Folklorist talks blues, local history & black literacy at SKYCTC

SKYCTC hosts 8th African American Read-In

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – In celebration of Black History Month, Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College invited applied folklorist and Western Kentucky University scholar Lamont Pearley to lead their 8th Annual African American read-in.

Wednesday, Pearley educated attendees about local historical African-Americans and some of the places integral to Black Bowling Green’s roots.

“Lesser known celebrities are obscure, but they are important to the community. So, I think it’s extremely important to, one, celebrate those people and, two, make sure their stories do not wither away.”

Pearley says one of the best mediums to learn is through blues music.

“African-American history, experience, tradition, culture and heritage, the blues is an essential component of the transmission of those narratives.”

Pearley specifically expressed the importance of furthering literacy, and retention, and using those reading skills to absorb African-American authors’ recounts of community history.

SKYCTC Associate Professor of English Leah Wendt, who invited Pearley to speak said, “At one time in our country’s history, it was illegal to teach a black person how to read. And I mean, I can’t really wrap my mind around what kind of world that was. We’re still recovering from that in some ways, like trying to encourage people to read and be articulate about their stories, both sharing them and listening to them and reading them.”

“It’s hard to know your history, experience, or tradition being illiterate. So, when these young folk tap into their ancestral traditions, traditional expression, and literature, it will help them better be grounded for the future journeys they make.”

Pearley suggests you visit here to find African American-authored books recalling the Southern blues culture experience.