Joyner-Kersee, Jackie

Track and Field Athlete Jackie Joyner was born on March 3rd, 1962 in East St. Louis, Illinois.  She came from a family well know for its athleticism as she was the younger sister of Olympic track and field star Al Joyner, and sister-in-law of the late track star Florence Griffith Joyner.  Not only did she overcome asthma to become a world heptathlon record holder, but she won several Olympic medals as well.  In high school she was a basketball and track star, gaining an athletic scholarship to UCLA.  She achieved her B.A. in History and in 1986 married Bob Kersee.   Perhaps Jackie’s greatest personal victory came when she became the first woman to ever win the gold medal in the long jump.  She made history at the 1988 Olympics.  She also won the silver for the heptathlon in 1984, and the bronze in the long jump in 1992.  Although she retired after the Goodwill games in Atlanta, Georgia in 1998, Jackie Joyner-Kersee still holds the world record in the long jump at 24 feet and 7 inches.  She has since founded the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Community Foundation, which is dedicated to helping disadvantaged youth. Source: Biography.com, IAAF Additional Learning Links International Association of Athletics Federations Check out this multimedia presentation on Jackie Joyner Kersee from the Association of Athletics. Click on the links on the left to find other athletes.Source: IAAF ESPN Internet Ventures Read this in-depth article from ESPN Sports Century Athletes about Joyner-Kersee.  Learn about how her career began as well as some facts about growing up.Source: ESPN Find more information...

Buchanan, James

James Buchanan US President – 1857-61 Courtesy of the National Guard Tall, stately, stiffly formal in the high stock he wore around his jowls, James Buchanan was the only President who never married. Presiding over a rapidly dividing Nation, Buchanan grasped inadequately the political realities of the time. Relying on constitutional doctrines to close the widening rift over slavery, he failed to understand that the North would not accept constitutional arguments which favored the South. Nor could he realize how sectionalism had realigned political parties: the Democrats split; the Whigs were destroyed, giving rise to the Republicans. Born into a well-to-do Pennsylvania family in 1791, Buchanan, a graduate of Dickinson College, was gifted as a debater and learned in the law. He was elected five times to the House of Representatives; then, after an interlude as Minister to Russia, served for a decade in the Senate. He became Polk’s Secretary of State and Pierce’s Minister to Great Britain. Service abroad helped to bring him the Democratic nomination in 1856 because it had exempted him from involvement in bitter domestic controversies. As President-elect, Buchanan thought the crisis would disappear if he maintained a sectional balance in his appointments and could persuade the people to accept constitutional law as the Supreme Court interpreted it. The Court was considering the legality of restricting slavery in the territories, and two justices hinted to Buchanan what the decision would be. Thus, in his Inaugural the President referred to the territorial question as “happily, a matter of but little practical importance” since the...

Garfield, James

James A. GarfieldUS President – 1881 Courtesy of the National Guard As the last of the log cabin Presidents, James A. Garfield attacked political corruption and won back for the Presidency a measure of prestige it had lost during the Reconstruction period. He was born in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, in 1831. Fatherless at two, he later drove canal boat teams, somehow earning enough money for an education. He was graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1856, and he returned to the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (later Hiram College) in Ohio as a classics professor. Within a year he was made its president. Garfield was elected to the Ohio Senate in 1859 as a Republican. During the secession crisis, he advocated coercing the seceding states back into the Union. In 1862, when Union military victories had been few, he successfully led a brigade at Middle Creek, Kentucky, against Confederate troops. At 31, Garfield became a brigadier general, two years later a major general of volunteers. Meanwhile, in 1862, Ohioans elected him to Congress. President Lincoln persuaded him to resign his commission: It was easier to find major generals than to obtain effective Republicans for Congress. Garfield repeatedly won re-election for 18 years, and became the leading Republican in the House. At the 1880 Republican Convention, Garfield failed to win the Presidential nomination for his friend John Sherman. Finally, on the 36th ballot, Garfield himself became the “dark horse” nominee. By a margin of only 10,000 popular votes, Garfield defeated the Democratic nominee, Gen. Winfield Scott...

