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One Book Baltimore is a collaboration among several local organizations to provide opportunities for Baltimore City 7th and 8th graders, their families, and community members to connect through literature by reading the same book. Discussions and programming will be held across the city this fall to spark conversations focused on peace and how to promote change in our community.

2020 Selection: We Speak For Ourselves by D. Watkins

One Book Baltimore logo and 2020 book, We Speak for Ourselves

From the row houses of Baltimore to the stoops of Brooklyn, with searing conviction and full compassion, D. Watkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Cook Up and The Beast Side 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.

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A Community Collaboration

Partner logos: T. Rowe Price Foundation and Baltimore City Public Schools

One Book Baltimore is a collaboration between the T. Rowe Price Foundation, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore City Public Schools, Maryland Humanities, Baltimore Ceasefire 365, Maryland Book Bank, the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, Johns Hopkins University Brain Science Institute, and WBAL-TV11.


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