The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Progression in music, literature displays African American culture

By Lissette Salgado/campus editor

NE Campus president Kenya Ayers recites a poem for the African American Read-In: Lineage, Literature and Culture Feb. 19. The event showcases the strides black Americans made in literature. Brooke Baldwin/The Collegian

As part of Black History Month, NE English department host an annual read-in for students Feb. 19 to learn about the successes of those from the past and present of the black community. 

Literary pieces from black authors were shared with students, such as “The Ballad of Black Tom” by Victor LaValle, “The Creation” by James Weldon Johnson, “The Fifth Season” by N. K. Jemisin and a video of author Alice Walker reading “Their Eyes Were Watching God”

NE adjunct English professor Annette Cole said the read-ins help expose students to black writers.

When Cole took part in her first event in 2013, she saw the development of the read-ins incorporating literary pieces by black writers to pique interest in students.

“We’re trying to do this campus-wide,” she said. “We invite all the departments to come and participate.”

Students and professors volunteered to take part in the event to either read, sing or recite literary pieces in front of the stage. 

NE student, singer and songwriter Jerika Coleman sang the Negro national anthem, the first verse of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” written by Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson. 

The lyrics portray the oppressive past that African Americans faced.

“Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,” Coleman recited. “Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us.”

NE English professor Lisette Blanco-Cerda read a section of “The Ballad of Black Tom” and explained how the piece is devoted to H. P. Lovecraft and his works. She told students that the book was written from the perspective of a black man inspired by the caricature of the character in H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Horror of Red Hook.”

“Victor LaValle dedicated this book to H. P. Lovecraft with all his conflicted feelings,” she said. “Victor LaValle wrote this brilliant novella from Tom’s point of view.”

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