US State Mount Rushmore: Part 8 – Oklahoma to South Carolina

While some states might have so many famous faces to choose from, others don’t since they don’t tend to have large populations to begin with. North Dakota was one of the most difficult by far since there aren’t a lot of famous people from that state. And at one time I was considering putting Lawrence Welk until I found the guy from Texas Instruments. Nevada was another example that I almost went with Pat Nixon until I found that Louise Bryant grew up there. Anyway, in this selection I bring you some more Mount Rushmores I compiled from Oklahoma to South Carolina. From Oklahoma where the wind blows sweeping from the plains, I bring you a Cherokee with a wry sense of humor with a penchant in political satire, a Depression Era folksinger whose songs inspired later generations, a major black literary figure, and an Olympic gold medalist who had his medals taken away from him for stupid reasons. After that, it’s on to Oregon where you’ll meet a prolific jazz singer, a radical journalist, a chemist turned peace activist, a radical journalist who helped Warren Beatty win an Oscar, and a well-renown psychologist. Then, we go to my home Keystone state of Pennsylvania where we’ll acquaint ourselves with one of America’s first renaissance men, a marine biologist who warned of the dangers of pesticides, a medical scientist who stopped a major epidemic, and America’s first big time songwriter. Next, it’s off to Rhode Island where we have a yankee doodle boy on Broadway, two brothers who became distinguished naval officers, and a soldier who wrote a letter to his wife. Finally, we come to Palmetto State South Carolina where you’ll encounter a man whose ideas drove a nation apart, a woman who founded a college in Daytona Beach, a godfather of soul, and an FBI agent who was so great at his job that he earned the ire from J. Edgar Hoover.

36. Oklahoma

“The thing about my jokes is that they don’t hurt anybody. You can say they’re not funny or they’re terrible or they’re good or whatever it is, but they don’t do no harm. But with Congress — every time they make a joke it’s a law. And every time they make a law it’s a joke.”

Figure 1: Will Rogers– Cherokee cowboy, vaudeville performer, humorist, newspaper columnist, social commentator, radio personality, and stage and motion picture actor known as “Oklahoma’s Favorite Son” and was the Jon Stewart of his day as well as the highest paid Hollywood movie star. Began in vaudeville where his rope act led to success in the Ziegfeld Follies and the first of many movie contracts. Traveled around the world in which he provided Americans first-hand accounts of his travels, made 71 movies, and wrote more than 4,000 nationally syndicated newspaper columns. His earthly anecdotes and folksy style allowed him to poke fun at gangsters, prohibition, politicians, government programs, and a lot of other controversial topics in a way appreciated by a national audience with no one offended. His aphorisms, couched in humorous terms were widely quoted with “I’ve never met a man I didn’t like,” his most famous. Died in a plane crash in Alaska with Wiley Post.

“I ain’t got no home, I’m just a-roamin’ ’round,/Just a wandrin’ worker, I go from town to town./And the police make it hard wherever I may go/And I ain’t got no home in this world anymore.” -from “I Ain’t Got No Home”

Figure 2: Woody Guthrie– singer-songwriter and musician whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children’s songs, ballads and improvised works. Frequently performed with the slogan “This machine kills fascists” displayed on his guitar. “This Land Is Your Land” is his best known song and has many recordings archived in the Library of Congress. Has been acknowledged as a major influence by Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, his son Arlo, and others. Many of his songs are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression when he traveled with displaced farmers from Oklahoma to California and learned their traditional folk and blues songs, earning him the nickname “Dust Bowl Troubadour.” Was associated with US Communist groups throughout his life, though was seemingly not a member of any. In spite of spending his later years suffering from Huntington’s Disease that would later kill him, he served as a figurehead in the folk movement, providing inspiration to a generation of new folk musicians.

“I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids — and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.” -from Invisible Man (1952)

Figure 3: Ralph Ellison– novelist, literary critic, and scholar best known for Invisible Man which won the National Book Award in 1953. Also wrote Shadow and Act, a collection of political, social, and critical essays, and Going to the Territory. The New York Times said that the best of these essays in addition to the novel “among the gods of America’s literary Parnassus.” More manuscripts were discovered in his home after his death resulting in publication of Flying Home and Other Stories and Juneteenth which was a 368-page condensation of more than 2000 pages written by Ellison over a period of 40 years. And 300 pages of his manuscript for that novel were lost in a 1967 fire at his house. His Invisible Man explores the theme of man’s search for identity and place in society as seen from an unnamed African American man during the 1930s as well as the alienating effects of North and South racism.

While Jim Thorpe won his gold medals in the 1912 Olympics, he was soon stripped of them not because of steroid use, but because he earned money playing baseball. Also, I think being Native American might have something to do with it.

While Jim Thorpe won his gold medals in the 1912 Olympics, he was soon stripped of them not because of steroid use, but because he earned money playing baseball. Also, I think being Native American might have something to do with it.

Figure 4: Jim Thorpe– Sac and Fox athlete who’s considered one of the most versatile athletes of modern sports won Olympic gold medals in the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon, played American football (collegiate and professional), and played professional baseball and basketball. Lost his Olympic titles after it was found he was paid for playing 2 seasons of semi-professional baseball before competing in the Olympics, thus violating the stupid bullshit amateurism rules that were in place (and racism). The International Olympic Committee (IOC) restored his Olympic medals 30 years after his death. Was nominally the first president of the American Professional Football Association (APFA) from 1920-21, which would become the National Football League (NFL) in 1922. Played professional sports until he was 41. Voted the Greatest Athlete of the 20th Century in an ABC poll.

37. Oregon

“Two weeks ago today,/My daddy went away,/And promised me to write every night./Now you know how they are,/When they get away so far,/They just can’t treat a gal right,/Now all I do is sit and wait,/Thinkin’ his love has turned to hate.”-from “Mail Man Blues” (1924)

Figure 1: Lee Morse– jazz and blues singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actress whose greatest popularity was in the 1920s and 1930s as a torch singer (though her career began in 1917 and ended with her sudden death in 1954). Known for her strong, deep singing voice and vocal range, which often belied her petite frame and possessed a contralto vocal range, and one of her trademarks was her unique style of yodeling. Her early recordings labeled her as “Miss Lee Morse” so the public wouldn’t mistake her for a guy. Recording over 200 songs over her career she was one of the most recorded female singers of the 1920s. But her career declined due to alcoholism, illness, and her boyfriend dumping her for a stripper. Was also moderately successful as an actress on the Broadway stage and made 3 one-reel films. Most famous song is “If You Want the Rainbow.”

Linus Pauling is the only man in world to have ever won two unshared Nobel Prizes. The first was in Chemistry for his research in chemical bonding. His second was in Peace for his activism against weapons of mass destruction. His only regret was that his wife Ava wasn't awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with him since she was deeply involved in peace work.

Linus Pauling is the only man in world to have ever won two unshared Nobel Prizes. The first was in Chemistry for his research in chemical bonding. His second was in Peace for his activism against weapons of mass destruction. His only regret was that his wife Ava wasn’t awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with him since she was deeply involved in peace work.

Figure 2: Linus Pauling– chemist, biochemist, peace activist, author, and educator who published more than 1200 papers and books, of which about 850 dealt with scientific topics and was one of the founders of the fields of quantum chemistry and molecular biology. Was awarded the 1954 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his scientific work in chemical bonding and the 1962 Nobel Peace Prize for his peace activism calling for an end of nuclear weapons testing and war itself, making him the only person to be awarded 2 unshared Nobel Peace Prizes, only one of 4 individuals to win more than one Nobel Prize, and the only one of 2 to be awarded Nobel Prizes in different fields. Also worked on DNA’s structure. As been listed among the greatest scientists of all time.

Despite being brought up in a life of privilege, John Reed would be well known for his radical politics as much as his journalism. After he died, he was buried near the Kremlin wall, became an international symbol of Bolshevism, and was the subject of a movie directed and starring Warren Beatty.

Despite being brought up in a life of privilege, John Reed would be well known for his radical politics as much as his journalism. After he died, he was buried near the Kremlin wall, became an international symbol of Bolshevism, and was the subject of a movie directed and starring Warren Beatty.

Figure 3: John Reed– journalist, poet, and socialist activist, best remembered for his first-hand account of the Bolshevik Revolution, Ten Days That Shook the World. Died in Russia in 1920 with wife Louise Bryant by his side, and was buried at the Kremlin Wall Necropolis, one of only two Americans to have been given this honor in Russia. For the Communist movement to which he belonged, he became a symbol of the international nature of the Bolshevik revolution, a martyr buried at the Kremlin wall amidst solemn fanfare, his name to be uttered reverently as a member of the radical pantheon.

