Virtual Heroes Gallery

As we all deal with our new circumstances of remaining at home and distancing ourselves from others, we wanted to share the stories of some of the most inspirational heroes featured in our Museum. We hope you enjoy their stories and that they inspire you to think about liberty as an ongoing human quest we all share.

UNITED STATES
Gail Gibson
Gail Gibson, R.N., M.N. was a nurse administrator for newborns at University Hospital in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc in the area in August 2005. It was her job to keep premature infants alive, an extraordinary challenge given that were was no running water, no working incubators, and resources were diminishing. Gail led her team in making the decision not to leave the 20 babies and their mothers, plus five more mothers who were due soon. Together, they cared for these patients – and each other – during and after the storm. By the time rescue arrived days later,
5 healthy babies were delivered by the light of portable generators, including a 23-week-preemie! By changing these lives, Gail Gibson has changed the world. 
Photo courtesy of LSU Hospitals.
CANADA
Sheila Watt-Cloutier
(1953-) Born in northern Quebec, Sheila Watt-Cloutier is an environmental activist for the Inuit, the indigenous people of the Arctic region. Her dedication stems from her own traditional Inuit childhood, when her primary means of transportation was traveling by dogsled. Watt-Cloutier is most outspoken about global warming, as she believes this phenomenon destroys the Inuit way of life by reducing wildlife populations and transmitting pollutants into the air. A health and education advocate by profession, Watt-Cloutier entered politics in 1995. She has served on both the Canadian branch and international level of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), a multinational nongovernmental organization representing the Inuit people. Her life’s work helps the Inuit live proudly and peacefully.
Photo by TheSilentPhotographer via Wikimedia Commons
IRELAND
Mairead Corrigan-Maguire
(1944- ) When Northern Ireland’s long and bitter ethno-religious conflict claimed the lives of her loved ones, Mairead Corrigan-Maguire turned personal grief into political activism.  In 1976, her two young nephews and a niece were killed as a result of a car chase between British troops and a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Corrigan-Maguire, a Catholic, joined with Protestant Betty Williams, who witnessed the accident, to form the Community of Peace People.  Their organization mobilized thousands of women of both religions to march in opposition to violence.  Corrigan-Maguire was jointly awarded the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize with her co-founder. She has since received numerous other awards and travels world-wide to spread her message of peace.
Photo by Paul Faith/PA Archive/Press Association Images
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
Dr. Svetlana Broz
When the former nation of Yugoslavia disintegrated into a violent ethnic war in the 1990s, Dr. Svetlana Broz, granddaughter of Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito, traveled to war-torn Bosnia to provide medical treatment to victims of the conflict.  Seeing as many as 100 patients a day of all backgrounds, Dr. Broz soon heard story after story of courageous people who crossed ethnic and religious barriers to come to the aid of others.  Realizing the significance of these acts – but prevented from sharing them due to confidentiality – Dr. Broz gave up her medical work to gather testimonies to the goodness of humanity.  Under threat of death and warrants for her arrest, Dr. Broz published two books on the topic of civil courage and established a "Garden of the Righteous" in Sarajevo.
Photo courtesy of Stanford News.
AUSTRALIA/UNITED STATES
Helen Caldicott
(1938-) Dr. Helen Caldicott is a physician who has taken her Hippocratic Oath to the next level. She began her career as a pediatrician in her native Australia, where she founded a cystic fibrosis clinic. In 1971, she turned her attention to the consequences of war by protesting the French Government’s testing of nuclear weapons in the South Pacific. Over the next few years, Caldicott divided her time between teaching, medical work and activism. After moving to the United States in 1977, Caldicott
re-energized the anti-nuclear group Physicians for Social Responsibility. She later became a full-time activist, organizing Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament  in 1980 and the Nuclear Policy Research Institute  in 2001. An author and subject of several documentaries, Caldicott lectures widely to promote her views.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons
UNITED STATES
Elie Wiesel
(1928-2016) Elie Wiesel grew up in a small town in what is now Romania until the Nazis came and sent the Jewish people to concentration camps. Wiesel went to Auschwitz then Buchenwald, remaining imprisoned until the camps were freed in 1945. His parents and his younger sister were among the six million Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis. Wiesel moved to France after the war, where he began chronicling his horrific experience. Many consider his 40 books, including his best-selling memoir Night,  to
be the most important Holocaust literature ever written. Wiesel became a U.S. citizen in 1963 and a professor in 1972, first at the City University of New York and then at Boston University. He continued to write and speak out against injustice throughout his life. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 and established
The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity
  that same year.
Photo by World Economic Forum via Wikimedia Commons.
KENYA
Wangari Maathai
