Provoked by mass evictions and the onset of gentrification in the 1970s, tenants in Washington D.C. began forming cooperative organizations to collectively purchase and manage their apartment buildings. These tenants were creating a commons, taking a resource- housing- that had been used to extract profit from them, and reshaping it as a resource that was collectively owned and governed by them. In Carving Out the Commons, Amanda Huron theorizes the practice of urban commoning through a close investigation of the city's limited-equity housing cooperatives. Drawing on feminist and anticapitalist perspectives, Huron asks whether a commons can work in a city where land and other resources are scarce, and how strangers who may not share a past or future come together to create an maintain commonly-held spaces in the midst of capitalism. Arguing against the romanticization of the commons, she instead positions the urban commons as a pragmatic practice. Through the practice of commoning, she contends, we can learn to build communities to challenge capitalism's totalizing claims over life.
Slave-rebel Three-Fingered Jack terrorized colonial Jamaica between 1780 and 1781 until he was executed by Maroons, self-emancipated Afro-Jamaicans, treaty-bound to the colonial government. A thief and a killer, Jack was also a freedom fighter who sabotaged the colonial machine until his grisly death at its behest. As Professor Frances Botkin explains in her new book Thieving Three-Fingered Jack: Transatlantic Tales of a Jamaican Outlaw, producers of culture in England, Jamaica, and the United States, have, for centuries, “thieved" his riveting story, defining themselves through and against their representations of him. Narratives about Jack create the occasion to consider counter-narratives about colonial methods of divide and conquer, beginning as early as the English invasion of Jamaica in 1655. These narratives shed light on the problematic legacy of black masculinity in the Atlantic world as the English defined themselves against those they enslaved, disciplined, manipulated and feared. We're excited to invite Professor Botkin to share her work exploring the persistence of stories about Jack and his legacy in contemporary Jamaican and US popular culture.
In ‘“You Can’t Fire the Bad Ones”: And 18 Other Myths about Teachers, Teachers Unions, and Public Education’, three distinguished educators, scholars, and activists flip the script on many enduring and popular myths about teachers, teachers' unions, and education that permeate our culture. By unpacking these myths, and underscoring the necessity of strong and vital public schools as a common good, the authors challenge readers--whether parents, community members, policymakers, union activists, or educators themselves--to rethink their assumptions.
Dubbed as a popular social media hashtag, one commemorating millennials celebrating their 23rd year of life, poet and writer Wallace Lane put a spin on the term “Jordan Year” and wrote an honest reflection about his journey of growing up in West Baltimore-- a journey in his case like an in depth mixtape, beginning with the birth of his son and rewinding as far back to the 90’s where monumental milestones and struggles could only be told from the mouth and lenses of a black boy in urban America. Jordan Year is a big step for writer and poet Wallace Lane, as it’s the author’s first book; it’s self-published and in some weaving in-and-out-method-of-narration, between his life and other black boys he has mentored and taught in Baltimore City; it’s auto-biographical. It’s a collection of poetry that holds a certain significance for Wallace, one he explains in the poem Jordan Year which analyzes and nuances his father’s experience of fatherhood in the grit of the 90’s: He was a young man then, 23 years young, his Jordan Year, he barely knew what his life meant to himself or his family. New York Times Best Selling Author D. Watkins says,”...some poems are painful, razor sharp and challenging, while others are both delicate and hilarious. There is a journey on each page.” And poet and University of Baltimore professor Steven Leyva says,” Both Baltimore and black masculinity are caught up in the glow of this collection.” Wallace is working steadily on his second collection of poetry, but for now he is still basking in what this collection means to him and his community. Join Wallace as he reads from his book and offers visual interpretations for each poem.
Sponsored by the National Lawyers Guild, Eric Sirotkin presents his new memoir, “Witness: A Lawyer’s Journey from Litigation to Liberation.”"Witness" traverses Sirotkin's life experiences as an activist lawyer who came to see beyond litigation’s us vs them approach to “law as healing.” This is what Sirotkin refers to as “Being an Active Witness” and draws on the lessons he learned in South Africa, first working on their constitution, as well as a UN-sponsored election observer and coordinator of he International Monitoring Project of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. “Witness” speaks to something innate in each of us: the desire to feel connected to those around us and live from our highest potential as human beings.
