University of Pittsburgh
February 2, 2015

Pitt Celebrates Black History Month

On-campus film screening, talks, and panel discussion are free and open to public; coverage requested for by-invitation-only event Feb. 19

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh will host the community, students, and special guests in a number of events in February to mark Black History Month.

ATricia Rose © Richard Howard Photography panel discussion, film screening, and two lectures are free and open to the public. Members of the media are invited to cover Pitt’s 2015 K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month Program on Feb. 19, which includes a pre-program dinner. Both of those events are by-invitation-only and not open to the public.

The schedule is as follows:

Free and open to the public.
Feb. 6
1-3 p.m.
O'Hara Student Center Ballroom
4024 O'Hara St., Oakland
“Africa’s War On Poverty: Strides and Setbacks” is a discussion that will launch the First African Leadership Lecture Series, sponsored by the Pan-African Graduate and Professional Student Union. Following welcoming remarks by Pitt Vice Provost for Graduate Studies Alberta M. Sbragia, attendees will hear a keynote address by the Honorable Geoffrey Teneilabe, the Ambassador/Consul-General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Atlanta.

Other special guests scheduled to speak include:

  • Ambassador of the Republic of Angola, the Honorable Agostinho Tavares da Silva Neto;
  • Ambassador of the Republic of Ghana, the Honorable Joseph Henry Smith; and
  • Ambassador of the Republic of Kenya, the Honorable Robinson Njeru Githae.

Free and open to the public.
Feb. 9
8:30 p.m.
Assembly Room, William Pitt Union
3959 Fifth Ave., Oakland
Pitt Distinguished Professor of History Marcus Rediker introduces a screening of his documentary Ghosts of Amistad: In the Footsteps of the Rebels, produced by Tony Buba and based on Rediker’s book The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom (Penguin, 2012). The film chronicles a journey to Sierra Leone in 2013, when Rediker visited the home villages of the rebels who captured the slave schooner Amistad in 1839. He interviewed the town elders and local fishermen about the incident and helped search for the ruins of a slave-trading factory where the cruel transatlantic voyage began. A question-and-answer session will follow.

Free and open to the public.
Feb. 23
5:30 p.m.
Seventh-Floor Auditorium
Alumni Hall
4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland
Scholar and author Tricia Rose will deliver a lecture titled “Fighting Racism in a Color-Blind Era.” Rose is the author of Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (Wesleyan, 1994), which is considered to be the foundational text for the study of hip-hop. A professor of Africana studies and the director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University, Rose also authored The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop--and Why It Matters (Basic Civitas Books, 2008). She hosts workshops for scholarly and general audiences on a wide range of issues relating to race in America, mass media, structural inequality, popular culture, gender and sexuality, art, and social justice. The event is sponsored by Pitt’s Premedical Organization for Minority Students and the National Society for Black Engineers.

Free and open to the public.
Feb. 25
Noon-1:30 p.m.
2017 Cathedral of Learning
4200 Fifth Ave, Oakland
David Harris, Distinguished Faculty Scholar and Pitt professor of law, will deliver a lecture titled “The Collision of Race and Criminal Justice: Lessons from the Aftermath of Ferguson.” Harris frequently lectures, writes, and teaches about police behavior and regulation, law enforcement, and national security issues and the law. His book Profiles in Injustice: Why Racial Profiling Cannot Work (New Press, 2003) and his scholarly articles about traffic stops of minority motorists and stops and frisks of minority pedestrians are influencing the national debate on profiling and related topics. His presentation is part of the Center on Race and Social Problems Reed Smith Spring 2015 Speaker Series.

By Invitation Only.
Feb. 19
4-6 p.m.
Market Central
Litchfield Towers
3955 Forbes Ave., Oakland
University of Pittsburgh Dining Services presents “Our Journey, Our Cuisine. A Taste of History: African, Caribbean, and Soul Food.” African drummers, dancers, and musicians will provide the backdrop for this celebratory meal, with dishes prepared by guest chef Ericlee Reed and Pitt chef Devon Horne.

By Invitation Only.
Feb. 19
6:30 p.m.
Twentieth Century Club
4201 Bigelow Blvd., Oakland
Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher hosts “An Artistic Journey through the African American Experience”—an evening of poetry, music, and reflection, which will pay tribute to the following individuals:

Doris Brevard (EDUC '52), a librarian and teacher at the former Robert L. Vann School in the Hill District, who served as the school’s principal from 1969-1995. Under her leadership, Vann students—many of them Black and from poor families—achieved successes at some of the highest levels within the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Brevard is a Pitt alumnus who earned a bachelor's degree in education in 1952.

Roger Humphries, who is described by music critics as one of the most exciting jazz drummers in the business. Playing professionally since age 14, Humphries toured and recorded with the Horace Silver Quartet and accompanied many jazz greats, including Ray Charles, Lionel Hampton, and Dizzy Gillespie.

Sala Udin, a politician and activist who for 11 years represented his childhood neighborhood, the Hill District, on Pittsburgh City Council. A lifelong community organizer, Udin oversaw new housing construction throughout Pittsburgh; led the fundraising, design, and construction of Freedom Corner; and, most recently, served as CEO of the Coro Center.

The program will feature readings and performances by:

  • Geri Allen, pianist, composer, and director of Pitt’s Jazz Studies Program;
  • Larry E. Davis, dean, Pitt School of Social Work;
  • Terrance Hayes, celebrated poet, Pitt professor of English, and 2014 MacArthur Fellow;
  • Yona Harvey, literary artist and assistant professor in Pitt’s Writing Program;
  • Bria Walker, actress, singer, writer, and guest lecturer in Pitt’s Department of Theatre Arts;
  • The Afro American Music Institute Boys Choir; and
  • Some of God’s Children.