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WVNCC Celebrates Black History Month

Posted 02/09/16

Samuel W. Black, director of African American Programs at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, is guest presenter for a series of programs honoring Black History Month in February at West Virginia Northern Community College.Samuel W. Black, director of African American Programs at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, is guest presenter for a series of programs honoring Black History Month in February on West Virginia Northern Community College’s three campuses.

The free and open to the public presentations titled “From Slavery to Freedom” will be held Feb. 23 on the Weirton campus in Room 243, Feb. 24 in the Wheeling campus Student Union and Feb. 25 on the New Martinsville campus in Room 110. The programs are special Lunch & Learn events, with lunch served beginning at 11:30 a.m. and the presentations at noon.

Those wishing to attend must RSVP to Student Activities Program Coordinator Ida Williams by Friday, Feb. 19, at either or by calling 304-214-8917. Please specify attendance date and location with the RSVP. Parking is available in the Barnes & Noble lot in Wheeling and in lots adjacent to the Weirton and New Martinsville campuses.

The speaker will discuss and highlight the history of the anti-slavery movement, the Underground Railroad and the impact of 19th century activism on the contemporary quest for civil and human rights while specifically focusing on historic events in the tri-state area. These programs are the result of a grant earned by WVNCC through the Diversity for Equity program of the Higher Education Policy Commission and the Community and Technical College System in West Virginia.

Black holds a degree in African American Studies from the University of Cincinnati and a graduate degree in Africana Studies from the State University of New York at Albany, where he was the recipient of the Perry Drake-Weston Award. He is president of the Association of African American Museums and recently served on the executive council and the advisory council of the Association for the Study of African American Life & History as well as the program committee of the American Alliance of Museums. Black is a member of the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society of Pittsburgh and the former vice president of the ASALH Dr. Edna B. McKenzie Branch.

From 1992-2002 he was associate curator for African American History at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland and archivist for the African American Archives collection. He had curated a number of exhibitions at the WRHS and other venues throughout Northeastern Ohio, including the photographic art of the “Yet Still We Rise: African American Art in Cleveland 1920-1970” exhibition of the Cleveland Artists Foundation that traveled to three Ohio cities; “I Could Stop on a Dime and Get Ten Cents Change” at the Cleveland Play House; and “The Sojourn of Black Women in Akron’s History,” at the Shirla R. McClain Gallery of Akron’s Black History, Pan African Culture Center, The University of Akron.

At the Heinz History Center, located in Pittsburgh’s famed Strip District, he has curated “Soul Soldiers: African Americans and the Vietnam Era” that traveled to seven cities and was the recipient of four awards, including the American Association for State and Local History Award of Merit and the Pennsylvania Federation of Museums and Cultural Organizations, S.K. Stevens Memorial Award. Other exhibits include, “America’s Best Weekly: A Century of the Pittsburgh Courier” and “From Slavery to Freedom” that received a U.S. Department of Education Underground Railroad Educational and Cultural Program grant, as well as the AASLH Award of Merit (2013), the African Diaspora World Tourism Cultural Exhibit Flame Keeper Award for dedicated service in cultural tourism (2013) and the PA Museums President’s Award and S.K. Stevens Award (2014).

Black has authored a number of essays and narratives, including “African American Photographers of Cleveland, 1930-1965” in “Yet Still We Rise: African American Art in Cleveland, 1920-1970; “Cleveland: Civic, Literary and Mutual Aid Associations” in “Organizing Black America: An Encyclopedia of African American Associations;” “The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center: Museum of Conscience” in “Ohio Valley History Journal.” He is the author of three biographies in “African American National Biography,” Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, editors in chief.

In addition, Black is the editor of “Soul Soldiers: African Americans and the Vietnam Era” (2006) and co-author of “Through the Lens of Allen E. Cole: A Photographic History of African Americans in Cleveland, Ohio” (2012) Kent State University Press, and editor of “The Civil War in Pennsylvania: The African American Experience” (2013), the recipient of the AASLH Award of Merit for 2014.