Quite a year for HistoryMakers

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HistoryMakers, the nonprofit African-American archive of oral histories and a longtime contributor to PBS programming, is wrapping up a busy year. Its archives — already the largest of its kind in the world — increased are still growing; this year brought interviews with Maya Angelou, Bishop T.D. Jakes and Minister Louis Farrakhan. Appearances by individual history makers at schools reached 10,000 students at 105 schools in 50 cities. That led a four-week National Endowment for the Humanities-funded Summer Institute on oral history techniques and African American political history. It also received a $2.3 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct 180 ScienceMakers interviews, provide educational public programming for children and adults, and produce a ScienceMakers DVD Toolkit . And something new and different: University of Illinois African-American Studies Professor Christopher Benson and Chicago playwright David Barr III created a dramatic play, “The Moment,” inspired by their research in the archives. It was staged at the Champaign-Urbana, Ill., campus in March.