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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

Sports, Cars & Other Pastimes

Dorothy Arzner, First Female Director in Hollywood Studio System

Dorothy Arzner (1897-1979) was a Hollywood film director.  A woman director was a rarity in the early days of filmmaking. She directed films from 1926-1943... continue »

Black Jockey Hall of Famer Isaac Burns Murphy

Isaac Burns Murphy (1861-1896) is considered one of the all-time great jockeys in Thoroughbred racing.  He was the first black jockey to be inducted into... continue »

Kenny Washington: Broke Color Line in NFL

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... continue »

Scrabble: How It Began

The Scrabble Brand Crossword Game began as the idea of Alfred Mosher Butts (1899-1993), an architect who found himself... continue »

Route 66 Opening Celebrated with Mixed-Race Contest

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... continue »

The Dog That Played Lassie

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... continue »

Strongheart: An Action-Adventure Star

Strongheart was the first dog “movie star” to appear in dramatic roles. The handsome German shepherd was fast and strong;... continue »

The Taco Bell Dog: Gidget

The Taco Bell dog, Gidget, was a 12-pound Chihuahua that was in the right place at the right time to become a big star. Taco... continue »

Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle’s Dog, Luke

Fatty Arbuckle’s dog, Luke, was one of the most talented stars of silent films.  In a day when camera tricks were technologically not possible, Luke... continue »

The Delacorte Clock in Central Park Zoo

The Delacorte Clock in Central Park has been delighting families with its carousel of animals dancing to musical chimes since it was first created in... continue »

James Reese Europe: Bandleader Who Popularized Jazz and Ragtime

James Reese Europe (1880-1919) was a gifted musician who achieved numerous firsts in bringing African-American musicians and music into the mainstream.  As a conductor and... continue »

Dorothy Dandridge, First African-American Nominated for a Best-Actress Oscar

Dorothy Dandridge (1922-1965) was a successful actress and singer. She started performing as a child in local variety shows, and then eventually made a career... continue »