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Biographies

HIGHLIGHTS:

{1} 11 Great Leaders Biographies
{2} AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF NELSON MANDELA
{3} AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF BEYONCE KNOWLES
{4} AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF OPRAH WINFREY
{5} AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF BILL GATES
{6}  AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN
{7}  AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF BEN CARSON
{8}  AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF LIONEL MESSI
{9}  AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF STEVE JOBS
{10}  AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF TONY BLAIR
{11}  AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF GLORIA MULIRO
{12}  AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF RAJNIKANTH


 11 Great Leaders Biographies

You will gain many valuable insights from these Eleven knowledge packed great leader biographies. Read and learn about how these great leaders used their talent to achieve amazing things in their lives.
 
From different countries and all walks of life these now famous people were able to develop the use of their skills to change their lives and the lives of all around them.


Use what you learn from within these Eleven knowledge packed great leader biographies to enhance the amount of opportunities and success which you can achieve in your life.
 

1. Winston Churchill

Born: November 30, 1874
Oxfordshire, England
Died: January 24, 1965
Oxfordshire, England
English prime minister, statesman, and author



The English statesman and author Sir Winston Churchill led Britain during World War II (1939–45) and is often described as the "savior of his country." Sir Winston Churchill's exact place in the political history of the twentieth century is, and will continue to be, a subject of debate. But his strong personality and forceful determination made him a popular figure during the war years.

Early life

Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was born on November 30, 1874, at Blenheim Palace—a home given by Queen Anne to Churchill's ancestor, the Duke of Marlborough. He was the eldest son of Lord Randolph Churchill, a Tory Democrat (a British political party) who achieved early success as a rebel in his party. Later, after Randolph Churchill failed, he was cruelly described as "a man with a brilliant future behind him." His mother was Jenny Jerome, the beautiful and talented daughter of Leonard Jerome, a New York businessman. Winston idolized his mother, but his relations with his father, who died in 1895, were cold and distant. It is generally agreed that as a child Winston was not shown warmth and affection by his family.

As a child Churchill was sensitive and suffered from a minor speech impediment. He was educated following the norms of his class. He first went to preparatory school, then to Harrow in 1888 when he was twelve years old. Winston was not especially interested in studying Latin or mathematics and spent much time studying in the lowest level courses until he passed the tests and was able to advance. He received a good education in English, however, and won a prize for reading aloud a portion of Thomas Macaulay's (1800–1859) Lays of Ancient Rome (1842). After finishing at Harrow, Winston failed the entrance test for the Royal Military College at Sandhurst three times before finally passing and being allowed to attend the school. His academic record improved a great DEALonce he began at the college. When he graduated in 1894 he was eighth in his class.
 
Military journalist


Very early on Churchill demonstrated the physical courage and love of adventure and action that he kept throughout his political career. His first role was that of a soldier-journalist. In 1895 he went to Cuba to write about the Spanish army for the Daily Graphic. In 1896 he was in India, and while on the North-West Frontier with the Malakand Field Force he began work on a novel, Savrola: A Tale of the Revolution in Laurania. The book was published in 1900.

More important, however, were Churchill's accounts of the military campaigns in which he participated. Savrola was followed by a book about the reconquest of the Sudan (1899), in which he had also taken part. As a journalist for the Morning Post, he went to Africa during the Boer War (1899–1902), where British forces fought against Dutch forces in South Africa. The most romantic of his adventures as a youth was his escape from a South African prison during this conflict.

Young politician


In 1899 Churchill lost in his first attempt at election to the House of Commons, one of two bodies controlling Parliament in England. This was to be the first of many defeats in elections, as Churchill lost more elections than any other political figure in recent British history. But in 1900 he entered the House of Commons, in which he served off and on until 1964.

Churchill's early years in politics were characterized by an interest in the radical reform (improvement) of social problems. The major intellectual achievement of this period of Churchill's life was his Liberalism and the Social Problem (1909). In this work he stated his belief in liberalism, or political views that stress civil rights and the use of government to promote social progress. Churchill was very active in the great reforming government of Lord Asquith between 1908 and 1912, and his work fighting unemployment was especially significant.

In 1912 Churchill became first lord of the Admiralty, the department of British government that controls the naval fleet. He switched his enthusiasm away from social reform to prepare Britain's fleet for a war that threatened Europe. While at the Admiralty, Churchill suffered a major setback. He became committed to the view that the navy could best make an impact on the war in Europe (1914–18) by way of a swift strike through the Dardanelles, a key waterway in central Europe. This strategy proved unsuccessful, however, and Churchill lost his Admiralty post. In 1916 he was back in the army, serving for a time on the front lines in France.

Interwar years

Churchill soon reentered political life. He was kept out of the Lloyd George War Cabinet by conservative hostility toward his style and philosophy. But by 1921 Churchill held a post as a colonial secretary. A clash with Turkish president Kemal AtatĂŒrk, however, did not help his reputation, and in 1922 he lost his seat in the House of Commons. The Conservative Party gained power for the first time since 1905, and Churchill began a long-term isolation, with few political allies.

In 1924 Churchill severed his ties with liberalism and became chancellor of the Exchequer (British treasury) in Stanley Baldwin's (1867–1947) government. Churchill raised controversy when he decided to put Britain back on the GOLD standard, a system where currency equals the value of a specified amount of gold. Although he held office under Baldwin, Churchill did not agree with his position either on defense or on imperialism, Britain's policy of ruling over its colonies. In 1931 he resigned from the conservative "shadow cabinet" in protest against its Indian policy.

Churchill's years between world wars were characterized by political isolation. During this period he made many errors and misjudgments. Chief among these was his warlike approach to the general strike of 1926. Thus, he cannot be viewed simply as a popular leader who was kept waiting in the wings through no fault of his own.

World War II
The major period of Churchill's political career began when he became prime minister and head of the Ministry of Defense early in World War II, when British and American Allies fought against the Axis of Germany, Italy, and Japan.

"I felt as if I was walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour," Churchill wrote in the first volume of his account of the war. (This account was later published in six volumes from 1948 to 1953.) His finest hour and that of the British people came at the same time. His leadership, which was expressed in noble speeches and constant personal activity, stated precisely what Britain needed to survive through the years before the United States entered the war.

The evacuation of Dunkirk and the air defense of the Battle of Britain became legend, but there were and are controversies over Churchill's policies. It has been argued that Churchill was too sensitive to the Mediterranean as a theater of war,

which led to mistakes in Crete and North Africa. The value of his resistance to the idea of a second front as the Germans advanced into Russia has also been questioned. And there has been considerable debate over the courses he pursued at international conferences, such as those at Yalta in February 1945.

Many believed some of Churchill's policies were responsible for the "cold war" of the 1950s and 1960s, where relations between Eastern Communist powers and Western powers came to a standstill over, among other things, nuclear arms. Although criticisms may be made of Churchill's policies, his importance as a symbol of resistance and as an inspiration to victory cannot be challenged.

Last years


The final period of Churchill's career began with the British people rejecting him in the general election of 1945. In that election 393 Labour candidates were elected members of Parliament against 213 Conservatives and their allies. It was one of the most striking reversals of fortune in democratic history. It may perhaps be explained by Churchill's aggressive campaign combined with the British voters' desire for social reconstruction.

In 1951, however, Churchill again became prime minister. He resigned in April 1955 after an uneventful term in office. For many of the later years of his life, even his personal strength was not enough to resist the persistent cerebral arteriosclerosis, a brain disorder, from which he suffered. He died on January 24, 1965, and was given a state funeral, the details of which had been largely dictated by himself before his death.

There is little doubt that Winston Churchill was a political figure of enormous influence and importance. His record, both before 1939 and after 1945, was for the most part undistinguished. But as Anthony Storr writes: "In 1940 Churchill became the hero that he had always dreamed of being.… In that dark time, what England needed was not a shrewd, equable, balanced leader. She needed a prophet, a heroic visionary, a man who could dream dreams of victory when all seemed lost. Winston Churchill was such a man."


2. Martin Luther King, Jr

Born: January 15, 1929
Atlanta, Georgia
Died: April 4, 1968
Memphis, Tennessee
African American civil rights activist and minister

 
The minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968) originated the use of nonviolent methods within the civil rights movement. He was one of the most important African American leaders of his time.


Early life

Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended Atlanta public schools and then went on to Morehouse College. After graduation from Morehouse in 1948, King entered Crozer Theological Seminary and graduated in 1951. He then received his doctorate (an advanced degree) in theology (the study of religion) from Boston University in 1955.

In Boston King met Coretta Scott, whom he married on June 18, 1953. Four children were born to the couple. In 1954, King became minister of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. In Montgomery, he became active with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Alabama Council on Human Relations.

Nonviolence: the bus boycott


In December 1955, Rosa Parks (1913–), a black woman, was arrested for violating a segregated seating ordinance (a law enforcing separation between African American and white people) on a public bus in Montgomery. Black citizens were outraged. At the time, many public places, including buses, were segregated. King, along with fellow activists, urged African Americans to boycott the segregated city buses. (In a boycott people refuse to use products and services provided by people, businesses, or organizations until policies and procedures are changed.) From this boycott, the Montgomery Improvement Association(MIA) was formed. The bus boycott lasted more than a year. Finally, the bus company agreed to the protesters demands and ended segregated seating. The U.S. Supreme Court later stated that the bus segregation laws of Montgomery were unconstitutional, or went against the laws of the Constitution.

Overnight, Martin Luther King had become a national hero as a leader in the civil rights struggle. The victory had not been easy. As an elected president of the MIA, King's life was in constant danger. His home was bombed, and he and other MIA leaders were constantly threatened, arrested, and jailed.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference


In January 1957 approximately sixty black ministers assembled in Atlanta to form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to continue the civil rights fight. King was elected president. In February 1958 the SCLC sponsored twenty-one mass meetings in southern cities as part of a "Crusade for Citizenship." The goal was to double the number of black voters in the South. King was now traveling constantly, speaking for "justice" throughout the country.

A year later the Kings visited India at the invitation of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964). King had long been interested in nonviolence as practiced by Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948). Yet, when they returned to the United States, the civil rights struggle had become much more intense. Violent resistance by whites to the nonviolent efforts of black demonstrators filled the newspapers with stories of bloody fights.

"Sit-in" movement


In February 1960 the "sit-in" movement started in Greensboro, North Carolina. African American students began this nonviolent form of protest by sitting at "white only"

Martin Luther King Jr.
Courtesy of the

Library of Congress

.lunch counters in city stores. The movement quickly spread throughout much of the South. On April 15, 1960, the SCLC called a meeting of sit-in leaders to organize the movement. King urged the young people to continue using nonviolent means. Out of this meeting the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) emerged.

By August 1960 the sit-ins had succeeded in ending segregation at lunch counters in twenty-seven southern cities. In October 1960 the SCLC decided to increase their efforts to get African Americans REGISTERED to vote, use boycotts to gain fair employment, and work to end segregation in public places.

A popular department store in Atlanta, widely known for its policy of segregation, was the first goal in this renewed effort. When King and seventy-five students entered the store and requested lunch-counter service, he and thirty-six others were arrested. However, Atlanta's mayor worked out a truce and charges were dropped. But King was imprisoned for breaking the terms of his court supervision that resulted from a traffic offense conviction. John F. Kennedy (1917–1963), who at the time was campaigning for the presidency, made a telephone call to Mrs. King, and then worked to get King released.

Freedom riders


Soon the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), SCLC, and SNCC joined together to form the Freedom Ride Coordinating Committee with King as chairman. The idea was to "put the sit-ins on the road" by having pairs of black and white volunteers board interstate buses traveling through the South. This would test a new federal law forbidding segregated bus stations. A great DEAL of violence resulted as resisting whites overturned and burned buses, assaulted the Freedom Riders, and attacked newsmen. Many of the arrested riders chose prison rather than pay fines. However, the protest worked, forcing the Interstate Commerce Commission to enforce laws against segregation.
 
The movement heats up


On May 2, 1963, some six thousand school children marched to demonstrate against school segregation. The next day, as volunteers gathered in a church, police blocked the exits, and turned fire hoses and police dogs on the teenage demonstrators.

Finally, there was a truce between the civil rights groups and the police. Then, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK; a group that believes the white race is better than all other races) bombed the home of King's brother and the motel where SCLC members were headquartered. Enraged black citizens rioted and Alabama state troopers moved in and set up undeclared martial law, or temporary rule by the military. King and SCLC personnel continued to urge nonviolence but more violence erupted when white racists refused to obey federal school integration laws. The worst came when a bomb thrown into an African American church killed four little girls.

"Let Freedom Ring"


The year 1963 continued to be eventful in the struggle for civil rights. In June King led 125,000 people on a "Freedom Walk" in Detroit, Michigan. On August 27, more than 250,000 black and white citizens gathered in Washington, D.C. for a mass civil rights rally. There, King delivered his famous "Let Freedom Ring" address. That same year he was featured as Time magazine's "Man of the Year."

In 1964 King and his followers moved on to St. Augustine, Florida, one of America's most segregated cities. After weeks of nonviolent demonstrations and violent counterattacks by whites, a committee was set up to move St. Augustine toward desegregation. A few weeks later, the 1964 Civil Rights Bill, which made discrimination (unequal treatment) based on race illegal, was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson (1908–1973). In December 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Target: Alabama


In 1965 the SCLC concentrated its efforts in Alabama. The first target was Selma, where only a handful of black citizens had been allowed to vote. King urged President Johnson to rush the Voting Rights Act and announced a march from Selma to Montgomery to demonstrate the black people's determination to vote. (The Voting Rights Act, which was passed on August 10, 1965, made it illegal for Southern states to prevent African Americans from voting and REGISTERING to vote.) Alabama Governor George Wallace (1919–1998) refused to permit the march, and the five hundred people who gathered to march were beaten by state troopers.

Nonetheless, the march continued, and Selma's black citizens were joined by hundreds of black and white protesters from other states. On March 21, 1965, more than ten thousand people followed King from Selma toward Montgomery. Only three hundred were allowed to make the full four-day march, but they were joined by another twenty-five thousand in Montgomery for the final leg to the Capitol to present a petition (a written demand) to Governor Wallace.
 
New issues: Vietnam War


In 1965 King made a "people-to-people" tour of northern cities. A growing number of black people were becoming aggressive in the struggle for their rights. Their position caused King to take another look at the nonviolent civil rights movement that he had fathered. Although committed to nonviolence and civil rights, he was also troubled about the American involvement in the Vietnam War (1965–73; a war in Vietnam in which American forces supported South Vietnam in their fight against Communist North Vietnam). He soon found himself pushed toward leadership in antiwar groups.

In 1967 King began speaking directly against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, although many civil rights advocates criticized this position. Around this time, while serving a four-day sentence in Birmingham, which was a result of the 1963 demonstrations, that King and other activists began planning a "Poor People's March." The march was to be held in Washingon, D.C. on April 22, 1968, to bring together the interests of the poor of all races.

Death to a dream


In February 1968 King led an antiwar rally in Washington, D.C. In March, King went to Memphis, Tennessee, to lead demonstrations against a wide range of complaints, including police brutality and poor school conditions. The march ended in a riot when some frustrated young African Americans began breaking windows, looting, and burning stores. The police reacted quickly and violently.

In Memphis on April 3, 1968, King addressed a rally. Speaking of threats on his life, he urged followers to continue the nonviolent struggle no matter what happened to him. The next evening, as King stood on an outside balcony at the Lorraine Motel, he was struck by a rifle bullet. He died a few hours later.

A monument to King


In December 1999, a four-acre site near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., was approved as the location for a monument to King. The site is near the place where King delivered his "I have a dream" speech in 1963. In September 2000, a design was selected. The monument will be the first to honor an individual African American in the National Mall area.


3. Abraham Lincoln

Born: February 12, 1809
Hodgenville, Kentucky
Died: April 14, 1865
Washington, D.C.
American president

 
The sixteenth president of the United States and president during the Civil War (1861–1865), Abraham Lincoln will forever be remembered by his inspirational rise to fame, his efforts to rid the country of slavery, and his ability to hold together a divided nation. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, Gettysburg Address, and two outstanding inaugural addresses are widely regarded as some of the greatest speeches ever delivered by an American politician.

Starting life in a log cabin


Abraham Lincoln was born to Thomas and Nancy Lincoln on February 12, 1809, in a log cabin on a farm in Hardin County, Kentucky. Two years later thefamily moved to a farm on Knob Creek. There, when there was no immediate work to be done, Abraham walked two miles to the schoolhouse, where he learned the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic.

When Abraham was seven, his father sold his lands and moved the family into the rugged wilderness of Indiana across the Ohio River. After spending a winter in a crude shack, the Lincolns began building a better home and clearing the land for planting. They were making progress when, in the summer of 1818, a terrible disease known as milk sickness struck the region. First it took the lives of Mrs. Lincoln's uncle and aunt, and then Nancy Hanks Lincoln herself died. Without Mrs. Lincoln the household began to fall apart, and much of the workload fell to Abraham and his sister.

The next winter Abraham's father returned to Kentucky and brought back a second wife, Sarah Bush Johnson, a widow with three children. As time passed, the region where the Lincolns lived grew in population. Lincoln himself grew tall and strong, and his father often hired him out to work for neighbors. Meanwhile, Lincoln's father had again moved his family to a new home in Illinois, where he built a cabin on the Sangamon River. At the end of the first summer in Illinois, disease swept through the region and put the Lincolns on the move once again. This time it was to Coles County. Abraham, who was now a grown man, did not go along. Instead he moved to the growing town of New Salem, where he was placed in charge of a mill and store.

 
Entering public life


Life in New Salem was a turning point for Lincoln, and the great man of history began to emerge. To the store came people of all kinds to talk and TRADEand to enjoy the stories told by this unique and popular man. The members of the New Salem Debating Society welcomed him, and Lincoln began to develop his skills as a passionate and persuasive speaker. When the Black Hawk War (1832) erupted between the United States and hostile Native Americans, the volunteers of the region quickly elected Lincoln to be their captain.

After the war he announced himself as a candidate for the Illinois legislature. He was not elected, but he did receive 277 of the 300 votes cast in the New Salem precinct. In 1834, after another attempt, Lincoln was finally elected to the state legislature. Lincoln's campaign skills greatly impressed John Todd Stuart (1807–1885), a leader of the Whigs, one of two major political parties in the country at the time. Stuart was also an .outstanding lawyer in Springfield, Illinois, and soon took Lincoln under his care and inspired him to begin the study of law.


Lincoln served four straight terms in the legislature and soon emerged as a party leader. Meanwhile, he mastered the law books he could buy or borrow. In September 1836 Lincoln began practicing law and played an important part in having the Illinois state capital moved from Vandalia to Springfield. In 1837 Lincoln himself moved to Springfield to become Stuart's law partner. He did not, however, forget politics. In 1846 Lincoln was elected to the U.S. Congress. During these years Lincoln had become engaged to Mary Todd (1818–1882), a cultured and well-educated Kentucky woman. They were married on November 2, 1842.

 
First failure


When Congress met in December 1847, Lincoln expressed his disapproval with the Mexican War (1846–48), in which American and Mexican forces clashed over land in the Southwest. These views, together with his wish to abolish, or end, slavery in the District of Columbia, brought sharp criticism from the people back in Illinois. They believed Lincoln was "not a patriot" and had not correctly represented his state in Congress.

Although the Whigs won the presidency in 1848, Lincoln could not even control the support in his own district. His political career seemed to be coming to a close just as it was beginning. His only reward for party service was an OFFER of the governorship of far-off Oregon, which he refused. Lincoln then returned to Illinois and resumed practicing law.

