University of Pittsburgh
January 30, 2000


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 31 -- The University of Pittsburgh Black Action Society will once again host Black History Month events beginning on February 4. The celebration will feature Gospel Fest 2000 with the Kurt Carr Singers, an African American Excellence in Leadership Conference, and motivational speakers Brenda J. Verner and Patrice Gaines.

Verner, a nationally known communication consultant, has extensive experience in Africana studies, women's studies, and media arts. She is the founder of the National Africana Women's Studies Association and the National Africana Collegiate Women's Operative. Her lecture, "The Seduction of the African American Student," will focus on the cultural issues that influence students, especially black women, on college campuses across the country.

Award winning journalist and Washington Post reporter Patrice Gaines will speak about her autobiography, "Laughing in the Dark: From Colored Girl to Woman of Color—A Journey from Prison to Power." Gaines' story describes her journey from a troubled life on the streets to her now successful career. She earned the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) annual Salute to Excellence award for "Tough Boys and Trouble—Those Girls Waiting Outside D.C. Jail Remind Me of Myself." Gaines serves on the board of the Joseph House, a home for male AIDS patients, and the Theatre for the Mentally and Physically Disabled, both located in Washington D.C.

Oba T'Shaka, author of "Political Legacy of Malcolm X" and "The Art of Leadership," will be the guest speaker at the Excellence in Leadership Conference. Gospel Fest 2000, an inspirational and encouraging project of worship and praise, features the Kurt Carr Singers. Carr has worked with legacies such as Stevie Wonder and Mariah Carey and has arranged jingles for AT&T and CBS. A schedule of events for Black History Month is as follows:

Friday, Feb. 4

Brenda J. Verner

"The Seduction of the African American Student"

8 p.m., Assembly Room, William Pitt Union (WPU)

Sunday, Feb. 13

Gospel Fest 2000

The Kurt Carr Singers

6 p.m., Assembly Room, WPU

Thursday, Feb. 17

Excellence in Leadership Conference, featuring Dr. Oba T'Shaka

7 p.m., Assembly Room, WPU

Tuesday, Feb. 22

Patrice Gaines

"Laughing in the Dark"

7 p.m., Assembly Room, WPU