QPL Honors The Legacy Of Martin Luther King Jr. With Author Talks, Book Recommendations And Theatrical Performances

A Virtual Conversation with Dr. Melba Pattillo Beals, One of the “Little Rock Nine,” Headlines the Library’s Commemoration

Queens, NY_ Throughout the month of January, Queens Public Library will be honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – whose birthday is January 15 – by deepening the public’s understanding of his life and words through book recommendations, and events, both virtual and in-person, including author talks, musical and theatrical performances, storytimes, crafts and movie screenings.

The Library kicked off the celebration last week with the launch of a film festival at Forest Hills Library (108-19 71st Ave.) honoring the civil rights leader’s legacy with movie screenings each Friday at 2PM, including Ava DuVernay’s “Selma”on Jan. 13 as well as Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” on Jan. 20 and “BlacKkKlansman” on Jan. 27.

On Thursday, Jan. 19, at 7PM, the Library’s Culture Connection series will host a virtual Evening of Conversation with renowned performer Toshi Reagon and author/journalist Brian Alessandro. Reagon is a multi-talented and versatile singer, composer, musician, curator, and producer, with a profound ear for “sonic Americana,” including folk, blues, funk, and rock. Her expansive career includes residencies at Carnegie Hall, the Paris Opera House, and multiple national and international festivals and venues. The program will stream live on the QPL Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Other highlights include a virtual talk with Dr. Melba Pattillo Beals, one of the “Little Rock Nine” and author of “Warriors Don’t Cry,” on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 2PM. In 1957, Dr. Beals, who was 16 at the time, was among the first group of African-American students who enrolled at the previously all-white Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Three years earlier, the Supreme Court had ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that school segregation was unconstitutional. But Little Rock, like many other areas across the country, refused to acknowledge that decision and the teens were initially blocked from entering the school. President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent 1,200 soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division to protect the nine students as they walked past angry, segregationist crowds to the school in an effort to desegregate it. Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, Executive Director of the NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, will moderate. To attend the event, go here (meeting ID: 853 0830 7213; passcode: 852268). 

Customers at five QPL locations will also get to see “The Gates Of Equality, a dramatic one-man performance about the life of the civil rights leader using his speeches, remarks from press conferences, and fictional narrative. Presented by the award-winning Off-Broadway theater, Urban Stages, the performances will take place at Flushing Library (41-17 Main St.) on Saturday, January 21 at 3:30PM; Hollis Library (202-05 Hillside Ave.) Tuesday, January 24 at 4PM; Ozone Park Library (92-24 Rockaway Blvd.) Wednesday, January 25 at 4PM; Forest Hills Library (108-19 71 Ave.) Thursday, January 26 at 6PM; and Cambria Heights Library (218-13 Linden Blvd.) Saturday, January 28 at 2PM. 

The Library will also offer numerous storytimes and crafts inspired by Dr. King at locations across Queens, including at South Ozone Park Library (128-16 Rockaway Blvd.), where on Thursday, January 19 at 3PM children and teens are invited to work on a “We Have a Dream” felt quilt representing the dream of world peace. 

A full list of the Library’s other programs and book recommendations for children, teens and adults commemorating Dr. King are available here


Contact: Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska,, 917 702 0016