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  Anne Sullivan Macy: Miracle Worker

Anne Sullivan Macy receiving an honorary degree from Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, 1932

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Anne's Final Years (1930-1936) and Her Legacy
Education in the Light of Present-Day Knowledge and Need

On February 16, 1932, Anne finally agreed to accept the honorary degree from Temple University. She delivered a speech, entitled Education in the light of present-day knowledge and need, which is excerpted below:

Certain periods in history suddenly lift humanity to an observation point where a clear light falls upon a world previously dark. Everything seems strangely different. Familiar ideas put on new garments and parade before us. Scholars and thinkers scrutinize events with a new intensity to learn their meaning, and the people look for a sign, a miracle.

I believe we are living in the beginning of such a renaissance. The creative achievement of three men, Lenin, Gandhi and Einstein, proclaim it...

The immediate future is going to be tragic for all of us, unless we find a way of making the vast educational resources of this country serve the true purpose of education, which is to open wide all the windows of the mind to knowledge, truth and justice.

Education in the light of present-day knowledge and need calls for some spirited and creative innovations both in the substance and the purpose of current pedagogy. A strenuous effort must be made to train young people to think for themselves and take independent charge of their lives...

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Anne's teaching methods were rarely criticized, perhaps because at that time there were no sources of comparison. However, in 1933 a clinical psychologist, Dr. Thomas D. Cutsforth, published a book The Blind in School and Society. In the book he questions whether or not Anne's goal was to make Helen as much like a sighted person as possible or to develop her own potential. Helen described the world around her in vivid ways; was this the result of Anne's emphasis on language and books? Cutsforth raised the important issue of Anne's influence over Helen in her teaching methods. Anne and Helen never responded publicly to Cutsforth's publication. However, Helen rejected his nomination for an M. C. Migel award in the late 1950s.


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Academic Recognition
Education in the Light of Present-Day Knowledge and Need
Friends in High Places
A Woman of Many Talents
Death of Anne Sullivan Macy
Foolish Remarks of a Foolish Woman
National Women's Hall of Fame


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Introduction
Introduction
Formative Years
Formative Years
Teacher
Teacher
Wrentham
Wrentham
Trouble
Trouble
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Legacy

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