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Meet Amazing Americans Activists & Reformers Helen Keller
Alexander Graham Bell with Helen Keller and Annie
Alexander Graham Bell with Helen Keller and Annie

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Going to Radcliffe College

Helen Keller wanted to go to college. And not just any college, Keller wanted to go to Harvard. But it was the 1890s and Harvard didn't accept women, so Keller focused on her second choice, Radcliffe College. Radcliffe was started in 1879 to provide college level classes for women and officially became a college for women in 1894.

Keller's good friend, Alexander Graham Bell, was thrilled. He had never been to college and was very supportive. Others did not think it was a good idea. Some people didn't believe women should go to college. And others thought it would be impossible for a blind and deaf person. People said to her, "'No deaf-blind person has ever taken a college course,'…. 'Why do you attempt what no one else has ventured? Even if you succeed in passing the entrance examinations, you cannot go on after you get into college. You have no books. You cannot hear lectures. You cannot make notes. You are most foolhardy to attempt something in which you are sure to fail.'" But Keller was determined as always.

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