events at red emma's

How community-centered, peer-to-peer, youth knowledge exchanges are evolving into a strong economic and political foundation on which to build radical public education.

Following in the rich traditions in African American cooperative economic and educational thought, teacher-organizer Jay Gillen describes the Baltimore Algebra Project (BAP) as a youth-run cooperative enterprise in which young people direct their peers’ and their own learning for a wage. BAP and similar enterprises are creating an educational network of empowered, employed students.

Gillen argues that this is a proactive political, economic, and educational structure that builds relationships among and between students and their communities. It’s a structure that meets communal needs—material and social, economic and political—both now and in the future. Through the story of the Baltimore Algebra Project, readers will learn why youth employment is a priority, how to develop democratic norms and cultures, how to foster positive community roles for 20–30 year-olds, and how to implement educational accountability from below.

@ Red Emma's

An evening to feel and discuss the power of poetry!


“Dynamic duo” is a term usually reserved for the likes of comic book heroes, but if it were to apply to Spoken Word poetry, Writing4mylife would be it! Comprised of super poets Archie the Messenger and Lyrical the Lyricist, Writing4MyLife redefines the art of storytelling through spoken word, comedy, and improvisation. They have performed together for 15 years and in that time have created a two-man spoken word play that toured to six cities and an ongoing showcase, “Awesome,” which features the nation’s best spoken word artists. Between them they have published four books.


Just Enough For The City, the latest book from Lyrical the Lyricist, is an art experience of handwritten poetry that paints the American city reality into a dazzling mural of 16 poems. The collection is an ode to the city.


Archie the Messenger’s Crown of Thorns is a vivid look at life from a young prince out of Buffalo, NY traveling to Baltimore. Beautiful imagery, power, and passion come to life throughout the pages.


Come see, hear and feel how Writing 4 My Life brings poetry to life in an experience like none other! Even long-time fans will welcome this opportunity to hear Archie and Lyrical not only perform their poetry but discuss and answer questions about it as well.

What does it mean to lose your roots—within your culture, within your family—and what happens when you find them?

Nicole Chung was born severely premature in the United States, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hope of giving her a better life, that forever feeling slightly out of place was her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as Nicole grew up—facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t see, finding her identity as an Asian American and as a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from—she wondered if the story she’d been told was the whole truth.

With the same warmth, candor, and startling insight that has made her a beloved voice, Chung tells of her search for the people who gave her up, which coincided with the birth of her own child. All You Can Ever Know is a profound, moving chronicle of surprising connections and the repercussions of unearthing painful family secrets—vital reading for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong.

“This book moved me to my very core. As in all her writing, Nicole Chung speaks eloquently and honestly about her own personal story, then widens her aperture to illuminate all of us. All You Can Ever Know is full of insights on race, motherhood, and family of all kinds, but what sets it apart is the compassion Chung brings to every facet of her search for identity and every person portrayed in these pages. This book should be required reading for anyone who has ever had, wanted, or found a family―which is to say, everyone.” ―Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere

"Chung’s memoir is more than a thoughtful consideration of race and heritage in America. It is the story of sisters finding each other, overcoming bureaucracy, abuse, separation, and time." ―The New Yorker



@ The Radical Bookfair Pavilion at the Baltimore Book Festival

Following the U.S. Congress’s initial efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, Amelia Bonow’s unapologetic abortion disclosure catalyzed a viral outpouring of abortion stories on social media via the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion. Bonow developed Shout Your Abortion (SYA) into a nationwide movement working to create places for people to discuss their abortions, online, in art and media, and in real life events all over the country. Bonow serves on the Board of Directors of the Abortion Care Network and her writing has appeared in BUST, the Huffington Post, the New York Daily News, Salon, and the Stranger. Her recent book is Shout Your Abortion (PM Press) which she coedited with Emily Nokes and Lindy West.


@ The Radical Bookfair Pavilion at the Baltimore Book Festival

In Baldwin Sent Me, the authors, two Black men who love Black men, explore their own Black experience and artfully document the conversations, challenges, ideas, and resistance that exist in today's anti-Black America.


About the Author:


Terrance “Duke the Root” Porter (Duke) is a Baltimore native and “artivist.” He is a three time winner of the DC Black Pride Mary Bowman Poetry Slam and 2018 Southern Fried Slam Champion. As the Coordinator of Eastern Region Projects and Affairs for Black Men’s Xchange, Duke is responsible for leading trainings, workshops, and organizing cultural events that promote the excellence and wellness of Black people across the gender and sexuality spectrum. His passion for building and uniting Black people has allowed  him to be a voice for his community nationally. 

