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Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Former DC Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly Kicks Off BSC's "Black History Month" Activities (w/photo)

Sharon Pratt Kelly Sharon Pratt Kelly, the first African American female mayor of a major American city, will speak at Bluefield State College, opening a busy calendar of "Black History Month" activities at the College. Her presentation, which is open to the public free of charge, begins at 7 p.m., February 2, in the Basic Science Auditorium on the BSC campus. Kelly defied great odds on November 6, 1990 to become the first female leader of the nation's capital, and the first African-American woman to serve as mayor of a major urban city. She served as mayor of the District of Columbia from 1991-1994. Political observers credited her mayoral victory to her demonstrated commitment of more than 20 years of community involvement and activism in local and national politics. Proclaiming "YES WE WILL," Kelly promised District residents an "honest deal." She vowed to restore the city to greatness by improving the quality of life for all people. In less than four years, she moved her city dramatically close to this ideal. Kelly set the city on a sound financial path--inaugurating massive downsizing, reorganizing, automation, and training. During her term as mayor, every category of crime in the nation's capital declined. She developed public-private partnerships to effect many of her reforms. Area businesses were encouraged to use their ingenuity to help the District develop programs to serve and save the city's young, old, middle, and deprived. These partnerships helped foster more jobs and encouraged international trade ventures. The Washington Post noted, "Sharon Pratt Kelly cajoled her city to embrace reform by becoming herself the unwavering voice for change--for she believes government must be that agent of change if we, as a nation, are to be ready for the next century." She is an honors graduate of Howard University and earned a Juris doctorate from that university's law school. She is a former vice-chairman of the D.C. Law Revision Commission, and a former vice president of Potomac Electric Power Company. She was elected as Treasurer of the Democratic National Committee and served in that capacity from 1985-1989. Among the national awards she has received are the following: The NAACP Award, the Thurgood Marshall Award of Excellence' and the Mary McLeod Bethune-W. E. B. DuBois Award, presented by the Congressional Black Caucus. Other BSC Black History Month activities include the following: Historian/dramatist Norman Jordan will present a chautauqua performance of "Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black History," February 11 at 7 p.m. in the Basic Science Auditorium. A second chautauqua presentation, "Anne Spencer," will presented by Ms. Bruscilla Jordan February 25 at 7 p.m. in the Basic Science Auditorium. Karl Gipson, an internationally-recognized musician and theatrical performer, will deliver "A Musical Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.," on February 23 at 7 p.m. in the Basic Science Auditorium. The Bluefield Community Choir will present its annual Black History Month concert in the BSC Student Union, February 21 at 6 p.m, and the "Voices of the Revolution" display will be available for viewing in the Student Union during the week of February 16-20. The public is invited to all of these events, free of charge.