(1940-2011) 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai was an environmental and political activist in her native Kenya and all of Africa. After earning degrees in biology in the United States, she returned to Kenya to become the first woman awarded a Ph.D. at the University of Nairobi. In 1976 she joined the National Council
of Women of Kenya,
  where she was inspired to found the Green Belt Movement, an organization dedicated to conserving the environment and improving life by planting millions of trees
across her nation. Her initiative was so successful it was adopted throughout Africa. Maathai served on the boards of many organizations and committees. She became Kenya’s Assistant Minister for the Environment in 2002 and Presiding Officer of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union  in 2005.
Photo by Martin Sotelo via Wikimedia Commons.
FRANCE
André Trocmé
(1901-1971) A Protestant pastor in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, André Trocmé, defied the collaborationist Vichy regime during World War II and encouraged his flock to provide haven for Jewish refugees, including many children who were issued false identity papers to attend the town's school. His wife, Magda, explained that when a refugee came to the door, local people "did not think twice, they said 'Come in, Come in'." The leader of "a conspiracy of goodness," Pastor Trocmé inscribed in his family bible the verse: "Happy are those hungry and thirsty for justice; for they will be satisfied."
He died in 1971.
Photo courtesy of Yad Vashem.
United States
Mary Beth Tinker
The right to free speech covers many types of actions, from public speeches to online chat rooms to articles of clothing. In 1965,
junior high school student Mary Beth Tinker wore a black armband to school to symbolize her opposition to the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. Mary Beth’s school suspended her, along with the other students who had chosen to wear armbands for the same reason. A local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union took her case to the Supreme Court, where the school’s decision to suspend the students was ruled unconstitutional. The court’s ruling stated that neither students nor teachers “shed their Constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” Mary Beth Tinker now teaches young people about their rights as students.
Photo by Maxine Hansford/The Ithacan
United States
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez
From the age of six, Xiuhtezcatl (pronounced Shoe-tez-caht)
has felt connected to the Earth. Eager to educate others about how humans are hurting the planet, he soon began speaking at schools and has even given a speech to the United Nations.  In 2015 Xiuhtezcatl and twenty other children sued the U.S. government for failing to protect the environment for generations to come. The lawsuit aimed to ensure the government will make laws stopping companies from hurting the planet.  By exercising his First Amendment freedoms, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez hopes to change the way people see the world and continues to inspire future generations!
Courtesy of Teen Vogue
United States
Trisha Prabhu
When Trisha Prabhu was just 13 years old, she saw a story in the news about a girl her age being bullied and harassed online. She wanted to do something to stop cyberbullying so she took action and created an app called Re Think. The app detects when someone tries to post something hurtful or offensive on social media and before posting sends an alert asking the user to re-think the post. Trisha found that when using the app, users changed their language 93% of the time. Now at 18, Trisha is the CEO and Founder of the non-profit company also titled Re Think  that’s dedicated to ending Cyberbullying though various school programs and tech solutions.
DoD photo by Marvin Lynchard
UNITED STATES
Nellie Bly
(1864-1922) Nellie Bly (real name: Elizabeth Jane Cochran) was a prominent investigative journalist. She took her pen name when she began writing exposés that revealed deplorable conditions in various industries and institutions. Born in western Pennsylvania, Bly moved to New York City to advance her career. Her most famous article exposed the horrendous living conditions in the city’s mental institutions, a situation she experienced firsthand by posing as a patient for ten days. The publication of her article, which later became the book Ten Days in a Mad-House, launched a much-needed overhaul of the entire mental health system in New York. Bly’s later work exposed the indecent treatment in New York jails, poor working conditions in factories, and the corruption of state government.
Photo by H. J. Myers, via Wikimedia Commons.
UNITED STATES
Bayard Rustin
(1912-1987) Most well known for being a chief advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rustin was an activist for equal rights long before the Civil Rights Movement. He refused to give up his seat on a segregated bus almost ten years before Rosa Parks gained national recognition for doing the same. He also coordinated a march for 10,000 participants in England to protest nuclear weapons. When Rustin met Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1950s, his activism accelerated. He assisted King with the Montgomery Bus Boycott, co-founded a labor organization for African American trade union workers, and was the chief organizer and strategist of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. Rustin lived as an openly gay man, which was unusual for his time, and may have denied him the prominence he deserved.
Photo by Al Ravenna, New York World-Telegram and the Sun staff photographer, via Wikimedia Commons.
UNITED STATES
Welles Crowther
