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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

Martin Luther King, Jr: Thoughts To Live By

This weekend we mark the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who changed America, and was only 39 when he was killed for... continue »

Mary Fields (ca. 1832-1914): First African-American Woman to Carry the Mail

First African-American woman employed to carry the U.S. mail; Traveled the mail route for central Montana for more than ten years. Mary Fields was born... continue »

Jackie Ormes (1911-1986), First African-American Female Cartoonist

Ormes’ comic strips were syndicated in black newspapers in the 1930s and ‘40s, making her the only nationally syndicated black woman cartoonist until the 1990s.... continue »

Maggie Lena Walker (1864-1934), First Woman to Be a Bank President

Maggie Lena Walker was born in 1864 to Elizabeth Draper, a former slave who worked at the Richmond home of Elizabeth Van Lew, an abolitionist... continue »

Sgt. William Carney, Jr. (1840-1908) Medal of Honor Recipient

• Took decisive action in the Battle of Fort Wagner, earning him the Congressional Medal of Honor. • Though he is the first African-American soldier... continue »

Woman-Owned, Minority-Owned Construction Company Marks 108 Years and Counting

"The road to success is always under construction," aptly quotes Cheryl McKissack Daniel, President and CEO of McKissack & McKissack, a New York construction company... continue »

Lorraine Hansberry 3rd (1930-1965), Influential Playwright

Youngest American and first black playwright to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award First black woman to have a play on Broadway Active... continue »

Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806): Astronomer, Surveyor, Scientist, Writer

African-American scientist, surveyor, author of almanacs  Benjamin Banneker was not only a contemporary of the Founding Fathers but from the evidence he left, he was... continue »

Benjamin Banneker’s Letter to Thomas Jefferson, 1791

Prior to the publication of his first almanac, Benjamin Banneker decided to send a pre-publication manuscript to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, along with a... continue »

Addison Jones (ca. 1845-1926), Black Cowboy and Range Boss

Known as the most noted black cowboy that ever ‘topped off’ a horse Became well-known and respected in a world of anonymous cowhands Just as... continue »

Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005), Seven Terms in Congress (NY)

First African-American woman elected to Congress First woman to run for Democratic presidential nomination (1972); Margaret Chase Smith had run for Republican nomination in 1964... continue »

Ann Petry (1908-1997), Successful Novelist

One of first writers to address the experiences of black women Her book, The Street, was the first book by an African-American woman to sell... continue »