The Baltimore Free School

The Baltimore Free School is a grassroots, collectively run and community-funded project, with a classroom inside Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse at 30 W. North Ave. Building upon a long tradition of horizontal organizing, collaborative learning and participatory education, we believe that the empowerment of people of all ages and backgrounds to share and learn is vital to the health of any community. To that end, we work toward creating a space where the exchange of ideas can occur without the exchange of money; a space where we can learn to relate to each other in new and meaningful ways. By building this infrastructure, we hope to form a microcosm of the world in which we want to live.

Click here to get started submitting a proposal. If you want to get involved with organizing the Free School, or have any questions about the project or the course process, please contact us at freeschool@redemmas.org.

Take a course

Every course offered through the Baltimore Free School is 100% free of charge to learners. Sign up online today!

Teach a course

Anyone can teach a course or organize a discussion or workshop at the Free School; propose one right now!

Support the BFS

Get involved as a volunteer organizer or make a tax-deductible donation to help us keep the doors open.

More info

Information on renting the space for private meetings, our consensus-based collective structure, our history and more.

Upcoming Courses

    • Thu, Sep 17 @ 7:30 PM
    ()

    Bail Tails, The Disproportionate Affect of High Bails on Indigent Defendants

    An attorney in the Felony Trial Division of the Public Defender's Office for Baltimore City will outline the bail review, the first step in a long process of denying indigent defendants' their rights, which is essentially a foregone conclusion. Then show how pretrial incarceration due to high bails affects what happens during the life of cases (our representation, the client's physical and mental states). From there, they will discuss how the resolution of a case (plea, trial or dismissal) is often determined by bail status. Concluding with touching on some possible solutions to the bail problem like the way the federal system operates.    The attorney has 11 years of experience in my job and represented thousands of clients and had dozens of trials.  

     

    • Tue, Sep 22 @ 7:00 PM
    ()

    CHILDHOOD DISRUPTED: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal

    Local author and science journalist Donna Jackson Nakazawa will discuss her book CHILDHOOD DISRUPTED which explores the link between emotional stress and anxiety experienced in childhood and physical and emotional health in adulthood.  Childhood adversity can shape our biology in ways that predetermine our physical health, longevity and overall wellbeing.

    When we encounter sudden or chronic adversity as children, an onslaught of stress hormones causes powerful changes in the body, altering our body chemistry.  The developing immune system and brain react to this chemical barrage by permanently resetting our stress response to "high" which in turn can have a devastating impact on our physical health.  In the book, Nakazawa explains why some children are more immune to stress than others, why certain types of childhood stressors can be particularly damaging, and explains why women are at particular risk. 

    The good news is that it is also possible for people to reset their biology.  Nakazawa will share stories of how people have overcome their own adverse childhood experiences through methods that tap into the healing potential of the mind, body and spirit.

    • Wed, Sep 16 @ 7:00 PM
    • Wed, Sep 30 @ 7:00 PM
    • Wed, Oct 14 @ 7:00 PM
    • and 1 more session
    (North Ave classroom)

    Revolutionary Feminism Reading Group

    Following from the Communist Research Cluster's initiative this year to coordinate reading groups across the country (and other countries), the topic would be "Revolutionary Feminism". Although the reading group would have no formal affiliation with the Communist Research Cluster, it would use a Reader on Revolutionary Feminism that they have curated and provided for groups to use. The Rev. Fem. Reader exists in .pdf and .epub form, so could be circulated for free to anyone with access to the internet and brought to meetings via a personal device, e-reader or a print-out. T

    You can find more information about the Readers and the network of reading groups here: https://communistresearchcluster.wordpress.com/

    • Sun, Sep 20 @ 2:00 PM
    ()

    Kickoff the Baltimore chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America

    Come join us for an open house and kickoff event for the Baltimore chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).  Be a part of an interactive presentation designed to portray, shape, and frame the role and function of the DSA within the city of Baltimore for years to come.  Learn how you can be a part of positively changing the social and political reality not only within the city of Baltimore, but within American society as a whole.

    The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is the largest socialist organization in the United States, and the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International. We are activists committed to democracy as not simply one of our political values but our means of restructuring society. Our vision is of a society in which people have a real voice in the choices and relationships that affect the entirety of our lives.

    Come learn about Democratic Socialism and the DSA, and how you can be a part of changing Baltimore and America for the betterment of all working people.

    • Sat, Nov 14 @ 4:00 PM
    • Sat, Dec 05 @ 4:00 PM
    • Sat, Dec 19 @ 4:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Human Stem Cells for Non-Scientists: Building a Better Mousetrap in the 21st century?

    This is a course designed to introduce non-scientists to human stem cells and their use in regenerative medicine. It will also address some of the current ethical issues affecting the field.

    • Wed, Sep 09 @ 7:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Self Care for Community Organizers and Activists

    "Put Your Own Oxygen Mask On First, Before Assisting Others"

    Join Cait Byrnes, holistic health coach and community artist, for an interactive workshop teaching community organizers and activists how to balance their work and the art of self-care. Try out specific health tips and exercises tailored to the stresses people in service positons face.

