Helen Adams Keller was an American author, disability rights advocate, political activist, and lecturer. Keller lost her sight and hearing after a bout of illness at the age of nineteen months, however, it did not stop her to become one of the 20th century’s leading humanitarians and co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Throughout her work, Keller tackled social and political issues, including women’s suffrage, pacifism, birth control, and socialism. In 1915, along with George Kessler, she co-founded Helen Keller International to combat the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition. In 1946, Keller was appointed counselor of international relations for the American Foundation of Overseas Blind. Between 1946 and 1957, she traveled to 35 countries. During her lifetime, she received many honors in recognition of her accomplishments, including the Theodore Roosevelt Distinguished Service Medal in 1936, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964, and the election to the Women’s Hall of Fame in 1965.
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