Dr. Ebadi, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, for the decades she spent in fighting for human rights in Iran, her home country. Prior to the 1979 Revolution, she was the first woman president of the Tehran City Court. Through this position she moved to expand the rights of women, and although she loss of her position, it did not prevent her from continuing her fight for the rights of women and children in Iran. On several occasions this fight lead her to conflicts with the people in power, however Dr. Ebadi did not yield in her efforts. In 1993, she could practice law again, and since has continued to argue for the rights of women and children. In addition, to fighting in court, Ebadi started up many social organizations to support the needs of women and children and to fight for their rights. Her legal work continues to this day with growing support from both local and foreign groups coming to aid.
Bertha Von Suttner June 9, 1843 to June 21, 1914
The first woman to earn the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905, Baroness Bertha von Suttner spent her life alongside her husband to promote peace among the European power during the close of the 19th century and up until her death a mere month before the First World War. She worked alongside Alfred Nobel as his secretary. During this time, she wrote many articles and books arguing for peace among nation and traveled across Europe spreading their message of peace on the income she and her husband earned in teaching language and music. The Baroness was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (1905) for her participation in the International Peace Conference in Boston in 1904 and for her many decades of work in the name of Peace. While her work did not prevent the powder keg that was Europe from exploding a month after her death, but her legacy work Die Waffen Nieder (Lay Down Your Amrs) has been published in 12 languages and has 37 editions. It continues to be popular in some circles and is an influential part in current works.
Aruna Roy June 26, 1956 to Present
Aruna Roy is an activist in India whose focus is on getting more resources to the poorer communities of her nation. While the nation of India does have governmental resources to aid the poor, Roy took notice that it was not enough and has spent much of her adult and professional life in correcting this issue. She has co-founded the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) in 1987, a social grassroots organization that is meant to empower, as well as established the Rights of Information Act (RTI) for the people of India. Her life has been dedicated to aid those who had been neglected by her nation's government and making already available organizations much more reliable. For her efforts she received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership (2000) and the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence in Public Administration, Academia and Management (2010) was bestowed upon her for her continued efforts to improve her nation.
A martyr for liberal ideals during the rise and height of the Nazi Regime in Germany, Sophie Scholl is known for her role in spreading anti-Nazi materials before her death at the hands of said regime. Scholl was twenty-one years of age at the time of her death and was used as a symbol by allied powers and other anti-Nazi groups. She became inspired to uphold liberal ideas and go against the Nazi regime due to her upbringing as the daughter of a liberal and her exposure to philosophical artists and the like. Once she joined the White Rose Movement, she and her brother had been active in distributing information against the Nazi Party. The White Rose was a non-violent resistance movement that used art and anonymously leaflets to inspire others to resist the party. This movement was short-lived in that all the core members were imprisoned by the Gestapo only to be executed after show trials. Throughout the trials and at her execution Scholl showed defiance. In modern Germany she has been voted the fourth of the most inspirational youths of the 20th century out of a hundred.
Caroline Chisholm May 30, 1808 to March 25, 1877
A champion of human rights, Caroline Chisholm spent her time aiding those who came to Australia to find shelter and stable employment. While at first her focus was primarily young women, she shifted her operations to include young men. Her focus was on the well-being of immigrants since the majority who came to Australia would be left to their own devices and often many would not do well. Seeing that the English government was to blame for the plights of these immigrants Chisholm would sail to England to protest and advocate for immigrants to Australia. During her time in the British Isles she also advocated for the rights of Welsh farmers. Much of what she advocated was also focused on keeping families together, this being one of the major issues for immigrants.
Frederic Passy May 20, 1822 to June 12, 1912
Frederic Passy, a pacifist who alongside Henry Dunant won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1901. Passy is best known for his university lectures and several essays written for the advancement of free trade. The university he was known for lecturing at was the University of Montpellier. However, Passy earned his Nobel Prize as an advocate for peace. He wrote several essays on the topic of peace and much of his work was widely known during his time. One such example would be the Historique du Mouvement de la Paix (1905). Defined as the history of the peace movement is a rather lengthy essay on how the worldwide peace movement was formed. It was an argument for peace on a worldwide scale and how it was being accomplished.
The well-known writer, Maya Angelou’s most famous work being her own autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969) grants readers a chance to explore her early life and the many things that she had to go through including being raped as a child by her mother’s boyfriend and her rise to becoming a performer that would later lead her to becoming a writer, poet, director. Her most famous poem Phenomenal Women shows her commitment to the ideals of Feminism. On top of her many accomplishments in the performing arts, Angelou is also an accomplished polyglot that had allowed her to expand her horizons during a tour to Europe. On the day of her passing she was honored by first lady Michelle Obama and many others.
Paul Robeson April 9, 1898 to January 23, 1976
A singer and actor during the pivotal hundred years of social development, Paul Robeson is well known for his abilities in these artistic formats but did not limit himself to be a showman with no substance. He used his platform to speak out against what he saw as injustices during his lifetime. This includes speaking out against the Spanish Civil War, fascism, and of course social injustices. During his life he took a stand against the injustices against people of African descent within the United States, something that would often cost him dearly in terms of being able to make a living as a performer, but this did not silence his voice as a social figure or activist. Robeson spent his whole professional life fighting against injustices and received many awards posthumously for both his activism and acting.
Michael Franti April 21, 1966 to Present
Michael Franti is a singer, songwriter, poet, and founder of many bands of mixed genres that all focus on political issues and the plight of those affected by greed and oppression. His current band The Spearhead has focused on the conflicts in the Middle East with music videos showing actual footage of fighting. Franti is seen as the best example of a modern protest artist using many different genres to expand his message to different audiences. His most famous album Yell Fire had reached top charts with its focus on the armed conflicts in the world and a call for peace.