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.

This section began as a celebration of March and Women’s History Month; it continues as a regular feature because there are so many unrecognized women who have made major contributions to history.


Septima Clark Founded Citizenship Schools

Septima Clark (1898-1987) was an educator and civil rights activist. Septima Clark Founded Citizenship SchoolsShe established Citizenship Schools that transformed the South by increasing the number of African Americans who could vote.

Her acclaim came from many: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called Septima Clark the “mother of the civil rights movement.” Former Congressman, Ambassador, and fellow activist Andrew Young described the Citizenship Schools as “laying the foundation” for all that was to follow.

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


Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) grew up in a family who cared deeply about social issues, including the abolition of slavery. Stowe chose to use the power of words to bring to light the injustice of slavery. She wrote: “…the enslaving of the African race is a… Continue reading »

vintage flag
Mary Pickersgill (1776-1857) was a well-regarded flagmaker in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1813 she was approached by U.S. military representatives to make an oversized United States flag that would fly over Fort McHenry, the army post that guarded the Baltimore harbor. This flag was to become what we know… Continue reading »

Amanda Theodosia Jones
Amanda Theodosia Jones (1835-1914) was a multi-talented woman who was a prolific inventor and a frequently published writer.  Her inventions were in two very different fields—food preservation/canning, and the use of oil as a fuel for furnaces.  In 1890 she also started and ran an all-woman… Continue reading »

Alice Ramsey in duster
In 1909 Alice Huyler Ramsey (1886-1983) became the first woman ever to drive from coast-to-coast.  Horatio Nelson Jackson (and his dog, Bud), who had made a San Francisco-to-New York drive in 1903, inspired interest in the challenge; Ramsey was the first woman who opted… Continue reading »

rose-hat
Rose Knox (1857-1950) was active in the Knox Gelatin Company from the start of the business in 1891, and she became president and CEO in 1908 when her husband Charles died unexpectedly. When Rose Knox took over, she re-oriented the company marketing to more directly address women…. Continue reading »

Gertrude Kasebier
Gertrude Käsebier was an American portrait photographer and one of the few professional women in the photography business at the turn of the century. Because Käsebier trained as a painter, she brought an artist’s sensitivity to portraiture that was not… Continue reading »

This Day in History

On February 11, 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln left his home in Springfield, Illinois, on his way to Washington, D.C. for his inauguration. These were his words on departure: “Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young man to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being… I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail… To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”

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