Tag Archives: Gallup Poll

Person: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Seldom has one person been able to accomplish so much to change his people - and his country. Uploaded by msc.navy.mil.

In December 1999, the Gallup Organization compiled its data and named its Most Widely Admired People of the twentieth century. At number two on the list, ahead of Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill, ahead of Billy Graham and behind only Mother Teresa, was Martin Luther King, Jr.

Anyone who lived through the 1950s and 60s knows that King was the central figure in the major American issue of our time. He burst on the scene as the leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, following the refusal of Rosa Parks (Great American Things, Sept. 23, 2009) to give up her seat to a white man. King was arrested and his house was bombed, but a U.S. District Court’s ruling overturning the policy was a major breakthrough in the struggle for civil rights.

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King was influenced by the civil disobedience practices of Gandhi. He recognized how incendiary the pursuit of freedom was to the majority white public, and believed that nonviolent protest would help him achieve his goals more quickly. He used sit-ins and demonstrations, knowing that he would be arrested and that the resulting publicity worked in his favor.

His fight was not just against segregation, but against all forms of discrimination, so his campaign included voting rights and labor rights. He led marches on Birmingham, St. Augustine, and Selma. But his most famous crusade was the March on Washington that was, at its time, the largest protest ever in the nation’s capital.

Any discussion of Martin Luther King has to include not just his actions, but the inspiration he was to his people during their great struggle for equality. When he was assassinated in Memphis in 1968, his place in American history was assured, and a national holiday was established in his honor in 1983.

King was a Baptist preacher and an exciting orator. Undeniably, his most famous speech – and one of the most famous in U.S. history – was his “I have a dream” message delivered during the March on Washington:

Person: Paul Harvey

Paul Harvey received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005. Uploaded by thedryspot.files.wordpress.com.

What was it about Paul Harvey that catapulted him to the top of his profession? Was it the interesting mix of stories he chose, alternating between the serious and the quirky? Or was it his distinctive style and dramatic delivery, evident from his opening: “Hello, America, this is Paul Harvey. Stand by for news!

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His broadcasts ranged from the intimate (“Harold and Joan Pershing in Sausalito, California are 75 years on their way to forever together”) to the whimsical (“You say a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, let’s see about that. You give me a thousand words, and I’ll give you the Lord’s Prayer and the 23rd psalm, and the Hippocratic oath and a sonnet by Shakespeare and the preamble to the Constitution and Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, and I’ll still have just about enough words left for the Boy Scout oath.”).

Another of Paul Harvey’s signatures was his “The Rest of the Story” broadcast. He’d tell a remarkable story about someone famous, using a name we’re not as familiar with (for example “Tommy” might turn out to be Thomas Edison), and after revealing the identity of the subject, he’d conclude with, “And now you know…the…rest of the story.”

Paul called his wife “Angel”, both in person and on the air. The “rest of the story” about Angel was that she was very influential in her husband’s career. She produced his show, and indeed was the first producer inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. “The Rest of the Story” feature was her idea, and she was always Paul’s inspiration.

Paul Harvey was consistently listed in the Gallup Poll’s list of Most Admired Men. In 2005, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.

Paul Harvey…Good day!