Helen Keller was an author, lecturer, and crusader for the handicapped. Born physically normal in Tuscumbia, Alabama, Keller lost her sight and hearing at the age of nineteen months to an illness now believed to have been scarlet fever. Five years later, on the advice of Alexander Graham Bell, her parents applied to the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston for a teacher, and from that school hired Anne Mansfield Sullivan. Through Sullivan’s extraordinary instruction, the little girl learned to understand and communicate with the world around her. She went on to acquire an excellent education and to become an important influence on the treatment of the blind and deaf. Her unprecedented accomplishments in overcoming her disabilities made her a celebrity at an early age; at twelve she published an autobiographical sketch in the Youth’s Companion, and during her junior year at Radcliffe she produced her first book, The Story of My Life, still in print in over fifty languages. In addition to her many appearances on the lecture circuit, Keller in 1918 made a movie in Hollywood, Deliverance, to dramatize the plight of the blind and during the next two years supported herself and Sullivan on the vaudeville stage. Keller altered the world’s perception of the capacities of the handicapped. More than any act in her long life, her courage, intelligence, and dedication combined to make her a symbol of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity.
Helen Keller gave her "Strike Against War" speech in 1916 to argue against the United States entering World War I. Keller saw war as another way for rich countries to take advantage of poor countries. She believed the U.S. wanted to join the war to protect all the property it owned in places like India, China, and Africa. She was also an outspoken supporter of workers' rights, and she urged American workers not to join the war effort. After all, since workers were the ones who made weapons and fought in the army,