Black History Month Read-in at the State Capitol


Celebrate literature during Black History Month at the State Capitol! Hear the words and experiences of African Americans echo through a structure built by African Americans for whom it was illegal to read, Saturday, Feb. 24, 1 to 3 p.m. at a free event.

The program opens with a special dramatic reading honoring the state’s early African American legislators. Excerpts by authors, musicians, poets and others will be read. Among the readers will be Dr. Valerie Ann Johnson, chair, N.C. African American Heritage Commission; Bill Bell, former Durham mayor; David Potorti, literature and theater director, N.C. Arts Council; Natalie Bullock Brown, assistant professor, St. Augustine’s College, Lenard Moore, professor and poet; teenagers from Richard B. Harrison Library; and others.

During the month of February, schools, churches, bookstores and community organizations across the nation host read-ins that make literature a significant part of Black History Month. This read-in is presented by the N.C. African American Heritage Commission in partnership with the State Capitol and Richard B. Harrison Community Library.

The State Capitol’s mission is to preserve and interpret the history, architecture and functions of the 1840 building and Union Square. The Capitol is bounded by Edenton, Salisbury, Morgan and Wilmington Streets, and is within the Division of State Historic Sites of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. For more information, visit or call (919) 733-4994.

For additional information on the read-in, please call (919) 807-6511. The North Carolina General Assembly created the African American Heritage Commission (AAHC) in 2008 to “assist the Secretary of Cultural Resources in the preservation, interpretation, and promotion of African American history, arts, and culture.” With this legislation the AAHC has identified African American heritage practitioners, such as curators, docents, and museum directors, as priority service populations. The AAHC is a division of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

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