Black History Month calendar filling up at Pitt

Pitt won’t hold its signature Black History Month event — the K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month Celebration — until Feb. 22, but there are events going on throughout February.

This year’s nationwide theme, which is suggested by the Association for the Study of African American Life & History, is Black resistance. The University is focusing on “Black Resistance: Agency and Power of the Lived Experience.”

“Historically, Black resistance to injustice, inequality, and oppression has led to lasting progress in civil rights,” Clyde Wilson Pickett, vice chancellor for equity, diversity, & inclusion, said in an announcement. “In the face of overwhelming opposition at times, Black Americans and people of color have advocated for change. Their sacrifices and persistence have benefited all Americans through improvements in education, legislation, health care, business and industry, the workforce, and society in general.

The K. Leroy Irvis event, named after a 1954 graduate of the Pitt School of Law who served as the first Black speaker of the Pennsylvania House of representatives, will be “A Night of Celebration: Honoring the Heroes of Black Resistance.” Nominations are being accepted at this website through Feb. 6 from both inside the University community and throughout the Pittsburgh region

The University will present the awards at the 6 p.m. Feb. 22 ceremony in the Connolly Ballroom at Alumni Hall. Award categories include:

  • Unsung Hero

  • Community/Campus Leader

  • Social Justice Advocate

  • Aspiring Ally

  • Creative Change-Maker

Other Black History Month events

Black History Month began with a virtual book talk with Mary Romney-Schaab, author of "An Afro-Caribbean in the Nazi Era: Oral History and Black History," on Feb. 1 through Pitt–Greensburg, and a talk by Asha Chai-Chang about “The Intersection of Race, Disability and Religion: A First-Person Experience,” on Feb. 2, sponsored by the Office of Health Sciences Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Upcoming events include:

Virtual Film Screening of “Descendant,” 5 p.m. Feb. 8, online. The documentary focuses on the families of those brought over on The Clotilda — a slave ship that carried 110 captured people from the West African country now known as Benin who were smuggled to Mobile, Ala., in 1860. Sponsored by the Center for Urban Education. Zoom registration:

Race & ... Lecture Series: Sirry Alang, noon-1 p.m. Feb. 9, 2017 Cathedral of Learning. Alang, associate professor, School of Education, will present People, Contexts, & Systems: Intersections that Matter for Health Equity. Sponsored by the Race and Social Determinants of Equity, Health, and Well-being Cluster Hire Initiative. Register to attend in person or via Zoom on the University calendar.

Our Well-Being is Social Justice, 7-8:30 p.m. Feb. 9, Village Hall, Pitt–Greensburg. Activist and educator Michelle Saahene will lead the workshop, "Our Well-Being is Social Justice." Participate in this event to better understand why racial healing needs to be part of social justice and wellness.

In Conversation: Damon Young & Michael Sawyer, 7 p.m. Feb. 13, Alumni Hall, 7th floor. he David C. Frederick Honors College presents Pittsburgh’s own Damon Young, author of “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays” in conversation with Michael Sawyer, associate professor of English at Pitt. Please register in advance.

“The Spook Who Sat by the Door,” 6:30-8 p.m. Feb. 15, Frick Fine Arts auditorium. This is the second event in the series Race, Rebellion, and Global Solidarity. The classic 1973 film, based on the novel by writer Sam Greenlee, tells the fictional story of Dan Freeman, the first Black CIA officer. There is no registration for this screening.

August Wilson’s “Seven Guitars,” Feb. 17-26, Charity Randall Theatre. The sixth in the author’s decade-by-decade exploration of the black experience in America, “Seven Guitars” is part bawdy comedy, part dark elegy, and part mystery, set in the backyard of a Pittsburgh tenement in 1948. Presented by the Department of Theatre Arts. Tickets are $27; $17 for students with ID. Find tickets here.

Book discussion: “Black Star, Crescent Moon,” 6-7:30 p.m. Feb. 21, 4217 Posvar Hall. Author Sohail Daulatzai will discuss his book, facilitated by Michael Sawyer, which maps the rich, shared history between Black Muslims, Black radicals, and the Muslim Third World, placing them within a broader framework of American imperialism, Black identity, and the global nature of white oppression. Register on the University Center for International Studies website.

Teaching August Wilson: A Pedagogy of Self-Determination, noon-1:30 p.m. Feb. 22, online. Join the Center for Urban Education, in partnership with the Pitt Library, for a panel celebrating the life and work of August Wilson and the importance of teaching his writings. This panel launches a deeper collaborative relationship in which CUE will lead a series of workshops with educators about how to develop curriculum and pedagogy centering the August Wilson archive. Register here.

Race &... Lecture Series: Kathryn Reed, noon-1 p.m. Feb. 23, 2017 Cathedral of Learning and online. reed, assistant professor and vice chair for equity, inclusion and community engagement, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, will present “Community Engagement in Action: Mentorship & Pipeline Programs for Underrepresented in Medicine Learners.” Register to attend in person or via Zoom on the University calendar.

Open Mic Night: Black History Month, 8:30-10 p.m. Feb. 23, C4C: The Understory, B50 Cathedral of Learning. Join a special open mic night celebrating Black voices, held in partnership with Pitt’s Center for African American Poetry & Poetics. All Pitt students, faculty and staff and all performance-based genres are welcome: original music or covers; poetry, storytelling, and spoken word; skits or monologues. Performances should be relevant to the themes of Black experiences, joy and resistance. Guest host for the evening is DJ/writer/creative artist Taylor Waits.

Health Sciences Social Justice Education Summit, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 28, online. Join Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew (AHN) and Johanna M. Vidal-Phelan (UPMC) in kicking off the inaugural Health Sciences Social Justice Education Summit, which seeks to serve as a space to introduce, build and engage students, trainees, staff and faculty in inclusive community-campus partnership. RSVP here to receive more details as they become available.

Check the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion website for more details and more events as they are added.