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In honor of Martin Luther King Jr weekend, The Evanston Public Library is hosting four book programs and a documentary, each with a different take on contemporary African American life. Unless otherwise noted, all programs take place at the Main Library, 1703 Orrington Ave. More information is available by calling 847-448-8620.

Jan. 15, 4 p.m. Amina Gautier reads from “AT-RISK”

Winner of the 2011 Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Award, Ms. Gautier explores the lives of young African Americans “at risk from themselves, their families, and their friends.” Her appearance is co-sponsored by the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

Jan. 17, 7 p.m. African American Literature Discussion: “Disintegration: the Splintering of Black America”

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson describes a fragmented African American population comprised of four distinct communities: 1) the “Transcendents” (celebrities so famous that race no longer touches them); 2) the “Mainstream” (as in the  Cosby show); 3) the “Abandoned” (underclass or urban poor); and 4) the “Emergents”, recent African and Caribbean immigrants and biracials.

Mr. Robinson observes that not only do these groups differ culturally, but that their political and social interests may conflict. Covering everything from affirmative action to black fraternity stylings, this is an intriguing read.

Jan. 25, 6: 30 p.m. “The Interrupters”

The acclaimed documentary about violence prevention on Chicago streets. Followed by a discussion with CeaseFire violence “interrupter” Ameena Matthews, (recently named one of the Chicago Tribune’s Chicagoans of the Year), Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and other community representatives. This program is co-sponsored by Reeltime and the Evanston Community Foundation.

Jan. 26, 7 p.m., North Branch Library, 2026 Central St. North Branch Book Group: “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration.” 

Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America.

Jan. 29, 1 p.m., The Loft., Teens Discuss: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Time of Color-Blindedness

In anticipation of author Dr. Michelle Alexander’s Feb. 1 visit to Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, The Loft hosts this discussion of her powerful book. Led by Seth Jenkins, president of the ETHS NAACP chapter, the discussion will focus on our nation’s destructive incarceration problem, its history and origins, racial aspects, and how to change it. (This discussion is open to teens and their parents or family members).