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Mar-14-2017 22:49printcomments

Historical Figures Who Took a Stand

Those who make their voices heard are the ones that will help to change the future.

Susan B Anthony
"Trust me that as I ignore all law to help the slave, so will I ignore it all to protest an enslaved woman." ~Susan B. Anthony

(SALEM, Ore.) - Throughout the course of history, there are those who stand out among the crowd for the stance they took for a certain group of people.

In their minds, they felt strongly that if their voices could make it to a platform, justice would prevail and equality would follow. Today you can find many of the original artifacts that helped to shape the country, the United States of America, including historical documents for sale.

Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony spent her entire life pursuing equality for everyone. At the young age of 17, she gathered petitions to abolish slavery. An activist, an abolitionist, and advocate, she spent most of her life fighting for equal rights for all people.

She never tired or wavered in her efforts to earn women equal pay and the right to vote. While she was not the founder, she played a crucial role in bringing the Women's Suffrage Movement to the next level.

In 1852 she gave her first speech for the movement at the National Women's Rights Convention in upstate, New York. A year later at the Sons of Temperance State Convention, she attended with the intent on speaking.

She did not receive permission to speak and could only observe and listen. Involved in many movements for equality over the years her passion for women's rights dominated most of her life and in 1920, 14 years after her death, the 19th amendment passed congress.

This was a collective, effort that spanned decades between the two leaders of the movement Susan B. Anthony and her lifetime friend and co-president Elizabeth Stanton.

Frederick Douglass

Born into slavery in Maryland, Frederick Douglass (real name Frederick Bailey) escaped and headed to New York in his early twenties. Throughout his life, he used his experience as a former slave to speak at public gatherings about the injustice and the brutality that slaves endure.

Early on most Americans did not believe his stories because of his educated tongue. He had to leave the states for a few years in the 1840s until English friends brought his freedom.

He ventured out on his own and in 1847 while living in upstate New York he started publication on "North Star," an abolitionist newspaper. An advocate for equality and freedom, he also helped with the Women's Rights Movement.

In the 1850s he got into politics to get closer to political candidates in hopes of getting his agenda of ending slavery written into law. He also fought to have black men fight together on the front lines for the Union.

On December 31, 1862, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery.

Just a year later, congress approved black men for enlistment into the war. Black History month pays tribute to Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks and Civil Rights leaders for their achievements. You can find many of Frederick Douglass's original speeches and books in public libraries and classrooms across the states today.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a civil rights leader who adopted the philosophy of seeking equality through non-violence and peaceful yet meaningful protests.

A Baptist priest, he leaned heavily on his Christian faith and religious upbringing to bring a message of hope. One of his most memorable protest marches had his speech "I have a dream..." where he delivered a message of hope for all the people.

He led the Civil Rights movement during the 1950s until his assassination in 1968. He played a role in many of the events that gained national attention including the story of Rosa Parks who refused to give up her seat on the bus.

In 1964 his efforts and voice for the African American people made headway with the landmark legislation "The Civil Rights Act of 1964" followed up with the "Voting Rights Act of 1965". He went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965 and remains an important figure in history remembered each year on his holiday "Martin Luther King Jr. Day."

Many of those who gave all of themselves in pursuit of the equal treatment and freedom for all fought long and hard for their cause.

Today, because of their selflessness and dedication, barriers while still present, are far less evident. Many will continue to fight silently for their rights, but those few who make their voice heard are the ones that will help to change the future.

Source: Special Features Dept.


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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.