Virtual Screening American Masters: Becoming Helen Keller

Virtual Screening American Masters: Becoming Helen Keller

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm

American Masters PBS: Becoming Helen Keller - The WNET Group - Photo of Helen Keller

American Masters PBS

Enjoy highlights from the upcoming documentary, American Masters: Becoming Helen Keller, followed by a conversation about Helen Keller's trailblazing advocacy and the evolution of the disability rights movement with Kirk Adams, President and CEO, American Foundation for the Blind; Alexandria Wailes, actor and dancer; and other leading experts; moderated by Rebecca Alexander, author, psychotherapist and disability rights advocate.

Helen Keller first came into public view at a young age, soon after her teacher Anne Sullivan taught her to communicate. Though she lived until age 87 and became an accomplished writer and activist, Keller continues to be immortalized as a child. American Masters: Becoming Helen Keller rediscovers the complex life and legacy of the human rights pioneer, 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.


This event is presented by The WNET Group in collaboration with PBS stations Alabama Public Television, Iowa PBS, WCNY, WFYI, WGCU Public Media, WQED, WQLN Public Media and WXXI.

Open-captions and American Sign Language interpretation will be provided throughout the event. Basic and descriptive transcripts will be available upon request. The WNET Group and our partner stations are committed to creating inclusive spaces. If you plan to attend the event and need to request a reasonable accommodation, please contact Mary Burke at by October 11th.

About the Program: The new 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 premieres Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV and the WXXI TV stream and the PBS Video App. It will repeat on Saturday, October 23 at 4 p.m. 

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.

American Masters is committed to access for the documentary. The series website will have an accessible landing page for the film, including tools for changing color contrast and text size. An additional version of the film with extended audio description will also be available to stream. Marketing efforts for Becoming Helen Keller also integrate ASL, audio description, and captions.

Watch a clip on Helen's Keller's use of oral communication (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.

Original series production funding for American Masters is provided by Corporation for Public Broadcasting, AARP, Mrs. Rosalind P. Walter, Seton J. Melvin, Vital Projects Fund, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Cheryl & Philip Milstein Family Foundation, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, Philip & Janice Levin Foundation, Judith & Burton Resnick, Ellen & James S. Marcus, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, and The Ambrose Monell Foundation.