 
War on the horizon


During the next twelve years, while Lincoln rebuilt his legal career, the nation was becoming divided. While victory in the Mexican War added vast western territory to the United States, then came the issue of slavery in those new territories. To Southerners, the issue involved the security and rights of slavery everywhere. To Northerners, it was a matter of morals and justice. A national crisis soon developed. Only the efforts of Senators Henry Clay (1777–1852) andDaniel Webster (1782–1852) brought about the Compromise of 1850. With the compromise, a temporary truce was reached between the states favoring slavery and those opposed to it. The basic issues, however, were not eliminated. Four years later the struggle was reopened.

Lincoln's passionate opposition to slavery was enough to draw him back into the world of politics. He had always viewed slavery as a "moral, social and political wrong" and looked forward to its eventual abolition. Although willing to let it alone for the present in the states where it existed, he would not see it extended one inch.

At the same time, Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas (1813–1861) drafted the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would leave the decision of slavery up to the new territories. Lincoln thought the bill ignored the growing Northern determination to rid the nation of slavery. Soon, in opposition to the expansion of slavery, the Republican party was born. When Douglas returned to Illinois to defend his position, Lincoln seized every opportunity to point out the weakness in it.

 
Republican leader


Lincoln's failure to receive the nomination as senator in 1855 convinced him that the Whig party was dead. By summer 1856 he became a member of the new Republicans. Lincoln quickly emerged as the outstanding leader of the new party. At the party's first national convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he received 110 votes for vice president on the first ballot. Although he was not chosen, he had been recognized as an important national figure.

National attention began turning toward the violence in Kansas and the Supreme Court decision in the Dred Scott case, which debated the issue of slavery in the new territories. Meanwhile, Douglas had returned to Illinois to wage his fight for reelection to the Senate. But unlike in earlier elections, Illinois had grown rapidly and the population majority had shifted from the southern part of the state to the central and northern areas. In these growing areas the Republican party had gained a growing popularity—as had Abraham Lincoln.

As Lincoln challenged Douglas for his seat in the Senate, the two engaged in legendary debates. During the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Lincoln delivered his famous "house divided" speech, stating "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe the government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free." Lincoln proved his ability to hold his own against the man known as the "Little Giant." In the end Douglas was reelected as senator, but Lincoln had gained national attention and his name was soon mentioned for the presidency.

The sixteenth president


In 1860 the Republican National Convention met and chose Lincoln as their candidate for president of the United States. With a divided Democratic party and the recent formation of the Constitutional Union party, Lincoln's election was certain. After Lincoln's election victory, parts of the country reacted harshly against the new president's stand on slavery. Seven Southern states then seceded, or withdrew, from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America.

In his inaugural address he clarified his position on the national situation. Secession, he said, was wrong, and the Union could not legally be broken apart. He would not interfere with slavery in the states, but he would "hold, occupy, and possess" all property and places owned by the federal government. By now there was no avoiding the outbreak of the Civil War.

The Civil War


From this time on, Lincoln's life was shaped by the problems and fortunes of civil war. As president, he was the head of all agencies in government and also acted as commander in chief, or supreme commander, of the armies. Lincoln was heavily criticized for early failures. Radicals in Congress were soon demanding a reorganization of his cabinet, or official advisors, and a new set of generals to lead his armies. To combat this, Lincoln himself studied military books. He correctly evaluated General Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885) and General William T. Sherman (1820–1891) and the importance of the western campaign. Thanks, in part, to Lincoln's reshuffling of his military leaders, the Union forces would soon capture victory over the Confederates.

Afterward, Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. The proclamation called for the freeing of all slaves in territories still at war with the Union. Later, during his Gettysburg Address, he gave the war its universal meaning as a struggle to preserve a nation based on freedoms and dedicated to the idea "that all men are created equal."

Lincoln was reelected in 1864. As the end of the Civil War appeared close, Lincoln urged his people "to bind up the nation's wounds" and create a just and lasting peace. But Lincoln would never be able enjoy the nation he had reunited. Five days after the Confederate army surrendered and ended the Civil War, Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1965. The president died the next day.

Although the reasons for Lincoln's assassination would be debated, his prominent place in American history has never been in doubt. His work to free the slaves earned him the honorable reputation as the Great Emancipator. His ability to hold together a country torn apart by civil war would forever secure his place as one of America's greatest presidents.

4. Benjamin Franklin

Born: January 17, 1706
Boston, Massachusetts
Died: April 17, 1790
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
American scholar, diplomat, author, scientist, and inventor
Benjamin Franklin was a leader of America's revolutionary generation. His character and thought were shaped by his religious upbringing, the philosophy of the historical era known as the Enlightenment, and the environment of colonial America.


Youthful character

Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, in Boston, Massachusetts, into a devoted Puritan household. (The Puritans were a religious group that stood against the practices of the Church of England.) In 1683 his family had left England and moved to New England in search of religious freedom. Franklin's father was a candlemaker and a mechanic, but, his son said, his "great Excellence lay in a sound Understanding, and solid Judgment." Franklin also praised his mother, who raised a family of thirteen children.

Young Franklin was not content at home. He received little formal schooling and by age eleven went to work making candles and soap at his father's shop. However, he hated this trade—especially the smell. Franklin eventually left his father's shop and went to work for his brother James, who was the printer of a Boston newspaper. While learning the business Franklin read every word that came into the shop and was soon writing clever pieces that criticized the Boston establishment. He loved to read and even became a vegetarian in order to save MONEY to buy books. When authorities imprisoned James for his own critical articles, Benjamin continued the paper himself. In 1723 at age seventeen Franklin left home and moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

By this time Franklin had begun to embrace the ideas of such Enlightenment thinkers as the physicist Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727) and the philosopher John Locke (1632–1727). The Enlightenment, which began in the sixteenth century and lasted until the late seventeenth century, was a movement that promoted the use of reason to learn truth. During this time period, many important scientific advances and discoveries were made through the use of observation and experimentation.

Civil and scientific interests


In Philadelphia, Franklin began working as a printer. In 1724 he went to England, where he quickly became a master printer and lived among the writers of London. He returned to Philadelphia and started his own press, publishing a newspaper called the Pennsylvania Gazette and a publication called Poor Richard's Almanack, which contained advice and sayings that are still popular in America today. He then became clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly and postmaster of Philadelphia. At the same time he operated a bookshop and developed partnerships with other printers. Franklin also became involved in community improvement in 1727. He organized the Junto, a club of tradesmen whose activities included sponsoring a library, a fire company, a college, aninsurance company, and a hospital.

Next, Franklin turned to science. Having already invented what became known as the Franklin stove (a metal stove used for heating a room), he now became fascinated with electricity. In a famous experiment he used a kite to prove that lightning is a form of electricity. The mysterious and terrifying natural occurrence now had an explanation. Franklin's letters concerning his discoveries and theories about electricity brought him fame. His invention of the lightning rod (a metal rod that is set on top of a building to protect it from being damaged if it is struck by lightning) added to his reputation.

Political career


Franklin's 1751 election to the Pennsylvania Assembly began his nearly forty years as a public official. He became a leader in the long-dominant Quakerpolitical party, which opposed the Proprietary party (a political party made up of people who sought to preserve the power of the Penn family, the founding family of Pennsylvania). In the Assembly, Franklin created lawmaking strategies and wrote powerful statements defending the right of the people's elected representatives to regulate the government of Pennsylvania.

As a representative in the Assembly, Franklin was initially loyal to the British empire. He was on the side of the empire during the French and Indian War (1754–63; a war fought between France and Great Britain, which resulted in British control of land in North America east of the Mississippi River). In order to defend the British empire, he persuaded the Assembly to pass Pennsylvania's first militia law, set aside budget money for defense, and appoint government representatives to carry on a full-scale war. For three decades or more Franklin had considered Britain a vital, freedom-extending country as dear and useful to its people in America as to those

in England. Nevertheless, he was occasionally alarmed by British indifference toward the desires of people living in the colonies.

Franklin lived in England from 1757 to 1762, seeking aid in restraining the power of the Penn family in Pennsylvania. Returning to America for nearly two years, he traveled through the American colonies as deputy postmaster general for North America. In this position, which he held for twenty years, Franklin greatly improved the postal service. He also continued his aid to poorer members of his family and to the family of his wife, Deborah. They had two children, Frankie, who died at four, and Sally. Deborah Franklin also raised her husband's illegitimate son, William.

In 1764 Franklin lost his seat in the Pennsylvania Assembly. However, he returned to England as Pennsylvania's agent, with a special assignment to request that Pennsylvania be taken over as a royal colony. When the dangers of royal government began to increase, Franklin decided not to make the request.

More radical position


Franklin played a central role in the great crises that led to the Declaration of Independence in 1776. In 1765 the Stamp Act placed a tax on all business and law papers and printed materials in the American colonies. Many colonists opposed the tax as taxation without representation. After learning of the violent protest against the Stamp Act, Franklin stiffened his own stand against the measure. In a dramatic appearance before Parliament in 1766, he outlined American insistence on self-government. Nevertheless, when the tax was removed Franklin again expressed his faith in America's prospects within the British empire.

Franklin was the foremost American spokesman in Britain for the next nine years. However, in 1775 his service in England came to an unhappy end. Against his instructions, his friends in Massachusetts published letters by Massachusetts governor Thomas Hutchinson (1711–1780) that Franklin had obtained on a confidential basis. Exposed as a dishonest schemer, Franklin was reprimanded (scolded) by the British in 1774 and removed from his position as postmaster general. Although he was in danger of being jailed as a traitor, Franklin continued to work for better relations. Radical protests in America and the buildup of British troops there doomed such efforts.

The revolutionary


Franklin left England in March 1775. The American Revolution (1775–83; a war in which American colonies fought for independence from Great Britain) had begun on April 19, 1775, with the battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts. During the next several months in America, Franklin enjoyed the surge for independence. In 1776 he helped draft the Declaration of Independence and was among those who readily signed his name to it. At the age of seventy he had become a passionate revolutionary.

Franklin's skill was most in demand as a diplomat (someone who is skilled at handling difficult affairs) to secure desperately needed aid in the American war for independence. In 1776 he was appointed as a representative to France. There he gained astonishing personal success, winning the admiration of French intellectuals and the Parisian society. However, Franklin's diplomatic tasks proved more difficult. Though France was anxious for England to be defeated, it could not afford openly to aid the American rebels unless success seemed likely.

In 1777 Franklin worked behind the scenes to speed war supplies across the Atlantic and win support from French political leaders who might help the United States. In December 1777 his efforts were REWARDED when France's King Louis XVI (1754–1793) entered into an alliance with the United States. As the leading American representative in Europe, Franklin helped get French armies and navies on their way to North America, continued his efforts to supply American armies, and secured almost all of the outside aid that came to the American rebels.

Peace commissioner


After the British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781, Franklin made the first contact with representatives of the British government. During the summer of 1782 as the other peace commissioners, John Adams (1735–1826) and John Jay (1745–1829), made their way toward peace negotiations in Paris, Franklin set the main terms of the final agreement. These included independence, guaranteed fishing rights, removal of all British forces, and a western boundary on the Mississippi River. Franklin, Adams, and Jay made an ideal team, winning for the United States a peace treaty of genuine national independence in 1783.

Franklin returned to Philadelphia from France in 1785. He accepted election for three years as president of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania and was active in various projects and causes. Although ill, he also finished his autobiography.

Framing a new government


Franklin's most notable service at this time was his attendance at the Constitutional Convention during the summer of 1787. At the convention's close he asked each member, who like himself might not entirely approve of the Constitution, to sign the document to give it a chance as the best frame of government that could be produced at the time. His last public service was to urge ratification (approval) of the Constitution and to approve the inauguration (swearing into office) of the new government under his old friend George Washington (1732–1799). Franklin died peacefully in Philadelphia on April 17, 1790.
 


5. Gandhi

Born: October 2, 1869
Porbandar, India
Died: January 30, 1948
Delhi, India
Indian religious leader, reformer, and lawyer
Mohandas Gandhi was an Indian revolutionary and religious leader who used his religious power for political and social reform. Although he held no governmental office, he was the main force behind the second-largest nation in the world's struggle for independence.


Early years

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar,
 India, a seacoast town in the Kathiawar Peninsula north of Bombay, India. His wealthy family was from one of the higher castes (Indian social classes). He was the fourth child of Karamchand Gandhi, prime minister to the raja (ruler) of three small city-states, and Purtlibai, his fourth wife. Gandhi described his mother as a deeply religious woman who attended temple (a place for religious worship) service daily. Mohandas was a small, quiet boy who disliked sports and was only an average student. At the age of thirteen he did not even know in advance that he was to marry Kasturbai, a girl his own age. The childhood ambition of Mohandas was to study medicine, but as this was considered beneath his caste, his father persuaded him to study law instead. After his marriage Mohandas finished high school and tutored his wife.

In September 1888 Gandhi went to England to study. Before leaving India, he promised his mother he would try not to eat meat. He was an even stricter vegetarian while away than he had been at home. In England he studied law but never completely adjusted to the English way of life. He became a lawyer in 1891 and sailed for Bombay. He attempted unsuccessfully to practice law in Rajkot and Bombay, then for a brief period served as lawyer for the prince of Porbandar.

South Africa: the beginning


In 1893 Gandhi accepted an OFFER from a firm of Muslims to represent them legally in Pretoria, the capital of Transvaal in the Union of South Africa. While traveling in a first-class train compartment in Natal, South Africa, a white man asked Gandhi to leave. He got off the train and spent the night in a train station meditating. He decided then to work to end racial prejudice. He had planned to stay in South Africa for only one year, but this new cause kept him in the country until 1914. Shortly after the train incident he called his first meeting of Indians in Pretoria and attacked racial discrimination (treating a certain group of people differently) by whites. This launched his campaign for improved legal status for Indians in South Africa, who at that time suffered the same discrimination as black people.

In 1896 Gandhi returned to India to take his wife and sons to Africa and to inform his countrymen of the poor treatment of Indians there. News of his speeches filtered back to Africa, and when Gandhi returned, an angry mob threw stones and attempted to lynch (to murder by mob action and without lawful trial) him.

Spiritual development


Gandhi began to do day-to-day chores for unpaid boarders of the lowest castes and encouraged his wife to do the same. He decided to buy a farm in Natal and return to a simpler way of life. He began to fast (not eat). In 1906 he became celibate (not engaging in sexual intercourse) after having fathered four sons, and he preached Brahmacharya (vow of celibacy) as a means of birth control and spiritual purity. He also began to live a life of voluntary poverty.

During this period Gandhi developed the concept of Satyagraha, or soul force. He wrote: "Satyagraha is not predominantly civil disobedience, but a quiet and irresistible pursuit of truth." Truth was throughout his life Gandhi's chief concern, as reflected in the subtitle of his Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth. Gandhi also developed a basic concern for the means used to achieve a goal.

In 1907 Gandhi urged all Indians in South Africa to defy a law requiring registration and fingerprinting of all Indians. For this activity he was imprisoned for two months but released when he agreed to voluntary registration. During Gandhi's second stay in jail he read the American essayist Henry David Thoreau's (1817–1862) essay "Civil Disobedience," which left a deep impression on him. He was also influenced by his correspondence with Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy

Gandhi decided to create a place for civil resisters to live in a group environment. He called it the Tolstoy Farm. By this time he had abandoned Western dress for traditional Indian garb. Two of his final legal achievements in Africa were a law declaring Indian (rather than only Christian) marriages valid, and the end of a tax on former indentured (bound to work and unable to leave for a specific period of time) Indian labor. Gandhi regarded his work in South Africa as completed.

By the time Gandhi returned to India in January 1915, he had become known as "Mahatmaji," a title given him by the poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941). This title means "great soul." Gandhi knew how to reach the masses and insisted on their resistance and spiritual growth. He spoke of a new, free Indian individual, telling Indians that India's cages were self-made.

Disobedience and return to old values


The repressive Rowlatt Acts of 1919 (a set of laws that allowed the government to try people accused of political crimes without a jury) caused Gandhi to call a general hartal, or strike (when workers refuse to work in order to obtain rights from their employers), throughout the country. But he called it off when violence occurred against Englishmen. Following the Amritsar Massacre of some four hundred Indians, Gandhi responded by not cooperating with British courts, stores, and schools. The government agreed to make reforms.

Gandhi began urging Indians to make their own clothing rather than buy British goods. This would create employment for millions of Indian peasants during the many idle months of the year. He cherished the ideal of economic independence for each village. He identified industrialization (increased use of machines) with materialism (desire for wealth) and felt that it stunted man's growth. Gandhi believed that the individual should be placed ahead of economic productivity.

In 1921 the Congress Party, a group of various nationalist (love of one's own nation and cultural identity) groups, again voted for a nonviolent disobedience campaign. Gandhi had come to realize that India's reliance on Britain had made India more helpless than ever. In 1922 Gandhi was tried and sentenced to six years in prison, but he was released two years later for an emergency appendectomy (surgery to remove an inflamed appendix). This was the last time the British government tried Gandhi.

Fasting and the protest march


One technique Gandhi used frequently was the fast. He firmly believed that Hindu-Muslim unity was natural and he undertook a twenty-one-day fast to bring the two communities together. He also fasted during a strike of mill workers in Ahmedabad. Another technique he developed was the protest march. In response to a British tax on all salt used by Indians, a severe hardship on the peasants, Gandhi began his famous twenty-four-day "salt march" to the sea. Several thousand marchers walked 241 miles to the coast in protest of the unfair law.

Another cause Gandhi supported was improving the status of members of the lower castes, or Harijans. On September 20, 1932, Gandhi began a fast for the Harijans, opposing a British plan for a separate voting body for them. As a result of Gandhi's fast, some temples were opened to exterior castes for the first time in history.

Gandhi devoted the years 1934 through 1939 to the promotion of making fabric, basic education, and making Hindi the national language. During these years he worked closely with Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964) in the Congress Working Committee. Despite differences of opinion, Gandhi designated Nehru his successor, saying, "I know this, that when I am gone he will speak my language."

World War II and beyond


England's entry into World War II (1939–45; when the United States, France, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union fought against Germany, Italy, and Japan) brought India in without its consent. Because Britain had made no political compromises satisfactory to nationalist leaders, in August 1942 Gandhi proposed not to help in the war effort. Gandhi, Nehru, and other Congress Party leaders were imprisoned, touching off violence throughout India. When the British attempted to place the blame on Gandhi, he fasted for three weeks in jail. He contracted malaria (a potentially fatal disease spread by mosquitoes) in prison and was released on May 6, 1944.

When Gandhi emerged from prison, he sought to stop the creation of a separate Muslim state of Pakistan, which Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1876–1948) was demanding. Jinnah declared August 16, 1946, a "Direct Action Day." On that day, and for several days following, communal killings left five thousand dead and fifteen thousand wounded in Calcutta alone. Violence spread through the country.

Extremely upset, Gandhi went to Bengal, saying, "I am not going to leave Bengal until the last embers of trouble are stamped out." But while he was in Calcutta forty-five hundred more people were killed in Bihar. Gandhi, now seventy-seven, warned that he would fast to death unless Biharis reformed. Either Hindus and Muslims would learn to live together or he would die in the attempt. The situation there calmed, but rioting continued elsewhere.

Drive for independence


In March 1947 the last viceroy, Lord Mountbatten (1900–1979), arrived in India with instructions to take Britain out of India by June 1948. The Congress Party by this time had agreed to separation, since the only alternative appeared to be continuation of British rule. Gandhi, despairing because his nation was not responding to his plea for peace and brotherhood, refused to participate in the independence celebrations on August 15, 1947. On September 1, 1947, after an angry Hindu mob broke into the home where he was staying in Calcutta, Gandhi began to fast, "to end only if and when sanity returns to Calcutta." Both Hindu and Muslim leaders promised that there would be no more killings, and Gandhi ended his fast.

On January 13, 1948, Gandhi began his last fast in Delhi, praying for Indian unity. On January 30, as he was attending prayers, he was shot and killed by Nathuram Godse, a thirty-five-year-old editor of a Hindu Mahasabha extremist newspaper in Poona.

