1. Gandhi – (1869-1948) born in India, studied law in London, practiced in S. Africa, used nonviolent methods to obtain rights for Indians and blacks.  Used nonviolent protest in India to change the cast system and rid it of the British.


  1. Ida B. Wells – Barnett – (1865-1931) Mississippi black women freed with her parents after the war.  Became a teacher and part owner of a newspaper.  Wrote about unfair laws against blacks.  When the paper was burned because of her views, she moved to NY and continued her fight.  Her cry was “No More Lynching.”


  1. Barbara Jordan – (1936-1996) born in Houston, TX went to Boston and got her law degree.  Practiced law in Houston.  First black and first female elected to Texas state senate.  Elected to U.S. Congress.  Was part of impeachment committee for President Nixon.


  1. Mother Jones – (1830-1930) born in Cork, Ireland, immigrated to Canada. Trained as a dressmaker and teacher.  Moved to Memphis and married George Jones who died with her 4 children in yellow fever epidemic.  Became a fearless crusader for rights of American laborers. Known as “miners’ angel.”


  1. Will  Rogers – (1879-1935) born in Indian Territory in Oklahoma, worked as a cowboy where he learned rope tricks.  Dropped out of school but continued to “read and think and talk to smart people.” Star of Broadway and movies, radio broadcaster, newspaper columnist, friend of Presidents, senators, kings. Wrote 6 books, traveled the world.  Died in a plane crash.


  1. Major Taylor – (1878-1931)  from a poor black family in Indianaplis, he became bicycle racing star at 13.  Became a professional at 18.  Encountered much prejudice in the all white bicycle races, but became “the fastest rider in the world.”  Was popular and successful in Europe where he beat Franc’s champion..  Retired in1910.  Financial difficulties followed him the rest of his life. 


  1. Matthew Henson – (1866-1955) First African American to travel to North Pole.  Was with Robert Peary.  His role was ignored by the press. Parents died when he was very young; he worked on his own starting at age 13; worked on sailing ships; traveled to Nicaragua in 1888 as a servant to explorers looking for a place for a canal. 


  1. Clara Barton – (1821-1912) teacher in Massachusetts, organized help for the wounded in Washington D.C. during the Civil War. After the war set up an office to locate families of the dead.  Traveled to Europe.  Learned about the Geneva Convention of 1864.  Returned home in 1873 and began to fight to get government to set up Red Cross in the U.S., then became its first president.


  1. Marie Curie – (1867-1934) scientist who discovered Radium and Radon.  Born in Poland, studied in Paris, married Pierre Curie. Nobel Prize in Chemistry and Physics.  Visited U.S. in 1921 & 1929, met Pres. Harding and Hoover.


  1. Albert Einstein – (1879-1955) born in Germany, Jewish family, lived in Italy, studied then taught in Switzerland.  Scientist who won Noble Prize.  Known for his formula E = Mc.  Became a U.S. citizen.  Died in Princeton, New Jersey.


  1. Thomas Edison – (1847-1931) scientist born in Ohio, moved to Michigan.  Became partially deaf.  Worked as a telegrapher and began experimenting.  By 23 was considered the best electrical inventor in the country.  Moved to NY then New Jersey. Many inventions – phonograph, light bulb, 1,093 U.S patents.


  1. Theodore Roosevelt – (1858-1919) hunter, outdoorsman, soldier, Governor of New York, vice-president, president.  Responsible for building the Panama Canal.  Nobel Peace Prize.


  1. Woodrow Wilson – (1856-1924) President of Princeton University, Governor of New Jersey, President from 1913-1921, League of Nations and 14 Points.


  1. Dwight D. Eisenhower – (1890-1969) General and President.  Born in TX, grew up in Kansas, graduated from West Point.  Served in WW I and WW II. Was Supreme Commander of American forces.


  1. George C. Marshall – (1880-1959)  born in Pennsylvania, became a soldier,  general, statesman, served FDR and Truman.  Formulated the plan to rebuild Europe – Marshall Plan.


  1. Harry S. Truman – (1884 – 1972) born in Missouri, he was a farmer, soldier, businessman, senator, vice president and president.  Only 20th century president without a college degree.  Known for saying “The Buck Stops Here.”


  1. Jeannette Rankin – (1880-1973)  born in Montana, was a teacher, seamstress, social worker, First woman elected to Congress.  Only person to vote against WW I and WW II.  Went to India to study Gandhi.


  1. Golda Meir – (1898-1978) Russian Jew, educated in U.S., went to Palestine, one of signers of Israel’s Proclamation of Independence, Prime Minister of Israel 1969-1973.


  1. Gertrude Bell – (1868-1926) first woman at Oxford University (England), traveled throughout the Middle East, became a British spy in WW I.  Drew the boundaries for the new country of Iraq.  Helped choose its first ruler.


  1. Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) friend of Mahandas Gandhi, she worked for independence for India, was a lawyer; became Prime Minister of India; was assassinated by 2 members of her security guard.


  1. John Lennon (1940-1980) English singer and songwriter; member of the Beatles; Moved to New York; wrote songs promoting peace.


  1. Martin Luther King Jr. – (1929-1968) born in Georgia to a family of ministers; became a minister and studied nonviolent revolutionary methods of Gandhi; led protest against unjust laws and rules for blacks; assassinated.


  1. John F. Kennedy ( 1917-1963) born in Mass., served in the Navy during WW II. Elected to Congress; won a Pulitzer prize for his first book; elected President. Assassinated.


  1. Eleanor Roosevelt – (1884-1962) wife mother, advisor to her President husband, journalist, radio commentator, author, called by some “the most dangerous woman in America.”


  1. Winston Churchill – (1874 – 1965) Military leader in England, wrote many books, fought in Boer War in Africa, elected to House of Commons, Prime Minister of England during WW II.





Revised 08/25/2008  


University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, 1725 State Street, La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601 (608) 785-8351

All material Copyright © 2007 by the University of Wisconsin and the Board of Regents of 

the University of Wisconsin System