It sounded like a championship heavyweight fight was going on Sunday afternoon at the community room at the downtown Kokomo-Howard County Public Library.
The sound of a hand hitting something hard brought “oohs and ahhs.”
Cheers came when it was announced The Brown Bomber, Joe Louis, knocked out his white opponent and was named the heavyweight champion.
But it wasn’t a real fight. It was Dennis Anglin reading a story about Louis to a group of children during the Kokomo Area Reading Council’s African-American Read-In Chain.
Anglin was among a group of adults volunteering to read books about or written by African Americans for the national reading effort, which was part of Black History Month, said Tina Robinson, the event’s co-chair.
And just as quickly as the cheers came when Anglin read how Louis won his championship, the crowd grew silence when he stopped reading.
As a result, audience members who wanted to know more about Louis had to listen closely to Anglin’s words of advice.
“I want you to go get the book yourself, read it and finish the journey. It’s your journey of life,” said Anglin, a corporate trainer for the Indianapolis-based Allison Transmissions. “Only you can finish and write your story. You have to fight for your life to be the person you want to be. That’s why we are here.
“When I was little growing up on the north end of Kokomo, the library was my refuge. It’s where I came to learn more about the world and from there reading became my passion. We are planting those seeds today.”
But those seeds, said Melinda Williams, should be planted daily; not just during Black History Month.
“This is good and all, but we, as parents and a community, have to get our kids reading more, not less,” said Williams who attended with her 6-year-old daughter, Davidta Allen.
“Reading is part of what we do everyday in some form or fashion, and if having events like this encourage more children and even adults to read, I am all of that 24/7, 365.”