Elias Porter was notable psychologist whose findings contributed to Carl Rogers' client-centered therapy. His primary contributions were in areas of non-directive approaches, relationship awareness theory and psychometric tests.

Elias Porter was notable psychologist whose findings contributed to Carl Rogers’ client-centered therapy. His primary contributions were in areas of non-directive approaches, relationship awareness theory and psychometric tests.

Figure 4: Elias Porter– psychologist whose primary contributions to the field were in the areas of non-directive approaches, relationship awareness theory and psychometric tests. His career included military, government, business and clinical settings as well as helped contribute to Rogers’ client-centered therapy which has proven to be an effective and popular treatment.

38. Pennsylvania

“I think opinions should be judged of by their influences and effects; and if a man holds none that tend to make him less virtuous or more vicious, it may be concluded that he holds none that are dangerous, which I hope is the case with me.” -from a letter to his father in 1738

Figure 1: Benjamin Franklin– Founding Father and renown polymath who was a leading author, printer, journalist, publisher, political theorist, politician, Freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. Was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity as well as invented lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions. Also facilitated many civic organizations, including Philadelphia’s fire department and a university. Earned the title of “The First American” for his early and indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity, initially as an author and spokesman in London for several colonies. Was foundational in defining the American ethos as a marriage of the practical values of thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, self-governing institutions, and opposition to authoritarianism both political and religious, with the scientific and tolerant values of the Enlightenment. Became a successful newspaper editor and printer in Philadelphia publishing the Pennsylvania Chronicle, Poor Richard’s Almanack, and the Pennsylvania Gazette. Played a major role in establishing the University of Pennsylvania and became a national hero in America when, as an agent for several colonies, he spearheaded an effort in London to have the Parliament of Great Britain repeal the unpopular Stamp Act. As an accomplished diplomat, he was he was widely admired among the French as American minister to Paris and was a major figure in the development of positive Franco-American relations with his efforts securing support for the American Revolution by shipments of crucial munitions proving vital for the American war effort. As the British postmaster for the colonies, he set up the first national communications network. Played a major role in the development of the Declaration Independence which he signed as well as the US Constitution. His colorful life and legacy of scientific and political achievement, and status as one of America’s most influential Founding Fathers.

“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.” -from Silent Spring (1962)

Figure 2: Rachel Carson– marine biologist, conservationist and nature writer whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement. Began her career as an aquatic biologist in the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, and became a full-time nature writer in the 1950s when her 1951 bestseller won her a National Book Award, recognition as a gifted writer, and financial security. Her next book The Edge of the Sea and the issued version of her first book Under the Sea Wind, were also bestsellers. These books comprise of a sea trilogy that explores the whole of ocean life from the shores to the depths. Best known for Silent Spring which highlighted the environmental problems that she believed were caused by synthetic pesticides (which were verified by experts) and brought environmental concerns to an unprecedented share of the American people. While her book met with fierce opposition by chemical companies, it spurred a reversal in national pesticide policy, which led to a nationwide ban on DDT and other pesticides, and it inspired a grassroots environmental movement that led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“Nothing happens quite by chance. It’s a question of accretion of information and experience … it’s just chance that I happened to be here at this particular time when there was available and at my disposal the great experience of all the investigators who plodded along for a number of years.”

Figure 3: Jonas Salk– medical researcher and virologist who discovered and developed the first successful polio vaccine which was considered one of the most frightening public health problems in the world at the time with annual epidemics increasingly devastating in the postwar US. When news of the vaccine’s success was made public on April 12, 1955, Salk was hailed as a “miracle worker” and the day almost became a national holiday. Campaigned for mandatory vaccination, claiming that public health should be considered a “moral commitment.” His sole focus had been to develop a safe and effective vaccine as rapidly as possible, with no interest in personal profit. When asked who owned the patent to it, Salk said, “There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?” Founded the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, which is today a center for medical and scientific research. Spent his last years searching for a vaccine against HIV.

“Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me,/Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee;/Sounds of the rude world heard in the day,/Lull’d by the moonlight have all pass’d away.” -from “Beautiful Dreamer” (1862)

Figure 4: Stephen Foster– songwriter called “the father of American music” primarily known for his parlor and minstrel music. Wrote over 200 songs; among his best-known are “Oh! Susanna”, “Camptown Races”, “Old Folks at Home”, “My Old Kentucky Home”, “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair”, “Old Black Joe”, and “Beautiful Dreamer,” many of which remained popular more than 150 years after he wrote them and are thought to be autobiographical. Has been identified as “the most famous songwriter of the nineteenth century,” and may be the most recognizable American composer in other countries. Compositions are sometimes referred to as “childhood songs” because they are included in the music curriculum of early education. While most of his handwritten music manuscripts are lost, copies printed by publishers of his day can be found in various collections.

39. Rhode Island

“Give my regards to Broadway, remember me to Herald Square,/Tell all the gang at Forty-Second Street, that I will soon be there;/Whisper of how I’m yearning to mingle with the old time throng;/Give my regards to old Broadway and say that I’ll be there ere long.” – From “Give My Regards to Broadway” (1904)

Figure 1: George M. Cohan– entertainer, playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, dancer and producer who began his career in vaudeville as a child performing with his parents and sister in an act known as “The Four Cohans” and later wrote, composed, produced, and appeared in more than three dozen Broadway musicals. Published more than 300 songs during his lifetime, including the standards “Over There”, “Give My Regards to Broadway”, “The Yankee Doodle Boy” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” Displayed remarkable theatrical longevity, appearing in films until the 1930s, and continuing to perform as a headline artist until 1940. In the decade before WWI, he was known as “the man who owned Broadway” and is considered the father of American musical comedy. Originated his famous curtain speech: “My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I thank you.”

No, this isn't the guy who played Chandler from Friends. This is Commodore Matthew Perry who played a leading role in the opening of Japan in the 1850s. Also played a key role in modernizing the US Navy.

No, this isn’t the guy who played Chandler from Friends. This is Commodore Matthew Perry who played a leading role in the opening of Japan in the 1850s. Also played a key role in modernizing the US Navy.

Figure 2: Matthew C. Perry– commodore in the US Navy and commanded a number of ships. Served in several wars, most notably in the Mexican–American War and the War of 1812 as well as played a leading role in the opening of Japan to the West with the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854. Was very concerned with the education of naval officers and helped develop an apprentice system which helped establish the curriculum at the US Naval Academy. Became a leading advocate of modernizing the US Navy in the advent of the steam engine as well as came to be considered “The Father of the Steam Navy.”

“We have met the enemy and they are ours. Two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop.”- Dispatch to William Henry Harrison after the Battle of Lake Erie (1813). Of course, he’s Matthew Perry’s better looking brother. But he didn’t live too long since he died of yellow fever in Trinidad.

Figure 3: Oliver Hazard Perry– naval commander who served in the West Indies during the Quasi War with France, the Mediterranean during the Barbary Wars, and in the Caribbean fighting piracy and the slave trade. But is best known for his heroic role in the War of 1812 during the Battle of Lake Erie, earning the title “Hero of Lake Erie” for his leadership materially aiding the successful outcomes of all nine Lake Erie military campaign victories, and the fleet victory was a turning point in the battle for the west in the War of 1812. Remembered for the words on his battle flag, “Don’t Give Up the Ship” and his message to General William Henry Harrison which reads in part, “We have met the enemy and they are ours; …” So seminal was his career that he was lionized in the press (being the subject of scores of books and articles), has been heavily memorialized, and many places and ships have been named in his honor. Post war years were marred by controversies.

“But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the brightest day and in the darkest night—amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours—always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.
Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for me, for we shall meet again.” – from a letter to his wife (1861). He doesn’t come back.

Figure 4: Sullivan Ballou– lawyer, politician, and an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War best remembered for that eloquent letter he wrote to his wife Sarah one week before he fought in the First Battle of Bull Run where he was killed, which was found in his trunk and may never have been mailed. It was reclaimed and delivered to his widow by Rhode Island’s governor. Reading this letter is guaranteed to make you cry.

40. South Carolina

John C. Calhoun was the kind of politician who was a political cancer on the US government during the antebellum period. His strong defense of slavery and his advocacy on nullification would influence southern secessionists. Among our American politicians in history, I would put Calhoun as one of the worst.

Figure 1: John C. Calhoun– statesman and political theorist who’s best known for his strong defense of free trade and slavery, his distrust of majoritarianism, and for leading the South toward secession from the Union. As Vice President, he had a difficult relationship with Jackson due primarily to the Nullification Crisis and Peggy Eaton Affair. Nicknamed the “cast-iron man” for his ideological rigidity built his reputation as a political theorist. His concept of republicanism emphasized approval of slavery and minority rights, with the Southern states the minority in question. Supported states’ rights and nullification, through which states could declare null and void federal laws viewed as unconstitutional. Called for a concurrent majority whereby the minority could sometimes block proposals that it felt infringed on their liberties via filibuster. Was a strong proponent of slavery, which he defended as a “positive good” rather than as a “necessary evil.” His positions are credited with influencing Southern secessionists and starting the American Civil War.

