In honor of Black Heritage Month, the Department of Language Literature brought African American poetry alive on Feb. 15 at noon under the Student Union Building Pavilion.
This is the fourth and most successful year the English department has held the African American Read-In.
English lecturer, Brian Worrall, put together the occasion for students to express themselves and explore African American authors.
“Sometimes we have the opportunity to give them this chance in the classroom, but with so many different cultures and literatures to explore, some works are being missed,” said Worrall. “This is another opportunity for the faculty, staff, and students to explore in an open form where not only readers but listeners can hear what is going on.”
Worrall chose a large number of poems from the years he has explored and read literature by African Americans, but he was inspired by those who brought other
poems they enjoyed as well as their own works.
“There were a number of students who came and did their own work who ended up doing impromptu poetry right there on the spot and it was fantastic,” said Worrall.
At the event students signed up one after another and was held an hour longer than expected along with an environment that was filled with inspiration and gratitude.
With a strong passion and power in his voice, student Andrew Frimpong read “Let
America Be American Again”, by Langston Hughes.
“The poem was written in the 1930s and I thought its message is still relevant today, especially with the political and social climate that American is in now,” said Frimpong. “Its message still rings clear true.”
Many different styles of work were expressed throughout the event and opened the minds of students’ views on African American literature and culture.
From writers like Gil Scott Heron, Audre Lorde, and Georgia Douglass Johnson, there were many different genres that were brought to the read-in and gave courage to other students to sign up and read aloud.
With the event being such a success, Worrall’s goal of sharing African American literature to honor the importance of black history month was achieved well.
“By far, this year has outstripped any sort of student interaction we have ever had in the past,” said Worall. “It has just been absolutely splendid.”