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Heroes, Villains, & Others

The twentieth century was marked by events, inventions, and people. Browse this listing of some of the influential people who shaped the century.
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Looking for someone in particular? Browse through this alphabetical listing of people who shaped the twentieth century.
Jane Addams
Jane Addams was a social reformer, best known for founding Hull House, a settlement house that provided a wide range of civic programs.
Muhammad Ali
One of the world's best known athletes, Muhammad Ali is an Olympic gold medalist and a heavyweight boxing champion.
Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou is best known for her autobiographical writings (such as I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings) and her many volumes of poetry.
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong was a world-famous jazz musician, best known for his innovative trumpet style.
Deep Throat
Deep Throat was the informant who gave Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein information that helped to expose the Nixon administration's role in the Watergate Scandal.
Enrico Fermi
Enrico Fermi made important discoveries about the atom which led to the splitting of the atom (atomic bombs) and the harnessing of its heat into an energy source (nuclear energy).
Mata Hari
Mata Hari was an exotic dancer and courtesan, killed by the French for espionage during WWI.
Howard Hughes
Howard Hughes was a businessman, a movie producer, and an aviator; however, he is perhaps best remembered for spending his later years as an eccentric, reclusive billionaire.
At the very beginning of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union, the Soviets successfully launched Sputnik 2 with Laika the dog on board. Laika became the very first living creature to enter orbit.
Charles Manson
Convicted serial killer Charles Manson has become an icon of evil. In the late 1960s, Manson founded a hippie, cult group known as "the Family" whom he manipulated into brutally killing others on his behalf.
J. Robert Oppenheimer
Oppenheimer was the director of the Manhattan Project, the U.S.'s attempt during World War II to create an atomic bomb. Oppenheimer's struggle after the war with the morality of building such a massively destructive weapon epitomized the moral dilemma that faced scientists who worke
The Red Baron
Baron Manfred von Richthofen was an extremely successful fighter pilot during World War I. Credited with shooting down 80 enemy aircraft and preferring to fly a brightly painted red airplane, Richthofen became popularly known as the Red Baron.
Typhoid Mary
Typhoid Mary had no idea that she was infected with the disease yet her work as a cook infected many. Find out all about Typhoid Mary and why authorities had a difficult time capturing Mary.
Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa was a Mexican revolutionary leader who advocated for the poor and wanted agrarian reform. Though he was a killer, a bandit, and a revolutionary leader, many remember him as a folk hero. Pancho Villa was also responsible for a raid on Columbus, New Mexico in 1916, which was the first attack on U.S. soil since 1812.
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