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

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

    • Sat, Jan 28 @ 3:30 PM
    • Sat, Feb 11 @ 2:00 PM
    • Sat, Feb 25 @ 2:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Radical Dharma Reading / Continuing the Conversation

    Radical Dharma is a passionate text bringing the dharma* to bear on racialized issues in America today. This "course" will consists of meetings including a 20 minute meditation, followed by dialogue addressing whiteness, excerpts from the book, and the cultivation of right and skillful action in our lives. Our past conversations have focused on grappling with the ways we hold onto our own whiteness, but all are welcome and we'll be responsive to the needs of the group.

    • Wed, Feb 01 @ 7:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Basics of American Sign Language and Deaf Cultural Awareness

    Join a local Baltimore sign language interpreter to learn more about how to communicate with the American Deaf community.  Learn the sign language alphabet, alternative communication methods, a brief history of the Deaf community in America, and how to interpret a song in American Sign Language.

    • Sun, Jan 22 @ 2:00 PM
    • Sun, Feb 26 @ 2:00 PM
    • Sun, Mar 26 @ 2:00 PM
    • and 4 more sessions
    (North Ave classroom)

    Baltimore Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)

    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. DSA's members are building progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly democratic socialist presence in American communities and politics.

    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. We call this vision democratic socialism — a vision of a more free, democratic and humane society.


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    • Thu, Feb 02 @ 6:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Winter Tree Identification

    Identifying trees before their leaves  emerge in spring is a foundational skill to begin learning tree identification. We will be practicing basic terminology to look at and describe the features of twigs, buds and twig bark, and will briefly discuss their medicinal properties. This will be a multi-sensory workshop as we will be using our senses of sight, touch and smell! Participants will leave with a basic understanding of how to identify trees in winter.

    Please start getting familiar with tree ID terminology by studying the terms in the following link:   Bring a Petersen's Field Guide to Eastern Trees, or Sibley's Common Trees of Eastern North America, if you have one.  

    Supported by Heart and Soil Collective. We are a community and plant sanctuary focusing on perennial foods, plant medicine and community empowerment. Find us on Facebook at @ourheartandsoil. 



    • Sun, Jan 22 @ 5:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Guided Sitting

    I will hold a safe space for your to explore your breath, your mind, and your emotions through guided sitting. Together we will pay attention, non-judgmentally, to the present moment. We will breathe in different ways. Then, those that are interested will share their different experiences of the practice.

    (North Ave classroom)

    Resisting Hierarchies Across Race, Gender, and Species: Fighting Mutually Reinforcing Oppression for EcoJustice

    This course will introduce participants to the ways that unexamined cultural attitudes shape modern social and environmental problems.  Oppression is rooted in certain cultural belief systems, ways that we learn to think and hierarchies we learn to internalize. The same root cultural belief systems help to create and justify the domination of women, people of color, and other oppressed groups, and these very same belief systems create the foundation for exploitation of the environment and of other living beings.

    Drawing from her book Teaching for EcoJustice, Dr. Rita Turner will discuss these cultural roots that authorize domination and violence against humans, nonhuman animals, and the land.  She'll give examples to discuss and analyze, and she will invite the class to explore ways that all forms of exploitation and violence must be resisted together and in solidarity with one another.

    • Thu, Jan 26 @ 7:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Reparations Reading Group

    This group provides a meeting space for those interested in learning about and supporting movements for reparations to Black people within the United States.  For the initial session, suggested reading is "A Day of Reckoning": Dreams of Reparations by Robin D.G. Kelley in the collection Redress for historical Injustices in the United States: On Reparations for Slavery, Jim Crow, and Their Legacies (Michael T. Martin and Marilyn Yaquinto, editors). Study group members will select topics and readings for subsequent sessions.  Examples of possible topics include: historical bases for reparations claims on the U.S. government and corporations; reparationist organizations and platforms from the Reconstruction to the present; case studies of successful reparations campaigns; organizing for active support of current movements for reparations.  As the group progresses, we'll document recommended reading lists and other resources to share with future participants and others.    

    • Sat, Jan 28 @ 12:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Determined December with Strvnge Encounters

    Understanding what it means to be an American Muslim and challenging mainstream media’s portrayal of Islam.

    • Wed, Feb 08 @ 10:00 AM
    • Wed, Mar 08 @ 10:00 AM
    • Wed, Apr 12 @ 10:00 AM
    • and 1 more session
    (North Ave classroom)

    La Leche League: Mother-to-Mother Breastfeeding Support

    Our Mission is to help mothers in Baltimore to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.


    • Wed, Jan 25 @ 7:00 PM
    • Wed, Feb 22 @ 7:00 PM
    • Wed, Mar 22 @ 7:00 PM
    • and 3 more sessions

    Cooperative Study Group: Beginners Helping Beginners

    • Sat, Feb 11 @ 4:00 PM
    • Sat, Mar 11 @ 4:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Jacobin Reading Group

    Are you interested in meeting with other people in Baltimore to discuss articles from Jacobin magazine? If so, then you should join the Jacobin reading group!! We meet about once a month. The discussions are lively, non-doctrinaire, and open to everyone. For more information, send an email to