Saturday, July 27, 2013

Helen Keller article from New York Times, 7 Feb. 1913, "Rich Criticised By Helen Keller in Debut as Public Lecturer" 

Blind and Deaf and Once Dumb Girl Blames Them for Poor's Condition.


Tells Big Crowd at Mont Clair, N. J., She Hopes to Help the World Get Better.

Mont Clair, N. J., Feb. 6. -- -Special.- -- Helen Keller, the famous blind and deaf and once dumb girl, made her debut as a public speaker in Mont Clair tonight, when, from the platform of the auditorium in the Hillsdale school, she delivered a lecture to an audience that numbered nearly 1,000.

Miss Keller spoke under the auspices of the Mont Clair branch of the Socialist party. She is a Socialist herself, and in her talk revealed radical political inclinations.

The large audience, particularly those in the rear, understood Miss Keller with difficulty at times, owing to the lack of emphasis in her tones, but she gave a remarkable performance, considering the handicap under which she labored.

Trying to Make World Better.

"I am going to try to make you feel that no one of us can do anything alone, that we are bound together," said Miss Keller. "I do not like this world as it is. I am trying to make it a little more as I would like to have it. Perhaps you are thinking how blind I have been. You have your eyes and you behold the sun, and yet you are more blind than I am.

"It was the hands of others that made this miracle in me. Without my teacher I should be nothing. Without you I should be nothing. We live by and for each other. We are all blind and deaf until our eyes are open to our fellow men. If we had a penetrating vision we would not endure what we see in the world today.

"The lands, the life, and the machinery belong to the few. All the work they do gains for the workers a mere livelihood. It is strange that we do not see it and that when we do we accept the conditions in blind content. We fail to understand that if the workers were adequately paid there would be no rich people.

Blames Rich for Conditions.

"The rich are willing to do everything for the poor but give them their rights. They say the workers are not thrifty enough. If the workers are not thrifty enough and do not save it is because the greatest part of what they produce goes to some one else who does the saving. It is the labor of the poor and ignorant that makes us refined and comfortable.
"I am no pessimist. The pessimist says that man was born in darkness and for death. I believe that man was intended for the light and shall not die. It is a good world and it will be much better when you help me to make it more as I want it."


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