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Welcome to America Comes Alive!, a site I created to share little-known stories of America's past. These stories are about Americans - people just like you - who have made a difference and changed the course of history. Look around the site and find what inspires you. Kate Kelly
  • Asian Indians Fight for U.S. in World War I

    Nearly a quarter of the men who fought for America in World War I were foreign born, including many Asian Indians who arrived in the U.S. seeking education, a better life, and freedom from British domination of India. It...

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  • Latino Family Opened Door to School Integration in 1940s

    The school desegregation case of Mendez v. Westminster (1947) prepared the way for the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision, yet few people have heard of it. The case concerned an incident in 1943 when a woman took...

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  • President H.W. Bush’s Service Dog

    The Bush family has always had dogs and loved them with great devotion. Dogs have always seen them through challenging times. President George H.W. Bush experienced the loss of a lifetime when his wife Barbara died in April 2018....

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  • John Muir’s Dog Stickeen

    Stickeen wasn’t even naturalist John Muir’s dog, yet he was Muir’s faithful companion as the explorer made a treacherous journey across a glacier in the southeastern section of Alaska. Who Was John Muir?

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  • How Jumbo Joined the Circus

    Jumbo the elephant was identified as a possible “get” for the Barnum & Bailey circus in 1882 by a circus scout who found the elephant at the London Zoo. After learning of the elephant, James Bailey sent the man...

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  • Sculptor of Rushmore Gutzon Borglum

    Mount Rushmore towers commandingly over the Black Hills of South Dakota, beckoning visitors to come closer to see in detail the four faces of the U.S. presidents carved into the mountainside. The carvings themselves are so much a part...

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  • Barbara Jordan, Congresswoman and Trailblazer

    Barbara Jordan (1936-96) was a dynamic and forceful African American from Texas who made great strides for American citizens. She exhibited a positive outlook, great intelligence, a good sense of humor, and had an uncanny ability to fully engage...

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  • Louis Armstrong’s Childhood

    Louis Armstrong was one of the finest jazz musicians in the world. His work broke ground for a new style of popular American music for which he received worldwide acclaim. A virtuoso on trumpet, Louis Armstrong developed a performance...

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  • P.T. Barnum’s Early Career

    P.T. Barnum is remembered as a circus impresario and a huckster. Both those memories do him a disservice. He had a long and varied career prior to entering the circus business at the age of 67. And while he...

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  • Final Evacuation of Saigon Signaled by Song “White Christmas”

    By April 1975—after almost twenty years fighting in Vietnam–the United States began its pull-out. That winter the North Vietnamese pushed the South Vietnamese back forcefully and definitively. The Americans knew that it was over. They needed to pull out...

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  • Ronald Reagan’s Jelly Beans

    Ronald Reagan may have had a sweet tooth, but the true reason he began eating jelly beans was because he quit smoking.  Reagan, a former actor, was well-known for Chesterfield cigarette ads from the 1940s and ‘50s, but it...

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  • Sarah Keys Evans: Taking a Stand for Civil Rights

    Sarah Keys Evans did not intend to take a stand for civil rights in 1952 when she boarded an interstate bus in Trenton, New Jersey. She was on leave from Fort Dix where she served in the Women’s Army...

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  • The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion

    The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was an all-female black military unit created in 1944. These women are among the unsung heroes of World War II. The work they accomplished—hand-processing warehouses-full of undelivered mail–brought comfort to countless American soldiers...

    The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion Learn More »

  • Ace Pilot Pete Fernandez: Korean War

    Ace pilot Pete Fernandez was one of the top fighter pilots in the Korean War, but he almost didn’t see combat. He was so valuable to the military as a flight instructor that their preference was to keep him...

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  • Buster Brown Shoes and Mary Janes

    “I’m Buster Brown, and I live in a shoe. That’s my dog, Tige, and he lives there, too,” went the jingle for Buster Brown shoes. The Brown Shoe Company began in 1878 as a partnership among three St. Louis...

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Topics At America Comes Alive



Part of the inspiration for this site comes from a remark made by Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams (1860-1935)
"People do not want to hear about simple things. They want to hear about great things - simply told."

On
This
Day

On October 16, 1987, the world was gripped by an ongoing drama: a little girl, 18-month-old Jessica McClure, was trapped in an abandoned water well in Midland, Texas. She had fallen through an 8-inch opening while playing in the yard of her daycare center. After falling 22 feet down, she became stuck, and no one could reach her. The community came together, pulling in mining experts and extra equipment to dig a parallel shaft in order to then tunnel horizontally to get Jessica out. On the night of October 16, an alert but dirty
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Who Thought of That?


Once the can was invented, Americans Ezra Warren, J. Osterhoudt and William Lyman each made improvements on the can opener...

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Heroes & Trailblazers

Ruth Harkness (1900-1947), Brought First Giant Panda to U.S.

Ruth McCombs Harkness was one of four children born to hard-working parents in Titusville, Pennsylvania. Her father was a carpenter and her mother a seamstress.... continue »

Jackie Robinson: Barred from Flying to First Spring Training

We often read about Rosa Parks' bravery in refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, but... continue »
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What can one person do? Read some of the stories on this site; you'll see that they revolve around single individuals who worked toward change.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Margaret Mead