Creating a list of the most influential leaders is not an easy task, let alone narrowing it down the list to just three. This looks somehow difficult because we are inspired by different faces and ways.
Some of these leaders are known to be great because of how they maintain their aspirations despite their circumstances and proceed to accomplish the exceptional things that they are remembered for even after they had passed away.
They held on to their principles and stood for the rights of other people, often at the expense of their lives and liberty. There are also respected and inspirational leaders who are identified for their passion for empowerment, innovation and influence on others and strive to transform the world positively. They inspired a generation of leaders across all fields of human endeavour who have gone on to help develop business leaders, as well in religion, government, civil society and other facets of human interactions.
Thus, we have listed below three of the most influential leaders who have transformed the world and influenced a large number of humans positively:
1. Martin Luther King Jr. – Changed America With His Civil Right Activism
Social activist and Baptist minister, Martin Luther King Jr., among many other American citizens, is acknowledged globally for his Civil Rights Movement leadership in the United States until his painful demise in 1968.
Martin Luther King who was born in 1929 as an African-American encountered rising wars throughout his life. He grew up in Atlanta Georgia and was known to be a clever kid.
He got a immense transformation in his junior year by enrolling in a Bible class and had a renewal of faith. After earning a degree from Morehouse College in 1948, where he started his focus on racial inequality, he proceeded to Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania.
After many years of success as a Civil Rights Activist, Martin Luther King started the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957 with 61 other Social Reformers. He had more confidence to continue his social activism after he visited the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi in India in 1959.
Martin Luther King left his big legacy in the history of America when he delivered his famous ‘I Have a Dream’speech during the peaceful mass march he led on Washington for jobs and freedom.
“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King Jr
Luther King’s effort on race relations in America led to the passing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which states, among other things, that public accommodations will be integrated by the Federal Government. Martin Luther King was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize that year.
Till the time he was assassinated on 4th of April 1968, King never stopped his social activism. He was assassinated by James Earl, who was finally arrested after two months of investigations. The US instituted and has continued to observe every third month of January as the Martin Luther King Jr.’s day national holiday in the country. Nearly 50 years after his death, his legacy is stronger than ever.
2. Nelson Mandela – Proved Victorious With His Call For Liberty
“I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days.” – Nelson Mandela
South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela is one of the leaders that brought great transformation to the 20th century through Civil Rights Activism.
Apart from leading several peaceful protests against racism by the South African government, Mandela was also honored with the Nobel Prize in 1993 for putting an end to apartheid.
Nelson Mandela, who was born in 1918, is considered as a man whose commitment and obsession was on how to improve his people’s lives and pass the equality and freedom message to all nations. He started civil rights activism at an early age and directed peaceful demonstrations for 20 years. He was charged for treason and imprisoned in 1956, alongside 150 others.
They were later released, but Mandela was imprisoned again in 1961 because he was involved with an armed wing of the African National Congress, which had staged a national workers’ strike for 3 days.
In 1963, Mandela was charged for political offenses and sentenced to life in prison. He spent 27 years in jail and contracted tuberculosis. He was released at 72 years old, on 11th February 1990.
In 1994, Mandela became the first black president in South Africa, following the first democratic elections in the country. He died on December 5, 2013, at the age of 95.
3. Mahatma Gandhi – The Anti-War Activist With A Global Legacy
Mahatma Gandhi led India’s movement for independence, and he accomplished exceptional tasks through his peaceful civil disobedience that influenced a lot of people globally.
Gandhi’s spiritual relevance is as sincere as the role he played in the liberation of India. This has inspired a lot of World leaders, entrepreneurs, philosophers and scientists.
Born in 1869, Gandhi was arranged for marriage when he was 13 years old. He started smoking and stealing at a young age. When he clocked 18, he enrolled to study Law in London. He went to South Africa at the age of 24 and was a witness to the racial discrimination in the country.
Gandhi’s first mass civil campaign was organized in 1906 in South Africa, where he fought for the rights of the Indian for 9 years, and later proceed to his country to fight for the liberation of India.
Gandhi spent his life advocating for nonviolence. He was killed by a Hindu extremist who was resenting Gandhi’s tolerance of Muslims after the declaration of independence in India.
So that’s it.
These leaders ensured they accomplish victory despite their challenges, and this is achieved through vision, commitment, and perseverance.