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

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... continue »

Long Overdue Honor for Harry McAlpin; Broke the Color Line of the White House Press Corps

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... continue »

Valaida Snow (1904-1956): Jazz Pioneer and “Queen of the Trumpet”

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... continue »

Jackie “Moms” Mabley (1894-1975): Trailblazing Comedian

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... continue »

Charles “Teenie” Harris (1908-1998): Photographer and Chronicler of African-American Life

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... continue »

Alice Coachman (1923-2014): First African-American Woman to Win an Olympic Gold Medal

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... continue »

Charles David, Jr. (1917-1943): Selfless Coast Guard Hero of World War II

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... continue »

Marjorie Stewart Joyner (1896-1994): Inventor of a Permanent Hair-Wave Machine

Invented a permanent wave machine that added curl to straight hair and could be used to straighten curly hair Became national supervisor for more than... continue »

Hattie McDaniel (1895-1952), First African-American to Win an Oscar

First African-American woman to sing on radio First African-American to win an Oscar (Best Supporting Actress for her role in Gone with the Wind); however,... continue »

Roy Campanella (1921-1993), Negro League Superstar Chosen to Move to Major Leagues

Top National League catcher of his day Second African-American player selected to play in the Major Leagues Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame 1969... continue »

Victor Hugo Green (1892-1960), Creator of the Green Book–First Travel Guide for African-Americans

• Created The Negro Motorist Green Book, a travel guide for African-Americans that was needed because of Jim Crow laws • Civic leader and postal... continue »

Eddie Anderson (1905-1977): Created Role of Rochester

• First African American to have a regular role on a nationwide radio--and then television--program • Though the character of Rochester was a valet, Anderson,... continue »