4. Julia Brace
Born in 1807 in Hartford County, Connecticut, Julia Brace was not born with blindness and hearing loss. She contracted typhus fever at age five and lost her sight and hearing as a result. She was the first deaf-blind person to receive a formal education, first attending the Hartford Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb (today called the American School for the Deaf) and later being briefly instructed by Samuel Howe. She was the subject of three poems by Lydia Sigourney, leading to publication of an account of Brace's story in popular religious and juvenile periodicals of the time, which made her somewhat famous. Her formal education helped to open doors for future education of students who were previously looked down upon because of their challenges.
Fun fact: A student at the Hartford Asylum stole some of the public collections money intended to help with Julia Brace's needs, and when Brace found out, she threw a fit. When all of the thieving student's money was given to Julia, she sat down, picked out all of the stolen money, and returned the rest back to the student.