This Black History Month the Saddle Up and Read Literacy Program (SUAR) is bringing the history of African-American cowboys and cowgirls to classrooms throughout North Carolina. 

SUAR is visiting schools, churches, libraries and child care centers to share stories about Black farmers, ranchers and cowboys and girls. Among the stops are the Grow N' Learn Child Care Center in Knightdale, Lake Myra Elementary in Wendell, Bright Horizons in Durham and Zebulon Library in Zebulon. 

“It is important to encourage reading. Reading is essential to a child’s success and joy. We want to work with schools, churches, libraries, and child care centers to promote a passion for reading. We are here to support their efforts," SUAR Program Director Caitlin Gooch said.  

SUAR's mission is to increase literacy throughout North Carolina. The organization also uses and provides information about the nationwide 4-H youth development program which serves as a U.S.-based network of youth organizations.

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Gooch says that she is also doing this work to celebrate Black History Month in efforts to honor more historical figures than what schools typically teach. She hopes to create more engagement around their learning. 

“Well, the three-year-olds I left on Monday will remember Bob Lemmons!! Black cowboys/cowgirls and Black farmers have almost been erased from history," Gooch, who also serves as the leader of Wake County's 4-H program, said.

She also added the books donated to SUAR had furthered the program's efforts. 

"I could only find about ten children’s books that were based on Black cowboys/cowgirls. Luckily, people from all over the community, including different states, have donated those ten books to us," Gooch added. 

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