Understanding The Case For Reparations: Daina Berry and Ray Winbush in Conversation

Saturday February 25, 6:30PM

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In life and in death, slaves were commodities, their monetary value assigned based on their age, gender, health, and the demands of the market. The Price for Their Pound of Flesh is the first book to explore the economic value of enslaved people through every phase of their lives—including preconception, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, the senior years, and death—in the early American domestic slave trade. So, Should America Pay?

Join us as we host a discussion with
Dr. Daina Ramey Berry associate professor of history and African and African diaspora studies, she's the Oliver H. Radkey Regents Fellow in History at the University of Texas at Austin, an award-winning historian and Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, joined by Dr. Raymond Winbush Director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University and Editor of Should America Pay?, in delving deep into understanding the economic value extracted from the enslaved and the case to be made for reparations.

Dr. Berry with sensitivity and depth, resurrects the voices of the enslaved and provides a rare window into enslaved peoples’ experiences and thoughts, revealing how enslaved people recalled and responded to being appraised, bartered, and sold throughout the course of their lives. Dr. Raymond Winbush will complement that foundation of exploitation in the building of this nation with the work that has already been done and is being done to further the case for reparations.


More upcoming events

In conversation with Nathaniel Comfort

From next-generation prenatal tests, to virtual children, to the genome-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9, new biotechnologies grant us unprecedented power to predict and shape future people. That power implies a question about belonging: which people, which variations, will we welcome? How will we square new biotech advances with the real but fragile gains for people with disabilities—especially when their voices are all but absent from the conversation?

This book explores that conversation, the troubled territory where biotechnology and disability meet. In it, George Estreich—an award-winning poet and memoirist, and the father of a young woman with Down syndrome—delves into popular representations of cutting-edge biotech: websites advertising next-generation prenatal tests, feature articles on “three-parent IVF,” a scientist's memoir of constructing a semisynthetic cell, and more. As Estreich shows, each new application of biotechnology is accompanied by a persuasive story, one that minimizes downsides and promises enormous benefits. In this story, people with disabilities are both invisible and essential: a key promise of new technologies is that disability will be repaired or prevented.

In chapters that blend personal narrative and scholarship, Estreich restores disability to our narratives of technology. He also considers broader themes: the place of people with disabilities in a world built for the able; the echoes of eugenic history in the genomic present; and the equation of intellect and human value. Examining the stories we tell ourselves, the fables already creating our futures, Estreich argues that, given biotech that can select and shape who we are, we need to imagine, as broadly as possible, what it means to belong.

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A chance for women working artists to meet one another and hopefully form a stronger network. 


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Join Seth Tobocman, Jeff Wilson, Rebecca Migdal, and Lou Allen for a celebration of Issue 49 of the legendary compendium of radical graphic art.


This collection of essays challenges reactionary nationalism by making the positive case for the benefits of free movement for countries on both ends of the exchange. Open Borders counters the knee-jerk reaction to build walls and close borders by arguing that there is not a moral, legal, philosophical, or economic case for limiting the movement of human beings at borders. The volume brings together essays by theorists in anthropology, geography, international relations, and other fields who argue for open borders with writings by activists who are working to make safe passage a reality on the ground. It puts forward a clear, concise, and convincing case for a world without movement restrictions at borders.


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A special event with contributors:

Co-sponsored by the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS)

From well-known intellectuals such as Frederick Douglass and Nella Larsen to often-obscured thinkers such as Amina Baraka and Bernardo Ruiz Suárez, black theorists across the globe have engaged in sustained efforts to create insurgent and resilient forms of thought. New Perspectives on the Black Intellectual Tradition is a collection of twelve essays that explores these and other theorists and their contributions to diverse strains of political, social, and cultural thought. 

The book examines four central themes within the black intellectual tradition: black internationalism, religion and spirituality, racial politics and struggles for social justice, and black radicalism. The essays identify the emergence of black thought within multiple communities internationally, analyze how black thinkers shaped and were shaped by the historical moment in which they lived, interrogate the ways in which activists and intellectuals connected their theoretical frameworks across time and space, and assess how these strains of thought bolstered black consciousness and resistance worldwide. 

Defying traditional temporal and geographical boundaries, New Perspectives on the Black Intellectual Tradition illuminates the origins of and conduits for black ideas, redefines the relationship between black thought and social action, and challenges long-held assumptions about black perspectives on religion, race, and radicalism. The intellectuals profiled in the volume reshape and redefine the contours and boundaries of black thought, further illuminating the depth and diversity of the black intellectual tradition.

In May 1967, internationally renowned activist Fannie Lou Hamer purchased forty acres of land in the Mississippi Delta, launching the Freedom Farms Cooperative (FFC). A community-based rural and economic development project, FFC would grow to over 600 acres, offering a means for local sharecroppers, tenant farmers, and domestic workers to pursue community wellness, self-reliance, and political resistance. Life on the cooperative farm presented an alternative to the second wave of northern migration by African Americans--an opportunity to stay in the South, live off the land, and create a healthy community based upon building an alternative food system as a cooperative and collective effort.