6. John F. Kennedy

Born: November 25, 1960
Washington, D.C.
Died: July 16, 1999
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
American magazine publisher and lawyer

John F. Kennedy Jr., son of the late president John F. Kennedy (1917–1963), avoided politics and followed his own path as a magazine publisher. After attending his own father's funeral as a child, Kennedy, Jr., saw a series of early deaths in his family. He himself was claimed by a tragic accident in the prime of his life.


President's son

John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr., was born on November 25, 1960, the son of John F .Kennedy (1917–1963), who had just won election as the thirty-fifth president of the United States, and Jacqueline ("Jackie") Kennedy (1929–1994). He was the first child ever born to a president-elect. The Kennedys gave the nation the closest model they had ever had to a royal family. John-John, as he became known, and his sister Caroline regularly made the news and helped to create an image of the Kennedys as an ideal American family.

While campaigning in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, the president was shot and killed. Just three months earlier, the family had grieved when new baby Patrick died two days after his birth. The death of John F. Kennedy shocked the nation, and the image of the president's three-year-old son at the funeral, wearing a short coat that revealed his bare knees, saluting his father's coffin as it passed, was heartbreaking.

Always in the public eye

In 1964 Jackie Kennedy moved with her children to an apartment in New York City, where she hoped they might be able to avoid the media. The family would soon suffer another difficult loss. On June 6, 1968, the late president's brother, Robert Kennedy (1925–1968), who had become a father figure to his nephew and niece, was assassinated in California while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination. Four months later, Jackie Kennedy married the wealthy businessman Aristotle Onassis (1906–1975).

The young Kennedy would sometimes get into fights with reporters and photographers who followed him and his sister around. The media criticized him for being self-centered and for his less than outstanding record at school. After high school he became more serious about his education. First, he studied environmental issues at a school in Africa. He would later return to Africa following his freshman year at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. While in Africa he worked with a mining firm in Johannesburg, South Africa, and met student and government leaders in Zimbabwe. During his college years he also worked with the Peace Corps in Guatemala to help earthquake victims.

After graduating with a bachelor's degree in American history in 1982, Kennedy studied at the University of Delhi in India. When he returned to the United States he went to work for the New York City Office of Business Development in 1984. In 1986 he entered New York University Law School, mainly to please his mother. At the 1988 Democratic National Convention he gave a speech

to introduce his uncle, Senator Edward Kennedy (1932–), that earned him a two-minute standing ovation and led many to wonder if he was preparing to run for office. He passed his bar exam (a test that a person must pass before he or she is allowed to practice law) on the third try and was hired in August 1989 as an assistant prosecutor in the Manhattan office of New York district attorneyRobert Morgenthau (1919–). He won all six of the cases that he prosecuted in court before leaving the position in 1993.

New ventures


In September 1995 Kennedy cofounded George magazine, which had the slogan "Not politics as usual." He wrote essays and interviewed people for the publication. Some observers suggested that his magazine venture was a way for him to gain the public-affairs knowledge that he would need in order to run for office, but he denied that he was planning to enter politics. On September 21, 1996, he married Carolyn Bessette (1966–1999) in a private ceremony onCumberland Island off the coast of Georgia. It was one of the few major events in his life during which he managed to avoid publicity. He and his wife appeared to be a happy couple as they made their home in New York.

On July 16, 1999, Kennedy, his wife, and her sister Lauren Bessette (1964–1999) were declared missing at sea after their plane crashed into the water near the coast of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Kennedy was an amateur pilot who had earned his license in April 1998. All three bodies were eventually recovered from the wreckage and buried at sea on July 22, 1999.

7. Nelson Mandela

Born: July 18, 1918
Transkei, South Africa
Died: On 5 December 2013
South African president and political activist

Nelson Mandela is a South African leader who spent years in prison for opposing apartheid, the policy by which the races were separated and whites were given power over blacks in South Africa. Upon his release from prison, Mandela became the first president of a black-majority-ruled South Africa in which apartheid was officially ended. A symbol of hope for many, Mandela is also a former winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Youth and education

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in a small village in the southeastern region of South Africa called the Transkei. His father was chief of the village and a member of the royal family of the Thembu tribe, which spoke the Xhosa language. As a boy, Mandela grew up in the company of tribal elders and chiefs, which gave him a rich sense of African self-government and heritage, despite the cruel treatment of blacks in white-governed South Africa.

Mandela was also deeply influenced by his early education in Methodist church schools. The instruction he received there set Mandela on a path leading away from some African tribal traditions, such as an arranged marriage set up by a tribal elder, which he refused. After being expelled from Fort Hare University College in 1940 for leading a student strike, Mandela obtained a degree from Witwatersrand University. In 1942 he received a degree in law from the University of South Africa.

Joining the ANC


In 1944 Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC), a South African political party. Since its founding, the ANC's main goal had been to work to improve conditions and rights for people of color in South Africa. However, its fairly conservative stance had led some members to call for less timid measures. Mandela became one of the ANC's younger and more radical leaders as a member of the ANC's Youth League. He became president of the league in 1951.

The years between 1951 and 1960 were troubled times, both for South Africa and for the ANC. Younger antiapartheid activists (protesters), including Mandela, were coming to the view that nonviolent demonstrations against apartheid did not work, because they allowed the South African government to respond with violence against Africans. Although Mandela was ready to try every possible technique to destroy apartheid peacefully, he began to feel that nonviolent resistance would not change conditions in the end.

In 1952 Mandela's leadership of ANC protest activities led to a nine-month jail sentence. Later, in 1956, he was arrested with other ANC leaders for promoting resistance to South Africa's "pass

laws" that prevented blacks from moving freely in the country. Mandela was charged with treason (a crime committed against one's country), but the charges against him and others collapsed in 1961. By this time, however, the South African government had outlawed the ANC. This move followed events at Sharpeville in 1960, when police fired on a crowd of unarmed protesters.

Sharpeville had made it clear that the days of nonviolent resistance were over. In 1961 antiapartheid leaders created a semi-underground (operating illegally) movement called the All-African National Action Council. Mandela was appointed its honorary secretary and later became head of Umkhonto weSizwe (the Spear of the Nation), a militant ANC organization which used sabotage (destruction of property and other tactics
Political prisoner

In 1962 Mandela was again arrested, this time for leaving South Africa illegally and for inciting strikes. He was sentenced to five years in jail. The following year he was tried with other leaders of Umkhonto weSizwe on a charge of high treason, following a government raid of the group's secret headquarters. Mandela was given a life sentence, which he began serving in the maximum security prison on South Africa's Robben Island.

During the twenty-seven years that Mandela spent in prison, his example of quiet suffering was just one of many pressures on South Africa's apartheid government. Public discussion of Mandela was illegal, and he was allowed few visitors. But as the years dragged on, he was increasingly viewed as a martyr(one who suffers for a cause) in South Africa and around the world, making him a symbol of international protests against apartheid.

In 1988 Mandela was hospitalized with an illness, and after his recovery he was returned to prison under somewhat less harsh conditions. By this time, the situation within South Africa was becoming desperate for the ruling white powers. Protest had spread, and international pressures for the end of apartheid were increasing. More and more, South Africa was isolated as a racist state. It was against this backdrop that F. W. de Klerk (1936–), the president of South Africa, finally responded to the calls from around the world to release Mandela.

Freedom


On February 11, 1990, Mandela walked out of prison. He received joyful welcomes wherever he went around the world. In 1991 he assumed the presidency of the ANC, which had been given legal status again by the government.

Both Mandela and deKlerk realized that only a compromise between whites and blacks could prevent civil war in South Africa. As a result, in late 1991, a multiparty Convention for a Democratic South Africa met to establish a new, democratic government that gave people of all colors rights to determine the country's future. Mandela and deKlerk led the negotiations, and their efforts gained them the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. In September 1992, the two leaders signed a document that created a freely elected constitutional assembly to draft a new constitution and to act as a transition government (a government that functions temporarily while a new government is being formed). On April 27, 1994, the first free elections open to all South African citizens were held. The ANC won over sixty-two percent of the popular vote, and Mandela was elected president.

Presidency and retirement


As president, Mandela worked to ease the dangerous political differences in his country and to build up the South African economy. To a remarkable degree he was successful in his aims. Mandela's skill at building compromise and his enormous personal authority helped him lead the transition to democracy. In an effort to help the country heal, he also backed the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission which OFFERED amnesty (exemption fromcriminal prosecution) to those who had committed crimes during the apartheid era. This action helped to promote discussion about the country's history.

Mandela retired in June 1999, choosing not to challenge Thabo Mbeki, his vice president, in elections. Mbeki won the election for the ANC and was inaugurated as president on June 16, 1999. Mandela quickly took on the role of statesman after leaving office, acting that year as a mediator in the peace process in Burundi, where a civil war had led to the killing of thousands.

In late 2001, Mandela joined the outcry against terrorism when he expressed his support for the American bombing of Afghanistan after terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001. By January 2002, however, Mandela had modified his support somewhat after South African Muslims criticized him for appearing to be insensitive to the sufferings of the Afghan people. As quoted by the Associated Press, Mandela called his earlier remarks supporting the bombings an "overstatement" and urged caution against prematurely labeling Osama bin Laden, the man suspected of plotting the attacks, as a terrorist.

For More Information


Benson, Mary. Nelson Mandela: The Man and the Movement. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1986.

Harwood, Ronald. Mandela. New York: New American Library, 1987.

Hughes, Libby. Nelson Mandela: Voice of Freedom. New York: Dillon Press, 1992.

Johns, Sheridan, and R. Hunt Davis Jr., eds. Mandela, Tambo, & the African National Congress: The Struggle Against Apartheid, 1948–1990: A Documentary Study. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Mandela, Nelson. Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Boston: Little, Brown, 1994.

8. Eleanor Roosevelt

Born: October 11, 1884
New York, New York
Died: November 6, 1962
New York, New York
American first lady, international diplomat, writer, and philanthropist
Eleanor Roosevelt was the wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882– 1945), the thirty-second president of the United States. She was a well-known philanthropist (a person who works to aid others through charity). She was also an author, a world diplomat, and a tireless champion of social causes.

A lonely girlhood

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born in New York, New York, on October 11, 1884. Her family was FINANCIALLY comfortable but troubled. Her father was Elliott Roosevelt, the younger brother of Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), who served as president of the United States. Although handsome and charming, Elliott suffered from frequent mental depression and alcoholism. Eleanor's mother was preoccupied with the family's image in upper-class society and embarrassed by Eleanor's appearance—which was not considered pretty.

Although Eleanor's father was often absent, she regarded him as a glamorous and exciting parent. When Eleanor was a child, her father entered an institution for alcoholics. It was one of many early losses for the young girl, whose mother died when she was just eight years old. After her mother's death, Eleanor and her two younger brothers went to live with their maternal grandmother in New York. Shortly thereafter the older brother died, and when Eleanor was not yet ten, she learned that her father had died. Her grandmother sheltered her from all outside contact except for family acquaintances.

Eleanor Roosevelt began discovering a world beyond her family after entering a school for young women at South Fields, England, at age fifteen. The school's head-mistress (female principal) taught her students a sense of service and responsibility to society. Eleanor began to act upon this teaching after her return to New York, plunging into work for the good of others. At that same time, her tall, handsome cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, began courting her. They were married in March 1905. Eleanor now had to contend with a controlling mother-inlaw and with a husband who loved to be out in public and who did not really understand Eleanor's struggle to overcome her shyness and insecurity.

Becoming a public figure


Between 1906 and 1916, the Roosevelts had six children, one of whom died as an infant. The family lived in Hyde Park, New York, while Franklin pursued his political ambitions to become a leading figure in the Democratic Party. He served a term in the New York State Senate before President Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924) appointed him assistant secretary of the Navy in 1913. Although Eleanor did much work for the Red Cross (a charitable medical organization) during World War I (1914–18), she remained out of the public eye.

A major turning point in Eleanor's life came in 1921, when Franklin contracted polio (an infectious disease that can cause paralysis). Franklin suffered from paralysis and permanently lost the use of his legs. Although Franklin's mother insisted that Franklin accept his condition and retire, Eleanor finally asserted her will over her mother-in-law and nursed him back into activity. Within a few years he had regained his strength and political ambitions. Meanwhile, Eleanor had become more of a public figure, speaking and working for the League of Women Voters (an organization that promoted active involvement in government), the National Consumers' League (an organization focused on the welfare of consumers and workers), the Women's TRADE Union League (an organization concerned with better working conditions for women), and the women's division of the New York State Democratic Committee. She began to act as Franklin's "legs and ears" and acquired a certain reputation of her own. After Franklin became governor of New York in 1928, she kept busy inspecting state hospitals, homes, and prisons for her husband.

President's wife


Franklin Roosevelt's election to the presidency in 1932 meant, as Eleanor later wrote, "the end of any personal life of my own." She quickly became the best-known (and also the most criticized) first lady in American history. She evoked both intense admiration and strong hatred from her fellow Americans.

As first lady, Eleanor gave radio broadcasts and wrote a column that appeared in newspapers across the country. She traveled throughout the United States on fact-finding trips for Franklin. In particular, she became a voice for those in need, including working women, African Americans, youth, and tenant farmers. Such groups had been severely affected by the economic crisis known as the Great Depression (1929–39; the longest and most severe economic depression in the United States), which Franklin Roosevelt had tried to combat through the series of social programs known as the New DEAL. Eleanor spoke out freely on issues, and she also became a key contact within the administration for officials seeking the president's support. In short, Eleanor became a kind of go-between between the individual citizen and the government, as well as between the president and some members of his administration.

During the 1930s Eleanor was particularly concerned with creating equal opportunities for women and with making sure that appropriate jobs for writers, artists, musicians, and theater people became a key part of the New DEAL employment program known as the Works Progress Administration (WPA). She also promoted the cause of Arthurdale, a farming community built by the government for unemployed miners in West Virginia. She was concerned with providing work for jobless youth, both white and black. Much more than her husband, she spoke out against racism and tried to aid the struggle of black Americans toward full citizenship.

World figure


As the United States moved toward war in the late 1930s, Eleanor Roosevelt spoke out forcefully in favor of her husband's foreign policy. She accepted an appointment as deputy director in the Office of Civilian Defense but resigned in 1942 after being criticized for being a poor administrator in this position. After the United States formally entered World War II (1939–45) in 1941, she made numerous trips overseas to boost the spirits of troops and to inspect Red Cross facilities.

After Franklin Roosevelt died in office in April 1945, Eleanor was expected to retire to a quiet, private life. However, by the end of the year she was back in public. America's new president, Harry S. Truman (1884–1972), made her the American representative to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. She remained in this post through 1952. Later, she continued to work for international understanding and cooperation as a representative of the American Association for the United Nations.

During the last decade of her life Eleanor Roosevelt traveled to numerous foreign countries, including the Soviet Union. She completed her Autobiography(1961), which included her earlier books This Is My Story (1937), This I Remember (1949), and On My Own (1958). By the early 1960s her strength had lessened. She died in New York City on November 6, 1962.

Despite her shy and lonely girlhood, Eleanor Roosevelt became one of the most important American women of the twentieth century. Her personal and social outlook inspired millions.

9. Richard Branson

Born: 18-07-1950
​Birth Place: Surrey, England
British entrepreneur 

This flamboyant British entrepreneur with a seemingly insatiable appetite for starting new businesses is the son of a lawyer and an airline stewardess.


He was educated at the exclusive Stowe School but did not excel, possibly due to his nearsightedness and dyslexia. In his teens he developed a national magazine, Student at the Age of Sixteen. At seventeen he began a student advisory service.

After leaving school, Branson entered the music industry. Considering that he could sell records cheaper than the existing average, he started a mail-order catalogue with friends. It was a success, and they opened a record discount shop. They named the business Virgin, because it was their first venture.

Virgin Records was formed in 1972. The first recording studio was built in Oxfordshire, England. Mike Oldfield recorded the very first album, and it sold over five million copies. When punk came along, Virgin signed the outrageous Sex Pistols when other record companies refused to touch them. The move turned out to be a MARKETING coup.

Virgin Airlines is one of Richard Branson's main businesses. Formed in 1984, it is part owned by Singapore Airlines, and it is the second largest British long haul international airline, and has won many awards.

To keep his airline afloat, Branson sold the Virgin music label to EMI in 1992, a more conservative company which previously had rescinded a contract with the Sex Pistols.

Branson apparently wept when the sale was completed since the record business had been the genesis of his Virgin Empire.

In 1994, Sir Richard made a bid to run the National Lottery, promising to give all the profits to charity, and lost. He failed with a second bid five years later.

In 1997, Branson took over some of Britain's aging railway network, under the title Virgin Rail. Despite the introduction of new trains, the network is still dogged by delays and service interruptions. More recently Branson has founded a mobile phone network, an internet company, and a Cola, unsurprisingly titled Virgin Cola.

In 2006, Branson sold his Virgin Mobile company to telecoms company NTL:Telewest for £1 billion. As part of the sale, the company pays a minimum of £8.5 million per year to use the Virgin name and Branson became the company's largest shareholder. The new company was launched with much fanfare in February 2007, under the name Virgin Media.

On 9 February 2007, Branson announced the Virgin Earth Challenge, which awards $25 million to an individual or team that designs a viable product that will reduce greenhouse gases each year for at least ten years without any harmful effects. Over 2,600 applications were made and 11 finalists were revealed on 2 November 2011.

In 2007, Branson also bought a ten per cent stake in Malaysian airline AirAsia X and bid to buy a 30 per cent stake in Northern Rock, which failed.

However, Branson was able to takeover Northern Rock for £747 million at the end of 2011, with the deal being finalised on 1 January 2012. He has now launched Virgin MONEY, with a range of new products yet to be announced.

Branson expanded his healthcare empire in 2008 by opening health care clinics OFFERINGtraditional medical treatment as well as homeopathy under the name Virgin Healthcare.

At the start of the Formula One racing season in 2009, Branson announced that Virgin was sponsoring the new Brawn GP team. At the end of the season, the team became Virgin Racing.

According to the Forbes 2011 list of billionaires, Branson is the fourth richest British citizen and 254th richest person in the world.

Branson is also well known for his personal adventures. In 1987 Branson crossed the Atlantic Ocean in the "Virgin Atlantic Flyer", which was the first and largest hot air balloon to cross the ocean. Branson now plans to circle the world in his hot air balloon, and has made several unsuccessful attempts.

Richard Branson received a knighthood in 1999. He is married to Joan and has two children, Holly and Sam.

10. Thomas Edison
 
Born: February 11, 1847
Milan, Ohio
Died: October 18, 1931
West Orange, New Jersey
American inventor

The American inventor Thomas Edison held hundreds of patents, mostly for electrical devices and electric light and power. Although the phonograph and the electric light bulb are best known, perhaps his greatest invention was organized research.

Early life

Thomas Alva Edison was born in Milan, Ohio, on February 11, 1847, the youngest of Samuel and Nancy Eliot Edison's seven children. His father worked at different jobs, including as a shopkeeper and shingle maker; his mother was a former teacher. Edison spent short periods of time in school but was mainly tutored by his mother. He also read books from his father's extensive library.

At the age of twelve Edison sold fruit, candy, and newspapers on the Grand Trunk Railroad between Port Huron and Detroit, Michigan. In 1862, using a small printing press in a baggage car, he wrote and printed the Grand Trunk Herald, which was circulated to four hundred railroad employees. That year he became a telegraph operator, taught by the father of a child whose life Edison had saved. Excused from military service because of deafness, he worked at different places before joining Western Union Telegraph Company in Boston in 1868. He also continued to read, becoming especially fond of the writings of British scientist Michael Faraday (1791–1867) on the subject of electricity.

First inventions


Edison's first invention was probably an automatic telegraph repeater (1864), which enabled telegraph signals to travel greater distances. His first patent was for an electric vote counter. In 1869, as a partner in a New York electrical firm, he perfected a machine for telegraphing STOCK market quotations and sold it. This MONEY, in addition to that from his share of the partnership, provided FUNDS for his own factory in Newark, New Jersey. Edison hired as many as eighty workers, including chemists and mathematicians, to help him with inventions; he wanted an "invention factory."

