AT&D #43. Famous Faces Who Have Shaped History

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Throughout our lives, each of us learns about many famous people who have shaped history. Draw on this knowledge and name a person from each category (living or dead) who are (were):

a. Upper Class

b. Lower Class

c. Gay/Lesbian

d. Asian-American

e. Native American

f. Female

g. Male

h. Disabled

Which were the “easiest” and “hardest” to come up with a person from? What made you choice who you did? If you didn’t know someone in a category, how did you “research” someone for your answer? 

A. Upper Class: John D. Rockefeller – his name bears a philanthropic organization and why not? He not only defined the structure of modern philanthropy but also was a revoluntionary industrialist who was one of the first business people to engage in a monopoly. His legacy has been looked up to as many shrewd business people have done the same and even funded their own organizations for certain causes.

B. Lower Class: Abraham Lincoln – born to very subpar standards, Lincoln eventually moved up to prominence after engaging in small business work and politics. And who is to say that Lincoln is one of the most important presidents, let alone people to have ever lived due to his contributions in keeping the U.S. intact during the Civil War.

C. Gay/Lesbian: Ellen DeGeneres – LBGT groups have been existant before her presence but their coming of the closet was frowned upon. DeGeneres became one of the first (if not the first) to come out and encourage others in the field to do the same after her sexuality was exploited in her sitcom which was a milestone in the entertainment industry.

D. Asian-American: Jackie Chan – although many Asian-Americans have shaped history just as well, Chan is noteworthy for bringing about his style of martial arts filmwork to a larger audience, to the point where his movies were huge hits (even among casuals as movies in this genre are mainly sought by a smaller and more older audience due to harsher violence).

E. Native American: Sacagawea – highly famous Native American woman who willingly joined the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Pacific coast. Her contributions (including being an interpreter and environmental guide) were significant and vital for the safety of the explorers. Her legacy was told in forklores and became a symbol for women independence and self-worth.

F. Female: Susan B. Anthony – regarded as a symbol for women’s suffrage, Anthony would work towards the fight for women to get voting rights all the way until her death. Her influence and movement however would continue (before being inevitably split into two camps) but nonetheless succeeded in having the U.S. grant women voting rights in 1920. As legacy, she was featured on the dollar coin.

G. Male: Christopher Columbus – although not the first to discover the Americas (Leif Ericson had landed in Newfoundland 500 years earlier), his “accidental” discovery was crucial in the interest, growth, and development of what is today, western civilization. Columbus’s contribution to history therefore was and remains important, if not controversial at times.

H. Disabled: Michael J. Fox – famous as an actor but even moreso as a patient of Parkinson’s Disease. Through his movie and acting fame, Fox has been a supporter and spokesperson for raising awareness of the disease and even has created a foundation relating to the cause. And despite his struggle of the disease, he has continued with acting.

Overall, these choices were easy to come up with and being a voracious learner, I knew all about these people and their contributions to history.

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