Helen Keller was a radical socialist. She observed that cases of blindness were more prevalent in lower classes and thus felt that blindness was a result of social injustice.
Helen Keller is an inspiring person.
After being born with both her sight and hearing, she lost both before turning 2 years old.
That didn’t stop her, as she was the first dead and blind person to earn a bachelor’s degree. She went on to be a much desired public speaker, writer and political activist.
What popular history tends to leave out, however, is the fact that she was a radical socialist. She believed that blindness was more prolific among the lower class because of working conditions and the greed of the employers.
On top of poor working conditions, she cites prostitution as an indirect cause of blindness among the middle class as well, as the STD syphilis can cause it.
Keller’s motivation in her own words:
“I was appointed on a commission to investigate the conditions of the blind. For the first time I, who had thought blindness a misfortune beyond human control, found that too much of it was traceable to wrong industrial conditions, often caused by the selfishness and greed of employers. And the social evil contributed its share. I found that poverty drove women to a life of shame that ended in blindness.”
Many in the United States were paranoid about socialism and so this piece of information about Helen Keller is often overlooked in popular history. People weren’t happy about it at the time, either.
At least one columnist, a writer for the ‘Brooklyn Eagle,’ who had graciously complimented Keller before knowing of her political allegiance wrote that her "mistakes sprung out of the manifest limitations of her development.”
Keller’s response was nothing short of brilliant:
“At that time the compliments he paid me were so generous that I blush to remember them. But now that I have come out for socialism he reminds me and the public that I am blind and deaf and especially liable to error. I must have shrunk in intelligence during the years since I met him. ... Oh, ridiculous Brooklyn Eagle! Socially blind and deaf, it defends an intolerable system, a system that is the cause of much of the physical blindness and deafness which we are trying to prevent.”