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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                       

Media Contacts:

DeAnne Bradley                                                                   Lydia Sermons

Mopwater Social PR                                                             Executive Director, AAEF

646-770-3186;                    301-526-0374; 

Amanda Miller Littlejohn

Mopwater Social PR





WASHINGTON (April 9, 2013) - The African American Experience Fund (AAEF) of the National Park Foundation (NPF), will host their Annual Awards Gala, "CELEBRATING LEGACIES: Visionary Leaders & Landmarks," on Thursday, April 18, 2013, at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC, including a reception at 5:30 pm, dinner and awards ceremony at 6:45 pm and a live performance by Grammy nominee jazz recording artist Gerald Veasley and Band at 9:00 pm.


AAEF's 2013 honorees are: Congressman James E. Clyburn (South Carolina) who authored legislation to preserve and protect the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor through our national parks; Julieanna L. Richardson, founder of The HistoryMakers (owners of the largest collection of digital stories of African Americans who have made history); and Shelton Johnson, interpretive ranger at Yosemite National Park and historian on the Buffalo Soldiers.


Past honorees include: Congressman John Lewis; General Colin Powell; Ambassador Andrew Young; the Little Rock Nine, historian (late) John Hope Franklin; civil rights attorney Fred Gray, African American Civil War Memorial and Museum founder Dr. Frank Smith, Jr.; the Walt Disney Company (Robert Billingslea); Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Marian Wright Edelman and Dr. Mae C. Jemison, the first African American woman astronaut.


Proceeds from the Gala support the AAEF and grants to national African American historic sites for student internships, educational programs, youth programs and community events. AAEF is a program of the National Park Foundation, the official charitable partner of the National Park Service. AAEF is the only national partner that makes charitable contributions and provides program support to sites across the country to preserve the full spectrum of African American history, and to ensure these untold and under-told extraordinary stories are told to future generations. AAEF has contributed more than $1.3 million in grants to national park heritage sites over the past 11 years.


More than 300 guests attend this event annually: civil rights, business and academic leaders; Congressional members, White House staff, US Interior Dept. and Nat'l Park Service officials, youth, and journalists.


To purchase tickets, please visit:'s-annual-awards-gala-save-date


About AAEF:

The African American Experience Fund (AAEF) was established in 2001, as a program of the National Park Foundation (NPF), a Washington, DC - based Foundation chartered by Congress as the official non- profit partner of the National Park Service. AAEF supports and preserves African American history and historic sites in our national parks, including 23 national landmark sites such as the Martin Luther King National Historic Site, the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, Boston African American National Historic Site, the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom and Gullah Geechee National Cultural Heritage Corridor. For a list of all sites and more information on AAEF visit:



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