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Useful Notes / Helen Keller

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"Tyranny cannot defeat the power of ideas."

Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was an American author, political activist, and lecturer who was the first blind-deaf person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. With the help of her mentor, Anne Sullivan, she was able to overcome challenges and worked as an advocate for people with disabilities.

  • She Also Did: Far from the floaty, unearthly image in which she has been portrayed, she was idealistic but by no means naive. She was a fervent Socialist and a supporter of Eugene Debs, the IWW, and the philosophy of Georgism. She spoke up for universal health care and for women's voting rights. She denounced capitalism and income inequality, walked picket lines, and repeatedly pointed out the nexus of disability and poverty. She co-founded the ACLU to protect striking workers. She was an early member of the NAACP, scandalizing her very proper Southern family.note 

A devout member of the Church of the New Jerusalem (Swedenborgianism), she believed that Christianity meant working to make this world better as well as faith in an afterlife. She also had strongly antiwar views and spoke out against the many wars during her lifetime. Less positively, Keller endorsed eugenics, believing that infants with severe physical and mental deformities should be euthanized at birth to prevent what she saw as a Fate Worse than Death for them.

She died in 1968 at the age of 87.

Books she had written