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University of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, California 95211

Past Celebrations

Highlights from over the years....

2018 -  The keynote speaker was attorney, CNN Commentator and NPR political analyst Angela Rye. She served as the executive director and general counsel to the Congressional Black Caucus for the 112th Congress. In 2015, she earned a spot on Fortune Magazine's "40 Under 40 Women to Watch." In 2017, she was named to the Root 100 list of "Most Influential African Americans." Gospelfest was headlined by Maranda Curtis. Her latest EP released in 2017, The Maranda Experience, Vol. 1, debuted at number one on Billboard’s gospel chart. Singer/Songwriter Cheryl Fortune and worship leader Kristal Stallworth also performed at Gospelfest.  In collaboration with Pacific Ethnic Studies Committee and McGeorge School of Law, Paul Butler, Professor of Law and author of “Chokehold: Policing Black Men” gave lectures at Pacific's Stockton and Sacramento campuses respectively. In partnership with San Joaquin Delta College, several events were held on that campus including presentations on violence prevention, health and wellness, civil rights activism in education, a play by TOASTCO, the internationalization of Hip Hop Music and Steel Drums Concert. Black History Month Committee Student Co-Chair: Chris Cannon `16 COP

2017 - After MC and Spoken Word Poet Brandon Leake opened the night with his poetry, Music artist/rapper  and author Lecrae gave a lecture based on his best-selling book, Unashamed, followed by a performance of his hits over the years including singles from the #1 Billboard album, Anomaly.  Black Campus Ministries student club hosted their 6th Annual Praise Dinner in DeRosa University Center Ballroom.  Software Engineers from Netflix presented a panel discussion on the topic, "Behind the Scenes in the Tech Industry" in Faye Spanos Concert Hall.  Hosted by the Ethnic Studies Department, Poet Arisa White presented a series of poems about love and loss.  Gospelfest was headlined by Grammy-award winning artist Donald Lawrence & Company and included performances by artist Lena Byrd Miles and Ascension Dance.  Hosted by Pacific's Theatre Arts Department, actor Steven Anthony Jones performed a one-man play, Thurgood, about the life of former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.  Poet Arisa White shared her poetry and insights with students hosted by the Ethnic Studies Department.  With Our Words, Inc. hosted "Bless the Mic Night" at Victory in Praise Church in Stockton.  A closing reception and Soul Food Dinner hosted by Pacific's Black Alumni Club concluded the month's celebration and included a recap of the month's accomplishments and a gift of appreciation to long-time Black History Month supporter and former staff member in Pacific's Psychology department for 30 years, Cris Clay.   Black History Month Committee Student Co-Chair: Shani Boyd '17

2016 -Actor and director Nate Parker served as the Keynote Speaker and discussed the importance of being an activist and fighting for the rights of all people.  He also discussed his latest film, Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winner, Birth of a Nation.  Black Campus Ministries Student Club hosted their 5th Annual Praise Dinner at the Alex & Jeri Vereschagin Alumni House.  Local artist Kristal Stallworth-Little, BET's Sunday Best Season 7 winner Geoffrey Golden and gospel music icon Kirk Franklin performed to a capacity crowd during Gospelfest at the Bob Hope Theatre.  Poet Patricia Spears Jones shared her ground breaking poetry collection and commentary on what it takes to become a successful poet in the 21st century.  Black History Month Student Co-Chair: Mariah Ghee '18

2015 - Author, scholar and political activist Dr. Angela Davis gave a lecture discussing ways to combat oppression and the need for gender equity and prison reform. Poet and professor Dr. Rowan Ricardo Phillips, demonstrated how he creates art through language during an interactive poetry reading. Gospelfest wrapped up the month’s celebration with performances from Anthony Brown and Group Therapy, and the largest selling female gospel group of all time, The Clark Sisters.

2014 - Grammy and Oscar Award winning hip hop artist and actor Common, performed at the Bob Hope Theatre and spoke about how each individual can make impactful change in the world. Poet Claudia Rankine, shared poems during an evening of poetry readings at Wendell Phillips Center and shared insights with Pacific students about the process of creative writing. The month ended with the spirit-filled performance from the #1 gospel recording artist in America, Tye Tribbett, at Gospelfest.

2013 - NBA's all time leading scorer Kareem Abdul Jabbar lectured about his love of history and how it has impacted him. He also discussed the value of team work and how we can all make a difference in our community. Grammy Award Winner Anthony Hamilton discussed his career and work with CASA(Court Appointed Special Advocates) and performed. Grammy Nominee Anita Wilson and Stellar Award winner JJ Hairston and Youthful Praise performed at the Gospelfest.

2012 - Grammy Award winner India Arie gave a lecture and performance in her songversation . Gospel Artists James Fortune and Deon Kipping participated in the Gospelfest. Poet Tyhembia Jess did a lecture and poetry reading.

2011 - Author and actor Hill Harper gave a lecture. Harper's known for his New York Times best-selling books aimed at inspiring black youth, and his role on  the television series "CSI: New York." The celebration's first Apollo Night competition was also held.

2010 - CNN Journalist Soledad O' Brien, correspondent of the "Black in America" documentary series, participated in a moderated discussion/interview. The documentaries (part 1 and 2), which explored issues impacting African-Americans, were shown as part of the celebration's film series.

2009 - Actor and human rights activist Danny Glover performed "An Evening with Langston and Martin" with friend and fellow actor Felix Justice. The two-man play consists of dramatic readings from the works of poet Langston Hughes and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

2008 - Rapper and activist Chuck D of the politically conscious rap group Public Enemy spoke. "The Meeting," a critically acclaimed play about the lives and philosophies of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, was performed.

2007 - Cartoonist Aaron McGruder, creator of the "The Boondocks" comic strip and animated television series gave a lecture. World-renowned African ballet troupe Le Ballet performed.

2006 - Scholar Dr. Michael Eric Dyson gave a lecture. Dyson has written numerous books, including Holler if You Hear MeIs Bill Cosby Right? and I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King Jr. The Kennedy Center also put on the play "Color Me Dark".

2005 - Scholar Dr. Cornel West, author of the best-selling book Race Matters, gave a lecture. His writings have been credited with helping change the course of American dialogue on race, justice and democracy.

2004 - Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker gave a lecture. Walker is best known for her novel Color Purple, which was made into a motion picture of the same name.

2003 - Influential film director Spike Lee, known for such films as "Malcolm X" and "Do The Right Thing" spoke. His films often capture various aspects of the Black experience and address controversial issues.

2002 - Author Terry McMillian, who penned the best-selling novel Waiting to Exhale, spoke on campus. Other speakers included painter Faith Ringgold and Civil Rights attorney and activist Benjamin Hooks.

2001  - Singer, comedian and television host Wayne Brady performed during two shows for Pacific's Black History Month celebration.