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Dedication of the Keller-Macy Cottage, delivered before Perkins School for the Blind at Boston, Massachusetts (November 14, 1956)

Transcription


Mr. Waterhouse and whoever else I am to address,

There is a peculiar warmth in my heart as I greet you all. I glow with memories of Perkins in South Boston which I visited as a child. Now I have the precious sense of what Perkins in Watertown is accomplishing for doubly handicapped children. Keenly I feel the inadequacy of language to express my over-flowing gratitude, I can only rejoice in your persevering good-will towards little ones who can neither see or hear.

Proudly I dedicate the Keller-Macy Cottage for the deaf-blind, and I thank you for so thoughtfully bestowing such an honor on both my teacher and me. How it would have gratified her great soul if circumstances had permitted her to dig her way to the minds of other children in the silent dark! May they find the Keller-Macy Cottage a centre (sic) of ever increasing knowledge and cheer and be better equipped to shape their own lives, is my fervent prayer.

I welcome the news that Perkins and Boston University are gong to hold the first sessions in a training course for teachers of the deaf-blind. It is a sorrow to me to realize that those doubly handicapped are still a group little understood even by workers for the blind. Often, as you know, they are treated as if they were castaways from mankind, fit only to be fed and sheltered until they die. It will be most helpful to note the progress that I am sure you and the University will make in breaking down the attitude of many that personality must be quenched forever by the double loss of sight and hearing. We know that it is comparatively easy to arouse enthusiasm in those who work for the blind or the deaf, but it is another story when we approach those to whom it seems futile to concentrate their efforts on the slow, complicated of (sic) the deaf-blind. But civilization and justice demand that the exiles of the silent night who are teachable be rescued from soul-destroying isolation and morbid tendencies. Therefore I shall watch with thrilling interest your endeavors to start a new attitude in those you train to be eyes and ears to the loneliest of human beings on earth. Every enlargement of that circle of intelligent sympathy will mean wider opportunity to minister to the twice afflicted children -- and adults too, and turn their dungeon into a Kingdom of Light, and you will indeed be co-workers with my beloved teacher in a beautiful task of deliverance.

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