traveled around the world raising awareness and money for foundations that benefited people with disabilities.

Helen suffered a stroke in 1961 and retired from public life. President Lyndon Johnson awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964. A year later, she was elected to the Women's Hall of Fame.

Helen Keller died in 1968. The stories of her struggle, desire to learn, and successes live on.

First page > Despair to Hope > Page 1, 2


 

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