DEDICATED TO IMPROVING THE LIVES OF BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED PEOPLE

The Activist Helen Keller – almost banned from social studies curricula

“What scholars of disability point out is that when students learn about Helen Keller, they often learn about her efforts to communicate as a child, and not about the work she did as an adult. This limited instruction has implications for how students perceive people with disabilities,” said Time Magazine in a December 15 article, “Co-Founding the ACLU, Fighting for Labor Rights and Other Helen Keller Accomplishments Students Don’t Learn in School”. Keller supported the NAACP and was an early proponent of birth control. A champion for workers, she advocated for better working conditions that resulted in accidents that left workers blind. She supported the eugenics movement for a period of time, and was on the radar of the FBI for supporting far left political groups. These latter activities almost caused teaching about Helen Keller’s life to be from the Texas social studies standards. Haben Girma, a deaf-blind attorney and advocate for inclusion of people with disabilities in school curricula, “argued that if Keller’s life is not taught, students might not learn about any history-makers with disabilities.” Girma told Time, “’Since society only portrays Helen Keller as a little girl, a lot of people subconsciously learn to infantilize disabled adults. …That makes it difficult to get a job, to be treated with respect, to get good quality education and healthcare as an adult.’”