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

African-American Leaders

Septima Clark Founded Citizenship Schools

Septima Clark (1898-1987) was an educator and civil rights activist. She established Citizenship Schools that transformed the South by increasing the number of African Americans... continue »

Martin Luther King Jr. on The Declaration of Independence

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. left us with many inspirational thoughts, so it is never easy to pick just one. However, recently, I came upon... continue »

Harlem Hellfighter Receives Congressional Medal of Honor Posthumously

Henry Lincoln Johnson (1897-1929), who served valiantly as part of the 369th regiment (known as the Harlem Hellfighters) received the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously... continue »

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

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... continue »

James Reese Europe: Bandleader Who Popularized Jazz and Ragtime

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... continue »

Matthew Henson, Co-Discoverer of the North Pole

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... continue »

Dorothy Dandridge, First African-American Nominated for a Best-Actress Oscar

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... continue »

Black America: An 1895 Stage Extravaganza for the North

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... continue »

Marshall Major Taylor: Champion Cyclist

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.... continue »

Marie Van Brittan Brown: Home Security System Inventor

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... continue »

Gordon Parks, Extraordinary Photojournalist

Gordon Parks, best-remembered as a gifted photojournalist, was also an author, composer and film director, achieving remarkable success in each field. His journalistic platform in Life magazine... continue »

Ebony Fashion Fair and Eunice Johnson

Eunice Johnson (1916-2010) and her husband, John H. Johnson (1918-2005) created a... continue »