US State Mount Rushmore: Part 5 – Massachusetts to Missouri

So we’re coming to the half-way point in the series. When it came to compiling this series, some states were easier than others since not every state has a lot of famous people. I know who I have for Massachusetts is bound to get complaints since I’m well aware that some people might have other ideas on which people I should put on since the state has a very rich history with Puritans, patriots, authors, and other historical figures. Virginia is another one since it has all Founding Fathers and no Robert E. Lee in sight. And don’t get me started about New York or California. Nevertheless, I bring you more Mount Rushmore compilations in my series from Massachusetts to Missouri. From Massachusetts I’ll introduce you to an underrated Founding Father, an author most people read in high school, the most famous suffragette, and a guy whose main interests included camping in the woods and sticking it to the man. After that, it’s on to Michigan where you’ll meet an industrialist who revolutionized transportation and the American way of life, a controversial civil rights activist, and two labor leaders with one buried under concrete somewhere in Detroit. Then we venture into the state of Minnesota where you’ll meet a Native American historian, an iconic cartoonist, a celebrated author of the Jazz Age, and a legendary aviator who maybe shouldn’t be hanging around with Nazis. Next, it’s down South to Mississippi where you’ll find a leader of a bunch of states that broke off from the country over slavery, a man they call a rock n’ roll king, a woman who organized Freedom Summer, and a puppeteer who died too soon. Finally, we go to Show Me State Missouri where you’ll see an animation tycoon, a black beauty maven, a smartass US president, and an expatriate poet who inspired a hit Broadway musical.

21. Massachusetts

John Adams is perhaps one of the more underrated Founding Fathers since he contributed so much to this country yet remained forgotten for years. But you have to admire him for representing the British troops involved with the Boston Massacre because he believed they had a right to counsel and protection of innocence. And because Boston was rife with anti-British sentiment at this point, this was a job no local attorney wanted.

John Adams is perhaps one of the more underrated Founding Fathers since he contributed so much to this country yet remained forgotten for years. But you have to admire him for representing the British troops involved with the Boston Massacre because he believed they had a right to counsel and protection of innocence. And because Boston was rife with anti-British sentiment at this point, this was a job no local attorney wanted.

Figure 1: John Adams– lawyer, author, statesman, and diplomat who served as president and as a Founding Father was a leader of American independence. Was a political theorist in the Age of Enlightenment who promoted republicanism and a strong central government with his innovative ideas frequently published. Though he collaborated with cousin Samuel Adams, he established his prominence prior to the American Revolution providing a successful though unpopular defense of British soldiers involved with the Boston Massacre and played a major role in persuading the Continental Congress to declare independence as well as assisted Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and was its foremost advocate. As a diplomat, he established the eventual peace treaty with Great Britain and acquired vital governmental loans from Amsterdam bankers. Was the primary author of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780 which influenced American political theory as did his earlier Thoughts on Government. Narrowly avoided a war with France and appointed John Marshall during his presidency and is often called, “the father of the American Navy.” Though he wasn’t a popular president to serve another term and had been forgotten for decades, modern historians have ranked his presidency favorably and his legacy has been rediscovered in recent years.

“How slowly I have made my way in life! How much is still to be done! How little worth — outwardly speaking — is all that I have achieved! The bubble reputation is as much a bubble in literature as in war, and I should not be one whit the happier if mine were world-wide and time-long than I was when nobody but yourself had faith in me.
The only sensible ends of literature are, first, the pleasurable toil of writing; second, the gratification of one’s family and friends; and, lastly, the solid cash.” -from a 1851 letter. Still, you have to admit, Nathaniel Hawthorne wasn’t a bad looking guy in 1841.

Figure 2: Nathaniel Hawthorne– novelist and short story writer known for works featuring moral allegories with a Puritan inspiration set in New England. His fiction is considered part of the Romantic movement and, more specifically Dark romanticism with themes often centering on the inherent guilt, evil and sin of humanity with his works often having moral messages and deep psychological complexity, loaded symbolism, and sometimes bordering on surrealism. His portrayals of the past are a version of historical fiction used only as a vehicle to express common themes of ancestral sin, guilt and retribution. And later works reflect his negative view of the Transcendentalist movement. Best known for writing The Scarlet Letter which is almost always required reading in high school and while students complain about boring them to tears because they have no appreciation whatsoever for a great literary genius. Also wrote The House of the Seven Gables, Twice-Told Tales, The Blithedale Romance, The Marble Faun, “Young Goodman Brown,” “Rappacchini’s Daughter,” and Tanglewood Tales.

“Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation.”

Figure 3: Susan B. Anthony– social reformer and feminist who played a pivotal role in the women’s suffrage movement. Collaborated with her lifelong friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton in social reform activities primarily in women’s rights publishing a newspaper called The Revolution, founding the National Woman Suffrage Association, with Matilda Joslyn Gage worked on what eventually grew into a 6-volume History of Woman Suffrage, and arranged for Congress to be presented with an amendment giving women the right to vote which was ratified as the 19th Amendment in 1920. Best known for being arrested for voting in Rochester, New York in 1872 which resulted in her conviction in a widely publicized trial. Played a key role in creating the International Council of Women which is still active. Though harshly ridiculed and accused of destroying the institution of marriage when she started campaigning for women’s rights, public perception changed radically during her lifetime mostly because of her efforts that she celebrated her 80th birthday at the White House.

“My desire for knowledge is intermittent; but my desire to bathe my head in atmospheres unknown to my feet is perennial and constant. The highest that we can attain to is not Knowledge, but Sympathy with Intelligence. I do not know that this higher knowledge amounts to anything more definite than a novel and grand surprise on a sudden revelation of the insufficiency of all that we called Knowledge before — a discovery that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in our philosophy.” from Walking

Figure 4: Henry David Thoreau– author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian. As a leading transcendentalist, he’s best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings and his essay Resistance to Civil Government (also known as Civil Disobedience), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state. His books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry total over 20 volumes. Lasting contributions are his writings on natural history and philosophy, where he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern-day environmentalism. Literary style interweaves close natural observation, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, and historical lore, while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, and “Yankee” love of practical detail. Philosophy of civil disobedience later influenced the political thoughts and actions of such notable figures as Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

22. Michigan

Henry Ford's Model T was the first economy car on the road and in many ways transformed America and the world. However, he was also an Anti-Semite who kind of got too cozy with Hitler, hated unions, and repeatedly clashed with his son Edsel. But unlike Walton, at least he believed in paying his workers a decent wage.

Henry Ford’s Model T was the first economy car on the road and in many ways transformed America and the world. However, he was also an Anti-Semite who kind of got too cozy with Hitler, hated unions, and repeatedly clashed with his son Edsel. But unlike Walton, at least he believed in paying his workers a decent wage.

Figure 1: Henry Ford– industrialist who founded the Ford Motor Company and sponsored the development of the assembly line technique of mass production which led him to become one of the richest and best known people in the world. His development, manufacture, and introduction of the Model T revolutionized transportation and American industry which transformed the automobile from an expensive curiosity into a practical conveyance that would profoundly impact the landscape of the twentieth century. Credited with “Fordism” which was mass production of inexpensive goods coupled with high wages for workers and believed in consumerism as the key to world peace. His intense commitment to systematically lowering costs resulted in many technical and business innovations, including a franchise system that put dealerships throughout most of North America and in major cities on six continents. Was widely known for his pacifism during WWI and publishing antisemitic tracts like the The International Jew (as well as did business with the Nazis well into WWII). Was adamantly against labor unions as well.

“We cannot think of uniting with others, until after we have first united among ourselves. We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves.” – from A Declaration of Independence (1964)

Figure 2: Malcolm X– Muslim minister and human rights activist who has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history. To admirers he was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans while detractors accused him of preaching racism and violence. Though he served as the public face for the Nation of Islam for a dozen years, he soon grew disillusioned with the group and its leader that he eventually repudiated it, disavowed racism, and founded Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the Organization of Afro-American Unity where he continued to emphasize Pan-Africanism, black self-determination, and black self-defense. His book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, published shortly after his assassination, is considered one of the most influential non-fiction books of the 20th century.

“There’s a direct relationship between the ballot box and the bread box, and what the union fights for and wins at the bargaining table can be taken away in the legislative halls.” – from 1970. Still very much rings true today as we’ve seen in government. Still, while Henry Ford believed in giving his workers fair wages so they buy his cars, Walter Reuther and his UAW made sure Ford kept it that way.

Figure 3: Walter Reuther– labor union leader who made the United Auto Workers a major force not only in the auto industry but also in the Democratic Party and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in the mid 20th century. As a leading liberal and supporter of the New Deal coalition, working to strengthen the labor union movement, raise wages, and give union leaders a greater voice in state and national Democratic party politics. As a senior union organizer in the 1930s, he helped win major strikes for union recognition against General Motors and Ford with a highly publicized confrontation with Ford security forces in 1937. During the course, he’d be hospitalized after being badly beaten by strike breakers. He’d also survive two assassination attempts, one of them which permanently crippled his right hand. After WWII, he led a 113 day strike against General Motors with limited success. Delivered contracts for his membership through brilliant negotiating tactics such as choosing one of the “big three” automakers, and if it did not offer concessions, he’d strike it and let the other two absorb its sales. Not to mention, along with higher hourly wages, he’d also negotiate for paid vacations, employer-funded pensions, health insurance, supplementary unemployment benefits, and lower price cars for workers. Was a major supporter in the Civil Rights Movement where he participated in the March on Washington as well as the Selma to Montgomery March. Also marched with with the United Farm Workers. He even stood beside Martin Luther King Jr. during the latter’s “I Have a Dream” speech. In his prime, he was said to be influential and powerful enough to frighten conservatives that Barry Goldwater once declared him a more dangerous menace to the US than the Soviet Union or Sputnik.

As head of a Teamsters Union, Jimmy Hoffa was a very controversial figure in his lifetime, especially with his ties to the mob. Yet, whether you call him a saint or corrupt boss, it's a safe bet that his body is under some Detroit concrete by now.

As head of a Teamsters Union, Jimmy Hoffa was a very controversial figure in his lifetime, especially with his ties to the mob. Yet, whether you call him a saint or corrupt boss, it’s a safe bet that his body is under some Detroit concrete by now.

Figure 4: Jimmy Hoffa– union leader and author who served as president of the Teamsters Union from 1958-1971 where he played a major role in the growth and development of the union which eventually became the largest (by membership) in the United States with over 1.5 million members at its peak, during his terms as its leader. His involvement with organized crime got him into a lot of trouble which led him convicted of jury tampering, attempted bribery, and fraud in 1964 as well as his imprisonment in 1967 and sentence to 13 years after an exhaustive appeal process. And he was only released when he agreed to resign in 1971 as part of a pardon agreement with Nixon which blocked him from union activities until 1980. His disappearance in 1975 has given rise to many theories as to what happened to him (though organized crime had something to do with his death). While his critics say he enriched himself at the expense of the teamsters, his defenders claim that “dedication as an American labor leader for more than 40 years, as well as his widely recognized accomplishments on behalf of teamsters and all working people in America” should not be forgotten.

