Barack Obama Virtually Surprises MahoganyBooks & Very Smart Brothas Book Club
In celebration of independent bookstores during Black History Month, President Barack Obama virtually surprised members of MahoganyBooks & Very Smart Brothas Book Club. Participants had been told they were meeting with someone from President Obama’s Administration. Conversation topics ranged from President Obama’s unwavering sense of optimism, how to speak with children about reaching A PROMISED LAND and his advice for pushing away feelings of unpreparedness and uncertainty. To watch video of The Today Show segment about this news, click here.
The book club met on January 26 in advance of the store’s upcoming Black History Month celebrations. During the virtual meeting of the book club, members were surprised by a very special guest: President Obama. The group has not met formally since the pandemic started, making this their first official virtual meeting since the pandemic began.
The MahoganyBooks & Very Smart Brothas Book Club is a monthly book club that began in November 2018. It was co-founded by Derrick and Ramunda Young, owners of MahoganyBooks an independent Black-owned bookstore in Washington, DC & The Root’s writer, Panama Jackson. Community and authentic conversations are extremely important to the Youngs and Derrick wanted to collaborate with Jackson to host discussions around Black books and invite area residents to participate. The name of the book club is both the bookstore’s name and Jackson’s section of The Root for which he writes. Pre-pandemic, they would meet at MahoganyBooks (1231 Good Hope Road SE, Washington, DC) on the first Friday of each month and discuss the book they have read for the month in a very casual, entertaining, and often enlightening manner. Books they have read include Yuval Taylor’s Zora & Langston, Damon Young’s What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker, Heavy by Kiese Laymon, Zora Neale Hurston’s Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick, All About Love by Bell Hooks, More than Enough by Elaine Welteroth, and many more.