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Black History Month Events

We had many events this year to celebrate Black History Month. We are offered a wide range of exciting, informative, and enjoyable events, from panel discussions and films, to musical performances and lectures.

Pitt-Bradford Events

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11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Feb. 11

Dr. Jonathan Chitiyo, assistant professor of special education and director of the First Year Seminar Program, will present “Collaborative Teaching: Lessons Learned From a Small Rural Community.

Dr. Wayne Brinda, associate professor of education and coordinator of secondary education, will present “Beyond Myths to Accurate Theatrical Performances of African Americans.”

The event is free. Zoom link coming soon.

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6:30 p.m. Feb. 10

Join Dr. Orin James, assistant professor of biology, in exploring the interconnectedness of popular Black musical genres of the Caribbean and the United States. This event will be hosted in a radio show format during which participants will discuss, listen to, and explore calypso, mento, ska, rocksteady, reggae and their shared relations to jazz, blues, R&B and hip hop.

The event is free. Register

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11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Feb. 16

Dr. Tony Gaskew, associate dean of academic affairs and professor of criminal justice, and Dr. Jonathan Chitiyo, assistant professor of special education and director of the First Year Seminar Program, will lead this panel of first-year students and student representatives from campus organizations. The discussion is meant to promote a culture of shared intellectual reading among our campus community and to assure our students that we have safe spaces to discuss topical issues.

The event is free. Zoom link coming soon.

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1 to 2 p.m. Feb. 16

Join Catherine Baldwin, instruction services librarian; Kimberly Baily, reference/instruction library; and Marietta Frank, director of Hanley Library, as they discuss the special collections, library guides and other information available to the University of Pittsburgh community through the library system.

The event is free. Zoom link coming soon.

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11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 18

Stephanie Eckstrom, adjunct instructor of sociology and MSW program coordinator, will discuss “The Combahee River Collective: Activist Practice and Academic Theory.”

Dr. Adam Lee Cilli, assistant professor of history, will present “Robert L. Vann, The Pittsburgh Courier and the 1932 Presidential Election.”

Dr. Drew Flanigan, visiting assistant professor of history, will present “The Dumas Family in a Revolutionary Age: 1762 – 1870.”

The event is free. Zoom link coming soon.

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8 p.m. Feb. 19

The Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center brings this special performance by Cameroonian-American mezzo-soprano Veena Akama-Makia, an award-winning vocalist who has studied and performed in America and abroad. She is a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas and holds a master’s degree in performance and literature from the famed Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.

She will be accompanied by Evan Ritter, an award-winning pianist and composer from Dallas, who is currently a master’s student at the Eastman School of Music.

The performance will include works by Florence Price, Antonin Dvořák, Margaret Bonds and Francesco Santoliquido.

The event is free and available on the museum’s YouTube channel.

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12 p.m. Feb. 25

Dr. Drew Flanagan, visiting assistant professor of history, will present “The Harlem Renaissance Goes East: Paul Robeson, W. E. B. Du Bois, and the Global Cold War”.

Dr. Adam Lee Cilli, assistant professor of history, will present “Homer Brown and the Black Reform Community in Pittsburgh”.

Dr. Tasha Alston, chief diversity and inclusion officer, will present “Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois: The Story, The Meaning, and The Legacy of Social Justice”.

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6:30 p.m. Feb. 24

Born Aug. 1, 1911, in Pittsburgh, Jackie Ormes would hone her drawing and create the cartoon strip, “Torchy Brown in Dixie to Harlem.” With great humor, Ormes would use this artform to convey the experiences of southern Black people moving northward during the Great Migration in America. This strip eventually was produced nationally.

Dr. Orin James, assistant professor of biology, will give special attention to the general impact of humor on the psyche and how Ormes was able to incorporate this with political, social and environmental themes, which still persist today.

The event is free. Register

University of Pittsburgh’s Counseling Center Student Events

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6 p.m. Feb. 8 and Feb. 22.

