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Modern History: Pittsburgh Black History Month exhibit will focus on today's leaders

"We want to focus on African Americans who are making history today."

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Three years ago, Chay Tyler got a chance to put the history degree he earned at Duquesne University to good use when he began curating the city's Black History Month installation at the City-County Building.

That year, the Citiparks program coordinator chose a Civil War theme. Last year the exhibit focused on black cartoon artists. But this February, he's trying something different.

"We want to focus on African Americans who are making history today," Tyler says. "It allows us to focus on African Americans who are doing great things at this time. It lets us show that history is being made today and that keeps our history from stagnating."

The exhibit, "Pittsburgh Legacy of Leaders: Laying the Groundwork for our Future Leaders," will honor four Pittsburghers for their work with the city's youth.

"We wanted to highlight leaders who were impacting our youth and teaching them how to become leaders," Tyler says. "Then we took it a step further to focus on these young trailblazers.

"And I think we did a good job with the four that were selected."

The nominees are:

James A. Brown, 36, youth development director of the Homewood-Brushton YMCA Lighthouse Project, an after-school program for teens that teaches leadership skills and helps prepare young people for careers after high school.

Tamasia Johnson, 24, founding director of the Pearl Club, an organization that helps young inner-city women prepare for and graduate from college by teaching networking, time management and communication skills.

Alichia R. Parker, 32, president and founder of APAR Educational which offers private tutoring, consulting and training to students from preschool through eighth grade.

Ryan S. Scott, 31, co-director of the Black Male Leadership Development Institute, which is a year-long program for African American males in grades 9-12 designed to increase their educational and leadership opportunities.

The exhibit, which will feature bios and photos of the honorees and also have information on programs to help empower young people, will be on display in the lobby of the City-County Building weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Feb. 27. An opening-night reception will be held, Feb. 4, at 6 p.m. 

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