Ten Most Famous Americans
1. Martin Luther King Jr.: 67%
2. Rosa Parks: 60%
3. Harriet Tubman: 44%
4. Susan B. Anthony: 34%
5. Benjamin Franklin: 29%
6. Amelia Earhart: 25%
7. Oprah Winfrey: 22%
8. Marilyn Monroe: 19%
9. Thomas Edison: 18%
10. Albert Einstein: 16%
Our colleague, Sam Wineburg, is quoted in the article and helps to interpret what this means. Still, Marilyn Monroe and no George Washington? Thomas Edison and no Abraham Lincoln? Rosa Parks and no Frederick Douglass? Oprah Winfrey and no Jane Addams?
comments powered by Disqus
Jeremy Greene - 2/6/2008
of the USA Today article:
"Here's a quiz: Get a pencil and paper and jot down the 10 most famous Americans in history. No presidents or first ladies allowed."
Tom Richards - 2/4/2008
At least you haven't got John Henry being named - take a look at http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/02/04/uktv_history/ I do wonder about the representativeness of their sample, but having run into people in their mid-twenties who didn't know who the Four Apostles were....
Ralph E. Luker - 2/4/2008
"Researchers gave blank paper and pencils to a diverse group of 2,000 high school juniors and seniors in all 50 states and told them: 'Starting from Columbus to the present day, jot down the names of the most famous Americans in history.'"
Even if you allow that the question asks about "fame" rather than "importance," you have to conclude that fame is *more* fleeting for contemporary high school students
than it used to be. Whatever happened to the portraits of GW and old Abe that were omnipresent in American public classrooms?
Randll Reese Besch - 2/4/2008
Agreed. A most important deliniation of subject. How the question is asked is just as important as the answer that is given.
Jonathan Dresner - 2/4/2008
I'd probably argue (with the possible exception of the Washington or Lincoln, who seem to have been excluded in the original survey by design) that the students answered the question asked, instead of the question we think they should have asked: it wasn't "which are the most important Americans in history?"
- Frontline does Trump & Clinton
- This New York Times ‘Hitler’ book review sure reads like a thinly veiled Trump comparison
- Chicago Tribune editorial: The government should release secret grand jury testimony about its 1942 scoop: "Jap Plan to Strike at Sea"
- US owes blacks reparations over slavery: UN experts
- Mali Islamist jailed for nine years for Timbuktu shrine attacks
- What Historians Are Saying About the First Trump-Clinton Debate
- Princeton professor documents the movement that ended single-sex education at elite schools
- Annette Gordon-Reed tells historians the controversy over Harvard law school's shield is different from the fight over the Confederate flag
- Historian EP Thompson denounced Communist party chiefs, files show
- Voting opens soon for the leaders of the OAH in 2017