By Michael Gainey
Special to the AFRO

Local authors kicked off Black History month, Feb. 1, with the Black Authors Book Expo at the Baltimore War Memorial Building. 

“The turnout has been great,” organizer Andrea Jones said. Jones said more than 500 people registered for the event, with 40 authors displaying their work.

“I wanted to give new and upcoming authors a platform to showcase their books to the community as well as introduce the community to Black authors they might have never heard of or might not ever hear of,” Jones said. “It is also important that young people are here so they can see themselves as writers too.”

Sharronda Johnson-Brown and Demetria Johnson share their relationship struggles and successes in “Mommy and Me.” (Photo by Michael Gainey)

Jones is an author herself. “Carrying It All” is a book of hope for parents who lost a child due to a miscarriage. Jones said, like her, many people have powerful stories to tell. Books are a great way to communicate those stories. 

Sharronda Johnson-Brown and Demetria Johnson are two authors who shared their work based on their personal and powerful stories. Johnson-Brown and Johnson are a mother daughter writing team and coauthors of the book “Mommy and Me: Separate but similar A True Story.” In the book, Johnson-Brown talks about key traits needed for good relationships between parents and their children.

“This book is really information that we all need as parents. How do you remain relatable in today’s society? How do you set boundaries and keep open the lines of communication? How do you teach your child morals to prepare them for life outside the house?” Johnson-Brown said. “Concerns like these are very common in the Black community. It is important to write about these experiences so people can know they are not alone.”

Catherine Turner also displayed her work, “Mama Mae,” a book about “power and forgiveness when a person does their best but it’s not the best.” Her book chronicles the dynamics of her growing up in Colorado and the relationship between her adopted mother and her birth mother.

“It took me four months to write this book but I had it in my heart for 20 years,” Turner said. “Redemption is something that is always worth talking about.” 

Jones said she is planning more of these events, because based on the turnout, there is a definite need. “I know this one event alone is raising awareness and making a difference for our community. Having this happen during Black History Month makes the event even more powerful.”