Annual event promotes African-Americans’ works, supports literacy

Lauren Post


The annual African-American Poetry Read-in on Monday, Feb. 26, encouraged students and Troy faculty to gather in sponsorship of literacy.

The read-in also inspired celebration and commemoration of African-American writers.

The event was held in the Troy campus library. It was hosted in coordination with Troy’s library staff and the English department.

“I just love that Troy students have an opportunity to either present their own creative work or to present the work that they love and admire because it makes a connection both historically and to the audience,” said Patricia Waters, an assistant professor of English and the coordinator of the read-in.

The event has been occurring for nearly 28 years with support from the National Council of Teachers of English, a United States professional organization dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education.

The read-in welcomed all who wanted to participate. The read-in did not limit selections being read to poetry but also encouraged excerpts from prose relating to African-American history as well as original work on the subject.

Waters introduced the event alongside Ben Robertson, an associate professor of English. Both presented works of prose and poetry.

Both Troy students and faculty attended the event and read works ranging from 20th-century African-American authors like Langston Hughes, an American writer and activist, to contemporary African-American writers like Kevin Young, the poetry editor of The New Yorker magazine.

“Out of all the poetry I have read, I like Langston Hughes the most,” said Goodness Ohia Obioha, a freshman biomedical sciences major from Owerri City, Nigeria.

Obioha read Langston Hughes’ “Let America Be America Again,” a piece advocating for equality and opportunity for all races in America.

During the event, Waters and Robertson performed a poem called “Motives and Thoughts” by Lauryn Hill, which involved them reading a line of the piece, followed by the audience reading a line, creating a responsive reading.

Anna Grace Hughes, a senior English major from Birmingham, attended the read-in to support friends reading at the event as well as to satisfy her love of literature.

“I’m an English major, so I love poetry,” Hughes said. “I know Dr. Waters always has good material to read from whenever she sets anything up.”

Another read-in is planned for National Poetry Month in April, though a date and location have yet to be announced.

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