On Wednesday, February 23rd, the English Department hosted the African American Read-In.
At this event, students were encouraged to participate in a variety of ways to celebrate Black
History Month. To start the event, keynote speaker, Abdul Staten, shed light on his personal
experience with literature. Abdul emphasized how his love for reading was inspired by Black
authors. More specifically, he had found his inspiration through the Autobiography of Malcolm X. Abdul describes this as a turning point in his life because he not only began to make time for reading but he also began to talk about the books he had read. Abdul left the audience with the message: “read and share stories that cannot die.”
After Abdul concluded his speech, Dr. Katie Kornacki, the English Department Chair, invited
students, staff, and faculty members to share a piece of published literature by Black authors.
These written pieces embraced different aspects of Black history and brought different
perspectives to the audience. Discover the list below to see some of the poetry and novels that were shared:
“My Loves” by Langston Hughes
“Old Black Men” by Georgia Douglas Johnson
“I, Too” by Langston Hughes
“Dreams” by Langston Hughes
“We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson
“Finna” by Nate Marshall
“Recitatif” by Toni Morrison
As students read a piece of writing they also shared an additional message with the audience as
to why they chose to read the written piece. Participants were also given the opportunity to share
their own original work of writing with the audience. Janice Jackson-McEachin, shared an
excerpt from her own original work (a novel) and she, furthermore, engaged the audience by
providing context to her written piece. By sharing, discussing, and celebrating these works of
literature the audience was able to take time to reflect on the importance of Black history.
Although Black History Month is coming to an end, the English Department encourages students
and faculty members to continue the celebration. You can do this by taking time to read the
written works of Black authors and share meaningful discussions. Lastly, the English
Department would like to extend a big thank you to all those participated and to all those who
helped make this event possible!