Diversity committee celebrates Black History Month through Read-In event

West Liberty’s Campus Diversity Committee celebrated Black History Month this year by participating in the National African American Read-In event set up by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). WLU participated in the event for the second year in row by creating a compilation video featuring several members of the West Liberty community reading passages from their favorite African American authors.

The Diversity Committee asked throughout the month of February for video submissions of people participating in the read-in. The final compilation video was released on Topper Station on Feb. 25 and is over an hour long.

Dr. Franklin Evans, West Liberty University’s first African American President, who took the reins at the beginning of this semester, opened the video with a piece by poet Maya Angelou on aging. The selection is moving and sets the tone for the rest of the video.

Evans’ reading is followed by several more clips of WLU community members participating by reading quotes from black authors that have in some way touched them or impacted their way of thinking. The reading selections chosen came from a variety of authors including Maya Angelou, Britney Cooper, Ruth Moore Dunbar-Nelson, C. Riley Snorton, Gloria Naylor, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lucille Clifton, Derrick Barnes, Gordon C. James, and James Baldwin. Dr. Linda Cowan, accompanied by Dr. Gerald Lee on piano, also performed “Could be” and “Shadow of the Blues, Silhouette” by Langston Hughes and John Musto.

Each submission highlighted a different aspect of the culture and talent that Black History Month strives to recognize. The selections chosen by the WLU participants ranged in content, time-period, gender, and type of impact. Some readings were thought provoking pieces from the late 19th century, and some were recent children’s books. Regardless of these factors, each reading was selected due to the impact that it had on both the reader and society as a whole. Events like these which showcase the talent of the African American Community are important actions to bring attention to a group that has historically been quieted.

The WLU African American Read-In compilation is available to view on Topper Station. To find out more about what the Campus Diversity Committee have planned for this year reach out to Chris McPherson by email at [email protected].