Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States on Jan 20, 2009. The son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas, he is the first African-American to ascend to the highest office in the land.
In the history of America, no politician has so thoroughly saturated the vast stretches of the semiotic imagination as Obama. From posters to shoes to comics to dolls to T-shirts, Obama’s image has now come to represent not just Obama but also every value his supporters imagine he stands for. “Barack Obama” is no longer a man. It is an icon.
Best quote: “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
The Kennedy clan is often considered the only Royal family the United States has ever had. What makes it so is not their wealth or political role, but rather the aura of nobility surrounding them. JFK was the embodiment of this. A Navy officer during World War II, he became a congressman in 1947 and a U.S. senator in 1952. Nine years later, he led the Democratic Party to the White House, becoming the 35th American president.
His term in office was often dubbed the New Frontier since it was an era of change. He put an end to segregation, established the Peace Corps, and masterminded the resolution of the Cuban missile crisis. Unfortunately, he is often best remembered for his assassination in November 1963. For all his youthful energy and magnetism, he represented the quintessence of America.
Best quote: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
Marilyn Monroe proved that where there’s a will, there’s a way. She overcame a childhood of abuse in foster homes, worked as a swimsuit model, and eventually became one of the most famous movie stars of all time. Her life was often regarded as a fairytale and her legendary marriage to baseball great Joe DiMaggio was the hallmark of this perception.
Her performances in films like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Some Like It Hot confirmed she had as much talent as she did beauty. Her tragic death on August 5, 1962 was ruled a suicide by overmedication, which only intensified her perpetual allure and legendary status.
Best quote: “I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
He had a dream. Always a gifted student and orator, he decided as a child that he would become a Baptist9) minister. While studying at Crozer Theological Seminary after having attended Morehouse College, he heard about a pacifist in India named Mahatma Gandhi, and became enamored with Gandhi’s methods of peaceful protest. As a pastor in Montgomery, Alabama, he became aware of the palpable civil rights violations that plagued the South in the 1950s.
Openly supporting Rosa Parks and her refusal to relinquish her seat to a white bus passenger made him a target for his opponents and his house was bombed. But that just served to fuel his desire to see Segregation terminated. He became a national advocate for civil liberties and inspired a nation to change its ways.
Best quote: “If a man hasn’t found something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”
Here’s a man who lives the American Dream. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Michael Jordan attended the University of North Carolina and proved that he truly was the best basketball player that ever lived by taking his team to the NCAA championship. He was soon drafted into the NBA as a guard for the Chicago Bulls. He led his team to six league championships and won the MVP award five times.
In 1993, at the age of 30, he gave up basketball for baseball. But then he returned to the Bulls in 1995 where he continued to dominate the court. He bought the Washington Wizards in 2000 and joined the team on the court in the 2001-2002 season.
Best quote: “I can accept failure, but I can’t accept not trying.”