Hoover, Herbert Clark

Herbert HooverUS President – 1929-33 Courtesy of the Library of Congress Son of a Quaker blacksmith, Herbert Clark Hoover brought to the Presidency an unparalleled reputation for public service as an engineer, administrator, and humanitarian. Born in an Iowa village in 1874, he grew up in Oregon. He enrolled at Stanford University when it opened in 1891, graduating as a mining engineer. He married his Stanford sweetheart, Lou Henry, and they went to China, where he worked for a private corporation as China’s leading engineer. In June 1900 the Boxer Rebellion caught the Hoovers in Tientsin. For almost a month the settlement was under heavy fire. While his wife worked in the hospitals, Hoover directed the building of barricades, and once risked his life rescuing Chinese children. One week before Hoover celebrated his 40th birthday in London, Germany declared war on France, and the American Consul General asked his help in getting stranded tourists home. In six weeks his committee helped 120,000 Americans return to the United States. Next Hoover turned to a far more difficult task, to feed Belgium, which had been overrun by the German army. After the United States entered the war, President Wilson appointed Hoover head of the Food Administration. He succeeded in cutting consumption of foods needed overseas and avoided rationing at home, yet kept the Allies fed. After the Armistice, Hoover, a member of the Supreme Economic Council and head of the American Relief Administration, organized shipments of food for starving millions in central Europe. He extended aid to famine-stricken Soviet Russia...

Hoover, Herbert – BIO-2

In 1870, Jesse, now the town blacksmith, married Hulda Minthorn, a teacher from Ontario, Canada. On the occasion of Herbert’s birth, Jesse went through town declaring, “We have another General Grant in our house.” Herbert’s birth was followed in 1876 by the birth of a sister, Mary (May). The Hoover children spent their early years growing up in West Branch, Iowa. West Branch provided both joys and hazards of life. The children could hike, explore, and swim as well as hunt for fossils and agate in the glacial gravel along the railroad tracks. Their Quaker upbringing forbade the Hoover boys from carrying a gun, so they learned to hunt for rabbit and prairie chickens with bow and arrow. They learned these skills from young Indian boys who were attending a local government training school. Willow poles, butcher string lines and hooks that cost a penny apiece provided Herbert Hoover with sunfish and catfish. There was also Cook’s Hill for sledding on home-made sleds. Jesse Hoover died at the age of 34, on December 13, 1880. Hulda and the children remained in West Branch, where she earned money working as a seamstress. She also traveled and spoke throughout Iowa about the Quaker faith. A return trip home by foot from a Springdale revival changed a chest cold into pneumonia complicated by typhoid fever. The children were separated: May went to live with Grandmother Minthorn, Tad went to Hubbard, Iowa and later to Newberg, Oregon with Uncle John Minthorn, and Herbert stayed on a farm outside of West Branch, Iowa for about a...

Berlin, Irving

Courtesy of Library of Congress Irving Berlin (1888-1989) The sun is shining The grass is green The orange and palm trees sway There’s never been such a day In Beverly Hills, L.A. But it’s December the twenty-fourth And I’m longing to be up north… Do you know what song begins with this verse? If not, you’re not alone. Most people don’t know that a self-taught composer and lyricist named Irving Berlin wrote this infamous song called, “White Christmas.” We recognize it only when hearing the words, ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.’ The song has since become a holiday standard. Born with the name Israel Baline, Irving Berlin was one of eight children. His family moved from overseas to New York City in 1893. Berlin’s first song titled, “Marie from Sunny Italy” was published in 1907 under the name I. Berlin by mistake. From that day forward he referred to himself as Irving Berlin. Berlin never learned how to read harmony and he played by ear, but he nevertheless managed to create hit songs. In 1938 on the eve of World War II, his song, “God Bless America,” was unofficially adopted as a second national anthem. The song itself was written several years earlier during the time he served in the Army, but it was never released to the public. In 1942, the film Holiday Inn was released starring Bing Crosby and featuring the song “White Christmas.” When Crosby traveled overseas to sing to the troops, they always requested “White Christmas.” Crosby was reluctant to perform it due...

