Category: Lifestyle Written by Debbie Norrell
If you do anything for Black History Month make sure you visit the Senator John Heinz History Center and view the exhibit “From Slavery to Freedom, Pittsburgh and the Underground Railroad” on the fourth floor. This is going to be a long term exhibit so you can see it more than once.
At this time, the exhibit is about 85 percent complete. Please take in the life-like figures and read the documents in the exhibits that tell the story of Blacks coming to Pittsburgh seeking freedom. This exhibition, which illuminated the little known history of slavery throughout the Western Pennsylvania region in the 18th and 19th centuries, includes 53 slave related records, profiles of famous Pittsburgh slaveholders and abolitionists, depictions of daring escapes from slavery and other historical material.
Every February for many years now the University of Pittsburgh has sponsored a Black History Month program and according to Sam Black, Heinz History Center director of African American programs, has one of best Black History Month programs that he has seen. A beautifully done publication allowed guests to review the programs that the University of Pittsburgh has done since 2004. The first program and the only one that I have missed due to a winter storm was “K. Leroy Irvis: The Lion of Pennsylvania.” This was the world premiere of a documentary by the Pitt office of Public Affairs illuminating the life and legacy of K. Leroy Irvis.
In 2006, the 125 year history of Three Rivers Youth was featured, also in 2006 was “Torchbearers: The Story of Pittsburgh’s Freedom Fighters.” In 2007 another world premiere, “Freedom House,” a documentary by Gene Starzenski recognizing the history of the Hill District based ambulance service that revolutionized emergency medical care nationwide and paved the way for a new medical professional-the paramedic. “Fly Boys: Western Pennsylvania’s Tuskegee Airman” was the 2008 feature. By this year guests were looking forward to the life like and life size décor that accompanied these yearly soirees. The staff of the University of Pittsburgh never failed to amaze.
In 2009 it was “Blue Gold & Black From Doorway to Distinction,” a world premiere of a documentary saluting African-Americans that broke down barriers and took their rightful place in Pitt history. The Pittsburgh Courier was featured in 2010 and 2011. The world premiere in 2010 by Pitt alumnus Kenneth Love revealed how a publication that originated as a small local newssheet became the leading Black newspaper of the 20th century. In 2011 “America’s Best Weekly: A Century of the Pittsburgh Courier” was unveiled commemorating its 100th anniversary.
There were two programs in 2012 as well, “Thaddeus Mosley, Sculptor” chronicled the life and career of renowned Pitt alumnus Thaddeus Mosley, and “Teenie Harris, Photographer: Image, Memory, History,” the University of Pittsburgh Press book launch and program honoring 100 years of photography by legendary Pittsburgh photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris; book coauthored by Pitt faculty member Larry Glasco.
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 February 2013 15:29
Category: Lifestyle Written by Ashley G. Woodson
Six Eight and Ms. Dee enjoying a great time at Tim’s Bar in the Hill District.
This week I visited Kelly’s Bar in East Liberty, Tim’s Bar in the Hill District and the Ava Lounge in East Liberty.
My first stop was at Kelly’s Bar in East Liberty where DJ Zombo was on the 1’s and 2’s doing his thing for the crowd.
My next stop was at Tim’s Bar in the Hill District where everyone came out to get their party on for the weekend and listen to great music.
My final destination was at the Ava Lounge in East Liberty where GlobalPittsburgh First Thursdays International Happy Hour was held. The purpose of the event was to meet people from all over the world and learn more about different cultures.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 10:25
Category: Lifestyle Written by Debbie Norrell
CELEBRATING PITT & BLACK HISTORY—Robert Hill, Samuel Black and Mark A. Nordenberg (Photos by Debbie Norrell)
More than 500 attended the 2013 K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month Program on Feb. 5, at the Senator John Heinz History Center. Guests were invited to view “From Slavery to Freedom Pittsburgh and The Underground Railroad” before and after the evening’s program.
