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.


Escaped Slave Arthur Crumpler Took Pride in Learning

Arthur Crumpler escaped slavery and overcame the fact that slaves

escaped slave
Sketch of Arthur Crumpler, Boston Daily Globe from 1898

were prevented from learning to read or write; he attended night school when he was in his sixties. The article in The Boston Daily Globe in 1898 about him as a good student was a well-deserved bonus but he had already lived a full and productive life.

Arthur Crumpler’s Early Life

Crumpler was born a slave in Southampton County, Virginia. He belonged to Robert Adams who owned the estate where his mother worked. Arthur’s father, Samuel, a slave on a neighboring plantation, was owned by a white man named Benjamin Crumpler. While Arthur belonged to his mother’s master, he took his name from the surname his father must have used. 

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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


Grace Wisher flag
Grace Wisher, age 13, was an indentured servant in the home of flag maker Mary Pickersgill of Baltimore. Pickersgill, who had taken over the business her mother started, was well known and highly regarded. The Pickersgill shop was responsible for making one of America’s most famous… Continue reading »

Triple Nickle
The Triple Nickles, as the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion was known, were a remarkable, highly-disciplined company of African American paratroopers who paved the way for integration in the military. They also overcame military skepticism by proving that African Americans could excel at jobs that required intricate training…. Continue reading »

Ophelia DeVore
Ophelia DeVore (1921-2014) began her modeling career in 1938 when she was only 16. This gave her an early understanding of how difficult it was for non-whites to be selected for fashion photography or for advertising commissions. This led DeVore to start a modeling agency to represent… Continue reading »

Bessie Blount
Bessie Blount (1914-2009) was a physical therapist who found herself working with injured soldiers during World War II. She recognized their need and desire to do more on their own, and she invented an assistive device that permitted people who had lost limbs to feed themselves. … Continue reading »

This Day in History

On September 1, 1836, Narcissa Whitman arrived in Walla Walla, Washington, and became one of the first Anglo women to settle west of the Rocky Mountains. She and her husband, Marcus, were missionaries who hoped to convert the “heathens” to Christianity.  They established a mission for the Cayuse Indians and lived in peace for a time, but in 1847, a measles epidemic wiped out most of the Indians. The white people seemed to have immunity. This angered the remaining Indians. They attacked the mission and killed all the white people there, including Narcissa.

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