(1977-2001) When the World Trade Center came under attack on September 11, 2001, Welles Crowther was working on the 104th floor. He was above the level where the plane struck, so he found a stairway that was still intact and went to help survivors. Crowther brought two people down at a time to a floor where the smoke had cleared. He then told them to continue on their own, while he went back upstairs for others. No one knows how many times Crowther climbed those steps; however, numerous survivors described their rescuer as “wearing a red bandana,” which was known to belong to him. It appears that Crowther was still helping in the rescue when the tower collapsed, as his body was found among a group of first responders. After learning of his heroism, the New York City Fire Department posthumously made him an honorary member.
Photo source: nydailynews.com. Credit: Handout.
UNITED KINGDOM
Alan Turning
(1912-1954) Alan Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. A paper he wrote in 1936 presented the principal concept for a modern computer. He also created new techniques for cracking German codes during World War II, and is credited by historians for shortening the war by up to four years. Turing was a gay man, which was illegal in Britain at that time. He was eventually arrested and punished by submitting to hormonal treatment to avoid imprisonment. He also lost his security clearance. Turing died of cyanide poisoning in 1954, but whether from suicide or an accident is still disputed. He received a public apology in 2009 from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and was posthumously pardoned in 2013 by Queen Elizabeth II. In 2016, the British government enacted “Turing’s Law,” which pardoned thousands of gay men.
Photo is in the public domain via Wikipedia Commons
PAKISTAN
Malala Yousafzai
(1997-) Malala Yousafzai is known worldwide for her advocacy for equal education for women and girls. When she was only 11 years old, she began a blog for the Urdu language station of the BBC International Broadcasting Service under an alias. She expressed her fear that her school would come under attack by the Taliban, an Islamic fundamentalist group which promotes harsh and unfair treatment of women. Her fears proved true on October 9, 2012, when a gunman boarded her school bus and shot her in the head. She survived the attack and emerged as the international spokesperson she is today. Yousafzai and her father established the Malala Fund in 2013 to eliminate the obstacles to education for girls. In 2014, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and used her prize money to build an all-girls school in Pakistan.
Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images.
UNITED STATES
Harvey Milk
(1930-1978) Harvey Milk was a leading human rights activist. He moved from New York City to San Francisco in 1972, where he soon became a leader of the city’s gay community, earning the nickname “Mayor of Castro Street,” in reference to one of the first gay neighborhoods in the United States. In 1977, he ran for office in earnest and won a seat on the City Council Board, making him one of the first openly gay Americans to win an election. While in office, Milk worked to protect the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination. He also fought for day care centers for working mothers, safer neighborhoods, affordable housing, and equal rights for all. On November 27, 1978, Milk was assassinated by a former city employee. He was awarded the Medal of Freedom posthumously in 2009 from President Barack Obama.
Photo source: San Francisco Public Library.
UNITED STATES
Octavius Catto
(1839-1871) Octavius Catto was an educator, intellectual, and activist, who also played top level baseball in the early Negro League. Born into a prominent free family in Charleston, South Carolina, he moved north as a boy. He became a teacher, and then principal of male students, at the Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia, PA, where he had been educated. The Civil War increased Catto’s activism. He helped recruit black men to fight for the Union, and served on the Pennsylvania Equal Rights League and as vice president of the State Convention of Colored People in 1865. Catto lost his life on the day of a bitterly contested election in 1871. He was shot by a rioting member of the ethnic-Irish Democrats who were harassing black voters to prevent the election of pro-civil rights Republicans. In the end, the Republicans won and Catto was mourned as a hero.
Photo is in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
UNITED STATES
Hiram Bingham
Having not yet involved America in World War II when the Nazis invaded France in 1940, President Roosevelt ordered his representatives in Marseilles to limit visas to Jews and other refugees seeking to flee Europe. U.S. Vice-Consul Hiram Bingham IV boldly defied this policy. He helped save the lives of 2,500 people by issuing visas, obtaining forged identity papers, hiding people in his home and even paying for their expenses out of his own pocket. This insubordination was life-changing for Bingham, who was on his way to a distinguished diplomatic career. Instead, he was transferred to South America, and later forced out of foreign service altogether. The full scope of his actions was not known until after his death 1988.
Photo is in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
UNITED STATES
Wesley Autrey
Wesley Autrey, a 50-year-old construction worker and Navy veteran, was waiting for a subway in New York City on January 3, 2007 when a young man standing nearby suffered a seizure and fell directly into the path of an oncoming train. Autrey made the split-second decision to put his own life at risk and jumped onto the tracks to save the stranger. With no time to pull the man to safety, Autrey chose to lay on top of him, pressing him into a narrow crevice between the rails. Five cars passed inches from Autrey’s head before the train came to a stop. Hearing the screams of on-lookers, which included Autrey’s two young daughters, he shouted out that they were both okay. The seizure victim only suffered bumps and bruises. Autrey was hailed a hero and appeared on national television.
