Laurel Ridge welcomes Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator to Middletown Campus on Thursday

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Janelle Washington

~ Press release issued by Laurel Ridge Community College

MIDDLETOWN — Laurel Ridge Community College is thrilled to have the opportunity to welcome award-winning paper-cut and silhouette artist Janelle Washington to our Middletown Campus on Thursday, March 2. Washington is a self-taught artist who illustrated the Caldecott Honor-winning book, “Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement.”

The picture book is a biography of Mamie Till-Mobley, whose 14-year-old son Emmett’s brutal murder was racially motivated in 1955.

Washington, who also received the Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe New Talent Award for her illustrations, has silhouettes housed in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

She is participating in two events — both of which are free and open to the public — at the college this Thursday. The first is a Lunch & Learn scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Cornerstone Hall, Room 601. Those who wish to attend are asked to RSVP for this lunch at, or by calling (540) 664-5027.

Later that evening from 5:30 to 7 p.m., the college is hosting a reception for Washington, whose work will be on display in the Delores E. Sekel Art Atrium in Cornerstone Hall from this Wednesday through mid-April. The Virginia native will be signing copies of “Choosing Brave,” which will be for sale through Winchester Book Gallery.

“Event sponsors, Laurel Ridge Black Student Union and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council are excited to bring Janelle Washington to the college to not just celebrate her award-winning book, but also because the story of Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till represents an opportunity for continuing education, the strength of history and the power of storytelling,” said Laurel Ridge development officer and DEI Council member Andy Gyurisin.

Learn more about Washington and her work at



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