*Chicago – On Friday, September 28, 2012, as students begin a new school year, 101 year old “Bloody Sunday” civil rights pioneer, Amelia Boynton Robinson, neo soul artists Kindred the Family Soul (Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon), singer and actress Freda Charcelia Payne, and actor Harry J. Lennix will join hundreds of African American HistoryMakers across the nation for the 3rd Annual Back to School With The HistoryMakers program 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 nearly 500 black leaders descend upon schools in 77 cities and 35 states, in addition to Puerto Rico. The program puts HistoryMakers in direct contact with over 55,000 students across the nation to tell their 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 they encountered on their paths to success and, most importantly, to encourage students to COMMIT to their education.
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 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 easy to access interviews with 310 individuals.
Last year’s successful program sent 458 HistoryMakers into 286 schools, 36 states and 112 cities and included a variety of HistoryMakers, such as rapper Common, former Senator Roland Burris, President Obama’s advisor Valerie Jarrett, and actress Marla Gibbs. 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 digital archive.