Articles in the category activist

Chapman Cohen

(1 September 1868 – 4 February 1954) Chapman Cohen was a leading English atheist and secularist writer and lecturer. He was the elder son of Enoch Cohen, a Jewish confectioner, and his wife, Deborah, and in his own words had “little religion at home and none at school” Cohen moved to London in 1889, and soon […]

Thomas Paine

(February 9 1737 – June 8 1809) Thomas Paine was an English republican, anticlerical deist and social reformer who became involved in the American and French revolutions. “The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.” Early years Thomas Pain, as his name was most often spelt before […]

William Johnson Fox

(1786-1864) William Johnson Fox was a religious and political orator, born near Southwold, Suffolk. He was trained for the Independent ministry, at Homerton College (then in London). He later seceded to the Unitarians, and in 1817 Fox became minister of a nonconformist congregation which subsequently went on to become the non-religious South Place Ethical Society. In 1831, Fox bought the journal […]

Joseph McCabe

(12 November 1867 – 10 January 1955) Joseph Martin McCabe was born at 14 Chestergate, Macclesfield, Cheshire, but his family moved to Manchester, near Gorton Monastery, while he was a child. He trained there as a Franciscan Friar from the age of 15. Father Antony His novitiate year took place in Killarney, after which he was moved to St […]

Gustav Spiller

(1864 – 1940) Gustav Spiller was a member of the Ethical Societies that preceded the modern Humanist movement. He wrote a number of secular hymns and books including a history of these Societies, and on psychology. Spiller was a Jew born in Budapest, Hungary but later naturalised as English. By the late 1880’s Spiller worked for the Labour […]


Johanna Mary [Hanna] Sheehy-Skeffington, (1877-1946) Francis Sheehy-Skeffington (1878–1916) Owen Lancelot Sheehy-Skeffington (1909-1970) The Sheehy-Skeffingtons – the feminist and Irish nationalist Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington, her husband, the pacifist, suffragist and writer, Francis, and their son, Owen, a founder member of the Humanist Association or Ireland – were notable Irish atheists. Hanna and Francis Born into the Roman […]

Olaf Stapledon

(10 May, 1886 – 6 September, 1950) William Olaf Stapledon was a British philosopher and author of several influential works of science fiction. Stapledon was born in Seacombe, Wallasey and educated at Abbotsholme School and Balliol College, Oxford, where he acquired a BA in Modern History in 1909 and a MA in 1913. During World War […]

Stanton Coit

(11 August 1857 – 15 February 1944) Stanton George Coit co-founded the Union of Ethical Societies, which was the forerunner of the present British Humanist Association. Coit was born in Columbus, Ohio. He studied at Amherst College, Massachusetts, 1879, and became an aide of Felix Adler who had founded the Society for Ethical Culture in […]

Karl Marx

(5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) Karl Heinrich Marx was a German political philosopher who wrote about economics and politics. His ideas played a significant role in the development of modern communism. Marx argued that capitalism, like previous socioeconomic systems, would inevitably produce internal tensions which would lead to its destruction. Just as capitalism […]

Margaret Knight

(November 23, 1903 – May 10, 1983) Margaret Kennedy Knight was a psychologist, broadcaster and humanist. Born in Hertfordshire, England, Knight went to Girton College, Cambridge University. In her third year there she found the “moral courage”, as she put it, to finally abandon the religious beliefs she had long been uneasy with. Psychologist Between 1926 and 1936 […]