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Onyx Book Club celebrates 25 years of avid reading

CONYERS, Ga. - The ONYX Book Club was founded by Sandra Mingo in October of 1994. 

Our book club began with less than 5 members; and through word-of-mouth, our membership has grown to more than 60 avid readers ranging in age from 30 to over 75 years old.  

For the past 25 years, we have been reading, exchanging views and encouraging members and our families, friends and co-workers to read more than 180 non-fiction and fiction books written by people of color.  

We meet every other month at the home of a member, who along with co-hostesses, is responsible for selecting the book, researching and securing the author (if available), leading the discussion and preparing a delicious meal.

During this 25 year journey, we have invited several authors to lead our book discussions, share their experiences and give us a preview of their upcoming book or project.

As we have read over 180 books, our selections include literary works by Dr. Anthony T. Browder, Pearl Cleage, RM Johnson, Maya Angelo, Stacey Abrams, Forever First Lady Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama, Walter Mosley, Gail McFarland, Edwidge Danticat, E. Lynn Harris, Akusua Busia, Angie Thomas, Daniel Black, Hank Stewart, Velma Maia Thomas, J. California Cooper, Terry McMillan, Tina McElroy Ansa, Valerie Wilson Wesley, Dr. Joe Lester, Brian Thompson, Sapphire, Mari K. Bell, Sister Souljah, Darlene Nazaire, Marlo Ettien, Valinda Johnson Brown and Ralph Ellison - to name a few.

Through books, we learn about history, people, places, society and situations - the good, the bad and the ugly.  We gain an understanding of the human psyche; and we often see ourselves, family members, friends, and others within the characters we read about.  Sometimes we are enlightened and sometimes we are simply horrified, mystified, and perplexed.  

The books challenge our thinking, help us understand the plight of individuals, families, communities and various ethnic groups across the globe. 

In our discussions, we often delve into complex and controversial subjects like:  black male suicide, workplace discrimination, mental illness, domestic violence, murder, self-esteem, alcoholism, political oppression, sexism, child abuse, aging parents, drug abuse, entrepreneurship, relationships, etc. 

 Because we are often moved by situations and the needs of our communities, we are inspired to act, to volunteer and to provide financial support for worthy causes.  We are constantly inspired to improve ourselves and our relationships with others. 

Over time we have become so much more than a book club. Our love for books may have brought us together, but we have become life-long friends who share in the joys of life and support one another during difficult times.

For the next phase of our journey, we plan to continue reading to school-age children and begin to encourage and help men to start their own book clubs.  

Some of our members and guests have formed their own book clubs: Marvelous Muses, Twisted Sisters, and the Atlanta Buckhead Book Club. 

We are encouraging others to form book clubs in Miami, Chicago, Tallahassee, Jacksonville and Orlando.