Libraries’ Black History Month Event Celebrates Great Writers
Sociology doctoral student Tuesday Barnes reads “Changing Bodies in the Fiction of Octavia Butler” by Gregory Jerome Hampton yesterday at the Black History Month Read-athon in McKeldin Library.
Abolitionist, orator and Maryland native Frederick Douglass wrote in his autobiography of his deep yearning to read as a child and his master’s profound fear and hatred of his learning.
“That which to him was a great evil, to be carefully shunned, was to me a great good, to be diligently sought; and the argument which he so warmly urged, against my learning to read, only served to inspire me with a desire and determination to learn.”
This passage, shared by Beth Guay, UMD continuing resources librarian, and those from other black authors, poets, scientists and leaders were read aloud all day yesterday at McKeldin Library during a Black History Month Read-athon.
“The read-athon is a program to celebrate and learn more about American culture,” said Tahirah Akbar-Williams, university education and African American studies librarian who helped organize the event as a member of the Libraries' Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility Committee. “African American history is American history.”
Readers showcased a range of African American figures, including a speech from Barbara Jordan, the first black Southerner elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, to a children’s story about the journey of Venus and Serena Williams to the peak of tennis stardom.
Akbar-Williams said the event also provided an opportunity for listeners to discuss the passages and discuss race without being afraid to ask questions.
“We are a great country, but we will not meet our full potential until we acknowledge and celebrate the richness that all people have contributed to our society,” she said.
Here’s a sample of reading material by black authors shared at yesterday's event. Other readers may want to peruse them too:
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