African American Read-In Held in IRC

Blogging live from the African American Read-In, which is being held in the IRC from noon until 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 19, 2015.

065IMSA Principal, Branson Lawrence, Ph. D., welcomed everyone and read a poem before turning the floor over to Adam Kotlarczyk, Ph.D., a teacher at IMSA who spoke about the history of African American writers and the challenges they faced to get their writing published.

066Mama SheShe, a mother of an IMSA student, the student’s sister and the student’s “community sister”, danced and sang their way into the circle.

069The three women sang, drummed and danced. The first song they performed, as they danced their way into the circle, was a tribute to the ancestors, then the women danced two celebration dances.

071After they performed, Mama SheShe explained the dances and said that the celebration dances were used in weddings and naming ceremonies.

Attendees were then invited to read from African American literature, and the first reader, a student, chose a poem by Langston Hughes, “Dreams,” as her selection. Students and faculty members read for the crowd.


Poet Walkin Contradiction, who travels the country exposing people to poetry and inspiring others to realize their purpose and potential, strode into the circle and performed his first poem which touched on many current events.

061 (2)Walkin Contradiction started a call and response of “Please stop the violence,” which the crowd participated in, softly at first and then with more verve and confidence.

062 (2)Soul food okra, fried green tomatoes, gumbo, and cookies were served to all who attended.

059 The African American Read In was organized by the President’s Office, Peer Mulicultural Educators, the English Department and the IRC.