From 1870 to 1875 Edison invented many telegraphic improvements, including transmitters, receivers, and automatic printers and tape. He worked with Christopher Sholes, "father of the typewriter," in 1871 to improve the typing machine. Edison claimed he made twelve typewriters at Newark about 1870. The Remington Company bought his interests. In 1876 Edison's carbon telegraph transmitter for Western Union marked a real advance toward making the Bell telephone successful. With the MONEY Edison received from Western Union for his transmitter, he established a factory in Menlo Park, New Jersey. Within six years he had more than three hundred patents. The electric pen (1877) produced stencils to make copies. The A. B. Dick Company licensed Edison's patent and manufactured the first copy machine.

Edison's most original and successful invention, the phonograph, was patented in 1877. From an instrument operated by hand that made impressions on metal foil and replayed sounds, it became a motor-driven machine playing soda can–shaped wax records by 1887. By 1890 he had more than eighty patents on it. The Victor Company developed from his patents. Edison's later dictating machine, the Ediphone, used disks.

Electric light


To research incandescent light (glowing with intense heat without burning), Edison and others organized the Edison Electric Light Company in 1878. (It later became the General Electric Company.) Edison made the first practical electric light bulb in 1879, and it was patented the following year. Edison and his staff examined six thousand organic fibers from around the world, searching for a material that would glow, but not burn, when electric current passed through it. He found that Japanese bamboo was best. Mass production soon made the lamps, while low-priced, profitable.

Prior to Edison's central power station, each user of electricity needed a generator, which was inconvenient and expensive. Edison opened the firstcommercial electric station in London in 1882. In September the Pearl Street Station in New York City marked the beginning of America's electrical age. Within four months the station was providing power to light more than five thousand lamps, and the demand for lamps exceeded supply. By 1890 it supplied current to twenty thousand lamps, mainly in office buildings, and to motors, fans, printing presses, and heating appliances. Many towns and cities installed central stations based on this model. Increased use of electricity led to numerous improvements in the system.

In 1883 Edison made a significant discovery in pure science, the Edison effect—electrons (particles of an atom with a negative electrical charge) flowed from incandescent conducting threads. With a metal plate inserted next to the thread, the lamp could serve as a valve, admitting only negative electricity. Although "etheric force" had been recognized in 1875 and the Edison effect was patented in 1883, the discovery was little known outside the Edison laboratory. (At this time existence of electrons was not generally accepted.) This "force" underlies radio broadcasting, long-distance telephone systems, sound pictures, television, X rays, high-frequency surgery, and electronic musical instruments. In 1885 Edison patented a method to transmit telegraphic "aerial" signals, which worked over short distances. He later sold this "wireless" patent to Guglielmo Marconi (1874–1937).

Creating the modern research laboratory


In 1887 Edison moved his operations to West Orange, New Jersey. This factory, which Edison directed from 1887 to 1931, was the world's most complete research laboratory, with teams of workers investigating problems. Various inventions included a method to make plate glass, a magnetic ore separator, acement process, an all-concrete house, an electric locomotive (patented in 1893), a nickel-iron battery, and motion pictures. Edison also developed thefluoroscope (an instrument used to study the inside of the living body by X rays), but he refused to patent it, which allowed doctors to use it freely. The Edison battery was perfected in 1910. After eight thousand trials Edison remarked, "Well, at least we know eight thousand things that don't work."

Edison's motion picture camera, the kinetograph, could photograph action on fifty-foot strips of film, sixteen images per foot. In 1893 a young assistant, in order to make the first Edison movies, built a small laboratory called the "Black Maria"—a shed, painted black inside and out, that revolved on a base to follow the sun and keep the actors visible. The kinetoscope projector of 1893 showed the films. The first commercial movie theater, a peepshow, opened in New York in 1884. A coin put into a slot activated the kinetoscope inside the box. In 1895 Edison acquired and improved Thomas Armat's projector, MARKETING it as the Vitascope. The Edison Company produced over seventeen hundred movies. Combining movies with the phonograph in 1904, Edison laid the basis for talking pictures. In 1908 his cinema-phone appeared, adjusting film speed to phonograph speed. In 1913 his kinetophone projected talking pictures: the phonograph, behind the screen, ran in time with the projector through a series of ropes and pulleys. Edison produced several "talkies."

Work for the government


During World War I (1914–18) Edison headed the U.S. Navy Consulting Board and contributed forty-five inventions, including substitutes for previously imported chemicals, defensive instruments against U-boats, a ship telephone system, an underwater searchlight, smoke screen machines, antitorpedo nets, navigating equipment, and methods of aiming and firing naval guns. After the war he established the Naval Research Laboratory, the only American organized weapons research institution until World War II (1939–45).

Synthetic rubber


With Henry Ford (1863–1947) and the Firestone Company, Edison organized the Edison Botanic Research Company in 1927 to discover or develop a domestic source of rubber. Some seventeen thousand different plant specimens were examined over four years—an indication of how thorough Edison's research was. He eventually was able to develop a strain yielding twelve percent latex, and in 1930 he received his last patent for this process.

The man himself


To help raise MONEY, Edison called attention to himself by dressing carelessly, clowning for reporters, and making statements such as "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration," and "Discovery is not invention." He scoffed at formal education, thought four hours of sleep a night was enough, and often worked forty or fifty hours straight, sleeping on a laboratory floor. As a world symbol of American inventiveness, he looked and acted the part. Edison had thousands of books at home and masses of printed materials at the laboratory. When launching a new project, he wished to avoid others' mistakes and tried to learn everything about a subject. Some twenty-five thousand notebooks contained his research records, ideas, hunches, and mistakes.

Edison died in West Orange on October 18, 1931. The laboratory buildings and equipment associated with his career are preserved in Greenfield Village, Detroit, Michigan, thanks to Henry Ford's interest and friendship.

11. Barack Obama

NAME:               Barack Obama
OCCUPATION:     Lawyer, U.S. President, U.S. Representative
BIRTH DATE:       August 04, 1961
EDUCATION:       Punahou Academy, Occidental College, Columbia University
, Harvard Law School
PLACE OF BIRTH: Honolulu, Hawaii
FULL NAME:       Barack Hussein Obama, Jr.
Politicain 

Illinois voters sent a Democratic newcomer, Barack Obama, to one of the state's two seats in the U.S. Senate in 2004. Obama's landslide victory in Illinois was significant on several fronts. Firstly, he became the Senate's only African American lawmaker when he was sworn into office in January 2005, and just the third black U.S. senator to serve there since the 1880s. Moreover, Obama's political supporters came from a diverse range of racial and economic backgrounds, which is still relatively rare in American electoral politics—traditionally, black candidates have not done very well in voting precincts where predominantly non-minority voters go to the polls. Even before his Election Day victory, Obama emerged as the new star of the Democratic Party after delivering the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts that summer. His stirring speech, in which he urged a united, not a divided, American union, prompted political commentators to predict he might become the first African American elected to the White House.

Born in Hawaii

Obama is actually of mixed heritage. He was born in 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii, where his parents had met at the University of Hawaii's Manoa campus. His father, Barack Sr., was from Kenya and entered the University of Hawaii as its first-ever student from an African country. He was a member of Kenya's Luo ethnic group, many of whom played a key role in that country's struggle for independence in the 1950s. Obama's mother, Ann Durham, was originally from Kansas, where some of her ancestors had been anti-slavery activists in the 1800s.

The marriage between Obama's parents was a short-lived one, however. In the early 1960s, interracial relationships were still quite rare in many parts of America, and even technically illegal in some states. The Durhams were accepting of Barack Sr., but his family in Kenya had a harder time with the idea of his marryinga white American woman. When Obama was two years old they divorced, and his father left Hawaii to enter Harvard University to earn a Ph.D. in economics. The two Baracks met again only once, when Obama was ten, though they did write occasionally. Barack Sr. eventually returned to Kenya and died in a car accident there in the early 1980s.

Obama's mother remarried a man from Indonesia who worked in the oil industry, and when Obama was six they moved there. The family lived near the capital of Jakarta, where his half-sister Maya was born. At the age of ten, Obama returned to Hawaii and lived with his maternal grandparents; later his mother and sister returned as well. Called "Barry" by his family and friends, he was sent to a prestigious private academy in Honolulu, the Punahou School, where he was one of just a handful of black students. Obama recalled feeling conflicted

"In no other country on earth is my story even possible."


about his mixed heritage in his teen years. Outside the house, he was considered African American, but the only family he knew was his white one at home. For a time, he loafed and let his grades slip; instead of studying, he spent hours on the basketball court with his friends, and has admitted that there was a time when he experimented with drugs, namely marijuana and cocaine. "I was affected by the problems that I think a lot of young African American teens have," he reflected in an interview with Kenneth Meeks for Black Enterprise. "They feel that they need to rebel against society as a way of proving their blackness. And often, this results in self-destructive behavior."

Excels at Harvard Law School


Obama graduated from Punahou and went on to Occidental College in Los Angeles, where he decided to get serious about his studies. Midway through, he transferred to the prestigious Columbia University in New York City. He also began to explore his African roots and not long after his father's death traveled to meet his relatives in Kenya for the first time. After he earned his undergraduate degree in political science, he became a community organizer in Harlem—but quickly realized he could not afford to live in the city with a job that paid so little. Instead, he moved to Chicago to work for a church-based social-services organization there. The group was active on the city's South Side, one of America's most impoverished urban communities.

Feeling it was time to move on, Obama applied to and was accepted at Harvard Law School, one of the top three law schools in the United States. In 1990, he was elected president of the Harvard Law Review journal. He was the first African American to serve in the post, which virtually assured him of any careerpath he chose after graduation. But Obama declined the job OFFERS from top Manhattan law firms, with their starting salaries that neared the $100,000-a-year range, in order to return to Chicago and work for a small firm that specialized in civil-rights law. This was an especially unglamorous and modest-paying field of law, for it involved defending the poor and the marginalized members of society in housing and employment discrimination cases.

Obama also had another reason for returning to Chicago: During his Harvard Law School years, he took a job as a summer associate at a Chicago firm, and the attorney assigned to mentor him was also a Harvard Law graduate, Michelle Robinson. The two began dating and were married in 1992. Robinson came from a working-class black family and grew up on the South Side; her brother had excelled at basketball and went to Princeton University, and she followed him there for her undergraduate degree. Obama also considered Chicago a place from which he could launch a political career, and he became active in a number of projects in addition to his legal cases at work and another job he held teaching classes at the University of Chicago Law School. He worked on a local voter-registration drive, for example, that REGISTERED thousands of black voters in Chicago; the effort was said to have helped Bill Clinton (1946–) win the state in his successful bid for the White House in 1992.

Writes autobiography

Obama's time at the Law Review had netted him an OFFER to write a book. The result was Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance,published by Times Books in 1995. The work merited some brief but mostly complimentary reviews in the press. Obama, however, was not hoping for a career as an author: he decided to run for a seat in the Illinois state senate. He ran from his home district of Hyde Park, the neighborhood surrounding the elite University of Chicago on the South Side. Though Hyde Park is similar to many American college towns, with well-kept homes and upscale businesses, the surrounding neighborhood is a more traditionally urban one, with higher levels of both crime and unemployment.

Obama won that 1996 election and went on to an impressive career in the Senate chambers in Springfield, the state capital. He championed a bill that gave tax breaks to low-income families, worked to expand a state health-insurance program for uninsured children, and wrote a bill that required law enforcement officials in every community to begin keeping track of their traffic stops and noting the race of the driver. This controversial bill, which passed thanks to Obama's determined effort to find support from both political parties in the state Senate, was aimed at reducing incidents of alleged racial profiling, or undue suspicion turned upon certain minority or ethnic groups by police officers on patrol. He also won passage of another important piece of legislation that required police to videotape homicide confessions.

Obama made his first bid for U.S. Congress in 2000, when he challenged a well-known black politician and former Chicago City Council member, Bobby Rush (1946–), for his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rush was a former

Black Senators in U.S. History


Barack Obama became the fifth African American senator in U.S. history in 2005. He was only the third elected since the end of the Reconstruction, the period immediately following the end of the American Civil War (1861–65; a war between the Union [the North], who were opposed to slavery, and the Confederacy [the South], who were in favor of slavery). During the Reconstruction Era, federal troops occupied the defeated Southern states and, along with transplanted government officials, one of their duties was to make sure that newly freed slaves were allowed to vote fairly and freely in elections.

Before 1913 and the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, members of the U.S. Senate were not directly elected by voters in most states, however. Instead they were elected by legislators in the state assemblies, or appointed by the governor. Still, because of the Reconstruction Era reforms, many blacks were elected to the state legislatures that sent senators to Washington. In 1870, the Mississippi state

legislature made Hiram Rhoades Revels (1827–1901) the state's newest senator and the first black ever to serve in the U.S. Senate. Revels was a free-born black from North Carolina and a distinguished minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church who had raised two black regiments that fought on the Union side during the Civil War. He served in the Senate for one year.

In 1875, Mississippi lawmakers sent Blanche K. Bruce (1841–1898) to the U.S. Senate. A former slave from Virginia, Bruce was a teacher and founder of the first school for blacks in the state of Missouri. After the end of the Civil War, he headed south to take part in the Reconstruction Era. He won election to local office as a Republican, and in 1875 lawmakers sent him to the U.S. Senate. He served the full six-year term. In 1881, he was appointed a U.S. Treasury official, and his signature was the first from an African American to appear on U.S. CURRENCY.

Nearly a hundred years passed before another African American was elected to the Senate, and this came by statewide vote. Edward William Brooke III (1919–), a Republican from Massachusetts, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1966 and served two terms. In 1992 another Illinois Democrat, Carol Moseley Braun (1947–), became the first African American woman to serve in the U.S. Senate.

Barack Obama won his bid for the Senate by a large margin, taking 70 percent of the Illinois vote, thus becoming one of the youngest members of the U.S. Senate when he was sworn into office in January 2005.

© Brooks Kraft/Corbis.

1960s radical who had founded the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, a revolutionary black nationalist party of the era. Rush's campaign stressed his experience and questioned Obama's support base among wealthier white voters in the city, and Obama was solidly defeated in the primary, winning just 30 percent of the vote.

Enters Senate race

A few years later, Obama decided to run for a seat in the U.S. Senate when Illinois Republican Peter G. Fitzgerald (1960–) announced he would retire. Some of Obama's supporters thought he was aiming too high, but this time he beat out six other Democratic challengers in the primary with 53 percent of the vote. Suddenly, state and even national Democratic Party leaders began taking him and his Senate campaign seriously. In the primary, he had managed to do what few African American politicians had ever done: record an impressive number of votes from precincts that had a predominantly white population.

In his 2004 Senate race, Obama faced a tough Republican challenger, however: a former INVESTMENT banker turned parochial-school (school supported by a church parish) teacher named Jack Ryan (1960–). Ryan was blessed with television-actor good looks and had even once been married to Boston Publicstar Jeri Ryan (1968–). But Jack Ryan was, like one of Obama's earlier primary opponents, derailed by allegations about his personal life. Chicago news outlets publicized Ryan's divorce documents from 1999, which revealed one or two incidents that seemed distinctly at odds with a Republican "family values" platform. Ryan dropped out of the race, but the Republican National Party quickly brought in talk-show host Alan Keyes (1950–), who changed his home address from Maryland to Illinois to run against Obama. Keyes was a conservative black Republican who twice had made a bid for the White House, but he worried some voters with his strong statements against homosexuality.

Obama, by contrast, was winning public-opinion polls among every demographic group that pollsters asked. He was even greeted with rock-star type cheers in rural Illinois farm towns. Many of these small-town voters recognized that the manufacturing operations of many U.S. industries were rapidly being moved overseas thanks to free-TRADE agreements that eliminated tariffs (taxes) and trade barriers between the United States and Mexico; another free-trade agreement was in the works for Central America. The result was a dramatic decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs. Obama's campaign pledged to stop the outsourcing of such jobs to overseas facilities. But Obama suddenly found himself in the national spotlight, when John Kerry (1943–), expected to win the Democratic Party's nomination for president at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004, asked Obama to deliver the convention's keynote address. The keynote speech is expected to set the tone of the political campaign, and those chosen to give face tremendous expectations.

"That makes my life poorer"


Obama did not disappoint that evening. His speech, which he wrote himself and titled "The Audacity of Hope," was stirring and eloquent, and quickly dubbed by political analysts to be one of the best convention keynote addresses of the modern era. He earned several standing ovations during it, and Obama's confident, assured tone was broadcast to the rest of the nation. Cameras occasionally scanned the crowd to show tears on the faces of delegates. Obama praised Kerry's values and experience, and he reminded delegates and the national television audience that the country's strength came from unity, not division—that Americans had created a thriving nation out of many diverse ethnic groups and ideologies in its 228-year history. Economic policies aimed at providing a better life for everyone, not just a privileged few, was the American way, he said. "If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandmother," he told the crowd. "If there's an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It's that fundamental belief—I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper—that makes this country work."

Obama's speech, analysts said almost immediately, struck a hopeful, healing tone for a drastically divided nation and what had become a bitter, insult-heavy presidential contest. Obama, asserted Time 's Amanda Ripley, "described a country that America wants very badly to be: a country not pockmarked by racism and fear or led by politicians born into privilege and coached into automatons [robotic behavior]." Others called it one of the best political speeches of the century. Some newspaper and magazine editorial writers predicted that the rising star from Illinois would emerge a strong leader in the Democratic Party over the next few years, and could even run for president in 2012 or 2016.

Obama won his bid for the Senate a few months later by a large margin, taking 70 percent of the Illinois vote against just 27 percent for Keyes. At just forty-three years old, he became one of the youngest members of the U.S. Senate when he was sworn into office in January 2005. The first major piece of legislation he introduced came two months later with the Higher Education Opportunity through Pell Grant Expansion Act of 2005 (HOPE Act). Its goal was increase the maximum amount that the federal government provides each student who receives need-based financial aid for college. In the 1970s and 1980s, Pell grants often covered nearly the entire tuition cost— excluding room, board, and books—at some state universities. But because they had failed to keep pace with risingtuition costs by 2005 they covered, on average, just 23 percent of the tuition at state schools.

Obama and his wife have two young daughters, Malia and Sasha. Instead of moving to Washington, Michelle Robinson Obama remained in Chicago indefinitely with the children and kept her job as a hospital executive. Television personality Oprah Winfrey (1954–) interviewed Obama not long after the Democratic National Convention and asked him how he became such an eloquent public speaker. He replied that he knew from an early age that he had a career in the persuasive arts—be they legal or political—ahead of him. "I always knew I could express myself," he said in O, The Oprah Magazine. "I knew I could win some arguments. I knew I could get my grandparents and mom frustrated!"



 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF NELSON MANDELA


QUICK FACTS

NAME:                 Nelson Mandela
OCCUPATION: Civil Rights Activist, World Leader, Journalist
BIRTH DATE:    July 18, 1918
EDUCATION: Clarkebury Boarding Institute, Wesleyan College,
University College of Fort Hare, University of London,
University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
PLACE OF BIRTH: Mveso, Transkei, South Africa
FULL NAME:         Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
AKA:                     Nelson Mandela
AKA:                     Rolihlahla
AKA:                     Madiba
ORIGINALLY:         Rolihlahla Mandela
ZODIAC SIGN:        Cancer

Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, in Mveso, Transkei, South Africa. Becoming actively involved in the anti-apartheid movement in his 20s, Mandela joined the African National Congress in 1942. For 20 years, he directed a campaign of peaceful, non-violent defiance against the South African government and its racist policies. In 1993,

QUOTES
"I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days."

