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Performances, lectures highlight Black History Month at UVa-Wise

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise will hold several special events throughout February in celebration of Black History Month.

The events commence on Feb. 3 at 1 p.m. in the Chapel of All Faiths. The UVa-Wise Department of Visual and Performing Arts will kick off the activities with a musical performance.

On Feb. 8 at 1 p.m. , a panel discussion on civil rights will take place in the Chapel of All Faiths. Brian D. McKnight, associate professor of history at UVa-Wise, will act as moderator for the discussion.  Participants in the discussion include Tom Costa, chair of the history department at UVa-Wise; Dr. Khalid J. Awan, an ophthalmologist practicing in Norton, VA; Elwood Watson, professor of history and African-American Studies at East Tennessee State University; and Chancellor Emeritus Joseph C. Smiddy of UVa-Wise.

On Feb. 10, William H. Turner, distinguished professor of Appalachian Studies at Berea College, will present a lecture titled “History of African-Americans in Appalachia” at 1 p.m. in the Dogwood Room of the Slemp Student Center.

On Feb. 14, Pro-Art presents L’Tanya Mari’, a critically acclaimed jazz vocalist and creative arranger.  Her vocal command, soaring voice, impeccable intonation, clear articulation and delivery have solidified her as a commanding force in the jazz vocal genre.  Her 2009 recording “A Teardrop of Sun” received wide airplay and climbed to number 30 on the American Jazz Charts.  This event will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Chapel of All Faiths.

Continuing the activities, Carolyn Smith will host a Black History Month trivia game show in the Gladeville Room of Cantrell Hall at 1 p.m. on Feb. 15.

On Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. in the Chapel of All Faiths, Anna Gamble and Friends will be performing a concert.

Black History Month activities will conclude with a viewing of “The Express” on Feb. 29 at 1 p.m. in the Chapel of All Faiths. The film depicts the story of Ernie Davis, the first African-American to receive college football’s most prestigious honor, the Heisman trophy.  Davis has proven to be one of the most inspiring, yet tragic, players in the history of the game.  The athletic stardom he found coincided with the birth of the civil rights movement.  Despite the setbacks faced by Davis, such as a speech impediment, prejudiced referees, and fear of white mob violence, he still managed to gain glory for a greater America.

Students will receive cultural credit for attending any Black History Month activities.  For more information, contact Sandra Jones at 276-328-0129 or the Pro-Art Association at 276-376-1083.