Celebrating Black History
New College celebrates Black History Month each year with an African American Read-In and student-led service projects in the community.
Honoring the works of African-American authors has been an annual event at New College for more than a decade. Members of the community along with students, faculty and staff from both New College of Florida and the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee read poems and excerpts from novels and short stories written by their favorite African-American writers. The objective is to read for two hours straight by passing works of Black authors along from reader to reader. The library’s Read-In is part of a national event in conjunction with Black History Month, endorsed by the National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association. The Jane Bancroft Cook Library and the New College Gender Studies Program co-sponsor the event.
Throughout the year, students also volunteer regularly at the nearby Robert Taylor Community Center in Newtown, a historic African-American community located north of downtown Sarasota. New College students have engaged in more than 400 hours of service learning and volunteerism at the community center, facilitating a tutoring program through Big Brothers and Big Sisters Doing the Right Thing as well as programming an arts and crafts room.
Celebrated writer and theorist bell hooks has been a frequent guest on campus. She was a distinguished visiting scholar in 2012 when she gave a public lecture titled, “Martin Luther King: On Spiritual Conversion.” A former professor at Yale University, Oberlin and City College of New York, hooks’ writing has focused on the interconnectivity of race, class, and gender and what she describes as their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and domination.