– Nelson Mandela

Mandela and South African President F.W. de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to dismantle the country's apartheid system. In 1994, Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa's first black president. In 2009, Mandela's birthday (July 18) was declared Mandela Day to promote global peace and celebrate the South African leader's legacy.

Early Life

Nelson Mandela was born Rolihlahla Mandela on July 18, 1918, in the tiny village of Mvezo, on the banks of the Mbashe River in Transkei, South Africa. "Rolihlahla" in the Xhosa language literally means "pulling the branch of a tree," but more commonly translates as "troublemaker."

Nelson Mandela's father, who was destined to be a chief, served as a counselor to tribal chiefs for several years, but lost both his title andfortune over a dispute with the local colonial magistrate. Mandela was only an infant at the time, and his father's loss of status forced his mother to move the family to Qunu, an even smaller village north of Mvezo. The village was nestled in a narrow grassy valley; there were no roads, only foot paths that linked the pastures where livestock grazed. The family lived in huts and ate a local harvest of maize, sorghum, pumpkin and beans, which was all they could afford. Water came from springs and streams and cooking was done outdoors. Mandela played the games of young boys, acting out male rights-of-passage scenarios with toys he made from the natural materials available, including tree branches and clay.

At the suggestion of one of his father's friends, Mandela was baptized in the Methodist Church. He went on to become the first in his familyto attend school. As was custom at the time, and probably due to the bias of the British educational system in South Africa, Mandela's teacher told him that his new first name would be Nelson.

When Mandela was 9 years old, his father died of lung disease, causing his life to change dramatically. He was adopted by Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo, the acting regent of the Thembu people—a gesture done as a favor to Mandela's father, who, years earlier, had recommended Jongintaba be made chief. Mandela subsequently left the carefree life he knew in Qunu, fearing that he would never see his village again. He traveled by motorcar to Mqhekezweni, the provincial capital of Thembuland, to the chief's royal residence. Though he had not forgotten his beloved village of Qunu, he quickly adapted to the new, more sophisticated surroundings of Mqhekezweni.

Mandela was given the same status and responsibilities as the regent's two other children, his son and oldest child, Justice, and daughter Nomafu.

Mandela took classes in a one-room school next to the palace, studying English, Xhosa, history and geography. It was during this period that Mandela developed his interest in African history from elder chiefs who came to the Great Palace on official business. He learned how the African people had lived in relative peace until the coming of the white people. According to the elders, the children of South Africa had lived as brothers,

Childhood

When Mandela was 16, it was time for him to partake in the traditional African circumcision ritual to mark his entrance into manhood. The ceremony of circumcision was not just a surgical procedure, but an elaborate ritual in preparation for manhood. In African tradition, an uncircumcised man cannot inherit his father's wealth, marry or officiate at tribal rituals. Mandela participated in the ceremony with 25 other boys. He welcomed the opportunity to partake in his people's customs and felt ready to make the transition from boyhood to manhood. His mood shifted during the proceedings, however, when Chief Meligqili, the main speaker at the ceremony, spoke sadly of the young men, explaining that they were enslaved in their own country. Because their land was controlled by white men, they would never have the power to govern themselves, the chief said. He went on to lament that the promise of the young men would be squandered as they struggled to make a living and perform mindless chores for white men.

Mandela would later say that while the chief's words didn't make total sense to him at the time, they would eventually formulate his resolve for an independent South Africa.From the time Mandela came under the guardianship of Regent Jongintaba, he was groomed to assume high office, not as a chief, but a counselor to one. As Thembu royalty, Nelson attended a Wesleyan mission school, the Clarkebury Boarding Institute and Wesleyan College, where, he would later state, he found interest and achieved academic success through "plain hard work." He also excelled at track and boxing. Mandela was initially mocked as a "country boy" by his Wesleyan classmates, but eventually became friends with several students, including Mathona, his first female friend.In 1939, Mandela enrolled at the University College of Fort Hare, the only residential center of higher learning for blacks in South Africa at the time. Fort Hare was considered Africa's equivalent of Oxford or Harvard, drawing scholars from all parts of sub-Sahara Africa. In his first year at the university, Mandela took the required courses, but focused on Roman Dutch law to prepare for a career in civil service as an interpreter or clerk—regarded as the best profession a black man could obtain at the time.In his second year at Fort Hare, Mandela was elected to the Student Representative Council. For some time, students had been dissatisfied with the food and lack of power held by the SRC. During this election, a majority of students voted to boycott unless their demands were met.Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the country's first black president on May 10, 1994, at the age of 77, with de Klerk as his first deputy.Also in 1994, Mandela published his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, much of which he had secretly written while in prison. The following year, he was awarded the Order of Merit.Mandela worked to bring about the transition from minority rule and apartheid to black majority rule. He used the nation's enthusiasm for sports as a pivot point to promote reconciliation between whites and blacks, encouraging black South Africans to support the once-hated national rugby team. In 1995, South Africa came to the world stage by hosting the Rugby World Cup, which brought further recognition and prestige to the young republic.Mandela also worked to protect South Africa's economy from collapse during his presidency. Through his Reconstruction and Development Plan, the South African government FUNDED the creation of jobs, housing and basic health care. In 1996, Mandela signed into law a new constitution for the nation, establishing a strong central government based on majority rule, and guaranteeing the rights of minorities and the freedom of expression.Retirement and Later CareerBy the 1999 general election, Nelson Mandela had retired from active politics. He continued to maintain a busy schedule, however, raising MONEY to build schools and clinics in South Africa's rural heartland through his Mandela Foundation, and serving as a mediator in Burundi's civil war. He also published a number of books on his life and struggles, among them No Easy Walk to Freedom; Nelson Mandela: The Struggle is my Life; and Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales.Mandela was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer in 2001. In June 2004, at the age of 85, he announced his formal retirement from public life and returned to his native village of Qunu.On July 18, 2007, Mandela convened a group of world leaders, including Graca Machel (whom Mandela would wed in 1998), Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Jimmy Carter, Li Zhaoxing, Mary Robinson and Muhammad Yunus, to address the world's toughest issues. Named "The Elders," the group is committed to working both publicly and privately to find solutions to problems around the globe. Since its inception, the group has made an impact in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, promoting peace and women's equality, demanding an end to atrocities, and supporting initiatives to address humanitarian crises and promote democracy.In Recent Years

Nelson Mandela made his last public appearance to date in 2010, at the final match of the World Cup in South Africa. He has largely stepped out of the spotlight, choosing to spend much of his time in his childhood community of Qunu, south of Johannesburg. He did, however, visit with Michelle Obama, U.S. first lady and wife of President Barack Obama, during her trip to South Africa in 2011.

In recent months, there have been growing concerns about Mandela's health.After suffering a lung infection in January 2011, Mandela was briefly hospitalized in Johannesburg to undergo surgery for a stomach ailment in early 2012. He was released after a few days, later returning to Qunu. In December 2012, Mandela was hospitalized for tests and medical treatment relating to a recurrent lung infection. In March 2013, he was re-admitted to the hospital after his lung infection returned. Hours later, it was reported that he was responding positively to treatment. On June 8, 2013, a 94-year-old Mandela was rushed to a hospital in Pretoria, receiving treatment once again for a recurring lung infection. Later that same day, the South African president's office stated that Mandela was in "serious but stable condition," and that he was breathing on his own. Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, reportedly canceled a scheduled appearance in London to remain at her husband's his side, and his daughter, Zenani Dlamini, Argentina's South African ambassador, reportedly flew back to South Africa to be with her father.

Jacob Zuma, South Africa's current president, issued a statement in response to public concern over Mandela's March 2013 health scare, asking for support in the form of prayer: "We appeal to the people of South Africa and the world to pray for our beloved Madiba and his family and to keep them in their thoughts," Zuma said. "We have full confidence in the medical team and know that they will do everything possible to ensure recovery."

Nelson Mandela continues to be a source of inspiration for civil rights activists worldwide. In 2009, Mandela's birthday (July 18) was declared Mandela Day, an international day to promote global peace and celebrate the South African leader's legacy. According to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, the annual event is meant to encourage citizens worldwide to give back the way that Mandela has throughout his lifetime. A statement on the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory's website reads: "Mr. Mandela gave 67 years of his life fighting for the rights of humanity. All we are asking is that everyone gives 67 minutes of their time, whether it's supporting your chosen charity or serving your local community."

Personal Life
Mandela has been married three times. He was married to Evelyn Ntoko Mase from 1944 to 1957. The couple had four children together: Madiba Thembekile, Makgatho, Makaziwe and Maki. He and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela were married from 1958 to 1996; they had two daughters together, Zenani and Zindziswa. In 1998, Mandela married Graca Machel.

In addition to advocating for peace and equality on both a national and global scale, Mandela has remained committed to the fight against AIDS, a disease that killed his son, Makgatho, in 2005.

Mandela has received more than 250 awards over four decades, most notably the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize. In November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly announced that Mandela’s birthday, 18 July, is to be known as ‘Mandela Day’ marking his contribution to world freedom.



 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF BEYONCE KNOWLES

QUICK FACTS

NAME:                   BeyoncĂ© Knowles
OCCUPATION:        Film Actress, Entrepreneur, Singer
BIRTH DATE:          September 04, 1981
EDUCATION:          St. Mary's Elementary School, Parker Elementary School,
High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
PLACE OF BIRTH:   Houston, Texas
ZODIAC SIGN:         Virgo

BEST KNOWN FOR: Beyoncé Knowles is a multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning recording artist who's acclaimed for her thrilling vocals, videos and live shows.

Synopsis

Born on September 4, 1981, in Houston, Texas, Beyoncé Knowles first captured the public's eye as lead vocalist of the R&B group Destiny's Child. She later established a solo career, becoming one of music's top-selling artists with sold-out tours and a slew of awards. Knowles has also starred in several films, including Dream Girls. She married hip-hop recording artist Jay-Z in 2008.

QUOTES

"I felt like God was giving me a chance to assist in a miracle. There is something so relieving about life taking over you like that. You're playing a part in a much bigger show. And that's what life is. It's the greatest show on earth."[On being a mother; giving birth to daughter Blue Ivy Carter.]– BeyoncĂ© KnowlesEarly Life and CareerBorn BeyoncĂ© Giselle Knowles on September 4, 1981, in Houston, Texas, Knowles started singing at an early age. As a child, she competed in local talent shows, and won many of these events by impressing audiences with her natural singing and dancing abilities.Teaming up with her cousin, Kelly Rowland, and two classmates, BeyoncĂ© formed an all-female singing group. Her father, Matthew Knowles, served as the band's manager. The group went through some name and line-up changes before landing a record DEAL in 1997 with Columbia Records. Destiny's Child soon became one of the most popular R&B acts, with the release of their first, self-titled album. Gaining momentum, the group scored its first No. 1 single on the pop charts with "Bills, Bills, Bills," off their second album. The recording also featured another smash hit, "Say My Name."While enjoying her group's success, BeyoncĂ© began exploring other projects. She made her acting debut in 2001 with a starring role in MTV's Carmen: A Hip Hopera. She then co-starred with Mike Myers in the spy parody Goldmember the following year. On the musical front, BeyoncĂ© took center stage as a solo artist, releasing her first album, Dangerously in Love, in 2003. The recording became a huge success for her, both commercially and critically. It sold millions of copies and won five Grammy Awards. On the album, BeyoncĂ© worked with a number of different artists, including Missy Elliott, Sean Paul and Jay-Z. She was rumored to be dating Jay-Z around this time, but the couple did not publicly acknowledge their relationship.Destiny's Child released their last studio album, Destiny Fulfilled, in 2004, and officially broke up the following year.Solo CareerOn her own, BeyoncĂ© continued to enjoy great success. Her second studio album, 2006's B'Day featured such hits as "Irreplaceable" and "Beautiful Liar." On the big screen, she starred opposite Jennifer Hudson, Jaime Foxx and Eddie Murphy in Dreamgirls. The film was adapted from the hit Broadway musical of the same name.In 2008, BeyoncĂ© married rapper and music mogul Jay-Z in a small, private ceremony in New York City. Among the guests sighted at the wedding were BeyoncĂ©'s mother Tina Knowles; her father and manager Matthew; her sister Solange; Destiny's Child members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams; and friend Gwyneth Paltrow.The newlywed continued to work as hard as ever, promoting her latest effort, I am ... Sasha Fierce (2008). BeyoncĂ© scored two big hits off the album—"Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" and "If I Were a Boy." She also returned to the big screen that year, starring as R&B legend Etta James in Cadillac Records.The following January, BeyoncĂ© sang James' trademark song, "At Last," for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at his inaugural ball.In addition to acting and performing, BeyoncĂ© runs a clothing line called House of Dereon with her mother. She also launched her own fragrance, Heat, in 2010. Throughout her career, BeyoncĂ© has served as a spokesperson and model for several other brands,including L'Oreal and Tommy Hilfiger.

Beyoncé found herself under fire for after performing a private concert for Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi on New Year's Eve in 2010. She later donated her fee from the event to help victims of the Haitian earthquake. According to some reports, Beyoncé said that her father had been responsible for arranging the Libyan concert. She decided to drop her father as her manager in March 2011. Later that year, Beyoncé reached the top of the album charts with her latest solo release, 4.

In January 2013, Beyoncé generated some negative headlines for her performance at President Barack Obama's second inauguration in Washington, D.C. She was criticized for reportedly pre-recording a version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and lip-synching to her own track during the outdoor ceremony. Despite wide media coverage, in the days following the incident, Beyoncé did not publicly address the controversy.

Not long after, prior to her appearance at Super Bowl XLVII, Beyoncé performed the song live at a press conference. She explained to reporters that she had used a "backing track" at the inauguration, adding that she would "absolutely be singing live" at the NFL's biggest event of the year, according to The Huffington Post.

Indeed, Beyoncé more than redeemed herself in the public eye at the Super Bowl on February 3, 2013. During the event's halftime show, she took the stage and wowed the crowd, joined by her former Destiny's Child bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams for parts of her performance. Beyoncé also announced that her next major tour would start in the spring of 2013.

Accolades


At the 2010 Grammy Awards, BeyoncĂ© walked away with six honors—the most wins in a single night by a female artist. Her record was matched two years later by pop/soul artist Adele. In 2010, she also tied the record for most No. 1 hits on Billboard’s Pop Songs chart, which is based on radio airplay. In 2011, she made the Forbes Top 10 list of entertainment's highest-earning women. By 2013, BeyoncĂ© had won 16 Grammys.

Personal Life

Married to Jay-Z since 2008, Beyoncé was the subject of many PREGNANCY rumors over the years. In 2011, however, the notoriously private couple went public with the news of their impending new arrival. Beyoncé showed off her growing baby bump at the MTV Video Music Awards that August.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z welcomed a baby daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, on January 7, 2012. The couple spared no expense to maintain their privacy during this special time, renting out a floor of New York's Lenox Hill Hospital.



 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF OPRAH WINFREY
 


QUICK FACTS

NAME:                 Oprah Winfrey
OCCUPATION:       Presenter
BIRTH DATE:         January 29, 1954
EDUCATION:          East Nashville High School,
Tennessee State University, communication
PLACE OF BIRTH:   Kosciusko, Mississippi, United States
ZODIAC SIGN:        Aquarius

Oprah Winfrey was born on Orpah Gail Winfrey; January 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi, United States, is an American television host, actress, producer, andphilanthropist, best known for her self-titled, multi-award winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history.

She has been ranked the richest AfricanAmerican of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and was once the world’s only black billionaire. She is also, according to some assessments, the most influential woman in the world.

Winfrey was originally named “Orpah” after the Biblical character in theBook of Ruth, but her family and friends “didn’t know how to pronounce it”, and called her “Oprah” instead.

Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi to unmarried teenage parents. She later said that her conception was due to a single sexual encounter and the couple broke up not long after. Her mother, Vernita Lee was a housemaid. Winfrey had believed that her biological father was Vernon Winfrey, a coal miner turned barber turned city councilman who had been in the Armed Forces when she was born. Decades later, Mississippi farmer and World War II veteran Noah Robinson Sr. claimed to be her biological father.

After her birth, Winfrey’s mother traveled north and Winfrey spent her first six years living in rural poverty with her grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee, who was so poor that Winfrey often wore dresses made of potato sacks, for which the local children made fun of her. Her grandmother taught her to read before the age of three and took her to the local church, where she was nicknamed “The Preacher” for her ability to recite Bible verses. When Winfrey was a child, her grandmother would hit her with a switch when she didn’t do chores or if she misbehaved in any way.

At age six, Winfrey moved to an inner-city neighborhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her mother, who was less supportive and encouraging than her grandmother had been, due in large part to the long hours Vernita Lee worked as a maid. Around the time Winfrey moved in, Lee had given birth to another daughter, Winfrey’s younger half-sister, Patricia who later died of causes related to cocaine addiction.

By 1962, Lee was having difficulty raising both daughters so Winfrey was temporarily sent to live with Vernon in Nashville, Tennessee. While Winfrey was in Nashville, Lee gave birth to a third daughter. This Patricia was given up for adoption because Lee wanted to get off welfare. Winfrey did not learn she had a second half-sister until 2010. By the time Winfrey moved back in with Lee, Lee had also given birth to a boy named Jeffrey, Winfrey’s half-brother, who died of AIDs in 1989.

Winfrey has stated she was molested by her cousin, her uncle, and a family friend, starting when she was nine years old, something she first revealed to her viewers on a 1986 episode of her TV show, when sexual abuse was being discussed. She once commented that she had chosen not to be a mother because she had not been mothered well.

At 13, after suffering years of abuse, Winfrey ran away from home. When she was 14, she became pregnant, her son dying shortly after birth. She later said she felt betrayed by the family member who had sold the story to the National Enquirer in 1990. She began high school at Lincoln High School; but after early success in the Upward Bound program was transferred to the affluent suburban Nicolet High School, where she says her poverty was constantly rubbed in her face as she rode the bus to school with fellow African-Americans, some of whom were servants of her classmates’ families. She began to steal MONEY from her mother in an effort to keep up with her free-spending peers, to lie to and argue with her mother, and to go out with older boys.

Her frustrated mother once again sent her to live with Vernon in Nashville, Tennessee though this time she did not take her back. Vernon was strict but encouraging, and made her education a priority. Winfrey became an honors student, was voted Most Popular Girl, and joined her high school speech team at East Nashville High School, placing second in the nation in dramatic interpretation.

She won an oratory contest, which secured her a full scholarship to Tennessee State University, a historically black institution, where she studied communication. Her first job as a teenager was working at a localgrocery store. At age 17, Winfrey won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant. She also attracted the attention of the local black radio station, WVOL, which hired her to do the news part-time. She worked there during her senior year of high school, and again while in her first two years of college.

Winfrey’s career choice in media would not have surprised her grandmother, who once said that ever since Winfrey could talk, she was on stage. As a child she played games interviewing her corncob doll and the crows on the fence of her family’s property. Winfrey later acknowledged her grandmother’s influence, saying it was Hattie Mae who had encouraged her to speak in public and “gave me a positive sense of myself”.

Working in local media, she was both the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor at Nashville’s WLAC-TV. She moved to Baltimore’s WJZ-TV in 1976 to co-anchor the six o’clock news. She was then recruited to join Richard Sher as co-host of WJZ’s local talk show People Are Talking, which premiered on August 14, 1978. She also hosted the local version of Dialing for Dollars there as well.

Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in an inner-city Milwaukee neighborhood. She experienced considerable hardship during her childhood, including being raped at the age of nine and becoming pregnant at 14; her son died in infancy. Sent to live with the man she calls her father, a barber in Tennessee, Winfrey landed a job in radio while still in high school and began co-anchoring the local evening news at the age of 19.

Her emotional ad-lib delivery eventually got her transferred to the daytime talk show arena, and after boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to first place she launched her own production company and became internationally syndicated.

