John Brown joined the side of free-staters in the conflict in the Kansas Territory, fighting to have Kansas enter the Union as an anti-slavery state. History has shown that his actions and the reactions to them were among the most potent precursors of the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861.
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.
Born into slavery, Douglass became an eloquent spokesperson for both blacks and womens rights. During and after the Civil War, Douglass became a confidant of presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. Douglass also argued for African Americans to be allowed to join the Union army in the fight for their own freedom.
Sonia Sotomayor became a household name when President Barack Obama nominated her to the United States Supreme Court in 2009. Her confirmation made her the country's first Hispanic Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. But even before that, Sonia was an inspiration to others. Sonia Sotomayor has built a life as a jurist, activist, and mother, committed to the rights and advancement of people of all backgrounds and ethnicities.
Following the passage of a law that made it a crime to aid in the escape of slaves, Stowe lent her actions and her words to the effort to help slaves and put an end to slavery. She actively aided fugitive slaves and, with the publication of the anti-slavery novel Uncle Toms Cabin, focused the nations consciousness on the inhumanity of slavery.
Sally Ride soared into outer space on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983, the youngest astronaut and the first U.S. woman in space. Just 32 years old that year, this California girl was already an accomplished astrophysicist when NASA chose her. Since then, she has written several books introducing young readers to the subject of space exploration and encouraging them to study the sciences.