More than 50 students, faculty, staff and visitors participated recently in Texas A&M University-Texarkana’s first African American Read-In event.

The event was sponsored by the English program and the Program for Learning and Community Engagement (PLACE). This year's theme is "Race and Ethnicity."

The read-in event, named after W.E.B. DuBois’ masterful collection, “The Souls of Black Folk,” began and concluded with passages from the collection read by event organizer Dr. Corrine Hinton, assistant professor of English. During the nearly five-hour marathon read-in, 15 people shared works by African American authors and artists like Gwendolyn Brooks, James Baldwin, Lucille Clifton, Jacqueline Woodson, bell hooks, Raymond Andrews and Cornel West among others.

Dr. Doug Julien, associate professor of English, took the audience on a tour of musicians with connections to Texarkana: Scott Joplin, Jesse Belvin, Lead Belly, The Temptations and Big Jay McNeely. Readings of Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise" by undergraduate Alana Briley, Daniel Beaty's "Knock Knock" by Celeste McNiel, director of Student Life, Frederick Douglass' "What to the slave is the Fourth of July" by Dr. Michael Perri, Associate Professor of History, and Langston Hughes' "The Negro Mother" by Library Assistant Jeanette Mitchell proved especially powerful.

PLACE is a faculty-led program designed to create a community of learners comprising A&M-Texarkana students, faculty, staff and the community at large. PLACE chooses an annual theme around which to organize a lecture series and other activities that provide focal points for learning and discussion.