Heroes arise from everyday life. Supernatural and powerful forces lead the ordinary person to perform wondrous deeds, often bestowing good upon their fellow man.


Joan of Arc, 1879, Jules Bastien-Lepage,
Metropolitan Museum of Art. Joan in her garden receiving messages from the saints.

Joan of Arc’s story is one of those rare events in history which actually happened!

The seventeen-year-old illiterate farm girl from eastern France disguised herself as a man in her war campaigns against English oppression.  Joan claimed she heard voices from a trio of saints telling her to deliver France from the English.

Captured in 1430, Joan was tried for heresy and burned at the stake.  Five hundred years later, in 1920, Joan of Arc was made a saint.


Cotton Picking, c. 1955
Clementine Hunter

200 years ago a poor black woman, Harriet Tubman, was born into slavery in Maryland. In spite of a childhood of hardship and deprivation, she emerged a hero battling this tyranny. She escaped her master 12 years before the Civil War and fled northward with the help of the Underground Railroad. Tubman persevered in helping other slaves find sanctuary in northern states and became a hunted woman in the South with a price on her head.

Harriet Tubman is referred to as the “Moses of her people.”

Gone: An Historical Romance of a Civil War…, 1994.
Kara Walker

Contemporary artist, Kara Walker, shatters any romantic notion of the South, Civil War or slavery. Walker cuts out huge life-size silhouettes in black paper…nightmarish images of slavery in the Antebellum South.

Watch this video of Kara Walker’s Civil War art.
Click here if unable to view the video.

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