Newton, Isaac

Helmolt, H.F., ed. History of the World. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1902. Isaac Newton was born in 1642 in England. His father had died two months before his birth. When Isaac was three his mother remarried, and Isaac remained with his grandmother. He was not interested in the family farm, so he was sent to Cambridge University to study. Isaac was born just a short time after the death of Galileo, one of the greatest scientists of all time. Galileo had proved that the planets revolve around the sun, not the earth as people thought at the time. Isaac Newton was very interested in the discoveries of Galileo and others. Isaac thought the universe worked like a machine and that a few simple laws governed it. Like Galileo, he realized that mathematics was the way to explain and prove those laws. Isaac Newton was one of the world’s great scientists because he took his ideas, and the ideas of earlier scientists, and combined them into a unified picture of how the universe works. Isaac explained the workings of the universe through mathematics. He formulated laws of motion and gravitation. These laws are math formulas that explain how objects move when a force acts on them. Isaac published his most famous book, Principia, in 1687 while he was a mathematics professor at Trinity College, Cambridge. In the Principia, Isaac explained three basic laws that govern the way objects move. He then described his idea, or theory, about gravity. Gravity is the force that causes things to fall down. If a...

Cleveland, Grover

Grover ClevelandUS President – 1885-89, 1893-97 Courtesy of the Library of Congress The First Democrat elected after the Civil War, Grover Cleveland was the only President to leave the White House and return for a second term four years later. One of nine children of a Presbyterian minister, Cleveland was born in New Jersey in 1837. He was raised in upstate New York. As a lawyer in Buffalo, he became notable for his single-minded concentration upon whatever task faced him. At 44, he emerged into a political prominence that carried him to the White House in three years. Running as a reformer, he was elected Mayor of Buffalo in 1881, and later, Governor of New York. Cleveland won the Presidency with the combined support of Democrats and reform Republicans, the “Mugwumps,” who disliked the record of his opponent James G. Blaine of Maine. A bachelor, Cleveland was ill at ease at first with all the comforts of the White House. “I must go to dinner,” he wrote a friend, “but I wish it was to eat a pickled herring a Swiss cheese and a chop at Louis’ instead of the French stuff I shall find.” In June 1886 Cleveland married 21-year-old Frances Folsom; he was the only President married in the White House. Cleveland vigorously pursued a policy barring special favors to any economic group. Vetoing a bill to appropriate $10,000 to distribute seed grain among drought-stricken farmers in Texas, he wrote: “Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the...

Ford, Gerald R.

Gerald R. FordUS President – 1974-77 Courtesy of the Library of Congress When Gerald R. Ford took the oath of office on August 9, 1974, he declared, “I assume the Presidency under extraordinary circumstances…. This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts.” It was indeed an unprecedented time. He had been the first Vice President chosen under the terms of the Twenty-fifth Amendment and, in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, was succeeding the first President ever to resign. Ford was confronted with almost insuperable tasks. There were the challenges of mastering inflation, reviving a depressed economy, solving chronic energy shortages, and trying to ensure world peace. The President acted to curb the trend toward Government intervention and spending as a means of solving the problems of American society and the economy. In the long run, he believed, this shift would bring a better life for all Americans. Ford’s reputation for integrity and openness had made him popular during his 25 years in Congress. From 1965 to 1973, he was House Minority Leader. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1913, he grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He starred on the University of Michigan football team, then went to Yale, where he served as assistant coach while earning his law degree. During World War II he attained the rank of lieutenant commander in the Navy. After the war he returned to Grand Rapids, where he began the practice of law, and entered Republican politics. A few weeks before his election to Congress in 1948,...

Bush, George W.

President George W. Bush US President – 2001-present Courtesy of the White House – Tina Hager George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States. He was sworn into office January 20, 2001, after a campaign in which he outlined sweeping proposals to reform America’s public schools, transform our national defense, provide tax relief, modernize Social Security and Medicare, and encourage faith-based and community organizations to work with government to help Americans in need. President Bush served for six years as the 46th Governor of the State of Texas, where he earned a reputation as a compassionate conservative who shaped public policy based on the principles of limited government, personal responsibility, strong families, and local control. President Bush was born on July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut, and he grew up in Midland and Houston, Texas. He received a bachelor’s degree from Yale University in 1968, then served as an F-102 fighter pilot in the Texas Air National Guard. President Bush received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 1975. After graduating, he moved back to Midland and began a career in the energy business. After working on his father’s successful 1988 presidential campaign, he assembled the group of partners that purchased the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in 1989. He served as managing general partner of the Texas Rangers until he was elected Governor on November 8, 1994, with 53.5 percent of the vote. He became the first Governor in Texas history to be elected to consecutive four-year terms when he was re-elected on November...
Washington, George

