Book Circles: 2nd Thursday & 4th Thursday Book Circles 

2nd THURSDAY BOOK CIRCLE - Education For Action

Book for 2022:

We will be taking a deep dive into a thought provoking book, a chapter or two at a time, throughout the year.   We will be announcing the book soon.  Join us whenever you can make it on the 2nd 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.

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 - 8:00 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.

August 2022 (4th Thursday)

For August 2022 we will discuss The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, created by Nikole Hannah-Jones. Here is a summary of the book, courtesy of the site Goodreads:

"The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story offers a revealing vision of the American past and present.

In late August 1619, a ship arrived in the British colony of Virginia bearing a cargo of twenty to thirty enslaved people from Africa. Their arrival led to the barbaric and unprecedented system of American chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years. This is sometimes referred to as the country’s original sin, but it is more than that: It is the source of so much that still defines the United States.

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story builds on The New York Times Magazine’s award-winning “1619 Project,” which reframed our understanding of American history by placing slavery and its continuing legacy at the center of our national narrative. This book substantially expands on the original "1619 Project, "weaving together eighteen essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America with thirty-six poems and works of fiction that illuminate key moments of oppression, struggle, and resistance. The essays show how the inheritance of 1619 reaches into every part of contemporary American society, from politics, music, diet, traffic, and citizenship to capitalism, religion, and our democracy itself. This legacy can be seen in the way we tell stories, the way we teach our children, and the way we remember. Together, the elements of the book reveal a new origin story for the United States, one that helps explain not only the persistence of anti-Black racism and inequality in American life today, but also the roots of what makes the country unique. 

The book also features an elaboration of the original project’s Pulitzer Prize–winning lead essay by Nikole Hannah-Jones on how the struggles of Black Americans have expanded democracy for all Americans, as well as two original pieces from Hannah-Jones, one of which makes a case for reparative solutions to this legacy of injustice."

Here is a 5-minute video in which Nikole Hannah-Jones discusses what led her to create this book:

September 2022 (4th Thursday)

In September 2022 we will discuss Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. Here is a summary of the book, courtesy of the site Goodreads:

"Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove grew up in the Bible Belt in the American South as a faithful church-going Christian. But he gradually came to realize that the gospel his Christianity proclaimed was not good news for everybody. The same Christianity that sang, "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound" also perpetuated racial injustice and white supremacy in the name of Jesus. His Christianity, he discovered, was the religion of the slaveholder.

Just as Reconstruction after the Civil War worked to repair a desperately broken society, our compromised Christianity requires a spiritual reconstruction that undoes the injustices of the past. Wilson-Hartgrove traces his journey from the religion of the slaveholder to the Christianity of Christ. Reconstructing the gospel requires facing the pain of the past and present, from racial blindness to systemic abuses of power. Grappling seriously with troubling history and theology, Wilson-Hartgrove recovers the subversiveness of the gospel that sustained the church through centuries of slavery and oppression, from the civil rights era to the Black Lives Matter movement and beyond.

When the gospel is reconstructed, freedom rings for both individuals and society as a whole. Discover how Jesus continues to save us from ourselves and each other, to repair the breach and heal our land."

October 2022 (4th Thursday)

For our final gathering of 2022 we will discuss Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.  Here is a summary of the book, courtesy of the site Goodreads:

"We live, according to Eddie S. Glaude Jr., in a moment when the struggles of Black Lives Matter and the attempt to achieve a new America have been challenged by the election of Donald Trump, a president whose victory represents yet another failure of America to face the lies it tells itself about race. From Charlottesville to the policies of child separation at the border, his administration turned its back on the promise of Obama's presidency and refused to embrace a vision of the country shorn of the insidious belief that white people matter more than others.

We have been here before: For James Baldwin, these after times came in the wake of the civil rights movement, when a similar attempt to compel a national confrontation with the truth was answered with the murders of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. In these years, spanning from the publication of The Fire Next Time in 1963 to that of No Name in the Street in 1972, Baldwin transformed into a more overtly political writer, a change that came at great professional and personal cost. But from that journey, Baldwin emerged with a sense of renewed purpose about the necessity of pushing forward in the face of disillusionment and despair.

In the story of Baldwin's crucible, Glaude suggests, we can find hope and guidance through our own after times, this Trumpian era of shattered promises and white retrenchment. Mixing biography--drawn partially from newly uncovered interviews--with history, memoir, and trenchant analysis of our current moment, Begin Again is Glaude's endeavor, following Baldwin, to bear witness to the difficult truth of race in America today. It is at once a searing exploration that lays bare the tangled web of race, trauma, and memory, and a powerful interrogation of what we all must ask of ourselves in order to call forth a new America."

Here is a short video of the author speaking to the importance of James Baldwin's work to understanding racism in our time.
"No matter how big a nation is, it is no stronger than its weakest people, and as long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you might otherwise."
- Marian Anderson
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