“Every February, NCTE commemorates books written by Black authors that elevate Black experiences. We call this event, this annual commemoration of Black letters, the African American Read-In. It was Dr. Jerrie Cobb Scott’s baby. She gave birth to it. Carried it. Raised it. Nurtured it. Sustained its life. Now each year, hundreds of thousands of people—in bookstores and coffee shops, in faith-based institutions and prisons, in living rooms and in kitchens and anywhere else people gather—dedicate time in February (Black History Month) to explore Black literature (old and new).”
Sawubona (“I see you”) Jerrie: Continuing the Legacy of the African American Read-In
by Stephanie Power-Carter, Indiana University and David E. Kirkland, NYU
History of the National African American Read-In
At its November 1989 meeting, the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English accepted the Issues Committee’s recommendation that the Black Caucus sponsor a nationwide read-in on the first Sunday of February. At the request of educators, Monday was designated for educational institutions. Dr. Jerrie Cobb Scott, an active member of NCTE and the Black Caucus, brought the idea to the committee. It was envisioned that following a decade of rigorous campaigning for participants, the African American Read-Ins would become a traditional part of Black History Month celebrations. In 1990, the National Council of Teachers of English joined in the sponsorship of the African American Read-In Chain. The commitment for nationwide promotion extends from 1990 to the present.
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“It is important for all of us to see ourselves in books.” – Dr. Jerrie Cobb Scott, founder of the African American Read-In