Ohio University Washington Hall Spring

Four Life Lessons From Helen Keller

Helen Keller is one of the most inspiring and powerful female icons in history. Born in 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama, she lost her sight and hearing within the first 19 months of her life as a result of a “brain fever.” But as she grew up, she defied these limitations and turned them into the moving story we know now. Among others, she taught us these four lessons

  1. 1. Blindness does not mean a lack of vision

    Keller envisioned a world where people with disabilities were heard by others and treated equally. She accomplished much with education, and she gave lectures around the world. She was a founder of the American Civil Liberties Union, a group whose purpose is to protect the rights and freedoms of marginalized groups. 

    "When one comes to think of it, there are no such things as divine, immutable, or inalienable rights. Rights are things we get when we are strong enough to make good our claim on them.”

    -Helen Keller


  2. 2. You don’t need sight to see the beauties of the world

    Concrete Road

    Helen Keller saw life as an adventure. She traveled to over 35 countries around the world for her advocacy work. Despite her lack of sight and hearing, she still got to experience the beauty of foreign lands and other cultures. In Japan, she was given a dog to help with her travels. This animal ended up being the first Akita dog in the United States. 

     “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched but must be felt with the heart.” -Hellen Keller 



  3. 3. The answers you look for are found within

    It is impossible to imagine what Keller must have gone through growing up without the ability to hear or see. Records say she struggled as a child and threw tantrums out of frustration. Her family reached out to institutions for help. They found someone who would end up being Keller’s life companion, a woman named Anne Sullivan. It was she who relentlessly tried to teach Keller what was called a “finger language” at the time. The two struggled for a long time until Keller finally learned her first word: water. 

    From that moment, Keller found the inspiration to keep going. She learned up to 30 words that same day. She demanded to know more, and she discovered in the following 25 years how far her motivation could take her at the Horace Mann School for the Deaf. 


  4. 4. Dare to challenge your limits

    Keller never stopped going, whether she was learning Braille or attending school. She continued to higher education, attending Radcliffe College. In 1904, she graduated cum laude. In1905, she published her first book and started her work advocating for blind people. 

    Helen Keller serves as an example to our society that we are not defined by what limits us. We are shaped by what empowers us. She is one of my role models and an exemplary woman in U.S. history.