University of Pittsburgh
February 2, 2011

University of Pittsburgh to Hold Reception and Program to Launch America’s Best Weekly: A Century of The Pittsburgh Courier—an Upcoming Exhibition at Senator John Heinz History Center

The Feb. 10 by-invitation-only event is Pitt’s 2011 K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month Program
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg and Pitt Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Robert Hill, in association with the Senator John Heinz History Center, will hold a private reception and program from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10 at the History Center, 1212 Smallman Street, Strip District, to help launch a new exhibition at the museum that will explore the nationwide impact of The Pittsburgh Courier newspaper throughout the past 100 years. 

America’s Best Weekly: A Century of The Pittsburgh Courier will open to the public Feb. 11 and run through Oct. 2, 2011. Through a number of artifacts and audiovisual displays, the exhibition will profile the major contributors who helped propel The Courier from a 1907 start-up publication to one of the most influential Black publications in the United States. 

Highlights of the exhibition include the oldest-known existing copy of The Pittsburgh Courier, from Nov. 5, 1910; a camera that belonged to legendary Courier photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris; and a display on The Courier’s coverage of the civil rights movement and wartime issues. 

Information on the Feb. 10 event, which is Pitt’s 2011 K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month Program, follows. 

5-7 p.m.           Exhibition Preview

                        Magovern Gallery, fourth floor. 

6 p.m.              Reception

                        Mueller Room, fifth floor. 

7 p.m.              Program

                        Mueller Room, fifth floor.

                        Robert Hill will serve as Master of Ceremonies. Speakers include Chancellor Nordenberg, New Pittsburgh Courier publisher Rod Doss, Heinz History Center Chair Robert Cindrich, and exhibition curator Sam Black. 

7:30 p.m.         Tours of the exhibition

                        Magovern Gallery, fourth floor. 

About Pitt’s K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month Programming

Pitt began its annual Black History Month Program in 2004 with the world premiere of the documentary K. Leroy Irvis: The Lion of Pennsylvania and renamed it in 2008 the K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month Program to honor the memory of the legendary Pennsylvania legislative leader and Pitt alumnus and trustee. Irvis, who in 1977 became the first African American speaker of the House of Representatives in Pennsylvania and the first Black speaker of any state house since reconstruction, sponsored in 1966 the bill that made Pitt a state-related institution of higher education. 

About Black History Month

Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950)—who earned a Harvard University PhD and was a celebrated African American author, educator, and historian—initiated what he called “Negro History Week” in 1926. At the heart of the annual February observance, which in 1976 became Black History Month, is honoring African Americans who have struggled and achieved in their efforts to advance the mission of social equity.