University of Pittsburgh
January 24, 2008

19th-Annual National African American Read-In Chain To Be Held Feb. 3

Oakland's First Baptist Church is site of Read In coordinated by University of Pittsburgh's Ogle Duff
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Ogle Duff, emeritus professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Education, will coordinate the 19th-annual African American Read-In Chain at 3 p.m. Feb. 3 in the First Baptist Church library, 159 N. Bellefield Ave., Oakland. This event is free and open to the public.

Larry Davis, dean and Donald M. Henderson Professor of Pitt's School of Social Work and director of its Center on Race and Social Problems, will be the keynote reader. Davis will read editorials by scholar and civil rights activist W.E.B. DuBois that appeared in Crisis, the first journal of the NAACP, which DuBois cofounded. Davis will compare issues facing Blacks in the early 1900s and today.

Jack Hedenberg, First Baptist Church archivist, will read a letter from Frederick Douglas. Pitt faculty, staff, and students along with members of the church will participate in reading African American literature. The First Baptist Church Choir also will perform.

The national African American Read-In Chain takes place every February in recognition of Black History Month. People across the nation are encouraged to take an hour or two to read African American literature or make a community effort by holding group readings. Hosting a Read-In can be as simple as bringing together a group of family and friends to share a book. In addition, professional organizations, businesses, churches, libraries, and bookstores are urged to host Read-Ins in order to cultivate a greater appreciation for African American literature. Teachers and schools will participate Monday, Feb. 4.

Duff has organized the First Baptist Church's Read-In since its inception 19 years ago and tracks the number of local participants. After Feb. 4, please report individual or community readings and the number attending to Duff at

The Read-In is sponsored by The Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English. For more information about participating, holding your own reading, receiving recommendations or reading selections, volunteering to read at the church, or registering, contact Duff (see above).