This 21st-century activist's guide to upending mainstream ideas about race, class, and gender carves out a path to collective liberation.
Drawing on Black intellectual and grassroots organizing traditions, including the Haitian Revolution, the US civil rights movement, and LGBTQ rights and feminist movements, Unapologetic challenges all of us engaged in the social justice struggle to make the movement for Black liberation more radical, more queer, and more feminist. This book provides a vision for how social justice movements can become sharper and more effective through principled struggle, healing justice, and leadership development. It also offers a flexible model of what deeply effective organizing can be, anchored in the Chicago model of activism, which features long-term commitment, cultural sensitivity, creative strategizing, and multiple cross-group alliances. And Unapologetic provides a clear framework for activists committed to building transformative power, encouraging young people to see themselves as visionaries and leaders.
Unapologetic Tour Schedule
August 22, 2018
Author Talk with the Movement for Black Lives
In Conversation with Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson
Online Webinar, comes with excerpt of Unapologetic.
August 27, 2018
In Conversation with @WellReadBlackGirl
August 29, 2018
Housing Works Bookstore
In Conversation with Glory Edim
126 Crosby Street, NY 10012
August 30, 2018
In Conversation with Mariame Kaba
New York, NY
September 4, 2018
Charis Books and More
In Conversation with Mary Hooks
September 5, 2018
September 6, 2018
In Conversation with Rev. Neichelle R. Guidry, PhD
September 8, 2018
Starr Barr with Working Families Party
In Conversation with Maurice Mitchell
September 10, 2018
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
In Conversation with Darnell Moore
September 12, 2018
Uncle Bobbies Bookstore
In Conversation with Marc Lamont Hill
September 13-14, 2018
Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Caucus
September 16, 2018
Highlander Research and Training Center
In Conversation with Darnell Moore and Ash-Lee Woodward Henderson
September 25th, 2018
Reva and David Logan Arts Center
In Conversation with Barbara Ransby and Janae Bonsu
915 E 60th St.
September 27th, 2018
In Conversation with Angela Davis
September 29th, 2018
Baltimore Book Festival
Radical Bookfair Pavilion with Red Emma's
"Leadership is the ability to not only make your own way, but to return to give others a roadmap that they, too, can follow. This is what Charlene Carruthers does with Unapologetic. She offers us a guide to getting free with incisive prose, years of grassroots organizing experience and a deeply intersectional lens. She doesn't forget any of us, and reminds us that bringing all of ourselves and our people with us is the only way any of us will get free."
—Janet Mock, New York Times bestselling author of Redefining Realness and Surpassing Certainty
"This brilliant and powerful book is a clarion call to keep alive the Black radical tradition in these reactionary times. Charlene A. Carruthers is an exemplary organic intellectual rooted in the struggles of black poor and working people, especially LGBTQ youth, with a subtle analysis and an international vision for freedom. She stands in the great lineage of Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and Marsha P. Johnson—grand fighters and great lovers of everyday black people and oppressed folk everywhere!"
“Charlene Carruthers carries the burden, the beauty, the wisdom of four hundred years of Black struggle. But she also brings a critical perspective and a creative vision, rooted in her extensive experience as an organizer and organic intellectual, and in her fierce and fearless commitment to truth. This is an inspiring, powerful, but difficult book because she confronts our movements, our people, our closeted silences, toxic masculinity, patriarchal violence, romantic and selective historical memory, and our future head on, through a radical Black queer feminist lens. Welcome to the Black radical tradition.”
—Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination
"Charlene Carruthers is a powerful organizer, radical thinker, paradigm-shifter, and one of the most influential political voices of her generation. Anyone seriously interested in the struggle for Black liberation in this country needs to listen carefully to what she has to say."
—Barbara Ransby, author of Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement and Making All Black Lives Matter
"This electrifying debut by Carruthers, founding director of Black Youth Project 100, is part testimony and part activist’s toolbox with snippets of Carruthers’s personal history sprinkled throughout. Carruthers makes an urgent case for organizing movements and reexamining history through a black queer feminist lens to better equip activists in a “principled struggle” to end racism, ableism, homophobia, patriarchy, and ingrained prejudice. She outlines strategies on how to prioritize issues, build strong leaders, and adopt healing justice to bring about radical change. She devotes an entire chapter to the Chicago model of activism, which dates to the antieviction protests of the 1930s when “communist-inspired organizing... is said to have mobilize[d] five thousand people in less than 30 minutes to stop an eviction.” Carruthers, who grew up on the South Side of Chicago and remains active in the community, points to the more recent success of the “Reparations now!” campaign, which, in 2016 after decades of work, won $5.5 million in reparations for victims of racist police violence in Chicago. Incantatory without being incendiary, strong but not strident, Carruthers argues for “a world in which everyone is able to live with dignity and in right relationship with the land we inhabit.” This handbook for the revolution is a rousing call for collective liberation. (Aug.)" —Publishers Weekly
"A black lesbian activist offers insight into forging a radical black liberation movement through the lens of her experience as a community organizer in Chicago.
Frederick Douglass once wrote that “power concedes nothing without a demand.” Carruthers, who is best known as the founding national director of the Black Youth Project 100, revises her predecessor’s observation to highlight that it is “organized demand” that wins revolutionary struggles. Drawing on her experience as a reader, thinker, and grass-roots activist, the author illuminates the past, present, and future of black radicalism. She opens by first addressing recent “calls to end identity politics.” Carruthers argues that what is needed instead is to “end liberalism.” The intersectionalist approaches of black queer feminists are what will give (white) democratic progressives the tools to combat the intertwined ills of patriarchy and capitalism. A crucial part of the movement also involves reviving—or reimagining—the black radical tradition. Only by remembering the collective past can activists resist social erasure and see a clear way forward. In the fight to end liberalism, writes the author, focusing on such issues as “leadership development [and] healing justice” is also key. Moreover, activists must be self-reflective at all times and ask themselves and each other questions about who they are, where they came from, what they want and want to build, and whether they are “ready to win.” The author concludes with a discussion of the “Chicago Model” of community organizing and a mandate to continue the struggle. Though imperfect, the Chicago Model still managed to bring together “multiple institutions with varying political alignment” to fight police brutality and oust racist and corrupt political officials. Timely and important, Carruthers’ book is a strong testament to the resilience of the radical black liberation movement as well as an impassioned appeal to continue the fight for social justice in a political environment characterized by increasing hostility to equality and difference.
Powerful, potent reading." —Kirkus Review