The world has come a long way as far as ethics and semantics go. Before women had the ability to vote or when a human was considered just three-fifths of a person based on the color of their skin, there was a change happening. Slowly but surely a new outlook on life was taking place. It wasn’t happening on its own either, there were souls who were willing to brave the storm to evoke change.
These Most Disruptive People In History
When we think of historically disruptive individuals, many brave souls come to mind—names like Nelson Mandela and Galileo Galilei to name a few. Where would the world be today without these people? Please take the time to learn more about these amazing historical figures.
Nellie Bly Fakes Insanity
Meet Nellie Bly, an original immersion journalist, inventor, charity worker, and industrialist. To gain access to a Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island she faked being insane and stayed there for ten days. While there she witnessed unethical happenings going on with the patients. She later published a great expose which started a large-scale investigation, ultimately leading to improvements to the healthcare system.
“What a mysterious thing madness is,” said Bly. “I have watched patients whose lips are forever sealed in a perpetual silence. They live, breathe, eat; the human form is there, but that something, which the body can live without, but which cannot exist without the body, was missing.”
The One And Only Mandela
The first black President of South Africa back in 1994 was Nelson Mandela. His life was dedicated to fighting for human dignity, human rights and freeing the South African people. What were you doing in your twenties? Mandela was leading a peaceful, non-violent campaign against racism coming from the South African government.
He was put in prison for conspiracy to overthrow the government but once he was released more than two decades later, he and the president at the time were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for trying to end apartheid. His birthday, July 18, is celebrated as Mandela Day to promote global peace.
The Amazing Joan Of Arc
When you hear the name Joan of Arc, you should automatically associate the words ‘warrior,’ ‘saint,’ and ‘martyr’ with her too. She led the French to victory in the long running war against England when she was just 18 years old. When she was ten, she started to have vivid visions telling her to live a pious life. With no military training, she convinced the heir to the throne to allow her to lead an army to the city of Orleans to win the battle. Unfortunately, she was captured and burned at the stake.
“If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me,” said Joan.
The De Facto Leader Of A Nation
Here we have Aung Sang Suu, the State Counsellor for Myanmar. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. Because her children are foreign nationals, Myanmar Constitution does not allow her to become president but she is highly considered the leader of the nation still. She stood up against the military rule in Burma as a youth and as a result, was put on house arrest for 21 years for initiating a nonviolent movement towards democracy. She became a symbol of peace.
“It is not power that corrupts but fear,” said Kyi. “Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”
He Floated Like A Butterfly
You may know him as just the greatest boxer to ever grace the ring. However, Muhammed Ali was much more than a magician in the ring, he was also a civil activist, philanthropist, and champion boxer. As far as his activities outside of the ring were concerned, he was most notably known for his opposition to the involvement in the Vietnam War. An icon of black pride during the Civil Rights Movement.
Ali also was drafted for war but declined to go because his religion prevented him from fighting. Sentenced to five years, he remained on the outside during his appeal. The latter part of his career he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and used the rest of his days as a philanthropist.
Guevara The Argentinian Revolutionary
Ernesto “Che” Guevara has a rich background and story. He traveled around Latin America and it was then he realized the oppression and misery suffered by the peasant class. Coupled with his Marxist interests, that exposure convinced him an armed revolution was the only answer.
He met Fidel Castro in 1954 and he played a huge role in helping Castro overthrow the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Castro took power and Che was made the president of the National Bank and the minister of the industry. It was then he made the efforts of redistributing land. His most important feat is reducing the illiteracy in Cuba.
The Father Of Western Science
Thanks to his work in physics and astronomy, Galileo Galilei was deemed the father of western science. He was well ahead of his time bringing forth the method of experiments to test hypotheses. Before then, scientists would only theorize before deciding if something was true or not. He is the one who came up with the law of pendulum and instantly became famous (that law is the genesis of the regulation of clocks).
Because he was the one who discovered that the sun was the center of the universe, the church called him a heretic and put him under house arrest for the remainder of his life.
He Had A Dream
We all have heard of the famous “I have a dream” speech and know what Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is. But the change he enacted during his short time on Earth is truly amazing. From the mid-’50s, King led the Civil Rights Movement until he was slain by James Earl Ray (there was a lawsuit that found the U.S. government culpable in certain aspects of his death). All of King’s actions were pivotal in putting an end to the legal segregation of African-American people in America.
“Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral,” said King. “I am not unmindful of the fact that violence often brings about momentary results. Nations have frequently won their independence in battle. But in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace.”
The Kid Phenom
As a child in Pakistan, Iqbal Masih was forced into child labor. his family sold him off at the age of four to pay off a six dollar debt. His working conditions were harsh, to say the least, and he worked 14 hour days for six days a week. When he was ten he escaped but was caught and returned.
