Elon University took part in the 21st National African-American Read-In on Friday when students, faculty and staff read aloud in Ward Octagon inside the Moseley Center. Organizers collected donations for Haiti relief and for local libraries at the event, which included an afternoon reading by Elon President Leo M. Lambert.
Coordinated by the National Council of Teachers of English and endorsed by the International Reading Association, read-ins during Black History Month are intended to celebrate African-American authors, who penned all books read aloud.
Lambert read God’s Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams. The president and his wife, Laurie, met with Tutu last month when they traveled to South Africa with a Winter Term study abroad course.
Tutu, winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, also spoke at Elon in April 2003 as the keynote speaker in the university’s Spring Convocation for Honors.
Before reading to students and staff gathered around the room, Lambert shared his experience reading to his daughters, and he emphasized the importance of using books to teach values to children from their earliest years.
Professor emerita Wilhelmina Boyd, the founder of the African/African-American Studies Program at Elon who passed away in October, started the Elon program during her time at the university. Friday’s event will honor her memory, said Prudence Layne, an assistant professor of English and current director of the program Boyd founded.
Various organizations in regions around the world schedule individual events any time during the month. More than a million readers have participated throughout the program’s two decades in existence.
Students were able to donate Phoenix Cash to the program at a table set up in the Moseley Center.
Elon’s schedule for the day included the following:
PART I: Read for Haiti (12-2 p.m.)
All books, money and food collected during this period will be donated to the American Red Cross.
Part II: Read for Service (2-3:30 p.m.)
All books will be donated to underserved libraries in the community.
Part III: Read for Fun (3:30-5 p.m.)
Share funny stories, poems or excerpts from novels by your favorite African-American authors.
Part IV: Read for Life (5-6 p.m.)
Do you have a story about how reading and literacy changed your life?