African American Read-In and Family Day Draws Crowd

Piedmont Arts held its annual African American Read-In and Family Day on Saturday, February 22, 2020 at the museum. Around 50 guests took part in the event, which featured storytelling, crafts and readings by community members.

Fred Motley, a griot from Danville, Virginia, told classic folktales and performed call and response songs and chants for the audience to take part in, like the classic schoolyard game, Little Sally Walker. He also performed Where the Wild Things Are, a take on Maurice Sendak’s beloved children’s book, Three Billy Goats McGruff and Miss Mary Mack, among others.

Community members took part in the event by reading excerpts from books by their favorite African American authors and reciting fables, poems and stories.

Piedmont Arts Education Coordinator Becki Williams Vasquez kicked off the event by reading the poem, The Significance of Poetry by Nikki Giovanni; Damianpreet Narula of Martinsville performed The Three Little Pigs; and Piedmont Arts Programs and Marketing Coordinator Holly Burton read Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews.

Piedmont Arts' annual African American Read-In and Family Day is held in conjunction with the 30th Annual National African American Read-In, the nation’s first and oldest event dedicated to diversity in literature. Established in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month, the read-ins have reached more than six million participants around the world.

Piedmont Arts' African American Read-In and Family Day was sponsored by Carter Bank & Trust.

This is one of several events Piedmont Arts has planned in celebration of Black History Month. Other events include: Tired Souls: King and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a one-man play by Mike Wiley, rescheduled for Friday, February 28, 2020; and Fragile, Handle with Care, an exhibit featuring work by contemporary African American artist Tawny Chatmon, on display through March 7, 2020. Guests can meet Chatmon at Art at Happy Hour, a free event at Piedmont Arts on Thursday, February 27, 2020. To learn more about Piedmont Arts’ Black History Month events, visit


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