Talk about reliving the roller coaster of the Space Race. Timeless fans this show gets more interesting (crazy) every week, but one of my favorite aspects is seeing the people they highlight in the past that aren’t necessarily names everyone knows off the top of their head. (IE Abe Lincoln, Davy Crockett, etc. )
Katherine Johnson’s work was critical to the Space Race, and the fact that an upcoming movie is going to also spotlight her in Hidden Figures is a happy coincidence personally. On that note, it made me think about the unsung heroes we have in history that take a little more than a Google search to learn about but are all well worth the effort.
Without further ado, here are my top five unsung heroes in history!
- Daisy Bates – this brave lady was one of the hidden treasures of the Civil Rights Movement. Serving as the President of the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP and operator of the Arkansas State Press, a weekly African-American newspaper. History remembers her though as being one the people who helped nine African American students attend an all-white high school in Little Rock and being a personal advocate to the students.
- Ada Lovelace – Ms. Lovelace is truly a hidden figure, born in 1815 she was an English mathematician and writer. Her most famous work was on Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Her notes on the engine are recognized as the first algorithms written specifically for the workings of a machine instead of a person. Therefore she is widely acknowledged to be the world’s first computer programmer.
- Ignaz Semmelweis – a Hungarian physician by trade and notably known as an early pioneer of antiseptic procedures. Born in 1818 his work in studying childhood fever led him to conclude that the rate of mortality reduced substantially if the attending physicians practiced hand washing. Since it conflicted with the established medical opinions of the time his work was ignored and ridiculed during his lifetime and not taken seriously until after his death and the germ theory was confirmed. Hand washing as being ridiculous?! Good Lord history is strange.
- Alice Catherine Evans – An American microbiologist born in 1881 who later became a research at the US Department of Agriculture. Her work in investigating bacteriology, particularly in milk and cheese, led to the widespread practice of pasteurization. Her findings correctly identified how dangerous raw milk was to humans, the least of which was at the root of deadly diseases like Malia fever at the time.
- Rick Rescorla – a US army officer and private security officer, served as the director of security for Morgan Stanley at the World Trade Center. After the 1993 bombings, he felt that the WTC was still a target for terrorists and as such insisted on practice evacuations every three months until they were able to move out of the building in the last 2000s. On September 11, 2001, after the first tower went down despite the Port Authority ordering people to stay at their desks he reportedly grabbed a bullhorn and ordered all Morgan Stanley employees to evacuate anyways saving over 2,500 lives after the second plane hit the tower.
People are capable of terrible things, but honestly when you take a look back at history the amount of good individuals who worked hard and stood up for what they believed in even if they didn’t get the recognition they deserved are the very definition of inspirational. Timeless, thank you for reminding me of that.
How about you Timeless fans? Who are your top unsung heroes in history?
Timeless airs 10/9 c on NBC