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MUNSTER — An historic Gary book club celebrated its 101st anniversary Saturday in Munster.

Booklovers Club was founded in 1921.  The Times of Northwest Indiana reports that it was a book club for Black women who were not allowed to join other, segregated book clubs.

The group has always comprised of a maximum of 14 women.  Its oldest member, Felicia Rhetta Childress, is 105 years old.

The Saturday celebration featured special guests, including pianist Billy Foster, and former Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson.  The Club’s centennial celebration had to be postponed because of the COVID pandemic.

Booklovers Club is unique in other ways, as well.  For example, it has only one member or guest review a book each month.  In other words, the women do not all read the same books at the same time.

One of the members said this process allows the women to read at their own pace.

Club President Constance Winfrey said, “[A book club] has a way of embracing other people.”  Treasurer Shirley Thomas noted that the group was founded just one year after women were given the right to vote.  She said it became “a vehicle in which [women] could learn together.”