7 Ordinary People Who Have Changed the World ...


Ordinary people who have changed the world have been around since the beginning of civilization. Some acted out of necessity, some out of heroism, and sometimes it was simply about being in the right place at the right time. Many of these ordinary people who have changed the world remain as part of history, forever remembered for their remarkable acts.

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Rosa Parks

One of the ordinary people who have changed the world we absolutely have to mention here is Rosa Parks. In 1955, her legendary act of refusing to give up her bus seat for a white passenger sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a pivotal moment in history, and the birth of the Civil Rights Movement.


Rosa's quiet defiance was a profound gesture of peaceful protest. By merely sitting still, she stood up against decades of systemic racism and inequality. She later became known as the "mother of the freedom movement," inspiring countless women and men to challenge injustices. Her story is a striking reminder of how individual strength and determination can echo through generations, urging us to believe in the power of standing firm for what is right. Her courage transcends time, making her not just a historical figure but a timeless icon of resilience and dignity.


Frank Willis and Watergate

In 1972, Frank Willis, a security guard, spotted tape placed over the lock of a basement door at the Washington DC Watergate office building. His simple act of calling the police at the right time has led to the discovery of the Watergate break-in. Richard Nixon later resigned in disgrace after news got out of his efforts to cover it up.


Todd Beamer and the Passengers of Flight 93

Flight 93 was seized by terrorists during the 9/11 events. That day, Todd Beamer and the hijacked aircraft’s passengers became some of the most well-known ordinary people who have changed the world by fighting off the terrorists. The plan worked, and instead of being used as part of the terrorist scheme, the airplane reportedly crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.


Ryan White Promoting AIDS Awareness

Ryan White’s case showed the world a glimpse of the true nature of AIDS for the first time. The teenager contracted the disease and died of it at age 18 with his family by his bedside. The case opened people's eyes, showing that AIDS was not simply a disease associated with drug users or those indulging in sexual promiscuity.


Irena Sendler’s Acts during WW2

During World War 2, Irena Sendler was a member of Zegota, a secret organization seeking to help the Jewish people in Poland after the Germans conquered the country. Along with other members, Irena saved more than 2,500 Jewish children from the Polish ghetto and, despite being captured and severely tortured by the Germans, she did not reveal the identity of the children she’d saved. She later escaped to continue her work until the war ended.


Candy Lightner

In the early 80s, Candy Lightner became one of the few ordinary people who changed the world after her 13 year old daughter was tragically killed by a DUI offender. Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving in June 1980. Her efforts changing the way in which America approached people guilty of DUI offenses.


Lightner took her unimaginable grief and channeled it into a crusade against alcohol-impaired driving that swiftly gained national attention. The organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) played a pivotal role in heightening public awareness and transforming societal attitudes about drunk driving, leading to stricter laws and enforcement. Her advocacy was instrumental in the establishment of the legal drinking age of 21 and the passing of other lifesaving legislation. Candy's steadfast commitment and determination have saved countless lives and continue to inspire activism for road safety.


Lois Gibbs – “Mother of the Superfund”

Lois Gibbs was one of the first people who spoke out against chemical waste dumping in the United States. During the late 70s, shy and without prior experience in any type of activism, Gibbs, a simple housewife in the Niagara Falls area, managed to organize her neighbors, founding the Love Canal Homeowners Association to fight against local and federal government entities. She was later nicknamed “Mother of the Superfund” due to her exceptional acts in aiding environmental efforts in the US.

As you can see, sometimes you don’t need to have great talent or skill, or even be well-known in order to make a difference and change the world. Who is your ordinary hero or heroine who has made a difference in this world? Do you know of any other historic figures worth mentioning here?


Feedback Junction

Where Thoughts and Opinions Converge

Can't we just focus on the spirit of these post, applauding ordinary people? Regardless of their nationality?

Me too Courtk17, but this seems to be a very American list...

I agree Shona, VERY American list, sometimes Americans seem to be too self centered.

Right on! Malala ONLY won the Nobel Peace Prize! How could she POSSIBLY be EXTRAORDINARY?

All wonderful people

Not all of us are self centered!

I personally thought this was a very inspirational post 😌 x

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