Freedom Farmers expands the historical narrative of the black freedom struggle to embrace the work, roles, and contributions of southern black farmers and the organizations they formed. Whereas existing scholarship generally views agriculture as a site of oppression and exploitation of black people, this book reveals agriculture as a site of resistance and provides a historical foundation that adds meaning and context to current conversations around the resurgence of food justice/sovereignty movements in urban spaces like Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, New York City, and New Orleans.

In Blood’s Will: Speculative Fiction, Existence, and Inquiry of Currere, main character Campbell Cote Phillips—a successful university professor, mother, and wife—faces the question "what would she give up to have everything else?" Her comfortable life takes an unexpected turn when she discovers that not everything is always as it appears to be. The story unfolds between the 1970s and contemporary Baltimore, weaving together the experiences of Finn (an unusual vampire with a strange history) and Campbell—along with a cast of characters across different generations—whose stories are portrayed in base-relief against the promise, or peril, of immortality. Blood’s Will is about love and desire, but it is also about family, friends, and the choices we all make. To be human is to sacrifice. To be vampire is to have endless opportunities.

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A politically driven graffiti artist. A transgender Christian convert. A blind girl who loves to dance. A queer daughter of a hijabi union leader. These are some of the young women who live in a Bangalore slum known as Heaven, young women whom readers will come to love in the moving, atmospheric, and deeply inspiring debut, A People's History of Heaven.

Welcome to Heaven, a thirty-year-old slum hidden between brand-new high-rise apartment buildings and technology incubators in contemporary Bangalore, one of India's fastest-growing cities. In Heaven, you will come to know a community of people living hand-to-mouth and constantly struggling against the city government who wants to bulldoze their homes and build yet more glass high-rises. These families, men and women, young and old, gladly support one another, sharing whatever they can.

A People's History of Heaven centers on five best friends, girls who go to school together, a diverse group who love and accept one another unconditionally, pulling one another through crises and providing emotional, physical, and financial support. Together they wage war on the bulldozers that would bury their homes, and, ultimately, on the city that does not care what happens to them.
 
This is a story about geography, history, and strength, about love and friendship, about fighting for the people and places we love--even if no one else knows they exist. Elegant, poetic, bursting with color, Mathangi Subramanian's novel is a moving and celebratory story of girls on the cusp of adulthood who find joy just in the basic act of living.

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This pathbreaking book offers a radical analysis of how people play, produce, and profit from video games, and the major role the industry plays in contemporary capitalism.


In Marx at the Arcade, acclaimed researcher Jamie Woodcock delves into the hidden abode of the gaming industry. In an account that will appeal to hardcore gamers, digital skeptics, and the joystick-curious, Woodcock unravels the vast networks of artists, software developers, and factory and logistics workers whose seen and unseen labor flows into the products we consume on a gargantuan scale. Along the way, he analyzes the increasingly important role the gaming industry plays in contemporary capitalism and the broader transformations of work and the economy that it embodies.

Jamie Woodcock is a sociologist of work, focusing on digital labor, the gig economy, and resistance. He is currently a fellow at the London School of Economics and is the author of the award-winning Working the Phones (2016). He is on the editorial board of Historical Materialism and an editor of Notes from Below, an online journal of workers’ inquiry.

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A double header of poetry with Malcolm Friend presenting Our Bruises Kept Singing Purple and S. Brook Corfman presenting Luxury, Blue Lace.

In Our Bruises Kept Singing Purple, Afro-Jamaican-Boricua poet, Malcolm Friend, has gifted us with a collection that is politically charged and culturally woke. Crafted in rhythmseasoned Latinx dialect, emerging from ancestral roots, replanted in the urban spectrum of hip-hop and rap, Friend’s voice is heart-inspired, soul-empowered, new-wave griot, a fearless weapon forged from South End Seattle, Puerto Rico, and Pittsburgh. Friend creates personal and family stories that connect communal tragedies and national consciousness in expressions of rage, affirmation and self-determination, confronting the brutal realities of being Black and young while caught in the colonial grip of America, enlisting the vibrations of sound masters like Ismael Rivera, Cheo Feliciano, Tato Laviera and Bob Marley. Friend chases ghosts that emerge from living scars and painful realizations experienced by people of color happening in the barbershop, the bar, the dining table, college, on the 7, in between a mofongo of jazz, blues, calypso, rumba, bomba, plena and dembow celebrations, where his heart is.

