The namesake for one of the world’s most coveted honors was also legally blind. Joseph Pulitzer, of whom the esteemed Pulitzer Prize for journalism, music and literature is named, was born in Mako, Hungary in 1847 and emigrated to the United States in 1864, where he began his reporting career. Pulitzer soon made a segue way into politics, winning a state legislature seat in Missouri. He was known for his hard stance against corruption and illegal gain.
In 1872, he bought the St. Louis Post and later the St. Louis Dispatch, which he combined with the Post. Pulitzer used his political clout and investigative reporting skills to expose illegal lotteries, gambling rings and tax dodgers. In 1883, he bought New York World and worked to expose the seedy underbelly of public government waste and fraud.
During these acquisitions, Pulitzer’s eyes were failing him and he was completely blind by 1889. However, he never turned a blind eye to social crimes and continued to be a watch-dog for injustice. Pulitzer died in 1911 and left behind more than $2 million to establish a school of journalism at New York’s Columbia University. In his honor, the Pulitzer Prizes – which are considered the top national honor for music, literature and journalism – are awarded every year.