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Gadsden State to observe Black History Month 

Gadsden, Ala. — Gadsden State Community College is hosting events during the month of February in recognition of Black History Month. The celebration will begin on Feb. 1 with a Lunch and Learn, a special on-campus meal and a presentation by Leavie D. King III, a speaker, trainer and coach from Mobile. King is founder and CEO of COACHEDUP, established in 2003 as an avenue to fulfill his passion as an entrepreneur, speaker and coach enabling others to achieve professional and personal empowerment. 

Gadsden State’s Valley Street Campus, the area’s only HBCU, will host two Lunch and Learn student engagement events with the first one being at 11 a.m. Feb. 1 in the Dental Assisting Building. The theme for the Valley Street Campus Black History Month activities is “Educate, Encourage and Engage Today’s Students.” Angela Tillis, manager of Student Support Services, will speak on being a first-generation student and the African-Americans who inspired her.

Also on Feb. 1, the Cardinal Café will host a Soul Food Lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The meal includes fried pork chop, candied yams, cabbage, macaroni and cheese and cornbread. The Cardinal Café is always open to the public and is located in Inzer Hall on the Wallace Drive Campus.

The final Feb. 1 event will begin at 1:45 p.m. with a performance by the Gadsden State Show Band at the Wallace Hall Fine Arts Center. The band will be followed by King, who will present “The Rehearsal Outweighs the Performance.” King is well-known for his speaking events, seminars and workshops, professional development programs and motivational coaching. 

The presentation is open to the public and will be livestreamed in the Cheaha Lecture Hall on the Ayers Campus in Anniston, in the Media Center on the Valley Street Campus in Gadsden and Room 130 at Gadsden State Cherokee in Centre.

The Cardinal Café will continue its soul food offerings from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 8. On the menu is fried chicken, mashed potatoes, black-eyed peas, fried okra and cornbread.

The second Lunch and Learn at the Valley Street Campus will be at noon Feb. 8 with an inspirational talk from Maria Petersen, former Gadsden State SGA president and a senior at the University of Alabama. She will talk about her collegiate journey and give advice on goal-setting and achievement. She will also share about African-Americans who have inspired her. The event will be in Prater Hall.

On Feb. 22, the Valley Street Campus is partnering with Gadsden Job Corps for its Black History Month Celebration. The keynote speaker is Larry Avery, a Gadsden city councilman. The Gadsden State Show Band will perform. The event is open to the public and will take place in the Job Corps Gymnasium located on the Valley Street Campus.

Black History Month activities will conclude on Feb. 28 with the GSCC Reads Book Club. Throughout the month, students and employees will read MisEducated, a book by Brandon P. Fleming that details his transformation from a delinquent, drug-dealing dropout to an award-winning Harvard educator by the time he was 27 years old. Books are available at the Gadsden State Bookstore and weekly study guides are available by emailing Kelley Pearce, associate dean of Student Services, at The wrap-up discussion about MisEducated will be at noon in the Cardinal Café.