10th annual African American Read-In highlights Black History Month at SOE, IU

Friday, February 3, 2012

Indiana University Bloomington on Monday, Feb. 6, will kick off its annual Black History Month Celebration, which this year has the theme, "African American Women in U.S. History and Culture." Most events are free and open to the public.

In connection with a national effort, the IU School of Education will host the 10th annual African American Read-In from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, 275 N. Fee Lane.

Bloomington high school students will recite great works by African-American authors and present original readings in the morning session. They'll have lunch, then participate in a panel discussion on college life for students of color, moderated by Ghangis D. Carter, director of recruitment and retention of underrepresented students for the IU School of Education.

Nationally, the Black Caucus of the National Council for Teachers of English started the event in 1989. Thousands of readers from across the United States are expected to participate in the Read-In on Monday. Schools, libraries, bookstores, and community and professional organizations will host and coordinate Read-Ins in their communities to help celebrate Black History Month.
Stephanie Power-Carter, director of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center and associate professor in the IU School of Education, began inviting Bloomington students to the first Read-In in 2003. More than 100 will participate Monday in an event that has grown every year.

"It's a community-building thing," Power-Carter said. "It's about diversity. It's about literacy and literature." She added that the event has been transformative for some students who share writing about their deepest emotions and experiences.

"I think our young people are thinking about really difficult things and grappling with them," Power-Carter said. "They just don't always have space and a place to articulate and to share those deep feelings."

The Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center also will be the location of IU's 2012 Black History Month Celebration Kick-Off, from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday.

Other events during the first week of the celebration are a reading by Nikky Finney, winner of the National Book Award; a musical concert; screenings of films in the "Black in Latin America" series; and a "Family Dinner at the NMBCC."

IU's African American Choral Ensemble will perform from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, in the atrium of the IU School of Education, 201 N. Rose Ave.

Also on Tuesday, a panel discussion moderated by Shameka Neely and a musical performance by the MLK Chorus will highlight "Why I Sing Amazing Grace: The African American Worship Experience," from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Second Baptist Church, 321 N. Rogers St.

Finney's poetry reading will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, in the Grand Hall of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. She is author of four books of poetry: "Head Off & Split" (2011), "The World Is Round" (2003), "Rice" (1995) and "On Wings Made of Gauze" (1985).

She is a professor of English and creative writing at the University of Kentucky, and she also authored "Heartwood" (1997), edited "The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South" (2007), and co-founded the Affrilachian Poets. "Head Off & Split" was awarded the National Book Award for poetry.

The "Black in Latin America" series film, "Cuba: The Next Revolution," will be show at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, at La Casa, Latino Cultural Center, 715 E. Seventh St (another film about Haiti and the Dominican Republic was shown Feb. 1). The Family Dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10.

Two events later in February will focus on the contributions of African-American music and dance.

The African American Dance Company will present its 14th annual dance workshop Feb. 24 and 25 at the Neal-Marshall Center. The mission of the dance workshop is to expose participants to dance from the African-American and African Diaspora perspectives through master dance classes, a panel discussion and a dance showcase.

Registration is required, and more information is available at www.indiana.edu/%7eaaai. The cost will be $120 for full registration both days and $70 for Saturday only. Individual class fees are $25. For more information, contact professor Iris Rosa, dance company director, at rosa@indiana.edu or 812-855-8079.

Also on Feb. 24 will be "A Celebration of African Music and Dance," from 3 to 5 p.m. at Union Street Center Auditorium, Cedar Hall, 445 N. Union St. There will be audience participation, and snacks will be provided. For further information, contact Alwiya S. Omar at 812-855-3323 or aomar@indiana.edu.

Other Black History Month events at IU will include:

  • "Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock," a lecture by David Margolick, the author of a new book of the same name about two people featured in an IU photojournalism professor's historic photograph taken during the Arkansas desegregation crisis. The lecture, which kicks off the School of Journalism's spring speaker series, will begin at 7 p.m. Feb. 20. Margolick is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair magazine. More information about this event is available here.
  • The Black Knowledge Bowl, from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 22 in the Grand Hall of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. IU student teams compete in a test of knowledge of history, geography, science, philosophy and politics of African-Americans in the United States and around the world. All IU students are welcome to participate in the fun, "Jeopardy-style" event. To register, contact the NMBCC at 812-855-9271. 
  • "Making History With IU: A Program for High School Students," from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St. IU has invited high school students to the Bloomington campus for a day of activities, including an admissions presentation. They will meet and greet representatives from various IU departments, schools and colleges and student organizations. They will also gather information about other cultural resources available at the university. The purpose of the event is to honor the spirit of excellence in education that is annually highlighted in Black History Month celebrations around the United States each year.

To view a complete list of Black History Month events, sponsors and contact information, visit the website for the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs.