Celebrating black history and heritage

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Updated Monday, Feb. 15: The lecture by Lawrence Glasco will take place in Quigley Auditorium tonight at 7 p.m., not 7:30 p.m. as previously reported.

Since 1926, America has recognized February as Black History Month. At Allegheny, many events are scheduled during this month to give students an opportunity to learn more about African American history and heritage.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, copyright Carnegie Museum of Art, cmoa.org | University of Pittsburgh Professor Lawrence Glasco’s Feb. 15 lecture focuses on life for African American Pittsburghers, using photos by Charles “Teenie” Harris. The lecture will take place in Quigley Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. in Quigley Auditorium, as a major part of Black History Month celebrations here, the Allegheny Association for the Advancement of Black Culture (ABC) is hosting Professor Lawrence Glasco from the University of Pittsburgh. Glasco will be giving a lecture about the history of Black Pittsburghers from 1940 to 1970. Focusing on photos taken by African American photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris, Glasco will give students an inside look on how African Americans faced discrimination during that time, being excluded from jobs for which they were qualified and from public places such as roller rinks and swimming pools.

Harris worked for the Pittsburgh Courier and took over 80,000 pictures during his career. His documentation of Pittsburgh’s African American community is vast and one of a kind.

“A lot of students at Allegheny, who are mostly white, come from the Pittsburgh area, but how much do they know about the African American history?” said Ian Binnington, assistant professor of history. “This is a perfect opportunity to learn about the place where they are from.”

Another ABC-planned event is a film series occuring every Wednesday this month. This is the fourth year of the series and this year’s theme is LGBTQIs in the African American community.

“The theme came really, really organically,” said Calion B. Lockridge, assistant professor of psychology, who helped select the films this year. “The first film, ‘Brother to Brother,’ is something my wife and I stumbled across on PBS. After twenty minutes we thought this would be incredible to use in the film series.”

The next film, “Dreams Deferred: The Sakia Gunn Project,” is airing on Feb. 17 at 6:30 in Carnegie Hall room 212.

“We want the films to hit different notes,” Lockridge said. “Whatever you think the film might be about, that’s not it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. The issues in the films are dealt with in a complex way.”

After each viewing, a discussion is led by a faculty member. During times of social struggle, Lockridge stressed how “people at the frontline were excluded because of their sexuality. We want to reintroduce these historical events because they were a lot more like what you find now. Social change is a struggle.”

ABC also branched out to local children in planning tomorrow’s special poetry workshop with Ise Lyfe, one of America’s premier spoken word artists and emcees. His goal is to educate students on social history through poetry, so Meadville children will have the opportunity learn about writing poetry and have a jam session with Ise Lyfe.

“We are really excited about the poetry workshop,” said ABC President Rachel Cave, ’10. “It gives us a chance to connect with the Meadville community which doesn’t happen very often.”

The last event planned ABC planned for this month is the annual Ebony Ball on Feb. 27 in Schultz Hall.

“It’s a formal get-together for all of us to dress up and have a good time,” Cave said.

Half–Nigerian, half–Irish singer Laura Izibor will perform at the ball. Hailing from Dublin, she sings R&B, soul and pop.

Only 22 years old, Izibor has already opened for Aretha Franklin and John Legend on tour and even had her music featured on the soundtrack for “P.S. I Love You” and during “Grey’s Anatomy.”

From historical lectures to moving films and music, there is a great line-up of events throughout this month to help the entire student body and community learn more about African American history and culture.

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