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African American Experience Legacy Shines Bright at Motlow

June 18, 2021

Dr. Phyllis Adams"Souls have been touched, stories have been shared, and truths have been declared throughout history. Today more than ever, this must prevail as we strive to develop successful scholars who truly reflect diversity, equity, enthusiasm, and empowerment," said Dr. Phyllis Adams, Professor, Speech and Theatre at Motlow State Community College.

Involvement and engagement heighten when people feel welcomed, seen, heard, and appreciated. The energy of any project soars when all are treated with dignity, respect, acceptance, and appreciation. Motlow is dedicated to student success. We are ever mindful that we must provide scholarly engagements that offer diversity of thought, contribution, voices, and experiences as an institution.

"Motlow embraces all communities and encourages our scholars to dare to be different and realize that differences are celebrated, valued, appreciated, and welcomed. Access, diversity, equity, and inclusion are the benchmarks that guide all endeavors," Adams said.

The Annual African American Read-In is a part of a national endeavor hosted by colleges and universities throughout the country. Motlow's African American Read-In was a testimony to our call to encourage and support reading as we celebrate the impact and legacy of The African American Experience.

Professor Adams’ Culture, Differences and Empowerment students partnered with her Honors Communication scholars to co-sponsor this year’s event. Adams developed, organized, and facilitated this multi-disciplinary group of scholars. They prepared their performances to be coupled with other presenters from Motlow's faculty, staff, and administrators, along with renowned authors and singers. This year’s event faced the challenges of the COVID Pandemic and the need to exercise social distancing. As a thespian, Adams embraced the notion that the show must go on and successfully expanded the performance territory, utilizing a virtual platform.

This year's stellar line-up will not be forgotten. Not only did our presenters include Motlow students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community voices, but included a national presence. This event hosted one of only three African American female Broadway musical conductors, an author and actor from the Netflix animated short film, Cops and Robbers, a New York Times best-selling author, an author and MSNBC Contributor, several Broadway actors, producers, a dancer, an Emmy award-winning playwright, a videographer, and a Tennessee Poet Laureate.

The African American Read-In has expanded from a four-hour event to a full eight hours of presentations and performances. Those who attended this year's event tuned in from across the country.

The pandemic may have shut off the lights on Broadway, but Motlow was able to keep its lights shining brightly, allowing voices to be heard, stories to be told, people to be empowered, and the inner spirit, presence, impact, and legacy of the African American experience to be celebrated, appreciated, and valued.

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