Leon County places the cherry on top of Women’s History Month


Dr. Kristine Harper, a Florida State University history professor, reading an emotional passage from “Bird by Bird” by Ann Lamott.
Photo Courtesy: Kaiyah Clarke

As March came to an end, Leon County recognized female authors and professors at the LeRoy Collins Public Library.

The Herstory Read-In Program allowed a sense of female unity within the context of the books read and the seven influential women who presented.

Although it was the first of its kind at the public library, it showed the progress within the significance of women in a time where movements such as Me Too and TIMESUP begin to reconstruct the patriarchal society.

A few of the books by the female authors included “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott, “Changing my mind” by Zadie Smith and “Sister Outsider” by Audre Lorde.

The reading of passages from these powerful women also included paraphrases of what the book was about and why they favored the text and the women who wrote them.

One especially captivating Choreo poem from “Always Coming Home” by Ursula K. Le Guin included an originally made soundtrack from the author herself. It was interesting in the fact that Le Guin was able to recreate a historically accurate Native American folklore tune based on her own parents were anthropologists.

This was read by Melanie R. Abrams, a Florida A&M English instructor.

“I feel so dreamy/dreamy lazy, crazy sleepy/like I want to be there/ in the doorway, the doorway/or the porch corner/ be sitting, be empty/notdoing not going/an old bucket left here/in the porch corner is like I am/an old empty bucket somebody left there,” said Abrams.

The tear-jerker to have whisk the crowd away was a passage from the popular book turned movie, “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio.

This was read by Maxine Jones, a Florida State University history professor who cherishes the morals that are displayed in “Wonder.”

“It is written by a woman and it affects not only children but anyone who reads it. It’s about the human struggle, it's about being different, it's about fitting in,” Jones said. “Although we see the main character grow, we see the people around him grow as well.

“They transform, change. They discover that they have more in common than they thought and this idea, I think, speaks to everybody.”

The Herstory program was created by Mallary Rawls, a youth services information professional at the LeRoy Collins Library.

“I got the idea from the annual African American history Read-In event the library does during Black History Month. I thought we could do something inclusive like that for Women’s History Month as well. I started planning in December 2017. The first process was finding people who would be willing to participate. So, it was exciting to find out that all seven of these prominent women agreed to come,” said Rawls.