Credited with creating a more intimate confessional form of media communication, she is thought to have popularized and revolutionized the tabloid talk show genre pioneered by Phil Donahue, which a Yale study claims broke 20th century taboos and allowed LGBT people to enter the mainstream. By the mid 1990s, she had reinvented her show with a focus on literature, self-improvement, and spirituality.

Though criticized for unleashing confession culture and promoting controversial self-help aids, she is often praised for overcoming adversity to become a benefactor to others. From 2006 to 2008, her support of Barack Obama, by one estimate, delivered over a million votes in the close 2008 Democratic primary race.

Winfrey has co-authored five books. At the announcement of a weight loss BOOK IN 2005, co-authored with her personal trainer Bob Greene, it was said that her undisclosed advance fee had broken the record for the world’s highest book advance fee, previously held by the autobiography of former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

On February 9, 2006, it was announced that Winfrey had signed a three-year, $55 million contract with XM Satellite Radio to establish a new radio channel. The channel, Oprah Radio, features popular contributors to The Oprah Winfrey Show and O, The Oprah Magazine including Nate Berkus, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Bob Greene, Dr. Robin Smith and Marianne Williamson. Oprah & Friends began broadcasting at 11:00 am ET, September 25, 2006, from a new studio at Winfrey’s Chicago headquarters. The channel broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week on XM RadioChannel 156. Winfrey’s contract requires her to be on the air thirty minutes a week, 39 weeks a year. The thirty-minute weekly show features Winfrey with friend Gayle King.

Winfrey currently lives on “The Promised Land”, her 42-acre (170,000 m2) estate with ocean and mountain views in Montecito, California. Winfrey also owns a house in Lavallette, New Jersey, an apartment in Chicago, an estate on Fisher Island, Florida, a house in Douglasville, Georgia, a ski house in Telluride, Colorado, and property on Maui, Hawaii and Antigua. Her base during filming of Winfrey’s show is Chicago, so she spends time in the neighborhood of Streeterville.

Born in rural poverty, then raised by a mother on welfare in a poor urban neighborhood, Winfrey became a millionaire at age 32 when her talk show went national. Winfrey was in a position to negotiate ownership of the show and start her own production company because of the success and the amount of revenue the show generated.

At age 41, Winfrey had a net worth of $340 million and replaced Bill Cosby as the only African American on the Forbes 400. Although black peopleare just under 13% of the U.S. population, Winfrey has remained the only African American to rank among America’s 400 richest people nearly every year since 1995.

With a 2000 net worth of $800 million, Winfrey is believed to be the richest African American of the 20th century. Due to her status as a historical figure, Professor Juliet E.K. WALKER of the University of Illinois created the course “History 298: Oprah Winfrey, the Tycoon.” Winfrey was the highest paid TV entertainer in the United States in 2006, earning an estimated $260 million during the year, five times the sum earned by second-place music executive Simon Cowell. By 2008, her yearly income had increased to $275 million.

Forbes’ international rich list has listed Winfrey as the world’s only black billionaire from 2004 to 2006 and as the first black woman billionaire in world history. According to Forbes, in September 2010 Winfrey was worth over $2.7 billion and has overtaken former eBay CEO Meg Whitman as the richest self-made woman in America.


 AUTOBIOGRAHY OF BILL GATES



QUICK FACTS


NAME:                Bill Gates
OCCUPATION:      American business magnate,
philanthropist, author and chairman of Microsoft
BIRTH DATE:        October 28, 1955
FULL NAME:        William Gates III
AKA:                  Trey
ZODIAC SIGN:     Libra

William Henry “Bill” Gates III was born on October 28, 1955 Seattle, Washington, is an American business magnate, philanthropist, author and chairman of Microsoft, the software company he founded with Paul Allen. He is consistently ranked among the world’s wealthiest people and was the wealthiest overall from 1995 to 2009, excluding 2008, when he was ranked third.

Gates was born to William H. Gates, Sr. and Mary Maxwell Gates, of English, German, and Scottish-Irish descent. Hisfamily was upper middle class; his father was a prominent lawyer, his mother served on the board of directors for First Interstate BancSystem and the United Way, and her father, J. W. Maxwell, was a national bank president. Gates has one elder sister, Kristi (Kristianne), and one younger sister, Libby. He was the fourth of his name in his family, but was known as William Gates III or “Trey” because his father had dropped his own “III” suffix. Early on in his life, Gates’ parents had a law career in mind for him.


At 13 he enrolled in the Lakeside School, an exclusive preparatory school. When he was in the eighth grade, the Mothers Club at the school used proceeds from Lakeside School’s rummage sale to buy an ASR-33 teletype terminal and a block of computer time on a General Electric (GE) computer for the school’s students. Gates took an interest in programming the GE system in BASIC and was excused from math classes to pursue his interest. He wrote his first computer program on thismachine: an implementation of tic-tac-toe that allowed users to play games against the computer. Gates was fascinated by the machine and how it would always execute software code perfectly. When he reflected back on that moment, he commented on it and said, “There was just something neat about the machine.” After the Mothers Club donation was exhausted, he and other students sought time on systems including DEC PDP minicomputers. One of these systems was a PDP-10 belonging to Computer Center Corporation (CCC), which banned four Lakeside students—Gates, Paul Allen, Ric Weiland, and Kent Evans—for the summer after it caught them exploiting bugs in the operating system to obtain free computer time.

At the end of the ban, the four students OFFERED to find bugs in CCC’ssoftware in exchange for computer time. Rather than use the system via teletype, Gates went to CCC’s offices and studied source code for various programs that ran on the system, including programs in FORTRAN, LISP, and machine language. The arrangement with CCC continued until 1970, when the company went out of business. The following year, Information Sciences, Inc. hired the four Lakeside students to write a payroll program in COBOL, providing them computer time and royalties. After his administrators became aware of his programming abilities, Gates wrote the school’s computer program to schedule students in classes. He modified the code so that he was placed in classes with mostly female students.

He later stated that “it was hard to tear myself away from a machine at which I could so unambiguously demonstrate success.” At age 17, Gates formed a venture with Allen, called Traf-O-Data, to make traffic counters based on the Intel 8008 processor. In early 1973, Bill Gates served as a congressional page in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Gates graduated from Lakeside School in 1973. He scored 1590 out of 1600 on the SAT[19] and enrolled at Harvard College in the autumn of 1973. While at Harvard, he met Steve Ballmer, who later succeeded Gates as CEO of Microsoft. In his sophomore year, Gates devised an algorithm for pancake sorting as a solution to one of a series of unsolved problems, presented in a combinatorics class by one of his professors. Gates’ solution, which was later formalized in a published paper in collaboration with Harvard computer scientist Christos Papadimitriou, held the record as the fastest version for over thirty years; its successor is faster by only one percent Gates did not have a definite study plan while a student at Harvard and spent a lot of time using the school’s computers. He remained in contact with Paul Allen, joining him at Honeywell during the summer of 1974. The following year saw the release of the MITS Altair 8800 based on the Intel 8080 CPU, and Gates and Allen saw this as the opportunity to start their own computer software company. He had talked this decision over with his parents, who were supportive of him after seeing how much Gates wanted to start a company.

During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of CEO and chief software architect, and remains the largest individual shareholder withmore than 8 percent of the common STOCK. He has also authored or co-authored several books.

Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. Although he is admired by many, a number of industry insiders criticize his business tactics, which they consider anti-competitive, an opinion which has in some cases been upheld by the courts. In the later stages of his career, Gates has pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors, donating large amounts of MONEY to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, established in 2000.

Bill Gates stepped down as chief executive officer of Microsoft in January 2000. He remained as chairman and created the position of chief software architect. In June 2006, Gates announced that he would be transitioning from full-time work at Microsoft to part-time work and full-time work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He gradually transferred his duties to Ray Ozzie, chief software architect and Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer. Gates’ last full-time day at Microsoft was June 27, 2008. He remains at Microsoft as non-executive chairman.

Gates married Melinda French from Dallas, TX on January 1, 1994. They have three children: daughters Jennifer Katharine Gates (born 1996) and Phoebe Adele Gates (born 2002), and son Rory John Gates (born 1999). The Gates’ home is an earth-sheltered house in the side of a hill overlooking Lake Washington in Medina. According to King County public records, as of 2006 the total assessed value of the property (land and house) is $125 million, and the annual property tax is $991,000.

His 66,000 sq ft (6,100 m2) estate has a 60-foot (18 m) swimming pool with an underwater music system, as well as a 2,500 sq ft (230 m2) gym and a 1,000 sq ft (93 m2) dining room.

Also among Gates’s private acquisitions is the Codex Leicester, a collection of writings by Leonardo da Vinci, which Gates bought for $30.8 million at an auction in 1994. Gates is also known as an avid reader, and the ceiling of his large home library is engraved with a quotation from The Great Gatsby. He also enjoys playing bridge, tennis, and golf.

Gates was number one on the “Forbes 400″ list from 1993 through to 2007 and number one on Forbes list of “The World’s Richest People” from 1995 to 2007 and 2009. In 1999, Gates’s wealth briefly surpassed $101 billion, causing the media to call him a “centibillionaire”. Since 2000, the nominal value of his Microsoft holdings has declined due to a fall in Microsoft’s STOCK price after the dot-com bubble burst and the multi-billion dollar donations he has made to his charitable foundations. In a May 2006 interview, Gates commented that he wished that he were not the richest man in the world because he disliked the attention it brought. Gates has several INVESTMENTS outside Microsoft, which in 2006 paid him a salary of $616,667, and $350,000 bonus totalling $966,667. He founded Corbis, a digital imaging company, in 1989. In 2004 he became a director of Berkshire Hathaway, the INVESTMENT company headed by long-time friend Warren Buffett. In March 2010 Bill Gates was bumped down to the 2nd wealthiest man behind Carlos Slim.


 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN

 


QUICK FACTS

NAME:               Abraham Lincoln
OCCUPATION:     16th President of the United States
BIRTH DATE:       February 12, 1809
PLACE OF BIRTH: Hodgenville, Kentucky US
FULL NAME:       Abraham Lincoln
AKA:                  Abel
ZODIAC SIGN:     Pisces
Died: April 14, 1865 Washington, D.C.

The sixteenth president of the United States and president during the Civil War (1861–1865), Abraham Lincoln will forever be remembered by his inspirational rise to fame, his efforts to rid the country of slavery, and his ability to hold together a divided nation. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, Gettysburg Address, and two outstanding inaugural addresses are widely regarded as some of the greatest speeches ever delivered by an American politician.

Starting life in a log cabin

Abraham Lincoln was born to Thomas and Nancy Lincoln on February 12, 1809, in a log cabin on a farm in Hardin County, Kentucky. Two years later thefamily moved to a farm on Knob Creek. There, when there was no immediate work to be done, Abraham walked two miles to the schoolhouse, where he learned the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic.

When Abraham was seven, his father sold his lands and moved the family into the rugged wilderness of Indiana across the Ohio River. After spending a winter in a crude shack, the Lincolns began building a better home and clearing the land for planting. They were making progress when, in the summer of 1818, a terrible disease known as milk sickness struck the region. First it took the lives of Mrs. Lincoln's uncle and aunt, and then Nancy Hanks Lincoln herself died. Without Mrs. Lincoln the household began to fall apart, and much of the workload fell to Abraham and his sister.

The next winter Abraham's father returned to Kentucky and brought back a second wife, Sarah Bush Johnson, a widow with three children. As time passed, the region where the Lincolns lived grew in population. Lincoln himself grew tall and strong, and his father often hired him out to work for neighbors. Meanwhile, Lincoln's father had again moved his family to a new home in Illinois, where he built a cabin on the Sangamon River. At the end of the first summer in Illinois, disease swept through the region and put the Lincolns on the move once again. This time it was to Coles County. Abraham, who was now a grown man, did not go along. Instead he moved to the growing town of New Salem, where he was placed in charge of a mill and store.

Entering public life

Life in New Salem was a turning point for Lincoln, and the great man of history began to emerge. To the store came people of all kinds to talk and TRADEand to enjoy the stories told by this unique and popular man. The members of the New Salem Debating Society welcomed him, and Lincoln began to develop his skills as a passionate and persuasive speaker. When the Black Hawk War (1832) erupted between the United States and hostile Native Americans, the volunteers of the region quickly elected Lincoln to be their captain.

After the war he announced himself as a candidate for the Illinois legislature. He was not elected, but he did receive 277 of the 300 votes cast in the New Salem precinct. In 1834, after another attempt, Lincoln was finally elected to the state legislature. Lincoln's campaign skills greatly impressed John Todd Stuart (1807–1885), a leader of the Whigs, one of two major political parties in the country at the time. Stuart was also an .outstanding lawyer in Springfield, Illinois, and soon took Lincoln under his care and inspired him to begin the study of law.

Lincoln served four straight terms in the legislature and soon emerged as a party leader. Meanwhile, he mastered the law books he could buy or borrow. In September 1836 Lincoln began practicing law and played an important part in having the Illinois state capital moved from Vandalia to Springfield. In 1837 Lincoln himself moved to Springfield to become Stuart's law partner. He did not, however, forget politics. In 1846 Lincoln was elected to the U.S. Congress. During these years Lincoln had become engaged to Mary Todd (1818–1882), a cultured and well-educated Kentucky woman. They were married on November 2, 1842.

First failure

When Congress met in December 1847, Lincoln expressed his disapproval with the Mexican War (1846–48), in which American and Mexican forces clashed over land in the Southwest. These views, together with his wish to abolish, or end, slavery in the District of Columbia, brought sharp criticism from the people back in Illinois. They believed Lincoln was "not a patriot" and had not correctly represented his state in Congress.

Although the Whigs won the presidency in 1848, Lincoln could not even control the support in his own district. His political career seemed to be coming to a close just as it was beginning. His only reward for party service was an OFFER of the governorship of far-off Oregon, which he refused. Lincoln then returned to Illinois and resumed practicing law.

War on the horizon

During the next twelve years, while Lincoln rebuilt his legal career, the nation was becoming divided. While victory in the Mexican War added vast western territory to the United States, then came the issue of slavery in those new territories. To Southerners, the issue involved the security and rights of slavery everywhere. To Northerners, it was a matter of morals and justice. A national crisis soon developed. Only the efforts of Senators Henry Clay (1777–1852) andDaniel Webster (1782–1852) brought about the Compromise of 1850. With the compromise, a temporary truce was reached between the states favoring slavery and those opposed to it. The basic issues, however, were not eliminated. Four years later the struggle was reopened.

Lincoln's passionate opposition to slavery was enough to draw him back into the world of politics. He had always viewed slavery as a "moral, social and political wrong" and looked forward to its eventual abolition. Although willing to let it alone for the present in the states where it existed, he would not see it extended one inch.

At the same time, Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas (1813–1861) drafted the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would leave the decision of slavery up to the new territories. Lincoln thought the bill ignored the growing Northern determination to rid the nation of slavery. Soon, in opposition to the expansion of slavery, the Republican party was born. When Douglas returned to Illinois to defend his position, Lincoln seized every opportunity to point out the weakness in it.

Republican leader
Lincoln's failure to receive the nomination as senator in 1855 convinced him that the Whig party was dead. By summer 1856 he became a member of the new Republicans. Lincoln quickly emerged as the outstanding leader of the new party. At the party's first national convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he received 110 votes for vice president on the first ballot. Although he was not chosen, he had been recognized as an important national figure.

National attention began turning toward the violence in Kansas and the Supreme Court decision in the Dred Scott case, which debated the issue of slavery in the new territories. Meanwhile, Douglas had returned to Illinois to wage his fight for reelection to the Senate. But unlike in earlier elections, Illinois had grown rapidly and the population majority had shifted from the southern part of the state to the central and northern areas. In these growing areas the Republican party had gained a growing popularity—as had Abraham Lincoln.

As Lincoln challenged Douglas for his seat in the Senate, the two engaged in legendary debates. During the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Lincoln delivered his famous "house divided" speech, stating "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe the government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free." Lincoln proved his ability to hold his own against the man known as the "Little Giant." In the end Douglas was reelected as senator, but Lincoln had gained national attention and his name was soon mentioned for the presidency.

The sixteenth president

In 1860 the Republican National Convention met and chose Lincoln as their candidate for president of the United States. With a divided Democratic party and the recent formation of the Constitutional Union party, Lincoln's election was certain. After Lincoln's election victory, parts of the country reacted harshly against the new president's stand on slavery. Seven Southern states then seceded, or withdrew, from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America.

In his inaugural address he clarified his position on the national situation. Secession, he said, was wrong, and the Union could not legally be broken apart. He would not interfere with slavery in the states, but he would "hold, occupy, and possess" all property and places owned by the federal government. By now there was no avoiding the outbreak of the Civil War.

The Civil War

From this time on, Lincoln's life was shaped by the problems and fortunes of civil war. As president, he was the head of all agencies in government and also acted as commander in chief, or supreme commander, of the armies. Lincoln was heavily criticized for early failures. Radicals in Congress were soon demanding a reorganization of his cabinet, or official advisors, and a new set of generals to lead his armies. To combat this, Lincoln himself studied military books. He correctly evaluated General Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885) and General William T. Sherman (1820–1891) and the importance of the western campaign. Thanks, in part, to Lincoln's reshuffling of his military leaders, the Union forces would soon capture victory over the Confederates.

Afterward, Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. The proclamation called for the freeing of all slaves in territories still at war with the Union. Later, during his Gettysburg Address, he gave the war its universal meaning as a struggle to preserve a nation based on freedoms and dedicated to the idea "that all men are created equal."

Lincoln was reelected in 1864. As the end of the Civil War appeared close, Lincoln urged his people "to bind up the nation's wounds" and create a just and lasting peace. But Lincoln would never be able enjoy the nation he had reunited. Five days after the Confederate army surrendered and ended the Civil War, Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1965. The president died the next day.

Although the reasons for Lincoln's assassination would be debated, his prominent place in American history has never been in doubt. His work to free the slaves earned him the honorable reputation as the Great Emancipator. His ability to hold together a country torn apart by civil war would forever secure his place as one of America's greatest presidents.



 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF BEN CARSON
 





Ben Carson overcame his troubled youth in inner-city Detroit to become a gifted neurosurgeon famous for his work separating conjoined twins.
Synopsis

Ben Carson was born in Detroit, Michigan, on September 18, 1951. His mother, though undereducated herself, pushed her sons to read and to believe in themselves. Carson went from being a poor student to receiving honors and he eventually attended medical school. As a doctor, he became the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital at age 33, and became famous for his ground-breaking work separating conjoined twins.

Early Life

Benjamin Solomon Carson was born in Detroit, Michigan, on September 18, 1951. The second son of Sonya and Robert Solomon Carson, Ben grew up in the hardened climate of inner-city Detroit. Ben's mother was raised in Tennessee in a very large family. She dropped out of school in the third grade.

With not much hope or prospects in life, she married Baptist minister Robert Carson when she was 13, believing that he would change her life. The couple moved to Detroit, Michigan, and for a time, the marriage was a success. Carson showered his wife with gifts and attention. But over time, Robert Carson changed. Though benevolent, he could also be domineering and erratic. In time, Sonya felt it was best for her sons if she and Robert divorced.

Influential Mother

Ben was 8 and Curtis, Ben's brother, was 10 when Sonya was left to raise the children on her own. The family was very poor, and to make ends meet Sonya sometimes took on two or three jobs at a time in order to provide for her boys. Most of the jobs she had were as a domestic servant. There were occasions when her boys wouldn't see her for days at a time, because she would go to work at 5:00 a.m. and come home around 11:00 p.m., going from one job to the next.

Carson's mother was frugal with the family's finances, cleaning and patching clothes from the Goodwill in order to dress the boys. The family would also go to local farmers and OFFER to pick corn or other vegetables in exchange for a portion of the yield. She would then can the produce for the kids' meals. Her actions, and the way she managed the family, proved to be a tremendous influence on Ben and Curtis.

