Hank Aaron is major league baseball's leading home run hitter, with a career total of 755 home runs from 1954 to 1976. He also broke ground for the participation of African Americans in professional sports.
Civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy was the best friend and close assistant of Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968).
Bella Abzug worked for civil and women's rights as a lawyer and as a politician. Throughout her long political career, she used her sharp tongue and unusual style to advance the issues that were her deepest concern.
Chinua Achebe is one of Nigeria's greatest novelists. His novels are written mainly for an African audience, but having been translated into more than forty languages, they have found worldwide readership.
Though she believed her main role in life to be wife and mother, Abigail Adams also was a behind-the-scenes stateswoman. She used her talents to maintain her family during the many absences of her husband, John Adams, the second president of the United States, and to advise her husband about women's rights and slavery.
Ansel Adams was a masterful photographer and a lifelong conservationist (a person who works to preserve and protect the environment) who encouraged understanding of, and respect for, the natural environment. Although he spent a large part of his career in commercial photography, he is best known for his photographs of landscapes.
J ohn Adams, the second president of the United States and the first vice president, also helped in the early years of the republic as a lawyer, writer, congressman, and public speaker. As president, he kept the country at peace when many were calling for war with France.
The colonial leader Samuel Adams was an influential figure in the years leading up to the American Revolution (1775–83). His newspaper articles and organizational activities helped inspire American colonists to rebel against the British government.
Naturalist and wildlife preservationist Joy Adamson is best known for the books and films depicting her work in Africa, especially her inspirational book Born Free. Adamson spent almost forty years living on game reserves in Kenya, and became heavily involved in wildlife preservation activities.
Jane Addams was called the "beloved lady" of American reform. She was a social worker, reformer, and pacifist.
Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler was credited with developing several important theories on the motivation of human behavior. He founded the school of individual psychology, a comprehensive "science of living" that focuses on the uniqueness of the individual and a person's relationships with society.
The Greek playwright Aeschylus was the first European dramatist whose plays were preserved. He was also the earliest of the great Greek tragedians (writers of serious drama involving disastrous events), and was concerned with the common connection between man and the gods more than any of the other tragedians.
Between the time of his nomination as Richard Nixon's running mate in August 1968 and his resignation in October 1973, Vice President Spiro Agnew was a leading spokesman for "The Silent Majority," a term used by Nixon to describe conservative, middle-class, white American voters. After being found guilty of tax evasion, Agnew became the second United States vice president to resign from office.
Alvin Ailey founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and won international fame as both a dancer and choreographer, a creator and arranger of dance performances.
On January 23, 1997, when Madeleine Albright was sworn in as the United States secretary of state, she became the first woman to hold this position. Albright's impressive career highlights a combination of scholarly research and political activity.
Louisa May Alcott is one of America's best-known writers of juvenile (intended for young people) fiction. Reproduced by permission of Archive Photos, Inc.
Alexander II was emperor of Russia from 1855 to 1881. He is called the "czar liberator" because he freed the serfs (poor peasants who lived on land owned by nobles) in 1861.
Alexander the Great was one of the best-known rulers in ancient history. By the time of his death at thirty-two, he ruled the largest Western empire of the ancient world.
Muhammad Ali was the only professional boxer to win the heavy-weight championship three times. He provided leadership and an example for African American men and women around the world with his political and religious views.
Woody Allen is one of America's most prominent filmmakers. He has made many comedies and serious films that deal with subjects that have always interested him—the relationships of men and women, death, and the meaning of life.
The author of several novels and a collection of short fiction, as well as plays and stories for children, Chilean author Isabel Allende has received international praise for her writing. Many of her books are noted for their feminine point of view and dramatic qualities of romance and struggle.
Julia Alvarez is a writer whose most notable work is How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, a discussion of her life in the Dominican Republic and in the United States and the hardships members of her family faced as immigrants. Many of her works examine the conflicts and benefits that go along with living as both a Dominican and an American.
American Horse was a Sioux chief during the Lakota Wars of the 1860s and 1870s. His capture and death was one in a series of defeats for the Sioux after the historic Battle of the Little Bighorn (1876).
As president of Uganda from 1971 to 1979, Idi Amin (c. 1925–) became well known for his terrible violations of human rights, for causing the collapse of the country's economy, and for causing social disorganization.
Hans Christian Andersen was the first Danish author to emerge from the lowest class. He enjoyed fame as a novelist, dramatist, and poet, but his fairy tales are his greatest contribution to world literature.
The American physicist Carl David Anderson opened up the entire field of particle physics, the study of the atom, the smallest unit of matter. Because of his discoveries of the positron (positive electron) and the meson (similar to the negative electron), two particles that make up the atom, Anderson was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1936.
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was the first woman officially approved to practice medicine in Great Britain, and was a pioneer in opening education in medicine to women. She made great sacrifices and struggled to create new pathways for women in British medicine.
Marian Anderson is remembered as one of the best American contraltos (women with lower singing voices) of all time. She was the first African American singer to perform at the White House and the first African American to sing with New York's Metropolitan Opera.