Sunday, Feb. 8 River View Towers Cooperative, located at 139th Street and Riverside Drive, held its 22nd annual Read-In Chain. The theme of this year’s program, “Celebrating Black Freedom Marches,” featured readings from African-American authors on the subject of freedom and protest marches over time.

Assemblyman Keith Wright, who has participated in the River View Read-In since its inception, headed up the chain of readers with a passage from James Weldon Johnson’s autobiography, “Along This Way,” describing Manhattan’s 1917 Silent Protest March. Protesting the massive attack on Black property and Black persons in East St. Louis, Mo., thousands of men, women and children staged a dramatic march to the tune of muffled drumbeats, catching the attention of the nation. Several other readings focused on later silent marches, including the Nation of Islam’s 1957 March Against Police Brutality, led by the late Malcolm X, and the 1960 Nashville Students’ Sit-In March, which helped desegregate lunch counters.

Residents were particularly delighted by the impressive performances of youth readers, with loud applause going to 7-year-old Anthony Jones for a selection from “We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham’s Children March.” Jaiya Potter and Deja Graves did a joint reading from Rep. John Lewis’ biography, “March—Book One, on the Nashville March.” Approaching his 15th birthday, Edward Steele identified with Lynda Blackmon Lowery’s account of her participation in the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March as reflected in Lowery’s new book, “Turning Fifteen on the Road to Freedom.” Four-year-old Niah Sira Felton did drumbeats for her mother, poet Donna Felton.

Adult readers D. Marie Grieco, Laurence Holder, Terry Lewis, Mercedes Nesfield and Judy Thames rounded out the program. The Read-In included a “Memorial Moment” by Tania Antero, who remembered recently deceased cooperator Melba Smith. Program Coordinator Dr. Onita Estes-Hicks introduced Ann Slade, who brought welcome from River View’s Committee of Concern, a co-sponsor of the Read-In Chain.

Prestige Management sponsored the post-program reception.