Photo: The New York Times Credit: Tina Fineburg
UNITED STATES
Gail Gibson
Gail Gibson, R.N., M.N. was a nurse administrator for newborns at University Hospital in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc in the area in August 2005. It was her job to keep premature infants alive, an extraordinary challenge given that were was no running water, no working incubators, and resources were diminishing. Gail led her team in making the decision not to leave the 20 babies and their mothers, plus five more mothers who were due soon. Together, they cared for these patients – and each other – during and after the storm. By the time rescue arrived days later, 5 healthy babies were delivered by the light of portable generators, including a 23-week-preemie! By changing these lives, Gail Gibson has changed the world.
Photo courtesy of LSU Hospitals.
CANADA
Sheila Watt-Cloutier
(1953-) Born in northern Quebec, Sheila Watt-Cloutier is an environmental activist for the Inuit, the indigenous people of the Arctic region. Her dedication stems from her own traditional Inuit childhood, when her primary means of transportation was traveling by dogsled. Watt-Cloutier is most outspoken about global warming, as she believes this phenomenon destroys the Inuit way of life by reducing wildlife populations and transmitting pollutants into the air. A health and education advocate by profession, Watt-Cloutier entered politics in 1995. She has served on both the Canadian branch and international level of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), a multinational nongovernmental organization representing the Inuit people. Her life’s work helps the Inuit live proudly and peacefully.
Photo by TheSilentPhotographer via Wikimedia Commons
IRELAND
Mairead Corrigan-Maguire
(1944- ) When Northern Ireland’s long and bitter ethno-religious conflict claimed the lives of her loved ones, Mairead Corrigan-Maguire turned personal grief into political activism. In 1976, her two young nephews and a niece were killed as a result of a car chase between British troops and a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Corrigan-Maguire, a Catholic, joined with Protestant Betty Williams, who witnessed the accident, to form the Community of Peace People. Their organization mobilized thousands of women of both religions to march in opposition to violence. Corrigan-Maguire was jointly awarded the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize with her co-founder. She has since received numerous other awards and travels world-wide to spread her message of peace.
Photo by Paul Faith/PA Archive/Press Association Images
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
Dr. Svetlana Broz
When the former nation of Yugoslavia disintegrated into a violent ethnic war in the 1990s, Dr. Svetlana Broz, granddaughter of Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito, traveled to war-torn Bosnia to provide medical treatment to victims of the conflict. Seeing as many as 100 patients a day of all backgrounds, Dr. Broz soon heard story after story of courageous people who crossed ethnic and religious barriers to come to the aid of others. Realizing the significance of these acts – but prevented from sharing them due to confidentiality – Dr. Broz gave up her medical work to gather testimonies to the goodness of humanity. Under threat of death and warrants for her arrest, Dr. Broz published two books on the topic of civil courage and established a "Garden of the Righteous" in Sarajevo.
Photo courtesy of Stanford News.
AUSTRALIA/UNITED STATES
Helen Caldicott
(1938-) Dr. Helen Caldicott is a physician who has taken her Hippocratic Oath to the next level. She began her career as a pediatrician in her native Australia, where she founded a cystic fibrosis clinic. In 1971, she turned her attention to the consequences of war by protesting the French Government’s testing of nuclear weapons in the South Pacific. Over the next few years, Caldicott divided her time between teaching, medical work and activism. After moving to the United States in 1977, Caldicott re-energized the anti-nuclear group Physicians for Social Responsibility. She later became a full-time activist, organizing Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament  in 1980 and the Nuclear Policy Research Institute  in 2001. An author and subject of several documentaries, Caldicott lectures widely to promote her views.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons
UNITED STATES
Elie Wiesel
(1928-2016) Elie Wiesel grew up in a small town in what is now Romania until the Nazis came and sent the Jewish people to concentration camps. Wiesel went to Auschwitz then Buchenwald, remaining imprisoned until the camps were freed in 1945. His parents and his younger sister were among the six million Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis. Wiesel moved to France after the war, where he began chronicling his horrific experience. Many consider his 40 books, including his best-selling memoir Night,  to
be the most important Holocaust literature ever written. Wiesel became a U.S. citizen in 1963 and a professor in 1972, first at the City University of New York and then at Boston University. He continued to write and speak out against injustice throughout his life. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 and established The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity  that same year.
Photo by World Economic Forum via Wikimedia Commons.
KENYA
Wangari Maathai
(1940-2011) 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai was an environmental and political activist in her native Kenya and all of Africa. After earning degrees in biology in the United States, she returned to Kenya to become the first woman awarded a Ph.D. at the University of Nairobi. In 1976 she joined the National Council
