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DCCCD Read-In Celebrates Literacy, African-American Writers and the Life of Ossie Davis

Avery Brooks

For immediate release - Jan. 18, 2006

(DALLAS) – Last year, participants in the Dallas County Community College District’s citywide African-American Read-In mourned the death of stellar actor Ossie Davis the same weekend that they celebrated literacy and African-American writers.

This year – on Saturday, Feb. 4 – they will celebrate seven years of reading as well as the legacy of Ossie Davis through presentations and a locally written production titled “A Prince Came Out of Egypt: A Tribute to Ossie Davis.” The 2006 DCCCD African-American Read-In will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Majestic Theatre in Dallas. The program is free and open to the general public – families in particular, and children ages 8 and older. Seating is limited, however, and usually fills early because parents, youngsters and friends traditionally flock to the event.

Guest readers include actor, author and director Avery Brooks (pictured above), known as Captain Sisko on “Star Trek: Deep Space 9,” and motivational speaker/author Johnny Wimbrey (pictured below). 

 

“The seventh African-American Read-In celebrates family reading and learning, the life of Ossie Davis and the fun that reading brings to us every day,” said Carla Ranger, executive director of DCCCD’s office of educational partnerships and founder of the Dallas African-American Read-In. “Through the read-in, we share the joys of literature and the legacy of African-American writers with members of the community, creating a celebration of families and friends, based on books, stories, poetry and essays.” 

DCCCD is partnering with Dallas-based Alliance Data, the 2006 presenting sponsor. Alliance Data – a leading provider of transaction, credit and marketing services – is an active corporate citizen through its “Neighbor of Choice” program and is committed to community initiatives that support education, health and welfare, and civic enrichment.

“Alliance Data is honored to partner with the Dallas County Community College District as the presenting sponsor of the 2006 African-American Read-In,” said Katrina Brooks,
community relations manager. “We all know the importance that literacy plays in the success of our children. Exposing them to the contributions of African-American literature helps broaden their minds and educates them about the impact that African-American writers have had on our society.”

Ranger added, “We would like everyone to know that the Dallas African-American Read-In is only the beginning of fun for our entire community – a way to kick off Black History Month activities, to present an original program and to feature the writings of African-American authors. We encourage schools, organizations and families to hold their own read-ins throughout February to support literacy, to learn and to teach others about African-American writers. The project supports all of these month-long activities.”

Guest readers, including Brooks and Wimbrey, and an original play written and directed by local artists are highlights of the read-in program. “A Prince Came Out of Egypt: A Tribute to Ossie Davis,” written by Anyika McMillan-Herrod and directed by Monique Ridge-Williams, not only celebrates the life and legacy of the late actor and activist but also those individuals he presented through his work: fathers, husbands, writers, artists and humanitarians. Filled with music, poetry and writings by Davis, Ruby Dee, Julius Lester, Ernest Gaines and others, “A Prince Came Out of Egypt” will feature area artists from the Dallas Black Dance Theater, Percussion Things, Brent Nance and more.

Audience members will receive free T-shirts, canvas bags, books and other literacy incentives. “The real treasure they will take with them, however, will be the words – both written and spoken – shared by authors, readers, artists and actors, plus friendships that grow each year as a result of the read-in,” said Ranger. “DCCCD’s African-American Read-In is an extravaganza of creativity, culture and community.”

The idea for an African-American Read-In originated with Dr. Jerrie Scott, faculty member at the University of Memphis and a member of the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English. The event’s purpose is to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month. Since 2000, the caucus has documented a cumulative total of more than 1 million people who have participated in read-ins held across the country. 

Event sponsors for the read-in are: Alliance Data (presenting sponsor), WFAA-TV (channel 8), K104-FM, KRNB-FM, KKDA-AM, Dallas Morning News, Dallas Weekly, Downtown Business News, NTheKnow.com, KidsNTheKnow.com, American Airlines, City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, McDonald’s, Pro-Line Intl., Holt Rinehart Winston, Scholastic, Dallas Public Library, Harlem Book Fair, DART, Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages, Millennium Motors, Enterprise, Dallas Children’s Theater, Dallas Reads, Black Images Book Bazaar, Jokae’s African-American Books, Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English and Westin City Center-Dallas. 

Additional details:
Fast Facts
History
Program
Special Guests
Sponsors

Press contact: Ann Hatch, 214-860-2478