A to Z Challenge- People, Qualities or Things that inspired me – K

For Letter K, my choice is Hellen Keller

Helen Keller

A Brief Biographical Timeline

1880: On June 27, Helen Keller is born in Tuscumbia, Alabama.

1882:  Following a bout of illness, Helen loses her sight and hearing.

1887: Helen’s parents hire Anne Sullivan, a graduate of the Perkins School for the Blind, to be Helen’s tutor.  Anne begins by teaching Helen that objects have names and that she can use her fingers to spell them. Over time, Helen learns to communicate via sign language, to read and write in Braille, to touch-lip read, and to speak.

1900: After attending schools in Boston and New York, Helen matriculates at Radcliffe College.

1903: Helen’s first book, an autobiography called The Story of My Life, is published.

1904: Helen graduates cum laude from Radcliffe, becoming the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

1915: Helen, already a vocal advocate for people with disabilities, co-founds the American Foundation for Overseas Blind to support World War I veterans blinded in combat. This organization later becomes Helen Keller International and expands its mission to address the causes and consequences of blindness, malnutrition, and poor health.

1920: Helen helps found the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

1924: Helen joins the American Foundation for the Blind. She serves as a spokesperson and ambassador for the foundation until her death.

1946: Helen begins touring internationally on behalf of the American Foundation for Overseas Blind (see 1915 above), expanding her advocacy for people with vision impairment.  In 11 years, she will visit 35 countries on five continents.

1956: Helen wins an Academy Award for a documentary film about her life.

1961: Helen suffers a stroke and retires from public life.

1964: Helen is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon Johnson.

1968: On June 1, Helen dies peacefully at her home in Connecticut.  Her ashes are interred at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.

(Source; hki.org)

Hellen Keller was an inspiring woman who has set a new standard in courage. She developed her own skills and showed by example that it can be done to millions of people around the world. She encouraged people with disabilities to live fuller lives. Her compassion and intelligence combined with her ambition set her apart from the rest.

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A to Z Challenge- People, Qualities or Things that inspired me – J

My choice for Letter J is Katherine G Johnson

Katherine Johnson, née Katherine Coleman, also known as  Katherine Goble, (born August 26, 1918, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, U.S.—died February 24, 2020, 

Catherine‘s intelligence and skill with numbers became apparent when she was a child; by the time she was 10 years old, she had started attending high school. In 1937, at age 18, Coleman graduated with the highest honors from West Virginia State College (now West Virginia State University), earning bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and French. She subsequently moved to Virginia to take a teaching job. In 1939, however, she was selected to be one of the first three African American students to enroll in a graduate program at West Virginia University. 

In 1953 she began working at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)’s West Area Computing unit, a group of African American women who manually performed complex mathematical calculations for the program’s engineers. The women, known as the West Computers, analyzed test data and provided mathematical computations that were essential to the success of the early U.S. space program

At NASA Johnson was a member of the Space Task Group. In 1960 she coauthored a paper with one of the group’s engineers about calculations for placing a spacecraft into orbit. It was the first time a woman in her division received credit as an author of a research report. Johnson authored or coauthored 26 research reports during her career.

Johnson was also part of the team that calculated where and when to launch the rocket for the Apollo 11 mission of 1969, which sent the first three men to the Moon. Johnson later worked on the space shuttle program. She retired from NASA in 1986.

Johnson received numerous awards and honors for her work, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2015). In 2016 NASA named a building, the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility, after her. That year Margot Lee Shetterly published Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, about the West Computers, including Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. A film based on the book was also released in 2016.

Katherine Johnson after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom

(Source; Brittanica.com)

I became aware of Johnson when I watched the movie, Hidden Figures. After watching the movie I bought the book as well. These were inspiring women who were acknowledged for their contributions rather late in life. But still, it’s wonderful that now a lot of people are aware of her and her colleagues. A definite source of inspiration.

♾♾♾

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A to Z Challenge- People, Qualities or Things that inspired me – I

For Letter I, I have chosen an introduction to my religion, Islam

Islam, is the most inspiring factor in my life.

