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Building Community

The HistoryMakers seeks to foster an engaged learning community of educators, and encourages the submission of examples of the uses of The HistoryMakers Digital Archive and curriculum materials in the classroom. Over time, it is our hope that this learning community will grow organically to help The HistoryMakers in:

  • • Fostering a social network comprised of users of the Digital Archive and encouraging the sharing of resources and helpful information.
  • • Modeling and piloting modes of interaction with teachers and faculty, in order to foster broader engagement with The HistoryMakers content.

Submit your examples of integrating The HistoryMakers Digital Archive.

Higher Education Advisory Board

Created under the auspices of a 2016 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The HistoryMakers Higher Education Advisory Board consists of academic administrators, scholars, faculty, librarians, archivists, and digital humanities experts. The goal of this Advisory Board is to forge a relationship between The HistoryMakers and the higher education community, as well as to increase awareness and usage of The HistoryMakers archive and The HistoryMakers Digital Archive in academia. This includes uses both inside and outside the classroom, distance learning and online education, public programming, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course), course management systems, digital humanities projects, exhibitions, research projects and other scholarly pursuits. 

The work of this advisory board focuses building a sustainable presence for The HistoryMakers in college and university research and teaching, and will develop a community of engaged academic users. Representatives from each of The HistoryMakers more than fifty college and university partners make up the advisory board, and to date, three in-person meetings have been held – April 2016, February 2017, and February 2018 – with a fourth meeting upcoming. The HistoryMakers Higher Education Advisory Board is organized into three subcommittees:

Members of The HistoryMakers Teaching & Learning Committee represent faculty and administrators from a broad range of subject areas and disciplines. Ranging from academic deans to professional organization administrators and doctoral fellows, the Teaching & Learning Committee seeks to frame The HistoryMakers interaction with scholars and its engagement with trends and concerns in the scholarly arena.

Projects of the Teaching & Learning Committee have included the integration of The HistoryMakers Digital Archive into courses at Harvard University, Brandeis University, and the University of Richmond on African American experiences with the law, Sociology, and classical theatre, respectively. Examples can be browsed, by subject discipline, under RESEARCH & INSTRUCTION.

American Historical Association

-James Grossman, Executive Director

Arkansas State University

-Cherisse Jones-Branch, James and Wanda Lee Vaughn Endowed Professor of History

Boston University

-Walter Fluker, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Ethical Leadership

-Saida Grundy, Assistant Professor, Sociology and African American Studies

-Susan Mizruchi, Director, BU Center for the Humanities

Brandeis University

-Anita Hill, University Professor of Social Policy, Law and Women's Studies

-Joel Christensen, Associate Professor of Classics

-Karen V. Hansen, Professor of Sociology, and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Carnegie Mellon University

-Shawn Alfonso-Wells, Adjunct Professor of History

-Richard Scheines, Dean, Dietrich College of Humanities & Social Sciences

-Steven Schlossman, Professor of History, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Dominican University

-Donna Carroll, President

-Douglas Keberlein Gutierrez, Associate Professor – History

-Chavella T. Pittman, Associate Professor of Sociology

Emory University

-Kali-Ahset Amen, Assistant Director, James Weldon Johnson Institute

-Michelle Y. Gordon, Senior Lecturer in the Department of African American Studies

-Dwight McBride, Provost

Florida Memorial University

-Tameka Bradley-Hobbs, Assistant Professor of History

Harvard University

-Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Professor of History, Race and Public Policy

-Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and of African and African American Studies

Howard University

-Greg Carr, Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Chair of the Department

-Lorenzo Morris, Professor of Political Science

Johnson C. Smith University

-Marsha Rhee, Associate Professor of English, Director, Rhetoric & Writing

Lesley University

-Kazuyo Kubo, Associate Professor

New York University

-David Levering Lewis, Professor Emeritus

-Pamela Newkirk, Professor, Journalism

Northwestern University

-Jonathan Holloway, Provost             

Rice University

-Marcia Walker-McWilliams, Associate Director, Programs for the Center for Civic Leadership

