Library celebrates African American Read-In Day

Photo by Tevin Stinson. Renea Andrews reads “Skin Again” during the African-American Read-In at the Malloy/Jordan East Winston Library.

Library celebrates African American Read-In Day
February 23
00:06 2017

By Tevin Stinson

The Chronicle

African-American history came to life through storytelling, song, and poetry earlier this week at the Malloy/Jordan East Winston Library as it celebrated National African-American Read-In Day.

During the month of February, schools, churches, libraries, bookstores, and other professional organizations are urged to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month by hosting the event designed to introduce children to African-American authors and the history that is oven overlooked.

This year, students from the Bethlehem Community Child Development Center listened closely as volunteers from the community read books, recited poems and sang songs drenched in the African-American culture.

To begin the interactive history lesson, Renea Andrews read “Skin Again.” The short book written by Bell Hooks encourages children to look beyond skin color and judge their peers by what’s in their hearts. When asked why she chose the book, Andrews said she felt it was important that the students know that it’s what’s on the inside that matters most.

“Since the first time I read this book, it spoke to my soul,” continued Andrews. “It reminded me of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream, that we are judged not by the color of our skin but the content of our character.”

Following Andrews’ presentation, retired elementary school teacher Anne Jenkins read “The Glass Bottle Tree” by Evelyn Coleman. Next, Amattullah Saleem kept the party going when he got the children to join him as he sung a Negro spiritual before reading his book of choice.

To wrap up the event Dr. Elwanda Ingram, who recently retired from the English department at Winston-Salem State University, recited her own rendition of “In the Morning” by Paul Laurence Dunbar. During a brief talk with The Chronicle, Dr. Ingram said although she is enjoying her retirement, she felt it was her duty to participate in the read-in event.

“They need to be exposed to African-American literature in all genres. They need to be exposed to the value of reading,” she said. “I think if children are exposed to reading at an early age, they will build a thirst for reading that will help them succeed in life.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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