— Sandra María Esteves

Publishers Weekly's starred review for Luxury, Blue Lace:

Relying on abstraction and the unspoken, Corfman shapes a story of unique gender experience and transformation in this extraordinary debut. The collection was chosen by Richard Siken for the Autumn House Rising Writer Prize, which is notable because Corfman sews something delicate from a similarly dreamlike fabric of longing that Siken’s Crush embodies: “There is the imaginary twin (blue) and the real twin (red), as if we can know beforehand the distinction.// We shared a face. We both tried to hide. Each named slant for a patriarch.// Dysphoria of many kinds, but some more striking than others.” Corfman crafts the poems by talking through family, domesticity, dolls, and childhood baubles. While references to transmutation, of seeking alternative embodiment, are semiobscured, the narrator elucidates via a complex juncture of both acquiescence and resistance. “There are many rooms and you suffer most when you go between them. A tendency even in language to uninhabit. But now, we know there are rooms. We know it is the going from one to the other that takes it out of you.” Like Seurat’s painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, which Corfman references, readers may easily lose themselves in these poems’ own form of pointilism. Corfman writes from carefully detailed liminal spaces, producing a work of rare beauty and thoughtfulness. 
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In Occult Features of Anarchism, Erica Lagalisse sets straight the history of the Left, illustrating the actual relationship between modern revolutionism, occult philosophy, and the clandestine fraternity: Questions of class respectability may lead Leftists to ignore “conspiracy theory”, yet in doing so neo-fascist theories of history gain ground.  Inspired by research within today’s anarchist movements, Lagalisse's latest work also serves to challenge contemporary anarchist “atheism”, which poses practical challenges for coalition politics in the 21st century.  Finally, by studying the history of anarchism, Lagalisse also shows how the development of Leftist theory and practice within clandestine masculine “public” spheres continues to inform 21st century anarchist understandings of the ‘political’, in which men’s oppression by the state becomes the prototype for power in general. 

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From one of the most prominent voices on the American Left, a galvanizing argument for why we need socialism in the United States today

Cosponsored by Baltimore DSA!

The success of Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign revived a political idea many had thought dead. But what, exactly, is socialism? And what would a socialist system in America look like?

In The Socialist Manifesto, Bhaskar Sunkara explores socialism’s history since the mid-1800s and presents a realistic vision for its future. The editor of Jacobinmagazine, Sunkara shows that socialism, though often seen primarily as an economic system, in fact offers the means to fight all forms of oppression, including racism and sexism. The ultimate goal is not Soviet-style planning, but to win rights to healthcare, education, and housing, and to create new democratic institutions in workplaces and communities. A primer on socialism for the 21st century, this is a book for anyone seeking an end to the vast inequities of our age.

What is democracy really? What do we mean when we use the term? And can it ever truly exist? 

There is no shortage of democracy, at least in name, and yet it is in crisis everywhere we look. From a cabal of thieving plutocrats in the White House to rising inequality and xenophobia worldwide, it is clear that democracy—specifically the principle of government by and for the people—is not living up to its promise.

In Democracy May Not Exist, but We'll Miss It When It's Gone, Astra Taylor shows that real democracy—fully inclusive and completely egalitarian—has in fact never existed. In a tone that is both philosophical and anecdotal, weaving together history, theory, the stories of individuals, and conversations with such leading thinkers as Cornel West, Danielle Allen, and Wendy Brown, Taylor invites us to reexamine the term. Is democracy a means or an end, a process or a set of desired outcomes? What if the those outcomes, whatever they may be—peace, prosperity, equality, liberty, an engaged citizenry—can be achieved by non-democratic means? Or if an election leads to a terrible outcome? If democracy means rule by the people, what does it mean to rule and who counts as the people?

The inherent paradoxes are too often unnamed and unrecognized. By teasing them out, Democracy May Not Exist, but We'll Miss It When It's Gone offers a better understanding of what is possible, what we want, and why democracy is so hard to realize.

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Baltimore's Shawna Potter, singer for the band War On Women, has tackled sexism and harassment in lyrics and on stage for years. Taking the battle to music venues themselves, she has trained night clubs and community spaces in how to create safer environments for marginalized people. Now she’s turned decades of experience into a clear and concise guide for public spaces of all sorts—from art galleries to bagel shops to concert halls—that want to shut down harassers wherever they show up. The steps she outlines are realistic, practical, and actionable. With the addition of personal stories, case studies, sample policies, and no-nonsense advice like “How to Flirt without Being a Creep,” she shows why safer spaces are important, while making it easier to achieve them. Punk passion, candor, and anger get the job done!


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After centuries of colonial domination and a twentieth century riddled with dictatorships, indigenous peoples in Bolivia embarked upon a social and political struggle that would change the country forever. As part of that project activists took control of their own history, starting in the 1960s by reaching back to oral traditions and then forward to new forms of print and broadcast media. This book tells the fascinating story of how indigenous Bolivians  recovered  and popularized  histories of past rebellions, political models, and leaders, using them to build movements for rights, land, autonomy, and political power. Drawing from rich archival sources and the author’s lively interviews with indigenous leaders and activist-historians, The Five Hundred Year Rebellion describes how movements tapped into centuries-old veins of oral history and memory to produce manifestos, booklets, and radio programs on histories of resistance, wielding them as tools to expand their struggles and radically transform society.

Benjamin Dangl has a PhD in Latin American history from McGill University and has worked as a journalist throughout Latin America for over fifteen years, covering politics and protest movements for outlets such as The GuardianAl JazeeraThe NationSalonVice, and NACLA Report on the Americas. He is the author of The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia and Dancing with Dynamite: Social Movements and States in Latin America, both published by AK Press. Dangl edits TowardFreedom.org, a progressive perspective on world events, and teaches at Champlain College.