Today is Martin Luther Kings day. A day that remembers a man renowned for his courage, peace and non violent campaign to end racial inequality in the US. We take a look at some of the most influential people throughout the world, past and present.
Mandela was heavily involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. For 20 years, he directed a campaign of peaceful and non violent defiance against the South African government and its racist policies. Mandela was imprisoned in South Africa from 1964-82. During this time of his imprisonment, his public reputation and support grew tremendously. Upon his release from prison, he was considered the most prominent leader in South Africa and became South Africa’s president in 1994 serving until 1999. His main leadership characteristics were his determination, persistence and focus. He passed away on 5 December, 2013, at the age of 95.bbc.co.uk
11. Pope Francis
Pope Francis is the first non-European pope in 1,200 years. Since taking office in March 2013, he has been in the centre of public attention speaking out and discussing controversial subjects such as abortion, contraception and homosexuality.
‘If a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge.”
His leadership of the Catholic Church and openness to such matters have reshaped many attitudes within the church in a short space of time. Pope Francis was Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year 2013”
10. Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister of Britain from 1940-45. He led Great Britain and its allies against the Germans in World War 2 defeating Hitler in 1945. He has since become known as the man who saved Europe being one of the few people that stood up to one of the world’s most powerful and corrupt leaders, Adolf Hitler. He is greatly remembered for his determination, fearlessness and devotion.
9. Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States and also one of the most renowned leaders in history. He was in office during the US Civil War where he worked to keep the nation together. He is most credible and famous for abolishing slavery in America with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
8. Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu was the first black South African Archbishop of Cape Town. He rose to fame during the 1980s for his key role in the fight against apartheid in South Africa. He has campaigned to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and has become one of the greatest moral icons in our time.
7. Che Guevara
Che Guevara was born in Argentina in 1928. After finishing medical school, he and his friend Alberto Granado took a trip across Latin America on his motorbike. The poverty and misery he encountered on his travels inspired him to start a revolution in Cuba which led Latin America into a civil war. Che was known for his special connection he had with people and his understanding in them. He talked to them and knew what they needed. His motto still lives on today – Hasta la Victoria siempre. Until victory, always.
6. Mohamad Ali
Muhammad Ali is among the greatest heavyweights in the sport’s history. He was an incredibly controversial and polarizing figure during his early career. Today Ali is widely regarded for not only the sporting skills he displayed in the ring but also the values he showed outside the ring fighting for religious freedom and racial justice.
He is one of the most recognized sports figures of the past 100 years, crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC.
5. Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking holds and leads an inspirational life story. In 1963, Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with ALS, a motor neuron disease and was given two years to live. Despite being wheelchair bound and dependent on a computerized voice system for communication Hawking has proved himself to be an important force in the development of the science of Cosmology and is one of the greatest Genius alive today. From 1979 to 2009 he held the post of Lucasian Professor at Cambridge, the chair held by Isaac Newton in 1663.
4. Mao Zedong
Mao was a Chinese communist leader and the founder of the People’s Republic of China, which he governed as Chairman of the Communist Party of China from its establishment in 1949 until his death. Mao Zedong occupied a critical place in the story of the country’s resurgence. He was responsible for the disastrous policies of the ‘Great Leap Forward’ and the ‘Cultural Revolution’.
3. Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi was born in 1869 in Gujarat India. He studied law in London and went on to work in South Africa where he became a part of the movement against the apartheid. Whilst there he realized that he could help his own country in the fight for freedom from colonial rule and returned to India. He led masses of people against the British encouraging Indians to boycott British goods and only buy Indian goods. He was imprisoned several times where he went on hunger strikes. Gandhi was different from other freedom fighters as he never used violence. With civil disobedience movements he was able to lead India to her freedom in 1947. Gandhi inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world inspiring other great leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr.
2. Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was responsible for one of the greatest economic and military expansions the world has ever seen. He invaded over 10 countries with excellent strategy and planning. He was at the centre of Nazi Germany, World War 2 and the Holocaust. He was one of the most powerful leaders and without a doubt one of the most influential people the world has witnessed using his oratory skills, propaganda and planning manipulating and dictating everyone who crossed his path.
1. Martin Luther King
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American pastor, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his outstanding work for racial inequality with non-violent measures. He played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens throughout the US
He continues to be remembered as one of the most lauded African-American leaders in history, often referenced by his 1963 speech, “I Have a Dream”.