Louis Braille was the boy who invented “Braille”. In 1887, after Louis’ death, in his honor, the people
of Coupvray, built a monument to him in the middle of the village square. “On one side of the marble column was the
alphabet of dots and the words: ‘To Braille from the Grateful Blind.’ On the other side was a raised picture
of Louis teaching a blind child to read with his hands” (Davidson 78-79). Louis played in the same village square as
a boy. People proudly call it “La Place Braille”. Louis Braille was born on January 4, 1809 in Coupvray, France,
Approximately twenty-five miles from Paris.
At age three, Louis was blinded in an accident. It occurred while he was playing with tools in his father’s harness
shop. An awl slipped and plunged into his eye. “Sympathetic ophthalmia and blindness followed” (Britannica 466).
When he was ten, he entered the Royal Institution for Blind Youth in Paris, France.
At the age of twelve, he became interested in a type of writing, used to communicate in the dark. He started to create his
own alphabet, eventually eliminating the lines and leaving just dots. When he was only fifteen, he finally finished the alphabet.
People eventually called the alphabet, “Braille,” after him.
Louis Braille had been ill with tuberculosis on and off for the last few years of his life. He got sick with a cold and
was too weak to recover. He died on January 6, 1852, in Paris, France, when he was only thirty-five.
Six years after Louis’ death, the first school for the blind, in America, began to use his alphabet. “Braille”
was also being used in other languages. Thirty years later, almost every school for the blind, in Europe, had changed to
it. In 1952, his remains were sent to Paris to be buried in the Pantheon. His coffin was taken from the little country cemetery
of Coupvray and carried to Paris. It was put in a building called the Pantheon – “the burial place of France’s
most honored men” (Davidson 80). “Over the main door of the building were: ‘To its Greatest Men –
the Country Gives Honor’” (Davidson 80).