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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

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... 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 Green Created the Green Book–A Travel Guide for African Americans

• Victor Green's book (The Negro Motorist Green Book), was a travel guide for African Americans. It was needed because of Jim Crow laws. During... 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 »

Charlotta Spears Bass (1874-1969): Newspaper Owner Who Fought for Civil Rights

• First African-American woman to own and operate a newspaper • Crusaded against job and housing discrimination, police brutality, and media stereotyping. Advocated for civil... continue »

The California Eagle: A Newspaper for a Black Readership That Was Ahead of Its Time

The California Eagle, a newspaper for black residents of Southern California, was the brain child of John James Neimore (1862-1912). Neimore, a California newcomer, observed... continue »