Profiles

Below is a list of prominent Americans, both past and present, who have exhibited quality character traits throughout their lives. If you have a suggestion on a person that you believe should be on this list, please e-mail charactered@azed.gov and we will add them.


Ralph David Abernathy
Susan B. Anthony
Ralph Bunche
Franklin Chang-Diaz
Cesar Chavez
Linda Chavez-Thompson
Thomas Edison
Benjamin Franklin
Gabrielle Giffords
John F. Kennedy
Robert Kennedy
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Abraham Lincoln
Thurgood Marshall
Barack Obama
Eleanor Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Sonia Sotomayor
Harriet Tubman
Booker T. Washington
George Washington

Ralph David Abernathy, Civil Rights Leader

Ralph David Abernathy was one of the most prominent civil rights leaders during the 1950s and 1960s. After serving in the United States Army and receiving a degree from Alabama State University and Atlanta University, Ralph served side by side with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on many protests and boycotts. Dr. King once called Ralph, “the best friend that I have in the world.” Ralph’s loyalty and dedication to equal treatment for everyone showed a tremendous amount of character.

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Susan B. Anthony, Women’s Suffrage Movement

Susan B. Anthony was a social reformer, who along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton became the face of the women’s suffrage movement. She fought tirelessly throughout her life to improve the rights of women. In addition to fighting for women’s rights, Susan was an abolitionist who opposed slavery. She even helped Harriet Tubman on the Underground Railroad. Her efforts eventually led to women earning the right to vote.  

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Ralph Bunche, Political Scientist and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

Ralph Bunche was an American who knew a thing or two about responsibility. After graduating from UCLA and Harvard University, Ralph worked with Eleanor Roosevelt and others to create the United Nations and their UN Declaration of Human Rights. Bunche negotiated the peaceful armistice between the Arab countries and Israel. For his work, Ralph Bunche received the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

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Franklin Chang-Diaz, NASA Astronaut

Franklin Chang Diaz was one of the most renowned astronauts in the history of NASA. He flew in a record seven space missions and is a member of the astronaut Hall of Fame. Franklin was born in Costa Rica. However, he was so overcome with his love for the United States that he became a U.S. citizen.

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Cesar Chavez, Political Activist

Cesar Chavez is the most well-known Hispanic civil rights leaders. He worked tirelessly to improve the lives of farmers in the West and all over the country. It was through his efforts that the United Farm Workers union was created. Cesar was born and died in Arizona.

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Linda Chavez-Thompson, Former Union Leader

Linda Chavez-Thompson was the executive president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) for twelve years. The AFL-CIO is the largest federation of unions in the United States. Linda was able to achieve this leadership position without any college education!

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Thomas Edison, Inventor 

Perhaps one of the brightest minds that the United States of America has ever seen, Thomas Alva Edison was an America inventor, who invented the light bulb, the motion picture camera, the stock ticker, and the phonograph. Edison had over 1,000 patents in his name.

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Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the United States of America

Benjamin Franklin is perhaps one of our most influential and recognizable American heroes. Benjamin was a successful printer, writer, politician, and scientist. He was easily one of the smartest men in early American history. In addition to being a newspaper editor, the first U.S. Postmaster General, and a United States Ambassador to both Sweden and France, Franklin was also the governor of Pennsylvania. Benjamin Franklin was the ultimate citizen of the United States of America.  

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Gabrielle Giffords, Former United States Congresswoman

Gabrielle Giffords is the former member of the United States House of Representatives, where she represented the United States 8th Congressional District. In January 2011, Congresswoman Giffords was shot and lost some of her ability to walk, speak, read, and write. However, she has worked hard to recover and plans to return to public service one day!

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John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America

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Robert F. Kennedy, Politician and Civil Rights Leader

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Activist

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Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America

President Lincoln was one of the most beloved presidents in the history of our great country! He strived to bring us together by eliminating slavery with the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation. He also wanted every American to have the opportunity to go to college, so he created the Morrill Act, which created land-grant colleges all over the country to include Iowa State University, the University of Georgia, and even the University of Arizona! Abraham Lincoln believed that all men were created equal and that liberty should be for everyone.


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Thurgood Marshall, Former Supreme Court Justice

Thurgood Marshall was known as the first Black United States Supreme Court Justice. However, Thurgood was much, much more. He was a champion of civil rights for all people, regardless of race, color, or gender. “In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.” Marshall fought to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson, which allowed segregation in the United States. He argued for equal rights in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

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Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America

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Eleanor Roosevelt, Politician and Civil Rights Activist

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Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States of America

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 Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, United States Congresswoman

Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen was the first Latina to be elected to the United States Congress. Ileana immigrated to the United States when she was young, escaping the Communist forces of Cuba. and became an advocate of human rights around the world. She also has campaigned tirelessly to promote equal rights and fair treatment for everyone.

 

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Sonia Sotomayer, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America

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Harriet Tubman, Abolitionist

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Booker T. Washington, Educator, Author, and Presidential Advisor

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George Washington, 1st President of the United States of America

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