23. Minnesota

After spending some time treating Indians on reservations, Dr. Charles Eastman became a prolific Indian activist as well as a historian his Santee Dakota people. He is one of the first to write American history from the Native American point of view.

After spending some time treating Indians on reservations, Dr. Charles Eastman became a prolific Indian activist as well as a historian his Santee Dakota people. He is one of the first Native Americans to write American history from the Native American point of view.

Figure 1: Charles Eastman– Santee Dakota physician, writer, national lecturer, and reformer who in the early 20th century was “one of the most prolific authors and speakers on Sioux ethnohistory and American Indian affairs.” After working as a physician on reservations in South Dakota (one time caring for Indians after Wounded Knee), he became increasingly active in politics and issues on Native American rights, he worked to improve the lives of youths, and founded 32 Native American chapters of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) as well as also helped found the Boy Scouts of America. Also considered the first Native American author to write American history from the Native American point of view.

Nicknamed

Nicknamed “Sparky,” Charles Schulz was the creator of the Peanuts comic strip that featured memorable characters like Snoopy and Charlie Brown. It would run for nearly 50 years and influence later cartoonists whho came after him.

Figure 2: Charles Schulz– cartoonist best known for his comic strip Peanuts (which featured the characters Charlie Brown and Snoopy, among others). Widely regarded as one of the most influential cartoonists of all time, cited as a major influence by many later cartoonists. Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson wrote in 2007: “Peanuts pretty much defines the modern comic strip, so even now it’s hard to see it with fresh eyes. The clean, minimalist drawings, the sarcastic humor, the unflinching emotional honesty, the inner thoughts of a household pet, the serious treatment of children, the wild fantasies, the merchandising on an enormous scale—in countless ways, Schulz blazed the wide trail that most every cartoonist since has tried to follow.”

“Once one is caught up into the material world not one person in ten thousand finds the time to form literary taste, to examine the validity of philosophic concepts for himself, or to form what, for lack of a better phrase, I might call the wise and tragic sense of life.” – From a letter to his daughter (1940). Nevertheless, while F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is celebrated as an embodiment of the 1920s, it also shows the excess and shallow of the Jazz Age that doesn’t make the decade seem like a fun time.

Figure 3: F. Scott Fitzgerald– novelist and short story writer whose works are the paradigmatic writings of the Jazz Age and is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Considered a member of the “Lost Generation” of the 1920s, he wrote 5 novels and numerous short stories many of which treat themes of youth and promise, and age and despair. Best known work is The Great Gatsby which is considered required reading in many high school and college classes as well as continues to sell millions of copies.

When Charles Lindbergh flew solo on his the Spirit of Saint Louis from New York to Paris, he was hailed as a national hero. However, aside from his kid being murdered, we tend to forget about his belief in eugenics, his friendliness toward Hitler and the Third Reich, and his 3 secret European families.

When Charles Lindbergh flew solo on his the Spirit of Saint Louis from New York to Paris, he was hailed as a national hero. However, aside from his kid being murdered, we tend to forget about his belief in eugenics, his friendliness toward Hitler and the Third Reich, and his 3 secret European families. Lucky Lindy, indeed.

Figure 4: Charles Lindbergh– aviator, author, inventor, military officer, explorer, and social activist who emerged making the first solo transatlantic flight from New York to Paris with his Spirit of Saint Louis monoplane which earned him an Orteig Prize and the Medal of Honor. His son’s kidnapping and eventual murder was the subject of a major government investigation and a national tragedy. While he was (somewhat rightfully) accused of being a fascist for shaking hands with Hitler, he flew 50 combat missions in the Pacific during WWII as a civilian consultant. Later became a prolific prize-winning author, international explorer, inventor, and environmentalist. Had 7 children in 3 secret European families.

24. Mississippi

Elected as President of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, Jefferson Davis was unable to find a strategy to defeat the Union and wasn't the effective war leader Lincoln was. If Jefferson Davis gets any reverence or honors today, then it has more to do what he did after the war and Lost Cause mythology.

Elected as President of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, Jefferson Davis was unable to find a strategy to defeat the Union and wasn’t the effective war leader Lincoln was. If Jefferson Davis gets any reverence or honors today, then it has more to do what he did after the war and Lost Cause mythology.

Figure 1: Jefferson Davis– politician best known as the President of the Confederacy during the American Civil War who took personal charge of the Confederate war plans but was unable to find a strategy to defeat the more populous and industrialized Union. After the war had ended, remained a proud apologist for the cause of slavery for which he and the Confederacy had fought. Many historians attribute the Confederacy’s weaknesses to his poor leadership like his preoccupation with detail, reluctance to delegate responsibility, lack of popular appeal, feuds with powerful state governors and generals, favoritism toward old friends, inability to get along with people who disagreed with him, neglect of civil matters in favor of military ones, and resistance to public opinion all worked against him. Wrote a memoir entitled The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government. And while he was initially displaced by Ex-Confederate affection, but through his reconciliation efforts between North and South, they eventually came to appreciate his role in the war, seeing him as a Southern patriot, and he became a hero of the Lost Cause in the post-Reconstruction South.

I'm not a very big Elvis fan. But I have to admit that it's no wonder he was seen as a sex symbol during the 1950s. But I guess drugs , booze, and peanut butter, banana, and bacon of sandwiches put an end to that.

I’m not a very big Elvis fan. But I have to admit that it’s no wonder he was seen as a sex symbol during the 1950s. But I guess drugs , booze, and peanut butter, banana, and bacon of sandwiches put an end to that.

Figure 2: Elvis Presley– musician, singer, and actor who is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as “the King of Rock and Roll”, or simply, “the King.” Was an early popularizer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and blues and regarded as the leading figure of rock and roll after a series of successful network television appearances and chart-topping records. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined with a singularly potent mix of influences across color lines that coincided with the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement, made him enormously popular—and controversial. As one of the most celebrated and influential musicians of the 20th century, he was commercially successful in many genres pop, blues and gospel and is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music with estimated record sales of around 600 million worldwide.

“I always said if I lived to get grown and had a chance, I was going to try to get something for my mother and I was going to do something for the black man of the South if it would cost my life; I was determined to see that things were changed.” – from (1965)

Figure 3: Fannie Lou Hamer– voting rights activist, civil rights leader, and philanthropist who was instrumental in organizing Mississippi’s Freedom Summer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) which attempted to register as many African American voters in the state as possible as well as set up dozens of Freedom Schools, Freedom Houses, and community centers in small towns throughout Mississippi to aid the local black population. Later became the vice-chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which she represented at the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Epitaph reads: “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

We all know that Jim Henson has shaped so many childhoods with his characters on Sesame Street and the Muppets. And while those beloved characters are still around today, we can all agree that his sudden death was just too soon.

We all know that Jim Henson has shaped so many childhoods with his characters on Sesame Street and the Muppets. And while those beloved characters are still around today, we can all agree that his sudden death was just too soon.

Figure 4: Jim Henson– puppeteer, artist, cartoonist, inventor, screenwriter, songwriter, musician, actor, film director, and producer who achieved international fame as the creator of the Muppets. Helped develop characters for Sesame Street with which he was involved for 20 years as well as won fame for his creations, particularly Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, and Ernie. Also had frequent roles in Muppets films such as The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper and The Muppets Take Manhattan, and created advanced puppets for projects like Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth. Founded the Jim Henson Company, Jim Henson Foundation, and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. His sudden death from streptococcal toxic shock syndrome was widely lamented in the film and television industries.

25. Missouri

Yes, I know Walt Disney wasn't the kind of wholesome and lovable guy he portrayed himself as. Also he smoked like a chimney that he croaked. But still, you have to admit, his films still entertain since generations have practically been raised on them. Nevertheless, contrary to popular belief, he was fried not frozen.

Yes, I know Walt Disney wasn’t the kind of wholesome and lovable guy he portrayed himself as. Also he smoked like a chimney that he croaked. But still, you have to admit, his films still entertain since generations have practically been raised on them. Nevertheless, contrary to popular belief, he was fried not frozen after his death.

Figure 1: Walt Disney– entrepreneur, animator, voice actor, and film producer who was a prominent figure within the American animation industry and throughout the world and is regarded as a cultural icon. Known for his influence and contributions to entertainment during the 20th century and as a Hollywood business mogul, co-founded the Walt Disney Company with his producer brother. As his studio became more successful, he became more adventurous in his cartoons introducing synchronized sound, full-color three-strip Technicolor, feature-length cartoons and introducing technical developments on cameras. Noted as a filmmaker and popular showman as well as an innovator in animation and theme park design. With his staff created famous fictional characters including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy and was the original voice for Mickey himself. He also produced feature films like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Fantasia, Bambi, and more. Yet, he wasn’t said to be great to work with. Moved to theme parks in the 1950s where he opened Disneyland and was in the planning stage of Disney World when he died of lung cancer. Left behind a vast legacy, including numerous animated shorts and feature films produced during his lifetime; the company, parks, and animation studio that bear his name; and the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Reputation changed in the years after his death, away from an American patriot and toward someone whose work was representative of American imperialism. But his movies continue to entertain.

While not technically a millionaire, Madam C.J. Walker became the wealthiest African American woman with her line of beauty products. Was also known for her activism and philanthropy with her home used as a gathering place for the black community.

While not technically a millionaire, Madam C.J. Walker became the wealthiest African American woman with her line of beauty products. Was also known for her activism and philanthropy with her home used as a social gathering place for the black community.

Figure 2: Madam C. J. Walker– entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a political and social activist who is eulogized as the first female self-made millionaire in America and became one of the wealthiest African American women in the country. Made her fortune by developing and marketing a line of beauty products for black women through the successful business she founded the Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company. And in addition to sales training and grooming, she showed other black women how to budget, build their own businesses, and encouraged them to become financially independent. Also known for her philanthropy and social activism who donated to numerous organizations and was a patron of the arts. Her lavish Villa Lewaro served as a social gathering place for the African American community.

“I fired him because he wouldn’t respect the authority of the president. That’s the answer to that. I didn’t fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that’s not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail.”- On why he fired General Douglas MacArthur. Still, truth be told, MacArthur had it coming.

