Becoming Helen Keller Logo
 

a 2-hour film biography for American Masters

STATUS: WORK-IN-PROGRESS. Your support can HELP US finish THIS PROJECT!

 
(CC Available)
 
 

TO RECLAIM (verb): To get back (something that was lost or taken away); to get (a usable material) from materials that have been used before. From Latin, reclamare: to cry out, protest. Merriam-Webster.

Becoming Helen Keller , which will be broadcast in the award-winning PBS series American Masters, will reclaim the life story of Helen Keller by placing her experiences and work freshly into the context of her times.

"…it’s a valuable, engaging, accessible example of well-done disability history and how broad the field really is! " Sarah Rose, Director, Minor in Disability Studies, Department of History, University of Texas, Arlington

We all know her name, the legend or maybe the jokes. But Keller's story is so much bigger. Taking her from the poorhouses and segregated blind and deaf schools of her 19th century childhood, to worldwide celebrity and work as an advocate for the poor and people with disabilities around the world, this innovative film will bring Keller's story vividly to life from her point of view and from the perspectives of those who knew her.

With hundreds of rarely-seen photographs, historic film clips, striking recreations, and a marvelous performance by actress Cherry Jones, the film will illuminate how Keller, like Eleanor Roosevelt and Rosa Parks, became one of the 20th century's human rights pioneers. Viewers will discover that when she was in her 20s, she was much like Malala Yousafzai today.  Interviews with scholars and community activists help to reveal how Americans have changed their definitions of the public good and the means to achieve it from one generation to the next.

Becoming Helen Keller will make visible not only the public and private life of a remarkable American, but how and why special education, employment training and vocational rehabilitation, income assistance and Social Security came into existence in the USA. Keller and her generation advocated without our era' s civil rights language and legislation.  Our film reveals the social obstacles Keller regularly encountered, the progressive reforms she helped achieve, and why pushing the boundaries of human rights for people with disabilities in the late 20th century required a different approach. Our story is told with wit and insight and provides fresh perspectives on how Americans of different generations must define for themselves 'the public good'. It reminds us that we are always building upon the past as we seek a sustainable future. 

 

JOIN OUR EFFORTS TO BRING THIS PROJECT TO THE SCREEN.

YOUR DONATIONS WILL HELP US GET THERE!