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.


Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell: Fashion Model, Entrepreneur, Publisher

Ophelia DeVore (1921-2014) began her modeling career in 1938 Ophelia DeVorewhen 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 men and women from different backgrounds. Diahann Carroll was one of several well-known names she represented.

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


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 »

Septima Clark
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 who could vote. Her acclaim came from many: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called Septima Clark the “mother of the… Continue reading »

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 »

Fannie Farmer
Fannie Farmer (1857-1915) became famous as an author of a highly popular cookbook that broke new ground by specifying exact measurements in its recipes. She also served as principal of a cooking school and frequently lectured on good cooking and the science of nutrition. She accomplished all this… Continue reading »

This Day in History

On September 24, 1789, Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1789. It was signed by President George Washington, and it established that the Supreme Court would be made up of six justices who were to serve on the court until death or retirement. John Jay was appointed to be the first Chief Justice. During the 19th century, the number of justices varied before stabilizing in 1869 at nine. In times of constitutional crisis, the nation’s highest court has always played a definitive role in resolving the most vexing issues of the time.

 

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