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.

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.

January 2022 read (4th Thursday Book Circle):

Our first book of the year is Perfect Black by Crystal Wilkinson. The site 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 read (4th Thursday Book Circle):

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:

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!  In August we switched 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.

"A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true."
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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