By: Marie Cunningham (03/28/16)
For my favorite person from Deaf History, I choose both Laura Bridgman and Helen Keller. I admire both woman because at a time when learning to communicate was difficult for the Deaf, they learned to communicate and became educated. Back when these women accomplished these things it was not easy for woman in general, not to mention those who were deaf and blind.
Laura Bridgman was deaf-blind and the first to learn language. She was born on December 21, 1829. Think of how she had no one before her to learn from is amazing that she was able to do such a thing. So many of us take our site or hearing for granted and probably wouldn’t know what to do if we lost one of them or even both of them. Laura managed to learn a way to communicate without hearing or seeing, just using those around her, her sense of touch, and her intelligence. Laura learned language and even became educated with support from her teacher Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe. Laura Bridgman died on May 24, 1889.
Helen Keller‘s mother hired Anne Sullivan after reading a novel by Charles Dickens’s called “American Notes” which Charles spoke of when he met Laura Bridgman. Laura taught others the manuel alphabet she had learned from Dr. Howe and one of those people was Anne Sullivan.
Helen Keller is the most well-known deaf-blind person to learn language. She was born in 1880. Thanks to her parents who wanted to find a tutor willing to try to teach her because they truly believed she was capabble of learning. They found Anne Sullivan, who not only taught Helen the manuel alphabet but also taught her how to read Braille and type with a typewriter. She also learned to speak with Anne’s help. After learning to communicate Helen then became educated and was the first deaf-blind person to graduate from college. Helen Keller graduated college and she did it with Honors. She then became an activist and lectured all over the world for the majority of her life. She helped others by giving them hope. Helen Keller died in 1968.
Both of these women were obviously very strong women. So many today have benefited from what they taught us all is possible. Learning to communicate while not being able to hear and speak was very difficult at this time in history, but these two women managed to do just that and much more.