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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Celebrating 200 Years of Braille

A blind child or adult 200 years ago had no effective way to read and write independently. Today, thanks to the ingenious invention of Louis Braille, children and adults throughout the world can read and write as well as their sighted counterparts. Braille's invention was a system of raised dots that can be read with the fingertips.

The American Foundation for the Blind celebrates the 200th anniversary of Louis Braille's birthday on January 4, 1809, this year. We also celebrate the braille code, named after its young inventor, and the expanded possibilities for literacy, independence, and self-expression Louis Braille opened up to blind people everywhere.

New! Susan Spungin in Paris—Read about Dr. Spungin's trip to France for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization Braille 1809-2009 International Conference "Writing with Six Dots and Its Future."

Louis Braille MuseumThe Louis Braille Museum—An all-new illustrated exhibit traces the history of braille and the life of this remarkable inventor.

The Reading Fingers—The full text of Jean Roblin's classic 1952 biography of Louis Braille.

The War of the Dots—Chapter 1 of Robert Irwin's book, As I Saw It, recounting the struggle to develop a uniform system of braille in the United States.

The Braille Bug®—AFB's award-winning web site that introduces children to the magic of braille. Check out the Braille Bug's celebration of Louis' birthday:

Visit AFB's Braille Bug Site

JVIB Year of Braille—Special essays written by notable members of the field of visual impairment and blindness in the United States and abroad will be featured in each 2009 JVIB issue and will be available free of charge as each is published. New This Month: "A Parent's Perspective on the Importance of Braille for Success in Life," by Mary Zabelski

Braille, the Magic Wand of the Blind—Helen Keller's essay on Louis Braille, written around 1924. In this essay, Helen Keller relates how the braille system works and how she benefited from it. She describes the reading systems that existed prior to braille and the debates of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries over competing embossed systems.

Helen Keller in Paris—Helen Keller's speech at the Sorbonne University in Paris, celebrating the centennial of the death of Louis Braille, June 1952.

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