On September 20, 1992 at the
home of Priscilla J. Green, Esq. in Hartford, Connecticut, a
group of men and women gathered to discuss Terry McMillan’s
novel Waiting to Exhale. This gathering was a result of
Priscilla’s reading Waiting to Exhale and being inspired by the
social relevancy of the characters and plot – a most worthy and
entertaining cause for a discussion. A book club was born!
Priscilla, the book club’s founder, recognized
that this diverse group of passionate readers needed a formal name.
Thus, she launched a competition in 1997. Gwendolyn Williams’
suggestion of Soul Passages: A Book Club proved to be a
From the beginning, Soul Passages made a
conscious commitment to support African-American authors. This
mission led the book club on literary journeys of cultural
adventures and retreats throughout the world, including Martha’s
Vineyard, the Catskills, Block Island, the historic Lorraine Hotel
in Memphis (where Martin Luther King was assassinated), and the
Bahamas. Soul Passages’ yearly retreats, inspired by fiction and
reality, refuel our members as well as our literary mission.
The club has also incorporated community
service as a part of its mission. Soul Passages has donated books to
a village in Ghana, West Africa, to a Hartford prison ministry, and
to the CRT book buddy program. It has provided financial support to
the African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey; to the
Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, TN; to the Eastville Community
Historical Society of Sag Harbor; and to Tougaloo College and
families affected by Hurricane Katrina. Soul Passages: A Book Club
received the Community Service Award from the National Book Club
Conference in 2005.
Across our 20 year journey, some say that it’s
the scrumptious cuisine that energizes the lively Sunday afternoon
discussions – we have a book discussion, a dining and socialization
hour and a business meeting. Afterwards we vote on our next read.
The reality is that the integrity and goodwill our comrades bring to
the discussions, combined with the delectable meal, characterizes
the continued success of Soul Passages.
Our membership, spanning the entire state of
Connecticut and which has reached 35+ members, fluctuates over the
years; members come and go based on our time prerequisites fitting
their personal regimens. In addition to our fall retreat, Soul
Passages meets on the second Sunday during the months of January,
March, May and November.
Membership obligations are modest: annual
membership dues; a delicious potluck entrée on the meeting date; and
an honest commitment to the literary mission.
10 yrs – December 8, 2002
Crafter Gallery, Hartford, CT
15 yrs – November 15, 2008
African American Cultural Center, Yale University; New Haven, CT
Theme: Good Company, good food & a font for creative expression
20 Years - 2012: Sept 22nd, 23rd, 29th
Celebrated 20 Years of Reading with 3 Events
1. The first event was the Soul Passages Book Festival on Saturday,
September 22, 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM at the Wexler-Grant School in New
2. The second event was the Memorial Church Service on Sunday,
September 23 at 9:00 AM at Bethel AME Church, Bloomfield. The event
is only open to the members, former members, and our guests.
3. The last event was the Soul Passages Anniversary Gala on
Saturday, September 29, 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM at La Mirage in North