Figure 3: Harry S. Truman– president from 1945-1953 whose administration saw the final months of WWII and the start of the Cold War as well as marked a turning point in US foreign policy in which it renounced isolationism for good. Made the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Helped found the United Nations and issued the Truman Doctrine to contain Communism as well as got the $13 billion Marshall Plan enacted to rebuild Western Europe. Oversaw the Berlin Airlift, the creation of NATO, and most of the Korean War. On the domestic front, he successfully guided the American through the post-war economic challenges as well as submitted first comprehensive civil rights legislation and issued Executive Orders to start racial integration in the military and federal agencies. His 1948 election upset to win a full term as president has often been invoked by later ‘underdog’ presidential candidates. Popular and scholarly assessments of his presidency initially were unfavorable but became more positive over time following his retirement from politics. However, his firing of Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War did attract considerable controversy even though it was the right decision.

“Endurance of friendship does not depend/Upon ourselves, but upon circumstance./But circumstance is not undetermined./Unreal friendship may turn to real/But real friendship, once ended, cannot be mended./Sooner shall enmity turn to alliance./The enmity that never knew friendship/Can sooner know accord.”- from Murder in the Cathedral (1935)

Figure 4: T.S. Eliot– expatriate essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic and “one of the twentieth century’s major poets” who attracted widespread attention for his poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” which is seen as a masterpiece of the Modernist movement and was followed by some of the best-known poems in the English language, including The Waste Land, “The Hollow Men,” “Ash Wednesday,” and Four Quartets. Also known for 7 plays, particularly Murder in the Cathedral and made major contributions to literary criticism as well. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, “for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry.” His Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats was made into the highly popular Broadway musical Cats.

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US State Mount Rushmore: Part 4 – Kansas to Maryland

Okay, I know that some of these famous Americans might not be suitable for elementary school kids to do reports on. Of course, Alfred Kinsey is obvious since he was a pioneer in human sexuality while Eugene Debs was a political radical and Al Capone and John Dillinger were criminals. However, this series about honoring great Americans who’ve necessarily made positive contributions since that might be a matter of opinion. And then there are some people who are rather controversial but that doesn’t mean I should leave them out. Nevertheless, in this post I bring you the Mount Rushmores I compiled from prairie state Kansas to Chesapeake Bay state Maryland. First, we venture to Kansas which has at times has been no place like home to a prominent WWII general who later became president, a noted black photographer and filmmaker, a famous poetic voice from the Harlem Renaissance, and a legendary aviator. Second, it’s on to Kentucky where you’ll meet an interesting lot consisting of a bird guy who’s name is synonymous with avian conservation, a knife guy who died at the Alamo, an eccentric journalist, and a mystic monk. Then we go down to Louisiana, home to a legendary jazz trumpeter, a larger than life politician, a French pirate, and a highly well-known gay playwright. Next, I bring you up north to the state of Maine where you’ll meet a legendary American poet, one of the most unlikely military heroes, an advocate for the mentally ill, and an academic who was an early supporter of civil rights. Finally, we go to Maryland where you’ll find a former slave who became the most prominent voice for African Americans in the 19th century, a lawyer who wrote what became a national anthem, a civil rights lawyer who eventually sat on the highest court bench in the land, and a Catholic bishop who supported Christian unity as well as a separation between church and state.

 

16. Kansas

"This is a long tough road we have to travel. The men that can do things are going to be sought out just as surely as the sun rises in the morning. Fake reputations, habits of glib and clever speech, and glittering surface performance are going to be discovered."-from 1942. Also, before becoming Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, he spent a time "studying dramatics" under Douglas MacArthur as he put it. So I'm sure he has the chops to rein in a prima donna like George S. Patton.

“This is a long tough road we have to travel. The men that can do things are going to be sought out just as surely as the sun rises in the morning. Fake reputations, habits of glib and clever speech, and glittering surface performance are going to be discovered.”-from 1942. Also, before becoming Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, he spent a time “studying dramatics” under Douglas MacArthur as he put it. So I’m sure he has the chops to rein in a prima donna like George S. Patton.

Figure 1: Dwight D. Eisenhower – US president from 1953-1961 and 5-star general during WWII who served as Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe. Responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa with Operation Torch in 1942-43 and the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944-45. Was first Supreme Commander of NATO, served as Army Chief of Staff under Truman, and president of Columbia University. Administration saw the end of the Korean War, coups in Iran and Guatemala, troubles in Vietnam, the Suez crisis, establishment of NASA, the early years of the Civil Rights Movement, the U2 Incident, McCarthyism, establishment of the Interstate Highway System, and Alaska and Hawaii becoming states.

Gordon Parks was a pioneer among African photojournalists and filmmakers. Nevertheless, he's best remembered as the creator of Shaft in recent generation as well as taking photos of poor Americans during the 1940s. But he did much more than that.

Gordon Parks was a pioneer among African photojournalists and filmmakers. Nevertheless, he’s best remembered as the creator of Shaft in recent generation as well as taking photos. But he did much more than that.

Figure 2: Gordon Parks– photographer, musician, writer, and film director who became prominent in US documentary photojournalism in the 1940s through the 1970s, particularly in issues of civil rights, poverty, and African Americans. Was the first African American to produce and direct major motion pictures, developing films relating the experience of black slaves and struggling black Americans, and creating the “Blaxploitation” genre. Best remembered for his iconic photos of poor Americans during the 1940s (particularly the lady with the brooms behind the American flag), his photographic essays in Life magazine, and as the director in the 1971 film Shaft. Also an author, poet, and composer.

O, let America be America again —/The land that never has been yet —/And yet must be — the land where every man is free..Sure, call me any ugly name you choose —/The steel of freedom does not stain./From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,/We must take back our land again,/America! - from "Let America Be America Again"

O, let America be America again —/The land that never has been yet —/And yet must be — the land where every man is free./Sure, call me any ugly name you choose —/The steel of freedom does not stain./From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,/We must take back our land again,/America! – from “Let America Be America Again”

Figure 3: Langston Hughes– poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist who was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry and best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. Famously wrote about the period that “the negro was in vogue”, which was later paraphrased as “when Harlem was in vogue.” Poetry and fiction portrayed the lives of the working-class blacks in America, lives he portrayed as full of struggle, joy, laughter, and music.  Stressed a racial consciousness and cultural nationalism devoid of self-hate and thought united people of African descent and Africa across the globe to encourage pride in their diverse black folk culture and black aesthetic. In his time, he was one of the few prominent black writers to champion racial consciousness as a source of inspiration for black artists which influence many black writers today.

While she was only a passenger in her first Transatlantic flight, Amelia Earhart soon became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic solo. However, her attempt to fly around the world didn't turn out so well since her plane hasn't been seen since 1937.

While she was only a passenger in her first Transatlantic flight, Amelia Earhart soon became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic solo. However, her attempt to fly around the world didn’t turn out so well since her plane hasn’t been seen since 1937.

Figure 4: Amelia Earhart– aviation pioneer and author who was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, receiving the US Distinguished Flying Cross for the record and set many other records as well. Wrote bestselling books about her flying experiences and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, a female pilot organization. Disappeared in an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight around the globe in 1937 over the central Pacific Ocean. Fascination with her life, career, and disappearance continues to this day.

 

17. Kentucky

Though John James Audubon is a celebrated figure among bird fans, he tend to kill a lot of birds so he could study them, stuff them, and put them in paintings. To be fair, killing animals in the name of science and conservation was a very common practice in the 19th century.

Though John James Audubon is a celebrated figure among bird fans, he tend to kill a lot of birds so he could study them, stuff them, and put them in paintings. To be fair, killing animals in the name of science and conservation was a very common practice in the 19th century.

Figure 1: John James Audubon– ornithologist, naturalist, and painter who was notable for his extensive studies documenting all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats. His major work titled The Birds of America is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed with nearly all later ornithological works were inspired by his artistry and high standards. Made significant contributions to the understanding of bird anatomy and behavior through his field notes. Identified 25 new species and 12 subspecies.

Sure Jim Bowie may not be as well known as Davy Crockett, but he's still an awesome legend in his own right as a fighter and frontiersman with a big ass knife that bears his name. Not to mention, but there's considerable evidence that he died as the real hero of the Alamo while fighting Mexicans in his bed.

Sure Jim Bowie may not be as well known as Davy Crockett, but he’s still an awesome legend in his own right as a fighter and frontiersman with a big ass knife that bears his name. Not to mention, but there’s considerable evidence that he died as the real hero of the Alamo while fighting Mexicans in his bed.

Figure 2: Jim Bowie– pioneer who played a prominent role in the Texas Revolution which culminated in this death at the Battle of the Alamo. Stories of him as a fighter and frontiersman have made him a legendary figure and a folk hero of American culture. Despite conflicting accounts of the manner of his death, the “most popular, and probably the most accurate” accounts maintain that he died in his bed after emptying his pistols into several Mexican soldiers. Was renowned for his prowess with a large knife that lends his name with which he was reputed to kill a Louisiana sheriff after having been shot and stabbed himself, according to reports of the 1827 Sandbar fight.

"I was a seeker, a mover, a malcontent, and at times a stupid hell-raiser. I was never idle long enough to do much thinking, but I felt somehow that my instincts were right." And yes, that's the real Hunter S. Thompson. I'm sure you were expecting Johnny Depp.

“I was a seeker, a mover, a malcontent, and at times a stupid hell-raiser. I was never idle long enough to do much thinking, but I felt somehow that my instincts were right.” And yes, that’s the real Hunter S. Thompson. I’m sure you were expecting Johnny Depp.

Figure 3: Hunter S. Thompson– journalist, author, and founder of the gonzo journalism movement. Became a counter cultural figure in the 1970s, with his own brand of New Journalism which he termed “Gonzo”, an experimental style of journalism where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become central figures of their stories. Best known work is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream which constitutes a rumination on the failure of the 1960s counterculture movement and was serialized by Rolling Stone with which he’d be long associated. Also known well known for his inveterate hatred of Richard Nixon, who he claimed represented “that dark, venal, and incurably violent side of the American character” as well as for his lifelong use of alcohol and illegal drugs, his love of firearms, and his iconoclastic contempt for authoritarianism.

“To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that Love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name.”- from Seeds of Contemplation (1949)

Figure 4: Thomas Merton– writer, mystic, poet, social activist, and Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky who wrote more than 70 books, mostly on spirituality, social justice, and a quiet pacifism as well as scores of essays and reviews. Among his most enduring works is his bestselling autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain which sent scores of WWII veterans, students, and even teenagers flocking to monasteries across the US. Was a keen proponent of interfaith understanding, pioneered dialogue between Asian spiritual figures including the Dalai Lama, and authored books on Zen Buddhism and Taoism. Called by Pope Francis as ”a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church. He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions.”

 

18. Louisiana

Sometimes nicknamed "Satchmo" or "Pops," Louis Armstrong is one of the most influential and recognizable figures in jazz. However, sometimes his irrepressible personality was so strong that it overshadowed his contribution as a musician and a singer.

