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January 24, 2014
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU Black History Month celebration includes lectures, poetry, theatre

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Poetry, documentaries, speakers, videos, theatre and a host of other projects will focus Slippery Rock University's attention on the contributions made by African Americans as part of its month-long Black History Month celebration beginning Feb. 4.

COLE The celebration is using the theme "Remembering Our History...Building Our Future" and is part of the University's 125th anniversary celebration.

SRU's Office of Multicultural Development will host the kick-off event, a presentation of poetry and a video featuring the parallels of historical moments at SRU within Black history, at 12:30 p.m., Feb. 4, in the Smith Student Center Ballroom.

The SRU Women's Center will feature six African American women per week throughout February with in a Twitter poster campaign at "#Women Matter." "Viewers can then use that particular hashtag to get more information about each of the featured women," said Jodi Solito, director of the Women's Center.

The opening week includes a social media initiative featuring:

Dorothy Height, American administrator, educator and civil rights and women's rights activist, 40-year president of the National Council of Negro Women, 1994 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the 2004 recipient of Congressional Gold Medal

Lena Horne, singer, entertainer and movie actor

Marian Anderson, singer with the Metropolitan Opera

Alice Ball, an African-American chemist who developed an injectable oil extract as an effective treatment of leprosy, and the first woman and first African American master's degree graduate from the University of Hawaii

Josephine Baker, entertainer, singer and dancer, and

Maya Angelou, American poet and author of seven autobiographies, five books of essays, and several books of poetry.

Jack Cole, retired detective lieutenant with a 26-year career in the New Jersey State Police, will deliver two lectures Feb. 6 as part of the SRU history department's "Racial Justice Series." The first, "You be the Judge," is at 12:30 p.m., in 105 Vincent Science Center, followed by "War on Drugs," at 6 p.m. in 320 Smith Student Center.

Cole, who spent 14 years in narcotics, mostly as an undercover officer, investigated cases ranging from street drug users to international "billion-dollar" drug trafficking organizations. He ended his undercover career living nearly two years in Boston and New York City, posing as a fugitive drug dealer wanted for murder, while tracking members of a terrorist organization that robbed banks, and planted bombs in corporate headquarters, court-houses, police stations, and airplanes and ultimately murdered a New Jersey State trooper.

He is a founding member, and served eight years as executive director, of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, an international organization representing police, judges, prosecutors, prison wardens and supporters from 86 countries, who know a system of legalized regulation of all drugs will remove the violence which is the result of drug prohibition. He now serves as LEAP's board chair and international speaker.

He earned a bachelor of arts in criminal justice and a master's degree in public policy.

Cole strongly believes that the government's drug war is steeped in racism, is needlessly destroying the lives of young people and is corrupting police.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Feb. 6, PNC Bank and the Smith Student Center will sponsor a "Black History Month Scavenger Hunt," including prizes.

"Pink Goes Red" at noon, Feb. 6 and 7, is a joint effort with the American Heart Association and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority offering information about heart disease.

The SGA Movie Series at 4 p.m., Feb. 7, and 8 p.m., Feb. 7-9, will feature the film "The Butler," detailing the life of 30-year White House butler Eugene Allen.

The SRU Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will host an "Open Your Mind" discussion about first-generation college students and the emphasis on education the black community at 5 p.m., Feb. 10, in the Smith Student Center.

Phi Beta Sigma fraternity will host an "AIDS Awareness in the Black Community" information table at 12:30 p.m., Feb. 11 and Feb. 13, in the Smith Student Center Lobby.

"Love Connections," an interactive dating game with discussion and information on interracial relationships will be hosted by Sister to Sister at 7 p.m., Feb. 11, in the Student Center Ballroom.

The social effects and current day politics surrounding black hair will be the discussion topic at 6 p.m., Feb. 12, in 320 of the Smith Student Center sponsored by SRU's Black Action Society.

"Black? Fits the Description," an education program about racial profiling and police brutality, is planned for 5 p.m., Feb. 13, in the Student Center sponsored by the campus chapter of NAACP.

The "Blue and White Ball," hosted by Zeta Phi Beta sorority and featuring food and dancing, is planned for 7 p.m., Feb. 13, in the Smith Student Center Ballroom.

"Ready for Love: Open Mic Night," featuring poetry, spoken word and musical acts, is planned for 6:30 p.m., Feb. 17, in the Alumni House.

Phi Beta Sigma fraternity will return the focus to health issues with "End the Dread: Stop the Spread," an education program about the effects of HIV/AIDS on the African-American community, at 7 p.m., Feb. 18, in the Smith Student Center Theater.

African Caribbean and Columbian dance will be part of "Dance Infusions" at 6 p.m., Feb. 19, in the Smith Student Center Ballroom sponsored by the Student Union for Multicultural Affairs. A variety of dance moves will be taught, followed by open dancing.

Playwright Katori Hall's "The Mountaintop" will be performed at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 19-21, in the Sheehy Theatre of the Maltby Center by the SRU theatre department. The Olivier Award-winning play fictionalizes the final hours of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life, while examining his leadership, legacy and mortality.

Chef Michael Twitty, culinary historian of African and African-American food, will be the guest chef at 12:30 p.m., Feb. 20, in Boozel Dining Hall where he will prepare specialty dishes at the Fusion Station. Twitty will then join a 2:30 p.m., question-and-answer session in the Smith Student Center Theater. AVI Food Services, the campus contract food vendor, the Office of Multicultural Development, the Old Stone House and the SRU history department are sponsoring the events.

The Second Annual Rock the Runway program, showcasing local designers and fashion, will be at 7 p.m., Feb. 21, in the Smith Student Center Ballroom hosted by Student Engaged in Living Fashion.

"Hip Hop Jeopardy" is at 7 p.m., Feb. 24, sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha.

"Reel Black Men," a trivia game highlighting African-American men in media, is at 6 p.m., Feb. 25, in 105 Vincent, sponsored by Men of Distinction.

The month's culminating events are the traditional, semi-formal Ebony Ball at 6 p.m., Feb. 27, in the Smith Student Center Theater sponsored by the Black Action Society, and the Feb. 28-March 2 Cultural Immersion Trip to New York City. The trip includes visits to the Schomburg Center for Research on Black Culture, African burial grounds and other sites involved in African-American culture. Sign ups are open at 12:30 p.m., Jan. 28-29, in the Smith Student Center. A $60 deposit is required.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.