events at red emma's
Thursday February 28, 7:00PM
Many prominent and well-known figures greatly impacted the civil rights movement, but one of the most influential and unsung leaders of that period was Gloria Richardson. As the leader of the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee (CNAC), a multifaceted liberation campaign formed to target segregation and racial inequality in Cambridge, Maryland, Richardson advocated for economic justice and tactics beyond nonviolent demonstrations. Her philosophies and strategies—including her belief that black people had a right to self–defense—were adopted, often without credit, by a number of civil rights and black power leaders and activists.
The Struggle Is Eternal: Gloria Richardson and Black Liberation explores the largely forgotten but deeply significant life of this central figure and her determination to improve the lives of black people. Using a wide range of source materials, including interviews with Richardson and her personal papers, as well as interviews with dozens of her friends, relatives, and civil rights colleagues, Joseph R. Fitzgerald presents an all-encompassing narrative. From Richardson’s childhood in Baltimore, when her parents taught her the importance of racial pride, through the next eight decades, Fitzgerald relates a detailed and compelling story of her life. He reveals how Richardson’s human rights activism extended far beyond Cambridge and how her leadership style and vision for liberation were embraced by the younger activists of the black power movement, who would carry the struggle on throughout the late 1960s and into the 1970s.
Joining author Joseph R. Fitzgerald will be Dion Banks & Kisha Petticolas of the Eastern Shore Network for Change, to situate Gloria Richardson's life and work within the continuing struggle for racial equity and justice on Maryland's Eastern Shore.
Friday March 1, 7:00PM
As the largest employer of one of the world’s leading economic and geo-political superpowers, the history of the federal government’s workforce is a rich and essential tool for understanding how the “Great Experiment” truly works. The literal face of federal policy, federal employees enjoy a history as rich as the country itself, while reflecting the country’s evolution towards true democracy within a public space. Nowhere is this progression towards democracy more apparent than with its internal race relations. While World War II was a boon to black workers, little is known about the nuanced, ongoing struggles for dignity and respect that black workers endured while working these “good, government jobs.” American Dream Deferred challenges postwar narratives of government largess for African Americans by illuminating the neglected stories of these unknown black workers.
Wednesday March 6, 6:00PM
Join local writer Antoine “A. J.” Hayes as he reads from his new book, Gratitude: Baltimore. In Gratitude: Baltimore, Hayes shows his appreciation for Baltimore’s culture – including arabbers, hack drivers and more – using photographs, poems and essays. Gratitude: Baltimore is a love letter to city. Following the reading will be a zine making workshop where participants will create their own gratitude book. More info: www.ajhayes.com.
Thursday March 7, 7:00PM
Saturday March 9, 7:00PM
“One day perhaps we will write, think, and act en masse; entire communes will undertake a work.” —Novalis
In the Name of the People is an analysis and reflection on the global populist surge, written from the local forms it takes in the places we inhabit: the United States, Catalonia, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, Quebec, Russia, and Ukraine. The upheaval and polarizations caused by populist policies around the world indicates above all the urgency to develop a series of planetary revolutionary interpretations, and to make the necessary connections in order to understand and act in the world.
The ghost of the People has returned to the world stage, claiming to be the only force capable of correcting or taking charge of the excesses of the time. The relationship between the collapse of certain orders, the multiplication of civil wars, and the incessant appeal to the People is clear: as the liberal mode of governance experiences a global legitimation crisis, different forms of right and left populism gain strength within the fractures of ever expanding ruins.
Populism has now become familiar as a global phenomenon: from the eruptions of the far right in the West to the populist capture of the movement of the squares—Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain, the Five Star Movement in Italy, or Our Revolution in the United States—to the electoral victories of Rodrigo Duterte, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Narendra Modi, Benjamin Netanyahu, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, and Brexit, all alongside large populist gains in every European country. While disparate in many ways, these dynamics all share an appeal to combat the rule and sensibility of the elites, with the help of a figure that can channel the affective energies of discontent through operations of identification and exclusion.
