Families Celebrate Black History Month at African American Read-In and Art of the Story Family Day

Fred Motley performs at Piedmont Arts’ African American Read-In and Art of the Story Family Day


Local families and community members took part in a celebration of African American authors at  Piedmont Arts’ African American Read-In and Art of the Story Family Day on Saturday. 

Around 50 guests attended the event, which was one of several planned by Piedmont Arts in celebration of Black History Month. 

“The community showed great support for this event,” said Education Coordinator Becki Williams Vasquez. “We had a large turnout of very engaged guests. It’s really amazing to be able to highlight the contributions of African American artists and authors, while encouraging families to come together and explore their creativity.”


Board President Joyce Staples says it is important to celebrate Black History Month for several reasons. “Black History Month celebrates the cultural achievements and legacy of a group of people who have played a profound role in American history,” said Staples. "Not only that, but Black History Month honors the strength of people who overcame hardship and oppression to leave a positive footprint on American society. It helps all of us to appreciate diversity and the accomplishments of every individual.” 


Board President Joyce Staples read poems from Nikki Giovanni’s A Good Cry

During the event, guests were treated to songs and stories from around the world by Danville-based storyteller Fred Motley. A modern-day griot, Motley has traveled to festivals and other venues to teach African-American history, music and dance for more than 30 years. His animated performance included familiar folktales and an important lesson on being yourself told through the story of Amber, a young girl who was often taunted by her classmates because of her unique ponytails. In the end, Amber’s classmates only made fun of her because they wanted to be like her. They copied her hairstyles until she tricked them all into shaving their heads. 

Connie Lewis read When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan and Don’t Hit Me! by Bernette Ford

In addition, community members read excerpts from books and poems by their favorite African American authors. 

Connie Lewis read two books: When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan and Don’t Hit Me! by Bernette Ford; Joyce Staples read poems from Nikki Giovanni’s book A Good Cry; and Tammy Forbes read the story A World Without Black People

Tammy Forbes read the story A World Without Black People

Piedmont Arts’ African American Read-In and Art of the Story Family Day was sponsored by Carter Bank & Trust. Refreshments were provided by FAHI.

Piedmont Arts will continue its celebration of Black History Month throughout February. Upcoming events include:

Thursday, February 15, 2018 • 7 pm • Piedmont Arts • Admission Free 
Through the critical lens of the political, legal and cultural changes that marked the transition from slavery to the Civil War to the Civil Rights period, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Speaker on the Arts Evie Terrono, professor of art history at Randolph-Macon College, will examine depictions of the multifaceted and highly politicized dimensions of “race” and American identity in the artistic production of African American artists. Artists such as Elizabeth Catlett, Faith Ringgold, Kara Walker, Fred Wilson, Kehinde Wiley, and Hank Willis, among many others, will be discussed.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 (Snow Date February 28) • Performances at 9:30 am + 10:30 am • Piedmont Arts • Admission Free
Piedmont Arts’ Preschool in the Galleries welcomes Carlisle School’s ZipZapZop Theatre Co. Preschool in the Galleries is a series of programs for pre-K students designed to foster a love of the performing and visual arts at a young age. Performances are free of charge to students and schools. To attend a performance, call 276.632.3221 to reserve your spot.


Popular Posts