Meridian Star


January 30, 2007

Community leaders, students to read from Barack Obama’s ‘Audacity of Hope’

After reading one chapter of presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope,” Meridian High School senior RoShetta Williams says she has a new perspective of the politician.

“He made some very interesting comments about family and teen pregnancy that was life-opening to me,” RoShetta said. “I didn’t expect him to respond as he did, but what he said really made me stop and think and look at it in a different way.”

RoShetta’s response is just what local organizers had hoped for from presenters of the upcoming African-American Read-In. Two events are scheduled: Sunday at 4 p.m. at Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church and Monday at 8:30 a.m. at Meridian High School.

Sponsored by Jackson State University-Meridian/Lauderdale Alumni Chapter, Mount Olive and Meridian High, this year’s read-in will feature community leaders and seniors from the high school reading passages from Obama’s book.

Now in its 18th year, the African-American Read-In was first sponsored by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). In 1991, the National Council of Teachers of English joined the sponsorship. The goal of the read-in is to make the celebration of African-American literacy a traditional part of Black History Month activities.

“The sponsors had observed that while students read for assignments, a lot of them aren’t readers,” said Mable Hoskins Oatis, a retired educator and coordinator of the local read-in.

“The emphasis is that Black History Month is not only about celebrating successful people such as athletes and entertainers, but also those who not only haven’t written a body of work but also have written well,” Oatis said.

The read-in has been endorsed by the International Reading Association. More than a million readers of all ethnic groups from 49 states, the West Indies and African countries have participated.

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