He escaped again when he was 12 and went to a Freedom Day celebration where he addressed the crowd. A union leader heard him speak and organized to have him freed. He ended up helping over 3,000 children escape their owners and gave tremendous speeches along the way. He was sadly assassinated by an agent of the carpet mafia.
The Unapologetic Human Rights Leader
Harvey Milk was one of the first openly gay officials in America. He was unapologetically himself and was elected to San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. His position in government gave hope to the LGBT community that they had not seen before, especially during a time when they were facing huge discrimination. The next year of his election he was shot and killed. Many books and films have been made about him.
“All over the country, they’re reading about me, and the story doesn’t center on me being gay,” said Milk. “It’s just about a gay person who is doing his job.”
The Activist Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei is another person who was arrested or handled by the cops due to his stances. He is highly critical of the Chinese government’s position on human rights and democracy. His art does a great job at calling attention to heavy social issues and also stirs controversy. He has supreme surveillance and was imprisoned because of his actions. He puts his life on the line to advocate freedom of expression.
“I call on people to be ‘obsessed citizens,’ forever questioning and asking for accountability,” said Weiwei That’s the only chance we have today of a healthy and happy life.”
The Mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto
This is the person who brought Bitcoin to the world. It is a payment and crypto currency system. Transactions take place person to person without the need of a middle man. Although Bitcoin was released in 2008, it has already become the biggest of its kind as far as total market value goes.
The system is unique and dependable. Its greatest feature is the Block Chain which is a public ledger of all transactions where each block needs to be confirmed by a chain of nodes.
First Female Judge In Iran
Meet Shirin Ebadi. She is an Iranian lawyer and the first female judge in Iran. After being dismissed from her position, she opened up her own legal practice defending people being persecuted. Much to no one’s surprise, she was sent to prison in 2000 for criticizing Iran’s hierocracy. She was the first Iranian and Muslim to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for helping fight for children’s, refugees’ and women’s rights.
“When a person is humiliated, when his rights are being violated, and he does not have the proper education, naturally he gravitates toward terrorism,” said Ebadi.
The Youngest Nobel Laureate
This young woman is a great person. Malala Yousafzai is only two decades old but she has done so much already. At the age of 11, she was blogging under a hidden identity for BBC discussing her life under Taliban rule. Once the New York Times made a documentary about her, she was brought to the forefront.
She was nominated for the Children’s Peace Prize then shortly after, the Taliban issued a death threat against her. She was shot but survived and then became an education activist, founding the Malala Fund. It’s a non-profit pushing for accessible and safe education.
The Holocaust Savior
This Polish medical doctor, Eugene Lazowiski, was responsible for saving thousands of Jews during the Holocaust. He had a master plan of creating a fake outbreak of Epidemic Typhus which is a dangerous disease. The Germans were terribly afraid of this disease because of its contagious nature. His plan of injecting everyone with the fake disease worked and saved an estimated 8,000 Polish Jews from certain death.
The Nazi’s were eliminating any Jew that had the disease so when the Dr. gave everyone the disease, the Nazi’s just quarantined the area where the virus was being found.
The biggest leader of the Indian Independence movement was none other than Mahatma Gandhi. He would use nonviolent civil disobedience as a primary tactic in the fight for civil rights which inspired movements across the globe. In 1921, he was appointed the leader of the Indian National Congress and urged to ease poverty, build religious and ethnic amity and expand women’s rights. Even though he was arrested many times he kept to his non-violent movement.
“You must not lose faith in humanity,” said Gandhi. “Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
The British Scientist
Marie Stopes was more than just a woman scientist. She campaigned for women’s rights, she was a pioneer of birth control and family planning and sex education so she was in it to help all the women out there. The first birth control clinic was founded by her in Britain. She published a sex manual which was condemned by the medical establishment and the churches but it still sold extremely well. Her work broke tons of barriers and brought birth control to the forefront.
“Each coming together of man and wife, even if they have been mated for many years, should be a fresh adventure; each winning should necessitate a fresh wooing,” said Stopes.
Rosa Parks Didn’t Flinch
What Rosa Parks so famously did was the igniter for the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King Jr. found out that she didn’t give up her seat on a bus and things got serious. Her actions started the Montgomery Bus Boycott which put a crutch on the state’s public transport system. She instantly became an icon of resistance and would team up with civil rights leaders along the way.
“As far back as I can remember, I knew there was something wrong with our way of life when people could be mistreated because of the color of their skin,” said Parks.
The Fight For Rwanda
During the time of the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, Paul Rusesabagina was working at the Diplomate Hotel as a manager. When the president was killed, the nation became a mad house and Rusesabagina had to run it by himself. The genocide took over 800,000 lives and went widely unnoticed until it was almost too late. Rusesabagina kept people safe in the hotel during this time using his wit and bribery to keep them protected.
“Our days are so few, our existences so complicated,” said Rusesabagina. “As long as we’re breathing we shouldn’t further complicate our lives.”