Historical Figures

From Musketeers to Nazis, Archimedes to Harriet Tubman, these famous historical figures changed the course of history -- for better or worse.

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Coretta Scott King and numerous other women who stood with Martin Luther King Jr. were committed activists in their own right during the Civil Rights Movement.

By Vicki Crawford

History has taught us that Harriet Tubman was a conductor for slaves on the Underground Railroad to freedom. But she had a second career as a Union spy and was also a champion for the elderly.

By Patrick J. Kiger

Harry Belafonte died today at age 96. A shining star in his own right, Belafonte was a key supporter of Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights movement and other humanitarian missions.

By Patty Rasmussen

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In 1812, she boarded a ship bound for New York, but never arrived. What happened to the daughter of Aaron Burr, the man who killed Alexander Hamilton?

By Patrick J. Kiger

One of the most quoted (and misquoted) African American women, Maya Angelou's words and works resound with people of all ages and stages in life. Here are five quotes that explain why.

By Yves Jeffcoat

Mildred Harnack was the only American in the leadership of German underground resistance to Hitler. And Hitler personally ordered her executed for it.

By Dave Roos

Frances Willard and her followers believed that alcohol abstinence would lead to better health, but they also saw it as a way to create a just society.

By Christopher H. Evans

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Bayard Rustin fought racism, sexism and classism all his life as a civil rights activist, friend of Martin Luther King Jr. and organizer of the March on Washington.

By Jerald Podair

Few former U.S. presidents have ever run again, but even fewer have won. What does this mean for Donald Trump?

By Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.

Grateful that U.S. law ensures decent working conditions and children go to school instead of working in mines? Thank Florence Kelley and her congressman father, William "Pig Iron" Kelley.

By Jesslyn Shields

Wilma Mankiller introduced a generation of people not just to Cherokee history but also to a model of Native women's leadership.

By Julie Reed

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She took in her first stray dog in 1943 and became a legend for her pioneering efforts in dog rescue. Meet "Camberley Kate," the fierce canine advocate who had a heart of gold.

By Laurie L. Dove

With the death of Queen Elizabeth, the British monarchy marks the end of an era and moves into a new phase as Prince Charles is set to take the throne.

By Sean Lang

George C. Parker was so successful he gave rise to the phrase, "And if you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you."

By Yves Jeffcoat

The world is in shock after the assassination of Japan's longest-serving leader, former prime minister, Shinzo Abe. Who was Abe and what will be his legacy?

By Craig Mark

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Martin Luther King Jr. called him "the chief counsel for the protest movement." Gray represented everyone from Rosa Parks to MLK, as well as the plaintiffs in the Tuskegee syphilis lawsuit. Now he's getting the nation's highest civilian honor.

By Jonathan Entin

Japan's Emperor Hirohito reigned for more than 60 years, and his tenure included World War II. Although he was never prosecuted for war crimes, many historians say he should have been.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

At age 23, Annie Cohen Kopchovsky, aka Annie Londonderry, set out on an around-the-world cycling adventure. Why did she do it and did she make it?

By Patty Rasmussen

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl is best-known for penning "Man's Search for Meaning," after surviving three years in Nazi concentration camps. This book has been a beacon of hope to millions over the years.

By Dave Roos

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They called her crazy. Even drugged her and kidnapped her to keep her silent. But in the end, she was always right.

By Dave Roos

Pontius Pilate is best known in the Bible as the Roman governor who gave in to the crowd's demands to have Jesus executed. But contemporary historians don't have much good to say about him either.

By Dave Roos

At just 21, Sophie Scholl fought a murderous regime — not with guns and grenades, but with ideas and ideals. This ultimately led to her execution.

By Dave Roos

On Aug 22, 1781, the court ordered that Mum Bett, later known as Elizabeth Freeman, should be emancipated from slavery. She was the first enslaved black woman to sue for her freedom and win.

By Yves Jeffcoat

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Brutus' name has become synonymous with "traitor." But did he have a good reason to kill Julius Caesar? And what about their surprising 'family' relationship?

By Dave Roos

Abigail Adams was the first second lady and second first lady of the United States. But her legacy goes much beyond being wife to President John Adams. See why what made her known as one of the "founding mothers."

By Patty Rasmussen