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WLU participating in African American Read-In on Feb. 25

]READY TO READ — Samantha Fouty, left, and Gena Kelley, student workers at West Liberty University’s Paul N. Elbin Library, stand near the books available for the African American Read-In. Plans call for video of students and staff reading selections by Black American authors to be posted on WLU’s Topper Station as part of the national event Feb. 25. -- Comtributed

WEST LIBERTY– Through the years the staff at West Liberty University has strived to raise awareness and understanding of various cultures.

That mission will continue this month with the university’s participation in the African American Read-In, with all students and staff invited to submit a video of themselves reading selections from books, poetry and other writings by Black American authors for compilation in a video that will be shared on Feb. 25 through e-mail and WLU’s Topper Station website.

Chris McPherson, director of WLU’s Student Success and Learning Center and a member of its campus and community diversity committee formed in 2009, said, “The African American Read-In gives us a chance to share great literature and read aloud from any text written by an African American author. Each reader will read a poem, excerpt from a book or speech, or some other literature and share virtually due to the pandemic.”

It will be the second year the university has participated in the national event, which was launched in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month.

According to the National African American Read-In website, the Read-In is the nation’s first and oldest event dedicated to diversity in literature.

Every February, NCTE commemorates books written by Black authors that elevate black experiences. According to NCTE, hundreds of thousands of people — in bookstores and coffee shops, in faith-based institutions and prisons, in living rooms and in kitchens and anywhere else people gather — dedicate time in February to explore both old and new literature.

The WLU Diversity Committee meets throughout the academic year and is chaired by McPherson and Felipe Rojas, assistant professor of Spanish.

Other members include employees Kate Billings, Ryan Glanville, Amanda Tennant, Sara Sweeney, Diana Harto, Eveldora Wheeler, Chris Lee, Hilary Bougher-Muckian, Vishakha Maskey, Kimberly Underwood, Matthew Wood, Michael Aulick, and Rebecca Meacham. The group also has one student member, Andrew Dillie.

Examples of some reading options include:

“Resources for Engaging in Race Conscious Conversations;”

“Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement, A Radical Democratic Vision,” by Barbara Ransby;

“The Intersectionality Wars,” Jane Coaston;

“The Combahee River Collective Statement;”

“13 Books to Educate Yourself on Antiracism, According to Black Women,” by Erin Parker;

“Ta-Nehisi Coates “Between the World and Me;”

“How to Be an Antiracist,” Ibram X. Kendi;

“The Black Friend,” by Frederick Joseph;

“Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower,” by Brittney Cooper;

“Children and Young Adult Literature by Black Authors;” and

“Clap When You Land,” by Elizabeth Acevedo;

Aong the suggestions from the National Council of Teachers of English are:

“Counting Descent” by Clint Smith;

“Dreams” by Langston Hughes;

“Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou;

“Strange Fruit” by Abel Meeropo; and

“African American Fiction Classics”;

Video submissions must be submitted by Saturday and can be submitted directly through the form found at this link: https://forms.gle/coeUH9udSStJRPGt9

For information, contact McPherson by e-mail at christopher.mcpherson@westliberty.edu or by phone at (304) 336-8274.

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