African American Read-in - Penn State Altoona

Upcoming Events

African American Read-In 2016

The 2016 African American Read-In will be held on February 14 and 15

This Land: Place, Belonging, and Community in the African American Experience

All people are shaped by their relationship to place and environment. For African Americans, this relationship is rich and complex, and certainly fraught by the historical realities of the transatlantic slave trade (removal from Africa, separation from culture) the farming economy of the American South during and post slavery, and the waves of migration from the rural South to the urban North that so many African Americans undertook in the first half of the 20th Century. Place and relationship to natural and constructed environments is a central theme, though not always recognized as such, in works by Black storytellers, singers, autobiographers, poets, novelists, and short story writers throughout the African American literary tradition. We see this topic explored in oral forms, from the earliest folktales and work songs through rap lyrics, as well as written texts, from slave narratives to 21st century poetry, fiction, and drama. Our focus on this theme in our reading of African American literature might follow any one or more of a number of related paths: representations of the natural world, wilderness, urban communities, environmental concerns, migration and immigration, the struggle for land ownership, community building, regional identities, and more.

  • Sunday Community Dinner Program—February 14 from 2:30 - 5 p.m.
  • Monday Marathon—February 15 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Keynote Presentation: Elizabeth Kennedy—February 15 at noon
  • Featured Author: Poet Evie Shockley—February 15 at 5:30 p.m.