April 13, 2024

African American Read-In highlights literary contributions of black authors

The Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature celebrated Black History Month in the Hodges Library Commons on Friday, Feb. 24.


The Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature (CCYL) celebrated Black History Month by hosting an African American Read-In at the University of Tennessee on Friday, Feb.

A crowd of elementary, high school and college aged students joined UT faculty and staff in the Hodges Library Commons from 12 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. to read and listen to their favorite works of black authors.

According to the event sponsors, the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English and the International Literacy Association, the goal of the read-in was to make the literary works of African American authors a central part of Black History Month.

Event coordinator and Director of CCYL, Dr. Susan Groenke, said the day was about enhancing UT’s principle of diversity and acceptance while expanding the audience’s spectrum of literary interests.

“There is so much to read, so much to know and understand about African American’s contribution to our country,” Groenke said. “These kinds of events help us put a spotlight on a community of people who’ve done so much.”

This was the event’s third year on campus and, according to Groenke, it will continue to be an integral part of UT’s Black History Month celebration.

The CCYL will be hosting similar events throughout the year and will even remain active through the summer break in order to fulfill their mission “to celebrate and promote literature and to encourage reading through outreach…”

Groenke added, “We’re not only celebrating Black History Month, we’re developing a stronger appreciation for the African American authors who’ve produced such incredible works of literature.”

Denise Dean, co-coordinator and faculty member addressed CCYL’s summer plans to organize a six-week educational program for students from predominantly black and Hispanic communities.

“Nearly half of 1st-6th graders from impoverished, black and Hispanic community’s in Knox County are below proficient in reading and writing. This tends to worsen during the summer break,” Dean said.

In coordination with the UT College of Education, the CCYL will send six junior and senior volunteers to tutor the 50 elementary school students with the hopes of not only sustaining the children’s current literacy, but also improving their English skills for the coming school year.

The CCYL will continue to explore how they can bring literacy to life here on campus and across the community of Knoxville.

Visit their website for information on their mission, upcoming events and how to get involved.


Edited by McKenzie Manning

Featured image by Nightryder84

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