Silence Is Not Always Golden

July 1, 2014 1:28 AM

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Silence Is Not Always Golden

On October 19, 1959, William Gibson's powerful drama, The Miracle Worker, had its Broadway premiere at the Playhouse Theatre. Starring Anne Bancroft as Anne Sullivan and a very young Patty Duke as Helen Keller (by the time I saw the production, Suzanne Pleshette had replaced Anne Bancroft), Gibson's drama portrayed the crucial moment when Helen Keller (who was deaf, blind, and mute) was able to connect the dots and start to associate signed words with sounds. In the following news clip from 1930, Keller and Sullivan recall that breakthrough moment.

Keller's realization that "I am not dumb now" marked a huge step forward from the conventional terminology which had labeled her as "deaf, dumb, and blind." As modern medicine developed a deeper understanding of people with hearing and visual disabilities, new technologies led to the development of ...

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