A statue honoring Helen Keller, a prominent advocate for the disabled, has been unveiled at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
The bronze statue depicts Keller as a seven-year-old child by a water pump where she first learned to communicate by sign language. It was donated by the state of Alabama, where Keller was born in 1880.
"Helen Keller worked so hard for people with disabilities, and she traveled all over the world speaking on behalf of the disabled, letting people know that just because you have a disability that you should be treated the same as others," said Sue Pilkilton, executive director of the Helen Keller Birthplace in Tuscumbia, Alabama.
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"She was a normal child until the age of 19 months, and then she had a very high fever that left her deaf and blind," said Pilinlton. "The breakthrough came at the water pump, where she learned the first word, water."
Keller went on to graduate with highest honors from Radcliffe College in Massachusetts, and became a world renowned author and activist.
Since the statue's unveiling, there has been a dramatic increase in visitors to the museum that now occupies the home where Keller was born. "Everyone wants to know about the statue and how it looks." Pilkilton. The statue of Keller, she notes, is the only one in the Capitol Building's Staturary hall that depicts a child."
The Keller monument is also the first of the state statues that depicts a disabled person. A notice at the base of the statue is in Braille. All 50 states are entitled to donate two statues each of prominent persons.