Sometimes nicknamed “Satchmo” or “Pops,” Louis Armstrong is one of the most influential and recognizable figures in jazz. However, sometimes his irrepressible personality was so strong that it overshadowed his contribution as a musician and a singer.

Figure 1: Louis Armstrong– trumpeter, composer, and singer who was one of the most influential figures in jazz and whose career spanned 5 decades and different jazz eras with a profound influence extending well beyond jazz music. One of the first truly popular African American entertainers to “cross over” whose skin color was secondary to his music in an America that was extremely racially divided. Was a foundational influence in jazz shifting focus from collective improvisation to solo performance. With his instantly recognizable gravelly voice, he was also an influential singer demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser, bending lyrics and melody of a song for expressive purposes as well as skilled in scat singing.

Called, "The Kingfish," Huey Long was a very controversial figure in Louisiana, even during his own lifetime. Sure he was a populist who called to "Share our Wealth" and make "Every Man a King." But his dictatorial means and motives violated American norms.

Called, “The Kingfish,” Huey Long was a very controversial figure in Louisiana, even during his own lifetime. Sure he was a populist who called to “Share our Wealth” and make “Every Man a King.” But his dictatorial means and motives violated American norms.

Figure 2: Huey Long– politician nicknamed “The Kingfish,” who served as Louisiana’s governor and senator during from 1928 to his assassination in 1935. Best known for being an outspoken populist who denounced the rich and the banks and called for “Share Our Wealth” that proposed new wealth distribution measures in the form of a net asset tax on corporations and individuals to curb poverty and homelessness during the Great Depression. Advocated federal spending on public works, schools and colleges, and old age pensions stimulate the economy as well as was an ardent critic of the Federal Reserve. As Louisiana’s political boss, he commanded wide networks of supporters and was willing to take forceful action. Under his leadership, he expanded hospitals and schools, set of a system of charity hospitals to provide healthcare to the poor, massive highway construction and free bridges that brought an end to rural isolation, and free textbooks provided for schoolchildren. But his dictatorial means and motives violated American norms. Remains a controversial figure in Louisiana with critics and supporters debating whether or not he was a dictator, demagogue, or populist. Has inspired countless novels, particularly Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men.

Jean Lafitte was no saint. and only agreed to help the US in exchange for a pardon. But his assistance to Andrew Jackson proved critical in a achieving victory for the Battle of New Orleans.

Jean Lafitte was no saint. and only agreed to help the US in exchange for a pardon. But his assistance to Andrew Jackson proved critical in a achieving victory for the Battle of New Orleans.

Figure 3: Jean Laffite– pirate and privateer in the Gulf of Mexico in the early 19th century who had a successful smuggling operation in Louisiana with his brothers as well as was instrumental in helping Andrew Jackson defend New Orleans against British forces in the final battle of the War of 1812 in exchange for a legal pardon. His assistance to the US in that battle was crucial in achieving victory for he provided ships and men. Also suggested to Jackson that the American line of defense be extended from the Mississippi to a nearby swamp. Later became a spy for the Spanish during the Mexican War of Independence and developed a pirate colony in what is today Galveston, Texas. Continued attacking merchant ships as a pirate around Central American ports until he died around 1823, trying to capture Spanish vessels. Historians have speculated about his life and death ever since.

Though not actually from Tennessee, Tennessee Williams was a prolific playwright who's best known for A Streetcar Named Desire. His dysfunctional family drama is often said to be an inspiration for many of his stage classics.

Though not actually from Tennessee, Tennessee Williams was a prolific playwright who’s best known for A Streetcar Named Desire. His dysfunctional family drama is often said to be an inspiration for many of his stage classics.

Figure 4: Tennessee Williams– playwright and author of many stage classics. Considered among the three foremost playwrights in 20th-century American drama along with Eugene O’Neill and Arthur Miller. Also wrote short stories, poetry, essays and a volume of memoirs. Best known for The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Sweet Bird of Youth. While his plays in the 1940s and 1950s are seen as extraordinary, his later works brought him turmoil and theatrical failures, mainly due to his alcoholism.

 

19. Maine

"All your strength is in your union,/All your danger is in discord;/Therefore be at peace henceforward,/And as brothers live together." - from The Song of Hiawatha (1855)

“All your strength is in your union,/All your danger is in discord;/Therefore be at peace henceforward,/And as brothers live together.” – from The Song of Hiawatha (1855)

Figure 1: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow– poet and educator whose works include “Paul Revere’s Ride”, The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline and was one of the 5 Fireside poets. First American to translate Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Wrote many lyric poems known for their musicality and often presenting stories of mythology and legend and was the most popular American poet of his day. Yet has been criticized for imitating European styles and writing specifically for the masses.

Joshua Chamblerlain played a key role in the Battle of Gettysburg when he and the 20th Maine held off the Confederates at Little Round Top on the second day. He was awarded a Medal of Honor for his heroism.

Joshua Chamblerlain played a key role in the Battle of Gettysburg when he and the 20th Maine held off the Confederates at Little Round Top on the second day. He was awarded a Medal of Honor for his heroism.

Figure 2: Joshua Chamberlain– college professor who volunteered for the Union Army during the American Civil War where he became a highly respected and decorated Union officer reaching the rank of brigadier general. Most well-known for his gallantry at Gettysburg in his valiant defense of Little Round Top where he ordered simultaneous full frontal assault and flanking maneuver on Confederate troops, capturing 101 of them. This earned him the Medal of Honor as well as gave him the honor of commanding Union troops at the surrender ceremony of Robert E. Lee’s Army at Appomattox Court House. After the Civil War, served as governor of Maine and president of his alma mater Bowdoin College.

While Dorothea Dix's advocacy of putting the mentally ill in institutions might not go well with us today, in her day, it wasn't unusual to see the mentally ill treated much worse like put in prisons along side violent criminals. And if there was any mental health system present, it was unregulated, underfunded, and prone to widespread abuse.

While Dorothea Dix’s advocacy of putting the mentally ill in institutions might not go well with us today, in her day, it wasn’t unusual to see the mentally ill treated much worse like put in horrific prisons with appalling conditions alongside violent criminals. And if there was any mental health system present, it was unregulated, underfunded, and prone to widespread abuse.

Figure 3: Dorothea Dix– author, teacher, and activist on behalf of the indigent insane who, through a vigorous program of lobbying state legislatures and the US Congress, created the first generation of American mental asylums as well as helped change people’s perceptions on the mentally ill as well as prisoners and the disabled. Her own troubled family background and impoverished youth is said to serve as a galvanizing force throughout her career. Served as Superintendent of Army Nurses during the American Civil War where she established a reputation as an advocate for the work of female nurses.

"We shall speak against slavery, as we have hitherto done. We can find no language that has the power to express the hatred we have towards so vile and so wicked an institution-We hate it-we abhor, we lather it-wedetest it and despise it as a giant sin against God."

“We shall speak against slavery, as we have hitherto done. We can find no language that has the power to express the hatred we have towards so vile and so wicked an institution-We hate it-we abhor, we lather it-wedetest it and despise it as a giant sin against God.”

Figure 4: Oren Burbank Cheney– Free Will Baptist clergyman, politician, editor, and academic who was a leader in the New England antislavery movement and played an active role in the empowerment of African Americans and women in the American Civil War and decades beyond as well as was one of the earliest advocates for civil rights for both groups. His contributions to the political and religious landscape of Maine and Massachusetts proved to be influential and changed the notions of equality in the United States. Established Bates College which provided the backdrop to increased racial equality, the formalization of women’s rights, making a college education available for those with limited financial means, and educational reform where he was president for 39 years.

 

20. Maryland

"He is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people."

“He is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”

Figure 1: Frederick Douglass– social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping slavery, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement from Massachusetts and New York, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writings. Because he was born into slavery, he was seen by abolitionists as a living counter-example to slaveholders’ arguments that slaves lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens. Wrote several autobiographies and was influential in promoting the cause of abolition. Was a firm believer in the equality of all peoples, in dialogue and in making alliances across racial and ideological divides, and in the liberal values of the American Constitution. By making a career of agitating the American conscience, he is by far the most influential African American of the 19th century.

Even before Francis Scott Key's poem became US national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner" was increasingly popular throughout the 19th century, even played by bands at public events like 4th of July celebrations. And it has been played at sporting events since at least the 1918 World Series.

Even before Francis Scott Key’s poem became US national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner” was increasingly popular throughout the 19th century, even played by bands at public events like 4th of July celebrations. And it has been played at sporting events since at least the 1918 World Series. So when it came time to choose a national anthem, Key’s song was a natural choice.

Figure 2: Francis Scott Key– lawyer, author, and amateur poet who wrote the lyrics to what eventually became the US national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner” which was based on his experience witnessing the 1814 bombardment of Fort McHenry in the Battle of Baltimore while he was a prisoner on a British ship during the War of 1812. It would be published in the American and Commercial Daily Advertiser that same year as “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” He later took it to Thomas Carr who adapted it to a melody of a popular drinking love song “To Anacreon in Heaven” and it became “The Star-Spangled Banner” ever since. Though somehow difficult to sing, the song became increasingly popular, competing with “Hail Columbia,” as the de facto national anthem during both the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War. More than a century after its publication, it was adopted as the US national anthem first by an Executive Order by Woodrow Wilson in 1916 and then by Congressional resolution in 1931. Also wrote some religious poems that were used in Christian hymns.

Even if he wasn't the first black Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall would still be in this series since his career as an attorney for the NAACP played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement. His most famous case was Brown v. Board of Education which ruled segregation in public schools as unconstitutional.

Even if he wasn’t the first black Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall would still be in this series since his career as an attorney for the NAACP played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement. His most famous case was Brown v. Board of Education which ruled segregation in public schools as unconstitutional.

Figure 3: Thurgood Marshall– lawyer who served as Chief Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund during the 1940s and1950s. Best known for his high success rate in arguing civil rights cases before the Supreme Court and for the victory in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, a decision that desegregated public schools. Would eventually be appointed the first African American justice on the Supreme Court where he served from 1967-1991.

As the first American Catholic bishop, John Carroll was an early advocate for a vernacular liturgy because he wanted everyone in his flock to have access to the Scriptures. Unfortunately for him, Catholic liturgy wouldn't be in the vernacular until nearly 200 years later with Vatican II.

As the first American Catholic bishop, John Carroll was an early advocate for a vernacular liturgy because he wanted everyone in his flock to have access to the Scriptures and he knew that there were Catholics who didn’t understand Latin. Unfortunately for him, Catholic liturgy wouldn’t be in the vernacular until nearly 200 years later with Vatican II.

