NEA Big Read | African American & African Diaspora Studies

NEA Big Read

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.


The African American and African Diaspora Studies (AADS) program at UNC Greensboro received a $15,000 Big Read grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 2021 to host a community read of the novel “Silver Sparrow” by Tayari Jones. The community read included free panel discussions, speakers and family-oriented activities. “I am pleased to work with Gerald Holmes of UNCG Libraries to organize programming in support of families in our area,” said Dr. Tara T. Green, an organizer of the community read. “The book and activities are designed to bring people and families together.”

Named a “Most Anticipated Book for 2020” by The Guardian and other news outlets, “Silver Sparrow” is a novel told from the perspectives of two maturing daughters of a man who has two families—one public, one private. UNCG partnered with Greensboro Public Library, UNCG’s Libraries, the Arts and Letters Committee of the Greensboro Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the International Civil Rights Center and Museum to offer programming for adults to school-aged children 

Due to the COVID-19 virus, most events will be hosted online. Books will be available in Greensboro public libraries, and discussions will be sponsored by several book clubs. Activities included the kick-off event, art contest, and speaker.

The AADS program at UNCG is one of 84 organizations nationwide to receive a grant from NEA Big Read, an initiative that aims to bring communities together through sharing a good book. 

“We have become even more aware this year of the important ways the arts help us connect with others, and how they bring meaning, joy, and comfort to our lives,” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.