Sonya also taught her boys that anything was possible. By his recollection many years later, Ben Carson had thoughts of a career in medicine, though it was more of a fantasy many young children harbor as they grow up. Because his family was on medical assistance, they would have to wait for hours to be seen by one of the interns at the hospital. Ben would listen to the pulse of the hospital as doctors and nurses went about their routines.

Occasionally, there'd be an emergency and he could hear in people's voices and in their quick movements the pace and emotions rise to meet the challenge. He'd hear the PA system call for a "Dr. Jones" and fantasized that one day they'd be calling for a "Dr. Carson."

Early Education

Both Ben and his brother experienced difficulty in school. Ben fell to the bottom of his class, and became the object of ridicule by his classmates. He developed a violent and uncontrollable temper, and was known to attack other children at the slightest provocation. The poverty he lived in and the difficult times he experienced in school seem to exacerbate the anger and rage.

Determined to turn her sons around, Sonya limited their TV time to just a few select programs and refused to let them go outside to play until they'd finished their homework. She was criticized for this by her friends, who said her boys would grow up to hate her. But she was determined that her sons would have greater opportunities than she did.

She required them to read two library books a week and give her written reports, even though with her poor education, she could barely read them. She would take the papers and pretend to carefully review them, scanning over the words and turning the pages, before placing a checkmark at the top of the page to show her approval.

At first, Ben resented the strict regimen. While his friends were playing outside, he was stuck in the house, forced to read a book or do his homework. But after several weeks of his mother's unrelenting position, he began to find enjoyment in reading. Being poor, there wasn't much opportunity to go anywhere. But between the covers of a book he could go anyplace, be anybody and do anything.

Ben began to learn how to use his imagination and found it more enjoyable than watching television. This attraction to reading soon led to a strong desire to learn more. Carson read books on all types of subjects and found connections between them. He saw himself as the central character of what he was reading, even if it was a technical book or an encyclopedia. He read about people in laboratories, pouring chemicals into a beaker or flask, or discovering galaxies, or peering into a microscope.

He began to see himself differently, different than the other kids in his neighborhood who only wanted to get out of school, get some nice clothes, and a nice car. He saw that he could become the scientist or physician he had dreamed about. Staying focused on this vision of his future helped him get through some of the more difficult times.

Within a year, Ben Carson was amazing his teachers and classmates with his improvement. The childrens' books he read while he was confined to quarters now had relevancy in school. He was able to recall facts and examples from the books and relate them to what he was learning in school. In 5th grade, Ben astonished everyone by identifying rock samples his teacher had brought to school.

As he recalled several years later, he began to realize that he wasn't stupid. Within a year he was at the top of his class, and the hunger for knowledge had taken hold of him. It wasn't easy in the predominantly all-white school, though. After Ben received a certificate of achievement at the semester break, one of the school's teachers berated the white students for letting a black student get ahead of them academically.

Ben also had several teachers along the way who expressed a strong interest in his success. After he demonstrated his proficient knowledge of rocks in his 5th grade class, his teacher asked Ben to come by the school's lab after classes ended for the day. There Ben found squirrels to feed and a tarantula to observe. He discovered the wonders of using a microscope to study water specimens, and learned about paramecium and amoebas.

Later, at Southwestern High School in inner-city Detroit, his science teachers recognized his intellectual abilities and mentored him. Other teachers helped him to stay focused when outside influences pulled him off course.

After Ben graduated with honors from high school, he knew he wanted to pursue a medical career. But because his mother was not Financially well off, Carson had to work through most of his time in college. The automobile industry was facing a downturn in Detroit during the 1970s, making it tough to get a summer job.

But Carson was determined to achieve his goals. He knocked on doors looking for summer work and usually, through persistence, was able to obtain one. From this work, and a scholarship, he attended Yale University and earned a B.A. degree in psychology.

Anger Issues

Despite his academic successes, Ben Carson still had a raging temper that translated into violent behavior as a child. One time he tried to hit his mother with a hammer because she disagreed with his choice of clothes. Another time, he inflicted a major head injury on a classmate in a dispute over a locker. In a final incident, Ben nearly stabbed to death a friend after arguing over a choice of radio stations.

The only thing that prevented a tragic occurrence was the knife blade broke on the friend's belt buckle. Not knowing the extent of his friend's injury, Ben ran home and locked himself in the bathroom with a Bible. Terrified by his own actions, he started praying, asking God to help him find a way to Deal with his temper. He found salvation in the book of Proverbs in a passage that went, "Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city."

Ben began to realize that much of his anger stemmed from putting himself in the center of everything. Anytime anything happened that was not to his liking, he internalized it and made it his problem. Once he took himself out of the equation, he could see that not everything was directed at him and that he wasn't the only one with troubles.

He began to see things from other points of view. He soon realized he could control his anger, rather than it controlling him. He realized his future depended on the choices he made and the degree of energy he put into his life. Seeing that living in the inner city was only temporary, Carson believed he had the full power to change his situation.

Beginning Surgical Career

After graduating from Yale in 1973, Carson enrolled in the School of Medicine at the University of Michigan, choosing to become a neurosurgeon rather than a psychologist. In 1975, he married Lacrena "Candy" Rustin whom he met at Yale. Carson earned his medical degree, and the young couple moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where he became a resident at Johns Hopkins University in 1977. His excellent eye-hand coordination and three-dimensional reasoning skills made him a superior surgeon early on. By 1982, he was chief resident in neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins.

In 1983, Carson received an important invitation. Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, Australia, needed a neurosurgeon and invited Carson to take the position. Resistant at first to move so far away from home, he eventually accepted the OFFER. It proved to be an important one. Australia at the time was without enough doctors with highly sophisticated training in neurosurgery. Carson gained several years worth of experience in the year he was in Australia and honed his skills tremendously.

Carson returned to Johns Hopkins in 1984 and, by 1985, he became director of pediatric neurosurgery at the young age of 33. In 1987, Carson attracted international attention by performing a surgery to separate two 7-month-old craniopagus twins from Germany. Patrick and Benjamin Binder were born joined at the head. Their parents contacted Carson, who went to Germany to consult with the parents and the boys' doctors. Because the boys were joined at the back of the head, and because they had separate brains, he felt the operation could be performed successfully.

On September 4, 1987, Carson and a team of 70 doctors, nurses, and support staff joined forces for what would be a 22-hour surgery. Part of the challenge in radical neurosurgery is to prevent severe bleeding and trauma to the patients. In this operation, Carson had applied a technique used in cardiac surgery called hypothermic arrest.

The boys' bodies were cooled down so the blood flowed slower and bleeding was less severe. This allowed the surgeons to perform the delicate task of untangling, dividing and repairing shared blood vessels. Although the twins did have some brain damage, both survived the separation, making Carson's surgery the first of its kind.

Separating Conjoined Twins

In 1994, Carson and his team went to South Africa to separate the Makwaeba twins. The operation was unsuccessful, as both girls died from complications of the surgery. Carson was devastated, but vowed to press on, as he knew such procedures could be successful. In 1997, Carson and his team went to Zambia in South Central Africa to separate infant boys Luka and Joseph Banda. This operation was especially difficult because the boys were joined at the tops of their heads, making this the first time a surgery of this type had been performed. After a 28-hour operation, both boys survived and neither suffered brain damage.

Over time, Ben Carson's operations began to gain media attention. At first, what people saw was the soft-spoken hospital spokesperson explaining the complicated procedures in simple terms. But in time, Carson's own story became public -- a troubled youth growing up in the inner-city to a poor family eventually finding success.

Soon, Carson began traveling to schools, businesses and hospitals across the country telling his story and imparting his philosophy of life. Out of this dedication to education and helping young people, Carson and his wife Candy founded the Carson Scholars FUND in 1994. The foundation grants scholarships to young students and promotes reading in the younger grades.

Biggest Medical Challenge
In 2003, Ben Carson faced what was perhaps his biggest challenge: separating adult conjoined twins. Ladan and Laleh Bijani were Iranian girls who were joined at the head. For 29 years, they had literally lived together in every conceivable way. Like normal twins, they shared experiences and outlooks, but as they got older and developed their own individual aspirations, they knew they could never lead independent lives unless they separated. As they told Carson at one point, "We would rather die than spend another day together."

This type of medical procedure had never been attempted on conjoined adults because the outcome would almost certainly result in death. By this time, Carson had been conducting brain surgery for nearly 20 years and had performed several craniopagus separations. He tried to talk the two women out of the surgery, but after many discussions with them and consultations with many other doctors and surgeons, he agreed to proceed.

Ben Carson and a team of more than 100 surgeons, specialists and assistants traveled to Singapore in Southeast Asia. On July 6, 2003, Carson and his team began the nearly 52-hour operation. They used a 3-D imaging technique that Carson had developed several years earlier during the Banda twins operation. The computerized images allowed the medical team to conduct a virtual surgery before the operation. During the operation, they followed digital reconstruction of the twins' brain. A specially designed chair allowed the operation to be performed while both sisters were in a sitting position.

Besides the girls age, the surgery revealed more difficulties because their brains not only shared a major blood vessel, but had fused together. The separation was completed at 1:30 p.m. on July 8. But it was soon apparent that the girls were in deep critical condition, having both lost a large volume of blood due to the complications of the surgery.

At 2:30 p.m., Ladan died on the operating table. Her sister, Laleh died a short time later at 4:00 p.m. The loss was devastating to all, especially Carson, who found some solace in the fact that the girls' bravery to pursue the operation had contributed to neurosurgery in ways that would live far beyond them.

Later Career

In 2002, Carson was forced to cut back on his break-neck pace after developing prostate cancer. He took an active role in his own case, reviewing X-rays and consulting with the team of surgeons who operated on him. Carson fully recovered from the operation cancer-free. The brush with death caused him to adjust his life to spend more time with his wife and their three children, Murray, Benjamin, Jr. and Rhoeyce.

After his recovery, Carson still kept a busy schedule, performing nearly 300 operations a year and speaking to various groups around the country. He has written several books including the autobiography Gifted Hands (1996). Three other works, The Big Picture (2000) and Think Big (2006), Take the Risk: Learning to Identify, Choose, and Live with Acceptable Risk (2009) are about his personal philosophies on success, hard work, risk and faith in God.

In recent years, Carson has focused more on politics than practicing medicine. He has been known as an outspoken conservative Republican. In 2012, he published America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great. In February 2013, Carson attracted a lot of attention for his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. He criticized President Barack Obama for his positions on taxation and health care. He announced that he was officially retiring from his career as a surgeon the following month. Many have wondered whether Carson will be pursue a run for political office. That October, he was hired by Fox News in October 2013 to work as a contributor. In May 2014, Carson published his book One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America's Future. [See our interview with Ben Carson.]

Because of his unflagging dedication to children and his many medical breakthroughs, Carson has received more than 50 honorary doctorate degrees and is a member of the Alpha Honor Medical Society, the Horatio Alger Society of Distinguished Americans and sits on the boards of numerous business and education boards.

In 2001, CNN and Time magazine named Ben Carson as one of the nation's 20 foremost physicians and scientists. In that same year, the Library of Congress selected him as one of 89 "Living Legends." In 2006, he received the Spingarn Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the NAACP. In February 2008, President Bush awarded Carson the Ford's Theater Lincoln Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.S. highest civilian honors. In 2009, actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. portrayed Carson in the TNN television production Gifted Hands.


 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF LIONEL MESSI 


QUICK FACTS


NAME: Lionel Messi
OCCUPATION: Children's Activist, Soccer Player
BIRTH DATE: June 24, 1987
PLACE OF BIRTH: Rosario, Argentina
AKA: Lionel Messi
FULL NAME: Luis Lionel Andres Messi
NICKNAME: "La Pulga" "Leo" "Messidona"
ZODIAC SIGN: Cancer

Argentina native Lionel Messi has established records for goals scored and won individual awards en route to worldwide recognition as the best player in soccer.

Synopsis

Born on June 24, 1987, in Rosario, Argentina, soccer player Lionel Messi moved to Spain at the age of 13, after the FC Barcelona club agreed to pay for hormone-deficiency treatments. Messi became a star in his new country, scoring at will while leading his club to championships. In 2012, he set a record for most goals in a calendar year, and afterward was named FIFA's "Player of the Year" a record fourth time.
Early Years

Lionel Messi was born Luis Lionel Andres Messi on June 24, 1987, in Rosario, Argentina. As a young boy, he tagged along when his two older brothers played soccer with their friends, unintimidated by the bigger boys. At the age of 8, he was recruited to join the youth system of Newell's Old Boys, a Rosario-based club. Recognizably smaller than most of the kids in his age group, Messi was eventually diagnosed by doctors as suffering from a hormone deficiency that restricted his growth.

Messi's parents, Jorge and Ceclia, decided on a regimen of nightly growth-hormone injections for their son, though it soon proved impossible to pay several hundred dollars per month for the medication. So, at the age of 13, when Messi was OFFERED the chance to train at soccer powerhouse FC Barcelona's youth academy, La Masia, and have his medical bills covered by the team, Messi's family picked up and moved across the Atlantic to make a new home in Spain.
King of Spain: Soccer Career

Although he was often homesick in his new country, Messi moved quickly through the junior system ranks, and by the age of 16, he had made his first appearance for Barcelona. Messi put himself in the record books on May 1, 2005, as the youngest player to ever score a goal for the franchise. That same year, he led Argentina to the title in the under-20 World Cup, scoring on a pair of penalty kicks to propel the team over Nigeria.

Messi eventually grew to 5 feet and 7 inches, and with his short stature, speed and relentless attacking style, he drew comparisons to another famous Argentinean footballer: Diego Maradona. Messi steered Barcelona to a wealth of success, most notably in 2009, when the left-footer's team captured the Champions League, La Liga, and Spanish Super Cup titles. That same year, after two consecutive runner-up finishes, he took home his first FIFA "World Player of the Year" honor/Ballon d'Or award.

Even the great Maradona gushed about his fellow countryman. "I see him as very similar to me," the retired player told the BBC. "He's a leader and is OFFERING lessons in beautiful football. He has something different to any other player in the world."

Amazingly, the diminutive soccer wizard continued to improve, discovering new ways to elude defenders while leading Barcelona to La Liga and Spanish Super Cup championships in 2010 and 2011, as well as the '11 Champions League title.

Messi embarked on an all-out assault on the record books in 2012. He became the first player to score five goals in a Champions League match in early March, and a few weeks later he surpassed Cesar Rodriguez's club-record 232 goals to become Barcelona's all-time leading scorer. By the end of 2012, Messi had accumulated an astounding 91 goals in club and international play, eclipsing the 85 netted in a single calendar year by Gerd Muller in 1972. Fittingly, he broke one more record when he was named the FIFA Ballon d'Or winner for the fourth time in January 2013. Messi led team Argentina to the finals of the 2014 World Cup. Although his team lost to Germany, he was named best player of the tournament.
Activism and Fatherhood

Almost universally regarded as the best player in the game, the boyish Messi has become the commercial face of soccer with endorsements from Adidas, Pepsi, EA Sports and Turkish Airways, among other companies. Having signed an extension with Barcelona that guarantees him a base salary of approximately $21 million per year through 2018, he is one of the world's highest-paid athletes.

Although he is famously quiet and private off the field, Messi has found ways to help out others in need. In 2007, he formed the Leo Messi Foundation to provide opportunities for disadvantaged youths. In early 2010, UNICEF named him a goodwill ambassador, with a focus on fighting for children's rights across the globe.

Messi became a father in November 2012, when his girlfriend, Antonella Roccuzzo, gave birth to their son, Thiago.

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF STEVE JOBS

 


QUICK FACTS

NAME: Steve Jobs
OCCUPATION: Inventor
BIRTH DATE: February 24, 1955
DEATH DATE: October 5, 2011
EDUCATION: Reed College, Homestead High School
PLACE OF BIRTH: San Francisco, California
PLACE OF DEATH: Palo Alto, California
AKA: Steven Jobs
FULL NAME: Steven Paul Jobs

Steve Jobs co-founded Apple Computers with Steve Wozniak. Under Jobs' guidance, the company pioneered a series of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone and iPad.

Synopsis

Steve Jobs was born in San Francisco, California, on February 24, 1955, to two University of Wisconsin graduate students who gave him up for adoption. Smart but directionless, Jobs experimented with different pursuits before starting Apple Computers with Steve Wozniak in 1976. Apple's revolutionary products, which include the iPod, iPhone and iPad, are now seen as dictating the evolution of modern technology. He died in 2011, following a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Early Life

Steven Paul Jobs was born on February 24, 1955, in San Francisco, California, to Joanne Schieble (later Joanne Simpson) and Abdulfattah "John" Jandali, two University of Wisconsin graduate students who gave their unnamed son up for adoption. His father, Abdulfattah Jandali, was a Syrian political science professor, and his mother, Joanne Schieble, worked as a speech therapist. Shortly after Steve was placed for adoption, his biological parents married and had another child, Mona Simpson. It was not until Jobs was 27 that he was able to uncover information on his biological parents.

As an infant, Steven was adopted by Clara and Paul Jobs and named Steven Paul Jobs. Clara worked as an accountant, and Paul was a Coast Guard veteran and machinist. The family lived in Mountain View, California, within the area that would later become known as  Silicon Valley. As a boy, Jobs and his father would work on electronics in the family garage. Paul would show his son how to take apart and reconstruct electronics, a hobby that instilled confidence, tenacity and mechanical prowess in young Jobs.

While Jobs was always an intelligent and innovative thinker, his youth was riddled with frustrations over formal schooling. Jobs was a prankster in elementary school, and his fourth-grade teacher needed to bribe him to study. Jobs tested so well, however, that administrators wanted to skip him ahead to high school—a proposal that his parents declined.

A few years later, while Jobs was enrolled at Homestead High School (1971), he was introduced to his future partner, Steve Wozniak, through a friend of Wozniak's. Wozniak was attending the University of California, Berkeley, at the time. In a 2007 interview with PC World, Wozniak spoke about why he and Jobs clicked so well: "We both loved electronics and the way we used to hook up digital chips," Wozniak said. "Very few people, especially back then, had any idea what chips were, how they worked and what they could do. I had designed many computers, so I was way ahead of him in electronics and computer design, but we still had common interests. We both had pretty much sort of an independent attitude about things in the world. ..."

Apple Computers

After high school, Jobs enrolled at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Lacking direction, he dropped out of college after six months and spent the next 18 months dropping in on creative classes at the school. Jobs later recounted how one course in calligraphy developed his love of typography.

In 1974, Jobs took a position as a video game designer with Atari. Several months later he left Atari to find spiritual enlightenment in India, traveling the continent and experimenting with psychedelic drugs. In 1976, when Jobs was just 21, he and Wozniak started Apple Computer. The duo started in the Jobs family garage, and FUNDED their entrepreneurial venture by Jobs selling his Volkswagen bus and Wozniak selling his beloved scientific calculator.

Jobs and Wozniak are credited with revolutionizing the computer industry by democratizing the technology and making the machines smaller, cheaper, intuitive and accessible to everyday consumers. Wozniak conceived a series of user-friendly personal computers, and—with Jobs in charge of marketing—Apple initially MARKETED the computers for $666.66 each. The Apple I earned the corporation around $774,000. Three years after the release of Apple's second model, the Apple II, the company's sales increased by 700 percent, to $139 million. In 1980, Apple Computer became a publicly traded company, with a market value of $1.2 billion by the end of its very first day of TRADING. Jobs looked to marketing expert John Sculley of Pepsi-Cola to help fill the role of Apple's president.
Departure from Apple

However, the next several products from Apple suffered significant design flaws, resulting in recalls and consumer disappointment. IBM suddenly surpassed Apple in sales, and Apple had to compete with an IBM/PC-dominated business world. In 1984, Apple released the Macintosh,MARKETING the computer as a piece of a counterculture lifestyle: romantic, youthful, creative. But despite positive sales and performance superior to IBM's PCs, the Macintosh was still not IBM-compatible. Sculley believed Jobs was hurting Apple, and the company's executives began to phase him out.

