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Influential People in History
The history of the world is littered with great men who in one way or the other changed its course. These great men and women either positively or negatively altered the course of history. Some are responsible for saving millions of lives and creating the freedom that most of the citizens enjoy while others are responsible for great losses of lives. One of the living legends who is highly respected in every corner of the world is Nelson Mandela.
Forgiveness and reconciliation
One of the greatest accomplishments of Mandela that governments in the world especially in Africa have tried to institute is the truth and reconciliation commission. This was a result of Mandela forgiving the whites even after they had jailed him for twenty seven years (Kraft, 1990, Jun 18). It was one of the hardest things anyone would have expected from Mandela. The white people had mistreated the black people of South Africa for the many years they were in control of the country. They had created different classes in the country with the natives of the country denied many rights that were reserved for the whites. Nelson Mandela had been jailed for fighting for the rights of the natives of South Africa. The conditions in the prison at Robben Island were deplorable which subjected those jailed in the island to great suffering. Most of those holed in the prison were those fighting for the independence of South Africa.
Nelson Mandela did not advocate for use of force in fighting for the freedom of the country. He was also against communist leadership and had opposed any partnership between African National Congress with communist groups. Mandela also displayed an element that is completely lacking in most countries in the world. He surrendered the leadership of the country after just one term in office (Hill, 1996, May 31). Many would have expected him to cling to power like most leaders do as a way of repaying himself for the many years of his productive life he had spent in jail. That is an element lacking in most presidents who were it not for constitution limits try to cling to power for so many years. In doing so he proved to the world that his fight was not meant for self glorification but for the sake of the freedom of the citizens of his beloved citizens. This has earned him immense respect world over and even know at his old age he is still regarded as a prominent statesman (Schiller, 2010, Feb 11).
The life of Eleanor Roosevelt is one of a woman whose only purpose in life was to fight for the rights of the down trodden. Though born in an affluent family she did not feel comfortable living a life of plenty while others were languishing in poverty and were uneducated. One of her greatest accomplishment is establishing a school for girls in lower New York where she used to teach history. This was one way of empowering the American child which has had a far reaching effect in the lives of the Americans than she could have imagined. When her husband became the president of the United States of America she continued agitating for the rights of women. She used to offer exclusive interviews to women journalist as a way of empowering them (Paula voell/news, 2002, Oct 18).
Black people rights
Eleanor was very active in fighting for the rights of African Americans. She participated in the activities of movements such as National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and National Council of Negro Women. She was so active in agitating for the rights of blacks to the extent that when Marian Anderson was not allowed to perform at constitution hall she resigned from the Daughters of American Revolution