Celebrate African American stories, poetry and performances through virtual event

Orange County Library System’s African American Read-In happens Feb. 28

The Orange County Library System will host a virtual Read-In on Feb. 28 celebrating the works of African-American artists, authors, musicians and poets. (Image: Orange County Library System) (WKMG 2020)

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Events around the country will honor works created by Black and African American authors, poets and musicians on Feb. 28, however, due to the pandemic, events have moved online, including one hosted by the Orange County Library System.

Established in 1989, the National African Read-In is the first U.S. event dedicated to diversity in literature, according to the library system. During the event, libraries, schools and bookstores host read-in events featuring works created by Black Americans.

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On Sunday, Feb. 28 the Orange County Library System virtual event will feature a keynote address by bestselling author Beverly Jenkins. The NAACP Image Award nominee is best known for her historical and contemporary romance novels.

“I decided to participate in the OCLS’s 2021 African American Read-In because I wouldn’t be the author I am today were it not for the Mark Twain Library on Detroit’s eastside,” Jenkins said. “It fed my love for reading. To a young person who has yet to discover the library, I’d tell them to think of their card as a free ticket to travel to far off places, meet fascinating people and go on amazing adventures, all without leaving home.”

Orange County journalists, actors and musicians will then read works during the Read-In. News 6 anchor Ginger Gadsden, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and Nerd Nite Host Ricardo Williams will participate.

Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden will also provide the closing address. Hayden is the 14th Librarian of Congress and the first woman and African American to serve in the role.

The virtual event is open to all and will happen at 2 p.m. Feb. 28 on Facebook Live and YouTube Live. For more information about the Read-In, visit ocls.info/readin.