Figure 4: John Carroll– prelate to the Roman Catholic Church who served as the first American bishop and archbishop as well as founded Georgetown University and the first diocesan parish at Saint John the Evangelist in what is now Forest Glen, Maryland. When he joined the Jesuits, there was no public Catholic Church in Maryland due to anti-Catholic discrimination laws that effectively banned Catholics from political participation. In 1776, he accompanied Benjamin Franklin on a failed diplomatic mission to Quebec which gave him some name recognition to other Founding Fathers. Selected as Bishop of Baltimore by US clergy which was approved by Pope Pius VI. Was an early advocate for Christian unity and a vernacular liturgy as well as wrote articles defending Catholic tradition from those who promoted anti-Catholicism and fought notions of state establishment Protestantism as the official religion (though he always treated non-Catholics with respect).

US State Mount Rushmore: Part 3 – Hawaii to Iowa

So two down. Yes, I know that there will be some white people complaining about Florida’s all black lineup, perhaps saying that there are plenty of famous white Floridians, too. However, I didn’t compile these Mount Rushmore sets based on race. And it’s just turned out that the figures I had for Florida had accomplishments that can’t possibly be ignored. The fact they’re black is just a coincidence. Anyway, in this selection, I bring you the Mount Rushmores from Hawaii to Iowa. From Hawaii hails a Chinese cop who inspired a popular detective, an explorer who rediscovered a lost Inca citadel, and two Hawaiian monarchs. Then we’re off to Idaho where you’ll meet 4 people whose accomplishments weren’t small potatoes like an FBI agent who brought down a US president, a guy who invented television, a literary expatriate, and a lady guide for Lewis and Clark. Next, it’s on to Illinois where you have a great emancipator, one of the best known gangsters in Prohibition, a pioneer in social work, and a libertarian Nobel Prize winning economist. After that is Indiana where you’ll find a Depression Era rock star criminal, a pioneer in human sexuality, a journalist who wrote about the little guy, and a the biggest name in Progressive Era Socialism. Finally, you have Iowa where you’ll meet the guy behind one of the most famous American paintings, a man who had a Wild West show, a highly noted conservationist, and perhaps the best known big band leader of all time.

 

11. Hawaii

Though Charlie Chan was played by a white guy in the movies, he was at least partly inspired by a real Chinese Hawaiian detective named Chang Apana who had a very distinguished and adventurous career in the Honolulu Police Department. However, Earl Derr Biggers' widow disputes this but you know, he was pretty awesome in his own way.

Though Charlie Chan was played by a white guy in the movies, he was at least partly inspired by a real Chinese Hawaiian detective named Chang Apana who had a very distinguished and adventurous career in the Honolulu Police Department. However, Earl Derr Biggers’ widow disputes this but you know, he was pretty awesome in his own way.

Figure 1: Chang Apana– Chinese Hawaiian member of the Honolulu Police Department for 34 years as an officer and detective who was acknowledged by Earl Derr Biggers as the inspiration for Charlie Chan. Was successful in solving many cases due to his fluency in several languages, his wide network of informants, and meticulous detective style.

While he was from a family of famous missionaries, Hiram Bingham III rediscovered the ruins of the lost Inca citadel of Machu Picchu with the help of indigenous farmers. Nevertheless, while he does seem like he's in Indiana Jones mode here, he thankfully didn't destroy it.

While he was from a family of famous missionaries, Hiram Bingham III rediscovered the ruins of the lost Inca citadel of Machu Picchu with the help of indigenous farmers. Nevertheless, while he does seem like he’s in Indiana Jones mode here, he thankfully didn’t destroy it.

Figure 2: Hiram Bingham III– explorer, academic, and politician who made public the existence of the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in 1911 with the guidance of local indigenous farmers. Later became a US Senator.

Through alliances and conquest, King Kamehameha I united Hawaii and established a kingdom. While it did outlive him, it didn't survive the 19th century due to American Imperialism.

Through alliances and conquest, King Kamehameha I united Hawaii and established a kingdom. While it did outlive him, it didn’t survive the 19th century due to American Imperialism.

Figure 3: Kamehameha I– established the Kingdom of Hawaii after uniting most of the islands through conquest as well as developed alliances with the major Pacific colonial powers which preserved Hawaii’s independence under his rule. Remembered for the Kānāwai Māmalahoe, the “Law of the Splintered Paddle”, which protects human rights of non-combatants in times of battle.

Queen Liliʻuokalani was Hawaii's first and last reigning queen as well as its last reigning monarch. In 1895, she was forcibly removed from her throne while Hawaii was annexed to the United States. Was also an accomplished author and songwriter with her “Aloha Oe” being Hawaii's state song.

Queen Liliʻuokalani was Hawaii’s first and last reigning queen as well as its last reigning monarch. In 1895, she was forcibly removed from her throne while Hawaii was annexed to the United States. Was also an accomplished author and songwriter with her “Aloha Oe” being Hawaii’s state song.

Figure 4: Liliʻuokalani– last monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1891-1893 when she was deposed and Hawaii was annexed to the US. Was also an accomplished author with her book Hawaiʻi’s Story by Hawaiʻi’s Queen as well as songwriter and musician who wrote the “Aloha Oe” which is Hawaii’s state song.

 

12. Idaho

As "Deep Throat," W. Mark Felt leaked information about Watergate to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein eventually proved vital in bringing down Richard Nixon's presidency. However, his involvement as "Deep Throat" was kept a secret for decades until he revealed it in 2005. He died 3 years later.

As “Deep Throat,” W. Mark Felt leaked information about Watergate to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein eventually proved vital in bringing down Richard Nixon’s presidency. However, his involvement as “Deep Throat” was kept a secret for decades until he revealed it in 2005. He died 3 years later.

Figure 1: W. Mark Felt– FBI Special Agent who rose to the Bureau’s Associate Director and was the Watergate scandal’s whistleblower referred to as “Deep Throat” in which he provided the Washington Post with critical information that eventually led to Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974. His involvement with Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein was kept a secret for nearly 30 years. It is alleged he blew the whistle on Watergate as revenge against Nixon for passing him over for Bureau Director that he thought he deserved and giving it L. Patrick Gray whom he resented and didn’t think was up for the job.

In America, a man like Philo Farnsworth should be a household name since he was the inventor of television which has changed the world significantly. However, he's not as well known as he should be. Also appeared on TV once in his life in 1957 for a CBS quiz show I've Got a Secret.

In America, a man like Philo Farnsworth should be a household name since he was the inventor of television which has changed the world significantly. However, he’s not as well known as he should be. Also appeared on TV once in his life in 1957 for a CBS quiz show I’ve Got a Secret.

Figure 2: Philo Farnsworth– inventor and TV pioneer who made many contributions that were crucial to the early development of all-electronic television. Perhaps best known for his 1927 invention of the first fully functional all-electronic image pickup device (video camera tube), the “image dissector”, as well as the first fully functional and complete all-electronic television system. Was also the first person to demonstrate such a system to the public. Developed a TV system complete with receiver and camera which he produced commercially in the form of Farnsworth Television and Radio Corporation from 1938-1951. Held 300 patents mostly in TV and radio. Later in life, invented a small nuclear fusion device the Farnsworth–Hirsch fusor, or simply “fusor”, employing inertial electrostatic confinement (IEC) that has been the acknowledged inspiration for other fusion approaches including the Polywell reactor concept in terms of a general approach to fusion design.

As an expatriate editor for several American literary magazines in London, Ezra Pound was a significant figure in the early modernist movement during the early 20th century. As a poet, he developed Imagism which was inspired by Chinese and Japanese poetry.

As an expatriate editor for several American literary magazines in London, Ezra Pound was a significant figure in the early modernist movement during the early 20th century. As a poet, he developed Imagism which was inspired by Chinese and Japanese poetry.

Figure 3: Ezra Pound– expatriate poet and critic as well as major figure in the modernist movement. Contribution to poetry began with his development of Imagism, a movement derived from classical Chinese and Japanese poetry, stressing clarity, precision and economy of language. Helped discover and shape the work of contemporaries T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Robert Frost, and Ernest Hemingway. Was responsible for the 1915 publication of Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and the serialization from 1918 of Joyce’s Ulysses, while he was a foreign editor of several American magazines in London. Embraced Benito Mussolini’s Italian fascism during the 1930s and 1940s as well as expressed support for Hitler and wrote for publications owned by British fascist Oswald Mosley as well as made several propaganda speeches against the US, FDR, and the Jews during WWII.

While no contemporary portrait exists of Sacagawea, familiarity with the western landscape and several Indian tribes proved vital for the Lewis and Clark expedition. One highlight was when she came to her Shoshone people and broke down in tears when trying to translate when she discovered that the the leader was her brother she hadn't seen in years.

While no contemporary portrait exists of Sacagawea, familiarity with the western landscape and several Indian tribes proved vital for the Lewis and Clark expedition. One highlight was when she came to her Shoshone people and broke down in tears when trying to translate when she discovered that the the leader was her brother she hadn’t seen in years.

Figure 4: Sacagawea– a Lemhi Shoshone woman who helped the Lewis and Clark Expedition achieve each of its chartered mission objectives exploring the Louisiana Purchase. With the expedition between 1804 and 1806, she traveled thousands of miles from North Dakota to the Pacific Ocean, establishing cultural contacts with Native American populations, and researched natural history. The National American Woman Suffrage Association of the early 20th century adopted her as a symbol of women’s worth and independence, erecting several statues and plaques in her memory, and doing much to spread the story of her accomplishments.

 

13. Illinois

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow, this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." - Gettysburg Address

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow, this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” – Gettysburg Address

Figure 1: Abraham Lincoln– US president who led the country through the American Civil War-its bloodiest war and an event often considered its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. In doing so, he preserved the union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the economy. Key moments in his life are his highly publicized debates against Stephen Douglas during the 1858 Senate election, his election to the presidency in 1860 which sparked the formation of the Confederacy, issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, confronting his opponents by pitting them against each other and carefully planned political patronage, appointing Ulysses S. Grant as commander of Union forces, pushing the 13th Amendment through Congress that outlawed slavery permanently, and his Second Inaugural Address. His Gettysburg Address has become an iconic endorsement of the principles of nationalism, republicanism, equal rights, liberty, and democracy. Has been consistently ranked both by scholars and the public as one of the 3 greatest US presidents, if not the greatest president the US has ever had.

In his public persona, Al Capone would seem to you like a big, friendly guy you'd want to have a beer with. However, keep in mind that this guy dominated Chicago as head of an organized crime syndicate during Prohibition. And it's very likely that he was involved in the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre. But at least you can be grateful that he was brought down by the IRS.

In his public persona, Al Capone would seem to you like a big, friendly guy you’d want to have a beer with. However, keep in mind that this guy dominated Chicago as head of an organized crime syndicate during Prohibition. And it’s very likely that he was involved in the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. But at least you can be grateful that he was brought down by the IRS.

