WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Feb. 4, 2020 — West Liberty University is hosting an African American Read-In from noon – 2 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 11 in honor of Black History Month. Other events for students and staff also are in the works.
“The African American Read-In will be a wonderful chance to share great literature and read aloud from any text written by an African American author. Each participant reader will read for no more than five minutes as the audience is introduced to a variety of works,” explained Dr. Amanda Berardi Tennant, who is an assistant professor of composition and a member of the WLU Diversity Committee.
“All students, faculty, staff and community members were invited to read aloud or simply to come and listen,” said Tennant. The Read-In will take place in the Alumni Room of the College Union.
According to the National African American Read-In website, it is the nation’s first and oldest event dedicated to diversity in literature. Begun in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), its goal is to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month.
Every February, NCTE commemorates books written by black authors that elevate black experiences. According to NCTE, hundreds of thousands of people—in bookstores and coffee shops, in faith-based institutions and prisons, in living rooms and in kitchens and anywhere else people gather—dedicate time in February to explore both old and new literature.
“Guest readers are welcome to read any text written by an African American writer. Examples include a poem, short story, speech, article, or a few pages from a novel,” Tennant added.
The West Liberty University Elbin Library has a shelf featuring suggested books.
Examples of suggested readings include:
- “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou
- “Frederick Douglass” by Robert Hayden
- “One Friday Morning” by Langston Hughes
- “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker“
- “On Being Crazy” by W.E.B. Du Bois
- “Liars Don’t Qualify” by Junius Edwards
The WLU Diversity Committee meets throughout the academic year and is chaired by two employees, Chris McPherson and Dr. Felipe Rojas. Other members include:
Kate Billings, Ryan Glanville, Moonjung Kang, Sara Sweeney, Diana Harto, Eveldora Wheeler, Chris Lee, Mohamed Youssef, Vishakha Maskey, Ronald Hulewicz, Emily Evans and Kimberly Underwood.
To find out more about the Read-In or to volunteer to read, please click here and access the online sign-up form.