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US Embassy celebrates Black History Month

NATASHA BECKLES, [email protected]

US Embassy celebrates Black History Month

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THE UNITED STATES Embassy in Barbados will celebrate Black History Month by hosting two free public events.
There will be a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) College Fair at the Lloyd Sandiford Centre on February 21 from noon to 6 p.m. and a gospel concert featuring the Virginia State University Gospel Chorale at the Frank Collymore Hall on February 22 at 4 p.m.
The HBCU College Fair will feature ten HBCU admissions representatives recruiting talented students from Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.  The college fair supports 100 000 Strong in the Americas, an initiative launched by President Barack Obama to increase international study.    
HBCUs offer prospective students of all races a unique educational experience, a diverse support system of students and faculty, and access to an expansive network of alumni after graduation.  HBCUs are institutions that were established during the period of legal segregation in the United States with the principal mission of educating students of African heritage. 
They offer a diverse range of majors and opportunities for undergraduate and graduate study.  Some 50 per cent of all African American university degree holders are graduates of HBCUs, and they continue to steadily contribute to the rise and success of black intellectuals, professionals, and creative artists in the United States.
Admissions representatives from Fisk University, Alabama A&M University, North Carolina A&T University, Hampton University, Texas Southern University, Bethune-Cookman University, Grambling State University, Morehouse College and Howard University will give both students and parents the opportunity to learn about the cost, quality, reputation, and benefits of an HBCU education in person. 
The region’s notable HBCU alumni include Professor Eudine Barriteau, deputy principal at the University of the West Indies and Dr Keith Mitchell, the Prime Minister of Grenada.  The US Ambassador to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS, Larry Palmer, is an HBCU alumnus of Texas Southern University.
The HBCU College Fair will feature a keynote address from Dr Gwendolyn Boyd, the first female president of Alabama State University.  Since a significant number of prospective college students from the Caribbean are female, the US Embassy wanted to showcase a distinguished, female alumna from the United States who could give a first-hand account of why she decided to attend two HBCUs, explain how her experience prepared her for success in the workplace, and highlight why an HBCU education has a unique appeal for Caribbean students. 
The US Embassy’s Black History Month celebration will culminate in a free public concert featuring the internationally acclaimed Virginia State University (VSU) Gospel Chorale on Saturday, February 22 at 4 p.m. at the Frank Collymore Hall. 
The concert will showcase the diversity of American performing arts and music.  The VSU Gospel Chorale is known for its dynamic and soulful performances that leave audiences with a greater appreciation for American gospel music, a genre heavily influenced by the spirituals and hymns sung by African Americans in the 17th century. 
The VSU Gospel Chorale has toured extensively in the United States, Canada and Europe, performed at the Pope’s Vatican Christmas Concert and President Obama’s Inauguration, recorded various albums, and even appeared as quarter-finalists on the popular reality TV show, America’s Got Talent. (PR)