And yet, from the Narodniki to the Black Panthers and Zapatistas, to the emancipatory political movements which expressed themselves as the authentic people—Nuit Debout, the 99%, the indignados—history reminds us of revolutionary populisms.
How do we distinguish the new from the old? What are their limits and potentials? What is the nature of the affective flows that characterize their relations? How do we address the indeterminacy inherent in mass movements and mobilizations, as well as their confusions, fears, and hesitancies?
Friends: we pose the question of populism to you because it is the question our time poses to us.
Saturday March 16, 7:00PM
Sunday March 17, 2:00PM
A first-person history of nonviolent resistance in the U.S., from pre-Revolutionary America to the Trump years.
"This book fights fascism. This books offers hope. We The Resistance is essential reading for those who wish to understand how popular movements built around nonviolence have changed the world and why they retain the power to do so again."—Jonathan Eig, author of Ali: A Life
"This comprehensive documentary history of non-violent resisters and resistance movements is an inspiring antidote to any movement fatigue or pessimism about the value of protest. It tells us we can learn from the past as we confront the present and hope to shape the future. Read, enjoy and take courage knowing you are never alone in trying to create a more just world. Persevere and persist and win, but know that even losing is worth the fight and teaches lessons for later struggles."—Mary Frances Berry, author of History Teaches Us to Resist: How Progressive Movements Have Succeeded in Challenging Times
"We the Resistance illustrates the deeply rooted, dynamic, and multicultural history of nonviolent resistance and progressive activism in North America and the United States. With a truly comprehensive collection of primary sources, it becomes clear that dissent has always been a central feature of American political culture and that periods of quiescence and consensus are aberrant rather than the norm. Indeed, the depth and breadth of resistant and discordant voices in this collection is simply outstanding."—Leilah Danielson, author of American Gandhi: A.J. Muste and the History of American Radicalism in the Twentieth Century
While historical accounts of the United States typically focus on the nation's military past, a rich and vibrant counter narrative remains basically unknown to most Americans. This alternate history of the formation of our nation—and its character—is one in which courageous individuals and movements have wielded the tools of nonviolence to resist unjust, unfair, and immoral policies and practices.
We the Resistance gives curious citizens and current resisters unfiltered access to the hearts and minds of their activist predecessors. Beginning with the pre-Revolutionary War era and continuing through to the present day, readers will encounter the voices of protestors sharing instructive stories about their methods (from sit-ins to tree sitting) and opponents (from Puritans to Wall Street bankers), as well as inspirational stories about their failures (from slave petitions to the fight for the ERA), and successes (from enfranchisement for women to today's reform of police practices). Instruction and inspiration run throughout this captivating reader, generously illustrated with historic graphics and photographs of nonviolent protests throughout U.S. history.
Tuesday March 19, 7:00PM
“Stewarding our own land, growing our own food, educating our own youth, participating in our own healthcare and justice systems—this is the source of real power and dignity.”
Some of our most cherished sustainable farming practices have roots in African wisdom. Yet, discrimination and violence against African-American farmers has led to their decline from 14 percent of all growers in 1920 to less than 2 percent today, with a corresponding loss of over 14 million acres of land. Further, Black communities suffer disproportionately from illnesses related to lack of access to fresh food and healthy natural ecosystems. Soul Fire Farm, cofounded by author, activist, and farmer Leah Penniman, is committed to ending racism and injustice in our food system. Through innovative programs such as the Black-Latinx Farmers Immersion, a sliding-scale farmshare CSA, and Youth Food Justice leadership training, Penniman is part of a global network of farmers working to increase farmland stewardship by people of color, restore Afro-indigenous farming practices, and end food apartheid.
And now, with Farming While Black, Penniman extends that work by offering the first comprehensive manual for African-heritage people ready to reclaim their rightful place of dignified agency in the food system. This one-of-a-kind guide provides readers with a concise “how-to” for all aspects of small-scale farming.
Thursday March 21, 7:00PM
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.