3 Historical Figures That Contributed to America’s Greatness
Speaking as an American, it is my opinion and firm belief that America may not be a perfect nation but it is a great nation. I believe that it is our country’s diversity that contributes to its strength. Sadly, our diversity also creates a weak link in the chain of humanity. But rather than dwell on the negatives, it is better to shine a light on the positives.
One of the positives is that in America, even though we come together as one, we also choose to show appreciation for our differences. This is why there are certain months or time periods during the year where we celebrate the cultural differences and heritage of the citizens who comprise the United States of America and their contributions.
- February is Black History Month (also called African-American History Month)
- March is Irish-American Heritage Month
- May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
- October is Italian-American Heritage and Culture Month
- November is Native American Heritage Month
Since it is the month of February and my background is African-American, this article is written for the purpose of highlighting certain African-American citizens who have made significant contributions to the building of America and who are human beings worthy of honor, admiration, and respect. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list. Just summary highlights of three historical figures and what they did to make America great, with links that supply additional details and information if you want to know more.
No discussion of African-American history would be complete without the mention of Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and Martin Luther King Jr.
Frederick Douglass (1818 – 1895) was a free man who was born a slave. He made it his mission in life to change not only his circumstances but to fight for the human rights of all those who were enslaved in America. He had hope, he understood the vision of our founding fathers, and he truly believed that America was meant to be “the land of the free”.
- “What to the Slave is the 4th of July?”, a speech by Mr. Douglass celebrating America’s Independence Day.
- Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.
Sojourner Truth (1797 – 1883) was a free woman who was born a slave. She escaped slavery and once those shackles were broken she set her mind to liberating others. She believed that she had been called by God to accomplish her work. Because of her contributions to the abolitionist movement and the fight for freedom in America, her name is on a list of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time”.
Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 – 1968) was a man with a dream. He died before he saw his dream become a reality; struck down by an assassin’s bullet. But the records of America’s history rightly credit him with playing a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement which ultimately resulted in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And he did it without a gun!
It’s a blessing to celebrate America’s unity and diversity. We don’t have to make America great again. This nation is already great. We just need to keep it great and make it even better.
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Interesting Note: America is not the only country that set asides a month to celebrate the heritage and contributions of persons with African heritage. Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands also celebrate.