@ The Radical Bookfair Pavilion at the Baltimore Book Festival

In collaboration with the essential Baltimore Beat, we've assembled a panel of some of our favorite Baltimore authors, journalists, and media-makers for a discussion of the state of the city.  


Lisa Snowden-McCray is a Baltimore journalist and the editor of the Baltimore Beat.

D. Watkins is Editor at Large for Salon. His work has been published in the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, and other publications. He holds a Master’s in Education from Johns Hopkins University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Baltimore. He is a college lecturer at the University of Baltimore and founder of the BMORE Writers Project, and has also been the recipient of numerous awards including the BMe Genius Grant, and the Ford’s Men of Courage. He has lectured at countless universities, and events, around the world. Watkins is from and lives in Baltimore. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Beast Side: Living (and Dying) While Black in America and The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir and We Speak for Ourselves: A Word from Forgotten Black America.

Lawrence Lanahan has worked in radio and print journalism for over a decade, including five years producing for WYPR, Baltimore's NPR station. At WYPR, he won a duPont Award for "The Lines Between Us," a year-long multimedia series about inequality. The New Press released Lanahan's first nonfiction book, The Lines Between Us: Two Families and a Quest to Cross Baltimore's Racial Divide, on May 21, 2019. ​ Lanahan has master's degrees in sociology from American University and in journalism from Columbia University. He writes songs and performs in Baltimore, sometimes with the band Disappearing Ink. Lanahan lives in Baltimore with his wife and two sons.

Stacia L. Brown was born in Lansing, MI. She grew up in Baltimore, MD–the county, not the city. (Only other Baltimoreans will truly understand why it’s necessary to make that distinction.) She is an award winning writer, poet, and radio producer. In November 2015, Stacia became the creator and producer of Baltimore: The Rise of Charm City, a radio and podcast series that tells intergenerational stories of place and memory in Baltimore City, produced in partnership with WEAA 88.9. She is the creator of Hope Chest, a collection of audio essays written to her daughter and present in podcast form. Hope Chest has been featured on BBC Radio 4’s Short Cuts and the Third Coast International Audio Festival podcast, Re:Sound. It was named one of Audible Feast’s Best New Podcasts of 2017.

@ The Radical Bookfair Pavilion at the Baltimore Book Festival

By the late 1960s and early 1970s, reeling from a wave of urban uprisings, politicians finally worked to end the practice of redlining. Reasoning that the turbulence could be calmed by turning Black city-dwellers into homeowners, they passed the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968, and set about establishing policies to induce mortgage lenders and the real estate industry to treat Black homebuyers equally. The disaster that ensued revealed that racist exclusion had not been eradicated, but rather transmuted into a new phenomenon of predatory inclusion. 

Race for Profit—longlisted for the National Book Award!—uncovers how exploitative real estate practices continued well after housing discrimination was banned. The same racist structures and individuals remained intact after redlining’s end, and close relationships between regulators and the industry created incentives to ignore improprieties. Meanwhile, new policies meant to encourage low-income homeownership created new methods to exploit Black homeowners. The federal government guaranteed urban mortgages in an attempt to overcome resistance to lending to Black buyers – as if unprofitability, rather than racism, was the cause of housing segregation. Bankers, investors, and real estate agents took advantage of the perverse incentives, targeting the Black women most likely to fail to keep up their home payments and slip into foreclosure, multiplying their profits. As a result, by the end of the 1970s, the nation’s first programs to encourage Black homeownership ended with tens of thousands of foreclosures in Black communities across the country. The push to uplift Black homeownership had descended into a goldmine for realtors and mortgage lenders, and a ready-made cudgel for the champions of deregulation to wield against government intervention of any kind. 

Narrating the story of a sea-change in housing policy and its dire impact on African Americans, Race for Profit reveals how the urban core was transformed into a new frontier of cynical extraction.

@ The Radical Bookfair Pavilion at the Baltimore Book Festival

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may seem like she came from nowhere, but the movement that propelled her to office – and to global political stardom – has been building for 30 years. We’ve Got People is the story of that movement, which first exploded into public view with the largely forgotten presidential run of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a campaign that came dangerously close to winning. With the party and the nation at a crossroads, this timely and original book offers new insight into how we’ve gotten where we are – and where we're headed.

