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Famous Americans

Explore the lives of famous Americans whose talents, vision and dedication enrich our lives even today.

Appropriate for grades 3-12.

Program descriptions:

Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell (March 3, 1847-August 2, 1922) was a Scottish scientist and inventor who immigrated to Canada. Today, Bell is widely considered one of the foremost developers of the telephone, together with Antonio Meucci, inventor of the first telephone prototype, and Philipp Reis. Six years after having obtained his telephone patent he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. In addition to Bell's work in telecommunications technology, he was responsible for important advances in aviation and hydrofoil technology.

Thomas Edison

The life of Thomas Edison is a true rags-to-riches story. Through hard work and determination, he helped in creating the modern world in which we live today.

Albert Einstein

Take a journey inside the mind of a genius. Albert Einstein was considered by many to be the greatest thinker of the 20th Century. His amazing discoveries gave scientists around the world new insights about the universe in which we live. The things we know today about time and space, mass and energy, gravity and light, we can attribute to Einstein.

Henry Ford

Using his natural gift for mathematics and his love for machines, Henry Ford pioneered automobile technology and revolutionized the mass production assembly line. Ford fulfilled his dreams and helped shape the modern world.

Benjamin Franklin

Ben FranklinBenjamin Franklin was one of the most prominent of the Founders and early political figures and statesmen of the United States. One of the earliest Founders, Franklin was noted for his curiosity, writings, ingenuity and diversity of interests. His wise and scintillating writings are proverbial to this day. He shaped the American Revolution, despite never holding national elective office. And as a leader of the Enlightenment, he gained the recognition of scientists and intellectuals across Europe and the United States.

As an agent in London before the Revolution, and Minister to France during, he more than anyone defined the new nation in the minds of Europe. His success in securing French military and financial aid was the turning point for American victory over Britain. He invented the lightning rod. He was an early proponent of colonial unity and historians hail him as the "First American."

Helen Keller

Helen KellerHelen Keller was born on June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Two years later, she became ill and was left blind, deaf and mute. But with the help of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, she made tremendous progress with her ability to communicate. She refused to let her disabilities stop her from becoming a scholar and lecturer. She went to college, wrote nearly a dozen books, traveled all over the world, met 12 U.S. presidents, and helped found the ACLU. Keller received many honors in recognition of her accomplishments and lived to be 87.

Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King was the wife of the slain civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. and a noted community leader in her own right. She was born April 27, 1927, on a farm in Heiberger, Alabama to Obie and Bernice Scott. Though her family owned the land, it was often a hard life. All the children had to pick cotton during the Depression to help the family make ends meet. Graduating from Lincoln High at the top of her class in 1945, Scott then went to Antioch College. After graduation she moved to Boston where she met Martin Luther King, Jr. The Kings were married on June 18, 1953. The Kings had four children. They have all followed their father's footsteps as civil rights activists. Coretta Scott King has made huge accomplishments over her life. She has carried the legacy of her husband for over three decades.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: we hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal." This was Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream. A dream that he would spend most of his life trying to fulfill. In this document of his life, you'll learn about the history of the Civil Rights Movement: King's education at Morehouse College and Crozer Seminary, where he learned of Gandhi's method of nonviolent protest; bus boycotts, sit-ins, and the "Freedom Riders"; and the historic march on Washington, D.C.