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Heroes of Human Rights

Stories of Women and Men who Created Human Rights (First Edition)
Sam G. McFarland
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Heroes of Human Rights: Stories of Women and Men who Created Human Rights describes the historical development of human rights, modern human rights declarations and conventions, historical and modern human rights abuses, and current mechanisms for protecting and advancing human rights. Through engaging, emotional, and inspiring stories of heroes from the sixteenth century to the present, the book underscores the importance of human rights for all peoples around the globe.

The text is organized chronologically and divided into three sections according to discrete time periods: pre-1900, 1900 – 1950, and 1950 to present day. Readers learn about Granville Sharp’s and Kevin Bales’s struggles to abolish slavery; Azucena Villaflor’s efforts to end disappearances and abuses by the government in Argentina; and Franz Uri Boas’s crusade against “scientific” racism. Additional chapters explore how Olympe de Gouges, Mary Wollstonecraft, Beate Sirota, and Shirin Ebadi championed women’s rights; Robert Owen fought against abusive child labor during the Industrial Revolution; Raphael Lemkin pushed to make genocide an international crime; Eleanor Roosevelt led the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; W.E.B. Du Bois advocated for an end to colonialism; and much more.

Designed to help readers achieve greater levels of understanding and empathy, Heroes of Human Rights is an ideal resource for courses on human rights, world history, and international affairs.

A Note from the Author

From the preface: "This book is an outgrowth of my having taught a basic human rights seminar for the Honors College at Western Kentucky University for many years. In teaching that class, I wanted to help my students, mostly junior and senior undergraduates, learn about the historical development of human rights, modern human rights declarations and conventions, modern human rights abuses, and current mechanisms for protecting and advancing human rights. But more importantly, I wanted to help them learn to sincerely care about the human rights of all peoples around the globe...

...I wanted my students to learn the history of the slow abolition of slavery from early efforts in the 1700s, to its universal condemnation in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, and to the end of all legal slavery when Mauritania finally outlawed it in 1981. But learning the story of Granville Sharp, a British armaments clerk, Biblical scholar, and Sunday musician, who was so outraged when he saw a badly beaten enslaved child that he spent the next four decades of his life campaigning to end the slave trade, seemed to give this history a deeper significance."

Sam G. McFarland is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at Western Kentucky University. While serving as the director of the university’s honors program, he taught the seminar Understanding Human Rights. During his career, Dr. McFarland served as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in the former Soviet Union and as President of the International Society of Political Psychology.
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