October 17, 2013
LAWT Wire Service
On Friday, September 27, 2013, hundreds of notable African Americans visited schools across the United States with the united goal to encourage students to COMMIT to excellence and their education. Participating HistoryMakers recounted their own school experiences and the struggles that they encountered on their paths to success.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan chaired the nationwide effort, with the goal of having almost 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.
Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, along with Julieanna Richardson, founder and executive director of The HistoryMakers and Ernest Green, who was one of the Little Rock Nine, visited H.D. Woodson High School, on the northeastern side of Washington, D.C. The school is housed within a brand new building, with modern technology and resources, but still faces challenges such as a 40% truancy rate.
Still in D.C., Oliver McGee, professor of mechanical engineering at Howard University, visited School Without Walls Senior High School, where he met “extraordinary students.” He is “now a committed partner” with the school, and will continue to work with students and provide guidance on their senior science projects. In response to a student’s e-mail requesting help on his senior project on aircraft vertical stabilizer assembly design modifications, Professor McGee wrote:
“I'd be happy to assist you on your senior project at Foggy Bottom School Without Walls Senior High. Please feel free to call me to discuss your project further, so I can also give you some good topical questions about turbo machinery aerodynamics.”
Other HistoryMakers have shared positive stories from their visits. Oceanographer, Evan Forde, reflected upon his experience at Brownsville Middle School in Miami, stating, “I learned how great the need is in the inner city, and how important it is for me and others like me to share myself with the community!” Chicago-based venture capitalist, Michelle Collins, added from her visit to the University of Chicago Charter School that “every child is curious, wants to know ‘how’, and seeks to understand.”
The HistoryMakers’ Founder and Executive Director, Julieanna Richardson, is encouraging those within the African American community to give back.
“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.”
The HistoryMakers is donating subscriptions of The HistoryMakers Digital Archive (http://www.thehistorymakers.com/digital-archive) to participating schools. The digital archive includes extensive and easy-to-access interviews with life stories of over 600 HistoryMakers.