    Participants will also be provided with supplies to create a take-home self-care item.  (Supplies are limited to the first 30 participants who arrive.)

    • Fri, Oct 23 @ 7:00 PM
    ()

    “The Surprising Power of a Whole-Food Plant-Based diet to Prevent and Reverse Disease: The Evidence

    “The Surprising Power of a Whole-Food Plant-Based diet to Prevent and Reverse Disease: The Evidence
    by Joseph A. Adams, M.D., F.A.C.P., A 50 minute Power Point presenation followed by discussion and Q & A. 

    • Sun, Sep 06 @ 5:00 PM
    • Sun, Sep 13 @ 5:00 PM
    • Sun, Sep 20 @ 5:00 PM
    • and 12 more sessions
    (North Ave classroom)

    Scientific Revolutions: Ancient and Modern

    Discussion series on readings in the history of scientific theory and discovery from Lucretius and Aristotle to Darwin and Einstein.

    • Tue, Sep 08 @ 6:00 PM
    • Tue, Sep 15 @ 6:00 PM
    ()

    On Socialist Realism

    This course, inspired largely by perspectives drawn from "On Socialist Realism", an essay by Andrei Sinyavsky (also known under the pseudonym "Abram Tertz").  This work would be the only suggested reading, with particpants' being welcome to bring other source material pertinent to Socialist Realism.  Sinyavsky was a censored dissident, and deconstructive of "Socialist Realism", while still speaking in the first person with reference to Soviet perspectival structures.  

    Whether "realism" can have any sort of qualifier, "socialist" or otherwise, while still being "realism", is the conjectural thread I'd like to follow. (The Soviet believers answered this and related questions by way of analyses having to do with the reading of direction and purpose into "historical materialism".  To Sinyavsky, all of this was a lapse into idealism, and, artistically speaking, it was a manifestation of Classicism, in its higher and lower manifestations.)

    I'd like to explore these and related questions, through a course of four discussions, weekly.

    • Thu, Sep 24 @ 7:00 PM
    • Thu, Oct 29 @ 7:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Marxism Today by CPUSA

    1st session.  In The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, Frederick Engels states in a bold way how the breaking up of primitive communalism created classes and class struggle.  The book outlines in chronological order the stages of class and class-divided societies, namely slavery, feudalism and capitalism/imperialism.

    Why is this important for us today? It's important because most people do not understand the role of the state and its political and economic structures which are the two pillars of any class-divided society.

    • Sun, Sep 06 @ 7:00 PM
    • Sun, Sep 13 @ 7:00 PM
    • Sun, Sep 20 @ 7:00 PM
    • and 1 more session
    (North Ave classroom)

    DIY Sexual Health: Reclaiming Knowledge and Choices in Abortion, Contraception and Reproductive Options

    This course will introduce students to the foundational concepts and frameworks of reproductive justice and health. Together we will unpack and discuss the current medical knowledge about abortion, contraception, queer and trans* sexual health and reproductive options and how to navigate the medical industrial complex as a patient and reclaim the power to be in control of your own body.

     

     

     

    Taught by Kaity Molé, RN, BSN, Co-Director of Baltimore Doulas for Choice 

    • Fri, Sep 18 @ 6:00 PM
    • Fri, Sep 25 @ 6:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Dharma Punx Baltimore

    Dharma Punx Baltimore is a chapter within Dharma Punx Nation. We are an alternative meditation community, inspired by the Insight/Vipassana tradition. We work to cultivate mindfulness as a tool for transformation. 

    • Wed, Sep 23 @ 7:00 PM
    • Wed, Oct 28 @ 7:00 PM
    • Wed, Nov 04 @ 7:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Cooperative Study Group:Beginners Helping Beginners

    Dear Baltimore Free School Folks

     

    The Catonsville Cooperative is interested in starting a beginner study group for people that would like to rigorously study successful (and not as sccessful) cooperatives in order to help build their knowledge about cooperatives and also inform their own infrastructure building. We are considering hosting the study group in a variety of places and would hope one of them could be the free school. We would like to rotate spaces to accomodate people coming from all over the area. I look forward to hearing from you. With gratitude, Holly - holly.leon@gmail.com - 443-897-0080

    • Fri, Sep 18 @ 7:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Black feminism and intersectionality

    Organized by the Baltimore branch of the International Socialist Organization

    The Baltimore branch of the International Socialist Organization is getting together to begin educating ourselves about Black feminism and Intersectionality. None of us are experts and nobody is "teaching" the class, but rather we will go through the material collectively. We invite anyone with any level of experience with this topic to join us and share your perspective! The way we structure the group is simply to ask for a volunteer to facilitate, and any Black woman who wants to facilitate is given priority, in recognition of the fact that there are very few spaces where Black woman's voices are allowed to be dominant. We spend time discussing reading that has been chosen by the group, but also leave space for open discussion about any relevant current events, media, blogs, etc. that members want to talk about. We see this group as being shaped by its members, so anyone can suggest readings or changes to the structure at any time. To get on the listserv for the group and receive the readings, please email Alana Davenport at abdvnprt@gmail.com. We also have a facebook group called Baltimore Free School Black Feminism and Intersectionality.