University of Pittsburgh's K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month Celebration

African Americans and the Vote

Black History Month is celebrated annually during the month of February to acknowledge and celebrate the important contributions of people of African descent to our nation's life and culture.  Black History Month, which began as Negro History Week in 1926 under the leadership of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, falls in February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. 

In recognition of the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment and the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement and the sesquicentennial of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) and the right of black men to the ballot after the Civil War, this year’s theme – African Americans and the Vote – speaks to the ongoing struggle on the part of both black men and black women for the right to vote. The theme of the vote also recognizes the rise of black elected and appointed officials at the local and national levels, campaigns for equal rights legislation, as well as the role of blacks in traditional and alternative political parties.   You can read more about the theme on the ASALH website

The Pitt community is encouraged to actively engage in the celebration of Black History Month.  A list of 2020 Black History Month University Wide events is available below or check the Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion's Event Calendar for all events. Any Pitt department / group that wish to have their Black History Month activity promoted on the directory below, can submit their activity information via this form.  

The University's signature event, the K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month Program hosted by the Chancellor, is named for K. Leroy Irvis, a 1954 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and one of the most important and influential men in Pennsylvania history. This year’s K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month program (February 27 – 29) features a series of cultural activities that highlight black activism through the arts. 

Black History Month Events



Crafting Spaces of Value: Special Economic Zones, Infrastructure, Energy and Extractive Practices in Nigeria

February 3, 2-4pm

Night Out at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center

February 3, 7pm

Exhibit: African American Poetry - Hillman Library

February 3-29

Reading & Conversation: Idris Goodwin & Kevin Coval

February 4, 7pm

Thinking Race, Gender, and Sexuality Together: Comparative Approaches

February 7, 1-3pm

Doctors, Termites, and Princesses: Landscapes of Health and Medicine in East Africa

February 10, 4:30-6:30pm

African Americans and the Vote

February 11, 5:30-7:30pm

White Privilege in Information

February 11, 1pm

SSW Speaker Series: “Which Way for Social Work on Sexual and Gender Minority Issues?”

February 12, 12-3pm

Reach for the Stars Presented by the Department of Medicine Office of Diversity and Inclusion

February 12, 5:30-7pm

De Ting About Blackness (A Meditation)

February 13, 12:30-2pm

Keith Wilson with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

February 13, 7pm

Afro-Latinx Portraiture: The Case of Arturo Schomburg

February 14, 12:15-1:30pm

Steel City Step Show

February 15, 5-9pm

Meet the NPHC Chapters

February 18, 6-9pm

CRSP Speaker Series - "A Black Women's History of the United States" 

February 18th, 12-1:15 pm

Homewod CEC Community Dinner and Conversation

February 19, 5:30pm

#BLM, Black Feminism, and the New Afrocentrism

February 19, 5-6:30pm

“Moonlight” Screening

February 21, 8:30-10:30pm

"Race, Justice, and Activism in Literacy Instruction" Book Release with Dean Valerie Kinloch

February 25, 12pm

Dr. Charles Champion and the Evolution of African American Independent

February 25, 6-7pm

GSPIA's Roscoe Robinson Memorial Lecture Series presents Marita Garrett

February 26, 12-1:30pm

Black to the Future Art Exhibition

February 26-28, 9am-9pm

Black to the Future Lecture with Alisha Wormsley

February 26, 12pm

Equipoise Welcome Reception

February 26, 5:30-6pm

Avery R. Young Speaks on His New Visual Poetry Book Neckbone

February 26, 6pm

Avery R. Young and De Beacon Board Present Tubman

February 26, 7pm

Postcolonial Socialisms in Africa

February 27, 4-5:30pm

African American Alumni Council Presents Black to the Future Ceremonial Time Capsule Burial

February 27, 3pm

Reading Justin Phillip Reed with Poetry and Performance

February 27, 6:30pm

Simone White, Tongo Eisen-Martin & Jaamil Kosoko Respond to Justin Phillip Reed's The Malevolent Volume

February 27, 6:30pm

Black to the Future Art Reception, Showcase, and Panel

February 28, 4:30pm

Community Dance Workshop by Kankouran West African Dance Company

February 29, 1pm

Kankouran West African Dance Company Performance of Circle of Praise

February 29, 6pm

Simone White, (T)rap Music & Poetry

February 29, 8pm