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Episode 15 – Alabama State Quarter – Helen Keller – The Spirit of Courage

Alabama State Quarter
Helen Keller
The Spirit of Courage

Alabama State Quarter
United States Mint image

Alabama State Quarter!  The inspiring, determined, intelligent, daring and brave woman who taught the world that beauty goes far beyond sight.  These words describe a women so filled with confidence she was able to overcome her own limitations and go on to inspire others around the world.  It is the unstoppable and brilliant Helen Keller on the reverse side of the U.S. Mint, Alabama State Quarter.  And, on this episode of Quarter Miles Travel, we tell her story.

Who Was Helen Keller

Born on June 27, 1880, in Tuscumbia, Alabama, she was the first daughter of her parents Katherine Adams Keller and Arthur H. Keller.  Her father had two sons from a previous marriage when he married her mother.  Katherine and Arthur also had two other children, a son and another daughter.  Arthur was an officer in the Confederate Army and also a writer.

Helen was born able to see and hear.  Although, an illness when she as just under two years old left her blind and deaf.  They were not sure what caused her to become blind and deaf, but when Helen no longer responded by sight and hearing, she was taken to a local doctor who determined she was now blind and deaf.

It wasn’t until years later when Anne Sullivan came to live with the family to teach Helen, that she had a breakthrough with understanding the connection between the cool water flowing over her hand and the letters her teacher Anne tapped into her hand.

Like unlocking a closed door, Helen quickly became eager to learn more words, understanding more connections between her world and the letters Anne tapped into her hand.

An inspiration to not only people who are deaf and/or blind, but she became a ray of hope and determination to all people around the world, with her perseverance and commitment to make the world a better place for people who needed a voice.

Many of Helen’s accomplishments were difficult for people to believe as they watched “from the outside – looking in.”  She finished college, she could read in multiple languages, authored several books, she piloted a plane, she traveled the world and had multiple friends who believed in her, supported her and ensured she lived a fulfilling life.  She filled her life with learning and also sharing inspiration, hope and courage everywhere she traveled.

Throughout her life Helen became an activist and supporter of many causes to make life better for others.  Anne Sullivan and Polly Thomson, her life long teachers, translators and companions were also friends.  Helen taught us about friendship and the ability to see beauty in the world through ways without sight.

On this episode of Quarter Miles Travel, I along with three ladies who know Helen’s experiences well, share her story.  They are: Susan Pilkilton, Executive Director of Helen Keller Birthplace, two ladies from Perkins School For the Blind – Susanna Coit – Archivist and Research Library Assistant along with Jennifer Arnott – Research Librarian.

Take a walk down this path of Helen’s story.  You will be inspired and find that life has many opportunities and ways for us to experience our world.

 

Photos of Helen Keller Birthplace 

Courtesy Colbert County Tourism & Convention Bureau 

 

 Alabama State Quarter Helen Keller
Helen’s birth home
Alabama State Quarter Helen Keller
The cottage on the Keller property where Helen and Anne stayed.

 

 The following photos are courtesy of Perkins School for the Blind Archives

There were many, many influential and supportive people in Helen’s life.  Most notable is Anne Sullivan her teacher.

Alabama State Quarter
Helen (left) and Anne (right)

 

Helen Keller with Anne Sullivan.   Photo courtesy of Colbert County Tourism & Convention Bureau 

 

Alabama State Quarter
Helen’s companion and dear friend, Polly Thomson.

 

Alabama State Quarter
Helen with Michael Anagnos Director of Perkins School For The Blind

 

Helen was able to communicate using various tools.  

Alabama State Quarter
Helen at her typewriter. Helen became an author, with several books to her credit.

 

Helen’s learned several systems for writing and reading.

 

Helen worked as an activist and spokeswoman for others around the world

Alabama State Quarter
Helen visiting blind Veterans.

 

Helen loved animals and especially dogs.  

Alabama State Quarter
Helen and Anne in a tree with Helen’s dog Phiz.  A favorite photo of my guest Susanna Coit.

 

Alabama State Quarter
Helen with her dog Phiz

 

Alabama State Quarter
Helen with her dog Jumbo

Helen traveled extensively and was able to communicate in several languages.

Alabama State Quarter
Helen meeting with Mayor in Hiroshima

 

Alabama State Quarter
Helen in Africa attending a tribal ritual

 

Alabama State Quarter
Helen in India

 

Alabama State Quarter
Helen traveled to Scotland. She is in a field collecting hay.

 

Helen in Cornwall United Kingdom

 

Quarter Miles Travel
The Alabama State Quarter featuring Helen Keller on the reverse side, also featured her name in braille; the first U.S. currency to feature braille. United States Mint image


Websites – 

Helen Keller Birthplace-helenkellerbirthplace.org 
Perkins School for The Blind – Perkins.org 
U.S Mint State and Commemorative Quarters – USMint.gov

Support the Perkins School for the Blind with a donation –
Click here to donate

More info about Helen Keller
HelenKeller.org
Britannica.Com
History.com

YouTube Video
How she learned to Speak 

Helen Keller Speaking

Helen Keller’s Birthplace

 

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