Rising from poverty by getting an education, Mary McLeod Bethune would go on to found a school that would become Bethune-Cookman University. As president of her school, she maintained high standards as well as attracted tourists and donors by demonstrating what educated African Americans could do.

Rising from poverty by getting an education, Mary McLeod Bethune would go on to found a school that would become Bethune-Cookman University. As president of her school, she maintained high standards as well as attracted tourists and donors by demonstrating what educated African Americans could do.

Figure 2: Mary McLeod Bethune– educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian and civil rights activist best known for starting a private school for African-American students in Daytona Beach, Florida. Attracted donations of time and money, and developed the academic school as a college which became Bethune-Cookman University of which she was president from 1932-1942 and 1946-47 and was one of the few women in the world to serve as a college president at that time. Born of slave parents and started working in the cotton fields at the age 5, she took an early interest in becoming educated and was able to attend college with the help of benefactors. At her school she maintained high standards and promoted the school with tourists and donors, to demonstrate what educated African Americans could do. Was also active in women’s clubs, which were strong civic organizations supporting welfare and other needs, and became a national leader. As the member of the Black Cabinet, she advised FDR on concerns of black people and helped share his message and achievements with black voters in the north (since Southern blacks had largely been disenfranchised since the turn of the century).

“Wo! I feel good, I knew that I wouldn’t of/I feel good, I knew that I wouldn’t of/So good, so good, I got you”-from “I Got You” (1966)

Figure 3: James Brown– singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer and bandleader known as the founding father of funk music and a major figure of 20th century popular music and dance. Referred to as the “Godfather of Soul” he influenced the development of several music genres in a career that spanned 6 decades. Best known songs are “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” “I Got You,” “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” “Please, Please, Please,” “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud,” “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine,” and “Living in America.” Also built a reputation as a tireless live performer with the Famous Flames and his backing band, sometimes known as the James Brown Band or the James Brown Orchestra.

Called,

Called, “Little Mel” because of his short stature, FBI Agent Melvin Purvis led manhunts that tracked some of the highest profile criminals of the Great Depression. And the only thing that could get in his way is J. Edgar Hoover’s bruised ego.

Figure 4: Melvin Purvis– law enforcement official and FBI agent called “Little Mel” due to his short stature but is noted for leading the manhunts that tracked such outlaws as Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, and John Dillinger. However, while his feats brought him considerable fame, J. Edgar Hoover once demoted him because he was jealous of the publicity he was getting, only to call him back when his replacement was shot by Baby Face Nelson. Served in the US Army as an intelligence officer during World War II, reaching the rank of colonel, assisting with compiling evidence against Nazi leaders during the Nuremburg trials.

Advertisements

US State Mount Rushmore: Part 7 – New Mexico to Ohio

I know you might be surprised to find out that the guy behind Mount Rushmore was a member of the KKK or that Charles Lindbergh had 3 secret families in Europe. But we have to acknowledge that our historical figures aren’t perfect. They’re just human beings in their own time like the rest of us. Besides, how many presidents were slave owners? Does this mean we should judge them as horrible people? Nevertheless, just because some historical figure may be racist that doesn’t mean we should take down certain monuments in honor of them, just as long they didn’t leave much of a negative legacy pertaining to race. For instance, while there were some students who wanted Woodrow Wilson’s statue removed from Princeton due to his deep seated racism and I can’t blame them for it, we have to acknowledge Wilson did do a lot of good things, many of which have a positive impact today such as his Fourteen Points and the Federal Reserve which our country needed. And that’s why I don’t think his statue should be removed. If there’s a famous American’s statue that should be removed, I’d recommend a more suitable candidate like Jefferson Davis or John C. Calhoun. Moving on, in this installment, I’ll bring you of my own Mount Rushmores from New Mexico to Ohio. First, in the southwest, we come to New Mexico where we’ll meet a noted frontiersman whose legend surpassed his stature, an artist known paintings with Freudian interpretations, a scientist who led a team building weapons of mass destruction, and the most famous teenage hoodlum. Second, it’s off to Empire State New York, where you’ll get to know 3 Roosevelts and a man who’s now the subject of a hit hip hop Broadway musical. Third, we come to North Carolina where we’ll get to see a legendary jazz musician, a legendary newscaster, an entertaining short story writer, and a First Lady who set the standards of a White House hostess. Then there’s North Dakota where we’ll meet a female jazz singer, a French adventurer, an overlooked Native American war hero, and a co-founder of a calculator company. Finally, we’re on to the Buckeye State of Ohio where you’ll find two brothers who learned to fly, a man on the moon, a general who saved the Union, and a lovable domestic terrorist.

 

31. New Mexico

Kit Carson was such a legend in American history even in his own lifetime, that many people tend to mistake him as a fictional character. However, he certainly, but he wasn't kind of guy he's often perceived. For instance, while he was an Indian fighter, he didn't hate Indians. He was also short, not ruggedly built, and illiterate.

Kit Carson was such a legend in American history even in his own lifetime, that many people tend to mistake him as a fictional character. However, he certainly, but he wasn’t kind of guy he’s often perceived even when he was alive. For instance, while he was an Indian fighter, he didn’t hate Indians. He was also short, had fine features, and couldn’t read or write. His slight stature often took his fans by surprise, including one by the name of William Tecumseh Sherman.

Figure 1: Kit Carson– frontiersman who worked as a fur, wilderness guide, Indian agent, and army officer who became a frontier legend in his own lifetime via biographies and news articles as well as exaggerated versions exploits being subject to dime novels. His time as a fur trapper in the Rocky Mountains where he lived and married among the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes led to John C. Fremont hiring him as a guide on an expedition that covered much of California, Oregon, and the Great Basin area. Through Fremont’s accounts, he’d achieve national fame. Also participated in the uprising against Mexican rule in California as well as served as a scout and courier in the Mexican-American War for his rescue mission after the Battle of San Pasqual and for his coast-to-coast journey from California to Washington, DC to deliver news of the conflict in California to the U.S. government. And during the American Civil War, he led a Union regiment of mostly Hispanic volunteers from New Mexico at the Battle of Valverde in 1862 and later led forces to suppress the Navajo, Mescalero Apache, and the Kiowa and Comanche Indians.

Georgia O'Keeffe is often well known for her paintings pertaining to skyscrapers, flowers, desert skulls, and Freudian interpretations. Of course, her flower paintings are often seen as veiled illusions of female genitalia. Yet, in reality, they're actually plant genitalia because that's what flowers are.

Georgia O’Keeffe is often well known for her paintings pertaining to skyscrapers, flowers, desert skulls, and Freudian interpretations. Of course, her flower paintings are often seen as veiled illusions of female genitalia. Yet, in reality, they’re actually plant genitalia because that’s what flowers are.

Figure 2: Georgia O’Keeffe– artist best known for her paintings of enlarged vaginalike flowers, New York skyscrapers, and New Mexico landscapes who’s been recognized as the “Mother of American modernism.” A lot of her work has been subject to Freudian interpretation as well as undertones pertaining to sex and death.

When the first atomic bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945 during the Trinity test in New Mexico, J. Robert Oppenheimer remarked later that it reminded him of the words from the Bhagavad Gita: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." After the atom bomb drops on Japan, he'd later feel that he had blood on his hands.

When the first atomic bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945 during the Trinity test in New Mexico, J. Robert Oppenheimer remarked later that it reminded him of the words from the Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” After the atom bomb drops on Japan, he’d later feel that he had blood on his hands. Also sounded like Fred Rogers, by the way.

Figure 3: J. Robert Oppenheimer– theoretical physicist and professor who was the head of the Los Alamos Laboratory and is among those who are called “father of the atomic bomb” for their role in the Manhattan project which developed the first nuclear weapons used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the war, he became chairman of the influential General Advisory Committee of the newly created United States Atomic Energy Commission, and used that position to lobby for international control of nuclear power to avert nuclear proliferation and a nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. But after provoking ire from many politicians for his outspoken opinions during McCarthyism, he suffered the revocation of his security clearance in a much-publicized hearing in 1954, and was effectively stripped of his direct political influence. His achievements in physics include the Born–Oppenheimer approximation for molecular wavefunctions, work on the theory of electrons and positrons, the Oppenheimer–Phillips process in nuclear fusion, and the first prediction of quantum tunneling as well as made important contributions to the modern theory of neutron stars and black holes, as well as to quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, and the interactions of cosmic rays. Remembered as a founding father of the American school of theoretical physics that gained world prominence.

