Thursday, October 8, 2009

Helen Keller Statue

The state of Alabama had placed a statue of Helen Keller as a child at the US Capitol's National Statuary Hall in Washington, DC. It's the first statue in the Capitol of a person with a disability. The monument commemorates the 1887 breakthrough when Keller, then 7-years-old, held one hand under a water pump while her teacher, Anne Sullivan, spelled "W-A-T-E-R" into her other hand. The Alabama native learned to speak at the age of 10 by putting her hands on Sullivan's mouth when she talked. A graduate of Radcliffe College, Keller went on to Harvard University, winning numerous honors including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. When Alabama governor Bob Riley was a member of Congress, he suggested his state put a statue of Keller in the Hall and the Alabama Legislature agreed, passing a resolution asking Congress to accept the statue. A committee led by Alabama's first lady, Patsy Riley, raised private donations for the 600-pound bronze statue created by Utah's Edward Hlavka.