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Lucille Whipper Returns to Springfield Elementary School with J. Herman Blake for the 3rd Annual Back to School With The HistoryMakers Program

Posted by: whitneyal | October 5, 2012 | No Comment |

On Friday, September 28th, 2012, academic and state government administrator the Honorable Lucille Whipper returned to Springfield Elementary School; uniting with hundreds of African American leaders in seventy seven cities and thirty five states across the nation for the 3rd Annual Back to School With The HistoryMakers program.  The Honorable Whipper was the first African American administrator at the College of Charleston, serving as Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Human Relations. While at the college, she developed its first affirmative action plan and recruited other faculty, community members and alumni of Avery Normal Institute, to organize and establish the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture.

This year the Honorable Whipper was joined by another special guest speaker, Dr. J Herman Blake, former President of Tougaloo College and current inaugural Humanities Scholar in Residence at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). The two drew from their own personal school experiences and the struggles they encountered on their paths to success in order to encourage students to commit to excellence in education. The Honorable Whipper and Dr. Blake were introduced by representatives from Springfield Elementary Student Government Association and spoke to approximately one hundred fourth and fifth-grade students. Parents and teachers were also in the audience, as well as Springfield Elementary Principal, Blondell B. Adams.

The Honorable Whipper talked about becoming a state representative; noting that she and her son were the first to hold office in the state legislature in tandem. She also showed a photo of the South Carolina legislature in session. Dr. Blake discussed his mentor, educator and civil rights activist, Septima P. Clark. Clark taught at the Avery Normal Institute and worked with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to petition for black principals in Charleston’s public schools. She also developed literacy and citizenship workshops, which played an important part in the drive for African Americans’ voting and civil rights. In addition, Dr. Blake spoke about how the accomplishments of scientist and inventor, George Washington Carver were an inspiration to him. His discussion included a slide show with photos of both Carver and Clark.

From left to right: Aaron Spelbring, Principal Blondell B. Adams, the Honorable Lucille Whipper and Dr. J. Herman Blake with Springfield Elementary’s Student Government Association representatives

The Back to School program also provided an opportunity to promote the archival profession to students. In his introduction of the program’s student speakers, Manager of Archival Services, Aaron Spelbring defined what an archive is; explained the primary duties of an archivist; and discussed why documenting and preserving history are important. 

As part of the program, The HistoryMakers gifted Springfield Elementary with a free one-year subscription to its online digital archive. The HistoryMakers Founder and Executive Director, Julieanna Richardson, wants to encourage “educators everywhere to use The HistoryMakers digital archive to enrich their students’ exposure to the contributions of African Americans across the globe.”

The HistoryMakers is the nation’s largest black video oral history archive, dedicated to preserving the personal accounts of blacks who left their mark on business, education, politics, entertainment, sports and other industries. Scott is one of more than 2,000 people interviewed by the nonprofit for its archive. The Honorable Whipper was interviewed by The HistoryMakers in February of 2007 and Dr. Blake was interviewed in January of 2007. To learn more about these two living leaders and view clips from their interviews, please visit The HistoryMakers website at www.thehistorymakers.com.

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