The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Rho Tau Omega Chapter in Warrenton held its 56th Annual African American Reading on Sunday, February 6, virtually at 4 p.m. This year’s theme was “Reading, a lifelong experience”.

The event began with meditation by Tomeka Sidberry and a verse from “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by Dianna Talley.

The first part of the Read-In focused on the impact of the Harlem Renaissance on young readers. Highlights of the life of J. Rosamond Johnson, writer, were presented by Jacoby Hargrove. Mark Jones, Jr. spoke about the impact that African-American writers Arna Bontemps and Langston Hughes have had on America. Serenity Barnes shared many of her favorite writings by African American authors, especially “Born on the Water,” by Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Part two featured local writers and their impact on readers of all ages. Terry Alston Jones shared his published article, “The Parent Push, Helping Your Child Succeed Through High School and Beyond”. Crystal Myrick, creator and editor, shared her inspiration behind the creation of The Warrenist.

During the third part of the reading, Reverend Cathy Alston-Kearney of Oak Chapel AME Church shared the book “Forgive as We Have Been Forgiven”. The Heritage Quilters, Terry Alston Jones and Reverend Alston-Kearney donated books which were raffled off at the end of the event.

The last verse of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was sung by Jaycynthia Robinson.

National African American Read-In is the nation’s first and longest running event dedicated to diversity in literature. It was created in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English to make literacy an important part of Black History Month. This initiative has reached more than six million participants worldwide.