*Chicago – When actor Louis Gossett, Jr. was fifteen years old, he had never seen a play when his teacher suggested that he audition for a role on Broadway. By Labor Day of 1953, he was starring in Louis Peterson’s “Take a Giant Step.”
This giant step began Gossett’s acclaimed career, including roles in the original casts of “A Raisin in the Sun” and “The Blacks,” his Emmy-winning portrayal of Fiddler in “Roots,” and his Oscar-winning role in “An Officer and A Gentleman.”
Through his choice of roles, as well as through his Shamba Centers and Eracism Foundation, Gossett has committed his career to changing the portrayal of African American history in the media.
This is the kind of story that students across the country will hear on Friday, September 25, 2015, when Gossett will join singer Marilyn McCoo, music arranger Benjamin Wright, the Electronic Urban Report (EURweb)’s Lee Bailey and eleven others in Los Angeles, along with hundreds of HistoryMakers nationwide, for the 6th Annual Back to School With The HistoryMakers program.
The theme of the day is “COMMIT.” HistoryMakers will return to classrooms to give their testimony of pursuing an education, overcoming challenges on their path to success, and making a difference in their communities. Most importantly, they will encourage students to COMMIT to finishing their education.
For a full listing of all participating schools and HistoryMakers in Los Angeles, please see attached list.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is chairing the nationwide effort with the goal of having more than 400 black leaders go “back to school” in 67 cities and 32 states. The program puts HistoryMakers in direct contact with over 25,000 students in 200 schools across the nation, to inspire them with their life’s stories and to encourage youth to strive for excellence.
The HistoryMakers National Advisory Board Member Bernard Kinsey says “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 Founder and Executive Director, Julieanna Richardson, is encouraging educators everywhere to use The HistoryMakers’ Digital Archive (http://www.thehistorymakers.
This year, schools participating in the event will receive a free one-year membership for the digital archive, which includes easy-to-access interviews with over 1,000 HistoryMakers.
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. Recently, The HistoryMakers designated the Library of Congress to serve as the permanent repository for its collection of interviews.
To date, the organization has interviewed over 2,700 HistoryMakers with the goal of creating an archive of 5,000 interviews for the establishment of a one-of-a-kind Digital Archive.
For more information, visit The HistoryMakers website at www.thehistorymakers.com.
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