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

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 at 6:30 - 8:00 pm ET on Zoom!  Contact Darren Utley to be added to the mailing list for 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 enslaved Africans had been legally freed and the attempt was made to reconstruct American society.  Hailed when it was first published in 1935, this book 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.

4th THURSDAY BOOK CIRCLE - Reading For Change

The 4th Thursday Reading For Change Book 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 on Zoom. 6:30 - 8:30 pm ET.

We do not meet in November and December.

Co-Conveners: Cheryl Goode, Karen Franklin, Brett Hoag, Doug Steele, and Marsha Summers

If you'd like the latest information about Book Circle events contact us for more information or to be added to our mailing list.

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

October 2021 (4th Thursday)

Our October book is One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson. The site Goodreads.com 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.

January 2022 (4th Thursday)

Our first book of the year is Perfect Black by Crystal Wilkinson. The site Goodreads.com has the following description of this book:

"Crystal Wilkinson combines a deep love for her rural roots with a passion for language and storytelling in this compelling collection of poetry and prose about girlhood, racism, and political awakening, imbued with vivid imagery of growing up in Southern Appalachia. In Perfect Black, the acclaimed writer muses on such topics as motherhood, the politics of her Black body, lost fathers, mental illness, sexual abuse, and religion. It is a captivating conversation about life, love, loss, and pain, interwoven with striking illustrations by her long-time partner, Ronald W. Davis."

February 2022 (4th Thursday)

For February 2022 we will discuss Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner's Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause byTy Seidule

In a forceful but humane narrative, former soldier and head of the West Point history department Ty Seidule's Robert E. Lee and Me challenges the myths and lies of the Confederate legacy—and explores why some of this country’s oldest wounds have never healed.

Ty Seidule grew up revering Robert E. Lee. From his southern childhood to his service in the U.S. Army, every part of his life reinforced the Lost Cause myth: that Lee was the greatest man who ever lived, and that the Confederates were underdogs who lost the Civil War with honor. Now, as a retired brigadier general and Professor Emeritus of History at West Point, his view has radically changed. From a soldier, a scholar, and a southerner, Ty Seidule believes that American history demands a reckoning.

In a unique blend of history and reflection, Seidule deconstructs the truth about the Confederacy—that its undisputed primary goal was the subjugation and enslavement of Black Americans—and directly challenges the idea of honoring those who labored to preserve that system and committed treason in their failed attempt to achieve it. Through the arc of Seidule’s own life, as well as the culture that formed him, he seeks a path to understanding why the facts of the Civil War have remained buried beneath layers of myth and even outright lies—and how they embody a cultural gulf that separates millions of Americans to this day.

Part history lecture, part meditation on the Civil War and its fallout, and part memoir, Robert E. Lee and Me challenges the deeply-held legends and myths of the Confederacy—and provides a surprising interpretation of essential truths that our country still has a difficult time articulating and accepting."

Here is a brief video introduction to the author's viewpoint:
"If you have come to help me you are wasting your time. But if you recognize that your liberation and mine are bound up together, we can walk together."
- Lila Watson
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