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D. Watkins with We Speak for Ourselves: A Word from Forgotten Black America, A Bridge Builder Event
June 25, 2019
D. Watkins is Editor at Large for Salon. His work has been published in the New York Times, 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 professor at the University of Baltimore and founder of the BMORE Writers Project–– and has also been the recipient of numerous awards including BMe Genius Grant and Ford’s Men of Courage. Watkins was also a finalist for the Hurston Wright Legacy Award and Books for A Better Life. He has lectured at countless universities, and events, around the world. Watkins has been featured as a guest and commentator on NBC’s Meet the Press, CNN’s The Erin Burnett Show, and Democracy Now, among other shows. Watkins is from and lives in East Baltimore. He is the author of We Speak For Ourselves: A Word from Forgotten Black America and the New York Times bestsellers The Beast Side: Living (and Dying) While
Black in America and The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir.
About We Speak for Ourselves: A Word from Forgotten Black America
From the row houses of Baltimore to the stoops of Brooklyn, with searing conviction and full compassion, D. Watkins lays bare the voices of the most vulnerable and allows their raw, intimate stories to uncover the systematic injustice threaded within our society. Honest and eye-opening, We Speak for Ourselves makes us listen, feel, and create a course toward change that starts right where we are.
Watkins introduces you to Down Bottom, the storied community of East Baltimore that holds a mirror to America’s poor black neighborhoods—“hoods” that could just as easily be in Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, or Atlanta. As Watkins sees it, the perspective of people who live in economically disadvantaged black communities is largely absent from the commentary of many top intellectuals who speak and write about race.
Unapologetic and sharp-witted, D. Watkins is here to tell the truth as he has seen it. We Speak for Ourselves offers an in-depth analysis of inner-city hurdles and honors the stories therein. We sit in underfunded schools, walk the blocks burdened with police corruption, stand within an audience of Make America Great Again hats, journey from trap house to university lecture, and rally in neglected streets. And we listen.
Watkins shares the lessons he has learned while navigating through two very distinct worlds—the hood and the elite sanctums of prominent black thinkers and public figures—serving hope to fellow Americans who are too often ignored and calling on others to examine what it means to be a model activist in today’s world. We Speak for Ourselves is a must-read for all who are committed to social change.