Depictions of Courage

Helen Keller

We can all use a reminder that having the courage to be helpful and kind can have great effects, especially when bullying is so prevalent.

Today, March 3, in 1887,  Helen Keller began learning from her tutor, Ann Sullivan. Helen Keller lost her sight and hearing after a severe illness at the age of 19 months. With Ann, the previously uncontrollable Keller flourished, eventually graduating from college and becoming an international lecturer and activist. Sullivan, later dubbed “the miracle worker,” remained Keller’s interpreter and constant companion until the older woman’s death in 1936.

She was considered a bright but spoiled and strong-willed child. Her parents eventually sought the advice of Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone and an authority on the deaf. He suggested the Keller’s contact the Perkins Institution, which in turn recommended Anne Sullivan as a teacher.

Helen Keller and Ann Sullivan in July 1888.

Helen Keller and Ann Sullivan in July 1888.

Sullivan, age 20, arrived at Ivy Green, the Keller family estate, in 1887 and began working to socialize her wild, stubborn student and teach her by spelling out words in Keller’s hand. Initially, the finger spelling meant nothing to Keller. However, a breakthrough occurred one day when Sullivan held one of Keller’s hands under water from a pump and spelled out “w-a-t-e-r” in Keller’s palm. Keller went on to learn how to read, write and speak. With Sullivan’s assistance, Keller attended Radcliffe College and graduated with honors in 1904.

Helen Keller became a public speaker and author; her first book, “The Story of My Life” was published in 1902. She was also a fundraiser for the American Foundation for the Blind and an advocate for racial and sexual equality, as well as socialism. From 1920 to 1924, Sullivan and Keller even formed a vaudeville act to educate the public and earn money. Helen Keller died on June 1, 1968, at her home in Westport, Connecticut, at age 87, leaving her mark on the world by helping to alter perceptions about the disabled.

Do you know any who is disabled? Do you think they possess courage? Do their caregivers?

Let's hop to PJ Fiala's blog to see what she has to say about courage.  Also, take a look at her books: