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National Reading Circle

The DREF National Reading Circle in the Center for Research on African American Women (The Center) is designed to engage women throughout America in reading classic works and scholarly literature by and about women of color. Members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and other women representing diverse backgrounds and professional roles are invited to form a reading circle in their community and read books recommended by the Sister Scholars Advisory Council.

The inaugural reading selection was IDA: A Sword Among Lions by Paula J. Giddings (2009–10); followed by The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander (2010–11). The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson (2011–12) is the current reading selection. Members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and other women representing diverse backgrounds and professional roles are invited to form a reading circle in their community.

The National Reading Circle was recently revived and engaged in virtual events to discuss Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson in 2021 and celebrated Womens' History month with a Literary Jam fundraising event highlighting Just As I Am, by Cicely Tyson in March 2022.

In addition the Sister Scholars presented the 2021 Summer Reading Titles.  The 2021 Summer Reading List included: 

  • How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith
  • A Promised Land by Barack Obama
  • Cicely Tyson: Just As I Am—A Memoir
  • We’re Better Than This: My Fight for the Future of Democracy by the late Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD)
  • Four Hundred Souls edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain
  • Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
  • Coming Full Circle: From Jim Crow to Journalism by Wanda S. Lloyd
  • Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that A Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall
  • 100 Years of Excellence in Action: Washington (DC) Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. by Majorie Kinard and Vinette Saunders
  • No One is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts
  • Summer on the Bluffs by Sunny Hostin
  • Leave Love Alone by Viola Maxwell-Thompson
  • Make Me Rain (poems & prose) by Nikki Giovanni
  • Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick by Zora Neale Hurston
  • The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray
  • His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie
  • Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge
  • How the One Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones
For the Young Readers

 Released in 2021- The Awakening of Malcolm X: A Novel by his daughter Ilyasah Shabazz 

The 2022 Summer Reading Titles will be released in June 2022.  Check back to obtain the suggestions.


The Center is committed to promoting educational endeavors and activism by women of color to advance their communities. There are three major objectives of The Center’s National Reading Circle:

  • To educate readers about the important contributions made by African American women
  • To support the African American women authors who have written classic work and/or scholarly literature
  • To motivate the readers to engage in activism that will create possibilities and improve lives for women and their families

For more information contact Deborah Peaks Coleman, Director of Programs



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