[oregon-l] Fw: [leadership] FW: AP story announcing "Helen Keller: A DaringAdventure"
John A. Fleming
blueskies.acb at gmail.com
Tue Apr 20 01:29:46 GMT 2010
----- Original Message -----
From: Thom, Jeff
To: leadership at acb.org
Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 9:23 AM
Subject: [leadership] FW: AP story announcing "Helen Keller: A
From: Lisa Santamarina [mailto:LSantamarina at afb.net]
Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 9:21 AM
To: Cathy Burns; Christopher (Kit) J. Migel; Concetta Conkling; Cynthia
Watson; Debbie Dennis; Elaine J. Pommells; Jacqueline Bird; James
McLaughlin; James R. Fisher; Jane Parker; Thom, Jeff; John T. Bourger;
Marjorie Kaiser; Michael N. Gilliam; Parveen K. Jain; Patirica Cary Sueltz;
Pearl Van Zandt; Peter Tonks; Ray R. Fidler; Shafiq A. Khan; Thomas
Wlodkowski ; William MacGowan; William R. Wiener
Subject: AP story announcing "Helen Keller: A Daring Adventure"
Below please find the Associated Press article announcing the Helen Keller
exhibit at AFB's New York headquarters. We are very pleased to report that
it has already been picked up by the New York Times, Washington Post, San
Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times and Guardian websites. Carl Augusto and
Helen Selsdon, AFB's archivist are both quoted throughout the piece. Enjoy!
NYC exhibit tells the fuller story of Helen Keller
By ULA ILNYTZKY (AP)
NEW YORK - "Cat, cat, cold, cold, doll, doll" were Helen Keller's first
handwritten words, and they represent an important moment in the remarkable
life of a woman who helped bring about meaningful change for the disabled by
writing incessantly to state Legislatures, Congress and presidents.
Written on a single page in a neat handwriting, the words are the first
document to greet visitors at a new exhibition, "Helen Keller: A Daring
Adventure," opening May 7 at the midtown Manhattan headquarters of the
American Foundation for the Blind.
Elsewhere in the exhibit, a photograph shows a blind salesman operating a
newsstand with an accompanying letter from Keller to President Franklin D.
Roosevelt that says, "Work is the only way for the blind to forget the dark,
and the obstacles in their path."
The foundation is letting the public see some of its vast Helen Keller
holdings as part of a fundraising effort to digitize the archival collection
totaling 80,000 letters, photographs, books and artifacts bequeathed by
Keller, who worked for the foundation for 44 years.
Keller, whose childhood is depicted in the play and film "The Miracle
Worker," lost her hearing and vision at 19 months. She wrote her first words
when she was 7 years old, just 15 weeks after her beloved teacher, Anne
Sullivan, arrived at the Keller household in 1887.
Her enormous progress is demonstrated in another letter just two years later
in which she writes, "I study about the earth and the animals, and I like
arithmetic exceedingly. I learn many new words too. Exceedingly is one that
I learned yesterday."
The two documents are among 61 of Keller's personal items on display, 31 of
which have never before been in a public exhibition. She joined the American
Foundation for the Blind in 1924, three years after it was founded.
"This is an extraordinary event by our organization to provide this kind of
public access," said Carl R. Augusto, the foundation's president.
Keller became "a prolific writer, a peacemaker, a passionate advocate, not
just for blind and disabled people, but for equal rights," Augusto said.
Keller was constantly pushing for more and better programs, products and
technologies for the disabled. Many services for the disabled today are due
to her efforts, such as talking books, a uniform Braille system, increased
Social Security payments for the blind and legislation that allowed visually
impaired people to run newsstands.
Helen Selsdon, the foundation's archivist, hopes visitors will come to
understand the breadth of Keller's accomplishments.
"She transcended her time. She was unflinching to her commitments to her
ideals ... her activism," she said.
The press clippings, photographs, letters and artifacts in the exhibit
demonstrate Keller's huge influence.
Keller knew great minds and leaders, from W.E.B. Du Bois to Albert Einstein
to Dwight Eisenhower and could work with anyone, Selsdon said
"She did more than anyone hopes to do with all our senses. She flew around
the world in the 1940s and '50s when she was in her 60s and 70s," Selsdon
Keller wrote to Roosevelt asking his support for the foundation's Talking
Book Program. After he signed an executive order establishing the National
Library Service for the Blind in 1935 that appropriated funds for the
program, she thanked him, calling it "the most constructive aid to the blind
since the invention of Braille."
She was born to a prominent Alabama family, and Alexander Graham Bell and
Mark Twain were great admirers of hers. It was Twain who coined the phrase
"miracle worker" in describing Sullivan's remarkable work with Keller.
Visitors will learn that Keller was not only an advocate for the disabled,
but also a suffragette, socialist and an early member of the American Civil
She was in favor of birth control as early as 1916, according to a letter
she wrote to a socialist magazine defending anarchist Emma Goldman for
advocating birth control. Two months earlier, in a letter to Keller, Goldman
said she had been looking for "a big, brave American woman" for 25 years and
"you are among the very few."
And in a 1933 letter to German students who burned her book "How I Became a
Socialist" she wrote: "History has taught you nothing if you think you can
She also visited 35 countries, helping to open schools and revolutionize
services for the blind. The gifts she received from dignitaries and admirers
are part of the exhibition. Among those being shown for the first time are a
silver-bound bible from her 1952 visit to Israel and a Zulu shield with an
accompanying letter from the tribe that says the shield "is an equipment of
a great warrior and that is how we think of you."
Keller died in 1968 at age 87, four years after receiving the nation's
highest civilian award, the Medal of Freedom.
Augusto imagines that if she were alive today, she would be leading the
foundation in expanding the use of technology to people with disabilities.
Other personal effects on display include Keller's desk, a phone that
provided her with a direct link to the fire department and her 1955 honorary
Oscar for the documentary based on her life, "Helen Keller in Her Story."
The exhibition, running through July 30, is accessible to people with vision
loss. The foundation said it hopes to feature additional material from the
archive in future exhibitions.
On the Net:
a.. American Foundation for the Blind: http://www.afb.org
Lisa Santamarina, PHR
Human Resources & Board Relations Administrator
American Foundation for the Blind
2 Penn Plaza, Suite 1102
New York, NY 10121
lsantamarina at afb.net
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