Contributed by Kristi Kohl, Campus Librarian
Remington College – Shreveport Campus held its first annual African American Read-In on February 28, 2011, at the Hamilton/South Caddo Public Library. Shreveport Campus Librarian Kristi Kohl organized the event in conjunction with Black History Month. More than 70 people from the community and Remington College attended the inaugural program.
Why a Read-In?
Kristi planned the event in celebration of Black History Month. The annual African American Read-In, sponsored by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and NCTE and endorsed by the International Reading Association, promotes literacy and recognizes black authors (novice and professional). In addition to recognizing local writers in the Shreveport-Bossier area, Kristi encouraged students to attend so they could network with community leaders and professionals.
Program and Participants
Readings, a soulful dance routine, and a dramatic interpretation by a regional theater ensemble were included in the program. Business Office Management student Danielle Gullatt introduced each of the nine presenters who participated:
- National best-selling author Shelia Goss
- Minister and author Dr. Bernard Kimble
- Playwright and director Lisa Blakely
- Freelance writer and author Sheila Jackson
- Pastor and activist Kojo Livingston
- Miss Northwest Louisiana pageant winner and poet Kamesha West
- Entrepreneur and author Crystal Brown-Tatum
- City of Shreveport Director of Communications Rod Richardson
- Entrepreneur and Remington College Medical Billing and Coding student Eleanora Ward
Excerpts from a variety of media such as plays, poems, and memoirs were read. Dancers Terry Jackson and Nadia Williams, of the Christian Dance Company, offered a soulful dance routine, and the program culminated with dramatic renditions from The Drum, by Judi Ann Mason, performed by the Mahogany Ensemble Theatre. The event was featured in two local newspapers, the Shreveport Sun and Shreveport Times.
“I had never been to a Read-In, so I thought it was inspiring. I love to read, but listening to quotes, poems, and excerpts really brought meaning to it. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to next year’s event,” said Medical Billing and Coding student Jean Ciotola.
Director of Career Services Becky Currier summed up the inaugural event: “The guest authors and presenters were valuable members of our local community with powerful words of encouragement. They are role models whom our students and graduates can look up to. Our NTHS students provided the audio support, refreshments, registration, and check in and acted as hosts for the event. These students were able to talk with the readers and made good community contacts. They also gained experience in organizing and planning. And Danielle Gullatt was an awesome emcee! She gained valuable experience in communications and public speaking.”
“I would like to thank everyone, especially the members of the National Technical Honor Society (NTHS), who helped organize the event and who volunteered during and after the program to make it such a success. I am already looking forward to next year’s event,” noted Kristi.
A local book club, Sistahs BookClubbing, has expressed interest in collaborating with Kristi and the Shreveport Campus on next year’s program.