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.


Why Emancipation Day is Held April 16 in Washington, D.C.

Slaveholding was still a way of life for some residents of Emancipation DayWashington, 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 the District of Columbia as well as compensation of up to $300 per slave to loyal Unionist slaveholders.  This was nine months before Lincoln issued the broader Emancipation Proclamation.

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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


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 »

Marie Van Brittan Brown
Marie Van Brittan Brown and her husband, Albert, created an early closed-circuit television system to be used for home monitoring.  That security system was the forerunner of all advanced home security technology in use today.  How Marie Van Brittan Brown Became an Inventor Marie Van Brittan (1922-1999)… Continue reading »

This Day in History

On June 1,1980, CNN (Cable News Network), the world’s first 24-hour television news network, went on the air for the first time. CNN made news reporting a round-the-clock affair, thereby making it possible for people to tune into the news whenever they wanted to, instead of waiting for scheduled broadcasts.

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