Figure 2: Al Capone– gangster who attained fame during the Prohibition Era as the co-founder of the Chicago Outfit of which he reigned as crime boss for 7 years in which he expanded the bootlegging business through increasingly violent means as well as his mutually profitable relationships with mayor William Hale Thompson and the city’s police kept him seemingly safe from law enforcement. Though styled himself as a “modern day Robin Hood” and reveled in media attention, his image would be forever tarnished by the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre which resulted in the killing of 7 rival gang members in broad daylight which led influential citizens to demand government action and newspapers to dub him “Public Enemy No.1.” Details of his reign, his flashy fashion sense, his colorful personality, and eventual fall and imprisonment for tax evasion have made him the most famous American Prohibition gangster of all time.

As founder of Chicago's Hull House, Jane Addams was one of the most prominent reformers of the Progressive Era, the first American woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize, and pioneer in the social work profession. She was instrumental in turning America to issues of concern to mothers, such as the needs of children, local public health, and world peace. Why isn't she more famous in this country I have no idea. Because she really deserves to be remembered.

As founder of Chicago’s Hull House, Jane Addams was one of the most prominent reformers of the Progressive Era, the first American woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize, and pioneer in the social work profession. She was instrumental in turning America to issues of concern to mothers, such as the needs of children, local public health, and world peace. Why isn’t she more famous in this country I have no idea. Because she really deserves to be remembered.

Figure 3: Jane Addams- pioneer settlement activist/reformer, social worker, public philosopher, sociologist, author, and leader in women’s suffrage and world peace who created the first Hull House in Chicago, co-founded the ACLU, as well as became one of the most prominent reformers of the Progressive Era. Helped turn American issues of concern to mothers, such as needs of children, local public health, and world peace. Became a role model for middle-class women who volunteered to uplift their communities. Was the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and is recognized as the founder of the social work profession.

I'm no admirer of Milton Friedman nor do I support his economic theories. However, I do admit that his ideas have influenced so many politicians, particularly Republicans and Libertarians. And he has been cited by The Economist as, "the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century ... possibly of all of it."

I’m no admirer of Milton Friedman nor do I support his economic theories. However, I do admit that his ideas have influenced so many politicians, particularly Republicans and Libertarians. And he has been cited by The Economist as, “the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century … possibly of all of it.”

Figure 4: Milton Friedman– Nobel Prize winning economist for his research on consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and the complexity of stabilization policy. His political philosophy extolled the virtues of a free market economic system with minimal intervention. advocated policies such as a volunteer military, freely floating exchange rates, abolition of medical licenses, a negative income tax, ending the Federal Reserve, abolishing Social Security, and school vouchers (with volunteer military being his only good idea). Works include many monographs, books, scholarly articles, papers, magazine columns, television programs, and lectures, and cover a broad range of economic topics and public policy issues. Was an advisor to Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Augusto Pinochet. Has been very influential in Republican and Libertarian politics.

 

14. Indiana

As a Depression-Era outlaw, John Dillinger stood out as the most notorious of all even among more violent criminals like Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, and Bonnie and Clyde. However, the fact he escaped prison by fooling 17 guards with a gun made from a potato might have something to do with it.

As a Depression-Era outlaw, John Dillinger stood out as the most notorious of all even among more violent criminals like Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, and Bonnie and Clyde. However, the fact he escaped prison by fooling 17 guards with a gun made from a potato might have something to do with it.

Figure 1: John Dillinger– infamous gangster during the Great Depression who operated with a group of men known by some as the Dillinger Gang or Terror Gang that were, among other activities, accused of robbing 24 banks and 4 police stations. Escaped from jail twice. Seen as the most notorious of Depression-era outlaws, standing out among more violent criminals like Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Bonnie and Clyde. Courted publicity by styling himself as a Robin Hood figure and the media ran exaggerated accounts of his bravado and colorful personality, causing the government to demand federal action. As a result, J. Edgar Hoover developed a more sophisticated FBI as a weapon against organized crime using him and his gang as his campaign platform.

While professor at the University of Indiana, Alfred Kinsey was a pioneer in the field of researching human sexuality which made him a controversial figure. Nevertheless, his work has had significant impact on our culture ever since.

While professor at the University of Indiana, Alfred Kinsey was a pioneer in the field of researching human sexuality which made him a controversial figure. Nevertheless, his work has had significant impact on our culture ever since.

Figure 2: Alfred Kinsey– biologist, professor of entomology and zoology, and sexologist who in 1947 founded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University, now known as the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. Best known for writing Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female which are also known as the Kinsey Reports as well as the Kinsey Scale. While research on human sexuality, foundational to the field of sexology, provoked controversy in the 1940s and 1950s, his work has influenced cultural values in the US and worldwide.

While many journalists get attention through interviewing larger than life figures, Ernie Pyle earned acclaim by traveling across the country writing about ordinary people, especially in rural areas. As a WWII correspondent, he hung out with American GIs and won a Pulitzer Prize for it.

While many journalists get attention through interviewing larger than life figures, Ernie Pyle earned acclaim by traveling across the country writing about ordinary people, especially in rural areas. As a WWII correspondent, he hung out with American GIs and won a Pulitzer Prize for it.

Figure 3: Ernie Pyle– journalist who as a roving correspondent for the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain, earned wide acclaim for his accounts of ordinary people and later of ordinary American soldiers during WWII, lending the same folksy style to his war-time reports before being killed by enemy fire on lejima during the Battle of Okinawa. Syndicated column ran in more than 300 newspapers nationwide and at the time of his death he was among the best known American war correspondents as well as won the Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for his spare, poignant accounts of “dogface” infantry soldiers from a first person perspective. Harry Truman wrote of him, “No man in this war has so well told the story of the American fighting man as American fighting men wanted it told. He deserves the gratitude of all his countrymen.”

"I am not a Labor Leader; I do not want you to follow me or anyone else; if you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of this capitalist wilderness, you will stay right where you are. I would not lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I led you in, some one else would lead you out. You must use your heads as well as your hands, and get yourself out of your present condition; as it is now the capitalists use your heads and your hands."

“I am not a Labor Leader; I do not want you to follow me or anyone else; if you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of this capitalist wilderness, you will stay right where you are. I would not lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I led you in, some one else would lead you out. You must use your heads as well as your hands, and get yourself out of your present condition; as it is now the capitalists use your heads and your hands.”

Figure 4: Eugene V. Debs– union leader who was one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and 5 time presidential candidate of the Socialist Party of America, once running his 1920 presidential campaign from prison. His candidacies and work with labor movements led him to become one of the best known Socialists in America. Helped motivate the American Left as a measure of political opposition to corporations and WWI. Honored by socialists, communists, and anarchists for his compassion for the labor movement and his motivation to have the average working man build socialism without large state involvement. Has been cited as the inspiration for numerous politicians.

 

15. Iowa

He may not look very remarkable but this Grant Wood who brought you American Gothic which as become an iconic painting of 20th century America. You've probably seen it.

He may not look very remarkable but this Grant Wood who brought you American Gothic which as become an iconic painting of 20th century America. You’ve probably seen it.

Figure 1: Grant Wood– painter best known for his paintings depicting the American Midwest, particularly American Gothic which has become the iconic painting of the 20th century. His painting Foundation in Education is on Iowa’s state quarter.

William "Buffalo Bill" Cody is best known for his Wild West Shows that have shaped how we came to perceive the American West. Were they 100% accurate? No. But they were highly popular around the globe.

William “Buffalo Bill” Cody is best known for his Wild West Shows that have shaped how we came to perceive the American West. Were they 100% accurate? No. But they were highly popular around the globe.

Figure 2: William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody– scout, bison hunter, and showman who became a Pony Express rider at 14, served for the Union during the American Civil War, and was a civilian scout for the US Army during the Indian Wars for which he received a Medal of Honor. One of the most colorful figures of the American West, he founded Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1883 which provided education and entertainment about bronco riding, handling bovine and equine livestock, roping, and other herdsman skills seen in present day rodeos. Despite that he’s said to have killed 4,282 bison in 18 months and the cultural western myths his shows projected that have now become part of the American Western ethos, he was said to respect Native Americans and support their rights as well as believed in conservation and equal pay for women.

"Modern natural history deals only incidentally with the identity of plants and animals, and only incidentally with their habits and behaviors. It deals principally with their relations to each other, their relation to the soil and water in which they grow, and their relations to the human beings who sing about 'my country' but see little or nothing of its inner workings. This new science of relationships is called ecology, but what we call it matters nothing. The question is, does the educated citizen know he is only a cog in an ecological mechanism? That if he will work with that mechanism his mental wealth and his material wealth can expand indefinitely? But that if he refuses to work with it, it will ultimately grind him to dust? If education does not teach us these things, then what is education for?" -from "Natural History: The Forgotten Science" (1938)

“Modern natural history deals only incidentally with the identity of plants and animals, and only incidentally with their habits and behaviors. It deals principally with their relations to each other, their relation to the soil and water in which they grow, and their relations to the human beings who sing about ‘my country’ but see little or nothing of its inner workings. This new science of relationships is called ecology, but what we call it matters nothing. The question is, does the educated citizen know he is only a cog in an ecological mechanism? That if he will work with that mechanism his mental wealth and his material wealth can expand indefinitely? But that if he refuses to work with it, it will ultimately grind him to dust? If education does not teach us these things, then what is education for?” -from “Natural History: The Forgotten Science” (1938)

Figure 3: Aldo Leopold– author, scientist, ecologist, forester, conservationist, and environmentalist who is best known for his book A Sand County Almanac which has sold more than 2 million copies. Influential in the development of environmental ethics and in the movement for wilderness conservation. His ethics on nature and wildlife preservation had a profound impact on the environmental movement with his ecocentric and holistic ethics regarding land. Emphasized biodiversity and ecology and was the founder of the science of wildlife management.

You might've heard Glenn Miller's music at some time in your life, particularly when you see something pertaining to the 1930s or 1940s. Of course, some people might know him better because his plane went missing during WWII which has given rise to conspiracy theories.

You might’ve heard Glenn Miller’s music at some time in your life, particularly when you see something pertaining to the 1930s or 1940s. Of course, some people might know him better because his plane went missing during WWII which has given rise to conspiracy theories.

Figure 4: Glenn Miller– musician, arranger, composer, and bandleader in the swing era who was a bestselling recording artist and led one of the best known big bands. Recordings include “In the Mood”, “Moonlight Serenade”, “Pennsylvania 6-5000”, “Chattanooga Choo Choo”, “A String of Pearls”, “At Last”, “(I’ve Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo”, “American Patrol”, “Tuxedo Junction”, “Elmer’s Tune”, and “Little Brown Jug.” Also known for his plane disappearing over the English Channel which has given rise to many conspiracy theories (though in reality it was due to bad weather, pilot error, and mechanical failure).

