Martin Luther King Jr. Biography

The minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968) originated the use of nonviolent methods within the civil rights movement.

Stephen King Biography

Stephen King is a very popular author of horror fiction. In his works he blends elements of the traditional gothic (bleak and threatening) tale with those of the modern psychological (how the mind works) thriller, detective, and science fiction stories.

Rudyard Kipling Biography

The English poet and story writer Rudyard Kipling was one of the first masters of the short story in English, and he was the first to use Cockney dialect (the manner in which natives of London, England's, East End speak) in serious poetry.

Henry Kissinger Biography

Aleading expert on international relations since the 1950s, Henry Kissinger was secretary of state under Presidents Richard Nixon (1913–1994) and Gerald Ford (1913–). His impressive career also includes becoming the cowinner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973.

Calvin Klein Biography

One of America's top fashion designers, Calvin Klein first made a name for himself by designing clean, uncomplicated sportswear. He kept his name popular with the public by creating sometimes shocking and always news-making advertising campaigns.

Kublai Khan Biography

Kublai Khan was the greatest of the Mongol emperors after Genghis Khan and founder of the Yüan Dynasty in China. He was a wise ruler and was able to lead a vast empire of nations by adapting different traditions to his own government.

Marquis de Lafayette Biography

The Marquis de Lafayette was a French general who played important roles in two revolutions in France and volunteered his time and money to help the American cause during the Revo lutionary War (1775–83).

Lao Tzu Biography

Lao Tzu is believed to have been a Chinese philosopher (a person who seeks to answer questions about humans and their place in the universe) and the accepted author of the Tao te ching, the main text of Taoist thought. He is considered the father of Chinese Taoism (a philosophy that advocates living a simple life).

Ralph Lauren Biography

The name of American clothing designer Ralph Lauren has become associated with class and taste. In addition to clothing, he designs home decorating Reproduced by permission of the Corbis Corporation.

Emma Lazarus Biography

Emma Lazarus, an American poet, is best known as a spokesperson for the Jewish people. Her faith in America as a safe place for all the suffering people of the world is expressed in her poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty in New York, New York.

Mary Leakey Biography

Mary Leakey was a major figure in the uncovering of East African prehistory, best known for her excavations (digging for fossils) of some of the earliest members of the human family, their footprints, and their artifacts (any tools, weapons, or other items made by humans).

Bruce Lee Biography

Actor and martial arts expert Bruce Lee combined the Chinese fighting art of kung fu with the grace of a ballet dancer. He helped make kung fu films a new art form before his sudden and mysterious death in 1973.

Spike Lee Biography

Controversial (arousing opposing viewpoints) filmmaker Spike Lee is known for powerful films such as She's Gotta Have It (1986), School Daze (1988), Do the Right Thing (1989), Mo' Better Blues (1990), Malcolm X (1992), and many others.

Tsung-Dao Lee Biography

Chinese-born physicist (specialist in the relationship between matter and energy) Tsung-Dao Lee was a cowinner of the 1957 Nobel Prize in physics. Lee and his colleague physicist Chen Ning Yang (1922–) developed a theory about behavior of the K-meson (a particle that is smaller than an atom), which resulted in major changes in the science of particle physics.

Vladimir Lenin Biography

The Russian statesman Vladimir Lenin was a profoundly influential figure in world history. As the founder of the Bolshevik political party, he was a successful revolutionary leader who presided over Russia's transformation from a country ruled by czars (emperors) to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.), the name of the communist Russian state from 1922 to 1991.

Leonardo da Vinci Biography

Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, and scientist. He was one of the greatest minds of the Italian Renaissance, and his influence on painting was enormous to the following generations.

C. S. Lewis Biography

The Irish novelist and essayist C. S.

Carl Lewis Biography

One of track and field's greatest performers, Carl Lewis in 1984 became the first African American athlete since Jesse Owens (1913–1980) in 1936 to win four gold medals in Olympic competition. He won nine gold medals in four straight Olympics.

Sinclair Lewis Biography

Although Sinclair Lewis was one of the most famous American writers of the 1920s, today his popular, mildly satirical (poking fun at human folly) novels are valued mainly for their descriptions of social institutions and relationships of that time.

Roy Lichtenstein Biography

Roy Lichtenstein, American painter, sculptor, and printmaker, startled the art world in 1962 by exhibiting paintings based on comic book cartoons.

Maya Lin Biography

Maya Lin is an American architect whose two most important works in the 1980s were the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama.

Abraham Lincoln Biography

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.

Charles Lindbergh Biography

American aviator Charles Lindbergh became famous after making the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. He was criticized for insisting that the United States should not become involved in World War II.

Carl Linnaeus Biography

The Swedish naturalist (student of natural history) Carl Linnaeus established the binomial (two-name) system of describing living things and gave the first organization to ecology (the relationships between living things and their environments).

Joseph Lister Biography

The English surgeon (doctor who performs operations) Joseph Lister discovered the antiseptic method, in which a germ-killing substance is applied to wounds during an operation. This represented the beginning of modern surgery (an operation to correct a disease or condition).

Andrew Lloyd Webber Biography

The English musician Andrew Lloyd Webber is the composer of such musical theater hits as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats, Starlight Express, The Phantom of the Opera, and Aspects of Love. His early successes brought him four Tony awards, four Drama Desk awards, and three Grammys.

Alain Locke Biography

Alain Locke, the distinguished African American intellectual of his generation, was the leading promoter and Courtesy of the Library of Congress. interpreter of the artistic and cultural contributions of African Americans to American life.

John Locke Biography

The English philosopher and political theorist (a person who forms an explanation based upon studying and observing politics and politicians) John Locke began the empiricist tradition (the source of knowledge comes from experience and the senses) and thus started the greatest age of British philosophy (the study of knowledge). He attempted to center philosophy based on the study of importance and capabilities of the human mind.