SEBTS hosts its first African-American Read-In

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Southeastern’s first African-American Read-In offered students, faculty and staff the opportunity to discover, read, hear and learn about African-American writers and artists.

Prompted by the National Council of Teachers of English, 2014 marked the 25th African-American Read-In. In 2013, 264,504 locations hosted Read-Ins in the United States and Canada. The event was held in the Center for Faith and Culture on Feb. 24.

The event featured readings from students and professors of African-American authors and the screening of the documentary “Against the Odds: Artists of the Harlem Renaissance.”

The keynote reading delivered before a packed crowd by Sheila Smith McKoy, director of the African American Cultural Center at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., was the highlight of the event. She read from Derrick Bell’s short story “The Space Traders” and closed the night by reading one of her own short stories from the recent collection “27 Views of Raleigh.”

Matthew Mullins, assistant professor of English and history of ideas at SEBTS, organized the event. “This event provides an opportunity for students to broaden their perspectives by reading works that they may not normally come into contact with at a theological institution,” he said.

Among the SEBTS professors that read were Brent Aucoin, Keith Harper and Benjamin Quinn.

Enoch Holloway and his wife Marion, pastor and first lady of Friendship Chapel Baptist Church in Wake Forest, N.C., came to support one of their church members, Phillip Page, who read and recited poetry and prose by Langston Hughes. Mrs. Holloway also participated by reading “The Creation,” a poem by James Weldon Johnson.

Mullins would like the to see the Read-In become an annual event at Southeastern as it creates a space to expose students to literary traditions by reading, not just talking about, works of literature. “What better way to promote reading African American literature,” he asks, “than by coming together and actually reading?”

To view additional photos from the Read-In, please click here.

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