of Women of Kenya,
  where she was inspired to found the Green Belt Movement, an organization dedicated to conserving the environment and improving life by planting millions of trees across her nation. Her initiative was so successful it was adopted throughout Africa. Maathai served on the boards of many organizations and committees. She became Kenya’s Assistant Minister for the Environment in 2002 and Presiding Officer of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union  in 2005.
Photo by Martin Sotelo via Wikimedia Commons.
FRANCE
André Trocmé
(1901-1971) A Protestant pastor in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, André Trocmé, defied the collaborationist Vichy regime during World War II and encouraged his flock to provide haven for Jewish refugees, including many children who were issued false identity papers to attend the town's school. His wife, Magda, explained that when a refugee came to the door, local people "did not think twice, they said 'Come in, Come in'." The leader of "a conspiracy of goodness," Pastor Trocmé inscribed in his family bible the verse: "Happy are those hungry and thirsty for justice; for they will be satisfied." He died in 1971.
Photo courtesy of Yad Vashem.
United States
Mary Beth Tinker
The right to free speech covers many types of actions, from public speeches to online chat rooms to articles of clothing. In 1965, junior high school student Mary Beth Tinker wore a black armband to school to symbolize her opposition to the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. Mary Beth’s school suspended her, along with the other students who had chosen to wear armbands for the same reason. A local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union took her case to the Supreme Court, where the school’s decision to suspend the students was ruled unconstitutional. The court’s ruling stated that neither students nor teachers “shed their Constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” Mary Beth Tinker now teaches young people about their rights as students.
Photo by Maxine Hansford/The Ithacan
United States
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez
From the age of six, Xiuhtezcatl (pronounced Shoe-tez-caht)
has felt connected to the Earth. Eager to educate others about how humans are hurting the planet, he soon began speaking at schools and has even given a speech to the United Nations. In 2015 Xiuhtezcatl and twenty other children sued the U.S. government for failing to protect the environment for generations to come. The lawsuit aimed to ensure the government will make laws stopping companies from hurting the planet. By exercising his First Amendment freedoms, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez hopes to change the way people see the world and continues to inspire future generations!
Courtesy of Teen Vogue
United States
Trisha Prabhu
When Trisha Prabhu was just 13 years old, she saw a story in the news about a girl her age being bullied and harassed online. She wanted to do something to stop cyberbullying so she took action and created an app called Re Think. The app detects when someone tries to post something hurtful or offensive on social media and before posting sends an alert asking the user to re-think the post. Trisha found that when using the app, users changed their language 93% of the time. Now at 18, Trisha is the CEO and Founder of the non-profit company also titled Re Think  that’s dedicated to ending Cyberbullying though various school programs and tech solutions.
DoD photo by Marvin Lynchard
UNITED STATES
Nellie Bly
(1864-1922) Nellie Bly (real name: Elizabeth Jane Cochran) was a prominent investigative journalist. She took her pen name when she began writing exposés that revealed deplorable conditions in various industries and institutions. Born in western Pennsylvania, Bly moved to New York City to advance her career. Her most famous article exposed the horrendous living conditions in the city’s mental institutions, a situation she experienced firsthand by posing as a patient for ten days. The publication of her article, which later became the book Ten Days in a Mad-House, launched a much-needed overhaul of the entire mental health system in New York. Bly’s later work exposed the indecent treatment in New York jails, poor working conditions in factories, and the corruption of state government.
Photo by H. J. Myers, via Wikimedia Commons.
UNITED STATES
Bayard Rustin
(1912-1987) Most well known for being a chief advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rustin was an activist for equal rights long before the Civil Rights Movement. He refused to give up his seat on a segregated bus almost ten years before Rosa Parks gained national recognition for doing the same. He also coordinated a march for 10,000 participants in England to protest nuclear weapons. When Rustin met Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1950s, his activism accelerated. He assisted King with the Montgomery Bus Boycott, co-founded a labor organization for African American trade union workers, and was the chief organizer and strategist of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. Rustin lived as an openly gay man, which was unusual for his time, and may have denied him the prominence he deserved.
Photo by Al Ravenna, New York World-Telegram and the Sun staff photographer, via Wikimedia Commons.
UNITED STATES
Welles Crowther