Most people have heard of Islam and Muslims but unfortunately in a negative tone. I want to dispel the notion that Islam is in any way connected to terrorism.

The word “Islam” means peace.

We believe in God, and in spreading goodness through good deeds, like kindness and charity.

Living in peace and harmony with our fellow humans is our aim. Islam urges us to develop a strong connection with our creator and to have firm faith.

All through my life, I have taken strength from my faith. In hard times it has made me strong and in good times, it has made me humble.

Our holy book, Quran is the source of guidance for us. It is the word of God, revealed to our prophet, Muhammad ( peace be upon him).

It is an essential part of my daily routine to read from Quran. It helps me navigate through the path of life.

As a Muslim, I believe in all prophets and all religions. And want to exist in peaceful harmony with everyone.

♾♾♾

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A to Z Challenge- People, Qualities or Things that inspired me – H

For Letter H, I have chosen Anthony Hopkins

Facts about Anthony Hopkins

Anthony Hopkins is 83 years old
Born: December 31, 1937
Birthplace: Port Talbot, Wales
Best known as: Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs
     

Anthony Hopkins Biography

An enduring star of stage and screen, Anthony Hopkins remains best known as the creepy and manipulative serial killer Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.

Anthony Hopkins attended the Welsh College of Music and Drama and spent three years in the Royal Artillery of the British Army. He then went to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, graduating in 1963. After first making a name for himself as a stage actor in England, Anthony Hopkins made his big-screen debut in the 1968 film The Lion in Winter (co-starring Katharine Hepburn).

He worked in television and movies throughout the 1970s and ’80s, including film Magic (1978) and David Lynch‘s The Elephant Man (1980), scary killer Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (1991, Hopkins won an Oscar for the role.

In 1993 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

His other roles have included playing writer C. S. Lewis in 1993’s Shadowlands and Richard Nixon in Oliver Stone‘s Nixon (1995). Hopkins played Lecter again in Hannibal(2001) and Red Dragon (2002, starring Ralph Fiennes). His other films include The Edge (1997, opposite Alec Baldwin), The Human Stain (2003, with Nicole Kidman) and Bobby(2006, with William H. Macy). He played King Hrothgar in Beowulf (2006), director Alfred Hitchcock in Hitchcock(2012), and Pope Benedict XVI in The Two Popes (2019, with Jonathan Pryce as Pope Francis I).

(Source; Who2.com)

Sir Anthony Hopkins is such a versatile and graceful actor. He has impressed me in every role he has played. He gives his all to make his characters come alive. The gruesome Hannibal Lector was totally creepy and as Odin, he was the magnificent king of Asgard. Mundane or superhero stuff, all are his forte.

♾♾♾

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A to Z Challenge- People, Qualities or Things that inspired me – G

For Letter G, I had too many choices. But I went with Brothers Grimm’s Fairytales

Facts about The Grimm

Born: 4 January 1785 (Jacob) and 24 February 1786 (Wilhelm) 
Died: 20 September 1863 (Jacob) and 16 December 1859 (Wilhelm) 
Birthplace: Hanau, Germany
Best known as: Authors of Grimm’s Fairy Tales
     The Brothers Grimm Biography

The German brothers Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm spent years collecting and researching folk tales early in the 19th century. They published Children’s and Household Tales in 1812, a collection which became known as “Grimm’s Fairy Tales.” The collection included what are now some of the world’s most famous stories, including Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel and Rumpelstiltskin. Wilhelm married in 1825, but Jacob never wed and for most of his life lived in his brother’s home. The brothers also began a German historical dictionary, the enormous Deutsches Worterbook, which ran to 16 volumes when it was finally completed by others in 1954.

( Source; Who2.com)

This old edition was in our home forever. It had lost its jacket, but the plain blue book survived many decades. It was my first introduction to fairytales. I had heard the stories and had also seen the animated movies but the book was different. It was a bit “grim” but authentic. I didn’t read it to my kids as it was a plain-looking book, unlike the ones printed for kids. No color illustrations or glossy pages. But I loved reading it and was grateful that these two men did make the effort to collect these stories and put them together in one book. A treasure for generations to come.

Honorable mention;

Today my granddaughter has turned two!

