Stacey Abrams Celebrates Black History Month at Glennwood Elementary


Benjamin Shewan

On Friday, Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams visited Glennwood Elementary for the third annual African American Read-In. Debuting in 2020, the event was created to celebrate the writing of African Americans during Black History Month. In 2020, they hosted a community read where members of the Decatur community could come in and read their favorite books. Last year they hosted Dr. Meria Carstarphen as their headline reader, a former Atlanta Public School system Superintendent and current documentary director. 

Due to COVID-19, there was a chance that the event wouldn’t be able to happen so they wanted to keep the knowledge of the possibility limited. Therefore, they kept the headline reader as a surprise and only select CSD staff and a group close to Abrams knew. CSD Superintendent Dr. Maggie Fehrman as well as two board members Jana Johnson-Davis and James Herndon were also in attendance to celebrate the hosting of Abrams and the read-in. 

Carstarphen introduced Abrams and who then read her new book to second graders. Afterwards, she was asked a number of questions about her book and herself from kindergartners, first, and second graders. Her book Stacey’s Extraordinary Words, which came out in December of 2021, focuses on her own experience as a second-grader competing in a spelling bee. 

When a student asked why she decided to just now write the book, she answered that she was inspired by her first Governor’s race and wanted to tell a story about perseverance, a word that was a recurring topic in the book. While (spoiler for the book), she lost the second-grade spelling bee, she did eventually win it in sixth grade.

Abrams reads her new book to the second grade class.

Abrams also thanks her mom and dad in the opening of her book for being her first storytellers. Her mom was a librarian who introduced her to a variety of books, “ranging from mythology to Edgar Allen Poe.” Her dad was dyslexic so he told epic stories that she described as “tame Game of Thrones.” She also notes that she struggled more with writing her first children’s book than writing her first novel due to the limitations of word count and of target audience. However, she enjoyed the challenge and looks forward to writing another one.

While some questions surrounded topics in the book, such as what her favorite word is, syzygy, others asked her questions about her growing up and schooling experience. She talked about how her family jokes about her dad getting arrested when he was younger because he was trying to help register black people to vote. However, at the end of the second grade talk, she emphasized an important lesson that her dad imposed into her from a young age. “No matter how old you are, your job is to help other people,” Abrams repeated and instilled into the students just like her dad had done to her.