From a rough start on the streets of Harlem to the Apollo stage, smokey clubs, years on the road, and in recording studios Ella led the world through the trends and wild ride that was the musical scene during most of the last century.
If Ella’s story touches you like it touched us, would you please consider supporting the musical arts in your own community or through the Jazz Foundation of America? This is not sponsored, it’s just a cause that is near and dear to our hearts and we know that, with no shows, live musicians are struggling around the country due to the pandemic.
Shownotes and recommendations for this episode are here, in the Way Back Machine.
Helen Adams Keller
A life of silence and darkness.
While that was the hand that the woman that we discuss in this episode was dealt, she actually lived a very loud, very colorful life. Although she was born well over 100 years ago, she is still held in lofty admiration by many today. Her life’s work of raising awareness to the challenges and unlimited abilities of the disabled changed perceptions, altered views and set in motion rights and change to society that is still being felt.
But Helen Keller was more than just a symbol of equality, a worldwide ambassador for the handicapped, and a figurehead for the American Foundation for the Blind; she was a writer, a public speaker, a daughter, a friend, and a woman. She invented her life, recreating and defining it not despite her disabilities, but with the support of them.
This woman had it going ON!
Helen Keller was born a very healthy baby on June 27, 1880, in, Tuscumbia AL, to Captain Arthur and Kate Adams Keller. The time was post-Civil War south. Her father had served in the Confederate Army, and her mother had roots in both the north and the south- but raised very much a smart, educated belle. Arthur had two sons from his first marriage that ended when his wife Sarah had died a year before he married Kate.
Arthur Keller, father of Helen Keller
Kate Keller, mother
The Kellers were not wealthy, but they lived fairly well and Kate worked hard. Arthur? Well he worked…he owned a newspaper and oversaw the plantation where they lived, Ivy Green. The couple lived in the small cottage next to the big house. It doesn’t seem as if the marriage was all that cheery, but it was…um, well, how about “amiable”?
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