People

This section is dedicated to some of the people who, in my opinion have made and impact on this country. I will add a few people each week. So if you have a favourite let me know and I will add them.

Marion Robert Morrison (1907 – 1979)

Marion Robert Morrison was born in Winterset, Iowa, in 1907. When he was a boy, his family moved west settling in California where he would come to be known as Duke. Marion’s dog, an Airedale, was named Duke, and soon the local Glendale firefighters started calling Marion Duke, too. Duke’s academic and athletic success at Glendale High led to a football scholarship at the University of Southern California (USC). A body surfing accident at Newport Beach cut short his promising athletic career, so the former tackle looked to studio work to help pay his tuition. In a film called The Big Trail, Marion Morrison became John Wayne, and the movie business – and the country – would never be the same. John Wayne’s film career spanned five decades. He appeared in more than 175 films, more than a dozen directed by John Ford alone. But it was the Western – where Wayne made his most lasting mark. He was nominated three times for the Academy Award, winning the Oscar for Best Actor in 1969 for True Grit. And his powerful performance in The Searchers has been singled out by filmmakers and actors alike as the greatest performance by an actor on film.In 1964, John Wayne was diagnosed with lung cancer and beat it, after a lung and several ribs were removed. Fifteen years later he was again diagnosed with cancer — this time of the stomach – succumbing to the disease at age 72. Posthumously, Wayne was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.  A year later, in 1980, President Jimmy Carter awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor.

 Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (1913 – 2005)

was an African American civil rights activist and seamstress whom the U.S. Congress dubbed the “Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement”. Parks is famous for her refusal on December 1, 1955 to obey bus driver James Blake’s demand that she relinquish her seat to a white man. Her subsequent arrest and trial for this act of civil disobedience triggered the Montgomery Bus Boycott, one of the largest and most successful mass movements against racial segregation in history and launched Martin Luther King Jr., one of the organizers of the boycott, to the forefront of the civil rights movement. Her role in American history earned her an iconic status in American culture, and her actions have left an enduring legacy for civil rights movements in the United States.

Bill Gates (1955 – )

Born on Oct. 28, 1955, Gates grew up in Seattle with his two sisters. Their father, William H. Gates II, is a Seattle attorney. His mother was a schoolteacher, University of Washington. Gates attended public elementary school and the private Lakeside School. There, he discovered his interest in software and began programming computers at age 13. In 1973, Gates entered Harvard University. While at Harvard, Gates developed a version of the programming language BASIC for the first microcomputer – the MITS Altair. In his junior year, Gates left Harvard to devote his energies to Micro-computer software (Microsoft), a company he had begun in 1975 with his childhood friend Paul Allen. Guided by a belief that the computer would be a valuable tool on every office desktop and in every home, they began developing software for personal computers. Gates’ foresight and his vision for personal computing have been central to the success of Microsoft and the software industry. IBM focused on hardware at this time and DOS was the leading operating system, an opportunity that Microsoft focused and they developed a more user friendly operating environment, Windows was born. Under Gates’ leadership, Microsoft’s mission has been to continually advance and improve software technology, and to make it easier, more cost-effective and more enjoyable for people to use computers. The company is committed to a long-term view, reflected in its investment of approximately $7.1 billion on research and development in the 2007 fiscal year. $28.8 billion (as of January 2005) to support philanthropic initiatives in the areas of global health and learning, with the hope that in the 21st century, advances in these critical areas will be available for all people. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed more than $3.6 billion to organizations working in global health; more than $2 billion to improve learning opportunities, including the Gates Library Initiative to bring computers, Internet Access and training to public libraries in low-income communities in the United States and Canada; more than $477 million to community projects in the Pacific Northwest; and more than $488 million to special projects and annual giving campaigns.

Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865)

was the 16th President of the United States. He led the United States through its greatest constitutional, military, and moral crises—the American civil war, abolishing slavery, strengthening the national government and modernising the economy. He is regarded as one of America’s greatest heroes due to both his incredible impact on the nation and his unique appeal. His is a remarkable story of the rise from humble beginnings to achieve the highest office in the land; then, a sudden and tragic death at a time when his country needed him most to complete the great task remaining before the nation. Lincoln’s distinctively human and humane personality and historical role as savior of the Union and emancipator of the slaves creates a legacy that endures.

Benjamin Franklin

(1706 – 1790) born in Boston was one of the founding fathers of the USA. Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. It is claimed in America that he invented the lightening rod and bifocals. For many years he was the British postmaster for the colonies, which enabled him to set up the first national communications network. He was active in community affairs, colonial and state politics, as well as national and international affairs. From 1785 to 1788, he served as governor of Pennsylvania. Toward the end of his life, he freed his slaves (that was good of him) and became one of the most prominent abolitionists.

Elvis Aaron Presley

(1935 – 1977) was an American singer and actor. A cultural icon, he is commonly known by the single name Elvis. One of the most popular musicians of the 20th century, he is often referred to as the “King of Rock and Roll” or “the King”. Born in Tupelo, Mississippi and buried in Memphis. His twin brother, Jessie Garon, was stillborn, leaving Elvis to grow up as an only child. In 1954, Elvis began his singing career with the legendary Sun Records label in Memphis. In late 1955, his recording contract was sold to RCA Victor.

Andrew Carnegie
1835 – 1919) was a Scottish industrialist who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century. Carnegie was born in Dunfermline Scotland, and emigrated to the United States with his parents in 1848. Carnegie started as a telegrapher and by the 1860s had investments in railroads, railroad sleeping cars, bridges and oil derricks. He built further wealth as a bond salesman raising money for American enterprise in Europe. He built Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Steel company, which he sold to J P Morgan in 1901 for $480 million, creating the US Steel corporation. Carnegie devoted the remainder of his life to large-scale philanthropy, with special emphasis on local libraries, world peace, education and scientific research. His life has often been referred to as a true “rags to riches” story.

Prudence Crandell (Known as the heroine of Connecticut)
1803–89, American educator and abolitionist, b. Hopkinton, R.I. In 1831 she opened a school for girls in Canterbury, Conn. Her decision to admit a black was protested, and in 1833 she decided to devote the school entirely to the education of African-American girls. She was arrested and tried, the judgment against her being reversed on appeal in 1834. In that year she gave up her work, married the Calvin Philleo, and moved to the Middle West.

Cochise
c.1815–1874, chief of the Chiricahua group of Apache n Arizona. He was friendly with the whites until 1861, when some of his relatives were hanged by U.S. soldiers for a crime they did not commit. Afterward he waged relentless war against the U.S. army and became noted for his courage, integrity, and military skill. His friendship with Thomas  Jeffords became the key to peace. In 1872, Gen. Oliver Otis, the Indian commissioner, requested Jeffords to accompany him to Cochise’s mountain stronghold. As a result of the peace talks, Cochise agreed to live on the reservation that Howard promised would be created from the chief’s native territory. After the death of Cochise, however, his people were removed to another reservation. The southeasternmost county of Arizona is named for him.

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