The Seven Greatest Humanitarians In History

October 9, 2011

The Greatest Humanitarians In History: Harriet Tubman

Greatest Humanitarians Harriet Tubman Photograph

Harriet Tubman was an African-American who overcame slavery to save others from a similar fate. Born in 1822 in Maryland, Tubman was born into slavery and was frequently beaten by her master before escaping in 1849 to Philadelphia.

However, she quickly returned to Maryland and other slave states to help others (including her family) escape through the Underground Railroad. Overall, she led 13 missions and rescued 70 slaves. Aside from her escape missions, Harriet also worked as a spy for the Union during the American Civil War.

Norman Borlaug

Greatest Humanitarians In History Norman Borlaug

An oft-overlooked figure, Norman Borlaug was responsible for an agricultural revolution that saved billions of people from starvation. Born in 1914 in Iowa, Borlaug was an agronomist who developed a variety of high-yield, disease-resistant wheat.

Throughout the 20th century, Borlaug introduced this method of wheat production to Mexico, Pakistan and India, doubling food production and decreasing the rates of starvation in these countries. This came to be known as the Green Revolution, which Borlaug continued to promote to Asia and Africa later in life.

Greatest Humanitarians In History: Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King Washington Mall Photograph

Martin Luther King was the African-American clergyman and activist who spearheaded the Civil Rights Movement. Like Mandela and Gandhi, King advocated non-violent methods to advance civil rights in the US and around the world. His work focused on abolishing racial segregation in America, and he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 and the 1963 March on Washington, which culminated in the iconic “I Have A Dream” speech.

King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and although he was assassinated in 1968, his legacy of tireless campaigning for human rights lives on and is ensconced as one of the greatest humanitarians in history.








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