Understanding Humanism

Stories of historic humanists

Doers, Dreamers, Place Makers tells the stories of eight remarkable people, inspired by their humanist values, who helped change the world for the better. Each of these short stories explores key themes linked to the humanist approach to life, as well as suggestions for activities to help you go deeper.

Download the booklet here.

Suitable for children at primary school, the stories feature:

  1. Moncure Conway, campaigner against slavery
  2. Eslanda Robeson, civil rights activist
  3. Thomas Paine, advocate of human rights and equality
  4. Eliza Flower, musician and freethinker
  5. Bertrand Russell, philosopher and peace activist
  6. Ernestine Rose, campaigner for women’s equality
  7. E M Forster, author
  8. Rose Bush, provider of housing for elderly and vulnerable people.

Using the theme of ‘To thine own self be true’, these stories of real people and events will illustrate how people can be inspired by their beliefs to make a difference.

Each of the featured people are connected in some way to Conway Hall – a humanist building – which you can explore using our virtual tour.

For more stories of historic humanists, see our Think for yourself, act for everyone resource.

More about these inspiring people can be found on our Humanist Heritage website.


Stories by Isabelle King.

Illustrations by Tonka Uzu.

With thanks to the The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

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