Barbara Ransby: "Making All Black Lives Matter"

Tuesday December 4, 7:00PM

@ Red Emma's

The breadth and impact of Black Lives Matter in the United States has been extraordinary. Between 2012 and 2016, thousands of people marched, rallied, held vigils, and engaged in direct actions to protest and draw attention to state and vigilante violence against Black people. What began as outrage over the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin and the exoneration of his killer, and accelerated during the Ferguson uprising of 2014, has evolved into a resurgent Black Freedom Movement, which includes a network of more than fifty organizations working together under the rubric of the Movement for Black Lives coalition. Employing a range of creative tactics and embracing group-centered leadership models, these visionary young organizers, many of them women, and many of them queer, are not only calling for an end to police violence, but demanding racial justice, gender justice, and systemic change.

In Making All Black Lives Matter, award-winning historian and longtime activist Barbara Ransby outlines the scope and genealogy of this movement, documenting its roots in Black feminist politics and situating it squarely in a Black radical tradition, one that is anticapitalist, internationalist, and focused on some of the most marginalized members of the Black community. From the perspective of a participant-observer, Ransby maps the movement, profiles many of its lesser-known leaders, measures its impact, outlines its challenges, and looks toward its future.

Barbara Ransby is a historian, author, and longtime activist. She is the author of the acclaimed biography Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement. Ransby was one of the founders of African American Women in Defense of Ourselves in 1991 and the Black Radical Congress in 1998. She is the editor of the journal Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, and Professor and Director of the Social Justice Initiative at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

More upcoming events

@ Red Emma's

The author of the essential history of real estate segregation in Baltimore, Not in My Neighborhood, is back with a brand new book!

Johns Hopkins destroyed his private papers so thoroughly that no credible biography exists of the Baltimore Quaker titan. One of America’s richest men and the largest single shareholder of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, Hopkins was also one of the city’s defining developers. In The Ghosts of Johns Hopkins, Antero Pietila weaves together a biography of the man with a portrait of how the institutions he founded have shaped the racial legacy of an industrial city from its heyday to its decline and revitalization. From the destruction of neighborhoods to make way for the mercantile buildings that dominated Baltimore’s downtown through much of the 19th century to the role that the president of Johns Hopkins University played in government sponsored “Negro Removal” that unleashed the migration patterns that created Baltimore’s existing racial patchwork, Pietila tells the story of how one man’s wealth shaped and reshaped the life of a city long after his lifetime.

@ Red Emma's

Frostlands is about a splintered world on the edge of climate catastrophe and the one woman who might just be able to save it. Ariel Dorfman calls it "a cautionary journey into a future planetary collapse where the term “one per cent” is redefined in a terrifying way." A stand-alone sequel to the critically acclaimed Splinterlands, "Frostlands is triumphant and absorbing science fiction, full of ecological and societal warnings," says Foreword Reviews.

John Feffer is a playwright, foreign policy expert at the Institute for Policy Studies, and the author of several novels and books of non-fiction.

@ Red Emma's

We're so excited to host local authors Mark Gruber-Lebowitz and Sheldon Gruber-Lebowitz for a reading of their new book for young readers, Peace Pom: Ronan Makes a Difference.

Ronan is a young Pomeranian dog who is hoping to tell everyone all about peace - how we can feel it ourselves and how we can spread it to those around us. First, we must find our own peace, deep within ourselves, through whatever brings peace to our souls. Then there are simple acts of friendship and loyalty - sharing our gifts, offering comfort and kindness to those who are hurting, and standing up against bullies. Ronan talks about how we can celebrate diversity, welcome immigrants who are new to the country, care for our endangered planet, and embrace nonviolent conflict resolution. All of us, big and little, can be makers of peace in many ways. In this second book of a series, Ronan the Pomeranian presents a description of peace in its many forms, offering strategies that will make this a more peaceful and just world.

This is a lovely book, and the event is suitable for readers and peacemakers of all ages! Welcome Mark and Sheldon!

Thousands of Black children grew up in Cherry Hill, a post WWII planned suburban community containing a public housing project on a southeastern peninsula of Baltimore City. In an era of public investment in quality housing, these children had a sense of being loved, being free, being safe, and above all, having the space they needed to stretch out and enjoy small town living. They could play all day with their friends, skate and ride their bikes all over town, and chase the ice cream man’s truck, with the admonishment to be home by the time the streetlights came on. The author was one of those children, and she rallied sixty or so of her Cherry Hill contemporaries to share what life was like for them in what they know to be a special place and time.

Co-sponsored and with the participation of FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture.

Decriminalizing Domestic Violence asks the crucial, yet often overlooked, question of why and how the criminal legal system became the primary response to intimate partner violence in the United States. It introduces readers, both new and well versed in the subject, to the ways in which the criminal legal system harms rather than helps those who are subjected to abuse and violence in their homes and communities, and shares how it drives, rather than deters, intimate partner violence. The book examines how social, legal, and financial resources are diverted into a criminal legal apparatus that is often unable to deliver justice or safety to victims or to prevent intimate partner violence in the first place. Envisioned for both courses and research topics in domestic violence, family violence, gender and law, and sociology of law, the book challenges readers to understand intimate partner violence not solely, or even primarily, as a criminal law concern but as an economic, public health, community, and human rights problem. It also argues that only by viewing intimate partner violence through these lenses can we develop a balanced policy agenda for addressing it. At a moment when we are examining our national addiction to punishment, Decriminalizing Domestic Violence offers a thoughtful, pragmatic roadmap to real reform.

@ Red Emma's

A new crime novel from award-winning journalist and labor activist Bill Fletcher, Jr.!


In 1970, a sniper’s bullet shocks the sleepy Cape Cod village of Osterville. David Gomes, a young reporter for the Cape & Islands Gazette covers the story, thinking his reporting might lead to a job with a major metropolitan newspaper. With protests against the Viet Nam war and the rise of the Black Panthers roiling the public, the murder investigation becomes deeply personal when Gomes, a Cape Verdean American, encounters the smoldering racial antagonism between the descendants of Cape Verde and African-Americans, as well as the deep-seated hatred toward all people of color among some members of the white community.


Gomes soon learns that investigating a murder can put him in the cross-hairs of a cold-blooded killer. It’s a dangerous place for the young reporter as he peels away layers of family history in his quest to discover the motive behind a savage act of murder, and comes to understand a complicated, contradictory history of his own people.


Set within a Cape Verdean American community undergoing a transformation of its own consciousness, Fletcher’s crime novel dives deep into two timely questions: Is revenge ever a moral form of justice, and when does silence become complicity as criminal acts are committed before your own eyes?

@ Red Emma's

Join us for a special event with feminist and anticapitalist organizer, theorist, and historian Silvia Federici.

One of the organizers of the Wages for Housework campaign, and the author of the modern classic Caliban and the Witch, Silvia will be in Baltimore to present two new books—Witches, Witch-Hunting, and Women and Re-enchanting the World: Feminism and the Politics of the Commons.