Savannah State University

-Kisha Cunningham, Assistant Professor, School of Teacher Education

Simmons College

-Janie Ward, Professor and Department Chair, Africana Studies

-Jessica Parr, Lecturer of History

Smith College

-Paula Giddings, Elizabeth A. Woodson Professor Emerita of Africana Studies

Texas Southern University

-Brittany Slatton, Professor of Sociology

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

-Kevin Butler, Associate Professor of History

University of Illinois at Chicago

-Jane Rhodes, Department Head, Professor of African American Studies

University of Richmond

-Patrice Rankine, Dean, School of Arts & Sciences & Professor, Classics

Virginia Commonwealth University

-Nicole M. Turner, Assistant Professor, Department of History

Members of The HistoryMakers Digital Humanities Committee are made up of librarians, faculty, and researchers, focused solely on exploring methods to provide more context for The HistoryMakers collection, and to provide further entry points for students and researchers, using cutting edge digital techniques and data analytics. Led initially by work produced out of the Yale University Digital Humanities Lab, this committee works collaboratively across institutions to conceive and implement projects that offer new ways of understanding and engaging with The HistoryMakers content, and that will surface latent themes and characteristics of the Collection.

Examples of the Digital Humanities Committee’s work include a text-modeling experiment using transcripts from The HistoryMakers Collection ( generated by Yale University’s Digital Humanites Lab. The 25-topic model used machine algorithms to explore themes based on word frequency and co-occurrence. Further examples can be found under RESEARCH & INSTRUCTION.

Boston University

-Vika Zafrin, Digital Scholarship Librarian

Carnegie Mellon University

-Mike Christel, Teaching Professor

Howard University

-Lopez Matthews, Digital Production Librarian

Michigan State University

-Brandon Locke, Digital Social Science and Humanities Specialist

Rutgers University

-Krista White, Digital Humanities Librarian and Head, Media Services    

Stanford University

-Hannah Frost, Services Manager, Stanford Digital Repository & Media Preservation Lab

-Glen Worthey, Digital Humanities Librarian Co-Lead of The Center For Interdisciplinary Digital Research

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

-Harriett Green, English and Digital Humanities Librarian

University of Iowa

-Sarah E. Bond, Assistant Professor in Classics

-Dan Johnson, Digital Preservation Librarian

-Thomas Keegan, Head, Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio                

University of Richmond

-Lauren Tilton, Visiting Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities

Yale University

-Peter Leonard, Director, Yale University Digital Humanities Lab

-Catherine DeRose, Digital Humanities Lab Manager

Members of The HistoryMakers Library & Archives Committee are made up of librarians, archivists, and library administrators at each of The HistoryMakers partner institutions. Rather than serving solely as a database for partner institutions, The HistoryMakers also seeks to facilitate connections that will enrich the physical collections of partner libraries, as well as exploring mechanisms for connecting The HistoryMakers oral history interviews with other oral history collections or supporting contextual materials.

Projects of the Library & Archives Committee have included working with The HistoryMakers on the re-institution of a training program for minority archivists at Yale University, Harvard University, and Emory University; facilitating the donation of the personal papers of HistoryMakers like Angela Davis (Schlesinger Library), Daphne Maxwell Reid (Northwestern University), and Senator Emil Jones (University of Illinois, Chicago) to institutional repositories for preservation. 

Boston University

-Vita Paladino, Director, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center

Carnegie Mellon University

-Erika Linke, Associate Dean of Libraries & Director of Research and Academic Services

Columbia University

-John Tofanelli, Research Collections and Services Librarian for British & American History & Literature

Cornell University

-Eric Acree, Director John Henrik Clarke Africana Library

Emory University

-Yolanda Cooper, University Librarian

Harvard University

-Marilyn Dunn, Executive Director, Arthur Schlesinger Library

Howard University

-Alliah Humber, Head of Acquisitions & Serials

Johnson C. Smith University

-Nooma Monika Rhue, Director of Library Services

Northwestern University

-Kathleen Bethel, African American Studies Librarian

-Charla B. Wilson, Archivist for the Black Experience at Northwestern   

Princeton University

-Steven Knowlton, Librarian for History and African American Studies

Rutgers University

-Consuella Askew, Director, Dana Library

University of Chicago

-Brenda Johnson, University Librarian

University of Pennsylvania

-Nicholas Okrent, Coordinating Bibliographer and Librarian for the Humanities

Virginia Commonwealth University

-John Ulmschneider, University Librarian


The HistoryMakers 3rd Annual Higher Education Advisory Board Meeting – Reaching Faculty & Students

February 11-12, 2018; New York City

48 Attendees from 30 of 35 subscribing institutions.


  1. SHARE ways that they have already used The HistoryMakers Digital Archive in the classroom;
  2. ENGAGE in brainstorming around increasing penetration within the classroom and in academic research;
  3. CONCEIVE of a use for The HistoryMakers Digital Archive in classroom instruction or digital humanities research; and
  4. COMMIT to incorporating The HistoryMakers Digital Archive into their classroom instruction or research.

