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.

Pop culture is as American as apple pie. Enjoy the stories behind favorite hobbies, sports, and collectibles.

Black Jockey Hall of Famer Isaac Burns Murphy

Isaac Burns Murphy (1861-1896) is considered one of the all-time black jockey Isaac Murphygreat jockeys in Thoroughbred racing.  He was the first black jockey to be inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame. Among his many credits were three wins at the Kentucky Derby and four wins at Chicago’s American Derby, the most prestigious track in the late 1800s.

By his own calculation, Isaac Murphy won 44 percent of his races. More recent statisticians who have studied his races report that his percentage is more likely 34 percent—530 wins and 1538 rides. That’s still a very impressive record.

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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

Kenny Washington
Kenny Washington (1918-1971) was the first African American to sign with an NFL team after a 13-year unspoken pact among owners to bar black football players from teams. Kenny Washington signed with the Los Angeles Rams in 1946, pre-dating baseball legend Jackie Robinson’s 1947 signing with the Brooklyn… Continue reading »

Candy Land has had a long and illustrious history. It has been a top seller for almost 70 years, and in 2005 the game was added to the National Toy Hall of Fame. The game was created in the 1940s by a school teacher who was… Continue reading »

The Scrabble Brand Crossword Game began as the idea of Alfred Mosher Butts (1899-1993), an architect who found himself unemployed during the Great Depression. Butts, who lived with his wife in Jackson Heights, New York, was not one to feel sorrow for himself when he… Continue reading »

Progress often grows from zany ideas. When we look back at the history of the automobile, we see one of those circumstances. Robert Guggenheim, a wealthy member of the Guggenheim family, thought it would be great fun to hold a coast-to-coast car race in the United States.  This was a pretty crazy idea for 1909.  There weren’t that many cars… Continue reading »

Route 66 Race
The First International Transcontinental Foot Race was held in the United States in 1928. The event was organized through the combined efforts of the Route 66 Association and sports promoter, Charles C. Pyle. The purpose was to build interest in the newly opened Route 66—a road… Continue reading »

Lassie became a movie star despite starting life as a spirited, unwanted pup. In 1940 Rudd Weatherwax and his brother, Frank, had just started their own Studio Dog Training School, opting to run their own business rather than continue to work for others.  A man who was having difficulty… Continue reading »

This Day in History

On February 16, 1923, English archaeologist Howard Carter entered the sealed burial chamber of the ancient Egyptian ruler King Tutankhamen. The tomb had not been disturbed since the original burial, and its contents revealed a great deal to scientists and historians. Examples from the tomb were put together for a traveling exhibit so that people everywhere could see what the tomb contained.

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