10 Things You Didn't Know About Ralph Nader
1. Ralph Nader was born at home during a blizzard on Feb. 27, 1934, in Winsted, Conn., to Lebanese Christian immigrants (Nadra and Rose, owners of a bakery/restaurant). The youngest of four children (two boys and two girls), he grew up speaking Arabic as well as English. Later he learned Chinese, Russian, Spanish, and Portuguese.
2. He was a very precocious child who learned how to read at age 3. When he was 8, his father began taking him to the county courthouse to watch lawyers argue cases. Soon after, he vowed he would become a lawyer when he grew up, representing the poor and the weak.
3. Educated at Princeton, he received a B.A. (magna cum laude) in government and economics from the Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1955 and then continued on to Harvard Law School, receiving his degree with distinction in 1958.
4. He remembers that at Princeton, "Donald Rumsfeld was on the wrestling team and would swagger around campus."
5. He has practiced law in Hartford, Conn., since 1959 and lectured in history and government at the University of Hartford and Princeton University.
6. His bestseller (at age 31) about the automobile industry, Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-in Dangers of the American Automobile, led to the passage of improved car safety regulations in 1966.
7. Recipient of the 196566 Nieman Fellows award, he was named "One of 10 Outstanding Young Men of the Year" by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1967. In 1969, he was the recipient of the first annual Public Defender Award from New Republic. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
8. On March 22, 1966, before a Senate subcommittee, then General Motors President James Roche apologized to Nader for spying on his private life because of the unfavorable publicity of Unsafe at Any Speed identifying GM's Corvair as dangerous.
9. In 1996 and 2000, he was nominated by the Green Party as a protest candidate for president. He also ran as an independent in 2004. In the 2000 election he won the largest vote (2.6 percent) of any third-party candidate that year. Critics claimed that his candidacy tipped the race in Florida from Democrat Al Gore to Republican George W. Bush, thus costing Gore the presidency.
10. Noted for his work as a lawyer and consumer activist, Nader said in an interview with a San Francisco radio program that he might run if Hillary Rodham Clinton received the Democratic nomination.
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American Decades 19601969
Current Biography Yearbook1968
Encyclopedia of World Biography
Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon
NewsmakersThe People Behind Today's Headlines
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Who's Who in America2007