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  • WWII WASP Mascot Created by Roald Dahl and Disney Studios

    Roald Dahl and Walt Disney Studios collaborated to create what became the mascot for the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). She was a fairy-like female gremlin known as Fifinella.

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  • Frank Lloyd Wright’s Inspiration for a Doghouse

    Frank Lloyd Wright is among the best-known architects in the world, but few know that among his commissions was a doghouse. How It Came About After Frank Lloyd Wright designed a home for the Berger family of San Anselmo,...

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  • Deaf Lifeguard Saved Almost 1000 From Drowning

    Leroy Colombo became deaf when he suffered spinal meningitis when he was seven years old (1912). He grew up to be a remarkably good lifeguard. Being deaf might have disqualified him for lifeguarding under certain circumstances, but Leroy’s deafness...

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  • Cracker Jack: Ever-Popular Baseball Snack

    Cracker Jack holds the spot as “most famous of baseball snacks.” Remarkably, it has held that honor for over 100 years. The snack itself began as a simple, inexpensive confection sold by street vendors in Chicago.  The story of...

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  • Hazel Ying Lee: First Female Chinese American Military Pilot

    Hazel Ying Lee broke barriers by becoming the first female Chinese-American pilot to fly for the military during World War II. Women were not permitted by the U.S. military to fly overseas missions, but they assumed responsibility for the...

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  • Sybil Ludington, 16, Helped Patriots in Revolutionary War

    Sybil Ludington is known for her 40-mile night ride through parts of New York and Connecticut to alert American Patriots that the British military had come ashore in Connecticut and were marching inland. The date was April 26, 1777,...

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  • Mary Ellen Pleasant, Entrepreneur and Abolitionist

    Abolitionist and successful Gold Rush entrepreneur Mary Ellen Pleasant was a free woman of mixed-race who dedicated her life to equality for African Americans. From helping with the Underground Railroad to suing for the right to ride on segregated...

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  • Horace Pippin: Gifted Painter and Harlem Hellfighter

    When it  became clear that the U.S. would enter World War I, Horace Pippin left his job with a moving company in Paterson, New Jersey and enlisted. He was 29 and was placed in the 369th  Colored Infantry Regiment...

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  • Martin Luther King Jr. and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

    Martin Luther King, Jr. was 25 years old when he and his new wife, Coretta, moved to Montgomery, Alabama in 1954. He was to be pastor of Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. Less than one year later, Rosa Parks...

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  • Jack Abernathy: Catching Live Wolves Bare-Handed

    Jack Abernathy was a rough-and-tumble Texas cowboy who feared nothing. He achieved fame for devising a method to capture live wolves bare-handed. He then sold them to zoos and entertainment companies around the country.

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  • Children Teddy Roosevelt Admired

    Teddy Roosevelt had his own sons and daughters whom he loved deeply, but two children, Louis (called Bud) and Temple Abernathy, became his friends while he was in the White House. Roosevelt admired Bud and Temple for living the...

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  • Bugle Calls and the Origin of TAPS

    Communication on a military battlefield or in camp is vital, but before technological advances, spreading information and commands was challenging. Messengers were used to communicate among commanders, but the difficulty was great when informing large groups of men.

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  • Asian Indians Fight for U.S. in World War I

    Nearly a quarter of the men who fought for America in World War I were foreign born, including many Asian Indians who arrived in the U.S. seeking education, a better life, and freedom from British domination of India. It...

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  • Latino Family Opened Door to School Integration in 1940s

    The school desegregation case of Mendez v. Westminster (1947) prepared the way for the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision, yet few people have heard of it. The case concerned an incident in 1943 when a woman took...

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  • President H.W. Bush’s Service Dog

    The Bush family has always had dogs and loved them with great devotion. Dogs have always seen them through challenging times. President George H.W. Bush experienced the loss of a lifetime when his wife Barbara died in April 2018....

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Topics At America Comes Alive



Part of the inspiration for this site comes from a remark made by Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams (1860-1935)
"People do not want to hear about simple things. They want to hear about great things - simply told."

On
This
Day

On June 19, 1905, showman Harry Davis opened the first-ever nickelodeon (theater) in Pittsburgh, PA. Soon nickelodeons were opening across the country. They were named for the cost charged each patron (5 cents) and the Greek word for “theater.” The shows generally featured live vaudeville acts and the showing of short silent films.

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Who Thought of That?


Bubble gum was the dream of the Frank Fleer, but it took an accountant at Fleer Corporation to come up with the right recipe.

Learn More »

Heroes & Trailblazers

America’s First Ladies and their Jewelry

The types of jewelry the various first ladies wore and what they spent on their adornments gives an interesting lens through which to view a... continue »

Nancy Kelsey: First Woman to Travel to California by Wagon Train

Nancy Kelsey (1823-1896) was 17 years old and the mother of an infant daughter when she became the first woman to travel to California on... continue »
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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