Washington, George

George Washington US President – 1789-97 On April 30, 1789, George Washington, standing on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York, took his oath of office as the first President of the United States. “As the first of every thing, in our situation will serve to establish a Precedent,” he wrote James Madison, “it is devoutly wished on my part, that these precedents may be fixed on true principles.” Born in 1732 into a Virginia planter family, he learned the morals, manners, and body of knowledge requisite for an 18th century Virginia gentleman. He pursued two intertwined interests: military arts and western expansion. At 16 he helped survey Shenandoah lands for Thomas, Lord Fairfax. Commissioned a lieutenant colonel in 1754, he fought the first skirmishes of what grew into the French and Indian War. The next year, as an aide to Gen. Edward Braddock, he escaped injury although four bullets ripped his coat and two horses were shot from under him. From 1759 to the outbreak of the American Revolution, Washington managed his lands around Mount Vernon and served in the Virginia House of Burgesses. Married to a widow, Martha Dandridge Custis, he devoted himself to a busy and happy life. But like his fellow planters, Washington felt himself exploited by British merchants and hampered by British regulations. As the quarrel with the mother country grew acute, he moderately but firmly voiced his resistance to the restrictions. When the Second Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia in May 1775, Washington, one of the Virginia delegates, was elected Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. On July...

Bush, George

George BushUS President – 1989-93 Courtesy of the Library of Congress George Bush brought to the White House a dedication to traditional American values and a determination to direct them toward making the United States “a kinder and gentler nation.” In his Inaugural Address he pledged in “a moment rich with promise” to use American strength as “a force for good.” Coming from a family with a tradition of public service, George Herbert Walker Bush felt the responsibility to make his contribution both in time of war and in peace. Born in Milton, Massachusetts, on June 12, 1924, he became a student leader at Phillips Academy in Andover. On his 18th birthday he enlisted in the armed forces. The youngest pilot in the Navy when he received his wings, he flew 58 combat missions during World War II. On one mission over the Pacific as a torpedo bomber pilot he was shot down by Japanese antiaircraft fire and was rescued from the water by a U. S. submarine. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in action. Bush next turned his energies toward completing his education and raising a family. In January 1945 he married Barbara Pierce. They had six children– George, Robin (who died as a child), John (known as Jeb), Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy. At Yale University he excelled both in sports and in his studies; he was captain of the baseball team and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation Bush embarked on a career in the oil industry of West Texas. Like...

Bush, George -BIO-2

Courtesy of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum George Herbert Walker Bush was born on June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts, to Dorothy Walker Bush and Prescott Bush (R-Senator, CT, 1952-62). Mr. Bush graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts on his 18th birthday, June 12, 1942. That same day, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a Seaman 2nd Class. Receiving his wings and commission in June 1943 while still 18 years old, he was the youngest pilot in the Navy at that time. On active duty from August 1942 to September 1945 during World War II, Mr. Bush flew torpedo bombers off the USS San Jacinto. On September 2, 1944, Mr. Bush’s plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire while making a bombing run over the Bonin Island of Chichi Jima, 600 miles south of Japan. Although the plane was afire and severely damaged, he completed his strafing run on the targeted Japanese installation before flying towards sea to bail out. Mr. Bush was able to bail out successfully and was rescued by a Navy submarine, the USS Finback. Tragically, his two crew members were killed. For his courageous service in the Pacific Theater, Mr. Bush was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals. On January 6, 1945, Mr. Bush married Barbara Pierce of Rye, New York. Today they are the parents of five children: George, John (Jeb), Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy Bush Koch. Their second child, Robin, died of leukemia in 1953. The Bushes have 14 grandchildren. Following World War II, Mr. Bush entered...

