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Ernst Mayr

The Darwin of the 20th Century

I am at the present time -- and even more so, let's say, 20 years ago -- rather aggressively assertive, and that is due to the fact that, in many ways, all through my early life I was sort of a neglected entity. Now to begin with, I was the middle one of three brothers and in my family, unknowingly, the family always had some preferential things for the oldest one and some preferential treatment for the youngest one, but there was no special preferential treatment in any respect for the middle one, and I resented it. And then I moved around in school a good deal. I first was in Bavaria, in Munich, and then moved to Dresden where they speak a totally different dialect, and I was placed in the seating order as the last one and gradually integrated into the class, and I always had to fight for my existence so to speak. Then in the university I realized that biologists -- zoologists in my case -- really were not considered as highly as the physicists and mathematicians, and again I had to assert myself. And then of course, when I came to America in 1931, I was a German, and Germany at that time was not in very high regard, and in 1933 Hitler came to power and it got even worse, and again I was sort of silently -- unknowingly perhaps -- discriminated against. And then of course, I was a museum person, and at the minute I was branching out into fields like evolutionary biology, history of biology, philosophy of biology. At the beginning, I was a museum man and they didn't have a very high reputation. I wasn't a professor. I wasn't teaching anywhere. And again and again when it came to awarding honors in those days -- now I get more honors than I need -- but I didn't get the honors because I was only a museum person, you see. The result was that I tended to very aggressively defend my views and all that, because if I didn't I would have been ignored.
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Willie Mays

Baseball Hall of Fame

I was the first black in that particular league. And, we played in a town called Hagerstown, Maryland. I'll never forget this day, on a Friday. And, they call you all kind of names there, "nigger" this, and "nigger" that. I said to myself -- and this is why Piper Davis came in -- in my mind, "Hey, whatever they call you, they can't touch you. Don't talk back." Now this was on a Friday. And the Friday night I hit two doubles and a home run; they never clapped. The next day I hit the same thing. There was a house out there in the back there, I hit that twice. Now they started clapping a little bit. You know how that is, you know, they clapped a little bit. By Sunday there was a big headline in the paper: "Do Not Bother Mays." You understand what I'm saying? They call you all kinds of names. Now this is the first two games I played. By Sunday, I come to bat, they're all clapping. And I'm wondering, wait a minute, what happened to the Friday, what happened to the Saturday?
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Willie Mays

Baseball Hall of Fame

When I came back in 1951, I didn't start in New York, I started in Philadelphia. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, that was my first game. I think I went 0 for 12, or 0 for 13, or whatever, and I'm really, really worried because in the minors I'm hitting .477, killing everybody. And I came to the majors, I couldn't hit. I was playing the outfield very, very well, throwing out everybody, but I just couldn't get a hit. I didn't strike out a lot. And I started crying, and Leo came to me and he says, "You're my center fielder; it doesn't make any difference what you do. You just go home, come back and play tomorrow." I think that really, really turned me around because the next day I hit a home run off of Spahn for my first hit. And, then I went another ten games, another ten at bat without getting a hit, and then I blossomed up right quick.
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Craig McCaw

Pioneer of Telecommunications

If I want the wall to fall down and I'm willing to pay the price and push on it long enough, it will fall down. By some circumstance, I can get that wall to fall down. The question is, was it worth it in the total context of my own personal morality, right and wrong, the amount of effort it took, and as it were, the value of that contribution? Was it significant enough for all the effort?
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Craig McCaw

Pioneer of Telecommunications

I'm very dyslexic, so that forced me to be quite conceptual, because I'm not very good at details. And because I'm not good at details, I tend to be rather spatial in my thinking, oriented to things in general terms, rather than the specific. That allows you to step back and say, "What's the easy way? How do I get through this easily?" It also makes you very intuitive. You tend to look at things, and you don't want to read so much; reading is harder for a dyslexic. So you become very quick, very intuitive in understanding what the point is. And that's good with ideas. And so, I feel blessed about that.
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