You won’t want to miss our all-out final night of programming for The HistoryMakers 20@2020, where we will be joined by our largest and most-stellar cast of hosts and performers yet. Honorary and Program Chairs The Honorable Eric Holder and Dr. Sharon Malone, Eric Johnson, Ken and Andrea Frazier, and Ken Chenault will provide remarks on the events of the past twenty days and nights as well as what to look forward to in the future. Dee Dee Bridgewater, Nikki Giovanni, Savion Glover, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Robert Cray, Denyce Graves, Monica Haslip/Black Pearl, and Mumu Fresh/Black Thought will give outstanding performances, delightful pre-taped greetings will be shared from Toni Cook Bush, Billy Glunz, Carla Hayden, David Huntley, and Sean Suggs, and it all will be presented in style by DeRay Mckesson and The Honorable Keisha Lance Bottoms. On behalf of everyone at The HistoryMakers we want to thank you for your participation in these unforgettable past few weeks as we celebrated the unique and outstanding achievements of this most vital organization and for your support in ensuring that the next twenty years bring us ever closer to our goals of preserving our history and culture for generations to come.
Eric Himpton Holder Jr. is a partner at the law firm of Covington & Burling, returning after serving as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States from 2009-2015. Holder received his B.A. degree in American history in 1973 from Columbia University, where he became active in civil rights. While at Columbia Law School, he clerked for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division in 1974 and 1975, respectively. In 1988, Holder was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to become an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He was then appointed by President Bill Clinton as the first African American to serve as the U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C. in 1993. He later served as Deputy Attorney General in 1997 alongside U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, and was appointed as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States in 2009. As the third longest serving Attorney General in U.S. history, and the first African American to hold that office, Holder has served in government for more than thirty years, having been appointed to various positions. In 2014, Time magazine named Holder to its list of 100 Most Influential People, noting that he had “worked tirelessly to ensure equal justice.”
Dr. Sharon Malone is an obstetrician, gynecologist and public figure who has consistently been voted one of Washington D.C.’s “Best Doctors” by Washingtonian Magazine. Malone received her B.A. degree in psychology from Harvard University in 1981 and her M.D. degree from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1988, following a brief intermediary position as a systems engineer with the IBM Corporation. Malone completed her residency at the George Washington University and, in 1992, went into private practice with the renowned Foxhall OB/GYN in Washington, D.C. Malone has also served as an associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the George Washington University, and presented the 2012 PBS documentary, Slavery by Another Name. Malone serves on the boards of the D.C. Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and Historic Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. She also serves on the regional panel for the selection of White House Fellows Program and was appointed to the selection committee for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction awarded by the University of Alabama School of Law.
Eric Johnson is the president and CEO of Baldwin Richardson Foods company, one of the largest African American-owned businesses in the food industry. The son of groundbreaking entrepreneur George Johnson, founder of Johnson Hair Products, Johnson graduated from Chicago's Laboratory School and attended Babson College in Boston before obtaining an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. He began his career in business at Procter & Gamble before joining the management team of his family's company. Under Johnson’s tenure as president of Johnson Hair Products, the company had the seventh best-performing stock on the American Stock Exchange in 1991. Later, Johnson acquired Baldwin Ice Cream Company, which he merged with Richardson Foods to become Baldwin/Richardson Foods (a $194 million company as of 2016). Johnson is active in civic activities and serves on numerous boards including the Boy Scouts of America, the Rochester Institute of Technology and Chicago State University. In 1998, Johnson was elected to the board of directors of Lincoln National Corporation.
Kenneth C. Frazier is a pharmaceutical executive, lawyer, and corporate general counsel who has been chairman and CEO of Merck & Co. since 2011. Frazier attended Pennsylvania State University, completing his B.A. degree with highest honors in 1975. Frazier then went on to receive his J.D. degree in 1978 from Harvard Law School. For the next fourteen years, Frazier worked as a lawyer and, eventually, partner at the Philadelphia law firm of Drinker, Biddle, & Reath. There he represented many corporate clients, including AlliedSignal and Merck & Co., Inc. However, the case which brought Frazier the most praise during this time was the pro bono work he contributed to freeing the innocent Willie “Bo” Cochran after twenty-one years on death row. Since 1992, Frazier has served in various capacities at Merck, including general counsel, secretary, and vice president. In 2007, Frazier accepted the role of president of Merck & Co., Inc, and was given the additional roles of CEO and chairman in 2011, making him the first African American to serve as CEO of a major pharmaceutical company. Frazier has served on the boards of several organizations, such as Exxon Mobil, Penn State University, and Cornerstone Christian Academy, a private charter school serving at-risk youth in Philadelphia, which he also co-founded. Due to his professional success and his position on the board of trustees, Frazier was selected to lead the investigation of the allegations against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky and university officials. Frazier has received numerous awards, including the 2001 Penn State Alumni Fellow Award, the Association of Corporate Counsel’s 2004 Excellence in Corporate Practice Award, and the Equal Justice Initiative’s 2009 Equal Justice Champion award.
