Sophie Scholl – born in 1921, was a German student and anti-Nazi political activist, active within the White Rose nonviolent, resistance group in Nazi Germany. She was convicted of high treason by the Nazi's, after having been found distributing anti-war leaflets at the University of Munich with her brother; Hans. For her actions, she was executed by guillotine, at the age of 21. Since the 1960s, Scholl has been extensively commemorated for her anti-Nazi resistance work. Sophie was brought up Lutheran, and by parents who were critics of the Nazi's. In the court on February 22nd, 1943, Scholl was recorded as saying these words:
“Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare express themselves as we did."
On that same day, she, her brother, and a friend were beheaded. Sophie Scholl's final words:
“How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause... It is such a splendid sunny day, and I have to go. But how many have to die on the battlefield in these days, how many young, promising lives. What does my death matter if by our acts thousands are warned and alerted.”
Harriet Tubman - was an American abolitionist; who not only escaped slavery (quote a feat!), but made 13 missions afterwards going back and endangering herself to rescue other slaves. It's one of the most remarkable stories of a true hero. After escaping slavery herself, Tubman went on to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people, including her family and friends; using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known collectively as the Underground Railroad. When the Civil War began, Tubman worked for the Union Army, first as a cook and nurse, and then as an armed scout and spy. For her guidance of the raid of Combahee Ferry, which liberated more than 700 enslaved people, she is widely credited as the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war. She was active in the women's suffrage movement. She became an icon of courage and freedom.
Leslie Cross – was an early pioneer of the vegan movement and the man who is responsible for bringing about a literal definition of veganism that equated it with animal rights. Although the first Vegan Society was formed by Donald Watson and 5 members in 1944, it was not until 1949 that Leslie J. Cross pointed out that the society lacked an official definition. He then suggested: “the principle of the emancipation of animals from exploitation by man”. This was later clarified to “seek an end to the use of animals by man for food, commodities, work, hunting, vivisection, and by all other uses involving exploitation of animal life by man”. The definition was again changed in 1979. You can read some of his quotes and writing HERE.
Sir Nicholas Winton – born in 1909, was a British stockbroker and humble humanitarian who rescued 669 Jewish children who would have been murdered by the Nazi's during the Holocaust. On a brief visit to Czechoslovakia, he helped compile a list of children needing rescue and, returning to Britain, he worked to fulfill the legal requirements of bringing the children to Britain and finding homes and sponsors for them. This operation was later known as the Czech Kindertransport - German for 'children's transport'). A wonderful movie on the subject is “Nicky's Family”. The most incredible emotion swells in me that parents were forced to hand over their children to Nicholas, trying to save them from where they were headed; Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, etc.
His humanitarian accomplishments remained unknown and unnoticed by the world for nearly 50 years until 1988 when his wife found the scrap book of photos in the attic. He was then invited to a BBC television program where he was reunited with dozens of the children he had helped come to Britain, and was introduced to many of their children and grandchildren. It was a tearjerker! In 2003, Winton was knighted by Queen Elizabeth ll. In 2014, he was awarded the highest honor of the Czech Republic, the Order of the White Lion (1st class). Winton died at the age of 106. He was still giving interviews at age 105, and he was coherent, inspiring, humorous and adorable. Please listen to his 60 Minutes, and other interviews.
The Hippie Movement – The hippie culture began in the United States, in the early 1960's, and then spread around the world. It involved the protest of the Vietnam War & “flower power”, and active in the Civil Rights Movement. It's fundamental ethos was anti-war, harmony with nature, communal living, artistic experimentation in music, free-love, use of psychedelic drugs, & vegetarianism. Later it evolved; many moved to warm climates; with emerging ideals like: health food stores, raw vegan food, pacifism, and intentional communities (such as The Farm in Tennessee & Gentle World). The Summer of Love attracted 30,000 “flower-children” to San Francisco in 1967. In August 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Festival took place in New York, which for many, exemplified the best of hippie counterculture. Over 500,000 people arrived to hear the most notable musicians and bands of the era. Hippie ideals of love and human fellowship gained real-world expression.