Edited by Christopher R. Rogers, Fajr Muhammad, and the Paul Robeson House & Museum
The national protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020, made clear what many already knew to be true: policing--in all its iterations--must be abolished. The nationwide uprisings saw the burning of the third precinct in Minneapolis, the creation of autonomous zones in Seattle, and the toppling of statues and memorials to white supremacists, colonizers, and confederates. How We Stay Free chronicles the protests in the city of Philadelphia and the Black organizers that led, sustained, and nurtured the movement for abolition.
In the midst of a global pandemic, Philadelphians took to the streets establishing mutual aid campaigns, jail support networks, bail funds, and housing encampments for their community, removing the statue of Frank Rizzo, the former mayor and face of racist policing, called for the release of all political prisoners including Mumia Abu-Jamal, and protested, marched, and agitated in all corners of the city. From Philadelphia, which dating back at least to W.E.B. DuBois has served as a vista to understand Black life in the US, How We Stay Free collects and presents reflections and testimonies, prose and poetry from those on the frontlines to take stock of where the movement started, where it stands, and where we go from here.
How We Stay Free is both a celebration of the organizing that sustained the uprising and a powerful call-to-action--demanding all of us to take to the streets, organize our communities, and revolt for the creation of new, better, and freer worlds.
"How We Stay Free is a foundational text and map that builds on the legacy of the Black Radical Tradition as localized in Black Philadelphia. Through this eloquent mix of poetry, prose, interviews, and archives of Philly's Black Uprising, this text places our fight for justice that year within a much longer history and future of radical revolt. This is must read for community residents, activists, organizers to model ways that Philly has paired arts-based resistance work with organized protests and mobilization to build sustainable radical coalitions for freedom."-- Dr. Christina Jackson, Scholar-Activist, Community Facilitator, Associate Professor of Sociology at Stockton University
"Christopher Rogers and Fajr Muhammad have curated an urgent and timely collection. How We Stay Free documents how the 2020 Black uprising in Philadelphia sparked the political imagination. Produced in collaboration with the Paul Robeson House and Museum, it illuminates how Paul and Eslanda Robeson remain inspiring symbols of the radical social change so urgently needed today."--Jordan T. Camp, author of Incarcerating the Crisis: Freedom Struggles and the Rise of the Neoliberal State
About the Editors:
Christopher R. Rogers serves as the Program Director for the Paul Robeson House & Museum, an internationally recognized museum that uplifts the legacy of Paul Robeson, including his political commitment to struggle. Chris has strong national relationships within education justice organizing including serving on the steering committee of National Black Lives Matter At School which is releasing a 2020 edited collection.
Fajr Muhammad is a writer and editor. Her work has been awarded fellowships with the Tin House Writers' Workshop, Rhode Island Writers' Colony and the Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat. She is a graduate of the MFA program at Columbia University.
The WPCA/Paul Robeson House & Museum is an internationally recognized museum that preserves the legacy of Paul Robeson