In many respects, the main reasons why Billy the Kid became an outlaw had more to do with being poor and having no one to care for him at a young age. When he got a chance to go straight, he usually took it. While his daring prison escape made him a legend, I tend to see him as a tragic figure.

In many respects, the main reasons why Billy the Kid became an outlaw had more to do with being poor and having no one to care for him at a young age. When he got a chance to go straight, he usually took it. While his daring prison escape made him a legend, I tend to see him as a tragic figure.

Figure 4: Billy the Kid– Old West gunfighter and outlaw who participated in New Mexico’s Lincoln County War and is known to have killed eight men. An outlaw and fugitive since adolescence, his notoriety grew when the Las Vegas, New Mexico’s Las Vegas Gazette and the New York Sun carried stories about his crimes. Though captured by Sheriff Pat Garrett where he was convicted of killing Sheriff William J. Brady and sentenced to hang, he escaped from jail in April 1881, killing 2 sheriff’s deputies in the process evaded capture for more than 2 months before Garrett ultimately shot and killed him that July. His legend grew over the next several decades that he didn’t die that night with a number of men claiming to be him.

 

32. New York

"A good many of you are probably acquainted with the old proverb, “Speak softly and carry a big stick — you will go far.” If a man continually blusters, if he lacks civility, a big stick will not save him from trouble, and neither will speaking softly avail, if back of the softness there does not lie strength, power." -from a speech in 1901. He actually said this before he was president, by the way. Still, while he did have his faults, you can't hate this guy.

“A good many of you are probably acquainted with the old proverb, “Speak softly and carry a big stick — you will go far.” If a man continually blusters, if he lacks civility, a big stick will not save him from trouble, and neither will speaking softly avail, if back of the softness there does not lie strength, power.” -from a speech in 1901. He actually said this before he was president, by the way. Still, while he did have his faults, you can’t hate this guy.

Figure 1: Theodore Roosevelt– statesman, author, explorer, soldier, naturalist, and reformer who served as president from 1901-1909. Successfully overcame his childhood health problems by embracing a strenuous lifestyle as well as integrated his exuberant personality, vast range of interests, and world-famous achievements into a “cowboy” persona defined by robust masculinity. His first book of many The Naval War of 1812 established him as both a learned historian and a popular writer. Escaped to the wilderness of the American West and operated a cattle ranch for some time in the Dakotas. Gained national fame for courage during the Spanish–American War serving with the Rough Riders. As president, he led his party and country into the Progressive Era championing his “Square Deal” domestic policies, promising the average citizen fairness, breaking of trusts, regulation of railroads, and pure food and drugs. With conservation a top priority, he established myriad new national parks, forests, and monuments intended to preserve the nation’s natural resources. His foreign policy focused on Central America where he began construction of the Panama Canal, greatly expanded the US Navy, and sent the Great White Fleet on a world tour to project the United States’ naval power around the globe, and made an effort to end the Russo-Japanese War which won him the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize. After his presidency, went on a safari to Africa and toured Europe. Founded his Progressive “Bull Moose” Party in 1912 after failing to gain the Republican nomination for a third term as well as survived an assassination attempt that year in the most badass way imaginable. Later led a 2 year expedition in the Amazon Basin, nearly dying of tropical disease. Has been consistently ranked by scholars as one of the greatest US presidents while his colorful personality and interesting life has made him one of the most memorable. Catchphrase is “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” His family was also quite badass with his oldest son receiving the Medal of Honor for leading troops on the beaches of Normandy during WWII while his niece was none other than Eleanor Roosevelt herself.

"So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory."- from his first inaugural address (1933)

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.”- from his first inaugural address (1933)

Figure 2: Franklin Delano Roosevelt– president from 1933-1945 who won a record 4 presidential elections and dominated his party for many years as a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the US during a time of worldwide economic depression and total war. His program for relief, recovery, and reform known as the New Deal involved a great expansion of the role of federal government in the economy with major surviving programs including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Wagner Act, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Social Security. As leader of the Democratic Party, he built the New Deal Coalition, bringing together and uniting labor unions, big city machines, white ethnics, African Americans, and rural Southern whites to support the party that significantly realigned the American politics after 1932, creating the Fifth Party System as well as defined American liberalism throughout the middle third of the 20th century. Key moments in his pre-presidential career include his marriage to Eleanor Roosevelt, opposing Tammany Hall, his time as Assistant Secretary of the Navy during WWI, trying to recover from debilitating polio that struck him in 1921, and his time as Governor of New York. Administration saw repeal of Prohibition, massive Supreme Court backlash on New Deal programs that resulted in his court packing scheme, the Dust Bowl, many public works projects like the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, WII, Japanese American internment camps, and the Yalta Conference. Often ranked by scholars as one of the top three U.S. Presidents, along with Abraham Lincoln and George Washington as well as possibly seen as the greatest US president of the 20th century.

"At all times, day by day, we have to continue fighting for freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom from want — for these are things that must be gained in peace as well as in war." - from (1943)

“At all times, day by day, we have to continue fighting for freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom from want — for these are things that must be gained in peace as well as in war.” – from (1943)

Figure 3: Eleanor Roosevelt– politician, diplomat, and activist as well as the longest-serving First Lady who later served as US Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly from 1945-1952. Was called by Harry S. Truman as “First Lady of the World” in tribute to her human rights achievements. As a teenager, she overcame a very unhappy childhood losing a father who was womanizing alcoholic and a mother disappointed in her because she wasn’t pretty enough along with a younger brother as well as who knows what she went through at her grandma’s before she blossomed while attending finishing school in England. While her marriage to her fifth cousin Franklin was complicated with his affair with Lucy Mercer and his controlling mother, she found a way to fulfill herself by taking up social work and social causes as well as ultimately persuaded her husband to stay in politics and began regularly making public appearances on his behalf throughout his public career in government. As First Lady, she significantly reshaped and redefined the role of that office during her tenure and beyond for future First Ladies. While widely respected in later years, she was controversial for her outspokenness, particularly for her stance on racial issues. Was the first presidential spouse to hold press conferences, write a syndicated newspaper column, and speak at a national convention. Publicly disagreed with her husband’s policies on a few occasions. Advocated for expanded roles for women in the workplace, the civil rights of African Americans and Asian Americans, and the rights of World War II refugees. Remained active in politics after her husband’s death and for the rest of her life. Pressed the US to join the United Nations where she became its first US delegate serving as the first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights, and oversaw the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. By the time of her death, was regarded as “one of the most esteemed women in the world”; she was called “the object of almost universal respect” in her New York Times obituary.

"Unless your government is respectable, foreigners will invade your rights; and to maintain tranquillity you must be respectable; even to observe neutrality you must have a strong government." -from (1788) stumping for ratification for the US Constitution, no doubt. Alexander Hamilton knew the value of a strong central government.

“Unless your government is respectable, foreigners will invade your rights; and to maintain tranquillity you must be respectable; even to observe neutrality you must have a strong government.” -from (1788) stumping for ratification for the US Constitution, no doubt. Alexander Hamilton knew the value of a strong central government and a strong central economic system.

Figure 4: Alexander Hamilton– Founding Father who rose to chief staff aide to General George Washington during the American Revolution, one of the most influential interpreters and promoters of the U.S. Constitution, founder of the first voter-based political party called the Federalist Party, Father of the US Coast Guard, and first Secretary of the Treasury. Born out of wedlock and orphaned at a young age in the West Indies, he came to New York as a student at King’s College (now Columbia University), rose to captain during the American Revolution, and becoming Washington’s most senior aide after being sent on numerous important missions to tell generals what his boss wanted. Helped achieve ratification of the US Constitution by writing 51 of the 85 installments of The Federalist Papers, which to this day are the single most important reference for Constitutional interpretation as well as set precedents for federal authority that are still used by the courts. As Treasury Secretary, he made immeasurable contributions to the nation’s financial system by having the Federal government assume states’ debts, payment of war bonds, the establishment of a national bank, a system of tariffs, creation of a mechanism to collect taxes, and friendly trade relations with Britain. His monetary policy saved the fledgling US from financial ruin. Could’ve risen to the presidency had he not have been involved in a sex scandal that came out in 1797 that ruined his reputation. Opposed John Adams’ reelection in 1800 which led to a tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr and later lobbied his fellow Federalist congressmen to side with Jefferson despite philosophical differences mainly because he saw Burr as an unprincipled opportunist. Burr later killed him in a duel.

 

33. North Carolina

On his saxophone, John Coltrane became an iconic figure in jazz who has influenced innumerable musicians. His death at 40 from liver cancer in 1967 shocked many in the musical community.