Civic leader Andrea Frazier graduated from Tufts University in 1978, receiving her B.A. degree in political science with a concentration in international studies. Frazier subsequently received her M.A. degree from The City University of New York in 1980. After graduation, Frazier held several positions, including placement director at New York University of Law, recruitment administrator at the law firm of Fox Rothschild, and program manager at Cigna Insurance. In 1988, she and her husband, Kenneth Frazier, partnered with Jim Sweet to found the Cornerstone Christian Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she also served on the board of directors. In 1991, Frazier started her own interior design firm called “Frazier Design,” where she specialized in custom made pieces for local historical houses, including the home of Betsy Ross. In 2012, Frazier joined the board of directors of the Vickie and Jack Farber Institute for Neuroscience at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and, the following year, she joined the board of directors of the American Heart Association. Frazier has also served on the advisory board for the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Kenneth I. Chenault is Chairman and a Managing Director of the venture capital firm, General Catalyst. Prior to joining General Catalyst earlier this year, Ken was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Express Company, a position he held from 2001 to 2018. Under his leadership, American Express built one of the world's largest customer loyalty programs - Membership Rewards - and earned global recognition as a leader in customer service. Ken is recognized as one of the business world's experts on leadership and brand management. He has been honored by multiple publications including Fortune Magazine, which named him as one of the World's 50 Greatest Leaders in its inaugural list in 2014. Ken serves on the boards of Airbnb, Facebook, IBM, The Procter & Gamble Company, the Harvard Corporation and numerous nonprofit organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution's Advisory Council for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and Bloomberg Philanthropies. He also serves on the board of trustees for NYU Langone Health.
Opera singer Denyce Graves is a native of Washington, D.C., where she attended the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts. She continued her education at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory. Graves made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1995-96 season in the title role of Carmen. Graves has become particularly well-known to operatic audiences for her portrayals of the title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila. These signature roles have brought Graves to the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera – Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Opera National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago and countless others. In 1998, Graves received an honorary doctorate from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. She was named one of the Fifty Leaders of Tomorrow by Ebony magazine and was one of Glamour magazine’s 1997 Women of the Year. In 2003, Graves was appointed as a Cultural Ambassador for the United States. On September 25, 2020, Graves sang at the US Capitol to honor the casket of Ruth Bader Ginsburg as it was lying in state.
Dee Dee Bridgewater is a three-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and Tony Award-winning stage actress. She earned her first professional experience as a member of the legendary Thad Jones/Mel Louis Big Band, and throughout the 70’s she performed with such jazz notables as Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon and Dizzy Gillespie. She has received eight Grammy nominations for her albums, all of which she has produced, and won three. Bridgewater has also had a number of successful roles as both a film and stage actress, and won a Tony Award in 1975 for her role as “Glinda” in The Wiz. She has performed with the Terence Blanchard Quintet at the prestigious John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and opened the Shanghai JZ Jazz Festival in 2009. In addition, Bridgewater served as a United Nations Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization. Bridgewater was the first American to be inducted to the Haut Conseil de la Francophonie and has received the Award of Arts and Letters in France, as well as the country’s 1998 top honor, Victoire de la Musique.
Nikki Giovanni is a lauded spoken-word artist and Grammy-nominated poet. After receiving her B.A. degree in 1967 from Fisk University, Giovanni became involved in the Black Arts Movement, organizing the Black Arts Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1970, Giovanni founded her own publishing company, Niktom Limited. She has published more than two dozen books, including volumes of poetry, children’s books, and essay collections. In 1987, she joined the faculty of the English Department at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, where she teaches writing, poetry and literature. Giovanni has received numerous honorary degrees, seven NAACP Image Awards, and the Langston Hughes Award for Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters in 1996. In 2001 (and again in 2002), she was the first recipient of the Rosa Parks Women of Courage Award. She has also been named Woman of the Year by Mademoiselle, Essence and Ladies Home Journal.
Savion Glover is a Tony Award winning choreographer and legendary Hoofer, whose career has spanned nearly four decades. He began his Broadway stage career as “The Tap Dance Kid,” and continued with “Black and Blue”, “Jelly’s Last Jam” and his unprecedented, award winning “Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk,” which garnered him a Tony Award for Best Choreography. In addition to his extensive Broadway career as a performer and choreographer, Glover has created many tap repertoires that tour worldwide, and has appeared widely in both film and television. He has performed worldwide with jazz legends including McCoy Tyner, Roy Haynes and Jack DeJohnette. Glover was most recently recognized for his award winning choreography in the acclaimed Broadway musical “Shuffle Along,” directed by George C. Wolfe. While serving as Dance Advisor for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and as a member of its Board of Directors, he has been dedicated to furthering arts education programming with Summer Intensives, established to help youth explore artistic expression. Glover is also the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Montclair State University.
