Co-Chairs & Hosts: Dr. Sharon Malone & The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Honorary Co-Chairs: Eric G. Johnson, Andréa W. & Kenneth C. Frazier
Performers: Sonia Sanchez, Barbara Hendricks medley (Courtesy International Jazz Day & Herbie Hancock Institute), Sweet Honey In The Rock, Brian Stokes Mitchell (Courtesy Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty), Nikki Giovanni, Maimouna Youssef aka Mumu Fresh (Courtesy Kennedy Center, BLACK GIRLS ROCK, and DJ Dummy) and Denyce Graves.
You will not want to miss our final night of programming for The HistoryMakers 20@20: Days and 20 Nights. Hosted by Dr. Sharon Malone & The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr., The HistoryMakers Celebrates will close out 20 days and 20 nights of programming.
Help us salute The HistoryMakers with a historic toast to 20 years and beyond.
In addition to special presenters and pre-recorded performances, the finale features a welcome from Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, who reflects on the importance of The HistoryMakers Collection. Honorary Chairs Andréa W. & Kenneth C. Frazier and Eric G. Johnson also provide remarks, as do The HistoryMakers Board Chair Toni Cook Bush, Toyota Motor North America, and AT&T’s Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer David S. Huntley.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Alexis Herman is an American politician who served as the 23rd U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton. Herman was the first African-American to hold the position. Prior to serving as Secretary, she was Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Herman grew up in Mobile, Alabama. After college, she worked to improve employment opportunities for black laborers and women. She then joined the administration of Jimmy Carter, working as director of the Labor Department's Women's Bureau. She became active in the Democratic party, working in the campaigns of Jesse Jackson and then serving as chief of staff for the Democratic National Committee under Ronald H. Brown. Upon the election of Bill Clinton, she joined his cabinet in 1997. Following the defeat of Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election, Herman remained active in Democratic politics, in addition to her participation in the private sector, serving on the boards of corporations such as Coca-Cola and Toyota.
DeRay Mckesson is a civil rights activist focused primarily on issues of innovation, equity and justice. Born and raised in Baltimore, he graduated from Bowdoin College and holds honorary doctorates from The New School and the Maryland Institute College of Art.
DeRay has advocated for issues related to children, youth, and families since he was a teen. As a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter Movement and a co-founder of Campaign Zero, DeRay has worked to connect individuals with knowledge and tools, and provide citizens and policy makers with commonsense policies that ensure equity. He has been praised by President Obama for his work as a community organizer, has advised officials at all levels of government and internationally, and continues to provide capacity to activists, organizers, and influencers to make an impact.
As founder of The HistoryMakers, Julieanna L. Richardson created a unique path to founding and heading up the largest national collection effort of African American video oral histories on record since the WPA Slave Narratives. Richardson graduated from Brandeis University in 1976 with her B.A. degree in Theatre Arts and American Studies. She received her J.D. degree in 1980 from Harvard Law School and began her career as a corporate lawyer at the law firm of Jenner & Block prior to serving in the early 1980s as the Cable Administrator for the City of Chicago’s Office of Cable Communications. The recipient of numerous honors and awards, Richardson has received three honorary doctorates of humane letters – from Howard University, Dominican University, and her alma mater, Brandeis University, where she served as the 65th Commencement speaker in 2016. She was awarded the 2014 Legacy Award from Black Enterprise Magazine, and was profiled in 2014’s American Masters: The Boomer List, a PBS documentary and exhibition at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Richardson is committed to preserving and sharing this history and is leaving a unique and lasting legacy for generations to come.
Sonia Sanchez is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry, including Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems (Beacon Press, 1999); Like the Singing Coming Off the Drums: Love Poems (1998); Does Your House Have Lions?(1995), which was nominated for both the NAACP Image and National Book Critics Circle Award; Wounded in the House of a Friend (1995); Under a Soprano Sky(1987); Homegirls & Handgrenades (1984), which won an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation; I’ve Been a Woman: New and Selected Poems (1978); A Blues Book for Blue Black Magical Women (1973); Love Poems(1973); Liberation Poem (1970); We a BaddDDD People (1970); and Homecoming(1969). Among the many honors she has received are the Community Service Award from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, the Lucretia Mott Award, the Outstanding Arts Award from the Pennsylvania Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Peace and Freedom Award from Women International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Humanities, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. Sonia Sanchez has lectured at more than five hundred universities and colleges in the United States and had traveled extensively, reading her poetry in Africa, Cuba, England, the Caribbean, Australia, Nicaragua, the People’s Republic of China, Norway, and Canada. She was the first Presidential Fellow at Temple University, where she began teaching in 1977, and held the Laura Carnell Chair in English there until her retirement in 1999. She lives in Philadelphia.
Lyric soprano Barbara Hendricks began her voice training in 1968 at the age of 19 and graduated from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and chemistry at the age of 20. She attended the Aspen Music Festival and School and then attended Juilliard School of Music in New York, where she studied with mezzo-soprano Jennie Tourel. She also participated in master classes led by soprano Maria Callas. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in music and went on to make her American opera debut with the San Francisco Opera in 1975. Seven years later, Hendricks made an impressive Paris debut as the female lead in the opera Romeo et Juliette. With over 50 recordings to her credit, Hendricks has sung with almost all of the major orchestras in the world. Hendricks has received worldwide critical acclaim for her voice, working with such noted conductors as Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abbado, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Georg Solti, and James Levine. As a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Hendricks is as devoted to her humanitarian work as she is to her music. Since her appointment to the post of Goodwill Ambassador in 1987, Hendricks has visited countless refugee camps in Africa and Asia. Through benefit concerts and public announcements, Hendricks strives to educate others about the refugee dilemma. “I’m very sincere about my humanitarian activities,” she said in Ebony magazine. “I really rely on my concert appearances to further the cause of human rights. It’s not a duty; it’s a need.”
Sweet Honey in the Rock is a vibrant and versatile music collective, whose members include Carol Maillard, Louise Robinson, Nitanju Bolade Casel and Aisha Kahlil; featuring Romeir Mendez on upright acoustic and electric bass. This internationally renowned Grammy nominated female a cappella vocal quartet has a history of over four decades of distinguished service. The group was founded in 1973 by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon (with members Carol Maillard and Louise Robinson) as part of the D.C. Black Repertory Theater Company, for which Dr. Johnson Reagon was the vocal director. The name Sweet Honey in the Rock comes from a song made popular in 1927 by blind singer, Mamie Forehand, titled “Honey in the Rock” taken from the bible Psalm 81:16 that partially states “But I will feed Israel with the finest wheat, satisfying you with honey from the rock.” Several changes over the years added the word “sweet” to the title. Sweet Honey has performed in many of the world’s most prestigious venues on almost every continent and in an unparalleled move in 1979, added sign-language interpretation for the deaf and hard of hearing to their concerts. Although Sweet Honey is most admired for their live performances, the ladies have recorded 24 albums, several specifically for children. “We are very forward thinking as an organization, constantly reevaluating how we can express concepts to uplift and create change through our music and concerts,” says member Carol Maillard.
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.
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.
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.
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.