This discussion-based workshop is for White and non-Black students of colors to discuss active, tangible ways they can support the Black community. Students will discuss how to cultivate anti-racists attitudes, skills, and behavior.

Pitt student registration is required.

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5 p.m. Feb. 9 and Feb. 23

College is hard. The addition of micro-aggressions and invalidating experiences can make life even more challenging. Join us to connect with like-minded peers as we discuss how to navigate challenging campus, community, national and global cultures and learn how we can take care of our physical, mental, and emotional selves when our environment is disaffirming.

Pitt student registration is required.

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5 p.m. Feb. 16

When discussing the impact of racism, it is easy to overlook the psychologist harm it can do to its victims. In this group, students of colors will learn to identify the symptoms of race-related stress and racial trauma and how it impacts them. Likewise, students will be able to identify ways of managing their racialized distress to improve self-care.

Pitt student registration is required.

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6 p.m. Feb. 23, March 16, and April 6.

This is a White therapist-led discussion-based workshop series for White-identified students to explore what it means to be White. Students will be supported as they examine ways they have benefitted from White privilege and discuss common concerns and challenges that come along with becoming anti-racist.

Pitt student registration is required.

University of Pittsburgh’s K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month program

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A Festival of Art, Social Justice, and Dreaming features a series of cultural activities that highlight black activism through the arts. All events are free and open to the public.
Register online: K. Leroy Irvis BHM registration
Questions? Contact diversity@pitt.edu

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7 p.m. Feb. 4 
7 p.m. Feb. 5

This two-day event includes a live screening of the film “The Honest Struggle” by filmmaker Justin Mashouf and a panel discussion followed by a musical performance.

The film tells the story of Sadiq Davis, a Muslim convert who re-enters society in the Southside of Chicago after 25 years of incarceration to face the same streets that ruined his life. The film is a raw portrait of a man struggling to survive an honest life and redefine himself in a world in which he feels no belonging. You can view the trailer of the film at https://honeststruggle.co. This event will focus on the topic of stereotypes that follow people after being incarcerated and trying to make a decent and honest life for themselves in society. The project is also a testament to music as a saving grace for those facing extreme challenges.

Nicole Mitchell Gantt, Pitt’s director of jazz studies, has gathered a panel to discuss the film and its themes on the following day of the film screening. Along with Sadiq Davis and filmmaker Justin Mashouf, Gantt has invited Richard Garland, director of the Reimagine Re-entry program at the University Pittsburgh and James Badue El, founder of the People’s Right to Obtain Our Freedom.

The film “The Honest Struggle” will be streamed live at 7 p.m. Feb. 4. A panel discussion will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 5, when panelists will discuss the role of institutional racism in the prison industrial complex and the challenges of re-entry after incarceration. The panel is followed by a performance of original music by vocalist/pianist Sadiq Davis and vocalist Aquilla Sadalla. Events on both days are free and require registration.

Register at https://www.crowdcast.io/e/the-honest-struggle

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7 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 11

Join us for a screening of filmmaker Ken Love's documentary featuring a compilation of interviews with George Barbour talking about his career leading up to and including the seminal Selma-to-Montgomery March. A discussion on the historical influence of Black journalists and matters around Black journalism, featuring contemporaries of Barbour and Pitt students, will follow the screening.
In 1965, as the first African-American KDKA Radio reporter, George Barbour marched 54 miles alongside civil rights activists such as Martin Luther King Jr., interviewing participants, including John Lewis, along the way. A Pittsburgh native and University of Pittsburgh alumnus, Barbour stands as an important and resilient journalist from a revolutionary period of U.S. history.
Opening remarks to be provided by Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, Clyde Wilson Picket, vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion; Kornelia Tancheva, director of the university library system; and Laurence Glasco, associate professor.

Registration is required. An access link to the event will be sent to the email provided following completed registration.

