Block Island Times

Library celebrates Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, the Island Free Library is celebrating the work of Black writers.
“Our main focus is two things – the daily post to our Facebook page that celebrates a Black poet, which Bethany [Petrik] is working on. She curates and researches the daily posts,” said Library Director Kristin Baumann. “Then the second thing we are doing [is that] I do a daily program with a short story for adult listeners. I am reading a Black author every day, live at 3 p.m. on YouTube.”
Since February 1, Petrik has shared on the Facebook page poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar, Omotara James, Marcus Jackson, Harryette Mullen, Danez Smith, and Yusef Komunyakaa, and others.
“At the Island Free Library, we recognize that Black history is world history. We work to highlight Black experiences and voices all year long, and we celebrate Black History Month as a ‘highlight reel of Black American excellence,’” said Petrik, using poet Nikki Grimes’s descriptive term.
“Many of the poets and work featured can be found in the library’s collection for further reading,” added Petrik.
Baumann, on her YouTube channel, has read short stories by authors Kathleen Collins, Audre Lorde, Samantha

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