Happy Birthday, Mr. Braille! This year marks the 205th anniversary of the birth of Frenchman Louis Braille, the inventor of the system of reading and writing for the blind. Braille literacy is a key to advanced education and better jobs for blind people. Braille has been a steady presence among the famous, the blind and Lions clubs. Sitting on the floor of her study, a morning ritual, Helen Keller (right) reads from her Braille Bible at her home in Easton, Connecticut, on Jan. 18, 1955. Joey Renzi, 11, blind since soon after his premature birth, has the attention of President John Kennedy (opposite) on June 6, 1963. Kennedy receives a statement, which Joey typed in Braille, thanking the president for “letting me see you at the Marine Corps recruit depot.” Happy Birthday, Monsieur Braille! (Clockwise from left) Ashley Bernard, 14, sits in her living room chair reading from her Braille edition of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” in her home in Stoughton, Massachusetts, on July 18, 2007. A Chinese worker checks a Brailleversion Bible at a printing house in Nanjing on Nov. 8, 2012. China became the biggest Bible publisher in the world after printing its 100 millionth. With help from teacher Becky Hoffman, Jake and Zachary recently study English using the computerized SMART Brailler®, a 21st-century update of the original Perkins Brailler® developed at the Perkins School for the Blind in 1951. Many Lions clubs provide Braille equipment to community members.
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