The HistoryMakers, the largest national collection effort of African American video oral histories on record, held its annual Digital Archive Competition earlier this spring. Two talented young winners were selected.
The two first place winners were flown to Chicago, home of The HistoryMakers, and feted with a luncheon and tour of the Windy City.
African American Eminence
The HistoryMakers 2016 Digital Archive Competition is national in scope. “Students can write a poem or an essay or make a documentary,” about an eminent person on The HistoryMakers website, says Julieanna Richardson, founder and executive director of The HistoryMakers. “Schools from about eight states participated this year,” she says.
Seventeen-year-old Jalen Spencer of Columbus, Ohio, won first place in the 6–12 grade group. He submitted a video entry that paid tribute to the late actors and civil rights activists Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.
Eleven-year-old Paige Hounsel of Dallas placed first in the K–5 grade group. Hounsel wrote a creative essay that reflected on the significance of the African American Civil War Memorial in Washington, D.C., after watching The HistoryMakers interview of the memorial’s founder and director, Frank Smith.
“Jalen did a really beautiful documentary using footage from The HistoryMakers site and other interviews and film clips,” says Richardson, a 2014 Woman of Power Legacy Award winner. “He wants to study filmmaking in college, and he knew that Ossie Davis had inspired Spike Lee.”
“Paige wrote a really lovely essay after seeing our interview with Frank Smith,” says Richardson. “It’s so important for all students to learn and know African American history. We’re really hoping to change the dialogue.”
HistoryMakers Taking in the Windy City
As first prize winners of The HistoryMakers 2016 Digital Archive Competition, both students were flown to Chicago by the official airline sponsor of The HistoryMakers, American Airlines.
Accompanying the two students were Jalen’s teacher, Julie Kindinger of Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center in Columbus; and Paige’s mother, Sue Hounsel. The winners toured The HistoryMakers offices in Chicago’s South Loop before attending a special awards luncheon in their honor at the offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
They ended their day with an architectural boat tour of iconic Chicago landmarks. The PwC Charitable Foundation Inc. is one of The HistoryMakers’ largest contributors. Its investment launched the PwC Charitable Foundation EducationMakers category of interviews in The HistoryMakers Collection.
To learn more, go to The HistoryMakers website.