10 Famous Accomplishments Made Late in Life


Gandhi and Granny D Walk for a Cause

Gandhi during the Salt March to Dandi.
Gandhi during the Salt March to Dandi.
Topical Press Agency/Stringer/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Throughout his life, Mahatma Gandhi demonstrated how to fight for a cause in a nonviolent way. One of the most important acts in his quest for Indian independence occurred in 1930, when Gandhi was 61. That year, Gandhi led the Salt March to Dandi to protest the salt tax the British had imposed on the people of India. Weighing just 99 pounds (45 kilograms), Gandhi set out to walk approximately 200 miles (320 kilometers) with a group of followers [source: Weber]. He even carried his own luggage when he saw a family member pass it off to a servant. The journey took three weeks and ended with Gandhi illegally collecting a block of salt, a move that set off civil disobedience throughout the country and that is now regarded by historians as a central moment in the fight for Indian independence.

Even those who feel they can't compare to a luminary like Gandhi should be heartened by another impressive walk for a cause. In 1999, at the age of 89, Doris Haddock began walking the 3,200 miles (5,150 kilometers) between Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. to raise awareness for the issue of campaign finance reform. Granny D, as she is popularly known, walked 10 miles (16 kilometers) a day on her journey, even skiing when conditions required it. She relied on the kindness of strangers for her housing and meals over the 14 months that her walk took. In 2004, Granny D unsuccessfully pursued a seat in the U.S. Senate, making her one of the oldest candidates for major public office.