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University of the Pacific gears up for Black History Month celebration | Arts & Culture

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University of the Pacific gears up for Black History Month celebration
University of the Pacific gears up for Black History Month celebration

University of the Pacific’s annual Black History Month celebration includes activities that honor the history and heritage of African-Americans and the African Diaspora. Throughout the month of February, students, faculty and staff put on numerous events, including a keynote speaker, gospel concert, poetry reading, roundtable discussions and various guest lecturers.

Activists Dr. Melba Beals and Dr. Angela Davis, gospel legends The Clark Sisters, and nationally recognized poet Rowan Ricardo Phillips will be featured as University of the Pacific celebrates Black History Month in February. The theme for this year’s celebration is “A Century of Black Life, History and Culture.” 

“It’s great we have an opportunity to celebrate the contributions African-Americans have made,” said Shannel Hawkins, student co-chair of Pacific’s Black History Month Planning Committee. “We are once again collaborating with campus groups and alumni and community leaders to present excellent speakers, music and poetry, ‘real talk’ discussions and more.”

Here are some of the scheduled the events:

Feb. 3, Tuesday: Dr. Melba Beals, journalist and member of the Little Rock Nine will lecture at 7 p.m. Feb. 3 at Faye Spanos Concert Hall on University of the Pacific’s campus in Stockton. The Little Rock Nine, a group of African-American students, were the first to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her lecture will be on empowerment and her book, “Warriors Don’t Cry.” Admission is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. 

Feb. 17, Tuesday: Author, scholar and political activist Dr. Angela Davis will lecture at 7 p.m. Feb. 17 at Faye Spanos Concert Hall. Davis is internationally known for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression and is a strong advocate of gender equity and prison reform.  Admission is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

Feb. 26, Thursday: A presentation by poet Rowan Ricardo Phillips will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 26 in the Presidents Room on the University of the Pacific’s campus in Stockton. Winner of the 2013 Whiting Writer’s Award, Phillips will share how he unravels the world and finds ways to create art with language. Admission is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

Feb. 27, Friday: Capping off Pacific’s Black History Month is Gospelfest 2015 featuring the legendary Grammy Award-winning gospel group, The Clark Sisters. With a recording career spanning four decades, The Clark Sisters are the largest selling female gospel group of all time. Anthony Brown and Group Therapy will open the show. Their song, “Testimony,” was named the most popular gospel song of 2013 by Billboard.  The concert will take place 7-10 p.m., Feb. 27, at the Bob Hope Theatre, 242 E. Main St., Stockton. Tickets: $45 (advance); $50 (day of); $35 (advance); $40 (day of); $25 (advance); $30 (day of); http://go.Pacific.edu/Gospelfest2015 or the Stockton Arena Box Office; Pacific students: $15 (with school ID) at the DeRosa University Center (Pacific Cash accepted). 

“I am very proud of the hard work the committee has put in to make this celebration a success,” said Randall Ogans, staff co-chair of Pacific’s Black History Month Planning Committee. “We are proud to have this celebration in Stockton and really appreciate the support we get from the community year after year.”

Other celebrities who have performed or lectured during past celebrations, include NBA legend and author Kareem Abdul Jabbar; scholar Dr. Cornel West; author Alice Walker; actor Danny Glover; filmmaker Spike Lee; Grammy Award winners India. Arie and Common. The Pacific Arts and Lectures Committee, Office of the Provost, Beyond Our Gates, Benerd School of Education, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Ethnic Studies Department and Pacific Alumni Association, Office of Admissions are co-sponsoring events throughout the month. For more information about Pacific’s Black History Month celebration, please call Pacific’s Multicultural Center at 209.946.7707.

Pacific Black History Month Planning Committee Mission Statement

The Black History Month Committee will, through the usage of identified funds, collaborate within the University and local community to plan and execute a month long series of events and activities that support the overall goals of education and enrichment in relation to the contributions of peoples of African ancestry and culture to society past and present.

Origin of Black History Month

Known as the “Father of Black History,” Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the celebration he called “Negro History Week” in 1926. Woodson selected the second week of February for the celebration, because it fell between the birthdays of the famed orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, the celebration expanded to include the entire month of February. Today, Black History Month is celebrated across the United States by people of all ethnic and social backgrounds. At Pacific, it is observed during a month long celebration in February organized by Pacific’s Black History Month Planning Committee.

Manteca / Tracy / Ripon Deals