The Pioneer

Mountaineer views on today's news.

The Pioneer

The Pioneer

Celebrating 30 Years of African American Literature: West Orange High School’s Annual African-American Read-In


“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”- Martin Luther King Jr.

In an enthusiastic celebration of African American literature and culture, West Orange High School’s annual African American Read-In event marked its 30th year of honoring the rich legacy of black authors and poets. 

Initially established in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English, the Read-In has become a cornerstone of Black History Month, with over 6 million participants engaging worldwide.

The read-in was held in the library with a combination of 60 students and teachers, (approximately) creating a dynamic circle of literary exploration. The rules of the read-in were to read a piece of literature (poem, excerpt, lyrics, etc.) written by a black author and, with no profanity. Some students even shared some of their own original works. 

At 9:35 AM, Mrs. Binns, one of the two librarians, read the first poem of the morning, setting the tone of literary discovery. Students eagerly took turns stepping into the center of the circle to share their chosen pieces, and the crowd of students was very supportive. From classics to contemporary works, each selection offered a unique perspective on the African American experiences.

Interwoven with the readings were insightful reflections from teachers, highlighting the significance of African American storytelling in shaping literary landscapes and cultural narratives. 

Throughout the event, students and teachers embraced the opportunity to amplify diverse voices and perspectives, fostering empathy and understanding. From Nicki Giovanni to Blind Willie Johnson, each author of literary work showcased the depth of African American literary talent.

Students left the library inspired and enriched, carrying with them a renewed appreciation for the enduring legacy of African American literature. 

More to Discover