American Masters: Becoming Helen Keller

American Masters: Becoming Helen Keller

Sun, 01/30/2022 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm

Helen Keller portrait, 1905.

Credit: Courtesy of Library of Congress

Alt text: Black and white portrait of Helen Keller from the chest up

American Masters examines one of the 20th century’s human rights pioneers.

The documentary rediscovers the complex life and legacy of author and activist Helen Keller (1880-1968), who was deaf and blind since childhood, exploring how she used her celebrity and wit to advocate for social justice, particularly for women, workers, people with disabilities and people living in poverty. Closing the series’ 35th season, American Masters: Becoming Helen Keller will re-air on Sunday, January 30 at 6:30 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

This film is presented as part of Dialogue on Disability, a partnership between WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies designed to promote inclusion.

American Masters tells Keller’s story through rarely seen photographs, archival film clips, and interviews with historians, scholars, and disability rights advocates. Narrated by author, psychotherapist, and disability rights advocate Rebecca Alexander, the film features on-camera performances from Tony- and Emmy Award-winning actor Cherry Jones reading Keller’s writings. Actor and dancer Alexandria Wailes provides American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation of Keller’s words with all other ASL interpretation by writer and rapper Warren “WAWA” Snipe. The program also features audio description by National Captioning Institute and closed captioning by VITAC.

Watch a preview of the show (audio described):

Support for American Masters: Becoming Helen Keller is provided in part by National Endowment for the Humanities, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, NEC Foundation of America, The Gibney Family Foundation, Vital Projects Fund, The Better Angels Society including The Fullerton Family Charitable Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, Harris Mathews Charitable Foundation, Inc., Irving and Sara Selis Foundation, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, Newcastle Foundation Trust, Alabama Humanities Foundation, Dorothy S. Koretzky Memorial Fund, and Alice & Jim Hardigg.

Dialogue on Disability, an initiative founded by WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies in 2003, celebrates people with differing abilities and promotes a more inclusive community. Presenting a week’s worth of TV and radio specials, news reports, and interviews on WXXI’s daily talk show, Connections with Evan Dawson, the initiative is designed to encourage community discussion about the perspectives and abilities of people with physical, developmental, and intellectual disabilities. Dialogue on Disability runs January 24-30.