US State Mount Rushmore: Part 2 – Colorado to Georgia

So we’re off to a great start. You might notice that you might not know some of these people I put up on the last post, especially the ones from Alaska excluding Bob Ross of course. In some states, there’s not a lot of famous people who’ve achieved national fame or made contributions that affected the country. While looking on Wikipedia, I found a lot of the people listed in some of the less populated states that are either alive or local politicians. In my second selection in this series we look at the Mount Rushmores I picked from states beginning with Colorado and ending with Georgia. From Colorado you’ll meet a blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter, a white woman who dedicated her life advocating for Native Americans, a globetrotting journalist who came with the idea of the travelogue, and a famous singer-songwriter who sang about his love of nature and his favorite state. From Connecticut, you’ll see an iconic American writer and humorist known for wearing a white suit, a woman who wrote a controversial novel that drove the country apart and into war, a man who made a fortune in his innovation of firearms, and a man who invented a device that contributed to the expansion of the institution of slavery. Next, it’s off to Delaware where you’ll find a Frenchman who founded one of the most successful American corporations, the first black woman to own a newspaper, a man who built one of the country’s most iconic buildings, and a woman who invented a family of synthetic fibers. After that is an all-black lineup in Florida with a key woman of the Harlem Renaissance, a labor organizer who arranged the March on Washington, a leader of the NAACP, and an iconic musician whose influence can still be felt in the music industry today. Finally, we get to Georgia where we’ll get to know an iconic Southern Gothic writer, another writer who wrote a novel that inspired an iconic film, a minister who helped keep the dream alive, and a man from the Harlem Renaissance who helped inspire future civil rights activist in future decades.

 

6. Colorado

As a member of the Hollywood Ten, Dalton Trumbo refused to name names and was put on the Hollywood Blacklist because of it for over a decade. Did that stop him from writing screenplays? Not a chance. In fact, his work won 2 Oscars during this period even though he couldn't claim them at the time.

As a member of the Hollywood Ten, Dalton Trumbo refused to name names and was put on the Hollywood Blacklist because of it for over a decade. Did that stop him from writing screenplays? Not a chance. In fact, his work won 2 Oscars during this period even though he couldn’t claim them at the time.

Figure 1: Dalton Trumbo– screenwriter and novelist who was a member of the Hollywood Ten who refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947 that resulted in him being blacklisted by the motion picture industry for over a decade. Yet, he continued working clandestinely eventually earning 2 Academy Awards for Roman Holiday and The Brave One (with credit given to a front writer). His public credit for scripting Exodus and Spartacus marked the end of the Hollywood Blacklist and his earlier achievements were eventually credited to him.

"If I can do one hundredth part for the Indian that Mrs. Stowe did for the Negro, I will be thankful." She was also friends with Emily Dickinson and they corresponded with each other throughout their lives since they were in school.

“If I can do one hundredth part for the Indian that Mrs. Stowe did for the Negro, I will be thankful.” She was also friends with Emily Dickinson and they corresponded with each other throughout their lives since they were in school.

Figure 2: Helen Hunt Jackson– poet and writer who became an activist on behalf of improved treatment of Native Americans by the US government. Described the adverse effects of government actions in her history A Century of Dishonor. Her novel Ramona dramatized the federal government’s mistreatment of Native Americans in Southern California during the Mexican-American War which attracted considerable attention to her cause. Though commercially popular enough to have been reprinted 300 times and attract many tourists to Southern California, most readers preferred the romantic and picturesque qualities rather than its political content. Was lifelong friends with Emily Dickinson. Buried in Colorado Springs.

While he had a long career in broadcasting, Lowell Thomas is best known as the man who made Lawrence of Arabia famous as well as filmed a travelogue depicting him that was a huge success.

While he had a long career in broadcasting, Lowell Thomas is best known as the man who made Lawrence of Arabia famous as well as filmed a travelogue depicting him that was a huge success.

Figure 3: Lowell Thomas– writer, broadcaster, and traveler who’s best known as the man who made Lawrence of Arabia famous through shooting dramatic footage, touring the world, narrating his film With Allenby in Palestine and Lawrence which was seen by 4 million people and made $1.5 million. He did this through funding by 18 Chicago filmmakers who he’d done a favor for by exposing a blackmailer (without the information becoming public) and because he wanted to find material that would encourage Americans to support WWI which wasn’t very popular with the public. Came up with the novel idea of the travelogue. Later spent his career narrating newsreels and was a newscaster for CBS and NBC radio and television. Was known to make the occasional gaffe.

"Now his life is full of wonder but his heart still knows some fear/Of a simple thing he cannot comprehend/Why they try to tear the mountains down to bring in a couple more/More people, more scars upon the land And the Colorado rocky mountain high/I've seen it raining fire in the sky/I know he'd be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly/Rocky mountain high"- from "Rocky Mountain High"

“Now his life is full of wonder but his heart still knows some fear/Of a simple thing he cannot comprehend/Why they try to tear the mountains down to bring in a couple more/More people, more scars upon the land
And the Colorado rocky mountain high/I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky/I know he’d be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly/Rocky mountain high”- from “Rocky Mountain High”

Figure 4: John Denver– singer-songwriter, activist, actor, and humanitarian. Best known as a popular acoustic artist in the 1970s and was America’s best-selling performer by 1974. Primarily sang about his joy in nature, his enthusiasm for music, and his relationship trials. Music has appeared on a variety of charts including country and western as well as adult contemporary. Signature songs “Rocky Mountain High” and “Take Me Home, Country Roads” have become state songs for Colorado and West Virginia respectively. Sang about his beloved Colorado numerous times and was honored as the state’s Poet Laureate in 1974. Activism usually focused on calling attention to environmental issues, supporting space exploration, and testifying in front of Congress against censorship.

 

7. Connecticut

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. I consider them unwise and I know they are dangerous. Also, sinful. If a man should challenge me now I would go to that man and take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet retired spot and kill him." -from his autobiography.

“I thoroughly disapprove of duels. I consider them unwise and I know they are dangerous. Also, sinful. If a man should challenge me now I would go to that man and take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet retired spot and kill him.” -from his autobiography.

Figure 1: Mark Twain– author and humorist best known for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the latter often called, “The Great American Novel” as well as has been repeatedly restricted by American high schools.  Was a master at rendering colloquial speech as well as helped create and popularize distinctive American literature built on American themes and language. Noted as “the great American humorist of his age” and called by William Faulkner as “the father of American literature.” Work continues to be rediscovered by researchers as recently as 1995 and 2015 since he wrote under so many different pen names. Often depicted as an old man in a white suit. Said to be born and die with the coming of Halley’s Comet though he did read his obituary before writing that reports of his death have been greatly exaggerated.

"We hear often of the distress of the negro servants, on the loss of a kind master; and with good reason, for no creature on God's earth is left more utterly unprotected and desolate than the slave in these circumstances." - from Uncle Tom's Cabin

“We hear often of the distress of the negro servants, on the loss of a kind master; and with good reason, for no creature on God’s earth is left more utterly unprotected and desolate than the slave in these circumstances.” – from Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Figure 2: Harriet Beecher Stowe– abolitionist and author who’s best known for her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin which depicts the harsh life of African Americans and slavery which reached millions that it energized anti-slavery forces in the North while provoking widespread anger in the South during the 1850s. Wrote 30 books including novels, 3 travel memoirs, and collections of articles and letters. Was influential for both her writings and her public stands on social issues of the day.

Samuel Colt's use of interchangeable parts allowed him to become one of the first to exploit the assembly line and make the revolver's mass production commercially viable. However, he was also a pioneer in mass marketing, advertising and product placement. It's said that for its first 25 years, his company produced over 400,000 of his trademark revolvers. Kind of makes me cringe.

Samuel Colt’s use of interchangeable parts allowed him to become one of the first to exploit the assembly line and make the revolver’s mass production commercially viable. However, he was also a pioneer in mass marketing, advertising and product placement. It’s said that for its first 25 years, his company produced over 400,000 of his trademark revolvers. Kind of makes me cringe.

Figure 3: Samuel Colt– inventor and industrialist who founded what’s now Colt’s Manufacturing Company and made the mass production of the revolver commercially viable. During the Civil War, he supplied firearms for both the North and the South and his weapons were prominent during the settling of the western frontier. His use of interchangeable parts helped him become one of the first to exploit the assembly line. His innovative use of art, celebrity endorsements, and corporate gifts to promote his wares also made him a pioneer in the fields of advertising, product placement, and mass marketing. By the time he died in 1862, he was one of the wealthiest men in America.

In many ways, Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin shows the benefits and the consequences of technological innovation. While his invention brought great wealth to the US, it strengthened the economic foundation of slavery and drove the North and South further apart and eventually to war.

In many ways, Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin shows the benefits and the consequences of technological innovation. While his invention brought great wealth to the US, it strengthened the economic foundation of slavery, drove the North and South further apart, and eventually to war.

Figure 4: Eli Whitney– inventor best known for inventing the cotton gin which was a key invention of the Industrial Revolution and shaped the economy of the Antebellum South by making upland short cotton a very profitable crop, which strengthened the economic foundation of slavery in the United States and eventually culminated into the American Civil War. Though he received fame, his invention didn’t make him rich. Also championed the idea of interchangeable parts as a maker of muskets.

 

8. Delaware

Though Éleuthère Irénée du Pont de Nemours originally founded his company as a gunpowder manufacturer, it would later become one of the largest and most successful corporations in American history. And his descendants would be one of America's richest and most prominent families. Of course, his descendant you probably remember the best is that crazy guy played by Steve Carell in Foxcatcher.

Though Éleuthère Irénée du Pont de Nemours originally founded his company as a gunpowder manufacturer, it would later become one of the largest and most successful corporations in American history. And his descendants would be one of America’s richest and most prominent families. Of course, his descendant you probably remember the best is that crazy guy played by Steve Carell in Foxcatcher.

Figure 1: Éleuthère Irénée du Pont– chemist and industrialist founded the gunpowder manufacture and future chemical conglomerate E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company which became one the largest and most successful corporations in America. His descendants, the Du Pont family have been one of America’s richest and most prominent families since the 19th century with generations of influential businessmen, politicians, and philanthropists.

With her Provincial Freeman, Mary Ann Shadd Cary became the first black woman in North America to own a newspaper and was a prominent abolitionist in the 1850s. Also worked to recruit black volunteers for the Union during the American Civil War.

With her Provincial Freeman, Mary Ann Shadd Cary became the first black woman in North America to own a newspaper and was a prominent abolitionist in the 1850s. Also worked to recruit black volunteers for the Union during the American Civil War.

