Bronx students celebrate launch of Helen Keller archive

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WILLIAMSBRIDGE -

Visually impaired students at the New York Institute for Special Education celebrated the launch of the Helen Keller archive just in time for what would have been her 138th birthday.

The archive is the first fully accessible digital research collection in the world that can be used by anyone regardless of sight or hearing limitations.

"The Helen Keller archive contains thousands of thousands of items about Helen Keller, correspondence, press clippings, scrapbooks," says Helen Selsdon, an archivist for the American Foundation for the Blind. "It covers the range of her life."

Students say having the archive gives people a chance to see them beyond disabilities.

Student Wani says she wants to be a singer and is excited to learn more about Sophie Tucker, a Ukranian born performer who was friends with Keller.

"You can check out any person you want," says Wani. "There's so many people that you want to learn about."

Selsdon says she wants the students to learn that they have to work extremely hard to change things, but that it can be done.

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