(1977-2001) When the World Trade Center came under attack on September 11, 2001, Welles Crowther was working on the 104th floor. He was above the level where the plane struck, so he found a stairway that was still intact and went to help survivors. Crowther brought two people down at a time to a floor where the smoke had cleared. He then told them to continue on their own, while he went back upstairs for others. No one knows how many times Crowther climbed those steps; however, numerous survivors described their rescuer as “wearing a red bandana,” which was known to belong to him. It appears that Crowther was still helping in the rescue when the tower collapsed, as his body was found among a group of first responders. After learning of his heroism, the New York City Fire Department posthumously made him an honorary member.
Photo source: nydailynews.com. Credit: Handout.
UNITED KINGDOM
Alan Turning
(1912-1954) Alan Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. A paper he wrote in 1936 presented the principal concept for a modern computer. He also created new techniques for cracking German codes during World War II, and is credited by historians for shortening the war by up to four years. Turing was a gay man, which was illegal in Britain at that time. He was eventually arrested and punished by submitting to hormonal treatment to avoid imprisonment. He also lost his security clearance. Turing died of cyanide poisoning in 1954, but whether from suicide or an accident is still disputed. He received a public apology in 2009 from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and was posthumously pardoned in 2013 by Queen Elizabeth II. In 2016, the British government enacted “Turing’s Law,” which pardoned thousands of gay men.
Photo is in the public domain via Wikipedia Commons
PAKISTAN
Malala Yousafzai
(1997-) Malala Yousafzai is known worldwide for her advocacy for equal education for women and girls. When she was only 11 years old, she began a blog for the Urdu language station of the BBC International Broadcasting Service under an alias. She expressed her fear that her school would come under attack by the Taliban, an Islamic fundamentalist group which promotes harsh and unfair treatment of women. Her fears proved true on October 9, 2012, when a gunman boarded her school bus and shot her in the head. She survived the attack and emerged as the international spokesperson she is today. Yousafzai and her father established the Malala Fund in 2013 to eliminate the obstacles to education for girls. In 2014, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and used her prize money to build an all-girls school in Pakistan.
Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images.
UNITED STATES
Harvey Milk
(1930-1978) Harvey Milk was a leading human rights activist. He moved from New York City to San Francisco in 1972, where he soon became a leader of the city’s gay community, earning the nickname “Mayor of Castro Street,” in reference to one of the first gay neighborhoods in the United States. In 1977, he ran for office in earnest and won a seat on the City Council Board, making him one of the first openly gay Americans to win an election. While in office, Milk worked to protect the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination. He also fought for day care centers for working mothers, safer neighborhoods, affordable housing, and equal rights for all. On November 27, 1978, Milk was assassinated by a former city employee. He was awarded the Medal of Freedom posthumously in 2009 from President Barack Obama.
Photo source: San Francisco Public Library.
UNITED STATES
Octavius Catto
(1839-1871) Octavius Catto was an educator, intellectual, and activist, who also played top level baseball in the early Negro League. Born into a prominent free family in Charleston, South Carolina, he moved north as a boy. He became a teacher, and then principal of male students, at the Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia, PA, where he had been educated. The Civil War increased Catto’s activism. He helped recruit black men to fight for the Union, and served on the Pennsylvania Equal Rights League and as vice president of the State Convention of Colored People in 1865. Catto lost his life on the day of a bitterly contested election in 1871. He was shot by a rioting member of the ethnic-Irish Democrats who were harassing black voters to prevent the election of pro-civil rights Republicans. In the end, the Republicans won and Catto was mourned as a hero.
Photo is in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
UNITED STATES
Hiram Bingham
Having not yet involved America in World War II when the Nazis invaded France in 1940, President Roosevelt ordered his representatives in Marseilles to limit visas to Jews and other refugees seeking to flee Europe. U.S. Vice-Consul Hiram Bingham IV boldly defied this policy. He helped save the lives of 2,500 people by issuing visas, obtaining forged identity papers, hiding people in his home and even paying for their expenses out of his own pocket. This insubordination was life-changing for Bingham, who was on his way to a distinguished diplomatic career. Instead, he was transferred to South America, and later forced out of foreign service altogether. The full scope of his actions was not known until after his death 1988.
Photo is in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
UNITED STATES
Wesley Autrey
Wesley Autrey, a 50-year-old construction worker and Navy veteran, was waiting for a subway in New York City on January 3, 2007 when a young man standing nearby suffered a seizure and fell directly into the path of an oncoming train. Autrey made the split-second decision to put his own life at risk and jumped onto the tracks to save the stranger. With no time to pull the man to safety, Autrey chose to lay on top of him, pressing him into a narrow crevice between the rails. Five cars passed inches from Autrey’s head before the train came to a stop. Hearing the screams of on-lookers, which included Autrey’s two young daughters, he shouted out that they were both okay. The seizure victim only suffered bumps and bruises. Autrey was hailed a hero and appeared on national television.
Photo: The New York Times Credit: Tina Fineburg

