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Monday, December 1, 2014

The SistahFriend Book Club: All about reading and community service

Ten years ago, Tasha Martin started a movement wrapped in a book club.
The SistahFriend Book Club is a women’s empowerment group that celebrates African-American voices in literature. Founded in November 2004 by Tasha Martin, the sisterhood began with four members in Columbia, South Carolina. Currently, a branch exists in its founding city and in Atlanta, Georgia. Members bond as sisters (affectionately called “sistahs”) and discuss literary works in intimate settings at least once a month. Our Sistahs also gather annually for an empowerment retreat to celebrate the SFBC’s anniversary in January, and commit to community outreach throughout the year. Our mission is three-fold:
  • women empowerment
  • increase the awareness of quality literature written by and about African-American identities
  • community outreach
Today, there are chapters of SFBC across the country; from Columbia to Atlanta and in cyberspace. Known for their support of black authors.
Sistahfriend Book Club members with author Rhonda McKnight

Founder Tasha Martin

Smiling SistahFriends! 
Tasha Martin joins me to talk about ten years of SistahFriend Book Club!

1.     What was the Inspiration to start the SishahFriend Book Club? 

I started the SFBC right after college. I'd lost touch with a few family and friends, and I was searching for a connection with like-minded women: those who enjoyed reading and believed in women empowerment. 

2.     Your club is regional and virtual, were you surprised that so many women wanted to join your movement? 

Yes! I mean, I knew we were doing a good thing -- it just felt good -- but the tremendous response we've experienced over the last ten years has been nothing short of amazing. I still get excited when talking to potential members, and I'm forever grateful for the connections.

3.     Reading isn’t all you ladies do, what are some other thing that the Sistahfriends do?

We are also active in the community. A few of my favorite past experiences include walking/running pink marathons, journal drives for sexual assault victims, cooking and serving dinner to children who reside in group homes, care packages for girls, couponing workshops for domestic violence victims. As a women's empowerment group, we also relax outside of our standard once a month meetings in social gatherings or mini-summer retreats.

4.     Who was the first author that your group hosted? 

Cheris, I am embarrassed to say I do not remember (I know, horrible, right?). The past ten years are really blended together in my head in this pretty cool mirage of smiling faces, good books, and good food. (Seriously, I'm beating myself up for this one.) I'll go on the record and say everyone (especially the repeaters :-) are and have been awesome.

5.     I see that SistahFriend Book Club has been nominated for several awards over the years, how does that make you feel about how the literary world sees you? 

It's a beautiful thing to see and feel. I am overwhelmed (in a good way) every time I experience one. The nominations help validate for us that we are helpful in our literary community. I'm eternally grateful for the love.

6.     How can someone join the SistahFriend Book Club? 

Potential members can email us on Facebook or at

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