100 black men African-American History Bowl

Wright Middle School students Pawan Baral, Jaden Wynn and Micah Asplund pose with 100 Black Men of Madison after winning the African-American History Bowl. 

PHOTO BY P.T. McMAHON

The 100 Black Men of Madison, Inc. will receive the "Friends of Education" award from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Thursday. Each year, DPI recognizes individuals and organizations that have shown a commitment to supporting education in Wisconsin.

In a statement released by DPI, state Superintendent Tony Evers said this year’s winners were recognized because of their commitment to mentorship and civic engagement.

“The willingness of those who volunteer to mentor our youth, develop their cultural roots, and give them solid foundations for becoming civic-minded adults means so much to our kids and the future of Wisconsin,” Evers said. “These organizations and individuals make outstanding contributions to support children and young adults in our state.”

Since 1994, 100 Black Men of Madison, Inc. has served Madison-area youth. The group aims to positively influence young people, particularly African-American males, through education, mentoring economic development, and health and wellness. 100 Black Men's annual back-to-school backpack giveaway donated 3,000 bags filled with school supplies to students this August.

100 Black Men of Madison also hosts the African American History Challenge Bowl, giving Madison Metropolitan School District middle schoolers the opportunity to learn more about black history and compete with their peers across the district. Madison’s team from Wright Middle School traveled to New Orleans in June and won the national competition hosted by 100 Black Men of America, Inc.

The group also awards college scholarships to area students. 

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"‘The 100’ has long thought of its work as the building of a product.  That product being an active and productive member of society," said 100 Black Men of Madison spokesman J.R. Sims. "We see in all children the potential for greatness and we believe that the journey to greatness is assisted when a child is awarded a sound education and steady guidance."

Evers will present 100 Black Men with the award on Thursday during the annual ‘State of Education’ address on Thursday at the Wisconsin State Capitol. The other organizations who will receive the “Friends of Education’ award are Reach out and Read Wisconsin and the Door County Civility Project.

The individual recipients are Thomas W. Boelter, who serves as the director of education and culture at the Forest County Potawatomi, and Maysee Yang Herr who is a professor of education at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.