Piper Harron (PhD, mathematics, Princeton University 2016) never wanted to be liberated. She would have much preferred to be conventionally successful, living by other people’s standards. Though she tried, she couldn’t make herself fit. You could say she has some complaints. Now she has a story to tell. A story of failure and how sometimes failure is the same as leadership.
What does justice look like in a post-Uprising city? We believe the community holds the power to affect meaningful, positive change, and many of us have seen this play out in Baltimore in the last few years alone. In an effort to co-power members of the community, Restorative Response Baltimore (RRB) presents a night of collaborative storytelling.
The evening will offer information on Restorative Response Baltimore's Community Conferencing and restorative practices efforts throughout the city, an introduction to our staff, and storytelling by those who’ve used Community Conferencing to resolve their conflicts.
Baltimore Ceasefire’s Erricka Bridgeford will also join us to share the story of the community-driven anti-violence effort and its connection to RRB's mission, and Dr. Lawrence Brown will discus what a Baltimore Peacebuilding Authority could be and how it could bring restorative justice in a post-uprising city. Please join us!
In the tradition of bell hooks, Roxane Gay and Audre Lorde, America’s leading young black feminist celebrates dissent—both personal and public. So what if it’s true that Black women are mad as hell? They have the right to be. In Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower, Brittney Cooper reminds us that anger is a powerful source of energy that can give us the strength to keep on fighting.
Far too often, Black women’s anger has been caricatured into an ugly and destructive force that threatens the civility and social fabric of American democracy. But Eloquent Rage shows us that there is more to the story than that. Black women’s eloquent rage is what makes Serena Williams such a powerful tennis player. It’s what makes Beyoncé’s girl power anthems resonate so hard. It’s what makes Michelle Obama an icon. Eloquent rage keeps us all honest and accountable. It reminds women that they don’t have to settle for less.
What if racialized mass incarceration is not a perversion of our criminal justice system’s liberal ideals, but rather a natural conclusion? Adam Malka raises this disturbing possibility through a gripping look at the origins of modern policing in the influential hub of Baltimore during and after slavery’s final decades. He argues that America’s new professional police forces and prisons were developed to expand, not curb, the reach of white vigilantes, and are best understood as a uniformed wing of the gangs that controlled free black people by branding them—and treating them—as criminals. The post–Civil War triumph of liberal ideals thus also marked a triumph of an institutionalized belief in black criminality.
Mass incarceration may be a recent phenomenon, but the problems that undergird the “new Jim Crow” are very, very old. As Malka makes clear, a real reckoning with this national calamity requires not easy reforms but a deeper, more radical effort to overcome the racial legacies encoded into the very DNA of our police institutions. Don't miss this important event!
Join us for the first-ever Tasty Sex Trivia night, at Red Emma's! With our comrades at STAR (Sisters Together And Reaching), we're thrilled to host an evening of fun-filled learning and awesome trivia prizes, plus free onsite HIV & Hepatitis C testing, demonstrations, raffles, and more! Proceeds benefit STAR, so they can continue to do awesome work in our communities! Don't miss this!!
For National Poetry
Month, The Baltimore Scene awards a talented adult poet with $700 in
For the last nine
years, poets from all over the country have competed to be the winner
of the largest and longest running adult slam on the East Coast. The
event is curated by Chin-yer, Director of The Baltimore Scene and
Director of DewMore Baltimore's Maya Baraka Writer's Institute, and
hosted by Word War 8 Champion Kenneth Something.
Word War 9 will also
feature performances by Baltimore City's 2018 Youth Poetry Slam Team!
This event is FREE to the public. We will be passing a hat to raise money for our youth to represent our city this summer at Brave New Voices in Houston, Texas.
In this comprehensive history, Ashley D. Farmer examines black women’s political, social, and cultural engagement with Black Power ideals and organizations. Complicating the assumption that sexism relegated black women to the margins of the movement, Farmer demonstrates how female activists fought for more inclusive understandings of Black Power and social justice by developing new ideas about black womanhood. This compelling book shows how the new tropes of womanhood that they created--the “Militant Black Domestic,” the “Revolutionary Black Woman,” and the “Third World Woman,” for instance--spurred debate among activists over the importance of women and gender to Black Power organizing, causing many of the era’s organizations and leaders to critique patriarchy and support gender equality.