Benjamin Franklin, Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton and Rosa Parks—what do these famous, iconic individuals share in common? Each was an influential leader with a humble background. Franklin was the son of a candlemaker with only two years of formal education who would create a wildly successful printing business. His resume also includes that he was an author, inventor, thinker, scientist, and statesman. Born in a small market town in eastern England, Margaret Thatcher, the daughter of a grocer, would become the first woman to lead a major democracy. She served as Prime Minister of England for 11 years and had an enormously successful run as the country’s leader.

Bill Clinton was the son of a salesman who would grow up with his grandparents since his father died in a car crash several months before he was born. He was reading by the age of three, went on to attend Georgetown University, and became the 42nd President of the United States. The granddaughter of slaves, Rosa Parks attended a small segregated school in Pine, AL. She worked as a seamstress who would help launch nationwide efforts to end segregation of public facilities when she refused to surrender her seat to a white individual on a bus.

To learn more about these historically influential leaders with humble beginnings, check out this infographic from

Leaders From Humble Beginnings


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