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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Writing from the heart

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller
Today is Helen Keller Day, proclaimed in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter in commemoration of the anniversary of her birth (in Alabama) on this date in 1880.  Author, political activist, and lecturer, she was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree and a longtime writer, first being published at age 12.  The story of how teacher Anne Sullivan broke through the isolation imposed by a near complete lack of language, allowing Helen to blossom as she learned to communicate, is depicted in the wonderful book, play and movie, The Miracle Worker.  

Inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 1971, she was one of 12 inaugural inductees into the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame in June 2015.    Keller proved to the world that deaf people not only could learn to communicate and that they could survive in the hearing world, but to excel at anything they chose to do.   “When we do the best that we can,” she said, “we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.” 
She authored a dozen books and hundreds of essays and other stories       and inspired countless others.  In 1964 she was a recipient of The Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the nation’s highest honors.

“I seldom think about my limitations, and they never make me sad,” Keller said.  “Perhaps there is just a touch of yearning at times; but it is vague, like a breeze among flowers.”   She died in 1968.

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