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Livingstone College to host virtual Big Read events this month

SALISBURY – Livingstone College will hold a virtual kick-off celebration followed by a number of events for the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read celebration beginning at 11 a.m. on Monday, March 15.

The NEA Big Read in Rowan County will focus on Adrian Matejka’s, “The Big Smoke.” The selected text is an exquisite collection of poetry that depicts the heavyweight champion Jack Johnson as a social phenomenon through a literary lens, said Dr. Da’Tarvia Parrish, Big Read in Salisbury program director and history and African-American studies professor at Livingstone College.

The Big Read will include book talks, film viewings and panel discussions led by Parrish and other Livingstone faculty members including Dr. Charles Pinckney, Tarsha Reid, Jane Splawn, Shannon Allen, Michael Connor, Christopher Davis, Damein Greatheart and Phyllis Mahmud.

Livingstone College student leaders Shanique Brinkley, William McCorn, Miss Livingstone Eryka Praileau, Deborah Walker and Kameron Wilson will join in the fun as reader leaders to grades K-5.

Alumni who will lend their expertise consists of Momodu C. Taylor and David Gaines, as well as William McKee of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

Big Read will also feature Livingstone College’s WLJZ 107.1 FM radio host, Mz Good Newz.

Livingstone College was awarded a $15,000 grant to host the NEA Big Read in Rowan County. It is presented in partnership with the Rowan Public Library and Families and Communities Together with support from the NEA.

The college was one of 84 nonprofit organizations selected to receive the grant to support a community reading program between September 2020 and June 2021.

“For over 140 years, Livingstone College has provided leadership to the global society whereas our effort in the Big Read is another way the college does its best to serve,” Livingstone President Jimmy Jenkins said. “We are thankful for our friends and supporters in Rowan County who have partnered with us on this project. We are grateful to the NEA for this opportunity to recognize the importance of literacy in our community.”

An initiative of the NEA in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens participants’ understanding of the world, their communities and themselves through the joy of sharing a good book, said Parrish.

Livingstone’s Big Read will take place from March 15-20 during the spring break of Rowan-Salisbury Schools. The community will celebrate “The Big Smoke” with the following calendar of events:

• March 12 – pick up materials from the Livingstone School of Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts, 530 Jake Alexander Blvd. South.

•March 15 – Kick-off celebration from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

• March 16 – Book Talk from 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

•March 17 – Book Talk from 11 a.m. -12:15 p.m.

• March 18 – Panel discussion for participants grades 9 and up on the topic “Race-Sports-Politics” from 11 a.m. -12:15 p.m.; coding for grades 6-8; and Paint-N-Jab for grades K-5

• March 19 – Closing presentations from 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. and a film viewing with discussion at 7:30 p.m. of “The Great White Hope”

• March 20 – Radio Book Talk from 10 a.m. – noon, and a film viewing with discussion at 7:30 p.m. of “Unforgettable Blackness”

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