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Black History Month February 2016

Black History Month 2016
University of the Pacific's annual Black History Month celebration involves a number of 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. 

Actor/writer/director Nate Parker, gospel superstar Kirk Franklin, and nationally known poet Patricia Spears Jones will be featured as the University of the Pacific celebrates Black History Month in February.  The theme for this year's celebration is "The Dream Continues."

"It feels great being a part of a collaborative effort to celebrate the contributions of African-Americans past and present, "said Mariah McGhee, student co-chair of Pacific's Black History Month Planning Committee.  "We've had a lot of fun working on this project with other faculty, students and staff on campus.  Our community partners, including Pacific alumni, have also been great supporters.  People have a lot to look forward to, particularly our signature events."  Here is a summary:

Feb. 19, Friday - This year's Gospelfest features musical icon Kirk Franklin. With a recording career spanning nearly two decades, Kirk Franklin is a multi-platinum-selling artist who has earned numerous awards including 9 Grammy awards and 39 Stellar Awards.  He is also the host and executive producer of the highest-rated gospel program in BET network history, "Sunday Best." Geoffrey Golden will open the concert.  He is a contemporary gospel artist from Cleveland, Ohio, who won the 7th season of "Sunday Best."  He has been nominated for a Stellar Award in the category of "New Artist of the Year."  His latest project, "Kingdom... Live," is available now.  Local artist Kristal Stallworth-Little will also perform.  The original opening artist for the concert, Travis Greene, had a scheduling conflict and is unable to perform.  Gospelfest will be 7-10 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Bob Hope Theatre, 242 E. Main Street, Stockton.  Tickets are $30-$50 in advance, $35-$55 the day of the concert.  Purchase online at or the Stockton Arena Box Office; Pacific students may purchase tickets for $15 with a Pacific ID at the DeRosa University Center (Pacific Cash accepted).

Feb. 25, Thursday - A presentation by poet Patricia Spears Jones will be held at 7 p.m. in the Presidents Room.  Over the past 40 years, she has written groundbreaking poetry collections and been actively involved in a several organizations focused on progressive politics, social justice, feminism, the environment and multi-culturalism.   She curates WORDS SUNDAY, a literary and performance series focused on Brooklyn-based writers and artists.  In 2010, she was named by as one of its "40 Poets They Love."  Admission to this event is free, but seating is limited.

Feb. 29, Monday - Actor/writer/producer Nate Parker is the keynote speaker for this year's celebration.  He is best known for his roles in the films "The Great Debaters," "Pride," "Red Tails," and "Beyond the Lights."  At the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, the distribution rights to his film Birth of a Nation were purchased by Fox Searchlight Pictures for $17.5 million. The purchase broke the record for the most money ever paid for a Sundance Film Festival production.  He will lecture at 7 p.m. at Faye  Spanos Concert Hall.  This is a ticketed event admission is free, but seating is limited. Tickets can be picked up at the DeRosa University Center.

 "I'm so appreciative of the hard work our committee has put in for well over a year planning this year's celebration," said Randall Ogans, staff co-chair of Pacific's Black History Month Planning Committee.  "It is our pleasure to host the events in the city of Stockton and we are excited to give back to the community that has supported us for over 15 years." 

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, the Office of the Provost, Beyond Our Gates, the Gladys L. Benerd School of Education, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Ethnic Studies Department, the Pacific Alumni Association and the Office of Admission 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. Dr. 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.