John Lee Clark Profile picture
Protactile educator. National Magazine Award winner. Author of Where I Stand: On the Signing Community and My DeafBlind Experience.
Oct 21, 2021 21 tweets 11 min read
--serve as superintendent of a school for the Deaf and the Blind, found and edit magazines, become a nun, be thrown in jail for not responding to commands from police, be wrongfully instiutionalized, be sterlized against their will, sue a company for stealing their invention-- --and marry. Not just marry, but marrying each other, two #DeafBlind people vowing to face a distantist world together. Multiple DB-DB couples during the time #HelenKeller tried but failed to elope with a hearing-sighted man. She was brave to do so, but others were still braver.
Oct 21, 2021 6 tweets 4 min read
Another historical misunderstanding surrounding #HelenKeller is that she is this one-of-a-kind wonder, the first or only #DeafBlind person to do or be this and that, someone you cannot compare anyone with. The relentless erasure of other DeafBlind stories creates this illusion. In the public consciousness, related to #DeafBlind history, #HelenKeller is a statue in the middle of a desert, with Laura Bridgman off to the distance. In reality, she was one of many DeafBlind people crawling all over the place, doing similar things.
Oct 20, 2021 4 tweets 2 min read
"The miracle at the water pump" is one of the most misunderstood moments in history. What happened was not a breakthrough for #HelenKeller in learning language. There was already a word for water. But it wasn't English. What Helen learned to do was to perform a stunt. Annie was attempting the equivalent of forcing #HelenKeller to utter a pentasyllabic word, such as "accommodation" or "laboratory" or "representative," whenever she wanted water. If you're thirsty, say "ideology" or "specificiation" or "liability." It was difficult.