Book Circles: 1st Thursday & 4th Thursday Book Circles 

4th Thursday Book Circle: "Reading for Change"

TEMPORARILY MEETING ON ZOOM. Email to register or get more information.

The 4th Thursday circle is for book lovers looking for the perfect way to share thoughts and ideas on race, using today’s writers and old favorites. From Michelle Obama’s Becoming, to Ben Campbell's Richmond's Unhealed History, this group covers novels from the bestseller list to classic civil rights literature, to books written by up and coming authors.  Enjoy fellowship and phenomenal reads most 4th Thursdays of the month.  6:30 - 8:30 pm. We do not meet in November and December.
Co-Conveners: Cheryl Goode, Karen Franklin, Brett Hoag, Doug Steele, and Marsha Summers

Want the latest information about Book Circle events?  Contact us at or join our mailing list. 

To see a list of books our circle has discussed, please click here.

July read (4th Thursday Book Circle):

Our July book is Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson. Originally from Philadelphia, she currently lives near Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and three children. The site has the following description of this book:

"In the tradition of Wench and Twelve Years a Slave, this harrowing story follows an enslaved woman forced to barter love and freedom while living in the most infamous slave jail in Virginia.

Born on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia, Pheby Brown was promised her freedom on her eighteenth birthday. But when her birthday finally comes around, instead of the idyllic life she was hoping for with her true love, she finds herself thrust into the bowels of slavery at the infamous Devil’s Half-Acre, a jail where slaves are broken, tortured, and sold every day. Forced to become the mistress of the brutal man who owns the jail, Pheby faces the ultimate sacrifice to protect her heart in this powerful, thrilling story of one slave’s fight for freedom."

August read (4th Thursday Book Circle):

For August we will discuss Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change by Stacey Abrams. As presented on the Goodreads site:

"Leadership is hard. Convincing others—and yourself—that you are capable of taking charge and achieving more requires insight and courage. Lead from the Outside is the handbook for outsiders, written with an eye toward the challenges that hinder women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, and millennials ready to make change. Stacey uses her hard-won insights to break down how ambition, fear, money, and failure function in leadership, and she includes practical exercises to help you realize your own ambition and hone your skills. Lead from the Outside discusses candidly what Stacey has learned over the course of her impressive career in politics, business and the nonprofit world: that differences in race, gender, and class provide vital strength, which we can employ to rise to the top and create real and lasting change."

Here is a 4 minute video of Stacy Abrams discussing this book on "The View":


September read (4th Thursday Book Circle)

For September we will discuss The Brownsville Texas Incident of 1906: The True and Tragic Story of a Black Battalion's Wrongful Disgrace and Ultimate Redemption by William Baker. As presented on the Goodreads site:

"Lieutenant Colonel (ret) William Baker’s The Brownsville Texas Incident of 1906 is a thought provoking and educational work about the injustice done to 167 black soldiers in 1906, and one man’s fight to bring them some modicum of justice.

In 1906, a battalion of the 25th infantry regiment, an all black unit (except for the officers), was posted to Fort Brown, in Brownsville, Texas. The unit had a proud history, and had seen combat and fought heroically in the Philippines and in Cuba, but Texas wanted no part of them. The men were subjected to discrimination almost immediately. Then, on a dark night, several raiders shot up the town and everyone swore the black soldiers committed the act. Six investigations in total were conducted, but they were all racially biased, and President Teddy Roosevelt drummed out all 167 black soldiers with dishonorable discharges. The men had no trial, no chance to face their accusers, and all the evidence that could exonerate them was dismissed.

Seventy years later, LtCol Baker, working in the Army’s Equal Opportunity Office, had a chance to do something about it. Despite opposition and an attitude by some to “let sleeping dogs lie,” Baker worked tirelessly to clear the soldiers’ names and get some sort of compensation to those still living and their widows.

This is a great story of moral courage and eventual justice. Those interested in the history of race relations in the military and social justice in general will find this compelling."

October read (4th Thursday Book Circle):

Our October book is One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson. The site has the following description of this book:

"From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of White Rage, the startling—and timely—history of voter suppression in America, with a foreword by Senator Dick Durbin.

In her New York Times bestseller White Rage, Carol Anderson laid bare an insidious history of policies that have systematically impeded black progress in America, from 1865 to our combustible present. With One Person, No Vote, she chronicles a related history: the rollbacks to African American participation in the vote since the 2013 Supreme Court decision that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Known as the Shelby ruling, this decision effectively allowed districts with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination to change voting requirements without approval from the Department of Justice."

Focusing on the aftermath of Shelby, Anderson follows the astonishing story of government-dictated racial discrimination unfolding before our very eyes as more and more states adopt voter suppression laws. In gripping, enlightening detail she explains how voter suppression works, from photo ID requirements to gerrymandering to poll closures. And with vivid characters, she explores the resistance: the organizing, activism, and court battles to restore the basic right to vote to all Americans as the nation gears up for the 2018 midterm elections.

1st THURSDAY BOOK CIRCLE - Education For Action

Book for 2021:

We're taking a deep dive into this pioneering and thought provoking work, a chapter or two at a time, throughout the year.  Join us whenever you can make it on the 1st Thursday of the month! And in August we will switch to meeting on the 1st Thursday of each month.  Contact Darren Utley to be added to the "Education For Action" Book Circle.

This book was the first full-length study of the role Black Americans played in the crucial period after the Civil War, when the slaves had been freed and the attempt was made to reconstruct American society.  Hailed when it was first published in 1935, it has justly become a classic. We will also talk about why the time period we're in has been called the "Third Reconstruction". 

The co-conveners of this Book Circle are Darren Utley and Cheryl Goode.

"We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond."
- Gwendolyn Brooks
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