In 1985, Jobs resigned as Apple's CEO to begin a new hardware and software company called NeXT, Inc. The following year Jobs purchased an animation company from George Lucas, which later became Pixar Animation Studios. Believing in Pixar's potential, Jobs initially INVESTED $50 million of his own money in the company. Pixar Studios went on to produce wildly popular animation films such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. Pixar's films have netted $4 billion. The studio merged with Walt Disney in 2006, making Steve Jobs Disney's largest shareholder.
Reinventing Apple

Despite Pixar's success, NeXT, Inc. floundered in its attempts to sell its specialized operating system to mainstream America. Apple eventually bought the company in 1996 for $429 million. The following year, Jobs returned to his post as Apple's CEO.

Just as Steve Jobs instigated Apple's success in the 1970s, he is credited with revitalizing the company in the 1990s. With a new management team, altered STOCK options and a self-imposed annual salary of $1 a year, Jobs put Apple back on track. His ingenious products such as the iMac, effective branding campaigns and stylish designs caught the attention of consumers once again.
Pancreatic Cancer

In 2003, Jobs discovered that he had a neuroendocrine tumor, a rare but operable form of pancreatic cancer. Instead of immediately opting for surgery, Jobs chose to alter his pescovegetarian diet while weighing Eastern treatment options. For nine months, Jobs postponed surgery, making Apple's board of directors nervous. Executives feared that shareholders would pull their STOCK if word got out that their CEO was ill. But in the end, Jobs' confidentiality took precedence over shareholder disclosure. In 2004, he had a successful surgery to remove the pancreatic tumor. True to form, in subsequent years Jobs disclosed little about his health.
Later Innovations

Apple introduced such revolutionary products as the Macbook Air, iPod and iPhone, all of which have dictated the evolution of modern technology. Almost immediately after Apple releases a new product, competitors scramble to produce comparable technologies. Apple's quarterly reports improved significantly in 2007: Stocks were worth $199.99 a share—a record-breaking number at that time—and the company boasted a staggering $1.58 billion profit, an $18 billion surplus in the bank and zero debt.

In 2008, iTunes became the second-biggest music retailer in America—second only to Wal-Mart. Half of Apple's current revenue comes from iTunes and iPod sales, with 200 million iPods sold and 6 billion songs downloaded. For these reasons, Apple has been ranked No. 1 on Fortune magazine's list of "America's Most Admired Companies," as well as No. 1 among Fortune 500 companies for returns to shareholders.
Personal Life

Early in 2009, reports circulated about Jobs' weight loss, some predicting his health issues had returned, which included a liver transplant. Jobs had responded to these concerns by stating he was DEALING with a hormone imbalance. After nearly a year out of the spotlight, Steve Jobs delivered a keynote address at an invite-only Apple event September 9, 2009.

In respect to his personal life, Steve Jobs remained a private man who rarely discloses information about his family. What is known is Jobs fathered a daughter with girlfriend Chrisann Brennan when he was 23. Jobs denied paternity of his daughter Lisa in court documents, claiming he was sterile. Jobs did not initiate a relationship with his daughter until she was 7, but when she was a teenager she came to live with her father.

In the early 1990s, Jobs met Laurene Powell at Stanford business school, where Powell was an MBA student. They married on March 18, 1991, and lived together in Palo Alto, California, with their three children.
Final Years

On October 5, 2011, Apple Inc. announced that its co-founder had passed away. After battling pancreatic cancer for nearly a decade, Steve Jobs died in Palo Alto. He was 56 years old.

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF TONY BLAIR



QUICK FACTS

NAME: Tony Blair
OCCUPATION: Environmental Activist, Lawyer, Prime Minister
BIRTH DATE: May 6, 1953
EDUCATION: Fettes College , St. John's College of the University of Oxford,
The Chorister School
PLACE OF BIRTH: Edinburgh, Scotland
AKA: Tony Blair
FULL NAME: Anthony Charles Lynton Blair
ZODIAC SIGN: Taurus

Tony Blair was leader of the British Labour Party from 1994 to 2007, and prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007.

“A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in and how many want out.”

—Tony Blair

Synopsis

Tony Blair was born on May 6, 1953 in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1994, he became the youngest leader of the Labour Party. In 1997, he was sworn in as prime minister of the United Kingdom. He stepped down as prime minister and left his position as leader of the Labour Party in 2007. In more recent years, he has been in the press for allegedly attempting to keep quiet a phone-hacking scandal.

Younger Years
Tony Blair, former prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, was born Anthony Charles Lynton Blair on May 6, 1953, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Despite being born in Scotland, Blair spent the better part of his childhood in Durham, England, where he attended the Chorister School.

Blair's father, Leo Charles Blair, was a prominent attorney who ran for Parliament as a Tory in 1963, when Tony was 10 years old. Devastatingly, Leo had a stroke right before the election, rendering him unable to speak. As Leo convalesced over the next three years, Tony and his siblings, older brother Bill and younger sister Sarah, learned to fend for themselves and adapt to stressful FINANCIAL difficulties. From an early age, Blair felt compelled to follow in his father's footsteps and one day achieve the political goals his father was forced to abandon.

Although his father was adopted, the young Blair appeared to have inherited his biological grandparents' talent for entertaining. As a teen, when he and his family had moved back to Edinburgh, Blair frequently performed at Fettes College to rave reviews. While a student at St. John's College at Oxford University, Blair was the lead singer in a rock band called the Ugly Rumors. The band preformed cover versions of songs by the Rolling Stones, the Doobie Brothers and other popular headliners. Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger ranked among Blair's personal icons at the time.

After completing his undergraduate courses, Blair renewed his commitment to following his father's career path. He enrolled in law school at Oxford University, graduating with a law degree in 1975. Blair's mother, an Irish butcher's daughter whose maiden name was Hazel Corscadden, died of thyroid cancer that same year. After graduation, Blair began an internship in employment law under Queen's Counsel Alexander Irvine. Blair proved a quick learner, and his communication skills helped him gain hands-on knowledge of local politics. During his internship, he met fellow intern Cherie Booth, who had graduated at the top of her class from the London School of Economics. The couple married in March 1980 and went on to have four children: Euan, Nicholas, Kathryn and Leo.

Labour Party

Growing up in Durham, England, Blair observed the powerful influence of local miners, who were central to the strength of England's Labour Party. In the late 1970s, while practicing as a barrister, Blair joined the Labour Party, which was then in a state of crisis. Multiple union strikes in late 1978 had helped the Tory Party (with which Blair's father was affiliated) gain victory the following year because the public saw the Labour Party as being mainly under union control

In 1982, Blair tried but failed to land a seat in Parliament for the Beaconsfield District. He did however, continue to impress the Labour Party by working hard and proving his charisma and capability. In 1983, Blair earned a seat in Parliament for the Sedgefield District near Durham, where he had spent most of his childhood.

When Conservative Margaret Thatcher was reelected as prime minister in 1983, Neil Kinnock was made leader of the opposition Labour Party. Kinnock proceeded to promote Blair through the ranks. From 1984 to 1988, Blair served as the front bench spokesman on treasury and economic affairs for the Labour Party. He also held a position as spokesman on TRADE and industry in 1987. In 1988, Blair rose to the shadow cabinet (also known as shadow front bench or shadow ministry) in the position of shadow secretary of energy. Under the leader of the opposition, the shadow cabinet is an alternative to the established government's cabinet. For every member of the established government's cabinet, there is a person in the shadow cabinet who shadows him or her and critically analyzes his or her policies and decisions. It was Blair's job to shadow the British government’s secretary of energy, Nigel Lawson. In 1992, Blair was appointed to the position of shadow home secretary.

In 1992, Kinnock resigned as leader of the Labour Party and was succeeded by John Smith. When Smith died of a heart attack in 1994, Tony Blair was elected leader of the Labour Party, achieving the distinction of the organization's youngest leader to date. While in office, Blair advocated policies to cut taxes, deter crime, boost TRADE and increase the power of local government. Blair described his new vision for Great Britain as a nation "where people succeed on the basis of what they give to their country." He would remain in his role of Labour Party leader until 2007, instituting several reforms—including a new "one person, one vote" system for electing party leadership.

In Recent Years

Following his resignation, Tony Blair remained active in public affairs, serving as quartet representative to the Middle East and a representative of the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia to prepare Palestine for statehood.

In 2007, he created the Tony Blair Sports Foundation, the mission of which is to "increase childhood participation in sports activities, especially in the North East of England, where a larger portion of children are socially excluded, and to promote overall health and prevent childhood obesity." In 2008, he formed the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, a nonprofit group that "promotes respect and understanding about the world’s religions through education and multi-faith action." In 2009, he established Tony Blair Associates, an organization providing pro bono consulting on "political and economic trends and governmental reform."

In 2011, Blair was presented with the Liberty Medal by former president Bill Clinton. The following year, the Kaula Lumpur War Crimes Commission held a mock tribunal finding Blair and Bush guilty of crimes against peace and humanity for their 2003 involvement in the Iraq War. The results were reported to the International Criminal Court, but received mixed reactions.

More recently, Blair has been in the press for allegedly attempting to keep quiet a phone-hacking scandal involving Rupert Murdoch's U.K. tabloid, The Sun.


AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF GLORIA MULIRO
 

QUICK FACTS

NAME: Gloria Omba
OCCUPATION: Gospel Musician
BIRTH DATE: Born 4 September 1980
EDUCATION:  St. Theresa Academy
PLACE OF BIRTH: Emanyinga, Vihiga County, kenya
FULL NAME: Gloria Muliro
ZODIAC SIGN: Virgo

Gloria Omba, commonly referred to as Gloria Muliro (born 4 September 1980), is a Kenyan Gospel musician and songwriter. She debuted in 2005 when she released her first studio album titled Omwami Aletsa (The Lord is Coming). As of 2013, Gloria has four albums to her name, her most successful being Kibali (mandate) which has the popular song "Sitolia" (I Won't Cry) featuring Willy Paul. The album earned her sixth Groove Awards nominations. She went on to receive the female artist of the year award at the eighth Groove awards, an event that was attended by President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta. She is married to preacher Erick Omba.

Early life

Gloria was born to David Muliro and Esther Muliro. She went to Emanyinga Primary School where she sat for her KCPE exams before enrolling at St. Theresa Academy for her secondary education. She later joined the International Teachers Training College, Dagoretti for a two-year teaching course which she completed but had her final results withheld by the school owing to the huge debt she owed the school in form of school fees she was however able to acquire them after working as house help for a couple of months, her breakthrough finally came when she got a teaching job at a local school.

Music career

Gloria was interested in music from as far as 1997 when she was still in school but due to financial challenges she was not able to venture into the music industry. She however was able to join many singing group and even joined her church choir with the hope of gaining moreconfidence to help her earn a place in the Kenyan music industry, which she did upon releasing her first studio album entitled Omwami Aletsa. The album was not as successful as she had expected which prompted her to start working on her next album Kibali which had the famous hit single "Sitolia" featuring Willy Paul. In 2013 Gloria collaborated with Willy Paul once more for the song Kitanzi whose music video depicts the life of a young teenager who is almost giving up on life and who is contemplating suicide.Currently Gloria is, alongside other big names in the Kenyan music industry on tour of Kenya, a tour sponsored by Safaricom commonly referred to as Safaricom Live.The tour is aimed at not only promoting local Kenyan talent in music but also reaching out to many people in different counties so as to promote peace and unity in the country

Charity work

Apart from performing in Church and recording songs, Gloria Muliro has a hand at charity,she has established her own foundation, The Gloria Muliro Foundation, which she uses as a conduit to do charity work.The foundation currently runs a children's home in Emuhaya, one of the four constituencies in Vihiga, Western Kenya,"It caters for children who need help from the region, and span from children who have been orphaned to children whose parents are unable to offer sufficient support.Having come from a poor background as a child, both Gloria and her husband Eric Omba, have the same vision for the children they are taking care of and they show it through a documentary they have made for the cause" Chairman, The Gloria Foundation.

Controversy

Omba's song "Follow You" has been noted for its similarities with the song "I Will Follow" by Chris Tomlin. Musician Willy Paul has complained that he wasn't making moneyfrom the song "Sitolia" because Omba owned the copyright.

Discography

Singles


    "Sitolia" ft Willy Paul

    "Follow you"(2011)

    "omwami Aletsa"(2005)

    "Kibali"

    "Yesu Ningwedete"

    "Mpango wa Kando"

    "Neno"

    "Msaidizi"

    "Yesu Iroma"

    "Youve Done Well my Lord"

    "Kitanzi" ft "Willy Paul"(2014)

Albums

    Omwami Aletsa (2005)

    Ombi langu (2010)

    Kibali (2012)

    Msaidizi (2013)

Awards
Nominated

    Female artist of the year

    Collaboration of the year for mpango wa kando ft Everlyne

    Western song of the year

    Song of the year for Sitolia ft willy Paul

    Most beautiful Gospel artiste!

Won

    Groove Awards female artist of the year 2013


YearAlbumSingle

2005Omwami AletsaOmwami Aletsa

2010Ombi LanguNingwedete

2012KibaliKibali

2013MsaidiziMsaidizi



 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF RAJNIKANTH


QUICK FACTS

NAME: Rajni Kant
OCCUPATION: Film Actor, script-writing
and production,
The superstar of Tamil cinema
BIRTH DATE: 12th December 1949
EDUCATION: Acharya Paathshala in Bangalore ,
Vivekananda Balak Sangh
PLACE OF BIRTH: Karnataka
ZODIAC SIGN: Sagittarius

Rajnikanth, fondly called “Rajni”, is the superstar of Tamil cinema. Born as Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, Rajnikanth has established his name in the Tamil film industry, rather all over South India. He is in the Tamil film industry for the last 25 years. Born to a poor Maratha family living in Karnataka, he took up different jobs in Bangalore, even worked as a bus conductor, before entering the film industry. He started his career in films by doing villainous roles, before graduating to being the main protagonist. Apart from acting, Rajnikanth has proved his dexterity in script-writing and production as well. Today, he is regarded as the “Thailaivar” (leader) of millions of fans across Tamil Nadu and even across the world.

Childhood

The superstar of Tamil cinema, Rajnikanth was born on 12th December 1949, to a Maratha family living in Karnataka. He was the fourth child to his parents Ramojirao Gaekwad (father) and Jijabai (mother), who named him Shivaji Rao Gaekwad. His brothers are Sathya Narayana Rao and Nageshwara Rao. Rajnikanth did his schooling at the Acharya Paathshala in Bangalore and then continued his studies at the Vivekananda Balak Sangh, a unit of the Ramakrishna Mission. Rajnikanth lost his mother when he was five years old.

Early Life

During the early years of his life, Rajnikanth struggled a lot because of poverty. After completing education, he took up various jobs in Bangalore. Rajnikanth also worked as a bus conductor for the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation. Before entering the film industry, he used to practice stunts at Rama Hanuman Temple, near his house. Later on, he joined Madras Film Institute, where he learned acting and was acquainted with the nuances of cinema. He also attended a theatre and participated in stage plays.

Debut In Films

Rajnikanth made his debut in the film industry, as an actor, in a Kannada film named “Katha Sangama”, in 1975. Although “Katha Sangama” was his first film, it was K.Balachander’s directorial venture - Apoorva Ragaangal - a Tamil film, which brought Rajnikanth to limelight. Rajnikanth maintains that K. Balachander is his mentor, who recognized his talent. Under his tutelage, the actor sharpened his acting skills. At first, he was OFFERED anti-hero roles in films. He played the role of villains in his own style and the unique brand of villainy allured the movie buffs to his films during the period.

After doing a number of villainy roles in Tamil films, including “Moondru Mudichu” (1976), “16 Vayadhinile” (1976), “Avargal” (1977), he finally landed a positive role in the film “Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri” (1977), in which he was a villain in the first half and became a kind-hearted person in second half. S.P. Muthuraman is accredited with revamping the image of Rajnikanth entirely, by OFFERING him this role. Thereafter, Rajnikanth started receiving lead roles in films. “Mullum Malarum” (1978), the directorial venture of J. Mahendran, established him in the Tamil film industry. S.P. Muthuraman’s "Aarilirunthu Arubathu Varai" (1979) further strengthened his position as the lead actor.

Journey To Superstardom
Rajnikanth continued to allure the movie buffs watching Tamil cinema, by his unique style and dialogue delivery. His superlative style of acting and action proved to be something beyond comparison, not seen in his peers in the film industry, and continue to be unmatched till date. He has an uncanny knack of delivering “punch” dialogues, which strikes straight at the souls of the masses. He emerged as a hero, a superstar, to relate to the layman.

The Blockbusters
After Rajnikanth established himself as the superstar of Tamil cinema, almost his every film proved to be a mega-hit. Some of his blockbusters include “Thalapathi” (1991), “Annamalai” (1992), “Ejaman” (1993), “Muthu” (1995), “Basha” (1995), “Arunachalam” (1997), Padaiyappa (1999), Chandramukhi (2005), “Sivaji - The Boss” (2007), the latest being “Kuselan” (2008). “Sivaji - The Boss”, the big-budget super hit movie of 2007, made Rajnikanth the highest paid actor in India. He charged a whooping Rs 25 Crore for acting in the movie.

Rajnikanth In Bollywood

Rajnikanth is one of the few actors from South India who have entered Bollywood and achieved considerable success there. His debut in Hindi Film Industry came in the form of “Andha Kanoon” (1983). Although he didn’t create much impact on the audience in North India with his first film, he continued to act in few more Hindi films, including Geraftaar (1985), Uttar Dakshan (1987) Chaalbaaz (1989) and Hum (1991). Rajnikanth was much more noticed in his subsequent Hindi movies and appreciated as well.

Personal Life

Rajnikanth tied the knot with Latha on February 26, 1981. The couple has two daughters - Aishwarya and Saundarya. The elder daughter - Aishwarya is married to Tamil actor Dhanush. The younger one, Saundarya is a graphic designer and also works as a film director and producer. She has worked with her father in a number of Tamil films, including ‘Sivaji - The Boss’ and ‘Chandramukhi’. Rajnikanth’s wife is currently running a school named ‘The Ashram’, in Chennai.

Awards & Recognition
 

Tamilnadu Government

    1978 - Best Actor for Mullum Malarum
    1984 - Kalaimamani
    1989 - MGR Award
    1995 - Best Actor for Muthu
    1999 - Best Actor for Padayappa

Central Government

    1999 - Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian award from the Government of India

Filmfare Awards

    1984 - Best Actor for Nallavanukku Nallavan

Cinema Express Awards

    1984 - Best Actor for Nallavanukku Nallavan
    1985 - Best Actor for Raghavendra
    1988 - Best Achiever for Blood Stone
    1991 - Best Actor for Thalapathi
    1992 - Best Actor for Annamalai
    1995 - Best Actor for Baasha, Muthu

Screen Awards

    1995 - Best Actor for Peaddarayadu

Filmography

1975 - Apoorva Raagangal

1976 - Moondru Mudichu

1977 - 16 Vayathinile

1978 - Mullum Malarum

1979 - Ninaithale Inikkum

1980 - Billa, Johnny, Murattu Kalai

1981 - Thee, Thillu Mullu

1982 - Moondru Mugam

1983 Andha Kanoon (Hindi)

1984 - Nallavanuku Nallavan

1985 - Sri Raghavendra

1985 - Geraftaar (Hindi)

1987- Uttar Dakshan (Hindi)

1989 - Chaalbaaz (Hindi)

1991 - Thalapathi

1991 - Hum (Hindi)

1992 - Annamalai

1993 - Ejaman

1995 - Baasha, Muthu

1997 - Arunachalam

1999 - Padayappa

2005 - Chandramukhi

2007 - Sivaji: The Boss

2008 - Kuselan

 


REMAIN BLESSED AND MOTIVATED IN LIFE!

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