As a girl, Amelia Earhart aspired to a future that would take her beyond the family and medical problems of her younger years, as well as the restrictions imposed on her because she was female. Widely celebrated for her long-distance flights, she also set records for altitude and speed, and helped develop passenger airline service. As a writer and magazine editor, Earhart also further advanced the cause of flight and of women in aviation. Her disappearance during a daring around-the-world flight in 1937 has been a source of intrigue for over 80 years. Earhart’s life and career have provided inspiration to generations of young people, particularly those whose paths have been beset with obstacles and barriers.
Perhaps no two people in history exemplify the spirit of invention better than brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright. Born in the Midwest in the late 1800s, Orville was exceptionally good at creating mechanical devices, and Wilbur had a genius for ideas. The turn of the 20th century came during an age of invention and technological development. Inspired by a fierce worldwide competition to be the first to invent a machine that could fly and be controlled by a pilot, the Wright brothers tested and refined several prototypes. At last, on December 17, 1903, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, they achieved their pioneering flight. The brothers went on to develop machines and controls that made possible powered, fixed-wing flights and laid the foundation for pilot-controlled aviation as we know it today. They also founded the Wright Company, which built airplanes for the rising new industry of commercial aviation. Had Wilbur not died at the early age of 45, who knows what else the innovative pair might have accomplished.
Dolores Huerta grew up in a climate charged by political activism. Fueled by her own contact with migrant farm workers, most of them Mexican immigrants with virtually no access to the system of labor laws and conditions under which they lived and worked, Dolores became an outspoken activist and organizer. She founded the United Farm Workers in 1962 with legendary Mexican American labor leader Cesar Chavez, and also worked toward improving the lives of workers, voters, immigrants, and women.
In the days before performance-enhancing substances, the great Hank Aaron hit a career-record 755 home runs, a mark he held for 33 years. Hammerin' Hank began his baseball career in the Negro Leagues when black players were still banned from Major League Baseball. Hank played for 23 years in Milwaukee and Atlanta and made the All-Star team in both the National and American Leagues for 20 straight years.
Calvin Klein, a boy from the Bronx, took his first clothing line of three dresses and six coats to an appointment at Bonwit Teller, New York's department store for the wealthy. Before long, he had designed a line of jeans that sold 200,000 in a week, and he was called the "King of Clothes" by People magazine. Along the way, he became known throughout the world for the beauty of his elegantly uncluttered clothing. In partnership with childhood friend Bernie Schwartz, he built an empire around his ideas that came to include fragrances, cosmetics, underwear, and home decor. Today his clothes are recognized as classics, and his style represents the best in American design.
Before they spearheaded the musical phenomenon called the British Invasion, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr were just four kids from Liverpool. Throughout the 1960s, however, they embodied, as the Beatles, the musical, artistic, social, and spiritual promise of an entire generation. After their stormy breakup in 1970, the Fab Four became four solo artists, at times even appearing on each others recordings. In addition to the millions of records each band member has sold on his own since their breakup, more than 40 Beatles compilation albums have been released and continue to sell millions of copies. To this day, more than one billion Beatles recordings have sold, and thousands of books, academic papers, blogs, and websites are dedicated to the group. Despite being the Beatles for only a decade, John, Paul, George, and Ringo together formed the most successfuland arguably the most influentialmusical group in history.
When Hollywood stars get married, they call on Vera Wang to dress them for their big day, because Vera makes the most beautiful wedding gowns in the world! Jennifer Lopez, Kate Hudson, Mariah Carey, and Jessica Simpson are among the thousands of brides this American designer has dressed. Born and raised in New York City where her parents fled from the Chinese Revolution, Vera has been in the fashion industry her whole adult life. After working for Vogue magazine as a fashion editor, she opened her own store, where she sold the wedding dresses that have made her famous. Today her brand name is on perfumes, home goods, jewelry, shoes, and eyeglasses, and her delightful style is available to everyone through her lower-price line, called Simply Vera.