Congratulations to AFB President and CEO Kirk Adams on Completing His Doctorate

August 15, 2019
Kirk Adams, standing with his cane, wearing academic cap and gown.
Kirk Adams, standing with his cane, wearing academic cap and gown.
The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is delighted to announce that our President and CEO, Kirk Adams, was awarded his doctorate in Leadership and Change from Antioch University on August 3. Antioch’s PhD in Leadership and Change program is “dedicated to engaging working professionals in the interdisciplinary study, research and practice of leading positive change in workplaces, schools, organizations, and communities, across the country and world.” Kirk’s dissertation was titled “…

Fabulous New Objects in the Helen Keller Archive

August 13, 2019
Copper vase inlaid with silver carp and cherry blossoms, gift from the City of Hiroshima. November 13, 1947
Copper vase inlaid with silver carp and cherry blossoms, gift from the City of Hiroshima. November 13, 1947
Over 180 totally gorgeous items can be seen for the very first time! Captured in over 1,200 fully accessible digital images, these 2D and 3D items in the Helen Keller Archive provide an alternative lens with which to view Helen Keller’s extraordinary life. Beautiful artifacts, oversize documents, and photograph albums are now there for all to see. The items include treasures like... Keller’s 1904 Bachelor of Arts Degree Certificate from Radcliffe College—Keller was the first deafblind…

Finding My Family in the Helen Keller Archive

August 6, 2019
Newspaper clipping of Joseph Edgar Chamberlin, sitting relaxed under a tree. A young girl sits at his feet.
Newspaper clipping of Joseph Edgar Chamberlin, sitting relaxed under a tree. A young girl sits at his feet.
by Elizabeth Emerson Thanks in large part to the Helen Keller Archive at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), I have been fortunate to be able to come to know—almost 100 years later—my great-great grandfather, Joseph Edgar (Ed) Chamberlin, his wife Ida, their children, and their life. Beginning with the first letter that I found in the Helen Keller Archive from Ed Chamberlin to Anne Sullivan, dated March 22, 1892 1, and ending with Helen Keller’s last letter to Ed’s widow…
Author
Blog Topics Helen Keller Archives

AFB Applauds Reintroduction of the Disabled Access Credit Expansion Act

July 26, 2019
americans with disability act on table with pen
As we celebrate the 29th Anniversary of the ADA, AFB is pleased that Representatives Jim Langevin and Donald McEachin and Senator Tammy Duckworth have led the reintroduction of the Disabled Access Credit Expansion Act. The bill increases the amount of the Disabled Access Credit, which helps businesses afford renovations to become more accessible to people with disabilities, expands the number of eligible businesses, and invests in programs that mediate ADA-related disputes and help individuals…
Author Sarah Malaier
Blog Topics ADA, advocacy

AFB Celebrates the 29th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

July 24, 2019
Celebrate the ADA 29 (1990-2019) Americans with Disabilities Act - July 26, 2019
On July 26, 2019, the United States will mark the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the primary civil rights law protecting the rights of disabled Americans and one of the most comprehensive pieces of disability non-discrimination law in the world. AFB celebrates the tremendous progress our society has made toward equity in the past 29 years, but we also recognize that many barriers still remain. One of the primary focus areas of the ADA is employment. Title 1 assures…
Blog Topics ADA

Tactile Treasures in the Helen Keller Archive

July 9, 2019
P. O. Box 455 Talladega, Ala. April 28, 1954  Dear Miss Keller,  We have heard that you are coming to Alabama in May, and we wish to invite you to visit our school while you are in this state. We have heard of the work you are doing and would like to meet you and have you talk to us, if only for a few minutes.  Very truly yours, Cora Dell Booker. Eighth Grade School for Negro Blind
Invitation written in braille by 8th grader Cora Dell Booker inviting Keller to speak at her school, 1954
Circa 1821-1825, Louis Braille mastered the now-famous braille-dot code enabling blind and visually impaired individuals to read and enjoy the same wealth of knowledge as their sighted peers. As we’ve discovered during the Helen Keller Archive digitization project, humans always seem to find original ways to create methods with which to communicate. Fabulous examples of embossed items are scattered throughout the collection. Check these out: Letter written to Keller by Lucille Nurre in 1967…

Helen Keller on Independence Day, 1942

July 4, 2019
CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER  SUNDAY, APRIL 19, 1942  MISS HELEN KELLER, whose brave fight to overcome the handicaps of the blind, deaf and dumb has become an American saga, examines a bust of herself by the world-famous sculptor, Jo Davidson. The photograph was taken in Davidson’s studio near Philadelphia.
Helen Keller examines a bust of herself by the world-famous sculptor, Jo Davidson. The photograph was taken in Davidson’s studio near Philadelphia.
During the 1940s, Helen Keller corresponded from her home in Westport, Connecticut with her good friend Clare Heineman in Chicago. One letter, written by Keller on Independence Day 1942 is particularly wonderful and classically Helen Keller – sweeping in its subject matter and passionate in its descriptions of how she physically experienced the world around her. The letter begins with gratitude for a 62nd birthday gift from Heineman. She writes that she will use the gift to purchase and plant…

How Is the Federal Government Working for People with Vision Loss?

July 2, 2019
in the foreground, Stacy Cervenka in the lawun outside the US Capitol building. The domed front of the capitol building is in the background.
Stacy Cervenka, Director Public Policy, AFB Public Policy and Research Institute
We are only halfway through the summer, but it has already been a busy one for AFB’s Public Policy team. In addition to bringing on board our new Director of Public Policy, Stacy Cervenka, we have been hard at work lending our expertise to the federal government on issues affecting people who are blind or visually impaired. Keep reading for an insight into the recent positions we have taken and comments submitted! Eliminating Subminimum Wages and Realizing Our Employment Potential The…

Is Your Campaign Accessible?

June 28, 2019
The ability for all Americans to participate in the voting process is vital to ensuring our collective voices across the U.S. are heard. If candidates don't offer accessible websites or platforms for people with disabilities to participate, they nix our right to engage in decisions that impact us. Remember that there are many different types of disabilities and many different types of assistive technologies to help these users. Here are some basic guidelines that will help ensure your campaign…

The Helen Keller Archive: 176,000 Digital Images and Counting!

June 25, 2019
Cake covered in flowers and a quotation celebrating Helen Keller's birthday
Birthday cake inscribed with "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." ~Helen Keller
Helen Keller was born 139 years ago today! Keller worked for AFB for 44 years. Within that time, and after her death in 1968, AFB amassed an enormous trove of materials by and about her. This extraordinary collection is a goldmine of social, political, and cultural history. It also presents a unique opportunity to teach and learn about Keller’s life, the times in which she lived, the history of disabilities, and the importance of universal accessibility. As a result of generous funding from…