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Seton Hill Welcomes Historian Dr. Laurence Glasco for Black History Month Lecture on August Wilson February 11

Seton Hill University will host a lecture on playwright August Wilson by University of Pittsburgh professor and noted historian Dr. Laurence A. Glasco as part of its Black History Month programming. The event, which is open to the public, is co-sponsored by Seton Hill’s National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education and the university’s Division of Student Affairs. Dr. Glasco’s lecture is titled "August Wilson: The Childhood of a Warrior." The lecture will be followed by a reception where Dr. Glasco will answer questions.

The event will take place on Tuesday, February 11, at 7 p.m. in Cecilian Hall on the second floor of the Administration Building, Seton Hill University’s hilltop campus, Greensburg, Pa. The reception will take place in the Administration Building Parlors immediately following the lecture.

Laurence Glasco is Associate Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh. Since coming to the University of Pittsburgh’s History Department in 1969, he has focused on African American history, both locally and globally. A graduate of Antioch College, Dr. Glasco received his Ph.D. in History from the State University of New York at Buffalo. 

Professor Glasco has studied the history of Black Pittsburgh for the past decade or so. He researched and narrated the recent exhibition on slavery in early Pittsburgh, “Free at Last?” and has extensively written about Black Pittsburgh history for exhibits at the Heinz History Center and a variety of publications. 

He is currently working on a biography of former Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives K. Leroy Irvis; as well as on “August Wilson’s Pittsburgh,” a study of Pittsburgh to accompany August Wilson’s plays; and with the Carnegie Museum of Art on a major upcoming exhibition of the photographs of Teenie Harris.

Glasco’s activities in Pittsburgh’s African American community go beyond teaching and research. For his community work, he received several awards in 2009, notably the Pittsburgh Courier’s “Men of Excellence” award and the YWCA’s “Racial Justice Award,” and “Talk” magazine’s “Black History Merit Award.” In 2010 he received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award. Glasco also served on the advisory committee to restore the New Granada Theater in the Hill District, delivered a lecture at the Economic Mini-Summit on Black Empowerment and spoke at the opening ceremonies of the K. Leroy Irvis Science Center at CCAC. He works toward preservation of historic Black sites in Pittsburgh as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation and a member of Young Preservationists Association.

In his lecture, Dr. Glasco will explore playwright August Wilson and the “warrior spirit” that he spoke of often - the ability and willingness to stand up and fight for one's values and beliefs. It was a trait Wilson admired in others, cultivated in himself, and embedded in the leading characters of his plays, Troy Maxson of Fences being just one example. Dr. Glasco will show how Wilson developed this trait during his childhood years on Bedford Avenue in Pittsburgh's Hill District, and why it became so important to his later success as a playwright.

Dr. Glasco has made an intense study of the Pittsburgh upbringing and childhood experience of August Wilson to reveal how the playwright developed his characters, gained inspiration for his stories, and cultivated his craft as one of the most celebrated African-American playwrights in the world. What can we glean about ourselves from the life and writings of Pittsburgh’s own playwright?

The lecture by Dr. Laurence Glasco is a co-curricular event that will allow Seton Hill students to gain awareness about themselves, other people, and the environments in which they frequent. The impressive work of Dr. Laurence Glasco is exhaustive, but specifically, he has created a powerful rhetoric highlighting the rich history and accomplishments of Black people in Historic Pittsburgh and how they lived above many of the stereotypes often attributed to Blacks in error. Dr. Glasco’s lecture will engage students in a deeper understanding of civic responsibility and social justice, equipping them to be better global citizens.

If you are a member of the media and would like more information, contact Director of Media Relations Jennifer Reeger at, (724) 830-1069 (office) or (724) 433-9613 (cell). If you are not a member of the media, contact us here.