For the second annual Back to School with the HistoryMakers program, 500 African American leaders will visit classrooms in 34 different states and 107 cities nationwide, including Puerto Rico, on Sept. 23 to recount their school experiences and struggles as they navigated toward their careers.
HistoryMakers, a Chicago. Ill.-based group that archives background about important figures in the African American experience said they will send African American notables across the country to make “sustained contact with young people” and encourage young people to embrace education and achievement.
“Our HistoryMakers embody our commitment to education and are a wonderful example of true service–service that can literally change the course of the lives of thousands of young people,” said Julieanna Richardson, HistoryMakers founder and executive director. “This is just the beginning as we are making our digital collection of more than 8,000 hours of video testimony available, free of charge, to all participating schools.”
Notables this year include activist Rev. Al Sharpton, Broadway choreographer George Faison, poet Nikki Giovanni, actress T’Keyah Crystal Keymah, author/filmmaker Antwone Fisher and more.
Organizations that have joined HistoryMakers include the Faison Firehouse Respect Project, DC-CAP, the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, the National Education Association, the Arnold Family Foundation, the Science, Engineering and Mathematics Link, Inc., the Fernbank Science Center, the Alabama Departments of Education and Archives and History and the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum.
HistoryMakers said they are the nation’s largest African-American video oral history archive with 2,000 exclusive videotapes of well-known Blacks, including 113-year-old Louisiana Hines, who was the oldest person to be interviewed by the archive.