@ The Radical Bookfair Pavilion at the Baltimore Book Festival
Single payer healthcare is not complicated: the government pays for all care for all people. It’s cheaper than our current model, and most Americans (and their doctors) already want it. So what’s the deal with our current healthcare system, and why don’t we have something better?

In Health Justice Now, Timothy Faust explains what single payer is, why we don’t yet have it, and how it can be won. He identifies the actors that have misled us for profit and political gain, dispels the myth that healthcare needs to be personally expensive, shows how we can smoothly transition to a new model, and reveals the slate of humane and progressive reforms that we can only achieve with single payer as the springboard.

In this impassioned playbook, Faust inspires us to believe in a world where we could leave our job without losing healthcare for ourselves and our kids; where affordable housing is healthcare; and where social justice links arm-in-arm with health justice for us all. Single payer is the tool—health justice is the goal!

@ The Radical Bookfair Pavilion at the Baltimore Book Festival

Our first panel on this essential new anthology features:

  • Lawrence Brown/"Community Health and Baltimore Apartheid: Revisiting Development, Inequality, and Tax Policy
  • Marisela B. Gomez/"Johns Hopkins University and the History of Developing East Baltimore"
  • Jennifer A. Ferretti/"'Temple of Drama': The Six-Year Protest at Ford’s Theater, 1947-1952"

And will be moderated by Joshua Clark Davis, one of the book's editors.

@ The Radical Bookfair Pavilion at the Baltimore Book Festival

From white nationalists to male tribalists, and from Christian theocrats to Patriot movement activists, the U.S. far right has made dangerous gains in recent years. These “insurgent supremacists” bolster established systems of oppression but also challenge the existing political order in real ways. Antifascist researcher and author of Insurgent Supremacists: The U.S. Far Right’s Challenge to State and Empire, Matthew N. Lyons will give an overview of the major far right currents, their ideologies and goals, their interconnections and tensions with the Trump administration, and some key lessons for antifascist work.

@ The Radical Bookfair Pavilion at the Baltimore Book Festival

A lively, informative, and illustrated tribute to one of the most exceptional women in American history—Harriet Tubman—a heroine whose fearlessness and activism still resonates today.

Harriet Tubman is best known as one of the most famous conductors on the Underground Railroad. As a leading abolitionist, her bravery and selflessness has inspired generations in the continuing struggle for civil rights. Now, National Book Award nominee Erica Armstrong Dunbar presents a fresh take on this American icon blending traditional biography, illustrations, photos, and engaging sidebars that illuminate the life of Tubman as never before.

Not only did Tubman help liberate hundreds of slaves, she was the first woman to lead an armed expedition during the Civil War, worked as a spy for the Union Army, was a fierce suffragist, and was an advocate for the aged. She Came to Slay reveals the many complexities and varied accomplishments of one of our nation’s true heroes and offers an accessible and modern interpretation of Tubman’s life that is both informative and engaging.

Filled with rare outtakes of commentary, an expansive timeline of Tubman’s life, photos (both new and those in public domain), commissioned illustrations, and sections including “Harriet By the Numbers” (number of times she went back down south, approximately how many people she rescued, the bounty on her head) and “Harriet’s Homies” (those who supported her over the years), She Came to Slay is a stunning and powerful mix of pop culture and scholarship and proves that Harriet Tubman is well deserving of her permanent place in our nation’s history.

@ The Radical Bookfair Pavilion at the Baltimore Book Festival

Our second panel on this essential new anthology features:

  • Michael Casiano/"'The Pot': Criminalizing Black Neighborhoods in Jim Crow Baltimore"

  • Kate Drabinski/"Relentlessly Gay: A Conversation on LGBTQ Stories in Baltimore"

  • Nicole Fabricant/"Over-Burdened Bodies and Lands: Industrial Development and Environmental Injustice in South Baltimore"

  • Ashley Minner/"The Lumbee Community: Revisiting the Reservation of Baltimore’s Fells Point"

And will be moderated by Nicole King, one of the book's editors.

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 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.

@ The Radical Bookfair Pavilion at the Baltimore Book Festival

From the National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a bracingly original approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society—and in ourselves.

“The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it—and then dismantle it.”

Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America—but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.


In this book, Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science, bringing it all together with an engaging personal narrative of his own awakening to antiracism. How to Be an Antiracist is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society.

@ The Radical Bookfair Pavilion at the Baltimore Book Festival

Fat, Pretty, and Soon to be Old is a moving, funny, and startlingly frank collection of personal essays about what it means to look a certain way. Or rather, certain ways. Navigating Kimberly Dark’s experience of being fat since childhood—as well as queer, white-privileged, a gender-confirming “girl with a pretty face,” active then disabled, and inevitably aging—each piece blends storytelling and social analysis to deftly coax readers into a deeper understanding of how appearance privilege (and stigma) function in everyday life and how the architecture of this social world constrains us. At the same time, she provides a blueprint for how each of us can build a more just social world, one interaction at a time. Includes an afterword by Health at Every Size expert, Linda Bacon.

@ The Radical Bookfair Pavilion at the Baltimore Book Festival

Crossfire collects Staceyann Chin’s empowering, activist-driven poetry for the first time in a single book.

Poet, actor, and performing artist Staceyann Chin is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir The Other Side of Paradise, cowriter and original performer in the Tony Award–winning Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, and author of the one-woman shows Hands Afire, Unspeakable Things, Border/Clash, and MotherStruck. She has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and 60 Minutes, and her poetry been featured in the New York Times and the Washington Post. She proudly identifies as Caribbean, Black, Asian, lesbian, a woman, and a resident of New York City, as well as a Jamaican national.

“With this astounding new collection of poems, Crossfire, it is evident that Staceyann Chin has come into her raw, sexual, revolutionary, poetic power. These poems are jet fueled from the hot center of the body—from rage, from sorrow, from pure unmitigated life force. Poems that suffer no fools, that hold no punches, that will not be repressed, dressed up, or tamed. They are provocations, invitations, incantations, elevations, revelations, and warnings. They are at you, in you, and on you. Mind orgasms that seer the soul and smack the conscience and just simply turn you the fuck on. Just wow!”

-Eve Ensler



@ Red Emma's

N.B. This event will start early at 6:30 and take place upstairs in the restaurant to leave plenty of room for game play!

The adverb “avidly” is defined as “with great interest and enthusiasm.” Avidly―the online magazine founded in 2012 by Sarah Blackwood & Sarah Mesle and supported by the Los Angeles Review of Books―specializes in short-form critical essays devoted to the intersection of expertise and passion. Now, I hope you and your readers will embrace Avidly Reads, an exciting new series of books that are part memoir, part cultural criticism, each bringing to life the author’s emotional relationship to a cultural artifact or experience. Indeed, the editors and authors in the Avidly Reads series invite readers to explore the surprising pleasures and obstacles encountered in our everyday life.

In Board Games, writer and critic Eric Thurm digs deep into his own experience as a board game enthusiast to explore the emotional and social rules that games create and reveal, telling a series of stories about a pastime that is also about relationships. From the outdated gender roles in Life and Mystery Date to the cutthroat, capitalist priorities of Monopoly and its socialist counterpart, Class Struggle, Thurm thinks through his ongoing rivalries with his siblings and ponders the ways games both upset and enforce hierarchies and relationships―from the familial to the geopolitical. Like sitting down at the table for family game night, Board Games is an engaging book of twists and turns, trivia, and nostalgia.

Unlike our "normal" book events, this event is going to be highly participatory, with replicas of a hundred+ years of ideological board games available to play and then discuss with the author!

Victorine Quille Adams was a Baltimore native and the first African American woman elected to the city council. Born in 1912, she lived through stringent segregation, racial violence and economic turbulence. Educated at Morgan State and Coppin State Universities, she took to the classroom and enriched the lives of her students. In 1946, she founded the Colored Women's Democratic Campaign Committee to educate African American women about the vote and the power of the ballot box. In concert with fellow educators Mary McLeod Bethune, Kate Sheppard and Dr. Delores Hunt, she persisted in educating and empowering voters throughout her life. Similar to the CWDCC, she elevated the position and power of women in the civic affairs of Baltimore. Author Ida E. Jones reveals the story of this civic leader and her crusade for equity for all people in Baltimore.

@ Red Emma's

N.B. This event will start early at 6PM to better accommodate kids and parents!

Innosanto Nagara, the author and illustrator behind A is For Activist, is coming to Red Emma's to present his latest project, M is For Movement, a middle grade (8-12) book about how social transformation from below happens, told through the eyes of a young protagonist.

