History Makes program aims to inspire African-American students

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Hundreds of influential African-Americans spoke to students across the country today with messages meant to inspire.

Sharing pieces of their own life stories and successes to inspire a younger generation, 400 influential African Americans spoke to students this morning at 200 schools nationwide.

It was part of the 6th annual Back to School program by the History Makers, a nonprofit organization started by Julieanna Richardson a dozen years ago to preserve the history of what she calls well known and unsung African Americans.

Their inspiring stories are just a handful of the 2700 interviews housed in the Library of Congress and online.  They are artists, scientists, civic leaders and media makers to name a few.

In Chicago, Thomas Burrell spoke to students at Robeson High School in Englewood today, his alma mater.

He founded the nation’s largest African American advertising company.  Despite a rough start in life on Chicago’s south side, he is a history maker.

Among the speakers at schools across Chicago was Secretary of State Jesse White.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joined CPS CEO Forrest Claypool and other leaders this morning at Robeson High urging students to lay out a plan for a successful future.

History Makers have spent 12 years working on their archive to address what they call a lack of hope in the culture today.

They are gifting access to the digital archive to all CPS schools involved today in hopes seniors graduate with goals to make a little history themselves.

More info: http://www.thehistorymakers.com/

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