On his saxophone, John Coltrane became an iconic figure in jazz who has influenced innumerable musicians. His death at 40 from liver cancer in 1967 shocked many in the musical community.

Figure 1: John Coltrane– jazz saxophonist and composer who helped pioneer the use of modes in jazz and was later at the forefront of free jazz. Led at least 50 recording sessions during his career and appeared as a sideman on many albums of other musicians including Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk. His music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension influencing innumerable musicians, and remains one of the most significant saxophonists in music history. Posthumous honors include canonization by the African Orthodox Church and a special Pulitzer Prize in 2007.

"We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn't create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it — and rather successfully. Cassius was right. "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves." Good night, and good luck." -from his broadcast on See It Now from 1954.

“We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn’t create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it — and rather successfully. Cassius was right. “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” Good night, and good luck.” -from his broadcast on See It Now from 1954.

Figure 2: Edward R. Murrow– broadcast journalist who first came to prominence with a series of radio broadcasts for the news division of CBS during WWII which were followed by millions of listeners in the US as well as assembled a team of foreign correspondents as the Murrow Boys. As a pioneer in TV news broadcasting, he produced a series of reports that helped lead to the censure of Senator Joseph McCarthy. However, his hard-hitting approach to the news and willingness to cover controversial subjects cost him influence in the world of television as well as eventually got his show canceled. Considered one of journalism’s greatest figures for his honesty and integrity in delivering the news by many except the sensationalist cable news networks, particularly Fox News.

"I know you. I have heard of you all my life. I know now what a scourge you have been to your country. Instead of killing fools you have been murdering the youth and genius that are necessary to make a people live and grow great." - from "The Fool Killer" (1908)

“I know you. I have heard of you all my life. I know now what a scourge you have been to your country. Instead of killing fools you have been murdering the youth and genius that are necessary to make a people live and grow great.” – from “The Fool Killer” (1908)

Figure 3: O. Henry– short story writer whose tales were known for their wit, wordplay, warm characterization, and surprise endings. Writing career took off while he was serving a 5 year prison sentence for embezzlement where he had 14 stories published under various pseudonyms but was later released good behavior after 3. Based many of his stories in his own time in New York City and mostly deal with ordinary people though his characters can be roaming the cattle-lands of Texas, exploring the art of the con-man, or investigating the tensions of class and wealth in turn-of-the-century New York. Had an inimitable hand for isolating some element of society and describing it with an incredible economy and grace of language. Best known works are “The Gift of the Magi,” “The Ransom of Red Chief,” “The Cop and the Anthem,” “A Retrieved Reformation,” “The Duplicity of Hargraves,” and “The Caballero’s Way.” Coined the term, “banana republic.”

Dolley Madison is one of the best known First Ladies who helped boost her husband's popularity with her iconic style and social presence, hosted the first inaugural ball in Washington D.C., and saved a portrait of George Washington when the British torched the White House during the War of 1812. Still, in 1794, 43-year-old James Madison managed to shock everyone by marrying her.

Dolley Madison is one of the best known First Ladies who helped boost her husband’s popularity with her iconic style and social presence, hosted the first inaugural ball in Washington D.C., and saved a portrait of George Washington when the British torched the White House during the War of 1812. Still, in 1794, 43-year-old James Madison managed to shock everyone by marrying her. And she was my age at the time.

Figure 4: Dolley Madison– First Lady and wife of James Madison who was noted for her social graces which boosted her husband’s popularity during his presidency and did much to define the role of the President’s spouse. Also helped to furnish the newly constructed White House and is credited with saving the classic portrait of George Washington when the British set fire to the White House in 1814 during the War of 1812. Before her husband’s presidency, she sometimes served as First Lady to Thomas Jefferson for official ceremonial functions.

 

34. North Dakota

From vocalist to her local radio station to singing with Benny Goodman's big band, Peggy Lee would become a noted multi-faceted artist and performer writing music for films, acting, and creating conceptual record albums. On Lady and the Tramp, she not only sang, but also wrote some songs as well as provided the voices of 4 characters. Why she was omitted from the Oscars in memoriam roll in 2002, I have no idea.

From vocalist to her local radio station to singing with Benny Goodman’s big band, Peggy Lee would become a noted multi-faceted artist and performer writing music for films, acting, and creating conceptual record albums. On Lady and the Tramp, she not only sang, but also wrote some songs as well as provided the voices of 4 characters. Why she was omitted from the Oscars in memoriam roll in 2002, I have no idea.

Figure 1: Peggy Lee– jazz and popular music singer, songwriter, composer, and actress in a career spanning 6 decades. From her beginning as local radio vocalist to singing with Benny Goodman’s band, she forged a sophisticated persona, evolving into a multi-faceted artist and performer. Wrote music for films, acted, and created conceptual record albums-encompassing jazz, chamber, pop, and art songs. Was among the first of the “old guard” to recognized rock n’roll and recorded with The Beatles, Randy Newman, Carole King, and James Taylor and others. Was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Pete Kelly’s Blues. But is better known for her work in Lady and the Tramp where she wrote songs, supplied the singing, and did the speaking voices of 4 characters.

While the Marquis de Mores only spent 3 years in North Dakota's Badlands, he did manage to leave an impression. He's also said to challenge Teddy Roosevelt to a duel.

While the Marquis de Mores only spent 3 years in North Dakota’s Badlands, he did manage to leave an impression. He’s also said to challenge Teddy Roosevelt to a duel.

Figure 2: Marquis de Mores– famous duelist, frontier ranchman in the Badlands of Dakota Territory during the final years of the American Old West era, a railroad pioneer in Vietnam, and an anti-Semitic politician in his native France. Tried to revolutionize the ranching industry by shipping refrigerated meat to Chicago by railroad, thus bypassing the Chicago stockyards by building a meat packing plant for this purpose in a town he founded in 1883 and named after his wife Medora (which failed, by the way). Notoriously sent Theodore Roosevelt what the latter interpreted as a challenge to a duel though nothing came of it. Was called the “Emperor of the Bad Lands.” After he left the Dakota Territory, was embroiled in political controversies for the remainder of his life before being assassinated in North Africa which prompted no enquiries or serious attempts to put his murderers to justice.

A combat veteran in 2 wars, Woodrow W. Keeble managed to single-handedly destroy 3 enemy machine gun bunkers and kill an additional 7 in nearby trenches during the Korean War. However, it would take a long campaign by his family an congressional delegations to award him with the Medal of Honor he so richly deserved. Perhaps being an Indian had something to do with it.

A combat veteran in 2 wars, Woodrow W. Keeble managed to single-handedly destroy 3 enemy machine gun bunkers and kill an additional 7 in nearby trenches during the Korean War. However, it would take a long campaign by his family an congressional delegations to award him with the Medal of Honor he so richly deserved. Perhaps being an Indian had something to do with it.

Figure 3: Woodrow W. Keeble– member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation who was a US Army National Guard combat veteran of both WWII and the Korean War. Following a long campaign by his family and the congressional delegations of both North and South Dakota he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on October 20, 1951 in which he single-handedly destroyed three enemy machine-gun bunkers and killed an additional seven enemy soldiers in nearby trenches. Had he been white, not only would he have received a Medal of Honor in his own lifetime, but also get his own Hollywood movie.

As a co-founder of Texas Instruments, Patrick E. Haggerty turned an small Texas oil exploration company into the leader of semiconductors it is today. You probably have used one of TI's calculators and it's probably because of him.

As a co-founder of Texas Instruments, Patrick E. Haggerty turned an small Texas oil exploration company into the leader of semiconductors it is today. You probably have used one of TI’s calculators and it’s probably because of him.

Figure 4: Patrick E. Haggerty– engineer and businessman who co-founded Texas Instruments where he served as president and chairman as well as was most responsible for turning a small Texas oil exploration company into the leader in semiconductors that it is today. Under his influence, the company invested in transistors when their commercial value was still much in question but ended up creating the first silicon transistor, the first commercial transistor radio, and the first integrated circuit.

 

35. Ohio

Funded by their Dayton, Ohio bicycle shop, Wilbur and Orville Wright would soon create a heavier than air flying machine that would be among the first to stay in flight in 1903. Sure there may be some controversy about whether they made the first flight, but the Wright Brothers have pictures of theirs.

Funded by their Dayton, Ohio bicycle shop, Wilbur and Orville Wright would soon create a heavier than air flying machine that would be among the first to stay in flight in 1903. Sure there may be some controversy about whether they made the first flight, but the Wright Brothers have pictures of theirs.