“This imaginative and highly appealing children’s story, enlivened with brilliant artwork, focuses mainly on the shattering yet inspiring history of modern Indonesia, but has much broader resonance and outreach. Its lucid and powerful message is that ordinary people, with courage and dedication, can help create popular movements that change the world, even under the most onerous conditions. Lessons that could not be more pertinent for all of us today.” —Noam Chomsky


The adverb “avidly” is defined as “with great interest and enthusiasm.” Avidly―the online magazine founded in 2012 by Sarah Blackwood & Sarah Mesle and supported by the Los Angeles Review of Books―specializes in short-form critical essays devoted to the intersection of expertise and passion. Now, I hope you and your readers will embrace Avidly Reads, an exciting new series of books that are part memoir, part cultural criticism, each bringing to life the author’s emotional relationship to a cultural artifact or experience. Indeed, the editors and authors in the Avidly Reads series invite readers to explore the surprising pleasures and obstacles encountered in our everyday life.

As an avowed “theory head,” Jordan Alexander Stein confronts a contradiction: that the abstract, and often frustrating rigors of theory also produced a sense of pride and identity for him and his friends: an idea of how to be and a way to live. Although Stein explains what theory is, this is not an introduction or a how-to, but rather Stein’s insights organized around five ways that theory makes one feel―silly, stupid, sexy, seething and stuck. In Theory, Stein travels back to the late nineties to tell a story of coming of age at a particular moment and to measure how that moment lives on and shapes him today.

A haunting, evocative history of British Empire, told through one woman’s family story.

“Where are you from?” was the question hounding Hazel Carby as a girl in post-war London. One of the so-called brown babies of the Windrush generation, born to a Jamaican father and Welsh mother, Carby’s place in her home, her neighbourhood, and her country of birth was always in doubt.

Emerging from this setting, Carby untangles the threads connecting members of her family in a web woven by the British Empire across the Atlantic. We meet Carby’s working-class grandmother Beatrice, a seamstress challenged by poverty and disease. In England, she was thrilled by the cosmopolitan fantasies of empire, by cities built with slave-trade profits, and by street peddlers selling fashionable Jamaican delicacies. In Jamaica, we follow the lives of both the “white Carbys” and the “black Carbys,” including Mary Ivey, a free woman of colour, whose children are fathered by Lilly Carby, a British soldier who arrived in Jamaica in 1789 to be absorbed into the plantation aristocracy. And we discover the hidden stories of Bridget and Nancy, two women owned by Lilly who survived the Middle Passage from Africa to the Caribbean.

Moving between Jamaican plantations, the hills of Devon, the port cities of Bristol, Cardiff, and Kingston, and the working-class estates of South London, Carby’s family story is at once an intimate personal history and a sweeping summation of the violent entanglement of two islands. In charting British empire’s interweaving of capital and bodies, public language and private feeling, Carby will find herself reckoning with what she can tell, what she can remember, and what she can bear to know.

A powerful critique of how manipulation of media gives rise to disinformation, intolerance, and divisiveness, and how we can fight back.

The role of news media in a free society is to investigate, inform, and provide a crucial check on political power. But does it?

It's no secret that the goal of corporate-owned media is to increase the profits of the few, not to empower the many. As a result, people are increasingly immersed in an information system structured to reinforce their social biases and market to their buying preferences. Journalism's essential role has been drastically compromised, and Donald Trump's repeated claims of "fake news" and framing of the media as an "enemy of the people" have made a bad scenario worse.

Written in the spirit of resistance and hope, United States of Distraction offers a clear, concise appraisal of our current situation, and presents readers with action items for how to improve it.

Dr. Nolan Higdon is professor of History and Communication at California State University, East Bay. His academic work primarily focuses on news media, propaganda, critical media literacy, and social justice pedagogies. He has been a guest commentator for news media outlets such as The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox. He is a board member for the Media Freedom Foundation, frequent contributor to Project Censored's annual Censored books series, a co-founder of the Global Critical Media Literacy Project, a program advisor for Sacred Heart University Media Literacy and Digital Culture Graduate Program, a steering committee member for the Union for Democratic Communications, and co-host of the Project Censored radio show.

Jaisal Noor is a host, producer, and reporter for The Real News Network. With his expertise in education policy and systemic inequity, he focuses on Baltimore, Maryland. He mainly grew up in the Baltimore area and studied modern history at the University of Maryland, College Park. Before joining TRNN, he contributed print, radio, and TV reports to Free Speech Radio NewsDemocracy Now! and The Indypendent.