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An Evening With The HistoryMakers


April 22, 2017

The Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60603
United States

An Evening With The HistoryMakers, hosted by actor playwright Regina Taylor and actor Harry Lennix, showcased the richness of Chicago’s African American community, a richness we all need reminded of, amidst all the violence and turmoil, and the significant loss of leadership in the African American community. An Evening With The HistoryMakers is the first program in the An Evening With... series to make The HistoryMakers archive the focus, telling the history and legacy of Chicago through stories from the Collection.

The purpose of An Evening With The HistoryMakers was to educate through the archive, and the HistoryMakers themselves, about the history, lives, careers and contributions of African Americans here in Chicago. The HistoryMakers Collection is about excellence and commitment. It provides role models and a source of identity for young people, empowering them through the stories of those that came before them. An Evening With The HistoryMakers stemmed from the organization's concern about the growing violence and the lack of memory of Chicago’s rich history and legacy as well as the growing generational gap between the city’s youth and older community members.

From Johnson Publishing to Johnson Products, from Operation Push to the Chicago Urban League, from DuSable Museum to the National Black Arts Movement, Chicago was a leader amongst American cities. Yet, increasingly, few know of this history. This, in turn, is having a deleterious effect on our youth, who have been, and continue to be, marginalized. We need to let them know that this history is their rich inheritance.


Toyota Motor Sales USA


PepsiCo, Inc.American AirlinesComcast Corporation, NBC5, Telemundo Chicago


  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AT&T
  • The Crown Family
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • GCM Grosvenor
  • PwC


  • Ariel Investments, LLC
  • Baldwin Richardson Foods
  • Laura & George Bilicic
  • Toni Cook Bush & The Honorable Dwight Bush
  • Kelly McNamara Corley
  • Exelon
  • DeLoise & Brenda Gaines
  • Katherine M. Gehl
  • The Honorable Fay Hartog-Levin & Dan Levin
  • Nicor Gas


  • GE
  • MacArthur Foundation
  • Nancy & Lester H. McKeever, Jr.
  • Jeanette Sublett & Langdon Neal

Honorary Chair

  • Valerie Jarrett


Honorary Co-Chairs

  • The Honorable Arne Duncan
  • The Honorable Deval Patrick


  • Kathleen Biden
  • Maya Harris & The Honorable Tony West


Celebrity Presenters

  • Harry Lennix
  • Regina Taylor

Special Guests

  • Wayne Baker Brooks
  • Reuben Cannon
  • The Honorable Arne Duncan
  • Brenda Gaines
  • Donald J. Jackson
  • Valerie Jarrett
  • Eric Johnson
  • T’Keyah Crystal Keymah
  • The Honorable Deval Patrick
  • Linda Johnson Rice
  • Audrey Lavinia Smaltz

Young Leaders Committee

  • Kam Buckner
  • Chanel Coney
  • Danielle Harbison
  • Candice Jones
  • John Oxtoby


Benefit Committee

  • Toni Cook Bush & The Honorable Dwight Bush
  • Donna Carroll
  • Alfreda Bradley-Coar & The Honorable David Coar
  • Cheri Reid & Al B. Reid
  • Katherine M. Gehl
  • Brenda Gaines
  • Jeanette Sublett & Langdon Neal