events at red emma's
Thursday May 23, 7:00PM
Wednesday May 29, 7:00PM
A masterful narrative—with echoes of Evicted and The Color of Law—that brings to life the structures, policies, and beliefs that divide us.
Mark Lange and Nicole Smith have never met, but if they make the moves they are contemplating—Mark, a white suburbanite, to West Baltimore, and Nicole, a black woman from a poor city neighborhood, to a prosperous suburb—it will defy the way the Baltimore region has been programmed for a century. It is one region, but separate worlds. And it was designed to be that way.
In this deeply reported, revelatory story, duPont Award–winning journalist Lawrence Lanahan chronicles how the region became so highly segregated and why its fault lines persist today. Mark and Nicole personify the enormous disparities in access to safe housing, educational opportunities, and decent jobs. As they eventually pack up their lives and change places, bold advocates and activists—in the courts and in the streets—struggle to figure out what it will take to save our cities and communities: Put money into poor, segregated neighborhoods? Make it possible for families to move into areas with more opportunity?
The Lines Between Us is a riveting narrative that compels reflection on America’s entrenched inequality—and on where the rubber meets the road not in the abstract, but in our own backyards. Taking readers from church sermons to community meetings to public hearings to protests to the Supreme Court to the death of Freddie Gray, Lanahan deftly exposes the intricacy of Baltimore’s hypersegregation through the stories of ordinary people living it, shaping it, and fighting it, day in and day out.
This eye-opening account of how a city creates its black and white places, its rich and poor spaces, reveals that these problems are not intractable; but they are designed to endure until each of us—despite living in separate worlds—understands we have something at stake.
Thursday May 30, 6:00PM
Thursday June 13, 7:00PM
Thursday June 20, 7:00PM
Eric Blanc presents his brand new book on the wave of teacher-led agitation against austerity and for education for all, with special guest Natalia Bacchus of the Baltimore Movement of Rank and File Educators (BMORE). Co-sponsored by BMORE and Baltimore DSA.
Wednesday June 26, 7:00PM
Five years ago, in June of 2014, 10 months before the Uprising, D. Watkins was still on the come up, a freelance essay writer grinding towards success. His viral essay "Too Poor for Pop Culture" had dropped earlier in 2014, putting him on the map for a local and national audience for the first time. Red Emma's had the honor to partner with D. on his first print publication, a zine version of this essay and a few others. At the time, we wrote that "D. Watkins' essays for Salon and elsewhere, chronicling the struggles and hustles of Black Baltimore and his own trajectory from street dealer to creative writer, are no doubt the first shots fired by a major literary talent in the making." Turns out this was a fair assessment. With his third book in five years out, writing in the New York Times, and a high-profile gig as a regular Salon columnist and videomaker, D. is a voice to be reckoned with, and one who has studiously made a point of using his success to lift up new rising voices from Baltimore's streets. To mark the fifth anniversary of his first print publication, D.'s coming to Red Emma's for a conversation with the essential Lisa Snowden-McCray of the Baltimore Beat for a conversation about what's changed, what remains to change, and how his new book We Speak for Ourselves fits into this picture.
Thursday June 27, 7:00PM
In "Department Stores and the Black Freedom Movement: Workers, Consumers, and Civil Rights from the 1930s to the 1980s," Traci Parker examines the movement to racially integrate white-collar work and consumption in American department stores, and broadens our understanding of historical transformations in African American class and labor formation. Built on the goals, organization, and momentum of earlier struggles for justice, the department store movement channeled the power of store workers and consumers to promote black freedom in the mid-twentieth century. Sponsoring lunch counter sit-ins and protests in the 1950s and 1960s, and challenging discrimination in the courts in the 1970s, this movement ended in the early 1980s with the conclusion of the Sears, Roebuck, and Co. affirmative action cases and the transformation and consolidation of American department stores. In documenting the experiences of African American workers and consumers during this era—including in Baltimore City—Parker highlights the department store as a key site for the inception of a modern black middle class, and demonstrates the ways that both work and consumption were battlegrounds for civil rights.
Saturday June 29, 7:00PM
In 1911, leading English suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst visited America. Unlike other suffragette leaders, who spent their time in America among the social elite, Pankhurst wasted no time getting right to the heart of America’s social problems. She visited striking laundry workers in New York and female prisoners in Philadelphia and Chicago, and she grappled firsthand with shocking racism in Nashville.
This book gathers Pankhurst’s writings from the year-long visit, in which she reveals her shock at the darkness hidden in American life, and draws parallels to her experiences of imprisonment and misogyny in her own country. Never before published, these writings mark an important stage in the development of the suffragette's thought, which she brought back to Britain to inform the burgeoning suffrage campaign there.
Thursday July 11, 7:00PM
America’s suburbs are not the homogenous places we sometimes take them for. Today’s suburbs are racially, ethnically, and economically diverse, with as many Democratic as Republican voters, a growing population of renters, and rising poverty. The cliche of white picket fences is well past its expiration date.
The history of suburbia is equally surprising: American suburbs were once fertile ground for utopian planning, communal living, socially-conscious design, and integrated housing. We have forgotten that we built suburbs like these, such as the co-housing commune of Old Economy, Pennsylvania; a tiny-house anarchist community in Piscataway, New Jersey; a government-planned garden city in Greenbelt, Maryland; a racially integrated subdivision (before the Fair Housing Act) in Trevose, Pennsylvania; experimental Modernist enclaves in Lexington, Massachusetts; and the mixed-use, architecturally daring Reston, Virginia.
Inside Radical Suburbs you will find blueprints for affordable, walkable, and integrated communities, filled with a range of environmentally sound residential options. Radical Suburbs is a history that will help us remake the future and rethink our assumptions of suburbia.
Tuesday August 13, 7:00PM
Thursday September 5, 7:00PM
Join us as we celebrate the release of an essential new anthology on the political and racial economy of urban life in Baltimore. Full details TBA, but save this date now!
Nicknamed both “Mobtown” and “Charm City” and located on the border of the North and South, Baltimore is a city of contradictions. From media depictions in The Wire to the real-life trial of police officers for the murder of Freddie Gray, Baltimore has become a quintessential example of a struggling American city. Yet the truth about Baltimore is far more complicated—and more fascinating.
To help untangle these apparent paradoxes, the editors of Baltimore Revisited: Stories of Inequality and Resistance in a US City have assembled a collection of over thirty experts from inside and outside academia. Together, they reveal that Baltimore has been ground zero for a slew of neoliberal policies, a place where inequality has increased as corporate interests have eagerly privatized public goods and services to maximize profits. But they also uncover how community members resist and reveal a long tradition of Baltimoreans who have fought for social justice.
The essays in this collection take readers on a tour through the city’s diverse neighborhoods, from the Lumbee Indian community in East Baltimore to the crusade for environmental justice in South Baltimore. Baltimore Revisited examines the city’s past, reflects upon the city’s present, and envisions the city’s future.