Is there a figure you want to see covered? Drop their name in the suggestion box. (And, for more fun, tell me why you want to see them covered on Unruly Figures!)
One of my favorite Unruly Figures has always been August Landmesser. He was a German shipyard worker who refused to give the Nazi salute in a famous photograph of a thousand Germans who were giving an enthusiastic Heil Hitler. But he refused. I always wonder: Would I have had the courage he did, in a crowd like that? I fear not. All the more reason to admire and learn from Herr Landmesser!
I think Ching Shih would make for an interesting episode. She was a Chinese prostitute turned pirate. Some regard her as the most successful pirate of history and she negotiated her own advantageous surrender to the British. Commanded over 1400 ships and 10,000 men. “Mistress Ching” in POTC is a subtle reference to the real Madame Ching
Zora Neale Hurston, Elizabeth Catlett, and Alain Locke. All unruly, but in very different ways.
I think I mentioned this when we were chatting on a substack office hours thread ages ago. But big props to John Paul Jones. He captured a ship during the American Revolution, then sailed across to England. There, he and his crew terrorized shipping vessels, straining the supply chain feeding British soldiers occupying New York. His raids also alarmed the citizenry, and parliament, who were concerned the navy was over in the colonies suppressing the rebellion, not guarding their home port against pirates -- or worse: the French.
He's almost completely left out of the telling of revolutionary war history. I think, this is largely because teachers would then have to explain to students that being unruly and chaotic can also be a good thing.