These Average Americans Became True Heroes

( – When you think of American heroes, names that spring to mind might include Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., or Susan B. Anthony. While these are indeed incredible individuals who made massive contributions to our nation, it’s also worth remembering the thousands more who made such extraordinary sacrifices to help create America as we know it today. Here’s a closer look at some of the lesser-known individuals in this category.

1. Jeannette Rankin

A native of Montana born in 1880, Jeannette Rankin was an important figure in the movement for women’s suffrage and was also a prominent anti-war advocate. She made history in 1916, when she became the first female to win election to the US House of Representatives. Women would not become eligible to vote in federal elections until 1920. She missed out on re-election in 1918 and 1942, after voting against American participation in both World Wars.

2. Ruby Nell Bridges Hall

Ruby Bridges became an important figure in the desegregation movement in 1959, despite being just six years of age at the time. After mixed-race education became legal in Louisiana that year, Bridges began attending the William Frantz Elementary School. She had to travel each day in the company of federal marshals for her own safety, and just one teacher was willing to work with her. Despite these challenges, she did not miss a single day that year. Bridges went on to start a family and pursue civil rights activism throughout her adult life.

3. Samuel Gridley Howe

Samuel Gridley Howe was an activist for America’s blind community as well as a notable abolitionist. He became the first director of the New England Asylum for the Blind in 1829, the first school of its type in the nation. He went on to found a number of similar institutions across the nation and campaigned ferociously against slavery throughout his life.

What other noteworthy Americans would you have mentioned on this list?

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