Figure 1: The Wright Brothers– inventors and aviation pioneers who are credited with building the world’s first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903 near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Developed their flying machine into the first practical fixed-wing aircraft within the next 2 years. But their fundamental breakthrough was their invention of three-axis control, which enabled the pilot to steer the aircraft effectively and to maintain its equilibrium, a method that became and remains standard on fixed-wing aircraft of all kinds. Gained the mechanical skills essential for their success by working for years in their shop in Dayton, Ohio with printing presses, bicycles, motors, and other machinery. And it was their work with bicycles in particular that influenced their belief that an unstable vehicle like a flying machine could be controlled and balanced with practice. Their extensive glider tests would help them develop their skills as pilots while their shop employee built the first airplane engine. Their status as inventors of the airplane has been subject to counter-claims by various parties with much controversy persisting over the many competing claims of early aviators.

"The exciting part for me, as a pilot, was the landing on the moon … Walking on the lunar surface was very interesting, but it was something we looked on as reasonably safe and predictable." - from an interview in 2007.

“The exciting part for me, as a pilot, was the landing on the moon … Walking on the lunar surface was very interesting, but it was something we looked on as reasonably safe and predictable.” – from an interview in 2007.

Figure 2: Neil Armstrong– aerospace engineer, naval aviator, test pilot, university professor, and astronaut who was the first person to walk on the moon. Joining NASA in 1962, he made his first space flight as command pilot of Gemini 8 in March 1966, becoming the organization’s first civilian astronaut to fly in space as well as performed the first space docking with David Scott. But the mission was aborted after he used some of his reentry control fuel to prevent a dangerous spin caused by a stuck thruster, in the first in-flight space emergency. Was commander of Apollo 11, the first manned Moon landing mission in July 1969 where he and Buzz Aldrin descended onto the lunar surface and spent 2 ½ hours outside the spacecraft while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit in the Command/Service Module. Later served on two accident investigations pertaining to Apollo 13 and the Challenger disaster and taught at the University of Cincinnati. Said, ”That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

"There was no time during the rebellion when I did not think, and often say, that the South was more to be benefited by its defeat than the North. The latter had the people, the institutions, and the territory to make a great and prosperous nation. The former was burdened with an institution abhorrent to all civilized people not brought up under it, and one which degraded labor, kept it in ignorance, and enervated the governing class. "-from his personal memoirs

“There was no time during the rebellion when I did not think, and often say, that the South was more to be benefited by its defeat than the North. The latter had the people, the institutions, and the territory to make a great and prosperous nation. The former was burdened with an institution abhorrent to all civilized people not brought up under it, and one which degraded labor, kept it in ignorance, and enervated the governing class. “-from his personal memoirs

Figure 3: Ulysses S. Grant– president from 1869-1877 who’s better known as Commanding General of the United States Army during the American Civil War in which he worked closely with Lincoln to lead the Union Army to victory over the Confederacy. Earned his reputation as an aggressive commander early in the war by taking control of Kentucky and most of Tennessee and led Union forces to victory in the Battle of Shiloh. Earned the nickname “Unconditional Surrender Grant,” because his generous surrender terms allowed his enemies to lose with dignity. Though some said that he was a drunk (which is hard to prove) or was just a butcher who only won because he had superior numbers (which wasn’t the whole story as you’ve seen with some of Lincoln’s other generals, particularly George B. McClellan). After a series of coordinated battles by July 1863, he defeated Confederate armies and seized control of Vicksburg which gave full Union control of the Mississippi River and divided the Confederacy into two. Was promoted to Lieutenant General after his victories of the Chattanooga Campaign. Confronted Robert E. Lee in a series of bloody battles trapping the latter’s army in their defense of Richmond that led to Lee’s Appomattox surrender which effectively ended the war. And since he let Lee surrender with dignity, Lee would never tolerate a bad word about the man in his face. As president, he stabilized the nation during the turbulent Reconstruction, prosecuted the Klu Klux Klan, established Yellowstone as the world’s first national park as well as the National Park system, and enforced civil and voting rights laws using the army and the Department of Justice. Responded to charges of corruption in executive offices more than any other 19th century president but appointed the first Civil Service Commission and signed legislation ending the corrupt moiety system. And while his presidency was marred by a severe economic depression, he remained highly popular for the rest of the 19th century. Embarked on a widely praised 2 year world tour after he left office wrote his memoirs that proved to be a financial and critical success. Hailed for his military genius and his strategies featured in military history books, scholars have rated his presidency as mixed but his reputation has significantly improved in recent years.

"If it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I submit; so let it be done!"

“If it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I submit; so let it be done!”

Figure 4: John Brown– abolitionist who believed armed insurrection was the only way to overthrow the institution of slavery in the United States and saw himself as the instrument of God’s wrath in punishing men for the sin of owning slaves. Commanded forces at the Battle of Black Jack and the Battle of Osawatomie during the 1856 conflict in Kansas with his followers killing 5 slavery supporters at Pottawatomie. Yet he’s best known for leading an unsuccessful raid on the federal armory at Harper’s Ferry that killed 7 people which ended in the group’s capture as well as resulted in his conviction and death sentence by hanging. But not without electrifying the nation and escalating the tensions that would lead to secession and the American Civil War. His actions prior to the Civil War as an abolitionist, and the tactics he chose, still make him a controversial figure today that he’s sometimes memorialized as a heroic martyr and a visionary and sometimes vilified as a madman and terrorist. And it doesn’t help that historians remain divided on whether it’s accurate to refer him as “America’s first domestic terrorist.”

US State Mount Rushmore: Part 6 – Montana to New Jersey

Guess we’re halfway through. I know you might find it unusual that Jim Henson is included among the Mississippi crowd but he actually was from that state even if it didn’t seem apparent to you. And yes, I know Elvis is more or less associated with Memphis and it might seem out of place to put him in Mississippi. But I have news for you, Elvis was born there as well. However, let’s move on shall we? Because in this selection, I will bring you some more Mount Rushmores from the states of Montana to New Jersey. First, it’s up in Montana where we’ll meet the first US Congresswoman, a guide at Glacier National Park who hung out with Blackfeet Indians, a very underrated microbiologist, and an adventurer who played an important role in the creation of Yellowstone National Park. Second, it’s off to Nebraska where we have an author’s whose books suggest lesbian undertones, a Catholic priest who founded a home for troubled youth, the man responsible for Mount Rushmore, and a formidable Indian chief. Third, we go to Nevada where you’ll find a journalist who covered the Russian Revolution, an animal rights activist, a basket weaver, and a teenage boy who showed what can brown do for you. Next, we go to Granit State New Hampshire where you’ll meet these rock solid figures consisting of an astronaut, a reclusive novelist, a noted sculptor whose work still stands, and a Treasury secretary who introduced the first paper US currency. And last but not least, we come to Garden or Toxic Dump State New Jersey where you’ll find a legendary inventor, a Scottish minister who modernized Princeton, a fiery suffragist, and a US president who enacted much needed Progressive Era reforms even if he was a filthy racist.

26. Montana

Though Jeannette Rankin could vote for herself when she ran for Congress in 1916, she couldn't vote for president. She'd go to serve for 2 non-consecutive terms, mostly because she was a pacifist and a US entered a world war during both of them.

Though Jeannette Rankin could vote for herself when she ran for Congress in 1916, she couldn’t vote for president. She’d go to serve for 2 non-consecutive terms, mostly because she was a pacifist and the US entered a world war during both of them.

Figure 1: Jeannette Rankin– first woman to hold a high government office in the US when she was elected as the first US Congresswoman from the state of Montana. Also elected in 1940. As a lifelong pacifist she was one of 56 members of Congress who voted against entry into WWI and the only member of Congress to vote against declaring war on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

As a fur trader, James Willard Schultz lived among the Blackfoot Indians where he married, had a son, and was adopted into the tribe. Is also well known for guiding and outfitting local hunters at what is now Glacier National Park where he explored an named many of the features.

As a fur trader, James Willard Schultz lived among the Blackfoot Indians where he married, had a son, and was adopted into the tribe. Is also well known for guiding and outfitting local hunters at what is now Glacier National Park where he explored an named many of the features.

Figure 2: James Willard Schultz– author, explorer, Glacier National Park guide, fur trader and historian of the Blackfoot Indians. Lived amongst the Pikuni tribe during the period 1880-82 where he was given the name “Apikuni” by their chief, Running Crane, a word that’s Blackfeet for “spotted robe.” He had an Indian wife and a son called Lone Wolf as well. Is most noted for his prolific stories about Blackfoot life and his contributions to the naming of prominent features in Glacier National Park. Unfortunately, suffered from ill health for most of his last 30 years since guiding at the rugged Glacier took a physical toll on him. Published 37 fiction and non-fiction books dealing with the Blackfoot, Koontenai, and Flathead Indians. Works received critical literary acclaim from the general media as well as academia for his story telling and contributions to ethnology.

Throughout his career, Maurice Hilleman developed over 40 vaccines with 8 of those among the 14 recommended in current vaccine schedules. He's credited with saving more lives than any other medical scientist in the 20th century. Sad he's not as well known as he should.