Brian Stokes Mitchell is a Tony Award-winning actor and singer, dubbed “the last leading man,” by The New York Times. He received Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards in 2000 for his performance in Kiss Me, Kate, and has given Tony-nominated performances in Man of La Mancha, August Wilson’s King Hedley II, and Ragtime. In 2016 he was awarded his second Tony Award, the prestigious Isabelle Stevenson Tony for his Charitable work with The Actors Fund, and was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. Stokes has been invited twice to perform at the White House (both times aired on PBS’s “Great Performances”) and has performed multiple times for Presidents Clinton and Obama. He has appeared numerous times on television and in film, including roles on The Fresh Prince, Frasier, and Mr. Robot. Stokes works with multiple charitable organizations, is on the board of Americans For the Arts and is serving his 14th term as Chairman of the Board of the Actors Fund.
Robert Cray is a five-time Grammy Award-winning American blues artist and singer. In just over 40 years Cray and his band have recorded 20 studio releases, 15 of which have been on the Billboard charts, and played bars, concert halls, festivals and arenas around the world. Cray was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2011, and in 2017, he received the Americana Music Lifetime Achievement for Performance.
Maimouna Youssef (aka Mumu Fresh) is a Grammy Award-nominated singer, MC, songwriter, activist, and acclaimed hip hop artist who's been called a "quadruple threat" by the Roots' Black Thought and "groundbreaking" by Oscar-winning artist, Common. She has been awarded the post of "Musical Ambassador for The United States," and has collaborated with numerous philanthropic leaders, including W.K. Kellogg Foundation, IMAN, Congressional Black Caucus, and Global Citizens Festival. Behind the scenes, Youssef serves as a Governor for the DC chapter of the Recording Academy’s Grammy Board as well as a mentor for several Grammy U affiliated young aspiring artists. She has received recognition from several local non-profit organizations such as One Common Unity, Bmore News, & Womb Work Productions as well as international awards from Mayor Luis Fernando Castellanos Cal of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico for her outstanding service and commitment to the youth worldwide.
Tariq Trotter, better known as Black Thought, is a Grammy Award-winning writer, actor, and artist. As co-founder and lead MC of hip hop group The Roots, Trotter is Trotter is lauded for his live performance skills, continuous multisyllabic rhyme schemes, complex lyricism, double entendres, and politically aware lyrics. Trotter is regarded as "one of the most skilled, incisive, and prolific rappers of his time" by Andy Kellman of AllMusic, and "hip-hop's Dostoyevsky" by the New York Times.
Antoinette (Toni) Cook Bush is Executive Vice President and Global Head of Government Affairs at News Corp. Bush joined the new News Corp from Skadden, Arps, Meagher & Flom LLP, where, over her nearly 20-year tenure, she rose to become the Partner in charge of its Communications Group. In this role, she represented leading media/entertainment and telecom entities in regulatory, legislative and transactional matters. Bush also served as Executive Vice President of Northpoint Technology Ltd. from 2001 to 2003. Prior to her first stint at Skadden, Arps, Bush served as Senior Counsel to the Communications Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which has oversight for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. In this role, she was the principal staff person responsible for legislation involving communications issues, including the Cable Television Act of 1992. From 1981 until she joined the U.S. Senate Committee staff, Bush practiced communications law in Washington, D.C.
Billy Glunz is Regional Director of State and Local Government Affairs at American Airlines, a position he has held since 2013. Glunz attended John Carroll University and the John Marshall Law School, receiving his J.D. degree in 2007. Prior to his tenure at American Airlines, Glunz served as Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the Chicago Mayor's Office, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Illinois Tollway, and Special Projects Manager for the Chicago Transit Authority.
Carla Hayden is the 14th Librarian of Congress, the first woman and the first African American to lead the national library. Hayden was nominated to the position by President Barack Obama on February 24, 2016, and her nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 13. Prior to her latest post she served, since 1993, as CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland. Hayden was nominated by President Obama to be a member of the National Museum and Library Services Board in January 2010 and was confirmed to that post by the Senate in June 2010. Prior to joining the Pratt Library, Hayden was deputy commissioner and chief librarian of the Chicago Public Library, assistant professor for Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh, and library services coordinator for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Hayden was president of the American Library Association from 2003 to 2004. In 1995, she was the first African American to receive Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year Award in recognition of her outreach services at the Pratt Library, which included an after-school center for Baltimore teens offering homework assistance and college and career counseling. Hayden received a B.A. from Roosevelt University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago.
Lawyer David S. Huntley is currently Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer at AT&T Inc., a position he has held since 2014. He received his B.A. degree in political science from Southern Methodist University in 1980 and his J.D. degree from Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 1990. Huntley was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1991 and joined AT&T Inc. in 1994. In addition to his professional career at AT&T Inc., Huntley served on the executive committee of the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast, as chairman of the Government Relations Advisory Committee for the Greater Houston Partnership, as a member of the Executive Leadership Council, and as a board member of Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc., the Dallas Museum of Art, At Last!, the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau and the 2004 Houston Super Bowl Host Committee. Huntley also served as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Texas Bar Foundation, the San Antonio Zoological Society, the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast and the host committee of the Greater Houston Partnership, the San Antonio YMCA, the Southern Methodist University Alumni Board, and the Baylor Health Care System Foundation. He also led a mentor circle for the Dallas Chapter Community Network.