Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Black History books every month

I expect many of you will be attending the April 4th reading of The Piano Lesson, here at Evanston Public Library, part of Goodman Theater's August Wilson Celebration. One of the wonderful aspects of this series, and of reading the plays together last year at the Library was that it brought together such a diverse group of people to read and discuss African American literature.

Luckily, you have a variety of opportunities to read and talk about African American themed books here at EPL! In addition to our own AAL group, the GLBT, graphic novel, and history book groups will all be discussing black themed works over the next few months...

(Copies are available  at the Readers Advisory desk on the 2nd floor a month before the discussion; to register or reserve a copy call 847-448-8620 or register online.)

GLBT Book Discussion: Sister Outsider

Ttitleuesday, April 14, 7 pm, Small Meeting Room, Main Library
Greg Salustro , former Evanston Arts Commissioner, and chair of “Reeling 32”, Chicago’s LGBTQ annual film festival leads a monthly discussion of books and plays by or about members of the gay/lesbian/bi/transgender community. The sixth title is Audre Lord's, Sister Outsider, a collection of fifteen essays written between 1976 and 1984  which explore and illuminate the roots of Lorde's intellectual development and her deep-seated and longstanding concerns about  the concept of difference—difference according to sex, race, and economic status. These  the essays stress Lorde's oft-stated theme of continuity, particularly of the geographical and intellectual link between Dahomey, Africa, and her emerging self.

 History Book Discussion: Forever Free

Wednesday, April 15, Small Meeting Room, Main Library
The South surrendered precisely 150 years and six days prior to when we’ll meet to discuss the emancipation of the slaves and the complex legacy of what followed in Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction, by Eric Foner.  Foner, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, is generally considered to be the leading historian of Reconstruction.


League of Graphic Novel Readers: 21

Friday, April 17, 7pm, Comix Revolution, 606 Davis Street (map)

21: The Story of Roberto Clemente is a biography of the first Puerto Rican baseball star, from his impoverished childhood to his athletic accomplishment and his humanitarian work. Copies of 21 will be held at the Reader's Services desk on the 2nd floor and will be available for purchase at Comix Revolution.  

 History Book Discussion: Devil in the Grove

Wednesday, June 17, Small Meeting Room, Main Library
Before Thurgood Marshall would argue Brown v. Board of Ed in front of the Supreme Court that he would go on to join, he led the legal defense of four young black men falsely accused of rape. Gilbert King's Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America, a gripping account of that case, was awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction.

 History Book Discussion: Family Properties


Wednesday, July 15, Small Meeting Room, Main Library
Chicago became the most segregated city in the north as a result of a complex system of legal discrimination and financial exploitation.  In Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America, historian Beryl Satter tells the story of this system and those who fought it, including her father, in this fascinating mixture of urban history and family memoir.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

If Lincoln Had Lived...

Greetings! Next week we'll be taking on the somewhat weighty appearing, (but actually fairly lightweight) Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, (plenty of copies still available at the 2nd floor desk).

It's a twisty alternate history mystery based on the premise that Lincoln, having survived the assassination attempt of 1865, is impeached for threatening to overthrow Congress. His best chance for political survival rests with Abigail Canner, a sharply intelligent free black woman and lawyer hopeful, who guides the president's legal team (against their will ) into unraveling a nest of conspiracies and murders involving the cream of Washington society.

Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln is a potboiler, but it is based on some historical truths: Lincoln was accused of illegally overriding Congressional authority and of violating constitutional principles such as habeas corpus and press freedom. Also, as the novel makes clear, many of his primary accusers were the so-called "radical" Republicans: led by Thaddeus Stevens and Charles Sumner, who stood for true equality for African Americans and who felt Lincoln was failing in his responsibilities towards the freed slaves by not protecting them from white Southerners. Abigail and the other black characters are torn: do they support "Father Abraham" who ended slavery, or his opponents who were more actively pushing for black civil rights?

George Muschamp as Thaddeus Stevens and Erin Wilks as his biracial housekeeper companion Lydia Smith, as portrayed in Thaddeus Stevens:The Play

Author Stephen Carter has some great discussion questions on his website. I look forward to discussing all this and more with you next Tuesday March 17th, at 7:00 pm, in the Small Meeting room of the Evanston Public Library. Call 847-448-8620 to reserve a copy, or just come up to the 2nd floor.