She is the only granddaughter I have and I love her to bits. I see a little of myself in her.

Happy birthday my little 💖 baby girl.

I wrote a poem about her last year when she was 14 months old.

♾♾♾♾

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A to Z Challenge- People, Qualities or Things that inspired me – F

For Letter F, I have chosen Family and Friends

A tether to keep my spirit grounded

With family and friends, I need to be surrounded

They are my strength, my safety net

They provide the wall I lean against in defeat

They arrange the victory party when I succeed

People can and do live without family and friends

But what a bonus it is to have both cheering in your corner

I bow my head in gratitude for this blessing in my life

♾♾♾

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A to Z Challenge- People, Qualities or Things that inspired me – E

For the Letter E, I have chosen Amelia Earhart


Aviation legend Amelia Earhart was one of the most famous women aviators in America. She had set many flight records, including becoming the first woman to fly solo across both the Atlantic Ocean (in 1932) and the Pacific Ocean (in 1935).

She also was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic in a multi-person plane, making the crossing in 1928 with pilot Wilmer Stultz and Lou Gordon.

She authored the books 20 Hours, 40 Minutes (1928, about her first trans-Atlantic flight) and The Fun of It (1932).

In addition to her piloting feats, Earhart was known for encouraging women to reject constrictive social norms and to pursue various opportunities, especially in the field of aviation. In 1929 she helped found an organization of female pilots that later became known as the Ninety-Nines. Earhart served as its first president. In addition, she debuted a functional clothing line in 1933, which was designed “for the woman who lives actively.”

She and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared near Howland Island in the South Pacific on July 2, 1937, on one of the last legs of their around-the-world flight.

Despite extensive searches at the time (and in the years since), no clear evidence has ever been found of Amelia Earhart, Fred Noonan, or their plane.

(Sources; Who2 Biography, Britannica.com

I heard of Amelia Earhart when I was a teenager. Her story not only evoked curiosity about her death but also inspired me.

She stepped into a men-dominated field and made a name for herself. She inspired many generations of women to be pioneers like her.

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A to Z Challenge- People, Qualities or Things that inspired me – D

For my Letter D, I have chosen Discovery;

Discovery, be it self-discovery or finding out the secrets of the universe, expands our minds. If we live our lives without curiosity about the world around us or our own selves, we are only half alive. To live fully, we need to be inquisitive.

Be curious about our planet, our universe and take an active role as a citizen of the world. Be knowledgeable and try to educate those around you.

Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Knowing oneself is also important. Look at your reflection in the mirror and try to see into the soul of the person you are. We really never know ourselves completely until we are tested.

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.

Aristotle

Let’s start on this voyage of discovery.

BTW, I love the discovery channel too!

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A to Z Challenge- People, Qualities or Things that inspired me – C

For Letter C, I choose Caring.

Are we even human if we are not caring?

Sharing the burden, that life puts on all

Extending a helping hand when someone is down

Stories of kindness and care always inspire me

Gladdens my heart and encourages me to follow suit

I want to be a joy to those who I come across

And be the name that they call when in need.

♾♾♾

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A to Z Challenge- People, Qualities or Things that inspired me – B

For Letter B, I have chosen Louis Braille.

Louis Braille Biography

Louis Braille was a French musician and educator who developed the now-famous raised-point writing system for the blind that bears his name.

Braille became blind as a result of an eye injury at the age of three. Despite his impairment, he went to a regular school, then earned acceptance to a state school for the blind.

By the time he was 15 years old he had perfected a system of embossed dots that could be used to translate text through the sense of touch.

Braille first published his system in 1829, but it wasn’t until the last years of his life that it became to be widely accepted.

Braille suffered bouts of ill health throughout most of his adult life, probably because of tuberculosis.

After his death the “braille” system was promoted by his former students and friends, and by 1854 his home nation of France had officially adopted it.

It spread internationally and is now the most widely-used system for teaching the written word to the blind.

I had heard of Braille but when I researched, I can across this amazing and inspiring man. Unbelievable are his achievements, and that too at such a young age. Truly an inspiration to us all.

♾♾♾

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