Throughout his career, Maurice Hilleman developed over 40 vaccines with 8 of those among the 14 recommended in current vaccine schedules. He’s credited with saving more lives than any other medical scientist in the 20th century. Sad he’s not as well known as he should.

Figure 3: Maurice Hilleman– microbiologist who specialized in vaccinology and developed over 40 vaccines, an unparalleled record of productivity. Developed 8 of the 14 routinely recommended in current vaccine schedules comprising of those for measles, mumps, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chickenpox, meningitis, pneumonia and Haemophilus influenzae bacteria. Also played a role in the discovery of the cold-producing adenoviruses, the hepatitis viruses, and the cancer-causing virus SV40. Credited with saving more lives than any other medical scientist in the 20th century and described as “the most successful vaccinologist in history.”

Nathaniel P. Langford is best known for playing a role in the creation of Yellowstone National Park and serving as its first superintendent. Unfortunately, he only had the job for 5 years because he didn't have the resources to effectively run it like a salary.

Nathaniel P. Langford is best known for playing a role in the creation of Yellowstone National Park and serving as its first superintendent. Unfortunately, he only had the job for 5 years because he didn’t have the resources to effectively run it like a salary.

Figure 4: Nathaniel P. Langford– explorer, businessman, bureaucrat, vigilante and historian who played an important role in the early years of the Montana gold fields, territorial government and the creation of Yellowstone National Park. Was a member of the 1870 Washburn–Langford–Doane Expedition which explored portions of the region that soon would become the iconic park. Though he was the park’s first superintendent, he didn’t have much time to run it and only entered it twice during his 5 years as superintendent since there was no salary, no funding to run the park, and no way to enforce legal protection for its wildlife or geological features. He also lacked the means to improve or properly protect the place without formal policy or regulations. This left Yellowstone vulnerable to poachers, vandals, and others seeking to raid its resources and there was lawlessness and exploitation of the park’s resources. He was forced out in 1877 by political pressure accusing him of neglect which was partly true.

27. Nebraska

“The great fact was the land itself, which seemed to overwhelm the little beginnings of human society that struggled in its sombre wastes. It was from facing this vast hardness that the boy’s mouth had become so bitter; because he felt that men were too weak to make any mark here, that the land wanted to be let alone, to preserve its own fierce strength, its peculiar, savage kind of beauty, its uninterrupted mournfulness.” from O! Pioneers (1913). Nevertheless, while Willa Cather is said to be among America’s first lesbian authors, her sexuality is still hotly debated.

Figure 1: Willa Cather– author who achieved recognition for her novels of frontier life on the Great Plains including O Pioneers!, The Song of the Lark, and My Ántonia. Was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours, a novel set during WWI. Work is often marked by its nostalgic tone, her subject matter and themes drawn from memories of her early years on the American plains in Nebraska. Sexual identity remains a point of contention among scholars despite being widely seen as a lesbian.

“Often it has been said that youth is the nation’s greatest asset. But it is more than that – it is the world’s greatest asset. More than that, it is perhaps the world’s only hope.”

“Often it has been said that youth is the nation’s greatest asset. But it is more than that – it is the world’s greatest asset. More than that, it is perhaps the world’s only hope.”

Figure 2: Edward J. Flanagan– Catholic priest who founded an orphanage for homeless boys known as Boys Town which now also serves as a center for troubled youth. Stated, “there’s no such thing as a bad boy” and rejected the reform school model. Pioneered efforts to save children from neglect, abuse, poverty, illiteracy and lawlessness as well as passionately advocated for issues few dared to broach in his day. Wrote numerous articles, booklets, and books on child-rearing for parents. Served on several committees and boards dealing with the welfare of children and was the author of articles on child welfare as well as traveled to study child welfare problems in Ireland, Japan, Korea, Germany, and Austria. Received his own Oscar when Spencer Tracy won one for Best Actor in a biopic about his life which read: “To Father Flanagan, whose great humanity, kindly simplicity, and inspiring courage were strong enough to shine through my humble effort. Spencer Tracy.” Was given the title, “Servant of God” and may be in the process of becoming a saint.

Sculptor Gutzon Borglum is best known for carving 4 presidents into Mount Rushmore in Rapid City, South Dakota. However, we should note that Borglum had deep racist convictions in Nordic superiority and was a member of the Klu Klux Klan.

Sculptor Gutzon Borglum is best known for carving 4 presidents into Mount Rushmore in Rapid City, South Dakota. However, we should note that Borglum had deep racist convictions in Nordic superiority and was a member of the Klu Klux Klan.

Figure 3: Gutzon Borglum– artist and sculptor who is associated with his creation of Mount Rushmore National Memorial as well as other works of art including a bust of Abraham Lincoln exhibited in the White House by Theodore Roosevelt and now held in the United States Capitol Crypt in Washington, D.C. Also carved the faces in Stone Mountain, Georgia which was for the United Daughters for the Confederacy. The fact he was a strong nativist, racist, and member of the Klu Klux Klan made him a suitable choice.

While not as well known as some of his Indian contemporaries, Ogala Lakota Chief Red Cloud was one of the most formidable Native American opponents the US Army has ever faced. Because of him, the Fetterman Fight in Red Cloud's War was said to be US Army's worst defeat on the Great Plains before Little Bighorn, of course.

While not as well known as some of his Indian contemporaries, Ogala Lakota Chief Red Cloud was one of the most formidable Native American opponents the US Army has ever faced. Because of him, the Fetterman Fight in Red Cloud’s War was said to be US Army’s worst defeat on the Great Plains before Little Bighorn, of course.

Figure 4: Red Cloud– an important leader of the Oglala Lakota who was one of the most capable Native American opponents the United States Army faced, leading a successful campaign in 1866-1868 known as Red Cloud’s War which was over control of the Powder River Country in northeastern Wyoming and southern Montana. The largest action, the Fetterman Fight (with 81 men killed on the U.S. side), was the worst military defeat suffered by the U.S. on the Great Plains until the Battle of the Little Bighorn ten years later. After signing the treaty of Fort Laramie, he led his people in the important transition to reservation life.

28. Nevada

Lousie Bryant was a Marxist journalist know for her coverage of the Russian Revolution as well as the leaders involved. After John Reed's death in Baku, she collected his papers for future publication as well as married a third time, had a daughter, as well as continued her travels and her work at least for awhile.

Lousie Bryant was a Marxist journalist know for her coverage of the Russian Revolution as well as the leaders involved. After John Reed’s death in Baku, she collected his papers for future publication as well as married a third time, had a daughter, as well as continued her travels and her work at least for awhile.

Figure 1: Louise Bryant– feminist, activist, and journalist known for her sympathetic coverage of Russia and the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution along with her second husband John Reed. Wrote about leading Russian women such as Katherine Breshkovsky and Maria Spiridonova as well as men including Alexander Kerensky, Vladimir Lenin, and Leon Trotsky and her news stories appeared in newspapers across the U.S. and Canada in the years immediately following WWI. Defended the Russian Revolution in a testimony before the Overman Committee, a Senate subcommittee established to investigate Bolshevik influence in the US in 1919 as well as undertook a nationwide speaking tour to encourage public support of the Bolsheviks and to discourage armed U.S. intervention in Russia. After Reed’s death, she continued to write for Hearst about Russia as well as Turkey, Hungary, Greece, Italy, and other countries in Europe and the Middle East.

While some little girls might wish for a pony at some point their lives, Velma Bronn Johnston led a campaign to stop the eradication of free roaming horses on the American landscape. She was instrumental in passing legislation to stop using aircraft and land vehicles to stop their inumane capture.

While some little girls might wish for a pony at some point their lives, Velma Bronn Johnston led a campaign to stop the eradication of free roaming horses on the American landscape. She was instrumental in passing legislation to stop using aircraft and land vehicles to stop their inumane capture.

Figure 2: Velma Bronn Johnston– animal rights activist who led a campaign to stop the eradication of mustangs and free-roaming burros from public lands as well as was instrumental in passing legislation to stop using aircraft and land vehicles from inhumanely capturing them.

Though she spent her earlier years cooking and doing washing for miners and their families, Dat So La Lee would gain recognition for her basket weaving when she worked for a couple of art dealers who discovered the quality of her work. Not sure what she got out of the baskets she sold.

Though she spent her earlier years cooking and doing washing for miners and their families, Dat So La Lee would gain recognition for her basket weaving when she worked for a couple of art dealers who discovered the quality of her work. Not sure what she got out of the baskets she sold.

