3 Unsung Heroes Of History You May Not Have Heard Of

3 Unsung Heroes Of History You May Not Have Heard Of

Know their names.

deanbl
deanbl
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In all of the history classes that I've been in, there are always particular people that are revered by society and have become historical icons; From Julius Caesar of Rome to Martin Luther King Jr of the civil rights movement, we have always pointed out, celebrated and remember the lives and achievements of specific people, and rightfully so.

However, as we continue to glorify the more iconic people in history, we continue to ignore others in history who are significantly less known, yet still hold as much historical importance as any other icon in history.

In this article, I plan to pay homage to three particular people who made extraordinary sacrifices and even more extraordinary accomplishments that helped this world change for the better.

1. James Armistead Lafayette of the American Revolution

Whenever talking about the American Revolution and the Revolutionary War, the usual names always pop up, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Paul Revere. However, there are some people who contributed to the American victory that, unfortunately, do not receive enough credit for their actions and one of them is James Armistead Lafayette.

James was born a slave on a Virginia plantation and named after his owner, William Armistead. Soon after the war had started, James was sent to fight in the war and was put under the command of French military officer, Marquis de Lafayette. Since he was able to read and write, James had volunteered to be utilized as a spy for the Continental Army. As posing as a runaway slave who defected to the British, James was able to both collect valuable information for the Americans and fed fake information to the British. Shortly after the war had ended and he finally won his freedom, James took up the surname of the man that believed in his capability to be a valuable asset, Marquis de Lafayette.

If not for the intel and misinformation that James had collected and dealt, the Americans may have never won the Revolutionary War.

2. Code Name Jane

Code Name Jane, although not a single person, was one of the several names for the clandestine group of everyday women that existed back in the late 60s and early 70s. Back in pre-Roe v. Wade America, abortion was still very much an illegal practice nationwide. The mission of the group was to offer underground abortion services to women in Chicago and was created in 1969.

In 1972, Chicago police raided an apartment that was used by this group and seven of them were arrested. While in the police van, these women had the names and addresses of women they were helping written on index cards. Knowing that if their names were revealed, they too would be arrested, these women of Code Name Jane ripped up and swallowed the index cards, ensuring that the identities of these women would never be revealed.

When reading more about this group, its activities and the women they served, it all seems as if it's written straight from a spy novel. The level of sacrifice and bravery that these women and the many others that were apart of Code Name Jane stand as one of the many examples of how ordinary people, bonded by a common goal, can come together and do some actual good, despite the cost.

3. Bayard Rustin of the Civil Rights Movement

When talking about the civil rights movement in the U.S., of course, many iconic names come up, but there is one man in particular who was left in the shadows, and that man was Bayard Rustin.

Having grown up during the Great Depression, Rustin had been a vocal advocate for change in the country. He would eventually start to work and collaborate with other leaders of the civil rights movement. He even became the right-hand man and a highly influential person to Martin Luther King Jr. He influenced MLK in his peaceful approaches to creating change in 1960's America.

However, political rivals of Rustin and the civil rights movement used his homosexuality against Rustin, threatening to accuse him and King of having an affair. In order to protect the reputation of King and the whole movement, Rustin retreated into the background of the movement. Even though he was unfairly forced to take a back seat in the movement, he still played a tremendous role in organizing and creating the tactics and events that lead to better lives for Rustin's generations and for future generations.

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

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"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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