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  • Frankie Silvers (Stewart) (1815 - 1833)
    Folk figure. An Appalachian Mountain girl, Frankie died on the gallows for the grisly murder of her young husband, Charlie Silver, in what may have been a miscarriage of justice. Although neither the f...
  • Clara McBride "Mother" Hale (1905 - 1992)
    Clara McBride Hale (April 1, 1905 – December 18, 1992), also known as Mother Hale , was a prominent African-American social activist and child care worker who created a sanctuary for drug-addict...
  • Pancho Villa (1878 - 1923)
  • Aurore Gagnon (1909 - 1920)
    Videos listed at the bottom of this document. Aurore Gagnon (31 mai 1909 - 12 février 1920) fut victime de maltraitance de la part de sa belle-mère, Marie-Anne Houde, et de so...
  • Sally Ridley, Defender of the Fort (c.1773 - 1831)
    Notes for Sarah Ridley: The Heroine of Buchanan Station, Davidson County, TN. A great journal of this battle has been preserved. "... was born in eastern Tennessee ... and had thirteen children, ...

What is a "folk hero?"

Here's a definition from American Folk Heroes

Folk heroes and heroines are not born as superstars. In fact they often begin life as everyday people who are transformed into extraordinary people by significant life events, often in response to social injustice, and sometimes in response to natural disasters. In all cases they are individuals who have found a way to apply their particular character strengths, beliefs and values to overcome adversity.

  • All folk heroes represent what is possible for the common person; they offer a road map, so to speak, of how to keep moving in the face of oppression or corruption and are often the people we admire most and often aspire to be like.

Add "the folk hero in your family" to this project from wherever they may be. Collaborators, feel free to add to the lists that get us started, and to the Project photo gallery.

Historically documented only, please.



The Making of a Jewish Folk Hero: The Golem of the Maharal of Prague

The Golem of Prague, a Jewish Folk Tale provides one of the finest examples of this synthesis of history, culture and religion in its hero the Rabbi Judah Ben Loewe, known as the Maharal. For while his association with the golem is fictional, the Maharal himself was a very real person.