Figure 3: Dat So La Lee (a.k.a. Louisa Keyser)– member of the Washoe people and celebrated Native American basket weaver whose basketry came to national prominence during the Arts and Crafts movement and the “basket craze” of the early 20th century. Said to have made 120 baskets which were sold to her employers’ emporium. 20 of these were purchased from the State of Nevada.

When he was only 19, James E. Casey founded what would soon become UPS. By the time of his death, he was worth $100 million.

When he was only 19, James E. Casey founded what would soon become UPS. By the time of his death, he was worth $100 million.

Figure 4: James E. Casey– businessman and philanthropist who at 19, founded the American Messenger Company in 1907 where he served as president, CEO, and chairman which would later become the United Parcel Service (UPS). Also created Casey Family Programs and the Annie E. Casey Foundation with his siblings in 1966 to help children who were unable to live with their birth parents—giving them stability and an opportunity to grow to responsible adulthood because he sought to ways to help those who lacked a family life he found to be so crucial to his own success. Left a net worth of $100 million at the time of his death.

29. New Hampshire

While Alan Shepard wasn't able to orbit the earth, he did manage to be the first American in space. Also got to play golf on the moon which is pretty awesome to watch. Because it's on the moon.

While Alan Shepard wasn’t able to orbit the earth, he did manage to be the first American in space. Also got to play golf on the moon which is pretty awesome to watch. Because it’s on the moon.

Figure 1: Alan Shepard– naval officer and aviator, test pilot, businessman, and one of the original Mercury 7 NASA astronauts who in May 1961 became the second person and the first American to travel into space. Commanded the Apollo 14 mission in 1971, piloting the lander Antares to the most accurate landing of the Apollo missions. Was the fifth oldest person to walk on the moon and the only one of the Mercury 7 to do so as well as hit 2 golf balls on the lunar surface.

J. D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye is widely celebrated as an American classic. However, Salinger wasn't really comfortable with his fame and went into hiding in New Hampshire for the rest of his life. Also had a thing for women in their teens and early 20s which is kind of creepy.

J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye is widely celebrated as an American classic. However, Salinger wasn’t really comfortable with his fame and went into hiding in New Hampshire for the rest of his life. Also had a thing for women in their teens and early 20s which is kind of creepy.

Figure 2: J.D. Salinger– writer who won acclaim early in life but became reclusive for more than a half-century. Best known for his novel The Catcher in the Rye which was an immediate popular success with his depiction of adolescent alienation and loss of innocence in the protagonist Holden Caulfield was influential, especially among adolescent readers. Even today, it remains popular and controversial, selling around 250,000 copies a year.

Daniel Chester French was one of the most acclaimed sculptors at around the turn of the century. However, none of his works compare than his statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial.

Daniel Chester French was one of the most acclaimed sculptors at around the turn of the century. However, none of his works compare than his statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial.

Figure 3: Daniel Chester French– one of the most prolific and acclaimed American sculptors of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who is best known for his design of the monumental work as well as the statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial. Was a founding member of the National Sculptor Society, helped design the Pulitzer Prize gold medals, as well as helped found the Berkshire Playhouse.  Many of his public monuments still stand.

“True democracy makes no enquiry about the color of skin, or the place of nativity, whereever it sees man, it recognizes a being endowed by his Creator with original inalienable rights.” – from (1845)

Figure 4: Salmon P. Chase– politician and jurist who served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who presided over the Senate trial of Andrew Johnson’s impeachment proceedings in 1868. Yet, is better known for his time as Secretary of Treasury in the Lincoln administration where he strengthened the federal government by introducing its first paper currency as well as a national bank during the American Civil War. Prior to the war, he articulated the “slave power conspiracy” thesis, devoting his energies to the destruction of what he considered the Slave Power which was a conspiracy of Southern slave owners to seize control of the federal government and block the progress of liberty (and to be fair, he was right since pro-slavery politicians were a dominant political influence during the Antebellum years). And coined the coined the slogan of the Free Soil Party, “Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men.”

30. New Jersey

Thomas Edison first gained notice with his phonograph which earned him the nickname,

Thomas Edison first gained notice with his phonograph which earned him the nickname, “The Wizard of Menlo Park.” It was the first machine to record sound and eventually gave rise to the recording industry.

Figure 1: Thomas Edison– inventor and businessman dubbed, “The Wizard of Menlo Park” who developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, the long-lasting, practical electric light bulb which had impacts in electric light and power utilities, sound recording, and motion pictures all of which established major industries worldwide. Also had an impact in mass communication and in particular, telecommunications. Other inventions like a stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, a battery for an electric car, and a system of electric-power generation and distribution to homes, businesses, and factories which is a crucial development in the modern industrialized world. Was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production on a large scale to the process of invention, and because of that, he’s often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory. Held 1,093 US patents in his name as well as many in the UK, France, and Germany.

While president of what became known as Princeton, John Witherspoon turned a subpar college for training ministers to a major institution of learning worthy of competing with Harvard and Yale. James Madison and Aaron Burr were among his pupils.

While president of what became known as Princeton, John Witherspoon turned a subpar college for training ministers to a major institution of learning worthy of competing with Harvard and Yale. James Madison and Aaron Burr were among his students.

Figure 2: John Witherspoon– Presbyterian minister, politician, professor, Founding Father, and president of the College of New Jersey which is now known as Princeton University who was an influential figure in the development of the United States’ national character. Transformed Princeton from a sub-par college chiefly designed to train clergymen to a prestigious educational institution that would equip leaders of a new country through fundraising locally and in his native Scotland, adding 300 of his own books to the college library, purchasing scientific equipment, and instituting a number of reforms including modeling the syllabus and university structure after that used in Scottish universities as well as firmed up entrance requirements which helped the school compete with Harvard and Yale. Was also a signer of the Declaration of Independence as a delegate from New Jersey and might’ve formulated an early version of American exceptionalism. Aaron Burr and James Madison were among his most famous students.

Alice Paul had a Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania as well as spent time in the militant British WSPU. She'd apply what she learned to the women's suffrage movement in the US and got to see the results in 1920.

Alice Paul had a Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania as well as spent time in the militant British WSPU. She’d apply what she learned to the women’s suffrage movement in the US and got to see the results in 1920.

Figure 3: Alice Paul– suffragist, feminist, and women’s rights activist who was the main leader and strategist of the 1910s campaign for the 19th Amendment which prohibits sex discrimination in the right to vote. A Sociology Ph.D., she wrote her dissertation was entitled “The Legal Position of Women in Pennsylvania” that discussed the history of the women’s movement in Pennsylvania and the rest of the U.S., and urged woman suffrage as the key issue of the day. She also spent time in the UK with the militant WSPU, participating in their demonstrations and marches as as learned tactics she applied when she came home to the US. Along with Lucy Burns and others, she strategized the events such as the Woman Suffrage Procession and the Silent Sentinels, which led the campaign that resulted in its successful passage in 1920. Demonstrated for the women’s right to vote through organizing the Women’s Suffrage Procession in 1913, picketing in front of the White House sometimes with violent opposition as well as going on hunger strikes in prison. Spent a half century as leader of the National Woman’s Party, which fought for her Equal Rights Amendment to secure constitutional equality for women winning a large degree of success with the inclusion of women as a group protected against discrimination by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Our own desire for a new international order under which reason and justice and the common interests of mankind shall prevail is the desire of enlightened men everywhere. Without that new order the world will be without peace and human life will lack tolerable conditions of existence and development. Having set our hand to the task of achieving it, we shall not turn back.” -from a speech to Congress (1918) in which he’s trying to get the US to join the League of Nations. It didn’t work.

Figure 4: Woodrow Wilson– academic and college president of Princeton who served as US president from 1913-1921 whose administration saw the passage of progressive legislation policies unparalleled until the New Deal in 1933 which include the establishment of the Federal Reserve, the Federal Trade Commission, the Clayton Antitrust Act, the Federal Farm Loan Act as well as reintroduction of the income tax. Avoided a railroad strike and economic crisis by imposing an 8-hour workday on railroads. His Clayton Antitrust Act prohibited price discrimination, agreements prohibiting retailers from handling other companies’ products, and directorates and agreements to control other companies as well as dictated accountability of individual corporate officers and clarified guidelines and ended union liability antitrust laws as well. Administration saw passage of 3 Constitutional Amendments which authorized direct election of senators, Prohibition, and female suffrage. Second term saw the US entry into WWI, the Spanish Flu epidemic, the Russian Revolution, and the Palmer Raids. In 1918, he issued his principles for peace in the Fourteen Points and promoted the formation of a League of Nations as well as a Wilsonian ideology that called for an activist foreign policy that called on the nation to promote global democracy. Was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919 for his international efforts. While praised for his foreign policy efforts that has led to establishment of the United Nations, he has been criticized by several historians for his virulent racism and his shitty record on civil rights and civil liberties.