Belk Library holds first African-American read-in


Jennifer Natale is a liaison librarian who read at the event.

Aidan Moyer

Appalachian State University held its first ever African American read-in last Wednesday in the atrium of the Belk Library.

Jennifer Natale, a liaison librarian, said the read-in is part of a larger national effort by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers to bring people together and share works by African-American authors.

“It allows us to learn about historical events, allows us to look at things from a different perspective,” Natale said.

Natale said she hopes the read-in will inspire attendees to read authors they were not familiar with before and place current events in a deeper historical context.

“Speaking the words aloud gives it power, and sometimes it’s just reminding ourselves that we have a voice,” Natale said.

The read-in focuses on an individual’s personal favorite choice of an African-American author, and how that author has influenced them.

Kelly McBride, coordinator information literacy and instruction, said reading the poems aloud was a reminder that everyone has a story to tell.

McBride, who has met Maya Angelou, said she read her poem “Phenomenal Women” because it talks about womanhood in an inspiring way.

“It makes me feel powerful and more importantly lets me participate in that history,” McBride said.

Glenda Johnson, assistant professor of human development and psychological counseling, said the read-in was meant to shine a light on how African-American authors are able to impart wisdom about today’s problems. Johnson read from Nora Zeale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God.”

Johnson said she hopes that by hearing their words people will understand that others are still facing injustice.

Story by: Aidan Moyer, News Reporter