This Friday, September 23rd, students across the US will benefit from the wisdom, experience and compassion of 500 HistoryMakers as part of their 2nd Annual Back To School Program. A nonprofit organization, The HistoryMakers is the nation’s largest African American video oral history archive. This year’s event will bring 500 HistoryMakers to participating schools in 109 cities within 35 states to speak on their path to success, while sharing some of the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

The 2nd Annual Back To School With The HistoryMakers national participants include Senior Advisor to President Obama Valarie Jarrett, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, former Ambassador Andrew Young, Broadway choreographer George Faison, poet Nikki Giovanni, actress T’Keyah Crystal Keymah, Common, Rev. Al Sharpton, Sonia Sanchez, and Melba Moore.

The theme of the one day event, “COMMIT,” is meant to encourage students not just to dream, but to achieve, or as HistoryMakers Founder and Executive Director, Julieanna Richardson, puts it,

“By bringing these living legends into the schools, 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.”

HistoryMakers is a unique and extremely vital resource that paints a picture of the African American experience prior to the 20th century. The HistoryMakers highlight “stories of success against the odds, of achievement in the face of adversity, and of inspiration.” From the high to low profile, they serve to tell “America’s missing stories,” adding a rich, complex dimension to American history. And on Friday, hundreds of children will be able to benefit from their commitment to education and enrichment on a personal level.

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