Sunday, January 13, 2013

Helen Keller in Tallahassee, 1929

1929 clipping from one of Hodges' scrapbooks

In 1929, Dr. Helen Keller appeared before the Florida legislature to speak on behalf of a bill increasing the appropriation for work among the blind in Florida.  She explained to a reporter, "Almost nothing has been done for the adult blind in Florida so far.  Some little attention has been paid to blind children, but even that has not been very great.  The delightful thing is that all over the country the work of the blind is increasing and an appreciation of their problems is becoming more widespread.  There are now twenty-five States in which there is some department that has to do with aiding of the blind... I told the legislature that the blind have the same ambitions as those who see.  They want the same things.  They do not want charity, but want some useful occupations and also some of the sweet satisfactions of life." She was received well but the bill did not pass.  She visited again in 1941.  This time the bill passed.  As a souvenir of her first Florida trip, Dr. Keller brought back a 10-inch alligator, which she named Jack.  Dr. Keller was a guest of Goodwood during both trips.  Her 1929 thank you note to Margaret Hodges read in part, "The thought of our visit to your beautiful home is following me to New York like the fragrance of your magnolias and carnations.  I wish I could make half as sweet my thank you for your hospitality and loving kindness."

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