Founded in 1988, incorporated in 1990, The Bibliophiles, Inc.: An African American Reading Group was born out of a mutual interest in reading, sharing, promoting, and preserving the literature of the African Diaspora.
Toni Morrison’s award winning Beloved was the catalyst that drew together the founding members; two commuting colleagues who yearned to share the pent-up emotions the book evoked. The two quickly became ten, rapidly morphing into 20 as friends were invited to join the newly organized group.
Today, The Bibliophiles, Inc. are 19 women strong who include among their varied activities literary field trips, book signings, Kwanzaa celebrations, scholarship fundraisers, and the Newark Museum’s Special Exhibition Docent Program.
Our book club has been recognized in articles published in Essence, American Visions, and Emerge magazines, and The Sunday New York Times, The Star Ledger, and local newspapers. The Bibliophiles, Inc. has also been presented on New Jersey Network’s Another View, and hailed by The National Book Club Conference, Inc.
Almost 25 years later, The Bibliophiles, Inc. remains the oldest, continuously operating, incorporated Black Book Club in America.
September finds us identifying the next year’s theme that guides our selection of six books for the following year. Our regular meetings are held every other month in each other’s homes. Every odd year we convene for an off-site retreat week-end where we elect our officers, and rededicate ourselves to our mission. Members enthusiastically gather at our November meeting with book recommendations in tow; selections go to the highest vote.
BOOKS WE’D RECOMMEND FROM RECENT SELECTIONS:
Revered for our diverse range of selections across a variety of genres, including fiction, non-fiction, memoir and choreo-poetry, recommendations include:
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Standing at the Scratch Line by Guy Johnson; The Man Who Cried I Am by John A. Williams; The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin; and The Wild Seed by Octavia Butler.
BEST FOR DISCUSSION:
Standing at The Scratch Line by Guy Johnson – a sweeping tale of family, honor, loyalty, and a Black man’s unwillingness to bend;
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson – an epic account of America’s untold story of the migration of 6 million Blacks from the South to the North and West in search of freedom and dignity;
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston – a seminal feminist work depicting a woman’s journey to self.