Outlaws break the law, and folk heroes are those that the public identify with and root for. Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor, which made him famously popular among the poor -but he was a fictional character. Ned Kelly defied authorities in Australia and was aided and abetted by regular folks along the way. History has plenty of outlaw folk heroes you’ve never heard of, like Herman Perry, a US soldier in a unit charged with building the Ledo Road in India during World War II.
A few decades before the Civil Rights Movement, African-American units received the jobs nobody else wanted to do; additionally, they worked under the supervision of white officers who had no scruples in treating them harshly. Having suffered from disease, exhaustion, and mistreatment, Herman Perry (1922-1945) finally snapped. He shot his commanding officer, who had ordered an inhumane incarceration, and hid in the jungle where he met and mixed with a native tribe, the Nagas, who were greatly feared as skilled headhunters. Perry quickly became sort of an icon for his native friends, who were happy to help him out, and his reputation skyrocketed when he married the 14-year-old daughter of a Naga chieftain.
Read the rest of Perry's story, and those of nine other folk heroes from around the world. -via the Presurfer