Read-in commemorates black history

Kalee Chism

Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College joined a national event to celebrate Black History Month. On Tuesday, SKYCTC hosted an African-American Read-In event where people can come and read a work by an African- American author, or just listen.

“This is actually a national event that we decided to get involved in,” said Coni Waggoner, an assistant professor of reading and QEP coordinator at SKYCTC. “Participants can read a passage from a book, a poem, a part of a speech, or anything written by an African American author, or they can just come listen.”

The African-American Read-In was started by Jerrie Cobb, and has reached colleges across the United States.

“This event is sponsored and endorsed, if you will, by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the International Reading Association,” said Waggoner. “Ms. Wendt is a member of the NCTE, and we’ve worked together on a few projects prior to this, and she asked me if I wanted to team up and do it again this year. The African American Read-In is just a component of what the NCTE has hosted for several years. NCTE invites schools, colleges and any other organization to take part in this event every year.”

According to the National Council of Teachers of English website, the African American Read-Ins began in 1989 after the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English got a recommendation to begin the program by their Issue’s Committee. The National Council of Teachers of English joined the efforts in 1990.

According to the website, the goal of the Read-In program is for it to become a traditional part of many Black History Month celebrations.

The event was brought to SKYCTC last year, when Waggoner and Leah Wendt, the digital learning coordinator and assistant professor at SKYCTC, informally hosted the event last spring. This year, the pair collaborated with SKYCTC’s Diversity and QEP Committees to officially start the event.

Waggoner says the importance of diversity prompted her to begin the program.

“Personally, I think diversity is more and more important every day,” said Waggoner. “SKYCTC is growing in leaps and bounds, and we just wanted to celebrate African- American History month in some way. I teach reading at the college, so it’s a perfect way to share the importance of literacy — regardless of race, ethnicity, background, etc.”

The event was open to the public, and Waggoner says she hopes it will help give participants the opportunity to share works by their favorite authors.

Reporter Kalee Chism can be reached at 270-745-2655 and [email protected]