What we're about

This is a book club for Black women interested in reading and discussing books written by Black women (including but not limited to American, Caribbean, African, and European authors). I started this group to bring together people who love to read and who want to build a community focused on discovering, discussing, and celebrating the literature of Black women writers from across the African diaspora. We read literary fiction and nonfiction. We will meet monthly for book discussions at various locations across the city.

Upcoming events (3)

Nikole Hannah-Jones: The 1619 Project (Chicago Humanities Festival Event)

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

In a landmark 2019 special issue of The New York Times Magazine, “The 1619 Project” led by journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, challenged our country’s mainstream origin story and founding ideals, to reveal instead a nation shaped by the legacy of American slavery. Out of this project—which garnered Hannah-Jones a Pulitzer Prize—came the 1619 podcast, school curricula, and a renewed national conversation about race. Now comes a book by the same name: a retelling of U.S. history that foregrounds slavery and the contributions of Black Americans, featuring expanded essays by Hannah-Jones and prominent Black intellectuals, activists, and poets. Join Hannah-Jones at CHF for a conversation about how past and present racial inequity affects current practices of democracy, justice, education, and inheritance in our country.

Purchase tickets here: https://www.chicagohumanities.org/events/nikole-hannah-jones-1619/

Nikole Hannah-Jones is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter covering racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine and creator of the landmark 1619 Project. In 2017, she received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, known as the Genius Grant, for her work on educational inequality. She has also won a Peabody Award, two George Polk Awards, three National Magazine Awards, and the 2018 John Chancellor distinguished journalism award from Columbia University. In 2016, Nikole co-founded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, a training and mentorship organization geared towards increasing the numbers of investigative reporters of color.

#61: Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rakine

Online event

A provocative meditation on race, Claudia Rankine's long-awaited follow up to her groundbreaking book Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric.

Claudia Rankine's bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV-everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person's ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named "post-race" society.

#62: The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

The 2020 National Book Award–nominated poet makes her fiction debut with this magisterial epic—an intimate yet sweeping novel with all the luminescence and force of Homegoing; Sing, Unburied, Sing; and The Water Dancer—that chronicles the journey of one American family, from the centuries of the colonial slave trade through the Civil War to our own tumultuous era.

The great scholar, W. E. B. Du Bois, once wrote about the Problem of race in America, and what he called “Double Consciousness,” a sensitivity that every African American possesses in order to survive. Since childhood, Ailey Pearl Garfield has understood Du Bois’s words all too well. Bearing the names of two formidable Black Americans—the revered choreographer Alvin Ailey and her great grandmother Pearl, the descendant of enslaved Georgians and tenant farmers—Ailey carries Du Bois’s Problem on her shoulders.

Ailey is reared in the north in the City but spends summers in the small Georgia town of Chicasetta, where her mother’s family has lived since their ancestors arrived from Africa in bondage. From an early age, Ailey fights a battle for belonging that’s made all the more difficult by a hovering trauma, as well as the whispers of women—her mother, Belle, her sister, Lydia, and a maternal line reaching back two centuries—that urge Ailey to succeed in their stead.

To come to terms with her own identity, Ailey embarks on a journey through her family’s past, uncovering the shocking tales of generations of ancestors—Indigenous, Black, and white—in the deep South. In doing so Ailey must learn to embrace her full heritage, a legacy of oppression and resistance, bondage and independence, cruelty and resilience that is the story—and the song—of America itself.

Past events (101)

#60: The Overground Railroad by Candacy Taylor

Online event

Photos (161)