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Noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 13

Join the Pitt African American Alumni Council for a celebration of black excellence! Past AAAC endowed scholarship winners will share how the financial support from alumni have contributed to their educational and professional success.

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3 to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 18.

Join us for an inspiring panel discussion and learn about ways to better support your family through the pandemic and beyond. The panel will feature...

  • Charlene Foggie Barnett of the Carnegie Museum and African American Genealogical Society
  • Tyree Ford, assistant director of social services at Alma Illery / Primary Care Health Services, Inc.
  • Peggy Harris, CEO of Three Rivers Youth
  • Jackie Patterson, CEO of Three Rivers Adoption
  • Raymond Robinson, manager of social services at Homewood Children's Village

Registration is required. An access link to the event will be sent to the email provided following completed registration.

Other Events

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Noon to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 6  

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson will share best practices in using probate and other estate records to identify potential slaveholders. If you have identified the names of ancestors born during slavery and have stalled in your research, this lecture will help prepare you to break through the 1870 brick wall. 
The event is free. Register at eventactions.com

Sponsored by the Anacostia Community Museum.

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6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8

Barry Farm-Hillsdale was created under the auspices of the Freedmen's Bureau in 1867, in what was then, the outskirts of the nation's capital. Join curator and historian Alcione M. Amos as she discusses her newly released book “Barry Farm-Hillsdale in Anacostia: A History African American Community.”
The event is free. Register at smithsonian.zoom.us

Sponsored by the African American History and Culture Museum

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8 p.m. Feb. 12

An inspiring theatrical experience on stage with Delana Flowers, as she portrays Sojourner Truth, sharing her journeys, stories, mind and heart with a passion and truthfulness that still needs to be told. This story was written by Richard LaMonte Pierce and directed by Linda Haston.
Sign in with a pitt.edu address and Pitt-Bradford’s Office of Academic Affairs will pay your admission.

Link coming soon.

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2:30 to 3:15 p.m. Feb. 11

Actress and author Morgan Avery McCoy discusses Harriet Tubman as a person and shares the life-coach lessons we can learn.

Morgan McCoy is an American award-winning actress, author, motivational speaker, and educator. She is the CEO of production company, M.A.M. Inc. and executive director of her nonprofit, A.C.T. 4 Life, Inc. She can be seen on national TV commercials, films and most recently the Box Office hit “Harriet,” starring Cynthia Erivo and Janelle Monet. While not on set, Morgan tours the country speaking and presenting her one woman shows: Evolution of a Black Girl: From the Slave House to the White House (2015 tour sponsored by Academy Award Winner Louis Gossett Jr.); She’s Got Issues; and Care for Me: The Cry of the Fatherless. Within the shows, Morgan utilizes her unique storytelling ability through comedy and drama to motivate audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

The event is free. Register at smithsonian.zoom.us
Sponsored by the Anacostia Community Museum

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5 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 11

The African American History and Culture Museum will host a stimulating discussion about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the economy and the African American community. Panelists like Algernon Austin will discuss this economic issue and how the community may prevail with critical interventions. Michael Fletcher of ESPN’s Undefeated will moderate the discussion.
The event is free.

Sponsored by the African American History and Culture Museum

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3:30 to 6:30 p.m. March 5
The event is free. Register

Day-one events:
3:30 p.m. EST
Remembering Ira Berlin and Welcome remarks

  • Lonnie Bunch III, Smithsonian Institution
  • Bonnie Thornton Dill, University of Maryland, College Park

Keynote:
Dis-locations, Dis-Possessions — On Borders, Walls, Nations
Carole Boyce Davies, Cornell University

5 p.m. EST
Session 1: African American/American African Encounters
This session will explore methods and theories for understanding the relationships and encounters (both historical and contemporary) between African Americans and African diasporic immigrants.

  • Msia Kibona Clark, Howard University
  • Joshua Guild, Princeton University
  • Cynthia A. Young, Pennsylvania State University
  • Chair: Nancy R. Mirabal, University of Maryland, College Park