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When many of us think about Helen Keller, we think of her as a young woman who was able to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to lead an extraordinary life. However, Keller was much more than just the epitome of reaching your full potential despite circumstances out of your control; she was also an incredible author and an activist.

After her life was revolutionized by miracle-worker Annie Sullivan, who helped her overcome her deaf-blindness, Keller stepped into the world of social activism. Beginning in the early 1910s, Helen Keller traveled all over the United States. Throughout this national tour, she delivered speeches on social injustices, suffrage, and the rights of those with disabilities. Later, she would go on to help found the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), an organization that still fights for social equality today. 

Keller took a head-on approach to hot-button topics such as prohibition, which she valiantly spoke out against in 1912. Helen contended poverty was the cause of drinking, as opposed to the opposite viewpoint which was held by the government officials who initiated the law. Keller also practiced activism in protest of World War One, though she still aided blind veterans in coming to terms with their vision loss. 

In addition to being an activist, Keller was also an accomplished author. That fact is even more impressive when you remember the blindness she suffered at 19 months old. With 14 published books along with over 475 speeches and essays, Keller used the power of words to advocate for the causes she cared about most. Her published books and essays took on controversial subjects such as faith, morality, birth control, European fascism, and atomic energy.

Helen Keller is the epitome of a woman who refused to be completely confined by circumstances out of her control. When she was passionate about something, she fought for it. A young, disabled girl from a small town in Alabama made her way to the White House to discuss issues that the blind face with the President of the United States. Keller was not a victim of her disabilities, and she didn’t live her life as one. She tackled them head-on and fought for truth and justice in every aspect of her life. Today, her autobiography has been translated into over 50 languages and continues to inspire people around the world.