UMKC Library Celebrates Black History Month with Reading

Ninth African American Read-In Bonds Diversity through Literature

As a group of more than 60 readers and listeners gathered at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Miller Nichols Library on the last day of Black History Month, a shared love of literature united folks of various ages, races and cultures.

They bonded over an engaging experience of sharing excerpts from their favorite black authors and poets. The ninth annual African American Read-in was evidence that literature tells stories that people can still feel and relate with today, even if written long ago. Such stories are a true reflection of humanity’s history.

Students, faculty and staff from across campus read classic pieces from renowned writers such as Audre Lorde and Langston Hughes, controversial figures as Assata Shakur and original pieces from Kansas City authors.

Selections were inspired by the personal experiences and interests of readers, which allowed the audience a glimpse into the story behind each piece from both the authors’ and sharers’ perspectives. Common themes included civil rights and activism, music, family and love.

Selections presented included:

Audre Lorde’s “Poetry Is Not a Luxury

Langston Hughes’ “Let America Be America Again

Maya Angelou’s “We Wear the Mask

C.L. Fails’ “Ella and One Big Dream” children’s book

Tavis Smiley’s “Death of a King

Adrienne Walker Hoard’s “Hear Me O’ Ancients” and “Creativity”

Anna Deavere Smith “Twilight Los Angeles, 1992

Grace Henderson’s “Cake in my Shoe” children’s book

The Autobiography of Assata Shakur

Audre Lorde’s “Power

Langston Hughes’ “Mother to Son

Carter G. Woodson’s “Miseducation of the Negro

Mbembe Milton Smith “Something Else They Say

The National African American Read-In was founded in 1989 by members of the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). African American Read-In has been endorsed by both the NCTE and the International Reading Association. Each year, Read-In events are hosted by many libraries, churches and other organizations throughout the country. The UMKC African American Read-In is hosted by the Miller Nichols Library with sponsorship from the UMKC Friends of the Library.

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