Roosevelt, Franklin Delano – BIO-2

Franklin D. Roosevelt was born at the family home, “Springwood,” in Hyde Park, New York on January 30, 1882, the son of James Roosevelt and Sara Delano Roosevelt. His parents and private tutors provided him with almost all his formative education. He attended Groton (1896-1900), a prestigious preparatory school in Massachusetts, and received a BA degree in history from Harvard in only three years (1900-03). Roosevelt next studied law at New York’s Columbia University. When he passed the bar examination in 1907, he left school without taking a degree. For the next three years he practiced law with a prominent New York City law firm. He entered politics in 1910 and was elected to the New York State Senate as a Democrat from his traditionally Republican home district. In the meantime, in 1905, he had married a distant cousin, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, who was the niece of President Theodore Roosevelt. The couple had six children, five of whom survived infancy: Anna (1906), James (1907), Elliott (1910), Franklin, Jr. (1914) and John (1916). Roosevelt was reelected to the State Senate in 1912, and supported Woodrow Wilson’s candidacy at the Democratic National Convention. As a reward for his support, Wilson appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1913, a position he held until 1920. He was an energetic and efficient administrator, specializing in the business side of naval administration. This experience prepared him for his future role as Commander-in-Chief during World War II. Roosevelt’s popularity and success in naval affairs resulted in his being nominated for vice-president by the Democratic Party in 1920 on a ticket...

Roosevelt, Franklin D

Franklin D. Roosevelt US President – 1933-45 Courtesy of the Library of Congress Assuming the Presidency at the depth of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt helped the American people regain faith in themselves. He brought hope as he promised prompt, vigorous action, and asserted in his Inaugural Address, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Born in 1882 at Hyde Park, New York–now a national historic site–he attended Harvard University and Columbia Law School. On St. Patrick’s Day, 1905, he married Eleanor Roosevelt. Following the example of his fifth cousin, President Theodore Roosevelt, whom he greatly admired, Franklin D. Roosevelt entered public service through politics, but as a Democrat. He won election to the New York Senate in 1910. President Wilson appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and he was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 1920. In the summer of 1921, when he was 39, disaster hit-he was stricken with poliomyelitis. Demonstrating indomitable courage, he fought to regain the use of his legs, particularly through swimming. At the 1924 Democratic Convention he dramatically appeared on crutches to nominate Alfred E. Smith as “the Happy Warrior.” In 1928 Roosevelt became Governor of New York. He was elected President in November 1932, to the first of four terms. By March there were 13,000,000 unemployed, and almost every bank was closed. In his first “hundred days,” he proposed, and Congress enacted, a sweeping program to bring recovery to business and agriculture, relief to the unemployed and to those in danger of losing farms and homes, and reform, especially...

Eisenhower, Dwight D.

Dwight D. EisenhowerUS President – 1953-61 Courtesy of the Library of Congress Bringing to the Presidency his prestige as commanding general of the victorious forces in Europe during World War II, Dwight D. Eisenhower obtained a truce in Korea and worked incessantly during his two terms to ease the tensions of the Cold War. He pursued the moderate policies of “Modern Republicanism,” pointing out as he left office, “America is today the strongest, most influential, and most productive nation in the world.” Born in Texas in 1890, brought up in Abilene, Kansas, Eisenhower was the third of seven sons. He excelled in sports in high school, and received an appointment to West Point. Stationed in Texas as a second lieutenant, he met Mamie Geneva Doud, whom he married in 1916. In his early Army career, he excelled in staff assignments, serving under Generals John J. Pershing, Douglas MacArthur, and Walter Krueger. After Pearl Harbor, General George C. Marshall called him to Washington for a war plans assignment. He commanded the Allied Forces landing in North Africa in November 1942; on D-Day, 1944, he was Supreme Commander of the troops invading France. After the war, he became President of Columbia University, then took leave to assume supreme command over the new NATO forces being assembled in 1951. Republican emissaries to his headquarters near Paris persuaded him to run for President in 1952. “I like Ike” was an irresistible slogan; Eisenhower won a sweeping victory. Negotiating from military strength, he tried to reduce the strains of the Cold...
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