Figure 2: Mary Ann Shadd Cary– anti-slavery activist, journalist, publisher, teacher, and lawyer. Was the first female African American newspaper editor and publisher in North America when she edited the Provincial Freeman in 1853. Traveled around the US and Canada advocating for full integration and self-reliance. She also advocated that free blacks move to Canada which attracted controversy. During the American Civil War, she helped enlist black volunteers for the Union Army. Became the second black woman to earn a law degree when she graduated as a lawyer at the age of 60 in 1883.

John Jakob Raskob may not have designed the Empire State Building. But he contracted the skyscraper which became the tallest building in the world at the time and the most iconic in New York City.

John Jakob Raskob may not have designed the Empire State Building. But he contracted the skyscraper which became the tallest building in the world at the time and the most iconic in New York City.

Figure 3: John Jakob Raskob– financial executive and businessman for Du Pont and General Motors, and builder of the Empire State Building. Though he was a key supporter of Alfred E. Smith as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, he was a prominent opponent of FDR’s New Deal legislation.

No, this isn't Mrs. Doubtfire doing science. This is DuPont chemist Stephanie Kwolek who invented a family of exceptionally strong synthetic fibers called Kelvar. So who says women can't invent anything?

No, this isn’t Mrs. Doubtfire doing science. This is DuPont chemist Stephanie Kwolek who invented a family of exceptionally strong synthetic fibers called Kelvar. So who says women can’t invent anything?

Figure 4: Stephanie Kwolek– chemist and inventor whose career at Du Pont spanned over 40 years and is best known for inventing the first of a family of synthetic fibers of exceptional strength and stiffness known as Kelvar which has many applications, ranging from bike tires, racing sails, and body armor. In 1995, she became the 4th woman to be added to the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

 

9. Florida

"I accept this idea of democracy. I am all for trying it out. It must be a good thing if everybody praises it like that. If our government has been willing to go to war and sacrifice billions of dollars and millions of men for the idea I think that I ought to give the thing a trial. The only thing that keeps me from pitching head long into this thing is the presence of numerous Jim Crow laws on the statute books of the nation. I am crazy about the idea of Democracy. I want to see how it feels."- from "Crazy for This Democracy" in 1945.

“I accept this idea of democracy. I am all for trying it out. It must be a good thing if everybody praises it like that. If our government has been willing to go to war and sacrifice billions of dollars and millions of men for the idea I think that I ought to give the thing a trial. The only thing that keeps me from pitching head long into this thing is the presence of numerous Jim Crow laws on the statute books of the nation. I am crazy about the idea of Democracy. I want to see how it feels.”- from “Crazy for This Democracy” in 1945.

Figure 1: Zora Neale Hurston– novelist, short story writer, folklorist, and anthropologist who wrote 4 novels and more than 50 short stories, plays, and essays. Best known work is her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. Traveled extensively through the American South, the Caribbean, and Central America to conduct anthropological research and immerse herself in the local culture. Despite being a key figure of the Harlem Renaissance, her work slid into obscurity for decades.

A. Philip Randolph had a significant impact on the Civil Rights Movement from the 1930s onward. His methods of nonviolent confrontation were employed in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and other demonstrations.

A. Philip Randolph had a significant impact on the Civil Rights Movement from the 1930s onward. His methods of nonviolent confrontation were employed in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and other demonstrations.

Figure 2: A. Philip Randolph– leader in the Civil Rights Movement, the American labor movement, and socialist political parties. Organized and led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters which was the first predominantly African American labor union. In the early Civil Rights Movement, he led the March on Washington Movement which convinced President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to issue an executive order in 1941 banning discrimination in defense industries during WWII. His group would later pressure President Harry S. Truman to issue an executive order ending discrimination in the armed forces in 1948. Head of the March on Washington at which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech and inspired the Freedom budget, which aimed to deal with economic problems facing the black community. Had a significant impact on the Civil Rights Movement with leaders in the 1950s and 1960s using tactics he pioneered like such as encouraging African-Americans to vote as a bloc, mass voter registration, and training activists for nonviolent direct action.

"Lift every voice and sing/Till earth and heaven ring,/Ring with the harmonies of Liberty./Let our rejoicing rise high as the listening skies;/Let it resound loud as the rolling sea." - from "Lift Every Voice and Sing"

“Lift every voice and sing/Till earth and heaven ring,/Ring with the harmonies of Liberty./Let our rejoicing rise high as the listening skies;/Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.” – from “Lift Every Voice and Sing”

Figure 3: James Weldon Johnson– author, educator, lawyer, diplomat, songwriter, and civil rights activist who’s best remembered for his leadership of the NAACP where he was the first African American to be chosen as executive secretary of the organization. Also established his reputation as a writer and was known during the Harlem Renaissance for his poems, novels, and anthologies collecting both poems and spirituals of black culture. Most famous work is The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man which explores the conflict between assimilation and maintaining one’s cultural identity.

"Hey mama, don't you treat me wrong,/Come and love your daddy all night long./All right now, hey hey, all right./See the girl with the diamond ring;/She knows how to shake that thing./All right now now now, hey hey, hey hey./Tell your mama, tell your pa,/I'm gonna send you back to Arkansas./Oh yes, ma'm, you don't do right, don't do right."- from "What I'd Say"

“Hey mama, don’t you treat me wrong,/Come and love your daddy all night long./All right now, hey hey, all right./See the girl with the diamond ring;/She knows how to shake that thing./All right now now now, hey hey, hey hey./Tell your mama, tell your pa,/I’m gonna send you back to Arkansas./Oh yes, ma’m, you don’t do right, don’t do right.”- from “What I’d Say”

Figure 4: Ray Charles– singer, songwriter, musician, and composer. Referred to as “The Genius” and “The High Priest of Soul,” he pioneered the genre of soul music during the 1950s combining rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into music he recorded for Atlantic records. Also contributed to the racial integration of country and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success at ABC Records as well as be one of the first African American musicians to be granted artistic control by a mainstream record company. Called by Frank Sinatra as “the only true genius in show business,” and it was often said by Billy Joel, “This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley.” Has been one of the most influential recording artists to date. Version of “Georgia On My Mind” was made the official state song of Georgia.

 

10. Georgia

While Flannery O'Connor's writings reflected her Catholic beliefs, she didn't write the kind of glurge worthy Christian stuff you see in today's Christian film industry. No, she had her characters go to a state of divine grace through pain, violence, and ludicrous behavior in the pursuit of the holy. One story involves a whole family getting stopped on the road and eventually killed by thugs. Or one pertaining to a hermaphrodite showing his or her, well, nevermind.

While Flannery O’Connor’s writings reflected her Catholic beliefs, she didn’t write the kind of glurge worthy Christian stuff you see in today’s Christian film industry. No, she had her characters go to a state of divine grace through pain, violence, and ludicrous behavior in the pursuit of the holy. One story involves a whole family getting stopped on the road and eventually killed by thugs. Or one pertaining to a hermaphrodite showing his or her, well, nevermind.

Figure 1: Flannery O’Connor– writer and essayist who was an important voice in American literature. Wrote 2 novels and 32 short stories as well as a number of reviews and commentaries. Was a Southern writer who often wrote in a Southern Gothic style and relied heavily on regional settings and grotesque characters. Her writing also reflected her own Roman Catholic faith, and frequently examined questions of morality and ethics. Was the first writer born in the 20th century to have her works collected and published in the Library of America.

Though Margaret Mitchell gets some flack about her nostaligized portrayal of the South during the American Civil War and Reconstruction in Gone With the Wind, the book continues to be popular among generations and all over the world. Mostly because it's about people. Adapted into a movie that's seen as one of the greatest films ever made.

Though Margaret Mitchell gets some flack about her nostaligized portrayal of the South during the American Civil War and Reconstruction in Gone With the Wind, the book continues to be popular among generations and all over the world. Mostly because it’s about people. Adapted into a movie that’s seen as one of the greatest films ever made.

Figure 2: Margaret Mitchell– author and journalist best known for writing Gone With the Wind for which she won a National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It has since become an American classic and adapted into one of the greatest movies of all time. Yet it has led people worldwide to incorrectly think that it was the true story of the Old South and how it was changed by the American Civil War and Reconstruction as well as the negative effects it has had on race relations by its resurrection of Lost Cause mythology.

Ralph Abernathy was a frequent collaborator and friend of Martin Luther King Jr. as well as carried on the Poor People's Campaign after his assassination. However, shortly before his death, he wrote a controversial autobiography that revealed allegations pertaining to King's marital infidelities.

Ralph Abernathy was a frequent collaborator and friend of Martin Luther King Jr. as well as carried on the Poor People’s Campaign after his assassination. However, shortly before his death, he wrote a controversial autobiography that revealed allegations pertaining to King’s marital infidelities.

Figure 3: Ralph Abernathy Sr. – Baptist minister, civil rights leader, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s closest friend who collaborated with him to create the Montgomery Improvement Association which would lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott, co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of which he became president after King’s assassination. Led the Poor People’s Campaign in Washington D. C. and served as an advisory committee member of the Congress on Racial Equality. Addressed the United Nations in 1971 on World Peace. Wrote And the Walls Came Tumbling Down: An Autobiography, a controversial autobiography about his and King’s involvement in the civil rights movement.

"There is always a certain glamour about the idea of a nation rising up to crush an evil simply because it is wrong. Unfortunately, this can seldom be realized in real life; for the very existence of the evil usually argues a moral weakness in the very place where extraordinary moral strength is called for." - from The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America, 1638-1870

“There is always a certain glamour about the idea of a nation rising up to crush an evil simply because it is wrong. Unfortunately, this can seldom be realized in real life; for the very existence of the evil usually argues a moral weakness in the very place where extraordinary moral strength is called for.” – from The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America, 1638-1870

Figure 4: W. E. B. Du Bois– sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, and editor who was the first African American to earn a doctorate and was one of the co-founders of the NAACP. As a civil rights activist, he insisted on full civil rights and increased political representation and believed that believed that African Americans needed the chances for advanced education to develop its leadership. Strongly protested against lynching, Jim Crow Laws, and discrimination in education and employment and his cause included people of color everywhere, particularly Africans and Asians in colonies. Helped organize several Pan-African Congresses to fight for independence of African colonies from European powers as well as made several trips to Europe, Africa, and Asia. After WWI, he surveyed the experiences of African American soldiers in France and documented widespread bigotry in the US military. His collection of essays The Souls of Black Folk was a seminal work of African American literature and his 1935 magnum opus Black Reconstruction in America challenged the prevailing orthodoxy that blacks were responsible for the failures of the Reconstruction Era. Wrote one of the first scientific treatises in the field of American sociology, he published three autobiographies, each of which contains insightful essays on sociology, politics and history as well as published many influential pieces in the NAACP journal he edited, The Crisis. Many of the reforms for which he had campaigned his entire life were embodied in the 1964 Civil Rights Act that was enacted a year after his death.