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.

African-American leaders have been vital to making America strong.

Harlem Hellfighter Receives Congressional Medal of Honor Posthumously

Henry Lincoln Johnson (1897-1929), who served valiantly as part ofHarlem Hellfighter the 369th regiment (known as the Harlem Hellfighters) received the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously in a ceremony at the White House on June 2, 2015, almost one hundred years after his return from war.

At the same White House ceremony, Sgt. William Shemin (1896-1973) , another World War I hero, was also honored with the Congressional Medal of Honor. Shemin had faced discrimination because he was Jewish.

“We are a nation, a people, who remember our heroes,” President Barack Obama said of the two men, according to press reports. “They both left us decades ago, before we could give them the full recognition that they deserve. But it’s never too late to say thank you.

“It takes our nation too long, sometimes, to say so,” he continued. “We have work to do as a nation to make sure that all of our heroes’ stories are told. The least we can do is to say, ‘We know who you are, we know what you did for us. We are forever grateful.’”

Johnson is only the second African American to receive the Medal of Honor for World War I service. 

Continue reading…

"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

Emancipation Day
Slaveholding was still a way of life for some residents of Washington, D.C. even after the Civil War began.  But in 1862 that changed. The D.C. Emancipation Act was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on April 16, 1862, and it granted immediate emancipation to all slaves within… Continue reading »

James Reese Europe
James Reese Europe (1880-1919) was a gifted musician who achieved numerous firsts in bringing African-American musicians and music into the mainstream.  As a conductor and composer, he is credited with bringing ragtime and jazz to European audiences. He enlisted in what was to become the 369th… Continue reading »

Matthew Henson
Matthew Henson (1866-1955) was hired by explorer Robert Peary (1856-1920) to be his valet; Peary saw in the young man the potential to be an asset on future expeditions. Henson proved his worth as Peary’s most skilled and reliable member of many expeditions, including numerous attempts to… Continue reading »

Dorothy Dandridge
Dorothy Dandridge (1922-1965) was a successful actress and singer. She started performing as a child in local variety shows, and then eventually made a career for herself in films. Her portrayal of the lead role in Carmen Jones brought her positive acclaim, including the honor of being … Continue reading »

Black America
Black America was the brainchild of Nate Salsbury (1846-1902), the man who was also behind the very successful, long-running Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. In 1894 Salsbury found Brooklyn’s Ambrose Park free for a time, since the Wild West Show had just decamped to a new city. Salsbury… Continue reading »

Major Taylor
Marshall “Major” Taylor (1878-1932) was a champion cyclist who set numerous world records and was the first African-American cyclist to become an international sports star. At the time Taylor raced, cycling was a relatively young sport, but its popularity grew quickly. Endurance races, long distance races, and sprints… Continue reading »

This Day in History

On October 10, 1845, the United States Naval Academy opened in Annapolis, Maryland, with 50 students and seven professors. It was known as the Naval School until 1850 when it became the U.S. Naval Academy. At that point, the Academy began to require four years of academic study in combination with at-sea training on a U.S. Navy ship each summer.

site by: Deyo Designs
Copyright © 2011-2014 Kate Kelly, America Comes Alive | Site Map
Follow Kate >
Get every new post on America Comes Alive! delivered to your inbox.