Taken outdoors. Helen Keller with a group of women standing behind her holding parasols.

A year ago today, the United States celebrated the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This federal amendment prohibits denying citizens the right to vote based on sex. In effect, recognizing a woman’s right to vote.

Last summer, AFB commemorated that event with a talk in conjunction with the Planting Fields Foundation by AFB archivist Helen Selsdon. Images from the digital Helen Keller Archive – including letters, photographs, articles, and speeches were used to investigate the breadth and depth of Helen Keller’s advocacy for civil rights and social justice. Keller fought for women’s voting rights, but she also demanded workers’ rights and economic equality for the poor and disenfranchised.

The past year’s political and social upheavals underscore the relevance of Keller’s work today and her understanding of how class, race and disability all intersect. Keller understood that justice and equal rights are an ongoing battle, she also recognized the importance of education and knowledge. In that spirit, AFB created fully accessible lesson plans that teach middle and high school students to find, read, and analyze primary source documents in the digital Helen Keller Archive related to women’s suffrage. Through close reading and guided exploration, students learn about Helen Keller’s activism in support of suffrage.

May these teachings and our other lesson plans help to educate a future generation of advocates and human rights champions.

Enjoy the presentation! https://youtu.be/mVWtdM00XNU

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