Saint Mary's School 13th annual African American Read-In - NCTE

Every year, hundreds of celebrations of the African American Read-In take place across the country and around the world. These events feature the texts, talks, and discussions by and about African American authors and serve as a way to recognize and amplify their work. 

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Saint Mary’s School 13th annual African American Read-In

February 3, 2021 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am

Feb 3 2021

Saint Mary’s School held its 13th African American Read-In, Feb. 3, 2021, produced and presented virtually this year by the Black Student Union and the Bookmark Club along with Orchesis and Ladies in Blue. The African American Read-In is a student-led yearly event put on during Black History Month that highlights African American poets, activists, authors, musicians, artists, and others.

This year’s theme is The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity, which is this year’s Black History Month theme. There is a dedication to John Lewis and Kamala Harris. They were and are the representation of black people in society today. Senator John Lewis dedicated his life to fighting for change and for Black people to have a right to vote. Madame Vice President Kamala Harris created hope for people being the first ever Black, Southeast Asian American, Woman Vice President of the United States. She is turning heads and making her presence known through her efforts in creating change.

The AARI included these poems, dance, and music performed by the students:

A Pledge to Save Our Youth by Maya Angelou, read by Chelsea Barnes ’23

Black Girl Magic by Mahogany Browne, read by Olivia Hodge ’21

Song for the People by Frances Ellen Watkins, read by Anna Zulueta ’21

For My People by Margaret Walker, read by Ti-Shawn Wellington ’21

Women by Alice Walker, read by Ella Freeman ’23

Excerpt from Caste the Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson: Activity

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice & Redemption by Brya Stevenson: Activity

The Miracle of Morning by Amanda Gorman, read by Pearce Burlington ’21

Anew, a dance choreographed by Taylor King ’09, performed by Orchesis Dance Theatre

Isn’t She Lovely, by Stevie Wonder, performed by Ladies in Blue

A Change Gonna Come by Destiny Ellington, read by Destiny Ellington

The AARI was emceed live from Pittman Auditorium by Saylah Rogers ’21 and Tommi Wilder ’22.

Students also heard and then discussed Amanda Gorman’s poem, The Hill We Climb, written and read by Ms. Gorman for the 2021 presidential inauguration.

“This is my third year planning this, and it has been amazing working with Ms. Williams, Ms. Yount, Ms. Pearson, and Ms. Moran for these past few years,” says Ti-Shawn Wellington ’21. “It has been a wonderful experience being on the planning committee and this is one SMS event I will never forget.”

The National African American Read-In is the nation’s first and oldest event dedicated to diversity in literature. It was established in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month. This initiative has reached more than 6 million participants around the world.

Written by Ti-Shawn Wellington ’21