ROLL: A Literary Program for New York City Students

Re-Envisioning Our Lives through Literature (ROLL) is an in-school youth literary program. It is uniquely designed to provide young scholars with opportunities to read books written by authors of African descent. The Center for Black Literature's culturally responsive teaching approach engages students, provides social-emotional competence, and advances students' growth in the Core Curriculum standards for reading, language, writing, and oratory skills.

To ensure that we expose scholars to African American authors, we choose a different genre of fiction or non-fiction each year. Classroom teachers pair with teaching artists and collaborate on using the creative and literary arts to establish a curriculum that inspires students to write and express themselves. They create creative non-fiction, poems, short stories, and skits that are based on the wide array of writing produced by Black authors.

Each June, students participate in a culminating event that showcases the work that they have generated from their participation in ROLL. Faculty, school administrators, peers, and family members attend the closing program in celebration of students' work. ROLL students also contribute their literary and visual work to an anthology that chronicles their experiences in the program.

Since its founding in 2003, the ROLL program has partnered successfully with the following New York City schools:

  • Bedford Academy High School
  • Benjamin Banneker Academy
  • Boys and Girls High School
  • Brooklyn School for Music and Theatre
  • Clara Barton High School
  • East New York Family Academy
  • High School for Global Citizenship
  • Medgar Evers College Preparatory School
  • New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities III
  • P.S. 375 Jackie Robinson Elementary School
  • Performing Arts and Technology High School, and others.

The ROLL program director is Cathie Wright-Lewis and she can be reached at wrightlewis [at] or via phone at (718) 804-8883 (please leave a message).


Revised June 1, 2023. Photos supplied by Kel Spencer (former ROLL program director) and Cathie Wright-Lewis (current ROLL program director).


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Pics from the 2019 and 2023 ROLL Events!

Contact Us

Center for Black Literature (CBL)
at Medgar Evers College, CUNY
1534 Bedford Avenue | 2nd Floor
Brooklyn, New York 11216
(Click HERE for the Postal Mailing Address)

Main Phone: (718) 804-8884
Main Office:

Donate to CBL Today!

To carry out our literary programs and special events, we depend on financial support from the public. Donations are welcome year-round. Please click HERE to donate. Thank you!
The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College is supported in part by an American Rescue Plan Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support general operating expenses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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