Robert Hill, Program co-host and University of Pittsburgh vice chancellor for public affairs, served as master of ceremonies while program co-host and University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg delivered greetings. University of Pittsburgh History Professor Laurence Glasco spoke about the historical context and the exhibit was introduced by Heinz History Director of African American Programs and Exhibition Curator Samuel Black.
Every February, the University of Pittsburgh K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month Program series pays tribute to the role of African-Americans in the ever-unfolding story of Pitt, Pittsburgh and beyond. Pitt’s Black History Month program was established in 2004 with the world premiere screening of “K. Leroy Irvis: The Lion of Pennsylvania.” The program was continued in 2006 and has become an annual observance of Pitt’s notable Black history.
In 2008 the observance was renamed the K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month Program to honor the memory of the legendary Pennsylvania legislative leader and, Pitt alumnus and trustee. Elected by acclamation in 1977, Irvis became the first African-American speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the only Black speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, along with the only Black speaker of any state house at that time. More than 40 years ago, he sponsored the bills creating the state-related system of universities that includes Pitt.
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 February 2013 15:27
Category: Lifestyle Written by Genea Webb
PITTSBURGH GOSPEL CHOIR—Dr. Herbert V.R.P. Jones conducts the Pittsburgh Gospel Choir (Photos by Gail L. Manker)
Bridging Pittsburgh's racial divide through music and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s inspirational message of togetherness is why Kris Rust helped create the Let Freedom Sing! choral festival six years ago.
“I'm inspired by Dr. King's commitment to lifting up humanity which is common to all people," said Rust, who also serves as the director of choirs at Franklin Regional High School. "The sense that we have to be together and love one another. Dr. King said all that so eloquently in his words and vigorously in his actions. He's a figure in history.”
Rust always holds the free, two-day concert on the Martin Luther King Jr., holiday and has one concert in the City of Pittsburgh and another in a suburb of the Golden Triangle.
“We want to make this a joint effort of the city and the suburbs. This brings adult groups from churches and people from all stages of their lives. It's great for my students to see that singing is something they can do their whole lives,” Rust said.
This year's events were held at Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church in East Liberty, Jan. 19, and at Murrysville-based Franklin Regional High Jan. 21. The concerts featured folk singer Ellen Gozion, who performed a set of American folk songs, in addition to multi-disciplinary artist, photographer, poet, actress and designer Vanessa German, who weaved her original words into Dr. King’s words. In addition, Murrysville native and jazz artist Carolyn Perteete performed in addition to the Franklin Regional High School Choir, McKeesport Area High School, Norwin High School, the Pittsburgh Gospel Choir and the Wilkinsburg High School.
Songs performed included old Negro spirituals “I Opened My Mouth To The Lord,” and “Don’t Let Nobody Turn Me Around,” in addition to Richard Smallwood’s “Total Praise” and Keith Hampton’s “Celebrate!” Joe Doblick served as baritone on “Celebrate!”
“African-American music is so rich and wonderful and I wanted my students to be a part of that experience," said Rust when asked about the music chosen for the choral festival.
In addition to the musical component, Rust wants to use the annual concerts to build a stronger since of community in the city of Pittsburgh and beyond its boarders.
“We are all a part of Pittsburgh and the same human family," said Rust. "On Saturday we had the biggest crowd we ever had. People were on their feet and the guests artists had sing along's in their repertoire and there was a lot of clapping and response and we got a lot of compliments afterwards. We are also using these concerts to help with two food banks because Dr. King was very concerned about poverty as am I. For most people, the food bank is easy to support.”
Those food banks are the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and the Westmoreland County Food Banks. In 2012, Rust estimated the concerts raised $2,500 for the food banks.
“We hope to top that this year,” Rust said.
(For more information or updates on the Let Freedom Sing! concerts visit www.letfreedomsing.net or visit the Let Freedom Sing face book page.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 10:10
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