Chicago (September, 2013) - On Friday, September 27, 2013, as students across the United States begin a new school year, civil rights leaderErnest Green of “The Little Rock Nine,” 102 year old “Bloody Sunday” civil rights pioneerAmelia Boynton Robinson, American Idol music directorRay Chew, astronaut and medical scientist Bernard Harris, the first African American to walk in space, stage and televisionactress T'Keyah Crystal Keymah from The Cosby Show, record executive Steve McKeever, founder and CEO of Hidden Beach Recordings, stage and televisionactor James Avery from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Sweet Honey in The Rock curator, music composer, and history professor Bernice Johnson Reagon, noted R&B singerOtis Williams, an original member of The Temptations, will join hundreds of African American HistoryMakers across the nation for the 4th Annual Back to School With The HistoryMakersprogram with a goal to encourage students to COMMIT to excellence and to finishing their education.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is chairing the nationwide effort with the goal of having more than 500 black leaders go “back to school” in 68 cities and 30 states. The program puts HistoryMakers in direct contact with over 25,000 students across the nation, to inspire them with their life’s stories and to encourage youth to strive for excellence.
The theme of the day is “COMMIT.” The HistoryMakers will personally recount their own school experiences and the struggles that they encountered on their paths to success and, most importantly, to encourage students to COMMIT to their education.
“I feel so enlightened, like I can do anything,” says a student from the program. The HistoryMakers Founder and Executive Director, Julieanna Richardson, states, “By bringing these living leaders into today’s educational system, we are raising awareness about the achievements of the accomplished African Americans in local communities and bringing these leaders into schools to see things firsthand, while providing important role models for today’s youth. ”
Richardson is encouraging educators everywhere to use The HistoryMakers’ digital archive (http://www.thehistorymakers.com/digital-archive) to enrich their students’ exposure to the contributions of African Americans across the globe. This year, schools participating in the event will receive a free one-year membership for the digital archive, which includes extensive and easy-to-access interviews with over 600 HistoryMakers.
Last year’s successful Back to School With The HistoryMakers program sent nearly 500 of our HistoryMakers into schools in 77 cities and 35 states, including neo soul artists Kindred the Family Soul (Fatin DantzlerandAja Graydon), singer and actressFreda Charcelia Payne, and actor Harry J. Lennix. Many of the HistoryMakers have now adopted a school, one of the goals of the initiative.
The HistoryMakers, the nation’s largest African American video oral history archive, is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit dedicated to recording and preserving the personal histories of well-known and unsung African Americans. To date, the organization has interviewed over 2,000 HistoryMakers, with the goal of creating an archive of 5,000 interviews (30,000 hours) for the establishment of a one-of-a-kind digitalarchive.