To read the meeting minutes and report, click HERE.

The HistoryMakers 2nd Annual Higher Education Advisory Board Meeting – Reaching Institutions & Libraries

February 5-6, 2017; New York City

40 Attendees from 19 of 19 subscribing institutions.

Focus Questions:

  1. How can The HistoryMakers Digital Archive be integrated into research, teaching and learning across academic disciplines?
  2. How can The HistoryMakers continue to secure further subscriptions to The HistoryMakers Digital Archive sustainably?

To read the meeting minutes and report, click HERE.

The HistoryMakers 1st Annual Higher Education Advisory Board Meeting – Reaching Higher Ed

April 25-26, 2016; New York City

23 Attendees from 9 of 10 subscribing institutions.

Focus Questions:

  1. Who should The HistoryMakers target in the following communities at your institution or others?
    1. Faculty
    2. Students
    3. Administration
    4. Alumni
    5. Lifelong Learners
    6. Library/Archives
  2. What organizations/conferences should The HistoryMakers engage with?

To read the meeting minutes and report, click HERE.

Past Initiatives

In addition to its curriculum materials and The HistoryMakers Digital Archive, The HistoryMakers has also held several programs training educators and archivists on the use of The HistoryMakers Collection and to work in African American archives. These programs included a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for Teachers, the Institute of Museum and Library Services funded Increasing African American Diversity in Archives: The HistoryMakers Fellowship, Mentoring, Training and Placement Institute, and The HistoryMakers Education Institute, in partnership with the DePaul Center for Urban Education.

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for Teachers

From Sunday, July 8, 2012 to Friday, August 3, 2012, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, The HistoryMakers held its 2nd NEH Summer Institute on the subject of African American Political History: From Reconstruction to the Present. Designed as a rigorous, month long immersion program, The Institute was developed to examine the political development of African Americans from the period of antebellum America through the presidency of Barack Obama defined by four major eras: 1) African-American Politics from Reconstruction to the First World War (1865-1917); 2) African-American Politics through Two World Wars and Its Aftermath (1917-1954); 3) Black Freedom Movement (1954-1975); and 4) Post-Civil Rights and the New Generation of Black Politics (1970 to present). In a competitive process, teachers from across the country applied for 25 openings as NEH Summer Scholars. These Summer Scholars spent the month studying about African American history under the instruction of nationally recognized scholars including: Bruce Laurie, Charles Payne, Christopher Reed, Eric Arnesen, Rhonda Williams, Cheryl Greenberg, Michael Dawson, and Adolph Reed.

Read the 2012 Final Report

Institute of Museum and Library Services funded Increasing African American Diversity in Archives: The HistoryMakers Fellowship, Mentoring, Training and Placement Institute

Increasing African American Diversity in Archives: The HistoryMakers Fellowship, Mentoring, Training and Placement Institute was conceived as a program to increase the number of African American archivists and archivists qualified to work with African American collections by a total of 12 archival professionals. The purpose of the grant is to increase the diversity of the archival profession, and to work towards increasing the total number of African American archivists’ and those interested in working with African American archives and collections.

The institute’s goals include: 1) increasing the number of highly-skilled African American archivists working in African American archives; 2) increasing the accessibility of African American historical materials; 3) increasing the visibility of the archival profession and African American historical collections; 4) creating a network of professionals with in-depth knowledge of the nation’s African American historical collections; and 5) enabling partner institutions to effectively recruit and train African American archivists.

This program was later continued in partnership with Yale University, Emory University, and Harvard University.

Read the Reports Here

The HistoryMakers Education Institute, in partnership with the DePaul Center for Urban Education

The HistoryMakers Institute was a program designed to increase students’ knowledge and appreciation of the role of African Americans in history. Designed during spring 2003, it was implemented during summer 2003 and the subsequent academic year. Forty teachers were recruited to participate representing 20 Chicago public elementary and high schools.

The program included five components: development of a curriculum guide and resources to integrate The HistoryMakers in the core curriculum at upper elementary and high school in language arts and social studies; a week-long teacher workshop during summer to educate teachers about the importance of developing students’ understanding and appreciation of that history; implementation of instructional activities by teachers; classroom visits by individual HistoryMakers to provide opportunities for students to learn first-hand about their experiences; quarterly workshops to reinforce teacher involvement and provide opportunities for teachers to collaborate on implementation strategies.

Read the 2004 Final Report

Subscribing Institutions