Leah’s Book Club held the 7th annual Irene Bennett Reid Memorial Tea on Sunday, March 19 at the Rawlings-Fulton Clubhouse at the Forest Park Golf Course. Fifteen women in the community were honored and Leslie Basil Payne was presented guest author.
Leah’s Book Club was organized in 1998 by Dr. Leah Goldsborough Hasty for like-minded readers to get together to discuss books, particularly those about or written by African American authors.
Beginning in 2000, each December the club began to host a holiday tea with invited friends and Irene Bennett Reid, an avid reader and charter member of Leah’s Book Club, delighted the membership and audiences with her review of the books.
In 2011, members of Leah’s Book Club thought it fitting to honor Irene’s memory with the Irene Bennett Reid Memorial Tea during Women’s History Month. Each year, the club members honor and recognize women who have made contributions to their communities and who embody the same spirit and concern for the welfare of others as Irene demonstrated throughout her career.
Book club member Lorna Brice opened with a welcome and meditation about the empowered woman; Ernestine Dunston gave the occasion with an overview of Leah’s Book Club; and the Hon. KurtL. Schmoke— president of the University of Baltimore, former Baltimore Mayor, and Irene’s son— gave an uplifting greeting.
Guest author Leslie Basil Payne was introduced by Dr. Louise B. Smith to discuss her book “The Legacy of Nobody Smith,” a novel based on the life of Dr. Smith’s husband, the Rev. James Smith. After the program, Payne spoke with guests and signed copies of her book.
Previous speakers and authors at this event, included Taylor Branch; Antero Pietila; Dr. G. Derek Musgrove; Larry Gibson; A. Dwight Pettit; and F. Michael Higginbotham.
The program was chaired by Dr. Brenda Conley and Claudette Swain.
The 2017 National Women’s History Month honorees are Deborah Bacote,Cherry Blackwell, Laura Phillips Byrd, Elizabeth Dyett, Dr. Jacqueline Frierson, Raquel Gilmer, Cardrienne Griffin, Lavertta Harden, Esq., Edelle Marcus, Christine Moore, Rev. Lillian Catherine Smith, Lenora Wilson, Sandra Wilson, and Karla Reid Young. Each honoree was highlighted in a power point presentation and escorted to the podium by their sponsor where they received a certificate and gift. Karla Reid Young gave a heartwarming response from the honorees.
The ladies of Leah’s Book Club are committed to highlighting women in the community and providing an audience for authors to discuss their books at the annual Irene Bennett Reid Memorial Tea.
Members are Lorna Brice, Lorraine Brown, Dr. Brenda Conley, Merita Donaldson, Ernestine Dunston, Juanita Edgerton, Leah Hasty, Dr. Brenda Bowe Johnson, Bennie Keene, Dorothy Marshall,
Marilyn Mc Donald, Casaundra Ross, Alice Shelton, Dr. Louise Smith, Margaret Smith, Claudette Swain and Beaulah Wallace.