Saturday Eves Celebrate 40 Years

Sep 26, 2008 03:39:53 PM


Kalamazoo, MI –

The Saturday Eves Book Club will honor its 40th anniversary with a party to celebrate reading on Saturday, October 18, from 3:00-5:00 pm, at the Alma Powell Branch of Kalamazoo Public Library, at the Douglass Community Association, 1000 W Paterson St.

The event will feature Patricia Jabbeh Wesley and Nisi Shawl (née Denise Rickman). Wesley will read her poems and share her recent experiences teaching in Liberia. Shawl will read from Filter House, her collection of short stories released this past August. Both women will talk about their work in progress. Wesley and Shawl, and local authors including James J. Smith and Christina McGrinson, will display, sell and sign their works.

In keeping with their tradition, the group will also present books to children at the event. Some years ago, members decided to buy books for children rather than giving each other presents at the holidays. They now donate about 40 books twice a year to children from a selected school or academic enhancement program, CAPS (Community Advocates for Parents and Students). Children in this tutorial program at Interfaith Homes will receive this year's gift books.

Musical performances and refreshments will complement this literary celebration, which is open to the public. For further information about the Saturday Eves or the celebration, please contact their president, Regena Nelson, 387-3509.

About the Saturday Eves

Ten women started the group, the first African American book group in Kalamazoo, to take time out of their busy professional lives to read and discuss current books—most, but not all, by black authors and focused on the African American experience or women’s issues and concerns. Most months, two members each select, read, review, and share a book with the group. Twice a year, in the spring and fall, the whole group reads the same book.

Six of those original ten members are still active with the group: Susan Fraizer Davis, Betty Gardner, Marie Jackson, Shelia Myles, Phyllis Seabolt, and Dorothy Young. More than 70 women have enjoyed the group’s lively, animated discussions over the years. They’ve grown together, raised families, and supported each other through all stages of life—birth, death, marriage, divorce, career changes, retirement—relishing the bonds of sisterhood in their 40 years.

While Saturday Eves began with the love of books as their core, they’ve expanded their influence in the community, promoting, sponsoring and raising funds for a variety of civic programs. Each year, they choose a project to support—the Black Arts Festival, the Northside Association for Educational Advancement, Push for Learning, and Northside Little League teams have all benefitted from the Saturday Eve’s involvement.

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