On Tuesday, February 23, 2016, the School of Arts and Sciences Monthly Seminar Series presented an African American Read-In at 12:30 pm in room 109 of the Math and Science Building. The event was part of the National African American Read-In which is sponsored by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the NCTE itself.
Dr. J. Janice Coleman, Professor in the Department of English, Foreign Languages, and Mass Communications, was the moderator of the event. Nearly thirty students, faculty, and staff members read works by writers such as Paul Laurence Dunbar, Lucille Clifton, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Martin Luther King Jr., Claude McKay, Latorial Faison, Tupac Shakur, and Jewel Diamond Taylor. Warneshia D. Price, a Freshman Criminal Justice major from Las Vegas, Nevada, who read Janet Thurston’s “Strong Enough,” stated, “To read alongside my peers and professors at this public event was a momentous occasion, and I plan to participate next year.” Rogerick T. Shaw, a Freshman Criminal Justice major from Clarksdale, Mississippi, said, “Tupac is one of my favorite authors, and ‘Power of a Smile’ is one of my favorite poems because it reminds us that a smile is a tool that we can use to communicate universally, and that’s the message that I wanted to get across to everyone in the audience.”
Dr. Valtreasa Tolliver-Cook, Assistant Professor of Social Work and Co-coordinator of the Arts and Sciences Monthly Seminar Series, said that she hopes the Read-In idea catches on in other areas here at Alcorn State. “A Read-In can be held at any time. It does not have to be during Black History Month, and the focus does not have to be on black authors,” she said.