NLM reopens with a brand new exhibition focusing on freedom

NLM's newest exhibition explores what freedom means through a diverse collection of work from more than 50 Philadelphia artists. The Opening Weekend is October 16-18, 10AM-7PM. Museum members are invited to see it early.

Learn more and purchase your time tickets now.

NLM honors 14 inspiring students from across the country

The National Liberty Museum celebrated its 20th annual TD Bank Young Heroes Awards with a Virtual Awards Ceremony on Saturday, September 12. The ceremony honored 14 inspiring students, ages 18 and younger, who identified an area where liberty was lacking and took action to make positive change in their local schools or communities.

Learn about these amazing young people here.

Join us for NLM's Virtual Gala & Glass Auction

Celebrate with us on Saturday, October 10 at 7:30 p.m. from the comfort of your own home as our Gala & Glass Auction goes virtual! It's the National Liberty Museum's 20th birthday, and we're marking the occasion with an exciting live auction and unforgettable evening of fun activities.

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VIRTUAL NLM@Night

Although the National Liberty Museum is reopening, we will continue to offer varied and engaging digital experiences for those of you who are not quite ready to return to the Museum in person. Our Virtual NLM@Night series offers fun, engaging, and informative entertainment on the subject of liberty to adult audiences.

Click here to learn about upcoming events.

Do you know a first-responder who deserves special recognition?

We are now accepting nominations for the 2020 Awards of Valor presented by YOUR LOCAL CHEVROLET DEALERS. This Award honors police officers, firefighters, EMTs and other emergency responders for extraordinary acts of courage, empathy, and meritorious community service. To learn more and submit a nomination, please click here.

Chevrolet supports first responders. Learn more.

Do you know a Healthcare Professional who deserves special recognition?

We are now accepting nominations for our 2020 Healthcare Heroes Award presented by Teva Pharmaceuticals. Awarded in four categories, Healthcare Heroes recognizes professionals in healthcare research and treatment whose accomplishments have had a profound impact on others.

This year we are expanding the Community Hero Award category by including all those who participated in helping others in regard to the treatment of COVID-19. Learn more and nominate someone by clicking here.