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.

Oscar Micheaux: Homesteader, Bestselling Author, Filmmaker

Oscar Micheaux (1884-1951) had no mentors and no background that prepared him for any of the challenges he undertook, but he successfully amassed land in the West

Oscar Micheaux
Micheaux received the star posthumously

at a time when few African-Americans were homesteading; he published his own novels, one of which went on to be a bestseller; and he became a prolific filmmaker when the industry was in its infancy.

Early Life

Micheaux was one of eleven children born to former slaves. Oscar’s father could not read or write but was a hardworking farmer who took good care of his family and was a great role model. His mother had received some education and brought her children up reading the Scriptures. She also taught them about the wisdom of Booker T. Washington.

When Oscar was born, the family lived near Metropolis, Illinois, but they soon moved to Great Bend, Kansas where Oscar grew up. Oscar did well in school, but this set him apart from the other schoolchildren who saw no reason to work so hard. His dislike of farming coupled with is outsider-status at school led Oscar to drop out of high school to get a job.

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

better McAlpin
Eighteen months ago I profiled Harry McAlpin.  He was a reporter for the National Negro Press Association and the Atlanta Daily World covering Washington and the president, but because he was black, he was not permitted to attend the presidential press briefings. In the 1940s black editors and… Continue reading »

Valaida 1
Jazz performer and pioneer Louis Armstrong called her the “second best trumpet player” in the world; Armstrong placed himself first.  Valaida Snow was born into a show business family in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her mother taught Valaida and her siblings to perform, and from a young age, Valaida showed great… Continue reading »

color Moms Mabley
Moms was a first; no previous stand-up female comedian preceded Mabley First woman comedian to be featured at the Apollo Theater (1930s); she went on to appear there more times than any other performer. Oldest person to have a song on the Top 40 Billboard chart. Her… Continue reading »

Cotton Candy booth
Had a true photographer’s eye for capturing people doing everyday things; took more than 80,000 images during his career, mostly of daily life in Pittsburgh but also of presidents, celebrities, and civil rights leaders. Known as “One-Shot”Harris, he was skilled at making subjects feel comfortable and rarely… Continue reading »

Alice Coachman in action
World-class athlete specializing in the high jump First African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal (1948 in London); paved the way for other young women to follow their dreams She formed the Alice Coachman Track and Field Foundation to support and encourage young athletes as well… Continue reading »

Charles W. David Jr.
Enlisted in the military as soon as it was clear the U.S. was entering World War II Worked his way up in the positions open to him in a segregated military Selflessly forgot his own safety in order to rescue others Charles David, Jr., was born in New… Continue reading »

This Day in History

On September 23, 1846 German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle discovered the planet Neptune at the Berlin Observatory.  The planet has a diameter four times that of Earth, and it has eight known moons and a ring system.  In 1989, the U.S. spacecraft Voyager 2 was the first human spacecraft to visit Neptune.

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