Photo of Black Authors Showcase courtesy of Curate Noir Facebook.

By Tyriq DeShields | AC JosepH Media

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was produced as part of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University’s South Jersey Information Equity Project fellowship and supported with funding from the Independence Public Media Foundation.

MOORESTOWN — Local African American authors shared their stories — from historical resistance, overcoming personal challenges to learning about new heroes — at the Black Authors Showcase at Curate Noir inside Moorestown Mall on March 4.

Curate Noir, the Black-owned venue that highlights African American businesses, proved to be the ideal venue for the event coming off the heels of Black History Month.

The authors — Rann Miller, Trisha Williams and Dr. Stephanie Brown — met with, greeted and networked with those attending the event. It was hosted by Diversity & Equal Opportunity Network (DEON) in partnership with the Southern Burlington County Branch of the NAACP, Black Lives Matter New Jersey and fiscal nonprofit Imperfect Village. The event managed to attract several local leaders and residents.

Photo of Shevonne Torres from Black Lives Matter New Jersey; Shelja Touri DEON; Tyrus Ballard NAACP Southern Burlington County branch; Tiara Clyde  DEON Youth ambassador; and Alban Corbin, Curate Noir store owner. Photo courtesy of Shelja Touri.

Miller, one of the event organizers, said his thought process behind the showcase and its location was not only to promote his new book “Resistance Stories from Black History for Kids” but to also provide a platform for other authors with the same vision.

The Camden native mentioned that he wanted to keep the event intimate, but was pleased with the number of people who stopped by specifically for the event as well as those who were interested in finding out what was going on.

“What we were looking to do was just basically highlight Black authors and also support a Black-owned business, so it made perfect sense to be here (at Curate Noir),” Miller said. “The idea was just to be a blessing for other authors as well as support the selling of my book.”

Williams, owner of Iree Sky Fiction, LLC, is a Mercer County native who was clear about the fact that she made the trip down to support DEON. Williams ?survived brain surgery as well as abusive relationships in the past.

Her goal with her literature is to encourage reading in the inner city and involves subjects that are common to such areas.

“?It’s amazing to participate in an event like this because it supports Black authors, a platform on which we sit and wait for support,” Williams said. “DEON is amazing at inviting us to places where we’ll get the contact from people of color to come and support us and I think that’s a very, very valid thing to do.”

Brown, a resident of Philadelphia, focuses on history that was relevant and inclusive to Black and brown kids. While speaking to another customer, she mentioned curbing certain behaviors and incidents in schools by making students feel included as much as possible in class.

She makes sure to include prominent figures in Black history with her books “Hidden Heroes” and “She Looks Like Me.”

“They say Black history is American history, but it never gets the same respect, and it’s up to us to push to make that change,” Brown said when asked about her goals in her literature.” For me as an educator, it’s my responsibility to make an impact not only in the classroom day-to-day but also in the community and this is how I’m doing it.”

Curate Noir is located in the Moorestown Mall right next to the food court. True to their name, they’ve curated another event for Women’s History Month at Mercer County College in West Windsor Township, titled “Women Crushing It,” on March 11. The event is free and open to the public. Check out the Curate Noir website for more information.

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