University of Pittsburgh
February 1, 2001


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 1 -- As part of the University of Pittsburgh's Black History Month celebration, Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz, will speak on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 8 p.m., in the William Pitt Union (WPU) Ballroom. Shabazz is the first of four speakers to visit campus during Pitt's month-long event.

Other speakers are African-American psychologist Na'im Akbar, who will lecture on Thursday, Feb. 15; poet Nikki Giovanni, scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 22; and talk show host Bertice Berry, who will speak on Monday, Feb. 26. These presentations will be held at 8 p.m., in the WPU Assembly Room. All four lectures, which are free and open to the public, are sponsored by the Black Action Society (BAS).

Shabazz, who is completing a Master of Science in education and human services, intends to carry the baton passed on from her parents. Her goal is to help implement a multi-cultural curriculum for all school children across the nation. She volunteers as a mentor and tutor at lock-up facilities and academic institutions.

Shabazz is director of public relations in the Department of Planning and Community Development for Mayor Ernest Davis of Mount Vernon, NY. She also serves on the city's youth board. A graduate of the Hackley Prep School, Shabazz earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from SUNY at New Paltz College.

Akbar is a pioneer in the development of an African-centered approach to modern psychology. A former president of the National Association of Black Psychologists, Akbar teaches in the Department of Psychology at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Among his four books are "Chains and Images of Psychological Slavery."

Akbar is a graduate of the University of Michigan, with both undergraduate and doctoral degrees in psychology. He has received the Annual Member Award and recognition as a Distinguished Black Psychologist by the National Association of Black Psychologists for his outstanding scholarship and research in African psychology.

Giovanni, who has established herself as a best-selling poet, author, and essayist, is committed to the fight for civil rights and equality in education. Her book, "Racism 101," includes essays about the situation of Americans on all sides of the race issue.

All but one of Giovanni's nearly 20 books are still in print, with several having sold more than 100,000 copies. Her newest book, "Blues: For All the Changes," made the Los Angeles Times Best Seller list, the first time a poet has ever been listed. Giovanni teaches writing, poetry, and literature at Virginia Tech, under the Commonwealth Visiting Professor Program.

Berry is best known as host of "The Bertice Berry Show," a nationally syndicated talk show. She recently hosted "USA Live," the four hour live interview and entertainment show. She has been featured on talk shows, including "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," and "Crossfire."

Berry also spent time on the comedy club circuit and is the four-time winner of the National Comedian of the Year Award. Berry, who has a Ph.D., has taught at Kent State University. She also is the best-selling author of "I'm Trying To Make It, But Your Foot Is On My Head."

Additional Black History Month events include a historical display in the WPU Connie Kimbo Gallery throughout the month, a charity laser challenge on Feb. 25, and an "Images of the Millennium" art exhibit on Feb. 28. The later two will be held in the WPU Assembly Room. For more information about other scheduled events, contact BAS at 412-648-7880.