Books We’re Reading & Meeting Dates

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

James H. Cone. The Cross and the Lynching Tree. 224 pages [2013]

The cross and the lynching tree are the two most emotionally charged symbols in the history of the African American community. In this powerful new work, theologian James H. Cone explores these symbols and their interconnection in the history and souls of black folk.  A theologian’s incisive assessment of lynching in America and a critique of the silence of Christian communities.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Bryan Stevenson. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. 368 pages [2014]

“A distinguished NYU law professor and MacArthur grant recipient offers the compelling story of the legal practice he founded to protect the rights of people on the margins of American society. . . . Emotionally profound, necessary reading.”Kirkus Reviews

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Jesmyn Ward. Sing Unburied Sing. 320 pages [2017]

Winner of the 2017 National Book Award,  a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, Andrew Carnegie Medal, Aspen Words Literary Prize, and a New York Times bestseller, this majestic, stirring, and widely praised novel from award winner Jesmyn Ward, is the story of a family on a journey through rural Mississippi, and a timeless work of fiction that is destined to become a classic.

Tuesday, January 15, 2018

Cynthia Bourgeault. The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity. 256 pages [2010]

Mary Magdalene is one of the most influential symbols in the history of Christianity—yet, if you look in the Bible, you’ll find only a handful of verses that speak of her. How did she become such a compelling saint in the face of such paltry evidence? In her effort to answer that question, Cynthia Bourgeault examines the Bible, church tradition, art, legend, and newly discovered texts to see what’s there.

Tuesday, February 19, 2018

James Baldwin. Notes of a Native Son. 192 pages [2012, originally published 1955]

Written during the 1940s and early 1950s, when Baldwin was only in his twenties, the essays collected in Notes of a Native Son capture a view of black life and black thought at the dawn of the civil rights movement.

Tuesday, March 19, 2018

Natasha Trethewey. Native Guard: Poems. 51 pages [2007]

Through elegiac verse that honors her mother and tells of her own fraught childhood, Natasha Trethewey confronts the racial legacy of her native Deep South — where one of the first black regiments, the Louisiana Native Guards, was called into service during the Civil War. Trethewey’s resonant and beguiling collection is a haunting conversation between personal experience and national history.  Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Tuesday, May 21, 2018

Yaa Gyasi. Homegoing. 320 pages [2017]

In eighteenth century Ghana, two half sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery.  Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. Yaa Gyasi’s extraordinary novel illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed—and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.