Back To School With The HistoryMakers brings African American leaders into Florida – area schools

Henrietta Mays Smith, Niara Sudarkasa and Richard Love
Henrietta Mays Smith, Niara Sudarkasa and Richard Love

Back To School With The HistoryMakers brings African American leaders into Florida – area schools

Submitted by Lawrence Perea

The HistoryMakers


    CHICAGO, ILL  – On Friday, Sept. 28, 2012, as students begin a new school year, librarian Henrietta Mays Smith, social activist and former president of Lincoln University Niara Sudarkasa, and publisher of The Long Beach Times, Richard Love, will join hundreds of African American HistoryMakers across the nation for the 3rd Annual Back To School With The HistoryMakers program to “Commit” to excellence and finishing their education.

    Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is chairing the nationwide effort with the goal of having nearly 500 Black leaders descend upon schools in 79 cities and 35 states, in addition to Puerto Rico. The program puts HistoryMakers in direct contact with over 25,000 students across the nation to tell their stories and to encourage youth to strive for excellence.

    The theme of the day is “Commit”, The HistoryMakers will personally recount their own school experiences and the struggles they encountered on their paths to success and, most importantly, to encourage students to “Commit” to their education.   

    The HistoryMakers Founder and Executive Director, Julieanna Richardson, states, “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. ”

    Richardson is encouraging educators everywhere to use The HistoryMakers’ digital archive to enrich their students’ exposure to the contributions of African Americans across the globe. This year, schools participating in the event will receive a free one-year membership for the digital archive, which includes extensive easy to access interviews with 310 individuals.


Blanche Ely High School — Pompano Beach, Fla.

    Librarian Henrietta Mays Smith was born on May 2, 1922, in Harlem, a neighborhood in New York, New York. Smith earned her B.A. degree from Hunter College in 1943 and her B.S.L.S. degree from Columbia University in 1946. She became a children’s librarian and storyteller. In 1955, she moved to Florida and worked in the school media department of the Broward Public School System. During the summers, she returned to New York where she worked as a storyteller, and in 1959, received her M.S.L.S. degree from Columbia University. Smith completed her education in 1975 with her Ph.D. from the University of Miami. After working for the Florida Atlantic University for 10 years in the College of Education, she joined the faculty at the University of South Florida’s School of Library and in 1985, became the first African American faculty member at the University of South Florida. She retired in 1993 and since then has been active in a number of organizations, most notably the American Library Association and the Coretta Scott King Task Force. In 2008, the American Library Association honored Dr. Smith as the 2008 recipient of the Association for Library Service to Children’s (ALSC) Distinguished Service Award.


Dillard High School — Fort Lauderdale Fla.

    Academic administrator and anthropology professor Niara Sudarkasa was born Gloria Al-bertha Marshall on Aug. 14, 1938 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She accepted early admission to Fisk University on a Ford Foundation Scholarship when she was just 15 years old. She earned her A.B. degree in anthropology and English from Oberlin College in 1957. Sudarkasa received her M.A. degree in and Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University in 1959 and 1964, respectively. Her teaching career included tenures at Columbia, New York University and the University of Michigan. In 1987, she became the first woman to serve as president of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. She is the author of numerous publications, holds 13 honorary degrees and is the recipient of nearly 100 civic and professional awards. In 2001, Sudarkasa became the first African American to be installed as a Chief in the historic Ife Kingdom of the Yoruba of Nigeria.


Back to school with History

    Prominent newspaper publisher Richard Love was born on June 24, 1938, in Hahira, Ga. Love attended Kentucky State University, but left following his freshman year to join the military. In 1964, Love was recruited to work on vice president Hubert Humphrey’s defense team.

    The next year, Love became a real estate appraiser for World Savings, where he also worked as a housing consultant for the Urban League. Love worked in real estate for nearly a decade, primarily as a housing co-ordinator of land-based properties in Dade County, Fla. There, he wrote for the community newsletter. After moving to Westwood, Calif., in 1985, he surveyed the community to gauge support for a Black newspaper. After receiving positive responses, he established The Long Beach Times, where he continues to work as writer, editor and publisher. Love is highly regarded as the founder of the Long Beach Chapter of African American Commerce.

    Last year’s successful program sent 458 HistoryMakers into 286 schools, 36 states and 112 cities and included a variety of HistoryMakers, such as rapper Common, former Senator Roland Burris, President Obama’s advisor Valerie Jarrett, and actress Marla Gibbs. Many of our HistoryMakers have now adopted a school, one of the goals of the initiative.

    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.  To date, the organization has interviewed over 2,000 HistoryMakers, with the goal of creating an archive of 5,000 interviews (30,000 hours) for the establishment of a one-of-a-kind digital archive.

    For more information, visit The HistoryMakers website at and
The HistoryMakers Education page at


About Carma Henry 24110 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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