The University of Pittsburgh held its annual K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month Program, Feb. 9, at Alumni Hall on the University’s campus. Hundreds gathered to celebrate the enduring strength of faith and the role of the African American church throughout history, from slavery to present day, via spoken word, dance and song.
With Kathy Humphrey, senior vice chancellor for Engagement, chief of staff and secretary of the Board of Trustees), standing in for Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, who was under the weather, the audience enjoyed the history of the church told in multiple parts by keynote speaker R. Drew Smith, PhD, a professor of urban ministry at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. In between the history segments, “Highway to Heaven: A Strange Freedom North & South,” “Let Us March On Religion & Social Resistance,” “Never Would Have Made It” and “Faith & The New Promise,” the story was continued with song by the Pittsburgh CAPA Vocal Department and Some of God’s Children Gospel Choir. The Hill Dance Academy Theatre told their portion of the story through dance.
This year’s event honorees were Rev. Dr. Jimmy Joe Robinson and Dr. Jeannette South-Paul. Both have a glowing bio. Reverend Robinson was a star athlete, Army veteran, former Minister at Bidwell Presbyterian Church, civil rights leader, social activist and, now, the subject of “They Call Me Jimmy Joe,” written by his son, James J. Robinson Jr. South- Paul is the Andrew W. Mathieson UPMC professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Her many honors include, the Pitt 225th Anniversary Chancellors’ Medallion and the Chapel of Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Award.
Guests and honorees enjoyed a beautiful reception and each left with a copy of “They Call Me Jimmy Joe.”
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