Johanna Fernandez - "Writing on the Wall" - Page May

Wednesday, June 19, 2019 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Johanna Fernandez

"Mumia Abu-Jamal is one of the most important public intellectuals of our time … He offers us new ways of thinking about law, democracy and power. He allows us to reflect up on the fact that transformational possibilities often emerge where we least expect them."––Angela Y. Davis

A discussion with Johanna Fernandez, editor of Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal. She will be joined in conversation by Page May.  A Q&A and signing will following the discussion.

Presented in partnership with the Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture, Dean of Students of SSA, the Graduate Council, and SSA Without Borders at the University of Chicago.

At 57th Street Books

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the Book: Writing on the Wall is a selection of more than 100 previously unpublished essays that deliver Mumia Abu-Jamal's essential perspectives on community, politics, power, and the possibilities of social change in the United States. From Rosa Parks to Edward Snowden, from the Trail of Tears to Ferguson, Missouri, Abu-Jamal addresses a sweeping range of contemporary and historical issues. Written mostly during his years of solitary confinement on Death Row, these essays are a testament to Abu-Jamal's often prescient insight, and his revolutionary perspective brims with hope, encouragement and profound faith in the possibility of redemption.

About the Author: Mumia Abu-Jamal is an award-winning journalist and author of two best-selling books, Live From Death Row and Death Blossoms.

About the Editor: Johanna Fernández teaches 20th Century US history and the history of social movements in the Department of History at Baruch College (CUNY). Her book on the Young Lords, the Puerto Rican counterpart to the Black Panther Party is forthcoming (Dec 9, 2019, UNC Press). In 2015, she directed and co-curated ¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York, an exhibition in three NYC museums cited by the New York Times as one of the year’s Top 10, Best In Art. In 2014, Dr. Fernández sued the NYPD for its failure to honor her research-driven, Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request.  Her suit led to the recovery of the "lost" Handschu files, the largest repository of police surveillance documents in the country, namely over one million surveillance files of New Yorkers compiled by the NYPD between 1954-1972, including those of Malcolm X. Professor Fernández is the editor of Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal (City Lights, 2015). With Mumia Abu-Jamal she co-edited a special issue of the journal Socialism and Democracy, titled The Roots of Mass Incarceration in the US: Locking Up Black Dissidents and Punishing the Poor (Routledge, 2014).  Her awards include the Fulbright Scholars grant to the Middle East and North Africa and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship of the Scholars-in-Residence program at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library. She is the writer and producer of the film, Justice on Trial: the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal (BigNoise Films, 2010).  Professor Fernández’s mainstream writings have been published internationally, from Al Jazeera to the Huffington Post. She has appeared in a diverse range of print, radio, online and televised media including NPR, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Democracy Now!

Fernández is the recipient of a B.A. in Literature and American Civilization from Brown University and a Ph.D. in U.S. History from Columbia University.

About the interlocutor: Page May is a Black, queer woman currently living as an organizer, educator and abolitionist in Chicago. Growing up in rural Vermont, Page moved to Chicago several years ago and began doing work around agriculture and food. She became radicalized doing work around prisons and police, and joined the effort We Charge Genocide. Page was one of eight youth delegates who traveled to the United Nations and was the lead author of the shadow report submitted to the UN Committee Against Torture. Page is the co-founder of Assata's Daughters, an intergenerational organizing collective of radical Black women located in the city of Chicago.


Event Location: 
57th Street Books
1301 E 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637