University Park, IL,
09:10 AM

GSU's African American Read-in is a chance to hear "human voices"

Rashidah Muhammad

Governors State University (GSU) Professor of English and Secondary Education  Rashidah Muhammed said events like the 33rd annual African American Read-in are especially important at this moment in time.

The event,  to be  held virtually from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 28, will showcase readers reciting poetry, speeches and other literature written by African American authors.  Dr. Muhammad said this year's event comes as the country faces a racial reckoning, deliberates over the future of voting rights, and parses through deep political divides.

 Amid these issues, society is becoming increasingly polarized and “people are not recognizing humanity,” she said. “So, it's really important to hear these human voices and say ‘that’s me too: I’m an American,’” she said, noting that one way of bridging the existing divides is by learning about cultures other than our own.

 “And one way to get to know culture is to get to know the works of those people, the written works. When we can understand the written works, we can understand cultures. That’s why at Governors State we teach major Black authors, American authors, Irish authors, Polish authors, Native American authors, Latino authors. We do all of that so people come out of this program having a wide sense of cultures and global perspectives.”

And the Feb. 28 event continues that 26-year tradition, giving attendees a chance to gain insight into the present-day circumstances Black people face while imparting knowledge about their history, she said. 

“We want to celebrate literacy and let people know that there is a Black literate population and it’s written, recorded, historic and celebrates our sojourn here in America,” Muhammed said.

Individuals interested in reading at the event can email Dr. Muhammad at